Friday, August 31, 2007

Commandos rescue eight LTTE child soldiers - Kangikaidichchi Aru

Police Commandos the elite corps of the Police Special Task Force (STF) on Tuesday (August 28) rescued seven child combatants along with another 20-year old youth who had been forced by the LTTE to engage in a terrorist attack against the security forces in the Kangikaidichchi Aru area.

According to STF sources, the commandos had rescued the group of young LTTE cadres comprising four girls and four boys when they had successfully intercepted a terrorist movement at a location close to the 212 milepost on the Akkaraipattu- Pothuvil main road.

The group of terrorists had attacked the STF commandos who had been conducting a clearing operation in the area around 5 am on Tuesday. The STF personnel had overpowered the terrorist attack successfully forcing them to flee in all directions.

During the subsequent search, STF personnel found eight fear-stricken children who had been hiding in the jungle along with weapons and other military gear belonging to the LTTE.

On inquires, the children have revealed they had come to attack the STF with a group consisting of about 50 other LTTE terrorists. The children have further said the terrorists group had attacked the STF with rocket-propelled grenades and T-56 weapons during the firefight on Tuesday early morning.

STF officials told that there are seven LTTE child soldiers, boys and girls between the ages 14 and 16 years and one cadre aged 20 years. It has been further revealed that all the rescued LTTE cadres had been forcibly recruited to the terrorist outfit at a very young age. They told the STF that they had been abducted from their parents by the LTTE at different times, forcibly given arms training and put into combat. According to the details obtained the rescued were from Vinayagapuram, Thirukkovil , Kanchankuda and Akkaraipaththuwa areas. Their names are as follows:

1 Jeewarasa Sudan 15 Male
2 Chamuth Nadan 20 Male
3 Perumal Sinnathambi 15 Male
4 Dharmaratnam Ramesh 16 Male
5 Selvarasa Suwarajini 15 Female
6 Thuraisingham Sumana 14 Female
7 Vigneswaran Vinoyani 16 Female
8 Thavarasa Rashika 14 Female

During the search STF personnel also seized one claymore mine, one detonator, one detonator code, one wire roll, three anti-personnel mines, and one T-56 magazine with rounds along with some clothing and food items belonged to the LTTE.

In addition, the STF officials said that they had noticed bloodstains on the ground, raising suspicions that several LTTE cadres had been seriously injured or killed in the confrontation with the STF.

Meanwhile, Pro-LTTE media yesterday (August 29) reported that the Special Task Force had ambushed a group of LTTE cadres comprising 14 child soldiers in the same area on Tuesday (August 28) morning. They also claimed that the 14 child combatants were being taken to be handed over to the parents via UNICEF.

However, the rescued child soldiers, as well as the adult cadre have revealed that they were unaware about where they had been led to by the senior LTTE cadres, though they were eagerly waiting to desert the outfit.

The STF officials told that it is highly unlikely that LTTE was taking the child soldiers to be handed over to UNICEF as the terrorists had launched several attacks at STF personnel in the same area during last few days.

The LTTE is a terrorist outfit that has been placed on the UN's list of shame for using child combatants to fight its war against Sri Lanka. Led by its psychopathic leader, V.Prabhakaran, the outfit has been fighting since 1983 for a mono-ethnic separate state for Tamils.

It is reliably estimated that at present the LTTE holds over 2000 child soldiers in its shameful "baby brigade" waiting to be killed as suicide bombers or as one-way fighters as desired by their leader. The LTTE, as one of their abominable tactics in war, uses untrained child combatants and teenage girls to lead the frontal assaults before its male cadres enter the battlefield. It is said the LTTE leader had introduced this tactic to make the maximum impact in the initial attack waves. Having been brain-washed and given no option to turn back, thousands of young combatants had died as one-way fighters in previous battles.

The STF that arranged for the children to be reunited with their parents has sent us some emotional moments that its camera captured when the parents met their loved children whom they lost a longtime ago. On seeing their teenage daughters with shortly cut hairs, the mothers burst into tears and cursed the LTTE leader for destroying their young lives . It is said the LTTE shaves the hair of the girl recruits and do not permit them to keep long hair again, in order to break their female image. Also, it is well known that, Prabhakaran's image as ruthless terror-chief is mostly built by these desperate girls who had no option but to die a violent death as suicide bombers. requests LTTE activists living abroad in comfort and fighting for the "cause" via Internet from safe distances, to watch what disaster they had brought to the innocent Tamil people in Sri Lanka; and for LTTE fund raisers and sympathizers to watch the wicked purpose for which their funds have been used. Finally, we request human rights institutions to see what their inaction over LTTE crimes has resulted in.


Tamil students kept away from exams due to fear of LTTE conscription - EPDP Leader

The Leader of the Ealem Peoples' Democratic party (EPDP) the Minister of Social Services Douglas Devananda has stated that many Tamil students in Vanni kept away from the GCE examinations due to the fear of the LTTE forcible conscription.

Minister Devananda said that as a result of LTTE's decision to conscript 60,000 children by recruiting one child from each household, only 7 to 8 per cent of the registered students in the Vanni were able to sit the Advanced Level exam this year.

According to EPDP Leader reliable reports have revealed that the LTTE Leader Velupillai Prebhakeran is considering to increase the demand to two children from each household during his Matyrs Day speech scheduled for November 26, 2007.

Minister Devananda pointed out that the safety of 2000 families who had been displaced from Ariyalai in the Jaffna Town due to the area being declared a High security Zone is a major concern and the government is taking steps to relocate them in alternate lands. The displaced living in temporarily shelters in the coastal areas of Navalady, Maniam Thottam etc. could be prone to pressure and attacks by the LTTE in the future.

He added that the LTTE was continually threatening to shell the EPDP office. "It was only last week that some of the LTTE Artillery shells fell into or around the Palaly area and that was why I spoke to these displaced and offered to find alternate land for them to resettle," he said.

Minister Devananda added that he met with 200 or more residents of Jaffna daily, listened to their grievances and took whatever possible steps to grant then redress.


Govt. of Eritrea providing military aid to tiger terrorists – US Senate report

A report of the Foreign Relations Committee of US Senate has authoritatively said that the Government of Eritrea is providing ‘direct military aid’ to tiger terrorists.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee came to this conclusion after sending six of its staff attached to the Republican Party committee members last year to twenty countries in Asia, Africa and South America.

This is the first occasion that an influential and powerful senate committee such as foreign relations has arrived at a conclusion when discussing the Tamil Tiger activities in Sri Lanka and the threat that it posses to Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The report also states it is a violation of the UN code for a member nation of the United Nations to provide military aid against another member of the same World Body which has a legitimate democratically elected government to facilitate a terrorist group fighting for a separate state.

It is stated that Government of Sri Lanka could officially get an explanation from the committee to ascertain more details of the findings of the investigation which was authorized and executed by a congressional committee that covers relations between the United States and foreign nations, in this case with Sri Lanka. Foreign Relations Committee could be reached through the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the Department of State.


Tigers involved in Hyderabad bomb blast– Indian Police

The bomb blast that killed forty people in Hyderabad in India has been carried out with support of the tiger terrorist organization says Indian Police.

According to Indian Police Naxalite group in Andra Pradesh which had carried out the bomb attack is linked to tiger terrorist organization and the bomb technology has been given to Naxalite by them.

Indian Police say that they had received information that several explosive experts of tiger organization had gone to Andra Pradesh to train Naxalite cadres in bomb technology. The high powered bomb that was exploded in Hyderabad is the creation of the tiger organization states Indian Police.

Meanwhile government of Sri Lanka has stated that it would give its fullest corporation in the investigations into the Hyderabad explosion.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

The STF and Tsunami recovery in the East

An STF officer strokes the head of a small boy who lost both parents to the tsunami waves that swept through Kalmunai. The child resides at the "Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya" camp but has not yet been recognized by anyone or claimed by relatives. Traumatized by his horrible experience, he does not remember his parents or even his own name and does not speak except to say "Na" when questioned about the fate of his parents.

Sri Lanka troops kill 12 Tiger rebels: military

Sri Lankan troops shot dead at least 12 Tamil Tiger rebels in three separate clashes in the island's north, the defence ministry here said Thursday.

Eight guerrillas of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were shot dead at Muhamalai along a de facto border separating rebel-held territory from the rest of the island late Wednesday, the ministry said.

"Troops fired small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at the group of LTTE cadres attempting to infiltrate," the ministry said in a statement.

It said four Tiger rebels were killed in two separate confrontations in the Vavuniya district on Wednesday.

There was no immediate reaction from the LTTE, which has been locked in combat with the government since 1972 for a separate state for minority Tamils. The 35-year-old ethnic conflict has claimed over 60,000 lives.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Legitimising Tiger ‘aspirations’

It is becoming increasingly clear to separatist elements of all hues that the LTTE’s military option is not going to work at all in realising their goal. The CFA too failed to meet this objective through `legal’ means.
So ‘Tamil Eelam’ sympathisers are now trying the second option. Earlier, they tried it as ‘a test run’ during the many `anti-war’ rallies in Colombo and in interviews given to the foreign media. This time they are re-attempting the same strategy with renewed vigour, since they have absolutely no alternative.

The aim is to fully convince the world that Sri Lanka is a failed State under the Rajapaksa regime. The NGO ‘civil society’ is currently exploring all possible avenues to meet this goal. Once the so-called international community and the world bodies like the UN are compelled to accept that this country is a failed state - a land without hope - the way is open to legitimise the claim for a Tamil Eelam in Sri Lankan territory. Then the Security Forces will have to withdraw from the East and the North and no longer will there be High Security Zones in these areas - the so-called Tamil Eelam. The sacrifices our troops made for the past 24 years will then come to nothing.

The TNA has already said that the government has no mandate to develop the East. In other words it means that the Eastern Province (and for that matter the North too) is not part of the Sri Lankan State.
It is immaterial whether it is the LTTE or some other separatist group that is going to fill the vacuum in the two provinces in the very unlikely event that such a misfortune occurs. After all, the Tigers have today been reduced to the level of a rabid dog on a leash. And dubious peace makers both local and foreign use this animal to threaten the government and all patriots whenever it suits them. What matters to us is that these actions will jeopardise this country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in the name of a confederation. There is no question that Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP will gladly embrace this idea if it helps the party to grab power and secure “peace for all communities.”

