|JHU, MEP snub APRC jaunt
The majority of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC)
members left for the United Kingdom yesterday on a week-long
tour, bringing the committee proceedings to a temporary halt.
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) APRC representative Nizam
Kariapper told The Nation that they were undertaking the study
tour to Northern Ireland and Wales following an invitation
extended to the committee by the British Government.
The committee is expected to return to the island on April 12,
just before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
However, The Nation reliably learns that the representatives of
the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna
(MEP) who are currently not taking part in APRC meetings have
decided to cold shoulder the tour, during which the APRC is
expected to study the system of governance adopted in both
Northern Ireland and Wales.
Chennai refuses ‘Prabhakaran’s release
Owners of Gemini Studio, Chennai, refused to release the
negatives and sound track of the controversy ridden film, ‘Prabhakaran’,
Director, Thushara Peries disclosed at a press conference held
after the screening of “Prabhakaran” to journalists at New
“I want Gemini Studio to return my film and the negative without
damaging them. Despite, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama’s
intervention, they have refused to release it,” Peris said.
“While I was attending to laboratory work on the film at the
Gemini Studio, LTTE supporters, including an Indian film
Director, came into the studio and assaulted me. Police
intervened and escorted me out of Gemini and to the airport. I
came to Colombo leaving the negatives and sound track behind,”
Executive Producer of the film, Saman Tantrige, explained that
the Sri Lankan Embassy in India, has retained a lawyer to appear
in a court case regarding the film. LTTE supporters have
requested to ban the film.
President defers new
Parliamentary act on Grade 1 admissions
President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday deferred a move by the
Education Ministry to introduce a new Parliamentary act on
admissions to Grade 1 in government schools.
When the matter came up before the cabinet for discussion, it
was stated that this act was drafted in compliance with an order
made by the Supreme Court.
However, the President said that it was not necessary to rush
into bringing legislation on the matter, since schools admission
was purely an administrative matter.
Thereafter the cabinet agreed to defer the piece of legislation,
which had apparently been presented by Education Minister Susil
Rupavahini producer flees country
Adding to the controversy surrounding the Sri Lanka Rupavahini
Corporation (SLRC), a producer, who is also a top member of the
Corporation’s Programme Producers Union has fled the country
owing to continuous intimidation he had to face ever since the
Mervyn Silva saga.
SLRC producer Waruna Lelwala, who is also the organizer of the
Programme Producers Union, fled the country last week apparently
due to the threats he and his family had to face from various
groups allegedly close to Minister Mervyn Silva.
Chairman of the SLRC Programme Producers Association, Kanchane
Marasinghe told The Nation that Lelwala was facing continuous
threats, and as a result had...
Apparent Presidential bid to
stall top Neurosurgeon’s exit
President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed world renowned
Neurosurgeon Dr. Sunil Perera as a Presidential Advisor,
apparently to stall his departure from the country.
A highly placed source said that although President Rajapaksa
had appointed Dr Perera as a presidential advisor, it was still
doubtful whether the Neurosurgeon would go ahead with his plans
to leave the country.
The president’s move came after several top consultants decided
to stop practising and leave the country, owing to the
continuous political interference within the medical sector,
allegedly by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.
The sources also said that all issues concerning Dr .Perera will
be addressed through the President’s House directly, instead of
the Ministry of Health.
“One of the major issues the doctors face is applying
for leave. Health Ministry officials, intentionally,
cancel their leave, although...
LTTE invests in films as new propaganda
tool to justify cause
The LTTE has invested massive funds in the
film industry in order to use feature films as a propaganda tool
to justify its cause.
The latest film, according to informed sources, is titled ‘The
Daughter of a Terrorist’, portraying the role of a Black Tiger
woman cadre in the battlefield of Sri Lanka.
The LTTE, through this medium, is trying to portray its outfit
as a liberation movement and is expecting to gain much publicity
in the West.
It is said that ‘The Daughter of a Terrorist’ is the production
of a Norwegian filmmaker.
A stirring contest
die is cast. Provincial elections in the eastern province will be held
on May 10 and a stirring contest is on the cards following a series of
political events that transpired this week at breakneck speed.
Over 1300 candidates are vying for a mere 44 seats in the council which
encompasses the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Digamadulla (Ampara)
districts indicating that no matter what critics say, democracy and the
spirit of healthy political competition is very much alive in the
Yet, what captured the headlines this week was the posturing of the Sri
Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) in the run up to the election. It was no
secret that the Congress, with its power base in the eastern province
was assiduously wooed both by the government and the opposition United
National Party (UNP).
While the government and President Rajapaksa were keen to have the SLMC
on board for the election, there were many hindrances to such an
alliance and in retrospect these hurdles put paid to any chances of an
electoral agreement, despite the best efforts of the President’s power
Elephants do topple trees for fodder
The UNP-SLMC marriage of political convenience is at the
inconvenience of the rank and file, with the best-man a ‘no
show’ at the wedding
Political horse deals was the order of the day, during the early
part of last week, since the deadline for nominations for the
Eastern polls, was Thursday.
There were negotiations at every nook and corner in Colombo, as
the two main parties solicited the support of peripheral
political entities and smaller parties to strengthen their
presence in the East.
The ruling UPFA, however, failed to obtain the support of the
major Muslim political entity in the East, the SLMC, but
manoeuvred a split within the ranks of the party, when they
clinched a deal with M.L.M. Hisbullah, capable of giving the
Our Lady of Madhu joins fellowship of internally displaced
The Marian Church dedicated to our Lady of the Holy Rosary at
Marudhamadhu – commonly known as Madhu – in the North Western
District of Mannar has provided safety and refuge at different
times to thousands of people fleeing the violence of war.
