Student murders and attack on cops – Rajapakse conspiracy to kindle a ‘war’ that is long dead in Jaffna

Student murders and attack on cops – Rajapakse conspiracy to kindle a ‘war’ that is long dead in Jaffna

-High rung police officer who served in Jaffna reveals with evidence
(Lanka-e-News -24.Oct.2016, 4.00PM)  The killing of two Jaffna
LEN logouniversity students yesterday , and the subsequent  attack launched  yesterday (23) causing injuries to two police officers of the intelligence division is a result of a conspiracy of the pro Rajapakses , a high ranking police officer who was serving in the Jaffna police for a long time revealed with supporting evidence to Lanka e news inside information division.
The shooting down of the University  students yesterday was the first incident of killing of civilians by the police after 1983 in Jaffna . Even during the war though civilians were killed by the forces , the police did not. Hence , suddenly the students who travelled on a motor bike being killed by shooting allegedly for not halting when ordered by the police is most suspicious and is an absolute conspiratorial killing , the officer further pointed out. 
Usually  what the police do  in the event of a motor cyclist not heeding the police signal to stop is , the registration number of the vehicle is noted , and investigation conducted after obtaining the details of that vehicle from the motor vehicle registration department  .
Unlike in the days gone by , now the registration number can be  faxed and details collected within an hour . Under such circumstances , just because a motor cycle rider does not stop for a police signal , shooting is uncalled for and unnecessary , implying that this shooting is  based on a  conspiracy  , the high rung police officer explained.
Besides when the emergency regulations  are not in operation , the cop cannot fire a T 56 weapon unless he has been given prior orders by a superior officer to shoot . The high ranking police officer  therefore said , this shooting is not just an accident , and there is more to it than eyes and ears meet- that is a calculated conspiracy. 
The same high ranking police officer therefore said, the defense secretary an ace pro Rajapakse lackey cum lickspittle at once claiming even before the shooting sound has died down  that the police are innocent is part of that conspiracy . What the defense secretary and the IGP ought to have done is , instead of adding fuel to the fire of the already prevailing volatile situation , made a careful probe into the  history of the police officers involved, he pinpointed.

On the orders  given by  DIG Ajith Rohana (in charge of legal division)  who is another pro Rajapakse stooge in Colombo ,  this shooting incident  was recorded as a vehicle  accident in the police registers. However when the situation turned  dangerously controversial and began to boomerang , the records in the three registers were withdrawn, the high ranking police officer exposed. 

At the same time , last noon (23), two officers, a sergeant and a police constable in civil attire of the police intelligence division who were traveling on a motorbike were cut and injured in Chunnakam Town , Jaffna . This was to incite a ‘war’ in Jaffna by the pro  Rajapakse conspirators , the high rung police officer  added.

The assailants who came in three motorcycles sans registration numbers had attacked the two cops , and fled away. These violent actions are being carried out by pro Rajapakse army intelligence division members to capitalize on the deaths of the University students and  to make a false show that the attack was to avenge the death of the Tamil students  with a view to stoke racial hatred,  the high ranking police officer went on to elucidate.
This attack on the two cops was launched about a mile away from the funeral house of the  murdered student . What’s more ? it is only a restricted group and those  of the intelligence division that are close to the cops Navaratne and Herath (who were in civil attire) who  can identify them . In  addition ,  in that area , no ordinary resident travels  in vehicles without registration numbers. This is therefore a calculated pro Rajapakse diabolic  aim and ruthless conspiracy to kindle a war that is now non existent  and resuscitate what is long dead and buried, the high rung police officer pointed out .

While the moronic leaders of the good governance are digging their own graves by still keeping back the chief of the army  intelligence division of the Rajapakse era ,and  though the Jaffna  commander Mahinda Haturusinghe , a lackey and lickspittle of Rajapakses was removed, Colonels who are  his bootlicking henchmen are still in Jaffna , and they are creating unnecessary murders and mayhem in Jaffna after enlisting  about 200 individuals wearing black Tee shirts carrying  weapons (concealed) , the same high rung police officer regretted.

