The euphoria over Thoppigala : What next?

For many, Thoppigala may be just a name. The Defense Ministry statement that the East was free of LTTE rule, is admirable and merits applause to those who masterminded the operations and the soldiers who sacrificed their lives to achieve this task. It deserves greater plaudits for the sacrifice was not in vain, unlike on previous occasions, when soldiers were ordered to walk into death traps for political gain, with reduced political interference. The Eastern Province comprises the Districts of Trincomalee, Batticoloa and Ampara.

There is a paradoxical reason why Sri Lanka has the longest serving Opposition Leader in its parliamentary history – over the years, he has been artful at putting his foot in his mouth, and does it when, ideally, he should remain mum. We are well aware that politicians rumble away to appease their supporters – so, does this mean that green supporters find the exit of the LTTE from the East and the bravery of the Security Forces, a laughable matter?

Thoppigala may be a vast stretch of dense jungle but, our learned Opposition Leader displayed his geographical know-how by comparing Thoppigala to the Colombo District. Most of us have not even been to Thoppigala but, are well aware of the Colombo District and its size. So, if the LTTE itself accepted defeat in Thoppigala, it certainly needs to be highlighted and the Armed Forces appreciated for it.

The victory assumes greater significance following the historic verdict by the Supreme Court on the North-East merger, for which, we must thank both the JHU and the JVP. The exit of the Tigers from the Eastern Province, gives total administrative control to the Government. While the country may rejoice at the liberation of the East from the Tigers, the real victory is when the people of the East, Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils, are able to live in peace and harmony. Then the country has every right to celebrate. But against a terrorist organisation such as the LTTE, no Government could feel jubilant, even though, as a unit, the LTTE may have been evicted from the Eastern Province, there will remain people sympathetic to the LTTE’s cause. LTTE defeats prompts them to produce greater destruction and mayhem. Which is why, contrary to spending money on celebrations, the Government should urge the citizens, especially, in populated areas like Colombo, to be extra vigilant.

While the Government had every reason to oppose LTTE rule in the East, since Muslims and Sinhalese occupied these areas in equal numbers, the North was inhabited by Tamils only. Therefore, if the people of the North so wish, it would be prudent to allow democratic governance to the LTTE leader after all. Chandrika Kumaratunga offered it. So did Ranil Wickremesinghe. While those empathetic to the LTTE cause, may be jubilant at this suggestion, there will be others shivering at the thought of LTTE rule.

Given the scenario of wars and conflicts worldwide, we could deduce that they are not about liberating people – they are about making money by wrongful means, and grabbing power. Since the commencement of the conflict, the LTTE has assassinated Tamil leaders considered anti LTTE. What sort of liberation movement would kill their own?

Then, we also have Sinhalese in uniform, who, ‘for a few pieces of silver’, betrayed the nation. This is not an ethnic conflict. It is a conflict to make money. It is happening not only in Sri Lanka but, in other countries as well. The international community and the facilitators are in it to serve their own purposes. It is in a milieu of evil that the conflict thrives, so that even the temporary glory in taking over a rock such as “Tora Bora”, is worth mentioning.

Today, Sri Lanka has many wars to face. The economic war is one affecting society as a whole. While the public are sincerely glad for the the Armed Forces’ victory, there is no reason to celebrate. The war is far from over.
Shenali Waduge


Saving animals

Is saving animals, too, becoming a racket? Somebody gets the compassionate urge to save an animal from slaughter. Without “going the whole hog”, which entails a visit to the abattoir, choosing an animal and sending it to a place pre­arranged for its care, he now takes a “short-cut” - driving up in his limousine to one of the “save from slaughter” spots, gives a handsome fee for the service, to return another day to take delivery of the animal; even the choice of which he lazily leaves to them. In some spots, on the appointed day, the ‘saviour’ gets a number, to show which animal is his. Looking around, he sees his number but, on closer inspection, he is surprised to see three identical numbers on the same animal. As he was apparently, charged the actual cost of an animal of that size, why were two other payments involved? Does this not smack of our usual official Tender procedures, with all the witnesses shrieking, “Corruption”?

Anyway, after that brief encounter, your animal is whisked away with the murmur, “it is going to a dairy/farm/temple for safekeeping”! You will never know, as you never bother to follow up on its ensuing fate. Another “saving” gimmick is, to go to the horrendous slaughterhouse, pick one and then release it onto the road, dubbing it a “ping gona”, which becomes the immediate target of all the cattle thieves in the vicinity, with slaughter in the offing.

The urge to save, normally, arises when one’s own family is stricken in some way or, somebody is gasping their last. Especially, when the astrologer recommends a life for a life. In this case, of course, unlike in every other system, a life for a life means killing of one life in sacrifice, while here the enchanting practice is to save what was going to be killed, expecting a double bonus of two lives in return. Like in everything else, Buddhist practice deviates sharply in this exercise, too. Really, those preachers who now puff and pant to show some sort of similarity between Buddhism and anything else, should simply give up without wasting their breath!

