Thursday, December 22, 2005

Karuna and Kalkudah by Sachi Sri Kantha

I wonder how many have noticed the rebukes and exposure faced by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, aka Karuna, in the past few weeks. By whom? First, by the prima donna of Colombo politics, the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Secondly, by the Kalkudah constituency, in which his native town Kiran is located, on November 17th. And Karuna is quivering from such exposures. The wisdom of the Tamil proverb, Oorudan pahaithaal Verudan Kedum [You antagonize your village; You die with your roots.] seems applicable to his plight. Thirdly, by the newly elected President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Exposed in Colombo

There was a time when the salivating hacks in Colombo and Chennai anointed President Chandrika with the adjective ‘charismatic.’ I never bought that. But, one should give the devil her due. Chandrika indeed has flair, but no charisma. Those who watched her parents at close quarters have written that her father Solomon Bandaranaike had both charisma and flair. But her mother Sirimavo was a rather mute and reserved type, typical of the women of her Kandyan Govigama aristocratic background.

In her swan song interview to the House of Hindu publishers, Chandrika spilled some beans, which Karuna, his coterie and ghostwriters would not have wished to come out in the open. Only Chandrika knows whether this spilling of beans was inadvertent or intentional. To three questions about her dealings with the LTTE, by the interviewer V.S.Sambandan, Chandrika responded as follows:

Q1: What are the high points of the three peace processes you initiated with the LTTE in the past 11 years?

Chandrika: ….I am quite sure that [the former LTTE district military commander] Karuna would not have broken away even with all these conflicts between Jaffna Tamils and Batticaloa Tamils if Karuna had not been allowed to go out so many times. And I am not saying it only by imagining, some day when I write the history – it’s still too hot to write – by the messages that Karuna sent me. He wanted to speak to me. I never spoke, on the basis that I don’t speak directly to any terrorist. But the messages were very clear…

Q2: When was this?

Chandrika: Soon after he broke away. Before he left Batticaloa and after he left Batticaloa.

Q3: And you have not spoken to him?

Chandrika: I have never spoken to him, never ever. But, I said if he needs anything, give us any message for his protection and all that because [if] Prabakaran asks for his protection I will give that also. He is a citizen of Sri Lanka. But I have no dealings with him [Karuna]…” [source: Frontline magazine,Chennai, Nov.5-18, 2005]

Now let me clarify the facts from these confessional responses by Chandrika. First, Karuna attempted to talk to Chandrika desperately before and after he left Batticaloa. Secondly, Chandrika did not speak to Karuna in person, but had instructed that she was willing to receive ‘any message.’ Thirdly, that, on behalf of Chandrika, some of her agents would have talked to Karuna can be assumed. Fourthly, suppose that, if Karuna had backed up his words (then splashed in his media blurbs) with deeds after April 2004, Chandrika might have openly talked to Karuna. But Karuna’s bombast failed to live up to expectations. As such, Chandrika could exercise her plausible deniability. Fifthly, we have to wait till Chandrika writes her version of “history” to read what messages Karuna sent to her, and it will not be that soon. Until then, we can live with the fact that Chandrika has exposed Karuna. And Karuna and his coterie are keeping mum about this exposure. Nothing is mentioned about this in Karuna’s mouthpiece, the Asian Tribune blog sheet.

Rebuke in Kalkudah

A few days before the last Presidential election day of Nov.17th, Karuna endorsed Mahinda Rajapakse, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidate. To quote from the news report from the Asian Tribune blog sheet,

“The Tamileelam Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) headed by Vina[ya]gamoorthy Muralitharan has appealed to the Tamil voters not to boycott Thursday’s Presidential Election in Sri Lanka….Mahinda Rajapakse has said he will make changes to the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE. This is an important issue for us. He also said that he will commence talks with all parties to find a solution to the ethnic problem. This too is important for us…For these reasons, Karuna Amman said his party has decided to support Mahinda Rajapakse in the forthcoming Presidential election.” [Asian Tribune, Nov.14, 2005].

Did the Kalkudah constituency, which was Karuna’s home turf, listen to his political appeal on November 17th? The results went convincingly against Karuna’s plea. There were no reports, even from Karuna’s scribes, that the Kalkudah voters unwillingly refrained from voting. [see below] Thus, one can easily infer that Karuna’s standing among the Tamils of Kalkudah constituency itself has evaporated abysmally.

The anti-LTTE analyst D.B.S. Jeyaraj, typical to form, misread and distorted the voting pattern in Kalkudah constituency on November 17th. In his half-baked commentary, he reported,

“The LTTE tries to make out that votes for Wickremasinghe were from the Muslims. This is incorrect. Padiruppu for instance is 99% Tamil. Kalkudah is 65% Tamil. Batticaloa is 75% Tamil. The votes this time were more than in 1999 Presidential election….In Batticaloa the Karuna factor also helped. While Karuna asked people to support Rajapakse he also wanted people to vote for anyone of their choice. This ‘mixed’ signal strengthened the people’s resolve to vote.” [Sunday Leader, Nov.20, 2005]

To evaluate the exposure of Karuna by the Kalkudah voters and the distorted and erroneous analysis of D.B.S.Jeyaraj, let us compare how Kalkudah constituency voted in the April 2nd 2004 general election. Jeyaraj should have checked the numbers obtained in the 2004 general election, and not the 1999 Presidential election, for clarity. This voting occurred almost one month after Karuna’s expulsion from the LTTE, but still he remained perched in the Kudumbi Malai camp. Kalkudah constituency’s ethnic profile is as follows: Ceylon Tamils 64%, Indian Tamils 3%; Muslims 28%; Sinhalese 4%; Unclassified 1%.

Registered electors in April 2004 were 86,626. Total polled 74,645 (86.17 percent). The Tamil National Alliance received 43,503 votes (61.46 percent of vote). Sri Lanka Muslim Congress received 22,244 votes (31.43 percent of vote). United People’s Freedom Alliance received 2,706 votes (3.82 percent of vote). United National Party received 1,364 votes (1.93 percent of vote). Eelam Peoples Democratic Party received 568 votes (0.8 percent of vote).

In the November 17th Presidential election, the main contenders were Mahinda Rajapakse (UPFA) and Ranil Wickremasinghe (UNP). Karuna was not in Kalkudah or anywhere in East Eelam. His current place of residence remains hidden. Thus the registered 91,410 electors of Kalkudah were supplied only with Karuna’s plea via the media. Total polled was 40,369 (44.71 percent). There was a deep 41 percent drop in voting, despite Karuna’s plea against boycotting the voting. The UNP received 28,484 votes, the majority of which (22,244 votes) can be assumed to be that belonging to the Muslims who voted for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress in 2004, and this party endorsed Ranil Wickremasinghe. Mahinda Rajapakse, endorsed by Karuna, was able to secure only 11,105 votes. Calculations reveal that of the 43,503 votes received by the Tamil National Alliance in 2004, almost 30,800 votes were not cast in the Nov.17th Presidential election, which accounted to the drop of polling percentage from 86 percent in April 2004 to 45 percent in November 2005. Among the nearly 12,700 Tamils of Kalkudah constituency who did vote in the Presidential election, nearly 7,800 voted for Mahinda Rajapakse to increase his total votes to 11,105; and only 4,870 voted for Ranil Wickremasinghe to increase his total votes to 28,482.

In sum, Mahinda Rajapakse’s cumulative 11,105 votes in Kalkudah constituency in this Presidential election should have originated from the following; (1) nearly 2,700 votes which were cast to the UPFA in the 2004 general election, (2) 568 votes which were cast to Devananda’s EPDP in the 2004 general election, and (3) the remaining 7,800 votes, belonging to the Tamils who did vote. Thus it can be deduced that, Karuna’s vote bank has now stabilised to at most this number of 7,800 votes in his home turf.

Karuna must have been sadly disappointed about his miniscule vote bank in Kalkudah constituency. In his own Heroes Day message, Karuna blamed Pirabhakaran for the Tamil people not listening to his plea. To quote,

“Pirapaharan has thrust upon the Tamil people a totalitarian control. He is camouflaging his dictatorship with the Tamil Eelam label. One example of his dictatorship was the violent force he had used to stop the people of North East from participating in the election held on the 17th. He demonstrated that he alone has the full dictatorial control over events in North East and that the Tamil people have no rights of their own…He will allow the people to go to vote whenever he wants them to vote and stop them from exercising their voting rights whenever he wants them not to vote…” [source: Asian Tribune, November 27, 2005].

No wonder Karuna’s ghost writers had to labor valiantly. But I have been looking for newsreports from East Eelam to check whether, how, when and where the voters from Kalkudah constituency were prevented from voting on the November 17th Presidential election. I have not located one such report. Thus, the verdict is clear and Karuna cannot gulp it. The Kalkudah voters have not deluded themselves like Karuna. They have deserted en-masse their home-town boy who has become a captive to anti-Tamil interests.

Sinhalese chorus for Karuna also rebuked by Kalkudah

The rebuke served by the Kalkudah constituents to Karuna on November 17th also punctured the hopes of racist Sinhalese analysts, like Tisaranee Gunasekara and H.L.D.Mahindapala, who have been vainly hoping that Karuna’s stars will rise along the Eastern horizon. Too bad, that Karuna keeps repeatedly disappointing this coterie of his non-Tamil fans.

