Reply to the Rebuttal of my article by the SJC87 Initiative

I welcome the statement by the SJC87 Initiative rebutting my aspersions about this charity. The primary focus of my research note was the contents and the publicity material of the book by Niromi de Soyza (nom de guerre). The SJC87 Initiative came into scrutiny because of the claim by the author of the Tamil Tigress that this is a charity of her “alma mater”. I stand by my claim and some of the attendees at the literary festival where Niromi made that statement are willing to testify to the truthfulness of my claim. Therefore, if SJC87 Initiative has been brought into disrepute by my writing, then it is solely due to the blatant lie of Niromi de Soyza. The fact that Niromi de Soyza has not personally disputed what I have written about the claim by her in Melbourne itself is sufficient proof of the truthfulness of my writing.

Besides, the rebuttal by SJC87 Initiative has not cleared my suspicions about that charity. For example, it has not told us why there is no postal address given for the charity. Further, the rebuttal claims that “Over 150 children have been awarded education/accommodation sponsorship” in the past two years. I am not convinced about this claim because of the information given by the current Principal of St. John’s College to Raisa Wickrematunge of The Sunday Leader of November 27, 2011 where the Principal has claimed that only seven scholarships have been provided. See here.

If we are to believe the SJC87 Initiative as an authentic charity it has to release the full list of sponsors and beneficiaries of their scholarship and other programmes so that we can verify the authenticity of their claim. Although the SJC87 Initiative claims to be functioning for over two years, there is no financial statement available on their website. This is mandatory for any charity soliciting monetary donations from the general public as the SJC87 Initiative does.

Moreover, in the GroundViews blog one “Rohan” claimed that “the primary school had girls in them.” In the blog of The Sunday Leader dated November 20, 2011 one “Navasakthy Raja” claims in response to Raisa Wickrematunge’s article that “As an old Johnian, I am aware that even(t) female students studied in the higher classes for university entrance – HSC”. See here. These claims are disputed by the current Principal of SJC. See here. Who are these people kidding? Has the rebuttal of my article by the SJC87 Initiative clarified this matter?

Above all, Niromi de Soyza has not responded to my criticisms of her book. Likewise, she has not responded to the earlier criticisms by Arun Ambalavanar and Michael Roberts. This amounts to Niromi’s acceptance of guilty in the same way the Sri Lankan Government’s non-response to the Darusman Report of the United Nations amounts to acceptance of guilt. Niromi’s non-response is in contrast to the story of a boy soldier from Sierra Leone whose autobiographical book also came into similar (but not that severe) criticism few years back, but he did respond to his critics. See here.

The very fact that the defence of Niromi de Soyza is coming from people associated with the SJC87 Initiative and others whose political affiliations are apparent further confirms my claim that there is a group of people behind the author and the book. The rebuttal of SJC87 Initiative claims that “….the author could not identify this ‘active member of OBA’ when a friend of SJC87 Initiative contacted the author over phone….” First of all, I would like to categorically say that this friend of SJC87 Initiative did not ask me about the source of my information; instead he wanted to meet me to discuss some unspecified matters. I have very important information about the political affiliation of this “friend of SJC87 Initiative”. Should I say more?

I wholeheartedly welcome and look forward to any legal action by the SJC87 Initiative against me, because that will afford me an opportunity to reveal many more evidences in my possession.

  • Sarath Fernando

    Reply to the Rebuttal of my article by the SJC87 Initiative
    http://groundviews.org/2011/11/29/reply-to-the-rebuttal-of-my-article-by-the-sjc87-initiative/

    Dear Muttukrishna,

    You make a very interesting assertion — “in the same way the Sri Lankan Government’s non-response to the Darusman Report of the United Nations amounts to acceptance of guilt.” This is an assertion that you are making and you are not quoting an accusation from a third party – right?

    Even if this may digress from the particular point of the article, I would like to see if any or all of the supreme-trio Dr. DJ, Dr. Rajiva and Prof. GL may have a comment on that assertion.

