2/09/2015

(Adopted from Lanka E News)

The following are the main proposals for constitutional reform under discussion.
President
The President will be the Head of State, the Head of the Executive and the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. The President shall always, except in the case of the appointment of the Prime Minister or as otherwise required by the Constitution, act on the advice of the Prime Minister or of such other Minister as has been authorized by the Prime Minister. The President may require the Prime Minister and such Minister to reconsider advice given to him and may require Parliament to reconsider a Bill presented to him for assent. He shall act on advice given after reconsideration and shall give assent to a Bill passed after reconsideration.
In addition to the powers and duties presently exercised under Article 33, the President shall promote national reconciliation and integration, ensure and facilitate the preservation of religious and ethnic harmony and ensure and facilitate the proper functioning of the Constitutional Council and the independent Commissions.
Presidential immunity does not extend to acts or omissions of the President in his official capacity. The Speaker/Chair of the Council of State shall act for the President.
The term of office of the President shall be 5 years. Mode of election of the President will not be changed. This will be a matter for the next Parliament. The President may be removed by passing a no-confidence motion with a 2/3 majority. Present impeachment provisions will be deleted.

Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers
The Prime Minister will be the Head of the Government. The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament. The President may also appoint a Deputy Prime Minister on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The number of Ministers shall not exceed 30. The total number of Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers shall not exceed 40. Where the parties with the highest and second highest number of seats agree to take part in a Government of National Unity, Parliament may be resolution increase the above mentioned numbers to not more than 45 and 55 respectively for the duration of the Government of National Unity. This will be applicable to the next Parliament only.

Special provisions relating to the present President
During the term of office of the present President, the subjects of defence, Mahaweli development and environment shall be assigned to him. (Provisions similar to present Article 44 (2)). In arriving at any decision or policy pertaining to the subjects and functions assigned to himself, the President may summon meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers and preside at such meetings.

Parliament
The term of Parliament shall be 05 years. Parliament may be dissolved during the first 4 years and 6 months only upon a resolution to that effect being passed by a 2/3 majority.

Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions
Provisions relating to the Constitutional Council (CC) and independent institutions, repealed by the 18th Amendment, will be reinstated subject to certain changes. The composition of the CC is unchanged except that the 05 persons to be nominated by the PM and Leader of Opposition after consulting leaders of political parties and independent groups shall reflect the pluralist character of Sri Lanka, including professional and social diversity, and that the professional expertise of the nominees will be taken into consideration. Changes will be made to overcome difficulties experienced in the past - members deemed to be appointed if President does not appoint following nominations, quorum, CC may function despite vacancies etc.
The Audit Service Commission and the National Procurement Commission are added to the list of independent institutions. The CC shall obtain the views of the Chief Justice, the Minister of Justice, the Attorney-General and the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka when considering appointments to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
National Police Commission: IGP shall be entitled to be present at and participate in meetings except at any meeting where any matter pertaining to him is discussed. Where the Commission has delegated its powers to any Police Officer, the IGP may appeal to the Commission against any order made by such Police officer in the exercise of such delegated powers.

Council of State
The functions of the Council shall be to make recommendations to the President and the Cabinet of Ministers on the implementation of matters contained in the Statement of Government Policy, the adherence to the principles of good governance by all organs of government, Bills immediately upon their publication in the Gazette, proposals for legislation as may be referred by the Cabinet of Ministers and   matters of public importance referred to it by the President.
Composition: 35 members appointed jointly by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition with the approval of the Constitutional Council and Chief Ministers. 20 seats shall be apportioned amongst the recognized political parties and independent groups represented in Parliament, in proportion to their representation in Parliament. A political party or independent group not being represented shall be entitled 01 seat. The leaders of the recognized political parties or independent groups to which seats are so apportioned shall be entitled to appoint members to fill such seats. All appointees shall be persons of integrity who have achieved distinction in their respective professions or vocations.
Chairman and Vice Chairman shall be appointed by the President.

Parliamentary Committees
There shall be a Consultative Committee for every Ministry. The meetings of the following Committees shall be open to the public: Select Committees, Consultative Committees, Public Accounts Committee, Committee on Public Enterprises and Committee on Public Petitions. The Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and of the Committee on Public Enterprises shall be an MP nominated by the Leader of the Opposition.

Bills
Bills shall be published in the Gazette 14 days before the first reading. Bills will be certified by the President. There will be no urgent Bills.

