Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hearsay as Gospel

Yesterday, Maneka Gandhi, an environmentalist of international repute said, in her column in this newspaper, parrots were far more intelligent than they were thought to be and capable of making rational decisions based on their own judgment, contrary to the conventional belief that they can only imitate humans. Sadly, some humans seem to lack that parrot-faculty. They rush to conclusions based on hearsay. The US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack has urged the Sri Lankan government to reconsider its decision not to allow the UN to base a human rights group in the country, citing an assessment by UN Human Rights High Commissioner Louise Arbour that the human rights situation was deteriorating in Sri Lanka as the reason.

Let there be no argument that the human rights situation in this country is bad. But, it is not as bad as it is made out to be. If one were to go by the various reports filed by vested interests, then one would conclude the situation in this country is far worse than that in Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq, where American private security personnel can mow down Iraqis with impunity, as the Blackwater mercenaries did the other day.

The Sri Lankan government, no doubt, has to get its act together and take steps to improve the human rights situation with the help of genuine human rights groups, who are critical of violations by both the government troops and the LTTE, as we have repeatedly pointed out in these columns. Those who are calling for the establishment of a UN human rights mission here without highlighting and/or condemning the human rights violations by the LTTE are only furthering the interests of the LTTE, which is striving for a Cyprus like situation here through UN involvement. Ms. Arbour seems to be yielding to pressure exerted by various separatist fronts including a section of the Colombo-based NGO circuit, whose bosses get paid more than Ms. Arbour per month to create an environment conducive to LTTE operations.

This country may be anything but a killing field like Iraq, where not even an ordinary civilian can walk the streets without fear of being abducted or killed by religious fanatics despite the heavy presence of the US-led forces helping maintain law and order. Can a foreign diplomat ever think of venturing out at an ungodly hour for a stroll on a street in Afghanistan or Iraq? No! But, Mr. McCormack should be told that it was only the other day that the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake took part in a ten-kilometre marathon in Colombo! The same envoy together with a group of other ambassadors had to hit the dirt in the East a few months ago when the LTTE showered shells on them before that part of the country was 'cleared'.

It is in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. McCormack will agree with us, that Ms Arbour's services are most needed. Time was when in Iraq, deaths of children continued at 5,000 per month due to sanctions. In 2002, UNICEF estimated that 70 per cent of child deaths resulted from diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections. Those children, who died due to sanctions, could have been saved, had there been a proper human rights intervention. Although no comprehensive study has been carried out in that country of late, the situation is believed to be equally bad. Ms Arbour should also make a trip to Diego Garcia, where the CIA is accused of having a secret prison to 'put terror suspects to the question'. Ironically, while Mr. McCormack and Ms Arbour are busy trying to intervene in Sri Lanka, the much-dreaded hangman's noose, which is the symbol of lynching, has made a comeback in New York, much to the horror of the African American community. This time round, the ugly head of white racism has manifested itself at the Columbia University, where Prof. Madonna Constantine had a hangman's noose hanging from her door the other day. Prof. Constantine, who teaches psychology and education, is the author of the book Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Education. One is reminded of the recent Jena Case, which sparked racial tensions and civil rights protests against what was dubbed double standards of prosecution for blacks and whites in the US.

Finally, that foreign powers have no right to intervene in this country doesn't mean that the Rajapaksa government can turn a blind eye to human rights violations. It has to strengthen the local human rights protection mechanisms and permit the involvement of local independent human rights groups to monitor abuses, probe them and make recommendations, which need to be implemented. Similarly, those UN knights in shining armour tilting at windmills in small countries should be told that the protection of human rights is next to impossible during a fiercely fought war.

Sri Lanka is fighting the LTTE not for the fun of it. It has no other way of dealing with the outfit as it is not amenable to a negotiated settlement. Minister Douglas Devananda, a one time confidant of LTTE leader Prabhakaran, recently told Parliament that even if one could achieve the feats such as 'brushing the teeth of a cobra, ploughing the sea or squeezing an elephant through the eye of a needle, one couldn't make peace with Prabhakaran'.

