Friday, March 31, 2006

LTTE cooking up evidence to link Government with anti-LTTE Tamil parties

Key leaders belonging to the political wing of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (Col.Karuna's wing) met the villagers at the Pechiyamman Temple grounds located in Valaichchenai on Tuesday early morning. The meeting was arranged by the villagers Kannan Kiramam, Vinayagapuram, Kannakipuram, Pethalai, Puthukudiyiruppu located in Valaichchenai.

Political wing of the TMVP led by Commander Markan, along with Pratheepan and five others spoke at the meeting. According to the TMVP spokesman, nearly 350 villagers participated in the meeting.

Thooyavan TMVP spokesman said that it was the villagers who invited them for the meeting. "Our men went unarmed for the meeting and mingled with the villagers who warmly welcomed them and listened to them," he said.

"It was unfortunate that Vanni Tigers twisted the whole story and came up with a canard which no one in the East would take it seriously ," he said.

Vanni Tigers allegations of threat and intimidation exerted by our cadres did not hold water as Suryian FM Radio blasted it when they interviewed the Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, who denied any such incidents of threat and intimidation taking place at the Pechiyamman Temple ground Tuesday, which is located in the Government controlled area, as alleged by the Vanni Tigers.

Thooyavan further said: "Suryian FM Radio, before contacting me also contacted the police station, which is located just 500 meters away from the Temple grounds. According to the Radio report 'The police' according to the news item broadcast by the radio sation, 'have denied of any threat and intimidation and they confirmed that there were no such incidents that threatened the peace in the area'."

Thooyavan further said that it is high time the Vanni Tigers stop groaning over the growing popularity of the TVMP and is leader Colonel Karuna in the midst of the Tamil and Muslim people in the East.

"The grotesque statements they make, it is quite apparent, are not meant for the consumption of the people in the East but are meant for the consumption of the international community," Thooyavan pointed out.

He further said it is high time they stop making a mockery of themselves and leave the East once and for all.

TamilNet – the pro-LTTE organ, reported that more than 150 Sri Lankan Army soldiers and around 50 paramilitary cadres rounded up five villages in Valaichenai. TamilNet also claimed: "Cadres from the ENDLF paramilitary group and a key operative of the EPDP group attached to the Sri Lanka Army camp in Valaichenai Harbour also took part in the show-down paramilitary operation."

Political observers said that the LTTE is desperately trying to cook up evidence against the government by linking SL Army with the Tamil political parties opposed to the LTTE. This has been the pattern since the Geneva talks. LTTE reports should be taken with a pinch of salt, said a leading Tamil political observer.


LTTE cadres in the Batti-Amparai await being run over by Karuna group.

Reports reveal that the situation in the East of Sri Lanka especially in the Batticaloa – Amparai districts are fastly deteriorating and the high command of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has ordered the Eastern commanders to take adequate precautionary measures to safeguard their cadres from any blitzkrieg by the rival Tamil group.

It is learnt that a couple of hundred LTTE cadres have already deserted the LTTE bases. They have run away, fearing a sudden attack on the LTTE camps, at any time by rival group – TamilEeala Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal – Colonel Karuna faction.

According to reports, a tense and a highly volatile situation are prevailing in the midst of the LTTE cadres in the Batticalao – Amparai districts. Rumors are afloat that at any time they may be subjected to a ruthless attack by the cadres belonging to Karuna group who are waiting in the jungle bordering the Tiger controlled areas.

Vanni high command, according to an intelligence report, has ordered all vehicles belonging to the LTTE to be off the road daily after 6 PM in the evening in their areas. Also cadres were strictly told not to leave the base till dawn.

In the mornings, LTTE cadres were seen inspecting the roads for any possible land mines and also to ascertain no rival cadres are lurking behind the trees. Only after the road clearance is completed, cadres are allowed to use motor cycles and other vehicles to move around the areas under their control.

According to the instructions from the Vanni high command, LTTE cadres in the Batticalao district are involved in a recruitment spree of youths, to be trained as armed cadres.

Tiger cadres manning the forward defense sentry point located in the Badulla Road at Koduwamadu had forcefully recruited 20 youths on 28 March. Majority of them were underage children from Senaikudiyirupu, Oorani, Chenkaladi and Batticaloa town. These people, as usual, went for work from the Government controlled areas to the Tiger area.

They were stopped at the forward sentry point and told that they are being detained for an inquiry. Subsequently all of them were transported in a tractor to a Tiger camp.

Similarly on 29 March, a total of 15 youths were forcefully recruited. Out of them 10 went to work in a construction site at Karadiyanaru and 5 of them were laborers went to work in the paddy fields.

Again on 30 March, 8 youths were forcefully taken away.

It is now learnt that all those forcefully recruited youths in the last three days were taken to a LTTE’s training camp under the control of Mano Master, located at Eeralakulam, close to Tharavai.

When the parents of those youths approached the forward sentry points at Koduwamadu to inquire about their children, those LTTE cadres manning the sentry point chased them away. Parents were harshly told that their children joined the LTTE on their own free will.

In the meantime, another report emerging from Batticalao revealed that suddenly Keerthi, head of the LTTE’s intelegence wing has been summoned to Vanni. Though details are sketchy, a source revealed that Keerthi, a cadre from Batticalao was summoned for inquiry and presently held under house arrest in Vanni.


LTTE 'unhappy' over Army recruiting Muslims By Munza Mushtaq

Top LTTE ranks are reported to have expressed their 'displeasure' over a recent advertisement appearing in the State owned print media calling for Muslim youth to join the Sri Lanka Army.

It is reliably learnt that the Tiger hierarchy during several internal meetings highlighted that the decision to recruit Muslims youths who would be posted in several villages in the Eastern province, could be an impediment to the LTTE organization's activities.

However Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe noted that the primary objective to recruit Muslim youth to the force was to protect Muslim villagers in the Ampara district. The military will initially recruit 350 Muslim youth to the battalion.

"We also hope to recruit more Muslim youth to protect villagers in other Easter province districts such as Ampara and Batticaloa on a later date," the Military spokesman said.

