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  • SL human rights situation seriously deteriorated under Gotabaya’s Govt.: Report shows
    Sri Lanka’s human rights situation has seriously deteriorated under the administration of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2021.

    Government security forces have increased intimidation and surveillance of human rights activists, victims of past abuses, lawyers, and journalists. Minority Muslim and Tamil communities have faced discrimination and threats. The government pushed through passage of a constitutional amendment that undermines judicial independence and weakens oversight institutions, such as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. In February, Sri Lanka withdrew its commitments to the 2015 United Nations Human Rights Council for truth-seeking, accountability, and reconciliation following the country’s long civil war.

    “The Rajapaksa administration has quickly reversed...
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  • Politics Behind Muslim Burial

    Dr. Ameer Ali No scientist or epidemiologist anywhere in the world has so far proved with solid evidence that corona virus would spread from buried corona-killed corpses. Only in Sri Lanka a so-called committee of health experts belonging to the establishment, expressed an opinion that because of high water level in the ground that virus has the potential to spread, if those died from it are buried. Hence, they recommended indiscriminate cremation hitting directly at religious sensitivity of Muslims. No amount of protest from local Muslims or from Muslim organizations abroad, and not even advice from WHO to the contrary could convince President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government to relent. The President maintains that unless the experts committee shows the green light he will not budge. This is...
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  • හිස්බුල්ලා පෙන්නලා බිල්ලා මවනවා
    (යොහාන් භාසුර)   ශානි අබේසේකර සහ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා වැනි පුද්ගලයන් පෙන්වා බිල්ලන් මවා ජාතිවාදය වපුරවමින් රට විනාශ නොකරන ලෙස සමඟ ජනබලවේග මන්ත්‍රී හරීන් ප්‍රනාන්දු මහතා පාර්ලිමේන්තු විවාදයට එක්වෙමින් පැවසීය.  එහිදී මන්ත්‍රී හරීන් ප්‍රනාන්දු මහතා වැඩිදුරටත් මෙසේ ද පැවසීය.

    “ශානි අබේසේකර, හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා පෙන්වලා මේ...
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  • CID dont produce Hizbullah , say positive for Covid 19
    The Criminal Invesitgations Department which were scheduled to produce detained Attorney at Law Hejaaz Hizbullah this afternoon before the Fort magistrate , did not produce him and informed court that he had been tested positive for Covid 19. Mr. Hizbullahs wife , attorneys and the Court were informed by officers of the CID that he would be produced today at 2. 00 PM at the Fort Magistrates court. Officers of the CID informed court staff that they intend producing Hizbullah following which Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage had made order that the case be taken up at 2. 00 PM today. The news of production came after Mr. Romesh De Silva PC supported a writ application for lawyers access and made representations on behalf of Mr. Hizbullah. Earlier a writ application was filed before the court of appeal seeking access to detainee Hejaaz Hizbullah...
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  • Analysing Sumanthiran: A Reality Check On Hejaaz, Muslim Politicians & Lawyers
    On 09/12/2020, at the Committee Stage Debate in the Parliament on the Appropriation (2021) Bill, Honourable Member of Parliament Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran made some terse remarks given the limited time allotted to him.
    He justified the need for an international inquiry and international judicial process to look into serious crimes committed in this country which has an impact on international law. In order to drive home his point, he alluded to several instances and, euphemistically made reference to the “depths to which your judicial system has sunk”. As a recent example he cited Mr. Hejaaz Hizbullah, an Attorney at Law who is currently in detention. Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran said, “a brilliant young lawyer denied justice for eight months. All kinds of false allegations were made against him.”  Further, he drew attention to the fact that...
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  • To Burn Or To Bury? The Deadly Question
    To burn or to bury? That has become the bedeviling Covid-19 question in Sri Lanka with no respect for the dead and no empathy for those who are left to mourn. According to WHO guidelines, Covid-19 victim’s bodies are not infectious, unless other complications are involved – such as hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg) or cholera. In general, dead bodies themselves are not infectious, but body fluids are and they secrete even after death. So, there is universal insistence on and compliance with the protocols for handing dead bodies, not only by funeral workers but also by families. But the question, whether cremation or burial, is a redundant question and it has been unnecessarily overwrought. But only in Sri Lanka, and chiefly by the  government itself.

    For perspective, there have been public protests against cremating Covid-19...
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  • Behind The Muslim Burial Issue
    By Ameer Ali –

    In no country in the world except Sri Lanka and perhaps its “predator” ally China that Muslims are cremated when they die because of Covid-19; and no epidemiologist, virologist or medical expert in the world except the chief health officer in Sri Lanka believes that Corona virus would spread if the victims are buried. This officer spuriously justified his stand on the ground that the underground water level in the country is too high. His argument, backed by a so-called soil scientist, Meththika Vithanage from Jayawardenapura University, who wrote, “break the ground and infect us all”, has now been accepted as heavenly truth by sections of local Buddhist clergy, members of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Viyathmaga and Rajapaksa’s government. Allowing burial for Muslims is to bury the regime itself, said one such...
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  • අමාත්‍යංශ නියෝගය එනතුරු සිරුර ශීතාගාරයේ
    අමාත්‍යංශ නියෝගය එනතුරු සිරුර ශීතාගාරයේ (සිරංගිකා ලොකුකරවිට)
    ගාල්ල දෙද්දුගොඩ ප්‍රදේශයේ පදිංචිව සිටිය දී කොරෝනා ආසාදනය වීමෙන් මියගිය පුද්ගලයාගේ මළ සිරුරු ආදාහනය නොකර ශීතාගාරයක තබන ලෙස ගාල්ල අතිරේක මහේස්ත්‍රාත් පවිත්‍රා සංජීවනී පතිරණ මත්මිය අද (21) නියෝග කළාය. අතිරේක මහේස්ත්‍රාත්වරිය මෙම නියෝගය කළේ, එම...
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  • ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන්ට මව්බිමේ මිහිදන්වීමට අයිතිය දිය යුතුයි
    ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන්ට මව්බිමේ මිහිදන්වීමට අයිතිය දිය යුතුයි (නිමල කොඩිතුවක්කු) ඕනෑම ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෙක්ට තම මරණයෙන් පසු ගෞරවාන්විතව සිය මව්බිමෙහි මිහිදන්වීමට ඇති අයිතියට ඉඩ දිය යුතු බව සාධාරණ සමාජයක් සදහා වූ ජාතික ව්‍යාපාරයේ සභාපති හිටපු කථානායක කරු ජයසූරිය මහතා සඳහන් කරයි. ලෝක සෞඛ්‍ය සංවිධානය හා එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ සංවිධානය...
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  • Analysing Sumanthiran: A Reality Check On Hejaaz, Muslim Politicians & Lawyers
    By Mass L. Usuf Mass Usuf On 09/12/2020, at the Committee Stage Debate in the Parliament on the Appropriation (2021) Bill, Honourable Member of Parliament Read More...
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We will continue to struggle for justice and the right to bury our dead

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  • All they want was only to be buried adhering to all health conditions.
  • Eminent lawyers represented the petitioners and argued that the state had provided no evidence
  • We placed greater hopes in the courts. However, for reasons unknown our applications have been rejected. Now we feel dejected, let down and abandoned

 

20 civil and human rights activists have stated in connection with the recent Supreme Court judgement related to cremation of Covid-19 dead bodies. The full statement is as follows;

The faith the victims of forced cremation of COVID-19 or Covid-19 suspected dead had in the highest court in Sri Lanka has been shattered. Victims and communities are now left without recourse in Sri Lanka for the continued injustice they suffer.“We placed greater hopes in the courts. However, for reasons unknown our applications have been rejected. Now we feel dejected, let down and abandoned”, said a son of one of the victims who challenged the offensive regulation in court.


On Tuesday the country’s Supreme Court, by a majority decision refused to grant leave to proceed to the 11 applications filed by petitioners belonging to Muslim, Christian and Catholic communities challenging the Sri Lankan government’s forcible cremation policy because it violates the right to freedom of religion and belief of some faiths and that the said regulation violates the law under which the regulation has been made as the law itself permits either burial or cremation.


Several eminent lawyers represented the petitioners and argued that the state had provided no evidence that the burial of COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 dead is a danger to public health. Hence, they said the government by imposing this new restriction violated the constitutionally protected and safeguarded the rights of religious beliefs and practice for whom burial is a critical religious practice, in addition to being a fundamental right.
One of the judges had dissented probably on the basis that there were issues that required consideration. Given the sensitivities and importance of the issue, it was felt that the court could have granted leave to be heard in full or referred it to a larger bench.


Some of the petitioners said on Tuesday that the distraught families of the victims have been asking them to explores the possibilities of how they could continue to fight for justice and hence would consider all options. 
“We fully understand that due to the pandemic there is a public emergency under which certain rights can be limited including the manifestation of freedom of religion and belief. We also understand that Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Muslims and others have all been affected by these restrictions; but in all other cases where rights are limited there is evidence of the need to do so,” said one of the petitioners against the policy on forcible cremation. It was brought to the attention that Catholics and Muslims, in deliberations have agreed to all the restrictions including with regard to gathering, handling, washing, praying and specialized mode of burying and all they want was only to be buried adhering to all health conditions.


Under international law limitations of rights such as the freedom to practice one’s religion has to be prescribed by law and the limitation must be necessary and proportionate.
Restrictions and limitations on religious gatherings, congregational prayers and mass celebrations of religious festivals can be necessitated because social distancing is vital to reduce the spread of the virus and are being adhered to and cooperated voluntarily.


“Over and over again we have asked the government to give us the reasoning for this policy and they have failed to provide any evidence that burial of COVID-19 dead can contribute to the spread of the virus or provide any health threat,” a son who did not consent for the cremation of his father and hence had to abandon the father’s remains said.


There have been national and international criticism of the government of Sri Lanka on its rare decision to cremate COVID-19 and COVID-19 suspected dead, despite clear guidelines by the World Health Organisation explaining that the burial of such victims poses no danger to public health. The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations office in Sri Lanka, United Nations special experts and regional human rights groups have separately written to the government calling for the policy to be changed to ensure COVID-19 dead were handled with dignity and human rights of all are protected. Numerous national civil society organisations, religious groups and individual activists have also written letters and signed petitions to the government calling for a change to the policy.


Human rights groups have been warning that the ethnocentric position of the government, in the context of the state’s failure to challenge hate campaigns and violence against Muslims, points to racism and discrimination targeting the country’s approximately nine per cent Muslim population.
These measures affect more than one religious group, but it is particularly terrifying Muslims for whom the burial of the dead is a non-negotiable religious practice. They feel targeted, bullied and threatened by the manner in which the government is acting on this.
As of3rd December 2020, Sri Lanka had over 25,000 cases of COVID 19, 124 deaths, of which over 50 were Muslims.


This press statement is signed by: Centre for Policy Alternative, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Law and Society Trust, Women’s Action Network, Alliance for Minorities, Affected Women’s Forum, Suriya Women’s Development Centre, Sisterhood initiative, Hashtag Generation, Rural Development Foundation, National Peace Council, Mannar Women’s Development Federation, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Human Elevation Organisation, Eastern Social Development Foundation, Islamic Women’s Association for Research and Empowerment, Association of the Parents and Family Members of the Disappeared, Muslim Women’s Development Trust, AalumaiWomen’s Group, Nisha Development Centre,

 

http://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/We-will-continue-to-struggle-for-justice-and-the-right-to-bury-our-dead/131-201291

 

Does beef cause cancer?

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"Studies have indicated that hard dry fish is not associated with cancer whereas soft dry fish is associated with cancer."

Recently some prominent medical doctors in Sri Lanka claimed in electronic media that beef is a carcinogenic food which means a causative agent of cancer. We as responsible medical professionals would like to analyse this statement in the light of science and give a balanced, neutral opinion on “What causes cancer.” In this article we will be presenting a broad overview of cancer-causing foods, food habits and other lifestyle factors backed by scientific evidence.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally and is second only to cardiovascular diseases. It was responsible for 9.6 million deaths in 2018. More than two thirds of these deaths occurred in low and 
middle-income countries.


Five leading cancers in the world are lung, breast, colorectal, prostate and skin cancer. In 2014 the commonest cancer in Sri Lanka was breast cancer followed by oral, thyroid, bowel (colorectal) and oesophageal (food pipe) cancer. Generally, the incidence of cancer increases with age. Different cancers affect males and females differently. For instance, the breast cancer affects females mostly whereas most sufferers of lung cancer are males.


