Regional players China and India are keeping close tabs on the Sri Lankan president’s decision to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replace him with the country’s longtime strongman, Mahinda Rajapaksa. But Sri Lanka continues to have duelling prime ministers. We look into the cause and the legality of the recall, a test for the nation’s democracy. It was on Rajapaksa’s watch that a civil war ended with the crushing of Tamil Tiger rebels. Could the turmoil in Colombo reopen wounds?
Former Governor of the Eastern Province
Director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center
Research Associate, Centre for Studies on India and South Asia
A workshop for journalists organised by a non profit organisation that was to be held at the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) yesterday was called off abruptly after a mob protested outside the institute in Narahenpita.
“Leader of the gang who disrupted the media workshop to be held in the auditorium of the Sri Lanka Press Institute warned that ” if this institute allows any such training in the future done say we are bad boys”. The person who can be clearly indentified in the video was referring to a workshop where Tamil journalists form the Jaffna was invited. This flagrant violation of peoples right to association and expression took place in the heart of the city on 26 July 2014 .”
“The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) condemns in the strongest terms yet another act of intimidation of media by the government orchestrated mobs who sabotaged a planned media workshop for Jaffna journalists scheduled at the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) today( 26). The workshop on Digital media Security for a group of media personnel from Jaffna was to be held at the Sri Lanka Press Institute today. However, 16 journalists who were heading to Colombo for the media workshop was detained by the Army at the Omanthai Military Check Point on the purported charges of having Cannabis in their procession on Friday evening and were handed over to the police. They were subsequently released by the police, on the same day night and were instructed to return to Jaffna. (The driver of the van travelled by journalists remains in police custody.)”
“We, the Free Media Movement (FMM) and Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLMTA) are here to day to inform you about the harassments faced by out fellow Tamil media journalists yesterday and today (26 July). Sri Lanka Journalists Association, the Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka section of the SAFMA are unable to present here today but they all have endorsed this press conference.”
“Northern Province Journalists were impeded by Sri Lankan Police, Army and intelligence joint operation while travelled to attend a workshop and a discussion on digital security. This workshop facilitated by some media organization from south and Jaffna Press Club. Jaffna Press Club is an independent collective of media personal and registered organization mandated for journalist welfare and empowerment in north.”
So it was a known construction worker cum odd job man who killed senior Lankan journalist Mel Gunasekera.
The man, hunted down within the same day Mel was stabbed to death in her suburban home, was apparently familiar with the place and the family’s routine. When she recognised him, burglar had instantly turned killer.
Case closed? Prima facie, it seems so. But in a land where so many crimes are simply not solved and culprits never caught, some can’t believe this swift and efficient crime investigation. Public trust in institutions, once lost, is hard to regain.