He emphasized that the cultural gap reduces when the military recruit youth who understands the traditions and norms of their beliefs of villagers who reside in these areas. And thus it was solely taking such matters into consideration that the Army had decided to launch a drive recruiting Muslim youth to the forces. "They can easily relate to the masses living in these villagers, so confrontation will also minimize as the people will understand what they tell," Brigadier Samarasinghe noted.

However despite expressing their displeasure on the issue, the Tiger organization is yet to make a formal compliant to Sri Lankan authorities on this issue.

During the previous regime, when the then Government took a decision to recruit Muslim youth and post them as home guards in villagers in the Eastern province, the LTTE opposed the initiative and thus the move was shelved.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Breakaway rebel group joins call for delinking provinces by Sinha Ratnatunga

Colombo: A breakaway group of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has joined hands with a nationalist organisation of majority Sinhalese calling for the delinking of the north and east provinces as one administrative unit, a long-time demand of the minority rebels.

Members of the "Karuna‚ group", former fighting cadres of the LTTE, who have hitherto been carrying out undercover military operations against the LTTE, have taken part in a meeting in Colombo organised by the Patriotic National Movement (PNM), an alliance of Sinhala nationalists to renew this campaign for "demerger" of the Tamil-populated provinces of the island, where the rebels are demanding a separate state.

Organisers of the event said the main aim of their campaign would be to de-merge the East from the Northern Province which is temporarily merged currently under the controversial 1987 India-Lanka peace accord, but other objectives would be to "protect the rights of the people in the east".

Tamil rebels belonging to the LTTE are opposed to the delinking of the two provinces.

The new alliance has formed a task force calling it "Defenders of Eastern People's Rights" comprising Sinhalese nationalist parties, and Muslim and Tamil groups in the eastern province where the country's three main ethnic groups are equally distributed.

This task force was launched after a meeting with the Marxists Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the National Muslim Congress, the All-Island Tamil United Front and key operatives of the Karuna group.

A PNM officials said that the alliance was formed to fight a common enemy (the LTTE), and that though the group had political and other differences among themselves, they felt that they owed the people of the east a duty to be protected from the Tiger rebels.

Unicef: Tigers still recruit children

Children are still being kidnapped by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers to train as fighters, the UN children's agency Unicef says, but the abductions appear to be less frequent four years into a ceasefire.

The number of children taken by the Tigers has fallen every year since a 2002 ceasefire halted two decades of civil war, Unicef senior programme co-ordinator Yasmin Ali Haque said, but child recruitment was still continuing at an unacceptable level.

"Most of them are forcible," she told Reuters in an interview late on Wednesday in Unicef's Colombo office. "Children going home from school are apprehended. They're sat behind a motorcycle and then they're off. They're gone."

Finding a lasting end to a war that has already killed more than 64,000 people was key to giving children more options and stopping them from wanting to fight, she said. Talks between the government and Tigers are due to continue in Switzerland next month, but the rebels continue to threaten a return to war.


LTTE Sentry Point in Trincomalee ambushed, one dead, two wounded

A Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadre was killed and two injured in an attack on the LTTE Forward Defense Line sentry point located in Poonagar in Trincomalee district Thursday around 8 p.m., said LTTE sources in the east. The Tigers charged that the ambushmen had come from the Sri Lanka Army camp in Mahindapura.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe refuted LTTE's claim that the attack was carried out by Sri Lankan troopers.

Gunfire over the Mahindapura SLA Camp was observed Thursday night, according to the Sri Lanka Military spokesman in Colombo.

Mr. S. Elilan, Trincomale District Political Head of the LTTE, has registered a complaint about the attack with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, LTTE sources said.


Newspaper correspondent meets political leader of the Karuna Group

Thuiyavan said his group is not a gang but an organization.

"Nobody can disarm us. We have our own arms. They are not given by the government or anybody else. We will hand over our arms on the day Prabhakaran hands over his. Until then we will not put down arms," said 'Thuiyavan', who introduced himself as the political leader of the Karuna Group, the breakaway faction of the LTTE.

He said so to the Lankadeepa newspaper when the paper’s provincial correspondent, Raj Weerasinghe, met a team of Karuna cadres in the government-controlled Wadumunai area near Welikanda town in the Batticaloa district.

The Lankadeepa newspaper published two photographs depicting two LTTE deserters surrendering themselves with arms to the Karuna Group. Thuiyavan said to the correspondent that their group is not a gang but an organization.

He said they fear the Sri Lanka Army and police, but bear arms to protect themselves from the LTTE.


Karuna Speaks: His political aims and objectives explained

In an interview V.Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna speaks of his political aims and objectives. He has emphasised "We are people’s movement. We reflect the aspirations of our people. We do not have to act as proxy to any vested interests. It is the LTTE which is being funded by criminal means to attack the questioning voices."

Excerpts of the interview are given below :

Question : What is your group seeking to achieve by mounting attacks against the Tamil Tigers in areas they control? Are you trying to wipe the Tigers out?

V. Muralitharan: We are not mounting attacks on the Vanni Tigers at present. We are only defending ourselves from LTTE attacks. It was well reported that LTTE had declared open war against our movement and many of our cadres have perished in their brutal attacks. LTTE does not show any remorse and anyone making a mere comment against it could become its victim.

Many of our cadres who fought valiant battles including the take over of the major Elephant Pass camp of the Sri Lanka military are being hunted by the LTTE, just because they belong to our movement now. LTTE is a brutal force and unless we defend ourselves we will be wiped out mercilessly by the LTTE.

I am the leader of TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) a political party. Makkal means people. We are people’s movement. Unlike the LTTE, we want to play consensus politics as we represent the voices of all the Tamil people including the plantation Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Tamil Diaspora. LTTE is a self centred monolithic organisation. We are not trying to wipe out the LTTE. What we are trying to do is to release our people from the fascist clutches of the LTTE. This we are trying to do by politicisation and removing the hurdles our people are facing under the LTTE dictatorship. Our sustained work is having major impact on the LTTE.

If LTTE engage in any future unprovoked attacks against us, we will be reviewing our defensive position and will take offensive actions. We think this is the only language LTTE will understand.

Question : Why do you think the Tamil Tigers are unfit to rule in the North and East?

V. Muralitharan: The LTTE is a fascist organisation. It is only interested in creaming the Tamil society and run a business empire of Prabakaran under the name of LTTE. They are continuing to do all the dastardly things against the Tamil people. A simple assessment would confirm this.