So it is hardly a wonder that the Opposition leader, the TNA and the ‘peace brigade’ are repeatedly blaming the government for the war. Have any of these pundits answered the questions: who started this armed conflict in the first place - not only in 1983 but also in 1987 (with the Indian Peace Keeping Forces) in 1991, 1995 and finally in 2005 soon after the present government came to power? Did the perceived injustices and alleged discrimination warrant an endless terror campaign that has brought nothing but absolute misery and suffering to all ethnic groups of this country over the past two decades? Who backed out of peace talks giving flimsy excuses (from Thimpu to Geneva)?

Who justified the LTTE terror campaign all these years by saying that the Tamils have graduated from grievances to aspirations?
Who has helped to prolong the crisis by urging successive governments to engage in fruitless dialogue (“Get back to the negotiating table!”) with the Tigers when Tamil Leaders like V. Anandasangaree and Douglas Devananda see no point in talking to the LTTE?
And again we he hear the cry “disarm the Karuna group.” Why only Karuna’s cadres? What about the LTTE?

The SLMM has quite rightly insisted that only government troops have the right to bear arms. However at this stage whose interests will the government serve if it tries to disarm only Karuna’s cadres? Have these pundits forgotten the fate that befell many EPDP and PLOTE and other anti-LTTE groups at the hands of the Tigers when the former were compelled to give up their arms in the name of peace.
It is up to the government and all concerned citizens to fully ensure that no opportunity is given to the separatists - some pretending to be `moderates’ - to push forward their bogus power-sharing `peace’ agendas.

The only way to secure a genuine and lasting peace and stability in this country is not to stop the war but to end it. An armed conflict always involves two or more sides and it is the party which fired the first shots that should stop fighting. When the JVP took up arms against the Sri Lankan State did the then government stop fighting before the rebellion could be crushed - both in 1971 and in 1988-89 - and get back to “negotiating table?” Why should it be any different now? Are the Tamil Tigers a community far superior to the Sinhala rebels?

How much longer is the `Sun God’ going to be in hiding in his Wanni bunker and pretend that he is the sole and authentic representative of Tamils?
There can be no end to the war as long as he is alive and kicking. So the first step to end the conflict is to crush him and his gang of desperadoes once and for all. If he and his cohorts wish to survive, they have to lay down arms in the same way the IRA did in Northern Ireland and agree to unconditional talks.
Such talks can be fruitful only if both parties agree - among other issues - that every citizen has the right to purchase land and live in any part of the country, without harassment.

In this context we need to recall Attorney-at-Law Senaka Weeraratne’s address last year to the international conference on “Geneva Negotiations: Implementing the Electoral Mandate’’ at the BMICH Colombo. There, he called for the recognition of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty as the foundation of resolving the national problem and insisted that the centre remained sovereign over all aspects that are integral to the nation’s sovereignty in devolving power.
Weeraratne emphasised the need for total autonomy in conducting Foreign Relations with other States and international institutions.
“Negotiations with foreign states and international institutions such as the World Bank or IMF must be done exclusively by the central government. Any departure from this principle must have the express consent of the centre, which should not be given under any circumstance that impact on sovereignty and national security.”

He also insisted on total authority over foreign policy, which has to be the Centre’s exclusive responsibility.
“There cannot be conflicting foreign policies within one individual State. That would be a contradiction of true sovereignty. Component elements should have the right to contribute towards the making of foreign policy but there can be only one foreign policy, which must be handled and controlled from the centre.”
On the matter of national defence, Weeraratne made it quite clear that any delegation of some powers dealing with national security to the provinces, if need be, must be on the basis that such delegation is subject to the central government’s supervision. He drew attention to countries such as the USA, where national security meant not only maintaining the armed forces but also the mobilisation of industry and scientific knowledge to strengthen national defence.

“A fundamental attribute of a country’s sovereignty is that all armed forces - Army, Navy and Air Force - must come directly under the Head of State who shall act as Supreme Commander.”
He also stressed the need for the Centre’s total authority on territorial waters and shipping, international frontiers (the power to levy customs duty, impose immigration barriers etc.) and, the country’s entire airspace. Other important factors included the Centre’s total autonomy over exchange and currency, total authority over international treaties and a common legal system and central judiciary.
Weeraratne notes that out of 191 nation states that UN members, 127 countries “have systems of Government that are unitary or biased towards a unitary form of Government. These countries included France, China, and Japan and Indonesia.”

The Government of Sri Lanka represents all its citizens - Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims and all other communities. It cannot be expected to represent only the Sinhala people. So when committees and tribunals are formed for conflict resolution it is not only the Tamil and Muslim point of view that needs to be considered but also the majority Sinhala point of view.
If this is ignored we will surely be paving the way for another major crisis.


Eight LTTE tax collectors executed for criticizing leaders- Kilinochchi

Civilian sources in Wanni revealed that eight LTTE tax collectors had been executed publicly by the supporters of Pottu Amman, at Vattakachchi in Kilinochchi two weeks ago.

According to these sources, Pottu Amman, Intelligence Leader of the LTTE, had informed the public that the eight cadres had to be executed because they had misappropriated funds of the terror outfit. The eight victims were said to have been shot dead on a playground in front of a large gathering.

However, a civilian who had managed to escape to government controlled areas recently told that the actual reason for the killing was because they criticized the LTTE leaders who used funds for personal ends.

"Those victims were educated youth. They were unhappy about the extortion of poor civilians, and what is being done to the money so collected" he said

"They dared to criticize the LTTE leaders those who misuse funds for their personal ends" he added. further learned from these sources that the victims had openly criticized Pottu Amman for being the most fraudulent leader. The informed speculation is that Pottu Amman has been able to misappropriate a large sum of money, by showing that he had used it for "clandestine" operations.

Meanwhile, the leadership disputes among the senior ranks in the LTTE are also known to be getting worse. Intelligence sources said they had received information indicating that Terror Chief V. Prabhakaran has now been reduced to a virtual figurehead, while powerful leaders such as Thamilchelvam, Pottu Amman and Balraj are fighting each other for more status. The sources further said that Soosai, leader of LTTE's rudimentary navy, has already been removed from the scene.

It has also been reported that the facilities given to the LTTE military leader for Mannar, Lakshman, had been removed recently. The vehicles and the escorts given to Lakshman are said to have been reduced by the Wanni leadership, blaming him for failing to recruit sufficient cadre from the area.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

warrior critical of former decisions on war front

Janaka Perera tells all-- success and sabotage

Major General Janaka Perera was the hero of Jaffna, as Overall Forces Commander of the North. He would have been the Army Commander had the Kumaratunga government not forced him into retirement, and sent him as Ambassador to Australia.
Perera is now leading marches in memory of soldiers who died in the Thoppigala capture of 1993. In this interview he talks of his Jaffna campaign, the political ambitions that are attributed to him, the true story and the strategy and politics of the successful military campaign in Jaffna.

Following are excerpts from the interview.

Ln: Once a powerful military commander, how does it feel to be a retired serviceman?

JP: I feel wonderful. I enjoy life to the fullest. Until I went to Australia I didn’t have time for my children. I was always in the battlefield. But after I went to Australia my children came to know about this man called Janaka Perera. I came to know and appreciate my wife and children. I felt sad when I was retired suddenly. I was not made the Army commander for unknown reasons. I was denied something in life. But, there is a saying in English’ if God closes one door he opens another door.’ The God above must have felt that this man had done such a sincere job, let’s give him a break for him to get to know his family.

Ln: You were unexpectedly retired while successfully serving as the Jaffna Commander. How do you recall this incident?

JP: In 2000, starting from the President all the government leaders, political and otherwise, and the service leaders, said Jaffna cannot be saved. I became the voice of the soldiers, sailors and airmen and the policemen saying that Jaffna will be won; I will send the unceasing waves back and preserve the country as one unit for future generations. At that time I was number two. General Weerasuriya was the Army commander but he was eventually retiring. So I gave an assurance to President Chandrika Kumaratunga that if she gives me the post of Army commander, within two years, I will make this insurgency and the LTTE history. But instead of my being given the opportunity to make the LTTE history and bring in peace to the country, I became history. I felt sad because I served 35 years in this army. When I asked the President why she is not making me the Army Commander (especially since I have brought on so much of success during her tenure) she said no one disputes my ability, my sincerity, dedication and bravery. She said, ‘you are one singular man who is genuine and trying to do an honest job. Then I asked her if I have all these ingredients why it’s not possible to make me the Army Commander because my aim is to defeat terrorism and bring in peace and stability to the country. Then, Chandrananda Silva, Secretary Defence said ‘no, no that’s all right whatever the qualification you have, we are happy with the man we have (General Balagalle)., I don’t know what qualification he has above me! I personally think I have more qualifications in proven ability. I was sidelined because General Anurudha Ratwatte didn’t like me. That’s a fact. I can’t understand why they are scared of me. I’m a nice man with a nice smile. I am good hearted. So why would anyone be scared of me? The LTTE is scared of me. That I know and they hate me even today. Internationally they carry out campaigns against me in their websites and in their demonstrations Janaka Perera goes with an honorable mention. I can understand the LTTE fear, but I can’t understand why anyone else can be scared of me. However, although I was sad I was sent to Australia as high commissioner that gave me another opportunity to be with my family.

Ln: Although former President Chandrika Kumaratunga stopped you from realising your aim to become the Army Commander, she was one of your closest friends at one time.

JP: Wijeya was my friend. So was Chandrika. Following Wijeya Kumaratunga’s death, before Chandrika Kumaratunga got into active politics she said ‘Janaka all my people are asking me to come into politics. I saw my father die and I have seen my husband die. If I die my children will become orphans. You are the only man I trust. If you say it is safe, I will get into politics.’ So when it was safe, I told her so and that it how she returned. But the funniest thing is, the moment she came into power all these people who were against her were the people who became closest to her. I was one of the first persons who was rejected by her. So that is history.