Tobacco smoking has been implicated in 17 different cancers. In addition to that there is limited evidence of causing breast cancer and leukaemia in smoker’s children. Even second-hand smoking (that is, people who passively inhale the air contaminated with tobacco smoke) is a well-recognised cause of lung cancer. 
Consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with breast (female), colorectal, laryngeal, liver, oesophageal, oral and pharyngeal cancers. According to WHO data, on average a Sri Lankan male (≥15 years of age) consumes 18.9 litres of alcohol and a female consumes 6.7 litres of alcohol per year. These figures have steadily increased over the past 40 years.


Meat is an important source of protein, some vitamins (e.g. vitamin A and B) and minerals (e.g. zinc, iron) . Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. They are the building blocks of life. Out of 28 amino acids found in humans, 9 cannot be synthesised in our body. They are known as essential amino acids. Meat is an important source of essential amino acids. Therefore, they should be provided with diet. (11) (12)
According to IARC, the consumption of red meat is classified as “Probably carcinogenic to humans”. This means that unprocessed red meat is not a confirmed causative factor of cancer. Red meat refers to all types of mammalian muscle meat and this includes beef, lamb and pork. Chicken, turkey, duck, goose and rabbit do not fall under the category of red meat. The processed meat like; sausages, salami, ham and bacon are categorised as “carcinogenic to humans” (category 1), i.e., proven to cause cancer, but it is dependent on quantity eaten.


The other important factor to consider is the amount of red meat or processed meat consumed. It appears that higher amount of their intake is associated with cancer. It is clearly shown that the increased intake of fruits and vegetables protects against cancer. There is conflicting reports regarding the role of fish and sea food consumption in cancer prevention and causation. There is evidence of Cantonese-style salted fish (dry fish/ ‘Karawala’) causing nasopharyngeal cancer specially if consumed during young ages. Studies have indicated that hard dry fish is not associated with cancer whereas soft dry fish is associated with cancer. In summary, processed meat has been shown to be definitely a cancer-causing food while red meat is categorised as potentially carcinogenic, but only if consumed in large quantities. Preserved foods, saturated/animal fats, cholesterol, high sugar foods, spicy foods and refined carbohydrates have a positive association with bowel cancer. Vegetables and fruits play a protective role against bowel cancer.


Trans-fat is an important cancer-causing agent. Many routinely consumed food items have high concentration of trans-fat. Frying with coconut oil is less likely to produce trans-fat, but when it is re-used, the production of transfat will increase. Routine physical activity is linked to reduced incidence of many types of common cancers. Additionally, it reduces the risk of death among patients with breast and bowel cancer. Long-term, uncontrolled diabetes is a risk factor for cancers. Obesity is also proven to be a risk factor for cancer.


The causal relationship with processed meat or red meat and bowel cancer should be understood in the correct context. Moreover, there are many other foods and lifestyle factors which can lead to cancer. Therefore, it is important to strike a balance between necessity and harm when making food choices and following different lifestyles. Making healthy lifestyle changes is the most effective way to reduce cancer risk. These include regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, and not drinking too much alcohol.

Dr Kamal Naser, MBBS (Jaffna), MD (Colombo), FRCP(Lond), FRCP(Glasg), FACE Consultant Physician, Sherwood Forest NHS Hospitals Trust, UK
Dr Suhail Abdul Wahab MBBS (Peradeniya), MRCP(UK), Sherwood Forest NHS Hospitals Trust, UK)

 


http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/Does-beef-cause-cancer/172-201446

 

 

හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා: ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අවනීතියේ ජීවමාන සංකේතය – සුනන්ද දේශප්‍රිය

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මානව හිමිකම් නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා අත්අඩංඟුවට ගැනුණේ පසුගිය අලුත් අව්රුදු උත්සවය මැද අප්‍රෙල් 14දාය. කොව්ඩ් 19 සම්බන්ධ ප්‍රශ්ණයක් උඩ ඔහු හමුවීමට අවශ්‍ය යැයි ඔහුට දුර කථන පණිවඩයක් දුන්නේ සෞඛ්‍ය බලධාරීන් යැයි පෙනී සිටි පිරිසකි. නමුත් නිවසේ දොර හැරිය විට පැමිණ සිටියේ රහස් පොලිස් නිලධාරීන්ය.

එනයින් මුල් දුරකථන පණිවිඩයේ සිට අද දක්වාම ඔහුගේ මානව අයිතීන් පාගා දමමින් ආක්ෂක හේතූන් මත යැයි රඳවා ගෙන සිටින, හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා, මෙරට ක්‍රියාත්මක අවනීතියේ ජීවමාන සංකේතයකි.

ඔහු අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීමට පැමිණි නිලධාරීහු, නීතියේ පාරිශුද්ධබව කෙළසමින් හිජාස් පෙනී සිටිමින් තිබූ නඩුවලට අදාළ ලිපිගොනු ද අත් අඩංඟුවට ගත්හ. සිංහල බස නොදන්නා ඔහුගේ ඊජිප්තු ජාතික සහකාරියට සිංහලයෙන් ලියන ලද ප්‍රකාශයකට අත්සන් කරන්නටයැයි බල කෙරුණි.

දැන් මාස හතක් ගතවී තිබේ. එනම් දින දෙසියකට නොඅඩු කාලයකි. තවමත් ඔහුට විරුද්ධව කිසිදු චෝදනාවක් ගොනු කර නැත. ඔහු තවමත් රඳවා සිටින්නේ ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත යටතේ ජනාධිපති රාජපක්ෂ විසින් දින 180න් 180ට නිකුත් කරන රඳවා තැබීමේ නියෝග යටතේය.

ඔහුට නිසි නීතිඥ සහාය ලබා ගැනීමට ඉඩක් නැත. ඔහු රඳවා සිටින්නේ හුදකලාවය. අත්අඩංඟුවට ගැනීමෙන් පසු ඔහු වරදකරුවකු ලෙස පින්තාරු කිරීමට පොලීසිය දරන ලද තැත දැන් දුර්වර්ණ වී ගොසිනි. එහෙත් ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත යටතේ ඔහු අධිකරණය හමුවෙහි ඉදිරිපත් කිරීම දිගින් දිගටම වලක්වා තිබේ. පොලීසිය මුලදී කියා සිටි පරිදි ඔහුට විරුද්ධව සාක්ෂි ඇත්නම් නඩු පවරන්නේ නැත්තේ මන්ද?

අත්අඩංගුවට ගන්නා පුද්ගලයින් නීතිය ඉදිරියෙහි වරදකරුවන් වීමට ප්‍රථම පොලීසිය සහ මාධ්‍ය විසින් වරදකරු කිරීමේ දුරාචාර සංස්කෘතියේ ගොදුරක් බවට ද හිජාස් පත්කර තිබේ. දරුණූ මානව විරෝධී අපරාධයක් වූ පාස්කු ඉරිදා ඝාතනයන්ට කවරකු සම්බන්ධ යැයි මතයක් ගොඩ නැගූවිට එවැනි අයකු වෙනුවෙන් ඉදිරිපත්වීමට බොහෝ දෙනෙක් බිය වෙති. හිජාස්ට කර ඇත්තේ එයයි.

2017 වසරෙහි නොවැ 30 දා මඩකළපුවෙහි වව්නතිව් පොලිස් මුරපොළෙහි සිටි පොලිස් නිලධාරීන් දෙදෙනෙකු ඝාතනය කර ආයුධ පැහැර ගන්නා ලදී. ඒ පිළිබඳ සැකපිට කදිරගාමර්තම්බි රාජකුමාරන් නම් හිටපු එල්ටීටීඊ සාමාජිකයකු මහත් මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රචාරයක් සමඟ අත් අඩංගුවට ගන්නා ලදී.

එම අත් අඩංඟුවට ගැනීම ගැන පොලිස් මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රකාශක කියා සිටියේ තහවුරුවූ සාක්ෂි මත ඔහු අත්අඩංගුවට ගත් බවයි. එසේ නමුත් 2018 පාස්කු ඉරිදා ප්‍රහාරයෙන් පසු එම ඝාතන කරන ලද්දේ ද සහරාන් ප්‍රමුඛ අන්තවාදී කණ්ඩායම විසින් බව හෙළිදරව් විය. කදිරගාමර්තම්බි ඇප පිට නිදහස් කරන ලදී. එසේ නොවී නම් ඔහු තවමත් නඩු නැතිව දශක ගණනාවක් සිරගතව සිටින දෙමළ සිරකරුවන් ගොන්නට එක්වනු නොඅනුමානය.

මෙැවැනි පොලිස් කතා මෙරට අපමණය. හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා සම්බන්ධයෙන් පොලීසියේ කතා ද දැනට පත්ව ඇත්තේ ඒ ගණයටය.

හිජාස් දිගින් දිගටම මානසික වධ බන්ධනයන්ට පත් කරමින් සිරගත කර තිබීම භයානක පණිවිඩයකි. එනම් මානව හිමිකම් සම්බන්ධයෙන් මැදිහත්වන නීතිවේදීන් සහ නීතිවේදිනියන් ප්‍රවේසම් විය යුතු බවයි.

කණගාටුවකට මෙන් ඔහට යුක්තිය ඉටු කළ යුතු බවට ප්‍රබලතම හඩ නැගෙන්නේ මෙරට ඔහුගේ වෘත්තීය ප්‍රජාව අතුරින් නොව අන්තර් ජාතික නීතිවේදී ප්‍රජාව වෙතිනි. පසුගිය දා එංගලන්තයේ සහ වේල්සයේ මානව හිමිකම් නීතිඥ කම්ටුව ප්‍රකාශයක් කරමින් කියා සිටියේ නඩු නොපවරා දීර්ඝ කාලයක් හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා රැඳවුම් බාරයේ තබාගෙන සිටීම මහත් කණස්සල්ලට කරුණක් බවයි. මෙම කමිටුවට එක්සත් රාජධානියේ ජේෂ්ඨ නීතිවේදීන් සහ නීතිවේදිනියන්ද ඇතුළත් වෙති.

“ නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා රඳවා තබාගැනීමෙන් නිදහස් කරන ලෙසත් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ නීතිවේදීනට පළිගැනීම් සහ හිරිහැර පැමිනවීම් පිළිබඳව බියක් සැකක් නැතිව සිය රාජකාරිය කළ හැකි පරිසරයක් “ ඇති කරන ලෙස ඔව්හු එමගින් ඉල්ලා සිටියහ.

අන්තර් ජාතික නීතිවේදී ප්‍රජාව නඩු නොපවරා හිජාස් දිගින් දිගටම රඳවා කබා ගැනීම හෙළා දකිමින් මෙවැනි ප්‍රකාශ ගණනාවක්ම ප්‍රසිද්ධ කර තිබේ.

එසේ නමුත් පිල්ලෙයාන්ට ඇප දී නිදහස් කිරීමට උපදෙස් දෙන නීතිපති දෙපාර්ථමේන්තුව මාස හතක් ගතවීමෙන් පසුුත් තවමත් මානව හිමිකම් නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා සිරගත කරගෙන සිටී.

මානව හිමිකම් විරෝධී දේශපාලන අධිකාරිය, ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත සහ ජාතිවාදය යන භයානක දුශ්සංයෝගයේ ගොදුරක් බවට පත්ව ඇති ඔහු, වත්මන් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අවනීතියේ කැපී පෙනෙන සංකේතයකි.

ඔහුගේ නිදහස වෙනුවෙන් කටයුතු කිරීම අප සැමගේ ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදී යුතුකමය.

(ජේෂ්ඨ පොලිස් අධිකාරී ශානි අබේසේකර සම්බන්ධයෙන් ද දැක්වෙන ආණ්ඩුවේ පිළිවෙත එවැනිම එකක් බව සමහර වි‌ට ඊටත් වඩා දුෂ්ඨ එකක් බව සටහන් නොකළ හොත් අඩුවක් වනු නොනුමානය.)

ප්‍රහාරය ඇරඹේ.

අපේක්ෂිත පරිදි 20වන සංසෝධනයේ ගිනියමින් මෙරට මාධ්‍ය නිදහසට කණ කොකා හැඩවීම ආරම්භ වී තිබේ.

පසුගිය දිනවල වාර්තා වූ මේ ප්‍රවෘත්ති දෙස බලන්න.

