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17th July, 2005  Volume 12, Issue 1

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                                    

Letters

Open letter to CBK on JM and Sangha Forum

The proposed Joint Mechanism (JM) has been of great concern to me as well as a great many citizens. Any agreement between our government and the LTTE is suspect because their aim is to establish a separate state in the Northern, Eastern and North Western Provinces  and indeed have already done so in some parts of our motherland.

I looked forward to the maha sangha Forum (MSF) to learn all the details of the details of the JM and watched it on TV. The express purpose of the MSF was to enlighten the maha sangha regarding the JM and dispel the fears entertained by them  as well as the people. The task was entrusted to a few SLFP ministers and SLFP Buddhist monks. It was a SLFP affair as no one from any of the constituent parties of the government or any other political party had a place there.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga spent much time explaining her views on the consequences of not establishing the JM  - WAR. Is this a fact? Has the LTTE made such a declaration? Or is it mere conjecture, emphasised for the specific purpose of establishing the JM ? The LTTE has waged war, is waging war and will continue to wage war until their objective of Eelam is achieved, first in the north and east and then in the hill country and eventually in Nadu. Will they be persuaded otherwise by the JM ?

It was stated that the armed forces are corrupt. In fact, the maha sangha was requested to help find honest soldiers. What is meant is that the armed forces cannot be relied on. But, who is in charge of the armed forces ? Who is the Commander in Chief ?  Who is responsible to ensure that the armed forces do their duty ? Surely, not the maha sangha.

It was stated further that youth would have to be conscripted. But, there is no such law or provision in our country. In fact,  before the President came to the  MSF, a venerable monk said that Buddhism is fully opposed to war. Can conscription take place if Buddhism does not countenance violence or war ? Secondly, what is the use of conscripting youth, if the armed forces are corrupt as the President says?

It was also stated that thousands of LTTEers are in Colombo. Who permitted this? What action has been taken? Whose duty and responsibility is it to ensure the safety of us citizens, our homes, property , state institutions etc.? Is security of the president and ministers the only concern of the government?

It seemed to me that all this was said to scare people and coerce them to accept the JM.

 What are we citizens to believe? Sovereignty is not just a word. It means that the laws of the land would apply, that you and I can freely travel for our work or pleasure without any hindrance. Is this possible? Can any of us go to Tiger territory? Can any citizen living in those parts express their views freely and stay alive?

Many questions arise in my mind. Can I please have answers to a few of them?

1. If the JM is essential why has it taken six months to be brought before us?

2. Who originated the proposal? Was it the LTTE or the Norwegians?

3. Who prepared the first draft and when and to whom was it circulated?

4. When will a full draft and when and to whom was it circulated?

5. What is the need for a national council when the LTTE controls only some areas of the north-east?

6. Cannot the JM be restricted only to areas controlled by the LTTE? The work in other areas of the N & E under government control can be carried out in the normal way?

7. Cannot the JM at district and divisional level comprise elected representatives and those actually affected?

8. Can a condition permitting visits to Tiger areas by the President, ministers and law officers be provided in the JM? 

D. Wijesinghe
Pita Kotte


We must safeguard our motherland

No ships over Sethu - not now, not ever

Many readers of your esteemed journal have expressed fears over the Sethsumudram project that would be carried out by Big Brother India in the very near future.

Some issues are:

1. Environmental impact 2. Economic impact on the fishermen of Jaffna and Mannar 3. Destruction to the coastal belt including loss of some islets which may compel us to re-draw our map 4. Destruction of pearl banks off Mannar.

India may not stop after the completion of Sethusamudram which includes the improvement of facilities at Tuticorin  seaport which is towards the north of Mannar, but will go further - that is building of a massive modern harbour in one of the islands of the Andaman or Nicobar groups (probably Port Blair).

This is India's wish but what will happen to Colombo? Ships will not call at Colombo as they will be taking the shorter Sethusamudram route calling at the new harbour  enroute to the Far East. Singapore too may feel the impact. Our lighthouses at Beruwala, Devundara, Great Basses and Little Basses will also be put to sleep as no ships will pass the south coast of Sri Lanka.

In this context it is the duty of all pollical parties, clergy of all religions, business community and civil society to get together and take necessary action early to safeguard our motherland.

Last week Indian Prime Minister Manomohan Singh arrived in the South Indian town of Madurai to lay the foundation stone for offices to administer the $560 mn proejct. What next?

