Friday, December 16, 2005

Karuna Group member shot dead by rival EPDP armed gang

A member of the Karuna Group (armed gang that operates under the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Intelligence) has been shot dead by members of the rival EPDP armed gang, reports from the Welikanda area said.

The murder had taken place in SLA controlled areas close to the Batticaloa border on Friday morning.

The incident is believed to have been carried out in revenge for the killing of an EPDP member in Trincomalee earlier in the week, allegedly by a Karuna Group member.

Tit-for-tat violence between the two armed gangs continues as they fight it out to be the most prominent armed gang under SLA strings.

The SLA however, continues to blame the LTTE for the killings, as it is making  desperate attempts to patch up the differences between the two armed gangs.

LTTE meets mosque leaders in Trincomalee

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) military head for Trincomalee Col. Sonaram, held a meeting with the mosque leaders in Trincomalee today.

The meeting was intended to calm the rise in tensions and violence between the Tamil speaking Muslim, Hindu and Christian communities.

The meeting is said to have been useful in clearing all misunderstandings between followers of the various faiths. Further both sides had agreed to work together to fight against the forces who are trying to separate the Tamil speaking people on the basis of religion.

In recent months the Karuna Group had been ordered by the Sri Lanka Army Intelligence to carry out violent attacks against Muslim civilians, said two Karuna Group members who surrendered to the LTTE last week.

The LTTE is a secular organisation.

House to house searches continue in Jaffna

Residents of Jaffna have complained of continued house to house searches by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). They have said the SLA soldiers most of whom can not communicate with the Tamil speaking civilians are entering homes without any respect to privacy and the cultural norms of the residents.

Old people who are living alone are reporting extreme difficulties, as heavily armed SLA soldiers are highly intimidating and are always forcing them to show around the house. There are many disabled old people living on their own in the peninsula as most of their children have either fled the peninsula or been imprisoned or killed by the SLA in previous wars.

Amid these hardships, several civilian organisations have called upon the occupying forces to vacate the peninsula immediately.

Attack on free media is the first step to war

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and its auxiliary armed gangs have embarked on a campaign to destroy Tamil language free media. The intimidation being dished out the media appears to be in retaliation to the media giving wide coverage to recent atrocities by the SLA and the armed gangs.

On Thursday the offices of ‘Namathu Eelanadu’ a Tamil language daily published from Jaffna, came under intense search by the SLA. Many workers were harassed for several hours. Those who happened to have visited the offices for various reasons were also intimidated and forced to produce their identity cards.

Further on Friday distributors of the ‘Sudar Ozhi’ weekly news paper have come under intense attack by armed groups in the Amaparai district.

Peace activities said that ‘attack on free media is always the first step to war. It’s a process of conditioning local journalists to a state of fear which could essentially stop them from reporting on the human horror stories of war.’

Unimaginative script writer to be fired

Sources close to the Sri Lanka Amy Intelligence said that the man who wrote the ‘helicopter being fired upon in Akkaraipattu’ script will be getting the sack very soon.

The latest in a number of attempts by the Government of Sri Lanka to force the European Union (EU) to ban the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation came on 14 December with the now infamous helicopter incident.

‘The helicopter came under fire -- it had two bullet holes and minor damage,’ said Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva on Wednesday. He went on further and blamed the LTTE for the incident. As usual the international media were quick to pick up on the story and publish news items such as ‘Tiger rebels fire at helicopter’.

Although the story provided immediate sensation to many war mongers; it failed miserably in holding the ground on the long run. Moreover the incident had little impact on the European Union’s attitude towards the LTTE.

The reason many defense analysts say is the lack of imaginative thinking on the Sri Lankan side.

The helicopter, which was on its way to pick up a 20 strong Italian delegation that was on a visit to Tsunami affected areas of Amparai district came under small arms fire while flying low, close to LTTE administrated areas. The government was quick to pin the blame on the LTTE and further added that as the LTTE was attempting to kill Italian officials and therefore the EU should immediately ban them as a terrorist organisation.

The fact that in the past LTTE had successfully shot down several jet fighters and possesses sophisticated anti aircraft weaponry is well known around the world. In which case, if the LTTE was trying to bring down a helicopter, why would it shoot with an assault rifle? Even if it was the LTTE that fired at the helicopter, would it not have known that as the helicopter was on its way to pick up the officials, only SLAF personals would be on board?

