Friday, October 01, 2004

Tigers handover under age youth to parents [TamilNet, September 30, 2004 11:59 GMT]

The political division of the Liberation Tigers for the Batticaloa-Amparai District said in a press note Thursday that it handed over to their parents two under age youth who had left their homes to join the LTTE. "The two youth were handed over to their parents in the presence of UNICEF representatives by Mr. P. Thayamohan, head of (LTTE's) administrative service and Mr. T. Thamilaaravan, officer in charge of (division dealing with) NGOs at the LTTE's Batticaloa-Ampara District Secretariat", states the press note. Sothilingam Chanthirathas, 14, of 35th Colony, Bakkiella and Vilangipody Sriskantharasa, 14, of Mariamman Street, Thanthamalai are the underage youth who were handed over to their parents Thursday in Kokkaddicholai.

Kilinochchi reversal, not setback - SLA [TamilNet, October 01, 1998 11:35 GMT]

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) spokesman Brigadier Sunil Tennakoon appeared flustered and discomfited by questions journalists fired today at the weekly cabinet press briefing, regarding the fall of the Kilinochchi base. He said that the army received 600 bodies yesterday through the ICRC and by this morning 400 had been identified.

He said that the Sri Lanka Army has "tactically moved out of the Kilinochchi town".

Brig. Tennakoon said that the army had retrieved neither the bodies of its own dead or those of the Liberation Tigers in the Kilinochchi fighting.

Answering a journalist who asked him whether the debacle in Kilinochchi was a setback, the Brigadier said that it was merely "a reversal".

The military spokesman claimed that Mankulam was captured yesterday at 9.30 a.m. and said that this town was strategically more important than Kilinochchi because it is a key junction in the Vanni.

Ninety two SLA soldiers were killed and four hundred were wounded in the fighting that erupted when the SLA advanced towards the junction yesterday according to Brigadier Tennakoon.

A journalist interjected at this point, saying that at least 600 soldiers wounded in the Mankulam fighting have been admitted so far to the Colombo hospital alone, according to the Ministry of Health.

In an awkward attempt to skirt this preposterous situation into which he had unwittingly painted himself, Brigadier Tennakoon replied that the extra numbers may have been brought in from "other fronts".

This drew laughter from the media persons at the briefing.

The military spokesman claimed that 400 Liberation Tigers were killed in the Mankulam fighting, of which the SLA has recovered the bodies of 36 along with 72 assault rifles, 8 Light Machine Guns, 3 RPGs, 60 anti-personnel mines, 6 anti tank mines. He also said that 26 Liberation Tigers surrendered to the SLA.

Cabinet spokesmen Minister for Constitutional Affairs Prof. G.L Pieris and Minister for Media, Posts and Telecommunications Mr.Mangala Samaraweera were not present at the briefing today. They are abroad said government sources.

Acting Media Minister MLM Hisbullah and Minister for Planning and Implementation Jayaraj Fernandopulle were present instead.

The latter said that the Deputy Minister for Defence , Gen A. Ratwatte had briefed the cabinet about the situation in the northern battle fronts but refused to divulge details of the matter to the press.

Tigers repulse SLA assault [TamilNet, October 01, 1997 23:59 GMT]

In heavy fighting on Tuesday, Tamil Tiger forces drove back a renewed Sri Lankan army assault in the Puliyankulam area. SLA units which had bypassed Puliyankulam were advancing on Kanakarayankulam when LTTE forces counter-attacked, inflicting heavy casualties and capturing a large quantity of weaponry.

On Tuesday, SLA forces had bypassed the village of Puliyankulam where Tiger resistance is continuing, and pushed on towards Kanakarayankulam, a few miles further north. However, at 9.45 in the morning, LTTE forces had launched an attack in strength on the SLA's flank.

Pitched fighting had continued until 1.50pm, when the Sri Lankans decided to abort the assault. The LTTE say they killed over 50 Sri Lankan soldiers whilst losing 13 of their own fighters. The LTTE also say that the number of Sri Lankan wounded is "exceedingly high".

The Tigers have recovered the bodies of 13 Sri Lankan soldiers from the battlefield. It is expected that these will be handed back via the Red Cross, in keeping with customary practice.

By contrast, the Sri Lankan government says that it only lost 19 troops and said it 'estimated' that 50 Tigers were killed.

The Sri Lankan military routinely exaggerate their claims of enemy dead whilst playing down their own losses. Independent verification of casualty claims is not possible as the government has banned reporters from the war zone for over two years.

A large quantity of arms and ammunition was abandoned by the retreating Sri Lankans. The Tigers have recovered 10 AK-LMG (light machine guns), 19 T-56 assault rifles with 109 magazines, two RPG-7 rocket launchers and a pair of 40mm grenade launchers.

The Tigers also captured a staggering 14,900 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition for the assault rifles, as well as three thousand rounds of linked ammunition for the machine guns, 59 RPG-7 rounds, 35 60mm mortar shells, and 40 grenades.

This is the heaviest fighting in the Puliyankulam area for many weeks. In a similar incident on 10th September, Sri Lankan troops who had advanced to Puthur came under Tiger attack at night. 40 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and over 250 wounded in the ensuing rout.

In recent months Puliyankulam and its environs have become the epicenter of the island's conflict. The Sri Lankan army launched a massive operation to capture the A9 road that links Vavuniya to Kilinochchi in May.

Stiff resistance by the LTTE has slowed the operation, code named 'Jaya Sikuru' ('Victory Assured' in Sinhalese) to a crawl. The Tigers defending the Puliyankulam area (which is astride the contested road) have delayed the SLA for over two months so far.

Relatives of Jaffna's 'disappeared' protest [TamilNet, October 01, 1997 23:59 GMT]

Parents and relatives of Tamil civilians who have 'disappeared' in Sri Lankan army custody staged a protest on Sunday in the premises of Jaffna's St. James Church, and vowed to continue their struggle for justice. Several hundred Tamils have disappeared after being arrested by the Sri Lankan army, which captured the Jaffna peninsula in early 1996.

Over a thousand Tamil people staged a 'satyagraha' (peaceful) protest on Sunday at St. James Church, near Jaffna Hospital road junction. They sat in the scorching sun, holding placards written in English and Tamil.

A spokesperson for the organization for the arrested and the missing said that they would stage another protest at the Perumal Temple next week, if Sunday's event did not produce any results. The Jaffna Mother's Front was also involved in the launching the satyagraha campaign this month.

A request to hold the next satyagraha at Aryakulam junction, in front of the Buddhist temple, which is patronized solely by the Sri Lankan army, was turned down. Many covert and open attempts have been made to suppress the protest movement said the spokesperson.

The campaign began at the Nallur Kandaswamy temple on September 19. The protesters say that all their efforts over the past eighteen months, to find out what had happened to their loved ones have failed. Since early July, several requests by the parents' association for an appointment with the Sri Lankan President have been refused.

Tamil civilians, primarily youth, began to disappear almost immediately after the Sri Lankan army captured the Jaffna peninsula. Amnesty International has confirmed that at least 700 Tamil people have gone missing following their detention by the Sri Lankan army in the Jaffna peninsula alone.

The Sri Lankan army is overwhelmingly Sinhalese. Since early 1996, when the Jaffna peninsula was captured by the SLA, the administration of the Tamil region has been run by the military. The international press and other observers have been banned from visiting the Tamil homelands.

The Sri Lankan government and several human rights NGOs which subtly back its agenda in the north have generally blacked out the impact this satyagraha movement is having on the political climate in the Jaffna peninsula.

TNA MPs meet U.S Ambassador [TamilNet, October 01, 2004 00:45 GMT]

''Statements by International Community including the United States of America consistently attempt to blame the Liberation Tigers for the stalled peace talks. These statements fail to highlight the fact that internal dissentions and resulting inconsistent policies of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance government are really the root causes for talks not moving forward,'' Tamil National Alliance Foreign affairs committee (TNA) members told U.S Ambassador Jeffery Lunstead when they met the Ambassador Thursday morning at the U.S Embassey in Colombo.

Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of TNA Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam, S.Gajendran, MP for Jaffna district and senior parliamentarian Mr. Joseph Pararajasingam participated in the meeting.

