Saturday, December 03, 2005

Tamil Eelam Police raid kasippu (illicit liquor) production plant

Reports from Kilinochchi say that the Tamil Eelam Police carried out a successful raid on a kasippu (illicit liquor) production plant in the village of Vaddakachie.

The raid is believed to have followed a tip off by local residents. A Police spokesperson said that several equipments used for the production of kassipu were confiscated from the site and several arrests were made.

The arrested individuals were produced at the Kilinochchi district courts on Friday.

A palace fit for a woman who ruled and ruined

Former President of Sri Lanka, Mrs.Chandrika Kumaratunga is to buy the Sunninghill Park Palace reported the Evening Standard on Thursday.

The Palace which has six reception rooms, 12 bedrooms, and 12 bathrooms was built on the order of the Queen for her younger son Andrew (Duke of York) at a cost of £15 million.

Sunninghill Park was the first new-built royal palace since Bagshot Park was built 1879 for the Duke of Connaught.

In 2002 it was announced that the Duke of York, now divorced, would move into the Royal Lodge, Windsor, the home of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

In the same year Sunninghill Park was put on sale with a price tag of £10 million. For three years the palace had not found a lavish enough buyer.

Kumaratunga who was looking for ways to spend the millions she amassed during her 11 years in office is believed to have been on the look out for a property in the UK, after purchasing two luxury homes outside of Paris.

LTTE Navy not a threat: India

Admiral Arun Prakash, Chief of the Indian Navy said on Friday that the Naval Wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) popularly known as Sea Tigers is not a threat to India.

In recent years Sri Lanka had tried to portray an image of the LTTE’s Naval Wing being a threat to India and security in the Indian Ocean.

However, the LTTE has reputed these claims on several occasions. In an interview to the BBC Tamil Service in May 2005, the Political Head of the LTTE Mr. S.P.Tamilselvan said “All our organisation’s structures and efforts are aimed at protecting our people. This is not in any way a threat to any other country in general, particularly India”

Sri Lanka Army opens fire on civilian

Mr. L. Gopiraj, 29, from Alvaddey, was seriously injured when the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) opened fire while he was traveling along Palaly Road in Jaffna.

The incident is said to have occurred at 2.30p.m local time on Saturday. This follows the murder of two farmers in Neervely on Thursday by Sri Lanka Army Intelligence.

Jaffna came to a standstill yesterday as residents protested against the continued targeting of civilians by SLA assassination squads.

This random act of violence by the SLA is to be reported to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission sheds its impartial cover

The above photograph was taken by a journalist in Jaffna, on Friday, 02 December 2005.

Reuters AlterNet published the following in relations to the events on Friday in Jaffna;

The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said troops in Jaffna were staying in their bunkers and keeping off the streets. Protesters were demanding the withdrawal of the army from the north, but this had happened before, they said.


On this day in 1984

Thirty-two Tamil villagers were massacred by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in the village of Othiyamalai, North of the Weli Oya (Tamil area of Manal Aaru renamed by Sinhala forces) colonization programme.

The victims were found; hands tied behind their back and with gun shot wounds, in a cultural hall.

LankaUpdate joins the Tamil community around the world in remembering the innocent victims.

“Ethnic cleansing means the eviction by force of citizens belonging to one ethnic group from their land and homes and the transfer of the cleansed territory to another ethnic group.” Drazen Pewtrovic, an expert in international law at the University of Sarajevo.


Tension prevails in Jaffna

A tense situation prevailed across the Jaffna peninsula after the murder of two civilians by the Sri Lankan Army Intelligence.

Shops remained closed and civilians held protests in front of the several checkpoints set up by the occupying forces.

Jaffna district is home to over a million Tamils who comprise 99.5% of the population of the district. The peninsula had been under the occupation of an estimated 40, 000 Sri Lankan Army Soldiers for almost 10 years. Several massacres, rapes and random incidence of murders have been reported across the peninsula during this period.