If you save an animal from slaughter, you should leave no room at all for any inconvenience to befall it, as you are responsible for its welfare thereafter. The loveliest decree on earth is that of the Buddha; where he asks his disciples to give to all living beings “abhaya dana” - the gift of fearlessness!
Prema Ranawaka-Das


Vasu vs Harry

I endorse the tribute Hector Ambanpola paid Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the fighter for the downtrodden and also a cheetah in word and deed, to hunt corruption.

It is a well known fact that Harry is a creation of the Bandaranaike’s and a favourite poodle of the family. He was the only Sri Lankan at the wedding of CBK’s daughter, in London. The creators are not prone to corruption but Harry, out of benevolence from his large chest, overflowing with ill gotten wealth, meet their needs, irrespective of cost, as his financial empire was built on the blood and tears of millions of poor people and what should have come to the country. He acted without fear, as he had the blessings of the powers that be. He was a protected animal, in every sense of the word.

A fraud involving Rs 800 million, relating to a business chain, where even a customs officer was killed, is still in limbo, with the latest information being that the file is missing, as reported in the Daily Mirror recently. It was known then, that the file was called for by a powerful person and that it never came back. With Sujith Perera’s exit, his colleagues knew that their were telephone calls to the killers, from interested parties and the numbers were available with the service providers. However, Police big wigs then, thought that the info was insufficient to probe further. That is how justice was meted out to a honest customs man for doing his job.

As for the Insurance deal which gave him another cash cow, it is a statutory requirement that the life insurance fund should not be touched. It is widely said that he has extended his empire to include the hotel and health sectors, using monies from this fund, with none to question. It’s only the judicial system that is expected to regularise and rectify these acts, if they are illegal. The country should be thankful and also be proud of a fearless leader like Vasu.
J.N. Perera


“The goodness of Walking” Walk, Walk, Walk for good Health!!!

Walk and be free from Stress,
Walk and be free from Depression,
Walk and be free from Hypertension,
Walk and be free from Diabetes,
Walk and be free from Cholesterol,
Walk and increase your Metabolism,
Walk and clear your Mind,
Walk and feel Refreshed,
Walk and make new Friends,
Walk and see carefree Animals,
Walk and hear birds Sing,
Walk and see Natural Beauty,
Walk and see debris, garbage and Advise,
Walk and see the love of fellow beings,
Walk to shed extra Fat
Walk to increase Stamina,
Walk and keep Weight Steady,
Walk to strengthen Muscles,
Walk to work up an Appetite,
Walk and keep the Doctor away,
Walk and be Fit and Healthy,
Walk to prolong Healthy Life,
Walk is the best therapy of all Therapies!!!
Walk the Diyawanna Environs,
The litter, pollution free Zone

Kingsley Durairaj
Hon. Secretary
Diyawanna Walkers Club


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brutal legal system

Once more, international attention is focused on yet another effort to murder a human being. This time, a teenage girl, who went to KSA as a maid, to help her family. The international community should join hands to condemn this sort of brutal justice system in the KSA.

Another aspect of this problem is that I read that the Deputy Foreign Minister is making a special visit to KSA, to plead for her life. Now, I wonder why we have a fully fledged Embassy in KSA, if they are unable to handle these sort of matters? We all know the result of this visit, even before he enters KSA. I will say clearly from Canada that this result will be negative. Just another foreign trip for the politicians once more.

The other aspect of this appeal is that three young Sri Lankans were beheaded around two months ago. I did not notice any concerted efforts by the government, diplomats or, the Sri Lankan community, to plead on their behalf. Were their lives less significant than the maid’s, whose case has attracted quite an effort to seek a remedy?
I hope someone responsible would care to comment.
Ranjit G de Silva
Vancouver, Canada.


Police Notebook

There was a time, in those ‘good ole days’ when, in terms of Departmental Order No. A-16, police officers of all ranks carried their police Notebooks with dignity, respect and quite securely too, in their right coat or shirt pocket, which also served as a chest guard, for I am aware of officers stabbed in the chest by criminals, whilst trying to apprehend them, escaping fatal injury, because of this protection. Indeed, these Police Notebooks are issued to Police Officers for the purpose of investigating accidents or other incidents occurring outside their police stations, according to instructions laid down in the Departmental Order. Pocket Notebook should be in the police officers’ custody. If it is lost, he exposes himself to danger, as it is a confidential document.

Despite these implicitly clear Departmental Orders, we often come across sergeants and constables flagrantly flouting these instructions, with some carrying their Notebooks with scant regard, tucked in their khaki slack’s pocket or hip pocket, exposing this important official document to the possibility of it being pick-pocketed by the dexterous nimble fingered gentry, either through mischief or, just to outsmart a police officer, may be even for some interested party to have access to its contents, in connection with some case they may be involved in, subjecting the police officer concerned to avoidable disciplinary action, though he may be a hapless victim of circumstances. In the interest of the safety of the official document and the police officer concerned, it was about time the higher ranks took action to ensure that these orders laid down with a specific purpose, were strictly adhered to by all ranks.
Al-Haj M.S.A. Rahim,
Chief Inspector of Police (Retd)
Mulleriyawa New Town








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