Arbitrarily killing of Tamil people by the LTTE is disproportionately high in numbers compared to all the killings by Sri Lankan forces so far. Killings of our people using the guns taken to defend them are something of daily phenomenon for the LTTE. The LTTE gets sadistic satisfaction from killing, kidnapping, torturing etc., of our people.

Look at what they have done and still doing to our Tamil speaking Muslim brotherhood in the North and East. LTTE under its Jaffna command systematically drove away the Muslims from Jaffna in the 1980’s. These Muslims are inherent part of our Tamil society. This is what former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic did against Muslims which lead to him facing the international War Crimes Tribunal.

The LTTE does not recognise the Muslims as indigenous race even after 25 years of its existence. The Muslims have become victims to the LTTE attacks even after signing the peace accord with the Sri Lankan government in April 2002.

Our movement TMVP will work tirelessly to protect the Muslims from LTTE attacks and work to ensure those driven out from Jaffna are returned with dignity and honour at the earliest. The Tamil people generally do not accept what LTTE is doing to the Muslims. But unfortunately, they too are unable to voice against the LTTE because of fear of reprisals.

The LTTE machinery is spinning colossal sums of money by coercive tactics in Sri Lanka and from expatriate Tamils. The very same people from whom money is taken do not have any say in the politics or conduct of the LTTE. Even their present visit to Geneva has hidden motives. Why are they staying in Geneva for so long? For your information, the LTTE’s S.P.Tamilselvan, Nadesan and Col Jeyam are hosting a dinner party for Tamil business people at Martastr, 145, 89003 Zurich with the view to spin money. This itself confirm their insincerity.

Other interesting factor is LTTE does not believe in democracy.

Victories achieved in the military front must translate into negotiations to resolve the conflict. LTTE is not serious about negotiations and will ensure sabotaging them on petty parochial grounds. This is the history of LTTE. Any resolution to the conflict must be through due democratic process by negotiating with the Government of Sri Lanka involving all the parties concerned.

LTTE knows very well if people are allowed to cast their votes in a free and fair election they will have to jump into the sea and swim away. The other problem is, before finding solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka, we have to find safe heavens for the LTTE leadership. They have earned enemies all over and their survival in a democratic society will become very uncertain and life threatening for them.

Question: What do you see as the ideal solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict? Do you support the idea of an ethnic homeland?

V. Muralitharan: We all fought to carve out a separate Tamil state for our people. The Tamil people were pushed to take arms to exercise their inalienable right to self determination which was until recently centred on establishing a separate state. Tamils as a race meets all the criteria to decide for themselves of their political future. But unfortunately, our legitimate struggle has been mismanaged by the LTTE to protect its selfish hegemonic interests. Our people have been put through enormous hardships in the name of liberation struggle even during peace time. LTTE is not engaged in a national liberation struggle. It is trying to secure and extend its mafia state within the state of Sri Lanka. Our people are enduring real hardships and the LTTE does not realise that our people want just solution to this unending conflict.

It is our position that a federal solution recognising the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka is achieved by peaceful means. The federal solution must give maximum safeguards to all the communities in Sri Lanka and there must be constitutional safeguards enshrined with the agreement of all the parties for territorial integrity of the island state. The federal solution to the conflict is receiving wider support among Tamils and the international community too favour such model to resolve the conflict.

I do not think separate Tamil state will be a viable solution. In the fast progressing global village, unity and integration are playing important part. In this climate, there won’t be international support to establish a separate state. The Tamil people are aware of impracticality in a separate state. But unfortunately, the LTTE is intransigent. For their survival, they are advocating the separate state theory which is not a viable proposition at all.

Question: Do you have any plan to join the political mainstream?

V. Muralitharan: TMVP is a political party. We are working tirelessly to establish our grass root network. We will pronounce our democratic political objectives clearly once we establish the security and safety for our party members. This we anticipate will happen very soon. We will join the political mainstream and fully engage in participatory politics in every level. We are a powerful voice of all the Tamil people, the Muslims living in Sri Lanka and the expatriate Tamils who are also struggling to cope with the fascist antics of the LTTE.

Question: How would you run the Tigers differently from Prabakaran?

V. Muralitharan: First of all you must realise Prabakaran is a megalomaniac. He does not believe in democracy and diversity. He can only preside over deaths and destruction. Killing and presiding over suffering is simple thing for him. He will continue do this without any remorse.

Having been in the LTTE, I am privy to Prabakaran’s intents and his dogmatic and idiosyncratic mission to hold on to power in a ruthless manner. The Tamil people are realising that Prabakaran is a liability and their dissenting voices are now emerging from all corners of the world, which I consider is a writ served on him and his fascist organisation. This is a very positive and progressive development.

I am confident that we could give a vibrant leadership to that of Prabakaran’s antics. We are a politico-military organisation. We believe in democratisation of the Tamil society. Our military objective as said earlier is only for self-defence purpose at present.

Prabakaran has built up his military machinery which he his unable to control himself. The LTTE fellows are on the spree and are killing our people for petty and personal reasons. It is our intention to put an end to killing of our people irrespective of their political affiliations. We must disengage the intelligence network of the LTTE which is throttling our people.

On the wider context, we will be putting forward our policy on political-social-economic framework with the full participation of our people. We will work tirelessly to achieve unity among all the communities by practical means to achieve diversity and consensus to resolve this burgeoning conflict to an end. We believe in consensus politics which is essential for finding lasting solution to the conflict.

Question : President Rajapakse has vowed to rein in all armed groups in Government controlled areas. What will your group do if the military tries to do that?

V. Muralitharan: First of all we are not a group. We are a politico-military movement. Our political arm is known as TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Puliakal. There does not arise any necessity to disarm us, as we carry arms only to defend ourselves from LTTE attacks. We are not a threat to our people or the Sri Lankan society at large. LTTE is worried about our strength and crying in hysteria to disarm us.

In a hypothetical situation if Sri Lanka forces disarm all the armed groups and us as you suggest, it will only give legitimacy for the LTTE to extend its writ to kill us. Any hand-over of arms must be part of conflict resolution process at a stage when normalcy and trust is established. It is important that LTTE too must handover its weapons at the same time under international supervision.