Apart from these two incidents ,it is after the speech of the president on the 12 th with the aim of safeguarding ex defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse   , Edirisinghe Jayamanne committed suicide on the 14 th after leaving a note that he killed Lasantha .If these incidents are pieced together , it is clear the Rajapakses have risen  after dusting themselves off the ashes . Yet , as long as  good governance government cannot perceive these dangerous portents , it is headed for a holocaust , the high rung officer lamented with profound concern. 
by     (2016-10-24 10:31:54)
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On The Killing Of Jaffna University Students: In Search Of The Right Path

On The Killing Of Jaffna University Students: In Search Of The Right Path

Colombo Telegraph

By Purujoththaman Thangamayl –October 24, 2016

Purujoththaman Thangamayl

The incident of two Jaffna university students being killed due to gunshots by the police has set off countless arguments and debates. A majority of these arguments come from one single perspective. They highlight this incident as a ‘racist attempt’ or as ethnically motivated. But, there exists a necessity to list out the issues surrounding this incident. That will be the healthiest way to deal with it.
Firstly, the fact that the students have been subject to shooting amounts to their killing being an act of murder. If the Police Officers had committed this act they need to be punished. This is because, when police officers on night patrol do not have the power to attack someone in a way that leads to his death, but acts that result in death occur (in whatever form it happens) it should be basically looked upon as murder. Fundamentally therefore, the killing of the students should be treated as an act of murder and after the investigations justice should be provided. On this basis, it becomes necessary that any and all mistakes those police officers made should also come to light.
Secondly, it should be investigated whether extreme intoxication on power was the reason behind the police officers committing this horrendous killing. That, requires taking into cognizance what measures they took at that time, the amount of alcohol in their body and many other such issues.
Thirdly, in reality did those two students not pay heed to the police officers’ request to stop for a police check? Or, were they indeed checked, allowed to proceed on their motorcycles and then shot? This also needs looking into.
Even if these three issues are investigated upon and answers found, if the police had used their gun/s and shot the students it would still lead to the basic fact that this was murder. Therefore, if the police had used their gun/s to shoot then they are the perpetrators of this act of murder as well. There are no doubts on this matter. The path to achieve justice therefore becomes easier.
Instead, if these basics are thrown aside and the fact that this was a ‘racist attempt’ is highlighted it will give ammunition to making the situation more complicated. Primarily, it will make the Sinhala South refer to these two students as Tigers or Terrorists, spread such rumors amongst the Southern polity and create opportunities for the perpetrators to gain their sympathy.
Sri Lanka is governed by ethnic conflict. There is no question on that. But, in such a situation without handling any issue in an appropriate manner, pushing such an approach aside and instead pouring ghee on the fire of racism will only lead to more problems. This will not benefit the Tamil youth.
Another issue that arises is the question as to who will control the ever increasing number of killings, robbery and rowdyism that has started plaguing the North –East including Jaffna. Judge Ilancheliyan put the STF on the ground and ordered the Police to control these acts. What are the basics behind this order? And, how much authority (and necessarily, what are the limitations) has been provided to the police on checking those who travel on the roads needs to be looked into as well.
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Protest against Jaffna students killing

Protest against Jaffna students killing

2016-10-24 20:50:09
A collective of media and civil society organizations today staged protest outside the Fort Railway Station condemning the death of two Jaffna University students. Pix by Pradeep Pathirana
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Jaffna students demand justice for police deaths