M. Mohamed Rafeek
Hambantota


The malady afflicting the Sinhala polity today

Several years ago I had the good fortune to read Dr. J.G. Hattotuwe's short, historical novel: The End Of The Sinhalayo. In this novel, the eminent Professor of Psychological Medicine foretold that the struggle by the Tamil terrorists for a separate state would end disastrously for the Sinhalese owing to the crass opportunism of the leaders of the two main political parties. Neither would want the other to lead the country but both would not mind surrendering it to a third party, even to an enemy. Our history is replete with such instances and history would repeat itself. I thought all these were figments of a fertile imagination. However the events that have been unfolding in the recent past have proved how correct Dr. Hattotuwe is and how foolish and gullible most of us are.

To quote Dr. Hattotuwe:

"Here in Sri Lanka, by the year 2020, the long drawn out struggle by the Sinhalayo to protect and preserve the sovereignty and independence of their motherland has terminated ingloriously with hordes of Tamils marching southwards to devour the fertile fields drenched in rain and soaked with mulch - with the ultimate result that one of the world's smallest ethnic minorities, the Sinhalese, are corralled into a crescent of land in the deep south."

"How come that a once proud nation - the Sinhalese - who could boast of a glorious civilisation going back to pre-Christian times should be reduced to the status of a grovelling minority in the land of their birth? Never in our history has this country suffered so much at the hands of such a few as it has during the post-Independence period of over 50 years. Driven by an insatiable lust for power our politicians have selfishly resorted to crass opportunism and betrayed the Sinhalese to the minorities who revel in tilting the balance of power resulting from divisions among the majority community."

"One has to acknowledge the wisdom pregnant in the Sinhala peasant's saying that when one cannot sell one's mother one sells one's country."

The correctness of the author's diagnosis of the malignant malady mortally afflicting the Sinhala polity is being daily validated before our very eyes. It is said that coming events cast their shadows before them. The unfolding events in the hurly - burly of present day politics, also prove how true his prognosis is. How far or how near is Sri Lanka to the state envisioned by the writer? Today this is indeed the most vital question which demands the urgent and serious attention of all sons and daughters of Mother Lanka.

Gladstone Karunaratne 
Pitakotte


P-TOMS: problems in implementation?

As has been rightly said there was too much of a drama created by the dilly-dallying in the signing, which was, I think because of the many astrologers who gave conflicting opinions of the stars' placement. I wonder what the astrologers who predicted a smooth run of the JVP, SLFP and company government will say now after the marriage broke up before anything worthwhile could be achieved in the economic, social, educational, employment and other  fields. Rata Perata  my foot!

I think by blindly but wittingly going about in the formation of the UPFA government, the SLFP has almost eliminated itself in the public consciousness because the SLFP hierarchy had one motto 'no more UNP', ably and effectively supported by the sahodarayas.  So much so that even the hand symbol had not been seen in the last election. Result-SLFP-in limbo.

The government's or one of its factions' determination was amply demonstrated in signing the joint mechanism. Many would have expected a repeat of the tearing up of the Bandaranaike -Chelvanayakam pact. The bitter fruits of this tearing up have been tasted all past two-plus decades. The saner elements in the country would applaud the agreement coming into effect. However, the implementation is the hard part because those who derided the ceasefire agreement are  the implemental machinery.

The dissension that is being noticed in the plethora of Muslim political parties is disheartening. One cannot understand what these parties in their conflicting modes are going to achieve for the people whom they profess to represent. Weren't the Muslims better off when they were not confused by so many political parties which are supposed to be their benefactors? I feel the Muslims need someone who is not worried about keeping his purse healthy.

Mohamed Dangra
Colombo 6


Insurance ombudsman - IBSL response

We refer to a letter addressed to the editor titled "Appointment of insurance Ombudsman timely" that appeared in The Sunday Leader on  May 22 and  wish to respond as follows:

In terms of the Regulation of Insurance Industry (RII) Act No. 43 of 2000, the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka is vested with the authority to entertain complaints only with regard to long-term insurance polices below a certain threshold limit but the board has nevertheless entertained even other complaints. Only less than 15% of the complaints could not to be resolved due to technical issues and the parties were requested to have recourse to arbitration or litigation, if so advised.

Through a consultative process where even the public was provided with the opportunity to make representations, the board decided to detariff motor and fire insurance as is the case with many countries.

When necessary, the board has recourse to technical specialists and consultants to complement the experience and skills of its staff.

