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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

Awake! Awake, Mother Lanka, Awake!
Mother! Oh, Mother! Your infants, your flesh and blood, our Nation’s flesh and blood are being salvaged from sewers, stray dogs feed on their flesh. The sea engulfs their innocent bodies to be fed on by the fish of the ocean. That is what newspapers reveal to the Nation, daily. Many more go unreported, but Mother Lanka sleeps, badgered and assailed by prudes, both weak-kneed leaders and those of the religious fraternity.

This is a letter to Sri Lankan leaders and the priesthood of all religions. All have a sacred duty to protect our mothers. Their blood is also the blood of our Nation that it shed to regain the independence from the western blood suckers. Show our mothers that their flesh is a valued possession of our Nation. Our Nation fed on the breast-milk of its mothers. Sri Lanka, since ages past is a Great Nation. Let us honour our women, our mothers. Permit and legalise abortion, or see our infants, Sri Lanka’s flesh and blood desecrated. Do not criminalise our sisters and mothers. They are the mothers of our Great Nation! Legalise Abortion!

I. L. P. Samarasinghe
Dehiwala

 

Could the President have done better?
My answer is yes. Immediately following the end of the war, the President made a stirring speech, most welcome, where he said inter alia, there are no minorities, we are all one. He should have followed it up immediately thereafter by removing the Emergency laws and allowing the freedoms as envisaged in Chap VI of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

The prolonged war caused untold misery and irreparable damage. It commenced because of the folly of the narrow language policy brought to win an election. 32 years later wisdom dawned. The 16th Amendment passed on 17.12.1988 gave pride of place to Tamil as one of the National and Official Languages. But implementation of same has gone by serious default. Tamils/Muslims qualified in the Tamil Language should have been appointed to Government Offices, Courts, Police stations, Post offices, Gramaniladhari services etc. This has not been sincerely and seriously dealt with. Take for example the Tamils/Muslims appointed in August 2001 as Tamil typists and translators by the then Minister of National Integration and Manpower Athauda Seneviratne with much fanfare and wide publicity in the media including the electronic media. They still remain casual employees for the past eight years and their services are ‘not to be extended beyond 23.12.2009’, a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers according to letters issued by the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration headed by DEW Gunasekera, under reference CAN/NI/0l/03/2007 dated 23.12.2008. The Public Petitions Committee, Parliament of Sri Lanka appears to think otherwise, according to letter dated November 8, 2009 (ref COM 2006/9555) conveyed to the Min CA & NI.

There is too much haggling over the issue of the National Identity Card to the detriment especially of the estate sector upcountry Tamil community. The ignorant Gramaniladharis still insist on the Birth Certificate in every case. The provisions in the Grant of Stateless Persons Act No.39 of 1988, clearly specifies in section 4(1) that an affidavit will suffice. It is time the Registrar of Persons studies this law and issues written instructions. If necessary he can seek advice from the Attorney General.

No doubt, certain meaningful steps have been taken. But that is not enough. The all important matter is for the President to prove to the minorities that they have equal rights in all matters as enjoyed by the majority and remove the genuine fears that still justifiably exist. There is time between now and January 26, 2010 to do so. Then the President can romp home.

S. Thambyrajah
Colombo 3

 

Stop election violence
Even before the common opposition candidate and the present President had handed over the respective nomination papers to the Elections Commissioner, there had been a spate of pre-election violence taken place. These have been reported in the print and electronic media. The worst incident reported so far is the brutal attack on the state television crew of the Independent Television Network while covering the UNP convention at Welisara. The spokesman for the UNP totally denies their involvements in this incident. In addition, reports have revealed that several party offices have been burnt during the past few days. Fortunately no lives were lost during these sporadic attacks.

In the above context, it is inevitable that these incidents are conclusive evident to a terrific forerunner for things to come. The present Commissioner of Elections, Dayananda Dissanayake was the most ideal successor to his predecessor Chandranada de Silva. The latter was not relieved of his duties until a suitable person was found. The present Elections Commissioner has been an impartial and a very strict disciplinarian who performed his duties to precision without any bias. He has conducted several past elections successfully without fear or favour. He may have received accolades, reverence and bouquets in abundance for conducting these elections in fair and impartial manner. It is he who could suggest to our Police and the Forces to implement stringent laws to curb violence initiated by unscrupulous elements during the crucial days ahead. The layman would like to see an end to these ugly incidents before it goes out of hand. The culprits should be brought to book and punished severely. The intensity of the election and the momentum is increasing day by day and it is my fervent hope that the main candidates too advise their supporters not to resort to violence but to canvass for the candidate of their choice in a gentlemanly and appropriate manner.

Sunil Thenabadu
Mount Lavinia

 

Savage attack on an unarmed boy
I still have not got over the shock, shame and pity I got on seeing in the media the brutal attack on the unarmed boy, Sivakumaran, by two men identified as policemen while the boy was in the waters in the sea and begging the policemen not to attack him and his body drowning in the waters. The two trained policemen unable to apprehend an unarmed young man with their physical prowess but had to assault him with clubs so as to cause him to die is a shame on the police force.