Gajendrakumar said the delegation told the Ambassador that deep divisions within the Sri Lanka government, and the entrenched political rivalry between JVP and the Sri Lanka president are the key factors impeding any forward movement in the peace process

Mr. Joseph Pararajasingam told TamilNet that during the meeting with the Ambassador they pointed out that Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers are behind the violent incidents in the east thus violating the Ceasefire Agreement. The incident in Panichchankerni where RPGs where fired from the direction of Kadawatte Army camp recently killed one woman. The MP said that there was another violent incident in Pullumalai last month.

He further told the Ambassador that the US should apply pressure on the Sri Lanka Government to resume the peace talks.

Demonstrators seek free access to Valaichenai intersection [TamilNet, October 01, 2002 11:20 GMT]

More than a thousand protestors demanding the opening of the Valaichenai junction on the Batticaloa-Colombo highway Tuesday smashed road barriers and damaged a Police jeep when Sri Lankan security forces occupying the key intersection declined to accede to their request.

The protest began in the early hours of the morning as hundreds of people from the Valaichenai town and surrounding villages sat across the junction and in front of the Police station straddling the intersection, urging the S.L security forces to open the road to the public round the clock under the terms of the Ceasefire Agreement between the Liberation Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lanka Police occupies the junction and several public and private buildings there. The main part of the intersection remains blocked permanently. Part of the junction was opened last month for the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. after many requests from local residents and politicians.

The key junction, along with many shops, buildings etc., was inside a heavily fortified camp for more than 12 years.

An altercation erupted when the Officer in Charge of the Valaichenai junction Police station, Mr. H.K.D.M Podimathaya and the Assistant Superintendent of Police for the area, Mr. S. M Jayatilaka told the protestors that they cannot open the intersection roads as they had no orders from higher authorities to do so.

Crowd of angry protestors smashed the name board of the Police station and destroyed more barriers on the road. The crowd was further inflamed when a Police constable at the scene hit a boy among the protestors. The crowds then smashed the windows of Police jeep parked there.

Meanwhile, conference was held between the civil affairs officer of the Sri Lanka army’s 23-2 Brigade in the Valaichenai paper factory, Major Bertie Perera, local officials of the LTTE, the parish priest of the Valaichenai St. Theresa’s Church, Rev. Alex Norbert and the Police to bring the situation under control.

Following the discussion the protestors were asked to give time until 7 October when the Police would be in a position to take a positive decision on the road opening.

'Police acting partially'-Mannar MP [TamilNet, October 01, 2004 07:54 GMT]

"The Police in Mannar are acting in a partial manner in bringing the situation under control", said Vanni Tamil National Alliance MP Mr. Vino Noharathalingam, Friday. "I brought the matter to the notice of the Deputy Inspector General of Police for Vanni when I met him in Mannar this morning", he said. An emergency meeting was convened Friday morning by at the truce monitoring mission office in Mannar to restore peace in the town.

Bishop of Mannar, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Vanni Range) Mr. Mahinda Baddawela, Mr. Noharathalingam MP, head of LTTE's political wing for Mannar Mr. S. Iniyavan and two Muslim community leaders from Karisal and Uppukkulam took part in the meeting.

"We decided to meet with Muslim community leaders in the afternoon at 3", Mr. Noharathalingam said.

Fears for displaced children [TamilNet, October 01, 2001 19:13 GMT]

Several key officials of the North East Provincial Council (NEPC) Monday said that future of children of displaced people and refugees in welfare centers and orphanages in the Tamil dominated province is still uncertain due to the ongoing conflict. "The war is continuing resulting in the increase of refugees, displaced people and orphans," said Mr.S.M.Croos, Provincial Director of the Department of Social Welfare, presiding over the International Children's Day celebrations held Monday evening at Trincomalee Town Hall.

"Several questions have been raised by number of social welfare institutions about the future of children now languishing in refugee camps and other institutions in the northeast. Social activists ask whether these children could be made to become full-developed responsible citizens of tomorrow under the present context", lamented Mr.Croos.

Mr.G.Kirushnamoorthy, Chief Secretary of the NEPC participating as the chief guest said that the present war is playing havoc in the lives of children in the northeast province making them wandering here and there as orphans and displaced with no future.

Mr.S.Amirthalingam, Provincial Secretary to the Minister of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Social Welfare, Buildings and Women Affairs as special guest at the event said "not only government institutions but non-governmental organizations also must play a vital role to ensure better future to the children of the northeast now suffering in welfare centers and orphanages as victims of the present brutal war.

Ms K.Roobini, Secretary to the Provincial Co-operative Employees' Commission asked "whether there is any meaning to observe the International Children's Day at a time when thousands of children flee from Afghanistan due to fear of a war and children in northeast province especially in Vanni and other areas in Sri Lanka suffer due to the present conflict."

Monday morning the Millennium City Lions Club in Trincomalee observed International Children's Day with the students of Trincomalee Vigneswara Maha Vidyalayam. Mr.Y.Jeyamurugan, Treasurer of the club addressing the students' assembly said that "children of displaced living in Uppuveli Allesgarden Welfare center are seen wandering along the seashore of the area without going to schools. Some are seen searching for food in the rubbish strewn around the premises of the welfare centre."

He further said some more children are found employed in liquor stalls and other illegal trade centres as labourers. He blamed the conflict as the sole cause for all these ills.

Students of Vigneswara Maha Vidyalayam Monday morning were seen in front of the school holding placards demanding "children rights ensured by the UN Children Charter be safeguarded by the society and authorities concerned".

Rape case reported to UN official [TamilNet, October 01, 2002 18:43 GMT]

The United Nations Rapporteur on Violence against Women has been informed of the brutal sexual assault and torture on twenty three year old Sathasivam Rathykala, a Batticaloa Tamil woman, by a group of policemen at the Polonaruwa police station on 24.11.2001. A human rights activist and an Attorney-at-Law, Mr.K.Sivapalan, Tuesday sent a copy of the medical report of the Batticaloa Judicial Medical Officer Dr.S.Chandrapalan in this regard to UN Rapporteur Ms Radhika Kumarasamy for further action.

According to JMO's report that Ms Sathasivam Rathykala was subjected to severe torture and sexual assault by twelve police personnel during the night of 24.11.2001. On the orders of the Eastern High Court, the Judicial Medical Officer examined the victim and submitted a report. The HC Judge released the victim last week on surety bail.

The JMO's report was sent to UN Rapporteur Tuesday through the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Trincomalee.

Copies of the JMO's report have been sent to the Attorney General and the Chairman of Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission for necessary action.

PNM vows to thwart 'foreign attempt to divide' country [TamilNet, October 01, 2003 17:43 GMT]

The leader of the Patriotic National Movement (PNM), Venerable Elle Gunawanse Thera, addressing the public meeting held at the conclusion of the five-day anti-peace march Wednesday said that the majority Sinhalese people will not allow foreign elements now involved in the peace process to divide the country, sources said.

Ven Elle Gunawanse Thera further said Buddhist monks would sacrifice their lives to safeguard their mother country. "The UNF government used several non-governmental organizations to sabotage the protest march from Kandy to Colombo," the Thera charged. "However, the sabotage attempt was thwarted with the support of patriotic citizens."

Mr.Anura Bandaranaike, People's Alliance (PA) parliamentarian and brother of President Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, said Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe has laid the foundation stone for dividing the country by signing a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE.

"Allowing Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe to continue in power would bring irreparable disaster to the country," he stressed.

Sri Lankan Cricket star and PA parliamentarian, Arjuna Ranatunge, highly regarded writer and intellectual championing Sinhala nationalism, Dr. Gunadasa Amerasekara, JVP propaganda secretary and the party's parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawanse, also addressed the meeting, sources said.

Lion air flight located- official [TamilNet, October 01, 1998 16:12 GMT]

A senior official at the Mannar district secretariat (Kachcheri) confirmed this evening that the Lion air flight that went missing since Tuesday has been found in the sea three kilometers west of the Iranaithivu island, off the northern coast of Mannar and 25 kilometers south of Jaffna.

Villagers in the area had found three bodies washed ashore and had burnt all of them as they had been highly decomposed.

One body, according to them, belonged to a white person, another was that of an old woman and third was half eaten by fish.