Question: Has the military or anyone else been helping your fellows to mount attacks against the Tigers? How long will your unilateral ceasefire last?

V. Muralitharan: We are not a mercenary group. We are people’s movement. We reflect the aspirations of our people. We do not have to act as proxy to any vested interests. LTTE is anti-social and we have inherited enough arms from the LTTE to safeguard us. It is the LTTE which is being funded by criminal means to attack the questioning voices.

With regards to our unilateral ceasefire, we will observe this until the LTTE keeps away from us. The ball is in their court now. If they attempt to impose their will by any violent means, we will end our self imposed declaration immediately. We will not even hesitate to start offensive actions against the LTTE.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Latest clash between LTTE factions kills two Wanni cadres

Karuna Amman has vowed to fight for his faction's safety at any time.

Mar 04, Colombo: At least two Wanni LTTE cadres were reportedly killed when they encountered a group from the Karuna faction in an uncleared area in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa, last night.

It is learnt that Karuna cadres attacked the Wanni cadres to secure the release of another Karuna cadre who was reportedly detained and tortured by Wanni cadres at a checkpoint at Vavunathivu. One Wanni cadre was able to flee from the scene with injuries after the heavy attack by the Karuna faction.

Currently, the Karuna faction is observing an unilateral ceasefire against the Wanni faction, but Karuna Amman has vowed that they will fight against the Wanni cadres for their safety at any time.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Sri Lankan president's allies call for strong army to stop rebels returning to war by BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Two parties aligned with Sri Lanka - 's president urged him on Monday to strengthen the armed forces to deter Tamil Tiger rebels from returning to war, as new violence threatened a four-year-old cease-fire.

``While continuing dialogue with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the government should also ramp up its strengthening and training of the armed forces so that the LTTE will realize that going to war is not an option,'' the Marxist People's Liberation Front said at meeting of the country's main political parties convened by President Mahinda Rajapakse.

A radical Buddhist monks' party, Jathika Hela Urumaya, also called for rebuilding the army.

Rajapakse summoned the leaders of all major political parties on Monday in a bid to salvage the country's faltering peace process, threatened by increasing violence as well as by sharp differences among his political allies.

``There was full support for the president's call for the peace process to go forward and succeed,'' said Lucian Rajakarunanayake, a spokesman for the president. ``There were divergent views on how to go about it, but all agreed that peace talks should go ahead.''

The meeting was held behind closed doors.

It was the first meeting of all major parties since Feb. 22-23 talks between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels in Geneva, where they agreed to scale down violence and meet again on April 19-21. Truce monitors fear a recent resumption of attacks with three deaths in three days could put the talks in jeopardy.

Rajapakse has been criticized by the Marxists and the Buddhist monks' party, as well as by the main opposition United National Party, on the way the peace process is being conducted.

The Marxists and the monks' party oppose any concessions for the rebels, who began fighting in 1983 to create a separate homeland for the island's 3.2 million Tamil minority.

The support of the two allies which together have 50 seats in the 225-member legislature is crucial for Rajapakse's minority government.

The opposition UNP, which previously said it would back the government's peace efforts, is now demanding more transparency. It was during an earlier UNP government that the Norwegian-brokered cease-fire was signed in 2002, ending nearly two decades of fighting that killed 65,000 people.

Recent violence has killed at least 150 people, including 81 government security officers, and led to an increase in tensions and concerns over the stability of the cease-fire.


Ex Army soldier's bullet riddled body found in Valachchenai By Munza Mushtaq

The bullet riddled body of an ex-Army soldier was found on Monday morning at around 6.20 a.m. near a Mosque in Meeraodai, Valachchenai.

The victim was identified as Recruit S.M. Navaz (25 years) from Meeraodai, Valachchenai, who had gone missing since December 31, 2004.

He was found gunned down by an un identified gunman using a 9 mm pistol near the JUMMA mosque in Meeraodai, valaichenai, at pointblank range.

"The motive of this brutal assassination is yet to be ascertained," an Army spokesman said.

The incident has been notified to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and the Valachchenai police are conducting investigations.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Stop wailing, put your house in order" - TVMP spokesman to LTTE

TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal led by V.Muralitharam nom de guerre Colonel Karuna, denied any involvement in the so called attack and killing of the two Liberation Tiger cadres at the Vavunathievu sentry point in the East, on the small hours of Saturday.

Thooyavan the spokesman for the TMVP, while dismissing the allegation, said that it is understandable that Vanni Tigers coming up with all sorts of cock and bull stories against us only with the view to provoke us.

If we have attacked them, we would have courageously claimed it no sooner after any such attacks.

We always wanted to attack and chase them out of the East and this is a public secret, but at present we have declared a unilateral ceasefire against the Praba- Group in the East, therefore we exercise maximum restraint at the height of a sustained provocation by them.

We are waiting for the right opportunity to chase out the Praba- Group from the East and we are confident that Praba Group will sooner or later provide us with the right opportunity to embark on a final belligerent campaign against them.

Furthermore, we wish to bring to the notice of the international community of the sickening internal matters that are being going on within the Praba - Groups bases in the East.

To cite one example, there are about a total 120 persons, including underage trainees and cadres based in the ‘Dora Bora camp,’ - or else the ‘Panchu Maraththadi base located 5 Km from Tharavi, in the Topigala jungle area.

Cadres in this camp are paid a monthly allowance of Rs.7000 by the Praba group. We have observed the Praba-Group cadres daily fight amongst them, after consuming alcohol – local brew. According to the report of our intelligence group, in the middle of the nights they have often heard reportages of gunfire within the base followed by shouting and wailing of the cadres.

Similarly at the Vavunathievu base, after the influence of liquor the Praba - Group cadres must have fought amongst them and killed their colleagues and reported a different story to their bosses and there is every opportunity for their bosses who cannot leave their bases for fear of being attacked to release unconfirmed reports alleging us as attackers.

We wish to reiterate that we have not attacked them and if in case if we attack them, we would boldly claim such attack. Therefore, Praba - Group should stop its lamentation and take appropriate action to put its house in order in the East, before we chase them log stock and barrel from our land.


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

Interview with Inyabarathy of the Karuna's Group

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. "

Second anniversary of Karuna's revolt – Iniyabarathi recalls.