Ln: Do you think your sudden retirement was politically motivated?

JP: I don’t know. But I know a lot of people tried their best to stop me from being the Army Commander. I lost in my goal of becoming the Army Commander. But the country and the people lost too. If anyone stopped me from achieving that post they didn’t do it in the best interests of the country. I am not saying I am an exceptional person but the soldiers, sailors, airmen and policemen rallied around me and we proved the results. If you are sincere and genuine in the heart, gods will bless you with victory. God will not grant victory to a cruel person with malicious thinking. In all battles under my leadership we became victorious with minimum casualties. Welioya battle was a major victory, where the LTTE lost 503 but we lost only two. At that victory we didn’t have commandos, Special Forces or airborne troops. That excellent victory was achieved by Jatika Arakshaka Balamuluwa, engineering troops and normal troops. Following the Welioya victory I went to Jaffna. It was the operation before Riviresa called the ‘thunder strike’. That was the greatest victory we achieved in Jaffna. During this battle the LTTE lost 311 men while we lost only 19, so I think those soldiers worked with faith in me. I get the blessings and the safety of the Triple Gem and the gods because of my dedication and sincerity.

Ln: Are you saying that the forces and the country do not have faith in the present Commander?

JP: I talked about my command. But different people have different types of command. My style of command which has been successful is to get the willing participation of everyone right down to the private soldier. After every operation I talk to my troops. During such meetings even the private soldier has a right to comment. I think that came about with my long-time links with the Commandos and the Special Forces. My style of planning includes involvement of the battalion commander and brigade commanders in the planning stage. But which plan is to be implemented is a decision taken by me and is only revealed at the last moment. Likewise different types of people have different styles. So it’s not for me to comment on somebody else’s type. It is not for me to say whether people have faith in the present commander. That should be asked from the soldiers who are serving.

Ln: What did you do in Australia?

JP: Even in Australia I didn’t sit on my back. I worked hard during my tenure. We formed the Australia - Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group and it went up to 42 members, second only to the Israeli lobbying group. Meanwhile, I was able to get 75 cricket kits for the rural outstation schools, which were distributed by the Australian High Commission here. Then we also got Youth Ambassadors to serve in Sri Lanka in rural areas, improving standards of the English. During the Tsunami we got a lot of funds from Australia. Though I was in Australia, I was serving the country in a humanitarian way and I have achieved a lot. Even when I was in Indonesia, for the first time we were able to break the LTTE network of arms smuggling and arrest their ships and arrest people.

Ln: Could you tell us about the motive behind last Saturday’s programme organised by you in remembrance of soldiers who died during the 1993 Thoppigala victory?

JP: I did it for all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and policemen who died from the day this war started. The first person to sacrifice his life was private Hewawasam in Jaffna before all others. My idea is to bestow honour to the families of those brave soldiers who fought for this country. We should remember that not only the soldier who dies is victorious. Unfortunately, today in this country whenever there is a victory, everyone claims or wants to share the victory. They even go to the length of high-jacking the victory. But when there is a defeat even the people who participated do not want to know about it. The important thing is people who die during these battles are our sons The reason why I organised this program is because not only have I been a soldier in the battlefront, fighting in all major operations, because I am a person who has suffered the pain of loss. I went to the houses of our great leaders like General Kobbekaduwa and, General Wimalarathne. I also went to the poorest and most innocent soldier’s house. They all ask the same question ‘why did this happen to our son or husband?’, so the pain is equal whether you are at the top or at the bottom; I saw it, I felt it and I live with it. When I was in the army I decided to serve these families and I started a programe called Ranawiru Mavupiya Upahara Uthsawaya. I organised six such programs. After I went to Australia the whole thing got disrupted. Now that I have returned I have started it again. To show them that as long as I live my heart belongs to them. When we were at a crucial stage of the Jaffna battle I wanted to send some of the commandos in the inner defence of the headquarters of Palali to the front. We were short of special operational teams so I contacted the STF commandant at that time DIG Nimal Gunatilake, and asked him to send me 100 STF personnel for the protection of headquarters. He said I am the only one who says that Jaffna will be safe and will be preserved. The President, no minister or senior government officials or service commanders say that we will win Jaffna. Therefore, it was difficult for him to order 100 STF people. So when the DIG spoke to the STF troops guess what happened? 900 volunteered to go to Jaffna and to battle, to support General Janaka Perera. This was when the President of the country and everyone else said it’s a no go, it’s a death trap. Those soldiers were prepared to go to that death trap because I said it can be won; they were people who had families but they were prepared to take that chance. These incidents should be specifically mentioned because I think this is heroism. They are heroes, they have the dedication, they have the ability, and they have the commitment. So we can’t let them down. At any stage victories are there. We must appreciate the present day victories of Mavilaru, Sampur, Vakarai and Thoppigala, but in the midst of these great victories if anyone says there were no victories in the East and the East was not stabilised, I think then we are doing a great injustice to soldiers, sailors, airmen and policemen who fought and sacrificed in 1992 and 1993.
We told their families your husband, your son your father, they were all heroes, they have sacrificed their lives to chase the LTTE from the East and to bring peace and stability to the country. And today we are saying, no they are not heroes. What a shameful thing and what a painful thing this is for their families.

Ln: There are allegations that you organised this programme with a political motive.

JP: When I was in the army I organised similar programmes in six districts. If I can do that in uniform and the work is accepted as a genuine effort, why can’t I do it now? I’m a citizen of this country who has fought in every major battle risking my life and the future of my family, and also suffered the pain of loss, so why don’t I have the right?

Ln: Tell us about your return.

JP: I have come back to my country after six or seven years. I have returned to my roots. This is my home .I could have lived in Australia but after serving this country for 35 years as a soldier and six years as a diplomat I think I have a bigger commitment to my country and my people. So I have returned.

Ln: What do you think about the recent Thoppigala victory?

JP: As a citizen and as a soldier I am very proud of every military victory. But, we have been there at Thoppigala before. The first battalion that occupied Thoppigala did so in 1991. Four Gajabha regiments under Major Roshan Silva. The second battalion that occupied Thoppigala was the seven Sinha regiment under Lt. Colonel Udeni Kandaragama and then it was reduced to strengthen under Major Channa Karunarathne.
I changed the demography instead of holding Thoppigala. I shifted the camps one to North Napathawilluwa and the main camp to Tharavikulam because those were water sources. During the dry season the water in Thoppigala dries up and every time you go to a water source you’ll get ambushed but if you occupied the water source the LTTE has to come to you in the Napatha Willuwa Tharavikulam and south of Taravikullam towards Unnichchi area. We had Kokadicholai, Aithamalai, Thickkodai and one other camp which I can’t remember now. Towards the north we had Kayankerny, Marnkerny, Kadjuwatta anichchankerny, Vakarai, Kadiraweli, Werugal and eventually we occupied Angodawilluwa also. All those camps were there.
My question is this. In October 1993, the government had elections and 81 percent of the population voted. If LTTE had control of these areas do you think they would have allowed 81 percent of the people to vote? So how did 81 percent voted. It’s because the LTTE was reduced from a 2000 strength to less than 20. Karuna and all the others who survived, fled to Wanni. This is the truth.

Ln: Following the recapture of the East, the LTTE is yet to come up with any major attacks. Isn’t it a success from the Sri Lankan military point of view?

JP: Yes. It is successful. As a soldier I am happy about it. It’s the soldier that matters and they give their lives to achieve such success. So every victory even if it is a road skirmish in which the LTTE is destroyed, it makes me happy. And every success is very good. That’s why I said we have to honour the victory in Mavilaru, Vakarai and Thoppigala.We have been able to read he LTTE in the East. Now the most important thing is to convert that into developing peace. That is the success! We have the military achievement but eventual success is how we convert that to an enduring, stable and peaceful situation. So I am praying and hoping that we will be able to achieve that.

Ln: What do you think about the UNP allegations about the controversial MIG deals?

JP: I have no comments. I don’t know anything about these deals. If you ask me about operations I will be able to comment. But when it comes to deals, I am not in a position to answer. Even in the army I didn’t do deals... so I don’t know these deals.

Ln: Is it true that you will be appointed the Maharagama UNP organiser?

JP: Well, I am totally confused, because people from Anuradhapura asked whether I would like to contest from there. Another delegation from Kurunegala wants me to contest from there. Delegations from Ambalangoda and Panadura queried whether I would like to contest from their constituencies. So everyone is asking why you don’t contest from where they are. So you form

your opinion, I don’t know.

Ln: Will you get into active politics?

JP: In 2000 and 2001 both the UNP and the SLFP invited me to get into politics. There had been two elections but I have not got involved. At the moment my priority is to serve my soldiers and their families. I am hoping to organise similar programmes. But, we need funds. I have spoken to various non governmental orgaisations to help. I want to help war widows to be engaged in self employment. I am also concerned about the soldiers, sailors, airmen and policemen who have served and left in 12 years. They may not have lost a limb but that does not mean their service of 12 years is of no value. I want to do something for them as well. Without talking about crime caused by deserters and retired soldiers, we are trying to find a way to help sustain themselves. I’m sure they prefer that, than joining crime. All this is very time consuming and I think it’s better to do a little now to make it a success.Ln: What are your memories from the Jaffna battle?

JP:When Jaffna was starting to throttle, General Balagalle and General Chula Senerathne were in Jaffna in charge of all the operations. I told General Weerasuriya the Army Commander to let me go, because they couldn’t do it. Then he said, ‘no General Ratwatta will never hear of it, he will throw me out. But I went again I went and talked to him he said the same thing, he said General Ratawatte will never agree to it. On the 20th of April he came after the Security Council meeting and said Elephant Pass is gone. He said he has given the order to withdraw from there. He also said that Jaffna was a matter of days. But he said that I have been appointed the Overall Commander to take over Jaffna. Then I said if you are saying Elephant Pass is gone, Jaffna is a matter of days, are you asking me whether I’m prepared to commit suicide?

