Ranawaka took over SU after ousting
Gunasekera by thuggery worthy of the LTTE
East became playground for rival extremists
Too weak to capture power, JHU needed
a deal with a potential winner
Acrimonious exchanges between JHU and PNM
UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella speaking during the
emergency debate in parliament on March 5
spoke of the human rights situation in the
country and tabled the University Teachers
for Human Rights (Jaffna)
Special Report No.29.
The report dated February 21 is titled The
Second Fascist Front In Sri Lanka - Towards
Crushing The Minorities And Disenfranchising
The authors of the report are the current
recipients of the prestigious Martin Ennals
Award for Human Rights.
The Deputy Secretary General of Parliament,
Dhammika Dassanayake contacted by The Sunday
Leader and asked whether a report that is
tabled in parliament and not expunged is
covered by privilege responded in the
affirmative stating, "If it has been tabled
it becomes a public document."
The Sunday Leader today publishes the third
part of the report without comment given
that it is a document tabled in parliament.
The second part was published last Sunday.
Fascism is commonly understood as 'a system
of government characterized by strong, often
dictatorial control of political and
economic affairs, and often by warlike
nationalism and brutal suppression of
political dissidents and ethnic minorities'
(Wordsmyth English Dictionary). The
extremist forces behind the Government may
be termed a second fascist front, giving
pride of place to the LTTE, which as a
functioning organisation showed these
characteristics from the early 1980s.
All extremist forces in the Sinhalese South,
the JVP, JHU, MEP and sections of the SUP,
share much in common in ideas (the
inexorable Sinhalese Buddhist character of
Sri Lanka and opposition to a federated
North-East) and objectives (e.g.
Sinhalisation of the East). Particularly the
JVP and JHU owe a good deal to the Jathika
Chintanaya (National Ideology) movement of
the mid-1980s. Formulated by Gunadasa
Amarasekera and Nalin de Silva, it gave
shape and form to scattered ideas that had
motivated Sinhalese exclusivism for many
decades. It critiques political institutions
and systems (Marxism in particular) imported
from the West, sees
as in essence Sinhalese whose genius is to
be realised by a unitary state establishing
its lost Buddhist ethos.
Like most writings of this ilk,
ex-Trotskyite Prof Nalin de Silva's, though
arcane, have a mesmeric quality for the
young and impressionable, viz.: "The western
Judaic Christian culture knows only of one
consistency, defined with respect to two
valued formal logic
and only Newtonian bodies and mathematical
structures respect this logic. Even quantum
particles and bodies have no respect for two
valued formal logic." (The Island 1 Oct.03)
His obscurantism and intolerance of
minorities and their sense of identity is
also expressed in the same article: "It is
unfortunate that since the Dutch period the
demography in the Jaffna peninsula has been
changed with the importation of labour for
the tobacco cultivation from South India,
and since then the western Christian
colonialists have been successful in driving
a wedge between the Sinhala Buddhists and
the imported Tamil Hindus and creating and
using a Tamil racism against Sinhalathva in
this country." It is history plucked out of
thin air and violent in its realisation.
When advocates of ideologies, whether
Marxist or Nationalist, are heedless of the
core values of humanity, they closet
themselves in very narrow interpretations,
against the demands of responsible humanity.
In canvassing their ideas they ultimately
appeal to what is low and base in people.
Humanism has no barriers, nor is it a
preserve of the West. It is indeed very sad
if those who are counted intellectuals among
us do no better than breed hatred,
intolerance and blindness to 'others', and
their feelings, in the name of countering
Kanishka Goonewardena wrote ('National
Ideology' in a Buddhist State' Himal,
Oct.07): "In spite of obvious historical and
cultural differences, there exist some
remarkable parallels between the ideological
forms and epistemological claims of Jathika
Chinthanaya, Hindutva and National
Socialism: their emphases on harmony,
community and nature; and their critiques of
materialism, modernity and socialism...
