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|Give poor Rizana Nafeek due
|Much has been written and spoken about the fate of Rizana. Her
father is a woodcutter; her mother picks firewood in the
neighbouring land being the eldest child in the family she ventured
out to work for the family was poor and eked out a living. Poverty
drove her to work at the age of 17 years.
Muthur, her home town, was ravaged by the damnable LTTE uprising
which told heavily on her family fortunes. Their shack was burnt
down by the Tigers of Eelam. It was in that frame of mind that the
inexperienced ignorant child was hustled away to Saudi Arabia where
she was taken over by Naif Jiziyan Khklafal Otaibi to work in his
residence, in Dawdami, bordering the capital Riyadh.
Though she had no training in baby care, she was given to
bottle-feed the baby son in his family. The inexperienced girl, who
may not have recovered from her distressing experience of having
been transported many miles away from her jungle home, to a strange
land where the rich residents in Dawdami spoke an unfamiliar
She rose in the morning at 4 a.m. and was entrusted with the work
of ten children. The baby choked on the teat, which was quite unlike
the mother’s nipple. The inexperienced girl panicked, and though she
called out for the baby’s mother, she was callously nowhere near.
The baby succumbed; and Rizana was charged with infanticide!
Policemen, all over the globe tend to be obtuse and dim-witted; and
as is their lackadaisical, indolent practice extracted a confession
from the confused girl, and her forlorn employer accused her of
strangling the child. Could Rizana have had a motive? The animal,
world of which man is a part, is known to act on some stimuli. What
could have been the stimulus that spurned Rizana to indulge in what
appears to be a heinous act.
A girl who tended her younger siblings could not have indulged in an
act so monstrously loathsome. Many have appealed for mercy. British
Royalty and a plethora of dignitaries have intervened. Then does it
not behove humanity to reject and repudiate the charge of
infanticide and investigate the cause of death. The rich nation
having access to investigatory scientific and medical research could
successfully arrive at the probable cause of death to exonerate
Rizana if any other cause other than strangulation could have been
the cause, so that the hapless girl could continue an untrammeled
A phenomenon labelled ‘anaphylactic shock’ is known to medical
science. The milk of the camel, cow and goat are not similar. The
protein contents vary and are dissimilar to that of any human
mother. Most babies do get sensitized to the unfamiliar protein in
animal milk and do grow well; but there are instances where the
protein in the baby is not compatible with that of the milk in the
bottle and results in the death of the baby.
Earlier, ignorance had no explanation and the phenomenon was
categorised as ‘Sudden Death’ which is unknown in the case of
breast-fed babies. In the light of the above facts, taking Rizana’s
life or blood money should be abandoned, for mankind has a duty by
its Maker to understand the World that God presented him with, for
only such action will take him closer to God!
|Consumers driven to further
Congratulations for the President on his second
term in office. Compliments for the developments done and also that
are being done.
Realising that he requires more ministers and deputies to
successfully develop the country, he has accommodated many new faces
despite vast expenditure. He has also requested the support of the
citizens to help him in his ambitions of making a new Sri Lanka.
Having voted for him, the masses too are responsive to his call.
But by imploring ‘support of the citizens’ does he mean for the
middle class to manage the cost of living and the poor to starve?
Yes, they may. Yet, could that be to an extent of without a day’s
meal to the poor and extremely difficult to the middle class people?
What is happening now? To prepare a ‘Pol Sambol’ a small coconut is
between Rs.40 and 50. To make a ‘Seeni sambol’ a kilo of onion is
Rs.180 and sugar Rs.120. Sugar is likely to go up further. The
bread, which is also a staple food for 75 percent of the population,
is being gradually increased to Rs.50, a loaf sticking to their
The prices of rice are now at traders’ choice. Warnings given to
traders are waning as relevant officials are warming their seats as
usual under any government.
To recover the expenditure of the salary increase of the government
servants, as an initial stage, the charges of electricity will be
increased to 8 percent from January, 2011. What we thought was that
by the functioning of the so much boasted ‘CEB projects’ the charges
will be reduced. Further, salary increase will benefit only a
fraction of the population and as far as others are concerned they
have to suffer.
Minister for fuel says that there would not be a price increase
and to say ‘no’ it is always on the cards. Any midnight increase of
fuel prices will only push us from the frying pan into the fire.
If the reason for any price increase is the world market, as usually
the ruling politicians say, why cannot the local tax be drastically
reduced at least it turns to normal? If taxes could be reduced or
rather removed from imported luxury items why no such consideration
for survival of the suffering lot of the population?