Jaffna students demand justice for police deaths


24 Oct  2016
Students are protesting outside the governor’s secretariat, demanding justice for the deaths of two Tamil students from the University of Jaffna who died after an encounter with the police.
Protestors held up signs in Tamil, English and Sinhala, outlining their demand for justice and prosecution of the killers. Sinhala students also took part in the protest. Buses ferried students from the Kilinochchi campus of the university to the protest. The protestors first blocked the entrance to the secretariat, before staging a sit in on the A9.
Organisers told the Tamil Guardian that precautions were taken to ensure the protest remained peaceful. The university’s teacher’s association and students from multiple faculties participated in the protest.
See Tamil Guardian’s live tweets for more.
A petition was also submitted by the Jaffna University Students Union calling for the perpetrators of the killing to be brought to justice. See the full text of the peittion below.
Student unions announced that they will be on strike from Jaffna University, with all faculties shut, until they have received a response to their petition.
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( Jaffna students blocked A 9 road in protest; Image courtesy of  Garikaalan Twitter)
Sri Lanka BriefBy National Peace Council.-24/10/2016
The importance of restoring normalcy to the North has become evident in the aftermath of the fatal shooting incident involving two university students.  The students were shot by police when they failed to stop at a police check point in the early hours of the morning.  Students and businesses in Jaffna have been engaging in public protests.  There are suspicions voiced in the North that this was a planned incident to deliberately create tensions which would justify a continued strong military presence.  In a context in which the North (and East) of the country continue to remain militarized, with large contingents of military personnel in the two provinces, such incidents are also bound to be seen in ethnic terms and therefore contribute to a spiral of negative sentiment.
The National Peace Council condemns the shooting of the unarmed students and welcomes President Maithripala Sirisena’s swift order to the police to conduct an investigation of this incident.  He has also ordered compensation to the bereaved families.  We condole with the families who have experienced this tragedy.  We call for an impartial investigation that will be seen to be impartial in addition to being impartial.  We are aware of a massive trust deficit due to the lack of normalcy in the affairs of the North.
 We also note that the initial report filed by the police stated that the deaths were caused by a traffic accident.  The five police personnel involved have been arrested which is a positive indication of the law taking its course.
In restoring normalcy to the North and East of the country, where most of the three decade long war was fought, we call on the government to emphasise the building of good relations between the police and the people.  The local recruitment of more police officers will be necessary.  We also call on the government to work with the elected authorities in the North and East, especially the provincial councils to ensure that law and order prevails in a manner so that the people feel greater confidence that all levels of government are functioning for their benefit.
At the present time the government is absorbed in a constitutional reform exercise that involves the whole parliament but whose outcome is not certain.
Instead of waiting an indefinite period for this constitutional reform process to be finalized, we call on the government to implement the 13th Amendment to the constitution, which exists as the supreme law of the land, and devolve police powers to the provincial councils.
Sustainable solutions require dealing with all of the relevant issues articulated by civilians and political leaders in the North and East.  It equally demands that all interests are at least acknowledged, if not entirely satisfied in the short term.   Failure to do so would potentially lead to negative outcomes in the long term.
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Why Sri Lanka needs one million jobs by 2020

Why Sri Lanka needs one million jobs by 2020

logoTuesday, 25 October 2016
An opponent of trade liberalisation has recently tried to score a cheap debating point by questioning the need to create one million jobs. His argument has been that the official statistics showed only 400,000 unemployed persons.


If we are to escape from the middle-income trap and get established on a high-growth trajectory, it is imperative that all sectors of society understand the importance of creating jobs with the characteristics demanded by our young people and by the women who are sitting out the job market – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara

Low unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force. It is not a percentage of the population as a whole but of the labour force, or those who are working or looking for work. According to the Department of Census and Statistics, it was 4.2% at the end of the first quarter of 2016. Taking the most recent numbers from the 2014 Labour Force Survey, this yields a number higher than, but still in the range indicated by our debater: 548,000. Table 1 gives the numbers from the Labour Force Survey for 2009-2014.

Low labour force participation

6sg6Given the denominator of the unemployment rate is the labour force, the next step is to look at the labour force participation rate. Table 2 shows Sri Lanka to be an outlier among its peers.

Given that the female labour force is half the size of the male labour force, this suggests a look at gender-disaggregated data in Table 3.

Sri Lanka’s male labour force participation is not an outlier. But the female rate is radically low.

According to the most recent Household Income and Expenditure Survey of 2012, the average household in Sri Lanka ranges from 4.3 people in the estate sector to 3.8 in the rural. The number of income receivers ranges from a high of 2.1 in the estate sector to 1.7 in the rural. For the country as a whole, there are 1.8 income receivers in a household of 3.9 persons, on average.

Women and youth out of the job market

If the female labour force participation rate could be raised to the levels in comparator countries or at least to the level of the estate sector across the economy, household incomes would be considerably higher. A disproportionately large number of women are staying out of the labour force. Given they are willing to undertake work in foreign countries, this suggests that the jobs on offer in Sri Lanka are not attractive enough to bring them into the market.

