Sri Lanka: The only country that bombs
its own citizens
amazing admission was found in the letter
written by Lasantha Wickrematunge, the late
editor of The Sunday Leader a few
days before he was killed. He had also said
in the letter "When I am finally killed, it
will be the government that kills me."
The evil war forced upon the Hindu Tamil
minority is now coming to an end after over
25 years. The burning question in the minds
of every Tamil is what is going to happen to
them after the war that has been carried out
by the Sinhala Buddhist majority who claim
in their constitution that the island is a
Sinhala Buddhist Nation, with complete
disregard to the Tamils, Muslims and other
The late President Wijetunga said quite
openly, "No Tamil will ever be the president
or the prime minister of Sri Lanka." The
present Army Commander with a Portuguese
name says that "minorities can live in this
country with us, but they must not try to —
under the pretext of being a minority —
demand undue things." What does he exactly
mean by "undue things?" In other words he
says that they cannot be equal.
A Mahanayake Thero had also stated a few
years ago that Sinhala Buddhists cannot be
equal to others — but superior in that they
should have exclusive privileges. This shows
the extent of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism
that has entered the head of the Sinhala
nation. They are so blind that they cannot
see the truth. That is why they cannot see
the writing on the wall.
Provincial councils have been instituted
but they are not implementing the law
properly. There is no guarantee that another
government using its two-thirds majority
power would dismantle everything and once
again oppress the Tamils.
Lasantha Wickrematunge has stated quite
categorically that a military defeat of the
LTTE will not solve the ethnic problem and
that there has to be a political settlement
to make the Tamils feel equal and not
inferior. But the willingness to do so does
not seem to be there.
Lasantha’s final article says, "The LTTE
is a ruthless and blood thirsty organisation;
but to fight them violating the rights of
Tamil citizens, bombing and shooting them
mercilessly is not only wrong but shames the
Sinhalese, whose claim to be the custodians
of the dhamma is forever called into
question, by this savagery, much of which is
unknown to the public because of censorship.
"What is more, a military occupation of
the country’s northeast will require the
Tamil people of these regions to live
eternally as second-class citizens. Do not
imagine that you can placate them by showing
‘development’ and ‘re-construction’ to them
in the post-war era. The wounds of war will
scar them forever; you will also have an
even more bitter and hateful diaspora to
contend with. If I am angry and frustrated,
it is only because most of my countrymen and
everyone in the government cannot see the
writing on the wall."
In fact Lasantha implies in his article
that the situation has gone beyond the point
of no return. The Tamils have all through
history been a separate nation and it is
only the British that made this country a
unitary state for convenience of
administration, as they did in other parts
of the empire.
At the time of Independence, the Tamils
should have asked for a separate state, and
since their land did not sustain them and
the government did not develop it, they had
to depend entirely on the Sinhala south.
Provisions were made in the constitution
for protection of the minorities, but soon
after Independence, the Sinhala leadership
used their two-thirds majority to change the
constitution. They abolished English and
Tamil and made Sinhala the official
language. The main reason for this was to
undermine the Tamils who were a
better-educated community, because the
Tamils were forced to take to education in a
big way for survival, as the land could not
sustain them. It is this jealousy and
chronic inferiority complex that is the main
cause of our ethnic problem.
Such strong feelings cannot be dispelled
easily and it will probably take more than a
generation for amity to return. Under the
circumstances the Tamils are depending on
the UN and the Co-Chairs to step in together
with the international community and use
pressure on the Sri Lankan government to
agree to separate on amicable terms like the
incompatible married couple.
International pressure has succeeded in
South Africa, East Timor and other places
and the hopes and aspirations of the Tamils
of Sri Lanka now depend on this. This is the
only way the Tamils could be freed from the
clutches of a people who have hitherto shown
a paucity of conscience and a serious lack
When Justices of the Peace shatter peace
Justices of the peace take their oaths
before a magistrate and thereupon they are
called to defend peace, harmony, justice and
the truth, under whatever circumstances.
Often some of them are seen to break what
they have sworn to uphold thereby
dishonouring the oath. No doubt, this is the
result of unsuitable persons being appointed
to hold this hallowed position two instances
of which are cited below.
From the instances cited it would be seen
some of them seem to have enlisted
themselves as JPs purely to boost their ego
and not for selfless and objective service
to the public.
Testimonials and documents necessary to
prove a person’s suitability to be sworn in
as a JP could be obtained from religious
dignitaries, businessmen and politicians
etc., without much hassle, some of whom
recommend them for personal reasons. Once
the oaths are taken these gentlemen seem to
lose their sense of balance and objectivity.
The honourary post of J.P., entails,
inter-alia, many facets such as to act on
occasion, to be arbitrators, reconcilers in
conflict situations etc. All in all, they
are peace makers who should uphold the
truth. In the United Kingdom, a J.P. may
even be commissioned to perform minor
judicial and allied functions.
Despite all this, some openly contravene
the oath taken before a high judicial
officer. It is surprising that they are
seldom accused and reported to the
authorities for appropriate disciplinary
action, as they well deserve.
A J.P in a Colombo suburb who got drunk
and hung on to the tail of stray cattle was
dragged along the road by the animal. He had
however, not offended the personal
sensitivity of any person or caused hurt to
anyone, but had only damaged his reputation
and the high ideals he was supposed to
In contrast to him, another justice of
the peace was alleged to have not only
brought shame upon himself, but also
disregarded the sensitivity of worshipers at
a church in Mission Road, Kotte, recently.
He had inflamed their conscience by shouting
uncouth words at the priest who was
officiating at the sacred service. The
worshipers, including the innocent Sunday
school children had been alarmed.
