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Excerpted from SDIG (Retd.) Edward Gunawardena’s memoirs

The burning of the Jaffna public library in 1981 is not only a controversial subject, it is a sensitive one. Much has been written on it mainly for propaganda purposes and political advantage. It is significant that nobody who was a witness to the incident or was even present in Jaffna at the time of the incident has written anything on the subject.

Having kept mum for three decades, except once in 2006 when I was compelled to come out with the truth when an admirer of Anton Balasingham, writing to a Sri Lankan newspaper, alleged that I was responsible for the burning of the library, I decided that I should write particularly to dispel the untruths clouding this event; of what I witnessed, what I came to know of and the deductions and conclusions I arrived at particularly with my training and experience as an intelligence officer. I will elaborate this later in this chapter.

I thought the best way to make a start on this all important narrative is to present the reader with a reminder of the common perceptions regarding the burning of the library that existed in the eighties and even prevails to the present day. An article on the subject that appeared in a Sri Lankan newspaper in 2008 projecting the common perceptions in a nutshell provided me with a suitable platform to commence this effort.

‘Burning Memories’

A journalist named Aboorvan Prabanjana (I don’t know whether this was a real name or a pseudonym) writing on ‘Tamil Matters’ in the Sunday Lakbima of October 16. 2008, has opened his article titled, ‘Burning Memories’, thus: “The burning of the Jaffna library in 1981 is an event that has left indelible imprints in the minds of Sri Lankan Tamils. It marked the destruction of the intellectual heritage preserved down the ages by the Jaffna community. It is now an open secret that the crime was plotted and perpetrated by the politicians of the then ruling party”.

This article written twenty 27 years after the event has been meant primarily to draw attention to a documentary film entitled ‘Burning Memories’ directed by one S. Someetharan. Among other things this article alleges:



“Mobs brought to Jaffna from the southern part of the country allegedly led by a prominent politician of the then ruling party who was active during the campaign for the District Development Council elections of 1981, created a frenetic situation in Jaffna. The mobs were reportedly aided by the police. They set fire to several important buildings in the Jaffna town including the public library”.



“President Ranasinghe Premadasa who in a public speech hinted about the culprits responsible for the wanton act, speaking at a Muslim College in Puttalam in October 1991, in the aftermath of the impeachment against him sponsored by the UNP dissidents Lalith Athulatmudali and Gamini Dissanayake, reportedly said,

“During the District Development Council elections in 1981, some of our party members took people from other parts to the North, created havoc and disrupted the elections in the North. If you wish to find out who burnt the priceless collection of books in the Jaffna library you have only to look at the faces of those opposing us”.

The above assertions of Prabanjana, to me who was an eye witness to the happenings in Jaffna including the library going up in flames, are baseless and unsubstantiated. The present generation has been fed on writings of this nature and made to believe that mobs, politicians and police officers were the culprits. All these assertions have to be critically looked at without bias to arrive at any reasonable conclusion as to “Who burnt the Jaffna library”.

In the penultimate paragraph of Prabanjana’s article he has made an observation on the formal opening of the renovated library, an observation that will become increasingly significant as we go along. The narrator of Someetharan’s documentary has stated that the renovated library began to function without any formal opening as “opposition grew to the Government’s and Municipal Council’s willingness to declare open the library”.

But Prabanjana, wittingly or unwittingly adds, “There is however another version of this story relating to the canceled opening ceremony which the documentary fails to mention. Many a ‘Dalit’ activist has pointed out that the move to declare open the library faced strong opposition because the event was to be headed by the then Jaffna Mayor Sellan Kanthaiyah who was from an oppressed caste. It is said that those who belonged to the dominant caste in Jaffna could not tolerate the public library being declared open under the chairmanship of a ‘low caste’ man”,

The question that comes to my mind and should to any prudent person is: if the dominant caste in Jaffna (vellala) could not tolerate a ‘low caste’ man opening the renovated library, with what restraint would the ‘low caste’ non vellala community have for decades tolerated the existence of the library which was symbolic of the intellectual and social superiority of the vellalas? Did they bide their time and wait for an opportune moment to destroy this symbolic edifice of the Hindu aristocracy? It was the oppressed non vellala castes that comprised the bulk of the Prabahakaran led LTTE.