Iniyabarathi, one of the dare devil commanders of Colonel Karuna, Leader of the TamilEela Makal Viduthalai Pulikal recalls the revolt of his leader Karuna on 03 March 2004, against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and its reclusive leader Velupllai Prabakaran. He declares that today after sacrificing nearly 365 of their cadres, 'thanks to our martyrs', - to the ruthless killing machine of Prabakaran, Sri Lankan political agenda is dominated by none other than his leader Karuna.

Iniyabarathy reminded Karuna's words of 03 March 2004, "There is no question of reconciliation with the Vanni Tigers, everything is beyond reconciliation. In future we will have a full self-administration (in the east).We'll receive no more command from the Vanni administration or from Prabhakaran."

These were the words of our leader - a clarion call and we all the Tamils and the Tamil speaking people without hesitation, whole-heartedly rallied round Karuna Amman, to safeguard our people from the Vanni Tigers, he said.

He said that two years have already elapsed and since then, though our losses were immense due to the brutal attacks of the Vanni Tigers, anyhow their sacrifices have not gone in vain. The martyrdom of our beloved ones has today made the world to know the atrocities of the Vanni Tigers and henceforth in any national or international forums or conferences on Sri Lanka's political issues, it would be the Karuna factor that would determine the issues and nothing else.

This was proved clearly even at the latest round of talks held in Geneva, where Balasingham spewed fear mixed with venom they have on us and their vulnerable position in the east. Balasingham is the aging so called spokesman who makes a living with his Australian born wife by promoting and glorifying Fascism and terrorism in Sri Lanka.

Iniyabarathy said today hundreds of devoted cadres are behind our leader and we are ready to sacrifice our lives to provide safety and security to our people as pledged to them by our leader.

He said that he joined the Tamil Tigers when he was an underage boy of 14 years, like one of his colleague Pillaiyan, the deputy commander of the politico military organization. Even earlier the martyred Lt. Colonel Kuhanesan who was killed while asleep in Kottawa too joined the LTTE when he was only 14 years of age.

While talking with "Asian Tribune" in a location in Batticaloa at his sprawling base, Iniyabarathy said that he joined the LTTE in 1994 and underwent arms training at Kudawatte. After the training he was sent to Vanni. According to him he served in Jaffna for a very short time and in Vanni until the end of the year 2000.

He said that he served for a total of six years in Vanni and during the Jeyasukru days he was the Company Commander, posted to be in charge of the Ceylon Theater LTTE camp in the Manal Aru.

He revealed that he is from Kaluwankerni in the Batticaloa district and there were two younger brothers and a sister in his family. Sister was the eldest and he was next followed by his two brothers.

His two brothers Konesakumar alias Lieutenant Bhanuthasan who was also with the LTTE and martyred while taking the forward defense position to wrest back Kilinochchi in the LTTE's hostile campaign "Unceasing Waves II."

Similarly his youngest brother Punithakumar alias Second Lieutenant Suthakaran too martyred at an encounter with the Sri Lankan amed forces at Vantharumulai in the Batticaloa region.

"All the three male members of our family, at one point of time gave our live and soul to safeguard the life of Prabakaran and the Vanni Tigers in the North. Today the same ungrateful Praba-Group has threatened my aged father, mother, my sister and her children. They have to flee and live as displaced persons far away from our home."

He said the people in the East today believe in Colonel Karuna. From Vantharmulai up to Puthukudiyiripu in the Batticalao district, a big swathe of land mass today remains under the control of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal. "Even the so called areas which were earlier said to be under LTTE control such as Karutthapalam (Black Bridge,) Muthiraiadi, Panthura Veli too are presently under our control," he said. Even Tharavai has fallen and is under dual control. It is no more under the control of the Vanni Tigers alone and is almost something you may term us a 'no man's land', Iniyabarathy explained

When describing about his organization, Iniyabarathy clarified that as Karuna Amman has recently announced our TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal is a politico – military organization. We are not crazy people or maniac to fight and shoot everyone we come across. Whenever we are provoked or attacked we will use weapons only on self defence.

Furthermore, he explained that there is no need for anyone to worry about disarming us. We have so far never challenged the sovereignty of the Sri Lanka Government. Our only desire is to have a Tamil homeland with self-rule, something similar to a federal unit encompassing all the geographically contiguous areas of the North and East that have been the traditional homeland of Tamil and Tamil-speaking people in the country. We want our Tamil people live with honor and dignity and as citizens enjoying equal rights, benefits and opportunities as enjoyed by others. We are against discrimination, but we are not against Muslims and Sinhalese people who live in our midst in the east as our own kith and kin without any problems for the last so many generations.

Recently, in the second week of December 2005, there were reports that Iniyabarathy was killed, but the next day he spoke "Asian Tribune" to prove his opponents wrong. "It must be clearly remembered that TamilEela Makal Viduthalai Pulikal is not a terrorist's organization like Vanni Tigers. Vanni Tigers today are banned in almost all the countries in the world. It is important that the international community has to pressurize the disarming of the Vanni Tigers who are always on a killing spree," he said. The fact is that Vanni Tigers who brandish lethal weapons and keep on killing each and everyone who opposes them are a killer-group which has to be disarmed, tamed and brought into the democratic mainstream, he explained.

Iniyabarathi vowed that as long as a single member of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal is alive they will never allow the Praba-Group to remain in the East. This is the number one priority of our action plan and would be followed by other plans to bring an end to the atrocities unleashed by them in the other parts of the county.

In his concluding statement in the interview with the "Asian Tribune," Iniyabarathi, the young man, 26 years old, a commander dreaded by his opponents said that in their third year of the revolt against Vanni Tigers, he wants to have East of Sri Lanka devoid of Vanni Tigers and people in the area to live peacefully without the fear of death, destruction and war.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Praba group Tigers attempt to abduct Mahindapala"

Kulam, Chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Switzerland has been arrested by the Police on 28 February in connection with the attempt to abduct a senior journalist H.L.D. Mahindapala, reports iIlakku online Tamil news daily from Switzerland, in its 01 March 2006 issue.

Ilakku published the news item under the heading "Praba group Tigers attempt to abduct senior media person Mahindapala."

