Journalist : After you took control, a robust system was put in place to suppress the demonstrators who were active in the previous people’s struggle. A considerable number of protestors have already been arrested by authorities. They are being harassed. As a result, the oppressive process aimed at that group has now resulted in a major crisis. What are your thoughts on this situation?
Mr. President: I do not believe that destroying government buildings, homes, and property would solve the problem. That is something we must all realise. Is it resolved that these people have taken over the country’s president’s official mansion, the prime minister’s official residence, the parliament, and, if not, my private residence?
Journalist – So, is it right to arrest these activists by working against them?
The President – We have arrested people. People who violated the law. That is not what I do. The police are in charge of the procedure. It is happening here, just as it is in your country. The police are on their tail. But everything is done in accordance with the law.
So far, a journalist, Father Jiwanta, a student leader, Wasantha Mudalige, and many more have been arrested.
The President – Absolutely. I’m aware of those individuals. I know you talked to those people and groups. You’re attempting to impose your minority on me. I speak on behalf of the majority.
Journalist Do you understand the majority of people in this country who are currently suffering? Do you have the majority’s backing?
Mr. President I sympathise with the oppressed people of this country. I also understand that they require a solution. I am carrying out the appropriate tasks for those individuals. I suggested that we go to the International Monetary Fund on their behalf. Yes, I was correct. That is why those individuals believe in me. For months, this country was in turmoil. I want to bring law and order back to our country.
What exactly is this contentious hot story? This incident occurred a few days ago. This heated exchange took place during a press conference held by Avani Dias, a journalist representing the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), with Sri Lanka’s current President, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe. She is currently working as that media organization’s South Asian Foreign Correspondent, and she has also played a key media role in reporting on the people’s struggle in Sri Lanka in the recent season.
She is of Sri Lankan-Australian descent and a graduate of the University of Sydney in Australia. The 30-year-old is a seasoned journalist who has covered numerous contentious and contentious events and has received several international media prizes. As a result, she won the National Award for Best Young Journalist in Australia in 2016 and 2019, as well as the Prime Minister’s Media Award in 2019.
This young journalist formerly worked for a well-known English daily in Sri Lanka for several years and is now a permanent representative of the TEAK media network in Australia. Avani Dias has been reporting on the people’s fight in Sri Lanka to the foreign media for the past six months, and all of those media shows have sparked a lot of controversy. There, she made a 30-minute documentary about the people’s suffering in Sri Lanka.
This film depicted many different periods of the people’s struggle, and a particular time was set aside for Avani Dias’s short media interview with the present President, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe. The controversial documentary produced in this manner is called ‘No Surrender,’ and it was made in English. This film is made by Alex Berry, the producer of that media network.
This is the point at which a unique component of the story is disclosed. That instance, when this media group was travelling in their van in Colombo the day after journalist Avani Dias met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the police abruptly halted the vehicle and subjected it to a severe search. A day later, the vehicle was subjected to another thorough search.
The cops had gone over every inch of the van. The police officers told the media crew that they had received information that a struggle leader was hiding in the van with this number. The identical number of this van was listed in that information, according to the police inspector present.
According to Avani Dias, the searches were conducted in such a way that it was suspected that someone or anything else was hidden in his van.
And she added that this van is the official vehicle of her company, and that two more cameramen were travelling with her in addition to the driver. It has also been said that she encountered numerous crisis scenarios while filming the documentary (No Surrender). She was subjected to many tear gas and water attacks while reporting on the student protests.
The discussion held with Ranil Wickramasinghe in the documentary film ‘The Surrender’ ends with the President saying that he had made arrangements to enter the International Monetary Fund and therefore the people have faith in him. The President makes a self-speech. After that, Avani Dias makes up for herself as follows.
That story is true. It was Ranil Wickramasinghe who arranged to go to the International Monetary Fund. But this IMF The aid program comes out under very strict rules and conditions. This program includes cutting people’s jobs, increasing taxes and eliminating many other subsidies. Can the people who have fallen into the abyss due to high inflation bear these conditions any longer? This IMF Due to the severe conditions, the people have to come down to the highway and protest again…”
Avani Dias also uses some special characters for this controversial television production of hers. That is, she holds discussions with several special people there. As a special person, she will have a conversation with Mrs. Ambika Sathkunanadan, the former commissioner of the Human Rights Council of Sri Lanka. She is a very experienced legal scholar in Sri Lanka and a graduate in human rights from the University of Nottingham in England (Great Britain). Avani Dias talks with her as follows.
Dias, Avani The strugglers in Sri Lanka are now being mercilessly suppressed. What exactly is the unpleasant situation?
Satkunanathan, Ambika – All of the fights and agitations that occurred may be definitely classified as nonviolent. However, all of this is now taking place under the Terrorism Suppression Act. Torture and arrest are made exceedingly easy under this Act. A person can be held in custody for up to two years without being brought to court under this provision.
Avani Dias, So there is currently a violation of human rights in Sri Lanka, correct?
Satkunanathan, Ambika – Obviously. So far, the United Nations Human Rights Council and a number of other international human rights organisations have strongly condemned the situation. However, the administration has not drawn any lines. Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the current administration has begun terror to intimidate citizens. This Act has been often utilised to quiet people and to suppress dissent. This is a grave infringement of human rights.
Avani Dias – Can this type of repression put an end to the people’s fights in this country?
Satkunanathan, Ambika – This is not fair. This is accomplished by punishing the strugglers and establishing an environment in which other individuals will be unable to struggle in the future as a result of those actions. People are then afraid to struggle.
Dias, Avani What is the difference between Rajapaksa and President Wickremesinghe, in your opinion?
Satkunanathan, Ambika – The Rajapaksas and the Rajapaksa dictatorship have a history of being ruthless and violent. Wickramasinghe, on the other hand, is a clever and sensitive guy. He will utilise the law to put an end to these protests. However, the government has turned the law into a farce. In this circumstance, prosecution (complaint) has devolved into harassment.
Avani Dias conducted brief interviews with several of the activists who led the people’s movement in the past for the documentary film ‘No
Surrender.’ She has also spoken with Father Jeevantha Peiris, lawyer Nuwan Bopage, Wasantha Mudalige, and Vimukti Ranasinghe. The following statements were made during a chat Avani Dias had with the 25-year-old Vimukti Ranasinghe, who publicised the people’s struggle quite aggressively on social media. The journalist may be seen speaking with him and his mother. Vimukti conveys his thoughts as follows.
I voted for Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, as did millions of others. I went to the protests to make amends for my poor judgement. I was just caught and imprisoned for ten days. I had to sleep on the floor because I didn’t have a mat. These ten days felt like ten years to me. It was hell on earth. Mother warned me not to attend these protests. But I reminded Mom that we couldn’t hide like cowards when there were so many people on the streets.
I also questioned my mum if this wasn’t embarrassing. He has emphasised that, notwithstanding my release, the case against me remains open. According to the documentary, Vimukti Ranasinghe, a young guy, continued to publish various propaganda and protests on social media about the people’s struggle, and as a result, he gained over 400,000 Facebook followers.
As a result, his home was raided and he was detained. However, because he was not at home when the house was raided, the police officers instructed his mother to take the young man (her son) and return to the police the following day. As a result, the mother took her son to the police station the following day and was arrested. He was eventually released on bond.
As a result, this one-of-a-kind documentary film by award-winning investigative journalist Avani Dias of the Australian ABC media network has sparked widespread debate around the world. Millions of people have already watched it online.