රාජ්‍ය නොව සංවිධාන විසින් පවත්වාගෙන යන මාධ්‍යන්ට නිල ජනමාධ්‍ය හැදුනුම්පත නිකුත් නොකිරීමට ආණ්ඩුව තීරණය කරන ලදී.

පාර්ලිමේන්තුවෙහි අයවැය ඉදිරිපත් කිරීම වාර්තා කිරීමට ජනමාධ්‍යට ඉඩ නොදෙන ලදී. එනමුත් විදේශ තානාපතිවරුන්ට එම අවස්ථාවට සහභාගිවීමට ඉඩ සළසා තිබුණි. අගමැති රාජපක්ෂ අයවැය ඉදිරිපත් කළේ ඉඳගෙනය. තවමත් පාර්ලිමේන්තුව ජනමාධ්‍යවේදින්ට තහනම්ය.

ඊටත් කලින්, පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ කෝප් කමිටුව වාර්තා කිරීමට පසුගිය රජය සමයෙහි මාධ්‍යට දී තිබූ අවසරය ඉවත් කර ගන්නා ලදී.

දානයකට ගිය රාජපක්ෂ පවුලේ උදවිය මේසයක වාඩිවී දානය වළදන අන්දම පෙන්වන ජායාරූපයක් ප්‍රසිද්ධ කළ විපක්ෂ ජනමාධ්‍යවේදියකු රහස් පොලීසියට කැඳවන ලදී. එම ජායාරූපය විකෘති කර රාජපක්ෂ පවුල වෙනුවට භික්ෂුන් ආදේශ කරන ලද පුද්ගලයා ගැන පරීක්ෂනයක් නොපවත්වන ලදී.

මඩකළපුවෙහි ගව පට්ටියක් පවත්වාගෙන යන අයකුගේ ඉඩම යුද හමුදාව බලයෙන් අල්ලා ගන්නට යන්නේ යැයි වාර්තාවක් පළ කළ දෙමළ ජනමාධ්‍යවේදියකු එරාවුර් පොලීසියට ගෙන්වා ප්‍රශ්ණ කරන ලදී.

දෙසතියක් ඇතුළත මර්ධනකාරී සිංගප්පූරු මාදිලියේ “ ව්‍යාජ පුවත් පාලන” නියමන පනතක් ගෙන එන බව ඇමැතිවරු දෙපලක් විසින් ප්‍රකාශ කරන ලදී.

වෙබ් අඩවි 30ක් තහනම් කිරීමට රජය සළකා බලමින් සිටින බවට තවත් පුවතක් පළ විය.

විදෙස්ගතව සිටිමින් “ව්‍යාජ” පුවත් සමාජ ජාල මගින් බෙදාහැරියේ යැයි කියන දෙදෙනෙකු මෙරට පැමිණියහොත් අත් අඩංඟුවට ගන්නා බව ආණ්ඩුවේ ප්‍රකාශකයකු කියා තිබුණි.

එවැනි “ව්‍යාජ පුවත්” පළ කළේ යැයි අත් අඩංඟුවට ගෙන සිටින පිරිස දුසිම් ගණනාවක් විය හැකි යැයි විපක්ෂ දේශපාලනඥයකු ප්‍රකාශ කළේය.

අත් අඩංඟුවට ගත යුතු මාධ්‍යවේදීන් දෙසිය ගණනාවකගේ ලැයිස්තුවක් පොලීසියට දී ඇතැයි සජබ පා.ම. ඉම්ටියාස් බාකීර් මාකර් පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට කියා සිටියේය. ආණ්ඩුව එම පුවත ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කළේ නැත.

20වන ව්‍යවස්ථා සංසෝධනය ඉවත් කර ගන්නා ලෙස ඉල්ලමින් ප්‍රකාශයක් නිකුත් කළදාට පසුදා උදෑසනම එයට අත්සන් කළ අමරපුර රාමඤ්ඤ සාමාග්‍රී සංඝ සභාවේ නිලතල උසුලන අනුනායක මහාචාර්ය ආදී මහතෙරුන් හමුවීමට ගිය පොලිස් නිලධාරීන් පිරිසක් එම ප්‍රකාශය ගැන කරුණූ විමසූහ. එමගින් තර්ජනයට ලක් කැරුණේ විසංවාදයට ඇති අයිතියයි.

පොහොට්ටු පක්ෂය විසින් දේශපාලනිකව පාලනය කරන රාජ්‍ය ජනමාධ්‍ය සඳහා රජයේ සියලු අායතන පළ කරනු ලබන දැන්වීම් වලින් 25% ලබා දිය යුතු බවට අමාත්‍ය මණ්ඩලය තීරණය කළේය. එමගින් සමාන භූමියක තරඟයට තිබිය යුතු ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදී අවස්ථාව රජයට අයත් නොවන මාධ්‍යන්ට ඇහිරේ.

සියළුම රාජ්‍ය ආයතනයන්ට නියෝගයක් යවමින් ජනාධිපති ලේකම් පී.බී. ජයසුන්දර කියා සිටියේ සියළුම වෙළද දැන්වීම් සහ ප්‍රචාරකයුතු සදහා වෙන් කර ඇති අරමුදල් පාවිච්චිය නතර කරන සේ ජනාධිපතිවරයා තමාට දැනුම් දී ඇති බවය. මෙය ජනමාධ්‍යන්ට මරු පහරක් වනු ඇත.

තවද මේ තාක් මේ කිසිවක් ගැන ජනමාධ්‍ය සංවිධාන කිසිවක් විරෝධය ප්‍රකාශ කර නැත!

සෙස්ස පස්සටය!

මැඩිල්ලේ හිමිගේ වචන

මැඩිල්ලේ පඤ්ඤාලෝක හාමුදුරුවන්ගේ පන්සලට පොලීසිය පැන්නේ කිසිදු දැනුම්දීමකින් තොරවය. මැඩිල්ලේ එසේ මෙසේ භික්ෂුවක නොවේ. අන්ත ජාතිවාදය නැමැති සිය මතවාදී බලයෙන් රාජපක්ෂවරුන් රාජාසනය වෙත වැඩම්වන ලද භික්ෂුවකි. පසුදාක එ හිමියන්ගේ පන්සලට කඩා වැදුණු රහස් පොලිස් නිලධාරීහු එවෙළෙහිම තමන් ප්‍රකාකාශයක් දිය යුතුයැයි බලකර කියා සිටියෝ ය. එයට පෙර, දැන් අධිකරණ ඇමැති වන අලි සබ්රි ගැන කතාකිරීම තහනම් කරමින් එහිමියන්ට එරෙහිව අධිකරණ නියෝගයක්ද ලැබී තිබුණේය. මෙවර මැඩිල්ලේ හිමි කියන්නේ තමන්ට එරෙහිව පොලීසිය උසි ගන්වන ලද්දේ ඇමැති ජොන්ස්ටන්ගේ අරක්කු ලැයිසමට විරුද්ධව තමා කතා කළ නිසා බවයි.

සිය පන්සලට පොලීසිය කඩා පැනීම ගැන මැඩිල්ලේ හිමි කියා තිබුනේ “ඔන්න සර්ගේ සෞභාග්‍යයේ තරම!” කියාය.

මේ සිදුවීම මතකයට නංවන්නේ ලොව පුරා යළි යළි පුනරුච්චාරණය කැරෙන මාර්ටින් නිමලොර්ගේ වචනය. “ඔවුහු අන්තිවේදී මා සොයා ආහ.”

රහස් පොලීසිය මෙළෙස නොදන්වා කඩා පැන බලහත්කාරයෙන් කටඋත්තර ගත් ප්‍රථම වතාව මැඩිල්ලේ හිමිගේ පන්සල නොවේ. මේ වනාහී විරුද්ධවාදීන් මැඩළීමේ දේශපාලන පොලීසියේ සුපුරුදු හැසිරීමය. එළෙස හැසිරීමට පොලීසියට බලය ලැබී ඇත්තේ දේශපාලන පිටුබලය නිසාය. පසුගිය කාලය පුරා මැඩිල්ලේ වැනි භික්ෂූන් කියමින් සිටියේත් තමන් විසින් විරුද්ධවාදීන් ලෙස සළකන විශේෂයෙන්ම දෙමළ සහ මුස්ලිම් දේශපාලනඥයිින්ට මෙවැනි විරුද්ධව පියවර ගත යුතු බවය.

දැන් බූමරංගය ආපසු කැරකී ඇවිත් තිබේ. සමහර විට තවම බූමරංග එන්නට පටන් ගත්තා විතරය. හොඳ හොඳ සෙල්ලම් කෙළින්නේ එළිවෙන ජාමෙට යැයි කියනු ලැබේ.

ඔහොම යං!

https://sinhala.srilankabrief.org/2020/11/%e0%b7%84%e0%b7%92%e0%b6%a2%e0%b7%8f%e0%b7%83%e0%b7%8a-%e0%b7%84%e0%b7%92%e0%b7%83%e0%b7%8a%e0%b6%b6%e0%b7%94%e0%b6%bd%e0%b7%8a%e0%b6%bd%e0%b7%8f-%e0%b7%81%e0%b7%8a%e2%80%8d%e0%b6%bb%e0%b7%93/?fbclid=IwAR1DVLFv3E0EPNC4hMiymf-Lv7U76hyJVxngLqeHG7XlAwpXG5qDR9UHfww

 

Compulsory cremation of Covid-19 dead bodies of Muslims: Science, human decency and racism

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  • Contingencies and the human response to them are also a test of fundamental values of humanity
  • Thus, dangerously and disturbingly a good deal of Islamophobia is being made into the mainstream
  • This general sense of backwardness is amplified when the saner voices of professors, specialist doctors and other professionals fail to speak up

 

When your country is doing something totally different from  what the rest of the world does, literally in exact opposition to the common sense practised and adopted by 194 countries in the world,  things aren’t just right.


That is what the government should reckon of its flawed policy of compulsory cremation of dead bodies of Muslims. According to the religious belief of Muslims, the burning of the dead is tantamount to desecration. And the rest of the world has taken note of it and made allowances. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also permits both cremation and burial for the disposal of Covid-19 related death bodies.


Whereas the Government of SriLanka has defended its policy on the basis of scientific advice by an expert committee, but this isn’t science. This is demagoguery.


During the early stage of the Covid -19 pandemic, when the first deaths were reported in March, there existed a degree of uncertainty on the proper way of doing the last rites. The initial health ministry guidelines allowed for both cremation and burial, but the cremation was favoured as the safer way. Then, when the first Muslim died on March 31, the victim’s family insisted on burial. Instead of reaching out for wider discourse, the Ministry of Health issued a circular- Ministry of Health (MOH) Circular No. EPID/400/2019 n-cov on 1 April 2020, which required that all COVID-19 victims be cremated.

 


Since then, despite the initial success of the battle against Covid-19, Sri Lanka had made headlines for the wrong reasons, caused further distress for the family members of Covid victims, and contributed to the alienation of the Muslim community.


Science


The policy is defended on the grounds of the supposedly unique topography of Sri Lanka. Given low groundwater tables and high humidity, it was argued that the virus in the cadavers would pollute the water sources.


“We experience high rainfall, low groundwater table, highly porous subsurface soil, and fractured rocks compared to most temperate countries in the world, which may lead the transport of biological and chemical compounds from dead bodies.” Writes Prof. MeththikaVithanage, one of the members of the expert panel appointed by the Ministry of Health.


However, the evidence on the matter is limited and contested.


The WHO, in its updated interim guidance on “water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19” observes: “While the presence of SARS-CoV-2 us in untreated drinking water is possible, infectious virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. There is at least one documented instance of detecting RNA fragments of SARS-CoV-2 in a river, during the peak of the epidemic in northern Italy. It is suspected the river was affected by raw, untreated sewage. Other Coronaviruses have not been detected in surface or groundwater sources and thus the risk Coronaviruses pose to drinking-water supplies is low. Within waste water, infectious SARS-CoV-2 has not been detected in untreated or treated sewage.”


It also notes “Though little evidence is available, some data suggest that transmission via faeces, is possible but unlikely, especially where faeces become aerosolized.”


