Having fired the
hackneyed 'UNP-LTTE' link a little too early in the campaign, its effect was wearing thin,
especially with the Maha Nayakes themselves condemning the false propaganda of the state
for the long term consequences the exercise would have on peace and stability in the
And the nail in the government's propaganda campaign was driven after UNP
Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and spokesman for the UNF, Professor G.L. Peiris called on
the clergy with copies of their manifesto and explained the falsity of the 'UNP-LTTE'
agreement and the Maha Nayakes in turn stated the public were not so gullible as to
believe the false propaganda.
And burying that coffin of propaganda finally was former Minister S.B. Dissanayake no
less, who in a devastating letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday, November
6 recalled how she had authorised the concoction of a false document at the last election
of the so called UNP-LTTE agreement.
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for his part did not pay too much heed to this PA
propaganda ploy in the belief, the people were far too politically savvy to believe such
propaganda but was propelled into action after Colombo district candidate Ravi
Karunanayake presented evidence of yet another attempt to fabricate a document of a
purported UNP-LTTE agreement at a house in Kotte.
With that evidence in hand, Wickremesinghe directed his media team to unleash a
propaganda barrage discounting the theory and the actions which followed last week from
the letter of the Maha Nayakes and Wickremesinghe's reply thereto were direct consequences
of this directive.
At the same time, S.B. Dissanayake put the cat among the canaries by accusing the
president of being in the know of underworld attacks carried out by the notorious
Baddegana Sanjeewa attached to the Presidential Security Division. Sanjeewa was killed
This offensive by Dissanayake came after the president accused her former general
secretary and confidante of discussing with her plans to kill an 'editor or two' who were
The president's statement and Dissanayake's counter sent shock waves through the
diplomatic community since it underscored the point, by Kumaratunga's own admission,
murder was being discussed ever so casually at the president's house with no action
whatsoever taken from the chief executive against those conspiring such heinous crimes.
Possibly realising that once again she has allowed her tongue to run ahead of her
brain, Kumaratunga called a meeting of senior party members including Ministers A. H. M.
Fowzie and Mahinda Rajapakse, to discuss a counter to Dissanayake's onslaught on Tuesday
following her allegation but was advised to lie low.
Minister Fowzie in particular told the president, if she was to reply Dissanayake, he
would fire an even more damaging statement laced with allegations making the entire
exercise counter productive.
But the opposition has seized the president's statement with glee pointing out that
Kumaratunga herself has proved that murder, arson and other crimes were discussed at
president's house no less, pointing to S.B. Dissanayake as evidence.
Dissanayake in fact has while taking the position it was the president who initiated
such discussions and actions had questioned Kumaratunga's conduct if her allegation
against him were true.
The former Samurdhi minister specifically told this column it was a team led by PSD's
Baddegana Sanjeewa that sprayed the house of the Editor of The Sunday Leader with bullets
and alleged Kumaratunga was fully in the know of the plot to burn down the presses of The
Sunday Leader and Ravaya.
"If as the president says, I discussed the murder of an editor or two, as defence
minister and president of the country, what did she do about it and when was it that I am
supposed to have discussed it with her? If her allegation is true, why did she continue to
keep me as a minister in her cabinet, offering me even more responsibilities as deputy
minister of finance and general secretary of the SLFP?" he asked.
This issue was to be later discussed on Wednesday with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
and other party seniors by Dissanayake who pointed out that Kumaratunga's statement on the
alleged moves to kill an editor or two alone would be sufficient to impeach her by the new
Wickremesinghe for his part was equally shocked and said it must surely be another
first for the Bandaranaikes as far as world records go.
"Where in the world would you have a head of state stating murder was discussed in
her presence and does nothing about it. This is a very serious matter which we have to
deal with," Wickremesinghe said.
Meanwhile, the visit of Karu Jayasuriya and G.L. Peiris to the Maha Nayakes paid rich
political dividends for the UNF with the religious leaders dismissing off-hand government
allegations of a UNP-LTTE link.
The Maha Nayake of the Malwatte chapter, Ven. Sri Vipassi Thero in particular was
harshly critical of the government indicating, the people cannot be fooled all the time
with false propaganda.
