‘Yahapalana govt. decisions deeply riled Ven. Sobitha’


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya has declared that Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera had been deeply disappointed at the time of his death by some of the decisions taken by the ruling UNP-SLFP coalition.

Addressing two public meetings, Prof. Wijesooriya, of the Sinhala Department of the University of Colombo this week, alleged that Ven. Sobitha had expressed disappointment at the appointment of defeated candidates through the National List.

Ven. Sobitha passed away on Nov. 8, 2015.

The outspoken academician said that those who had worked tirelessly to pave the way for regime change in January last year were immensely disappointed. Prof. Wijesooriya strongly criticised some of the appointments made by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the expense of Yahapalana administration. Similarly, Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, too, appointed his brother as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). Prof. Wijesooriya said there had been many such appointments unbeknownst to the public.

Commenting on elected members switching their allegiance to the party in power, Prof. Wijesooriya claimed that had President Maithripala Sirisena offered ministerial portfolios there wouldn’t have been a so-called Joint Opposition today. Prof. Wijesooriya quoted Ven. Sobitha as having told him that the vast majority of those who were with the Rajapaksas had been accommodated by Yahapalana government.

Welcoming the formation of UNP-SLFP coalition, Prof. Wijesooriya alleged that a section of the SLFP group was following an agenda severely inimical to the policies of the new administration. The Prof castigated Minister S. B. Dissanayake for making public statements contrary to the coalition’s policies.

Prof. Wijesooriya alleged that the some members of the coalition seemed to be hell bent on undermining the present power sharing arrangement.

Pointing out that the JVP insurgency in 1971 had caused irreparable damage to the country, Prof. Wijesooriya said that incumbent JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, a three-year old at that time couldn’t really comprehend the consequences of Rohana Wijeweera’s actions.

Prof. Wijesooriya told The Island those who contributed to the downfall of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had received immense benefits from him. The former President had thrown his weight behind unscrupulous persons who shamelessly exploited their relationship with the Rajapaksas for their benefit, Prof. Wijesooriya said, alleging that they had amassed wealth for several generations illegally. Today, the same lot had succeeded in establishing new partnerships with the powers that be, the civil society activist said, claiming that honest people found it extremely difficult to survive the corrupt system.

He said the vast majority of those who had benefited from the Rajapaksas had deserted them today. Responding to a query by The Island, Prof. Wijesooriya said that even those who had tirelessly worked for a regime change wouldn’t want to be too critical primarily for two reasons. They had been compelled to maintain silence due to various benefits they had received during previous administrations and what they intended to acquire from the Yahapalana lot.

Prof. Wijesooriya emphasised that he would continue to take up issues for the benefit of the masses in public.

Most politicians were pursuing personal agendas at the expense of the country, he said.

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