The blarney of this Sinhalese chorus in the electronic media has to be enjoyed for its rib-tickling humorous gibberish. Here is an excerpt from Tisaranee Gunasekara:

“The Karuna group seems to have more influence in the East than the Tigers right now. How this situation would translate itself into votes is anybody’s guess. But it looks as if the rebel leader can deliver a majority of the Eastern Tamil votes to the Presidential candidate of his choice, that will give him considerable political clout…. Col.Karuna will thus have to learn to play the number game if he wants to maintain and expand on his military gains in the East. The best he can do for himself and the anti-Tiger cause is to rally his political forces and get into the bargaining mode. Perhaps he may have to obtain the assistance of a seasoned politician like Mr.Anandasangaree for the task; in fact this is the time for at least some of the anti-Tiger Tamil parties to come together in an untied front with as much fanfare as possible, and ideally with Mr.Anandasangaree as the political leader…” [source: Asian Tribune, August 28, 2005]

What is funny in this gibberish is that, a Sinhalese analyst like Tisaranee Gunasekara takes the intelligence of Eastern Tamil commoners for granted. Many of these Tamil voters may not know how to dish out anti-Tamil polemics in English. But they sure know what is best for their lives and security, and Karuna since March 2004 has been delivering only poisonous vibes [such as foul-mouthed provincialism and anti-Pirabhakaran tirades] which Tamil voters can easily sieve and screen.

Rebuke in Colombo

In his own Heroes Day speech of November 27th, Karuna pleaded that “The government [of Mahinda Rajapakse] should also reconsider the role of Norway which had facilitated the [2002 Ceasefire] agreement…” But President Rajapakse, in his wisdom, turned a deaf ear to Karuna. It is not hard to ponder the reasons why the newly elected President was not so enthusiastic to act on Karuna’s plea. First, Karuna did not deliver on his empty endorsement in the Eastern Province on November 17th. Secondly, the nose of a street-smart politician like Rajapakse [a Premadasa equivalent in the SLFP] is sharp enough to distinguish the real flower from the paper flower among the Tamils.

The Chief and the Challenger

At 39, Karuna is still young. His military career is behind him. He now wants to be a Tamil politician, but he acts like a fool to insult Eastern Tamil commoners with outlandish claims. The best medicine for him now is an ounce of humility rather than a ton of arrogance. Can Karuna succeed in his mission as a Tamil politician?

I provide a brief analysis which, to my knowledge, has not been attempted by others. We should study the past history of political leadership tussles among the Tamils, both in Tamil Nadu and Eelam. There have been six such notable examples of leadership tussles. The challengers formed a new political party from the parent organization. The qualifying criteria are, (1) Both contestants were legitimate leaders, by virtue of societal recognition. (2) Both contestants belonged to the same political organization and came to part ways on personality differences. One of the contestants was the reigning Chief, and the other was the Challenger. I mention the name of the Chief first and also annotate the ultimate outcome.

(1) Periyar E.V.Ramasamy Naicker versus C.N.Annadurai (Anna) in 1949; the challenger gained, after forming a new party, the DMK.

(2) G.G.Ponnambalam versus S.J.V.Chelvanayakam in 1949; the challenger gained, after forming a new party FP.

(3) C.N.Annadurai versus E.V.K.Sampath in 1961; the chief not usurped, though the challenger formed a new party, Tamil Nationalist Party.

(4) S.J.V.Chelvanayakam versus V.Navaratnam in 1968; the chief not usurped, though the challenger formed a new party, the Tamil Suya Aatchi Kazhagam.

(5) M.Karunanidhi versus M.G.Ramachandran (MGR) in 1972; the challenger gained, after forming a new party Anna DMK.

(6) A.Amirthalingam versus S.C.Chandrahasan in 1979-80; the chief not usurped, though the challenger formed a new organization, Tamil Eelam Liberation Front (TELF).

Among these six examples, ultimately decided by their societal recognition, in two of the three occasions when the challenger gained, the challengers (Chelvanayakam in 1949 and MGR in 1972) were nominally older than the chiefs. In all three occasions when the chief gained, the chiefs (Annadurai in 1961, Chelvanayakam in 1968 and Amirthalingam in 1979-80), were nominally older than the challengers. This indicates that Tamil society pays higher preference to age and wisdom. The only exception among these six examples was Annadurai in 1949, when he was a challenger and younger to the Chief. When it comes to who is crowned as a victor in a leadership tussle, two inter-twined criteria stand out;

  • The affable aura and affectionate quality; These are positive traits. A challenger if he had them, turned out to be a victor; and if the chief had them, he was not usurped. Anna, Chelvanayakam and MGR had these traits as challengers and they were chosen over the head of their Chiefs.
  • The pompous quality and perceived arrogance; These are negative traits. A challenger if he had them, turned out to be a loser; and if the chief had them, he was not usurped. Periyar E.V.Ramasamy Naicker, G.G.Ponnambalam and M.Karunanidhi, though being Chiefs, lost out to their challengers because the Tamil masses perceived that they were pompous and arrogant.

In the case of Chandrahasan’s challenge against Amirthalingam in 1979-80, though the then TULF leader Amirthalingam was perceived as arrogant in certain quarters, the challenger Chandrahasan’s affable aura was rather inadequate, despite being the fact that he was a son of Amirthalingam’s mentor, Chelvanayakam. Here, the tilt for Amirthalingam was also probably influenced by the perception among the Eelam Tamils that the hereditary transfer of a leadership crown was not beneficial. Two years before, in 1977, Chandrahasan’s equivalent - a young and inexperienced G.G.(Kumar) Ponnambalam Jr. also had mounted a rash challenge against Amirthalingam, then based solely on the criterion that his father G.G.Ponnambalam was also a Tamil leader. Thus, Amirthalingam (in 1977 and 1979) benefitted from this anti-hereditary preference of Eelam Tamils.

In the current Karuna’s campaign for political leadership, it is not difficult to find why Karuna is losing repeatedly, even in his home turf of the Kalkudah constitutency. He is perceived as arrogant and pompous. By his rash decisions and recklessness, Karuna also has lost the hard-earned affable aura and affectionate quality, however much his ghostwriters wish to garb him with words of action.


Chemical Warfare In The Fratricidal War.

LTTE has obtained a stockpile of chemical weapons. According to sources close to Colonel Karuna, the breakaway LTTE faction in Eastern Sri Lanka, a foreign power has provided the LTTE with modern weapons and this includes a stockpile of nerve gas similar to the one used by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein against the Kursish rebels. A 400 men strong LTTE special task force sent by the LTTE leader Velupillai Pirapaharan to search and destroy cadres of the breakaway rebel group led by Colonel Karuna in Eastern Sri Lanka is equipped with modern weapons including the nerve gas.

Sources close to Colonel Karuna has confirmed that this special task force is in possession of chemical weapons with instructions from the LTTE leader to use these weapons only against Karuna cadres. This specific instruction was because the foreign power which provided these chemical weapons to the LTTE has reportedly obtained from the Sri Lankan rebels an assurance that they should not use these weapons against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

How did the LTTE, the Sri Lankan terrorist organisation, get a stockpile of chemical weapons? Which country has provided the LTTE with these deadly weapons banned all over the world? These are disturbing questions asked in Colombo diplomatic and military circles in the backdrop of an impending announcement by the LTTE leader Velupillai Pirapaharan during his Heroes' Day address later this month of his plans for declaring a separate Tamil homeland in North East Sri Lanka.

News that the LTTE is possessed of chemical weapons has reportedly alarmed the Sri Lankan Security Forces as LTTE is known to easily renege on promises. Further, LTTE has no compunction in using any weapons or methods against perceived enemies as demonstrated by its use of suicide bombers in past attacks. It may be recalled that the LTTE used crude a chemical weapon, the chlorine gas, when it attacked the Sri Lankan security forces in the early 1990s when they attacked the Sri Lankan Army Camp at Kiran in the Batticaloa district.

The risk of a chemical weapons attack on Sri Lankan Army bases in North East Sri Lanka in the event of an outbreak of another Eelam War is reportedly being urgently analysed by the Sri Lankan military establishment. Fears are heightened in the light of information that the LTTE has developed an air wing and is possessed of at least five small aircraft capable of launching suicide missions. It is learnt that Indian authorities have been alerted of this latest acquisition by LTTE.

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and their Destruction which came into force in 1993 has banned the production, use and stockpiling of chemical weapons. Given this worldwide ban, which country has provided the LTTE with the deadly nerve gas is a question that is seriously being investigated by the Sri Lankan military establishment and the Indian military authorities. There are suspicions that a West European country closely aligned with the LTTE and which espouses LTTE's causes may be the offender. This West European country, it is said, might have provided these chemical and other modern weapons to the LTTE via another East European country under a bi-lateral agreement with that country with special secret instructions for onward shipment to the Vanni based Sri Lankan terrorist organisation.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Acquisition of nerve gas and other lethal chemical weapons by the LTTE

Colombo, 21 November, (; How did the LTTE, the Sri Lanka’s Tamil terrorist organisation, have a stockpile of chemical weapons? Which was the country that has provided the LTTE with these deadly weapons banned all over the world? These are disturbing questions asked in Colombo diplomatic and military circles in the backdrop of a political change in the leadership of Sri Lanka and the policies of the new leaders are still unclear and ambiguous.

“Asian Tribune” reliably learns that a foreign power has provided the LTTE with modern weapons and this includes a stockpile of nerve gas similar to the one used by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein against Kurdish rebels.

As exclusively reported in our in the Asian Tribune a few days ago, a 400 men strong special strike force sent by the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran to search and destroy cadres of the breakaway rebel group led by Colonel Karuna in Eastern Sri Lanka was equipped with modern weapons.

