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Give poor Rizana Nafeek due justice
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 language.

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 life.

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!
Henry Perera


Consumers driven to further despair

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? No Sir.
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 fiddlestick.

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?

Nazly Cassim


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 devout Buddhists.
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 officers’ blunder

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 do so.
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 caused.
Over to you station master, Ragama to make an inquiry into this type of negligent work done by the officers at the ticket issuing counter.

Disgused traveller


Abolition of executive presidency, a promise undelivered

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 presidency.
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’ paradise.

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 tariff.
Mohamed Zahran


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 ‘Oliver Castle’?”
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 Bauddhaloka Mawatha.
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 matters?

Sydney Knight
Colombo 3


Another pension anomaly

The 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 government.
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.

S Abeywickrama



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 be filled.
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 held.
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




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