These groups desperately needed a community
with which to identify, as well as an enemy
to identify against, both of which were
powerfully forged in these cases - as the
,fate of Sri Lankan Tamils, Indian Muslims
and German Jews demonstrate."
With so much in common, why are the
Sinhalese extremist forces heavily at odds
with each other and in the late 1980s even
killed one another? Nalin de Silva sees both
the SLFP and JVP as children of
Bandaranaike's Sinhala Only revolution of
1956 and as two groups that critically need
one another. He was among those greatly
pained when the JVP after agreeing to the
DPA manifesto on the basis of which to
support SLFP leader Mrs. Bandaranaike's
presidential candidature in late 1988, went
on a violent binge and ensured her defeat
and in February 1989 made an attempt on her
life. The SLFP had illusions even after the
JVP assassinated Mrs. Bandaranaike's
son-in-law Vijaya Kumaratunge in early 1988.
Political genealogy is awkward business for
those who never repented their legacy of
terror and conveniently undergo
reincarnation as champions of anti-terror.
Champika Ranawaka who is described as
Jathika Hela Urumaya's (JHU's) chief
ideologue and a right hand man of the
President told the Daily Mirror (2 Feb.07)
that he left the JVP in 1986 - "When they
were taking [a] violent approach I left". By
this claim he whitewashed his association in
the JVP's terror including the abduction and
murder of socialist student leader Daya
Pathirana. We quote from 'Politics of the
South 2000 - 2005' by Asanga Welikala and
"Some of the current figures in the current
JHU (namely the Venerable Athureliya Rathana
Thera, Champika Ranawaka and Udaya Gamampila)
were once JVP organizers and were active
during the 1980s agitation against the Indo
Lanka Accord. At that time Ranawaka and
Rathana were both ideologically aligned to
Jathika Chintanaya and (as Inter University
Students Federation leaders) to the JVP ...
However Champika Ranawaka was to play an
integral role in the split with the JVP on
two issues. First Ranawaka had a dispute
with Wijeweera over the JVP's ideological
path, declaring Marxism dead and urging the
JVP to wholeheartedly embrace nationalism as
its central ideological engine - a line
Wijeweera refused to countenance. Second,
the JVP's refusal to support Mrs.
Bandaranaike's candidacy for the 1988
presidential election triggered the final
split between the JVP, Jathika Chintanaya
and SLFP-aligned unions."
In the 1990s, Ranawaka became active in the
National Movement Against Terrorism (NMAT),
a parent of Sihala Urumaya (SU). S.L.
Gunasekera backed by professionals,
university dons and retired army officers
held the leadership of SU. At the October
2000 parliamentary elections the SU secured
a single national list seat, which the
faction led by Ranawaka took over after
ousting Gunasekera by intimidation and
thuggery worthy of the LTTE. However SU was
no winner when it came to elections.
The change came in December 2003, when
President Kumaratunge had paralysed the UNF
(UNP) government of Ranil Wickremesinghe and
was obliged to hold elections. Ven.
Gangodawila Soma died naturally of a heart
attack in St. Petersburg where he went to
receive a degree. Sihala Urumaya and Ven.
Ellawela Medhananda of its associated monks'
organisation JSS started a campaign
insinuating that Ven. Soma was killed by a
Christian fundamentalist conspiracy. A
number of churches were attacked. Seizing
the opportunity, the JHU was formed fielding
all JSS monks for the April 2004 elections,
SU 'donating' itself a vessel in service of
the JSS monks. It won nine seats in its
The JHU was a wild card from the start,
ensuring the victory of the UNP candidate
for speaker against the JVP-backed, SLFP-led
government's. It took Ranawaka's long
experience as a party infighter to bully,
kidnap (once an MP monk who voted for the
Government's candidate for speaker who was
forced to resign), fight Ven. Dhammaloka's
attempts to keep power a monopoly of monks,
getting thrown out from his secretary's post
by Dhammaloka (who then left the party and
campaigned for Ranil Wickremesinghe at the
2005 presidential election), before
asserting himself in the party.