To this LTTE with its unquestionable caste foundation “the destruction of the intellectual heritage preserved down the ages”, was of little or no consequence. In fact it was not too long ago that the library was the exclusive preserve of the Vellalas. There is reason to believe that Prabahakaran and his young followers imbued with Marxist thinking would have viewed the public library symbolic of the establishment — the intellectually and socially superior elite Hindu vellala aristocracy. This was indeed a major stumbling block to the forward march of ‘the boys’. They certainly could not have had any qualms even of destroying this symbol if it were to give a turbo-boost to their ambitions.


The Beginnings of LTTE Terrorism

The lies and dubious assertions – all of which can be countered by facts – repeated over and over again even in our not so prestigious parliament, by individuals who pose as intellectuals interested in the so-called ethnic question and by mercenary NGO’s have come to be believed without question. The propagandists of the LTTE undoubtedly got maximum mileage out of the burning of the library as people in Sri Lanka and abroad had been made to believe that it was the work of Sinhalese politicians, police officers and goons.

More importantly, the present generation believes or has been made to believe that the LTTE’s quest for a separate state of Eelam through a war characterized by terrorism was motivated solely by acts such as the burning of the library and the anti-tamil riots of 1983.

If I were to recount briefly from memory, sporadic acts of terrorism began to emerge particularly with the promulgation of the Republican Constitution of 1972. As far back as May 1972 attempts were made by militant youths to topple a key high-tension electricity tower and also kidnap the children of a Tamil cabinet minister, Chelliah Kumarasuriyar.


Organized Terrorism

Organized Terrorism began to emerge by the mid-seventies. Alfred Duraiappah was personally assassinated by Prabahakaran. Police officers including retired officers and police informants began to be brutally killed. Robberies of banks, co-operatives, petrol filling stations and even passenger bus collections had become the order of the day.

Before the end of the seventies the LTTE had advanced to become a well-knit terrorist outfit that was seeking world attention. The meticulous planning that went into the explosion of the Air Ceylon Avro aircraft on Sept. 7, 1978 showed that the ‘boys’ had come of age. Fortunately the plan misfired. The explosion that was planned to take place over the Galle Face Green when the ceremonies connected with the promulgation of the new constitution were taking place, in fact occurred before the Avro took off from Ratmalana. Had it exploded as planned it would certainly have hit the world headlines like the Lockerbie crash.

Another sensational act of terrorism in the same year, in April if I remember right, was the brutal killing after much torture of IP Bastiampillai, SI Perampalam, PS Balasingham and PCD Siriwardena at Murunkan. The first information was of four decomposing bodies received by the Intelligence Services Division (ISD) of the Police of which I was the Director at the time.

It was about this time, 1979 to be more precise, when I was the Director of Intelligence that I accompanied Brigadier ‘Bull’ Weeratunga to Jaffna. His mandate from President Jayewardene was ‘to eliminate terrorism from the peninsula’. But the militant youths who began to be hunted down fled to India where they continued their training by Indian and the PLO experts on terrorism. By 1981 most of the trained youths had returned to commit murders and robberies with impunity. Their ranks were also beginning to swell, with more youth enamored by the adventurous nature of the movement, joining it.

It was in this atmosphere that the government decided to hold the District Development Council (DDC) elections. The Jayewardene government believed that the strengthening of the state’s hold over the peninsula by holding elections and having a democratic peripheral administration would help to break the back of the Tigers. To the latter, who by then not only had the backing of India, but had announced to the world of their existence as a formidable group of ‘freedom fighters,’ it provided a challenge of a different nature.