About the PKK (or the Kurdistan People's Party), Mr. McCormack said on Tuesday, "You can't negotiate with a terrorist organisation... you have to deal with the larger question of how you eliminate threat from a terrorist make sure that there are no further attacks or loss of innocent life..." But, it is the very antithesis of this policy that the US wants Sri Lanka to adopt!

Not even a game of soccer, Mr. McCormack and Ms Arbour will see, gets played without head-butts and illegal tackling. So, the best way to prevent human rights abuses is to put an end to the on-going war. If the foreign powers are not using human rights as a Trojan horse to achieve some sinister objective through their involvement in Sri Lanka's conflict, they must go all out to bring the LTTE to the negotiating table which it unilaterally left under the UNF government which was bending over backwards to keep the peace process on the track and stood accused of servile appeasement.

Will Mr. McCormack and Ms Arbour take notice?


Civilians fleeing from the Tiger controlled areas in the North on the increase

Nine (09) Tamil youths aged between 20-25, residents from Mullaithievu, surrendered at the naval detachment, at Mannar-Pallimunai on Tuesday (30). According to their statements, recorded individually, they reached Papamottai by trekking jungle tracks (an area North of Vidithalathievu) and then walked along the shores up to Pallimunai, where the Sri Lanka Naval detachment was located.

When questioned by the naval personnel, surrendered youths declared that as Tamil Tigers were involved in the conscription of youths, they fled Mullaithievu and sought protection in government controlled area. They also said that Tigers’ at present adopt a very aggressive and violent method to recruit youths.

They further revealed that Tigers used to forcefully recruit young ones, as cannon fodders, without any considerations about the future of Tamil youths. They added that parents’ pleas were simply ignored by Tigers and at times parents intimidated and their voices stilled.

To avoid from being kidnapped by Tigers, according to the surrendered youths, many youngsters spend their nights sneaking into jungle hideouts, as kidnapping in Mullaithievu used to take place in nights.

Also they told that if in case one needs to sit for the G.C.E. Ordinary Level examinations, joining the Tigers is a must. Kidnapping school children on their way to school by Tiger cadres who come on motor bikes has become a day to day common event.

According to reports, Tamil youths who surrendered to the Navy were later handed over to the Mannar Police for further investigations.

Furthermore, on May this year, a family from Pudukudirippu area took a chance between life and death when they boarded a fibre glass dinghy in order to proceed to Trincomalee. Their message was perceptible one; ‘only to be liberated from Tigers deadly grip.‘

Reports revealed that over the last couple of months, more than 200 Tamil civilians fled from Tiger dens, surrendered to Sri Lanka Navy in Mannar area.

A spokesperson for Navy told Asian Tribune that already large number of civilians fleeing from areas controlled by Tigers had also surrendered to Army and Police from various parts of the North. He added that civilians fleeing from the Tiger controlled region at present is on the increase.

LTTE bases destroyed

The Air Force on Thursday claimed to have raided two bases of the LTTE including a centre in the north where the “Black Tigers,” the suicide squad of the Tigers, are trained.

The raids came after a 21-member LTTE suicide squad attacked the Anuradhapura air base on Monday destroying eight military aircraft and killing 14 military personnel.

The Defence Ministry here said Thursday’s raid targeted an LTTE location identified as a threat to the Forward Defence Line (FDL) in Vavuniya.

It said the air sorties were carried on the basis of information gathered from “ground and air surveillance” and claimed that the LTTE had sustained severe damages.

However, the LTTE disputed the Air Force version and alleged that three civilians including a pregnant were killed in the raid.

It alleged that eight persons including four children were injured.

Separately, TamilNet claimed that five personnel were killed when a “guerilla team of attackers” ambushed a Navy convoy in the Hambantota district on Thursday. However, there was no immediate confirmation of the incident from the military.

