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Sunday, 19 May 2013

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Bodyguard's boot lands on his feet:

Ranil goes berserk

It was a great moment for the nation when President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the Victory Day celebrations at Galle Face Green yesterday. He recalled those horrible days during which the masses had been subjected to untold privations due to the LTTE's ruthless terrorism.

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has always struggled to understand the pulse of the masses. Each time he tried, be it an election campaign or a protest against the Government, he only had bitter experiences.

He refrained from mingling with the party supporters during UNP's May Day rally at Kurunegala. Instead, he only waved at party supporters from a hotel balcony after an expensive lunch while die-hard party supporters braved the hot sun, attempting to make the UNP rally a success.

But Ranil could not do the same and confine himself to an air-conditioned star class hotel when the Opposition conducted a protest in Colombo against the electricity tariff revision. When the UNP and the JVP initially discussed the protest march, it was agreed that only the trade union leaders should come to limelight and not party leaders.

But Ranil thought otherwise and unilaterally breached that unofficial agreement.

Since the UNP could not show its strength on May Day due to lack of support from the grassroots level, Ranil thought he could flex his muscles at the expense of the JVP and other Opposition parties that took part in the joint protest.

Hence, Ranil joined the protest along with some of his UNP parliamentarians to paint a picture that the entire gathering was under his command. The JVP leaders were furious that Ranil violated the initial agreement and even during the protest march, the JVP trade union leaders accused the UNP leadership of attempting to gain petty political mileage by using leftist parties.

Ranil faced unexpected trouble when he was attempting to climb the flyover bridge opposite the Fort railway station to address the gathering. Escorted by his bodyguards and supporters, Ranil began to climb the stairway.

But a sudden push backwards saw one of the bodyguards in front being pushed towards the UNP leader. His boot landed on Ranil's feet with the UNP leader seeing stars. "Oh, My leg! Get out men, you have injured my foot and its very painful," Ranil screamed. "You must have control without injuring me.

You landed on my foot and it's causing me terrible pain," Ranil kept on frowning at his bodyguard, even forgetting the fact that he was at a public place.

Onlookers said that Ranil was so furious after the incident and conducted himself like a Kindergarten child. He was even more furious that his shirt had got crushed due to the crowds, something which he was not used to. "See men what had happed, my shirt too had got crushed and I am sweating. I told you guys that I can't take this trouble," he blamed his security men and confidants.

But Ranil did not notice that some of the UNP supporters brought by Rose Fernando of Katana electorate were only a few steps above him in the stairway to the flyover.

They clearly saw Ranil's behaviour and screaming at bodyguards. "Not only the leg, squeeze everything," one outspoken UNP supporter from Katana shouted. Everybody around him jeered, making Ranil even more uncomfortable.

Rare chance for Fonseka

Disgraced former Army commander turned politician Sarath Fonseka got a rare chance to take part in a protest that had a considerable number of participants when he took part in the joint Opposition protest.

It seemed too much for Fonseka who went by the numbers given by Mangala Samaraweera and was in a complete political fantasy during his unsuccessful campaign at the 2010 presidential election.

Fonseka, who is now aware of the true strength of his political party, thought he could get better mileage with the supporters of the UNP and the JVP.

More importantly, Fonseka had another reason to project a rosy picture of his strength. Most of the JVP and UNP supporters at the protest march were armed with torches, against the new electricity tariff.

"They gave free publicity to us. They carried our political symbol of torch while we wore T-shirts with a torch. Hence, the impression that the onlookers got was that of a massive protest march under my leadership and our party," Fonseka told a confidant while returning home on Wednesday evening.

The joint Opposition protest helped some of the bankrupt politicians to be in limelight and give television voice cuts. Apart from Fonseka, there were several other Opposition politicians, sans followers, who made the best use of the opportunity.

Govt shows strength with massive crowds

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Colombo on Wednesday in support of the government, and to denounce plots against the State seeking to derail the country's accelerated development in the aftermath of the victory against terrorism.

A large of number trade union members, politicians and the public joined the demonstration, themed 'Let's defeat all anti-government plots'. The massive march started from the Lake House roundabout and proceeded to Pettah, where a rally was held.

The demonstration, organisers said was 'to show displeasure of, and denounce attempts by' both local and international saboteurs to stall the progress of the country.

They called upon the working class and all people who 'love the motherland to join hands to protect the hard won peace and defeat attempts by conspirators.'

Persons who joined the rally when interviewed said in one voice that it was a message to the international community that the masses were firmly behind government and its pro-country, pro-people policies.

Meanwhile, the Joint Trade Union Alliance requested all workers not to fall prey to the conspiracies hatched by sinister forces at a time when the country is attaining development and progress step-by-step through the building of expressways, roads and bridges to link the North and South to enable people to enjoy the fruits of victory achieved by the country.

Commenting on the Opposition protests against the recent electricity tariff hikes, the joint trade union activists said that the President had already granted relief in this connection and the intelligent people of the country cannot be deceived by the misleading slogans of the Opposition.

Vasu in police cell with Pavithra

Ministers Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi were among the gathering at the opening of the new police station at Kiriella, Ratnapura which has been constructed to a Western model with all facilities.

After DIG N.K. Illangakoon welcomed the guests, the VIPs were taken on a tour to various sections of the police station. When the guests finally came near the police cell, Vasu looked impressed with its modern look. "Oh! What a nice police cell! Now who is going to declare this open this?", Vasu queried

When everybody smiled at Vasu, he volunteered to open the police remand prison, stating that he is not unfamiliar with those. "Let me do the opening of this as these police cells are nothing new to me. Okay, IGP, please open the cell for me," Vasu said."Wait a minute IGP, I can't let my minister colleague to go to police custody alone. Let me also join him," Pavithra intervened and crept into the cell. "Let her in, if it's her wish," Vasu responded. Vasu and Pavirha were in remand cell for a moment after IGP closed the door for a while.

