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Militarisation of state institutions continues

Thirty five institutions were brought under the purview of the Defence Ministry and Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management State Ministry by a Gazette Notification issued earlier this month. 

The Ministry of Defence's offical website reported that the Department of Archaeology is amongst the many institutions brought under the purview of the Defence Ministry, forming part of a series of moves to militarise the activities of the state. 

An all Sinhala task force was established  earlier this year as part of the ongoing Sinhalisation of the North-East, a move criticised by many Tamils as providing cover for Sinhalisation of the region.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also recently appointed an all Sinhala committee on archaeology and pushed to amend the Antiquities Ordinance. This amendment, which would seek to strengthen the protection of heritage sites, is seen as a step which reinforces the ongoing  Sinhalisation. The Buddhist Clergy call for power over land disputes in the North-East connected to Buddhist colonisation to be transferred to courts in the South. 

The Secretariat of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) was brought under the of the Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management State Ministry. NGOs and human rights defenders have been targetted since the Rajapaksa brothers took office. Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has previously announced a special inquiry into NGOs who he claims are “spreading slander against the government”, with specific concern to "foreign currency".

At an election rally last month, Mahinda stated that NGOs will receive specific attention following the General Election, with a focus on how foreign monies are received by NGOs. Moreover, Mahinda also announced that the activities of international organisations will be observed. 

 

 

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