Thursday review by Upul Joseph Fernando
Ranil recently made an unusual statement to his uncle’s daily newspaper, the Daily Mirror. He warned social media activists not to insult Hirunika Premachadra, who had come to surround his residence on 5th lane with ladies from Samagi Janabalawegaya’s ladies force. Ranil was the one who used police force to disperse the protesters who had gathered around Ranil’s house.
The police will not come to protect Ranil’s house willingly. If there is a protest in front of the President’s or Prime Minister’s residence, they have two options. The first option is to allow the protest to take place, while the second is to use police to put an end to it; Ranil chose the latter.
Ranil, who chose the second option, is the husband of South Asia’s ladies liberation, women’s rights to participate in politics, women’s leadership, and violence against women activist Professor Maithree Wickramasinghe.
Generally, when the UNP’s election manifesto is drafted, Maithree drafts the policies concerning women. Female prominence in Sri Lanka political party manifestos gained prominence as a result of Maithree’s initiative. The UNP manifesto included a separate chapter about females. In her 2005 presidential campaign manifesto, she proposed that if a wife refuses to have sex and her husband forces her to have sex, she should have the option of complaining to the police.
Other members of the manifesto drafting team rejected this, stating that it is appropriate for a western country but not for Sri Lanka. She did, however, obtain Ranil’s approval to include a female on the UNP working committee.
When Ranil became Prime Minister in 2015, she was invited by many countries to speak about women’s liberation. She was also recognized for books and essays on women’s liberation. She is not only a feminist activist, but also a professor at Kelaniya University. She is also a member of the FUTA (Federation of University Teachers Association).
She also took part in a demonstration held during Mahinda’s government prior to 2015, calling for higher pay for university teachers. However, when Gota appointed Ranil as Prime Minister in May, the university teachers’ association issued a statement questioning the morality of appointing a defeated candidate in elections who entered parliament via a national list.
Will Mithree accept this notice as a FUTA member…?
That cannot be said, but when Ranil took his oath as Prime Minister, she was present. Mithree became ill after Ranil lost the 2020 elections and was admitted to the hospital for treatment. During this time, Mahinda, Shiranthee, and Namal paid her visits. When Mahinda suggested that Ranil enter parliament through the national list, Mithree vehemently objected, as reported in Ranil’s uncle’s newspaper, the ‘Sunday Times.’
Then Ranil entered parliament against Mithree’s objections…?
Only those two are aware of this. However, when J. R. Jayawardena decided to run for president for the third time in 1988, his wife Elina Jayawardena vehemently opposed him. When J.R appointed a committee to amend the constitution to allow him to run for office a third time, Elina influenced her way and was able to stop it. Elena was a major influencer on Premadas as a presidential candidate.
Then did Ranil entered parliament against Mithree’s objections…?
It is unknown whether Mithree was able to persuade Ranil to retire from politics or to enter parliament through the national list, as Elena did. However, when Hirunika came to surround her house, she could have asked the police not to come, and she could have stopped the police from manhandling Hirunika.
Why didn’t it happen this way…?
It should be asked of her. The majority of Sri Lanka’s women’s liberation and rights organizations are based in and around Colombo. On January 25, 2020, the women’s rights collective sends her a letter. It was published on the web by the Colombo Telegraph. This letter asked her to ask Ranil not to destroy Sri Lanka’s largest political party. A letter from an activist who advocates for women’s political rights asks her to persuade her husband not to destroy the party that allows women to participate in politics.
.It is not true that she is a wife whose husband does not work in politics. Several times during the 2015-2019 administration, she influenced the change of many ministers’ positions. She may not have been able to prevent Ranil from entering parliament via the national list or accepting the Prime Ministership, but she could have prevented Hirunika and other women from being disrespected, harnessed, and humiliated.
Her husband’s request to the social median not to harass Hirunika sounds sarcastic as well. In this case, Maithree Wickramasinghe must have prioritized her husband’s rights over women’s rights. There is no harm in doing so as well.