Therefore, the President has to seriously think about the present
situation of the high prices of essential food items and other
relevant commodities and do the needful to lessen the very high cost
of living. The other day, the Mahanayakes too reminded the Prime
Minister about the difficulties of the people when he visited them.
No one should play with the stomachs of the poor as their hearts
will curse those rulers who enjoy their life.
As Buddhism warns, one will have to reap what he sows. Obviously,
the affluent politicians will not suffer in carrying on with their
luxury and ostentatious life but what will be the position if God
just pulls one of his nerves? In certain cases, the best specialist
doctor would say ‘pray to god’ for recovery.
Before the future generation sees our developments, the present
generation has to eat something to generate strength within
themselves. The state employees will strike and get some financial
consolation but what will be the plight of others, specially if the
government attempts to recover such expenses by way of more taxes
for which all will become victims?
|Violating sanctity of Kalutara sacred area
In the vicinity of Kalutara sacred Bo-Tree, canoe-operated anglers
are fishing in the Kalu Ganga from dawn to dusk.
This has become a very common sight proximity to the sacred area of
Kalutara Bo Tree.
In fact, this unpleasant view causes much disgust in the minds of
If the Kalutara Bodhi Trust takes necessary action to prevent the
anglers’ fishing activity near this sacred area, it would be a great
solace to Buddhist devotees.
C M Kamburawala
|Callous railway station
I have been travelling daily from Ragama to Fort since 1965 early
for the purpose of attending school and later on to work and still
As all season ticket travellers were asked to get season folders, I
too had my season folder, which was pick-pocketed recently. As such,
till I get a new folder made I travel on a return ticket from Ragama
to Fort. I purchased a return ticket from Ragama on December 7,
2010. Since 1 ½ of the ticket is retained by us for the return
journey as usual, I presented it to the ticket checker at the
entrance to the Fort Station on my way back home.
He informed me that the date stamped on it was December 6, 2010 to
say that I had travelled on a previous days’ ticket. I protested
that it was purchased by me on 7th morning, but to no avail. With
people watching all around, I was taken to the CGR office. Luckily
on my protest, the officials checked with Ragama and found that it
was issued for the 7th.
I wish to point out that because of a very great blunder made by a
responsible officer of the CGR, Ragama, I had to undergo a lot of
unnecessary trouble. I not only missed my train but was exposed to
the public as a “cheater”.
Further, when I purchased the ticket the following day, December 7,
2010, I noticed that the date stamped was hardly visible. I had to
return it to the counter to get it stamped again.
I wish to place on record that the so called officers of the CGR did
not have the courtesy to apologise to me for the inconvenience
Over to you station master, Ragama to make an inquiry into this type
of negligent work done by the officers at the ticket issuing
|Abolition of executive presidency, a promise
The late President J R Jayewardene amended
the constitution installing an executive president with powers no
other democratically elected president in the world enjoys. The
executive president is even above the law of the land.
All opposition political parties including those left leaning,
opposed the executive presidency and wanted the post abolished.
Chandrika Kumaratunga who was elected president on the promise that
the executive presidency will be abolished, once elected, completed
two terms, with the SLFP fully behind her. She did not abolish the
Mahinda Rajapaksa, who also contested the presidency on the promise
that the executive presidency will be abolished, ignored the promise
after being elected and decided to go for two terms and more. The
SLFP and the former Marxists and Trotskyites supported the retention
of the executive presidency.
The UNP which was for the executive presidency doing an about turn,
now wants the post abolished.
The former Marxists and Trotskyites (presently represented by five
of them in Parliament), most of them not elected by the masses,
having voted for the continuation of the executive presidency,
apparently to save their ministry posts and places in Parliament,
came out with an absurd excuse for doing so.
The former Trotskyite, Vasudewa Nanayakkara, contented that they,
voted for the 18th amendment whilst “disagreeing with the principles
in principle stressing that ‘anti-democratic forces want to topple
the government and we cannot allow them to do so”. He needs being
reminded that even if the five of them did not vote, the government
would not have fallen whilst on the other hand, it is well known
there are no principles left in him in politics.
One thing is obvious. When in power, you relish the executive
presidency and when out of power clamour for its abolition.
And that is the way in politics in our country – politician’
Upali S Jayasekera
|Happy Twenty Eleven
SRI LANKA sans war and error
Still counting…gifts of 2011
SAMs or Shoulder-to-Air missiles ahead
Samaritans…in good stead.