Sri Lankan Tamils, the ‘Cats Paw’ of the Church

The Christian denominations were first introduced to Ceylon by the Portuguese who invaded the country in 1505. Their reign was confined mainly to the coastal areas of the country and they vandalized the property in those areas raping women and brutally enforcing their will on the people. Their vagrancy was such that even today when the Sri Lankan landscape is dotted with the ancient ruins of a bygone civilization, the areas occupied by Portuguese are conspicuous by the absence of such evidence. The Sinhalese Kings sought the help of the Dutch, who were somewhat more reasonable, to get rid of the Portuguese. Then the British, who appeared most gentlemanly, came along and took over the country on an agreement entered in to with the Sri Lankan chieftains to protect Sri Lankan values and its religion. British with their ostensible gentlemanliness was the only power to conquer the whole of Sri Lanka in 1815.

All these external invaders brought the Bible along with them. The Catholics, the Reformist and the Anglicans in that order, advised the locals to ‘hold the Bible in their hands and pray with closed eyes’. When they opened their eyes, they still had the Bible in their hands, but alas all the land was in the hands of the invaders. The colonialists were not prepared to accept the idyllic lifestyle of the Islanders influenced by eastern philosophy and values that were different from theirs.

They advised the locals that ‘It is uncivilized to not believe in God’ and thereby arrogated the power to civilize the Islanders. They preached ‘love’ when the islanders already knew of ‘maithree’, ‘karuna’, ‘muditha’ and ‘uppekha’, more advanced stages of human kindness. Love in the eastern thinking was just ‘selfish infatuation’. But finally those who possessed more fire power proved to be the better ‘civilized’ and hence prevailed over the locals. Yet when the Catholics, with a Portuguese legacy, were eventually persecuted by the Anglicans, the Catholics had to seek refuge in the King of Kandy (uncivilized) to obtain Wahakotte as their undisturbed habitation.

The Anglican Church wielded enormous power over the Island nation during the British reign of more than 150 years. After having marginalized the indigenous education system they invited American missionaries to commence schools in Jaffna to create a blue collar work force for their plantations and administration in the1820’s. They preferred the manageable minority Tamils to the rebelling Sinhalese who had staged three rebellions up to then resisting the colonial power. As a result St Patricks and St Micheals and Vembeddy girls school were all started in the Jaffna district as the first schools in the Island of Ceylon.

The British colonialist expropriated the land of the locals and converted the Island in to a garden of plantations. They found the marginalized Indian labor more manageable to the savage looking slave labor that was used in other parts of the western world. Hence they ‘consigned’ contingents of labor from India to Ceylon to work in the plantation. From the Thalaimannar pier the indentured labor with their families were made to walk a distance of more than 200 miles through the jungle terrain. Some dropped dead on the way and the dead bodies were left for the jackals in the jungles. Once in the plantation, the lined rooms which were the permanent abode of the Indian Tamils, were no better than cattle sheds. A family of 6 or 7 lived in a room of 10’ by 6’.

The three Singhalese rebellions staged, were crushed with brute force exterminating not only the people but even the trees, paddy fields and other wherewithal that helped the locals in their dwelling. Entire areas and provinces were made barren, dislocating populations. As a testimony to this inhuman devastation, even to day the most fertile areas of the Island in the South East known as the ‘Wellassa’ (one hundred thousand paddy fields) is only parsley populated. The Anglican Church did not remain a passive spectator of all this ‘ungodly’ acts. They started conscripting the local population dangling the carrots of education and employment.

After more than 150 years of rule, when the British were compelled to leave the Island on the new world order brought about by the realization of the unceasing nature of the domination by arms, a privileged elite class of Anglo Saxon thinking, lead by the Church, had emerged in Sri Lanka from among locals. Unlike in India, in Sri Lanka there was no national struggle to win independence and as a result the patriotic indigenous leadership did not synchronize. The British handed over the power to the new local elites expecting them to preserve that status quo.