The benign presence of ‘Madhu Maadhaa’ (Our Lady of Madhu) or
‘Sebamaalai Maadhaa’ (Our Lady of the Rosary) had made Church
precincts and environs an oasis of refuge and haven of peace in
Yet, in what was perhaps an illustrative indictment of the
escalating war, the sacred statue of Our Lady of Madhu and Baby
Jesus joined the ranks of those internally displaced by the war
in Sri Lanka.
Four Catholic Priests – Fr. S. Emilianuspillai, Fr. A.
Gnanapragasam, Fr. E. Sebamalai and Fr. T. Sahayanathan –
arrived in a white motor-vehicle at the premises of St. Xavier’s
Church in Thevanpitty on Thursday, April 3.
They brought with them the sacred statue from the Church in
Madhu. It is unclear at present whether the statue will be kept
indefinitely at St. Xavier’s Church or taken to another safer
place in the near future.
As for now the internally displaced ‘Maadhaa’ statue will remain
at the Church in Thevanpitty. Thevanpitty adjoins Mulangaavil...
Opposition tasks govt. over new
The much vexatious issue of the appointment of the new Secretary
General of Parliament took a disastrous turn when President
Mahinda Rajapakse went ahead and appointed Dhammika Kitulgoda,
the new acting Secretary General, on March 31, despite strong
opposition from all law abiding persons and organisations in the
While the bona fide of the President and the government was
seriously questioned by the majority of the civil society and
the opposition political circles following this appointment, the
government ministers and officials strongly defended the
President, claiming that the President’s action was not
|Test nicely poised
Indies, replying to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 278,
reached 268 for seven when bad light stopped play on the second
day of the second Test on Friday.
Sri Lanka’s bowlers exploited the lively Queen’s Park Oval pitch
and heavy conditions to keep scoring at a premium, but several
West Indians got starts.
Vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan led the way with 57, left-handed
opener Sewnarine Chattergoon scored 46, Devon Smith laboured for
47, captain Chris Gayle made 45, and Dwayne Bravo got 26.
Off-spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan captured three wickets for
64 runs off 23 overs and Thilan Thushara took two for 72 from 12
Gaining bounce and movement from the pitch, the Sri Lanka
bowlers worked over the top-order batsmen of the West Indies.
In the 40 minutes available to them before lunch, much of the
attraction was the long-running battle between Sri Lanka
new-ball bowler Chaminda Vaas and Gayle.
Is Lorgat the right man?
So the International Cricket Council (ICC)
finally has a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to succeed Malcolm
Speed. The appointment of South African Haroon Lorgat to Speed’s
position from June 29, the first day of the annual ICC
conference, was announced at Dubai on Friday.
In the ICC’s 99-year-old history, Lorgat becomes only the third
CEO. The first to occupy the role was David Richards from
1993-2001 after which Speed took over. Just who is Haroon Lorgat?
Lorgat is a businessman by profession and played first-class
cricket for Eastern Province as an all-rounder and since
retiring has served on the board of Western Province Cricket
Association and also on the finance committees of the United
Cricket Board of South Africa and ICC World Cup 2003 held in
But it is during his term as a national cricket selector that
Lorgat will be infamously remembered. Having been a member...
“Hisbullah is known for his long
Leader Rauff Hakeem is confident of an SLMC-UNP victory in the
Eastern Province – on the condition the elections are free and
fair. However, he opined that the government, assisting armed
groups within its fold to terrorise Tamil voters, has already
resulted in prevention of the free will of the Tamil voters
In an interview with The Nation, he emphasised that the combined
strength of the SLMC and the UNP vote banks would garner the
necessary votes to get past the UPFA in both Trincomalee and
Ampara Districts, although government machinery would be “in
full swing to engage in maximum rigging.”
Speaking of the defection by his erstwhile lieutenant Hisbullah,
Hakeem asserted that the people would teach Hisbullah “the
lesson of his life” this time. He also spoke of the party
decision to contest under the ‘Elephant’ symbol, asserting that
“a symbol is only a means to an end.”
Following are excerpts:
Q: Why didn’t you agree to a Muslim alliance to contest the
Eastern Province elections?
A: The SLMC is the predominant political force among the
Muslims and we were quite willing to accommodate all dissident
factions to appease and accommodate the request from the variety
of religious and community-based, as well as regional mosque
Muslims can claim
east as their ‘homeland’— Ferial Ashraff
Politics is a man’s world, no argument there.
The ability to hold one’s own, being a woman in such a set up,
especially after having been thrust into the political firmament
following the death of a husband, is certainly no easy feat. But
Ferial Ashraff makes it look that way. Her gentleness and
constant smile belies the fact that she is a lady with nerves of
steel, as she stoically holds her political ground in the
restive Eastern Province no less. The Nation caught up with Mrs.
Ashraff this week to discuss the eastern provincial polls that
look to be heating up so early in the game. The NUA Leader
talked of how she and several others attempted to reach
consensus with the fissured Muslim parties to try and ensure a
Muslim Chief Minister for the east in the run up to the
election, and why the SLMC Leader has disappointed her by
betraying those efforts. Ever the pragmatist, Mrs. Ashraff says
she finds it encouraging that formerly violent figures such as
Pillaiyan have chosen to enter the democratic fray
Following are excerpts:
Q: How significant would you say the upcoming Provincial
Council Poll in the east is for the Muslims of that region?
A: I think it is very significant in that the people of the
Eastern Province have not had the right to rule themselves for
quite some time now.