But I said I will go but I need two days to prepare the mind-set of my wife and my children to the eventuality that I will not come back. Then he said two days was too much that I will be given a day to finish everything. Then he asked who I need as my deputy. I said I couldn’t care less. I’m the one who is doing it. You nominate anyone you want. Then he said he is giving me General Sarath Fonseka. He was briefed and said that I have been appointed Overall Commander of Jaffna and I need a day to finish my religious observances. General Fonseka was instructed to fly on the day he was briefed. The moment I agreed to go to Jaffna, they aired it over the radio and TV continuously. ‘General Janaka Perera appointed Overall Commander Jaffna’ etc., My telephone was ringing continuously. Everyone told me not to go. They said Jaffna cannot be saved. It’s too late. They said what the government was trying to do is send you there and say ‘look we sent Janaka Perera he screwed it up and Jaffna fell’. The fact that these people have screwed it up right along will be forgotten.
But, I said if I don’t go, 32,000 families will lose their lives and five times of that number of people will become destitute. I have to go and I am going with sincerity and genuineness with the sole purpose of saving these 32,000 lives and five times that number of families and preserving the country for future generations.
We were short of ammunition. There were days I cancelled ration flights and troops flights mainly to get ammunition. We had no food we had rice we had dhal, we had pol sambol and dry fish. The first question by the president was what we could do? She said she had already made a request through the Foreign Minister for the evacuation of these people to India and to be sent back to Sri Lanka.
The Air Force Commander, Jayalath Weerakkody said we should not start the battle from the Wanni. Then the President asked for my opinion and I strongly said that withdrawal was not a good option. I said it will be an absolute disaster — the moment you start withdrawing, LTTE will start shelling. I said our only choice is to fight and win. I said ‘Madam, all I am requesting is to make available ammunition and multi-barrel rockets. The only service commander who was with us from the April 20 until the multi-barrels came was General Lal Weerasuriya. But after the multi-barrels came and when we were turning the tide and LTTE was on the backfoot everyone came there-- the minister, service
commanders-- they all came. Everyone wanted to be part of that impending victory and lay claim to it. But if at that crucial moment the soldiers, sailors, airmen and policemen didn’t fight as a team we would have been gone. So it was a participatory battle of the army, navy, air force police the STF and the people. Eventually we won. In the process there were people who wanted to flee -- who wanted to abandon 32000 troops. I don’t want to mention the names at this stage but they wanted the dora be kept aside. One person said ‘we cant hold, we have to have dora ready’(door to escape). I asked why we need a dora, and at that point he asked for the command element to go to Colombo.
So I asked what about these 32000 soldiers, sailors aimen and policemen -- what will happen to them? This officer said, ‘no we are leaders we have to live to fight another battle and that’s the sacrifice we have to make.’ I said, ‘please listen I can’t do that, I gave the assurance to our troops personally when visiting their camps, that I will be with them ‘till the last.
If you want a dora I will give you a dora, but let me tell you one thing if you flee this battle even the dog on the street would not follow you. So my advise was, ‘you wait I will turn it around’ and that is what happened.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Tigers distract Sri Lankan Navy with mock operations to save fleeing cadres from the east.

The Batticaloa – Amparai districts Special Commander of the Tamil Tigers, Jeyam, and his retreating cadres numbering around 275 in all are about to cross to Vanni in one or two days time.

According local sources, these Tiger cadres have managed to cross the two main supply route on their way from Toppigala and reached Kumpurupittiya, a coastal village in the north of Trincomalee district .

It is learnt that Keerthi, Nagesh, Mano Master, Amuthan of the political wing and Commander Suganthi of the women wing and her 30 women cadres are fleeing with Jeyam.

Earlier reports revealed that nearly 320 LTTE cadres under the leadership of Thambirajah Ramesh, a former special Commander of the LTTE who took over the Batticaloa – Amparai districts immediately after the renegade leader Karuna left the outfit, managed to send the sick women cadres by boat and subsequently crossed into Vanni without any let or hindrance.

Sources told Asian Tribune that the Tiger tactic was to draw the attention of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) to a mock operation and forcing it to chase these Tiger boats thereby clearing the way for another cluster of boats to rush in and ferry the cadres to safety in their stronghold.

It is reported that this tactic was used to distract the entire fast attacking crafts of the SLN located at Pulmoddai. While the SLN was involved in the chase and attack of the cluster of boats belonging to the Sea Tiger, another group of boats of the sea Tigers showed up and took all the Tiger cadres to safety.

It is learnt that LTTE is planning another similar mock operation in the Pulmoddai seas. This time the objective is to take the fleeing Tiger cadres from Pudavaikaddu coast to Chemmalai located in the Mullaithievu area.

It is also reliably learnt that a small group of the fleeing LTTE cadres might also trek through Pulmoddai, via Thennamaravadi and cross the Kokkilai Lagoon into Kokkilai in the Mullaithievu district.

In the meantime Vanni has sent a group of cadres, a special team, more than six dozen in all to guide those fleeing cadres from Toppigala through jungle terrain. They will be also bringing some necessary its for the intelligence agents operating in the area. The new special team from Vanni roaming in the jungle areas is led by one Suthakar.

According to sources that there are more than 100 intelligence agents scattered all over the east. Another group of 40 to 50 Tiger cadres are operating inside the Batticaloa district led by Jeyarthan the former commander of the Jeyanthan brigade in the East. A separate group of LTTE cadres under Ram is still active and based inside the Panama jungles to disrupt the border villages located in the Amparai – Monaragala districts.


LTTE cadres still roaming in eastern jungles

Reports emerging from Sri Lanka’s Eastern front reveals that Thambirajah Ramesh, who was the Special Commander of the Batticaloa Amparai District of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, has managed to reach Vanni safely with nearly 320 cadres. He took with him Kuveni, the woman leader responsible for the political section of the LTTE in Batticaloa and 30 other women cadres. Also according to information Santhan and others too have managed to reach Vanni.

It is learnt that Ramesh and his group trekked from Thoppigala to Wanni via the Kumburupiddiya, Thiriyaya coastal areas. On 08th July at Kumpuripiddi a costal village Ramesh managed to send the sick and women cadres by boat.

While the LTTE cadres were sailing in boats, Sri lanka Navy observed the movements of the Sea Tigers boats in the area and managed to intercept them. While the Navy was involved in confronting the Sea Tigers, it is now learnt that majority of the Ramesh group managed to trek through Pulmoddai, and then through Thennamaravadi to enter Vanni.

In the meantime, “Asian Tribune” learnt from reliable sources that people have seen LTTE’s Batti – Amparai Special Commander Jeyam, Mano Master and Keerthi of the intelligent wing of the LTTE in the south of a mountin located 10 miles south of Kudumpimalai. Sources told “Asian Tribune” there was nearly 30 LTTE cadres with them and they were seen cooking meals in the foothills of the mountain. It was also reported that Jeyam and others have footstock that would last for nearly 3 months in the jungle terrains.

Another group of nearly 100 LTTE cadres are still there, led by Ram holed up in the jungle region of Yala. As reported earlier their needs are supplied by an underground group of Sinhala political activists in the region linked to the opposition political party; UNP. Asian Tribune reported this exclusively. (See UNP agents feeding Tigers holed up in Yala jungles

Furthermore, according to some sources, the LTTE Commander Jeyam has mobilized his men around Paduvankarai region. They are reported to be split into two groups, of 20 cadres each. One group is led by Manivannan and the other by Mathan. They are mobilized to lay landmines and claymores and to adopt hit and run tactics to take on the Sri Lankan forces in surprise attacks, cause damages and vanish.

AS reported earlier, another group led by Nagesh has under his command nearly another 100 cadres but sources said that they are divided into small groups ranging from 10 to 15 men in various locations around Thanthamalai in Amparai District border areas.

Asian Tribune learnt that there are more than 360 LTTE fighters till remaining in the Batticaloa – Amparai districts.


UNP agents feeding Tigers holed up in Yala jungles

Latest reports in the Eastern Front reveal that there are about 100 Tamil Tiger cadres holed up in the jungles of Yala with limited supplies of food other and other items. Eastern sources have confirmed that their needs are supplied by an underground group Sinhala political activists in the region linked to the opposition political party; UNP. Military analysts say that it is in the interest of the UNP to keep the Tiger forces going in the east to discredit the Government’s claims of victories.

The role of the UNPers in the east is under suspicion as Ranil Wickremesinghe, the UNP leader, instigates his spokespersons, Lakshman Kiriella, Tissa Attanayake to belittle the achievements of the Security forces that had driven the Tigers out of their commanding position in the east. The Mangala-Sooriyapathi duo, now in an alliance with the UNP, too has joined the UNPers in running down the victories of the Security forces.

The Tiger cadres battling in the Yala jungles are led by Commander Ram and his assistant Stanley.

Another group led by Nagesh has under his command nearly another 100 cadres but sources said that they are divided into small groups ranging from 10 to 15 men in various locations around Thanthamalai in Amparai District border areas.

Recently, a group under Nagesh staged a lightening attack on the Karuna group cadres based in Vakaneri, Pulipainthakal and Pendukalchenai. Sources revealed that two of Karuna group cadres were shot and killed and another sustained serious injuries. Reports reveal that Karuna cadres were also chased away in sudden attack by Nagesh’s men.

The LTTE’s Batticalao district Commander Jeyam it seems has withdrawn from the Beruit border and entered the other side of mountain located in the Thoppigala jungle. It is said that he has with him about 35 cadres.

Another LTTE group leader Pallavan has with him around three dozens of fighters near Koolavadi on the road from Kiran to Tharavai.

Sources also revealed that Keerthi of the intelligent wing and Mano Master are with nearly 50 cadres, hidden deep in the Thoppigala jungle waiting to attack the Sri Lanka army and STF forces.

LTTE has already buried the big guns and mortars they earlier used to attack the Sri Lankan security forces. Now they are involved in lightening guerilla attacks, mining strategic roads and burying claymore mines .