But the government it appears is bent on pursuing this propaganda ploy and with the
move to fabricate a document having failed, a fresh attempt is reportedly to be made to
produce a cassette of an alleged conversation between a UNP leader and the LTTE.
With the PA campaign itself not getting off the ground, the government has decided to
throw everything in its armory on the campaign in the hope something will stick on the
United National Front, especially in the knowledge several pradeshiya sabha chairmen and
members are poised to cross over within the next few days, followed by several PA
candidates too to pull out of the campaign.
Thus, the government, not unaware of this trend, is hoping to turn the tide through the
state media and instructions have gone out to leave no stone unturned.
However, within the state media itself, there is a sense of panic after the opposition
made it clear they would hold the editors, chairmen and directors personally responsible
for any defamatory material published or broadcast and the first to throw in the towel was
chairman Rupavahini Corporation and one time media advisor to the president, film actor
Gunatileke, who was in India the previous week, on his return last week informed
confidantes, the pressure was too much to handle given the responsibility he may have to
bear after December 5 in the event of a PA defeat and as such would call it quits.
Fight to the finish
Accordingly, Gunatileke, who spoke with S.B. Dissanayake on the eve of his visit to
India sent in his letter of resignation on Wednesday, November 7, much to the surprise of
PA big wigs.
More importantly, even Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar took five weeks per diem
from the ministry for overseas travel last week thereby indicating he too will not be in
Sri Lanka for the PA's hectic election schedule.
However, the president is determined to fight the battle to a finish and despite the
moves to get S.B. Dissanayake arrested through the bribery commission last week having
suffered a severe blow due to the independent stand taken by then Acting Director General,
Rienzie Arsecularatne, a diversionary ploy was put in motion last week to shift the focus
to Professor G.L. Peiris.
Towards this end, the services of what is being described in finance ministry circles
as the 'three stooges' were employed with a view to reviving the textile quota issue
against Professor Peiris and directions were given to appoint a special committee to go
into the matter and submit a report for publication by the state media.
The three finance ministry officials dubbed the 'three stooges' are Dr. P.B.
Jayasundera who has already been noticed that he would be dealt with in terms of the law
for allowing the use of finance ministry resources for PA election work, Dr. Jayanetti and
Divaratne in particular went that extra mile for the president on the eve of the rebel
group crossover in parliament by visiting S.B. Dissanayake at his residence and pleading
with him to return to the fold.
Stating he was carrying a message from the president, Divaratne told Dissanayake, the
president wanted him (Dissanayake) to accept a portfolio but to do so without reference to
G.L. Peiris or Mahinda Wijesekera. Dissanayake of course turned down the offer.
Now, with the decision taken to appoint a committee to forward a report 'fixing'
Professor Peiris, the opposition itself has decided to move against these officials for
conduct unbecoming of a public official.
Meanwhile, the committee so appointed comprises S. Manaperuma, Secretary to the
Industrial Development Ministry, Additional Secretary R. Jayasinghe, P. Hulugalle, Deputy
Auditor General K.D. Jayasuriya, Senior Additional Secretary of the Presidential
Secretariat, Thalpawila and Jayanetti himself. Jayanetti came to serve in the committee
after another official, Kumudu Guruge, declined to be a party to this committee.
And no sooner the committee was appointed on November 1, President's Secretary K.
Balapatabendi summoned them for a meeting and said the president wanted their report as a
matter of utmost urgency and should commence sittings the very next day, November 2.
It was S.B. Dissanayake who first got wind of this development on his cellular while at
a meeting with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Professor Peiris amongst others and he
immediately alerted Professor Peiris to the moves underway.
At this meeting the United National Front leaders also discussed the allocation of Rs.
5 million to each divisional secretariat by Dr. P.B. Jayasundera for what they described
as 'PA election work' under the guise of development work.
Having weighed the pros and cons of this development, Wickremesinghe said officials
acting outside their official role will have to be dealt with severely, especially at a
time they were trying to bring forward an independent public services commission.
Professor Peiris for his part told Wickremesinghe, he had already instructed his
lawyers to file action in the district court for defamation against the editors and
chairman of Lake House in their personal capacities within the week for the defamatory
articles published, and that he would also do so with officials who put their signatures
to a politically motivated report against him.