Auditor General and Audit Service Commission
The Audit Service Commission shall consist of the Auditor General, two senior retired audit officers who were served in the post of Deputy Auditor General or above and two retired officers who have distinguished themselves in the fields of auditing, accountancy, law, economics or public administration and who have had over fifteen years experience in a senior executive post in the public service, appointed by the President, on the recommendations of the Constitutional Council. 

The functions of the Commission shall be to: 
approve rules pertaining to schemes of recruitment, or of the appointment, remuneration payable, transfer, dismissal or disciplinary control of the members belonging to the Sri Lanka State Audit Service;
prepare annual estimates of the National Audit Office and submit to the Speaker to be reviewed by Parliament; and
discharge such other duties and functions as may be provided for by law.
The Auditor General shall audit all Ministries and Government Department; Offices,  institutions and Commissions receiving appropriations made by Parliament; Provincial Councils, Local Authorities and Public Corporations; business or other undertakings vested in the Government by or under any written law; any body or authority established by or under any written law with public resources provided wholly or partly and whether directly or indirectly, by the Government; companies in which any  such body or authority is holding not less than forty per centum of the shares of share capital; and companies in which any such body or authority is holding not less than forty per centum of the share capital.
“Audit” includes technical audits, environmental and value for money audits.

National Procurement Commission
The Commission shall consist of five members appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council, of whom at least three members shall be  persons who have had proven experience in procurement, accountancy, law or public administration.
It shall be the function of the Commission to formulate fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective procedures and guidelines for the procurement of goods and services by all government institutions. The Commission shall also- (a)  report on whether all procurement of goods and services by government institutions are  based on procurement plans prepared in accordance with previously approved action plans; (b) report on whether all qualified bidders for the provision of goods and services to government institutions  are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the bidding process for the provision of those goods and services; (c) ensure that the procedures for the  selection of contractors, and the awarding of contracts, for the provision of goods and services to government institutions are fair and transparent; (d) report on whether members of procurement Committees and Technical Evaluation Committees relating to high value procurements by government institutions are suitably qualified; and (e)  investigate reports of procurements made by government institutions outside established procedures, and to report the officers responsible for such procurements to the relevant authorities for necessary action.

Right to Information
The right to information will be included as a fundamental right. This right will be subject to such restrictions prescribed by law as are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, privacy, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. Parliament shall, by law, make provision to give effect to this right.

Date/s of operation
Provisions relating to the President and Cabinet of Ministers will come into force on April 22, 2015.  All other provisions come into force on the date on which the 19th Amendment becomes law.
Transitional provisions: The members of the Public Service Commission, National Police Commission, Human Rights Commission, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and Finance Commission, shall cease to hold office on the date on which the 19th Amendment becomes law.
Special provisions relating to the period 22 April 2015 to the conclusion of the next General Election
The President shall preside over meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers. The President may, with the concurrence of the Prime Minister, assign to himself or herself any subject or function and may, with like concurrence, determine the Ministries to be in his or her charge. The President shall, on the advice of the Election Commission, ensure the creation of proper conditions for the conduct of a free and fair General Election of Members of Parliament.
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2/04/2015

This news posted in Economic Times section in India Times indicates a highly important move.

The  Finance Intelligence Unit (FIU) is more than FIU in political terms.

1. Mahinda swindled money burrowed by Sri Lankan people. China helped him for them. Now India helps President Maithripala to trace them back.
2. Sri Lanka government is moving away from China in regard of political allegiance and getting closer to India.
3. With this move, Sri Lanka is embracing the democratic capitalist principles promoted by Western oriented capitalist nations vis-a-vis the Chinese oriented undemocratic, corrupt and totally inhuman practice of capitalism in the guise of socialism.

Following is the report:

NEW DELHI: India will help Sri Lanka set up a finance intelligence unit (FIU)-like entity in the island nation at Colombo's request to trace more than $5 billion allegedly stashed overseas by the erstwhile Rajapaksa regime.

President Maithripala Sirisena is moving to fulfill electoral promises to check corruption and repatriate money allegedly siphoned off abroad by Mahinda Rajapaksa, who ruled Sri Lanka for a decade, and members of his family, government sources told ET. 

The new Lankan regime has informally approached the Narendra Modi government to assist in setting up the body, sources said, adding that a formal proposal could be expected soon.