The plane is lying under water they said.

According to those who went to Nachchikudah yesterday to check out reports about the ill fated plane, the Liberation Tigers in the area have said that divers could come and salvage the plane.

But LTTE had ruled the Navy coming into the area for taking the plane out of the sea.

Meanwhile, the Director General of Aviation instructed the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) this afternoon to stop civilian flights to Jaffna until further notice.

The SLAF informed Lion air and Monara, the private airlines that fly to Jaffna, to discontinue their service.

The Monara airlines said that it was ready resume flights to Jaffna from Monday.

Vanni military activity continues [TamilNet, October 01, 1998 19:15 GMT]

Heavy fighting is reported in the Mankulam sector, the town which the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) said it captured from the Liberation Tigers yesterday morning. Reports from the northern Vavuniya said Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) bombers carried out sorties in the area around 7 a.m. today.

Details of casualties in today's fighting are not yet known. However, sources said SLAF helicopters were transferring SLA wounded to the Anuradhapura hospital today.

Meanwhile large quantities of ammunition, weapons and other supplies were being sent through Vavuniya to Vanni front.

Sources said build up of ammunition has been underway for the last two weeks.

The supplies included large numbers of gunny bags which are filled with sand to make fortification, said sources.

A pres release issued by the Ministry of Defence said "troops had destroyed strong-holds of the LTTE on the Mankulam-Kanagarayankulam road and captured the southern and eastern parts of Mankulam town and that the troops were in the process of consolidating their positions in the captured areas."

On Tuesday one of the main armouries of the troops fighting Operation Jayasikurui blew up at Kanakarayan Kulam, 7 kilometers south of Mankulam. The cause of the massive explosion was not known sources said.

Soldiers harass widow, daughter - MP [TamilNet, October 01, 1999 13:25 GMT]

Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham, MP for the Batticaloa District appealed to the Sri Lankan government authorities yesterday, to safeguard a Tamil widow and her teenage daughter of Peythaalai in the Valachchenai area from being sexually harassed by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers.

Mr.Pararajasingham informed the government's Anti-Harassment Committee in writing, that Mrs Ponnambalam a widow and was living with her teenage son and a daughter.

On September 19, the SLA arrested her son. Thereafter, some soldiers had gone to her house and tried to harass her and her teenage daughter sexually. As they could not open the doors of the house, the soldiers eventually went away, according to the MP.

Mr. Parajasingham says the soldiers now harass the woman and her daughter whenever they go out to buy provisions. The son of the woman is still in the army's custody.

The MP says the soldiers had separated the son from his mother in order to pressure her and her daughter, sexually.

Mr. Parajasingham, in his letter, called on the Anti-Harassment Committee to take immediate steps to safeguard the mother and the daughter from the activities of the SLA soldiers.

The Anti-Harassment Committee was appointed by the Sri Lanka President to inquire into the difficulties faced by the Tamil speaking people in the island due to activities by Sri Lanka's security forces.

US-Lanka extradition treaty is [TamilNet, October 01, 1999 13:27 GMT]

The Acting Secretary of State of the United States, Mr.Strobe Talbott, and the Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar, signed Friday morning a new extradition treaty between the two countries, said the Sri Lankan government's Information Department.

The full text of the Department's statement follows:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar and the Acting Secretary of State of the USA, Mr.Strobe Talbott signed this morning the new Extradition Treaty between the two countries which took place at the US State Department, Washington D.C.

Mr.Karl F.Inderfurth, Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs, U.S.A.,Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary, Mr.Lionel Fernando, Dr.W.Rasaputram and Dr. Rohan Perera, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka and other senior officials of both governments were present at the signing ceremony.

The new Treaty replaces the existing pre-independence Treaty between the United States of America and Great Britain on the Mutual Extradition of Criminals signed at London on 22nd December, 1931 which was then applied to Ceylon.

Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka in his opening remarks stated that the conclusion of this Treaty constitutes a landmark in the bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the U.S.A.

He recalled the Treaty concluded between the United Kingdom and the United States of America way back in 1931 and then made applicable to Ceylon as a colonial territory of the UK. This pre-independence Treaty continued to be in force over a period of 50 years after our independence, to govern questions of extradition between our two countries.

He pointed out that during his visit to Washington in October, 1997, emphasised the need to re-negotiate the comprehensive Treaty on the extradition fugitive offenders which should reflect current developments and advances in international state practice, paying particular attention to the problem of terrorism.

Foreign Minister Kadirgamar was pleased to note that a delegation headed by the then Solicitor General of Sri Lanka who is presently the acting Attorney General visited Washington in March this year and was able after just one round of negotiations, to conclude this Treaty. He said the speedy conclusion of this Treaty is testimony to the close understanding and co-operation, which has developed between our two countries over the years. He further went on to state that the signing of the Extradition Treaty reflects the commitments of the United States to co-operate in a joint endeavour to deal effectively with the combating of international crime.

In conclusion, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar stated that this Treaty would send a clear signal to all criminal elements, that they shall not enjoy safe haven within our territories.

Mr.Strobe Talbott, acting Secretary of State in his remarks while welcoming Foreign Minister Kadirgamar to the signing of this important Extradition Treaty stated that the signing of this Treaty will make it more difficult for criminals, particularly terrorists, to find a safe haven in each other's countries. He went on to further state that the governments of Sri Lanka and the United States have worked for many years to conclude a modern Extradition Treaty, and its signing today symbolises the co-operation and goodwill between our two countries.

One killed, five wounded in clashes [TamilNet, October 01, 1999 23:01 GMT]

A Security Assistant (Homeguard) was wounded when the Liberation Tigers attacked a police post at Thoppur, four km. south of Muttur in the Trincomalee district this morning around 8.20 a.m. said police sources.

The wounded homeguard, Faleel, is admitted at the Muttur hospital.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers and Police conducted a cordon and search operation in the Anpuvalipuram area, about 2 km. west of Trincomalee town this morning. It is not known if any arrests were made.

Police sources said they found a bomb during the combine search operation, and it was latter defused.

According SLA sources a military trained policeman was killed and four wounded when the Liberation Tigers attacked the police post at Anpuvalipuram junction last night.

A ten-foot tall police watch-tower at the junction, near the 'Peace Arch', was destroyed during the attack. Police said the watch-tower collapsed when a time bomb exploded.

Tigers attack Police Post [TamilNet, October 01, 1999 23:12 GMT]

A Sri Lankan Police post at Anpuvalipuram junction about 2 km. west of Trincomalee town along the A-6 trunk road to Kurunegala was attacked by the Liberation Tigers around 8.30 p.m. this evening said local residents.

Unconfirmed reports say 4 policemen were wounded in the attack.

Residents said a loud explosion was heard in the area which was followed by sounds of small arms fire.

They said street lights in the Anpuvalipuram area went off after the explosion and added that electricity supply to houses, however, has not been disrupted.

Skirmish in Batticaloa TamilNet, October 01, 2000 08:32 GMT]

A Sri Lanka Army soldier was killed and at least five others wounded in an attack by the Liberation Tigers near vavunathivu SLA camp about 5 km. west of Batticaloa town around 8.30 a.m. Sunday said sources.

The Tigers fired mortars and opened fire with small arms at the soldiers manning a check post the sources said.

The SLA retaliated by firing shells towards LTTE held villages of Kannankudah and Kurinjamunai in the western hinter land.

Following the incident the Tigers and SLA exchanged mortar fire for nearly two hours. Some of the mortars fired by the Tigers fell near Vavunathivu SLA camp and Sri Lanka Air Force base in Batticaloa, the sources said.

Boy bathing, shot dead [TamilNet, October 01, 2000 13:31 GMT]

Kunalingam Kugathasan, 14, was shot dead by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers Saturday afternoon while bathing in a lagoon in Navalady, about 4 km east of Batticaloa town, said sources. The body was handed over to his parents after an inquest held at the Batticaloa hospital.

Kugathasan was injured in his stomach when he was fired at by soldiers stationed at Bar Street, on the other side of the lagoon.

None of his friends who were in the lagoon with Kugathasan were wounded, the sources said.

Meanwhile Mamankam Loganathan,30 was wounded when a policewoman's gun went off accidentally at a check post near offices of the Health Department on the Tricomalee road, Saturday.