Eastern sources which revealed this information to “Asian Tribune” and has now confirmed that this special task force is in possession of chemical weapons with instructions from the LTTE leader to use these weapons only against Karuna cadres. This specific instruction was given to the cadres, because the foreign power which provided these chemical weapons to the LTTE has reportedly obtained from the Sri Lankan rebels an assurance that they should not use these weapons against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

News that the LTTE is possession of the chemical weapons has nevertheless alarmed the Sri Lankan Security Forces as LTTE is known to easily renege on promises.

Further, LTTE has no compunction in using any weapons or methods against perceived enemies as demonstrated by its use of suicide bombers in the past attacks. It may be recalled that the LTTE used crude chemical weapon, the chlorine gas, when it attacked the Sri Lankan security forces in the early 1990s, when they attacked the Sri Lankan Army Camp at Kiran in the Batticaloa district.

The risk of a chemical weapon attack on Sri Lankan Army bases in North East Sri Lanka in the event of an outbreak of another Eelam War is being urgently analysed by the Sri Lankan military establishment. Fears are heightened in the light of information that the LTTE has developed an air wing and is possessed of at least five small aircraft capable of launching suicide missions. “Asian Tribune” learns that the Indian authorities have been alerted of this latest acquisition by LTTE.

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and their Destruction which came into force in 1993 has banned the production, use and stockpiling of chemical weapons. Given this worldwide ban, which country has provided the LTTE with the deadly nerve gas is a question that is seriously being investigated by the Sri Lankan military establishment and the Indian military authorities?

There are suspicions that a West European country closely aligned with the LTTE and which espouses LTTE’s causes may be the offender. This West European country, it is said, might have provided these chemical and other modern weapons to the LTTE via another East European country under a bi-lateral agreement with that country with special secret instructions for onward shipment to the Vanni based Sri Lankan terrorist organisation.

- Asian Tribune -


SLA attacks on Jaffna protesters justified, says Fonseka

A "third force" in Jaffna is using peaceful demonstrations to instigate violence and therefore Sri Lanka Army (SLA) had to take defensive action, said Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the Sri Lanka Army commander, justifying the recent attacks by the SLA soldiers on unarmed protesters in Jaffna, during a meeting between SL President Mahinda Rajapakse and TNA parliamentarians Wednesday at Temple trees, TNA sources said. The Vice Chancellor of Jaffna Campus, the Dean of the Arts Faculty and a TNA Member of Parliament were attacked, several students were injured and a lecturer received gunshot wounds when the SLA soldiers violently brokeup a peaceful demonstration near Jaffna campus Monday.

Sarath Fonseka described the actions by the Sri Lanka Army as part of an ongoing "military operation" against what he described as a third force, the sources added.

Rejecting the Sri Lankan commander's characterization of unarmed peaceful protest against military oppression as "instigating violence," and asserting that right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental right of everyone, the Tamil parliamentarians reiterated that Sri Lanka Government must take efforts to stop the violence by the soldiers before the situation gets out of control.

Although the meeting with the Sri Lankan President ended without any conclusive outcome, the parliamentarians said that they had cautioned the Sri Lankan President of the urgency of adopting a constructive approach instead of the current 'destructive' approach.

If the Government of Sri Lanka is concerned and serious about peace talks, it should acknowledge that the cause for the civilian agitation in Jaffna is the conduct of the Sri Lankan forces, the delegation told the President. The delegation pointed out the Punguduthivu incident where a twenty-year old Tamil woman, Ilayathamby Tharshini, was brutally raped and dumped into an abandoned well near a Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) camp in Punguduthivu. The act provoked protests in Jaffna.

"It is a political right to mobilise against such oppressive acts. Characterizing political mobilisation as instigating violence, would only serve to escalate the tension further," the TNA delegation told the Sri Lankan President.

The brother of SL President Rajapakse and the Secretary of Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse, Chief of Defence Staff Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri were also present at the meeting.

Sri Lankan Army commander rejected the concerns of the parliamentarians and said that the people of Jaffna were firmly behind the Sri Lanka Army and warned that his army would not tolerate protests, TNA sources said.

The TNA delegation further urged Rajapakse, his brother and the Secretary of Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse and Chief of Defence Staff Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri to dismantle the army checkpoints located close to Jaffna University.


SLA Corporal killed, six soldiers injured in Kilaly ambush

A Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Corporal was killed and six soldiers including two SLA majors were injured when unknown gunmen ambushed a SLA military vehicle along Kachchai-Kilali road in Thenmaradchy at 6.30 p.m. Wednesday, sources in Jaffna said. Gunmen used light machine guns and grenades in the attack, according to sources. Three SLA soldiers were injured in two other grenade attacks in Ariyalai and Kalviyankadu.

Majors and soldiers injured in Kachchai attack were immediately brought to the nearby Thambuthottam SLA camp and from there they were airlifted by SLAF helicopter to the Palaly military hospital, sources said.

In another incident in Jaffna, one SLA trooper was injured when unknown assailants hurled a grenade at the Ariyalai Mambalam junction at 5.30 a.m. Wednesday.

In a second grenade attack Wednesday 5.45 p.m. aimed at the SLA troops manning the model market in Kalviyankadu located on the Jaffna Point Pedro road two SLA soldiers were injured, according to traders in Kalviyankadu.

Following the attacks, sources said that SLA patrols in outer town areas have been stopped.

Reports from Chavakachcheri confirmed that two SLA soldiers were injured in a grenade attack Tuesday.

SLA spokesperson said that in a search operation they have recovered two RPG launchers in Palali road area. Exact location was not disclosed by the SLA spokesperson.


India moves to restrain LTTE with no impact on its violence despite Co-chairs warning by H. L. D. Mahindapala

India has stepped up its involvement in Sri Lankan politics making strategic political moves to block LTTE attempts to gain the upper hand through violence. It has intervened in two key areas: 1) internationally, at the meeting of the Co-chairs in Brussels and 2) domestically, patching up the differences between President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Ceylon Workers' Congress leader, Arumugan Thondaman.

It is significant that the four Co-chairs -- US, EU, Japan and Norway -- met the Indian representative separately before issuing the tough warning to the LTTE. The warning comes at a time when the LTTE is escalating its violence against the Sri Lankan Security forces in Jaffna. Any deterioration of the situation in Jaffna is bound to give India a headache it doesn't need now. In a move to pre-empt further escalation of LTTE violence India, according diplomatic sources, has moved to put maximum pressure on the four Co-chairs to act sternly against the LTTE.

The international community too is concerned about the LTTE-sponsored agitation in Jaffna aimed at grabbing Jaffna without an open declaration of war. The current escalation of violence by the LTTE is designed to provoke the Security Forces to retaliate, leading to a full-scale war. The warning from the four Co-chairs to either end the violence immediately or face serious consequences is seen partly as a result of the pressures mounted by the Indians to prevent another war. If there is another war India will be under severe pressure to act one way or another. Indian policy at the moment is to engage in remote control manoeuvres to prevent the LTTE from provoking another war -- an event that can not only destabilize regional security but also lead to serious domestic repercussions.

Incidentally, the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) told a press conference (December 15, 2005) that the the Maoists "learnt newer warfare tactics from the LTTE in 1986-87". He said that LTTE gave them training in producing and using landmines. An Indian news source reported yesterday: "Members of Raja Saba today expressed its concern about the claims of Maoist leaders that they had received training from the LTTE and made a strong plea to identify the sources of weapons and ammunitions to the extremist forces in various parts of India and Nepal." This explains why India is keen on containing LTTE: it still poses a serious threat to Indian regional and domestic security.

In Sri Lanka Indian diplomats have taken a more open and active role in bringing the estranged CWC leader, Arumugan Thondaman, back into the fold of the government. Peeved by President Mahinda Rajapakse's move to cut him down to size after he backed Ranil Wickremesinghe in the last presidential election Thondaman openly wooed the LTTE, threatening to form an alliance with the Tigers. President Rajapakse withdrew the security given to him and attempted to split the CWC.

Alarm bells rang in Delhi when it became clear that an alliance of the Indian estate workers and the Tamil Tigers would be too explosive to handle Political observers agree that both President Rajapakse and Thondaman made self-defeating moves without weighing the pros and cons of their hasty actions. Rajapakse's move drove Thondaman to the LTTE. But the greater threat would have been to Thondaman who, in the end, would have been swallowed up by the LTTE if he joined hands with Prabhakaran. As the "sole representative of the Tamils" he would not have tolerated another Tamil rival to his hegemony. Political observers noted that Thondaman's move to join hands with the LTTE was like cutting the nose to spite the face.

In any political arrangement with the LTTE Arumugan Thondaman would be assigned the role of playing a second fiddle to Prabhakaran. His shrewd grandfather, S. Thondaman, the founder of the CWC, always kept a healthy distance from the Jaffna-centric politics fearing that the Indian estate workers would lose their identity and their independence if they worked under the hegemony of Jaffna Tamils who had traditionally looked down on the Indian Tamils as "coolies". Besides, the Indian Tamils and the Jaffna Tamils do not have common political goals or interests other than sharing a common language. It has also been the long-term objective of the Jaffna leadership to bring them under their wing to boost their numerical strength. But the regional, historical, political and economic differences always kept the two groups apart.

So far it appears that Indian diplomacy has succeeded in persuading President Mahinda Rajapakse to take Arumugan Thondaman to India and the Co-chairs to issue a serious warning to the LTTE. The four Co-chairs combined with the Indians will be too formidable a force for the LTTE to combat. However, it should be noted that neither the threat of the Co-chairs nor the Indian moves have stopped the LTTE from continuing its provocative acts of attacking and killing Security Forces.

