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Covering up blatant human rights violations

What is the propaganda resorted to by the present regime regarding human rights violations?  Simply it is a bold denial and bald statements that no such thing occurs in this country.  When those of the likes of Mahinda Samarasinghe, Rohitha Bogollagama and other spokespersons of the government defiantly express this view, any discerning person may well wonder the state of their minds.

 Here we are faced with overwhelming evidence, findings of various bodies, statements of both local and international agencies which give the lie to all these denials, yet our brave propagandists are undeterred by all this.

Eradication of terrorism is the name of the game, and under the guise of rescuing Tamils from the clutches of the LTTE, innocent civilians are being displaced, made to face untold hardships, made to lose their possessions and even their lives.  Education is lost to the children, youth get older, and generations are lost to a hapless community caught up in the destruction.

Along with this there are the random and baseless arrests, abductions and killings, and the spectre of the 'white van' operating everywhere.

Not all these are the wages of war: there is scant regard for human life, and statements broadcast from the very top that every precaution is being taken to safeguard innocent civilians are just politically motivated manifestations.

The media has been subjected to attacks. Offices of various publications have been targeted, and journalists killed.  What of their rights, and what of the violations?

All this viewed in context, does anyone think it foolhardy to refute the stand of ministers and government spokespersons when they hold forth that there are no human rights violations in our fair island?



Officials on contract holding key posts

I fully endorse the letter published in The Sunday Leader of February 22 under the caption "Eastern Education Ministry - a home for the aged" and congratulate the writer for exposing such irregularity and The Sunday Leader for exposing the maladministration and violation of Public Administration Circular and the Circular of the Public Service Commission by the provincial administrators.

Not only the Education Ministry, but as stated by the writer, the top administrators such as Chief Secretary, Secretary to the Governor and the Secretary to the Provincial Councils - the three important persons who are responsible for implementing these circulars, advising and directing the governor, chief minister and the provincial council are all persons who have been re-employed on contract basis. 

The appointment of these officers is clearly in violation of the circulars referred to, and they are guilty of re-employing other officers without proper authority.  Moreover these three officers have been re-employed  blocking the avenues of promotion that should be normally available to eligible Class I officers of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service.

In addition to these contracts granted by the Provincial Public Service Commission contrary to Public Administration Circular No: 56/89 and the National Public Service Commission Circular No: 1/2008, the Provincial Public Service Commission has issued an invalid appointment to a teacher to cover the duties of the Assistant Director of Cultural Affairs in the Eastern Education Ministry which is a post for an officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS).  By this act not only has the Public Administration Ministry and National Public Service Commission circulars been violated, they have also violated the Service Minute of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service.

Unlike the National Public Service Commission which is an independent body, the Provincial Public Service Commission is controlled by the Governor's Secretariat.

Will the Sri Lanka Administrative Service union take up this question at the national level and safeguard the rights of the SLAS officers?

The governor should be informed that he should exercise his power within the provisions of Chapter XVIIA of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, without creating problems and embarrassment to the officers of the SLAS - an all island service.

SLAS Officer

In defence of Ranil'

I  very much appreciate the article by Aman Faris published on page 10 of your esteemed journal The Morning Leader on February 25 in which reference was made to the Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The writer had stated the actual facts and the qualities of Ranil Wickremesinghe without distortion.

But it is incorrect on his part to have said that it was Ranil Wickremesinghe who masterminded the split in the LTTE.

Neither Ranil Wickremesinghe nor the UNP had anything to do with the splitting up of the LTTE. The split was an internal affair of the LTTE. When Karuna was called to the Wanni for an inquiry by the LTTE Leader for some serious lapses on his part, he decided to break away from the LTTE and then the LTTE sent its cadres to attack the Karuna Group in the Eastern Province.

It was then that Ali Sahir Mowlana, a UNP Member of Parliament brought Karuna to Colombo for his safety, as Mowlana's wife who is a Tamil is closely related to Karuna's wife. After this incident Mowlana left the UNP and went abroad. These are the facts.

I don't deny that some UNP politicians were trying to take credit for what was not due to them.

Ranil Wickremesinghe has not stated at any time that he was instrumental in splitting the LTTE.

I shall be very much obliged if you could publish this letter in your esteemed journal.

Appathuray Vinayagamoorthy


Ex. Member of Parliament, Jaffna District and

President, All Ceylon Tamil Congress

The tiny "registered receipt"

Recently I presented a letter to be dispatched under registered cover. I was appalled when I was issued with a tiny printed form to be filled up. Nevertheless I promptly heeded the request of the postal official and resultantly I was given back the counter foil in which only the registered number was written along with the date stamp. The printed form bears the number as P.O.J. 2.

Hitherto 'The registered postal article receipt' designated in all the three languages, indicated in detail the name and address of the sender, name and address of the addressee the registration fee and the registration number. The discerning public could file them for purpose of record and future reference, which will come in handy when one has to invite attention to the document previously addressed.

Postal authorities seem to have taken the masses for asses and made this 'innovation' which tantamounts to a monumental bureaucratic blunder. Anyone with an iota of common sense should realise that such an uncalled for change would certainly cause public opprobrium.