Let us face the facts. Had a Police Commission been there, those two policemen would have thought twice and more before they did what they had done and probably wouldn’t have done it. It is not only those two policemen but almost all the police personnel feel that they can do any wrong and get away with it. There are many instances where the policemen have gone beyond their limits and had done unlawful and cruel acts with impunity.

So, don’t blame those two policemen alone. Blame also those who are responsible for this situation.
In the meantime, I would suggest that large posters with the photographs of the two policemen attacking the unarmed boy who was begging of them for mercy and his body going under water be exhibited at every police station as a reminder of one of the heroic deeds of the police force!

Arul

 

‘Ceylon Police’ still exist
You believe it or not, the “Ceylon Police” still exists in the Galle harbour precincts.
The police station building near the main entrance gate at the Galle harbour has the police emblem with the above wordings very legibly engraved.
Even foreign visitors disembark at the Galle harbour quizzically look at this old building.
High ranking police officials and politicians in the Southern Province might have visited this place so many times for official purposes but would not have paid any attention to this out dated wordings which have been in use since the British era.

I wonder whether someone wants to preserve this colonial building as a historical one for posterity.

C. M. Kamburawala
Payagala

 

Pope on exorcism, miracles and bogus heavenly apparitions
There had been news reports and letters from readers, of the alarming occurrences of two innocent, ignorant women who attended a ‘Heeling Prayer Meeting’ conducted at Viharamahadevi Park, whose lives could have been saved if only the organisers allowed them to be taken to a hospital for treatment, when they developed symptoms of freak nature. This has roused Buddhists who felt that these ‘Healing Prayer Meetings’ are a ruse to convert Buddhists to Christianity. This fear has the concern of Pope Benedict XVI as well who also claims “that Catholic faithfuls are lured out of Church and into a disobedient “cult” because instances of private revelations continue to multiply with new cases reported around the world every year.

Therefore, it is considered opportune and necessary to bring to the notice of all concerned the action taken by Pope Benedict XVI to issue guidelines in a book titled ‘Vademecum’ to ascertain the claims of such organisations or persons. His guidelines as reported in ‘World Review’ copied from the Telegraph Group London 2009 by Simon Caldwell of 14.01.09 says:

“When a claim of heavenly apparitions occurs, the local Bishop will need to set up a commission of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and priests who will investigate the claims systematically.
The first step will be to impose silence on the alleged visionaries and if they refuse to obey then this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false.
The visionaries will next be visited by psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health and verify whether they are suffering from conditions of hysterical or hallucinatory character or from delusions of leadership.

The third step will be to investigate the person’s level of education and to determine if they have had access to material that could be used falsely to support their claims.
The fourth is to see if the visionaries and their associates stand to gain financially from making their claims.”
It is hoped that all other orthodox religions will follow Pope Benedict XV1 approach and set up a commission including atheists as well.
The visionaries who refuse to face these tests should be considered deceivers, fraudsters and brought before the law for punishment.
Please save the innocent, ignorant from these quacks - Fanatics, Katadiyas and Thovil Karayas.

G. A. D. Sirimal
Boralesgamuwa

 

Southern Airport
The President recently laid the foundation for the Southern Airport at Mattala in Hambantota, a district that needs priority in development and he immediately after becoming the President as priority development projects announcement were made for the opening of the Southern Airport at Weerawila, development of the Hambantota Harbour and the commencement of a new airline Mihin Air reflecting his name.
After the foundation was laid for the Weerawila Airport the people of the area, the farmers in particular, raised objections but the preliminary work was carried out incurring an expense over Rs. 50 million according to newspaper reports before abandoning the project.

But at the recent foundation laying ceremony at Mattala, the President stated that the venue was changed considering the objections of the farmers and that he and the government was guided by the principle to change a decision without cling on to an original decision in the public interest. A political statement to appease the crowds and critics that had gathered and win their sympathy but reflected that the Weerawila site close to Yala sanctuary had been originally decided without a proper and adequate study of the suitability affecting the environment and the loss of cultivable land of farmers resulting in the people or tax payers having to incur Rs. 50 million.

But in these areas people need land for cultivation and they desire ownership, thus if the government had initiated work on the airport that was commenced at Wellawaya by a previous government the people of Mattala or Hambantota could have had the privilege of owning land for cultivation or for housing. The demand for land is greater with the increasing population of the district. Even at Mattala only a few persons of the Hambantota District will have employment opportunities, most of the technical persons will be from Colombo and a few other areas and mostly persons who could work and communicate in English. Even the government of the former Lady President did not commence work at Wellawaya as the foundation had been laid by the UNP Government, it is such policies of all governing parties that the development and the progress has been affected. If the President after abandoning Weerawila had shifted to Wellawaya instead of Mattala, he could have claimed, though it was an UNP project, in the general interest he had the courage and the vision to re-commence the abandoned project.