This appears to be where the story crumbles at its core. The Intelligence officer who wrote the script did not want to shoot the helicopter down. The reason being is no SALF pilot was willing to go on a suicide mission, to get the LTTE banned in the EU. Secondly the write did not want the helicopter fired on while Italian officials were on board. The reason for this was he did not want to take the risk of something going wrong, Italian officials being killed and Sri Lankan Intelligence being caught out for having orchestrated the shenanigan.

Although the writer has some obvious reasons for not taking too many risks, some in the intelligence circles continue to blame him for not being imaginative enough. They say he could have written a Hollywood style, pilots ejecting after being shot at story. Even a crash landing or the pilots abandoning the copter to the ground near a residential area, thus also including some civilian casualties would have been far better. Overall the intelligence circle is said to be unhappy with the relative failure of the incident with some branding the story as ‘amateurish’.

Meanwhile it remains to be seen if either the EU or the rest of the international community would buy this ‘amateurish’ story and take the guilty until proven innocent approach towards the LTTE.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Fisher families protest against new Navy base in Batticaloa

Fisher families from several villages close to the Erravur village of Batticaloa district where a new Navy base is to be constructed have protested against any such construction.

They citied the fact that, upon completion of the navy base several square miles of land and sea area will be designated as High Security Zone and thereby no one will be able to fish in these areas.

Further they added that their livelihoods had been devastated by the 25 years of civil war and the Tsunami disaster of December 2005 and that they were just beginning to rebuild their lives.

‘A Navy camp near our village is death to us all’ said a fisherman.

UNP blames Government of Sri Lanka for increased tension in North-East

The United National Party of Sri Lanka (the largest political party in Sri Lanka) said that the current government is fully responsible for the increased state of tension prevailing in the Tamil homeland.

Further it called up on the Marxist extreme nationalist JVP and the Buddhist extremist JHU; allies of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to express their stand on a possible political solution to the ethnic conflict that has engulfed the island for several decades. It also requested the concerned parties to make it clear if the agreements signed between the JVP, JHU and Mahinda Rajapaksa prior to the election would be followed, or whether any of the parties have changed their respective policies.

The comments were made at a press conference held at the UNP office on Thursday.

The UNP also took the opportunity to criticise Rajapaksa’s scare mongering tactics during the presidential campaign. References were made to the Rajapaksa camp claiming that there was a secret deal between the UNP and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to divide the island.

Posters call upon the occupying forces to leave Jaffna

Posters have begun to appear across Jaffna asking for the occupying Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the paramilitaries that operate under the SLA to leave the peninsula.

The calls have come amid an increase in tension and SLA perpetrated violence in the area.

Several civilians have been killed or seriously injured in incidents of arbitrary violence since the election victory of the extremist President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Voter turn out in Jaffna for the elections was less than 1%.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another civilian murdered

The EPDP armed gang is being blamed for the murder of another civilian in Trincomalee.

Mr. Anton Suresh (32) a father of two, was brutally murdered whilst on his way home for lunch.

The incident too place at around 2.15p.m near the Palaiyuru area of Trincomalee district.

The incident is to be reported to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.

Distressed civilians have called on the EPDP and all other gangs that operate under the command of the Sri Lanka Army Intelligence to halt all their attacks on civilians, or face the wrath of people power.

SLAF helicopter comes under small arms fire

Reports from Amparai say that a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopter came under small arms fire while it was on its way to transport a visiting delegation from Italy. The Helicopter is said to have made an emergency landing at a military base near by.

However, reliable sources from the same area report that the incident is most likely to have been cooked up in the kitchens of Sri Lanka Intelligence Service in attempt to get sympathy from the visiting foreign delegation.

‘People won’t just randomly shoot at a helicopter with a pistol or a rifle. If it was being targeted it would have been shot with an anti aircraft gun’ said a defence analyst. ‘Obviously someone wanted to make it look like the helicopter was being targeted without it sustaining any real damages’ he added.

Self-employment assistance centres open in Pooneryn

The Economic Consultancy House (TECH) a Kilinochchi based Non-Governmental Organisation, has opened a Sewing Training Centre and a Centre for Animal Husbandry Training, in the general area of Pooneryn.