The board has not received any complaints regarding non-payment of tsunami claims. The IBSL issued a directive to all insurance companies to  meet claims in respect of vehicles which had a flood cover as "Earthquake Cover" which was not available for vehicles in Sri Lanka. All insurance companies adhered to the directive of the board and accordingly settled motor claims having flood cover. Ex-gratia payments have also been made on a voluntary basis.

Lasinee Seresinhe
Director General, IBSL
Colombo 1


Prediction comes true

During the last election campaign 15 months ago, a politician from the UNP (unfortunately I do not remember his name), made a very wise statement. He said, " Whether the UNP wins or PA wins , the ultimate loser will be Chandrika." What he meant was that if the UNP came to power still she would have to work with Ranil as the prime minister, which she did not want. Hence her necessity for elections at a time when the country was progressing well and we all had peace and nobody wanted an election. If the PA came to power, he predicted that she would never be able to work with the JVP.

It took only 15 months for those words to come true.

R. S. Abeysekera
Negambo


JVP ordered even dying patients to be sent home

During the bloody insurrection of 1988/89, the JVP did not have compassion for even the sick and dying patients in private nursing homes.

The writer who was working in a nursing home in Colombo at that time received a letter from the chief executioner of the JVP followed by posters on the walls of the buildings ordering the management to immediately despatch all indoor and outdoor patients home and close up the premises failing which the management would be done to death. Similar letters and warnings were received by all other private nursing homes as well.

Another organisation opposed to the JVP soon after put up posters on the walls of the nursing homes warning the management that they would have to face death if the nursing homes were not kept open and the sick and dying patients not cared for. It must be stated that all these nursing homes affiliated to the Association of Private hospitals and Nursing Homes took a firm stand and retained their patients and kept their establishments open throughout.

These details were hitherto not known to the general public. A chief executioner seems to have raised his head once again just as in 1988/99 and it will be the duty of the peace loving public to rise up against him.

R. Senaratne
Colombo


SLFP will shatter into pieces by 2006

According to scientific numerology, the year 2006-8 is a crucial year. It is governed by number 8 which denotes negative Saturn. The qualities of the negative Saturn are many impediments, obstacles, privations, losses, hurt, defeat and morbid imagination in addition to mass killings, explosions and other natural disasters.

Between the digits 2 and 6 in 2006 we find double zero. Fatalistic trends are still more enhanced by the double zero between 2 and 6.

Then the number 4 denoted by SLFP 3.3 8 8 =22=4 joins number 8. The number 4 is a harmonic of number 8. Then there is another 4 denoted by United 651454, Peoples 8578353, Freedom 8255474, Alliance 331533 = 121=4.

This 4 also joins number 8. 4 and 8 are harmonics. Now the situation is still worse. It is further worsened by the official name number of President Chandrika 351542121, Bandaranaike 215412151125, Kumaratunga 26412146531 = 89= 17 =8.

This 8 further consolidates the fatalistic trends of the year 2006=8.

the SLFP will shatter into pieces and there will be tremendous social upheavals in the country.

K.P. Jinadasa
Numerologist and palmist
Talawatugoda


Shiva Shri K. Shanmuganatha Gurukkal

Appreciation

It is hard to believe that Shiva Shri K. Shanmuganatha Gurukkal is no more with us. He passed away at Jaffna on  May 30 after a brief illness at the age of 80.

Hailing from a prestigious Brahmin family of Kopay as the only son of Shiva Shri Kandadasa Gurukkal and Nagammah, he adapted his life to priesthood like his forefathers and served as a priest till the end. He was ordained as Gurukkal (high priest) during his early 20s and initially served as head priest of his ancestral temple, Kopay Shri Veerabadra Kovil. Later he joined the famous Nallur Kandaswamy Temple as  chief priest in 1949 and served there for well over 50 years - a record not surpassed by any other priest at that temple. It was his unwavering devotion towards Lord Murugan and the absolute trust that successive managements had in him which made such a feat possible.

During his life time he had solemnised countless number of marriages and had also performed Hindu rites of every description which earned him a high place among his peers.

His forte was his extreme simplicity and humility towards all. His sense of devotion and sincerity was well evident when he performed poojahs or other ceremonies and this factor was greatly appreciated by all who came into contact with him.

He was well versed in Sanskrit and Tamil and was also proficient in astrology.

His loss can never be replaced. He leaves three sons, his wife having pre-deceased him by four years.

May he attain Moksha.

T. Guruswamy
Batticaloa


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