Also, the WHO in its interim guidelines on the safe management of a dead body in the covid-19 context observed: “Except in cases of haemorrhagic fevers (such as Ebola, Marburg) and cholera, dead bodies are generally not infectious. Only the lungs of patients with pandemic influenza, if handled improperly during an autopsy, can be infectious. Otherwise,cadavers do not transmit disease. It is a common myth that persons who have died of a communicable disease should be cremated, but this is not true.Cremation is a matter of cultural choice and available resources”


Thus the problem is not exactly about science, it is how findings are filtered by the Sri Lankan government and its advisors, feeding off from and feeding into a racially charged environment.


Human decency


Contingencies and the human response to them are also a test of fundamental values of humanity. The covid-19 itself entails trade offs between two imperatives of human decency and risk management. As much as the virus is a medical contingency, how the states respond to it is a matter of human decency, ethics and fair play. Not unduly victimising a portion of its people, and not straining their fundamental values, are important for the long- term endurance of nations. This is where Sri Lanka has lost out.


This failure in the civilised exercise is as tragic and alarming as Covid 19 is. Worse still because you expect the intelligentsia of the country to be a beacon of reason, justice and fair play. That also entails a common-sense to pick the right trade-off where complex choices are involved ( though one doubts whether this even falls in that category, for what is right being pretty straight forward)


This general sense of backwardness is amplified when the saner voices of professors, specialist doctors and other professionals fail to speak up. There will be long term consequences on the stock of intellectual capital and recognition by the peers.


Racism


One should not delude him or herself to think this whole saga stems from science. It is not. This draws from a growing reservoir of Islamaphobia in the country. This government relied on borderline racism to mobilize a Sinhala Buddhist nationalist vote during the election. Thus, dangerously and disturbingly a good deal of Islamophobia is being made into the mainstream. Scientific pundits are feeding into these sentiments, and the government that wants to provide a sense of relief to Muslims ( presumably after a group of pole vaulter Muslim MPs voted for the 20th Amendment, now find it hard to turn back on its nationalist audience. Now, more than the doctors, it is the monks and the usual culprits of the nationalist bandwagon who are vocal against the review of funeral arrangements.


The media earlier reported that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had instructed the authorities to find a burial place in a dry land. (That if he can do so, it is a vindication of the hollowness of the scientific basis of the government policy is a different story.) However, he walked back on the instruction. Now the government is awaiting a report by an expert committee which would reportedly take two more months.


Sri Lanka’s compulsory cremation of Covid-19 related dead bodies is not a case of extra-caution or science. It is proof of scientific ignorance, callousness and an overwhelming lack of enlightenment.

http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/Compulsory-cremation-of-Covid-19-dead-bodies-of-Muslims-Science-human-decency-and-racism/172-200012


 

Why Sri Lanka jailed a Muslim lawyer without charge for 6 months

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The Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, the EU and UN Human Rights Core Group on Sri Lanka have expressed their concerns on the arbitrary arrest and detention of Hizbullah [Photo courtesy: Family]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, the EU and UN Human Rights Core Group on Sri Lanka have expressed their concerns on the arbitrary arrest and detention of Hizbullah [Photo courtesy: Family]

Why Sri Lanka jailed a Muslim lawyer without charge for 6 months

Rights groups and members of civil society have raised concerns over the continued incarceration of a Muslim lawyer in Sri Lanka, adding that his prolonged detention “had a chilling effect on anyone involved in peaceful dissent and advocacy”.

Hejaaz Hizbullah, a prominent human rights lawyer, was arrested on “terrorism” charges in April and has remained in detention without charges, with rights groups saying he has been denied due process rights.

Sri Lankan authorities said he had been detained for links to the perpetrators of the 2019 Easter Bombings, which left more than 250 people dead and injured more than 500 – the Indian Ocean island nation’s worst attack since the end of civil war in 2009.  Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said the police had not presented “any credible evidence” against Hizbullah, adding that he was denied his due process rights and kept in custody despite calls from UN experts “that prison populations must be reduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19”.  The president’s spokesperson Mohan Samaranayake did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.  Hizbullah, a lawyer at the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, was arrested under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which allows the government to detain suspects without charge and or having to present them before a judge.  “Even though the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration has said that it does not want to continue its support to the Human Rights Council resolution, the Sri Lankan government remains obliged to keep its pledges, including to repeal PTA, regardless of the party that might be in power,” Ganguly added.  A person can be detained for 90 days under the PTA, with the option to renew the incarceration period for another 90 days for up to 18 months.  The New York-based HRW has dubbed the PTA a “draconian” law, one that the previous Sri Lankan government headed by Maithripala Sirisena pledged to revoke in a 2015 Human Rights Council resolution.  Rights groups have raised concerns over shrinking space for dissent since President Gotabaya Rajapaksa – a Buddhist hardliner – took power last November on the promise to boost security in the island nation in the wake of the deadly bombings.  In August, the HRW said the government of President Gotabaya has waged “a campaign of fear and intimidation against human rights activists, journalists, lawyers, and others challenging government policy”.  According to Thyagi Ruwanpathiran, South Asia researcher at Amnesty International, Hizbullah’s arrest “had a chilling effect on anyone involved in peaceful dissent and advocacy, be it lawyers, human rights defenders or members of the minority Muslim community”.  “There is a real fear of being targeted for your professional work where you could suffer reprisals from the state,” she told Al Jazeera.  The Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, the European Union and UN Human Rights Core Group on Sri Lanka have also expressed their concerns regarding the arbitrary arrest and detention of Hizbullah.  A local magistrate court in the capital, Colombo, is hearing his case again on October 28, but activists say there is little hope of bail.  ‘Pure fabrication’ Of the several accusations made against Hizbullah include his relationship with Yusuf Mohammad Ibrahim, a business owner, whose sons Inshaf and Ilham were two of the seven perpetrators of the Easter Sunday bombings. Hizbullah was Ibrahim’s lawyer.  Hizbullah, along with Ibrahim, also served on the board of the Save the Pearl charity, which works with underprivileged children.  Ilham also served on the board briefly in 2016 briefly, until he was asked to step down, a report by Amnesty International said. According to the human rights group, these associations with Ibrahim and Save the Pearl were being used to detain Hizbullah.

“The detention order says that Hejaaz [Hizbullah] is being investigated for allegedly ‘aiding and abetting’ the Easter Sunday bombers and for engaging in activities deemed ‘detrimental to the religious harmony among communities'”, the Amnesty report said.

Another accusation against Hizbullah is that he indirectly, through a school funded by Save the Pearl, fed “extremist” ideas and thoughts to children between the ages of 8-13, Hafeel Farisz, one of Hizbullah’s lawyers, told Al Jazeera.

The children from Al-Zuhriya Arabic College in Puttalam district were interrogated by the police for several days in April, during which they were threatened and coerced into accusing Hizbullah of providing “terrorist” training, said the lawyer.

Farisz said the children described accusations against Hizbullah as “pure fabrication”.

It was also revealed in the media that the children questioned had filed for legal action against the police for “infringement of their fundamental rights”.

‘Real fear’
Critics say Hizbullah was targeted because of his work on interfaith relations and reconciliation amid rising Islamophobia in the island nation fraught with sectarian and ethnic divide.

Hilmy Ahmed, CEO of Young Asia Television, told Al Jazeera from Colombo that Hizbullah was a “victim of the hate campaign that has been staged-managed by extremist Buddhists”.

“Hejaaz [Hizbullah] is a non-violent and extremely values-based individual who would never promote any form of extremism let alone violence,” Ahmed said, adding he had known the accused for more than 20 years.

Since the Easter bombing, anti-Muslim sentiment has been running high, with rights groups blaming Buddhist nationalists for “hate speech” and “mob violence” against Muslims.

Groups such as Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), a Buddhist far-right group, has been accused behind attacks against Muslims since 2009 when the Sri Lankan forces defeated Tamil separatists, ending a civil war that lasted nearly 30 years.

The BBS has previously successfully run an anti-halal campaign and called for a ban on the burqa, a full-body veil worn by some Muslim women that covers the face as well.

Muslims, who comprise about 10 percent of the population, say they have faced discrimination and hate speech from hardline Buddhist groups, who wield influence in the current governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party led by the Rajapaksa brothers.

Earlier this year, the government decision to cremate Muslims who died of COVID-19, caused anguish in the community, as the traditional Islamic funeral was denied. Families said it was against WHO guidelines and done to harass Muslims, who were blamed for spreading the virus that has killed more than one million people globally.

SOURCE : AL JAZEERA

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/15/sri-lanka-muslim-lawyer

 

 

Hejaaz Hizbullah case: CID misled public and Cardinal, says Counsel

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When the case of the arrest of Hejaaz Hizbullah was taken up yesterday, the Counsel alleged that the Criminal Investigations Department had misled the Cardinal and the public with regard to Hizbullah.

“They lied to His Eminence the Cardinal and the public. The real culprits were never caught and they have instead found a scapegoat in Hejaaz,” the Counsel said.

The CID submitting a report said that they were awaiting a Government Analyst report on three phones used by Hizbullah.

“This is how they lied throughout. They said the investigations were to be completed and a Deputy Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department said it would be by 16 September. The CID lied to the Attorney General’s Department as well and is now seeking further time.”

The CID said that transactions of Qatar Charity were being investigated by the TID, to which the Counsel submitted a brief containing records of Qatar Charity. “There is not a word in the reports that Mr. Hizbullah received funds. Instead what it says is an organisation called Islamic Relief Fund received this money. Who fed this story that Hejaaz received money? It was the CID, like they fed the forced confessions story. In any event Qatar Charity is a world-renowned charity and this is all trumped up to keep an innocent man and protect the real wrongdoers,” the Counsel said.

The Magistrate questioned the CID regarding the progress on the investigations into how statements made confidentially by the children were leaked to the media.

“It was the CID who prepared the statements and then leaked them,” the Court was told, after it being pointed out that no investigation thus far had been carried out despite Court orders.

The Magistrate ordered the CID to submit a progress report of the TID and on the investigation into the media leaks on 28 October.

http://www.ft.lk/news/Hejaaz-Hizbullah-case-CID-misled-public-and-Cardinal-says-Counsel/56-707182

 

Sri Lanka has locked up this Muslim lawyer without charge for nearly five months

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The prominent Sri Lankan Muslim lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah, is being described by human rights groups as the latest victim of Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act.

On April 14, Hizbullah, 40, got a call from the Ministry of Health saying they were worried he may have contracted COVID-19 and advised him to remain at home.

A day earlier he and others had written to the Sri Lankan president about his government’s decision to ban Muslims from burying their dead, forcing them to cremate their remains instead – a violation of their right to freedom of religion, as protected by Sri Lanka’s constitution and its international obligations.

Hejaaz Hizbullah was a lawyer at the Supreme Court and worked as a state counsel for the Attorney General’s department. Beyond his legal work, he was involved in interfaith and reconciliation work, tackling the rising tide of Islamophobia that is now a key concern for human rights groups when it comes to Sri Lanka.

The health officials never visited him after the call, but he did get a knock on the door from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police. They handcuffed him and placed him under arrest without explaining why. When Hizbullah’s relatives asked if the police had an arrest warrant, they were warned not to ask any questions.

Hejaaz Hizbullah is currently serving a detention order under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), where any “suspect” can be placed in detention without charge and without being produced before a judge. The detention order can continue to be renewed for up to 18 months.

The PTA has long been criticised as an abusive law that has been used to crush dissent and forcibly disappear people, along with other violations. The Sri Lankan authorities have even acknowledged the inherently abusive character of the PTA but have failed to repeal it as promised.

Amnesty International says the authorities have plunged Hizbullah in this predicament on the basis of nothing more than his legitimate associations with Mohamed Ibrahim, the father of the bombers who perpetrated attacks on churches in Sri Lanka over Easter 2019.

The authorities have publicly stated that the reason for his arrest were his interactions with the bombers and their family. Mohamed Ibrahim’s sons, Inshaf and Ilham, were two of the seven bombers who set off six explosions across Sri Lanka on 21 April 2019, striking three churches and three five-star hotels on Easter Sunday and killing more than 250 people.

The detention order says that Hejaaz Hizbullah is being investigated for allegedly “aiding and abetting” the Easter Sunday bombers and for engaging in activities deemed “detrimental to the religious harmony among communities.”

Amnesty says Hizbullah was connected to Mohamed Ibrahim in two ways. For the past five years, he had served as his lawyer, handling legal cases related to his business. He and Mohamed Ibrahim were also part of the “Save the Pearls” organisation, a charity that supports the education of underprivileged children, hoping to lure them away from criminal activities and drug abuse.

