Where is the Mahinda Chinthana/women’s organisations?

The devastating (press report of 12/5) account of the repeated gang rape of a young Sinhala woman, in the presence of her seven-year-old son, shattered the morning. The victim was, thereafter, assaulted and prevented from going to hospital by the rapists. It seems, no neighbour dared to come to her assistance. The perpetrators are reported to be at large, boasting of their criminal activities. And, nobody has the courage to nail them, for at least this horrendous crime. As for the police? True to form, they are reported to have approached the victim, to ask her not to press charges! In the meantime, the family lives under threat of the rapists, bereft of any succour - a helpless husband, a ravaged wife, devastated children, no money or food in the house.
When such crimes are committed, without protest, we ask our women parliamentarians, the members of all those women’s organisations, what exactly are they doing on behalf of women? Most of all, we ask the upholders of the Mahinda Chinthana, if they allow gang rape to go unpunished, with absolutely no recompense to the victim, is their Chinthana worth the paper it was written on?
Prema Ranawaka-Das


Supreme Court rules, 168 to 7

After much deliberation, the highest court in Sri Lanka, has ruled that the former President’s retirement entitlement far exceeds what is due. Hence, she is now entitled to only seven police officers, including an ASP.
With all due respect to the ruling made by the Supreme Court, I wish to make a simple suggestion, based on the grounds that Chandrika B. Kumaratunga was, after all, a President for two terms, and that, while being on the hit list of the LTTE, she should, in all fairness, be given adequate security, while in Sri Lanka – provided, of course, that she gives adequate notice to the government to arrange additional security for her.
However, I would argue that any entitlements to security, etc. for Kumaratunga, should be on the grounds that she is residing in Sri Lanka, in lieu of the services rendered by her to the nation (arguable of course).
If her choice is to leave Sri Lanka, for whatever reasons, and lead a life of self-exile, her security becomes her own responsibility.
While in Sri Lanka, any government in power, should ensure that adequate security is given to all ex-presidents.
Petty politics should not take prominence here.
Shenali Waduge


A very balanced, fearless and independent newspaper

I have been a very avid, and regular reader, of The Nation, ever since it commenced publication.
I have been very impressed, and have viewed the quality of its news and its contents as being very balanced, fearless, and independent. A newspaper that gives credit where it is due, and vehemently criticises the wrongdoers, and exposes corruption, and exploitation.
I must say that the newspaper covers a wide variety of subjects, and here again, be it political or economic, it is very independent and fearless.
It is my earnest hope and prayer, hat the newspaper, in its long years of fruitful service to our motherland, continues with its balanced, fearless, and independent reporting and journalism, and is blessed with meritorious awards, by the government of the day.
Amyn Chatoor
Colombo 5.


House of Commons debate on Sri Lanka

It is with dismay, we hear of the recent outcry of a few disgruntled British parliamentarians, who have forgotten that the sun set on the British Empire over six decades ago.
The entire United Kingdom should be ashamed of these British parliamentarians shredding crocodile tears over an alien issue, which drama they are performing, primarily, to gain a few Asian votes! This is a disgraceful act! Especially, to be conducted by responsible citizens from so called First World! How about the genocide committed by the LTTE, on the rest of the people in Sri Lanka and India?
The definition of First world itself is a discrimination.
The British, including Tony Blair, must understand that we are no longer a ‘British colony.’ In this high handed attitude of the British MPs, they must also make note that we have the same right to comment on atrocities committed by the British Army and the paramilitary, supported by the British government, on the IRA, and the suppression of Catholic rights, then, in Northern Island, holding forcibly to the ‘Falklands Islands,’ the recent unlawful entry into an independent country, Iran (infringing the rights of a sovereign nation).
What right do the British have over the rest of mankind?
Meanwhile, we, as a sovereign nation, should be brave enough to terminate diplomatic relations with these colonial looters, and send home the British High Commissioner, whose forefathers deprived us of our wealth, land and heritage.
I suppose, they thought it was their prerogative and solemn right, to invade and loot other countries, in the bygone era, when there was no bogus organisations such as, the United Nations, even to make a complaint, which we all know is there for the benefit of a few!
I think, we should teach these so called colonial masters of yesteryear, a good lesson. We hope and pray Asia’s ‘CHAVEZ’ will be from Sri Lanka.
Our President should abolish the word ‘Royal’ from institutions that maintain links with the British throne, such as Royal Colombo Golf Club, Royal College, Hill Club and also remove the pictures of the Queen from every wall, including from our museums.
L. N. Perera


UNP’s call to punish Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

The UNP campaigned for the removal of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa from his post over the LTTE’s airstrike on the Katunayaka Air Force Base recently. Earlier, an LTTE suicide bomber attempted to assassinate him, which failed.
How come the UNP did not call for the removal of the Defence Secretary over the ground attack on the Air Force Base on July 19, 2001, resulting in death and destruction on a much larger scale?
The LTTE attack on the Sri Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura, a place sacred to the Buddhists, resulted in the death of a number of devotees and damage to the Sri Maha Bodhiya. The UNP did not think it fit to have the then Defence Secretary punished over the attack.
The holiest of Buddhist places, the Dalada Maligawa - the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic - in Kandy, was attacked by the LTTE, killing several and causing extensive damage to the premises. The UNP did not call for the removal of the Defence Secretary, then.
The LTTE launched an attack on the Central Bank Building in Colombo, killing several persons, whilst inflicting heavy damage to the Central Bank building and the surrounding buildings. The UNP did not want the Defence Secretary to be dealt with, over the attack on the Central Bank building. Several police officers and armed services personnel, were either kidnapped or killed, even inside their own offices, by the LTTE. The UNP stayed mum. The Defence Secretary and the Secretary to the Internal Security Ministry were spared.
The UNP stand, as such, lacks political maturity and sensibility.
Upali S. Jayasekera
Colombo 4


