Saturday, 21 July 2012

State-sponsored Terrorism and Violence in Sri-Lanka

State-sponsored terrorism and violence is NOT new in Sri-Lanka. The country has a long history of violence perpetrated by the state. However, state-sponsored terrorism and violence have intensified under the Rajapakse regime in recent years.

Political Murders

Buddhism in Sri Lanka is not the peaceful one that is preached by people like the Dalai Lama. For example, SWRD Bandaranaike - a former Prime Minister – was murdered by a Buddhist monk in 1959.

Mapitigama Buddharakkitha, the chief priest of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, was the main conspirator of the assassination plot. Sri Lankan Government asked Scotland Yard to undertake extensive investigations of the incident. Investigations revealed that Buddharakkitha was the mastermind behind the assassination!

Hard line Buddhists monks have been preaching "This Island belongs to Sinhalese Buddhists only mentality" for years now. They are the “king makers" behind the scenes to the anti-Tamil Sinhalese Governments in Sri Lanka.

Sinhalese Politicians and hard-line Buddhist monks have fuelled Sinhalese chauvinism in Sri Lanka for many decades now.

Sri Lanka is the only country to have a political party exclusively made up of monks with members of parliament.

This ideology is very similar to the one used by the Al-Qaeda and Islamic Extremists.

A report done by the USAID of Sri Lanka's standing on Democracy and Governance in 2001 concluded that the gradual unravelling of the Sri Lankan nation-state is due to the combined effects of protracted ethnic-based conflict and deteriorating democratic rights and institutions.

In an interview with Sir David Frost on 28 October 2001, the former Sri-Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said that Sri Lanka had killing fields; there was a lot of terror perpetrated by the government itself, STATE TERROR.

Chandrika Kumaratunga’s husband, Vijaya Kumaranatunga, was murdered in Colombo in February 1988.

Killing and Harassment of Journalists and Human Rights Activists

A large number of journalists and human rights activists have been murdered and/or disappeared in the last five years.

One of the most prominent journalists was Lasantha Wickramatunga who was brutally murdered in broad daylight in Colombo in January 2009. In blaming the Sri Lankan government for abuses of human rights, he wrote:

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.

The government has failed to bring to justice those responsible for any of the killings or enforced disappearances of journalists in recent years. For example, the investigation into the January 2009 killing of Lasantha Wickremetunga, the outspoken editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper, has produced no arrests.

There has also been no progress in the January 2010 “disappearance” of the journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknalogoda of Lanka eNews. In November 2011 Mohan Peiris, a former attorney general, told the United Nations Committee against Torture in Geneva that Eknalogoda was alive and living outside the country. But in June 2012, when called to testify before the magistrate’s court about Eknalogoda’s whereabouts, he said he did not know them and could not recall where he got the previous information.

The government’s campaign of harassment and intimidation of the media, plus the failure to investigate seriously abuses against journalists, has led to widespread self-censorship and caused many journalists to flee the country. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 23 journalists have been forced into exile since 2007 and only three have returned.

The Rajapakse regime has criminals and underworld figures within its government. For example, Mervyn Silva is a notorious gangster and also a government minister. In July 2009, Mervyn Silva held a meeting where he publicly stated: “Lasantha Wickrematunge from the Leader paper went overboard. I took care of him.” 

Reporters Without Borders ranks Sri Lanka 163 out of 179 nations on its global Press Freedom Index 2011 - 2012. Sri-Lanka is ranked just above Somalia!

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth” Gautama Buddha

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