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15th May, 2005  Volume 11, Issue  44

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    

Issues

Murdered journalists: where is justice? 

By Frederica Jansz 

Nearly three weeks since Dharmeratnam Sivaram was killed  police still don't have any clues that would help lead them to the murderers. Director, Colombo.......

More...


 Top Issues Stories

> Eastern Tamils caught up in an endless cycle of violence

> Battle behind the buffer zone

> Government's permanent housing hurdle

> Prevention of domestic violence 

> Diyawadana Nilame: The battle intensifies

> "Don't be a tool of imperialism"

> Leader lists its witnesses in contempt case


Murdered journalists: where is justice?

By Frederica Jansz 

Nearly three weeks since Dharmeratnam Sivaram was killed  police still don't have any clues that would help lead them to the murderers. Director, Colombo Crime Division (CCD), SSP Sarath Lugoda spearheading the investigation said, "So far, we have nothing." Asked if his investigations thus far have in anyway led to possible evidence implicating high powered individuals who may have been involved in the murder he replied, "I cannot comment on that yet."

Richard de Zoysa and Dharmeratnam Sivaram

Asked why the police have failed thus far to trace Siva's killers when in the case of the murder of Justice Sarath Ambepitiya his killers were caught within a week, Lugoda maintains that the lack of a full registration number of the vehicle that Sivaram was abducted in has made it that much more difficult to trace the vehicle.

Also that all attempts to trace the location of his mobile phone which continues to ring when dialed have failed. Lugoda said "we are trying other ways to trace the phone," but claimed he could not reveal the methods yet as it would hamper the investigation.

Pitiful behaviour

Colombo's duplicity, if it indeed exists, in relation to the slaying of Siva will soon rear its head publicly if his killers are not caught. Freelance journalist Kusal Perera who was a witness to the abduction of Sivaram has given police the registration number of a silver-grey super luxury vehicle he says Siva was pushed into that fateful Thursday, April 28 - WPG 11.

The last two missing digits nevertheless means the police would have to trace only 100 vehicles of the kind described by Kusal and investigate their  owners. Lugoda maintains his investigating team has already done just that. "We have short-listed some," he said, refusing to divulge how many and on what basis he had identified a few out of one hundred.

The question is this. How many silver grey intercoolers bearing the registration number WPG-11 exist? An amateur sleuth would doubtless be able to narrow down possible suspects within a matter of days. That Lugoda and his team are still struggling nearly three weeks later certainly does not say much for the CCD and its investigative capabilities. The entire team and its lame efforts can be described very aptly in just one word - pitiful.

After all, the CCD surely does not need a lesson in detective work to learn that once a few suspect vehicles are tracked down a DNA testing would surely find at the very least a hair that belonged to the head or arm of Sivaram?

Lugoda when he spoke with us took pains to stress repeatedly that while accusations were being made against certain political parties, para military groups and individuals, he had absolutely no lead of who could be responsible for the murder of Sivaram.

Nearly three weeks later and a mysterious group claiming it killed Siva, Lugoda still claims he has no lead. Typically, the cops are obviously looking in directions other than that leading to the killers, which is usual and to be expected going by past experiences involving the murders of other journalists. All of which, to date remain unresolved.

IGP Chandra Fernando has already said he is probing the letter sent by a group claiming responsibility for the killing of Sivaram. The letter is just another step in this dastardly game - a red herring intended solely for the police - to deviate attention away from the killers. A clever ploy, that has already succeeded.

Unfortunately, the ineptitude and bias, that still gags Sri Lanka's police force and its crime busters in relation to murders such as these, only helps fuel speculation and finger-pointing in addition to charges of political interference. For even as Lugoda spoke, the Tamil Guardian based in London wrote "there can be no doubt Sri Lankan military intelligence is responsible for the murder, even if hairs are split as to whether the trigger was pulled by a Sinhala trooper or a Tamil paramilitary."

It is clear to see that not only the LTTE but large sections of the Tamil community too see the Karuna group, not as an independent group, but as being part and parcel of the Sri Lankan establishment.

A Tamil paramilitary group working as 'agents' for the security forces in its alleged 'machinations' against the LTTE.

The LTTE for its part keeps accusing the Sri Lankan army of doing the deed even as the government and the armed forces keep denying it.

But the crux of the matter lies in past experiences, which leads us to suspect that the authorities will not do everything necessary to identify the killers and the instigators of Sivaram's murder. In fact, the absence of any rigorous investigations and trials in previous murders and attacks on journalists has considerably discredited the state's work in support of press freedom.

Whether Sivaram's killers were Tamil or Sinhalese the police will not yet say. We can only surmise that one of them called Siva on his mobile phone before drawing alongside him on the pavement and forcing him into taking a final drive.

No punishment

It would bode well for SSP Lugoda and his men to recall the grisly murders of Richard de Zoysa, thereafter, Rohana Kumara in 1999, then, Mayilvaganam Nimalarajan in the north in 2001,  and in June, last year, Aiyathurai Nadesan in the east. All four journalists were murdered, with strong evidence to suggest they were killed by government sponsored death squads.

The question is not simply whether anyone at the top of the state authorised these killings including the murder of Sivaram. But where in the machinery is the assurance Sivaram's extra-judicial killing will be the last and, unlike that of every single murdered journalist in Sri Lanka - will be investigated?

This is still today the reality of relations between the independent press and the government. This very distinctive barrier includes the state sponsored media too.

For ITN following the murder of Sivaram hosted on its show Thulawa two government Ministers, Sripathy Sooriyarachchi and Vijitha Herath who both charged freelance journalist Kusal Perera with a conspiracy to murder Sivaram.

And while the government bastardised Kusal Perera, ITN could not be bothered to even contact Perera and ask him for a response. Clearly displaying the deep lack of trust or for that matter unification between state and private media. Even when the matter at hand, is as serious, as that of the murder of a journalistic colleague.

More serious is that the Free Media Movement (FMM) of Sri Lanka, has previously accused the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga of the murder, assault and intimidation of journalists, and even offered what it calls proof in a statement by the president in which she has told how a former minister had proposed to murder newspaper editors.

State sponsored killings

There is a single factor that emerges when examining the killings of journalists in Sri Lanka. Before Sivaram, Aiyathurai Nadesan was gunned down in Batticaloa in June last year. Nadesan, in similar vein to journalist, playwright and actor, Richard de Zoysa murdered in the early 1990s by government death squads, then Rohana Kumara in 1999 and Nimalarajan murdered in 2001, were all believed to have been stilled by a bullet due to having publicly criticised the government and government forces.

Sivaram had, in the recent past, been writing on the "ill-effects" of the peace process on the 30 year-old struggle for an independent Tamil Eelam. In an article in the popular Tamil daily Virakesari recently, he had warned that the Tamils were being lulled into inactivity by hopes of peace and that this would sooner or later adversely affect the fighting spirit of the LTTE itself.He pointed out that this had happened in recent history to other liberation movements. He wanted the Tamil media to keep digging into the minds of its readers that the Sinhala majority would never render justice to the Tamil minority and that there was no alternative to the armed struggle.

It was believed that Sivaram reflected the thinking of Velupillai Pirapaharan who remains a chronic skeptic where the Sri Lankan government, Sinhala polity and outside forces are concerned.

The killings are now hardly cause for serious shock to a nation that is battle hardened and accustomed to random murder. When Richard de Zoysa in the early 1990's was brutally murdered in the prime of his life (he was only 33), after being abducted from his home at night by forces sponsored by the then government of the late President R. Premadasa, his death caused shock waves in the island, while his mother publicly identified as one of her son's abductors, a police officer who was well known as a confidant and security coordinator for the late President.

Richard's murder was a ghastly precedent to other journalists also being placed on a hit list and killed. Rohana Kumara, the editor of a Sinhala tabloid newspaper, Satana was the next to follow.

Apart from the killings are the state sponsored death threats, harassment, and assault on journalists who dare buck the government.

A case in point is that of Lasantha Wickrematunge Editor-in-Chief of The Sunday Leader newspaper who has been attacked not once but twice. Both attacks were under the governments of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. In the first he was physically beaten up by thugs enlisted to do so by members of the Presidential Security Division. And the second time around Wickrematunge's Nugegoda home was shot at. Fortunately, this time there were no casualties other than damage to his house.

In a separate incident the defence correspondent of The Sunday Times, Iqbal Athas also came under attack. Evidence suggests that two officers belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force led the attempted assault on Athas at his home at Nugegoda. The journalist was threatened inside his bedroom by the gun toting assailants.

The FMM bases its case that Kumaratunga herself no less is culpable for these incidents when the President was reported at a public rally stating that her former government minister and political party general secretary, S. B. Dissanayake had made an offer to her, "to kill an editor or two."

According to a story run in the state owned Daily News, the President had said Dissanayake had pleaded with her to become an absolute dictator. Dissanayake, Kumaratunga claimed had told her to gag the independent news media, which was critical of the government, and then made this statement: "Madam, the government is very weak and it could collapse at any time. If necessary I will even kill an editor or two who is critical of the government," she has been quoted as saying.

But the FMM said, Dissanayake claims it was the President who sent an underworld killer to him with the suggestion to kill newspaper editors, and that four eyewitnesses heard this conversation take place.

