Thursday, February 7, 2013

Weak Centre, TN Govt to blame for anti-Rajapaksa tirade : Swamy

Fri, 2013-02-08 11:23 — editor
Chennai, 08 February, (
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is visiting India on Friday and plans to go to Tirupati to worship the Lord. As such there is nothing wrong in a President of a neighboring country undertaking a pilgrimage on a personal visit. There is no political significance as such in the trip.
Still fanatical Tamil outfits have launched a vicious tirade against Rajapaksa protesting his visit to Tamil Nadu. This is a disturbing trend of mixing Eelam politics with a routine pilgrimage. On Thursday (Feb 7) one of Sri Lanka banks – Bank of Ceylon was ransacked in Chennai. Of late, Sri Lankans travelling to Chennai on pilgrimage and for other purposes have been targeted. And on some occasions they were even threatened, intimidated as well as manhandled by miscreants In Tami Nadu.
Furthermore, one cannot forget Mahinda Rajapaksa is a head of state of a sovereign nation – India’s neighboring country.
In Tamil Nadu some pro-LTTE elements make public statements against the visit of a head of state to India. This amounts to intimidation, death threat against the leader of a friendly, neighboring country.
Demonstrations have been called in New Delhi and Tamil Nadu on Feb 8 protesting Rajapaksa visit. Vocal critics of Rajapaksa like Vaiko are busy again . They had tried to disrupt Rajapaksa visit to Bodh Gaya a few months back but were pushed away by police, through temporary detentions.
Law And Order Problem In Tamil Nadu
Unfortunately the law enforcement authorities in Tamil Nadu have so far not taken action against these extremist elements who espouse the cause of the defunct LTTE and the demand for separate Eelam.
In Tamil Nadu, the effigy of a head of state, as well as Sri Lankan flag are often put on fire. So far no one has been arrested for committing such serious offences in Tamil Nadu.
On Thursday, at a public rally in Trichy, DMK chief stepping up the ante, said a meeting of TESO will be soon called on the Eelam issue.
The Asian Tribune is of the opinion that there is a serious law and order problem in Tamil Nadu.
There is also a sustained propaganda on the issue of fishermen who cross the International Maritime boundary Lines. There is hue and cry when Sri Lankan Navy personnel take action for violating the boundaries in search of larger haul of fish. Rarely any action has been taken against those who cross the maritime boundaries.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy
When these issues were raised with Janata Party leader Dr Subramaniam Swamy by Asian Tribune Editor K.T. Rajasingham for his comments, his response was frank and forthright.
“ It is the combined effect of a compromised leadership of the UPA especially of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and her Italian family members who are blackmailed by the rump LTTE, a Tamil Nadu CM being held to ransom by her coalition allies and who is scared of a hostile Central government, and LTTE drug money booty financing lumpen elements in Tamil Nadu, that is causing this pathetic situation wherein the government is unable to discharge its international obligations to Sri Lanka.
“Still the people of India are very sympathetic and have warm sentiments towards Sri Lanka. But a change in the ground situation in Tamil Nadu will occur only after a change in the Central government that is likely within a year.”
- Asian Tribune -

Govt. and Ulamas reiterate -‘halal certificate’ voluntary

Thursday, 07 February 2013 17:49
The Government and the All Ceylon Jaamiyathul Ulama (ACJU), reiterated today, that obtaining of the halal certificate is voluntary and the entire process is based on International specifications.

Leader of the House and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, on behalf of the government, made a detailed response today to Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who asked the government to take steps to ease religious tension. In his statement the previous day, Mr. Wickremesinghe said that the ACJU, the apex body of Muslim clerics, had no legal power to issue Halal certification on business ventures.
The minister said that anyone had the right either to reject or accept Halal certified food items, but nobody would be allowed to impose it on another.
Mr. de Silva replied that ACJU campaigned vigorously for Sri Lanka in Geneva last year, and the government remained ever grateful to them. Therefore, he said the government regretted Mr. Wickremesinghe’s critical remarks on ACJU.
“We regret such a statement against ACJU merely because they refused to act as the cat’s paw of the opposition,” he said.
Besides, the Leader of the House said that Halal certification is essential in international trade; it is followed by some European countries in addition to Muslim countries in the world.

“Internationally, Halal certification is issued by the World Halal Food Council based in Indonesia. It has accredited worldwide organizations to issue such certification. In Sri Lanka,   ACJU has been accredited for it,” he said.
As a result, he said, there is no need for the government to give ACJU legal recognition for that purpose.
“It is purely an Islamic religious affair. One has the right to reject or accept Halal food. Yet, we will not allow anyone to impose it on another,” he said.
However, the Opposition Leader disputed this claim and charged that ACJU earned money fraudulently by issuing Halal certification.
“ACJU is involved in a fraud. They campaigned for Milinda Moragoda at the last Municipal Council Elections,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ACJU today reiterated that the Halal certificate was a voluntarily obtained certificate by businesses and refuted “unfounded allegations on the amounts charged for issuing of certificates”
Addressing a news briefing, ACJU Halal division secretary Moulavi Murshid Mulaffer said he regretted the continuous false propaganda generated by various elements regarding the ‘Halal certification’.
“I speak to you with a lot of sorrow. We don’t understand the reason or the motive behind these false allegations regarding the Halal system. This is a very transparent process and all our accounts have been duly audited and submitted to the government. All allegations to the effect that this is a multi-million rupee business are totally false” he said.
Moulavi Mulaffer went on to add that the Halal division is not a company or a business but an association which provides services.
 “Like any other association we charge a fee for the services provided. Each product that is under the Halal certificate would cost less than ten cents and there are no instances of this being passed to a general consumer” he said.
Speaking further the cleric, explained that according to Islamic law, every “process” must be Halal, thus the reason for mineral water, cake and other products to fall under the scope of the certification.
 “The Halal certificate for cake is given to certify that the cake is free of any additives that have been considered haram. The need for a Islamic certified banking rests on the need to have a banking system free of interest, gambling and other such encumbrances’ which are prohibited” he said,
In an emotional appeal, the cleric requested all those who need to verify facts to contact the Jamiyathul Ulema and they will furnish them will all facts and figures regarding the process.