Tension in Akkaraipattu after attack on shops [TamilNet, September 30, 2004 04:43 GMT]

Tension prevailed in Akkaraipattu Thursday after several shops in the Tamil division of the southeastern town were smashed up in the early hours of Thursday morning. "Sri Lanka Police stood by doing nothing while some thugs attacked the shops. The attack is aimed at instigating a violence between Muslims and Tamils. We are determined to stop this by peaceful means. We appeal to Tamils and our Muslim brethren not to rise to the bait of those who want to fan communal violence and divide our people", said Mr. S. Kuyilinpan, head of the LTTE's political division for the Ampara District Thursday.

A Muslim group called for a Hartal Thursday in Akkaraipattu town, 64 kilometres south of Batticaloa, to protest against a land dispute in Vattamadu, a pasture ground south of Akkaraipattu.

Some Muslims who went to plough land in Vattamadu on Monday were turned back by local residents who say that the area is a government reserve for pasture.

Government officials who visited the area said that the land reserved for pasture had been earlier encroached by some persons from Akkaraipattu.

A tractor on which the persons who attempted to plough land for cultivation in Vattamadu was detained by local residents to prevent the encroachment, a government official who visited the area said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kuyilinpan said: "We are speaking to Muslim community leaders and government officials to resolve the matter peacefully and amicably".

Kilinochchi base captured - LTTE [TamilNet, September 28, 1998 19:47 GMT]

The Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio said this evening that the LTTE had taken 'complete control' of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) base at Kilinochchi following heavy fighting over the past two days. The Tigers have recovered the bodies of hundreds of SLA troops the radio said.

SLA defence lines and bunkers in the Kilinochchi base had been completely destroyed in the assault, the radio said.

The SLA artillery positions and armouries at the Elephant Pass Base and Iyakachchi were also destroyed by the Tigers, said the radio.

SLA reinforcements from the Elephant Pass and Paranthan SLA bases which had rushed to rescue the Kilinochchi base had also come under heavy Tiger attack and been forced to withdraw, the radio added.

Three SLA tanks which had supported the reinforcements had been destroyed in the fighting, the radio said. Two were destroyed by the Tigers, and the third by retreating SLA troops, the radio said.

The radio said 26 Tigers were killed in the first day of the fighting and 57 in the second.

Hundreds of SLA troops had been wounded in the past two days, it added.

The territory which had been captured by the SLA in August 1996 had fallen to the Liberation Tigers in this attack, the second big assault on the Kilinochchi base, said the radio.

The base, which encompasses Kilinochchi town, was attacked by the LTTE in February this year. The LTTE captured the southern areas of the town in that assault.

The latest assault was larger in scale than that on the SLA base at Mullaitivu, said the radio.

The Mullaithivu base was overrun by the Liberation Tigers in July 1996. Over 1000 SLA soldiers were killed in that attack.

A large ammunition dump within the Elephant Pass base, several miles to the north was burning furiously, the radio said.

Meanwhile, the SLA has remained tight-lipped about the situation in the region today while reports about heavy losses sustained by Sri Lankan troops continued to emanate from the north.

A press communiquŽ issued by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence (MoD) this afternoon, however, said "Sporadic confrontations are being reported at present", adding that "LTTE has confirmed 194 of their cadres killed. A total of 43 soldiers were killed and 110 wounded during these confrontations."

Sources close to the LTTE in Europe when contacted by TamilNet tonight said that, according to unconfirmed reports they had received, the bodies of up to a thousand SLA troops had been recovered from the Kilinochchi base.

Kilinochchi base captured - LTTE [TamilNet, September 28, 1998 19:47 GMT]

The Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio said this evening that the LTTE had taken 'complete control' of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) base at Kilinochchi following heavy fighting over the past two days. The Tigers have recovered the bodies of hundreds of SLA troops the radio said.

SLA defence lines and bunkers in the Kilinochchi base had been completely destroyed in the assault, the radio said.

The SLA artillery positions and armouries at the Elephant Pass Base and Iyakachchi were also destroyed by the Tigers, said the radio.

SLA reinforcements from the Elephant Pass and Paranthan SLA bases which had rushed to rescue the Kilinochchi base had also come under heavy Tiger attack and been forced to withdraw, the radio added.

Three SLA tanks which had supported the reinforcements had been destroyed in the fighting, the radio said. Two were destroyed by the Tigers, and the third by retreating SLA troops, the radio said.

The radio said 26 Tigers were killed in the first day of the fighting and 57 in the second.

Hundreds of SLA troops had been wounded in the past two days, it added.

The territory which had been captured by the SLA in August 1996 had fallen to the Liberation Tigers in this attack, the second big assault on the Kilinochchi base, said the radio.

The base, which encompasses Kilinochchi town, was attacked by the LTTE in February this year. The LTTE captured the southern areas of the town in that assault.

The latest assault was larger in scale than that on the SLA base at Mullaitivu, said the radio.

The Mullaithivu base was overrun by the Liberation Tigers in July 1996. Over 1000 SLA soldiers were killed in that attack.

A large ammunition dump within the Elephant Pass base, several miles to the north was burning furiously, the radio said.

Meanwhile, the SLA has remained tight-lipped about the situation in the region today while reports about heavy losses sustained by Sri Lankan troops continued to emanate from the north.

A press communiquŽ issued by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence (MoD) this afternoon, however, said "Sporadic confrontations are being reported at present", adding that "LTTE has confirmed 194 of their cadres killed. A total of 43 soldiers were killed and 110 wounded during these confrontations."

Sources close to the LTTE in Europe when contacted by TamilNet tonight said that, according to unconfirmed reports they had received, the bodies of up to a thousand SLA troops had been recovered from the Kilinochchi base.

Prabakaran’s move to stall a solution

Looking back at the past two decades of attempts to resolve the north- east problem a very clear picture emerges. Leaders of successive Sri Lankan governments have tied themselves in legal and political knots to resolve the problem while LTTE leader, Vellupillai Prabakaran has been looking at these efforts with supreme disdain and rejected them all.

Our seekers of peace, political leaders and foreign well wishers yet can’t see the clear picture: Prabakaran wants only one resolution to the problem—- a separate Tamil state.

He has not gone back on this pledge even on one occasion. His annual statement on his birthday celebrations has been: Kill me, if I deviate from the sacred path of achieving a separate state’

There were times when he did strategic deviations but that was only momentarily. When the Indians bundled him into a helicopter and flew him out to New Delhi and held him virtual prisoner in the Ashok Hotel, he did relent and went along with the Indian proposal. But on coming back to Jaffna, he reneged and within months was at war, with mighty India. When the Indian troops finally had him cornered after a long and hard struggle he did a strategic retreat, and entered into negotiations with President Premadasa. When the Indians left, he once again took on the Sri Lankan troops and finally killed President Premadasa and also a significant part of the UNP leadership. In 1994, when Chandrika Kumaratunga offered to negotiate peace he simply could not refuse. He did commence negotiations but broke it off and once again warred.He missed assassinating her by a hair’s breadth.

Meanwhile, world opinion was turning against the LTTE. They were no longer being considered ‘liberation fighters’ in the west which was accommodating ex- patriate Sri Lankan Tamils who were filling up the LTTE war chest with their contributions. The LTTE was being proscribed by these nations as a foreign terrorist organisation. Then Prabakran once again did a strategic deviation. He sued to peace and under pressure of the ‘ International community’ signed the Cease- fire agreement with Ranil Wickremasinghe. Conditions around the world right now are not favourable for armed insurrections against democratically elected governments and he is compelled to hold his fire, even though he and his cohorts think that they could get the better of the government forces.

Prabakaran then fell into a Peace Trap. The all powerful ‘ international community’ after organising the peace negotiations between the LTTE and the government, promised reconstruction rehabilitation and economic assistance. But all this would come when democracy is established in a federal state where human rights are guaranteed. Prabakaran has all along fought not for a federal state but a separate independent Tamil state under his jackboot.

The six rounds of negotiations watched by the world produced a solution which he did not like. He was furious, as his one time Commander of the Eastern Province, Karuna revealed after he broke off from the Prabakaran faction. He called off negotiations claiming’ nothing had been achieved’ although his mouthpiece Balasingham, has been claiming success after each round of negotiations.

