Monday 30 August 2021


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

30 August   2021



PTA Covers Terrorism by Virus

Wikipedia presents Terrorism as:

‘Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the unlawful use of intentional violence to achieve political aims, especially against civilians.’

As per my knowledge, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) continues to be law in Sri Lanka. There has been some discussions regarding legality of some of the Government’s actions against the pandemic. The political editorial  of Sunday Times, dated 22 August was brought to my attention by the Tamil Diaspora:

[During the first wave of the pandemic, the Government effectively imposed a lockdown and effectively reduced the number of cases, while at the same time certain politicians and legal experts questioned the constitutional legality of the lockdown and the response of the Government. To this day, the Government has not initiated any legislative process through Parliament to legalise and regularise some of the actions taken and need to be taken. Most democracies have acted swiftly by passing legislation in their parliaments, sometimes recalling their legislature on grounds of public health emergency.

Some have chosen to older legislations and/or some amend existing ones. Most except Sri Lanka have acted by legislating their response to this pandemic. IMF policy tracker summarises the key economic responses governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tracker includes 197 economies. Last updated on July 2, 2021, it clearly reflects the gaps between countries where pandemic response was handled through a systematic and legalised process in contrast to Sri Lanka where the response was haphazard. In Sri Lanka, powerful officials could wake up one morning and decide to impose night-time curfew or regional lockdowns. These actions if challenged in a court of law could expose the lack of legality of some of these random actions.]


If  such questions of legality had been raised in relation to alleged Terrorism we would have prevented war-crimes allegations. Then there is also Buddhism foremost article 9 in the constitution – according to which action of Dharma protected . The power to so declare is vested with any governor who has no executive power in that area.


My special attention was drawn to the following:


[There is a much worse development due to the exploding COVID-19 pandemic. There was a Tamil diaspora group that arranged for 200 respirators for the Government. However, the Government could not accept them. The reason – this organisation is one of six on which the Government has imposed a ban. It was just this week that former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appealed to the Government to import 200 respirators to prevent deaths in the provinces. Here is a story of how the bureaucracy worked:

Respirators and ventilators are in short supply in the country, particularly in rural hospitals. Some main Teaching Hospitals too lack capacity. The daily growing numbers in hospitalisation if continued will even further expose the lack of capacity in hospitals all over Sri Lanka. Members of a prominent Global Tamil diaspora organisation organised some 200 respirators from a European donor country. Each respirator cost $13,000 which makes the total cost to be $2.6m. The country concerned also offered to transport these respirators to Sri Lanka as an emergency assistance.

Experts from the Health Ministry, the respirator manufacturer company and other specialists met up remotely to demonstrate the respirators to senior members of the Health Ministry of Sri Lanka during late June 2021. The Director General of Health Services – Dr Asela Gunawardena, Deputy Director General (Planning) – Dr S. Sridharan, Deputy Director General (Bio Medical Services) – Mr. S.A.J. Karunathilake and as an expert – Dr. Nilmini Wijesuriya (MD, FCARCSI, FRCA) ERC and UK ALS Instructor, National Coordinator Working Committee on

Resuscitation, College of Anaesthesiologists, and Intensivists of Sri Lanka Kids Save Lives – Sri Lanka Project Coordinator, all professional medical doctors, except the Deputy DG (Bio Medical Services) participated on behalf of Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. After an hour-long demonstration and consultation, Ministry officials agreed to discuss internally and revert. Three days later, the Deputy Director General (Planning) – Dr S Sritharan wrote back to say that the Expert Anaesthesiologist Dr. Nilmini Wijesuriya has decided that there is no requirement for these respirators in Sri Lanka and the donor country should consider donating these respirators to “very resource poor countries”.

The actual content of the correspondence is below:

Greetings from Sri Lanka and thank you for assisting us in this challenging time.

Dr Nilmini, Consultant Anaesthetist informed that unfortunately, there are no requests for this machine from peripheries. The clinicians managing these units will not increase ventilation at the moment. Then they may be able to divert them to very resource-poor countries. Anyhow look at the possibilities of donating Bipap machines, oxygen concentrators, and manikins etc.

Thanks for your contribution and understanding

Dr S Sridharan

Deputy Director General (Planning)

Ministry of Health

Colombo – 10

Mob: +94 714 xxxx

In Sri Lanka there were nearly 70,000 cases just on June 21, another 50,000 in July 21 and nearly another 50,000 in the first 17 days of August 21. There were approximately 1,500 deaths each month in June and July and another nearly 2,000 deaths recorded in the first 17 days of August.