This "Registered postal article receipt" was issued from time immemorial.  The change for the worse has been effected without rhyme or reason probably by a misfit politically catapulted to a position of authority to show that he is a Smart Alec.

Will the Minister of Posts please be good enough to order the reversion to the old order forthwith to prevent the democratic credentials of the regime being dented?

Nanda Nanayakkara


Politics, now a career, not a calling

Even before nominations for the Western Provincial Council elections were finalised by the political parties, some members of these parties either expecting nomination or in fear that they would be left out, have started their election campaigns vigorously by having large posters and cut-outs of themselves with their leaders installed at vantage points, and on walls of private residences among other places along important streets in the city.

However it would be interesting to quote what the Telegraph View has said about politicians. "When politics is treated as just a career, not a calling, many of its practitioners will slip into the habit of chiselling what they can, out of it.  It is rare for a week to go by nowadays without fresh evidence emerging of politicians milking their generous self regulated, systems of allowances and expenses for all they are worth.

"The time when a man or a woman would make their mark on one walk of life before going into politics to use the experience so gathered 'to put something back' is long gone.  Unfortunately when politics is treated as just a career, not a calling, it is inevitable that many of these practitioners will step into the habit of chiselling what they can, out of it."

Could this be stopped?  Of course, it could be, if only the leaders of political parties select honourable men who have not been charged for rape, thuggery, fraud, corruption etc. for nomination. If this warning is not heeded by political leaders, although the public, newspaper editors and religious bodies have repeatedly voiced their concern, there is yet another effective measure or action that one could take.  That is, the intelligent voters should select honest men who have entered the fray, from whatever party it may be, thus giving the leaders the unpleasant task of weeding the rotters out.

Will the educated and intelligent voters of the Western Province prove that they want decent, honest men to represent them in the Western Provincial Council? Let's wait and see.

Western Province Voter


Jayasiri Premalal Mendis

Although we have a common surname and both are descendants of the Balapuwaduge clan from Moratuwa, I was not a close relation of Jayasiri. My first association with him was in the late 1970s when he married my wife's sister.

I am told, their union was the culmination of a romantic courtship in the serene and beautiful surroundings of the Peradeniya campus where a handsome and very intelligent young man from the Science Faculty dared to venture into the then hallowed portals of the Medical Faculty and profess his love to a beautiful but rather reserved girl of Kandyan parentage.

It is also said that the good news had been conveyed to his beloved mother in two simple Sinhala words in his own inimitable style. His father-in-law was the happiest, that one of his daughters had found a partner who was in the same vocation that he had pursued.

After graduation with a First Class in a difficult combination of Chemistry and Double Maths, the first to do so at Peradeniya, Jayasiri opted for permanent employment as an Assistant Superintendent of Survey at the Survey Department. His inherent talents were spotted early and an assignment to the institute of Surveying and Mapping, Diyatalawa followed. During this period his wife was the Medical Officer of Health in Bandarawela.

It so happened that my employment had taken me to Ratnapura and quite naturally I used to drive up to Bandarawela with my family and spend many a weekend at her quarters. Jayasiri was always a gracious host and treated us very generously.

He used to dote on his daughter and son who were in their early childhood at that time. We were also benefactors of the hospitality during his stint as the Head of ISM, Diyatalawa. Our closeness continued even after our two families took up residence in Colombo.

With our children growing up the bond was even further strengthened. Our visits to his home were always a pleasant experience with my daughters sharing a joke with him or seeking advice on something professional. Whenever any of them needed a second opinion on any matter the natural reaction was "Let's ask Jayasiri Mama."

The last occasion our two families met for dinner at our home was barely two weeks before his untimely death on February 3. None of us had the slightest inkling of what was in store. Maybe he kept his tribulations to himself without troubling others.

Jayasiri's elevation to the post of Surveyor General was no doubt the pinnacle of his career. Heading a department having a rich history going back two centuries to 1800 would not only have been prestigious but also stressful.

The fact that he wore the crown lightly on his head, and more importantly his humbleness and his simplicity endeared him to his peers, subordinates and all others who came into contact with him. The appreciation of his humane qualities by his staff was gauged from the many activities they performed voluntarily after his death.

Seeing the numerous banners on the walls bordering the road leading to his home with expressions of grief and sympathy, some neighbours were heard to say that they had been unaware that such an important personality had lived among them.

Jayasiri was not an ostentatious person. He displayed no extravagance but had simple tastes and lived a simple life. He felt most comfortable in his sarong, bare bodied and bare footed at home. His graciousness and omnipresent smile was a hallmark of his personality. He handled a highly specialised job but was a simpleton at heart.

Jayasiri was the second in a closely-knit family of seven. The loss and sorrow that enveloped his brothers, sisters and their spouses and the spontaneous outpouring of grief by the many nephews and nieces bore testimony to the very strong bond that exists amongst the family. A link in the chain has now broken. He was a devoted son to his aged mother and it will be difficult for her to reconcile his loss.

His wife, daughter and son will surely miss him but they have consolation from knowing that his life was well lived in the true Christian spirit and maybe he has earned a well-deserved rest at the feet of our Lord.

What the Lord giveth the Lord taketh away.

Gehan Mendis









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