Lalkantha admits JVP's killings

The JVP, which now shouts from roof tops regarding human rights and good governance, notorious for terror acts and many murders, is caught up in a controversy after JVP stalwart and former parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha openly admitted that the JVP had committed such offenses.

Though the JVP now makes a big hue and cry over free and fair elections to cover up its deteriorating membership, it had twice attempted to capture power through the bullet. It is no secret that the JVP is a party which had reposed more faith on bullet than the ballot during a major portion of its political history.

It is still fresh in people's minds how the JVP brutally assassinated its political opponents during the 1988/89 terror.

The JVP's countless number of murders came to the limelight recently after JVP senior leader and head of their trade union wing, K.D. Lalkantha admitted that the JVP killed all who opposed them during the JVP terror period.

This was the first time that a JVP leader has openly admitted that they killed those opposed them while creating a chaotic situation by forcibly collecting Identity Cards and exploding transformers.

Lalkantha made this disclosure at a public gathering recently.

The JVP had never accepted that they killed people and destroyed key economic installations. Instead, they pointed the finger at another movement led by Keerthi Wijebhahu alias Saman Fernando.

The bogus organisation was another arm of the JVP, which the country was aware of. The JVP's kill-list was non-ending. Those who opposed JVP policies were killed.

The killings were carried out to brainwash all Sri Lankans and topple the government.

Leaders of the JVP, which killed people, should be brought to book, members of the public said. They said legal action should be taken against these leaders and maximum punishment meted out.

JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe proudly boasts that he is the only surviving member of the JVP's old lot that was there during the 1988/89 insurgency. Hence, Somawansa should be immediately questioned on the serious statement made by Lalkantha.

President returns

President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the island in the early hours of Friday, after completing a successful tour of Uganda.

Delivering the keynote address at the Commonwealth Local Government Conference (CLGC) 2013 in Kampala on Tuesday, the President said that Sri Lanka has consistently regarded local government as the most practical expression of the ideals and aspirations of a functioning democracy.

Speaking at the conference held under the theme 'Developmental Local Government: Putting Local Government at the Heart of Development', the President said that the Local government administration system has not only been practical, but also effective in taking development directly to the people.

Drawing attention on Sri Lanka's experiences the President said: "I am of the view that a certain level of State intervention is also necessary to ensure equitable distribution of the benefits and social inclusivity".

President said that local government was among the first targets of terrorism. Restoring Local government and accelerating economic growth were the priorities of Sri Lanka immediately after the end of terrorism, the President said.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, delivering the inaugural address, commended Sri Lanka's efforts in ending terrorism in the country and assured Uganda's presence at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo this year.

"I salute the people of Sri Lanka for achieving peace," President Museveni said. "We're looking forward to attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November," President Museveni said.

Basil discloses preferential treatment to North

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said last week that the Government was committed to bringing peace and prosperity to all Sri Lankans and stressed that 85 percent of foreign loans to the country was spent on developing the North and resettling people displaced due to terrorism.

Minister Rajapaksa was addressing the large crowd which attended the opening of the first stage of the 106-kilometre Medawachchiya-Talaimannar railway line at the Madu Road railway station.

With the completion of the first stage of 43 km of railway track, trains can now reach Madu from Medawachchiya. Reconstruction of the line began on March 27, 2011 after LTTE terrorism caused the train service to stop in 1991.

The second stage of 63 kilometres will be completed within the next four months and is scheduled to be opened on September 23.

It was the British colonialists who introduced railways to Sri Lanka in 1867.

Following the reconstruction of the line up to Madhu, the first train left Anuradhapura at 9.48 am on May 14 and reached the Madhu Road station at 10.48 am through Medawachchiya, passing the Periyakulam and Wedtikulam stations.

Throughout the journey, the Maha Sangha chanted Seth Pirith while Hindu, Catholic and Islamic religious dignitaries gave their blessings.

Joining Minister Basil Rajapaksa on the train ride were Transport Minister Kumara Welgama, Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ashok Shri Kantha and General Manager Railways B.A. Ariyaratne.

People standing on either side of the railway line cheered as the train passed by.

Catholics who wish to attend this year's Madhu festival can now travel by train to Madhu unlike in the past when pilgrims had to seek the LTTE's permission to visit the Madhu shrine.

Minister Rajapaksa said re-opening this railway line after 23 years was a historic occasion.

He recalled the LTTE domination of the area during the farcical ceasefire period until the President defeated Tiger terrorism and paved the way for peace and prosperity, although some people are trying to ignore the past. He expressed confidence that the new railway line would help strengthen economic, social and cultural ties between the people of the South and North.

President at Victory Day celebrations

It was another historic moment for the nation and the Commander-in-Chief as Sri Lanka celebrated the fourth anniversary of the victory in the humanitarian operation with the Victory Day parade at Galle Face yesterday morning under the patronage of the President.

Making his Victory Day speech, the President said that the entire world was asking Sri Lanka to give into the terrorists and avoid confrontation with them, though the Government chose to trust in the strength and courage of the country's youth.

He noted that Sri Lanka has become a great country devoid of the fear of death after the Security Forces eradicated terrorism and vanquished the LTTE leadership.

"This is an era when bloodshed was ended and a massive transformation was created in the country to the point where the war will no longer continue, the President said.

He said that when certain people attempted to drag the country's soldiers to international gallows, the Government implemented beneficiary programs for the families of war heroes including scholarships for their children.

President Rajapaksa said that people in the North are fully aware how they were affected by the war and that 12 political parties in the North are now engaged in political activities with complete freedom.

 

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