In addition, the unemployment rate among the 20-29 year-olds is roughly three times the overall rate. They are looking for work, but are unwilling to take what is on offer. As the long lines for the Korean language exams showed vividly, they are not unwilling to work, or even wait in line overnight to qualify for work at acceptable rates of compensation.

So, here is the nub of the problem. The jobs currently available in Sri Lanka are unattractive.


Need for better jobs

If we are to escape from the middle-income trap and get established on a high-growth trajectory, it is imperative that all sectors of society understand the importance of creating jobs with the characteristics demanded by our young people and by the women who are sitting out the job market. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, adequate salaries perhaps in excess of Rs. 40-45,000 a month as stated by the Prime Minister recently. Jobs that involve hard labour in the outdoors such as work in the booming construction industry and in commercial agriculture will require even more.

If these conditions are met, those labouring in the Middle East and elsewhere can attracted back home and those under-employed and sitting in three-wheelers under trees redirected to remunerative jobs. There will, of course, be shortages of labour for low-end jobs that do not meet these conditions. Plantation companies, for example, are likely to have to close down unless they can offer decent work at decent wages.

It is in this light that we must look at the target of one million jobs in five years (or, an average of 200,000 new, attractive jobs every year). This is an objective worthy of the support of all sectors and interests in our society. It is a sad testimony to the quality of economic discourse in this country that this kind of economy-transforming objective and policy has been reduced to a cheap debating point by myopic individuals.

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Govt. could lose Rs. 1 b if HNB private placement allowed claim analysts