Amnesty International says it is extremely concerned that the case and evidence against Hejaaz Hizbullah may now be subject to fabrication.

“A new allegation has emerged that a school supported by the Save the Pearls charity was responsible for preaching extremism’ and even providing the children weapons training,’ Amnesty said. “These charges lack credibility because nearly three months since his arbitrary arrest, authorities have so far been unable to substantiate their claims with evidence…

“Hejaaz has been subject to an unfair character assassination in local media by the authorities in an environment where anti-Muslim sentiment is rife, and prominent Muslim professionals have been unfairly targeted in the recent past.

“The Sri Lankan government must immediately restore Hejaaz’s due process rights, including producing him before a judge, allowing him to challenge the grounds of his detention, ensuring that he has unfettered access to his family and lawyers, and, in the absence of any charges of credible evidence of a crime being committed, release him.”

Hizbullah’s brother, Hefraz, added: “Having been to a Christian school with a multicultural environment, he integrated well with people from all faiths, with no leanings towards extremism whatsoever. Hejaaz is someone with a spotless track record. He worked hard and excelled at what he did.

“Knowing how he was arrested and how he’s being portrayed as an extremist connected to the terror attacks under the allegation of apparently aiding one of the perpetrators and worse is an absolute shock… Hejaaz had a lot of plans for his family’s future together but right now all that is up in the air. Everyone is just praying and hoping for the best. And it pains me that we can’t do more than just proclaim his innocence and hope that justice, eventually, is served.”

https://5pillarsuk.com/2020/09/08/sri-lanka-has-locked-up-this-muslim-lawyer-without-charge-for-nearly-five-months/?fbclid=IwAR3rWoZmjoBtEhc6xK8xhRucAZYApbSzaHDG32M6YbVpUeQUEdMsqe5WL3s

 

“කවදා හෝ යුක්තිය ඉටුවේයැ’යි බලාපොරොත්තු සහගතව ජීවිතය ගෙවනවා විනා වෙන කිසිවක් කළ නොහැකි වීම ගැන මට ඇත්තේ නොදැරිය හැකි වේදනාවකි”: මගේ මල්ලි හිජාස්

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හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මගේ බාල සොහොයුරා ය. අගෝස්තු 25 වැනි දිනට එළඹුණු ඔහුගේ 40 වැනි උපන්දිනය ඔහුට ගත කිරීමට සිදු වුයේ පාස්කු ඉරිදා ත්‍රස්තවාදී ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ බවට අභූත චෝදනා එල්ල කරමින් අයුතු ලෙස අත්තඩංගුවට පත්ව අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ රැඳවුම් භාරයේදී ය.

හිජාස් පිළිබඳව මට ඇති පැරණිතම මතකයන් අතර බොහොමයක් කළුබෝවිල සිට වාසස්ථානය මාරු කර පැමිණීමෙන් පසු අපි පදිංචිව සිටි ගල්කිස්සේ පිහිටි නිවස හා බැඳී ඇත. හිජාස් දරුවන් තිදෙනෙකුගෙන් යුත් අපේ පවුලේ බඩපිස්සා විය. අපි තිදෙනා අතර වයස් පරතරය ඉතා අවම වූ බැවින්, අපි අපේ ගෙඋයනේ පැයගණන් සෙල්ලම් කරමින් කල්ගත කළෙමු. අපේ වැඩිමල් සොයුරිය ආදර්ශයට ගෙන කටයුතු කළ ඔහු, ඇය සඳහා කළ එක් උපන්දින සුබපැතුමක දී ඇයව නිහඬ වීරවරියක් ලෙස නම්කර තිබූ බැව් මට මතක ය. කොල්ලන් වූ නිසාවෙන්ම, හිජාස් සහ මම එකිනෙකා හා සහයෝගයෙන් හවුලේ කටයුතු කළෙමු.

අපේ සෙල්ලම් බොහෝවිට රොබින් හුඩ් පිළිබඳ කථාන්තර ආභාෂයට ගත් අතර, ගෙඋයන පුරා දිවයමින්, දුනු-ඊතල විදිමින්, සෙල්ලම් කළෙමු. මා සමඟ බොහෝ අවස්ථාවල දී කරට කර සිටිය නොහැකි වුවත්, නිතර තාප්ප උඩට නගිමින්, එහාමෙහා පනිමින් සිටි මගේ හවුල්කාරයා සහ අත්උදව්කාරයා වූයේ හිජාස් ය. නමුත් තවදුරටත් සිය උත්සාහය ඊට යොදවනවා විනා, ඒ කිසිවක් නිසා ඔහු සැලුනේ නැත, එම ගුණාංගය ඔහු තුළ තවත් වසර ගණනාවක් පුරාවට අඛණ්ඩව පැවතුණි. හිජාස්ට සිය අරමුණු ඉටුකරගැනීම සඳහා වේදිකාවක් වූයේ රොබින් හුඩ් හරහා ඔහු ලබාගත් ඒ ආභාෂයයි. ඔහු හැදුනේ – වැඩුණේ ඔහු වටා සිටි මිනිසුන්ට උදව්-උපකාර කළ යුතු බවට දැඩි චේතනාවක් සිතෙහි දරමිනි (එපමණක් නොව, සතුන්ටත් ඔහුගේ උදව් ලැබුණි – මෑතකදී ඔහු අනතුරට පත්ව සිටි බළලෙකුව බේරාගත් අතර, ඉන් ඔහුගේ බළල්-ලෝලිත්වය ද තහවුරු විය). අපේ පාසල් කාලයේ එක්තරා අවදියක දී අපි දෙදෙනාම පරිසරය සංරක්ෂණය කිරීම ගැන උනන්දුවෙන් ඒ සඳහා දායකත්වය දැක්වීමට පටන් ගත්තෙමු. කොස්ගොඩ මුහුදු තීරයෙන් කැස්බෑ බිත්තර සොයාගන්නා අපි, ඒවා ආරක්ෂිතව ශා. තෝමස් විද්‍යාලයේ බිජු සුරැකුම් මධ්‍යස්ථානයට රැගෙන ආවෙමු. ඒ වන විට හිජාස්ගේ වයස වැඩිම වුවහොත්, දහයක් හෝ එකොළහක් වන්නට ඇත. ඒ කුඩා වයසේ දී ම ඔහු ඔහුගේ වගකීම් පිළිබඳව බරපතල ලෙස සැලකූවේය. සති අන්තයේ දී කැස්බෑ පැටවුන්ට ආහාර ලෙස නැවුම් මාළු ද රැගෙන ඔහුගේ පාපැදියෙන්ම පාසල වෙත ගමන් කිරීම සහ පසේ තෙතමනය හොඳින් රැඳී ඇති බව ද, ජලයේ ලවණතාව නියමිත ප්‍රමාණයට ඇති බව ද තහවුරු කරගැනීම ආදිය ගැන ඔහු අතිශයින්ම සැලකිලිමත් විය.

පරිසරයට, ඔහුගේ පාසලට සහ සමස්තයක් ලෙස ජීවිතයට ඔහු දැක්වූ ආදරය ක්‍රමක්‍රමයෙන් වැඩුණේය. පාසල් දිවියේ දී ම තමා අනාගතයේ දී කවරෙකු විය යුතුදැ’යි ඔහු අවබෝධ කොටගෙන තිබුණි. සාමාන්‍ය පෙළ විභාගය උසස් ලෙස සමත් වූ ඔහුට ඉතාම පහසුවෙන් ජීව විද්‍යා හෝ ගණිත විෂය ධාරාව තෝරාගත හැකිව තිබුණද, ඔහු කලා විෂය ධාරාව තෝරාගත්තේය. අපේ මුල්ගුරුතුමා අපගේ නිවසටම පැමිණ ඒ තීරණය ගැන ඔහුට බැණවැදුණු අතර, වෙනත් විෂය ධාරාවක් තෝරාගැනීමට පෙළඹවූවත්, ඉන් වෙනස් වූයේ හිජාස්ගේ තීරණය නොවේ. ඒ, තමන් නීතිඥයෙකු විය යුතු බව ඔහුගේ සිතට තදින්ම කාවැදී තිබුණු නිසා ය. අපේ පවුලේ කිසිවෙකුත් ඔහුව අධෛර්යමත් නොකළේ ඔහු සිය තීරණයට පදනම් වූ පසුබිම් අධ්‍යයනය නිවැරදිව සිදු කර ඇති බවට අප සතු වූ විශ්වාසය නිසාය. ඔහු සැමවිටම තීරණ ගත්‍තේ හොඳින් සිතාමතා, දැඩි අධ්‍යයනයක් කළ පසු ය. විවාද සහ කථන තරග සඳහා දැඩි ඇල්මක් දැක්වූ හිජාස්, තමන් සතු සහජ ප්‍රබල හැකියාවන් ඒවා බව හඳුනාගෙන සිටියේය; එම හැකියාවන් නීතිඥයෙකුව තවත් මුවහත් කරගතහොත් මිනිස් ජීවිතවලට දැඩි බලපෑමක් කළ හැකි අයෙකු ලෙස තමන්ට මං විවර වන බව ඔහු දැනසිටියේය. බාලදක්ෂයෙකු, ඉන්ටරැක්ට් සමාජයේ ක්‍රියාකාරී සාමාජිකයෙකු (එහි සභාපති ලෙස 1997 දී පත්විය) සහ ශිෂ්‍ය නායකයෙකු ලෙස හැකි සෑම අවස්ථාවකදී ම කෙනෙකුට උදව් කිරීමට හිජාස් දෙවරක් සිතුවේ නැත. සමාජීය ක්‍රියාකාරකම් සහ ක්‍රීඩාවලට ද සිය නොමසුරු දායකත්වය සැපයූ ඔහු, වෝටර්පෝලෝ ක්‍රීඩාවේ ශූරයෙකු විය. මා මෙන්ම ඔහු ද ප්‍රාථමික පාසල් අවදියේ සිටම පාසල නියෝජනය කරමින් පිහිනුම් කණ්ඩායමේ සාමාජිකත්වය දැරීය. 1994 වසරේ දී වයස අවුරුදු 14ක්ව සිටි හිජාස් පාසලේ වෝටර්පෝලෝ කණ්ඩායමට එක් වූ අතර, 2000 වසරේ හොංකොංහි පැවැත්වුණු තුන්වැනි ආසියා පැසිෆික් වෝටර්පෝලෝ ශූරතා තරඟාවලියට ශ්‍රී ලංකාව නියෝජනය කරමින් සහභාගී වීමට ඔහුට හැකියාව ලැබුණි. එම වසරේදීම වෝටර්පෝලෝ ක්‍රීඩාව සඳහා ශ්‍රී ලංකා වර්ණ දිනාගැනීමට හිජාස් සමත් වීම අප සියල්ලන්ටම මහත් ආඩම්බරයක් ගෙනදුන් බව මගේ මතකයේ ඇත.