The finance ministry will share its best practices with Colombo to set up the unit, which could be modelled after the Indian body, the sources indicated.

"We could help close neighbour Sri Lanka with capacity building exercise regarding FIU," said an official familiar with the process.

India set up the FIU in November 2004 as a national agency to receive, process, analyses and disseminate information related to suspect financial transactions. It coordinates and strengthens efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing global efforts against money laundering and related crimes, reporting directly to the finance minister. Last November, FIUIndia and its Australian counterpart decided to jointly crack down on international financial crimes.

India could also consider a formal proposal from Colombo seeking the Reserve Bank of India's expertise in tracing money allegedly hoarded in tax havens. The Sirisena government has also sought help from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in locating this hidden wealth to expose the alleged corruption of the previous regime. The Sri Lankan government does not possess this expertise, according to Health Minister and cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne.

Relations between New Delhi and Colombo have picked up pace less than a month after the change of guard in the island nation.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com
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2/01/2015

President. Dr. Prabath Jayasinghe (Colombo) prabhathj@gmail.com 0718045150
Secretary: Dr. Harini Amarasuriya (OUSL) amarasuriyaharini9@gmail.com 0777880737
Treasurer: Dr. Pavithra Kailasapathy (Colombo) pavithra.kailasapathy@gmail.com 0777956743
Vice Presidents:
Dr. U. Anura Kumara (SJP)
Dr. Rangika Halwathura (Moratuwa)
Dr. S.Arivalzahan (Jaffna)
Dr. S. Banneheka (Peradeniya)
Mr. Upali Pannilage (Ruhuna).
Assistant Secretaries
Prof. Devaka Weerakoon (Colombo)
Dr. Chaminda Kodotuwakku (Rajarata)
Dr. A.W. Wijeratne (Sabaragamuwa)
Ex-Officio
Mr. Chandraguptha Thenuwara (UVPA)
Prof. Rohan Fernando (OUSL)
Media Spoeksman
Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri (Colombo)
Media Coordinator
Dr. Hiniduma Sunil Senevi (Sabaragamuwa)
Web/Facebook Administrator
Dr. Jinasena Hewage (Ruhuna)
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1/11/2015

Sources say that Ranil Wickramasinghe has cut a deal with Mahinda Rajapaksha early morning on January 09th for a 'peaceful transition.'

It is the government not taking action against Mahinda regime's corruptions and the opposition United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) guaranteeing parliamentary majority support to Ranil in return.

It is true that the parliamentary majority support is a must for the 100 day programme. But, should it be at such great cost? You are paying with people's interests of punishing the corrupt politicians so as such malpractices may not recur in future.

President Maithreepala and Chandrika must work to muster support of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) instead of this kind of deals.

Meanwhile, there is plan to appoint Mahinda as MP to replace Malini Fonseka. The next step is appointing him as Prime Minister to upset the government.

We said earlier that Ranil is having a dinner party with table manners with a savage and end up in the stomach of the latter.

While the new President addresses the nation in Kandy, Mahinda has organized a massive meeting in his fortress in Madamulana. They are planning to come to streets in Colombo against the new government in the coming weeks.

There must not be such deals in the struggle for democracy and freedom. The corrupt politicians must be brought into book. Nobody has right to hide 'files'.

People must take to street to press the government to do this.
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1/10/2015

We defeated Mahinda. 'We' means social media here. It was one of the major factors of his defeat although none of the present government has identified it and thanked us. It was hard work, lots of bytes and biting.

There are so many other 'we's in almost all the households of the island who can claim for Maithree's victory. So many people took the pain of converting people and keeping up their morale. It was not easy.

We elected Maithreepala Sirisena as President. He said he would not contest again. Thanks. He does not want to show up too much. Do your job and retire. We are ahead of the 100 day programme.

But I have serious doubts of the good governance now. Somarathna Disanayaka has been appointed as the Chairman of national television. Why not Dharmasiri Bandaranayaka or Prasanna Vithanage? No. They will not beg for positions. Somarathna and his likes know too well to appease the bigwigs. They know how to kneel down and beg. Nothing to do dear. There must be somebody to chair the national television. There are better names like Ganganath  but I think they are vying for better positions. Let them go.

Rupavahini has lot of problems. They don't have scheduled programmes to telecast, for instance, as one employee told us. Winning back the viewers is another challenge.