The best that can be expected, according to political observers, is the hope of LTTE returning to the negotiating table under international pressure. As stated by Velupillai Prabhakaran, this has been their normal tactic. They will return not to negotiate peace but to bargain for more concessions and to buy some more time to escalate the next round of violence.

At the moment the stumbling block is the venue. Obstructing peace talks with ever increasing demands has also been their regular tactic. The LTTE banks on the knowledge that the international community will not go beyond issuing warnings or imposing travel bans, or even banning them. The LTTE has survived all these moves knowing that the four Co-chairs will not crack down heavily to cripple them. In fact, Norway, one of the four Co-chairs, is the base for collecting funds and persecuting non-LTTE Tamils or threatening them with death.

The LTTE agents have also been given free licence to use the Royal Norwegian emblem to be used on LTTE website in Norway despite protests to the Norwegian government. For instance, Nitharsanam, a website sponsored by the Norwegian government, foreshadowed the assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar. Lakshman Kadirgamar was a leading critic of Norway's role in the peace process. Norway-sponsored Nitharsanam questions Norway's credibility as a peace-maker, peace-monitor and a member of Co-chairs.

According to political observers the text of the communiqué issued at the latest Brussels meeting of the Co-chairs indicate that the Norwegian influence to protect LTTE interests has been scaled down. Diplomatic sources believe that the Indian presence had to some extent influenced the tone and the emphases in Co-chairs warning. Despite this political observers do not expect any positive outcome other than a routine meeting either in Oslo or Tokyo to impress the international community that the LTTE is keen on peace.

- Asian Tribune -


"STF, SL Ministers complicit in paramilitary operations, Karuna in India"

The two paramilitary cadres who surrendered to the Tigers in Amparai disclosed that Karuna operates from India and that Pillayan was leading the Karuna group operating in the east. They also revealed that Sri Lankan Government Ministers A L M Athaullah, Douglas Devananda and Maithripala Sirisena are complicit in helping paramilitaries operating in the east, during a press conference held at Thenakam guest house in LTTE controlled Karadiyanaru Monday. The cadres also said that the paramilitaries were involved in violence against Muslims to create dissension between Tamil and Muslim communities.

The cadres said that the group was led by Pillayan. Iniyabarathy was functioning as the head of their team in Amparai. They were told by Pillayan, Mangalan master, Iniyabarathy and other operatives that Karuna was operating from India.

"The group of fourty men is headed by Pillayan, and Karuna is in constant communication with Pillayan and other key persons. Karuna talked to me recently before we reneged from the group," Gnanatheepan, who claimed he was second in command next to Iniyabarathy, told the media.

The cadres said Sri Lankan Army Intelligence commanders, Capt. Sureshkumara and Capt. Abeyaratne were the ones who dealt with Pillayan and Iniyabarathy directly.

"Transport arrangements, arms and ammunition supplies are arranged by the Sri Lanka Army Intelligence," Gnanatheepan said. However, the funding was being provided by an external source through a key operative Uruthira, he said.

They were receiving 30 000 rupees as salary, the cadres said adding that the lower ranks were paid at least 10 000 per month.

Karuna Group cadres were mainly based in two places, Thivuchenai and Thirukonamadu, according to Puhalventhan and Gnanatheepan.

Gnanatheepan further said 22 paramilitary cadres, including Puhalventhan and himself, were recently moved to a safehouse in Manthoddam, an SLA controlled area in Amparai, for instigating violence between Tamil and Muslim communities.

Sinhala villagers had protested to their presence in the village. A buddhist monk and a Sri Lankan Military official convinced the villagers and arranged another safe house in the area, he added.

Athaulla's close associate, Fowzer, was in regular communication with Iniyabarathy, the cadres claimed. Fowzer was also helping the group to secure a safe house at Pachchilaipalli in Akkaraipattu and to establish direct links between Athaulla and Iniyabarathy, cadres further said.

"Creating dissension between the Muslims and the Tigers was key to succesful survival of the Karuna Group," Iniyabarathy had repeatedly told his cadres, Gnanatheepan said.

Iniyabarathy communicated with Douglas Devananda every morning, he said adding that Devananda had gifted a computer to Iniyabarathy.

The surrendered cadres also said that journalist Nadesan was shot and killed by Iniyabarathy.

A direct meeting took place between Sri Lanka Minister Maitripala Sirisena and Mangalan master at Thivuchenai in Welikanda, prior to the recent presidential elections, Gnanatheepan said.

Sirisena, according to Gnanatheepan, sought help from the paramilitary to campaign for Mahinda Rajapakse in Polannaruwa and the SLA controlled areas in Batticaloa.

Both the cadres were close friends and following a period when they were disturbed by their own conduct, they resolved to deal with their situation and waited for a suitable opportunity to escape from the SLA controlled area, they said.

"We wanted to leave, and resolved to do it in a meaningful way," Puhalventhan added.

"The opportunity arose when we were taken on a mission in the no man zone area," he added confirming that they shot and killed Iniyabarathy and three other operatives last Monday.

The cadres who carefully avoided mentioning specific operations they were directly involved, told the media that they were brought to Palpody Military base in Batticaloa in Buffel RPC vehicles 3 days prior to an ambush on Tigers in Vauvunathivu on October 11 and were taken close to the border area by the Sri Lanka military.

The cadres said their real names are Thurasingham Chandrakumar, 21, alias Puhalventhan (from Kaluwankerni), and Samithamby Arunkumar, 26, alias Gnanatheepan (from Vantharumoolai).

Chandrakumar's two sisters were shot and killed in revenge last Wednesday by paramilitary cadres.

The Tigers on Saturday conferred "Tamil National Patriot" titles to the two sisters, Mrs. Yogarasa Yogeswary, 26, and Thurairasa Vathany, 17, who were buried Saturday.

Athaulla is Minister of Fisheries and Housing Development, Douglas Devananda is Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare and the leader of the paramilitary and political party EPDP, and Maithripala Sirisena is Minister of Agriculture, Environment, Irrigation and Mahaweli Development in the cabinet of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse.

LTTE's Political Head in Batticaloa Mr. Ilanthirayan (Marshall) and Amparai District Political Head Mr Daya Mohan were present at the press conference that began at 11:00 a.m and concluded at 12:30 p.m.


Tamil Community shocked by another abduction revelation by Neville de Silva

London 19 December ( The son of a former leader of EROS, now living in London, is claiming that he had been abducted and tortured by members of the LTTE right here in London.

The 25-year old Nesan Thirunesan who is the son of the late Shankar Rajee, a key member of the Eelam Revolutionary Students Association, says that he was subjected to inhuman treatment after being abducted by LTTE cadres two of whom he says he recognized.

The incident is said to have happened about two weeks ago when Thirunesan claims he was held for ransom.

While the abduction and detention of Rajasingham Jayadevan and his friend A.Vivekananthan during a visit to Kilinochchi last year made widespread media news, this claim is causing some waves in the Tamil street, coming shortly after the roadside killing of Douglas Yogarasa in Kingsbury a week ago.

Thurnesan has written to some anti-LTTE Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka drawing their attention to his plight and asking that the international community be alerted to these happenings in London.

Meanwhile there is also talk that Anton Balasingham, the one time chief negotiator of the LTTE, has been admitted to hospital.

Attempts to confirm these stories failed.

Thirunesan's letter addressed to members of the TULF appears below.

Message : I was abducted, tortured by LTTE thugs for ransom - EROS Sankar Raji's son (The Letter to The TULF Website)

Dear TULFers,

I would be sincerely grateful if you would convey this message to Mr Anandasangaree, leader of the TULF party and members of his political alliance on my behalf.

My name is Nesan Thirunesan. I am 25 years of age and the son of the late Shankar Rajee, a.k.a Nesadurai Thirunesan, Leader Co-Founder of EROS (Eelam Revolutionary Organisation). I was educated in India and visited Sri Lanka frequently.

The reason I am writing to you is that I was recently abducted by Tamil thugs claiming to be representing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Southall, Middlesex a few weeks ago. I recognized two of the individuals who happened to be employed in a called 'Tamilini Cash & Carry' on the Broadway in Southall, Middlesex, where I shop from time to time to purchase my groceries.

It was around 10.00pm in the evening and I had just come out of McDonald’s in Southall after meeting a friend. I proceeded to meet an uncle of mine who had parked his vehicle on a road on the opposite side of McDonalds, called Woodlands Road and had been waiting there for me after dropping me at the restaurant 15 minutes earlier.

When I saw my uncle’s vehicle which is a BMW 325ci, Blue convertible, someone else was at the driver seat, and my uncle was nowhere to be seen. All of a sudden from behind me a guy tapped my shoulder and asked me whether I was called ‘Nesan’ and whether my father was Shankar Rajee? I hesitantly replied, ‘No’ and proceeded to walk towards another shop speaking to my friend on my mobile to fend off these men that were following me. I had a feeling that I was in trouble, and so was my uncle.

I walked into a shop and asked the shopkeeper who happened to be Sri Lankan Tamil to call the police explaining to him that I was being followed by these thugs. The next thing I know the men that were following me came into the shop and started asking the shopkeeper as to what I had been speaking to him about and looking at me in a menacing manner simultaneously. The shopkeeper probably knew who they were and told them in Tamil that I had asked him to call the Police. At that moment they went for me. I couldn’t defend myself because 2 of the thugs grabbed my arms and one guy grabbed my mobile phone off my hand. A chubby guy in their group kicked me between my legs to disable me and they dragged me out of the shop and took me inside their shop called Tamilini. I was warned along the way that if I screamed they would kill me. One of the guys was sticking a knife behind my back along the way.

