Neville Ladduwahetty, in The Island, 8 April 2020, where the title reads “Pardoning of former Corporal Sunil Rathnayake”
It is reported that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has granted a pardon to former Corporal Sunil Rathnayake, who was convicted of murder, unlawful assembly and common intent by a Trial-at-Bar in 2015. On appeal, the judgment was upheld by a five Judge Bench of the Supreme Court. There is considerable reaction from the public both nationally and internationally for the decision taken by the President. As part of this reaction the Human Rights Commissioner of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has written to the President, expressing ‘deep concern’ about the pardon granted in view of the seriousness of the crime committed. Having expressed concern, the HRCSL has gone on to state that while death sentence is mandatory for murder, they “would have been in agreement” had the President “commuted the death sentence to long term imprisonment given the serious nature of the offence”.
TAMIL PERSON and STATE. PICTORIAL appeared in 2014 in Colombo under the imprint of Vijitha Yapa Publications. …. ISBN 978-955-665-231-4. The biliography probably covers most of the articles in the companion piece, TAMIL PERSON and STATE. ESSAYS; but it is possible that there are other bibliographical items listed at the end of each article in ESSAYS. Though new material on Eelam War IV continues to turn up all the time, my present research led me to consult the works listed in these volumes and reminded me of material I had forgotten about. I believe that assiduous readers and investigators will find it useful to have the listing at their digital fingertips: hence its reproduction here.
As I have not been keeping an eye on the domestic cricket within Sri Lanka, my ability to comment meaningfully on the Selectors’ choices for recent tours is limited, Fortunately, a call from Nirgunan Tiruchelvamprovided thoughts from an expert student’s perspective. Nirgunan indicated that in recent years the principal wicket takers within Sri Lanka’s domestic cricket scene have been conventional spin-bowlers. Their bowling averages are way, way superior better to that of the fast-bowlers.
I chose to respond to Rajan Hoole’s Comment within the Colombo Telegraph presentation of my article on “The Western World’s Cumulous Clouds of Deception: …,” directly and privately on the 18th October… at about the same time that I addressed ALAN KEENAN of ICG privately re his Twitter comments.
The issues are complex and cannot be efficiently tackled within the confines of a COMMENTS BOX with word limits because assiduous readers need supporting citations, maps and pictorial insights. In fact, it is difficult to investigate this topic without a lengthy report that is perhaps one/third the size of the UNPoE Report. Continue reading →
I proceed, here, to extract motifs from the details on the happenings in 2009 within the principle theatre of war that have been summarized in Gash IV. This arena has been aptly identified as “the Vanni Pocket” by Serge de Silva-Ranasinghe and is in the north western corner of the island. My comments will be marked A, B, C, etc for ease of reference.
Situation Map, 2 February 2009
A= The Grand Strategy of the LTTE
In his secret situation report of the 28th January, Lt. Col. Gash notes: “The LTTE appear to have no options left, and the language on TamilNet and other similar platforms is clearly striving for international intervention to force a ceasefire on the GoSL. Further civilian casualties are now inevitable as they no longer have options to move away from the combat zone. Without the presence of the IDPs the LTTE would be subjected to unrestricted air and artillery strikes, so have no incentive to release them. The SLA is exercising restraint but, without a change in political mood, will not hold back entirely.”
As evident then and as confirmed by subsequent accounts, during the last phase of Eelam War IV from circa December 2008 segments of the corralled Tamil population began to rebel against the privations and dangers they were being subjected to by the LTTE’s grand strategy. While a considerable section of the people remained loyal to the LTTE to the very end, others secured release from their situation through the efforts of international agencies working in cooperation with the LTTE and involving the ICRC acting in concert with the Sri Lankan Navy and the Red Cross.
Also see Roberts: TPS. Pictorial. Fig. 95 and its details
Shenali D Waduge, reproducing here an old article in Lankaweb from 22 December 2013 which I had not seen even though I had interacted closely with Murali in Colombo in May-June 2009 (as well as subsequently) and been commissioned to write pieces for Frontline; while also been privileged to chat with Kanchan Prasad in mid-2010 after Murali introduced me to her, after which I gained access to her invaluable snaps of the Nandikadal war zone. These I placed in a special site, viz. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thuppahi/sets/72157626797805167/et seq.
Waduge’s article is entitled “Sri Lanka’s War had Witnesses : Indian Journalist B. Murali Reddy”. In the reproduction below, the highlighting in red [as distinct from black] is my imposition as Editor, Thuppahi. Also see my SPECIAL NOTE at the end
Murali at entrance to LTTE bunker hospital at Last Redoubt –Pic by Kanchan Prasad
Firstly Sri Lanka’s war did have witnesses.The witnesses were however NOT – Gordon Weiss, Francis Harrison, Channel 4, the Darusman Panel, Charles Petrie and a whole list of others who have promoted themselves as witnesses when they are not because they were never inside the war zone. They were only passing between themselves a version they have contrived that fits well within a different agenda that has nothing to do with what they claim it is. Questioning their credibility further is their sources – who happen to all be pro-LTTE. However, there was a witness throughout. He was foreign and his name is B. Muralidhar Reddy, an Indian journalist working for The Hindu/Frontline and his account “Final Hours – An eyewitness account of the last 70 hours of Eelam War IV’ gives a real eyewitness account of what he himself saw. http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl2612/stories/20090619261200900.htmContinue reading →
Michael Roberts, courtesy of an original article in 29 October 2015 in Sinhalanet with the title “Down-to-Earth: The Hard Truths of Eelam War IV” … a work that I could not have written in 2009 because I had to transcend my office-room background and it has taken time todevelop a sharper understanding of the situation. That said, I am still limtied by my ilack of battle theatre experience.
“Just as in Kosovo if enough civilians died in Sri Lanka the world would be forced to step in” – Pulidevan of LTTE to a pal in Europe (quoted in Harrison 2012: 63).
Guided by a series of studies that I have indulged in over the years 2010-15, let me summarize my findings in point form. The focus is on the period 2008-to-May 2009. However, four facets of the broad historical context must be stressed initially: (I) Prabhākaran had one goal only: Eelam and a separate state; (II) the LTTE used two ceasefire periods in 1995 and 2001-06 as recuperating periods for renewal of their war effort; (III) as Ben Bavinck and the UTHR reports have insisted, Thamilīlam under Prabhākaran was a fascist state; and (IV) the Rajapaksa government which struggled for survival against the LTTE proved the validity of the Marxist dictum that there is an unity in any contradiction: it became distinctly authoritarian itself, albeit still populist in its self-convictions.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.