Govt. could lose Rs. 1 b if HNB private placement allowed claim analysts

Govt. could lose Rs. 1 b if HNB private placement allowed claim analysts
Oct 24, 2016
The move by business tycoon cum shareholder Harry Jayawardena to prevent the private placement of 10% stake in HNB to the untitled-6Asian Development Bank analysts claim will indeed save nearly Rs. 1 billion in immediate value for State-owned entities holding shares in the second-largest private bank.
On Thursday, Jayawardena via Stassen Exports, got an interim order from the Commercial High Court restraining HNB from going ahead with an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Wednesday 26 October to get shareholder approval for the private placement valued at $ 50 million (over Rs. 7.2 billion) until the final determination on the matter.
The Interim Order issued by Commercial High Court Judge Shiran Gunaratne stayed the HNB Board of Directors “from holding and/or proceeding with the Extraordinary General Meeting of the 1st Respondent scheduled for Wednesday, 26th October 2016 or any time thereafter for the purpose of obtaining the approval of shareholders to issue shares to the ADB.”
Stassen Exports alleged that HNB had made no announcement to existing shareholders of a need for capital infusion. In the event of the share issue to ADB going through, ADB would have gained 9.9% of voting and dividend rights, a strange development according to the petitioner since no rights issue was announced to the existing shareholders.  According to Jayawardena, the private placement would also effectively result in a depreciation of share value and would therefore directly hurt existing shareholders.
Harry J’s recourse to the legal system came following the HNB Board, after what some described as “a very stormy meeting” on 31 August, approving the issuance of shares for $ 50 million to the ADB by way of a private placement with the valuation of each share being based on the 30-day average trading price immediately preceding the EGM but restricted to a price band between Rs. 190 and Rs. 220.
Analysts opined that if the private placement goes through the Government-controlled shareholding in HNB would reduce considerably. Given the indicated placement price, current shareholders could lose a lot of money. “The Government alone would lose close to Rs. 1 billion,” they claimed.
The first announcement of HNB’s move was made on 31 August. Since then the HNB share price has gone up to Rs. 229.70 as of last Friday from  Rs. 225 at end August and Rs. 212 at the beginning of August. HNB’s 52-week highest price is Rs. 233.
A high net worth shareholder claimed that the private placement was an attempt to dilute the Government shareholding which at present is around 30% and to prevent any attempt to vote out the directors appointed by the previous regime and highlights the need to appoint Directors who have good business and financial acumen.
Among the shareholders are several State-controlled entities such as Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (Life as), Sri Lank Insurance Corporation (General), the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and the  National Savings Bank, holding 9.67%, 4.96%, 9.76% and 2.89% of shares respectively.
Harry Jayawardena controls around 18% (of which 5.7% is unregistered). Company analysts noted that the bank and the Central Bank have so far failed to make a final determination on this unregistered shareholding, an issue that has remain unresolved for years.  HNB in total has 4,619 voting shareholders (including 419 foreign) and 10,660 non-voting shareholders.
“If the ADB wants to buy shares, like any other shareholder, they must buy in the markets at the prevailing price and not at a hefty discount,” the high net worth investor emphasised.
Another view is that HNB instead of diluting existing shareholdings could have gone for a debt instrument from ADB with the option of converting to equity at a later date based on eventual performance and the use of funding provided by the multilateral donor.
Market analysts also concurred that HNB could have gone to existing shareholders to raise the required cash. HNB last went to shareholders to raise capital in 2011 with a 1 for 10 Rights Issue under which voting shares were priced at Rs. 219.50 and non-voting at Rs. 119.50.
Some analysts also went to the extent of warning that the Government officers approving these arrangements could be held accountable at a future date for their actions, as in the case of a recent arrest involving the directors in a State institution.
The lawyers appearing for Harry J on Thursday were Nihal Fernando, PC with Ms. Romali Tudawe, Harshula Seneviratne and Rajindra Jayasinghe, Attorneys-at-Law, instructed by Upendra Gunasekera, Attorney-at-Law.
In the petition, Stassen referred to the Company’s Act Section 53, which states: “Subject to the company’s articles, where a company issues shares which rank equally with or above existing shares in relation to voting or distribution rights, those shares shall be offered to the holders of existing shares in a manner which would, if the offer was accepted, maintain the relative voting and distribution rights of those shareholders.”
While conceding that the Companies Act provides for a company to issue shares to such persons as it considers appropriate, the petitioner had pointed out that Section 53 of the said act provides for pre-emptive rights of existing shareholders with respect to the new issuance of shares.
HNB’s Deputy General Manager Legal and Board Secretary Thushari Ranaweera, in a filing to the CSE on Friday, said the bank has not been served with any notice of an Enjoining Order as of Friday morning.
In a statement prior to Harry J’s action, HNB said earlier this month that the proposed $ 50 m investment by ADB will fuel a new chapter of growth.
It said the impending breakthrough partnership with the ADB is anticipated to open up new business opportunities across multiple areas including SME, microfinance, project finance and renewable energy.
Fuelled by this fresh infusion of capital and guided by the ADB’s own extensive technical expertise, HNB aims to further strengthen its systems and processes.
In the statement, HNB MD/CEO Jonathan Alles said the technical assistance that would be available through this strategic investment will power a complete transformational process within the organisation in order to further augment HNB’s position in the digital space.
HNB will also be in a position to harness technical expertise to further refine its stringent risk management framework and drive continuous process improvement.
ADB will also provide HNB with access to a wealth of knowledge on world-class governance standards, corporate social responsibility and sustainable banking practices which HNB aims to integrate into its own business model, risk management framework and governance practices going forward.
Additionally, the capital infusion will support HNB, as it moves towards implementation of more stringent capital adequacy requirements stipulated under the BASEL III regulatory framework. ADB’s investment in HNB will serve to provide a sizeable capital buffer and position HNB as one of the best capitalised commercial banks in Sri Lanka.
This landmark partnership with ADB is also anticipated to significantly raise the profile of HNB on the global stage, potentially opening up new avenues for the bank to raise funding from international sources at attractive rates and long tenors, an area in which HNB has already demonstrated prolific success, most recently in relation to the raising of $ 185 million from multilateral financial institutions including $ 100 million from ADB.
Furthermore, this strategic partnership will also widen the horizons for inorganic growth for HNB beyond the shores of Sri Lanka and the new investment to be made by the ADB will ultimately deliver enhanced value to all the stakeholder of HNB, the statement from the bank said.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totalled $ 27.2 billion, including co-financing of $ 10.7 billion.
In the first half of this year HNB Group continued its outstanding performance with Group PBT improving to Rs. 10 billion. The bank’s PBT for the period improved to by 50% to Rs. 9.1 billion while the bank’s PAT grew by 48.6% to Rs. 6.4 billion.
The bank’s operating profit before VAT, NBT and corporate taxes increased by 48.3% to Rs. 10.8 billion. The asset base of the bank grew by 24.8% yoy and 9.4% during the first six months of the year to reach Rs. 793.1 billion.
The HNB Group also recorded outstanding performance with Group PAT growing by 54% yoy to reach Rs. 7 billion.
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Brian Senewiratne, Sexual Violence Against Tamils In Sri Lanka