US$16.55 million loan from IFAD to Sri Lankan government

A loan totaling US$16.55 million has been given to Sri Lanka by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) allegedly to help rural families whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed by the Tsunami.

There is currently no mechanism for equitable distribution of international aid across the Tamil home land of North-East.

The districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mulaiteevu where over 1/3rd of the 30,000 deaths in Sri Lanka occurred have been left out of the program.

Several complaints have been made by Tsunami affected civilians against widespread corruption and ethnic discrimination in the distribution of aid by government officials.

President prepares for war

Just days after the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) requested for a ‘reasonable political framework’ President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed a top commander in the Sri Lanka Army, Maj. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, as the next Army Commander, effective from December 6.

He will be the 18th Army Commander. Fonseka, who led several attacks against the LTTE, has won several operations. He has been selected specifically to leads future operations against the LTTE.

LTTE ready to resume peace talks – AFP

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) told the international truce monitors Thursday that they are ready to resume peace talks with the new government at any time. The head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Hagrup Hauklandmet with the political wing leader of the LTTE S. P. Thamilselvan at the rebel-held Kilinochchi district in the Northern Province.

According to governmental sources, the rebels told Haukland that they are ready to start talks at any time and expect the government to come up with its moves to resume talks. The rebels assured the truce monitors that they have no intention to resume hostilities and are prepared to allow President Mahinda Rajapakse reasonable time to move ahead.

Report from AFP modified for clarity

LTTE Political Head expresses sadness at continued killings of civilians

Head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), Mr. Hagrup Haukland, met with Head of Liberation Tigers Political Wing, S.P. Thamilselvan, in Kilinochchi LTTE Peace Secretariat building Thursday at 2.30 p.m.

Although in a press conference after the meeting Mr. Haukland tried to paint a false picture of security in the Military occupied areas of the North-East by saying situation in the Jaffna and the East has improved; it is believed that the LTTE political head expressed the Liberation Organisation’s sadness at the continued targeting of civilians by the Sri Lankan Military. He is understood to have made this comment in relation to several incidents in the Jaffna peninsula where civilians were arrested, injured and murdered for putting up decorations to celebrate the National Heroes Day.

Karuna Group injures Kattankudy Divisional Secretary

Reports from Batticaloa say that Mr. A.L.M. Falleel, the Divisional Secretary (DS) of Kattankudy was shot by two men believed to be members of the Karuna Group.

The incident is said to have occurred at his office around 12:40 p.m. Friday. The seriously injured man has been admitted to the Batticaloa general hospital.

Karuna Group operates with the help and from within Sri Lankan Army camps in the occupied areas of Batticaloa have been blamed for several killings in the district.

The motivation for the shooting remains unknown.

Sri Lankan Army kills two more civilians in Jaffna

Sources in Jaffna reported that two civilians were shot dead and another seriously injured by Sri Lankan Army Intelligence Agents while having snacks at a local tea shop.

The incident is said to have occurred at 7p.m. local time on Thursday night in Neervely area of the occupied Jaffna peninsula. The deceased are reported as Mr. Kunaratnam Krishnakumar, 34 and Mr. Sinnaiah Sivakaran, 24 and the injured civilian is Mr. K. Rooban, 24.

Local villagers said that the latest targets of the Military’s assassination squad were involved in decorating local streets for the recent National Heroes’ Day.

A civilian involved in decoration work was shot dead in Neervely just last week.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Halt to Tsunami aid prompts protests in Trinco

Tsunami disaster victims from the Upuveli area of Trincomalee, an area under the occupation of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, held a general protest in response to a halt in their Tsunami aid.

Civilian sources told this website that 210 families from this area were affected by the Tsunami. However, only 55 families are currently receiving any aid money.

There have been many claims of widespread corruption within government circles in the distribution of Tsunami aid.

Earlier this year the JVP (Marxist Sinhala extremists) successfully halted the PTOMs agreement which was to ensure equitable distribution of aid across the North-East.