The government must understand this. Don't frustrate your campaigners in social media and in every household. They will make you cry soon. Remember, there is a general election coming ahead.

We will safeguard the victory to the extent you keep up with your promises. One said Somarathna is shit on the white swan. Somarathna was one of the hate mongers against the progressive artistes of this country.

We will not allow the dictator to re-emerge but your fate is in your hand. Govern good as you promised but it is not sufficient.

If you do not bring the corrupt ex-leaders to book, you will have to repent.
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12/31/2014

Khan with President's son Namal Rajapaksha
Bollywood super star Salman Khan who arrived in Sri Lanka on December 28 on a dubious tour has left the island without much hype.

Khan was seen in the political rallies of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is
rapidly losing popularity and in the path of possible defeat at January 08
Presidential.

On the day the President and his all powerful elder son Namal Rajapaksha welcomed Salman Khan and appeared in rallies with him, a group of young and popular Sri Lankan artists were brutally assaulted by the goons connected to the government.

Several artists were hospitalized due to this attack led by a ruling party
Provincial Councillor.

Opposition claimed Salman Khan has been paid Rs. 700 million for his public
appearance in President Mahinda Rajapaksha's Presidential campaign.

However, the government said Khan had come to Sri Lanka to donate eye lenses and explore the opportunities to help the flood victims. Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said that he had come with his own expenses.

However, Khan's tour wrongly scheduled ended promptly on December 29th adding misery to the President's failing campaign.

One of Salman Khan's escort vehicles ran over two children, reports say, seriously injuring them.

In one of the rallies ruling party MP Thilanga Sumathipala wrongly introduced
Salman Khan as Sharuk Khan.
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12/29/2014

This video is evident for the situation in Sri Lanka ahead of President Mahinda Rajapaksha's seemingly inevitable defeat.


This set of mostly young artists who have named themselves as New Generation was brutally attacked by a gang of hooligans wearing T-shirts of Blue Brigade led by President's son Namal Rajapaksha as they were holding a public rally in Kumbukgate in Kurunegala district.

The goons were led by North Western Provincial Councilor Kamal Indika.

Elderly vocalist Lakshman Wijesekara was flung on the ground and beaten. Young actress Samanali Fonseka, vocalist Kasun Kalhara and activist lawyer Udul Premarathna were also attacked.

Meanwhile, President's son Namal Rajapaksha was sitting abreast Hindi movie star Salmon Khan on political platforms in Colombo city with beaming smile. In one rally, the compere introduced Salmon as Sharukh Khan and Namal tried to correct him. (The video is shown below)



Rumors say that Salmon Khan is paid several millions of rupees to perform in President Mahinda Rajapaksha's political platforms. The opposition criticizes this extravaganza of the President Mahinda Rajapaksha in a time hundreds of thousands of people are affected in floods.

Another group of artists led by vocalist Jayathilaka Bandara was beaten twice at Eppawala in Anuradhapura district and at Hambanthota by the hooligans led by the regional politicians of the ruling party. It is interesting to study the body language of President's son Namal Rajapaksha in the following video.