Killing an ed or two

The two editors who were according to Dissanayake to be the targets for an assassin's bullet were Editor-in-Chief, The Sunday Leader and a pet-hate of the president, Lasantha Wickrematunge and Editor-in-Chief,  Ravaya newspaper, Victor Ivan, which in similar vein to The Sunday Leader remains unbowed and unafraid to reveal the truth irrespective of the personalities involved.

What the FMM maintains is that "it is not interested in investigating who first came up with the idea for this despicable act," contending that "what is clear is that plans for political murders were discussed without any inhibition at the highest level of government."

The FMM also claimed that the exchange about killing journalists between the President and Dissanayake "explains why no proper investigations have been carried out into the murders of three journalists (now it is five), the attempted murder of a number of editors and the numerous assaults on journalists during the reign of Chandrika Kumaratunga.

The FMM has also accused government forces of the murder of Rohana Kumara who was killed on September 9, 1999.

There is in fact photographic evidence to prove that the former head of the Presidential Security Division, Nihal Karunaratne led an assault on journalists, also in 1999, covering an opposition march protesting Kumaratunga's reign. On this occasion, members of the Presidential Security Division including Karunaratne not only assaulted journalists but also smashed their cameras and equipment.

The Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), an alliance party of Kumaratunga's government, also stands accused of killing Jaffna-based journalist Mayilvaganam Nimalarajan. Following the President's statement accusing one of her former minister's of offering "to kill an editor or two" became more relevant after Nimalarajan's death as the northern based Tamil journalist was killed during the time when the leader of the EPDP, Douglas Devananda was a minister in Kumaratunga's government.

Devananda is once more a minister in the present government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

No arrests have been made in the murders of Richard de Zoysa, Rohana Kumara, Nimalarajan, Iyathurai Nadesan and now Sivaram.

As the FMM has pointed out "if the President is to clear her name of involvement in these incidents, an immediate impartial investigation must be carried out and those responsible arrested."

"Not free" media

Sri Lanka is on the "watch list" of the Vienna-based International Press Institute, limited to "countries that appear to be moving towards restricting press freedom." The most recent Freedom House survey of press freedom reports that broadcast and print media in Sri Lanka are "not free."

In 2003, Reporters Without Borders called on the government of then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to "disown" Fisheries Minister Mahinda Wijesekera for allegedly threatening to kill Lasantha Wickrematunge, after he published articles in The Sunday Leader accusing the minister of corruption.

"We deeply deplore the Minister's behaviour and ask you to take action against him," the statement said, adding the group had sent a letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

It said the newspaper reported that the Minister had made the threat in front of another cabinet member, who later confirmed the incident with the media watchdog.

The report also said the Minister had boasted that he helped plan the killings of three journalists during the previous People's Alliance government of Chandrika Kumaratunga.

"Let them conduct an inquiry. There I will say what I want to say," Wijesekera is quoted telling The Associated Press.

Wijesekera, who now belongs to the United National Front party, was part of Kumaratunga's government, which lost power in December 2001 before being re-elected in April 2004.

The shocking reality of it all is that five journalists have been killed during Kumaratunga's tenure as President of Sri Lanka, but no one has yet been convicted for the killings.

We can only but hope that SSP Lugoda and his men when conducting this investigation are asking themselves the question - Why was Taraki killed?

For many, the answer seems obvious: he was a Tamil Tiger supporter. Yes, he was a Tamil patriot. He carried a rifle for the freedom struggle before he picked up a pen. But he was not always a backer of the Tigers. Indeed he once stood opposed to the LTTE, before he subsequently came to see it as the most viable vehicle for his beloved cause (not least given his military insight).

But was it something he wrote or something he did that made him a marked man? Had he broken any of Sri Lanka's repressive laws, the state wouldn't have hesitated to put him in the dock. He earned its ire differently.


Eastern Tamils caught up in an endless cycle of violence 

Sivaram, the latest casualty, Velupillai Pirapaharan and Karuna

By D. B. S. Jeyaraj 

The killing of 'Taraki' Sivaram in Colombo was not an isolated event. It is part of an endless cycle of violence that has been plaguing Batticaloa Tamils. Though he was killed in Colombo, Sivaram's death is linked to the on going eastern violence caused by the Karuna revolt.

Manifestations of violence take different forms at different times in the east. The latest is the internecine warfare between the Karuna faction and the mainstream LTTE. Again the hapless victims are the Tamils of Batticaloa-Amparai.

The Tamil people of the Eastern Province particularly those of Batticaloa and Amparai Districts are fast becoming the wretched of the Sri Lankan earth. A continuous and consistent pattern of inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic political violence directed against them over the years has seriously debilitated them. This systemic violence was compounded and institutionalised in military campaigns conducted by the state and its agents. Adding to their woes has been mother nature herself. Massive floods, cyclones and now 'tsunami' killer waves. This agony is now being aggravated by the fratricidal bloodshed caused by the vertical and horizontal split in Tiger ranks.

The Tamil easterners'strong sense of Tamilness, committed devotion to the Tamil language and expression of vibrant Tamil nationalist militancy are all attributes that any nationality or sub-nationality can be proud of. The Tamil consciousness and political courage displayed by the "Kilakkuthamilar" (Eastern Tamils) in the post-independent period is a heroic saga indeed. There was moreover a cultural renaissance that paralleled or even outdid Jaffna.

The scholar-poet, Swamy Vipulanantha was the epitome of this Eastern Tamil culture and refinement. In later years Tamil scholars and poets like Pulavarmani Periyath- ambypillai., V. C. Kandiah, F. X. C. Nadarajah, Eelathuppooraadanaar, Neelavanan, Kasi Anandhan, Thimilaithumilan, Vaaharai Vaanan etc. contributed to and helped form a powerful Tamilconsciousness. The journalistic writings of S. T. Sivanayagam during his "Suthant- hiran" era was a very powerful influence in this respect.

Satyagrahas

The fiery oratory of "Sollin Selvar" Selliah Rajadurai spearheaded this Tamil nationalist renaissance in the east. Further help in stirring this nationalist cauldron was provided by political activists like former MP's Rasamanickam, Manickav- asagar, Senator Manickam, 'Arappor' Ariyanayagam, 'Notharis' Kandiah, Velmurugu Master, Sivagnanach- elvam Kurukkal, Mala Ramacha- ndran, Sam Thambimuthu, Kala Thambimuthu and the inimitableKasi Aanandan. Eastern Tamils participated far in excess of their population ratio in all non-violent protests of the past ranging from Satyagrahas to long marches. A large number of Batticaloa Tamils were under house arrest in Panagoda.

When youth rebellion began in the Tamil polity, Batticaloa youths were not lagging behind though standardisation was not an issue that hit them badly. Kasi Anandan, 'Mandoor' Mahendran, Nadesana- ntham, Alphonse Mary, Pa Sinnathurai etc., were in the original batch of Tamil youths detained without trial under Mrs. Bandaranaike in the '70s. In later years an innumerable number of eastern Tamils were arrested, tortured, incarcerated and even killed.

Batticaloa Tamils were in the forefront of Tamil resistance. The first instance of Independent Ceylon's armed forces being routed anywhere was in Thuraineelaavanai in the '50s when two vehicles of the army were ambushed and burnt. Batticaloa Tamils also thwarted police backed Sinhala mobs in Eravur and even derailedtrains bringing in reinforcements. The eastern Tamils fought back hard in self-defence when armed settlers were let loose on helpless cultivators in the Amparai District colonisation schemes.

Cobra force

When armed militancy began rising eastern youths too were a part of it. An indigenous militant group "Naagappadai" or Cobra force emerged. Later Batticaloa-Amparai youths began joining almost all the Tamil militant groups. An impressive sign of early eastern militancy was the Batticaloa jailbreak of 1983. It was the assistance and help provided to the escapees by Tamils and Muslims that was of crucial importance. The Eastern Muslims backed the Tamil struggle overtly and covertly in the past. Recent events have transformed that situation.

This eastern Tamil militancy has not been without sorrow and sacrifice. Sinhala dominated governments deliberately deprived the already impoverished and underdeveloped areas of the eastern Tamils. While Sinhala colonisation was encouraged and Sinhala residents given preferential treatment, Muslim areas too were relatively looked after well by Colombo regimes at the expense of Tamils.

Muslim parliamentarians being aligned to governments in power in contrast to Tamil MP's being in opposition helped this situation further. Politicians like K. W.  Devanayagam, Rajan Selvanayagam. S.U. Thambirasa, S. Rajadurai, M. Canagaratnam, Rang- anayaki Pathmanathan etc also joined govt. ranks and attempted to reverse this but the escalation of the ethnic conflict negated these efforts.

The eastern Tamil problems were further exacerbated by two other factors. A dynamic Muslim minority excelled in trade, small industry and large scale agriculture and fisheries. The Muslims of the east virtually eclipsed their Tamil counterparts in these spheres. This helped fuel resentment.

Jaffna Tamil domination

The second factor was Jaffna Tamil domination and exploitation. The top government and semi-government jobs as well as clerical and teaching jobs were monopolised by the "Jaffnese" for a long, long time. So too were vast segments of transport, trade , manufacture and large-scale farming. Many professionals too were from Jaffna. It was only after the '70s that Batticaloa Tamils began asserting themselves forcefully in these fields. Unfortunately the ethnic conflict fall-out prevented positive gains. Today, like that of Jaffna, the eastern Tamil elite is scattered in southern Sri Lanka or is abroad as part of the wider Tamil diaspora.

