Who is the villain of the piece?
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti Our Lobby Correspondent
Thursday's emergency de bate was volatile to say
the least, with the UNP mooting the proposal of unconditional peace talks
with the LTTE and the government opposing it.
The first to fire a round of artillery was UNP's John Amaratunge. Quoting
an interview given by LTTE Political Wing Leader Thamilchelvam where he
has expressed a desire to hold unconditional talks with the Sri Lankan
government, Mr. Amaratunge sounded confident that the LTTE had abandoned
the concept of a traditional homeland.
"For the first time the LTTE does not speak of traditional homelands
and is willing to talk without preconditions- a situation which should
be exploited,"he said.
Then he dropped the bombshell. While the government was gunning for
Jayalath Jayawardene, the UNP had reliably learnt that President Kumaratunga
had written to the LTTE herself- and he began questioning PA front benches
whether they were aware of it.
"We don't know about any such thing, but Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene
has held secret talks with an LTTE leader in Wanni," countered Agriculture
Minister D.M. Jayaratne.
Speaking with his customary fervour was UNP General Secretary Gamini
Atukorale, who caused an uproar in the House by exclaiming that the government's
false propaganda machine was working overtime to paint Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene
as the villain of the piece over an alleged secret visit to Wanni.
"If he has done wrong, prosecute him - but until proven guilty
do not use your discrediting tactics," thundered the bespectacled
member. Minister Batty Weerakoon was however in a disagreeable mood, and
he charged the UNP of resorting to delaying tactics and not being actually
committed to resolving the festering ethnic wound.
Next Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene was seen defending
himself while government members enjoyed heckling him as an LTTE agent.
"As a Catholic devotee I visited the Madhu church, and if you need
a whipping boy please find someone else because I will not be prosecuted
on fabricated charges ," Dr. Jayalath thundered, challenging the government
to make similar allegations in the North and East, where Dr. Jayawardene
has considerable political clout.
UNP's Dr. Sarath Amunugama explained why there should not be preconditions
for peace talks with the LTTE.
"The President with her queer logic kept on contradicting her own
stance. The basis of any negotiation should be confidence and trust. The
UNP's proposal to hold talks does not stem from sympathy for the LTTE or
their so called cause, but for the welfare of this country," he said.
Usually Sarath Kongahage's very presence irked PA ranks. But this time
when the MP warned the government to be wary of foreign peace brokers who
wanted the government to follow the Irish model, they broke into appreciative
"The IRA and the LTTE cannot be compared as their strategies differ.
The IRA leaders were moderate rebels, their fighting less intense . In
contrast, the LTTE was a fully fledged guerrilla force able to cause mass
destruction to life and property. Unlike IRA leaders who willingly talked
peace, Prabhakaran has to be dragged to the negotiating table and that
is possible only when his militarily weak," he said.
Next was PA's habitual heckler , Agricultural Minister D.M. Jayaratne
who charged the opposition leader of raising funds for the UNP from US-
"You have Jayalath Jayawardene on one hand having secret talks
with Thamilchelvam,and on the other hand UNP leadership canvassing financial
support from LTTE sympathisers in the US," he said. At this accusation
the UNP members galvanised into action , demanding that he withdraw the
statement. Next UNP's Bulathsinhala member Sarath Ranawake questioned several
procurements- all of which were allegedly declared unsuitable for the country.
Undeterred by heavy criticism, Minister Anuruddha
Ratwatte said the UNP was being advised by commission agents and disgruntled
"The dilemma of the UNP was that it was representing the LTTE's
view point as well as that of double dealers," he said.
He refuted that the President had written to the LTTE, and emphasised
there was no possibility of holding unconditional talks as it would place
the country in a vulnerable position.
Barry's blazing end in secret room
Notorious underworld drug king-pin and his mistress
midninght gunbattle with police
By Chris Kamalendran
In a midnight gun battle fit for a crime thriller,
sleuths swooped on one of the country's most notorious criminals while
he slept with a mistress in a room at Ragama.
Police said the criminal Bernard Christopher Barry and his mistress
were killed in a gun battle in their secret room from where he planned
to flee abroad to escape a one million rupee reward on his head.
At midnight on Tuesday a handpicked CID team had gone into action to
arrest Barry who was allegedly involved in at least 15 killings and 50
Barry, a 29 year old former Airman had been discharged from the Air
Force after being found guilty of stealing ammunition in 1993.
Sleuths led by Chief Inspector, S. Kumarasinghe, officer in charge of
the CID's anti -terrorism unit stormed Barry's room which he had rented
out only last month at Podiveekumbara, Ragama. The government had earlier
offered a one million rupee reward for any information leading to the arrest
of Barry, ,alleged to be an underworld drug king-pin also.
As armed officers swooped on Barry,the suspect who was living with a
mistress opened fire with a Browning Pistol forcing the sleuths to fire
back, detectives said. Barry and his mistress Anusha (23). were killed
in the gun battle they said.
Police have been on the trail of the suspect since evidence emerged
of his involvement in the assassination of Assistant Superintendent of
Police Shanthi Kumar in June this year. The officer was reportedly killed
as he had arrested a woman drug -peddler with whom Barry had close connections.
Police said they found a vital document from Barry's room giving details
of the plot to kill a senior police officer.