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8/04/2014



Road Map II: Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US Citizen for War Crimes-The Case of Gotabaya Rajapaksa - By Ryan Goodman
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 1:13 PM
This is the second post arising out of a presentation I made at a congressional briefing earlier this month on issues of accountability in Sri Lanka. The analysis below is also drawn from my opening remarks, and the further refinement of my ideas in light of discussions following the briefing.
[The first "road map" dealt with more general issues of accountability in Sri Lanka: "Road Map I: What More Congress (and the Administration) Can Do to Promote Accountability in Sri Lanka"]
Here I highlight the various laws that might assist the Justice Department and other agencies in prosecuting US citizen, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In another post back in May, I described some of the evidence in the public record about his alleged involvement in mass war crimes-for which the US government is interested in seeking accountability.
Sometimes the cover-up is more easily proven than the crime. And Gotabaya may also be guilty of witness tampering. At the end of this post I therefore include a detailed, "Timeline: Was US Citizen Gotabaya Rajapaksa Involved in Witness Tampering in a US War Crimes Inquiry? You Decide."
The following analysis may be helpful to members of Congress as well as the administration. The Justice Department and other agencies are not able to comment on ongoing investigations. Accordingly, it would be helpful, I imagine, if members of Congress simply sent a letter to relevant offices within the administration expressing interest and hope that they will pursue with full rigor any information and all legal avenues that establish criminal or civil liability for the most serious violations of US federal law by individuals subject to our jurisdiction.
So, what legal avenues might be available to the administration in the case of Gotabaya?
A. Justice Department
1. Criminal Liability: War Crimes Act
As discussed in previous posts by Beth Van Schaack (here) and by me (here), the most obvious federal criminal statute is the War Crimes Act of 1996, which applies to U.S. citizens like Gotabaya.
2. Civil/criminal liability: Civil RICO
If there were insufficient evidence for a criminal indictment (e.g., intercepts that could not be produced at trial), the Justice Department could also consider pursuing civil liability. Consider, for example, Civil RICO - a vehicle for addressing organized criminal activity including international crimes.
Here is a sample of predicate offences (i.e., forms of "racketeering") which might apply to Gotabaya:
1) Torture committed by a US citizen abroad of foreign nationals [18 U.S. Code § 2340A]
2) Serious bodily harm or murder of any Sri Lankan with (dual) US nationality committed outside the United States [18 U.S. Code § 2332]
3) Tampering with a witness or an informant [18 U.S. Code § 1512]
4) Retaliation against a witness or an informant [18 U.S. Code § 1513]
The last two on the list deserve elaboration with respect to how they might apply to Gotabaya. For that purpose, see the Timeline below.
[Of course these predicate acts for the purpose of RICO could also be prosecuted as independent charges under federal criminal law. The purpose of the present analysis is to identify potential civil liability, to which RICO lends itself.]
B. Justice Department and other agencies
1. IRS: Tax evasion
The Al Capone strategy: It may be worthwhile to investigate Gotabaya's assets compared to any tax documents that he might -or might not - have filed with the IRS as a US citizen living abroad.
2. DHS - Human Rights Violators and War Crime Unit: Immigration fraud.
As with past successes in similar cases (see also here and here), the government might prosecute Gotabaya for failure to disclose material information-involvement in past crimes-in his application for U.S. citizenship.
The key here is conduct prior to his acquisition of citizenship. For example, consider that in December 2012, excavators uncovered a mass grave in the Matale district dating back to the Sri Lankan Army's counterinsurgency operations in the late 1980s. What has that to do with Gotabaya? He was Coordinating Officer of the Matale District and the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Gajaba Regiment during the late 1980s.
In sum, the menu of options for prosecuting Gotabaya is not short. Now let's turn to the timelin ...
Timeline: Was US Citizen Gotabaya Rajapaksa Involved in Witness Tampering in a US War Crimes Inquiry? You Decide
1. May 18, 2009
Gotabaya may have ordered the commander of the army's 58th Division to execute all surrendering members of the LTTE leadership at the close of the civil war (widely known as the "white flag" incident and discussed in State Department reports to Congress).
2. October 28, 2009
Sri Lanka's then-Army Chief Sarath Fonseka (who happens to be a long-term permanent resident of the United States) was in the United States on a personal visit. He was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security to schedule a special interview and was reportedly told by the DHS that "the intention behind the request for the interview is to use him 'as a source against human rights violations done by Secretary/Defence.'" The interview was scheduled for November 4. [See also here]
3. November 2, 2009
In person and in an aide memoire, Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister told the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka that the interview should not take place and that "the Department of Homeland Security should forthwith desist from any endeavor in this direction."
4. On or before November 4, 2009
Fonseka left the United States before the scheduled interview.
5. December 13, 2009
In an interview with the newspaper The Sunday Leader concerning the white flag incident, Fonseka stated that Gotabaya had given the order on May 18, 2009 that "they must all be killed."
6. December 14, 2009
Fonseka confirmed and confided the same information about Gotabaya to the US Ambassador.
7. February 8, 2010
Fonseka made a statement that he was prepared to testify in international courts about the war crimes. As the BBC reported:
"Gen Fonseka had said he was prepared to give evidence in international courts on any war crimes charges brought in relation to the civil war. 'I am definitely going to reveal what I know, what I was told and what I heard. Anyone who has committed war crimes should definitely be brought into the courts,' Gen Fonseka said."
Later that day Foneska was arrested by military police (under the jurisdiction of Gotabaya).
8. February-May 2010
The Sri Lankan military brought court martial proceedings against Fonseka. The government also filed a separate civil charge against Fonseka on the ground that he had incited unrest due to his interview with The Sunday Leader.
9. May 5, 2010
Speaking to reports inside Parliament, Fonseka stated: "I will go out of my way to expose anyone who has committed war crimes;" "I will not protect anyone, from the very top to the bottom;" he said the government was "hell bent" on silencing him. [Agence France-Presse]
10. May 6, 2010
In an interview with a national newspaper, Gotabaya reacted to Fonseka's willingness to assist an international war crimes investigation. Gotabaya stated: "Any Sri Lankan promoting an agenda which is detrimental to the country is nothing but a traitor," he referred to Fonseka's effort to fast track a "sinister campaign" in supporting an international war crimes probe, and he said such tratiors deserve capital punishment.
To this day, Gotabaya's interview is proudly displayed on his Department of Defense's website with the title, "Traitors should be given Capital punishment.' [This is also consistent with another statement by Gotabaya to the BBC, "I am not allowing any investigations in this country. There is no reason. Nothing wrong happened in this country."]
11. June 6, 2010
In an interview with BBC's Hardtalk, Gotabaya was told that Fonseka said he would testify against Gotabaya before an independent war crimes investigation. Gotabaya responded:
"He can't do that. He was the commander.... That is a treason. We will hang him if he do[es] that."
[also discussed in State Dep't report to Congress]
12. November 18, 2010
A Colombo High Court found Fonseka guilty of spreading the "white flag" rumor, which "could arouse communal feelings," and sentenced him to three years' imprisonment.
[The State Department's report suggests the trial was illegitimate]
13. May 21, 2012
Fonseka is released from prison.
14. Now
You decide. Is the case against Gotabaya worth pursuing?
My take: The US government has poured its credibility into promoting accountability in Sri Lanka. The United States now cannot afford to stand by when its own citizen is directly interfering with prospects for independent war crimes investigations.