It was the ruthless manner in which the Sinhala dominated state responded to legitimate Tamil agitation in pursuance of their rights that affected the eastern Tamils most. The question of a north-eastern linkage in the envisaged Thamil Eelam or a greater unit of devolution was anathema to successive Colombo regimes. Dissent had to be suppressed in the east. So attempts were made to bring eastern Tamils under the state jackboot.

The STF

The Special Task Force was almost exclusively located in the east. These STF personnel described as the cream of the armed forces were nasty, brutal and cruel. A well-designed and cunningly camouflaged scorched earth policy was practised in stagesat various times in various places. Villages were destroyed, paddy fields ravaged, fishing boats demolished, people massacred. The bread winners of many rural families were killed or indefinitely incarcerated. Youths were arrested and tortured. Women violated sexually. People were driven out of strategic areas.

Today the largest number of orphans, children with single parents, young widows etc. are proportionately higher among eastern Tamils than in northern Tamil areas. Malnutrition, illiteracy, lack of gainful employment, infant mortality, lack of proper sanitary and medical facilities etc. are also relatively higher in the east than elsewhere. A foreign tourist without any preconceived opinion traveling through the east will definitely bestruck by the visible uneven development between Tamil and other areas.

Tamil-Muslim violence

Another device adopted by the state has been playing the Muslim card. The existing differences between Tamils and Muslims were widened. Cracks became chasms. Inter-ethnic strife between Tamils and Muslims was promoted. A case in point was the notorious Richard Dias of military intelligence who masqueraded as the Muslim Capt. Munaz and coordinated Tamil civilian massacres. No action has been taken against this war criminal despite his name being implicated in the Soza Commission report as well as the killing of Tamil youth in Colombo.

The Tamil-Muslim violence where the state instigated, aided and abetted mob violence inflicted much harm on the Tamils in the '80s. But Tamil militants themselves were not blameless. Many Muslims were killed, abducted and held for ransom. Their property was seized. Later on massacres like those at Kattankudi, Eravur, Sammanthurai etc were conducted against the Muslims by the LTTE. The Tigers fortified by strength of arms have oppressed the Muslim people.

There has been anti-Tamil violence by some sections of Muslims too. Though not very desirable at this point of time an impartial survey of Tamil-Muslim violence in the east will certainly reveal that both communities have suffered. Quantitatively the Muslims may have suffered more. This does not obliterate the fact that Tamils have also suffered.

Intra-Tamil violence

Apart from inter-ethnic violence and state-sponsored, state-aided violence the eastern Tamils have undergone and continue to undergo massive intra-Tamil violence too. The internecine warfare among various groups resulted in a lot of bloodshed. The Tigers are the chief culprits in this. The onslaughts against TELO and EPRLF saw many eastern Tamils killed. Eastern cadres were murdered not only in Batticaloa or Amparai but in Jaffna too where many were deployed. While northern cadres managed to evade capture, the eastern cadres were virtually stranded in the north and proved easy prey to the LTTE.

With the advent of the Indian Army the situation reversed to some extent. Tamil groups allied to the Indian army took revenge against the LTTE. The Tigers retaliated wherever they could. This resulted in phased out carnage. Then came the infamous conscription campaign encouraged by the Indian forces. Thousands of youngsters were drafted into the Civilian Volunteer Force known as the Tamil National Army. When the Indians were leaving the LTTE aided by the Sri Lankan forces attacked and decimated these poor eastern conscripts. Witnesses saw truckloads and tractor loads of bodies being taken away for disposal.

With war erupting another series of massacres took place. The LTTE had formed its political party the People's Front of Liberation Tigers and held its first convention in Vaaharai in the east.Many Tamil civilians openly identified themselves as being pro-LTTE. The Sri Lankan armed forces with the aid of some Sinhala and Muslim home guards and anti-social elements conducted a series of massacres where most victims were civilian Tiger supporters or those suspected of being so. People were taken out of refugee camps as in the cases of Vantharumoolai and Sathurukondaan and made to disappear.

The violence continued. Though the Tigers were stronger than before the suffering of the eastern Tamil people did not cease. A war of attrition took place. Tamil civilians were regularly rounded up and detained. People went missing. Restrictions were placed on agriculture and fishing. The worst was the slow and systematic killing of civilians in singles and twos instead of wholesale massacres as in the past. This regular killing of people in seemingly negligible numbers did not cause an outcry. Yet the cumulative  number of those killed was massive.

The east also became the theatre of war for anti-Tiger groups to combat the LTTE. The Razeek unit of the EPRLF, the Mohan group of the PLOTE, the Varathan group of the TELO were all active here. The killings unleashed by these outfits against those suspected of being Tiger supporters was great. LTTE retaliation was equally horrendous. The ultimate victims as is the case always were the Batticaloa-Amparai Tamils.

The ceasefire brought some relief to the Tamil people but not to the eastern Tamils. Several things happened. The LTTE conducted a campaign of murder and abduction against members and those it suspected of belonging to other Tamil groups. Even past members were targeted. Several Tamils suspected of being collaborators were assassinated in Batticaloa and even in Colombo.

The Tigers also stepped up a widespread conscription campaign where thousands of youngsters were abducted or forcibly recruited in the east. It is also a fact that several children and youths affected and in many instances impoverished by the war also joined the LTTE. The greater number however was conscripted through force and intimidation. Many people left their children as domestics outside Batticaloa to save them from Tiger clutches.

Furthermore the LTTE used the ceasefire to infiltrate government controlled areas to conscript youths and also raise funds. People were often abducted for ransom. Few people were spared with businessmen, doctors, lawyers, school principals and ex-mayors being detained till the demanded sum was paid. The most notorious example being the abduction of an 82-year-old retired notary public. This diminished the eastern Tamil economy further. The seizure of paddy lands, livestock, coconut plantations , vehicles, tractors and fishing boats earlier had affected the east greatly.

Karuna revolt

The cycle of violence worsened in the east after the Karuna revolt. The LTTE's Eastern Regional Commander, Vinayagamoorthy Muralit- haran alias "Col" Karuna revolted against Velupillai Pirapaharan and struck out alone. The Tigers sent forces from the north to quell this rebellion. Around 175 cadres supporting Karuna who were either captured or had surrendered were massacred in cold blood. Karuna came to an agreement with the leadership to avert further bloodshed and left Batticaloa.

Most of his cadres were disbanded and went home. But the problem did not cease. Hundreds of pro-Karuna cadres including seniors like Robert, Jim Kelly, Visu, Thurai, Thirumal etc. were taken to the Wanni. Many are presumed dead. Several others were taken to a Tiger camp and tortured. Many were killed. LTTE assassins started tracking down pro-Karuna cadres in all parts of the east and the south including Colombo and killed them. Even people in jails and courthouses were bumped off. The vicious campaign goes on with some youth or youths suspected of being pro-Karuna being killed. Furthermore the Tigers are also targeting cadres and ex-cadres of the EPDP, EPRLF, PLOTE and TELO in the east.

Killing spree

This killing spree is not a one-way street now. The Karuna faction now aligned with the ENDLF led by Paranthan Rajan is targeting the mainstream LTTE. Several Tiger leaders of the political wing like Kausalyan, Senathy, Bawa etc. have been killed. An unknown number of Tiger military wing cadres have been killed too. This cycle of violence where both sides are gunning each other down goes on and on in the east. Many innocent civilians having nothing to do with either faction have been caught up fatally in the violence.

One consequence of the Karuna revolt has been the killing of people like Prof. Thambiah, Journalist Nadesan, Politician Rajan Sathiamoorthy, Ex-ParliamentariansKingsley Rajanayagam, Ariyanayagam Chandranehru etc. Others like Professor Thiruchelvam, Government Agent Mounagurusamy etc. were injured seriously. If one were to examine this violent history one finds that the eastern Tamils are being victimised for decades. Eminent people like former MP, Nimalan Soundranayagam, ex-DDC Chairman Sambandamoorthy, ex-DDC member Velmurugu, Former MP Sam Thambimuthu and wife Kala, Rev. Fr. Chandra Fernando, Tamil teachers, union stalwart Wanasingha Master (a Sinhalese), Government Agent Anthonymuttu... the list is endless.

The cumulative effect of all this violence is the progressive weakening of eastern Tamil society. The killings and extortions have demoralised and undermined the elite and people capable of providing leadership. The killing of every individual regardless of his age, occupation, position or political belief deserves condemnation. Every man's death diminishes mankind. The killing of politically conscious people and action oriented intelligentsia causes much damage. Society at large is leaderless and rudderless. This can only weaken the Eastern Tamil people further and reduce them to subservience in the future.

The fratricidal intra-Tiger violence is debilitating the eastern Tamils greatly. When Karuna revolted Pirapaharan promised that he would resolve it without bloodshed. When Karuna withdrew from the east he too stated he was doing so to avoid an armed confrontation where the casualties were going to be eastern Tamils on either side. How true! But what is happening now?