In the meantime, according to sources Ramesh former Batticaloa – Amparai Commander after the split with the LTTE’s breakaway leader Karuna, has already crossed the Trincomalee road and is on his way to Vanni with about 320 LTTE cadres. It is said that majority of them are injured cadres and women fighters.

However, sources added that Ramesh and his fleeing cadres had not managed to pass Nilaveli area in the Trincomalee district. They also face severe problems as the Sri Lanka Army is in the know of the movement of this LTTE cadres and are waiting to confront them before they slip into Vanni.


Special Forces Alpha Squad details revealed by media

Special Forces cap badge. The four arrows depict the 4-man team regularly used for covert strikes and its DPU capabilities

Several days ago, a government television news bulletin showed a group photograph and accompanying video footage of a Sri Lanka army (SLA) Special Forces units who were engaged in the Thoppigala offensive when it was in its initial stages. We were shocked to see the footage because it showed images of the Alpha Squad of 2SF and clearly mentioned the names of its commanders. Alpha Squad was used in Long Range Surveillance (LRS) missions in the first phase of Thoppigala offensive.

Alpha Squad is a covert ops unit attached to the SF. Its soldiers are used to penetrate enemy lines and gather intelligence for air strikes and artillery strikes. Information about such units should never be exposed in media as the enemy intelligence in constantly on the lookout for them. Previous media debacles where sensitive information about covert units were publicly revealed ended up with the intelligence personnel paying with their lives. (best example would be the millennium city incident, where several newspapers irresponsibly published a full list of names of personnel involved in the clandestine DPU unit nicknamed "Mahasohon Brigade'). Although credit should be given to soldiers who put their lives on the line for the motherland, media should be careful not to expose too much specially when the enemy is the LTTE.


Reference :Special Forces enter Thoppigala jungle

2 days ago, civilians in LTTE held areas in and around Thoppigala began fleeing their homes and took refugee in government controlled areas in Batticaloa. This was because they saw the signs of the forthcoming major battle and did not want to be used again as human shields by the LTTE.

The army seems to be engaging in the operation to liberate Thoppigala according to a well devised plan. Firstly, long range artillery fire and airstrikes took known rebel positions deep inside the jungles. During last week, regualr infantry units conducted pre emptive strikes on strategic locations in the east and captured them. The operation has now reached the most decisive phase. It is this phase which triggered the mass civilian exodus during the last few days.

Civilians saw heavily armed personnel, clad in jungle uniforms and wearing black clothes around their heads, entering the jungles of Thoppigala. These men were moving in groups of 4 and 8. The civilians had seen none other than the Sri lanka army's elite Special Forces units preparing to infiltrate rebel defence lines. Special Forces will play a major role in softening up the tigers till the final thrust is made using regular infantry and mechanized units.

Meanwhile intelligence information suggests that LTTE has deployed it's elite Jeyanthan brigade to hunt down any SF personnel who infiltrated their defenses. Jeyanthan brigade fled in disarray when a 40 man Special Forces squad carried out a legendary amphibious assault on Vakarai town center during Vakarai offensive. SF was able to capture the Vakarai hospital within 5 minutes in this assault.

What will happen when Special Forces and Jeyanthan brigade meets for a second time in dense jungles of Thoppigala? Will SF be able to rout the tigers once more? Will the tigers use jungle terrain to their advantage? Only time will tell.


Singapore’s Rajaratnam prevented Sri Lanka joining ASEAN – The Nation

Thailand's English Language news daily, The Nation in an interview with a knowledgeable diplomat revealed that it was Singapore’s former Foreign Minister Sinnathamby Rajaratnam , was the one responsible for who blocking Sri Lanka’s entry to the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN) family four decades ago at the very beginning of the group.

The newspaper publishing an interview with a close aid to the then Thai Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka failed to enter the regional body because Singapore’s Rajaratnam made objections to the island nation’s entry to the organization saying the domestic situation was unstable and that would adversely affect the newly formed organization.

Ironically, independent Singapore’s first Foreign Minister Sinnathamby Rajaratnam was a Tamil of Jaffna origin.

The Nation interview revealed that Sri Lanka sent two ministers to apply for membership in the regional organization August 6 1967 when Foreign Ministers from Indonesia, Malysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore met to prepare the Bangkok Declaration which gave birth to ASEAN.

Quoting the retired Thai diplomat the Nation newspaper said it was Rjaratnam who snubbed the Sri Lankan application preventing island nation joining the nascent organization at the Bang Saen Beach meeting where the first meeting was held.

Sompong Sucharitkul (75) a former aid to the Thai Foreign Minister told the newspaper, "It was Rajaratnam of Singapore who opposed the inclusion of Sri Lanka, He argued the country's domestic situation was unstable and there would be trouble. Not good for a new organization."

Sompong was a close aide to Thanat Khoman, the Thai foreign minister at the time of the meeting in Bang Saen. The Bangkok Declaration was finally signed on August 8, 1967, ASEAN's official birthday.

Given below is the full text of the interview that appeared in yesterdays “The Nation.”

Asean's birth a pivotal point in history of Southeast Asia

In the small hours of August 6, 1967 at Laem Thaen, Bang Saen Beach, the foreign ministers of Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and a Malaysian deputy prime minister were huddled.

They were hammering out the final text of the Bangkok Declaration.

This was to form an organisation, tentatively known as the Southeast Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SEAARC.

"The name sounded good to me, like a crescent moon covering Southeast Asia," a retired diplomat who helped draft the declaration said.

"But Adam Malik said at the end the pronunciation of the acronym in Malayu didn’t sound good," he said. "Why don't we use Asean instead. It sounds better. Everybody agreed," Sompong Sucharitkul told The Nation< in a rare interview.

Thus, Asean was born.

Thailand's then foreign minister Thanat Khoman, Philippine foreign secretary Marciso Ramos, Singapore foreign minister Sinnathamby Rajaratnam and Malaysian deputy prime minister Tengu Abdul Razak signed the document establishing the region's most powerful grouping on August 8 at Saranrom Palace, the former home of the Foreign Ministry near the Royal Palace.

Sompong, one Thanat's closest aides, revealed two ministers from Sri Lanka were waiting in an adjacent room at the Laem Thaen meeting.

"I remember one was an economics minister. He waited there anxiously for a signal to join the discussion; but it never came."

"It was Rajaratnam of Singapore who opposed the inclusion of Sri Lanka," the 75-year-old retired international-law professor said.
"He argued the country's domestic situation was unstable and there would be trouble. Not good for a new organisation," he quoted the first Singapore foreign minister saying.

Rajaratnam was born in Sri Lanka of Tamil descent but taken to Malaya shortly after by his father, who had emigrated to the colony.

Thailand and the other founding members did not oppose barring Sri Lanka.

"Indeed, we would have welcomed Sri Lanka as a member. If you look at the map, it's not far from Southeast Asia. It is also a Buddhist nation," he added.

But, the idea of having all 10 Southeast Asian nations together was always at the back of the minds of the founders - even though, at that time, the region was divided into three: non-communist Southeast Asia, communist Indochina and isolated Burma.

"We knew in our hearts they would be part of Asean one day. That was why, towards the end of the Bangkok Declaration, we invited all countries of Southeast Asia to join," he explained.
The expansion of Asean came in 1984 when Brunei joined, followed by Vietnam in 1995 and Burma and Laos in 1997. Cambodia signed up in 2000.

It is interesting to note Asean is poised to admit East Timor, the world's newest independent nation. It will be the 11th and final member.

This implies Asean will turn down the application of Papua New Guinea. It has had observer status since 1976.
The veteran diplomat said credit must be given to Thanat who forged the idea of a regional organisation, following years of conflict and disturbance.

Thanat, the only surviving signatory, is unavailable for comment as a result of poor health.

The so-called konfrontasi between Indonesia and Malaysia and the crisis between Malaysia and the Philippines were still fresh in the memory.

"Thailand was in a position to forward and work for the creation of Asean", he said. "We were an independent nation and had friendships with all non-communist neighbors," he added. "They liked to use the good offices of Thailand."

Asean was preceded by an organization called the Association of Southeast Asia, or ASA, an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand and formed in 1961 but disbanded a year later.

"We were able to persuade Indonesia, which had just emerged from the crisis of 1965 to be part of Asean," he added.

Indonesia had 120 million people at the time - a mammoth country. Sompong recalled Thanat asking him to put together the draft of the declaration, which was then sent to the all original members.

Indonesia was the only country to make amendments and they all pertained to foreign military bases. At that time, all members including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand had foreign bases and were signatories of Western military alliances.
In retrospect, Sompong said Asean has progressed at the right pace, without imposing rapid change on members.
"The Bangkok Declaration had everything."

Summing up Asean's raison d'?tre he quotes Rajaratnam: "If we do not hang together, we of Asean will hang separately."


Indians rescued Prabhakaran when he was cornered by the Sri Lankan forces in the 80s.

Tucked away in one line in The Hindu today (August 06, 2007) is one of the untold secrets of Indian intervention in Sri Lankan affairs: Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tiger terrorists, was helicoptered out of Sri Lanka by the Indians when he was cornered by the Sri Lankan Army at Vadamarachchi in the 80s.

The Indian helicopters took off from the Hindon military base in Delhi and flew via Thanjavur to rescue Prabhakaran.

The Vadamarachci operation was closing in on Prabhakaran when the arrogant Indians launched the rescue operation. This is a gross violation not only of Sri Lankan sovereignty but also a deliberate attempt to rescue the terrorists, who were destabilizing Sri Lanka.

The Indian were to pay heavily for this rescue operation. Prabhakaran ordered the assassination of the very man who rescued him: the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The Indian RAW – the equivalent of CIA – was running clandestine operations training, providing, arms, financing and applying diplomatic pressure hoping that they could use Prabhakaran to destabilize Sri Lanka and manipulate Sri Lankan leaders to serve Indian foreign policy objectives. During this time India was in the Soviet Russian camp. Sri Lanka, under J. R. Jayewardene, was moving toward the American camp. India used the Tamil dissidents to manipulate both the Tamils and the Sri Lankan government.