    Incidentally, do you think the trio would be dismissive of your assertion or do you feel confident those “intellects” would also stand by you on that assertion – any guesses?

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Sarath, I am on public record ( the video is still on the Sri Lanka Guardian and Sunday Leader websites) that GoSL should [have] responded explicitly and frontally to the Darusman Report. However, the analogy with Niromi is wrong because GoSL has responded in considerable detail to the charges in the Darusman report (in its dossier ‘Humanitarian operation’, the tele documentary ‘Lies agreed Upon’, the extended briefing to the DPL community given by Prof Pieris) while not terming those critiques official responses to the Report itself.

      By the way, while I thank you for the left-handed compliment, I am not on the ‘supreme trio’ of anything of GoSL. If I were, surely my long standing and publicly made recommendations regarding post war Sri Lanka ( regularly criticised by the likes of Malinda Seneviratne) would have been or would be implemented?

  • Thirukumar

    Again… Baseless allegation and justification by Muttukrishna Sarvananthan.

    I am not convinced by Muttukrishna Sarvananthan saying” Author (Niromi) said she went to SJC, Jafffna) . How can a such a great author ( The book has been selected as ” Top 50 books cannot be put down” ) made such a claim.

    Another allegation is why Niromi is silence.
    If I am in her position, I would not answer all the questions ask by Tom Dick and Harry. If I get her chance to speak to the author Niromi, I would suggest her to use her valuable time constructively rather responding to your (& Arun Ambalavanar and Michael Roberts ) email.

    I strongly feel the writing Arun Ambalavanar and Michael Roberts too attacking the author rather the master piece. It showed three of you could not accept her achievement ( success) at her young age and you three wanted to ride on her popularity. Please do something constructively to the society rather wasting the readers time.

    In regards to the Sunday leader article, I am sure SJC 87 Initiative will write to them ( according to their website

    Mr.Muttukrishna Sarvananthan would have been in Melbourne is a proof.It can be a proof of his presence at the event like any other participant. But it does not prove Muttukrishna Sarvananthan correctly understood what the author said at the event. One of the participants of the same mention event claimed that Niromi did not mention she studied at St.John’s College, Jaffna.

    I have a serious about doubts about the reason of the stay in Australia. You are saying that your background in economics and now you are doing some research on Global Terrorism at Monash University !!!. It looks to me you need to please someone back in Sri Lanka by publishing for a big payroll. Please bear in mind At the expense of the poor children in Sri Lanka you are getting a big money for selfish reason.

    Muttukrishna Sarvananthan is saying that you are not convinced by the claim of sponsorship and other projects. please visit http://www.sjc87initiative.org or visit their upto date facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sjc87initiative/211422948881469.

    for me it looks like SJC87Initiative is run by professionals sacrificing their time and their comfort for the war affected children. I think they do not have time to answer all the questions raised by every Tom, dick and harry.

    As you know they are registered in Australia and every registered Body must submit the financial statement to the Tax office annually. and They would have done it otherwise they cannot operate in Australia. You must understand the basic truth.

    I spoke to one of the prominent OBA, Sydney member and realised they built two classrooms in 2005, computeried the office and provided educational resources. I also notices , they understand the need of the poor children affected by the war and they support 14 schools in North and Vanni . They also clearly mention that they focus on the children of the war. They identified the needs of the schools and act accordingly. http://sjc87scholarship.org/About_us_%26_fund_management.html

    What the principal of SJC said is correct. We should understand what kind of questions were asked by the reporter to the principal. Who is a busy person.

    Did the report had an interview face to face with prior arrangement or asked the principal to get what the reporter wants to hear ( selective hearing) I am imagining questions would be similar to the following:

    a.) Did Niromi De soysa study at the school? obviously principal would have answered “no” That is her pen name and Niromi never claimed she studied at St.Johns’s college , Jaffna. It is what Muttukrishna Sarvananthan is telling .

    b.) Did sjc87 initiative help the children ? principal would have answered yes . currently they sponsor 7 children.