To get out of this peace trap, he got his constitutional experts to formulate the ISGA proposals, which is a blueprint for a separate state. As the eminent lawyer H.L. De Silva said this week, it would be impossible for any government agree to these proposals because it constitutes a virtual epitaph for the Sri lankan state. Besides, the LTTE insists those proposals are non- negotiable!

It is quite obvious that this ISGA proposal is to stall the Oslo Declaration that calls for a federal solution. Prabakaran wants no such federal solution. You don’t have fanatical messiahs getting their equally fanatical brain washed followers to swallow cyanide capsules and women to hide bombs in their breasts and blow themselves up for a federal state whose powers will be limited by a central government! Such fanaticism is inspired by the dream of the creation of a new racist state. The ISGA, it appears is Prabakaran’s move to stall a democratic federal state from emerging. Meanwhile he keeps killing all his opponents that come in his way.

The Southern politicians are so desperate in their scramble for power that now the UNP is willing to negotiate on the ISGA proposals while the SLFP is hemming and hawing. If the ISGA proposals go through Prabakaran has virtually achieved his separate state without firing a shot. If not he would be having other plans to further his dream.

In retrospect it is clear that Prabakaran has been sitting pretty and rejecting all labyrinthine political and legal proposals forwarded by Southern politicians because he is simply not interested in devolution power and a federal solution. He wants a separate Tamil state under him and peace is of no immediate concern.

It is time that Sri Lankan politicians and foreign nations interested in the welfare of our people come to terms with hard realities and not entertain dreams such as that of a leading prelate who declared : Prabakran is humane.

S.T.F. and increasing crime wave

The beefing up of the S.T.F. to combat the increase in crime will, on the contrary, have the opposite effect with that body being the principal perpetrator.

Their dismal record in the Eastern Province is common knowledge and the bestial Diyawanna Oya murders with its pathological overtones are etched indelibly in the Tamil consciousness.

We take note that they will serve in Amparai and the ‘Tea Estates’ Provinces. Will it be a case of the mixture as before? The LTTE will be lighting crackers in Killinochchi. For those youth who do not disappear, will end up there.

The increase in crime, the wanton killing and the gang warfare are all spin offs from the brutalisation of politics by successive Governments, where Tamil baiting was a sport for the uniformed services following closely on the heels of the party ‘Goondas’. First encouraged and led to attack the peaceful F.P. Sathyagraha on Galle Face Green in 1956. That was the thin edge of the wedge. Now it is an accepted norm and part of the Police culture, affecting Sinhala citizens as well.

But the choice of the districts they will serve in is tell tale and ominously so.

G. Sivaraja,

Approach to peace: give pride of place to humanism

In order to emancipate the people of this country from the dire straits that threaten to engulf them it is imperative to determine an unswerving main objective. It is suggested that the definite main objective should be the creation of conditions favourable for this country’s heterogeneous population to live in brotherhood or, in any other words, to co-exist in peace and dignity in any part of the Island as one Sri Lankan family or nation. Further, any person should have the right to carry on his/her legitimate business, profession or other occupation in any part of the island without any fear.

In the pursuit of the main objective indicated above, it is absolutely necessary to give pride of place to humanism, which can appropriately be adopted as the overall guiding principle in solving knotty matters as between one citizen and another, and between one community and another. It is earnestly hoped that the key players at the peace negotiating table will pledge to one another that none of them has a hidden agenda, and that they will consider all matters in dispute by letting reasons to prevail over emotion: emotion has been in "the stock-in-trade" of selfish politicians to incite gullible sections to rage and mutiny.

In connection with many conflicts in society we cannot conveniently ignore the bane of persisting poverty of the masses, whose purchasing power has been rapidly deteriorating on account of the impact of both internal negligence and external factors. The peace negotiators should be cognisant of the fact that poverty is also a basic component of the cause of the conflict faced by them to be settled. Achievement of substantial poverty alleviation requires the care and consistent attention on a long term basis extending perhaps to the periods of two or more successive regimes. During the course of the last century there have been uprisings in revolt both in the Southern and northern areas of the island. For the sake of a durable peace, it is vital to ensure that there should be an equitable distribution of wealth and income of the entire nation accruing to persons so that the share of the toiling masses will enable them to live above want and not depend on chariry of the rich. It is observed that some of the givers of charity will not acquire merit because they themselves had subtly, or otherwise exploited the poor in some, form or other.

The common cord that binds all communities is humanism, which is, after all, the essence of the teachings and preachings of the authors of the four religions believed in by the vast majority. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the dignitaries in Sri Lanka at the apexes of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam should form a joint mission of mercy, that is, an alliance evolving a master mind to assist in the creation of favourable living conditions as envisaged in the main objective referred to at the beginning of this writing. There is no doubt that the dignitaries by virtue of their talent and dedication are eminently qualified to undertake the onerous task involved. While appreciating several endeavours already made individually by the top level hierarchy of all denominations it is anticipated that the combined mission will put the peace process on a firmer footing. The alliance of mercy will, of course, determine its own strategy: in any case, it is suggested that the alliance should visit the north and have frequent discussions with the LTTE and others involved there: it should liaise at regular intervals with the government, the opposition and other leaders in the South. Periodical bulletins of activities and comments will be expected by the public.

D. Kuruneru,

ISGA – Is it a blanket license to kill ?

ISGA – Isit a blanket license to kill ? The government majority party of SLFP and the opposition UNF are very keen to have a negotiated settlement with the LTTE under the framework of the proposed Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) put forward by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Past misgivings of the leaders of SLFP regarding the ISGA during the last election period are now history.

Let the voters decide in a future election how truthful they were when they forcefully opposed that proposal during February through April 2004 election period.

Citizens of the sovereign nation of Sri Lanka should remember what the LTTE has done since signing the interim peace agreement nearly two years ago. They have systematically eliminated most of the Tamil leaders who did not openly support them.

The police and government agencies supposedly taking care of crime prevention did nothing to find the killers and bring them to justice. So it stands to reason that UNF and SLFP leadership are eager to appease the Tigers by accepting the ISGA proposal for a self serving reasons. They want to enjoy the rest of their political lives unharmed.

While fearing for your life is a horrible position to be in, making political decisions based on fear will have ramifications that impact generations of lives. Appeasing LTTE by accepting ISGA is a shortsighted tactic, and one that will backfire.

Our so called national ‘Bada Perata’ politicians lack the vision to understand how the LTTE will act if they were given the self governing capability of North and East of our small island.

If the LTTE can now control the North and East without having any of these powers, what can we expect if they were officially given full legitimacy to run that area?

They will continue to eliminate all their opponents in the North and East. We are mistaken if we expect the terror tactics to stop there. Our ‘Bada Perata’ politicians in the south are foolish to think that their cooperation will secure their immunity from the lethal and legitimized LTTE they are about to create. Agreeing to ISGA is effectively handing LTTE a LICENSE TO KILL.

Abayatilaka Samaranayake 821 N Wilcox Avenue Montebello,

CA 90640 USA

NAC smacks of dilatory tactics— GL by Piyasena Dissanayake

UNP spokesman Prof. G.L.Peiris yesterday said that the UNP would boycott the National Advisory Council convened by President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

He said that President was delaying the resumption of peace talks, and the NAC was one of doing so.

"It is high time President and the UPFA came out and make known whether they would recommence talks based on the LTTE's ISGA proposals or not," Prof. Peiris told a press conference held yesterday at the Opposition Leader's Office.

He said that inability of the coalition partners of the Government to reach a common stand point over the issue was the only hindrance to resume talks with the LTTE.

There was no point in convening an advisory council without reaching a consensus among the main partners of the government, said Prof. Peiris.

He said the UNP would extend its support to the government's attempt to find a solution to the North East crisis if it was willing to recommence the peace process based on Tokyo and Oslo agreements.

He said President Kumaratunga would be in office only for a few more months and as such an advisory committee that met only once a month served no purpose, Prof. Peiris said.

Violence against farmers in the east - Muslims stage hartal in A'pattu by Norman Palihawadana

Life in the Akkraipattu town was brought to a standstill yesterday (30) when residents staged a hartal, forcing shops to put up shutters.Old tyres were burnt on the roads while all government offices remained closed.

