COLUMNS

Wake Up! It’s time for Gender Parity not Patriarchy

Columns
By Kshama Ranawana
In filing a Fundamental Rights petition against the appointment of a woman officer to the post of Acting Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), the thirty two aggrieved Senior Superintendents of Police have placed the spotlight on a glaringly discriminatory practice in the country’s police department. The petition which is to be heard on May 18 states that the appointment of Bimshani Jasin Arachchi as the Police Departments first female DIG violates the standard procedures followed in the promotion of senior police officers.   The ...Continued

What a battle to save our oxygen!

Columns
Gampaha Divisional Wildlife Officer Devani Jayathilake is one rare public servant!   She is in the news again and for all the right reasons. Unlike most public servants who are only too ready to do the bidding of their masters, whatever the legality of the matter, Jayathilake has, for the second time in a year stuck her neck out to protect the environment. This time it was to stop the destruction of a rare tree ‘Crudia zeylanica” found along the route of the Kadawatha- Mirigama expressway ...Continued

Can Cosmetic Changes Unite a Nation?

Columns
February 4th has come and gone, and Sri Lanka marked its 73rd year as an Independent country. The celebration was not as grand as other years; the organisers thankfully seemed to have taken the Covid 19 pandemic and its consequences into account, keeping to a smaller guest list and less display of military might and pageantry. Simultaneously, residents living in the East of the country began a protest march to the North of the country. Dubbed the “P to P” to denote the march was ...Continued

Standing Against Impunity!

Columns
    January is still Black! Sri Lanka’s journalists begin each year remembering their colleagues who have paid a price for wielding the freedom of the pen and other forms of expression. Some reports claim that in the past 35 years at least 70 journalists and others affiliated with the media have been killed.  Many, many others have been abducted and maimed. Lasantha Wickrematunga, Editor of The Leader newspaper was murdered in January 2009.   As well, this year marks eleven years since PrageethEkneligoda, cartoonist ...Continued

Erasure does not Bring Closure

Columns
      There was a post, more like a fence post, a silent sentinel at the main junction of my home town; a post I hardly looked at, though, tucked away in some part of my memory was the knowledge that it had been erected to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign. Naturally, that junction where the post stands has come to be known as the Jubilee Post, a quiet suburb outside Colombo in my young days, though, today, falling within the jurisdiction ...Continued

Dealing with the New Normal of E-learning

Columns
      With the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating just yet, there is every possibility that school kids will be staying at home for a while more.  At least most of those residing in areas where the number of Covid cases is high will not be returning to school proper any time soon. It also means more time spent learning online. Caught unawares, Sri Lanka’s education system, like in many other countries, has not been geared to online or distance education.  Naturally, ...Continued

“Hands off Muthurajawela” – Cardinal

Columns
The Catholic Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith was in his element recently when he took up cudgels against those who are planning commercial development of the Muthurajawela wetlands. He certainly did not mince his words when he reminded government that it is only the temporary keeper of all that is public, and businessmen who throw around their might and money have no right to interfere with such resources that do not belong to them. Addressing a press conference on Thursday, January 7 the Cardinal ...Continued

Addressing Period Poverty in Prisons

Columns
That the Catholic Church has responded positively to a concern raised by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is certainly heart-warming, especially when most news one hears these days is about the coronavirus pandemic and its depressing outcomes. On December 22 the AHRC wrote to Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, drawing his attention to the plight of women prisoners and their inability to accesses sanitary napkins.  The concerns stem from a recent “Prison Study” by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka which said amongst other issues ...Continued

COVID 19 Deaths; Why is the Government Refusing Cremations?

Columns
On Thursday, December 17 a few Christian priests gathered at the crematorium at the Borella Cemetery.   In their visit to the crematorium and the symbolic tying of a white cloth along the fence they were indicating their solidarity with Muslims who are grief stricken over the government’s refusal to allow the burial of those who succumb to the COVID virus. The Priests, drawn from the Anglican, Catholic and Methodist Christian denominations gathered at the crematorium where 20 day old baby Shaykh was cremated several ...Continued

Is Rs. 6000 too much to ask?

Columns
Families of the missing and disappeared; perhaps the only phenomenon that unites Sri Lankans across all ethnicities, occupations, social classes and religions! They are those whose family members have gone missing during the various periods of civil unrest and conflicts that have taken place in the country since 1971. And for them, the wait for justice and compensation is well-nigh a half century. There was a very short spell of financial relief for a few of the families at the tail end of the Yahapalanaya ...Continued

Whither the Government’s Sustainable Environment Policy?

Columns
Just a year into the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency,environmentalists are up in arms over the apparentassault on the country’s Wildlife and Forest Reserves.   Recent actions of the government’s Ministers’ and associates belie the promise of his election Manifesto, “Vistas of Splendour and Prosperity’, they say, where a variety of actions have been identified under the topic ‘A Sustainable Environment Policy.’   Amongst those are ‘Biodiversity: The sustainability of land and water resource management will be ensured while taking proactive measures to increase national forest cover ...Continued

Disposal of the COVID Dead; Will Govt. Heed HRCSL Recommendations?

Columns
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is calling on the health authorities to amend an April 2020 Gazetteto incorporate its recommendations and resolve the vexatious issue of the disposal of bodies in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. Writing to both the Secretary of the Ministry of Health as well as to the Director General of Health Services, the Commissioner in Charge of Investigations and Inquiries, RamaniMuttettuwegama points out that, the HRCSL believes that the governments ruling of mandatory cremation, imposed through ...Continued

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