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Sri Lanka

Even as Sri Lanka drafts a new law to counter terrorism, human rights activists and lawyers here fear it might be worse than the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) they want repealed and replaced.

 

Meanwhile the PM has exhibited his Vibheeshana syndrome. Vibheeshana was of course the treacherous, pro-Ramacollaborator brother of the great Lankan king Ravana (recently deemed a terrorist by Mr. Modi) of Asian mythology. The PM promised to sign ETCA before this year is out. Perusing a draft, I was aghast to find that the subheadings covered every conceivable aspect of this island’s economic life, from agriculture, fisheries, plantations to education and educational infrastructure, energy and the mapping of ground water resources.   

 

The death of two university students at Kokkuvil in Jaffna when they were shot at by the police when they had defied orders to stop the motorcycle they were riding is making headlines for the past several days, especially in the Tamil media. The sword attack on the two policemen on Sunday at the Chunnakam market automatically gains more weight in the belief that it is connected to the death of the two students. 

 

Sri Lanka has been seeking to boost its economy following the end of its civil war in 2009, with tourism being a key growth sector. The island nation is witnessing an impressive tourist boom, with foreign investors eyeing the country as a promising growth market. 

 

Aside from the public’s overall lack of awareness about the process, another key takeaway from the report is that there doesn’t appear to be any sort of national consensus about what should be done. That isn’t surprising, although it means that the government’s messaging, awareness-raising and communications strategy surrounding this initiative is crucial. Quite evidently, Colombo’s performance thus far leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Villagers such as Poddibanda, who are the mercy of changing rainfall patterns, have had little help in learning to manage water better, though it is crucial to their economic well being, experts say.

 
President Maithripala Sirisena’s remark at a function held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on October 12 that the CID, FCID and the Independent Commissions are politicised, has also been politicised within hours.  
 
As per a New Indian Express report, Maravanpulavu Sachchithananthan, a former United Nations official who is now a publisher and Tamil nationalist, has formed Siva Senai (Siva’s Army). The purpose of this “army” is to enable Sri Lankan Hindus to counter threats from other religious groups in that country.  
 
Extremists may believe (even if they don’t say it) that the fact of extremism gives moderates maneuverability and therefore increases the chances for moderates to secure ground. Moderates tend to believe that the non-negotiability that is inherent to extremism hardens the other side to a point that makes such extraction difficult if not impossible.     
 
International and domestic studies, articles and reports in Sri Lanka are steadily illuminating the extent of sexual violence committed against women (and men) in the context of the war and times of ‘peace’. Justice and accountability for these harms, however, remain noticeably absent.   
 


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