The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 3

3
Sunday, February 15, 2015
news
By Chamara Sumanapala and
Maneshka Borham
Several
Buddhist
monks
have
slammed the recent ‘raid’ by Deputy
Minister of Social Services, Welfare
and Livestock Development Ranjan
Ramanayake on a ‘luxury meditation
center’ at Kadawatha.
Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera vehe-
mently criticized the so-called ‘raid’
and asked what State Deputy Minister
Ranjan Ramanayake, who comes from
a Christian background, knows about
meditation centers.
Speaking to
The Nation
on Friday,
Dhammaloka Thera said that the so
called luxury meditation center was
being built under the purview of
Bodagama Chandima Thera and was
planned to cater for those who come to
Sri Lanka from abroad for meditation.
It was being built by money donated
from Taiwanese Buddhists. Bodagama
Chandima Thera has all details
regarding the money transactions,
Dhammaloka Thera added.
Commenting on the allegation that
stones from the harbor were used in the
building, Dhammaloka Thera said that
those were stones removed from the
harbor and asked whether it was wrong
to use them for another purpose.
It is learned that the meditation cen-
ter is to be affiliated to the Nagananda
International Buddhist University that
is being built in Sri Lanka, also under
the purview of Bodagama Chandima
Thera.
Meanwhile Bodu Bala Sena General
Secretary Galagodaatte Gnanasara
Thera also slammed the so-called raid,
and asked if such acts of taking the law
into their hands was the new concept of
‘Good Governance.’ He asked what ques-
tion can there be for building a medita-
tion center in a country where 70 per-
cent of people were Buddhists. Even if
there was state patronage, it should not
have been a question, he said, adding
that at this rate, those who are against
such constructions might even go to
courts against King Dutugemunu for
constructing the Ruwanweliseya.
Ravana Balaya Convener Ittakande
Saddhatissa Thera said that Ranjan
Ramanayake is attempting to be a film
star in real life by taking the law into
his hands. However, Saddhatissa Thera
stated that the people gave the best
answer for him by ignoring the ‘raid.’
Nevertheless he should be more care-
ful in his conduct, Saddhatissa Thera
added.
Meanwhile Prof. Bellanwila Wima-
larathana Thera said that there was a
proper way to conduct such an investi-
gation even if there was any mal-prac-
tice. The Sangha Nayaka of the area
has to be informed, he said, before any-
one visits such a place to investigate. If
government patronage is investigated,
then all temples in the country would
have to be investigated as the govern-
ment aid is received by some way or the
other by almost all temples. There was
a legal process that is to be followed if
financial irregularities are suspected,
Wimalarathana Thera further said.
SSP Ajith Rohana vehemently denied
that the Kadawatha Police had taken
part in a raid of an alleged luxury med-
itation center in Kadawatha or that the
Police received any complaint regard-
ing the center. "I have made inquiries
and has been told the Police did not, in
fact, visit this meditation center" he
said when contacted by
The Nation
. Ac-
cording to him, the Police is not inves-
tigating the matter as no complaint has
been made against the Deputy Minister
entering the premises.
He also denied that no Army per-
sonnel or Police officers have been
deployed to provide protection to the
center following the raid by Deputy
Minister Ranjan Ramanayake.
Efforts to contact Deputy Minister
Ramanayake for comment proved futile
as we were told he was overseas.
Buddhist groups slam
Ranja’s Kadawatha raid
Previous
Price (Rs.)
Budget
Price (Rs.)
Lanka Sathosa Supermarket 1 Supermarket 1
PRICE COMPARISON
New prices (Rs.)