Anton Balasingham who by then was firmly in the saddle as the mentor of Prabahakaran was to tell the ‘boys’ that under no circumstances should the government of J.R. Jayewardene be allowed to take political control of Jaffna. The Indira Gandhi government that had strained relations with JR was also interested in ensuring that the central government did not have control over Jaffna. India wished for a manipulable power set-up in the North of Sri Lanka. Indian intelligence, (RAW) – Research and Analysis Wing – had been given the task of disrupting the DDC elections. I shall later recall an incident where I had an encounter with a RAW agent during the elections in Jaffna.


Reaching maturity

It is indeed significant that when the eighties commenced the separatist movement of the Tigers had reached a high degree of maturity. Splinter groups had been eliminated and Prabahakaran who had built up an image as a strong and dynamic leader had become the supreme commander. Uma Maheswaran who believed that a separate state could be achieved by resorting to urban guerilla tactics had lost his appeal.

Prabahakaran firmly believed that a well planned multi-pronged approach was required. He had realized the need for a sound theoretical base that would appeal to the youth, the importance of the collection of funds and getting the support of the western world where there were Tamils in influential positions in many cities. Above all he was determined to make the world know that the LTTE had launched a liberation struggle for the oppressed Tamil people.

The shrewd Prabahakaran also realized that to win the sympathy of the West he had to demonstrate an affinity with the Catholic faith. By indirectly portraying the Vellalas as the protectors of the Hindu tradition he had successfully won over the Catholic bishops to his cause. Dr. Anthonypillai Stanislaus Balasingham, a Catholic Marxist theoretician married to an Australian radical had become

Prabahakaran’s main propaganda organizer. Pamphlets craftily authored by Balasingham even with a map demarcating the boundaries of the proposed Eelaam were being circulated in all western capitals. These were freely available even in Pettah, Wellawatta and Wattala.

Balasingham who authored a book entitled, “Towards a Socialist Eelaam”, was also a member of the Communist Party of Britain. A keen student of world terrorist movements he had hardened himself as a brutal strategist not opposed to the killing of non — Christians for the furtherance of the movement he represented. Had he not died before the war ended in 2009, perhaps he would have successfully used his clout with powerful elements in Europe, America and Canada or even Australia to provide safe passage out of the country for Prabahakaran, Nadesan and others.


(To be continued next week)

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A call for confidence in Rajavasala



The government is highly cheerful about the defeat of the SJB’s vote of no confidence on Minister Gammanpila.

It was able to display its two-thirds power in Parliament. Those smaller parties that are aligned with the Pohottuva such as the SLFP and Wimal Weerawansa’s NFF and others remained fastened with Pohottuva power. The new message after the SJB’s defeat is that the people are wholly supportive of the increase in fuel prices. In fact, they have been voting to support the new fuel prices, and thus Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa does not have to do anything about it. Forget all that talk about how that price increase would not have happened if BR had been in the country, or that he would reduce it in a couple of days in office.

The record of no-confidence motions in our Parliament from 1948 is certainly different. Many such motions have been defeated, but the wider and deeper messages they carried have remained with the voters, who did what was necessary when the time for a larger national Vote of No-Confidence came their way.

This is the first big issue that Sajith Premadasa faced as leader of the SJB. There was somewhat of a challenge to him with the presence in Parliament of his former leader, and continuing UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who did try a green twist to the motion by trying to amend it to read against the whole government. Such twists and turns in politics can only be expected when persons who are wholly defeated by the voters in an election, the entire party and himself included, enters the House through the backdoor of the National List.

What this no-confidence motion brought before the people is much more than the rise in fuel prices. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government’s flagrant misuse of quarantine regulations to forcibly grab and transport trade union, civil rights, and political critics and opponents to a lock down centre in the North, combined with the continuing protests by farmers without necessary fertiliser, there is a rising mood of public discontent with the advancing power of the Rajapaksas. Here are some of the real ‘confidence’’ issues facing the people.

Does Pohottuva think the public are wholly supportive of the presidential pardon to a murderer convicted by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court? What about the three others who were also convicted with the same person? Is the public cheerful about such a pardoned, but not freed of crime – person, being appointed to head a major state institution on housing development? Is housing to be a sector of increasing political manipulation, much more than it was when Wimal Weerawansa, as Minister of Housing and Common Amenities, was at play in that sector, with luxury housing for relatives?