Climate of fear

Eastern Tamils are being killed almost daily. There is a climate of fear. Both sides are hell bent on killing each other. In the final analysis it does not matter whether the LTTE hierarchy prevails or the Karuna faction wins. The casualties are all eastern Tamils. Either side can only score a pyrrhic victory. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "an eye for an eye can only make the whole world go blind." No one can predict the ultimate victor in this fratricidalfighting. The losers however will be the eastern Tamils in particular and the Tamil people in general.

The eastern Tamils have been affected adversely in the past through several natural calamities like floods, cyclones and now the tsunami. Furthermore the endless cycle of war related violence has diminished them further. The present man made crisis of intra-Tiger fratricide is weakening them further. There is every reason to believe that Karuna is now a pawn in the hands of Colombo. In a not so subtle game of divide and destroy: the Eastern Tamils will be victimised further.

Unless there is a public outcry on the part of the people there will be no end to this seemingly endless agony. Is not time to cry out "Stop in the name of your homeland! stop in the name of your people!!" Batticaloa is known as "Meen Paadum Then Naadu" (The land of honey where fish sing) Let the land be sweetened with flowing honey again! Let the singing fish ring out the sound of concord again and again!


Battle behind the buffer zone

Two zones create the impression of differential treatment?

By Frederica Jansz 

In what appears to be the latest announcement by the government concerning the proposed buffer zone, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the Ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply and the Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation's (TAFREN) notice in the Daily News on March 2 titled 'Let us rebuild our houses affected by the tsunami' stipulated that the buffer zone is 100 meters in Kilinochchi, Mannar Puttalam, Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Hambantota and 200 meters in Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai. It also confirms that no new construction will be permitted within these zones.

A discussion paper by Scott Leckie at the UNHCR in Colombo in April this year has clearly identified the rights issues the government is only but bound to face when it begins to enforce this decision.

No new legislation

Having said that, the new guidelines have not yet, as of April 1, 2005 been passed by parliament or been gazetted. As no new legislation has been passed, it appears that the authorities are relying on the Coastal Conservation Act, No 57 of 1981 to implement the guidelines. The Coast Conservation Act regulates development activities within the coastal zone, which is 300 meters landward from the mean high water line, with only those permits issued by the Director of Coast Conservation deemed valid. Section 31(1) of the Act provides that, "No person shall, with effect from the appointed date, erect or construct any unauthorised structure, house, hut, shed or other building on any part of the coastal zone," while Section 31(2) empowers the director to issue demolition orders on any structure built in contravention of Section 31(1).

The Urban Development Authority (UDA) has already started to demarcate both the 100 and 200 meter zones along roughly 1000 kilometers of Sri Lanka's coastline. The area between these markers and the shoreline, therefore, will constitute the exclusionary zone where people displaced by the tsunami will not be allowed to rebuild their damaged or destroyed homes, or to return to reside upon the land on which they lived at the time of the disaster, notwithstanding whatever legal rights they may have to do so. Tens of thousands of people (if not more) will be forced to relocate if the new policy is enforced.

New ventures

Existing undamaged structures within the 100/200 meter zone will be allowed to remain and be inhabited, although the entire affected zone will be a no-build zone. In addition, hotels and other businesses will remain within the buffer zone, although some building restrictions will apply for new ventures.

Clearly, this decision to create a buffer zone will have a marked impact upon the possibilities of return by those displaced by the tsunami. Indeed, the World Bank recognised as much within its extensive Post-Tsunami Needs Assessment report where it asserted in reference to the 100/200 meter rule that: "Left pending, this issue poses the single, most critical threat to the entire recovery and reconstruction process," in Sri Lanka.

As a consequence of the fact that the Coastal Conservation Act has not been strictly enforced since its adoption more than 23 years ago, large numbers of people lived within the 100/200 meter zone when the tsunami struck.

Many of these households own their land within the zone, while others have been granted legal prescription rights following lengthy occupation. Survivours interviewed by UNHCR in the preparation of Leckie's report, particularly fishermen and their communities, have indicated a very strong wish to return to their former homes or land plots and to begin their lives again from the very same location. Some of those interviewed, indicated their intention to resist any attempt by the government to evict them should it feel compelled to enforce the 100/200 meter rule in the future.

Deceptive promise

Others indicated that the government of Sri Lanka had given clear instructions not to return and that land within the 100/200 meter zone (the only asset of many of the displaced) is now effectively 'worthless' because of the new regulations. Many view the government's promises of new housing as a deceptive promise to encourage people to move or not return to their lands within the zone.

Arguments on both sides of the debate have merit. On the supportive side, it is clear, for instance, that the government needs to protect those living near the coast from the possible ravages of a future tsunami. It is equally clear that environmental measures need to be taken to protect the coastline, and that tourism along the coast is of vital importance to Sri Lanka's fragile economy.

However, these and other arguments in favour of the 100/200 meter buffer zone also raise a series of concerns that may warrant the close attention, given that elements of the 100/200 meter policy may conflict with a range of internationally recognised human rights held by all IDPs.

Of all the questions concerning the 100/200 meter zone, it is the issue of 'voluntary return or relocation' that has perhaps the most relevance.

Competent authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to establish conditions, as well as provide the means, which allow internally displaced persons to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence or to resettle voluntarily in another part of the country.

Voluntary return

The imposition of the 100/200 meter rule removes the principle of voluntary return from the reconstruction equation; effectively preventing large numbers of people - including those with recognised legal rights of ownership to housing, land and property and those with related prescription rights - from returning to their homes or places of habitual residence. Those affected by the rule have not been sufficiently consulted in the development of the proposed policy.

Large numbers of those forced from their homes by the tsunami will be displaced again if the new rule is subject to strict enforcement.

It will be important for the international community to bring to the attention of the government, the experiences of other countries which have undergone post-disaster reconstruction processes and which have much to offer.

The World Bank's Needs Assessment, for instance, provides clear evidence that, "previous experiences with post-disaster reconstruction indicate that as far as possible in-situ reconstruction managed by affected households (facilitated by NGOs) and assisted by combinations of cash grants and access to loans is the most feasible and sustainable option." In essence, thus, human rights principles and best practice both indicate that in-situ solutions are the most feasible option, and only in select instances, should relocation be considered. Under the current policy framework in Sri Lanka, this simple equation has been reversed.

If the 100/200 meter rule is implemented as planned, this will also raise concerns about possible relocations/forced evictions, which are clearly and strictly regulated under international human rights law and the domestic legal order of Sri Lanka.

In terms of the Sri Lankan Constitution, for instance, the 100/200 meter rule may be inconsistent with the terms of Article 14(1)(h) which recognises both freedom of movement and the right to choose one's residence, both of which will be functionally impossible for the displaced to exercise if they wish to voluntarily return to their former homes and/or lands and are prevented from doing so without legally sound justification.

Under international law, preventing a person or family from returning to their original home may in some circumstances also violate the right to freedom of movement and the freedom to choose one's residence within the territory of a state. Therefore, before the government imposes measures that prevent residents from returning to the 100/200 meter zone, there must be justification that such a system is reasonable under the circumstances concerned.

Additional stipulations

Additional international human rights laws binding on Sri Lanka, most notably the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), stipulate that evictions can only be carried out in exceptional circumstances and with all necessary judicial and other legal safeguards fully met. In circumstances where the government prevents the return of residents to the affected areas, it is arguable that what is called a constructive eviction has taken place. In order for such an eviction not to be 'forced' under international law, the government would need to provide adequate resettlement and comply with all relevant standards addressing this issue.

The right to adequate housing under the ICESCR must also be taken into account when examining the possible human rights implications of the 100/200 meter rule. Article 11 of the Covenant recognises housing rights and has been interpreted by the monitoring committee to ground an immediate and corresponding right to security of tenure and concomitant protections against forced eviction. Security of tenure has been interpreted by the committee to include all forms of tenure, including informal settlements and tenancies.

Evictions should not result in rendering individuals homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the state party must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case may be, is available.

If the displaced are, in effect, forcibly evicted from their original homes and lands through the process of implementing the 100/200 meter rule, the aforementioned principles and others will not be in place. The strict implementation of the 100/200 meter rule will effectively require the relevant authorities to carry out forced evictions of those who continue to reside within the buffer zone and those who have already returned and chosen to re-build their damaged or destroyed homes.

Another concern about the proposed buffer zone relates to what appears to be the arbitrary nature of the proposals concerned, and the inconsistent and potentially differential treatment that may occur during implementation. While some environmental and related justifications have been given as to why in some areas the zone extends 100 meters from the sea, while in others it covers a 200 meter area, the difference between these two zones creates the impression of differential treatment.

If reasons backed by scientific evidence were shown to be of consistent application, without exception, along the entire coastline where the buffer zones will be created, then there may be reasonable and non-arbitrary grounds for developing such a policy.

Practical approach

If, on the other hand, local environmental and physical factors and differences (such as the existence of mangroves or coral reefs) were a key determinant as to the scale of damage created by the tsunami, then a very different picture arises, and one that calls for a much more practical approach, implemented on a case by case basis, and taking into account all local factors. The assertion that a 100 or 200 meter buffer zone is an adequate response in terms of disaster prevention/reduction, may thus be creating more problems than it purports to solve.