Keeping this pressure on the government, a UNF delegation comprising Karu Jayasuriya,
K.N. Choksy, Thilak Marapone, G.L. Peiris, Charitha Ratwatte, Senarath Kapukotuwa and Upul
Jayasuriya met with Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake on Thursday, Novenber 8
and impressed upon him the need to control the abuse of state resources by the ruling
The UNF delegation said the commissioner had under the 17th amendment power to issue
directives to the relevant authorities and that he should exercise his rights irrespective
of whether they comply or not.
Abuse of state media
Making specific reference to the abuse of the state media, the UNF team said in terms
of the provisions relating to the abuse of state property, the commissioner can issue
directives to the state media as well in terms of the 17th amendment.
The elections commissioner, not averse to the proposal, said he would issue such
directives within the next few days after consulting the attorney general.
In this respect, the only solace for the government was the decision of the Supreme
Court bench presided by Chief Justice Sarath Silva last week to fix the next date on the
Karu Jayasuriya petition on the abuse of the state electronic media by the government for
a date in February.
With that long date, the entire purpose of the petition which was aimed at controlling
excesses by the state electronic media during the run up to the election has been negated,
giving them a free hand to carry out government propaganda unhindered.
An irate Karu Jayasuriya was to later tell UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that
objection should have been taken to the chief justice hearing his petition in view of the
fact he (Jayasuriya) was a prime mover of the impeachment against the chief justice.
In fact, the International Commission of Jurists had on August 27, 2001, written to
President Kumaratunga under the signature of Secretary General Louise Doswald Beck
expressing concern at the chief justice continuing to sit in judgement at this sensitive
"We write to you to express our dismay about the failure of Chief Justice Silva to
excuse himself despite an impeachment motion against him by parliament alleging judicial
misconduct. It is a matter of great concern that the chief justice continues to serve in
his judicial capacity at this critical juncture," the ICJ states.
Be that as it may, another issue dogging the government is that of Ronnie Peiris and
the focus on corruption under the Kumaratunga administration. The twin issues of
"Dhooshanaya" and "Beeshanaya" so effectively used by Kumaratunga in
1994 has it seems, come home to roost, or so the UNF was saying.
In this context, having already written to Bank of Ceylon Chairman Ken Balendran on the
Rs. 15 million loan waiver to Peiris and the complaint to the bribery commissioner, four
former MPs on November 6, wrote to the Auditor General, A.C. Mayadunne, drawing his
attention to the Bank of Ceylon accounts and the interest waiver afforded to President
Kumaratunga's good buddy, Ronnie Peiris.
In that letter, signed by Karunasena Kodituwakku, Bandula Gunawardene, Rajitha
Senaratne and Ravi Karunanayake, the auditor general was called upon to investigate and
report to the people of Sri Lanka through parliament the facts surrounding the Ronnie
The corruption issue as reported on the opposite page has sent shock waves through the
government and in yet another unprecedented move, the president through one of the
commissioners, Kingsley Wickremasooriya on Wednesday summoned the officer investigating
S.B. Dissanayake's case for grilling.
The officer, IP Nandasena was reportedly accompanied by Wickramasooriya to the
president's house armed with the relevant files and was seen returning only hours later.
It thus appears, the president is directly involved in interfering with the work of the
commission undermining its independence as was done on a previous occasion with the
removal of all investigative officers. That is in addition to appointing commissions to
witch hunt other political opponents as in the case of Professor Peiris.
Furthermore, even the appointment of Piyasena Ranasinghe as director general continues
to cause ripples given his own statement that he made an application for the job to the
presidential secretariat on being informed of a vacancy.
In the first instance, being a judicial officer, Ranasinghe should have channeled his
application through the judicial services commission. The question also arises as to how
he learnt of the vacancy when it was not advertised.
It is also significant to note that the persons holding the director general's post
prior to magistrate Ranasinghe was an additional solicitor general, ranking No. 3 in the
Attorney General's Department.
It is the practise that the senior most deputy solicitor general is normally appointed
as a Court of Appeal Judge as was the case with Justices Sarath Silva, Asoka de Silva,
Hector Yapa amongst others. Likewise, the senior most high court judge is appointed to the
Court of Appeal as is the case with the senior most DSG.