හිජාස් යනු ඔහුගේ වැඩකටයුතු සහ ඔහුගේ අරමුණු පිළිබඳව පමණක් අවධානය යොමු කළ අයෙකු නොවේ. ඔහු විනෝදකාමී, තමන් කැමති දේවල් කරන්නට උත්සුක වන පුද්ගලයෙකි, එමෙන්ම ළමා කාලයේ දී මෙන්ම තමන් කරන-කියන දෑට අවධානය ලබාගැනීමට කැමති අයෙකි. පාසල් කාලයේදී ඔහු අසංග වැලිකල (වර්තමානයේ ආචාර්ය) වැනි සිසුන් ආදර්ශයක් ලෙස ගෙන කටයුතු කළේය. නමුත් ඔහුටම කියා වෙන් වූ තත්ත්වයක්, සම්මතයන් පවත්වාගෙන යාමට ඔහුට හැකිවිය. ඔහු සතු වූ එවැනි ඉහළ සම්මතයන්, සදාචාරයන් සහ සිතිවිලි නිසාම පවුල තුළ ඔහුට “අංකල් ජෝජ්” ලෙස නමක් ද පටබැඳුණු අතර, ඒ නම කියැවෙන වාරයක් පාසා ඔහු කේන්ති ගත්තේය. එලෙස අධි සම්මතයන් සහිත වීම නිසා අපි ඔහුව විහිළුවට ලක්කළද, බිම් මට්ටමේ මිනිසුන් සඳහා විය යුතු දේ නොපමාව, හැකි උපරිමයෙන් ඉටුකිරීමට ඔහු නොපැකිලි හා නොපසුබට විය. නීතිපති දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ අනුරාධපුර රජයේ නීතිඥ ධුරය භාරගත් වහාම, වසර ගණනක් තිස්සේ ඇදි-ඇදී තිබුණු අව-වරප්‍රසාදිත ගොවියන්ගේ නඩුකටයුතු වේගවත් කිරීමේ සිට, අපවත් වී වදාළ පූජ්‍ය මාදුළුවාවේ සෝභිත හිමිගේ ආදාහන පූජෝත්සවය සඳහා පැමිණ සිටියවුන්ට වතුර බෙදා දීම දක්වා, තමන්ට යමක් කළ හැකි සෑම අවස්ථාවක දී ම ඒ සඳහා ඉදිරිපත් වීමට ඔහු පැකිලුනේ නැත. අපේ මිතුරන් සමඟ සෑම නව වසර උදාවන සැන්දෑවකම විශේෂ දිව්‍ය පූජාවක් විහාරමහාදේවි උද්‍යානයේ පැවැත්වූ අයුරු මගේ මතකයට එයි. එහි විශේෂත්වය නම් උදෑසන අපට පිරිනැමෙන අතිශයින්ම රසවත් ආහාරවේල යි. 2019 සිදු වූ කුරිරු ත්‍රස්ත ප්‍රහාර මාලාවෙන් පසු උදා වූ මැයි මාසයේ දී සහෝදරත්වය පිළිබඳ පණිවිඩය බෙදාහැරීමේ වුවමනාවෙන් සිව් ආගම් නියෝජනය වන ලෙස ආගමික නායකයන් ද ගෙන්වා, රාමදාන් මාසයේ විශේෂ ඉෆ්තාර් සංග්‍රහයක් සිය පන්ති සගයන් සඳහා පැවැත්වීමට හිජාස් තීරණය කළේ ද ඒ ආභාෂයෙන් වන්නට ඇත. හිජාස් යනු එවැනි පුද්ගලයෙකි. බහු-සංස්කෘතික වටපිටාවක් සහිත වූ ක්‍රිස්තියානි පාසලක අධ්‍යාපනය ලද හිජාස්, සියලුම ආගම් නියෝජනය කළ පුද්ගලයන් හා සම්බන්ධතා පවත්වාගෙන ගිය අතර, ඒ කිසිවිටෙක ඔහු අන්තවාදී මතවාද නොදැරූ බව සහතිකය.

හිජාස් යනු නිකැලැල් වාර්තාවක් ඇත්තෙකි. ඔහු ස්වෝත්සාහී, එමෙන්ම තමන් කළ දේ නිවැරදිව සහ උපරිමයෙන් කළ කෙනෙකි. සිය මිතුරන් ද සමඟ නීති විද්‍යාලය නියෝජනය කරමින් නවසීලන්තයේ, ඇමරිකා එක්සත් ජනපදයේ සහ ඉන්දියාවේ පැවති මූට් උසාවි තරග සහ සේවාදායකයන් සඳහා උපදේශනය සැපයීම සම්බන්ධ තරගවලට සහභාගී වී, නොයෙක් සම්මානවලින් පිදුම් ලැබ, රටේ නම දිදුලවන්නට ඔහුට හැකියාව ලැබුණි. එමෙන්ම, නීති විද්‍යාලයේ දී හොඳම දක්ෂතා සඳහා වූ වෝල්ටර් ලද්දුවහෙට්ටි රන් පදක්කම මෙන්ම ජූරිය ඇමතීම සඳහා වූ හෙක්ටර් ජයවර්ධන අනුස්මරණ රන් පදක්කම ද දිනාගැනීමට ඔහු සමත් විය. නීතිඥයෙකු ලෙස දිවුරුම් දුන් පසු ඔහු නීතිපති දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ සේවයට බැඳුණේය. ඔහු චිවනිං ශිෂ්‍යත්වලාභියෙකු ද වූ අතර, නීතිය පිළිබඳ ශාස්ත්‍රපති උපාධිය ලන්ඩන් යුනිවර්සිටි කොලීජියෙන් හැදෑරුවේය. පුණ්‍ය ආයතන වෙනුවෙන් අරමුදල් රැස්කිරීම සඳහා සිය කථන හැකියාව පාවිච්චියට ගත් ඔහු, අව-වරප්‍රසාදිත ජනයා වෙනුවෙන් සිය හඬ අවදි කිරීමට ද එම හැකියාව යොදාගත්තේය. සිය නිජබිම වෙනුවෙන් ඔහුට ඇත්තේ අප්‍රමාණ ආදරයක් සහ ගෞරවයකි, එමෙන්ම රටේ ප්‍රතිසන්ධාන වැඩකටයුතු සඳහා ද ඔහු සිය දායකත්වය නොමසුරුව සැපයුවේය.

නිරන්තරයෙන්ම උද්‍යෝගීමත් චරිතයක් වූ හිජාස්, සැමවිටම පාහේ ‍යම් දෙයක් ගැන සැලසුම් කරමින් සිටි අයෙකි. සුළු නමුත් සිත ආනන්දයෙන් පුරවන උදාහරණයක් ලෙස පෙන්වාදිය හැක්කේ, නිවසේ ඊද් සැමරුම් සිදුකරන ආකාරය ඔහු විසින් සැලසුම් කරන ආකාරයත්, එය සියල්ලන්ටම විනෝද විය හැකි, සතුටුදායක දිනයක් බවට තහවුරු කිරීම සඳහා ඔහු දරන උත්සාහයත් ය. ඔහු සහ ඔහුගේ බිරිඳ එක්ව, මගේ වයස අවුරුදු 1 1/2ක් වූ බාලම දරුවාගේ සිට අපේ වයස අවුරුදු 19ක් වූ ඥාති දියණිය දක්වා වූ පවුලේ සියලුම දරුවන් වෙනුවෙන් විශේෂ තෑගි මිලට ගෙන කදිමට අසුරා තිළිණ කරති. ඒවා තෑගි දෙන විට ඔහු කදිමට හැඳපැළඳගෙන, නටමින් ගයමින් සියල්ලන් සතුටු කරයි. මෙවැනි සුළු දේවල් නිසාය අපි ඔහුගේ වියෝවෙන් තවමත් තැවෙන්නේ – විශේෂයෙන්ම මේ ඔහුගේ ජීවිතයේ සන්ධිස්ථානාත්මක උපන්දිනයක් වීම නිසා ය. මේ දිනය සතුට සහ විනෝදය පිරුණු දිනයක් විය යුතු වුවත්, දැන් අපේ පවුල නිරන්තරයෙන් දුකෙන් තැවෙන්නන් වී හමාරය. වයෝවෘද්ධ අපේ දෙමාපියන් දුක නිසාම අසනීපයට පත්ව ඇති අතර, මේ ගත වූ කාලය තුළ අදහාගත නොහැකි තරම් වයසට ගොස් ඇති බවක් පෙනේ.

මගේ නෑනා තව සති කිහිපයකින් සිය දරු ප්‍රසූතිය සඳහා මුහුණදීමට සූදානම් වන අතර, ඔහු අත්තඩංගුවට පත් වූ ආකාරයත්, සිදු වූ ත්‍රස්ත ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ බවට හා එහි එක් මහමොළකරුවෙකුට උදව්-උපකාර කිරීම සම්බන්ධයෙන් චෝදනා ලබා, අන්තවාදියෙකු ලෙස හංවඩු ගසනු දකින්නට ලැබීමත් නිසා ඈට ද ඒ සම්බන්ධයෙන් සෘණාත්මක බලපෑමක් ඇතිව තිබේ. සිය පවුලේ අනාගතය වෙනුවෙන් හිජාස් සතු වූ සැලසුම් අපමණකි, නමුත් ඒ සියල්ලම දැන් කාල නියමයක් නොමැතිව ඇණහිට තිබේ. සියල්ලන්ම දැන් දෙවියන්ට යාඥා කරමින්, සියල්ල හොඳින් සිදුවිය යුතුයැ’යි අපේක්ෂා සහගතව සිටිති. ඔහුගේ අහිංසක බව ගැන කියාපෑමත්, කවදා හෝ යුක්තිය ඉටුවේයැ’යි බලාපොරොත්තු සහගතව ජීවිතය ගෙවනවා විනා වෙන කිසිවක් කළ නොහැකි වීම ගැන මට ඇත්තේ නොදැරිය හැකි වේදනාවකි.

හිෆ්‍රාස් හිස්බුල්ලා | HEFRAZ HIZBULLAH

සංස්කාරක සටහන : මෙහි මුල් ලිපිය හිෆ්‍රාස් හිස්බුල්ලා විසින් “My Brother Hejaaz” මැයෙන් ඉංග්‍රීසි බසින් රචිත අතර, 2020 අගෝස්තු 27 වැනි දින ග්‍රවුන්ඩ්වීව්ස් වෙබ් අඩවියේ පළ කෙරුණි.

https://www.vikalpa.org/?p=38446&fbclid=IwAR1I1xxb12co2-uRvvNF0JckbN_ktepBpzrGiX6ClwSh-r8OrEei6ZnFtiA

 

My Brother Hejaaz

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My Brother Hejaaz


 

 

Hejaaz Hizbullah is my younger brother, and this week, on August 25, he spent his 40th birthday in detention at the Criminal Investigation Department, having been wrongfully arrested and portrayed as being connected to the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

My earliest memories of Hejaaz are from our home in Mt. Lavinia, where we had moved to from Kalubowila. Hejaaz was the youngest of three siblings. The three of us, being very close in age, would spend many hours playing together in our garden that surrounded the house. Hejaaz looked up to our elder sister, referring to her as an unsung hero in a birthday wish. Hejaaz and I, being two boys, were often in cahoots.

Our play times were inspired by Robin Hood, where we would take our bows and arrows and run around the garden. I would climb walls and jump around and Hejaaz would follow me around being my partner and sidekick, even though most of the time, he couldn’t keep up. But that never stopped him from trying, for many years to come. Robin Hood set the stage for Hejaaz’s aspirations and he grew up with a keen interest to help people (and animals – he recently rescued a cat and is now a confirmed cat person) around him. There was a period when we were in school where we were both involved in environment conservation.  We would pick up turtle eggs from Kosgoda and bring them safely to our hatchery at St. Thomas’. Hejaaz was just ten or 11 then and he took his responsibilities very seriously from making sure that the soil was well watered, to cycling to school over the weekend to feed the turtle hatchlings with fresh fish and ensuring that the water had the correct level of salinity.

His love for the environment, his school and life in general continued to shine through. He knew what he wanted to be very early in his school career. Despite passing his O’Levels with flying colours and being able to get into the Science or Math streams, he opted to join the Arts stream. Our headmaster came home to scold him and tried to convince him to join one of the other streams. Hejaaz just stuck by his decision because he knew he wanted to become a lawyer, and that’s what he was going to do. No one in our family tried to discourage him as we all knew that he would have done his background research. He would always make informed decisions. Hejaaz had a knack for debating and public speaking and he knew that those were his strong points; he  knew he would be able to make more of an impact in helping people by honing those skills as a lawyer. Being a Scout, an active member of the Interact Club (taking over as President in 1997) and a prefect, Hejaaz never turned down an opportunity to help anyone. He was involved in a number of social activities and sports, excelling in water polo. He, like myself, had been representing the school in swimming since primary school. In 1994, at the age of 14, he joined the school water polo team and eventually represented Sri Lanka at the Third Asia Pacific Water Polo Championships in Hong Kong in 2000. Hejaaz being awarded Sri Lanka Water Polo Colours the same year was a proud moment for us.

All this meant he barely spent time at home. I remember how he would get a hundred calls every evening when he used to be at Law College – quite a lot of them from girls. He was very popular with the ladies and everyone at home got tired of answering the landline because we just knew it was for him and would let the phone ring itself out.