Brian Senewiratne, Sexual Violence Against Tamils In Sri Lanka

Colombo Telegraph

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan –October 24, 2016

Prof. Charles Sarvan

I’ve never met the author (hereafter sometimes referred to as BS), a medical doctor long settled in Australia, but have heard of his reputation as a human-rights campaigner fighting against discrimination and injustice, be they based on ‘race’, religion, caste or skin-colour. Among the recognition he has received is the Canadian Genocide Educators Award (2008). On 13 January 1898 Émile Zola published an open letter to the President of France accusing him of ‘racism’ and injustice in the case of Dreyfus, a member of the small Jewish community. Zola’s ringing J’accuse! is now a common generic expression of outrage and accusation against those who use power unjustly and cruelly. Sexual Violence can be seen as a Sri Lankan “I accuse”, and is dedicated to those who “have no voice, no land, no life and no hope”. (Words within quotation marks, unless otherwise stated, are from this book.) The crime of Tamils is to have been born Tamil, writes BS, and now they are treated as the “spoils of war”. Usually, a war ends when one side surrenders but, sometimes, the aggression continues into (so-called) peace time. Genocide is of two kinds, the second being gradual and relentless, less dramatic, unnoticed by outsiders and, finally, more pernicious (BS). For the accusations he levels, Dr Senewiratnerelies, among others, on international publications (including the much-respected medical journal, The Lancet) and, as a medical doctor, on his own examination of some of the victims in Australia.
brian-senewiratne-sexual-violence-against-tamils-in-sri-lankaThough the title focuses on rape, this most despicable of crimes is placed within a wider context of violence and injustice. The picture Dr Senewiratne presents is of an entire civilian population helpless against those who have power and enjoy full immunity. Land is forcibly grabbed to build security camps, holiday resorts and farms. Those being settled in the North and East are the very people who have perpetrated crimes: their contempt and brutality continue. Street names are changed from Tamil to Sinhala. The education of Tamil children is “being conducted by Sinhalese (almost all of them former military people) who have no expertise in teaching and even less knowledge of Tamil or Tamil culture” (BS). The military and the police control all aspects of life in the North and East: they have to be informed even if a funeral or a wedding is being organised (BS). Sexual harassment has led to girls dropping out of school, particularly in rural areas: the harassment includes lewd comments and soldiers exposing themselves. By way of contrast, the author cites a report by Sarvodayawritten when the LTTE controlled territory: women in these areas felt safe to walk by themselves even late in the night. By all accounts, when it came to sexual mores, the LTTE were puritans.
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Can art transform conflict?

Can art transform conflict?