I was taken to their basement and marched into a room where their store their frozen foods and sitting on a chair with his socks removed along with his shoes was my uncle, who happens to be my fathers first cousin. I was in shock because he had been badly beaten up. These thugs had taken his wallet and seen an article about my father published in a Sri Lankan newspaper after my father’s funeral whereby Minister Douglas Devananda M.P of EPDP (Eelam Peoples Democratic Party) was mentioned. My uncle had been carrying this article in his wallet since my father’s demise in January this year. I immediately knew that both of us were in trouble because they had seen an article about my father.

They out on latex gloves and started emptying my pockets. They went through my wallet, and studied every business card that I had and asked me question after question. The thugs also went through each telephone number on my mobile reciting the named contact and inquisitively asking me questions about the contacts on my mobile phone.

They asked me questions about my father, my family, if I had any political connections in Sri Lanka etc etc… They further said that my father was a disgrace to the Tamil movement and that the Tamil Tiger movement hated him.

They beat me up in front of my uncle who was helpless as he was being constantly hit. They made it a point to show no external injuries, fearing that we may get the police involved, I suppose. They knew almost everything about my father and my family to my shock. They asked me a lot of questions, and demanded that I speak to the truth. I was asked to pay Sterling Pounds 7,000 towards the LTTE fund.

They wanted this money to be given in Sri Lankan currency by anyone that we knew in Colombo. They refused to accept the money in UK sterling, and refused to let us contact anyone in the UK who would give us the funds to pass onto them.

I was told that if I did not arrange the money, they would kill me and that my body would be dumped somewhere along with my uncle. They gave us an international phone card and asked us to make phone calls to our relations and contacts in Sri Lanka to arrange the money they were demanding. Our conversations, over the phone was limited to only requesting the funds and saying nothing else about being abducted, beaten up or anything. Both me, and my uncle frantically tried our best to arrange this money, however to our dismay no one had that kind of money readily available.

When the LTTE thugs knew that they were not getting anywhere we were beaten again, and threatened with death. After several hours of beatings, threats, and intimidation, I negotiated with that the funds could only be arranged in this country, and that I needed 10 days to do this. They flatly refused my request and continued to beat both me and my uncle.

It was the early hours of the morning, and one of the thugs agreed to my request of giving the money in cash within 10 days. I was warned that if I spoke about this to anyone, I would be killed, and they would harm my family here in the UK. This is the reason why me and my uncle did not go to the authorities.

Being Shankar Rajee’s son, I do not fear death, especially from the LTTE. I am aware of what my father stood for. He was a man of principles and never feared the LTTE. If they had a problem with him, they would have finished him off a long time ago, just like Padhmanaban of EPRLF and group who were assassinated in Kodambakkam, Chennai in 1990.

Whatever the reasons, I feel that I have been subjected to inhumane torture for no reason. I feel that I need to make a stand and fight for my democratic right to fear no one that is going to use threats to extort money for their own political benefit, especially the LTTE and their cronies who use their name unnecessarily.

I hope that Mr Anandasangaree will speak to members of the TNA (Tamil National Alliance), my father’s ex-comrades and state that I Shankar Rajee's son was subjected to this kind of intimidation and torture in London for no reason whatsoever. In a way God has shown me a way, by putting me through this. I realise now what my fellow Sri lankan Tamil community are going through on a daily basis fearing the LTTE.

I would like to finish what my father worked so hard for and devoted his entire adult life towards creating a federal democratic assembly that represents the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka irrespective of religion, caste or regional descent.

I would also like to join the TULF party as a member and voice my concerns over the LTTE and the problems that the Tamil community are facing from them extorting money from innocent members of the Tamil community here in London I would like to be actively involved in promoting peace, democracy and harmony within our community in Sri Lanka and abroad.

My opinions regarding the LTTE

The Oslo agreement signed by the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government had been initially accepted by the LTTE, but is trying to wriggle out from. A solution within the framework of federalism in any form, and genuine will on the part of the government to implement such a formula will have to be the way forward.

The LTTE’rs are incapable of participating in any peace process or abiding to the rules of an official cease fire agreement. I feel that the LTTE leadership is buying time to procure further arsenal, and recruit more soldiers and ultimately wage another freedom war against the Sri Lankan armed forces.

It is clear that the Indian establishment will never allow an Independent Tamil Eelam state to materialise.

The one big problem we face today is the LTTE trying to claim the status of being the sole representative of the Tamil community of Sri Lanka through political assassinations and elimination of other groups and parties, which is conducted on a regular basis despite signing a cease fire agreement. The LTTE are incapable of following rules...

Karuna's set of grievances of discrimination is a serious political problem and nothing new to Tamil nationalism. Even during the days of Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (Federal Party), these feelings of regional inequality existed. I regard it as a genuine concern of the people of the east. This would have to be addressed, discussed and democratic solutions found. It is not to be regarded as - as the LTTE says - `a one-man problem' or as one that can be solved by eliminating a few of Karuna's lieutenants etc or by killing his supporters in the eastern province. I doubt if the LTTE, in its present form, has the means to address this problem in a democratic manner.

Prabhakaran’s personality would never allow him to compromise with Colombo, Norway or no Norway. This is a fact that the Tamil community, Sri Lankan government and international mediators need to accept and work out ways of preventing the LTTE from intimidating other Tamil democratic parties from being actively involved in representing the Tamil community of Sri Lanka.

The International community must get involved now and send out military peace monitors and a UN Peace Keeping Force to disarm the LTTE. The, LTTE must be forced to disarm themselves, and their movement needs to be dissolved once and for all. Senior leaders and commanders within the LTTE should be banned from entering into politics.

My father once quoted "The LTTE network is still effective but influence on and support from Tamil communities is less than it was"

I hope that my wishes will be fulfilled by Mr Anandasangaree, and look forward to hearing from you in due course.

With kind regards,

Nesan Thirunesan

Son of the Late Shankar Rajee, A.K.A Nesadurai Thirunesan, of EROS (Eelam Revolutionary Organisation) and Ex- Consulatant of Sri lankan Cashew Corporation under the ministry of Rt. Hon Minister Douglas Devananda of EPDP (Eelam Peoples Democratic Party)

- Asian Tribune -


Iniyabarathy -- the man reported dead by the LTTE -- is alive

Interview with Inyabarathy of the Karuna's Group

Colombo, 14 December, ( Iniyabarathy, the dare - devil commander of the Karuna’s group, who was reported dead in the LTTE websites and Tamil newspapers published in Colombo and Jaffna, spoke to the Asian Tribune yesterday. Twenty-four-year-old Iniyabarathy said jokingly: " Aiyah ( Sir ) contrary to reports I am still alive and healthy . Not dead yet and will never be afraid of death too. "

Recently Two cadres of Karuna’s group , Thuraisingham Chandrakumar alias Puhalventhan ( 21 ) and Sinnathamby Arunkumar alias Gnanatheepan ( 26 ), were captuted on 05 December and were paraded on 12 December, before pro-LTTE media personnel at the Thenakam guest house in the LTTE controlled Karadiyanaru, in the Batticalao district.

These two captured cadres told the media that the LTTE shot and killed Iniyabarathy and three other operatives last Monday.” (05 December) In his interview with the “Asian Tribune” Iniyabarathy dismissed the statements published in the LTTE media as propaganda. He said : "This is a propaganda exercise by the LTTE. We know about their games because we too were in the same outfit until March 2004. This not something new to us or to them."

He added: It is the common practice to put pressure on captured prisoners with threats and coach them to say whatever you want to say. They cannot speak their mind or tell the truth because of threats to their lives. They tend to behave like parrots in a cage" .

Iniyabarathy said, "Let me explain the whole incident for the benefit of your readers.

" We came to know that Vanni Tiger group has established a new army base in Kanchikudichchan Aru, near the Pannai Mali close to a small pond located in the area.

" We came to know that they were training underage children all under 15 years of age and nearly 40 of them were held forcibly and given training there.

" Then I decided to attack the base and save those abducted underage children from the grip of the Vanni group.

" On 04th December, I dispatched a 7 -- member group to locate the place which was situated in the midst of the thick jungles of Amaparai and collect all the information available.

" To go to the spot from Manthoddam, our people has to cross the Nediyakanaththai Aru and the crossing from one end to other is about 100 meters and it was a very deep at this point.

" Our group after reaching the other end located the training camp and came back crossing the river. In the river banks they had their meals and left evidence of their presence on the spot by littering paper wrappings and banana leaves unintentionally.

" On the 5th December I led a tem of about 40 cadres to attack the camp and rescue the underage children who were forcibly given military training in the middle of the mosquito infested thick jungles of Amparai.

" In the meantime the scouting team of the Vanni group which crossed the river and came over to the Manthoddam side found out the traces of the very recent movements of our cadres in that area.

" Now I understand they too must have decided to lay ambush and wait for us in the Manthoddam and on the opposite side. There must be more than 50 Vanni cadres in the ambush waiting for us.

" I led 40 of our cadres to the Vanni camp and when half of our cadres had crossed the river and was on the other side, they started spraying bullets on us.

"The exchange of small arms fire lasted for more than two hours and two of our cadres Suman and Thevan were killed and I received a gunshot injury near my hip. The bullet did not pierce through by the flesh but it just grazed me leaving a minor injury on the hip . It was nothing to worry - just a minor injury.

"On the LTTE side 5 of their cadres were killed.