There are two additional points to be made on the question of whether the current plan is arbitrary. Firstly, if the motivation behind the 100/200 meter rule is based on disaster mitigation, then this issue must be examined in the light of plans for establishing an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System, which are well underway.

Once this warning system is functional and coastal communities are trained in how to respond in the event of a future tsunami, large numbers of lives will then be saved. In human rights terms, this will make a significant contribution to the government's obligations to protect the right to life of potential victims. As pointed out in Leckie's report, once the system is in place, this also removes a large portion of the rationale behind the buffer zone.

Technological issue

Secondly, the disaster mitigation question essentially becomes a technological issue, heavily influenced by appropriate building codes and standards, and involving personal choices and levels of residential risk determined on a person-by-person basis. The application of specific building codes in the 100/200 meter zone would strengthen arguments against the need for resettling those wishing to continue to reside there.

The 100/200 meter proposal may also generate circumstances and practices, which are discriminatory in application, and possibly, even intent. In determining whether a law, policy or practice constitutes discrimination, it is required that such measures are applied equitably, consistently and with no procedural or substantive inequality. The Constitution of Sri Lanka explicitly prohibits discrimination, as do numerous international treaties ratified by the government of Sri Lanka.


Government's permanent housing hurdle

Country Head, ADB, Alessandro Pio

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema and Easwaran Rutnam

As the Sri Lanka Development Forum opens in Kandy tomorrow a lot of focus will be on the policies of the government with regard to the reconstruction process of tsunami devastated infrastructure, in particular permanent housing.

Despite earlier expectations to have permanent houses erected and occupational within a minimum of six months after the devastation, the government and international donor agencies have found it 'practically' impossible to meet that target.

The government now believes it will take at least three to five years to complete the reconstruction process and provide permanent housing to all the affected families.

Even the Siribopura housing project in Hambantota, which was earlier expected to be completed next month has only 25 permanent houses completed out of the expected 500.

Complex issue

World Bank Country Head, Peter Harrold believes permanent housing is the largest and most complex issue in the reconstruction efforts handled jointly by the government and donor agencies.

"The process of securing land to build permanent houses and so on are among the core issues that need to be addressed and implemented," he said.

The World Bank report for the Sri Lanka Development Forum states that around 100,000 people are still living in relief camps while the rest of the displaced have moved with friends and relatives. The report further states that the number of damaged houses is estimated at more than 110,000, of which more than 70,000 have been completely destroyed.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant of US$ 150 million for permanent housing and will disburse the funds once the housing projects are implemented.

Country Head, ADB, Alessandro Pio says that they are keen to see the government policies on reconstruction and how effective they will be.

Pio noted that among the hurdles the government is bound to face when implementing its policies is the buffer zone issue.

"The government will have to be very delicate in dealing with its reconstruction efforts of houses within and outside the buffer zone," Pio said.

He observed that it would at least take three years to complete the housing needs of the tsunami affected.

According to the report issued by the World Bank for the Sri Lanka Development Forum, the second phase of the government's needs assessment, which will focus on implementation issues, will address potential stumbling blocks to speedy reconstruction, including the 100 and 200 meter buffer zone, decentralisation arrangements and coordination of official and private funds.

The government has adopted a "no development" 100 meter buffer zone policy for the districts of Kilinochchi, Mannar, Puttalam, Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Hambantota.

The policy prohibits any new construction of buildings (permanent or temporary), reconstruction of completely or partially damaged buildings, and additions and alterations to existing undamaged buildings within the buffer zone.

An exception has been made for partially damaged buildings belonging to the hospitality industry and if the damage is below 40% of the replacement cost of the building.

The proposed policy would result in over 60 % of the damaged housing units in the coastal belt requiring relocation outside the buffer zone.

Densely populated

Since the coastal area is densely populated, particularly in the south, identifying suitable land for relocation in close proximity to the sea has caused delays in starting housing reconstruction.

In Jaffna and Ampara, the narrow width of these districts may require reallocation at a considerable distance from the coast, which may have adverse social consequences.

Some lands identified will be very expensive to develop since no infrastructure and services are available.

Furthermore, the social and environment impacts of massive relocation programmes have yet to be addressed by the government.

The government task force (TAFREN) setup to handle the reconstruction efforts has already signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with several local and international agencies and private companies to build permanent houses, construction of which has already begun in selected districts.

TAFREN believes the permanent housing reconstruction phase will in most part be fully operational during the latter part of this year.

TAFREN estimates that 35,100 houses were fully damaged while 47,500 houses were partially damaged following the tsunami.

At the moment there are 95,937 people in temporary shelters in 263 camps. So far around 200 donors have pledged to construct at least 90,000 permanent houses. However the government has signed MoUs for only 27,000 permanent houses thus far.

In total the government estimates it will require US$ 2 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation of which 1.5 billion has been committed.

Apart from permanent houses, donors have also pledged assistance to construct schools and other academic institutions in tsunami devastated areas.

Tourism sector

The tourism sector will also be a key area in the reconstruction process. The Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) has already embarked on its Tourism Marketing recovery plan in order to restore the 'Sri Lanka Tourism Brand' through a comprehensive advertising campaign.

The board believes the tourism sector will see a boom in October this year but notes that there will be a shortage of rooms to accommodate the visitors.

SLTB will be introducing "tourism zones" so that the industry can bounce back in a planned manner to avoid adhoc tourism development.

At least 15 tourism towns which were affected by the December 26 tsunami have been identified for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Housing and infrastructure development will also take place in the 15 tourist town in order to resettle the displaced communities.

The country's rail network is also to be replaced to facilitate a maximum operating speed of upto 100KMPH while the damaged rolling stocks, signal and radio communication equipment will be renovated.

Reconstructing roads and bridges

Roads and bridges damaged by the tsunami which have been temporarily repaired by the Road Development Authority (RDA) are to be reconstructed with donor assistance.

Donor agencies comprising the World Bank, ADB, JICA, JABIC, USAID, EU and EIB have pledged US$ 353.6 million to rehabilitate all damaged roads and bridges in the island on a permanent basis.

Tenders for the construction are expected to be awarded between August to October this year while the construction will commence in early January next year.

Other areas to receive donor assistance are the health sector, livelihood and micro financing, telecommunication, water supply and sanitation, fisheries, power, roads and bridges.

Most of the infrastructure will be re-built to international standards.


Prevention of domestic violence

Justice Minister John Seneviratne during the second reading of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill expressed his hope that the bill could be passed without a vote being taken - despite there being diverse views on the topic. It was a reasonable assumption, given the fact that this was a bill drawn up to safeguard a considerable section of society from bodily harm - especially since the existing laws have not been able to prevent or redress instances of domestic violence.

Yet, the subsequent parliamentary debate on the matter has brought out many observations including those from certain political parties and politicians who seem intent on opposing the prevention of violence.

In fact, it is worthwhile, contemplating at this stage, why is it that when it comes to violating women and children within the family, the standard laws and humanitarian norms applicable to violence in other situations are not deigned appropriate? For instance, if the victims faced violence of this nature in a public place, from a complete stranger, even once, they would not be condemned for seeking legal redress.

Real violence

Why then is domestic violence trivialised? Why is it not seen as very real violence involving bodily hurt and harm to people? Why is it not considered a burning issue? Why is it denigrated as a 'Western concept?' Why is the family unit sacred in Sri Lanka, even when the relentless abuse of women and children (in particular) takes place within this unit? Why is being beaten-up for the rest of your life - if you choose to remain within a particular home not considered a good enough reason to seek relief? Why are the victims expected to bear being incessantly battered by their so-called loved ones in the security of their homes? Does this mean that the so-called Sri Lankan values condone violence in the family? Should we not face the hard facts that so-called Sri Lankan values emanating from our cultures and virtually all religions have failed to protect women and children within the family?

Not a valid issue

Let us take another look at the arguments against the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill. Firstly, some of the legislators are of the opinion that domestic violence in this country is not a valid issue, despite many research studies showing that there is a high incidence of wife battery and child abuse in Sri Lanka (I would urge you to look at studies done by CENWOR, Women and Media, UNHCR among others, and the statistics of Women In Need).

It must be kept in mind that it is a feature of domestic violence that it is perpetrated by someone who is not a stranger, but who is in fact, an intimate relative. It is an act of violation that is a betrayal of love and trust, carried out in the privacy, comfort and security of the home - rendering the home into a place of fear, anxiety and danger.

A medical study done in Anuradhapura indicates that 60% of pregnant women suffered violence during pregnancy, and 11% of them were victims of grave physical injury. A research study conducted by Women In Need (a crisis intervention centre) published in the 1990s highlights the causes/reasons for the violent behaviour of the spouse and the nature of such behaviour. In a study of 200 women from mixed ethnic, low income, urban communities, 60% were victims of domestic violence. 38% of these abused women had left home temporarily as a result of abuse only to return as they did not consider leaving the matrimonial home permanently an option. Ninety eight percent of the victims were mothers and 42% were beaten while they were pregnant. In the cases of 29% of battered women, their spouses beat the children as well. There had been no indication of violence prior to marriage in 95% of the cases while 75% indicated that their spouses were not violent towards strangers.