    We understand from the sjc87 initiative’s committee’s written rebuttal letter to the Ground view and the website publication that Niromi is one of a donors of the SJC87 scholarship initiative in Australia http://sjc87scholarship.org/Welcome_files/SJC_87_Rebuttal_letter.pdf

    As a reader of the book Tamil Tigress , I understood clearly Niromi was a child solider , left the movement when she was 17 years old, renounce violence methods ( mention in the book) , left the movement the country, well educated ( We can understand clearly from her interview and the book she wrote) , popular among the Australian leading media , well settled in Australia, does not have any bad records in Australia, genuinely wanted to help the country she came from ( Sri Lankan ) by providing education for the war affected children through the non political, solely humanitarian association is commendable . Every Sri Lankan and Australian should be happy about her cause. I am sure Australian Government and readers of my article must be proud of what the country ( Australia) impact on her life.

    I would like you readers to go through the following link from sjc87initiative http://www.sjc87initiative.org and visit http://sjc87scholarship.org/News.html. It showed how ignorant you are in your research. Sir , I am very doubtful about your PhD research.

    Muttukrishna Sarvananthan also asked the sjc87initiative to release the full sponsor’s list! You and me should aware , we have been living in Australia and privacy laws applies!. Do you want them to release the sponsors list for the sake of you!. According to the sjc87initiative website they have been providing the information to the sponsors. why they need to release the sponsors list to outsiders?

    I would suggest sjc87initiative to do more projects for the needy children than answering your questions.

    Your reply is based on the comments of the readers of the article. Since you are claiming you are a researcher , you should know the counter arguments should point to the master piece rather Raja and Navaaskthy’s comment . again it showed the quality of your research.

    One again your inability to connect people come to light . you are saying ” I have very important information about the political affiliation of this “friend of SJC87 Initiative”. It is a great joke for the day from a so called researcher. if my friend is in a Labor party and another friends in Liberal party in australia . Are you saying I in Labour and liberal party!.

    Sir, I am not blaming you fully. I am blaming the Monash university partially , which funded your enjoyable stay and providing you with the free time to destroy the people’s morale values for the human being. Australians Value humanity. I encourage the authorities to be extra vigilant in future in providing scholarships to non related subjects.

    I would encourage the sjc87initiative not to waste your time anymore. focus on what you are doing. If you loose focus the poor children in Vanni do not have any people. since you have only 24 hours a day. you need to spend constructively .Do not waste your money in legal matters. you can constructively invest on the children.

    Muttukrishna Sarvananthan’s irresponsible article motivated me to visit and gain more knowledge about the initiative run by http://www.sjc87initiative.org .

    I would encourage the users to contact the sjc87initiative representative and show your support. I am going to call them now! or email them and show your support to their genuine effort for the children in the war affected country. My support is always there along with other Sri Lankan and other citizens who want to help genuinely.

  • Rohan

    Dear Mr Sarvananthan
    Just because someone chooses not respond to your accusations doesn’t mean that he/she is guillty. The burden of proof lies with the accuser. It is never the responsibility of the accuser to prove his innocence. All the points raised by you, Ambalavanar, and Roberts up to this point are just conjectures and speculations and not proofs. Yet, in your headings, you make claims such as ‘outing a lie’. I am surprised that all of you, who claim to be a academics and researchers of sorts, remain oblivious to this.

    I have no idea whether Niromi’s memoir is true or not. But if all what has been written about are what her critics are able to offer, then I am inclined to think that the truth lies more on Niromi’s side than on yours.

    Rohan

  • nathan

    “The fact that Niromi de Soyza has not personally disputed what I have written about the claim by her in Melbourne itself is sufficient proof of the truthfulness of my writing.”

    Sarvananthan’s logic truly reflects his sparkling wit.