From about 1960 to 1975 the development of the district was hampered because of the economic policies observed by the then governments and during this period to telephone Colombo or any other place in the morning from Hambantota District a prior booking had to be made with the local telephone exchange and if one was fortunate the connection would be received in the evening of the same day otherwise the connection was on the following day. President as a young first MP was new to politics during that period and the person who could have contributed to develop the district who had a thinking mind was minister the late George Rajapaksa, but for his early death. And now that the present President has the opportunity, he should promote agricultural projects and small and medium scale industrial projects creating opportunity to young unemployed persons in order to improve the low standard of living of the majority living in remote villages of the district.

Infrastructure development with buildings and road development is necessary but the people are aware of the reasons that politicians are more concerned about infrastructure development than promoting manufacturing or processing industries. Provincial Councillors are a hindrance and are obstructionists than promoters and supporters of persons desiring to commence industries. Walter Elkinsans thoughts reflect the concern, “if the whole of an increase in output is devoted to building up a country’s military strength or putting up monumental public buildings with which to impress the population and foreign visitors, then that is not economic development.” - from the book ‘An Introduction to Development Economics’. India’s small scale manufacturing and processing projects during the same period [1960 -1975] provided many employment and income generating opportunities, and those products are now available in our shops.

The IDB or such other institute should undertake a study of possible products and initiate the propaganda function as was done for the first SMI project in 1980 onwards in collaboration with the NDB. Hambantota is the main voter base of the President and as the sympathy on war success will not stay in people’s minds too long, so policy changes are desired.

Amor Patriae

 

Appreciations


Al Haj M.F.Razook Amirdeen
A well known religious and social worker
By the sad demise of Al Haj M.F. Razook Amirdeen, the famous Kandy sportsman, promoter, social and religious worker at the age of 79, the Muslim fraternity has lost a distinguished leader.
The late Al Haj Razook Amirdeen as he was popularly known was the son of the late M. I. Amirdeen of Kandy who was a famous figure during his days. They lived at the end of Trincomalee Street, now known as D.S. Senanayake Veediya.

He received his education at St Sylvester’s College where he excelled in football, athletics and boxing along with people like M.E. Marikar (the late Razooks’s cousin), M.P. Shabdeen, R.P. Wijesiri, C.Thiagarajah, W.M. Jaffer, and D.Labroy. It is said that he was a fine footballer and played as left half.
After leaving school, he went to Colombo for employment, and later became a top businessman and was the Chairman of the F.F. Forwarding Company.

In Colombo, he was housed at Pannipitya Road, Battaramulla, where he was a famous figure and everyone knew him, he was a popular person, and did a yeoman service to the area.
It was he who along with the area MP, Buddhadhasa, put up a football ground and also he gave his fullest support to construct a Muslim mosque and the burial grounds at Battaramulla. He was also involved with the old Zahirians, that is where his four sons schooled, and his elder was at St Peter’s and played rugger for his school and his second was a fine boxer. These two died long ago.

Razook Amirdeen was well known for his social and religious work and he treated all religions alike.
He was the founder member of several Muslim organisations and had organised several Thablique Jamthas in Colombo. He was of a very high Arabic stock and was well known for the exemplary manner in which he recited the Holy Koran at religious functions.

His Janaza took place at the burial grounds at Battaramulla which was erected by him. The crowd that attended his funeral was ample testimony to his popularity.
He leaves behind five children, a daughter and four sons, and several grandchildren. Two of his sons, the ruggerite and the boxer, and his wife passed away before him.
“Wa Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Illahi Rajoon.”

Hafiz Marikar


Sivasampu Senthilnathan

Toiled to help our society
“He who lives an ideal life on Earth
Would be a man of divine worth.” - Thiruvalluvar
With the unexpected demise of S. Senthilnathan, our community has lost a rare human whose integrity none doubted. Two thirds of his lifetime was dedicated to Bank of Ceylon (BoC) where he had served for four decades with an unblemished record of service. He was on the verge of retirement when death embraced him on September 20, 2009.

It was in the mid-seventies, I worked with him at the Haputale branch of BoC. All the bank staff as well as the customers loved and respected him well because of his good character - and his simple pattern of life and living. His thoughts, words and deeds were good and he did what he said.

Hailed from a pious and respected Hindu family, he had his education at Alaveddy Arunodhaya College in the North. BoC welcomed him no sooner he had completed his college studies, and appointed him as a junior cashier. Due to hard work and enthusiasm, he had been promoted from time to time and reached the grade of ‘Manager’ at the time of his death.

At one time, when staff feared to work in Jaffna due to war situation in the North and fled to safer areas, he did not flee, but stayed in Jaffna in the midst of numberless grief and torments. He had helped the customers of BoC and the society at the time of need, and won the hearts and minds of all.
It is very unfortunate that we have lost a kind-hearted person who had toiled for BOC and helped our society at the time of need. A golden heart stopped beating and made the working hands to rest, which engenders grief to us.
His demise is a great loss not only to his family, but also to his relatives and friends. He leaves behind his fragrant memories.

May his soul attain Moksha!

K. K. Arumainayagam

 

 

 

 

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