By the way, Weerawansa was a loud and strong opponent to the no- confidence motion against Minister Gammanpila.

There is currently some confused thinking on the silent protest carried out by teachers on distant teaching through the internet. The vast numbers, in several thousands, who participated in the public call for action by the government on the long-standing teacher demands, did show the necessity for action.

The public who may be even critical of the trade union action by the teachers are certainly not supportive of them being called ‘kaalakanniyo’ – miserable, wretched – even by a Cabinet Minister, whatever rank or status he may hold. Minister Rambukwelle could have turned many teachers, who may have preferred to be silent about their dispute on income and rights, to openly join the related trade union action. The Minister’s subsequent reference to teachers as ‘divinities’ certainly had little impact, in a land where there are unholy divinities, too.

The increase in the size of protests today shows a rise in the mood of opposition to the government. The public reaction to the ugly and shameful show of force against citizen protesters by the Police, against court orders, too, seem to have pushed the Police somewhat into the background. But we cannot be sure of that.

There have been many transfers and promotions of key police personnel, and the vacancy in the highest police post is not far away. Will the future actions on police management by the Rajapaksa Handlers send a new message on Police Brutality? Will the suspects brought to show evidence and are shot down, show an increase in the coming months? This is where public confidence in the government’s role in fighting crime and keeping peace will be on display, as the Rajapaksa Handlers move to more Family Power and less People’s Power.

More than two years have passed since that Easter Sunday attack on three churches, the deaths of so many, many more injured, families destroyed, parents gone and children lost, and the government still has to show the people the truth about this massive crime. The Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, has now given a one-month deadline for the President and the government to answer several key issues about this crime, which were key electoral promises of the Pohottuva candidate who is now the President, and the SLPP government of today.

The answers to these issues raised will show the confidence in the Sri Lankan government by the people of this country, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or caste; and the confidence in this country by the international community.

The defeat of the no-confidence motion on Minister Gammanpila should not be the stuff of worry for the Opposition in Parliament and the SJB. It is certainly a call to spread the wider message of no-confidence in a government that has failed in living up to its promises to the people.

The government may remain happy with its two-thirds majority in Parliament. But it certainly needs much more than parliamentary numbers to retain and build the confidence among the people. This is the real task of the Rajapaksa Power today. It has to move away from a Rajapaksa Senakeliya or Carnival, and try and settle down to Rajapaksa Service to the people, and not to themselves. A true call for Confidence in the Rajavasala, from those away from the Rajapaksa pack and players.

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How rebirth takes place



(from THE BUDDHA AND HIS TEACHINGS by Venerable Nārada Mahāthera)

“The pile of bones of (all the bodies of) one man
Who has alone one aeon lived
Would make a mountain’s height —
So said the mighty seer.”

To the dying man at this critical stage, according to Abhidhamma philosophy, is presented a Kamma, Kamma Nimitta, or Gati Nimitta.

By Kamma is here meant some good or bad act done during his lifetime or immediately before his dying moment. It is a good or bad thought. If the dying person had committed one of the five heinous crimes (Garuka Kamma) such as parricide etc. or developed the Jhānas (Ecstasies), he would experience such a Kamma before his death. These are so powerful that they totally eclipse all other actions and appear very vividly before the mind’s eye. If he had done no such weighty action, he may take for his object of the dying thought-process a Kamma done immediately before death (Āsanna Kamma); which may be called a “Death Proximate Kamma.”

In the absence of a “Death-Proximate Kamma” a habitual good or bad act (Ācinna Kamma) is presented, such as the healing of the sick in the case of a good physician, or the teaching of the Dhamma in the case of a pious Bhikkhu, or stealing in the case of a thief. Failing all these, some casual trivial good or bad act (Katattā Kamma) becomes the object of the dying thought-process.