On the rival track to the JHU and NMAT, the
National Patriotic Movement was preceded by
the Organisation to Protect the Motherland (OPM)
launched at a meeting in Maradana (Colombo) by Ven. Elle (Alle) Gunawanse on
15th January 2003. This was when Ranil
Wickremasinghe was prime minister and had in
talks with the LTTE agreed in
to a federal settlement. Gunawanse had
earlier been patronised by Gamini Dissanaike
and President Premadasa.
Opposition bigwigs attended the meeting to
endorse Gunawanse's simple argument that the
North-East which Jayewardene merged under
Emergency Regulations in 1987, should now
(15 years later) be de-merged as the
Emergency had lapsed under the ongoing peace
process. Leading persons at the meeting were
Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse,
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Dr. Gunadasa
Amarasekera and Nalin de Silva from Jathika
Chintanaya and Tilak Karunaratne from the
The next stage was on 1st October 2003, when
Elle Gunawanse as convener of the meeting
following a march from Kandy, inaugurated
the National Patriotic Movement (PNM).
Gunawanse accused Prime Minister
Wickremasinghe of trying to divide the
country. Among the participants were SLFP
parliamentarians including Anura
Bandaranaike, Dr. Gunadasa Amerasekara and
JVP propaganda secretary and parliamentary
group leader Wimal Weerawanse. Sihala
Urumaya declined to participate.
The hostility within the extremist camp as
represented by the PNM and JHU could be seen
in their acrimonious exchanges. Jathika
Chintanaya's Nalin de Silva opposed the JHU
monks contesting the April 2004 elections
independently of the SLFP (PA)-JVP alliance
as a divisive move. After the JHU upset the
Speaker's election, de Silva (Lankaweb 24
Apr.04) accused the JHU of being a plant of
the Uijathika (alien) forces: de Silva said
the JHU `were financed by Thilanga
Samathipala and his brother,
Edirisinghes of Swarnamahal, and were given
prominence in media that belongs to Thilanga,
[UNP leader] Ranil Wickremesinghe's brother
(TNL), Swarnavahini of Edirisinghe and
Maharaja's MTV... the monks were put forward
by non-national forces only to hoodwink the
Going back to
7th August 2000,
monks who later were closer to the PNM,
including Bengamuwe Nalaka, Muruththettuwe
Ananda and Maduluwawe Sobitha, were having a
protest meeting against Kumaratunge's
proposed constitution at
in Narahenpita, when a bomb went off
injuring some. Reports at that time
suggested that supporters of Sihala Urumaya
that had not been invited exploded the bomb.
Too weak to capture power, the JHU needed a
deal with a potential winner, both naive and
pliable. This, the JHU, even as Champika
Ranawaka staged his coup within, found in
Mahinda Rajapakse and moved quickly in
August 2005 to cut short Kumaratunge's
presidential term by an appeal to Supreme
Court. A solid base of legal authority held
the term ended in late 2006 (P. Rajanayagam
with citations in Sunday Observer 8 Feb.04).
The Chief Justice who needed new allies
obliged the JHU. A pact was quickly made
with SUP presidential candidate Rajapakse
who ditched the SLFP's twelve-year stand on
a federal settlement to the ethnic problem.
Ranawaka became Minister of Environment in
January 2007. The East tragically became the
playground of rival extremists.
As the Airport and Aviation Authority (AAA)
celebrates a quarter century, angry unions
are coming out with a string of accusations
against the present administration ranging
from malpractice, extravagance in donations
to religious institutions costing millions
of rupees to the institution.
Airport workers accuse the administration of
shamelessly turning a blind eye to the
workers' collective request to reward
employees who have served the institution
over the past 25 years, a request turned
down though opting to happily fork out money
for various projects which are of little or
no use to the organisation.