The new Government of the Independent Sri Lanka was initially towing the British line but eventually with the masses taking over the reigns of power the much awaited, progressive legislations were introduced. For instance, at the time of independence (1948), only 6% of the country’s population was conversant in English, the official language of the time. As a result 94 % of the country’s population was in the dark, being governed by the English speaking elite. Swabasha was introduced in 1956 to overcome this anomaly. With that move the foundation of the English speaking elite started to crack. The vested interests of the Church reacted to this in all possible ways. Even though there was provision for reasonable use of Tamil in the new legislation the Church propagated to the world about the unreasonableness of the legislation. The fact that there was a disproportionate amount of Tamils in the state service due to a one sided education policy for centuries gave credence to the ‘Tamil grievance’ as a corollary of the swabasha Bill. The church baptized the bill ‘Singhala only’

They found a very willing ally in Chelvanayagam, son of a clergyman, who was more Anglican than Tamil. He was obsessed with the thought that ‘How come these uneducated Sinhalese, being only a few million in population, could have a country of their own when the Tamils numbering 50 million could not have theirs’. According to him the ‘Singhalese were not big enough to govern us the Tamils’. The elite Tamil community who themselves had lost their privileges after the exit of the British was a good breeding ground for ‘alleged discrimination’. Chelvanayagam was not interested in implementing the reasonable use of Tamil because he would rather keep the ‘grievance’. He instead used this as an opportunity to introduce the first steps of the bifurcation plan in the form of Bandaranaike Chelvanayagam Pact where he demanded the land rights to North and the East. His strategy for total separation eventually was ‘little now and more later’. The B-C pact was rejected by the discerning public giving more propaganda matter to the Church and the Tamil elite.

It is not that the Tamils in general had no issue to demand more from the state but it is just that with a Sinhala dominated Government in power, the separatist minded Tamil elite like Chelvanayagam were able to project the Sri Lanka Government of the time as the source of all short comings. The popularity of the separatist politics of Chelvanayagam made even Ponnambalam resign from the Government, placing the Tamil community in a confrontational course with the Government of the day just two years after independence.

The legacy of the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka was that of colonial crusades, forced conscriptions, discriminatory treatment and economic exploitation. Hence it could not have picked any of those as a grievance against the now liberated Sinhala Buddhist population. But by taking the side of the Tamils it is saving itself and the status quo of the English speaking elite while projecting an image of a ‘fighter of the underdog’. Therefore with Sri Lanka gaining independence the Church changed its role from ‘blessing the aggressor’ to ‘fighting for the underdog’. That probably was the best way to check the progressive measures of the new Sri Lanka Government thereby preventing the transformation of Christian religion from the ‘patronized religion’ to the ‘religion of an insignificant minority’.

With the advent of Swabasha education the new liberated schools like Ananda and Nalanda broke the Christian monopoly on education and even the Maha Vidyalayas came to the fore with academic achievements surpassing the Christian schools. The Christian education suffered another body blow when they were taken over by the Government with progressive legislation in the 1960.s. Up to that time these Christian schools with their suave and ‘international’ standards were catering to the exclusive sections of the society producing even the leaders of the post independent Sri Lanka. Even today the English language media and the corporate sector in the country is made up of ‘old boys’ of these Christian schools. That way, what the Church could not accomplish in the form religious conversions had been compensated for in the form of conversions in culture and in thinking. In 1962 the senior police and security forces staged a coup de’tat against the elected Government of the day. All those officers who were involved were Christians and had that being successful; it was very likely that there would have been religious riots in Colombo as a corollary.