Sugar (1kg)
90-110
70- 90
83
120
141
Sugar (Pkt)
85
89
Milk powder 400g
386
325
325
325
325
Milk powder 1
300
Milk powder 2
325
325
Milk powder 3
386
Sustagen 400g
1600
1500
1500
1500
Wheat flour 1kg
90-105
75-90
87
119
115
Green gram 1kg
260-360
220-320
260
320
Green gram 500g
210
210
Sprats 1kg
480- 600
460-580
384
Sprats 200g
212
210
Canned fish 425g
230
205
124.50
220
230
Coriander 1kg
350 - 450
175-275
Coriander 100g/200g
65 (100g)
140 (200g)
55 (100g)
Maldive fish 1kg
1600- 2000
1350-1750
1740
Maldive fish 100g
280
254
Turmeric powder 1kg
350- 375
250-275
Turmeric powder 100g/200g
95
Chili powder 1kg
350- 400
325-375
Chili powder 100g/200g
95 (100g)
106 (200g)
51 (100g)
Black gram 1kg
315- 350
265-300
Black gram 200g
125-130
130
By Sandun Jayawardana
Officers from the Criminal Investigation Depart-
ment (CID) are to further question former Defence
Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the coming days
regarding the various armories maintained by
Avant Garde and Rakna Arakshaka Lanka security
firms.
Police Media Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told
The Nation
that investigators had recorded a par-
tial statement from the former defence secretary
at his residence on Friday (February 13) regarding
his alleged links to the security firms. However, Ra-
japaksa had told the CID that he would give a full
statement on another date as he wished to check
some relevant documents regarding the matter, the
police spokesman stated.
While it was not possible to say exactly when
the former defence secretary would be questioned
again, SSP Rohana insisted further questioning
would take place as a full statement is still to be
recorded.
The Nation
also queried how many of the 3322
firearms that were found to be missing from the
armory of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka located at
BMICH had been traced by police thus far.
“I can’t comment further on it until investigations
are completed. It is still ongoing,” SSP Rohana
said.
By Kishani Samaraweera
A rally aimed at bringing back former
President Mahinda Rajapaksa to active politics
after the dissolution of the Parliament in April
is to be held this Wednesday (February 18) in
Nugegoda.
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, National Free-
dom Front and Democratic Left Front have col-
lectively organized the rally and two provincial
councilors representing the Mahajana Party and
Pivithuru Hela Urumaya are expected to take
part in the rally.
Speaking to The Nation Democratic Left Front
Leader, Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that they
also expect Lanka Sama Samaja Party and Com-
munist Party of Sri Lanka to take part in the
event.
“The main purpose of the rally is to mobilize
the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA)
for the next election. Presently, it is undergoing
transition and it has created doubts on peoples’
minds, therefore, we will to clear all the doubts
on that day,” said Nanayakkara.
He also mentioned that they are confident
about defeating the United National Party (UNP)
in the upcoming election. Any party within
the UPFA is invited to take part in the rally, he
further stated.
Commenting on Central Provincial Councilor
Azath Salley’s statement that if the rally was
able to attract 5000 people he would quit active
politics, “We don’t take the statements he makes
seriously therefore I don’t wish to comment
about that,” Nanayakkara mentioned.
Dinesh Gunawardena of Mahajana Eksath
Peramuna, and Wimal Weerawansa of National
Freedom Front are also due to take part in the
rally.
Though the rally is primarily aimed at bring-
ing him back to active politics, Former President
Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, is yet to confirm
his participation at the rally.
Campaign to bring back MR for politics
Rally to mobilize support in Nugegoda
"Town Hall discussions" - a method em-
ployed in many countries both in the west
and the east amongst developed and
those labelled underdeveloped, to provide
voice for their citizens and provide a forum
where citizens and politicians can meet
and discuss, exchange ideas and follow
up on previous discussions in a peaceful,
organized and democratic manner – are
now in Colombo.
The first round of Town Hall discussions
will be held on Monday 16th at Viharama-
hadevi Park in an open space under the
Nuga tree in between the Open Air The-
atre and the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, from
3.30 pm onwards.
A few concerned individuals , journal-
ists, civil society activists, new digital me-
dia writers have gathered together to pro-
vide this platform where this civic society
voices can be heard, feedback given, ac-
tion taken, and they are made part of this
continuing change through a Town Hall
discussion mechanism.
With the help of media organizations
and social media activists in the country,
they are seeking to create this mechanism
between national level politicians of this
country representing all political parties
represented in the Parliament and a new
group of young and vibrant civic society
voices with the aim of providing a platform
and a mechanism to capture and focus a
conversation that will keep them construc-
tively engaged.