However, Hejaaz wasn’t someone who focused only on his causes and his work. He’s a fun loving, spontaneous man and still loves attention as much as he did when he was a child. He looked up to people like Dr. Asanga Welikala back in school. He was in a league of his own. The family used to tease him about his high ideals, nicknaming him Uncle George – something that annoyed him no end. Despite being teased by us for being too posh, he never backed down when it came to getting work done on the grassroots – from speeding up court cases for the underprivileged farmers in Anuradhapura that had been dragging on for years when he first started practicing as a State Attorney to distributing water for mourners at Ven. Sobitha Thera’s funeral, he involved himself in everything. I recall how we used to participate in a special New Year’s Eve mass held at Vihara Mahadevi Park with our friends, the highlight of the occasion for us being the delicious breakfast that was served on in the  morning. This was probably what gave Hejaaz the idea to convey a message of solidarity by organising a special Ramadan Ifthar for his classmates, along with the attendance of clergy from all four faiths, in May 2019, a few weeks after the Easter Attacks. This is the kind of person that Hejaaz is. Having been to a Christian school with a multicultural environment, he integrated well with people from all faiths, with no leanings towards extremism whatsoever.

Hejaaz is someone with a spotless track record. He worked hard and excelled at what he did. Along with his peers, he represented his law college across the world in New Zealand, the United States and India in Moot Court and Client Counselling competitions, winning several awards for his country. At Law College, Hejaaz won the Walter Laduwahetty Gold Medal for Excellence for the best performance, as well as the Hector Jayawardene Memorial Gold Medal for the Address to the Jury Contest. Upon graduating he joined the Attorney General’s Department. He was also a Chevening Scholar and pursued his Master’s in Law at University College London. He used his skills as an orator to canvass for charities and speaking on behalf of the less fortunate. His love for his country is immeasurable and he also played a part in contributing towards reconciliation efforts.

Forever brimming with enthusiasm, Hejaaz was always making plans for one thing or the other. A small but heart-touching example is how he would plan out Eid celebrations at home, and make sure it was a fun-filled, joyous event for everyone. He and his wife would buy and beautifully pack presents for each child in the family from my one-and-a-half-year-old to our 19-year-old niece. Then he would dress up and jig around when handing them out. It’s little things like that which make us miss him most – especially on his birthday. It’s a day for joy and happiness but right now our family is shattered. Our elderly parents are sick with worry and have aged incredibly during this period.

Knowing how he was arrested and how he’s being portrayed as an extremist connected to the terror attacks under the allegation of apparently aiding one of the perpetrators and worse is an absolute shock. My sister-in-law is due to give birth in a few weeks and this is taking its toll on her as well. Hejaaz had a lot of plans for his family’s future together but right now all that is up in the air. Everyone is just praying and hoping for the best. And it pains me that we can’t do more than just proclaim his innocence and hope that justice, eventually, is served.

https://groundviews.org/2020/08/27/my-brother-hejaaz/

 

Hejaaz Detention: Fort Magistrate Orders CID To Submit All Statements Obtained In Investigations

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Following submissions by Defence Counsel that the Criminal Investigations Department is selectively reporting facts to the Magistrate in order to malign Hejaaz Hizbullah, Fort Magistrate today ordered the Criminal Investigations Department to submit a report of all statements obtained by them from persons relating to the investigations of Hizbullah.
When the case was taken up today. Counsel for the Defence informed Court that the Criminal Investigations Department had obtained statements from all persons of the Save the Pearls Charity and the Teachers and Board of Management of the Al-Zuhriya Madarasa.

However, none of those statements had been produced to date.
They said that the statements would reveal that all the allegations made by the CID are a fabrication and were made in order to malign Hizbullah and that the suppression of those statements is because it would vindicate Hizbullah of the charges against him.

Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake ordered to submit a comprehensive report containing all statements made by persons in the investigations related to Hizbullah.

Earlier the Magistrate also ordered the CID to submit a report on the investigations into how confidential statements were leaked to the media. Two confidential statements made by children had been leaked to the media and the Magistrate ordered an investigations as to how these statements were leaked when they were made only to him.
The Western Province DIG failed to submit any report on the investigations today after which the Magistrate made order to submit the report.

Hejaaz Hizbullah a prominent Lawyer was arrest on the 14th of April 2020, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The Criminal Investigations Department filed reports stating that children of the Al-Zuhriya Madrasa to whom Save the Pearls – a charity in which Hizbullah was the President – had said that they were given weapons training.

The Children with their parents filed Complaints to the Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court alleging that they were coerced into giving statements after being taken alone without their parents throughout a period of 3 days, from dawn to dusk.

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/hejaaz-detention-fort-magistrate-orders-cid-to-submit-all-statements-obtained-in-investigations/

 

Hejaaz Hizbullah: Symptom and symbol

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  • What made him more enigmatic was that unlike most others in his profession who shield their lives beneath a calm facade, he taught exceptionally well
  • Apparently he called the Easter attackers “fools who died as fools.” I can picture Hejaaz saying that

 

There’s an image of Hejaaz Hizbullah I return to over and over again. It’s an image of him holding a placard at a protest in 2018. The placard reads, “Asilachaara parliamenthuwak wenuwata seelachara parliamenthuwak” (“A cultured parliament in place of an uncultured parliament”). The reason why it resonates with me is that, even in the ecstatic way he holds it, he is quite unlike the Hejaaz Hizbullah I once knew. But then I realise that the Hejaaz I once knew couldn’t have been the real guy. 
I first encountered the man in 2013 at my law school. He didn’t lecture us until two years later, in our third year. It would be quite unbecoming of me to say he exuded a critical, even dispassionate, distance between himself and his students. But say it I will. Hejaaz never seemed to get emotionally involved with what he taught. He came, he lectured, he made sure we understood what he said, and he left. I never saw him thereafter, not even at the many functions and events organised by my law school. At first, and for years afterwards, I assumed he was too busy with his practice to think of life outside lecture halls and chambers and courts. I couldn’t have been more wrong about a person.  


Hejaaz was the most enigmatic lecturer I ever came across. What made him more enigmatic was that unlike most others in his profession who shield their lives beneath a calm facade, he taught exceptionally well. Lecturers resort to secrecy because they know they’re not good enough, and know that their students know. Not this lecturer. That could mean only one thing. He was so deeply committed to his other lives that he couldn’t let those other lives interfere with this one. Underneath that dispassionate smile and frown, then, there was another man. A good man.  
I gradually realised that in addition to his practice and his activism, he was also a writer. At the time I was sitting for my A Levels in 2011, he wrote a particularly well thought out piece on the issue of the burka ban in France. Bizarrely enough, his stance on the problem – back when burkas and the identity of Muslim women and men were spreading like wildfire throughout Europe – coincided with the views of the very same Sinhala Buddhist nationalist crowd that demonises him as a terrorist sympathiser today. No less an articulator of this ideology than Professor Nalin de Silva said that the burka ban made clear the identity crisis in Western civilisation: in its quest to balance the demands of a White Christian majority and the reality of multiculturalism, Europe was imposing restrictions on displays of Muslim identity under the convenient excuse of “emancipating” Muslim women
When burkas and the identity of Muslim women and men were spreading like wildfire throughout Europe – coincided with the views of the very same Sinhala Buddhist nationalist crowd that demonises him as a terrorist sympathiser today


Hejaaz underscored this point a year later in a piece on the controversial anti-Islamic short documentary, Innocence of Muslims: “Even in the way the West defines free speech, it is not an unfettered, untrammelled absolute right. It is pegged in and restricted. Under the standard narrative, in deciding whether to decree something as free speech or not, there is a need to balance competing considerations but when it comes to Muslims, what we see is not a balance but really a bias. There are examples a plenty.” Now this is just about the same point Nalin de Silva and the Jathika Chintanaya have been making in column after column. It is a point I agree with and it couldn’t be any more correct.  
All that, however, is peripheral to my main point. More than Hejaaz’s arrest, which raises concerns that I, as a mere law student, am neither qualified nor able to address or assess, what distresses me is that infamous “court of public opinion” which automatically deems him a terrorist supporter and financier. When did “innocent until proven guilty” jump out of the window, reduced to an empty, meaningless phrase?  


I would dare to call Hejaaz a reminder of a generation of educated, progressive Sri Lankan Muslims, whose stand on communalism of all forms attracts ire from extremists and praise from moderates. Apparently he called the Easter attackers “fools who died as fools.” I can picture Hejaaz saying that. It was in him. It couldn’t have been anyone else. Certainly not any of the mainstream Muslim MPs we have today.  


I have seen the moderate Muslim, and I know in retrospect that he or she is a more complex human being than what either side of the divide prefers to see. The moderate Muslim is not necessarily opposed to burkas, but neither is he or she with those who wish to radicalize the Muslim population in the country by emphasising on Muslim-ness as opposed to Sri Lankan-ness. The moderate Muslim is opposed to the little Arabias that sprang up in the East of this country, under the watch NOT of a minority party but of a UPFA Muslim MP, but he or she is just as fervently opposed to those who try to make it out that this, somehow, represents the entirety of the Muslim race in the country. The moderate Muslim is seen as fitting a specific stereotype: he or she is invariably English educated, middle class, fluent in Sinhala and not just in Tamil, and outspoken against Islamisation. In many cases, this is true. Certainly, it is true of the St.Thomas’ educated, bilingual, and outspoken Hejaaz Hizbullah. But even then, they are not willing to concede to their own stereotype.  
Indeed, you’d be surprised to know that the same man demonised as a terrorist today wrote the following at the height of the halal (non-)issue in 2013:  


‘Who needs ‘halaal’ certification? It’s certainly not the Muslim consumer, but the businesses that crave for halaal recognition. I say this because there was a time before [the] halaal certification. Even then there were brands that had established consumer goodwill and trust to the effect that their products were ‘halaal’... To those thinking only in religious terms, ‘new’ translates often to ‘non-Muslim’ as Muslim businesses find it easier to establish consumer goodwill even without [the] certification.So as a Muslim consumer, the future of halaal certification does not trouble me.”


Extremist? Jihadist? Al-Qaeda supporter? Hardly.  


I think Hejaaz’s arrest is a symptom and symbol, of a great many among us who are ready to throw stones, swords, knives, and daggers at anyone suspected of something, anything. But even a cursory examination of the man’s record should, as it will, confirm that the values he has purported to stand for are at odds with their image of him.  



I think Hejaaz’s arrest is a symptom and symbol, of a great many among us who are ready to throw stones, swords, knives, and daggers at anyone suspected of something, anything


It is pointless, as certain commentators tend to do, to throw stones at and cast aspersions on this administration. Hejaaz Hizbullah’s arrest was made under the present regime a year after Dr Shafi’s arrest under a regime led by the now Opposition. Who’s kidding who here, if all we do is trace the contours of racism to a particular government without realising, and of course conceding, that this is an institutional (and institutionalised) problem? These arrests have already been validated, by a crowd only too eager to portray even the most moderate of moderates as villains of the piece. It’s all scripted. The players need only take their places. Hejaaz certainly has. And so have many of us.  


It didn’t have to be this way.


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http://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Hejaaz-Hizbullah-Symptom-and-symbol/131-194468

 

Niqab Ban In France Violates Human Rights Of Muslim Women: UN Human Rights Committee

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The United Nations Human Rights Committee said France’s niqab ban violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.”

Women in France can be fined up to 150 euros for wearing the niqab, a full-face veil with an opening for the eyes, under a law that came into effect in 2011.

The committee said two women fined for wearing the full-face Islamic veils should be compensated and it called on France to review its controversial 2010 law banning the garment.

“The French law disproportionately harmed the petitioners’ right to manifest their religious beliefs,” the committee said in a statement, adding that France had not adequately explained the need for the ban.

“The Committee was not persuaded by France’s claim that a ban on face covering was necessary and proportionate from a security standpoint or for attaining the goal of ‘living together’ in society,” they said.

They added that the ban, “rather than protecting fully veiled women, could have the opposite effect of confining them to their homes, impeding their access to public services and marginalizing them.”

   

Rathana At It Again; ACJU Is The Punching Bag For Everyone

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By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

Let this column begin with a Disclaimer. It is only an analysis and the writer is not holding a brief to defend or protect the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (ACJU). The ACJU has been functioning as an organisation for nearly 100 years. It was established circa 1924. As such it is not just another mushroom religious body and it consists of erudite persons with Islamic scholarship. It is interesting to note that there is no priesthood as such in Islam. Therefore, overlordship of man over man, in any form, be it religious or otherwise, is never a part of the teachings of Islam.

The ACJU has been targeted in two different ways. Firstly, by some members within the Muslim community. The Muslim bashing is mostly aimed at its leader. In the generic sense no human is perfect. The varying values of imperfection applies to a Leader too. After all a Leader is also a human and logically, cannot be perfect. We have seen how leaders conduct themselves, the levels of efficiency, the extent of corruption and so on. Having said that, it is also important to highlight that every Leader carries certain responsibilities that defines a good leadership. Moreover, a leader is burdened with the task of delivering on the expectations of those who accept him as a leader. Anyway, this is a personal matter and outside the scope of this column.

