President outlines policy plans in Kandy
Sri Lankan society started talking about King Manavamma again with President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s history lesson to the Commissioner General of Archeology.
After Wickremesinghe’s electoral defeat, everyone started looking up King Manavamma following a question posed by a journalist at a media conference during the time he was at home.
This time President Wickremesinghe spoke about King Manavamma during the discussion about archeological lands belonging to the Kurundi Viharaya in Mullaitivu. This matter came up with the land issue raised by the TNA MPs. The President also spoke about a Tamil Minister named Potthuka.
While the conversation between the President and the Director General of Archaeology spread via the media, it also became a topic in the political arena as well.
The Ministers who met the President on Wednesday also asked about this. “We are conserving the Kurundi temple as well as the Thiriyaya temple in Trincomalee. But the problem here is that 5,000 acres belong to the Archaeology Dept in both places. Most of this land comes under forest conservation and wildlife.
“The problem arose because of the archaeological task force appointed by the former President. They said that they should erect boundary stones wherever they feel like and excavate them to find artifacts,” said MP Wajira Abeywardena.
Prof. Ashu Marasinghe joining the conversation said, “The Tamil MPs are saying to permit the Tamil people to cultivate the lands that do not come under Archaeology Dept because the people of that province have cultivated these lands for a long time. When the Government lands are captured by the Archaeology Dept, where do people cultivate?”
The President said, “I will appoint a committee to find out why they are asking for 5,000 acres of land. Because even Sigiriya and Maha Viharaya do not ask for so much.”
MP Madura Vithanage said, “An objection has been raised about the resignation of the Director General of Archaeology and the issue of land where archaeological monuments are being distributed to the people.”
The President replied saying, “I don’t know why he resigned. I only questioned why Cabinet decisions and national policies taken by the Government were not implemented.”
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said, with a smile, “There has been a discussion again about King Manavamma, Minister Potthuka and the Maha Vihara.” The President too smiled and started to answer it with a historical story.
“Manavamma was the son of King Kashyapa II. Due to the chaotic situation in the state of Anuradhapura, Prince Manavamma fled to the Pallava state of India. After some time, a war broke out between the Pallava kingdom and the Chalukya kingdom. Because Manavamma was a skilled warrior, he became the commander of the army of Narasinha Varman, the king of the Pallava kingdom, and ensured the victory of the Pallava king. The Pallava kingdom became the first Tamil kingdom only after this war.
“After the war, he took a large army from India and came to Ceylon to take his rightful place in the kingdom. Although Datopa Tissa, who ruled Sri Lanka at that time, fled to Ruhuna, the Indian army left due to the illness of King Narasinha Varman. Therefore, he could not wage the war and returned to India.
“When Manavamma, who served under two Pallava kings, returned to Sri Lanka, the leaders of the Tamil Angampodi Sena were in power. Hatthadatha was a puppet king.
“At that time, there were two Indian armies fighting for the king. One of the commanders was Potthuka. But unable to face Manavamma’s army, he fled. The Lambakarna dynasty began after the reign of Manavamma. That dynasty ended with the reign of King Mihidu V who was usually drunk and half unconscious. In the end, he did not have money to even pay the mercenaries brought from India. The kingdom of Anuradhapura ended there,” the President said.
The Ministers listened to the President’s long analysis with amazement. Everyone who heard this story started talking, expressing surprise at the President’s knowledge of history.
After that, he commented on the Malwathu Oya area where the Sinhalese settlement started, and the port near Thiriyaya Vihara. The President who said that the two places should be looked into, said that the Tiriayaya urban settlement that existed then, as well as the water and land route from Tiriayaya to Horowpathana, should be looked into, teaching history to those present.
President Wickremesinghe was in Kandy last weekend. The President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, the President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake as well as the President’s Private Secretary Sandra Perera were there to review the upcoming programs of the President. Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe and President’s Senior Advisor R.H.S. Samaratunga were also present.
Short-term programs, medium-term programs and long-term programs were discussed at length. The discussion continued from Friday afternoon till Sunday lunch time and finally everyone came to an agreement on the policy plans to be implemented.
The Cabinet meeting was held as usual on Monday, following which the meeting of the district leaders of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was held.
A few of them were not present and some others had informed that they could not come because they were abroad. On that day, the media gave publicity about the absence of the SLPP district leaders, and several people asked the President about it over the phone.
“They said they want to meet me. So, I gave them time. A group came and another group didn’t come. Some others said they are unable to come. I don’t know beyond that,” was the answer given by the President to those who asked.
Security Council meeting
Dr. Harsha de Silva
On Tuesday morning, President Wickremesinghe attended the Security Council meeting at the Ministry of Defence. After discussing the future security programs, the President asked the security chiefs about a report submitted by a parliamentary committee on Sri Lanka Telecom.
“The Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security has given a report that the transfer of 49 percent shares in the telecom company poses a threat to national security. Have you received such information?” The President asked the security chiefs directly. “We have not received such information. Data information in Sri Lanka is not available at SLT now. They are in other places,” the security chiefs told the President in one voice.
