Forged currency case of Sajith's sister Dulanjali:
Private newspapers played State media's role, says Dayasiri
political parties, which contested for 155 seats in the Western and
Southern Provincial Councils, were extremely busy during the early part
of last week as their election campaigns reached the climax with the
final rallies held on Wednesday.
Many thought that the questioning of UNP parliamentarian Sajith
Premadasa's sister Dulanjali Premadasa would be used by the Government
for its election campaign. Even Sajith's loyalists in Hambantota thought
that would seriously affect their campaign in the district that was
conducted without obtaining the services of Opposition leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe or any other UNP seniors.
But the Government set an example by not making use of the incident
to sling mud at Sajith or the UNP campaign. However, it was Ranil's
loyalists who made the maximum use of the incident to settle internal
North Western Province Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera paid a
tribute to our sister paper Dinamina for 'playing' it clean while some
rival newspapers went to town by blowing the incident out of proportion.
Addressing a massive UPFA final election rally held at Gothatuwa New
Town held in support of Colombo District candidate Ajith Subasinghe,
Dayasiri said the State media has conducted themselves in an exemplary
manner whereas so-called private and independent media has now take over
the role of state media.
"When this type of incident takes place, the State media had taken
minimum mileage in the past. I checked the Dinamina but there were no
banner headlines on page one. But Ranil's uncle's newspaper had reported
that incident as the lead story in its front page in bold letters.
That newspaper is now playing the role of state media,. The UNP had
fallen to such low ebb now," Dayasiri said.
Dayasiri who had earned a name out of politics too as a mega star
singer in a popular reality show on television, was singing a popular
Sinhala number when Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa
climbed on to the stage. Despite being the busiest final day in
Provincial Council election campaign, many ministers attended the rally
to extend their support to millionaire businessman Ajith Subasinghe.
Among them were Ministers Susil Premajayantha, Maithripala Sirisena,
Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Mahindananda Aluthgamage,
Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Athauda Seneviratne, Milroy Fernando, Faiser
Mustapha, parliamentarians R. Duminda Silva, Arundika Fernando and
former Foreign Minister Rothitha Bogollagama.
For the first time after surviving a fatal motor accident, the main
vocalist of the popular band Sunflowers Nelson Vaas made a public
performance to support his childhood friend Ajith.
"I am not sure whether I could still sing because this is the first
time that I am appearing on stage after the accident," he said.
But there was no difference in his voice, except for the fact that he
preferred to be seated when singing his last song for the day.
Nelson promised that Sunflowers will perform at the same venue free
of change in the event his fans elect Ajith to the Western Provincial
Gammanpila leads from the front
UPFA's Colombo District leader Udaya Gammanpila continued his
election campaign in highly exemplary manner. Before winding up his
election campaign, Gammanpila invited all UPFA contestants for a common
rally at Nugegoda. All UPFA candidates were allocated equal time slots
to address the massive gathering.
Wayamba Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera and Central Province Chief
Minister Sarath Ekanayake were among the main invitees, along with UPFA
Secretary General Susil Premajayantha, Former Foreign Minister Rohitha
Bogollagama and the Mayor of Kotte Janaka Ranawaka.
Recalling his 23-year-old friendship with Gammapila, Dayasiri said
the people in Colombo District would beat all overwhelming odds to bring
the JHU stalwart to the top. At the end of his speech, there was a
special request from the audience for a popular fast number.
But Dayasiri said he has never sung 'baila' at election platforms.
"What suits here the most is a Amaradeva master's song," Dayasiri said.
But the band in attendance was not in a position to supply music to the
popular Amaradeva number. Hence, Dayasiri was compelled to sing another
On the following day after closing election propaganda at Wednesday
midnight, Gammanpila set another example. In keeping with the election
law, Gammanpila personally removed all the stickers with preferential
numbers that had been passed on his vehicle.