Such things could be expected only from
people who are out of balance or are not of
a sound mind. In that instance, he had
appeared as having the same mindset as that
of the former, who swung about on the tail
of the stray bull. Both gentlemen had
displayed similarities to each other by
their deeds bringing dishonour to the
decorous positions they were holding.
Behaving in an unsuitable manner before
the clergy or in any place of worship, be
they Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Christian —
only proves their disrespect for religion.
By such behaviour their image, character and
their motives become questionable.
The pressing question in the minds of the
public, who hear such things on and off and
who witness such in places of worship is,
what criteria or yardstick is applied to
judge the suitability of those vying for the
post of Justice of the Peace.
Aren’t they subjected to a strict
criteria and short-listed for a final
interview to select only those with
objectivity and proven, sound mental
equilibrium needed for a Justice of the
Pro Bono Publico
Eastern Education Ministry a home for the aged
The Eastern Provincial Council is
re-employing public servants on contract
with scant regard for Public Administration
Circular No: 56/89 and Public Service
Commission Circular No: 1/2008. Such
appointments abound especially in the
Education Administrative Service and the
These appointments are not only contrary
to government circulars, but also deny
avenues of employment to eligible young
officers and are an infringement of
fundamental rights of officers eligible to
receive promotions or appointments in terms
of the provisions in the Establishment Code
which governs appointments and all other
establishment matters in government service.
Although officers of the All Island
Services directly come under the purview of
the Public Service Commission, the Eastern
Province Governor is misdirected by the top
administrators in the region consequently
making all these appointments invalid since
they have been given by the Provincial
Public Service Commission without the
concurrence of the National Public Service
Commission. In fact these are appointments
that have been rejected by the National
Public Service Commission.
All top administrators in the province
such as the Chief Secretary, and the
Secretary to the Governor are persons who
have been re-employed on a contract basis.
The Secretary to the Provincial Public
Service Commission conducted an interview
for the appointment of Assistant Directors
and Deputy Directors of Education, without
knowing the limit of his powers and granted
appointments to them.
Consequently the Regional Education
Ministry has come to be known as the ‘home
for the aged.’
The Secretary to the National Public
Service Commission by circular number 1/2008
has not only stated that these are invalid
appointments, but has also informed the
Auditor General to take action with regard
to the payment of salaries to the ineligible
Will the Secretary to the National Public
Service Commission take remedial action and
inform the Eastern Province Governor to
cancel these invalid appointments giving a
chance to young eligible officers to get at
least acting appointments?
Frustrated Eligible Officer
The Thyroxine quest
The obscure Sri Lankan Thyroxine has
today become notorious. Priced at less than
a rupee per tablet, it has been prescribed
and ingested with quiet compliance. It has
abruptly been rejected for its impotency and
shunned by both therapists and patients.
The therapeutic quest is for Thyroxine by
Cox from England. There was a time when Cox
Thyroxine stagnated without appeal on
pharmacy shelves avoided by patients on
account of its cost.
Today cost does not matter. What matters
is therapeutic efficacy. Here is a classic
example of the national quality failure of a
generic drug. The advocates of the cheap
generic are mute.
Cox Thyroxine is imported in limited
quantities and rationed to patients in
selected pharmacies. The supply cannot meet
the big demand.
The faith of patients in Cox Thyroxine is
unshakable, for it is a faith motivated by
At a recent gathering in London I found
myself within earshot of a clique who are
known to fancy themselves as special Sinhala
patriots. Their chatter would have made one
who did not know, think that it was they and
not the Sri Lankan armed forces who had
defeated the LTTE in places like
The facts however are different. Most of
them had lived here since the 1960s, and to
my knowledge some had taken UK citizenship.
In this country it is not mandatory for a
person from abroad to do so.
They spoke in Sinhala, English and even
Singlish. Much of what they said was typical
of ethnic cleansers except for one of them
who had visions of cleansing even his own
race. I heard someone say that the
population of Sri Lanka should be made up
only of Sinhala Buddhists! I will bet my
bottom dollar that should that, God forbid,
happen he and his chums will not return to
their country of origin.
Dr. Daya S. Wanigaratne
Dr. Daya S. Wanigaratne passed away
suddenly at the age of 67 years, in St.
Albans, Hertfordshire, England.
Born and bred in Galle, Southern Sri
Lanka, he pursued his primary education at
Richmond College followed by his secondary
education at St. Aloysius’ College from
where he entered the Medical Faculty of the
University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, passing
out as a doctor in 1965.
While at the university Daya portrayed
his talents at the literary and drama
societies following in the footsteps of his
late father Dayananda, an erudite scholar
with volumes of anthologies and prose to his
Prior to his departure to England in
1975, Daya served in Tangalle, Galle and
other areas, specialising in the
epidemiology of tropical diseases.
During his stay in England spanning over
three decades, Daya specialised in
psychiatry serving as an associate
specialist in England before joining the
civil service in 1985 and serving Her
Majesty’s Prison Service in 1985 as a
Daya was a quintessential doctor, soft
spoken, mild mannered, and thoughtful,
always maintaining his standards of
professionalism incorporated in his work
ethics and ethos with infectious enthusiasm.
While reminiscing our upbringing during
our adolescent days, I would say, our
meetings with Daya were full of his pearls
of wisdom in all aspects of life, where
seemingly infinite rays of energy poured
down from his youthful persona enlightening
all of us.
On behalf of the grieving Wanigaratne
families, I pay obeisance to Daya by quoting
Pundit Nehru "A light has gone out of our
Days is survived by his wife Indranie and
two daughters Srinie and Dilinie.
May he attain everlasting peace.
Gunasiri S. Wanigaratne