Kamma Nimitta

or “symbol,” means a mental reproduction of any sight, sound, smell, taste, touch or idea which was predominant at the time of some important activity, good or bad, such as a vision of knives or dying animals in the case of a butcher, of patients in the case of a physician, and of the object of worship in the case of a devotee, etc…

By Gati Nimitta, or “symbol of destiny” is meant some symbol of the place of future birth. This frequently presents itself to dying persons and stamps its gladness or gloom upon their features. When these indications of the future birth occur, if they are bad, they can at times be remedied. This is done by influencing the thoughts of the dying man. Such premonitory visions of destiny may be fire, forests, mountainous regions, a mother’s womb, celestial mansions, and the like.

Taking for the object a Kamma, or a Kamma symbol, or a symbol of destiny, a thought-process runs its course even if the death be an instantaneous one.

For the sake of convenience let us imagine that the dying person is to be reborn in the human kingdom and that the object is some good Kamma.

His Bhavanga consciousness is interrupted, vibrates for a thought-moment and passes away; after which the mind-door consciousness (manodvāravajjana) arises and passes away. Then comes the psychologically important stage –Javana process — which here runs only for five thought moments by reason of its weakness, instead of the normal seven. It lacks all reproductive power, its main function being the mere regulation of the new existence (abhinavakarana).

The object here being desirable, the consciousness he experiences is a moral one. The Tadālambana-consciousness which has for its function a registering or identifying for two moments of the object so perceived, may or may not follow. After this occurs the death-consciousness (cuticitta), the last thought moment to be experienced in this present life.

There is a misconception amongst some that the subsequent birth is conditioned by this last death-consciousness (cuticitta) which in itself has no special function to perform. What actually conditions rebirth is that which is experienced during the Javana process.

With the cessation of the decease-consciousness death actually occurs. Then no material qualities born of mind and food (cittaja and āhāraja) are produced. Only a series of material qualities born of heat (utuja) goes on till the corpse is reduced to dust.

Simultaneous with the arising of the rebirth consciousness there spring up the ‘body-decad,’ ‘sex-decad,’ and ‘base-decad’ (Kāya-bhāva-vatthu-dasaka).

According to Buddhism, therefore, sex is determined at the moment of conception and is conditioned by Kamma not by any fortuitous combination of sperm and ovum-cells.

The passing away of the consciousness of the past birth is the occasion for the arising of the new consciousness in the subsequent birth. However, nothing unchangeable or permanent is transmitted from the past to the present.

Just as the wheel rests on the ground only at one point, so, strictly speaking, we live only for one thought-moment. We are always in the present, and that present is ever slipping into the irrevocable past. Each momentary consciousness of this ever-changing life-process, on passing away, transmits its whole energy, all the indelibly recorded impressions on it, to its successor. Every fresh consciousness, therefore, consists of the potentialities of its predecessors together with something more. At death, the consciousness perishes, as in truth it perishes every moment, only to give birth to another in a rebirth. This renewed consciousness inherits all past experiences. As all impressions are indelibly recorded in the ever-changing palimpsest-like mind, and all potentialities are transmitted from life to life, irrespective of temporary disintegration, thus there may be reminiscence of past births or past incidents. Whereas if memory depended solely on brain cells, such reminiscence would be impossible.

“This new being which is the present manifestation of the stream of Kamma-energy is not the same as, and has no identity with, the previous one in its line — the aggregates that make up its composition being different from, having no identity with, those that make up the being of its predecessor. And yet it is not an entirely different being since it has the same stream of Kamma-energy, though modified perchance just by having shown itself in that manifestation, which is now making its presence known in the sense-perceptible world as the new being.

Death, according to Buddhism, is the cessation of the psycho-physical life of any one individual existence. It is the passing away of vitality (āyu), i.e., psychic and physical life (jīvitindriya), heat (usma) and consciousness (vinnana).

Death is not the complete annihilation of a being, for though a particular life-span ends, the force which hitherto actuated it is not destroyed.

Just as an electric light is the outward visible manifestation of invisible electric energy, so we are the outward manifestations of invisible Kammic energy. The bulb may break, and the light may be extinguished, but the current remains and the light may be reproduced in another bulb. In the same way, the Kammic force remains undisturbed by the disintegration of the physical body, and the passing away of the present consciousness leads to the arising of a fresh one in another birth. But nothing unchangeable or permanent “passes” from the present to the future.