In the end Prabhakaran paid back by assassinating the son of Indira Gandhi who took under the protective wing and mothered them. Ironically, the bullet she aimed at Sri Lanka ricocheted and killed her and her son.

Ranjith Soysa, spokesperson for the Melbourne-based Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights, (SPUR) told the Asian Tribune that “India had to pay heavily for her stupidity.” He added: “This shows that India cannot be trusted as a reliable friend, partner or neighbour. Our politicians like Ranil Wickremesinghe who run to India asking for help should open their eyes and realize at least now that Indians will always be unreliable cut-throats. India has not yet learned from history. India is still playing the double game.”

The Hindu report also states that the India sent Indra-II radars on the eve of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse’s first visit in 2005. Political commentators said that India blocked Sri Lanka from buying superior quality radars from China and sent Indra-II which, according to Sri Lankan sources failed to detect the low-flying light aircraft of the Tigers which dropped gravity bombs. Indian machinations in supplying sub-standard radars caught Indian investors off guard. One of the places hit by the bombs were an Indian oil installation.

India now claims that it has sent better quality radars which can detect low-flying aircraft. Political observer note that India has sent this new radars not because it loves Sri Lanka but because China and Pakistan were prepared to supply the more sophisticated radars which India feared would a be a threat to her security.

Here is the full report from The Hindu:

India supplies more radars to Sri Lanka

To help ward off airborne LTTE attacks

New Delhi: After a gap of a year, India has sent more radars to Sri Lanka to help it ward off the threat of airborne attacks by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Defence Ministry sources said.

India had resumed non-lethal military aid to Sri Lanka with the supply of two indigenous radars in 2005. This year in January it sent another military radar to Sri Lanka which was followed by the despatch of a similar radar in June. The radars were sent on behalf of the Indian Air Force, the sources said.

Ironically, both radars were sent from the Hindon military base on the outskirts of Delhi. This was the place from where helicopters were despatched via Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu to rescue the LTTE leader V. Prabakaran at Vadamarachchi on the northern tip of Jaffna after the Sri Lankan Army had cornered him in the late 80s.

India first broke off its self-imposed embargo of nearly five years when it sent two Indra-II radars on the eve of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse’s first visit in 2005. The radars, developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), can detect low-flying fighter aircraft. They were produced by the public sector Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

Sri Lanka operates naval fast attack craft supplied earlier by India but sources in the Indian Navy could not confirm whether boats, configured to chase and hunt down small ships generally operated by the LTTE Naval Tiger wing, had also been sent. They felt such a deal was unlikely because India itself was facing a shortage of these vessels.

Diplomatic sources here said India’s supply of radars, said to be in the non-lethal category, in no way compromised its desire for a political solution to the Tamil issue.

India claims it was forced to supply the radars to prevent Pakistan and China from fulfilling Sri Lanka’s need. New Delhi was uncomfortable with the idea of Islamabad or Beijing-built surveillance equipment being installed close to its shore.

The first lot of radars were sent after Sri Lanka told the then External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh about its requirement and the willingness of other countries to supply them.
In March this year, LTTE aircraft had targeted a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) base near Colombo leading to speculation that the radars supplied by India were defective. However, Sri Lanka later said the reports were wrong.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Kulasiri Udugampola - A traitor of the nation and the state

"A total betrayal and absolute treachery to the nation"
Military secret sacrificed on the altar of politics

Sources: The Island / CDN / Sunday Times

Raid of the Army Safe House

on January 02, 2002, a police team led by a pro-UNP police officer named Kulasiri Udugampola raided a Army safe house at No. 844, Kaduwela road, Athurugiriya without a court order to search the place. The safe house was used by Army intelligence personnel (Directorate of Military Intelligence) for covert action to infiltrate LTTE cadres and eliminate some of the LTTE leadership.

Udugampola seized a booty of military hardware - Light anti tank weapons, anti tank mines, land mines, assault rifles, claymore mines, thermo baric weapons and green stripe uniforms. He arrested a Captain and four regular soldiers of the Army's Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI). Also arrested was a former Tiger guerrilla cadre who surrendered and was helping the Army.

The goods and the men were brought to Cinnamon Gardens Police Station.
Whilst the men were detained in a room, the media were allowed to view and photograph all the military items displayed inside the Police Station. Thereafter the Army men and their helper were driven in a vehicle to Kandy guarded by two armed policemen. In the wee hours of the morning, they were thrust into remand cells where common criminals were kept. Detention Orders to hold them in custody were issued under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Inviting electronic and other media Udugampola showed the whole country the weapons of the army unit and published the names of the military operatives and informants attached to the unit. Further he wrongly alleged it was part of a conspiracy to kill the newly elected Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was made out that premises No 844 at the Millennium City was a secret hide out from where military men had planned to carry out assassinations on United National Front (UNF) Government leaders. The Police raid had busted their plans, or so it seemed.

The Safe House fiasco was a colossal blunder. In fact, the arrested men, far from being suspected terrorists, were those hunting them down during top secret operations.

The Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) team

The Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) team, housed at the Kohuwala Army Camp and was relocated to Athurugiriya in December 2001. When the safe House was raided the LRRP team led by Captain Nilam had conducted a number of Deep Penetration operations in the North and had accounted for nine LTTE high rankers including Mano and Ganesh. They have also killed another 10 regional level leaders.

Just before the raid, the LRRP team's most accomplished task was the assassination of Thambirasa Kuhashanthan alias Nizam, guerrilla Military Intelligence leader for Batticaloa. It was Nizam who had been directing all suicide and other attacks in the City at that time. One of his prize targets then was former Cabinet Minister, C.V. Gooneratne.

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry

A Presidential Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the disclosure of the existence of and the raid on the safe house operated by the Sri Lanka Army found that "the action taken by ASP Udugampola in the manner he did in taking into custody several Army personnel was illegal, immoral and in violation of all the rules and regulations of the police".

The Commission to probe into the incident was appointed in August 16, 2002 by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. The Commission sat from August 2002 to November 2003 and heard 69 witnesses. The report was released to the media by the President's Office in December 2003.

The one member Commission chaired by retired Supreme Court judge D. Jayawickreme in his report had said that the ASP had rejected the statement of the Army Commander about the safe house functioning under his approval and had proceeded on a non-existent Court Order.

It further says every one including the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and the Minister of Interior, the Inspector General of Police and the Senior Police Officers seem to have been impotent or have purposely avoided preventing Udugampola proceeding further in respect of this raid. Therefore, the Commission concludes that to this extent "the Government, the Prime Minister and the Ministers concerned, the then Inspector General of Police Lucky Kodituwakku, his successor T.E. Anandarajah and all other senior Police officers responsible for the illegal act of ASP Udugampola."

"The evidence before this Commission further discloses the fact that Lt. Col. Padmasiri Udugampola, SLCMP, brother of ASP Kulasiri Udugampola, Major General Ivan Dissanayake and Colonel K.H.N. S.S. Dharmaratna, Major A.C.A. de Soysa, SLCMP, Major A.S.P. Podiralahamy, SLCMP, Major K.U. Jayanetti, SLCMP, Major B.M.A.N.S.K. Karunaratne, MIC, Corp, J.H.A.P de Silva, JHAT-MIC, Corp. M.P.A. Pieris, JHAT-MIC, were all aware of the impending raid and have directly and indirectly assisted ASP Kulasiri Udugampola in raiding the Safe House.

"If these officers had any doubts about the Safe House they should have brought it to the notice of the Army Commander and moved the Military Police to investigate. But these officers, without doing so, have conspired with Kulasiri Udugampola to raid this Safe House for their own personal benefits. Moreover, none of these officers have informed Army Commander (Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle) or the Director, DMI (Brigadier Kapila Hendavithana) about the raid before the raid."

The Commission also notes that the presence of Retired Deputy Inspector of Defence Lal Ratnayake, Private Secretary to Interior Minister John Amaratunga at the Military Police on the night of the raid on the instructions of the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Interior contacting the Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Communications and the Secretary to the Defence Ministry and ASP Udugampola contacting the Minister of Interior on the telephone leads to the conclusion that due to political patronage ASP Udugampola has behaved as if he was above the law and that he can act the way he wanted to.

The arbitrary action of the police has jeopardized the security of the estate and the Military strategy of the Armed Forces and exposed the personnel engaged in the duties entrusted to them by the Army, concludes the Commission.

"Since this raid 23 operatives and informants have been killed and some have been seriously injures," observed the Commission.

The Solicitor General on behalf of the Attorney General had directed the IGP to take disciplinary action against him. The Commission has also made several recommendations to prevent interference by officials or authorities in the military strategies of the Armed Forces.

Foremost among the Commissions recommendations is a call to depoliticalise the Police and the Army and placing them in the hands of capable men. The Presidential Commission Report also said that the arbitrary action of the police had jeopardized the security of the State and neutralised the Military strategy.

Statement of Elle Gunawansa Thera

In a strongly worded statement to the press the Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thera said, the betrayal of the country’s national army by the Ranil Wickremesinghe government was one of the biggest betrayals of the nation’s history. He said those responsible including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should be brought to justice according to the country’s laws. He said the former Minister John Ameratunga and both Udugampola brothers who were at the bottom of it and all other police and army officers connected to it should be punished irrespective of the positions they held.

The Supreme Court Judgement

On 30th of January 2004, The Supreme Court declared the fundamental rights of five officers of the Sri Lanka Army, who were arrested and detained by Superintendent of Police, Kandy K. Udugampola and four of his subordinates, had been violated when the police raided the Army Safe House at Athurugiriya, on January 2, 2002.

The petitioners were S. H. M. Nilam, P. Ananda Udalagama, H. M. Nissanka Herath, I. Edirisinghe Jayamanne and H. Mohamed Hilmy.