This study showed that domestic violence was carefully directed at women within the privacy of their homes, by men who were not usually violent in other circumstances and towards other people. In 2004, a study by UNHCR on reports of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) made to hospitals, police and welfare centres in the conflict and conflict-bordering areas, convey that violence in the domestic sphere is a common and unchecked form of SGBV violence; and that with a few exceptions, most perpetrators are men, while the majority of victims constitute women between the ages of 20-44 (though there were victims as young as one-day old and as old as 85 years). Focus group discussions related to the study reveal that 80% of sexual and gender-based violence go unreported to any authority.

Regular habit

In a majority of instances, violence does not stop with one incident, but becomes a regular habit. Many victims do not seek legal remedies under the Penal Code as it would most certainly involve the breakup of families and the criminalisation of their partners ('the father of the children' - if he is the perpetrator). Furthermore, the economically vulnerable situation of women in general, prevents the victims from reporting these violent activities, which in any other instance would constitute a criminal act. In any event, support structures for battered women are hardly adequate to encourage victims to leave their homes. For instance, in many cases, when women do go to the police, they are often advised to go back home, and "settle the matter amicably."

Consequently, while police records do not accurately reflect the incidence of domestic violence in the country, medical records are more prone to do so - as the victims suffer black eyes, bleeding, shattered teeth and jaw bones, broken noses, split lips, burst eardrums, busted ribs and other bones, burns, cuts and bruises, etc. as well as a myriad of other psychological effects - from a loss of confidence to self-blame, to other disorders such as stress, trauma, depression, anxiety, anorexia, etc. Consequently, many doctors and surgeons are able to give evidence of non-accidental injuries and illnesses. In the worst-case scenario, the victims end up dead.

Hidden crime

Another line of thought on the matter is based on a sense of priorities. One parliamentary member's argument prioritises the ethnic conflict over such issues as domestic violence. Why should only one form of violence be seen as legitimate and deserving an expeditious resolution? To be charitable to its champions, it is possible that this argument is based on the fact that domestic violence is a hidden crime and therefore does not necessarily evoke public or media interest, unless the victims die.

Perhaps, it needs to be reminded that the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill will impact on all persons irrespective of sex, class, race, caste, etc., and consequently, will bring relief to all citizens, who have access to the Sri Lankan courts. Furthermore, domestic violence has far preceded the ethnic conflict, and has the potential to affect larger sections of Sri Lanka's population, and is therefore of urgent redress - even this late in the day.

Western concept?

Parliamentary members have also projected a view that domestic violence is a Western concept. (Is it only among families in Western countries that domestic violence can injure people?) Does this mean that our entire judicial system that is based on Roman-Dutch law is to be thrown out as emanating from the West? Then, are our standards on human rights, as well as women's rights founded on international norms such as that of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (UNCEDAW), and the commitment made by the government of Sri Lanka to the UNCEDAW Committee on domestic violence to be renegaded on?

This seems to be the case, going by the speech made by another parliamentary representative on the issue, who takes refuge in such Sinhala maxims, "kanthawath, vahaluth, berayath gahanna sudusui" (it is suitable to beat women, slaves and drums) or that "gedhara randuwa batha idenakal vithrarai" (the fight in the house lasts only until the rice is cooked). If references to these sayings are not justification of violence in the household that is articulated by the good Comrade Sister, I don't know what is. And does this then mean that this member's party also stands for the perpetuation and violation of a slave class and violence in the family?

The 'West-based argument' is usually one that is made as a last resort, when there is no possibility of a reasonable justification, and has been wearing thin since its many advocates in the JHU and JVP entered parliament. Its refuge lies in culture or 'Sri Lankan culture' to be precise. Its very selectivity in terms of what is considered 'bad' from the West is utterly irrational and arbitrary - as has been argued on many occasions, by many writers. In contrast, the local is valorised - even if it means victimisation and sadism.

In this instance, domestic violence has undeniably become a legal concept because there is such a phenomenon taking place in the country, if not worldwide. Furthermore, none of the religions prevalent in Sri Lanka condone violence in society or in the family - so the cultural argument is simply not valid. The Buddhist tradition and culture are firmly based on the tenets of love, compassion and kindness (maithree, karuna, mudhitha) - not only in the temple, but in all relationships. Ahimsa is not a Western concept! Nor does Hinduism promote violence. Equally, both Christianity and Islam teach that man and woman have been created in the image of God, and that no one has a right to harm another person.

Another so-called reason against supporting the bill is that it would lead to the breaking up of families which is considered to be sacrosanct according to these so-called Sri Lankan values. However, the tangible experiences of domestic violence convince us that this 'sacred' unit has not been able to protect its members in instances of domestic violence. Are we to consider a family that is constantly at war - where its members are being regularly thrashed and psychologically ravaged, a place of fear and insecurity, danger and despair, to be sacred?

Is this family, not already broken up? Especially, when children in that family are dysfunctional, who may be malnourished and who may neglect their studies, and show antisocial behavioural patterns. Psychological studies have shown us that such children grow up with a sense of violence as being justified, and sometimes they themselves go on to become perpetrators of violence to the family and community - caught up in a vicious circle.

A sorry situation

It is indeed a sorry situation, where existing social structures, whether it be the law, religious values, moral standards or personal ethics have not always ensured that family members are protected in the home. It is always easy to refer to cultural platitudes and take refuge in religious dictums when pontificating in parliament. I would urge these members of parliament, who have quite obviously lost touch with the concerns of their constituents, deal with the reality of the issue; and this involves looking afresh and engaging with the real blood and gore concerns of violence in the family.

In the first instance, the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill will have the capacity to create consciousness that domestic violence will not be tolerated in the family and in society at large. It will help to eradicate a culture of impunity that allows violence in the home without punishment. It will serve to make the home - first and foremost - a safe place; aside from promoting habits of non-violent conflict resolution, and respect in interpersonal relations, as well as peace among all communities in the country.

This is why it is worthwhile, at this juncture, to reflect on the number of domestic violence cases that you, the reader, know of - amongst your family, friends and acquaintances. I have no doubt, that you would soon realise that domestic violence is a phenomenon that cuts across all social classes, races, castes and other socio-cultural groupings. And perhaps it is time that you decide to make a difference by writing to your local MP in favour of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill.


Diyawadana Nilame: The battle intensifies

Outgoing Diyawadana Nilame, Neranjan Wijeratne

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti 

The forthcoming poll to elect the chief lay custodian of the sacred temple of the tooth is bound to make history, though it may be negative history. Never has an election for this post been fought with such might and put all other elections to shame. Such is the intensity and politics involved as six contestants vie for the highest lay position in the Buddhist world, the post of Diyawadana Nilame.

Besides being an intense battle, what is sad about the upcoming election is that it is bringing shame to an institution steeped in tradition as petty politics have begun to mar its significance.

Consequently, the sacred Mahamaluwa area of the Dalada Maligawa has come to resemble the Lipton Circus, the venue of protest campaigns and much slogan shouting to the collective embarrassment and dismay of Buddhists.

The dispute commenced when the second term of the incumbent Diyawadana Nilame, Neranjan Wijeratne ended on May 4, 2005 following which the Commissar of Buddhist Affairs, H. W. D. Sunil, appointed an acting Diyawadana Nilame breaching its century old history.

But the temporary appointment is only the tip of the iceberg. The real issue is that the powers that be want Wijeratne out and on several occasions, this message has been conveyed to him. Wijeratne, the eldest son of a former Justice Minister of the UNP, Nissanka Wijeratne has a brother, Manodha who is a UNP sitting Member of Parliament.

The fact that Wijeratne hailed from a UNP family was always held against him, though Wijeratne was known for not getting involved in politics of any kind. The other factor that goes against him is a decade old.

Sources from the temple of the tooth told The Sunday Leader that late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike has often thought it was unthinkable that a man who did not represent the Kandyan aristocracy was twice elected Diyawadana Nilame. Her opposition to his election 10 years ago is a recorded fact.

It is in this backdrop that Neranjan Wijeratne is seeking a third term of office as the chief custodian of the highest place of Buddhist worship in the entire world. And the UPFA politics has come to the fore in favour of one of the contestants, Mohan Panabokke, the incumbent Basnayaka Nilame of the Vishnu Devale, Kandy and a relative of the Ratwattes.

Symbolising the merging of Buddhism and Hinduism, the Dalada Maligawa has four main devales within the surrounding area. They play a significant role in the Maligawa rituals and form part of the sacred area.

Sri Natha, the deity who is believed to be the next Buddha, Sath Pattini, Vishnu and Kataragama are the four main devales. The Dedimunda devale in Aluthnuwara in the Mawanella electorate is considered a fifth place of worship connected to the Maligawa.

Steeped in tradition

The office of the Diyawadana Nilame is one steeped in tradition and one that commands political power in its own way, despite the evolution of the office. The Diyawadana Nilame symbolises and traditionally represents the Sinhala king and there is much prestige attached to the post. Naturally, it is a sought after post.

The contestants are the former Diyawadana Nilame, Neranjan Wijeratne himself, Basnayaka Nilame of the Vishnu devale, Mohan Panabokke, Basnayake Nilame of the Sri Saman and Kataragama devales, Nilanga Dela Bandara, Basnayaka Nilame of the Embekke devale, Sudantha Senanayake, an engineer, T. Keerawella and a former regional manager of the Bank of Ceylon, P. B. Jayasundera.