Unofficial translation of the Ilakku's news report is given below :

News from Geneva reveals that an attempt to abduct a popular journalist and the former Editor of Observer H.L.D. Mahindapala in Geneva by the leading intelligence group person belonging to the Praba Group in Switzerland has failed.

It is learnt that the Sri Lankans in Geneva apprehended Kutty and Sudha, both from the Praba group, who were involved in the planned abduction and handed them over to the police.

It is now revealed according to the report to the police, while Mahindapala participated in the demonstration against Tigers held on last 23 in Geneva, Praba group Tigers planned to spray tear gas to abduct him and while Kulam, Kutty and Sudha were waiting in Blue Color car, Sri Lankans who were there went to apprehend them, but Kulam fled with the tear gas canisters and weapons.

This time, during the investigation, Kutty and Sudha, the two Praba group Tigers confessed to the Police that they came there to abduct Mahindapala. It is noted that subsequent to their statement Kulam has been arrested yesterday by the Police.


Batticaloa residents refuse to rent their buildings to LTTE.

Tamil Tigers popularity in the East is beginning to wane, as residents in the government controlled areas have began to resist all forms of bullying by the gun-toting Tiger cadres.

According to report emerging from Batticalao, it is learnt that house owners in the district capital has said very clearly and with finality that they will not give their houses on rent or on lease to be used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, either as their political offices or as election offices, despite the usual threat and intimidation forthcoming from the Tiger cadres.

It is the first time, the Tamil Tigers are beginning to learn to digest "No" as an answer to their threats and intimidation, a source in the East told to "Asian Tribune."

It was alleged that TamilEela Makal Viduthai Pulikal led by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna has warned the house owners in the Batticaloa not to rent either their houses or buildings to the LTTE.

Further it was reported that only due to threat extended by Karuna’s group, residents of the Batticaloa districts are refusing to rent out their buildings to the LTTE.

When "Asian Tribune" contacted Thooyavan, the spokesman of the TMVP he denied those allegations "baseless and preposterous."

He clarified that residents in the Batticala districts are beginning to understand the atrocities and killings so far let loose by the Vanni Tigers against TamilEela Makal Viduthai Pulikal led by their leader Colonel Karuna.

He said, "one year ago on 25 July 2004 Lt. Colonel Kuhanes, Castro, Kesawan , a total of our eight members all from Batticaloa were cowardly killed by the Vanni Tigers while they were asleep. They were drugged by one turncoat Thamanan of Santhiveli, before being killed cowardly.”

"Again," he said, "on 23 September 2004 Sivanesathurai alias Colonel Reggie, Lt. Colonel Elilan and Lt. Colonel Thumilan and two others were cowardly killed by the Vanni Tigers in a jungle hideout location linked with Vadamunai, nearly 10 kilometers away from Mannampittya in the Batticaloa district whilst asleep."

He added that all these killings have gradually begun to sink in their hearts and mind that Vanni Tigers are killing and maiming the Tamils and Tamil speaking people of the East, who are with Colonel Karuna.


Thooyavan further emphasized that no one should think that the people of the East are morons. "They are beginning understand that we TamilEela Makal Viduthai Pulikal are mainly from the East and are going to be with them and will be safeguarding them against the threats and intimidations of the Vanni Tigers."

Thooyavan said that recently in an interview Colonel Karuna has said very clearly "Our people ... have entrusted us to defend them from the LTTE. Our people will not like us to become submissive and just hand over our weapons to satisfy the LTTE brutes."

Thoyavan clarified:"This idea which began to sink within them is gradually emboldening them to resist the threats and intimidations of the Vanni Tigers."

Abductions & hijacking human rights by Janaka Perera

Having read in the March 1 The Island the best LTTE joke in 20 years (Tigers committed to champion human rights in EU Parliament) the attempt to abduct veteran journalist and Asian Tribune Advisor H.L.D. Mahindapala at Geneva on February 22 seems to us another strange expression of LTTE’s "commitment to human rights!"

All those who do not subscribe to the Tigers' 'HR' agenda have undoubtedly breathed sighs of relief that the LTTE abduction attempt failed. Condemning the Tigers for the attempt – or for that matter any other of their despicable acts - would obviously serve no purpose. A skunk is always a skunk. Does it care a hoot when, where or how many people or how many times it is called a skunk? (A host of clowns are already preparing to bathe the skunk in perfume at the EU Parliament on March 7)

Nevertheless, many Sri Lankan patriots are surely curious to know the response of some of the vociferous free media champions to the abduction attempt. The world has witnessed how these defenders of freedom of expression exploded in 'righteous anger' whenever a pro-LTTE journalist met a violent death but became tongue tied or begin to stammer when a journalist falls victim to Tiger bullet. They largely ignored LTTE's attack on the Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) in London among other Tiger acts of violence against the media both in Sri Lanka and abroad.

But the 'free media champions' really need not worry. There are ways and means wriggling out of such a difficult situation. The best way is to call the abduction attempt a possible fabrication. Or else they can attribute the attempt to a mysterious 'third party' as the Norwegians and LTTE sympathizers did in the case of the unprovoked terrorist attack on a Chinese trawler off the Sri Lanka coast a few years ago.

In the event the free media champions are compelled to issue a statement deploring the abduction attempt they can always use the wishy-washy language that the National Peace Council uses when referring to Tiger terrorism. May be the Free Media people and the NPC can issue joint statement that can be worded thus:

"The alleged attempt to abduct Journalist H.L.D Mahinadapala, if true, was perhaps not in keeping with the spirit of the Geneva talks. If indeed the LTTE was involved in this incident, the international community is bound to deplore the attempt as an act bordering on intimidation and may be even terrorism. Therefore while welcoming the LTTE’s positive response to the talks, we would nevertheless appeal to the Tiger Leadership to ensure that it’s image is not tarnished by even an isolated act of violence that can obstruct the peace process."