The absence of war is not peace, Jaffna civilians

Thousands of people who had been living in refugee camps for over 15 years protested in front of Uduvil Pradeshya Sabha offices today.

The people had been displaced as a result of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) occupying their homes, businesses, schools, hospital and places of worship under the pretence of High Security Zones.

Although there has been almost 4 years of peace, the SLA has not vacated these places and the people continue to live in refugee camps.

Under intense pressure of civilian groups the government had agreed to pay Rupees 1140 per month as compensation for the displaced people. This payment is based on a 1990 estimate of living expenditure. Sri Lanka has faced over 10% inflation for every year of the last 15.

However, rather than attempting to increase the compensation according to inflation, the government had actually reduced the amount to a mere Rupees 750 a month.

Commenting on the situation, a civilian said ‘for the past 15 years we have been living in a refugee camp. Some people tell us we have peace now, but I don’t see any difference.’ He further pointed out ‘every time a police man stops me on the streets I have to pay him Rupees 100. What the government gives us in compensation is what it takes away from us by using the police and army.’

When war seems imminent

Indian Army's Southern Commander Lt. Gen. V.S. Thakar on a visit to Vavuniya Town.

Vavuniya is a traditional Tamil Town under the occupation of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. Mr.Thakar is believed to have made comments on how the Army can fortify the town to thwart any armed liberation effort in the event of a war.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Indian Army Commander visits Sri Lanka as War fears grow

Commander of the Indian Army's Southern Command Lt. Gen. V.S. Thakar, met the heads of Sri Lankan security forces on Wednesday.

The veteran Indian is believed to be on a five days long trip to oversee Sri Lankan Army’s preparedness for the impending showdown with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Analysts fear that the trip is a clear sign of the Sri Lankan government’s intentions, despite the call for a ‘reasonable political framework’ by the leader of the LTTE.

Samaraweera to be in charge of Peace Rhetoric

It appears that the Sri Lankan President has put his right hand man Mangala Samaraweera in charge of the government’s Peace Rhetoric.

Samaraweera, the country’s Foreign Minister was also the man responsible for the grand coalition of SLFP-JVP-JHU. He headed Rajapaksa’s successful election campaigns and succeeded in gathering 4.8 million Sinhala Buddhist votes for the President.

Sources in Colombo report that the President has great confidence in Samaraweera and expects him to win over the international community in the same manner he had won over the JVP, JHU and the Sinhala Buddhist masses.

The Foreign Minister is also expected to fly out to New Delhi to meet the Indian Prime Minister and get his blessings for the government’s plans for peace or war.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Government figures highlight suffering of Tsunami affected Tamils

TAFREN the agency set up by the Sri Lankan President to monitor Tsunami reconstruction effort has released its latest figures.

According to TAFREN 49, 233 (including 5,150 in Colombo?) homes were damaged by the Tsunami. Out of this 30, 494 (62%) were in the six districts of the North-East province.

Many of the homes in the Eastern and Southern coasts were made uninhabitable by the disaster. Almost all of the affected people continue to live in temporary shelters.

Eleven months after the disaster only 2, 414 houses have been built. The slow pace of the effort is highly worrying.

Another even more distressing factor is the way politics and ethnic discrimination has crept into what is essentially a humanitarian effort.

The government agency’s own figures shows that out of the 2, 412 homes completed only a mere 256 (10%) are in the six districts of the North-East.

Having suffered 62% of the damage North-East has only received 10% of reconstruction?


TRO head meets Bill Clinton

Executive director of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) K.P.Reggie met with the UN special envoy for post Tsunami reconstruction and former US President Bill Clinton in Colombo today.

Mr.Reggie informed Mr.Clinton on the successful completions of Phase I and II recovery and reconstruction efforts in the six affected districts of the North-East. Further the head of the TRO expressed concern over the slow progress of Phase III due to the politicisation of aid distribution by extremist elements in Sri Lankan government. He highlighted the lack of an acceptable institutional mechanism for the delivery of tsunami aid to be a crucial problem.