The judgement said they had been subjected to inhuman, arbitrary treatment, illegal arrest and illegal detention by Udugampola and his subordinates. The state was directed to pay each petitioner a sum of rupees seven hundred and fifty thousand (Rs. 750,000) as compensation and costs. The first respondent Udugampola, to pay each petitioner, personally a sum of Rs. 50,000/- as compensation. Each petitioner would be entitled to a sum of rupees eight hundred thousand (Rs. 80,000) as compensation and costs. The amount was to be paid within three months.

Udugampola’s subordinates were R. A. P. Dharmaratne, Sub-Inspector of Police, Kandy, M. A. E. Mahendra, Head Quarters Inspector Kandy, Ashoka Ratnaweera, S. S. P. Kandy, M. M. M. B. J. Mohottigedera, OIC Katugastota.

The judgement said that the counsel for the petitioners had submitted that as a result of the conduct of Udugampola, and his subordinates, several patriotic intelligence operators had already been murdered. The covert operation that was being conducted by the petitioners, was exposed, and their lives and those of their families were exposed to the greatest of risk. It was therefore submitted that the petitioners, are entitled to very substantial compensation. The predicament of the petitioners, and the deaths of so many intelligence operators, resulting in irreparable damage to national security, was due to the conduct of Udugampola, and he should be personally responsible for what had taken place, counsel for the petitioners had submitted.

The judgement was delivered by Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, with the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justice P. Edussuriya agreeing.

Justice Edussuriya had said, the manner in which Udugampola had acted, without paying any heed to Brigadier Hendawitharna, the Director of Military Inte-lligence and Major Sally, without taking the trouble to ascertain the truth of what they said from their superior, exposing the petitioners to the press and, his subsequent conduct, with utter disregard to the rights of the petitioners, it was apparent that he acted so with some ulterior motive whilst being engaged in this despicable exercise, and his conduct must be condemned in the strongest possible manner.

To put it mildly, it was deplorable Justice P. Edussuriya further said that, in the alternative that is, if he did not act with any ulterior motive then, he has acted like an over enthusiastic blundering schoolboy, and has thereby displayed his incompetence.

The registrar of the court was directed to send a copy of the judgement to the IGP.

Kulasiri Udugampola on compulsory leave

The Police Commission headed by President's Counsel Ranjit Abeysuriya on 10th February 2004 approved the request made by IGP Indra de Silva to send ASP Kulasiri Udugampola on compulsory leave until the completion of the ongoing investigation into the Athurugiriya Millennium City Army safe house raid.

The IGP empahised that if ASP Udugampola was found guilty, he would be charged under the normal law of the land, he would be interdicted and action would be taken according to the law.

The IGP earlier declared that the Army and police personnel found guilty by the Presidential Commission in the Athurugiriya millennium city Army safe house raid would be prosecuted. The IGP said he would be consulting the Attorney General before instituting legal proceedings against the offenders. He said a special police team headed by a Senior Police Officer, had been assigned to commence investigations based on the report released by the Presidential Secretariat.

Arrest of Kulasiri Udugampola

On 23rd of March 2005 Kulasiri Udugampola was arrested by a special police investigation team in Kandy.

Udugampola was on compulsory leave. The Attorney General will indict Udugampola on 20 counts including instituting false charges against former Army Commander Lt. General Lionel Balagalle and several Army officers and wrongful confinement of Army personnel in police custody.

He was taken into custody on the IGP's orders on investigations of Senior SP Asoka Wijetilake who probed the Police raid on the Army safe house at Athurugiriya on January 2, 2002.

The special investigation team commenced investigations eight months ago. They were concluded in December 2004. The Attorney General will file indictment in the High Court of Kandy charging Udugampola for offenses under Section 26(1) of the Official Secrets Act and instituting false charges against Army personnel.

Following his arrest, Udugampola was produced before Kandy Magistrate Harsh Setunga and released on surety bail in a sum of Rs 500,000. He was directed to surrender his passport and ordered not to leave the country without Court permission.

He was also directed to appear before the OIC Kandy Police every Sunday and to appear before the High Court of Kandy on March 29.

The prosecution had listed 70 prosecution witness including the IGP, Army and police officials both in service and those retired.

Killing of operatives and informants of the LRRP unit by LTTE

Subsequent to the exposure of the safe house in Athurugiriya, a special unit was created by the LTTE to hunt down and kill Army informants. Allegations were made that, exposing the activities carried out from the safe house, have exposed covert intelligence operations and operators enabling the LTTE to identify the informants.

Several informants were killed in Batticaloa, Trincomalee and even at Dehiwala, Pepiliyana and Mount Lavinia.

There was one man who was mainly responsible for all LRRP team actions in Batticaloa and Amparai districts. His name was a closely guarded secret. Only the head of the LRRP team, Captain S.H. Mohamed Nilam dealt with him. He knew the man only as Mike. It was Mike who in turn liaised with a network of operatives as well as informants, including one time guerrilla cadres, in the Batticaloa and Amparai districts.

On January 16, 2002 guerrilla intelligence cadres launched a secret operation in the Batticaloa town. They abducted V. Vidyarathan. He was taken to a hideout in the guerrilla dominated Kokkadicholai area. He was subjected to torture and intense interrogation for four days. The man cracked under heavy pressure and pain. He confessed he was Mike and had been helping Captain Nilam and his LRRP team. He was shot dead on January 20.

It saw the beginning of a campaign of arrest, interrogate and kill. On February 10, Lance Corporal "Clarry" was abducted in a secret operation in Chenkalady in Batticaloa. Soon, details of how agent Mike worked with Captain Nilam began to unfold. LTTE Intelligence cadres and pistol gangs fanned out from Batticaloa to mount surveillance on the names of the operatives and informants that had emerged. Similar exercises were also carried out in Batticaloa and Amparai districts.

By July, 2002, Tiger guerrillas had obtained a fuller picture of the LRRP operations and how they were conducted with the help of Mike. On July 3, 2002 guerrilla cadres abducted Lance Corporal Saundrarajan, a key operative who had taken part in an abortive attack on "Jim Kelly," an LTTE cadre. He had also taken part in the attack on guerrilla area leader Babu on September 17, 2001 and the abortive attempt on Karikalan. He had also later taken part in the ambush and attack on two other guerrillas, Swarnaseelan and Devadas on November 26, 2001.

By December, 2002, LTTE intelligence cadres had tracked down some of those assisting the LRRP and were moved from the East to Colombo. On December 11, 2002, the first informant, Ganesha Moorthy alias Thilakaraj was shot dead by a pistol group. This was followed by the murder on January 3, 2003, of Lance Corporal Pulendrarasa. He was an operative who had worked closely with Mike. Another close associate of Mike, Kadirgamathamby Ragupathi alias Ragu was shot dead on March 18, 2003.

Neither the Security Forces nor the Police were able to launch any cordon and search operations to track down the Tiger guerrilla intelligence operatives or the pistol gangs. They had not only infiltrated the City but were operating with impunity. The UNF Government did not to want to order any crackdown on their activity for fear that the Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE would be affected.

The LTTE continued their witch hunt. On April 2, 2003, Sinnathambi Ranjan alias Varadan, who worked closely with Mike was shot dead. On April 26 of the same year, Lance Corporal Devarasa, an operative who took part in LRRP operations and worked closely with Mike was shot dead. He had left a military camp where he was living for reasons of security to visit his family in Dehiwala when the incident occurred.

A guerrilla pistol gang, who had conducted surveillance and kept following Lance Corporal Paramanthan Ravindrakumar trapped him at a City intersection. They poured six bullets into his body on July 15, 2003, wounding him seriously. He survived after surgery and was moved to a safe location thereafter.

The LRRP men who paid the ultimate price

The Sunday Times ( February 01, 2004 ) reveald details of intelligence operatives and civilian informants who were closely associated with LRRP operatives by the Directorate of Military Intelligence. They were all tracked down and assassinated by Tiger guerrillas after the existence of the Safe House became public.

January 20, 2002
V. Vidyarnthan alias Vidya alias Nidhi -
Informant - Abducted on January 16, 2002 and killed on January 20, 2002.

February 09, 2002
Clary alias Gadaffi
Ex- guerrilla cadre - abducted from Chenkallady town and killed.

July 22, 2002
Saundarajah A alias Arinjan
Ex-guerrilla cadre - abducted from Batticaloa town on July 3 and killed at Vakarai.

December 11, 2002
Ganeshmoorthy alias Thilakarajah Samithambi
Informant - killed by LTTE gun-men in Colombo.

January 03, 2003
Pulendrarasa alias Cashier
Ex-guerrilla cadre - abducted in Kallady and killed.

March 18, 2003
Kadiragamthambi Ragupathi alias Ragu
Informant - killed by the LTTE gun-men in Colombo.

April 13, 2003
Sinnathambi Rajan alias Varadan
Informant - to be enlisted to the Army shot dead by the LTTE pistol group in Colombo.

April 26, 2003
Devarajha L. alias Ashok
Ex- LTTE cadre - killed in Colombo.

May 21, 2003
Kumar Perumal Perimban alias Master
Ex-PLOTE cadre - killed in Batticaloa town.
Besides the above, among intelligence operatives, soldiers, para military troops who were not connected to LRRP operations but were killed after the Safe House activities came to be known were:

August 14, 2002
Kanapathipillai Devadas
Tamil soldier - abducted and killed.

December 02, 2002
Aseesh SM
Soldier - abducted and killed.

April 23, 2003
Sidambarapilai Yashodaran
Tamil soldier - abducted and killed.

May 19, 2003
Sooriyan K
Tamil soldier - killed in Batticaloa.

August 03, 2003
LT Rilvan
Police Sergeant - abducted and killed in Trincomalee.

August 08, 2003
Vivekanada Sammugarasa SP
Tamil soldier - abducted and killed.

September 14, 2003
Saundanayagam Sabarathnam
Tamil soldier - killed in Palameenmadu.
Among civilian informants (not connected with LRRP operations) but killed after activities of the Safe House came to be known were:

March 11, 2002
Pulendrarajha - abducted and killed in Muttur.

July 06, 2002
Thangarajha Premadasa alias Varuman - killed with his mistress in Welikanda.

March 20, 2003
Nagoorkanee Ashish - abducted and killed.