The second attack is mounted against the organisation itself. This is mainly spearheaded by the extreme right politicians and racist elements with the support of monks in many instances. Their ‘offensives’, unfortunately so called, since they are indeed offensives, are not aimed at achieving some principled objective or to advocate a cause via rational argument. Far from these, the apparent aim is to intimidate, create a fear psychosis, hatred and through this inculcate violence.

ACJU Is Fair Game

Democratic institutions among others are based on the epithet ‘Equality’. This equality is in relation to the citizens of the country. When equality is offended or disturbed by whatever force, it naturally results in conflict. The force that is guilty of violating this principle will continue doing so and those who had been deprived of equality will struggle to reinstate it. The imbalance caused by this inequality reflects on all strata of societal life.

In this context, when examining the effect of the vitriolic diatribe against ACJU, the hallmarks of a divisive society is clearly exposed. In fact, no other religious organisation has been abused in this country in the way ACJU has been battered. Each offensive rains down on ACJU spurious, unsubstantiated and unfounded allegations. The ACJU has been accused at different times as extremists, supporters of terrorism, striving to make Sri Lanka a Muslim country, surreptitiously introducing sharia law and such other fanciful and highly imaginative allegations. These are well timed and choreographed with a careful selection of words and terminologies which appeal to the feelings of the people and combining these with phrases which can easily excite their sensitivities.

The recurrence of this exercise at intervals exposes one more thing and that is the character of the people who engage in this vanity. Such people are not patriots, true nationalists and in the context of monks, the impression is that they have deviated from the teachings of Buddha.

Free Entertainment


Without any prejudice compare the noise that was made by the media, politicians and monks over the statement of Mr. Harin Fernando, former Member of Parliament about His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. Even the Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo together with the Catholic Clergy of the Archdiocese of Colombo issued a statement expressing their grave concern.

Let us examine another perspective. Whether one likes it or not Mr. Mangala Samaraweera former Member of Parliament is one person who does not hypocritically mix words when he articulates his disgust towards the conduct of certain monks. Irrespective of the veracity of what he says about some notorious monks the media, politicians and monks all have a field day casting aspersion on him and defending the monks.

Empirical observation reveals that most of the times it is the ethno-nationalists, extreme right politicians and politically bankrupt monks who engage in this game. They are providing free entertainment to many who are able to differentiate the chaff from the grain. The danger is that the majority of the people buy into these accusations and develop within them indoctrinated fear. This fear can easily be transformed into developing hate and resulting violence.

Enter The Dragon

Recently Athuraliye Rathana Thero appears to have had a bout of verbal diarrhoea which figuratively stinks. According to the general perception of the public, the government is not interested in him and therefore, he has been marginalised. The talk of the town is that he has passed the political ‘expiry date’ and is now desperately struggling to maintain his presence in the arena. Given the political climate the best choice for him is to throw a few punches at the ACJU. After all, anything against the Muslims is fair game these days especially for the racist monks.

I am reminded of a scene in the picture ‘Enter the Dragon’ (I assume) where an opponent of Bruce Lee, in the tournament ring, holds a wooden board and breaks it with a karate stroke in a display of power. Bruce Lee calmly responded saying, “Wooden boards do not hit back”. Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero knows very well that his punching bag (ACJU) also will not hit back. Moreover, unlike for His Eminence The Cardinal and for certain monks there is no media, politicians and monks who would come forward to speak on behalf of ACJU.

Polowa Pelena Boru

The fourth precept (sila) in Buddhism involves falsehood “musāvāda,”. More broadly it encompasses all forms of wrongful or harmful speech. As explained by the respected venerables, this would mean speech that is harsh, untruthful, motivated by greed or hatred, or otherwise connected with harm. Misleading arguments, verbal bullying, incitements to violence, rage, outbursts, malicious ridicule, and poorly worded statements that cause pain without benefit.

The recent statements of Rathana Thero against the ACJU which are unfounded or unsubstantiated can be connected with most of the above extensions of the pali word, “musāvāda”. What lies? Or, in Sinhala the common adage, “Polowa pelena boru”. Worst of all coming from the mouth of a monk violating the precept that he utters; wonder how many times for a day. This time the accusation, among several others, is that the ACJU has advised all Muslims to boycott Sampath Bank. Liar! Liar! Pants On Fire. The ACJU had never given any such advice and promptly issued a statement refuting this heinous accusation. See ACJU letter below:




 


 

The Most Abused Sila

The extent to which the fourth sila is abused is abominable. Especially, in a country where the five precepts are repeated so many times each day over the radio, on TV, in the temples, in every junction of the roads. And, that too, when the utterers of such lowly abuse are the monks the abomination becomes simply unbearable. It is unpleasant and it is unbecoming of anyone who has enrobed himself to indulge in lies. The monks are supposed to be the paragons of virtue. It is them that the laity looks upon with veneration since they have adopted the path of the buddha. It is the monks who teach the lay people the way of the buddha. When they fail to stand up or do not put into practice what they preach it is disappointing. Of course, this does not include the respectable monks.

The curse of pseudo religious and racist rhetoric most of the times fuelled by a false sense of nationalism are the enemies of this country. They are a threat to national security. These deceivers have to be stopped and they can be stopped only by the civic minded citizens of this country. This means you and me. Thank God, there still remains a large contingent of those who detest the dramatics of these opportunistic and pretentious patriots.

Abandoning false speech

Abandoning divisive speech

Abandoning abusive speech

Abandoning idle chatter

“This is how one is made pure in four ways by verbal action.”

— Anguttara Nikaya 10.176

Is it not time that the law-abiding citizens make the voice of their dissatisfaction be heard over this continuing state of affairs? What moral values are we going to leave behind for our children?

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/rathana-at-it-again-acju-is-the-punching-bag-for-everyone/

 

Democracy Threatened: Impunity, Political Patronage & Rollback Of Devolution

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By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

R. Sasilan: Assistant Commissioner of Elections

Today we are opening new living quarters for our Election Commission’s man-in-charge in Batticaloa. I am so glad because R. Sasilan is a man I am proud of. He stands up for what is right without fear or favor. When a minister distributed gifts in elections some years ago, he confiscated a gift pack and filed a complaint with the police. The police, as often happens, disappeared the evidence. Sasilan sent a report to the Commission and that too disappeared. When I inquired, I was told untruthfully that he never reported it. Sasilan has what it takes to be a good officer. His experience also shows the challenges of office: fear of and the need to please the political authorities who recently just ahead of elections transferred new GAs to key electoral districts.

Our franchise is safeguarded by people like Sasilan. May these quarters give comfort to those who come to live here, safeguarding our franchise instead of to promote themselves by service to political authorities.

SLAS: SL Administrative Service or SL Association of Schemers?

Sasilan’s experience shows the triple challenges faced by election officials: impunity (on which I have written much and will not touch on here), political pressure, and threats to distributed power. As for political pressure, as you know the COVID curfews were mysteriously announced lifted on 19 April to clear the way for elections, a day after Defence-Secretary Kamal Gunaratne stated firmly that until COVID is curbed, curfew cannot be lifted. Now the 100 limit on political meetings is increased. The relevant gazette is delayed. Science services political authority.

When the Colombo Returning Office had a Facebook post calling a Presidential candidate the son of a donkey, an inquiry was held. The inquiry was scheduled for 5 pm, I left the Commission after 5:30 pm when the meeting was not convened. The delay was that one officer was drunk. They met very late and declared that the RO had a new telephone, he was reading someone else’s post, his finger slipped on the polished screen, and that got posted as his. Not even a child would believe what the SLAS officers and an IT expert proffered as an excuse. I perceived a need not to find anything against a fellow SLAS officer. After the elections, the man retired and sought nomination from the ruling party. Impunity!

Today we have a situation where an RO was brought at the last minute to a big district. Gifts given for those without work under COVID came to the Kachcheri. These went to an MP who distributed them as if they are from him. There is a photo from his Facebook where his youth leader gives the package from a GS office. The furniture stock marks identify the office. An inquiry had to be launched.

SLAS officers were the inquirers. The pickup from the Disaster Management Service was tracked by the GPS showing that the vehicle running charts are cooked up. It had stopped at a home for long periods where the contributions were offloaded on the relevant days (13-19 April). It had not gone to the Divisional Secretary’s office as claimed. The GA/District Secretary claimed he had given the goods to an Additional GA with correct instructions and certified that the distribution was perfectly done. The Additional GA claimed he had distributed the goods as instructed by the GA. The Accountant of the Divisional Secretariat where the gifts were claimed to have been given, testified that nothing was given there. The beneficiary list given by the GA’s office was clearly cooked up and duplicated pages with beneficiary signatures not matching the signatory’s names.

 

The inquirers did not dare to question the driver who asked him to go to the unauthorized places. They claimed to lack the capacity to ask the alleged beneficiaries who they were told the donor is. They claimed to lack the capacity to check the Facebook photo claiming the goods were from an MP. No one asked the GA how he certified distribution as he instructed.

The SLAS inquiry team cleared the GA claiming there was no evidence against him (although he certified that the distribution was properly done) and that he had handed over everything properly to the Additional GA. The Inquirers did not want to let down a political corrupt RO on whose reputation the electoral system hangs.

Democracy in Danger: Threat to Distributing Power

Our franchise is in danger. One source is the SLAS itself whose structure upholds authority and impunity. The other is rolling back devolution of powers from which we have all benefitted, including the Election Commission where three members have replaced the one Commissioner. This permits greater role for dissent and alternative voices. I will focus on the distribution of power for lack of time.

Imagine Sri Lanka is one electorate. The majority will win most of the seats. It is in recognizing that different peoples have different needs to articulate, that we have several electorates to send different representatives knowing the needs of each electorate. Similarly, we have multi-member seats to allow, say Muslims to be able to return a Muslim MP in a Tamil majority electorate. The Provincial Councils are a boon to truly representative democracy. What has happened to them is like what happened to a friend’s Volkswagen Beetle when I went with him to a mechanic’s. The foot board was rusty. The mechanic kicked it hard and broke it. Then he said, “See. It needs fixing.”

Likewise, the Provincial Councils have problems. We need to fix them without breaking them.

In my LLRC testimony, I argued for a united but federal Sri Lanka. I have three daughters and a son. They are all equally my children and equally loved. But the girls have different shared bedrooms in our house because their needs are different. Under one roof we are one family but with different living quarters. The arrangement does not make my son with his own bedroom unequal to my daughters.

Indeed the arrangement gives them greater freedom to lead fuller lives, one room with boy toys and comics and the others with dolls, wall posters, and a library with books like Pride and Prejudice. Giving us, Tamil people, different space where we can give expression and life to our peculiar needs is not separation but true happy integration.

Let me also paraphrase another family-based argument that my daughter who worked for Dr. Jehan Perera heard from him. If I were to have a voting system among my children every time we go out as a family, the three girls would outvote my son and we would always end up shopping or eating at a restaurant. My son, who would prefer Casuarina Beach, would get outvoted. In time, he would want to break off from the family and go to the beach with his friends. Majority vote would lead to separation but sharing leads to integration.

That is, the wishes of the majority cannot be forced on minorities in the name of democracy and must be mediated through a federal arrangement. Yes, a good society must allow those who wish to be different to be different.

Women

Women also are a minority in terms of power. They have different needs and sensibilities. Getting some 95% male Parliament to be their representative is not democracy. The Mannar Women’s Development Federation has said “Give one of your votes to a woman.” I endorse this. As they say, women’s rule uplifts our democracy.

There is some confusion, however. At the Presidential Elections, when MWDF urged you to vote for at least one woman, you could choose any of the female candidates. Now, however, in the Parliamentary elections, you must first choose a party, whatever it may be, and then vote for a woman from that same party. If you chose a woman from a party that you did not choose, your vote will be spoilt.

We must give choices to everyone in how our lives are run. Women especially must have a greater choice in running their lives. Vote for at least one woman from your party.

*Text of speech on 5 July, 2020 at the Election Commission’s Grand Opening of the New Quarters Building, Saravana Road, Kallady, Batticaloa

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/democracy-threatened-impunity-political-patronage-rollback-of-devolution/


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