Security councils the world over
Dress Code: Cloak and dagger
Dress to kill news, lobby and influence
Even at the Eleventh Hour…?
Irene De Silva
|Electricity tariff – Oh, some relief!
I just received an SMS on my mobile to say that President has
instructed the Electricity Board to extend the earlier maintained
relief pricing formula up to first 120 units to electricity users.
Isn’t it some relief that President, who understands the hardships
of the masses, to issue the above directive?
The media did play a major role in highlighting the views and
comments of the people on the increased tariff, by publishing it in
the ‘Letters to the Editor/ Opinion’ columns where it was clearly
pinpointed that even a small family using electricity thriftily will
find it difficult to foot the bill. We should thank both the media
and the President who was quick enough to rescind the intended
|Protect heritage sites of the country
Thanks to contributor Ravi Perera writing in our dailies asking the
question “Canada, are you still intending to destroy Sri Lanka’s
How come the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) permits foreign
organisations purchasing land in this country, and thus they are
being able to destroy the heritage sites of this country?
Batty Weerakoon went public at the N M Perera Centre at the
launching of a book stating that a leading light of the Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaranatunge administration was responsible for
allowing the British High Commission to purchase a prime land at
The other day when I saw Wimal Weerawansa and his group standing
opposite the British High Commission with placards protesting about
what David Miliband is alleged to have done in London I was
wondering as to why the likes of Wimal Weerawansa have not prevented
the purchase of this prime land by a foreign organisation.
Over to those who take to the streets to protest about various
|Another pension anomaly
Widowers’ and Orphans’ Pension scheme was established in 1983. (Some
say that there was a political background to it.) There are three
Public Administration Circulars No. 231/1983, 291/1985 and 13/2001
on the subject.
Under this scheme only those female government officers, who had
been appointed to a pensionable post prior to August 1, 1983 and
were in service on that date, are eligible to be admitted to the
scheme, and those who retired prior to this date on any legally
valid ground whatsoever were excluded from this scheme.
August 1, 1983 has no special relevance or significance with regard
to the fixing of the date; it is an arbitrary date (again for
political reasons?) and hence discriminates against the section of
pensioners who retired before August 1, 1983. It not only creates an
anomaly but violates the fundamental right of a section of
pensioners to equal rights and benefits as their colleagues.
Those who retired in 1983 or earlier having reached the age of 60
years would today be at least 87 years of age and more and there can
be only a handful of pensioners of that age still living. Hence
admitting them to the scheme will cause no financial burden on the
Of the pensioners living today, those who retired in the 1980’s are
the lowest paid and it is a section of this very same category who
have been excluded from this scheme.
Hence, on behalf of the pensioners who belong to this category (who
may perhaps not number even 1,000), I appeal to the Minister of
Public Administration and the President to amend Clause 3 of Public
Administration Circular No. 13/2001 to enable the female government
officers who had retired before August 1, 1983 and are living or
dead to be admitted to this pension scheme so that their widowers
and orphans may enjoy the same rights as those who retired after
August 1, 1983.
Upathissa Wimaladharma Peiris
Popular among his peers and subordinates
Death is most cruel. It comes like a thief in the night creating
a deep and bottomless void in peoples’ lives; a void that never ever
It is about two and half months since the demise of my good friend
Thissa and the father- in-law of my daughter Chalani and the father
of my son-in-law Chathura. Thissa is sadly missed by his beloved
wife Lalani who too worked in the Steel Corporation.
Thissa was born in Galthude - Panadura and was the eldest of a
respectable family whose father was well-mannered in this village.
Thissa had two younger brothers and a sister who were very very
close to him during his ailment.
I came to know Thissa in my elderly life since the marriage of my
daughter Chalani to his son Chathura, but within a very short period
of time I came to know that he was an exemplary person and looked
after, loved and cared for my daughter.
He was an engineer in the Steel Corporation for more than 40 years
and was loved by everyone who worked there with him. He was popular
among his peers and got along equally well with his subordinates. He
strongly believed that any work undertaken by him should be
completed precisely and perfectly.
The vast crowd that visited his house and the cremation to pay last
respect to him was ample testimony to the esteem in which he was
When a good man dies, he leaves behind the fragrances of his memory.
All of us will from time to time experience the fragrance of
Thissa’s life coming to us on the tides of memory.
We shall surely miss you more than words can ever say, but we shall
never ever forget you. May you attain Nibbana!
U D Perera