April 13, 2003
Subramaniyam Jayadewan - killed in Batticaloa.

April 23, 2003
Sellaiya Puvendrarasa - killed in Thunnalai.

May 16, 2003
Ariyanandan Hemachandran - Killed in Jaffna.

July 17, 2003
Abdul Bahir Fauzi - Killed in Uppuveli.

August 30, 2003
Sebamalai Vimalkumaran - killed in Vavuniya.
Erambamurthi Sabanayagam - Abducted in Matale and killed in Batticaloa.

Kandiah Yogarasa better known as PLOTE Mohan joined the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) in 1983, left the group in 1994. He emerged as a key anti-LTTE operative and was closely linked to the military's Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRPs).

PLOTE Mohan was shot dead by LTTE in the heart of Colombo city on 31st of July 2004. Mohan (41) was gunned down with a 9 mm pistol around 11.20 a.m. local time on the normally busy Duplication Road, in the heart of the city.

Fear in Sri Lanka's Muslim communities

Sri Lankan troops kill senior Tamil rebel leader in volatile north, says military

Sri Lankan soldiers shot dead a senior Tamil Tiger leader when troops pre-empted a rebel attack on a northern defense line, the military said Saturday.

Insurgents were preparing to attack the defense line at Nagarkovil in Jaffna peninsula on Friday but were confronted by troops, triggering a fierce gunbattle, an official at the Defense Ministry information center said on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

He said soldiers confirmed that a senior rebel leader was killed in the fighting. The military did not give the name of the rebel leader.

There was no immediate comment from the Tamil rebels who have fought since 1983 for an independent homeland for the country's ethnic minority Tamils.

Tamils, who have suffered decades of discrimination by majority Sinhalese-controlled governments, consider Jaffna their cultural heartland. The military has controlled the region since 1995, but the rebels operate underground and carry out frequent assassinations and bomb attacks there.

Last month, the government celebrated the recapture of the east from the rebels. The Tamil rebels still control a virtual state in the north.

A Norway-brokered cease-fire in 2002 brought relative calm to the country, but a new wave of violence that began in December 2005 has killed more than 5,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands. Over 70,000 people have been killed in the two decades of violence.


Heart of the North beating steadily

A BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD: Arid and hot, Jaffna is nevertheless one of the most scenic areas in the country. Battle-scarred and war weary, Jaffna is slowly but surely regaining its former glory. Just 12 years after the Government liberated the area from the LTTE, it is firmly on the road to development.

The people in the Jaffna peninsula are now experiencing the freedom of peace. The Security Forces have done a yeoman service to Jaffna residents. Even today the Security Forces fulfil all the day-to-day requirements of Jaffna people, building up a good rapport despite a language barrier.

Whenever the people in the peninsula want any kind of assistance, Forces personnel are ready to help. Therefore everyone in the peninsula has to thank the Forces for their valuable service and dedication, retired teacher S. Thiyagaraja told the Daily News during a media tour of the peninsula.

Until we reached Jaffna we didn't have a firm idea about the situation in the Jaffna peninsula. As soon as our plane touched down at Palali, enthusiastic and friendly officers of Sri Lanka Army greeted us.

We talked to several individuals who were waiting at Palali to come to Colombo by air. "I have gone to Colombo a few times by road before the A9 road was closed and also by sea. But it was rather hard and dull since it took much time. When it comes to travel by air, it is easy and comfortable," said J. Balaraj.

We spoke to security officers engaged in the facilitating civilian movements in Palali. Three private operators offer flights between Palali and Ratmalana. There is no waiting list and a return ticket costs Rs. 9000. We met Jaffna Commander Major General G.A. Chandrasiri for a briefing on the security situation. "There is no room for the LTTE to disrupt the day-to-day life of the civilian population in Jaffna," he said. The Jaffna peninsula is under Security Forces control. "The forces control the peninsula from Nagarkovil to Kilali," he pointed out.

"We will never allow the LTTE to raise their head again and we don't let them enter the cleared areas. We have ensured security by conducting search operations," said the Jaffna Commander.

We realised that the Army has forged an excellent rapport with the people of Jaffna which has helped in the creation of a conductive environment for the smooth functioning of normal life. The Army has acted with responsibility and the civilians are appreciative of the Army's service in almost all spheres of activity. Fishing activities have been restored upto a certain extent in the Jaffna peninsula. Fishermen are allowed to go to sea from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

"But it is impossible to allow them to fish at night as the LTTE would take advantage of this to create problems by posing as fishermen," the Major General said. We visited Gurunagar Jetty which is the main Jetty in Jaffna Peninsula to see fishing activities.

"Apart from the Gurunagar Jetty there are two other famous Jetties called CeyNor and Pasoor. Here at Gurunagar about 450 fishermen go to sea daily in more than 80 boats.

It is our duty to obey the rules imposed by the Security Forces since those are enforced for our own safety," said Rajendran, a boatman.

"The Security Forces buy our fish and we get a considerable of income," he said. We then visited Union college, Tellippalai a leading Tamil college in the Jaffna peninsula.

Educational activities were going on smoothly. All the students had received free books and uniforms which are distributed by the Government. Moreover the Security Forces have built a good atmosphere which is helpful for educational activities. Most of the schools and the Jaffna university are functioning well, Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh said.

The Naguleshwaram Kovil is a popular and highly venerated Kovil inside the High Security Zone. When we went there, many youth were engaged in a special Pooja at the Kovil.

"We are from the Jaffna Teacher Training College. There are around 300 students studying in the Training College. It has been started in 1947 at an auspicious time. From the very beginning every year we celebrate that occasion by participating in Poojas at this Naguleshwaram Kovil," a second year student at the Jaffna Teacher Training College said.

The government has taken steps to rebuild the Naguleswaran Kovil. The construction process is being carried out by a contractor under the supervision of Sri Lankan Navy. The Government has already spent Rs. 30 million for the construction and steps have been taken to complete the construction in due course.

The people in the Jaffna peninsula are lucky enough to have a sophisticated Cancer Hospital on par with the Maharagama Cancer Hospital. The Jaffna cancer hospital was established in 2005 aiming to reduce the burden on cancer patients and their families.

"No cancer patient has to be taken to Maharagama or Anuradhapura since this hospital has all the facilities. The hospital can treat 40 patients per day," said radiologist S. Ramalingam. Before establishing cancer hospital the cancer patients had been taken to Maharagama or Anuradhapura for treatments.

We then turned our attention to agriculture. Urumpilai, Punnalei-Kattuwan, Illawalei are the main areas where grapes are cultivated. K. Ramanathan has been cultivating grapes in Urumpilai for 30 years.

"We had a good market for our harvest when the visitors from the South came to Jaffna. Our produce could be sent to Colombo those days. But, unfortunately due to the LTTE terrorist activities no visitors come to Jaffna now. A kilogramme of grapes is sold at Rs. 80 while the whole sale price is Rs. 60."

Apart from grapes, onion, tobacco, beet and carrot cultivations are commonly seen. "We face a difficulty as the price of fertiliser is high. A 50 Kilogram packet of Urea costs Rs. 3150. Therefore it is rather difficult to use chemical fertiliser for our plantations. That is the very reason for the reduction of our harvest," Ramanathan added.

In fact almost all farmers have faced this common problem. They urged the Government to control the price of fertiliser. According to farmers, middlemen is one of the main reasons for the high price. On some occasions, Government officers have sold fertiliser to middlemen through the back-door.

This allows middlemen to create a 'shortage' of fertiliser at Government stores and sell fertiliser at higher prices. The Government has to take steps to bring down the price of fertiliser and take immediate action to break the monopoly, the farmers say.

"Some Tamil politicians who stand for safeguarding the rights of the poor Tamils, are engaged in transporting commodities and fertiliser to Jaffna. Poor Tamil people are exploited by these politicians," said a middle-aged man who declined to be identified. Jaffna Government Agent Ganesh said there is a steady supply of essential items to the Jaffna peninsula. Goods are being sold at affordable prices, the GA said.

According to the Government Agent, a majority of items fetch the same price as in Colombo. Goods are sold at 547 sales outlets in the peninsula including 24 co-operative outlets. There are seven ships transporting goods to Jaffna. Four belong to the Essential Services Commissioner while the others are operated by private traders, Ganesh said adding that the loading and unloading process was continuing smoothly.

We had a rare chance to visit the `Dambakola Patuna' Buddhist temple where Sangamitta Therani brought the sapling of the `Sri Maha Bodhi'. The sapling has been handed over to the King Devanam Piyathissa at Dambakola Patuna by Sangamitta Therani at this sacred place.

When we visited Kankasanthurei harbour, the ship `Green Ocean' was at out harbour waiting to enter the harbour with a large number of passengers from Trincomalee. The ship has been carrying passengers between Trincomalee and KKS.

The ordinary passengers who intend to go to Colombo or other parts of the island use the ship since it is cheaper than air travel. Every other day the ship leaves for Trincomalee from KKS. "An adult passenger has to spend Rs. 2,750 for a ticket while a child under five years does not need a ticket," the Civil Movement Coordinator K. Kandasamy said.

When we visited the Jaffna library we were fascinated that it was back to its old glory. The Government spent Rs. 120 million for the reconstruction.

"This is not mere a library, it is also a cultural centre," said the librarian. "The library has been fully constructed and received thousands of books. We know that the people in the South have contributed in the construction process," he further added.

According to the librarian, there are 100,000 books available now. Unlike the former library, the new libraryhas a computer laboratory which has internet facility. The library has exceeded 7,000 members and is maintained by 40 staffers.

Medical Camps are conducted once a month in every Brigade by the Security Forces aiming to help the patients in the peninsula. The patients are examined by qualified Army doctors and all medicines given free of charge.

"The Army doctors do door-to-door medical testing once a month. If not for this medical campaign, we have to go to Kaithadi hospital which is located 10 Kilometres away from here spending money and time.

We are grateful to the Forces for these services," N.Kandasamy, a patient who had come for free treatment at the Chenmani Medical Camp said.