Controversy

What triggered off a controversy was the obvious attempt to oust Wijeratne and campaigns undertaken by sections of the Maha Sangha to discredit him. The first salvo was denying Wijeratne the acting appointment which is customarily his due. But misappropriation charges were trumpeted and while Wijeratne's reputation was being tarnished, on May 6, two days after Wijeratne's term ended, Basnayake Nilame of the Sath Pattini devale, Rohan Saliya Paranagama was appointed as the acting Diyawadana Nilame.

The breaching of tradition occurred at a time when the government is doing its best to secure the victory of Mohan Panabokke who hails from a Kandyan aristocratic family with also the correct political connections.

While Panabokke himself has fought shy and kept away from the ugly manoeuvering game, what is worse than the politics involved is the cause of the division - a section of the Maha Sangha who can't wait to see Wijeratne's back. And the raging battle has not only brought the institution and the office to disrepute but also divided the Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters in pronounced manner.

According to the Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero, the acting appointment being given to a non-contesting Nilame was the best option. Selecting a contestant would have given that person an undue advantage at the poll, claims the Thero.

Following the appointment, chief incumbent in charge of the thewawa service, Chief Priest of the Asgiriya Chapter, Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero refused to confer any administrative powers on the acting Diyawadana Nilame and held on to the keys of the inner chamber.

Consequently, for the first time in the Dalada history, Buddhist rituals are being performed at the sacred place of worship without the presence of a Diaywadana Nilame which is vital. Several devotees who are disinterested in the political warfare told The Sunday Leader "it was most funny to have the temple without a Diyawadana Nilame proper." One even compared the situation to a wedding without a bride. And that's the impact the happenings in Kandy have on the regular Buddhist who wants to see the temple functioning properly and is not a subject of ridicule.

Wrong decision

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Secretary, Supreme Sangha Council of the Asgiriya Chapter, Ven. Dr. Warakawe Dhammaloka Thero said that a breach of tradition has taken place due to bad decision making.

"The authorities have made the wrong decision causing an unnecessary and unsavoury situation to crop up. The outgoing Diyawadana Nilame, as is the tradition should have been given the acting appointment. The decision is so wrong," the Thero added.

Ven. Dhammaloka Thero, regarded as the most reliable authority on the history and traditions of the Dalada Maligawa further said that never has the acting appointment been given to a complete outsider and this was precedent that should have been avoided.

"There was no need to appoint someone else. The incumbent could have continued until a new Diyawadana Nilame is elected," he added.

Meanwhile, there were moves by the Supreme Council of the Sangha of the Asgiriya Chapter to urge authorities to revoke the acting appointment and to replace him with another Basnayake Nilame of another main devale in Kandy. The favoured candidate for the interim period was Basnayake Nilame of the Sri Natha devale, R. M. Navaratne. But with mounting opposition against such moves, the decision was differed.

The Asgiriya Chapter finally did not push the matter. And the temple of the tooth functions sans its chief lay custodian. What is worse is that the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs not only denied the acting post to Wijeratne but also demanded the resignation of the Kariya Karawana Korale who oversees administrative activities of the Sacred Temple. He is appointed by the Diyawadana Nilame.

While the matter simmers and is yet to reach boiling point, monks of the Malwatte Chapter, believed to have been spurred on by the chief priest himself held placards condemning Wijeratne and held a noisy protest on the sacred Mahamaluwa area on Wednesday (11) morning. And that broke the camel's back.

The protesting monks had many allegations to level against the former officer.

But residents of Kandy who pay homage to the Temple of the Tooth considered it a disgrace to have politically motivated monks converting the sacred area to another Lipton Circus. Adding insult to injury, they observed pansil and announced that they would launch a fast unto death - in violation of the basic tenets of Buddhism - unless and until the keys are handed over to the acting Diyawadana Nilame.

They held placards which alleged that Wijeratne was corrupt and committed misappropriation of Maligawa funds. "What happened to Rs.13 million" most placards read. Other allegations included that some chunks of gold donated by Thai pilgrims had allegedly gone missing and that Thai female devotees were entertained inside the inner chambers when rituals were not being performed simply to get more donations. Some placards simply read, "49 is fatal," an obvious reference to Wijeratne's age.

Among the key demands of the protesting monks were the immediate handing over of the official residence to the acting Diyawadana Nilame and forceful removal of Wijeratne from the premises.

As the dispute hotted up, the Diyawadana Nilame bowed to pressure brought upon him and handed over the keys on Thursday (12) to Buddhist Affairs Commissioner, H. W. D. Sunil in the presence of Chief Prelates, Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero and Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero.

Pertinently, Wijeratne has pointed out that now that his term was officially over and the keys have been handed in, the preservation of traditions associated with the temple lay in the hands of the Commissioner.

The keys of the Maha Karanduwa or the main casket, the main office and the Maligawa museum were handed over at which point Wijeratne pinpointed that his responsibility towards the lands and valuables belonging to the temple had now ceased.

Sources from the temple told The Sunday Leader that Wijeratne has urged the Commissioner to speedily issue a certificate of acceptance and clearance as customary inventories were not taken before the keys were handed over on Thursday (12) afternoon.

However, just before the handing over of keys, the outspoken Asgiriya chief priest who believes that Wijeratne was wronged by the acting appointment held crisis talks with Acting Diyawadana Nilame Paranagama to resolve the matter to no avail.

A vanishing breed

The monk had resolutely refused to accept the acting appointment as it was one that breached convention and even refused to part with the keys on the basis that Paranagama was an "outsider."

With the monks from the Malwatte Chapter staging an ugly protest in the Mahamaluwa area in support of Paranagama's appointment, it is learned that Wijeratne decided to step in and resolve the crisis before things turned ugly.

Meanwhile, Buddha Sasana Minister, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs, D. Sunil spent Friday (13) morning locked in discussions as to the conduct of an election which is going to be far more intense than actual polls. Though there may not be actual bloodshed, as the battle intensifies for the big post, there will be little doubt left as to why the Sinhala Buddhists are considered a vanishing breed. One only has to unravel the politics of the Diyawadana Nilame poll to understand why.

Electing a Diyawadana Nilame

Some 396 persons are eligible to vote at the Diyawadana Nilame poll. The voters include the chief prelates of both chapters, chief incumbents of certain temples and their custodians, Basnayake Nilames of the devales and divisional secretaries of those selected areas. Election is possible by a simple majority.

The election is held according to the Buddhist Temporalities Act of 1931. A Diyawadana Nilame is appointed for a period of 10 years where as a Basnayake Nilame of a devale holds office for five years.

The election is conducted by the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs. It should be announced within a month of the vacancy being created and be concluded within three months.

According to Ven. Dr. Warakawe Dhammaloka Thero, a contestant should be primarily a Sinhala Buddhist and should not be an insolvent. In addition, he should be able to execute some form of a surety bond.

The contestant should be less than 70 years of age. An elected candidate can seek re-election until he reaches 70 years.

The tentative date set for the election is June 23 which is pending confirmation.


The role of the Diyawadana Nilame

The Diyawadana Nilame is the chief custodian of the sacred Temple of the Tooth and performs rituals along with the two chapters, Malwatte and Asgiriya who alternatively perform the thewawa ritual.

During his tenure, he is the sole custodian of all movable and immovable properties belonging to the temple and is responsible for their safety as well as development.

He is also charged with the duty of appointing officers necessary for the administration of the institution and the performance of rituals.

As for traditional festivals and other rituals, one of the biggest responsibilities of a Diyawadana Nilame is to organise the Esala perahera.

In addition, he shall organise the Avurudhu, Esala, Aluth Sahal and Diya Kepeema festivals.

He will also organise the thewawa rituals which are alternatively performed by monks of Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters.

According to Ven. Dr. Warakawe Dhammaloka Thero, the most significant event in the calendar is the Esala pageant.

According to the Thero, the Diyawadana Nilame was originally charged with the royal duty of providing water to the Sinhala King from which task he derived the particular title.

The selection criteria in the ancient times have also been interesting. It has always been a person who represented the Kandyan aristocracy. Buddhists hold the office in high esteem the world over.

When the sacred tooth was handed over to the Sri Lankan people following political independence, it was decreed that the responsibility of paying homage to the sacred tooth and the performance of rituals would once again be shared by the two chief priests of both chapters and the Diyawadana Nilame.

Though guided by the two mahanayakes at all times, the Diyawadana Nilame remains the sole administrator of the temple and the lay custodian of the tooth itself.


Asgiriya Chief Priest on key handing over

With the two chapters clashing over the acting appointment, Chief Prelate, Asgiriya Chapter, Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero told The Sunday Leader that making an acting appointment is a decision by the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs and no other.

The Thero said that he had faith that the President would not interfere in a battle that was outside the ambit of her authority.

As for the original handing over of keys by Neranjan Wijeratne to him, the Chief Prelate said that it was done as convention was not followed and there was no other procedure to follow.

"I accepted it as the chief incumbent of the chapter and monk in charge of the thewawa service at present," the Thero explained.


Vasu's open letter to Somawansa

"Don't be a tool of imperialism"

Dear Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe, The JVP: Imperialism's new stooge in Sri Lanka?