The centres form a part of TECH’s self-employment assistance programme. The two centres were funded for by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The North-East has suffered heavily due to 25 years of civil war and the Tsunami disaster of December 2005.

It has also been virtually ignored from any development projects in the last 50 years and discriminated in various other sectors including education and vocational and technical skills training.

Unemployment for the region is currently around 40% compared to a national average of less than 15%. Many of the employed work as labours and are usually paid far less than the national average.

External Link: TECH WEBSITE

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

LTTE meets Muslim community leaders in Trincomalee

A meeting was held between a top level delegation from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Muslim community leaders from the Trincomalee district, at 11.30a.m on Tuesday.

Mr. Elilan, LTTE Political Head for Trincomalee and Mr. Deva LTTE Military Commander for the area as well as prominent Muslim community leaders participated in the meeting.

Sources report that an agreement was made for the Tamil speaking Hindus, Christians and Muslims to work together to defeat the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) sponsored paramilitaries who are attempting to create tension between followers of the different faiths.

In recent months the Karuna Group and EPDP have been accused of killing several Muslim civilians in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai. ‘These killing sprees are intending to divide the people of different faiths. Only by sticking together we can defeat these forces of evil’ said a Muslim participant.

On Monday two members of the Karuna Group who surrendered to the LTTE said that they had been assigned under a team with a specific task of killing innocent Muslim civilians. They quoted senior Karuna Group member Iniyabahrathy as saying the only way for Karuna Group to survive is by creating tension between Tamils and Muslims.

Attempted child rape foiled

A Sri Lanka Army (SLA) solider attached to the 555 division, attempted to rape a young girl who was walking down a road in the Elathumaduvaal area of Jaffna.

‘We heard a girl screaming at the top of her voice and immediately rushed to the site,’ said a local resident. ‘This is not the first time such an incident has occurred. We are always on alert. Only by acting together we can save our people from the occupying monsters,’ she added.

Hearing the screams of the young girl, residents rushed to the site and thwarted the attempted rape. The solider is said to have fled into a SLA army camp nearby.

The incident has been reported to Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and Jaffna based Human Rights organisations.

Karuna Group murders two more civilians

Residents of Kiran village in Batticaloa have accused the Karuna Group of being responsible the murder of two civilians on Tuesday.

The bodies of Mr. Thampimuthu Thampirasa (29) and Mr. Kanthasamy Santhiran (22), were found with gunshot wounds.

This is the latest in a serious of murders being blamed on the Karuna Group, which operates from Sri Lanka Army camps in the occupied areas of Batticaloa district.

The incident is to be reported to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Paramilitary infighting spreads

The latest incident of paramilitary infighting occurred in Vavuniya Town today. Mr. Sinnathamby Ganeshalingam alias Farook, a senior cadre and central committee member of the PLOTE (armed gang that works with the Sri Lanka Arm) has been reported missing.

Sources in the town suggest that he may have been abducted by the EPDP (another armed gang). Residents say that this is the latest incident in the long running tit-for-tat violent campaign between the two armed gangs.

Reports suggest that the Sri Lanka Army, who are incidentally the pay masters of both PLOTE and EPDP are attempting defuse tensions between the two gangs.

Indian warships arrive in Trincomalee

Two Indian naval ships, INS Sukanya and INS Kirpan, from the eastern fleet, Vishakhapatnam, arrived at Trincomalee today.

They are to participate in the joint naval exercise which many fear is a ‘warm up for war’.

The ships are based at Vishakhapatnam and are part of the eastern fleet.

INS Sukanya is an offshore patrol vessel and has served as the flagship and the presidential yacht for the President of India.

INS Kirpan was designed and built in India by the Garden Reach shipyard of Kolkatta.

Gun explosion at Bastian Junction

A gun belonging to a Sri Lanka Army (SLA) solider exploded at Bastian junction on A9 Road in Jaffna Town.

Reports say that all the soldiers who were on site at the time of the explosion were seriously injured.

‘The explosion had prompted all civilians in the vacation to flee, abandoning their daily routine. Traffic also came to a standstill’ reported a witness.

The SLA usually responds to explosions by firing at anyone and everyone on site.

Japanese envoy told he can not meet the LTTE

In a desperate attempt to hide the atrocities committed by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) across the Tamil homeland, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has not approved Japanese special envoy Yasushi Akashi's request to visit Kilinochchi to hold meetings with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), sources in Colombo reported.