The Church had been consistently ‘sympathetic’ to the needs of the Tamils and helped them in innumerable ways to built up a Diaspora from the 1960’s. It was the Vatican through its communication network disseminated to the world the events of July 83 painting the Sinhalese Buddhist as ‘uncivilized barbarians’. From that point onwards the western funded and the Church guided National Peace Council unleashed its propaganda machine to justify all the heinous crimes committed by the LTTE as ‘retaliatory activities’ prompted by the July 83 incidents. In actual fact, by July 83 the Tamil guerillas had broken in to 15 banks and 18 police stations making it impossible for the civil administration to maintain law and order and in the North. Hence July 83 was the effect of those activities. But the NPC propaganda made July 83 a ‘cause’ to justify the killings and maiming of thousands of innocent civilians, in their homes, in their sleep, in places of worship, places of work or just on the road. Ironically even though the LTTE has now come to be known as the ‘world’s most ruthless terror organization’ none of its activities received the same publicity that July 83 received in the Vatican.

It should also be borne in mind that it was the World Council of Churches that sponsored the LTTE office in London which commenced its operation from 1984 denigrating the SL Government in general and the Sinhalese Buddhist in particular. The heads of the different Christian denominations in SL issue press statements from time to time, on the ongoing conflict, blaming mostly both parties to the Sri Lankan conflict, quite oblivious to the fact that on the one hand you have the legitimate Government of the country bending over backwards for peace and on the other the intransigent, ruthless and a totalitarian terrorist organization. They also make pilgrimages to Kilinochchi and eulogize the most ruthless terror leader and his activities. These are mostly done for the consumption of the Tamil Diaspora and the LTTE sympathizing Governments in the west.

Jesus Christ died as he had no cause even against those who plotted his murder. But the Church appears to justify the barbarism of Prabhakaran in the name of some illusive and unspecified ‘Tamil grievances’. These grievances are so holy to the Church that the Church even justifies mayhem and murder perpetrated on innocent lives in the name of these causes.

Although Buddhism is a philosophy that differs from Hinduism as a religion, practically in religious observances there is very little to choose between Buddhist and Hindu practices. They patronize the same temples and worship the same Gods. But the LTTE ‘s hatred for Buddhism is much larger than its hatred for the Sinhalese as this has been made plain by their many attacks on the Buddhist places of worship, killing of Buddhist monks and carrying out international propaganda against Buddhism in particular. When Taliban rulers decided to destroy the priceless Buddha statues in Afghanistan the whole world spoke against the act irrespective of religion, and LTTE was the only organization that issued a statement justifying the act.

The propaganda of the Church is very subtle. In spite of the ‘peace follies’ committed by successive SL Governments that bestowed a semblance of legitimacy on the LTTE, even today the Church will advocate ‘negotiations’. They wish that the legitimate Government keep talking till Prabhakaran muster enough military muscle and international diplomacy to attack and over through the Sri Lankan regime. They will express concern about ‘Human rights’ violations oblivious to the fact that the reason for these violations is the presence of a brutal terror outfit in our midst. They will loud the army excesses and provide a subtle platform for the LTTE in the international media. If a journalist wishes to expose national defense, for the benefit of the LTTE, he could always seek refuge in the Church under the guise of ‘freedom of expression’. This way the Church has been marshaling international opinion against the SL Government thereby making Sri Lanka, a pariah state in the eyes of the ‘International community’. On the face of it, there appears nothing wrong with the activities of the Church, because their modus operandi is ‘peace’, ‘human rights’ and ‘press freedom’. However, if the Government tries to muscle the Church for their subtle strategies, it will invariably stand accused of another basic violation to this list and that will be the ‘violation of the rights of the religious minorities’.

Recently the Bishop of Colombo issued a press statement on the aftermath of the visit by Ms Luise Arbour , the Directress of Human rights in the UN. This appeared to be a timely release to add pressure on Ms Arbour who in turn would add pressure on the SL Government to accommodate a UN human rights mandate in the country. Such a mandate was originally requested by the Bishop of Jaffna. The intensions of the Church are to cause foreign intervention in the country by some ruse. Because if the Sinhala Buddhist regime consolidates its power, the Church would be destined as the pontiff of an insignificant religious minority.