In recent months the government of Sri Lanka and the Southern Sinhala media have unleashed an image staining campaign against the TRO family of registered organizations that operate across the world. In Sri Lanka the TRO office in Batticaloa has come under grenade and automatic fire five times in 2005 alone. Numerous other attacks have been carried out against TRO offices, vehicles and staff in many locations by men believed to be members of government funded paramilitaries.

Last week offices of TRO Australia were targeted by anti-terror police on the request of the Sri Lankan Government. The raids did not lead to any arrests or cause major disruption to TRO activities. However, the Government of Sri Lanka going to such extreme lengths to tarnish the image of TRO has raised major concerns amongst Tamils worldwide.

Bill Clinton also met with the current Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

LTTE and Tamils: two different entities?

The National Heroes’ Day celebrations of November 27 has come as a slap on the face for many who tried to portray the Tamil speaking people and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as being two different entities.

The Sri Lankan government as well as a handful of Tamils who had accommodated themselves to Sinhala occupation have been vicious in their propaganda to separate the Tamil people from the LTTE. Their accusations range from the forceful abduction of children by the LTTE to the extortion of large sums of money from Tamils in the western world.

Before their accusations stands the National Heroes’ Day celebration of 2005 attended by well over one million Tamils across the world.

For the first time ever, events from the Tamil homeland were broadcasted on live television for all to see. Having witnessed the passion with which the people took part in remembering and celebrating the lives of their heroes, does the Sri Lankan propaganda machinery still expect the world to pay any attention to its claims of LTTE activities in Sri Lanka? Would some nations continue to label the LTTE as ‘terrorists’?

Photos and videos of events held in several other countries have begun to appear on the Net. Just one of the venues in Canada witnessed over 30,000 attendees. Events in London which anti-Tamil elements tried desperately hard to halt were attended to by over 30, 000. Are these people forced by the LTTE to attend these events? Did the LTTE threaten over 30, 000 people in the UK with death and then provided a meeting place in which all these people could gather?

Events both at home and in the western nations point to one indisputable fact. The LTTE is a people’s liberation movement. The LTTE members are ordinary Tamil civilians, forced to take up arms to counter State Terrorism unleashed by successive Sinhala Buddhist Governments.

‘Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the TRUTH.’ said Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism. It seems the truth has once again prevailed. The Tamil people and the LTTE are none but one.

ITRO responds to Australian Raids

The International Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (ITRO London), the representative body of the overseas offices of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation, in a letter addressed to Mr. Asoka Girihagama, the deputy high commissioner of Sri Lanka in Australia, requested to provide details of the grounds for his recent allegations in Australian media that the TRO Australia had allocated Tsunami relief and rehabilitation funds to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).


Upcountry leader asks Sri Lankan President for Peaceful solution

Mr.P.Chandrasekaran leader of the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) has called on the President of Sri Lanka to seriously consider the reasonable political framework requested by the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and thereby bring about a peaceful political solution to the island’s long running ethnic conflict.

He said that if the Sri Lankan government does not respond to this appeal by the LTTE leader in a positive manner then it may risk running the country into another civil war and hence lead to the destruction of the entire island.

Further Mr.Chandasekaran called up on the international community to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government to come up with a reasonable political framework. He said that if the international community fails to act at this critical juncture, then any talks by them about human rights will be meaningless.

Monday, November 28, 2005

SEDOT opens pre-school

The Social and Economic Development Organisation for Tamils (SEDOT), a Kilinochchi based registered NGO that works mainly with war and tsunami affected children and youth has opened a pre-school in Puthukudiyirupu of Mullaiteevu district.

The school was declared open on Monday November 28, 2005 by Dr. Somaskanthan. SEDOT’s main source of funding is the Tamil Diaspora.