They also found two pistols and two hand grenades from the room along
with a a motor cycle used by Barry.
Barry along with his mistress had moved into the room claiming both
of them had returned from West Asia and would get back shortly. The house
owner, a three wheeler driver now under arrest along with his wife had
rented out the room for Rs. 1000 a month.
"Since they moved in, the couple did not move much in public. They
normally stayed indoors and the woman used to do the marketing. Once in
a while the man used his trail bike . We never spoke to them, they never
spoke to us," one neighbour said.
Detectives believe Barry had gone into hiding soon after his picture
appeared in newspapers when a reward was offered for his arrest.
Barry is alleged to have had links with gangs which carried out contract
killings, abductions, robberies of vehicles, houses and distribution of
Police identified the woman killed as the mistress of another notorious
criminal known as 'Kalu Ajith' who was killed and burnt inside a van at
Attitidya early this year.
"We had information the woman was used to carry weapons for underworld
gangs as she could pass through checkpoints easily,"the officer said.
Barry was reportedly planning to escape from the country using a forged
passport as he was aware the CID was on the lookout for him.
Gamani Jayasuriya memorial lecture
The Gamani Jayasuriya Memorial Foundation commemorating
the death of Sri Lankabhimani Shasana Bandhu Gamani Jayasuriya will hold
the Gamani Jayasuriya Memorial Lecture on September 20 (Sunday) at 3.30
p.m. at the Navarangahala of the Homagama Madhya Maha Vidyalaya.
The former Vice Chancellor of the Sri Jayawardenapura University Prof
S. B. Hettiarachchi will deliver the special memorial lecture on the subject
"Dharmapala's influence on the nurturing of Gamani Jayasuriya."
Have you seen her?
Renuka Malkanthi Senanayake, the young woman in
this photograph, is missing since last month.
able to provide correct information about her either to the Kandy police
(08234251) or the nearest police station, or the following numbers 08203189
or 077802916 will be given a substantial cash reward.
She is of fair complexion and is 5' 4" tall. Has long, black hair
and brown eyes. Is believed to be in a depressed mental condition. Was
wearing a light green frock when last seen.
Anura to see Sai Baba again
UNP MP Anura Bandaranaike left this week to have
an audience with Satya Sri Sai Baba at his Whitefield Ashram in Bangalore,
This is the second time in three months that Mr. Bandaranaike is seeing
Sai Baba. On the last occasion they met, Sai Baba had asked Anura to make
friends with his sister Chandrika Kumaratunga.
Mr. Bandaranaike will return to Sri Lanka for a few days before he leaves
for Los Angeles where he will join UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at a
fund-raising dinner dance on September 26.
The 134th birth anniversary of Srimath Anagarika
Dharmapala founder of the Maha Bodhi Society will be celebrated next Thursday,
September 17 with a public meeting being held at the Galle Town Hall at
The meeting organised by the Maha Bodhi Society of Sri Lanka will be
presided over by the most Ven.Pallantara Suma- najothi . The Governor of
the Southern Province Neville Kanakaratne and the Ven. Alutugama Dhammananda
will also address the meeting.
An exhibition of photographs depicting the life of the Anagarika Dharmapala
will be held the previous day (Sep 16) and a Pahan Poojava at the Wijayananda
Vihare on September 17 evening.
JR birth anniversary
The 92nd birth anniversary of late President J.R.
Jayewardene will be celebrated on Thursday at the Jayewardene Centre, Dharmapala
Mawatha, Colombo 7.
Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the chief guest
and will deliver the keynote address.
'Rise above petty politics'
Several religious and social justice movements
coordinated by the Inter-Religious Peace Foundation will hold a peace meeting
in Colombo on Tuesday to urge President Kumaratunga and Opposition UNP
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to rise above party politics and come to a
consensus to find a just solution to the ethnic conflict.
The groups led by Buddhist monks and Catholic priests will gather outside
the Fort Railway Station to distribute copies of an appeal among the public
calling upon the President and Mr. Wickremesinghe to come to an agreement
on sharing both the responsiblity and the credit for resolving the ethnic
The Ven. Walpola Vimalagnana There of the Inter-Religious Peace Foundation,
Fr. Oswald Firth and Fr. Tissa Balasuriya of the Centre for Society and
Religion, the National Peace Council, Tamil, Hindu and Muslim groups, women's
movements, workers' and fishermen's groups will be among those taking part
in the peace campaign.
These groups are urging the President and Mr. Wickremesinghe to take
the ethnic issue out of the arena of party electoral politics and place
before the people their basic consensus for bipartisanship in solving the
conflict by providing justice for all. They stress this approach in the
conviction that peace is a fruit of justice and cannot be achieved through
war or armed conflict.
"Any attempt to solve the national problem through the electoral
process will be to load people with an additional burden. Besides, it will
only serve to divide our people even further. Our history provides numerous
examples that the electoral process has not been the most appropriate means
to solve problems of this nature qualitatively.
"Our firm conviction is that serious consultation between the two
main parties is vital if this national crisis is to arrive at a reasonable
and acceptable solution. In the event of consensus being reached, no one
should grudge the parties to the dialogue from sharing the credit for their
efforts, " the Foundation states.