In November last year several papers editorially condemned the assault on two Sunday Leader journalists at the funeral of Lt. Colonel T.R. Meedin – despite the fact that the reasons behind the incident remain sketchy. Will or can the same papers – including the SL - condemn with equal vehemence the attempted abduction of Mahindapala


'LTTE, Army both violating CFA' - Courtesy: Sunday Leader

Interview with SLMM Spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir is deeply concerned about the recent spate of incidents in the north and east. She feels if this is not addressed by both factions - the LTTE and the government-a war is inevitable. Though she says the relationship the SLMM has with both the government and the LTTE is 'good,' the monitors are not satisfied with the response received to the call of peace from both parties. She says though the LTTE has consistently been violating the CFA, the army too has been responsible for violating the CFA. Asked whether the failure to disarm paramilitary groups by the government was a violation of the CFA, she said yes. "When we inquired from the government about the Karuna faction, the government said it was unaware of Karuna's existence.

But when we visited the spot and asked the army, they showed us where he was," she told The Sunday Leader in an interview.

Following are excerpts:

By Wilson Gnanadass

Q: How do you view the escalation of violence in the north-east?

A: It is a dangerous escalation that at one point we came out with a statement warning that if this is not stopped there would be war. That is how serious we think it is. For some reason the major attacks have stopped but that does not mean it cannot flare up again. Trincomalee is more tensed at present. The hotspots are trying to move around. Batticaloa was the most violent district in the last year. But Jaffna and Trincomalee have become more violent now.

Q: Is there evidence to prove which party (government or LTTE) is mostly responsible for violence?

A: We certainly do not have evidence in the attacks that took place in Jaffna. When these attacks take place it is difficult to find out who is behind it. Whenever there is a claymore mine attack we do not know who is behind this. But the army says they have evidence. We approached the LTTE in the month of December and asked them whether they were involved and they denied. And we asked them if they knew who is behind this and they said the people were behind.

We did not find the answers to be satisfactory. We found it quite frustrating. So we sent them a letter asking them that if they know for sure that the people are behind this that they should identify them for us. But to date there has not been any reply. We will pursue this because we are not satisfied with their answers. These attacks are well orchestrated. An organised group of people could be responsible for such attacks.

Q: According to your monitoring observations which party has violated the Ceasefire Agreement more? LTTE or the army?

A: You see everyone will think that my answer will be LTTE. If you look at the numbers, I think the LTTE has violated the CFA more. But it goes a lot deeper than that. The current dilemma stems from beneath the surface. There are several paramilitary groups operating and we have seen one of these camps and it was quite clear that the army on the ground was aware because this was in the government controlled area.

The killing spree that was started after the LTTE split created certain chaos on ground and in some way a vacuum was created allowing various elements to utilise the situation. And some of this is also criminal activity that is allowed to hide behind the conflict as well. What is disturbing is that this mission was set up to monitor peace and if you look at all the killings from last year, 346 people have been killed in suspected conflict related killings. But of course private disputes can also be amongst this number. But in none of these cases, have the police, army or SLMM been able to identify the killers. This is not normal in a time of ceasefire.

These killings have in fact created nothing but mistrust between the two sides and undermines any chance of coming back to the negotiating table. I don't think these killings would stop until the two parties sit down and find a solution. These killings would continue until these two parties solve the problems between them and then think of solving the ethnic crisis. The parties say that they are committed but the more people are killed the more the LTTE and the government are moving away from each other.

Q: One of the principal clauses in the CFA was to disarm paramilitary groups. But so far the government has failed to do this and it is a fact that Karuna's group operates openly in the east. Don't you think this itself is a serious violation of the CFA?

A: We brought this up with the government last year. Waited for their reaction. The government claimed that it had nothing to do with this group and was not aware of their existence. But when we visited the spot in the east and asked the Sri Lankan army where we could find Karuna, they told us where to go. So it was clear that the local army knew where he was. We have stressed this to the government that they need to be disarmed. You have also seen the Co-chairs asking the government to disarm paramilitaries.

We do not have evidence that the government is directly supporting or harbouring Karuna. But the government is aware of such a group and its existence but has not addressed it properly. This makes our monitoring even more difficult. If there are only two actors in a situation then monitoring becomes easy. But we have other elements, which makes it more difficult to identify whenever there are attacks. The CFA is a good document but I don't think people foresaw the current situation when it was drafted.

Q: The SLMM early last week reported that the claim by the LTTE that a schoolgirl was abducted was false. Now under the powers vested with the SLMM what type of action could be taken against any group for spreading such false rumours?

A: It is true one of the major problems this country faces is the disturbance within the community in the north-east. Demonstrations could lead to people dying. There is unfortunately the problem of flow of correct information and rumours being spread around causes violence and disturbance within the communities. Both the LTTE and certain politicians in the government could be accused for fighting a propaganda war.

I would say it is a war of words between the two parties. The way the two sides fight their propaganda war and the way they point their fingers at each other is a large part of the problem today. I must say both sides are wrong in doing this. We may not have powers to take action but we could only point out that it is wrong to do this.

Q: The ongoing violence in the north-east makes one wonder whether the CFA exists. How does the SLMM view this?

A: It is a good question and we too are concerned about it. The only thing we could do in our position as monitors is not to abandon the ship. We are committed and we will stay until either of the parties asks us to go home. The CFA should be ended by either of the parties and not by us. We are committed. We would continue with our task until the security situation permits us to do our job as monitors.

There are five Nordic governments supporting this mission. And they would not be ready to accept any loss of life of any of their people in this mission. It is a peace monitoring mission and not peace keeping. In theory the CFA exists until either of the parties call it off.

Q: We see a situation where both parties keep blaming each other after every incident. When civilians are killed the army denies any involvement and when soldiers are killed the LTTE denies responsibility. What is your observation?

A: Both parties fail to understand that this attitude is completely detrimental to the peace process. The two parties at some point must accept the reality and face their responsibilities. There is a worrying trend that more and more civilians are getting caught.

In the beginning of 2005 it was more political killings. But now we see more civilians are dying. The police are unable to find evidence for many of the killings. People out there are getting away with murder. There is increasing worry that at some point instead of just assassinations and attacks there could be actually an outbreak (of hostilities) between the two factions because the situation is getting hotter.

In the three-and-a-half-years there was no direct or return of fire. The forces were quite disciplined. But now at present with the situation heating up the mood is changing and it is a question now as to how long we could keep the two forces away from each other. Escalations are very difficult to predict. You see, for a war to begin one does not have to wait for a signal from the top. The present escalation itself is sufficient.