Now the post of additional solicitor general is higher in rank to that of the senior
most DSG. Thus the question arises how a magistrate was appointed to fill a post held by
an additional solicitor general when it should have been either a court of appeal or
supreme court judge.
But it is election time now and what is important is to keep the skeletons in the PA's
cupboards securely locked and Kumaratunga is not averse to doing whatever it takes to
ensure it remains so.
All this time I thought the butler did it. Odds fish! The butler may be doing it for
all I know, I won't put anything past the lower classes, but Asbee is saying you did it,
or at least wanted it done. You are saying some ministering angel was wanting it, but you
put a stop to it from your deathbed. It may have been a time for you to see angels dear,
but according to Asbee, on four near occasions Ed may very well have been one.
So Asbee tells on. He paints dark blotches of your thoughts dear. Last week, when he
revealed to the wild asses that plans were afoot to burn the leading presses, not to
mention the raving ones, I couldn't help blink.
What is this burning sensation you feel, I ask, though somewhat coyly? On second
thoughts don't tell me. It is possibly a confidence better shared with your family doctor.
Ed may be popping about bright as a button having escaped these designs on his life by
a whisker, but I tell you, politics in ole paradise is like an Alfred Hitchcock suspender.
It is not within my scope of knowledge to know whether Ed wears suspenders or not, but if
he doesn't he should. I'm sure you'll agree. And now, that you and Asbee are the two main
players in this whodunit, in this Who Shot The Sheriff..no....no the journo, and who is
likely to do it again performance, even the butler may stop doing it in disgust. These
shooting incidents may be in the past tense, but with a past so morbid, I would be tense
Asbee really buzzes does he not? Never has this kiss and tell business ever sat well
with me. And in the PA ranks everyone is kissing and telling ranks. In fact we have been
told, and not in a whisper either, that not only can you stalk, but that you can take pot
shots at people with the easy camaraderie of an old acquaintance. And your list of talents
is growing by the minute. You can also fabricate steamy documents hot off the grid we are
told. This I can well believe. You have always been good with fabric no? See the saris you
wear! Very nice aney!
And so you fabricated and forged, if that's the word I want, signatures of Ranil and
Cyanide. Poor chap. There he was, singing Green Green Grass of Home in a strangled voice
and simultaneously trying to skim through the pages of Llewellyn's How Green Was My
Valley, when he was slapped with a forged document about Tiger connections. Juu-ust like a
slab of raw meat on his face - that's how he was slapped, I can tell you. Anyway, both
those signatures are familiar to you dear on account of the frenzied letter writing you
engaged in with both these chappies.
But Sshhh ... dear, as usual I have a secret or two to tell from the enemy camp that I
prised out of them through devious means. Mata hari can learn a thing or two from me. I
heard the Maha Nayakes have whispered in the flapping ears of both Karu and profissori,
this was the time they handed in their manifestos in order to get brownie points, that
nobody on the planet ;leave alone on paradise believes the green-tiger deal story and the
people were not such fools.
Darn! Now, THAT goondu has backfired. But put your thinking cap on dear, I'm sure you
can easily spin another story for your benefit.
Ichabod old thing, Rumpelstiltskin would have embraced you to his bosom if you could
have spun gold the way you can spin a yarn.
It seems darling that you have nothing more to offer paradise than embellished
variations of this greens and Tigers link. That, so it seems, but I may be wrong, is your
election platform, your election manifesto and your election downfall.
And another thing. What is this about retiring politicians at 65. Just when they are
getting comfortable in their luxury cars. Hmmm! I wonder why this ageism, this anti
geriatric sentiment all of a sudden? It couldn't be because of Mallo could it? After all,
Mallo may look like a sinking ship, but he is young, though not so sprightly. May be he is
eyeing your job with those popping out eyeballs of his.
But those poor oldies. They shouldn't expect positions thereafter too you say wiggling
a fat finger sternly. Let's see now. Who will be potted out like geraniums? There's uncle
Hotgarden, whom you grumbled to Bandula Gee before he crossed over was corrupt poop.
Probably these are traits running in the family. Dear old kadi - poor blob he always stood
by you and lied like a Trojan to cover your sins. Dick Pathee and of course the Fuzzy one.