Does art have a role in reconciliation? Does it help in healing trauma? Can the creative power of arts be used as a catalyst for action – especially among those who have been disenfranchised?
How do you document violence or curate memories?
These are questions that concern people who value creativity and democracy and want to explore the synergies between the two.
A group of scholars, researchers, activists and artists from 11 countries including Sri Lanka will discuss these questions and search for answers while sharing their own work on the theme, Arts in Reconciliation at an international conference to be held at the BMICH from 7-9thNovember.
The conference will feature presentations, panel discussions exhibitions, workshops and performances on a number of topics relevant to the reconciliation efforts in Sri Lanka and several other countries where violent conflicts have taken place.
On the Art of Witness the highlights include cases from Bosnia, Lebanon, Kosovo and South Africa:
descriptions of museums and monuments from Sri Lanka, Germany and Argentina; experiences from artists whose lives intersected with armed conflict and how art helped one artist from Ambalangoda to transform prison walls while another session examines the limits of art. Dancing for reconciliation is a presentation from the Unites States on expressing Tamil identity through dance while Beats of Dissent features performance artists from Sri Lanka.
The forty conference- sessions spread out over three days are arranged under three dominant themes. Art of Witness deals with historical trauma and memory which is one of the greatest challenges facing societies in the aftermath of armed struggle. Research suggests that there is a relationship between the ability to address this legacy in a comprehensive manner and the potential to develop a sustainable peace.
The Art of Connecting is about engaging youth as change agents and advocates of peace. Youth has the potential to spearhead creative change, harness technology and seize opportunities for fostering democracy and shaping the future.
Art of Dissent relates to the ability to express dissent through art; to expand civic space for dialogue and catalyse actions in favour of the disenfranchised. Can art transform conflict?     The conference is about exploring these themes and seeking answers to questions and also raising new questions. It facilitates learning from experiences from around the world.
Exhibitions: There are several powerful exhibitions which will be held at the BMICH parallel to the conference. Company of Heroes deconstructs the hero archetype from the Sri Lankan conflict, through visual art done by children of military personnel; Corridors of Power brings together constitutional theory and architecture to examine Sri Lanka’s constitutional evolution; Truth to Truth which explores transitional justice through the medium of art will promote reflection and discussion on modes of justice; artwork produced by children in 12 villages from both sides of the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict will also be on display as well as a Photovoice project where young people from opposing sides of Sri Lanka’s conflict use photography to engage in conversation with the other community.
The workshops include one in creative art therapy which will focus on the therapeutic power of art to facilitate trauma healing. Another workshop is on the chronology and geography of mass atrocity which will discuss case studies from antiquity to the modern times to introduce tools of prevention- it is especially important for policy makers, public officials and civic groups. See more details on the workshops here.
Arts is a powerful way of celebrating diversity because it brings people together on matters of social and personal significance and creates space for dialogue.  The scholars and artists, drawn from diverse nationalities across the Balkans, Africa and South America, will join their Sri Lankan counterparts to discuss a range of topics including “Democracy in the Digital Age”, “Culinary Diplomacy” and “Music for Social Change”. More information and registration for sessions is available at www:
The WINGS festival is organised by the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) and the Arts Council of Sri Lanka in collaboration with Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and CARE International Sri Lanka. It is financially supported by the European Union. The festival is built around a three factors crucial for appreciating the richness of diversity: Art, Food and Conversation.
Also at the BMICH in the evenings during the conference, starting on 8 November and continuing till 10th there will be a festival of films on the theme of reconciliation. A food festival showcasing the wide diversity of traditions, spices and tastes of Sri Lanka will be held on Sunday 13 the November along Nelum Pokuna Mawatha (Greenpath). Meantime, the cultural festival will continue from the 6th to 13th at different venues in Colombo featuring performances by renowned artists.
The events are free of charge, but prior reservations are recommended to avoid disappointment. For reservations or additional information please call +9477 726 1757 or
Editors note:  ‘Corridors of Power’ will be showcased at WINGS. See original Facebook event page here, and a recent presentation on the exhibition at the World Economic Forum’s Shape South Asia 2016 conference here.
What is a constitution? What place and relevance, if any, does it have in the popular imagination? Do citizens really care about an abstract document most would never have seen or read, when more pressing existential concerns continue to bedevil their lives and livelihoods, even post-war?
Led by the input of Asanga Welikala and in collaboration with Channa Daswatta, ‘Corridors of Power’ through architectural drawings and models, interrogates Sri Lanka’s constitutional evolution since 1972. The physical exhibition, held first in late 2015, critiqued Sri Lanka’s tryst with constitutional reform and essentially the tension between centre and periphery.
The original exhibition output included large format drawings, 3D flyovers, sketches, and models reflecting power dynamics enshrined in the the 1972 and 1978 constitutions, as well as the 13th, 18th and 19th Amendments.
Facebook event page at
Full colour catalogue of exhibition at
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Fireworks at COPE

Fireworks at COPE


COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti

  • Major rifts appear over Central Bank Bond report, presentation to Parliament later this week
  • COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti walks out in protest, says UNP MPs pressured Auditor General to change findings
  • UNP proposes stunning recommendation for CBSL report: demands criminal investigation into Perpetual Treasuries
  • UNP MP Mohamed Mahroof appointed temporary chair of COPE
  • UNP denies trying to protect ex-CBSL Governor; claims other recommendations will be equally forceful
  • Watchdog committee sits for marathon 10 hours; UPFA, JVP, TNA MPs absent
logoBy Dharisha Bastians

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Fireworks ensued at the meeting of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) yesterday, with Chairman of the oversight body stepping aside in protest against UNP members allegedly exerting undue influence on a draft report on the Central Bank Treasury Bond issue and delaying the report’s presentation to Parliament, which was initially expected today.

COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti walked out of the meeting, when the committee sat for its third day of deliberations on the report on its investigation into the Central Bank Treasury Bond auctions in 2015-2016. COPE members now expect the report to be presented in Parliament later this week.

The COPE Chairman, who is a member of the Opposition JVP, said he had told UNP MPs who were the only parliamentarians present at yesterday’s deliberations to appoint their own temporary chair as he was unable to sit through the proceedings any longer

and give the final draft its seal of approval.
The COPE Chairman said that he was still obligated to present the COPE report to Parliament, which he would do once the UNP members conclude work on the draft. “I can’t draft a report in accordance with how the UNP wants it, so I could no longer sit in the meeting,” he said. Handunetti said he had been part of the deliberations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I requested them to appoint a temporary chair of their choice and draft a report according to their preference,” Handunetti said after he left the meeting.

Accordingly, UNP MP Mohammed Mahroof was appointed temporary chair of COPE for the Central Bank deliberation.

“One group of COPE members has completely consented to the draft report. However, the discussions on this report have gone on for three days with UNP members suggesting amendments to the draft. Finally they also tried to influence the Auditor General to change his findings and conclusions,” Handunetti said after he left the meeting.

The COPE Chairman said he had urged the UNP members to refrain from exerting pressure on the Auditor General. “If there were sections of his report they disagreed with, they could have noted their dissent in the report, but they could not try to influence the Auditor General to change his findings,” the JVP MP noted.

Handunetti’s departure was “unfortunate”, said one UNP MP in COPE who did not wish to be named. The COPE Chairman had been accommodating and willing to discuss the draft report until last evening, the MP told Daily FT. “I think he was under major pressure from his party to walk away,” the UNP Member said.

Vehemently denying that the UNP was attempting to protect former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, the UNP COPE member said that it was the group of UNP MPs yesterday which had recommended a criminal investigation into Perpetual Treasuries – the primary dealer linked to the former Governor’s son. The recommendation will be included in the final report to be tabled in Parliament, the MP told Daily FT.

Further recommendations proposed by COPE – now virtually an oversight committee comprising only UNP MPs – would surprise people who allege the UNP MPs were attempting to protect “crooks”, the COPE member from the ruling party charged.

Still speaking confidentially, the UNP MP denied their group had attempted to influence the Auditor General to change his report. “It was just a discussion. At one point, we asked him to add a sentence, referring to the fact that accepting more bids during a Treasury Bond auction than initially offered had been a regular practice over many years,” the MP noted.

The UNP was primarily taking issue with the fact that the Auditor General’s report was suggesting that former Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had been wrong to hold an auction to issue treasury bonds instead of opting for private placements, the MP said. The UNP MP added that in fact the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka had only granted permission for private placements between January and December 2008, while auctions were the accepted practice for issuing treasury bonds.

On the third day of deliberations yesterday, COPE sat for nine hours in total after marathon seven and 11 hour sessions last Thursday and Friday. After Chairman Handunetti’s departure, the Committee continued sittings with the temporary chair, with UNP members, the COPE Secretariat and the Auditor General participating in the deliberations. UPFA, JVP and TNA MPs in the 31-member oversight committee did not attend yesterday’s meeting. Joint Opposition MP Chandrasena Gajaweera attended the meeting very briefly, Daily FT learns.

Speaking to reporters last night, COPE Chairman Handunetti said he had discharged his duties responsibly and without bowing to pressure or influence as Chairman of the watchdog committee, and added that he had no personal interest in going after individuals. “My only interest is to protect public funds and our only investigation was about whether this transaction had taken place with minimum loss to the Government or not,” the COPE Chairman noted.

To accuse the Auditor General of pursuing a political agenda was a grave charge, the COPE Chairman said. “He is not just an individual. He holds office as the Auditor General of the country. We have to protect this office and we cannot allow it to be belittled or insulted,” the JVP member said.

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