" Meantime , those cadres who crossed the other side of the river, managed to cross back and joined us when we made a tactical withdrawal but, at that point of time I clearly heard Puhalventhan and Gnanatheepan failed to cross the river and were calling at the top of their voice for the direction and after sometime their shouts died down.

"Their shouting helped the Vanni group to locate and arrest them alive. Puhalventhan joined the LTTE in 1997 and Gnanatheepan in 1995.

" In 2005 April these two cadres along with thousands of others were returned to their families by Karuna Amman when he withdrew from attacking the Vanni Tigers attack of 10 April 2004.

"But later these two along with dozens of others joined us as they were continuously harassed by the Vanni group.

"After joining us, the two cadres were involved in more than half a dozens of successful campaign against the Vanni group and each of them would have taken their revenge on the Vanni group by killing more than ten of their cadres. "

Iniyabarathy said : "I feel sorry that we couldn't rescue such good cadres . I feel sad that they were caught by the Vanni group and harassed and tortured to speak against me and Karuna. "

Denying LTTE reports, Iniyabarathy said that he has never met in his life Maithripala Srisena, Aththaula and Douglas Devananda. He said: "Though I like to meet them out of curiosity, what benefit will I get by meeting them?" he asked

He said that he was arrested by the police on a tip off given by the LTTE in May and was remanded. According to the law of the land, at the end of 3 months and 10 days, as pointed out by his lawyer to the High court judge of Amparai, he was released on bail, when his case came up for hearing . He said he was released as there was no provision in the law to keep him under remand after the expiration of three months and 10 days and no body helped to get him released from the custody.

Iniyabarathy pointed out the news report in the media, including the ‘Asian Tribune,’ regarding the killings of Mrs. Yogarasa Yogeswary, 26, and Thurairasa Vathany, 17 were not accurate.

He said that Ganeshpullai Yogarasa alias Santhiran, the husband of the slain Yogarasa Yogeswary, was reported to be a womanizer and had two or three women as his keeps. On 08 December Mrs. Yogarasa Yogeswary was in her sister Vathany’s house. Santhiran went there and assaulted both the girls and shot and killed them before surrendering to the Vanni group.

That time Puhalventhan, the brother of the slain ladies was in the custody of Vanni Tigers . When Santhiran surrendered to the Vanni Tigers to avoid being arrested by the Sri lanka police, they hit upon the idea of exploiting these deaths to cover up and promote the LTTE as good boys. Their publicity gimmick was to make the two slain ladies Nattupattalar (patriots) and conduct a public funeral to honor them.

The people of the area who knew the truth refused to participate in the funeral ceremony conducted by the Vanni Tigers.

”Finally," he said, "I wish to categorically deny any role in the bombing of the Akkaraipattu mosque and also I will not comment on the whereabouts of Karuna Amman. This is another ploy by the Vanni group to accuse Karuna of hiding in India. We will not divulge any details about his whereabouts but I wish to confirm that we are being led by him and we will work under his guidance and direction only. "

- Asian Tribune -


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sri Lanka's Tiger rebels face troops in rainy east by Peter Apps

PARATHIVU, Sri Lanka, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Wearing black ponchos against the rain and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, Tamil Tiger rebels man a checkpoint just a few hundred metres (yards) from Sri Lankan government lines.

In the aftermath of a 2002 ceasefire that halted two decades of war, Nordic truce monitors brought the opposing sides together for frequent meetings. But those have stopped now and civilians living on either side of the frontlines say they fear the future.

"Some people say there will be war some time next year," a young man told Reuters at a Hindu religious festival in Tiger-controlled territory in eastern Sri Lanka. "Some people say there will be a peaceful solution. We do not know."

Analysts and diplomats say negotiations are possible, but the gap between the two sides is vast.

The Tigers -- who want an independent homeland for the island's Tamil minority -- on Saturday rejected a government offer of peace talks elsewhere in Asia, saying they wanted to go through Norway as the peace broker.

Attempts to arrange new low-level meetings have failed and a series of attacks on troops and police blamed on the rebels have put the ceasefire under greater threat.

The rebels have denied they were involved in the attacks, including one in the northern Jaffna peninsula that killed 14 soldiers and a separate assault on a helicopter.

On Sunday, an army spokesman said the rebels had opened fire on a government checkpoint near the north-eastern port of Trincomalee, but there were no injuries and government troops did not return the fire.

Any conflict in the north might involve large-scale clashes, the army says. But in the east -- where the de facto Tiger state is patchy and split up by government-held roads and towns -- it is likely to be more "unconventional".

Hindu villagers in rebel territory are keen to talk on their way to temple -- but not about about politics or their feelings towards the island's Sinhalese Buddhist majority. FEAR AND DIVISION

With the rebels fighting in the area against a breakaway eastern faction, the Karuna group -- widely seen as government backed -- it pays not to talk.

Abductions and killings are frequent, and the bodies are laid out along the main army-held road to the east.

In the town of Batticaloa, dominated by army checkpoints, many residents refuse to acknowledge that they know of the existence of the Tigers or Karuna. The few who will talk say support for the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has eroded.

"The main problem here is the LTTE. They are bad for business," said a local waiter, who would not give his name. "Karuna is good man -- very intelligent."

Analysts say a Tiger boycott of a November poll that ruined the chances of a more conciliatory candidate and bought perceived southern hardliner Mahinda Rajapakse to the presidency was a sign that the LTTE might have tired of the peace process.

Some diplomats say the rebels will likely wait until the heavy rains end in the new year to make their next move. Others contend that the downpours provide ideal cover to move forces and are surprised the rebels are not already doing so.

Batticaloa saw a string of grenade attacks before the November poll, but since then the town itself has been quiet. Even so, aid workers say they are worried about rising tensions between Tamil and Muslim communities in nearby areas after a lethal grenade attack on a mosque in November.

"There have been a number of incidents that have caused concern," said Patrick Hamilton, of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ampara. "We are unsure where it is all leading."


Monday, December 19, 2005

Naxals admit to links with LTTE, Nepal Maoists by Anand Mohan Sahay

Outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) has, for the first time, admitted that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had provided them military training over one and half decades ago.

The outfit, however, claimed that their guerillas did not have tactical relations with the LTTE any more.

The sensational disclosure was made by Azad, a spokesman of the naxal outfit's central committee, while addressing mediapersons at a remote village in Bihar's Supaul district bordering Nepal, on Wednesday.

"The Maoists learnt new warfare tactics from the on-the-run and purged LTTE military commanders in 1986-87," he said, adding, "LTTE's commanders gave them training of mine production and its laying techniques."

Till date it was only a speculation that Maoist guerillas had been trained by the LTTE in Bihar's districts bordering Nepal.

While denying any link with Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence, Azad admitted that the naxals enjoyed "good and close relations" with the Nepalese Maoist rebels.

A few months ago, Bihar had denied a report that Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers were providing military training to Nepal's Maoist insurgents in a northern district of the state bordering Nepal.

The state administration responded in the wake of a report in an edition of a Washington-based internet magazine - South Asia Tribune - that said the Lankan rebels were teaching Nepalese outlaws to form human bomb squads for suicide missions.

The report claimed that the LTTE was running training camps in Narkatiaganj and Ghorasahan in Bihar near the Nepal border.

Last month about 1,000 Maoist guerillas made a daring assault on the Jehanabad jail in Bihar, resulting in the escape of about 400 prisoners of whom 134 are still missing.

After the incident, Bihar police along with the Central Paramilitary Forces and the National Security Guards have launched massive combing operations across the state.

A senior police official said the joint operation had not achieved any breakthrough in flushing out the Maoists who engineered the jailbreak.

In June this year, more than 300 naxalites, including dozens of women, had attacked the Madhuban bazaar in East Champaran after which, the state government urged the centre to take immediate steps to stop Maoist infiltration from Nepal.

The state also asked New Delhi to beef up security along the 735 km stretch of the India-Nepal border in Bihar's northern districts.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Muslim man shot dead, one wounded in Eravur

Unidentified gunmen shot and killed Mr. S. Samsudeen, 53, a Muslim civilian employed as watcher at a timber shop in Punnaikudah, 5 km northeast of Eravur town Thursday midnight. Another Muslim civilian, Mr. Mohammed Asanar, 55, who was sleeping inside his restaurant, located close to the timber shop, was shot and wounded by the gunmen who came in a van, Eravur Police said. Punnaikudah is a border area between Tamil and Muslim villages.

The wounded person, Mohammed Asanar, was rushed to Batticaloa Hospital.

Punnaikudah, a border area between Muslim and Tamil villages, is located 3 km east of Palacholai where suspected paramilitaries shot and killed two sisters of a renegade Karuna Group paramilitary cadre Wednesday night.


LTTE attacks not an act of war, says chief of Lankan armed forces by P.K. Balachandran

The Chief of Sri Lanka's Defence Staff, Admiral Daya Sandagiri, said on Friday that the recent landmine attacks by the LTTE in Jaffna which claimed the lives of 13 army personnel, were "not acts of war" but were "terrorist acts."

"The armed forces are not excited about these attacks," Adm Sandagiri told a news conference on Friday.

Asked if the killing of the Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was not an act of war, the Inspector General of Police, Chandra Fernando, who also addressed the press conference, said that it was "a crime and a terrorist act, not an act of war."

Adm Sandagiri said that the three services and the police were prepared to meet any challenge from the LTTE and that armed forces had supremacy over the LTTE. But they would not precipitate war, he asserted

"We have the supreme position. There is no doubt about it. But we are not thinking of war. Terrorism doesn't mean war. We are not thinking of an offensive at the moment," he said.

