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Sri Lankans get assaulted in Tamil Nadu due to irresponsible rule of Rajapaksa government – Vijitha Herath

Incidents like assaulting and harassing Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu take place and escalate due to neglect of its national and international obligations by Rajapaksa government says the Information Secretary of the JVP Vijitha Herath.

Mr. Herath says the government should immediately mediate to halt harassing of Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu by urging Indian government to have a permanent programme to protect Sri Lankans in India. He says mere diplomatic powwows would not bring about a permanent solution for the issue.

He said, “It is the government that violates human rights in the country. It is the government that assaults journalists; murder them and torch media institutions. The government that maintains a semi-military administration in the North has made people in the North live in tarpaulin tents.

This is a time the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim masses in the country are confronted with many issues. It is due to arbitrary and un-democratic rule of the Rajapaksa government.

In such a situation assaulting, attacking and harassing Bhikkus who engage in archaeological research and university students who study there is not correct. It would create enmity, anger and hatred between the two nations.

It is the government of Sri Lanka that is wrong and creates an environment for such situations. The government must mediate immediately. It should first protect democracy in the country. If this issue is not resolved immediately it could grow into a serious crisis,” said Mr. Herath.

‘Customs’ demands granted, strike called off

The strike launched yesterday (19th) afternoon by customs officers demanding the withdrawal of a draft bill to be presented to parliament today (20th) to amend clauses No.10 and No. 153 (a) in the Customs Ordinance has been called off says the General Secretary of All Ceylon Customs Services Union J. Gunatilleke.

A special discussion has been held with President Mahinda Rajapaksa today and the President has promised customs officers that the relevant draft bill will not be presented to parliament today.

Mr. Gunatilleke said the customs officers decided to call off the strike once the President gave the assurance but would not hesitate to take trade union act on if the government attempts go back on the promise made.

India will adopt ‘strong’ resolution against Sri Lanka – Chidambaram

India wants the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a “strong” resolution on Sri Lanka says Indian Minister of Finance P. Chidambaram. He said India will move amendments to the draft to send a “resolute message” to to Sri Lanka on alleged human rights violations and “goad” it to have an independent inquiry.

He dismissed allegations that India had sought dilution of the strongly-worded resolution by the US, saying it was an absolute “canard”. He said a resolution will be adopted by Parliament on Sri Lankan Tamils issue and other parties are being consulted regarding it.

Mr. Chidambaram said the government has not become weak, there is no political instability or political uncertainty and added Nobody has questioned our stability except for few voices in the media,” Mr. Chidambaram said just because DMK pulled out, the government has not become weak.

DMK withdrew its support to the UPA government stating the government was not taking a tough stand against Sri Lanka at the Geneva sessions.

Backbone of officers to be broken and customs to be made a political center – JVP

 

Customs officers who carry out their raids without any political bias are to be made cats’ paws of  politicians, their backbones are to be broken and political power is to be used for politicians and their lackeys to wriggle through the tax net says the Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi.

Speaking at a special media conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta today (19th) Mr. Handunneththi said, “The government is preparing to debate and adopt 21 tax amendment bills within 3 days starting from today. He said what is grave in the move is the attempt of the government to conceal, within the 21 bills, the tax appeal commission bill and customs bill that were not adopted with the budget, in an attempt to get them adopted with other bills.

The government through these two bills is attempting to kill two birds with one stone. The Minister of Finance will have the right to decide the ratio of cash rewards for the officers and all cash rewards will be taken over by the minister to quell the financial crisis of the government.

Most of the rackets are carried out with the participation of politicians. How could one expect customs officers to carry out raids boldly when such bills come into effect? Rewards for customs officers who risk their lives to raid dirty rackets of politicians are decided by a politician – the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance is the President. What is the assurance customs officers have regarding their duties? Can they be given an assurance that there wouldn’t be any political influence? The government wants to adopt these bills to grab the cash awards and to use the officers who carry out raids independently as their cats’ paws. They want to make customs one of their political centers. The consignment of Ethanol worth Rs.110 million was smuggled in by those who have political power. If the importers are registered how could those who imported the consignment becomes a mystery?

Large scale distilleries are maintained in Sri Lanka by politically powerful persons.  It is a very serious issue if cash awards for officers who raid illicit liquor is decided by the Minister of Finance. Whatever criticism is aimed at customs officers there have been instances where customs officers have sacrificed their lives carrying out their duties. However, the bill to be adopted allows politicians and their lackeys to carry out any racket while the backbone of the customs officers is broken.

Hence, we call on the government to withdraw the two bills. The amendments should be discussed with officers who are against frauds and corruption. An individual being able to challenge tax laws and regulations that affect the whole nation is a serious state. Then a situation arises where tax laws go astray. The situation would create a cover for racketeers and those who evade paying taxes.”

The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Lakshman Nipunarachchi too was present.


 

Govt. rejects US resolution & seeks a vote in Geneva

 

The government has decided to reject the final draft of the U.S. resolution submitted at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and seek a vote among members states Ministry of External affairs.

Minister G.L. Peiris addressing letters to foreign ministers of UNHRC member countries states that Sri Lanka believed that drawing disproportionate attention to Sri Lanka's situation and introducing resolution that seeks to discredit and single out the country are unhelpful and counterproductive to Sri Lanka's current reconciliation process.

In his letter Minister Peiris states the precedent created by intrusive, biased and politicized actions such as the U.S. sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka would pose danger for all nations.

The United States on Monday tabled the final version of the resolution at the 22nd session of the UNHRC in Geneva, with co- sponsors including Austria, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway and Britain.