The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 2

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Page 2 Sunday, September 21, 2014 The Nation
Chamara Sumanapala
Professor of Geopolitics at
Manipal University in India,
Madhav Das Nalapat, says the
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party
is “100 percent committed
to a united Sri Lanka unlike
Vaiko who seeks a separate
Eelam.” He made this comment
through email when inquired
about reports in Indian media
of a comment by BJP General
Secretary Muralidhar Rao.
Rao had reportedly said, “rest
assured Vaiko is our partner” to
Indian media in Colombo where
he is attending the International
Conference of Asian Political
Parties (ICAPP).
V Gopalasamy, commonly
known as Vaiko, is the leader
of the Tamil Nadu political
party Marumalarchi Dravida
Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK).
Currently, the MDMK is a con-
stituent of the ruling National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) in
India, which is led by the BJP.
Vaiko had vehemently criticized
the BJP for sending its delega-
tion to the ICAPP.
Muralidhar Rao had stated
that both the BJP and the protes-
tors in Tamil Nadu have the same
objective, that of securing anhon-
orable settlement for the “Tamil
question” of Sri Lanka. However,
Rao has also said that BJP, unlike
the Tamil Nadu protestors, seek
engagement with Sri Lanka to
help find a solution.
There has been criticism at
Vaiko’s conduct even from the
BJP. Senior BJP leader and For-
mer Union Minister Dr. Sub-
ramanian Swamy, while on a
visit leading a five member BJP
panel to Sri Lanka in July, told
The Nation
’ that foreign policy
of India would be based on na-
tional interest and not the in-
terest of Tamil Nadu in mind.
He pointed out that when Presi-
dent RajapaksavisitedNewDelhi
for the oath taking ceremony of
Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Vaiko, who protested against it,
was arrested. Madhav Das Nala-
pat was also a member of the vis-
iting panel led by Dr. Swamy.
BJP is committed to a
united Sri Lanka
Continued from page 1
Bandarawela mayor...
Deputy MinisterArundika Fernando admitted there
had been ‘an incident’ where Oppossition Leader of
the Bandarawela MC Nalin Suriyage and Provincial
Council Member Mithrapala Heenkenda had been
attacked and being treated at the Bandarawela hos-
pital. He also added that Deputy Minister Sarana
Gunawardana’s vehicle was also attacked by ‘thugs’
during the incident. However, the Campaign for Free
and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said the vehicle of the
Bandarawela Mayor had been attacked.
Meanwhile, Colombo district MP Dr. Harsha de
Silva tweeted that the UNP’s main candidate Harin
Fernando’s Coordinating Secretary Premasiri Sa-
marakoon was also beaten by a Southern Provincial
Council member who represents the ruling UPFA.
He also revealed to
The Nation
about an incident
where another UPFA politician had disturbed people
who came to vote by firing shots in the air.
“The notification has been issued instructing the
schools to include subjects such as Sri Lankan his-
tory and their mother tongue as first language in their
curriculum starting from January 2015,” Dissanayake
said.
He however stated that this was at its initial stages.
“We cannot control these institutions. Many of these
schools are registered as businesses, but we have to
monitor certain aspects that are necessary for local
students,” he said. “We hope to establish this unit at
the earliest,” he added.
The Ministry’s assertions come in the wake of al-
legations that some lessons in the curriculum taught
to primary students of certain prominent international
schools were not in keeping with cultural norms of the
country.
Calls to monitor international schools have been
growing amid reports that some international schools
were operating as a law onto themselves, not being
answerable to anyone. The Nation has covered this
issue at length in the past, where some international
schools were exposed for various corrupt practices.
Teacher unions however, have cautioned that the
move to regulate international schools was an at-
tempt to give legal cover to such schools, which were
illegal in the first place.
Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) General Secretary
Joseph Stalin said it was the duty of the state to en-
sure that free education was accessible to all commu-
nities and that establishing a regulatory mechanism
for international schools was giving legitimacy to
‘businesses’ that masquerade as educational institu-
tions. “Perhaps this is because certain members of
this government have a stake in such schools,” he
opined.
Ceylon Teachers’ Services Union (CTSU) General
Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe concurred. He said
many parents were forced to enroll their children at
international schools because they are denied the op-
portunity to enroll the children at state schools of their
choice. “Education is the responsibility of the state.
We see a sinister hand at work (under this unit) to
give legitimacy to businesses,” he claimed.
Special unit...
Voting commenced at 7.00am under tight security
at 834 polling centers in the two districts of Badulla
and Monaragala and concluded at 4.00pm in the eve-
ning. Counting of postal votes commenced at 4.00pm
just after polling concluded.
A total of 617 candidates contested for 32 seats
in the provincial council. A total of 18 councilors will
be elected from the Badulla District while 14 will be
elected from the Monaragala District. Along with two
bonus seats that are up for grabs at this election, there
will be 34 council seats at the provincial council.
Special security arrangements had been put in
place for the entire province following incidents of elec-
tion violence, particularly from the Monaragala district,
in the run-up to yesterday’s poll. Around 12, 000 police
and Special Task Force (STF) personnel had been de-
ployed throughout the province to ensure security.
Nearly 200 complaints had been received by the
special unit set up at the Elections Secretariat. An offi-
cial said 118 incidents had been reported from Monara-
gala district while Badulla had recorded 88.
Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Ex-
ecutive Director, Keerthi Tennakoon speaking to The
Nation stated, “Compared to other provincial council
elections we received more complaints this time. There
were 80 incidents reported from both districts (on poll-
ing day), out of which there were 21 cases related to
election violence and three firearms related cases. ”
Tennakoon also mentioned that most of the inci-
dents related to election violence were reported in Ban-
darawela, Haputale, Monaragala and Bibile.
There was an over 60 percent voter turnout in Ba-
dulla by 3pm. When BadullaAdditional District Secretary
Gamini Mahindapala Jopheus was asked to comment
on the voting at the polls station, he said, “the situation in
Badulla is peaceful and no incidents have been reported
so far.”
People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAF-
FREL) has received 103 complaints regarding election
law violations. According to the Executive Director of
PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi 34 of those complaints
have been verified and confirmed. “17 incidents each
have been reported from the Badulla and Monaragala
districts,” he said.
While more violent incidents were reported in Monar-
agala in the pre-election period, the number of violent
incidents was high in the Badulla district on Election Day
PAFFREL said. According to Hettiarachchi four assault
incidents were reported in Badulla resulting in four indi-
viduals being admitted to hospital.
One shooting incident was also reported to PAF-
FREL. The incident had occurred in Diyatalawa where
UNP candidate Harin Fernando’s coordinating secretary
was attacked by a group. “In Kandeketiya, Badulla, a
former UNP provincial council member’s weapon had
been snatched by a group” he said.
Illegal propaganda, transport of candidates and
‘Dansal’ by candidates were also reported to the
organization. “There was a sense of fear among the
people in Monaragala due to a high number of ve-
hicles such as defenders and visitors to the province”
the executive director said.
According to him the reported election incidents
were higher compared to the previous Uva provincial
council elections. “However, the voter turnout was
fairly high,” Hettiarachchi said.
Voter turnout...
1 3,4,5,6,7,8-9,10,11,12,13,...88
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