 “ We urge any party to come to us and talk to us,we are ready to dispel all these myths and falsities that are now brewing in the country. We want to live in peace with everyone and therefore it is a must that we all be tansparent. We are a transparent organization and we are open to furnish anyone with any details regarding this process” he said.

Speaking at the briefing Moulavi Fazli Farook, of the All Ceylon Jamiyathu Ulama, called for religious tolerance.
“This country has suffered enough due to the brutal war now we have to move forward. Every Muslim in this country was born a Sri Lankan, will live as a Sri Lankan and will die as a Sri Lankan” he said.

Govt yet to decide on team to Geneva

The government would decide on its diplomatic team to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) session in Geneva after observing developments, Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.
Responding to a question by a journalist at the Cabinet press briefing at the ministry auditorium yesterday whether the government has decided to send only a team of officials without a political representation to the UNHRC session in Geneva, the minister said no such decision has been arrived at for the moment. He said Sri Lankan ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinath Ariyasinghe has been informed to handle the activities pertaining to the UNHRC sessions for the moment since he is on the spot.
The minister said background studies have been conducted with regard to the UNHRC session in Geneva, adding that the government is preparing and ready to meet any situation.
Government Information Department Director General Prof Ariyaratne Athugala also participated.

Sri Lanka’s progress remarkable after ending a bitter conflict- G.L. tells London audience.

Posted on February 7, 2013 by admin

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris held a London audience enthralled with a short, crisp speech that encapsulated Sri Lanka’s remarkable progress in less than four years after the defeat of LTTE terrorism in May 2009. Prof Peiris was speaking at a reception held at the Sri Lanka High Commission to celebrate the country’s 65th Independence Day and attended by members of the House of Lords and the Commons, ambassadors and high commissioners, officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, heads of Commonwealth organisations and other NGOs, businessmen and investors. The Minister stressed that no other country that has emerged from years of internecine strife and terrorism has achieved what Sri Lanka has done in such a short time. He urged his audience to keep this fact uppermost in mind when evaluating Sri Lanka’s performance. He said that the country faced tremendous multiple challenges. Among these challenges was to provide food, shelter and medicines for nearly 300,000 persons displaced from the conflict areas. There were thousands of ex-combatants who had to be rehabilitated and returned to society. There were child soldiers of the LTTE who had to be helped and returned to their families. In addition there were hundreds of thousands of mines and other explosive devices that had to de-activated and removed so that displaced persons could return safely to their former homes and the land put to productive use. Destroyed infrastructure had to be rebuilt and the government invested enormous funds to resuscitate the economy of the war- ravaged areas so that the people would have a means of livelihood for them and their families. Prof Peiris said that Sri Lanka is opening up to the world. New harbours and airports are under construction. British Airways will return to Sri Lanka shortly after a lapse of over a decade. Korean Air will begin flights to Colombo. All these are indications not only of the elaborate steps taken by government at considerable cost to enhance the life and livelihoods of a conflict-affected people but to rescue from the clutches of terrorism what might well have been a lost generation. Today, youth in war- ravaged areas have returned to school and some of them are competing successfully with students from the more privileged colleges. Sri Lanka is developing fast the technical skills of the youth so they may contribute their knowledge and expertise to today’s technological society. He pointed out that the enormous State- investment in the conflict- affected north is paying dividends. The economy there has grown by 22% and 27% in the past two years while growth in the rest of the country was around 6-7 %. Prof Peiris urged British parliamentarians and foreign diplomats to factor in all these achievements when they look at Sri Lanka. He invited them to visit Sri Lanka and gain first hand experience of the development without being guided by hearsay and vindictive reporting. He said a nation takes time to return to normalcy after nearly three decades of terrorism and secessionist war. Reconciliation and rehabilitation are a slow process as other countries that have gone through similar experiences will understand and appreciate. These challenges cannot be answered and resolved overnight. They take time and a nation needs space to do so. Sri Lanka is urging that it be given the time and space. Sri Lanka is ready and willing to work with the international community to achieve these ends. But this cannot be achieved if its efforts at peaceful resolution of its problems are met with constant vilification and castigation by a few in the international community. Referring to the Commonwealth which is headquartered in London, Prof Peiris said it must be remembered that this is a voluntary organisation of 54 member-states with diverse cultures, ethnicities and value systems. It cannot be a monolith. If a few member-states attempt to turn such an organisation into a political tool in pursuit of their own agendas, it would not only damage the ethos that the Commonwealth represents but also threaten the very future of the organisation.