After intervention from a high-ranking leader, the same Deputy Director General (Planning) sent an official request this time stating that Sri Lanka is in desperate need for these respirators. A similar formal request was made by S Janaka Sri Chandraguptha the Additional Secretary (Development) to the Ministry too on the same day in August. However, when the donor country’s Head of Mission contacted the Ministry to organise the transportation and the relevant clearances, unfortunately the Deputy Director General (Bio Medical Services) who is reportedly in charge of receiving donations and aid relating to this pandemic, possibly without realising that formal requests have been sent to the capital of that country, in his freewill yet again, discouraged the Head of Mission, stating that Sri Lanka has sufficient capacity to deal with the emergencies. With such incompetence, lack of empathy prevailing within the Health Ministry, it is surprise that the President decided to reshuffle the minister concerned to another portfolio.]


To me – both sides seem to be anxious about legal actions similar to war-crimes allegations. Added to this is the concern in this particular matter – the report that ‘former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appealed to the Government to import 200 respirators’.  Is it coincidence that Ranil would ask for 200 and the ‘Global Tamil diaspora organisation organised some 200 respirators from a European donor country.’?


Transparency is needed here. We need to know the name of the donor and the reason why it is working towards the Global Tamil Diaspora group? This is not the time for political games. On personal basis – we have been contacting the folks in Northern Sri Lanka with whom we have working relationships and advising them to keep their confidence levels high during this period. They express much gratitude because they consider us to be their seniors. This confirms a relationship. Tamil culture as realised by me provides the base for such supply and demand – to be on the basis of relationships within a sovereign unit.


Those pampered by handouts turn out to be less intelligent than those who earn benefits through firmly regulated structures.  Hence I wrote in my review of my granddaughter’s writeup on multiculturalism as follows


The declaration: what a privileged lifestyle I am living


My Review: First it is important not to take junior or senior positions with other cultures in appreciating multiculturalism. The above indicates ‘senior’ position. The word ‘privilege’ in this context denotes ‘good fortune’. This is where Daddy’s bogan analysis comes in. One who is born in a bogan community should not be assessed by one born and groomed in a highly structured part of society. We have bogans in our Sri Lankan community also. Our family temple is in such an area. Once when Appappa tried to discipline a guy who was walking across the temple corridor with his thongs on, I said to Appappa that he lacked the authority because he was conscious of his higher caste. I said I was not and I was grooming them to merge with mainstream. Hence if I did not discipline the guy – Appappa who had less authority than I had no jurisdiction.

In your case the privileges came through hard work from your father’s side of the family. I forewent earned benefits for a long time – towards developing my family in a highly structured part of our community. I continue to do so even now at community level. Hence at least half of you did not ‘happen’ out of good fortune. It is your turn to pass on that structure to your juniors. That is how you complete your duty to the community you are a part of.’

Like Bogan in Australia, Terrorism in Sri Lanka is a stereotype. As highlighted yesterday, An Australian of Sri Lankan origin referred to LTTE as Maverick and as being effectively Equal to the President. That is the power of belief in one’s own sovereignty.

Many of us who are writing the last chapters of our life in this current form feel the urge to share our truth which leads to permanent freedom from desire and fear. If the current government does what it does to itself – it is immune to desire and its other side – fear. That is the basic tenet of Buddhism known to the Common Non-Buddhist Sri Lankan. So why fear legality? On 28 January 2005, Magistrate Pat O’Shane read out the following passages from my communication to the Court – through which I upheld my dignity as an individual and also as a Sri Lankan:

"I consider these bail conditions an obstruction in my path of justice as per anti‑discrimination laws and equal employment opportunity policies for which I have paid the government, the University of NSW and the police through my own work practices and through my taxes, and I believe they are being imposed to intimidate me, subdue me and break my spirit so I would crawl back to my Sri Lankan ghetto or go back to Sri Lanka."


"The police still have not gotten the section right despite my submission in Court that section 4(1)(a) relates to prescribed premises which UNSW is not.  The Maroubra police who tried their best to make me sign these bail conditions and who said that I will not ever get employed by the UNSW but said I should be looking for employment elsewhere.  I said it is more painful for me to be intellectually intimidated than to be physically punished, because I am an intellectually driven person and my dignity comes from upholding the truth." 

My Sri Lanka does not take handouts but welcomes transactions that confirm structure based relationships.

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