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Weerasekera tears into Wigneswaran, Ponnambalam

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By Saman Indrajith

State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Rear Adm. (retd) Sarath Weerasekara yesterday challenged Tamil MPs in the Opposition to prove that they had a genuine concern for the welfare of their people.

Participating in the debate on the Vote on Account Minister Weeraskera said that so-called representatives of Tamil people would not even donate blood for the people they represented.  “I ask them if they have ever donated blood for their own people. When the Jaffna Hospital runs out of blood it is the Sinhalese soldiers who donate blood. The Vellalas will never donate their blood as they don’t want the socially disadvantaged Tamils to receive their blood. These are the very people who are talking about the aspirations and welfare of the Tamil people. They don’t have the right to talk about the aspirations of the Tamil people.

We have greater right to talk about the Tamil people. 

Former Navy Chief of Staff Weerasekera said that Rs. 174 billion had been allocated for Defence expenditure at a time when there was peace in the country. He said that after 30 years of war, there was peace in the country and in case that peace was compromised, the government would allocate more from the Vote on Account for defence expenditure.

“The minister said that if anyone was trying to instigate the youth and spread hatred between the Sinhalese and Tamils and laying the foundation for another conflict, then that persons had to be exposed.

On the inaugural day of the Parliament one party leader went out of his way to speak of self-determination and supremacy of the Tamil language. This august Assembly was not a place to decide whether one language was superior to the other. But, one could sympathise with him as a person who was clueless about the true history of Sri Lanka.

“We are a country with a written history of over 2500 years and an even longer Sinhala history. The ruins and historical monuments spread throughout the country are testament to the history of the country based on Sinhala civilisation.  Hence, knowing of this past very well, these statements intended to ignite disharmony should be strongly condemned.  

“Somehow, we must be concerned about his statement about self-determination. If self-determination is given to the North to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamils living in the North, then what about the Tamils living in the South? More than 50% of the Tamils are living in the South among the Sinhalese and the Muslims. Does this mean he is not concerned about the aspirations of the Tamils living in the South or is he fully convinced that their aspirations have already been met? Weerasekera asked. 

“Weerasekera said the particular MP when he was holding a very responsible position in Jaffna, had claimed that the Sinhalese and the Muslims had no right to live in the Jaffna Peninsula. He attended the Colombo Royal College and studied with the Sinhalese, then went to Law College and studied with the Sinhalese, then went on to become a magistrate and High Court judge and became a Supreme Court judge and lived among the Sinhalese and Muslims for 65 years and then had the audacity to go to Jaffna thereafter and claim that the Sinhalese and Muslims had no right to live in the North.

“This MP is eternally insulting the government and the Sinhalese people, Buddhism and the Sinhala language and engages in protests in Killinochchi demanding the removal of Buddhist statues.  He is none other than MP C.V. Wigneswaran. This same MP took oaths in Mulliwaikkal prior to taking oaths in parliament. This spot is where the most intense battle took place. There, many were killed and the battle was for a separate state and him taking oaths at this very spot is a clear manifestation that he too is has the same agenda. Hence, he definitely needs to give an explanation for his actions. As pointed out by MP Manusha Nanayakkara, such racist statements should be removed from Hansard.

“Similarly, MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said that the Sri Lankan forces had committed war crimes and that was the reason why President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had lost the electorates in the North. However, I want to ask him how come the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who commanded the Army during the war, won so many votes in the North when he contested the Presidential election. Therefore, I don’t think his utterances should be taken seriously as they are baseless.

“Although he claims the Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes , experts in the field such as Sir Desmond de Silva, Sir Geoffrey Nice and David Crane, Prof. Michael Newton, Rodney Dixon QC and  Maj. Gen. John Holmespic, after extensive investigations and cleared the Sri Lankan armed forces of war crimes and crimes Minister .”



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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