In the foregoing case, the thought experienced before death being a moral one, the resultant rebirth-consciousness takes for its material an appropriate sperm and ovum cell of human parents. The rebirth-consciousness (patisandhi vinnana) then lapses into the Bhavanga state.

The continuity of the flux, at death, is unbroken in point of time, and there is no breach in the stream of consciousness.

Rebirth takes place immediately, irrespective of the place of birth, just as an electromagnetic wave, projected into space, is immediately reproduced in a receiving radio set. Rebirth of the mental flux is also instantaneous and leaves no room whatever for any intermediate state (antarabhava). Pure Buddhism does not support the belief that a spirit of the deceased person takes lodgement in some temporary state until it finds a suitable place for its “reincarnation.”

This question of instantaneous rebirth is well expressed in the Milinda Pa񨡺

The King Milinda questions:

“Venerable Nagasena, if somebody dies here and is reborn in the world of Brahma, and another dies here and is reborn in Kashmir, which of them would arrive first?

“They would arrive at the same time. O King.

“In which town were you born, O King?

“In a village called Kalasi, Venerable Sir.

“How far is Kalasi from here, O King?

“About two hundred miles, Venerable Sir.

“And how far is Kashmir from here, O King?

“About twelve miles, Venerable Sir.

“Now think of the village of Kalasi, O King.

“I have done so, Venerable Sir.

“And now think of Kashmir, O King.

“It is done, Venerable Sir.

“Which of these two, O King, did you think the more slowly and which the more quickly?

“Both equally quickly, Venerable Sir.

“Just so, O King, he who dies here and is reborn in the world of Brahma, is not reborn later than he who dies here and is reborn in Kashmir.”

“Give me one more simile, Venerable Sir.”

“What do you think, O King? Suppose two birds were flying in the air and they should settle at the same time, one upon a high and the other upon a low tree, which bird’s shade would first fall upon the earth, and which bird’s later?”

“Both shadows would appear at the same time, not one of them earlier and the other later. “

The question might arise: Are the sperm and ovum cells always ready, waiting to take up the rebirth-thought?

According to Buddhism, living beings are infinite in number, and so are world systems. Nor is the impregnated ovum the only route to rebirth. Earth, an almost insignificant speck in the universe, is not the only habitable plane, and humans are not the only living beings. As such it is not impossible to believe that there will always be an appropriate place to receive the last thought vibrations. A point is always ready to receive the falling stone.


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Dual citizens; shocking rape cases going unpunished



I have a bone to pick with my co-Friday columnist who writes from across the ocean about the Pearl. In his July 16 column, he writes at length on dual citizens entering the Sri Lankan Parliament while retaining citizenship of another country. He lauds it in no uncertain terms, while most of us natives, living in our motherland, oppose the move that was introduced in the 20th Amendment. He writes: “A Dual Citizen is back as a national list member of parliament. Now, this in a country that passed legislation that banned dual citizens from entering parliament. This of course is something I was and am vehemently opposed to …”

The previous ban which he ‘vehemently opposed’ he pins on the Kaduwa syndrome – inferiority complex; frog in the well mentality; “fear of intimidation, fear, and revulsion of learning anything new from others”. Cass labels his reasons tosh! He goes to the extreme of writing: “The only good thing that has happened is that a dual citizen is back as finance minister, no less. … Our entire national list should consist of qualified dual citizens who have experience gained from the first world.” The implication here is that all our Sri Lankan citizens holding only Sri Lankan passports are no good against dual citizens who to him are nonpareil, more so legislaters. Thus, he casts aside as useless all those holding higher qualification gained mostly locally and are loyal to the country. They to him are less in ability, qualifications, broadmindedness than those who escaped to foreign countries when the going was bad and now return when it suits them. I present sole citizens like Champika Ranawaka, Eran Wickremaratne and Harsha de Silva and very many medical professionals and agriculturists who have shown they are pre-eminently qualified in their several fields, and loyal to Sri Lanka too.