That's quite a handful of talent dear, to keep the party in the family. First for Mallo
then for Yasso and Vim eh?
Meantime Mallo has been bellowing about town like a boomtown rat. Having newly lumbered
over to your side he has been fluttering his eyelids coquettishly and huskily saying he
had no objection to succeeding you if the job was given to him. Come to think of it, gin
was mother's milk to Boris Yeltzin too.
By Frederica Jansz
At exactly 12.38 a.m. on Monday November 5, 2001, Mangala Samaraweera having addressed
41 election rallies on behalf of the ruling Peoples Alliance claims he was shot at by a
group of men - loosely identified as 'UNP supporters.' Not only Samaraweera but, an
official police report of the incident also claims that Samaraweera was shot at.
The police document however also states that no weapons were found in the
"attackers" vehicle after it crashed, seriously injuring the eight young men
inside. The next most obvious question is how then can Samaraweera claim he was shot at?
Posing this question to a senior cop, The Sunday Leader was told in hushed tones,
"please do not put us into trouble."
This is the sorry and pathetic position of our police force today. Top policemen are no
longer allowed any self-respect or dignity. Mere stooges, they utter lies on behalf of
political masters and refuse to make public, reports on election related violence that
have been recorded with the police force. Samaraweera was also abusing election guidelines
and using public property to further his election campaign as two vehicles at the scene of
the incident have been found to belong to the Finance Ministry and the Treasury. Armed
with goons and guns, Samaraweera in fact gave the 'o.k.' to shoot at the men in the van -
whom he in a somewhat befuddled state of mind presumed had already fired the first bullet.
He has already admitted that he had been 'dozing' at the time the incident began.
Samaraweera obviously believes in the age-old adage of an "Eye for an eye and a
tooth for a tooth." His shocking behaviour cost 19-year old Kasun Madushantha the
loss of one eye. While this young boy has undergone at least two operations to remove
bullet particles from his body, three other youth who had been with Kasun also suffered
gun shot injuries while another three had been brutally assaulted - one youth is still in
hospital with severe knee injuries after having been hit repeatedly with the butt of a
gun. All eight youth were assaulted and shot at by personnel of the Ministerial Security
Division assigned to protect Mangala Samaraweera.
The minister's political counterpart in Deniyaya, ex MP Sagala Ratnayake, a candidate
for the UNP, pointed out that if the minister's security felt the minister was under
serious threat they should have taken measures to move Samaraweera out of the danger area
and not charge at full speed together with the minister, firing blindly and directly at
perceived attackers. The eight youth who were attacked in this manner had been pasting
posters on behalf of Sagala Ratnayake, the UNP candidate for Deniyaya at Malimbadda when
Mangala Samaraweera's entourage had passed them by.
Professor G. L. Peiris, spokesman for the United National Front subsequently charged
that officers of the presidential security division were also in Samaraweera's contingent.
According to the eight injured youth who have given statements to the police, the
ministerial convoy had passed them by and proceeded some 150 meters when the vehicles
suddenly stopped and turning around had begun to approach the boys. Sensing trouble, the
youth had jumped into the van they had arrived in and took off at high speed. Samaraweera
gave chase together with his men who by this time were firing into the air. The cowboy
style chase lasted for about three kilometres - the MSD men were now taking aim and
shooting directly into the van. As a result, the van went off the road, the MSD goons
descending from their high-speed vehicles had pulled the injured boys out off the van and
proceeded to hit them hard with the butt end of their guns.
By this time a police jeep from the Akuressa police drew up and in an attempt to save
the lives of the youth lifted them all into the police vehicle. Mangala Samaraweera had
then got down from his vehicle and walking up to the police jeep, he threatened the youth,
yelling in Sinhala, "you can do politics with anyone but Sagala Ratnayake,"
adding that he would see they were locked up for the next ten years of their lives. The
police had finally driven away from Mangala's wrath and rushed the boys to the Akuressa
hospital. Some of them were thereafter transferred to the Matara and Karapitiya hospitals
for further treatment.
At the magisterial inquiry, Matara Magistrate Mohamed Macky chided the cops for filing
a 'B' report that did not have details which he said even the general public were aware of
with regard to the incident. The police had meekly replied that the 'B' report was based
on the complaint made by Minister Mangala Samaraweera. Magistrate Macky has demanded that
the police carry out a full and impartial investigation into the incident and file a
report that carries statements made by the injured youth as well.