This initiative caters to the demand from
the civil society to be heard without their
message being filtered by media, espe-
cially in a scenario where the civil society
Town Hall Discussions Now in Colombo
CID to
interrogate
Gota further
A meeting of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)
Executive Committee and National Working
Committee held yesterday ended with some
significant changes to the party's top posts.
Among themwas the appointment of MP Susil
Premajayantha (center) as the party's National
Organizer. Meanwhile, some disgruntled SLFP
members also held a protest outside the meeting
venue demanding that former President Mahinda
Rajapaksa be given a prominent slot in the party
(left).
Pics by Chandana Wijesinghe
Major changes in SLFP
Acknowledging the complexity of the current po-
litical moment and observing that the country was
without a leader from the SLFP only for one week,
he promised to lead the party to victory at the next
general election predicting the formation of a coalition
government led by his party.
Meanwhile, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa,
in effect squashing rumors about forming a new politi-
cal alliance to contest the general election, extended
his best wishes and support in a special statement
read out at the meeting.
Rajapaksa insisted that he would do nothing that
could cause division in the SLFP.
The party finally decided unanimously not to extend
any support to those planning to hold a rally on Febru-
ary 18 against the government. An otherwise peace-
ful meeting ended on a sour note when some disgrun-
tled elements of the party turning on certain members
who had defected from the United People’s Freedom
Alliance (UPFA) government to support Maithripala
Sirisena during the presidential election. Kotikawatta,
Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha member Prasanna
Solangarachchi was subjected to a water bottle at-
tack while Western Provincial Councilor Hirunika
Premachandra was briefly prevented from leaving the
venue after some SLFPmembers obstructed the path
of her vehicle. Ministers M.K.D.S. Gunawardana and
Duminda Dissanayake meanwhile, reportedly had to
be ushered through the backdoor by security.
SLFP to shun...
They included the Vice Chairperson of the UGC,
reportedly on a directive from Cabinet Minister for
Higher Education and Investment Promotion, Kabir
Hashim. Prof. Wijesinha said the directive had been
given without consulting him.
Wijesinha said when he queried from Minister
Hashim as to why the directive was given, he had
been told that it was due to pressure from the Federa-
tion of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA).
“You don’t do things because of pressure. That was
what was done under the previous government. I am
very sad and deeply upset at the situation and I have
made it known to the President,” he further said.
He further said the government needed to live up
to certain expectations and clearly this was not being
done.
Former Chairperson of the University Grants Com-
mission, Professor Hirimburegama claimed that she
resigned from her post upon the request of the Higher
Education and Investment Promotion Cabinet Min-
ister, Kabir Hashim. “Five of us including myself, the
Vice Chairperson and three other members received
a letter from the honorable minister asking us to ten-
der our resignation with immediate effect. The min-
ister had also mentioned that he is acting upon the
directive of the President,” Hirimburegama said.
She further mentioned that any letter of such na-
ture, appointment, removal and resignation is sent
by the Secretary to the President. “We tendered our
resignation without any fuss since we were told that it
is a directive of the President,” she said.
However she said that when she contacted the
State Minister for Higher Education, Rajiva Wijesing-
he, to inform about the letter requesting them to re-
sign, he was not aware that such a letter had been
sent to them.
Hirimburegama said that she tendered her resigna-
tion on February 9 (Monday) and the Vice Chairper-
son and two other members have also handed over
their resignations.
SL’s education...
“Discussions with the prime minister would be
in a restricted format and there would also be del-
egation level talks,” the Indian MEA spokesperson
said.
Several Memoranda of Understanding are to be
signed between the two countries. Sri Lanka plans
to seek a grant for improvement of housing in the
estate workers.
On February 17 (Tuesday), the Sri Lankan
president is expected to visit Bodh Gaya in Bi-
har and Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh. He is
scheduled to return on February 18 (Wednesday).
Sirisena, who defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa last
month, has said he was keen to further boost rela-
tions with India. After his election, Modi had con-
gratulated him and invited him to visit New Delhi.
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Sama-
raweera visited India during the first week in office
and met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
and PM Modi.
President visits...
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