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8/02/2014

By Shenali D Waduge
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned they say and that aptly puts to context the feelings of Jayalalitha towards Sri Lanka. But, the BJP high powered delegation led by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy who arrived in Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies recently made explicitly clear that Tamil Nadu would not come between Indo-Lanka relations and also thanked the Sri Lankan President for arresting but releasing the Indian fishermen while confiscating the boats. It was the boat owners that forced the Indian fishermen to poach into Sri Lankan waters because the Indian side had no fish. These are some realities that the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu cannot ignore and her tantrums are dampening the otherwise positive outlook of the Modi-led BJP Government. She should be advised to stop her tantrums and start looking at how the Indian fishermen can be absorbed into a new avenue of livelihood if there are no fish to fish in Indian waters. 

The International Maritime Border Line drawn up in 1974 and 1976 is a bilateral agreement between India and Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister can cry and hoot but she cannot change the legality of this agreement honored by the 2 sovereign nations. 

Katchchetivu came under the jurisdiction of Sri Lanka following the IMBL and Sri Lanka's claim to Katchchaitivu was made in 1924 while as far back as 1876 the island was referred to as belonging to Sri Lanka even the colonial invaders regarded the island as belonging to Sri Lanka. 

Thus, with a bilateral agreement in place it is Tamil Nadu fishermen who are violating the IMBL and the arrest of fishermen poaching into Sri Lankan waters cannot be faulted on Sri Lanka. 

We realize that the issue at hand is as a result of the Indian side of the marine bed affected as a result of internationally banned bottom trawling. It is because commercial fishing has ignored to look after the source from which it makes money that there are no fish on Indian waters along the Tamil Nadu coast. Sri Lanka is not to be blamed because there are no fish in the Indian waters. The Tamil Nadu Government must take blame for allowing internationally banned bottom trawlers to operate. 

We are well aware that India had been making millions from poaching into Sri Lankan waters using bottom trawlers and stealing the shrimps, prawns and fish that ideally belong to the fishermen of Sri Lanka. These poached fish calculated into years would account for theft and loss of millions of revenue to Sri Lanka. This cannot go on not just because it is a violation of territorial rights, theft of fish that do not belong to India but more importantly the manner of fishing will end up totally ruining the marine environment and destroying marine life and eventually lead to no fish on Sri Lankan waters as well. 

The environmental impact and future of marine life is what should take prominence in any diplomatic discussions. 

The Tamil Nadu Government and its Chief Minister should accept fault on several angles. 