The son of the Bishop of Colombo Vijith de Chickera runs the Lanka Monthly Digest LMD which is very influential with the Sri Lankan business community. That too propagates ‘putative peace’, very subtly over business ethics, to the Sri Lankan corporate sector. The English media in Sri Lanka is exclusively dominated by the Christians and those with ‘western international’ mindset. Not only that they churn out putative peace propaganda day in and day out, but also acts as a filter for the international news agencies making sure that only ‘anti Sinhala Buddhist news’ gets highlighted in the international media.

The previous regime of President Chandrika Kumaranatunge came to power on a platform of ‘peace’ and survived her term on ‘peace’. But her activities caused the deaths of more than 40,000 Sinhala and Tamil lives of, the armed forces, the LTTE and the civilians. That was an unprecedented damage compared to the previous regimes. The LTTE became more nationally and internationally powerful during her time causing the most damage to the Sri Lankan economy. The Church had no compunction however, and in fact she was the darling of the Church because she shared the western concept of putative peace in Sri Lanka.

The present position of the Tamils in Sri Lanka is a far cry from what it was at the turn of independence. From the position of an ‘educated and privileged minority’ it has come down to a position of a ‘terrorist community in direct violent confrontation with the Government’. There numbers two have dwindled and the recent statistics have shown that they have been overtaken by the moor community in numbers. If the conflict prolongs in to the next decade the Sri Lankan Tamil community would be the first casualty of this conflict. Prabhakaran has long given up fighting for anything of the Tamils. He was a young bandit romantically attracted to the separatists propaganda of the Tamil elite in the 60’s and walked with all the patronage in to that platform. At 54 he is more matured now and knows only too well that his 30 year adventure has put the Tamil community 100 years behind. The enthusiasm of the Diaspora and local Tamil community has dwindled. Now he fights for his own survival with the support of the Church but at the cost of his own community.

The Church has used the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, first to build up its economy through the plantation, then to run the colonial administration and now to do the bidding for Prabhakaran to preserve its status quo.


06 LTTE bunkers destroyed, 10 terrorists killed- Jaffna

Four LTTE bunkers were destroyed killing at least eight terrorists when troops retaliated to an LTTE offensive advance at the Muhamalai forward defences yesterday (29), at 11.p.m, security sources said.

During the counter attacks, a soldier was injured and air lifted to the military base hospital at Palali.

Meanwhile, military sources said, two LTTE bunkers were destroyed killing two terrorists today (30), at 3.40a.m, in preemptive strikes by troops at the Nagarkovil FDLs.

According to ground sources, no damages were caused to own troops

Bare facts of the terrorist attack

There was one shocking photograph which emerged from the Anuradhapura debacle last week - bodies of LTTE cadres who died in the attack being transported in a tractor trailor to the Anuradhapura hospital morgue.

It was shocking because the bodies were bare. One lying on top of the heap still had a belt strapped to the waist, but that was about all.

A policeman with a safety mask sat behind the driver, and there was a crowd of onlookers, including a policeman, gawking at the naked cadavers (which included three women, though their bodies weren't to be seen on the top of the pile).

The official explanation seems to be that the bodies, stripped of their clothing at the hospital, were being transported to the morgue a short distance away when one of the two tractors carrying them stopped and the grisly operation became a spectator event. Officials claim that this wasn't deliberate, and there was never any intention of putting these blood-strewn corpses on display.

However that might be, this picture will become symptomatic of the whole grim war, right from its inception. To those aware of history and visually educated, it will evoke World War II pictures from Nazi death camps, when the nude bodies of inmates were found piled up in heaps(the only difference being that the LTTE corpses weren't emaciated due to hunger). Even without going that far, this picture embodies all the unsavoury characteristics of our war - it's bloodiness, its grisliness, and its lack of regard for the rights of those involved even when they have been killed.