Asked if the LTTE was preparing for war, he said that the armed forces had "no evidence" that they were preparing for one.

Adm Sandagiri said that the Sri Lankan armed forces were committed to implementing the Rajapaksa government's policy of pursuing the peace process and maintaining the ceasefire.

"We will support the government to achieve its political objectives. If there is a choice between maintaining the Ceasefire Agreement and going to war, we will choose to maintain the ceasefire," he said.

The press conference was held at the instance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who wanted the country and the world to know what his government's thinking was on the security situation in Sri Lanka following the LTTE's attacks in the North and East which had claimed the lives of 18 servicemen in the past few days. The killings had led to speculation both in the island and abroad that war was imminent.

The press conference was addressed by the new Army Commander Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka, the Air Force Commander Air Marshal Donald Perera and the Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando also.

LTTE's naval wing intact

Asked about the challenge from the LTTE's naval wing, called the Sea Tigers, Adm Sandagiri said that like the Sri Lankan navy, the LTTE's naval wing had also suffered some damage in the tsunami of 2004, but its strength had not been depleted. There had been no change in its strength, he said.

India funds Palaly airbase modernisation

The Air Force Commander Air Marshal Donald Perera said that India was funding the resurfacing of the runway at the Palaly airbase in Jaffna, the only airport in the troubled Northern Jaffna peninsula. The damaged and potholed runway there was damaging aircraft, he said.

"An Indian team is expected shortly," he added.

Asked if India would get the right to use the airbase as part of the deal, Air Marshal Perera said that it was for the Sri Lankan and Indian governments to decide on such matters.

Asked about the LTTE's air force or "air capability" Air Marshal Perera said that the two or three small, single-engine, two-seater aircraft it seemed to have, could be loaded with bombs and used in an offensive. He said the government was trying to find out more about the LTTE's air capability.

No plan to dilute High Security Zones in Jaffna

Asked how the security forces were going to tackle the problems of peoples' agitation against the High Security Zones (HSZ) in the Jaffna peninsula, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said that there was no proposal to roll back or dismantle these zones, as they were necessary for the security of the installations of the three services there.

"You need a large area for this," he said, justifying the large amount of land taken up by these special zones keeping the population out.

Gen Fonseka disputed the description of the agitations against the HSZ as "peoples' agitations" because only a small number of the 400,000 people of Jaffna were involved.

"And these are members of the Mahaveera families (families of LTTE cadres who had died in battle) and they agitate at the behest of the LTTE," he explained.

Fonseka went on to point out that President Rajapaksa had said that the civilian owners of lands and properties in the HSZ would be compensated.


Why is LTTE resorting to violence now? P.K. Balachandran

For those who took at face value LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's Heroes' Day declaration that he will "wait and observe" President Mahinda Rajapaksa's moves on the peace process before re-starting the armed struggle for an independent "Tamil Eelam", the spate of killings in the North East have come as a rude shock.

What might have been expected sometime in January 2006 or even beyond, occurred within days of Prabhakaran's Heroes' Day oration on November 27.

The most disturbing event was the claymore mine attack in Kondavil, 5 kms from Jaffna on the road to the Palaly airbase on Sunday, in which six Sri Lankan soldiers traveling in a tractor trailer were killed. Not surprisingly, this incident reminded many Sinhalas in the south about the killing of a group of soldiers in Tirunelveli near Jaffna in 1983. The Tirunelveli killing led to the massacre of Tamils in Colombo, an event which directly contributed to the rise of Tamil militancy.

Sunday's killing came in the wake of over six incidents of shooting at Army checkpoints and grenade throwing at army posts in the previous 24 hours.

Reacting sharply to the incident, the Sri Lankan government said: " At a time when the new President has extended an invitation for the resumption of peace talks, such provocative acts by the LTTE demonstrate a lack of sincerity towards negotiations and a political settlement."

"The government calls on the international community to condemn such terrorist acts which place obstacles in the way of furthering the peace process."

The Defence Secretary G Rajapaksa met Hagrup Haukland, the Head of the Scandinavian staffed Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and called for measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Muslim factor

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the country's largest Muslim party with a vast base in East Sri Lanka, complained that the LTTE was killing Muslims to create tension between the Muslim and Tamil communities there, and use this to accuse the Muslims of wrecking the peace process.

In a shocking incident in Akkaraipattu on November 16, a grenade was thrown into a mosque killing scores of worshippers. Two Muslims of Eravur were abducted and their bodies were found in Valaichenai. This was followed by the killing of a Muslim couple in Meeravodai.

Faleel, the Divisional Secretary of Kathankudy was shot, and he died the next day, December 5. On December 3, a Hajja Mohideen, a Muslim worker of the United National Party (UNP) in the Mutur-Thoppur area in Trincomalee district, was shot at. In a counter attack by Muslims, two Tamils were killed. In the escalating violence, four Muslims of Thoppur were abducted, of whom three were killed.

"These incidents have cumulatively forced a mass scale exodus of Muslims seeking protection," the SLMC said in a statement on Sunday.

"At a time when peace loving people and the international community have acknowledged this and begun to place their confidence in the Muslim community for their commitment to peace, we feel these negative and unfortunate acts are being committed to provoke the Muslims against the Tamils in the East and create instability in the region. If this happens it could also help portray the Muslims as spoilers by vested interests," the statement said.

According to the SLMC and other political observers, the LTTE is annoyed with both the Tamils and the Muslims of the East for defying its thinly veiled call for a boycott of the Presidential election. The LTTE had intended to defeat Ranil Wickremesinghe, the candidate of the UNP backed by the SLMC.

Political observers said that Wickremesinghe was being favoured by the Tamils and Muslims of the East because he stood for peace, federalism and a recognition of the Muslims' right to self-rule. But the LTTE wanted Wickremesinghe defeated because he would have brought the international community into the peace process in a bigger way than before, and forced the LTTE to accept a solution which it might not want at all.

"Viewed in the backdrop of the fact that the Muslims have overwhelmingly voted and mandated the SLMC to engage in the pursuit of peace and an equitable and acceptable solution to the on going ethnic strife within the framework of a federal structure, one cannot be oblivious to the intention of the hidden hand that is opposed to peace and amity amongst the Muslims and Tamils," the SLMC's statement said.

" This challenge is further compounded with the realisation that the Tamils, particularly in the East, who managed to exercise their franchise, too have spoken unanimously and unequivocally for the need for a federal solution where Muslims too would enjoy self rule, respect and dignity," it added.

Move to regain control of East

The LTTE's writ does not run in the East as much as it does in the Northern areas of Jaffna and the Wanni. This is so particularly after the revolt of the group's Batticaloa commander Col Karuna. Though Karuna was driven out, the LTTE is still to establish full control over the region. This is the main reason why 25 to 30 per cent of the Tamils of the East disregarded the LTTE's boycott call and voted in the Presidential election.

The LTTE views the Muslims as an obstacle in its bid to enforce its writ in the East. The Muslims, though Tamil speaking, do not consider themselves Tamils and so are looked at with suspicion by the Tamils and the LTTE as possible collaborators with the Sri Lankan state, the armed forces and the majority Sinhala community.

Ideally, the LTTE would like to do to the Muslims of the East what it did to the Muslims of Jaffna in 1990, that is, expel them en masse. But this is not easy given the numbers involved. The only other option is to create tension and force migration. The underlying economic tension between the Tamils and the Muslims of the East helps the LTTE carry on its anti-Muslim campaign with a measure of support from the local Tamils themselves.

Truce monitors worried

The truce monitors are very much concerned about the on-going killings. In a press release on Sunday they said: "The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission has observed and witnessed a dangerous trend of violence in the North and the East in the last few days resulting in a number of deaths and injuries of both civilians and security forces personnel."

"In Jaffna peninsula, Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts there have been countless attacks. The Sri Lanka Monitoring Missions warns that there is a real danger that these disturbances and hostilities can spread and result in irreparable deterioration of security and prevent any real restoration of normalcy."

However, the LTTE does not seem to be deterred. Even the presence of international human rights monitors in Sri Lanka has made no difference. Violence was being perpetrated and planned even as the Director of Amnesty International, Irene Zubaida Khan, was in Sri Lanka and meeting the LTTE's political wing leader S Tamilselvan in his headquarters in Kilinochchi. She appealed to the LTTE to stop the violence and uphold human rights, but clearly to no avail.

US expert's view

The current orgy of violence does not come as a surprise to Teresita Schaffer, former US Ambassador in Sri Lanka and currently the head of the South Asia division of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. In an article in the December 1 issue of CSIS's journal South Asia Monitor Schaffer says that violence is in the womb of the existing political situation.

There are two aspects to this situation. One is that there is a Sinhala-nationalist hard liner as President of Sri Lanka, a President who apparently has no plans to modify his stand for the sake of peace. The other is that the LTTE leader is planning to use this hard line stance to prove to the international community that the Tamils can get no justice from the governments in Colombo and that the only way to secure rights is through an armed struggle.

Writes Schaffer: " President Rajapakse's post election statements stressed the importance bringing peace to Sri Lanka. Some polices he outlined such as strengthening human rights protection in the cease fire agreement and bringing the Opposition and the Muslim community into the peace process, would be highly desirable. But other others would change key features of the peace process."

"He reiterated his determination to renegotiate the ceasefire agreement and pledged to safeguard the unitary nature of the state, rejecting the previous government's willingness to negotiate a federal framework. He rejected the concept of self determination, even in the qualified form that the previous government had accepted it."

