External interventions in GR’s ouster: Manohara challenges HRC’s stand



by Shamindra Ferdinando

President’s Counsel Manohara De Silva says the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has to inquire into alleged foreign interventions in Sri Lanka, as they amount to failure on the part of the government in power to safeguard the country’s national security.

Pointing out that the Speaker had disclosed not only foreign interventions but also death threats to him, de Silva said that such a failure was tantamount to the government’s ‘inaction’ to perform its constitutional obligations, and the HRC and the courts could inquire thereinto.

“Such a failure is a violation of people’s sovereignty and therefore an infringement of people’s fundamental rights,” de Silva said.

The President’s Counsel said so regarding the HRC Chairperson Justice L. T. B. Dehideniya’s recent declaration that Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena’s claim of foreign interventions could be inquired into only if he received a complaint. Justice Dehideniya was responding to The Island queries, at its first media briefing since appointment last July.

De Silva pointed out that The Island had raised a pertinent issue as the HRC was already inquiring into SLPP goon attacks on the ‘Aragalaya’ protesters on 09 May2022 and a spate of counterattacks carried out in the immediate aftermath of the failed attempt to chase out those who had been occupying Galle Face.

Responding to another query, the President’s Counsel said that the Speaker had revealed direct foreign interventions in the overthrowing of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa 20 months after the regime change. But the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government and the Opposition had remained silent though some MPs raised the issue in their individual capacity, he said.

Declaring that HRC could intervene on its own concerning issues of national importance, Justice Dehideniya asked whether the disclosure made by the Speaker could be considered as such.

Another top lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity, explained the need to examine whether the alleged intervention made by external powers could be considered an offence under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). He said that in terms of the Article 14 of the HRC Act, the HRC on its own could investigate an alleged infringement or imminent infringement of FR. However, such violations must be by either administrative or executive actions, he said, pointing out that third party foreign interventions weren’t covered by that particular Act.

Dissident SLPP lawmaker Gevindu Cumaratunga told The Island yesterday having disclosed foreign hand in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ouster, Speaker Abeywardena had apparently cold feet.

MP Cumaratunga said that he had written to Speaker Abeywardena seeking clarifications on 02 April following the latter’s denial of foreign intervention on the previous day.

The MP acknowledged that he had made a mistake when he raised the issue at hand with Speaker Abeywardena on 01 April. MP Cumaratunga said that when he asked the Speaker Abeywardena to name foreign embassies that had been involved, the latter said there was no embassy involvement at all. Acknowledging that Speaker Abeywardena in his controversial 21 March statement to Parliament after the SLPP defeated a no-confidence motion that had been moved against him didn’t make any references to embassies, MP Cumaratunga, in his letter, has requested the Speaker to disclose what he called external powers.

The government owed a comprehensive explanation to the public regarding the status of investigations into incidents that were reported during the March 31, 2022-July 20, 2022 period, MP Cumaratunga said. Chief Government Whip and Minister Prasanna Ranatunga is on record as having said that he was not satisfied with the progress in the investigations, he added.


UP NEXTSun directly overhead Marawila, Pothuhara, Gurukete, Kalmunai, Garthalawela and Warapitiya at about 12:12 noon today (08)

DON’T MISSJVP renews its challenge for debate



Govt. in talks with UAE on extradition of SL drug barons



President Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Sunday, said he would hold discussions with the government of the United Arab Emirates to have Sri Lankan drug barons who are residing there extradited.

Addressing a youth conference in Kandy, the President said that narcotics had become a serious issue and that many big-time drug dealers and fugitives, who fled the country, sought refuge in Dubai.

Wickremesinghe said that he was planning to intensify the anti-drug campaigns in the coming weeks.



SJB asks for costs, other information about retaining international firms to give financial and legal advice on debt restructuring




Puttalam District SJB MP Niroshan Perera has asked Finance Minister, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, to reveal fee structure and other details pertaining to the government retaining France-based Lazard as financial advisor and Clifford Chance LLP as legal advisor to support the country on debt restructuring.

MP Perera has referred the question to the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies and the question is currently listed to be answered on May 08, according to the latest Addendum to the Order Book of Parliament.

The MP calls on Minister of Finance to inform the House whether the Government of Sri Lanka has entered into an agreement to obtain financial consultancy services from M/S Lazards-France company; if so, of the primary obligations of the above company as per the said agreement; and of the amount of money to be paid by the Government of Sri Lanka in terms of the above agreement and the amount paid so far separately in Sri Lankan Rupees and US Dollars.

The MP also demands the Minister of Finance to inform the House whether the Government has entered into an agreement to procure legal consultancy services from M/S Clifford Chance LLP Company; of the primary obligations of the above company as per the said agreement; and of the amount of money to be paid by the Government of Sri Lanka in terms of the above agreement and the amount paid so far separately in Sri Lanka Rupees and US Dollars, and to give reasons to Parliament if not why.

According to Treasury sources the Cabinet of Ministers, at its meeting held on 23 May, 2022, granted approval to award the contract of Legal Advisor to M/s. Clifford Chance LLP to award the contract of Financial Advisor to M/s. Lazard, France for Restructuring of the External Public Debt.  The cabinet has approved a proposal by the then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appoint the two.(SI)



New school admissions dropped by 40,000 in 2023



The number of children admitted to Grade One classes of schools had dropped by around 40,000 last year, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha says.

The Education Minister said the decrease in the number of births might have been the reason for the drop in the number of children being admitted to schools here.

The statistics of the Ministry of Education indicated a trend of decreasing the number of children being admitted to the Grade One classes in government schools. In 2021, the total number of children admitted to the Grade One classes was 304,105. In 2022, the corresponding number dropped by 11,889 to 292,216.

Meanwhile, the Family Health Bureau sources said that 258,235 persons had used for family planning methods in 2022. Of them 30,719 opted for Vasectomy operations.