It was difficult for me to believe my eyes when I saw your letter to the United States Under-Secretary of State, Ms Christina Rocca, published in The Sunday Leader of 24 April 2005. What first struck me was the grovelling and obsequious tone in which you have approached today's leading imperialist state and the glowing tributes that you shower on President George W. Bush, the butcher of Iraq.

Before I deal with the substance of your letter I must comment on your sycophantic style. Bush is reviled by half the people of his own country and progressive opinion world wide for his extreme right-wing fundamentalism, his imperialist war making in Iraq and Afghanistan and pre-emptive threats against Iran and elsewhere, and his neo-liberal economics that makes the rich richer while grinding down the poor. Is this the icon to which the JVP wishes to hitch its star as though he were a new Abraham Lincoln? Is the JVP unaware of how the US massacred democracy in many countries after the war that you pray that "the United States will follow in the same spirit that after WW II it helped replace fascist dictatorship by vibrant democracies"? You seem to live in cloud-cuckoo land, but I also think there is a sinister motive behind your grovelling. I will come to that before I end this letter.

The substance of your letter is that the LTTE should be marginalised in the post tsunami reconstruction process and denied legitimacy in the current political process. In practical terms this amounts to denying post-war and post-tsunami relief and reconstruction to the people of the north and east and prolonging the discord on the ethnic issue. We have no illusions about the human and democratic rights violations of the LTTE. However, the fact remains that there can be no progress on either reconstruction or ethnic settlement without dealing directly with the LTTE. Hence your stance is a callous disregard for the appalling conditions of the Tamil, Muslim and even Sinhalese people in these areas. Your revulsion of the LTTE is driving you to the brink of anti-Tamil chauvinism. All this is well known about JVP politics, but what is alarming is that you have now decided to play games with world imperialism and invite its involvement in the local political process.

The second crucial issue is your "wish to be the first revolutionary party to make the transition to a parliamentary party and to a mixed economy" and your efforts at canvassing the blessings of Bush and his administration for this metamorphosis. Let me first remind you that 'revolutionary' refers to social transformation and seeking a better form of society, it is not something contradictory to democracy. The problem is that you mistake the anarchism, terrorism and purposeless violence of your party in 1971 and 1989-90, with revolutionary social change and therefore, illogically, you counter-pose democracy to progressive politics. In this respect the JVP has been a mirror image in the south of the LTTE in the north.

The JVP's effort to change its political colours is its own business, but seeking to embroil the leading world aggressor in local conflicts is dangerous; it is also sinister. The cycle of violence and counter violence in Sri Lanka is daily getting worse and the prevailing peace is tenuous. The stand-off between the JVP and President Kumaratunga and her party is deteriorating. There is talk that under the cloak of parliamentary democracy extra-constitutional power grabs are being considered and infiltration of the forces is taking place. Was it not the JVP and the President who recently used the word 'conspiracy' in barely concealed references to each other?

So are you sideling up to imperialism in the hope of securing support if the political game gets dirty and dangerous? The United States has been more involved in the overthrow of democratic governments, military coups and setting up pernicious dictatorships, than any other power on earth. Why are you seeking such friends? This is the most troubling question of all.

I sincerely hope that the large number of genuine trade unionists, rural poor and young people who are associated with the JVP will come out in open protest and stop the backsliding of your party in to the pocket of imperialism. I also hope that they will not allow you to sabotage progress in reconciliation, reconstruction and peace building. These are the people to whom I am really addressing this letter.

Vasudeva Nanayakkara
Secretary, 
Democratic Left Front
6 May 2005


Leader lists its witnesses in contempt case

Mangala Samaraweera, Mahinda Rajapakse, Prof. G.L. Peiris and Ranil Wickremesinghe

The contempt of court case filed by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption against the Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunga and Journalist, Amantha Perera will be taken up in the Supreme Court on June 29. Following are the lists of witnesses as forwarded to courts by the respondents and plaintiff respectively. 

Witnesses listed by The Sunday Leader journalists

1. W. Somaratne, Retd Asst. Superintendent of Police, 35/3, Pilliyandala Road, Maharagama.

2. K. M. Sarath Nandasena, Chief Inspector and Investigator of Commission to Investigate Bribery and Corruption, 101, Egodawatte Road, Boralesgamuwa to give evidence and to produce his diary for November 2001, statement made to Criminal Investigations Department on 25/2/2003, evidence given in MC Colombo Fort case No.55895 on 13/3/2003 and evidence given before the Parliamentary Select Committee on affairs of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

3. Peter Gunatillake, Director (Investigation) of Commission to Investigate Allegations Bribery and Corruption, Senior Superintendent of Police to give evidence and to produce statement made to Criminal Investigations Department on 26/2/2003, evidence given on March 18, 2003 in M.C. Colombo Fort case No. 55895.

4. Rienzie Arsecularatne PC, former Additional Solicitor General, for Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption to give evidence and to produce all minutes, reports and memorandum and script of press interview given by him as the Director General.

5. Ransiri Fernando, Attorney at Law.

6. K. C. Kamalasabayson, P.C. Attorney General.

7. Nimal Maturata, Former Secretary, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

8. Chief Security Officer or his representative, President's House, Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 1 to give evidence and to produce or cause to be produced admission of Kingsly Wickremasuriya, Commissioner of Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption and Chief Inspector, K. M. S. Nanadsena to the President's House on November 7, 2001 at about 10.30, Entries made by them at the Security Check Point and admissions of Piyasena Ranasinghe, the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations Bribery and Corruption, to the President's House.

9. Mahinda Rajapakse, Prime Minister.

10. Lakshman Kadiragamer, P.C., M.P.

11. Mrs. Sunila Mendis, Additional Secretary to the President.

12. John Amaratunge, M.P. and Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Affairs of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption and to produce Motion of Appointment of the Select Committee Order Paper of 20/2/2003 and all proceedings of the said Select Committee.

13. Priyani Wijesekara, Secretary General of Parliament or her representative to give evidence and to produce or cause to be produced motion to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee on the affairs of Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption Order Paper of 20/2/2003 and all proceedings of the said Select Committee.

14. Victor Ivan, Editor, Ravaya.

15. Ranjith Ananda Jayasinghe, Journalist, Lankadeepa.

16. Siri Ranasinghe, Editor, Lankadeepa.

17. Ranil Wickremesinghe MP, former Prime Minister.

18. S. B. Dissanayake, M.P.

20. Prof. G.L.Peiris, M.P.

21. Ms. Chandra Jayasekara, Asst. Director (Legal), the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

22. W. Siripala Mendis Abeysekara, former Officer In Charge, Police Mounted Division.

23. Dr. V. Y. Kuruwita, Head of Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies.

24. Dr. I. de Silva, University of Peradeniya.

25. H. M. G. B. Kotakadeniya, former Senior Deputy Inspector General.

26. Kingsly Wickremasuriya, Commissioner, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

27. Ananda Coomaraswamy, Commissioner, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

28. Piyasena Ranasinghe, Director General, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption to give evidence and to produce documents referred to in items 6, 7, 13 and 15 of the List of Documents.

29.Managala Samaraweera, M.P.

30 Thilan Wijesinghe, former Chairman, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka.

31. K. Priyantha Fernando, Sri Lanka Judicial Service.

32. L. Weerasinghe, Chief Inspector of Police.

33. W. J. M. Lokubandara M.P.

34.  (a) M. H. Mohamed M.P.

      (b) Hemakumara Nanayakkara M.P.

      (c) Dinesh Gunawardena M.P.

      (d) Nimal S. De Silva M.P

      (e) Ravindra Randeniya M.P

      (f) Sunil Handunetti M.P.

All members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the affairs of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

35. Uditha Egalahewa, Senior State Counsel, Counsel to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the affairs of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

36. Rajiva Gunathilake, State Counsel, Counsel to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the affairs of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

37. Ven Keeniyawe Palitha Thero, Viharadhipathi, Nalandaramaya Temple, Nugegoda.

38. Ravi Karunanayake M.P.

39. Bandula Atapattu, Registrar, Supreme Court to give evidence and to produce case records in S. C. Rule 1A/2002, 2./2002, 3/2002 and 3A/2002, all Letters Certificates sent by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption in respect of the said Rule matters,

40. Ranjith Abeysuriya P.C.

41. Registrar, Magistrate Court of Colombo Fort to produce or cause to be produced the case records in cases No. 55894, 55895 and B 282/02.

42. Director, Criminal Investigations Department of Sri Lanka Police to produce or cause to be produced the statements recorded from S. B. Dissanayake, Peter Gunatilake, Lasantha Wickremat- unge, Kingsly Wickremasuriya and K. M. S. Nandasena by the Criminal Investigations Department in respect of Complaint against Kingsly Wickremasuriya, Commissioner of the Commission to Investigation Allegations of Bribery and Corruption.

Witnesses listed by the Attorney General for the commission

i.      Registrar of the Supreme Court (to produce or cause to be produced a certified copy of the certificate setting out the determination dated 4th December, 2002, received from the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption along with the documents annexed thereto).

ii.      Director, Department of national Archives (to produce or cause to be produced a certified copy of the The Sunday Leader newspaper publication of 23rd December, 2001).

iii.      Secretary, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (to produce or cause to be produced a certified copy of the certificate setting out the determination dated 4th December, 2002 transmitted by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to the Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka along with the documents annexed thereto).


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