The unions allege that the administration
has not only been generous with the
institution's money but also happily donated
money to funeral ceremonies of priests and
even bought pirikara for D. A. Rajapakse's
commemoration religious ceremonies.
The AAA has made a massive donation of Rs. 1
million for the Kandy Esala Perahera. The
relevant cheque, bearing No.104340 is yet to
be encashed, according to authoritative AAA
In remote Walasgala
Interestingly enough from an institution
that outrightly rejected a request to reward
workers, the AAA has happily spent Rs.
77,622 to conduct the funeral of a Buddhist
monk who dwelt in a temple in remote
Walasgala. The payments were made through
voucher No. 103339 and a cheque bearing No.
918602. To boot, to provide Nescafe at the
funeral, a further Rs. 90,400 has been
spent. This payment was made through voucher
number 102956 and cheque number 918280.
More expenses have been incurred in the name
of supporting various religious
institutions, some of them well known for
their abundance of wealth unlike the smaller
religious institutions that require and
deserve financial support.
As to why many such institutors belonged to
Hambantota is self explanatory, given the
fact that the newly appointed Minister of
Civil Aviation being Chamal Rajapakse and
brother Mahinda Rajapakse not to mention
Basil hail from the area.
Naturally, a recent donation to the
Hambantota Raja Maha Viharaya amounted to Rs.
The AAA also handsomely donated money to
the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya which by
no means requires financial aid given its
prosperous state, but the link has to be
appreciated given the fact that Minister
Chamal Rajapakse's son and President's Co-ordinating
Secretary, Shasheendra Rajapakse being the
Basnayake Nilame of the famous devalaya. The
amount provided to the Devalaya was a
thumping Rs. 2,000,000 no less.
Then to the recently concluded Hambantota 'Ruhunu
Mela,' the monetary contribution has been
another Rs.1, 000,000 signifying that the
AAA must be flowing with funds to be simply
The country by now is quite aware of the
progress made with regard to the proposed
Weerawila international airport. The
foundation stone, ceremonially laid has
taken root with a police guard to keep an
eye on the plaque unveiled when the project
was initiated. Since then, there had been
little or no progress, but the AAA in its
warm generosity has so far incurred a
mammoth Rs. 11,970,675.
For the proposed airport, already as
assistant manager (land) has been recruited
on a monthly salary of Rs. 50,000
The Rajapakse legacy has not been overlooked
in making generous contributions. So
naturally, Rs. 260,750 had been spent on
pirikara (offerings to monks) alone who
attended the D. A. Rajapakse commemoration
Further, yet another rich Buddhist place of
worship, Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya also
received Rs. 1,000,000.
AAA trade union sources confirmed that the
institution has donated 20 bicycles to the
Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) at the cost of Rs.
150,000. "We have no problem if places like
the SLAF or a deserving organisation like
the Lionel Ranwala Foundation is supported
by the institution. But these populist
decisions are taken by a management that
simply refuses to heed our request and
reward employees as we turn 25 years old as
an institution. That's what we protest
against," union leaders claimed.
As alleged, the organisation has donated a
million rupees to the Lionel Ranwala
Foundation for their various programmes.
Some interesting expenses have been incurred
as well, such as the purchase of 10 chain
saws for the SLAF to cut down trees and
clear areas. The total cost for ten chain
saws was Rs. Rs. 630,000 with each costing
In the meantime, the AAA has provided Rs.
835,000 to create a security post for the
Katunayake Police Station. "That's a lot of
money. And why the AAA has to spend money on
the Katunayake police station defies any
logic," claim unionists.
Among the other expenses are a donation of
Rs. 538,500 made to the Negombo Hospital
Rs.1, 538,500 and expenditure amounting to
Rs. 7,429,000 for the SLAF to purchase 20
"The misadministration takes willful
decisions which will not bring a penny to
the institution. Denying workers the few
things they ask for, the administrators have
spent over Rs. 7 million to purchase motor
bicycles for the SLAF," they added.