Thousands of Muslims from Vattamadu, Thirukkovil and Akkaraipattu took part in the hartal in protest against the harassment by the LTTE of Muslim paddy farmers and death threats issued to them.

During the past few weeks, a large number of Muslim farmers have complained to the police and the Norwegian-led monitors of LTTE atrocities.

They have said the LTTE is attempting to deprive them of their land as well as livelihood.

Many commutes were stranded as transport came to a sudden halt, the police said.

Security in the town was beefed up with additional police personnel brought in to defuse tension and prevent any clashes.

After the signing of the ceasefire agreement, organisers of the hartal said, incidents of LTTE violence against they were on the increase.

They said although they Muslims had pinned their hopes on the CFA thinking the LTTE violence against them would abate, the opposite had happened.

Unless the SLMM and the international community heeded their plight and restrained the LTTE from unleashing violence, organisers said they would be compelled to take their protests to Colombo like the democratic Tamil parties.

A discussion between representatives of farmers and the SLMM was on at the time of going to press.

Are Traffic Cops doing a clean job?

I would like to bring to your attention the current tactics being employed by our esteemed traffic police. They crouch and hide near various strategically painted pedestrian crossings and double lines ( often in meaningless areas) and leap out at motorists brandishing books at them and "booking" them for relatively minor offenses.

Meanwhile, private bus drivers and tri-shaw drivers continually flout the law and make driving in this thrice blessed land an unbelievable nightmare. Colombo driving consists of going from one traffic jam to another, every junction is a hopeless tangle of vehicles with no one giving way to anyone and it being a case of survival of the fittest. Driving the Kandy Colombo road ( incidentally dubbed a highway in traffic police parlance) last Poya day, I counted 63 police officers on traffic duty. One may recall that the entire distance is just 72 miles and still the private buses and Tri-shaws continued unchecked. If this excess of Police personnel could be deployed at the bus stands and vital junctions, they would provide a much better service to the tax paying motorists of this country than by simply trying to swell the bankrupt state coffers by "spot fining" anyone they can lay their eyes on.

If the top brass of the police force had an ounce of professional pride in them they should commit collective Hari-Kari and the members of the Police Commission should join them. Conduct a referendum among the people and you will find that the majority have absolutely no faith in the Police.

The Police Commission should recommend that the entire police force be disbanded and without sending our army on peace keeping mission in other countries we should deploy the army to do this job. Even the LTTE police will be better that this bunch of corrupt, rude , incompetent people who are contributing to the general break down in law and order without preserving it. One reads of Policemen being shot at checkpoints by armed gangsters.

If you stop and this this may be due to the fact that very few legitimate detections are made at these checkpoints. The personnel manning them make a massive sum of money by taking bribes and "detections" are only made when the bribe is not sufficient or when a rival gang pays more to have their opponents busted.

Please publish this letter, if you see fit, this is another way of looking at reasons for the breakdown of law and order in this country. The guardians of the law are hopelessly incompetent and have no respect among the citizens !

Ethul Kotte

Britain and America’s double standards

After the massacre of innocents during the siege of a school in Beslan, Russia, recently Russian President Putin remarked on America’s double standards in having talks with Chechen rebels in Washington recently, thus undermining Russia’s fight against terrorism which has taken the lives of hundreds of people in the last year. Britain and America constantly butt into conflicts on the basis of "Human Rights", whilst supplying arms to regimes (and those rebel groups) to inflict violations of human rights.

According to a US Congressional study released recently, it was stated thus: "Developing countries continued to be the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by conventional weapons suppliers". In 2002 the US sold $10.241 billion worth of weapons (40% of the world market); an year later it sold $14.5 billion weapons - an increase of $4.25 billion and now commands a market share of 56.7% of all global arms sales, of that 50.8% is to Asia which purchased $33.8 billion worth of arms during 2000 and 2003. In money it could have been used to alleviate poverty.

Although the West expresses concern over the Middle Eastern problems, it does not hesitate to sell arms to those unstable governments. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not at war with anyone but became the largest purchasers of weapons in 2002. Egypt smuggles weapons to the Palestinians and to African rebels, whilst Saudi Arabia is home to thousands of Islamic Jihadis, most of whom are in Iraq helping to kill innocent Iraqi civilians. There are upto 5,000 Jihadis in Iraq killing at will.

For years, Britain’s MI6 and the US’s CIA funded Ahamed Chalabi’s party, the Iraqi National Congress. It is known that US$ 87 million of American taxpayers’ money ended up in the coffers’ of the INC; furthermore, the US maintained an INC office in Teheran, Iran at a cost of $26,500 a month - until the rift between the West and Chalabi. The present Interim Prime Minister, Ayab Allawi was trained by MI6 and the CIA. Double standards?

Take the Sri Lanken example, just how many rebel leaders found a safe haven in Britain? There is Anton Balasingham of the LTTE (and his Australian wife), Somawansa Amarasinghe of the JVP, and other minor non-celebrities. President Chandrika Bandaranaike owns a home in Britain, educated her children there, and even holidays there (at public expense). It is obvious that during his Oxford education, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike came under a certain influence and went on to destabilize Sri Lankans with radical ideology which went on to ruin this country. We see the patronage given to Ranil Wickremesinghe by the Americans. Any leader benign to American expansionism becomes a "hero".

We see the link between Drug Trafficking and Terrorism. During the Nicaraguan fiasco, arms for the Contras were flown in by the CIA in return for narcotics. In the 1980’s, there was a "crack" epidemic solely in the Black neighbourhoods (source: CIA Crack Cocaine Connection by Gary Webb who is also the author of "Dark Alliance" where he links the contras and drug trafficking in black neighbourhoods of Los Angeles).

"The one thing I learned about the drug business when I was researching it is that it is in many ways the epitome of capitalism. It is the purest form of capitalism. You’ve got no government regulation, a wide-open market, a buyer’s market, anything goes" - Gary Webb.

If we take Sri Lanka, hasn’t Terrorism and Drug Trafficking grown side by side: It is now known that Rs. 50 million per day is spent on narcotics by addicts, a phenomenal Rs. 18.25 billion an year — if that is the sort of official figure, double it. There is no doubt in my mind that governments are involved in this "capitalist" business, for such a scourge cannot flourish without government’s patronage, just as much as Terrorism cannot flourish without international patronage.

This is the modus operandi of the West on governments they do not like. They set out methodically to rip apart the social and economic fabric of the country. They set out to create conditions where the farmer can’t get his produce to market, where children can’t go to school, where women are terrified inside their homes as well as outside their homes, where the hospitals are treating wounded people instead of sick people, where government administration simply grinds to a halt and things cease to function and international capital is scared away and the country goes bankrupt. This is the destabilization process. In those bleak circumstances, there is heavy trafficking in narcotics, humans for slavery and sexual abuse and children as soldiers and sex victims.

Into this scene arrives humanitarian aid workers comprising fundamentalists, representatives of the IMF and World Bank, of which Britan and the US are major shareholders, and representatives of the G8 countries of which the above two, Britain and the US are members. They offer aid on conditions of privatization of public sector institutions — to them!

These are not conspiracy theories, but cold, hard facts: Global Terrorism and Narcotics Trafficking are working alongside each other, one financing the other. Use of narcotics degrades nations, diminishes their productive force and fosters social ills. Terrorism divides nations by encouraging rebellious ethnic or religious to rise up. It discourages public debates on problems.

Linda van Schagen,
Mt. Lavinia

Hindu editorial - Sept 29 - Stop the killings

The obsessions of Velupillai Prabakaran’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with being the "sole representative" of the Tamils of Sri Lanka has rendered the ceasefire virtually meaningless for Tamils. Taking advantage of the concessions granted to it in the February 2002 ceasefire agreement, the LTTE immediately set out to liquidate all Tamils it perceived as its opponents. Within a few months of the ceasefire coming into force, it took out several Tamils it accused of helping the Sri Lankan armed forces during the years of war. Since March 2004, when the organisation broke into two — the Vanni faction, and the Eastern faction led by the former military commander Karuna — the killing spree has assumed war-like proportions. The recent killing in eastern Sri Lanka of Reggie, the brother of the breakaway group’s leader, the subsequent retaliatory murders by Karuna loyalists, and the death of a civilian in the crossfire make a complete mockery of the ceasefire.

