Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 18 September 2011





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President inspires year five scholars

It was a carnage and it was a day when over 50 innocent civilians, were hacked to death by terrorists and were buried in a massive grave.

Oshadhi Rashiprabha Fonseka of Kalutara Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Nethmi Vihangi Ranaweera of Miriswatta National College in Dodangoda, Kalutara and Naleem Zaky Ahamed of Kekirawa Muslim Maha Vidyalaya - winners of the year five scholarship examination met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees

These ruthless terrorists didn’t spare even infants in the Sinhala border villagers making them killing fields and chased poor villagers from their own habitats.

With the lack of political will and commitment, leaders, who danced to the tunes of the West, halted the military thrust into terrorists domination while they were strengthening their military might.

Innocent villagers who had led a nightmarish life for over three decades started fleeing their homelands as there was no protection for them.

Based on a true story of massacering 57 villagers in Gonagala in the Ampara district by the LTTE in 1999, the film ‘Gamani’ depicts the blood-stained past of the LTTE, the commitment of soldiers the Civil Defence Force and villagers to protect their villages.

This film, no doubt will be a great source of information for any international jury or panel to get an understanding on how the LTTE made the country a killing field and how civilians suffered under gruesome terror attacks.

This is a film which will bring a greater impact than the Channel 4 documentary, which consists of many doctored video clips based on pro-LTTE information.

Launching its official website at Temple Trees, the only head of state, not only in Lanka’s recent history, but also in the entire world who defeated terrorism President Mahinda Rajapaksa invited film makers, writers and the public to put down their experience of LTTE terror in the form of films, videos or novels to convey the truth about terrorism that plagued us for over three decades.

He said the film ‘Gamani’ directed by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara was reminiscent of the past which is forgotten by the people. It is a film revolving round the development of the Civil Defence Force (CDF) and newly recruited soldiers from the village who were trained by the army to protect the village, which was constantly under the threat of terrorist attacks.

”We have three-decade long experience that provides ample source for filmmaking. Making films of this kind must be encouraged. ‘Gamani’ is a must-see-film for everyone’, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said adding that the government has taken every measure to have a secure future for the country’s film industry.He appreciated the maiden effort of former Civil Defence Force chief Weerasekara, and said the film, gives clear evidence on how the LTTE carried out their barbaric missions on innocent villagers and their grievances with the pressure of being attacked by blood thirsty terrorists.

It is a film that refreshes our memory of a history that is being forgotten. The film best explains to the viewer the suffering of the people in villages targeted by terrorists, the sacrifice made by the armed forces to protect the people, and various difficulties and challenges encountered by government servants working in those threatened villages,” he said.

“After the dawn of peace, there seems to be an improvement in the film industry with more entertainers visiting theatres, film halls and stages.

This is a superb answer to Channel 4, which telecast false allegations about the country to the outside world,” President Rajapaksa said.

Blake’s visit

During his visit to Sri Lanka, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert O Blake met President Rajapaksa in the middle of this week.

He toured the North and said that there was a visible difference from what he saw during his last visit and commended on the country’s progress in development “This is a very different country from what I left in May 2009.

Most IDPs have left Menik farm and the rest will leave as soon as de-mining is complete. Important local council elections have taken place in the north; more than 8,000 ex-combatants have been rehabilitated and released; and substantial work has been done in the North to re-open schools, improve infrastructure and remove mines”.He said the US was encouraged by the talks between the government and the TNA and he was very pleased to hear from the government and the TNA that they would resume the important dialogue on devolution and other matters.

Blake, explaining about US assistance to Sri Lanka in the post-conflict era, said that its priorities were to help the people of the north to recover, rebuild, and return to normal lives.

‘We are investing $ 20 million to partner with the private sector to create 20,000 jobs in horticulture, dairy, apparel, aquaculture, logistics and construction sectors in the North and the East.

Prison Day Celebrations

It was at the Prisoners Day celebrations held in Matara that President Rajapaksa recalled his days in jail and the attempts of certain politicians to prevent him attending his mothers’ funeral.

‘It is written on the walls of Welikada prison that ‘prisoners are also human’. This is true and I realised it when I was imprisoned’, he said addressing a gathering. He said it was high time to change the word ‘prison’ into rehabilitation centres.

He said prisons could be closed with the creation of a society that abides by the five precepts of Buddhism. ‘In order to make our country the Miracle of Asia, in line with changes in other fields, we need to make changes in prisons as well’, he said.

President Rajapaksa said inmates need to be released to society after providing them with some vocational knowledge and thereby inculcating confidence about earning a living. ”There is nothing ‘impossible’ in our vocabulary. All prisoners can change their lifestyles and be productive citizens. The doors are open for prisoners to join the government to re-build the nation. Remember that you can transform and my government will help you to lead a decent life” he said requesting prison inmates to re-join society as worthy citizens.Cultural events were presented by inmates and prison officers.

The President gave the Best Prison Award to the Monaragala Prison and the Best Work Camp Award to the Taldena Work Camp. The award for the Most Obedient Prisoner was also presented by the President. President Rajapaksa after opened the craft exhibition organised by the prison authorities and appreciated the creative skills of inmates.

The President also participated at the opening ceremony of the ‘Atavisi Budu Asu Maha Shravaka Chiththa Maha Samadhi Chaithiya’ at Sri Nigrodharama ancient temple, Hegoda, Boossa.

He paid the first floral tribute and unveiled a plaque at the temple.

Sri Nigrodharamaya temple is recognised as a historic religious institute producing many erudite scholarly monks and respected incumbents, such as, Most Ven Hegoda Indrasara Thera who rendered yeoman service to the country, society and Buddhism.

The happy trio

It was a memorable day for three little scholars to meet their leader last Friday.

The three students who came first obtaining 195 marks each in the Year Five Scholarship examination called on President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees and as always he gives his best to children’ wished them good luck and gave them gifts for their achievement.

The leader who rose from the village and knows the hearts and minds of villagers was happy to spare sometime with Oshadhi Rashiprabha Fonseka of Kalutara Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Nethmi Vihangi Ranaweera of Miriswatta National College in Dodangoda, Kalutara and Naleem Zaky Ahamed of Kekirawa Muslim Maha Vidyalaya that evening.

President Rajapaksa asked the little trio, who jointly became first in the all-island best about their future aspirations and also inquired about the needs of the schools from students and principals.


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