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The JHU critiques the Rajapakse Presidency

Image courtesy News First The barbs and criticisms of a political ally can in politics often do greater damage than even the more forthright criticism of an opponent. The reason for this has all to do with political constituency. When the opposition criticizes the Rajapakse presidency, it resonates mainly with those that are already politically […]

DO WE NEED AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO THE THIRD TERM QUESTION BEYOND TEXT AND INTENTION?

Photo by AFP courtesy Asia One Amidst strong indications following the Uva provincial election result that a panicked regime is planning an early presidential election, there has been a vigorous debate in the media about the consequences of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished the presidential two-term limit and removed other procedural restraints […]

Kerosene, Koothu and Paper: Questions and answers

On Sunday, 19 October 2014 the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design screened, for the first time in Jaffna, three short films by Kannan Arunasalam. Kerosene, Koothu and Paper were produced for Groundviews in 2011 as part of the Moving Images project. The Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design is a flagship project […]

That Third Term

Photo courtesy The Daily Beast President Rajapakse’s eligibility to seek a third term as President has become a contentious issue ever since former Chief Justice Sarath Silva declared several weeks ago that President Rajapakse is legally barred from contesting a third time. Some commentators have challenged Sarath Silva’s views and Chinthaka Mendis was one of […]

Imbalance of power between the Executive and the Legislature, Constitutional Dilemmas and the Need for a Community-Oriented Model

Photo courtesy Wikipedia For a society to function smoothly, there has to be a commonly agreed framework of governance. This framework defines and specifies the way those who are elected to govern are to be elected, the powers they ought to have, in which circumstances and for what purposes, ability to delegate, responsibilities of various […]

India, Sri Lanka and the Legacy of the British Empire

Review of Harshan Kumarasingham’s A Political Legacy of the British Empire In our long discussions about Sri Lanka’s post-independence political history, India’s large shadow falls inevitably upon us, bringing with it a curious and mixed effect; it is both alarming and inspiring at times, but also quite disheartening and dispiriting on other occasions. We were […]

A Presidential visit up North

Photo courtesy Yahoo By all accounts, President Rajapakse’s unprecedented and rather controversial third term re-election campaign, though unofficial, has begun in earnest. Last week he presented the Cabinet of Ministers with a proposal to increase communal harmony in the country and implement the LLRC proposals, though a few weeks earlier the defense establishment, had facilitated […]

In conversation with Nimalka Fernando: Life as an activist in Sri Lanka

Nimalka Fernando is one of Sri Lanka’s best known human rights activists and the President of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR). Nimalka’s activism has in recent years generated violent pushback from the Government – prime time radio programmes on State owned channels have openly and with impunity discussed ways […]

Vulnerable Guests: A Reflection on social hospitality

The Government’s decision to arbitrarily deport Pakistani refugee-asylum seekers is unacceptable and wrong. Local stress Asylum seekers usually leave their home countries due to fear or deprivation, or both. The Pakistanis on our soil are mostly from religious minorities (Christians and Islamic sects) who face immense hardship and discrimination under the harsh “Blasphemy Law”; questioned […]

In Sri Lanka, ‘fear and insecurity’ for journalists, activists

Sri Lankan TV journalist Kapila Chandana Kuruppuarachchi thought he was just doing his job when he tried to cover a clash between backers of rival political parties in late September. Instead, he says, a mob of pro-government supporters chased him for almost a kilometer before pelting him with stones. He was hospitalized with major bone […]

A Monaragala problem for the Rajapakse Regime

Speculation mounts not just in political circles but also in civil society of an impending presidential election, early in the New Year. The Uva Provincial Council elections, which besides being constitutionally required, were also a testing of the political waters by the Rajapakse Administration and the results could not have been more disturbing to those […]

Online hate speech stokes fear of religious violence in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Thyagi Ruwanpathirana Hate speech is growing more effective and pervasive among media platforms in Sri Lanka, prompting concern from Muslim and Christian minorities amid mounting attacks. The Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) released a report this week on the challenges surrounding the significant uptick in online-based hate speech in post-war Sri Lanka. “The […]

Dr. Rajani Thiranagama Commemoration on 20th and 21st September 2014

I was a public servant when Rajani was assassinated by an LTTE agent 25 years ago. I took private leave, travelled to Jaffna at my own expense and participated in the 31st day Commemoration. She was a leading member of the UTHR (Jaffna branch) and coauthored, with Dr.Rajan Hoole, Dr. Daya Somasundaram and Dr. K.Sritharan, […]