    So basically I can call anyone anything.

    And if that anyone does not respond personally to the anything I said, the anything I said becomes the truth.

    Brilliant!

  • veedhur

    I think there are two issues here

    1. The truthfulness or otherwise of Niromi’s work and
    2. The credentials of SJC87 as a charity

    Both have been questioned by Sarvi and both can be objectively verified.

    The problem is that no one seems to be responding to the pointed criticisms of the book (which contrary to Rohan above, I think are pretty pertinent and calls into question the authenticity of the author) by Michael Roberts, Arun Ambalavanar and Sarvi. Ideally it should be the author, if not at least others who claim the book to be wholly true.

    On the second issue, I think the SJC87 went some distance in responding to the criticism and in the process pointing to lapses in Sarvi’s technique to verify (which he does not refer to in the rebuttal, unfortunately as it would have helped improve the discussion. For eg. why didn’t he call the numbers in the website to find out details?). But I also think that for a charity they must go the extra distance by publishing the accounts and probably sharing more details about their philanthropic work. I am sure the vibrant SJC OBA can clarify issues?

    It might also help if they say whether SJC87 is endorsing the book or not. It is very possible that Niromi randomly picked this charity to donate some of the profit, in which case SJC87 has no obligation to take a stand on the truthfulness or otherwise of the book.

  • jaffnaboy

    “I wholeheartedly welcome and look forward to any legal action by the SJC87 Initiative against me, because that will afford me an opportunity to reveal many more evidences in my possession.”

    Mr S, what is holding you back? Why not publish it here? Just for you information I posted my comments to some factual errors in your first article and to date you haven’t replied. Nor have you mentioned this in your blog above. You can run but you can’t hide! You are expecting Niromi to reply to your blog? By the same token you are not replying to some of the posts here. What’s the difference between Niromi and you then?

    [Edited out]

    Good luck

  • Vel

    Mr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan:

    Accepting a mistake and apology is a good attitude. You are trying to justify your false accusation even after SJC87 clarified it clearly is shameful.

    Please grow up.

  • Nadesan

    I was in fact surprised by the premature and impulsive comments made by Saravanan, a self proclaimed researcher, and who did not hesitate to publish his qualifications to impress the readers regarding his comments about the book “Tamil Tigress” and he went onto ridicule the author along with few other similar minded people. Birds of a feather flock together.

    Saravanan had axe to grind against the SJCJ based on the fact that there were no girls studied at SJC. I made numerous inquiries from my friends and it was found that they accepted few girls to HSC and later GCE A/L science streams.

    I wonder what kind of research Saravanan is embarked on, and if he cannot retrieve the basic information properly then his entire research, analysis and conclusion will be nought.

    I read the book by Niromi word by word and it is a master piece. It exactly reflects the Jaffna life, the mindset, the social bias and tribalism. And also she describes vividly the dilemma Tamils went through during those time with inability to make up their mind and the confusion they had.

    Do these people Saravanan and another guy Ambalavanar who tried to pick hole on the book on some flimsy description are really Jaffna people and have they lived there for a substantial period of time, especially during their school day, to understand the finer things which only Niromi described vividly.

    Sadly another scholar Michael Roberts travel on these guys’ back and try to throw his two cents to make matters still worse. His so-called Thupahhi comments further aggravates the issue. Roberts was at the Peradeniya campus at the same time I was there. I knew that he generally had difficulty in understanding some of our issues because naturally he was never in a position to understand the issues. Mere theory or dissertation is not going to work in human issues which are much more complex that a PhD thesis.

    To my mind these criticism by the “three stooges” is to ridicule the author for some unknown reason, may be jealousy.

    They even dared to say that she was backed by the Tigers to write this book. But they should know that even the very slight sympathy I had for them had completely vanished after I have read her book. So it is just a malicious attempt by these three to throw mud at the author. The accusation made by Saravanan without any proof is much more serious crime.