Many schools and other public buildings in the North-East have suffered heavy damage as a result of indiscriminate bombing campaigns by the Sri Lanka Air Force.

External Link: SEDOT WEBSITE

War to be a last resort, not the first response

Several warmongers in Southern Sri Lanka are finding it rather difficult to swallow the National Heroes’ Day speech made by the LTTE leader Hon.V.Pirapakaran.

The reason being is that, by electing a President with strong allegiances to the JVP (Marxist Sinhala nationalists) and the JHU (Buddhist extremists) many in Southern Sri Lanka had declared their intent to restart the armed conflict.

In line with his pre-election manifesto Mr. Rajapaksa had let his purpose known in his very first speech to parliament. By refusing to accept the existence of a Tamil homeland on the island of Sri Lanka, wanting to amend the Cease Fire Agreement and insisting on a unitary state solution he had hoped to burry the peace process six feet under.

The Sinhala people as well as the international community know fore well that a unitary state which would be controlled from the center in Colombo by a Sinhala Buddhist is unacceptable to the Tamil people. While the international community including India is promoting a federal solution as the ‘only way’ Rajapaksa insists on a unitary state. By doing so is Rajapaksa trying to tell us something?

Although the LTTE leader states ‘the distance between him (Rajapaksa) and us is vast’ and that the Tamil speaking people ‘have lost patience, hope and reached the brink of utter frustration’ he is still willing to try and find a political solution to the ethnic conflict via peaceful means.

The fact that the leader of a so called ‘terrorist’ organization believes in peace more than the state does, is indeed a hard pill to swallow not only for the warmongers but also for the handful of states that have proscribed the LTTE as a terrorist organization.

The LTTE leader has once again emphasized his organization’s commitment to peace. The fact that he is willing to give a chance to even the most extremist alliance in Sri Lankan political history is further evidence that the LTTE will only return to war as a last resort.  

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ball is in Rajapaksa’s court

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are waiting on the new Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to submit a ‘reasonable political framework that will satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamil people’.

The future of the island –war or peace- no longer rests in the hands of the LTTE, or the Tamil speaking people.

It rests squarely in the hands of the Sinhala majority and their elected leader MR. Rajapaksa.

The question now is; will the Sinhala government offer a ‘reasonable political framework’?

Moreover what is ‘reasonable’?

In formulating his reasonable political frame work (if he intends to do so) Mr Rajapaksa may well have to refer to the joint statement made by the Tamil delegation on the concluding day of Phase One of the Thimpu talks on the 13th of July 1985.

“It is our considered view that any meaningful solution to the Tamil national question must be based on the following four cardinal principles:

1. Recognition of the Tamils of Ceylon as a nation
2. Recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils in Ceylon
3. Recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamil nation
4. Recognition of the right to citizenship and the fundamental rights of all Tamils in Ceylon

Different countries have fashioned different systems of governments to ensure these principles. In view of our earnest desire for peace, we are prepared to give consideration to any set of proposals, in keeping with the above mentioned principles, that the Sri Lankan Government may place before us.” stated the Thimpu declaration.


LTTE Leader asks for Political Solution

The leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in his annual Heroes’ Day statement made an urgent appeal to the new Sri Lanka Government of Mr Mahinda Rajapakse to offer a reasonable political solution to the ethnic conflict without further delay. The Tamil Tiger leader cautioned the government that his liberation organisation would intensify the struggle for self-determination and political independence if the new regime adopts a hard-line position and fails to resolve the problems of his people.


Another Tamil civilian falls prey to Sri Lankan Military

Men believed to be members of the Sri Lankan Military Intelligence shot and killed another Tamil civilian in the general area of Kayts on Saturday (26) around 7.50 p.m..

The victim, Sasitharan, 25, of Thamadi, Kayts was shot and killed when be was at home.

Civilians are to report the incident to Jaffna Human Rights Monitors.

National Heroes’ Day