That evening, the United National Party (UNP) Management Committee was held and before that, the President informed the Chief Government Whip Prasanna Ranatunga to find out what steps can be taken regarding the presentation of a false report by a parliamentary committee to the House.
The Management Committee discussed the new UNP constitution and in the meantime General Secretary Range Bandara presented details of his visit to Japan to the President. He also informed the President about a project related to sending Sri Lankan workers to that country.
General Secretary Range Bandara presented a rough model related to the constitutional amendment and it was decided to end the party reorganisation program after the President’s European tour. The President advised the group to think anew and think about a new working order. He instructed party Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene to initiate reforms to replace traditional positions allowing the new generation to enter the party.
President Wickremesinghe met the expert committee appointed to prepare a report on the changes to be made in school education on Wednesday morning.
He instructed the expert committee to make recommendations on how to conduct school education from Grade one to 13. That evening, a meeting of Party Leaders representing the ruling party was held under the patronage of the President and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa was also present.
Leaders of eight parties representing the ruling party, including the Prime Minister were present. The Party Leaders had the opportunity to outline the problems and many matters that need to be clarified. The National Organiser of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Basil Rajapaksa said that the support of the SLPP for the nation building program will continue in the same way.
It was also decided to convene Parliament in the last week of this month and it was decided to debate the debt restructuring. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who came to the Ministry of Finance as usual on Thursday, discussed the economic situation of the country. That evening, the President went to the Homagama Divisional Secretariat to join the launch ceremony of issuing passports through 51 Divisional Secretariats.
Yesterday morning, June 17, the President and his delegation left for France following an invitation by the French President. He will also take part in many discussions in France and in London.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena made a phone call to Kilinochchi on Thursday. That is precisely to extend birthday greetings to one of the most senior political leaders in the country who turned 90.
The Prime Minister who called and congratulated the Leader of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and former Member of Parliament V. Anandasangaree, said “I am Dinesh.”
The conversation started saying,”Dinesh, our Prime Minister” and it continued for a long time.
“As a Leader of the Tamil people, I am happy that you and the President have come together to create stability in the country,” Anandasangaree said.
Premier Gunawardena said, “Your opinion is very valuable to us.” Anandasangaree: “Okay, I am coming to Colombo to meet you. I will bring my ideas.”
Premier: “Come anytime.”
The telephone conversation between the two was on political, economic, social and historical matters, and Prime Minister Gunawardena did not forget to wish the veteran political leader a long life.
ADB’s top official meets Opposition Leader
A delegation including Director General of the Asian Development Bank’s South Asia Department Kenichi Yokoyama, recently met the Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa at his office in Colombo. The current situation in Sri Lanka was discussed at length and Sajith Premadasa asked the delegation to provide support for the development of Sri Lanka.
The Opposition Leader who outlined the broken areas one by one, said that Sri Lanka needs time to recover from this situation, and explained the need to encourage the Government and provide advice to the Government for proper financial management.
Harsha, Eran and Kabir met at the Opposition Leader’s office recently.
Kabir Hashim: “The President is going on a political suicide trip. You can’t build this country simply by going behind the Pohottuwa.”
Harsha de Silva: “Yes, the only thing to do is to hold an election immediately and ask the people’s opinion. After that, we can continue.”
Eran Wickramaratne: “How can a country move forward by destroying democracy and suppressing the freedom of expression of the people?”
MP Ashok Abeysinghe, who was nearby, said, “Compared to the first quarter of 2022, in the first quarter of this year, the Department of Population and Statistics says that the growth of the gross domestic product has taken a negative value of 11.5 percent. So where has it gone?”
In the past period, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has filed over 40 court cases against the Government and its activities. It is a record situation.
“Whenever problems arose for the people of the country, the SJB came forward to save the people from that situation. When the people’s sovereignty was being played with, while everyone else remained silent, the SJB took legal measures,” Mujibur Rahuman said.
“When some people shout on stage, all they have is only noise and smell. But we have shown work instead of noise,” Nalin Bandara said with a smile.
The Samagi Jana Balawegaya paid special attention to the controversial statement by President Ranil Wickremesinghe that the majority of people in Sri Lanka do not need an election and that they have lost faith in elections and politics.
Sajith Premadasa expressed his displeasure about bringing in lawyers, hosting dinners for them and then lecturing them that elections are unnecessary.
Premadasa said the President brazenly says that the political parties in this Parliament do not even have 50 percent of the votes. How can the President say that? I say that if you want to check whether the President has 50 percent or not, then hold the Presidential Election that is to be held next year, at the end of this year. The Samagi Jana Balawegaya will support to get the necessary legal approval for that. If possible, hold a Presidential Election to see who has 50 percent and who less than 50 percent,” Premadasa said.
Recently, Premadasa took the ‘Sakwala’ program to the Moneragala and Ampara schools. Sajith who donated a bus worth Rs. 5 million to Ampara Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, donated a classroom to Moneragala Kumbukkana Pannananda Maha Vidyalaya. General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara also participated.
Madduma Bandara showed Sajith over the phone a statement by a Provincial Council member of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna targeting Maithree Wickremesinghe.
“She has never been involved in politics. Even if she is, it is a great crime to insult women like this. It shows the tribalism of the people making those statements,” Sajith responded.