"He welcomed facilitation by the United Nations, friendly countries, the international community, and India - conspicuously avoiding any mention of the one country that has actually been involved in facilitation - Norway."

"All these positions had been overshadowed in his election platform, and all will be seen by the LTTE as indications that Rajapakse is not serious about negotiations. And his designation of Ratnasiri Wickremanayake as prime minister, a politician known for his hard line nationalist views, will be read all over Sri Lanka as an indication that Rajapakse is faithful to the tough tone of his campaign platform."

As regards the Tiger chieftain Prabhakaran, Schaffer says that his agenda came out clearly in his Heroes' Day address of November 27. The punch line of the speech was that the LTTE would wait to see what the new government would produce. If the results fell short, he pledged to intensify the Tamils' struggle for self determination for the national liberation of their homeland.

Most of Prabhakaran's speech was a carefully crafted argument about how Sri Lanka's Sinhalese politicians had undermined every chance of peace in the past two decades and more. He declared that the LTTE's participation in the peace process was intended to show the international community that it stood for peace. He wanted to demonstrate beyond doubt that the "Sinhala racist ruling elites" would not accept the fundamental demands of the Tamils and offer them a reasonable solution.

"The warlike tone fits the Heroes' Day norm, but the unrelenting argument about how both major Sri Lankan parties had failed to keep their promises offers little optimism that a breakthrough is likely," Schaffer observes.

The US expert said that both the LTTE and the government would have to come out of their entrenched positions and seek a meeting ground. The LTTE leader should stop posturing and President Rajapaksa should lead the country rather than be led by his electoral constituency.

Addressing the LTTE she said: "Posturing for international support is no substitute for getting on with the extremely difficult job (of ensuring peace)." And addressing President Rajapaksa she said: "The inclusiveness Rajapakse has promised, could stand him in good stead, but the key quality he will need is leadership."

Painting a grim picture of the coming days, Schaffer said: "The outlook is not promising. When ceasefires break down, violence often resumes at a higher rate."

"Violence is already going up and the LTTE is at least considering whether a military option makes sense."

"The peace process that began with much hope in early 2002 cannot be revived. Sri Lanka needs to re-invent the ceasefire and the peace dialogue," she concludes grimly.

Why launch a covert war now?

All this does not explain why Prabhakaran has advanced his plan to open hostilities, albeit in a covert way. Some political observers believe that he does not want to give President Rajapaksa time to settle down and make the necessary contacts with the international community to apply pressure on him as Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga did from 2002 to November 2005.

Rajapaksa's move to jettison or sideline Norway and bring in India may be worrying the LTTE leader. The talk of India coming to the centre stage may have brought bitter memories of Indian pressure in the 1980s and his fight with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in 1987-90.

Other observers believe that Prabhakaran is creating a war like situation and instability throughout the North East because he does not want to go for talks with the new Rajapaksa government. Over time, there could be pressure on him to go for talks, given the fact that the new government is wanting to start talks at least on revising the ceasefire agreement. But Prabhakaran is dead against any revision of that agreement.

Yet others feel that the Tiger chieftain may be fearing a consolidation of the peace lobby in the Sinhala south over time, and may be in a hurry to prevent such an eventuality. A war like situation is not conducive to the growth of peace sentiments in the Sinhala polity.

The LTTE knows that the peace lobby in Sri Lanka is not all that weak. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the "peacenik" and "federalist", got 48% of the popular vote in the Presidential election. And there is a possibility of Wickremesinghe's joining forces with the federalist and pro-peace former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, now sidelined by Rajapaksa. The two could join hands and smother Rajapaksa, the hard liner, and force his government to take a moderate line. And this might make the government acceptable to the international community.

Once the international community accepts Rajapaksa, Prabhakaran will find it very difficult to convince the world that he cannot get justice through peaceful means and peace talks.

Need to secure East

Prabhakaran would also like to secure control over the East, which defied his boycott call. This could be done only by fomenting tension between the Tamils and Muslims; and the Tamils and the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

Against this scenario, political observers in Colombo expect an escalation of violence. The international community may prefer to watch from the sidelines for some time. It is unlikely to make any meaningful moves to help the Sri Lankan state until the Rajapaksa regime modifies its rigid stand against federalism and pledges support to the Oslo and Tokyo Declarations of 2002 and 2003 respectively, according to which there should be a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka.

(PK Balachandran is Special Correspondent of Hindustan Times in Sri Lanka)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Brother punishes his own sisters for supporting 'Karuna Faction' & the condition of Iniyabarathy reported stable By Udara Soysa

Colombo, 09 December, ( A brother supporting the LTTE – Prabhakaran faction murdered his own sisters for supporting the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (Karuna's faction) in Batticaloa.

Yogarasa Yogeswary, 26, and Thurairasa Vathany, 17, were shot dead, Wednesday night, by the suspected LTTE cadre, at Palacholai in Batticaloa.

According to report, a two years old child was seriously wounded in the incident.

Meanwhile, pro- LTTE Tamil media claimed that the attack was carried out by the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (Karuna faction).

Contradicting the LTTE claims, Ganeshpullai Yogarasa, the husband of the slain Yogarasa Yogeswary, who survived the attack in a statement to police, had claimed that the attack was carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for his family support for the Karuna faction in Batticaloa.

According to residents, suspected killer and the brother of the slain sisters, Surerasa Sivalingam (15) had fled the scene after the killing.
,br> Tamil media reported a sensationalized story of a "Puhalventhan" claiming to have joined the LTTE from the Karuna faction. However, in the most recent reports t claimed that their "Puhalventhan" is the 15 years old Surerasa Sivalingam and the Karuna faction had killed his sisters in revenge.

Contradicting the LTTE claim, civilian sources claim that the 15 years old Surerasa Sivalingam had always been a strong Prabhakaran supporter and had no contact with his family who supported the Karuna group. Relatives of Surerasa Sivalingam claim that the 15 year old youth was also known for hasty decisions and violant behaviour since from his childhood.

The family had recently moved out from the LTTE areas of Kokadicholai to the government control areas of Palacholai because of possible LTTE threats against their lives.

In the meantime spokesperson for TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal told “Asian Tribune” that they strongly deny any involvement in the killing by their cadres. He told that the family of the two slain ladies were their strong supporters and added that they send in their condolences to Ganeshpullai Yogarasa who survived in the attack.

The spokesman also said that the condition of Iniyabarathy one of their commanders is stable and recuperating from his gunshot injury.

- Asian Tribune -


President instructs Security Chiefs to strengthen security in Muslim and Tamil border villages by Munza Mushtaq

Colombo, 09 December, ( President Mahinda Rajapakse has directed the Security Chiefs to urgently strengthen the security of Muslim and Tamil border villagers in the East, following an urgent appeal made by National Unity Alliance Leader Ferial Ashraff, during a meeting with the President.

Mrs. Ashraff briefed Mr. Rajapakse on the volatile situation prevailing in Kalmunai after the killing of a father and son in Maruthamunai.

She also explained to the President that the ethnicity amity between Tamils and Muslims are very high after the tsunami last year. "Some vested elements are working overtime to destroy this enhanced ethnic amity between the two communities in the east," she pointed out during the meeting.

The NUA leader also stressed the need to stop the sporadic killings taking place in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts from November 18 onwards, soon after the Presidential election.

Sources further said that President Rajapakse has also directed all those relevant authorities to intensify the security in all trouble prone areas of the east.

Deputy Media Minister Cegu Issadean also participated in the talks.

- Asian Tribune -


Pro-LTTE Norway, with only 2% public approval, is called back to negotiate peace in Sri Lanka

Colombo, 08 December, ( President Mahinda Rajapakse has caved into international pressure and asked Norway to continue as the "facilitator" in arranging peace talks with the LTTE. The President has asked Ambassador Hans Brattskar to resume their former role.

This contradicts the election pledge given by him to remove Norway from the peace process. One of the key issues on which the JVP and the JHU joined in the election campaign was on keeping Norway out of Sri Lankan internal affairs.

President Rajapakse made this u-turn after meeting the envoys of Co-chairs -- USA, Norway, Japan, and EU.

Commenting on this new development Erik Solheim told AFP: "Our initial reaction is that it is positive that we have been asked to continue our work. This is a vote of confidence." Erik Solheim, Norway's Minister of International Development, has been involved in mediation in the Sri Lankan conflict for more than five years.

"But we want to make sure we agree with the government as well as with the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) on the conditions before we accept to take on that role again," he told AFP .

Ranjith Soysa, of the Society for Peace Unity and Human Rights, said that this is nothing new for Norway because they have been laying down conditions for the Sri Lankan governments’ form the time they were asked to be the "facilitator".

He added: "Instead of Norway laying down conditions for the Sri Lankan government it is the government that should lay down conditions for Norway. One of the first conditions should be that Norway should not play its partisan role in funding and providing aid for the LTTE to carry out its crimes against humanity and war crimes with impunity. Norway which pretends to be the solution has become the problem. Public opinion is against Norway as seen in a recent survey. Norway came last with only 2 per cent approval of the Sri Lankan public."

Norway has come in for severe criticism mainly because of its partisan approach to the peace process. First, it began on the wrong foot by assuming that peace negotiations should only be with the LTTE leaving out other key communities like the Muslims and dissident Tamil parties. Second, Norway has been accused of financing the LTTE activities. New Times (Ny Tyd) reported last week that Norway government has bankrolled the LTTE, in the name of promoting peace. Ny Tid reported that LTTE was handed out 25 million kroners since 2002.

- Asian Tribune -