In all this, the LTTE is encouraged and emboldened by the silence of Norway, the facilitator of the peace process, and of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), the Nordic committee tasked with monitoring the ceasefire. The Government too has offered little protest. This is understandable considering that all its energies are taken up with keeping alive the engagement with the LTTE, keeping the Sri Lankan military in check, and ensuring that on its

side there are no ceasefire violations. Less understandable is the reticence of Oslo and the SLMM in confronting the LTTE over the relentless killings. Instead of bringing moral pressure on the Pol Potist outfit to stop the killings, democratise its functioning, accept dissidence as a natural by-product of pluralism and democratic politics, they have, in effect, given it a licence to kill.

This they have done by taking the view that the settling of scores by the Vanni faction with the Karuna group is an "internal matter." Under the circumstances, it is not at all surprising that Mr. Prabakaran made bold to dispatch a suicide bomber to take out his other arch enemy, Douglas Devananda, the leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP). Only chance ensured Mr. Devananda’s escape but other members of his party have not been that fortunate. The Tamil human rights group, the University Teachers’ Human Rights (Jaffna), reported recently that the LTTE has killed 140 members of the EPDP in the last two years. Members of other Tamil political parties that do not subscribe to the LTTE’s views have always been on its hit-list. But the impunity with which the group now ticks off names from that list owes much to the softly-softly approach that Norway and the ceasefire monitors have taken towards it.

It is time for all concerned to acknowledge that the LTTE has done nothing less than unleash a terrorist campaign amounting to a sub-guerrilla war against the very people it claims to represent. From the recruitment of children, which continues unabated despite international outrage, to the harassment of Muslims, the discrimination against eastern Tamils, and the killings of opponents, the LTTE demonstrates on a daily basis that its rule is by fear and terror. The present efforts at reviving the peace process — stalled since April 2003 when the Tigers refused to participate in further talks until their demand for an interim administration in the North-East was met — are focussed on getting them back to the negotiating table.

This is perceived to be the most effective way of averting a war that nobody other than the LTTE arguably seems to have the stomach for. But for the peace process to hold meaning, the limits of tolerance have to be benchmarked by the Sri Lankan Government with the backing of the international community, including India that is increasingly regarded in the island as a bulwark of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Several Tamil shops attacked Muslims in violent protest in A'pattu by Norman Palihawadana and Shamindra Ferdinando

An attack on several Tamil shops in Akkaraipattu Wednesday night and an earlier LTTE bid to prevent Muslims from cultivating land at Vattamadu, south of the town, triggered a violent protest by Muslims on Thursday.Authoritative sources said that a group of men targeted several Tamil-owned shops following a musical show Wednesday night. "We believe the attack was aimed at provoking local Tamils," the sources said. The sources didn't rule out the possibility of the attackers being supporters of a politician representing the Ampara district.A group of Muslims who went to plough land in Vattamadu earlier in the week had been turned back by Tamils. A tractor belonging to the Muslims too had been detained. The sources didn't rule out the possibility of the Muslims who were prevented from ploughing land having a hand in the attack on the shops. But a Muslim villager lodged a complaint with police claiming that LTTE cadres prevented him from ploughing Vattamadu land as he had not obtained their permission.Hundreds of Muslims protested on Thursday at Tirukkovil demanding an immediate end to what a senior military official termed a deliberate attempt to drive away the Muslims. About 1500 Muslims were involved in the protest.They set fire to tyres, blocking traffic in and out of the area, he said. Schools, banks, shops, all private and state sector agencies were closed. Police backed by the STF prevented any violent incidents. A senior official said they discussed ways and means of resolving the dispute with the LTTE and the Scandinavian truce monitors. Thursday's protest is the first after Karuna quit the LTTE in early March this year.The renegade LTTE commander Karuna made a determined bid to resolve outstanding land disputes. In an obvious bid to woo the Muslims living in the region, Karuna offered to discuss contentious land issues. He also offered to return the land and herds of cattle taken over by the group.The parties to the Oslo-arranged Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) agreed to set up three joint committees to review land and related issues in the East.

Police rank and file should be given a better deal - outgoing IGP by Harischandra Gunaratna

Outgoing police chief Indra de Silva yesterday told police top brass that the most important segment of the police service was its rank and file. The constables and sergeants had the closest contact with the public and should be provided with the necessary training, higher salaries that would make them better officers to provide a more efficient service.During the last three decades the police service had been transformed from a law enforcement agency to an outfit that had to deal with a war situation. "On two occasions within two decades in the recent history of this country we had to grapple with an insurgency which the police successfully quelled. The unity of the policemen helped them achieve this victory over a group of unlawful elements who were trying to topple the governments that were in power at the time and wrest power. "As a policeman I am really proud of this" and it will be etched in our memories for a long time. Police helped democracy prevail de Silva said.The outgoing IGP was accorded the main farewell at the police head quarters with a guard of honour which was the main event. It was followed by another farewell and a guard of honour at the Police Park."In my 33 year career in the police service I have seen the Sri Lanka police facing many a formidable challenge and tackling them successfully" he said.

Two-month amnesty for handing over of illegal firearms

The Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order has declared an amnesty period of two months commencing 1st October 2004 for those possessing firearms without a valid licence to hand them over to the Government or get valid licences.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order Tilak Ranaviraja in announcing this amnesty said that an opportunity has been given this time for handing over of illegal firearms to the respective district secretariats and divisional secretariats as well in addition to the police stations.

He assured that no legal action will be taken against any person who surrenders the firearms during the amnesty period.

He said the government will look into each case and allow those who are eligible to use them to obtain a permanent licence. The government is also considering granting cash payments to each firearm handed over depending on the type of firearm. At the time of handing over of the firearm a temporary licence will be issued. The relevant application forms for this purpose could be obtained from the nearest police station or the divisional secretariat. The duly filled application form together with a Money Order for Rs. 10/- in the name of Secretary, Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order should be handed over to the police station or the divisional secretariat. The National Identity Card of the person should also be produced at the time.

The Secretary said that they hope to launch an intensified campaign to recover illegal arms after the amnesty period and take legal action against those who possess them. The government has already announced the payment of an attractive incentive payment to informants who provide information leading to recovery of firearms depending on the type of firearms recovered.

It has been estimated that there are still around 30,000 illegal firearms in circulation which has been a major contributory cause for major crimes.

During the amnesty period granted earlier this year, 1337 have been handed over and a special committee is now looking into regularising matters.

Danish MPs seek denial of European visa for LTTE by Meenakshi Iyer

New Delhi, September 28: Members of Parliament from Denmark have asked their government to restrain from issuing European visas to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) activists. This was told by Peter Ellehoj, Counsellor at the Royal Danish Embassy in New Delhi.

A report on the Asian Tribune website, dated September 23, had said that four political parties of Denmark had sought a ban on the LTTE, because ‘a top leader of the outfit, V. Balakumar,’ had justified the use of suicide bombers.

On being asked to comment on the report Peter Ellehoj told "I cannot confirm whether Balakumar had actually said that the LTTE suicide cadres are ready to activate suicide bombs. It was a reiteration of the LTTE’s view on the plight of the Tamils and the LTTE’s position on negotiations."

"According to my information, Balakumar visited Switzerland and Norway while he was in Europe. He was issued a visa by the Norwegian embassy. The issue is whether the LTTE should be banned from entering Europe. That is the query made by Danish parliamentarians," Ellehoj said dismissing reports by Asian Tribune.

Despite the demand for a ban, the LTTE political chief, SP Thamilselvan, will be leading a 14-member team to Geneva, Switzerland, where it will hold talks with legal experts about how to take forward the stalled peace process and talks with the government.

The Tamil team will also travel to Ireland, Denmark, and Austria to meet UN representatives and human rights groups. (Hindustan Times)

Youth shot dead in Eravur [TamilNet, September 30, 2004 06:56 GMT]

A youth who was taken away from his home by unidentified men Wednesday night was found shot dead in Redd Barnapuram in Eravur, 14 kilimoetres north of Batticaloa, Police said. The body of the youth, Mr.Dharmalingam Gopalakrishnan, 19, was found in shrub near his home with gunshot wounds Thursday morning, according to Eravur Police.

