There appears to be opposition from the Opposition parties in
Parliament to the proposed amendments to the 1978 Constitution. I will
confine my comments to the proposal to do away with the restriction of
the President’s term of office to two terms.
In Sri Lanka, one of the showpieces of Democracies in the world,
anyone can be elected to Parliament, Provincial Councils, Municipal
Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas as many times as there
are elections to these bodies. Then why this restriction only to the
terms of office of President.
The post of Executive President was created by President JR
Jayewardene who appointed himself the first President of the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. In view of his age he realized that he
could not be the President for more than two terms. Therefore, he made
this illegal restriction without any legitimate reason, so that no other
will be President more times than him. Any citizen of Sri Lanka who has
the necessary qualifications should be able to contest the Presidency
not once, twice, but as many times as there are Presidential Elections.
The removal of this restriction is a restoration of a Democratic
right of the people.
The boat service plying between Nagadeepa and Punkuduthivu resembles
the remnants of clumsy monster like image of the disastrous war of 30
years which ended recently.
It creates a scaring picture of a scene that could appear following a
possible toppling of a Dingi boat loaded with nearly or more than 100
people at a time, because the journey resembles transport of pigs and
fowls in a small vehicle while there are so advanced facilities for
travelling available for both over land and water nowadays.
If the boat is toppled and floating upside down, the passengers will
find no way out since the exit is narrow and the stampede of coming out
will bring death, even to those who can swim. No safety jackets or
inflated tubes seen around either.
Therefore, I wish to make request on behalf of travelling public that
the Pradeshiya Sabha of the area take action to register and permit only
the boats with standard condition with a registration number and ensure
a safe service without tragedy.
The long awaited report by Lord Saville on the attack by the British
Army against the civil rights marchers in Londonderry over 38 years ago
has been published recently. During that attack on civilians, the
British soldiers had killed 13 Catholic demonstrators, one of whom had
been killed while running away from the soldiers while another had been
shot dead while crawling on the ground to flee from the shooting.
Altogether 13 Catholic demonstrators had been shot by the British Army
on this bloody Sunday. It had taken 22 long years to prepare the report
and it has been the most expensive report in the British legal history.
Please compare this with the situation in our Motherland Sri Lanka,
when 300,000 or more civilians escaped from the brutal clutches of the
terrorist Prabhakaran and entered the areas controlled by our Army and
had we fired even one gun shot and hurt even one person, what reaction
it would have set across the entire ‘civilised’ world including Great
Britain, the United Nations and Naveen Pillay herself?
It is well to recall the experience that we had in Sri Lanka, when
the innocent civilians, among whom were the maimed, the old and the sick
and women and children, escaped from the clutches of the brutal
terrorists, one or two terrorists dressed in suicide kits underneath,
walked with these innocent escapees, with the intention of blasting
themselves and killing the innocent civilians and creating chaos for the
valiant, dedicated, humane soldiers of our Army.
What if at least one person had died or was injured as a result of
the blast by the terrorists fleeing among the innocent escapees? How
would the international community have reacted to it, including, to
repeat, Great Britian, the UN and Naveen Pillay herself?
The report by Lord Saville is indeed a tribute to the valiant Armed
Forces of our Motherland Sri Lanka, who fought against the most gruesome
terrorists in the world, without hurting or harming a single civilian
man, woman or child.
“Nothing begins and nothing ends - that is not paid with moan
For we are born of another’s pain - to perish in our own”
Life ends in mortality as a consequence of which the mortal remains
are consigned to good old Mother Earth where we mortals traverse when
alive and yet again Death is the great leveler where every mortal is
relegated to eternal darkness and deafening silence.
I, for one find it extremely hard to come to terms with the sudden
demise of Velupillai Murugesu, Precedent-Partner of the reputed Law
Firm, Murugesu & Neelakandan, Attorneys-at-Law, which he founded
well-nigh 47-1/2 years ago and which has now become a household word in
the realm of legal luminaries.
Although Murugesu lived the Bibilical life span of over 80 years, he
was in full control of his senses up to the very last breath of his
earthly sojourn. It is an inconceivable irony that the Moving Finger had
the temerity to do a Faux pas on March 20, 2010 and snatch Murugesu from
his near and dear ones.
Let me venture to state at the outset that it is not my intention to
parade the academic achievements or the professional embellishments that
the genial Murugesu had attained during his lifetime, but would rather
endeavour to extol the sterling qualities and intrinsic humane values he
was endowed with and which he always exuded whenever the occasion arose,
not to speak of his largesse and of course his pathos.
I had the good and rare fortune of meeting and engaging in animated
conversation with Murugesu oft times during my brief but pleasant career
at the Law Firm of Murugesu & Neelakandan, Attorneys-at-Law. That he was
a gentleman of the highest calibre and by all means an erudite is
The winsome smile that creased his countenance always made the person
seated in front of him feel completely at east so that the discussion or
whatever - be it legal or otherwise - would turn out to be fruitful. His
vast knowledge on current affairs in a fast-changing milieu apart from
his legal dexterity was simply remarkable. He greeted everyone he met
with courteousness and his demeanour was endearing.
A stern disciplinarian, he brooked no nonsense from any quarter, come
what may, so as not to betray his cherished and time-tested ideals which
he nurtured and stood for at all times. He was endowed with a trait of
sangfroid and was a champion of the downtrodden in his own right.
Murugesu had a pronounced spiritual bent and he got off the ground to
espouse the cause of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in Sri Lanka with an
unwavering fervour since he was an avid and ardent devotee of both.
A prolific writer, he authored and published numerous articles and
newsletters on the life and times of Sri Aurobindo apart from his
insatiable appetite for in-depth absorption of such classics of
spirituality as Savitri.
Murugesu had a Dream which blossomed into a Vision and flourished
into a Mission so much so that his proclivity for gumption stood him in
good stead when he mustered everything at his command to embark on this
triad (Dream, Vision and Mission) and translate them into reality.
This triad saw fruition when one bright morning in February 2001,
Murugesu was blessed with his dream-come-true opportunity to declare
open the Sri Aurobindo Meditation Centre (Sri Lanka) at Dr E A Cooray
Mawatha in Wellawatte and become its inaugural Founder Trustee. This
monumental edifice built on unselfish commitment and dedication stands
as a lone but eloquent sentinel to perpetuate his memory.
This Meditation Hall has, enshrined in it, the relics of Sri
Aurobindo. I shall for my part dearly miss you and your ideals, Murugesu,
which you so valiantly and gallantly upheld during your lifetime.
However, I am consoled by the fact that you, in your own right, had
created more than a niche for yourself in the hearts and minds of all
those who came in contact with you either on a legal matter or otherwise
by your coercive attitude, bonhomie and camaraderie. The bequest you
have thereby left behind for them will remain unsullied till the end of
Farewell, noble soul! May you Rest in Peace.