‘Foreign Minister has turned down several requests made by visiting foreign dignitaries to visit the LTTE-held areas,’ Foreign Ministry sources said.

Minister Samaraweera has said that only Norwegian delegations can visit Wanni with the support of the Sri Lankan government as they are still working as facilitators for Sri Lanka’s peace process.

‘Others have no business with the LTTE and the government is not going to give any facility for their meeting with the rebels,’ the Minister reportedly told his officials.

‘Clearly the government has something to hide. Otherwise why would they stop the envoy from visiting the LTTE? Mr. Akashi has held talks with the LTTE in all his previous visits. Surely he could have helped move the peace process forward’ a defence analyst said.

During the 90s the Government of Sri Lanka imposed a ban on all international media from reporting from the North-East in desperate attempts to stop news of its systematic campaign of genocide reaching the outside world.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sri Lanka Navy warms up for war

Indian Navy and the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) will stage a joint naval exercise on Tuesday, 13 December, in Sri Lankan waters.

Vice Admiral Suresh Mehta of the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy, the second high ranking Indian Defence official to visit Sri Lanka in one week, will be in Sri lanka today to oversee the joint exercise.

Many fear that this is a ‘warm up’ by the navy before having to face the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Naval Wing at war.

‘The back to back visits of high ranking Indian defence personal is indeed a worrying development’ said a peace activist. ‘Mahinda seems to have made up his mind already and it is not the political framework the LTTE asked for’ she added, referring to the request of the LTTE leader for a political framework for a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict.

A group of 11 Tamils cause nuisance in Geneva

An anti-Tamil liberation protest was held in Geneva on Saturday. The event organised by the JVP (Marxist Sinhala extremists) was only attended to by 11 people, sources in Geneva said.

The 11 members consisting of men and women were mainly from the Sri Lanka Intelligence funded Tamil Democracy Forum, sources added.

Not so long ago was the Tamil National Heroes’ Day of 2005 celebrated across Switzerland by thousands of Tamils.

In 2004 Tamils staged a pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ‘Pongu Thamil’ rally which was attended to by well over 30,000 people in Geneva.

One hopes that the Tamil Democracy Forum actually knows the definition of the term democracy and accepts the inevitable fact that the LTTE are indeed the chosen representatives of an overwhelming majority of the Tamil population.

Commenting on the day’s events an officer who wished not to be named said ‘While respecting people’s right to protest, I have to say that this protest is nothing more than a nuisance. I speak to 1000s of Swiss Tamils and they are all overwhelmingly in support for the LTTE. The Tamil National Heroes’ day was a big event in Switzerland. It made headlines in many of the local media here.’

Attempts to ignite Tamil-Muslim riots continue as another civilian is murdered

Sources from Trincomalee report that a Muslim civilian Mr. Rajpatheen, 52, was shot dead by men believed to be members of EPDP members at around 8.30p.m on Saturday.

The incident took place near the Sahara hotel in Kopalapuram.

This incident is thought to be a part of the on going Sri Lanka Army Intelligence funded campaign to ignite violence between the Tamil and Tamil Speaking Muslim civilians in the Tamil Homeland.

Paramilitary infighting leads to one death

Michael Collin, 35, a member of the EPDP armed gang was shot dead on Sunday afternoon at Alex Thottam, Trincomalee, allegedly by gunmen belonging to the Karuna Group. Collin was targeted while he was on his way to the EPDP office in Trincomalee.

Sources close to Sri Lanka Army (SLA) report that differences have began to surface between the EPDP and Karuna Group over which of the two armed gangs will be the prominent handy men of SLA in the Trincomalee district.

Slain sisters honoured as ‘National Patriot’ by the LTTE

Mrs. Yogarasa Yogeswary, 26, and Thurairasa Vathany, 17, two sisters from Batticaloa who became the latest victims of the Karuna Group’s murder spree were honored as ‘Tamil National Patriot’ by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Their bodies were kept for viewing at Illupadicheni Tamil School and were cremated with full military honors at the LTTE Cemetery for Patriots on Saturday.

LTTE military commander for Batticaloa district Col. Banu, Political Head for Amparai district Mr. Daya Mohan were present, many LTTE carders and several hundred civilians participated at the funeral ceremony.