Dual citizens left the country for whatever reason, mostly escaping a sinking ship for better prospects even as second-class citizens. Then they had the bug of nationalism arising in their breasts. This when it suited them; when it was opportune for them to return to their country of birth. They seize the opportunity to be recognised, elevated, lauded; and return from obscurity in a foreign country to hosannas sung by loyalists and promoters of dual citizenship like Rajitha Ratwatte. If they are so loyal and want to serve their mother country, why don’t they give up the citizenship of the country chosen for emigration and become solely Sri Lankan citizens? Oh no, they keep a safety branch handy for escape – to obscurity though – when things get too hot here. Even Basil Rajapaksa took plane to the US immediately after his brother’s defeat at the 2015 presidential election. Now back with several brothers in high power, nephews included; in short, a government mostly by the Family, it is ideal for Brother Basil to return and to boost his return, such loud singing of hosannas and prediction this Knight with superhuman powers will kill the dragon of economic bankruptcy that is poised to devour poor Sri Lanka. He may even banish the virus that has overpowered the entire world. We Ordinaries will wait and watch.

It is no to persons like medical interns who got their entire education- high school plus medical – at government expense and then scooted slyly to greener pastures immediately after getting their MBBSs. This closed door also to those who fled punishments or change of government or jumped the ship they thought was sinking or scooted for whatever expediency. However, those who felt they had no hope of career development in this country or went for higher studies (when local universities were closed for long or did not accept them) and then decided to stay back in the host countries as citizens are welcome back as even dual citizens since their return is prompted by caring for parents and siblings left behind, or wanting to settle down on birth turf and benefit the country with foreign money and expertise gained. Some highly qualified, medical professionals mostly, revisit Sri Lanka and give immense help free of charge. We welcome them wholeheartedly and are grateful. But not those whose motives for returning are purely selfish.

What particularly irked ole Cass were these two statements of Rajitha Ratwatte writing ‘From Outside the Pearl’. “The only good thing that has happened is that a dual citizen is back as finance minister, no less” and “our entire national lists should consist of qualified dual citizens who have experience gained from the first world.” I won’t deal with the first statement. How can he judge whether it is the only good move of government until Basil delivers the prediction of saving the country? Then the promotion of dual citizens to Parliament – “qualified with experiences gained from the first world.” I mentioned how some of these come back to help us but never as politicians or into politics. Those who come into the political arena so far have not advertised their higher qualifications and some have experience in petrol pumping if not dish washing!!

Rape rears its medusa head

We have been hearing and reading about a 15-year-old girl sold for prostitution by her mother and used by the many including some high persons. The case is out in the open and due punishment may be meted out. Another case was highlighted about a younger girl and I was told that social media highlighted a father who abused his two daughters and is in hiding now. Words fail ole Cass to express how reprehensible these cases are: unbridled perverse sexual desire and greed for money; two conditions rampant now. Cass nearly fell of her chair when she read the first page news item in The Island of Wednesday July 21. “National child protection policy not implemented for 21 years, says COPE.” Rather usual in this Paradise Isle gone rotten. But what followed both inundated Cass’s heart with deep sorrow followed by raging fury, though useless. A beautiful, typically dressed 16 year old Tamil girl – Ishalini Jude Kumar – is featured in the article “who succumbed to injuries caused by a fire in the residence of lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen at No 410/16, Baudhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.” Stunning. Shocking beyond words. Cass believes the rape and suspects it was continuous but never will accept the self immolation.

This particular MP and former Minister has had two previous allegations against him – the destruction of parts of a forest bordering Wilpattu to build houses for his supporters and association with some Easter Sunday carnage suspects.

Rape and molesting children are extra extra-nasty social evils. The perpetrators must be severely punished. In Saudi Arabia it was said that stealing was punished with hands amputated so…

Cass leaves you on that note – to mull over as Sri Lanka is saved by the Hon Basil R and we get back to being Paradise.



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