Q: Are you of the opinion that talks could ever take off given the present ground situation?

A: It has to. There is no other option. The parties have a responsibility to their citizens to try to obtain peace. Nobody can realistically say they want war. This country has already been through too much. For me I just cannot see anyone choosing to go to war. I don't think the people on the ground want war. They want peace.

Q: How comfortable has the SLMM found its monitoring exercise in the north-east?

A: We genuinely feel that our presence in some of the hottest areas have made a world of difference when it comes to calming down a situation. We have tried to engage the local community and this has proved a success. Normally if you get people to sit down and talk to different communities we could often find a solution. So locally the work is quite satisfying and gratifying but unfortunately it is not the same here in Colombo where high politics take place.

Q: Several parties including the JVP and JHU accuse the SLMM to be pro-LTTE? How would you respond?

A: If we were pro-LTTE then the government of Sri Lanka would have kicked us out long ago. If those who accuse us have a problem with the mission I suggest they should take it up with the government of Sri Lanka who is responsible for our stay here. The people who work in this mission come from five different countries. Most of them have never come to Sri Lanka before. There are lawyers, policemen, army personnel and so on, and they are not interested in politics but interested in coming here to help achieve peace. It means staying away from your family for a long time and it is not a glamorous job but tough.

What people must understand is that the aim of this mission is first and foremost to maintain the ceasefire. That involves dealing with an organisation called the LTTE. And we must not forget that this monitoring mission has its mandate from the LTTE and the government. That does not mean that we want to whitewash the LTTE from their wrongdoings. But it means we have to be realistic, practical and alternatively we need to show a great deal of integrity in our work and focus on facts only.

Q: Some parties even want SLMM to get out of the country? How seriously does the SLMM take this criticism?

A: We read about criticism and try to take it on board and try to improve our work but there comes a time when we need to ignore certain negative statements. Criticism is healthy. But a lot of people who criticise have no idea about what we do.

Q: The SLMM is under criticism for not doing anything about incidents other than just merely releasing statements. What more could the SLMM do with the powers vested with it at least to minimise violence?

A: I think the SLMM would work perfectly if both parties could comply with the CFA. The nature of the CFA is such it calls for the parties concerned to be responsible. We have no enforcement possibility, no guns but only a handful of Nordic monitors whose responsibility lies exclusively with both parties.

Q: Has the SLMM faced any obstacles or impediments during the monitoring process and if so what are they and where do they emerge from?

A: When the LTTE denied access to some key sites that was hindering our work. When the government makes a complaint to us and accuses the LTTE of various assassinations but does not give us access to investigative material then that hinders our work. So there are instances where our work is definitely hampered by both the LTTE and the government but in general our relationship with the people from both sides is good. And we are working towards a common goal. As long as we feel that our relationship is great or good with both sides then we feel they are being quite helpful and we feel they respect us. Or they respect our work.

Q: Given the recent spate of violent incidents, would you say the CFA is at its weakest now?

A: Yes. It is the worst since it commenced. We did not expect that. But we must not forget that this country is still coming out of a conflict that has taken decades to get a foothold. So it is never going to be a quick fix and we remain committed to this country as long as it takes.


Missing LTTE cadres arrested by SLA, charges Elilan

The Liberation Tigers in Trincomalee said Thursday that they have submitted fresh evidence to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) to confirm that five of their members who had been reported missing since 25 September were arrested by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers. “Our organisation has lodged a fresh complaint based on evidence though eye-witnesses to substantiate our earlier complaint,” said Mr.S.Elilan, Trincomalee district political head of the LTTE.

The LTTE members were arrested while they were travelling from Aathiamkerni towards Ralkuli, in Muttur, south of Trincomalle, in an area held by our organisation.

He identified the LTTE members arrested as Thaninesan, Isaiyarasan, Velmaran, Pagavathan and Aravinthan.

"We immediately brought this matter to the SLMM in Trincomalee. The SLA has, however, informed the truce monitors that no such arrests were made," Mr.Elilan said.

“Today we renewed our complaint made earlier to the SLMM stating that we are in a position to provide evidence to prove our complaint. We are yet to receive a response from SLMM on this matter," Mr.Elilan told Tamilnet Thursday evening by telephone from Sampoor.


Gunman who shot Kuveni worked for SLA intelligence – paper

The gunman who allegedly shot and grievously wounded head of Liberation Tigers’ political division for Batticaloa-Amparai (women), Ms. Kuveni and two female LTTE political activists, was a former Sri Lanka military intelligence operative, the Tamil daily Virakesari said Thursday quoting Sri Lanka army Headquarters sources. The man, now in Police custody, has been identified as Mr. Johnson Jeyakanthan (also known as ‘Pratheepan’) who had worked as an informant for Sri Lanka military intelligence, the paper quoted SLA Headquarters sources as saying.

SLA headquarters sources told Virakesari that Mr. Jeyakanthan had spent some years working abroad and had returned to Sri Lanka on 22 February this year.

Meanwhile, an LTTE official in Batticaloa said that Mr. Jeyakanthan was a member of the organization and had defected in 1992 when he was facing disciplinary action for attempting to molest a girl.

“He joined the Sri Lanka army intelligence unit in Batticaloa after he ran away. He worked as an informant for them and took part in sabotage operations against us by the SLA intelligence”, the LTTE official said.

Mr. Jeyakanthan is a native of Periya Kallar, 35 kilometres south of Batticaloa.


LTTE fighter killed in Moondumurippu

The Voice of Tigers said in its night broadcast today that the SLA and the army clashed in Moondumurippu last evening, in which a Tiger called Kodai Arasan (Selvarasa Sivarasa of Nedunkerni in Mullaithivu) was killed.

Moondumurippu is a junction on the interior jungle road running west of the A9 - the high way linking the Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the island.

The SLA claims that its troops are close to the strategic junction of Mankulam, approaching it from the west and east.

But Moondumurippu is far to the south west of Mankulam said sources in Vavuniya.

They said that while the operation to take Mankulam is running into stiff opposition, the troops from the forward areas west of kankarayan Kulam are attempting to launch small scale operations to probe and eventually capture the road running west and parallel to the A9 so that the LTTE's lines of supply on this side of the Vanni would be cut off.