US fails to muster expected support
The United States, after exerting pressure on UNHRC countries through
all possible means, failed to muster support even the half of its
members for the Resolution against Sri Lanka last week. The US-sponsored
resolution on Sri Lanka at the 25th session of the UNHRC in Geneva was
adopted with only 23 countries out of 47 member states voting in favour
Political observers stated that it was a big setback for the US which
exerted tremendous pressure on smaller countries of the UNHRC. There had
been various unofficial way of lobbying with intimidations such as aid
cuts and sanctions. But the US and the UK could not win votes of 24
UNHRC member countries with 12 voting against and 12 abstaining from
voting. The most notable feature were the decisions of India and South
Africa to abstain themselves from voting.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva,
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha described the resolution and its content
which calls for an international investigation on Sri Lanka as a serious
breach of international law and added it 'poses a grave threat to the
sovereign independence of the states in the UN.'
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva,
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha responding to a statement made by the US
said there is no urgent situation in Sri Lanka which warrants interests
that were expressed before the UNHRC.
Ravinatha also criticized the contents of the resolution as one that
'deceptively opens doors for third party elements' to interfere with
internal affairs of Sri Lanka due to its lingo being 'crafted in
President rejects UNHRC Resolution
President Mahinda Rajapaksa rejected the UNHRC resolution calling for
a probe into alleged human rights violations, telling that he would
instead press ahead with Sri Lanka's own reconciliation plan of the LLRC.
"We reject this. This resolution only hurts our reconciliation
efforts. It does not help. But, I am not discouraged. We will continue
with the reconciliation process I have started," he was quoted as
The President said he had drawn comfort from India's abstention in
Geneva. "I think it is encouraging that India did not vote against us,"
he said. The President said the LLRC's home-grown process had made
sweeping recommendations to ensure ethnic unity and the government was
"We need time to implement the recommendations of the LLRC. I want to
repeat again that we are going ahead with this process," the President
He said the US had mounted a major campaign to drum up support for
the censure motion and he was at a disadvantage from the start. "The EU
votes as a block and the US had more than a dozen votes already in the
bag while we started with none," he said.
Commenting on the voting pattern, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.
L. Peiris said the outcome of the US sponsored resolution reflects that
more countries are against the US at the UNHRC.
US disappointed over Indian decision
The United States has expressed disappointment over India's decision
to abstain from voting on the resolution against Sri Lanka.
"It is disappointing to us that India abstained from voting on this
resolution when they voted yes for the last two years," Deputy
Spokesperson for the US State Department Marie Harf was quoted as
She further said that Washington has conveyed this disappointment to
"We have made our disappointment known to Indian officials. Beyond
that, I'd refer you to them in terms of how they voted," she said,
during the daily press briefing on Friday.
For the first time, the resolution requests a comprehensive
investigation to be undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights into alleged violations and abuses of human rights.
"In addition, it requests that OHCR monitor, assess, report on the
human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including any relevant domestic
processes dealing with reconciliation and accountability," Harf said.
India justify its decision Meanwhile, India has justified its
abstention from voting on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka
at the UNHRC, saying the decision was driven by welfare of Tamils in Sri
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said India's position on the UNHRC
resolutions on Sri Lanka has always been consistent with its view that
the process of national reconciliation must be expedited in a manner
that meets aspirations of the Tamil community for a "life of equality,
justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka".
"We believe that our abstention yesterday is in the best interest of
the Tamils in Sri Lanka and will assist us in our efforts to help them,"
India, along with 11 other countries, abstained from voting while 12
other countries including Russia, China and Pakistan opposed the
The Foreign Secretary said the decision was also in the interest of
the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. "You would have
seen the announcement by the government of Sri Lanka of their decision
to release all Indian fishermen in custody as a goodwill gesture.
This is the first step towards a long-term solution to the
fishermen's issue," she said.
Asserting that India always attached "highest priority" to the
welfare and well-being of Tamils in Sri Lanka, she said the
international community needs to work with Sri Lankan government in
ensuring justice and progress for Tamils.