Unity is strength

The situation of the Tamils in the north and east is very pathetic. In the north, the A-9 Road is closed since last August. It is almost a year. All these days, the Tigers have not shown any interest to open the A-9 Road. Instead, they are attacking the forces in Muhamalai and Omanthai and making the situation worse for their people. The Jaffna Bishop recently said that the people in the north are living in a prison. That is true.
I think he is trying to blame the government for the closure of the A-9 Road. The Bishop should understand that the A-9 Road could be opened only by mutual agreement of both parties. Both parties are to be blamed. You can’t find fault with the government only. The government is ready to open the A-9 Road, conditionally. Why can’t the LTTE agree to these conditions? After all, who is affected? It is not the Sinhalese or Muslims. It is the Tamils. So definitely, the LTTE must do something with the government, to open this road. If the LTTE is stubborn in opening the A-9 Road, the government must act, to open this road. The Tamil people can’t suffer because of one man. This is what happened at Mawil Aru in the east. First, the LTTE challenged the government and started beating its war dreams in the east. It has also destroyed the lives of Tamils leading a peaceful life in the East. These Tamils are still displaced. If the LTTE had kept quiet, nothing would have happened to their people and the LTTE would have still been in the east.
By beating its war drums in the east, what has the LTTE achieved in the east? Its weakness has been exposed to the world. What a shame! All these happened because of one mad man, Prabhakaran. He has no foresight to tackle the problems of the Tamils in the east. Because of him, the Tamils in the east have been suffering untold hardships at the hands of Prabhakaran’s men. They have lost everything - education, economy, family life and their young ones. What a pity! Prabhakaran has done what an enemy would have done to them. The damage can never be repaired. It will take another 100 years.
Because of the war, the Muslims have overtaken the Tamils in the east, in every sphere. Their population has also increased. The Muslims are also fighting for their rights, like the Tamils, because, they are also a minority but, they have not taken up arms against anyone. If they start a war, they know they have to die. As a minority, they don’t want to die and decrease their population. The elders also don’t like this. The Muslim leaders also know this. They don’t want to face the same fate as the Tamils. The Eastern Muslims and their leaders are very close. Our leaders in the east are fools. They don’t know the mindset of the Muslims. Karuna is the one who understood the dangers the Tamils in the east have to face. The Tamils in the east should be proud of him. Karuna’s future depends on the unity between the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese in the east. If they are divided, the LTTE will take advantage. Unity is strength. This the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese must understand.
T. Ramanathan
Colombo 6.


Woolmer’s death: Indian media manufacturing a stigma

By and large, the Indian media goes about its profession in an objective manner. There is no doubt about that. However, strangely, when it comes to Pakistan, certain sections - if not the entire media - goes into a lopsided mode.
Take for example, Pakistan Coach Bob Woolmer’s sudden demise in the West Indies. It provided the anti Pakistani sections of the Indian media, the opportunity of a lifetime. They went into a hype, slanting news of poor Woolmer’s murder - if murder it is - to look as if some Pakistani cricket player or players were responsible for the crime.
NDTV went into a frenzy, claiming various things at different times. At one point, they said that the Jamaican police had asked the Pakistani team not to leave their hotels, suggesting a sort of ‘hotel arrest.’ Then, they said that the Pakistani team was prevented from leaving the West Indies as scheduled. This turned out to be false. The next time the subject came up, they said that the police were questioning two Pakistani players in connection with the murder. What they didn’t say was that this was normal police routine. Neither did they mention anything about the police questioning hotel staff and others who were in contact with the Pakistani team. They made sure that the focus remained on the Pakistani cricketers.
More recently, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that the West Indies Police had received a call from Pakistan, giving them a major clue into the murder. This might sound strange, but no other media in the world seemed to have got wind of this ‘scoop.’ Usually, the Western media would lap up any negative story oft Muslims anywhere. However, this time, even they seemed unaware of this major discovery that PTI had made. I wonder how PTI got to know the call was from Pakistan. Was PTI keeping a track of all foreign calls made from Pakistan? Was the call made from a place close to the Indian border? Tell me bhaiya, I am curious.
And, as if all this was not enough of a mockery, PTI went to the ludicrous extent to tell its gullible readers that the caller was identified as a Pakistani male because of his accent! Enlighten me on that too, bhaiya, how do you tell the difference between a Pakistani accent and an Indian one?
To add mystique to the ‘mystery,’ a Zeecric report in a weekend paper says that Bob Woolmer was poisoned with aconite, the Harry Potter drug. Okay, so, here, Zeecric - another Indian media outlet - was quoting ‘one British.’ However, the gaffe that took the cake was when Zeecric made an interpolation in that report, saying ‘Aconite has been used in several high profile assassinations in Pakistan.’ Aha! The Indian media drags Pakistan once again into the murder mystery, by giving a clever and cunning twist to the ‘news.’ Move over aunt Agatha Chirstie – You’ve got competition! Pray, Zeecric, tell us how many high profile Pakistanis have been assassinated with aconite - the Harry Potter poison? Give us just two cases. Okay we’ll settle for one.
I have this suspicion that sections of the Indian media are using poor Bob Woolmer’s death, to manufacture a stigma they can include in their propaganda arsenal to slam the Pakistani cricket side with, whenever they want to lambaste their country for something or the other.
Hameed Abdul Karim








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