Tamil Nadu fishermen violating internationally recognized IMBL and bilateral agreement between India and Sri Lanka 

Tamil Nadu fishermen using bottom trawlers that are internationally banned 

Tamil Nadu coast marine bed destroyed because of bottom trawling and so no fish for the Indian fishermen to fish 

If the Indian coast had no fish as a result of the Indian fishermen destroying the marine life, should the Tamil Nadu authorities have taken measures to look into how the Indian fishermen and their families would survive? The solution is not to poach on waters that belong to other nations. It is not a long time solution or a viable solution. It is as a result of Tamil Nadu authorities not taking to account these realities that their fishermen are facing a predicament of no livelihood and Sri Lanka cannot be blamed for this. 

Would Indian fishermen be allowed to poach in territorial waters that belong to other nations just because the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister comes out with a list of reasons giving them right to? 

The BJP Government is commended for taking a stand and appreciated for approving the measures taken by Sri Lanka in arresting and releasing the Indian fishermen but confiscating the boats. Tamil Nadu seem to have forgotten that it is the Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen whose livelihood was affected as a result of Tamil Nadu fishermen poaching on Sri Lankan waters. The TNA ever ready to find fault with the Sri Lankan Government has not come to the rescue of its own fishermen or brought up the grievance of the Sri Lankan fishermen denied livelihood and this speaks volumes of the sincerity of the TNA towards its own people too. 

With the latest letter of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister directed at demanding the release of the boats, we can but wonder whether some of these may belong to her or her supporters!

When Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is aware that the Tamil Nadu fishermen are violating internationally demarcated waters and poaching while also using internationally banned bottom trawlers, it is unjustified to ask the Indian Prime Minister to take action against Sri Lanka. Obviously she is attempting to dent the popularity of the Indian Prime Minister while also disturb the amity that is being built between the two nations. Her actions are obviously aligned to the undiplomatic and unscrupulous policies followed by the Sonia-led Congress Government where the Central Government of India was virtually kept strangulated and on a noose by successive Tamil Nadu Governments. 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister may learn sooner than later that Narendra Modi is not a puppet to dance to her tantrums or threats. She should not attempt to embarrass Mr. Modi by her unjustified outbursts. It will not look good on the new Indian Prime Minister if he were to demand that Indian fishermen be allowed to cross the IMBL into Sri Lankan waters is this the mischief that Jayalalitha is upto? 

With the Modi mantra directed towards better and practical governance it is best that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister directs her attention at how to meet the livelihood challenges of Indian fishermen who have no fish to fish on Indian waters. Poaching is not the solution. 


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7/21/2014



Sri Lanka Controller of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera said that all overstaying foreign nationals including the Pakistan and Afghan nationals who had applied for refugee status would be deported.
Deporting overstaying foreigners is normal but how ethical is deporting who have sought refugee status from a third party while overstaying in Sri Lanka as a temporary measure. 

Last week, the government took steps to deport five Afghan nationals who had been overstaying in Sri Lanka, said the Controller of Immigration and Emigration. 

He further stated that there were 1450 Pakistan nationals and 40 Afghan nationals overstaying. They have applied for refugee status from the UNHCR office of Colombo and their applications are being processed.
They expect to migrate into another country after their application for political asylum is accepted. 

Sri Lanka police has already arrested some of these Pakistan and Afghan nationals. They are held in Boossa and Mirihana detention centers and interrogated to find any links with terrorism. 

Many of these Pakistan nationals belong to Ahmadiyya Muslim sect and they claim that they are under constant threat of the mainstream Sunni Muslims. Pakistan is a Sunni Muslim state that has prohibited practicing Ahmadiyya Islam. Ahmadiyya Muslims are constantly under threat of attack. 

Sri Lanka has not signed the international conventions regarding accepting refugees from other countries but it contributes to mass exodus of refugees from the home country bound developed nations. 

The refugees from Pakistan arrive here, obtain on arrival visa, apply for refugee status from UNHCR office of Colombo and overstay here for years sometime until the understaffed UNHRC office processes their applications and grant them visa to migrate to another country.  The practice of deporting them is very unethical. They can be economic migrants per se the claim of the Pakistan government. What if they are actually threatened people?

Sri Lanka government compelled to do so, I think, due to pressure from the Indian government. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as he met the Sri Lankan President after his swearing in ceremony that the Muslim extremists who are in Sri Lanka are a threat to Indian security. 

Sri Lanka government says that Muslim extremists also arrive in Sri Lanka under the guise of threatened communities. 

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