"We believe that our decision to abstain on the UNHRC resolution
adopted would strengthen our hand in achieving our objective vis-a-vis
the Tamil community of Sri Lanka," she said. The Foreign Secretary said
India was of the view that the end of LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka in
2009 provided a unique opportunity to pursue a lasting political
settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.
"We have acknowledged whatever progress has been made. We have also
clearly indicated the areas where we expect progress to be made
including on missing persons, detainees, reduction of 'high security
zones', return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of
security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern province," she
Giving details of India's assistance programme in Sri Lanka, she said
it has extended assistance worth USD 1.3 billion in terms of loans and
grants for various projects for the rehabilitation of
internally-displaced people and reconstruction of infrastructure in the
Northern and Eastern provinces.
Lanka to build on goodwill
Sri Lanka must build on the goodwill shown by India at the UNHRC
where it abstained from voting on a resolution against Colombo,
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special human rights envoy Mahinda
Samarasinghe, who is also the Minister of Plantation, said that India
had been with Sri Lanka on two side votes before the main vote.
"India voted with Sri Lanka on the vote on the 'no action motion'
while they also voted with us on deleting the operative paragraph 10,"
Pakistan moved the no action motion after raising a budget query on
the proposed international investigation on Sri Lanka.
They also moved the deletion of the para which empowered the UN
rights chief to proceed with the international investigation.
"The Indian Ambassador used two very important words - 'intrusive'
and 'constructive'. Those two words said all about the resolution. We
must build on this goodwill shown by India. We have to act more
cordially with them," Samarasinghe said.
Elated by the India's abstention at the vote on the resolution, Sri
Lanka decided to release Indian fishermen arrested by the Navy for
Ninety-eight fishermen with their boats were ordered to be released.
The frequent arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has
become a major irritant in bilateral ties.
President Rajapaksa hailed India's abstention as a very welcome and
significant development which was very encouraging towards Sri Lanka.
India had supported both previous US-moved resolutions in 2012 and 2013.
BJP rejects Vaiko's 'Eelam' call
India's Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) has emphasised that it will
never permit the establishment of a 'Tamil Eelam State' within Sri
Lanka. A BJP leader Venkiah Naidu had said his party constantly supports
the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and said that a
solution should be sought within the structure of the Sri Lankan
"As far as the BJP is concerned we are for maintaining the unity and
integrity of Sri Lanka and for a solution within the Constitutional
frame work of that country," Naidu said addressing a media conference in
New Delhi. "If you support the demand for a separate nation, it will
have its repercussion in your own country," he said in reply to a
question on the pro-Eelam statement issued by V. Gopalasamy alias Vaiko,
leader of MDMK.
The BJP reiterated that it would not support any element to set up an
Eelam state in Sri Lanka and stated that supporting a separate state in
Sri Lanka could bring adverse effects on India itself.
Tamil Nadu MDMK party which expects to form a coalition with the BJP
has proposed in its election manifesto to hold a referendum for a
separate state in Sri Lanka. Rejecting the MDMK proposal, the BJP leader
said that any party has the liberty to express its opinion. According to
independent polls, the BJP is likely to be the largest single party in
the forthcoming Indian general elections.
Resolution cannot be justified, says Russia
The US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka cannot be justified in any
way as the Sri Lankan government has succeeded in ensuring the people's
right to live by eliminating terrorism from the country, Russian
Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alexander Kerchava said.
"Sri Lanka has succeeded in securing and providing the most valuable
right of a human being - the right to live," he said.
Commenting on the allegation of excessive use of force at the final
stage of war against terrorists, the Russian envoy said the world has
many examples where the excessive use of force was adopted at war.
"Japan was practically defeated in 1945 but the country is still
suffering from nuclear bombardment. This was not necessary," he said.
The Russian ambassador said his government opposed the US sponsored
resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
"Sri Lanka has very strong support from countries like Pakistan, China
and Cuba," he said.