22A: Jayasumana asks govt. to stick to SC ruling, warns against moves detrimental to unitary status

Prof. Jayasumana

Dissident SLP MP Prof. Channa Jayasumana has said that the government will not be allowed to use the proposed 22 Amendment to introduce anything detrimental to the country.

The Anuradhapura District MP said that it would be advisable for the ruling party to refrain from proposing amendments at the committee stage, other than what were authorised by the Supreme Court.

The Parliament is scheduled to debate the 22 Amendment tomorrow (06) and the day after (07).

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bill seeking the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution could be adopted with a two-thirds majority in the House, though some clauses would require a nationwide referendum.

The rebel MP said that the clauses, inconsistent with the Constitution, should be left out of the Bill.

Responding to The Island queries, the former State Minister said that they would defeat whatever attempts to undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status at a time the country was struggling to cope up with a deteriorated economic situation.

The lawmaker said that it would be nothing but treachery to allow opportunists to exploit the recent developments. Prof. Jayasumana intends to take up the issue at hand with the 13-member rebel group, ahead of the two-day debate.

“Obviously, the SLPP is divided over the issue at hand,” the academic said, adding that the election of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, as the President, to complete the remainder of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s term, highlighted sharp divisions within the party over policy and strategy.

The SLPP won 145 seats at the last parliamentary election, though over 20 members have now declared they wouldn’t follow dictates of the party.

Prof. Jayasumana said that he publicly discussed the issue at hand recently following a gathering at Horowpothana, Morawewa.

Meanwhile, Ven. Professor Induragare Dharmarathana Thera said that the Jathika Mahajana Sabhawa would launch a protest campaign today (05) at the Independence Square, at 8.30 am.

The Ven. Thera alleged that they feared an attempt would be made to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that was enacted way back in the late 80s to appease those pushing for division of the country, on ethnic lines (SF)

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A Dutch cultural delegation led by State Secretary for Culture and Media in the Netherlands, Gunay Uslu, will be visiting Sri Lanka from 27th to 31st August. The State Secretary is making a special visit to Sri Lanka to sign the legal document transferring the ownership of the cultural artifacts that will be returned to Sri Lanka later this year. The objects include the famous Lewke’s canon, two Gold kastanes (ceremonial sword), Singalese knives, Silver kastane and two guns. The visiting State Secretary is expected to meet with the senior officials of the Sri Lankan government to mark this historic moment. Legal transfer of ownership will be signed at the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka on Monday 28th August 2023. The delegation will visit a few places with religious and Dutch historic value in Sri Lanka. There will also be a public lecture conducted by the State Secretary on 29th August at 4 pm at the Auditorium of the Department of National Archives of Sri Lanka. (Attendance on pre-registration only!) About the return of cultural artifacts While acknowledging both the tangible and intangible heritage of Dutch colonial times in Sri Lanka, the Netherlands is also critically looking at its own role in the history. In 2021 the Dutch government approved the policy for the return of cultural heritage objects that are in the possession of the Dutch State. The indigenous populations of colonial territories were served an injustice through the involuntary loss of objects that formed part of their cultural heritage, says the Dutch government. Therefore the Dutch government is keen to help rectify this historic injustice by returning cultural heritage objects to their country of origin and by strengthening international cooperation in this area. In December 2022, the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands appointed an independent commission, the Advisory Committee on the Return of Cultural Objects from Colonial Context, chaired by Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kang You, to assess and facilitate the return of colonial objects to their respective countries of origin. At the request of Sri Lanka, this committee decided, in July this year, to advise the return of six objects of cultural significance that were wrongfully brought to the Netherlands during the colonial period. About Provenance research In 2021, researchers from both countries studied the provenance (background) of these objects extensively. In 1765, these items were taken as loot by the Dutch from the Kandyan Kingdom during the siege of the Palace. The people of the Netherlands feel a moral obligation to return looted or otherwise wrongfully acquired objects to their rightful owners. Righting the wrongs of the past is needed to heal the historic wounds. The return process is expected to form the basis for further cooperation between the two countries and the cultural institutions concerned. The cooperation will mainly be focused on the exchange of technical expertise, knowledge sharing and education. About the delegation The official delegation will consist of Ms. Barbera Wolfensberger, Director General, Culture and Media in the Netherlands, Ms. Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kang You (Chairperson, Dutch Colonial Collections Committee) and Dr. Alicia Schrikker (member of the Committee). This committee earlier presented a report with recommendation to the Dutch government regarding the returning of colonial artifacts.


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