The magistrate had further pointed out that if the MSD men were trying to protect the
minister from any danger, their immediate reaction to any provocation should have been to
take the minister to a safe area and not pursue the supposed attackers together with the
minister. Three MSD personnel of Samaraweera's security who had surrendered to the police
had been released. Magistrate Macky has ordered the police that they be produced in court,
on November 13. The police have claimed in court that they have no case against the eight
Now moves are underway by the United National Front to file a private plaint against
Samaraweera and also move for his arrest on a charge of attempted murder.
In typical Sri Lankan style this election too is heralded with a spate of murders,
assaults and other ugly incidents of thuggery that have marred Sri Lankan elections for
well nigh four decades.
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has also marked the death of a supporter and JVP activist
at Miriswatte in the Padiyatalawa police division. The JVP claim that B. H. M.
Wimalatissa, Secretary of the JVP's organisation for Miriswatte in the Digamadulla area
was murdered by supporters of the UNP. Wimalatissa was a school-teacher by profession. The
JVP meanwhile claim that supporters of the UNP had threatened a group of JVP activists who
had been putting up white flags on the Ampara - Uhana road, in preparation for the funeral
Despite the JVP's ongoing honeymoon with the PA, ruling party supporters have not
abstained from threatening JVP activists. The JVP have accused both UNP and PA supporters
of carrying out a series of attacks on JVP loyalists. The JVP says that the PA targeted
some of their men at Kesbewa while the Marxists have accused the UNP of widespread
incidents of intimidation on JVP activists in and around Colombo district. The JVP have
lodged nearly two dozen complaints with the police. Among the complaints listed, the JVP
have alleged that UNP thugs attacked a group of JVP activists who had been pasting posters
near Nachchiaduwa in the Anuradhapura district. Two party men, the JVP say, were seriously
injured in this incident.
In another incident the JVP says a gang of armed persons had attacked the JVP party
office at Gandara in the Matara district last Monday. The UNP meanwhile has accused a
government minister of being responsible for the killing of Lionel Rodrigo from
Pethiyagoda in the Gampaha district.
In a lead up to the December 5, poll, the ruling Peoples Alliance have also been
accused of killing underworld thug 'Baddeganna Sanjeewa.' Details of his murder are
revealed elsewhere in this newspaper. It is a fact, that even the cops are afraid to
disclose that preliminary evidence at the scene of the crime prove that Baddeganna
Sanjeewa was shot to death by another underworld figure and close confidante of the
Among over 400 polls related acts of violence some 44 cases have been recorded as
serious. In another incident, SSP T. J. Miskin of the Police Elections Secretariat said
that last Monday night at Anuradhapura a hand bomb was thrown by PA supporters at a UNP
cluster group election rally. At Anamaduwa, Chilaw dogged by election related violence
since this campaign kicked off, a PA supporter was shot dead early last week by two
unidentified persons. Punchi Singho aged 60, was gunned down outside the PA campaign
office at Anamaduwa and died on admission to the Anamaduwa hospital.
Eye witness accounts say that the killers arrived on a motorcycle and the pillion rider
opened fire spraying bullets from a T-56 weapon while around 20 people dropped to the
ground in panic. Punchi Singho was not so lithe and was a victim to the vicious attack.
SSP T. J. Miskin says that the killer has been identified as one 'Nimal' and is
purportedly a supporter of the UNP. Two weeks ago, the UNP claimed that one of their
supporters was also brutally gunned down at Anamaduwa. SSP Miskin says that overall there
have been five very bad cases of election related violence with at least 58 recorded cases
where bombs have been thrown, guns fired and persons threatened with death.
According to the police, the main opposition United National Party (UNP) has lodged the
most number of complaints, followed closely by the ruling People's Alliance, while the
Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna is third on the list for making complaints of election
Other political parties and independent groups have made 30 complaints, the police
said. Two independent local election monitoring groups, PAFFREL and CMEV have predicted a
violent poll. About 4600 candidates are contesting the forthcoming general elections
scheduled to be held on December 5 , to elect Sri Lanka's 12th parliament.