Sources in the area alleged that Mr. Gopalakrishnan had links with Sri Lanka army.

Police, however, said they are investigating the youth's background.

Curfew in Mannar after attack on LTTE office [TamilNet, October 01, 2004 02:12 GMT]

Curfew was declared in Mannar Friday morning after a group of Muslims attacked the administrative office of the Liberation Tigers in the island town on Sri Lanka's northwestern coast around midnight. The attack was linked to the killing of a man suspected to be a drug smuggler on Thursday night near Pesalai, 15 kilometres west of Mannar. An LTTE official in Mannar said that the attack appeared to be aimed at instigating communal violence in the area. "No one was injured in the attacks on our office", he said.

The signboard of the LTTE's political office in Mannar town was damaged by another group of Muslims around midnight, Police said.

Two men were riding a motorbike from Mannar towards their village near Pesalai Thursday night around 8.30 when one of them, Mr. Faisal Saleem, was shot dead by gunmen who had trailed them on another motorbike.

The two men are from the coastal Muslim village of Karisal on the western part of Mannar island.

"Associates of the dead man gathered together and attacked the LTTE office on Moor Street when his body was brought to Mannar base hospital", a Police officer said.

Curfew would be in effect until 6 p.m. according to Mannar Police.

MoD says 'in control' [TamilNet, September 27, 1998 10:34 GMT]

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence (MoD) acknowledged this afternoon an attack by the Liberation Tigers on the Sri Lankan Army's (SLA) largest base complex that began around midnight.

However, contrary to earlier reports about heavy fighting until this morning in the Elephant Pass - Paranthan base complex, the MoD communiqué said that the situation has been brought under control.

"In the early hours of September 27 confrontation took place between LTTE terrorists and troops manning defences south of Paranthan in the Kilinochchi district. At present troops are in full control of the situation and clearing operations are in progress. Ground troops estimate over forty terrorists killed and a large number wounded during the confrontation. Nine soldiers were killed and 29 wounded due to the incident" said the MoD communiqué this afternoon.

However, independent reports indicated that a large force of Tigers had overrun more than a kilometre of SLA defences on the northern outskirts of the now abandoned Kilinochchi town in the early hours of the morning today.

Australian government legitimising the "pre-emptive doctrine"

George Bush invented it. John Howard and Tony Blair endorsed it. Most other nations opposed it. The world's religious leaders called it unjust and immoral and the United Nations declared it illegal. And now the Australian government has adopted the "pre-emptive doctrine" as foreign policy.

A pre-emptive military strike against a sovereign nation is contrary to accepted international law and all conventions dealing with relations between nations. The doctrine of pre-emption first emerged in the lead-up to Iraqi war when US President George Bush vowed to attack Iraq claiming that Saddam Hussein had non-conventional weapons and was preparing to pass them over to terrorists. Australia was the first country to endorse the doctrine.

The "coalition of the willing" headed by the US, Great Britain and Australia broke all rules of international politics when it invaded Iraq on the perceived - and spurious at it turned out to be - threat of Saddam Hussein and his regime to global security. More importantly, it was done against the wishes and the authority of the UN Security Council. Leaving aside the almost total failure, so far, to bring law and order to Iraq, this action set a precedent, which any unscrupulous national leader could use in the future, for political expediency.

That is exactly what the Australia's Prime Minister has done in the current election campaign.

Buoyed by the political advantage that flowed to him from the storming of the Tampa, the terror attacks of September 11, and his handling of the Bali bombing a year later, security was to be the bedrock of John Howard's next term as Prime Minister. But, following the bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the Labour opposition has been gaining ground with the claim that involvement in Iraq had diverted attention from local threats, particularly from Jemma Islamia and with Labour's own policy of close co-operation with neighbouring countries to protect Australia from terrorism.

To counter Labour, last week John Howard announced he would establish six crack Federal flying squads to be based across the region to combat terrorist risks at their source - the Islamist recruiting grounds of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. He went further. When asked whether he would send Australian forces into any country in South East Asia that was seemingly habouring terrorist groups, he said "Of course."

Howard said a pre-emptive strike would be legal, as international law "sanctions, actions in self-defence". He was dismissive of the recent pronouncement by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that from "the UN charter point of view such action was illegal".

It is difficult to see the Prime Minister's statement as mere " election talk". On the contrary, it is a firm affirmation of his belief in the legality and morality of the pre-emptive doctrine. In 2002, Howard had called for a rewrite of the UN charter to allow pre-emptive strikes against terrorists on foreign soil.

Howard was supported by his Foreign Minister Alexander Downer who went on to suggest that, " it would be absolutely understandable if the Indonesian air force bombed Australia believing terrorists who threatened Indonesia were located there."

Defence Minister Robert Hill said, " You don't wait until you're attacked; that's the principle lesson of September 11." This, undoubtedly, is government policy serious enough to be concerned about. Even allowing for the changed circumstances created by the rise of al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups in the past three years, it is a remarkable development in Australian politics when a leader of either of the major parties runs hard during an election campaign on a promise of making unilateral military forays into neighbouring countries.

The reaction from regional leaders as well as political analysts, media commentators and academics within Australia to John Howard's pre-emption stance was swift, predictable and damning.

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak warned that the pre-emption stance offended territorial sovereignty and regional sensitivities, jeopardising counter-terrorism co-operation.

The Philippines President Gloria Arrayo said her country would not tolerate any threat to its territorial integrity.

Indonesia's ambassador to Australia, Imron Cotan said he hoped that " the pre-emption claims were about domestic politics".

Over 500 senior Australian academics from every one of the 38 Universities issued a public statement condemning the policy in general and Australia's involvement in Iraq in particular. This follows similar statements from 43 retired diplomats and former military officers, and 56 leading medical professionals a few days ago.

Last week the Catholic Social Services Victoria distributed a leaflet at all Sunday masses, dealing with what it thought were the key issues in the 2004 elections. Among other things it "rejected the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strike" and re-iterated the Church's commitment to strengthening the system of international governance". At stake, it said, was the rule of international law, echoing the words of the UN Secretary-General.

David Wright-Neville, former senior analyst inside the Prime Minister' Office of National Assessment and current head of Monash University's Global Terrorism project, said the scenario for a pre-emptive strike in the region is absurd and inconceivable. "It is almost science fiction; there are so many contingencies. It is extremely rare you get intelligence that definitely suggests an attack on Australia is imminent." "Advocating the pre-emptive doctrine is eroding relationships essential to combat terrorists in the region," he wrote. "You could kiss goodbye to security co-operation with the countries in Australia's neighbourhood."

Australian Strategic Policy Institute head Hugh White called it "dumb diplomacy" because it gets in the way of co-operation with the region. The Australian government has negotiated counter-terrorism agreements with nine neighbouring countries; to work well, such agreements require a solid grounding of mutual trust.

But Howard's hairy-chested bravado only helps people like Abu Bakar Bashir and Osman bin Laden claim their terrorism is a defensive strategy to keep the West at bay. It erodes support for Australia in key regional intelligence and political communities and fans hatred among potential terrorist recruits. It is insulting to other countries to suggest they can't or won't deal with the scourge of terrorism. A country cannot deal with terrorism unilaterally; it is a global phenomenon and needs global co-operation. The reality is that, if there is a possible terrorist attack, what we need most is spontaneous co-operation. Anything that risks that co-operation puts Australian lives at risk.

Apart from all that, it is matter of the "rule of law". As Kofi Annan says, the rule of law applies equally within countries and between countries. There is no legal or moral justification for any nation to attack another unless there is clear and indisputable evidence that a direct attack on it is not merely possible or even probable, but imminent. If there is what could be termed a "just war" the United Nations should be its sole arbiter. The UN is not perfect. But it is the only system mankind has for maintaining global law and order.

Mr. Howard has shown willingness to compromise Australia's standing with governments in the region by trying to legitimise the "pre-emptive doctrine in the hope of gaining a short-term political advantage. It is a flawed, dangerous and foolish anti-terror strategy.