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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, […]

William Blake, Buddhism and Human Rights – value of praxis over ideology

[William Blake 1757-1827 demonstrated through his art and poetry how opposite views were actually relative and dependent on each other and that they were reconcilable once we overcame the mental trap of ‘abstraction’ and solidification, the act of removing something out of its context and turning it into an absolute] [The Asokan pillar is a […]

New evidence of torture by Sri Lanka’s security forces

An ethnic Tamil survivor of alleged torture at the hands of Sri Lankan security forces poses for a photograph in London, October 2012. Photo by Will Baxter. New evidence has emerged that Sri Lanka’s security forces have perpetrated acts of torture and sexual violence against ethnic Tamils as recently as last year, according to a UK-based […]

Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief The Centre for Policy Alternatives, the institutional anchor of Groundviews, released today a report co-authored by Shilpa Samaratunge and I on hate speech online, looking at Facebook in particular. The report is the first in Sri Lanka to focus on hate and dangerous speech in online fora, contextualising the growth […]

The Uva results and implications for the Presidential Poll

Photo courtesy The Republic Square The UPFA barely hung on in Uva. Grimly winning a narrow victory, that saw a significant dent in voter support for the ruling Rajapakse Administration. The UPFA Uva campaign was led by a presidential nephew, incumbent chief minister Shasendra Rajapakse being the son of Speaker Chamal Rajapakse. The decline in […]

In conversation with Ruhanie Perera: Politics, Space and Theatre in Sri Lanka

Ruhanie Perera is a founding member of the Floating Space theatre company, based in Sri Lanka. Groundviews has both featured and reviewed compelling productions by Floating Space and directed by Ruhanie. We begin by talking about why Ruhanie founded a new theatre company seven years ago, and how the name of the company came about. Ruhanie speaks […]

Terror, Performance and Anxieties of Our Times: Reading Rustom Bharucha and Reliving Terror

(Terror and Performance by Rustom Bharucha (2014). Tulika Books, New Delhi; ISBN 978-93-82381-37-2; pp. xvi; 250. INR 695.00 Approaching terror When I started reading Rustom Bharucha’s latest book, Terror and Performance, it immediately became an intensely personal and gripping engagement.  It was difficult to read in a single attempt as the mind kept wandering from […]

And they all fall down

This afternoon, the remaining residents of 34 watta in Wanathamulla had surprise visitors. Brigadier Samarasinghe who is the Project Director of the UDA’s Urban Regeneration Programme, accompanied by several other UDA officials, police and demolition equipment turned up at 34 watta and informed the residents of imminent evictions and the destruction of their homes. Most […]

INFOGRAPHIC: Military Presence in the North of Sri Lanka

Five years since the end of the war, a significant military presence still remains in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. This despite repeated assurances by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that the military presence is, and will be phased out in order to pave way for post-war reconciliation efforts. In a context of […]

Review of Neville Jayaweera’s Jaffna: Exorcising the Past and Holding the Vision

Photo courtesy Thomas Berg Part I When I was asked by Marshell Fernando whether I would review the above, I readily agreed. Neville was several years senior to me in the Ceylon Civil Service and also served as Government Agent (GA) Jaffna but 18 years before my turn. I know him well and have some […]

INFOGRAPHIC: Religious Violence in Post-War Sri Lanka

Religious tensions have been exacerbated in post-war Sri Lanka, contrary to claims by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that attacks against places of religious worship are isolated incidents. In Mach 2013, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) published a report highlighting concerns about violence and intolerance against all religious communities in the country. The […]

Engaging with Civil Society

Photo courtesy Business Today Recently, the media reported that the Defence Secretary held a meeting in the Defence Ministry with a number of NGOs who had worked with the GOSL and the Commonwealth Foundation on the People’s Forum which was part of the activities of the 2013 Colombo CHOGM.  These NGOs included representatives from the […]