This deplorable quality must be shared by both sides. This time, however, the picture was taken on our side of the divide. It thus becomes a stark symbol of a state's steady degeneration into a moral void where basic decencies are simply not taken into account. Labelling the Tiger suicide commandos who attacked the SLAF base at Anuradhapura as terrorists and then denying their cadavers the basic dignities due to the dead only goes to reveal the abysmal depths to which we ourselves have sunk over the years. This government didn't start the process but has exacerbated and accelerated it with its blatant disregard of human rights.

The LTTE is an organization nurtured in terrorism. But it also has a proven military capability. The A'pura attack was a commando operation, daring in the extreme. To call those who carried it out terrorists is akin to Hitler's directive that all British commandos (the originators of this method of irregular warfare) should be treated as terrorists and executed if captured. All military hierarchies have a tradition of admiring their opposite numbers who have proved to be courageous and daring in battle. Thus, many high-ranking Allied officers became admirers of Col. Otto Skorzeny who led German Commando units during World War II protested against his being put on trial as a war criminal.

But ours has been, for the most part, a war without honour. It has also become one without any decency, and this has had devastating effects on the entire fabric of our society. It shows everywhere - in our workplaces, on our roads, in our schools, conference halls, and of course in the sanctified chambers of our parliament. People are not only rude; they are lawless and have no respect for the basic rights of those around them, as well as the institutions they are part of.

It is no exaggeration to say that a streak of fascism has crept into the Sri Lankan mental make up over the years. The presence of this government only goes to confirm it. Both sides in the ethnic conflict have executed most of their prisoners without trial. (The LTTE is more guilty of this than us, but then, the war is run on our side by a legally-elected government with moral responsibilities). The police seem to have followed this example and declared war on the criminal underworld, by sometimes executing suspects under almost any pretext (some of which are so ludicrous as to be laughable). Talk to the common man in the street, and he will strongly approve of this summary method of dealing with crime. (What should be done is to establish a maximum security prison for the mass murderers and psychopaths as there exist in many other countries).

People who speak up for human rights are accused of undermining national sovereignty by being in the payroll of international conspiracies. Or they are accused of imposing 'irrelevant foreign standards' to Sri Lanka, again undermining our sovereignty. This state of affairs is further exacerbated by those who openly deny human rights violations.

What these people forget is that basic decency is not something foreign and imposed. If it looks foreign, then there is something terribly flawed about our own way of thinking.

Forces destroy four Tiger bunkers

Ten LTTE cadres were killed and many others injured while four Tiger bunkers were destroyed in a series of clashes with the Security Forces on Tuesday in the Jaffna Peninsula and Vavuniya.

Following the incident arms and weapons were also uncovered, the Media Centre for the National Security said. According to a spokesman for the MCNS, a female LTTE cadre was killed in a confrontation with Security Forces on Tuesday around 1.45 pm in general area of Nawathkulam, Vavuniya.

In a separate incident the Security Forces obstructed a group of LTTE cadres attempting to breach the Muhamalai Forward Defence Lines in Jaffna on Tuesday around 3.35 pm killing six Tigers and destroying four of their bunkers, the MCNS spokesman said.

According to defence sources, troops effectively retaliated thwarting LTTE attempts to advance upto the Muhamalai FDLs engaging heavy artillery and medium range gunfire attacks. In a subsequent search operation the Security Forces recovered an AK-47 weapon magazine, 28 AK-47 ammunition, a hand grenade and a pouch.

Meanwhile, two LTTE cadres were killed by the Security Forces in separate confrontation in Weli Oya and Nagarkovil on Tuesday, he added.

Tiger infiltration meets with opposition

Amidst continuous infiltration attempts by the Tigers under cover of adverse weather conditions at least ten Tiger cadres were killed in the latest violence in the north during the last two days, the military said. It said six LTTE cadres were killed in Muhamalai, one in Athawetunuwewa, Welioya two in Nagarakovil and a female terrorist in Thavankulam in Vavuniya.

A large number of Tigers were injured in the confrontations. Meanwhile, troops successfully retaliated against the Tigers who attempted an attack on the forward defence lines at Muhamalai early on Tuesday morning and destroyed four Tiger bunkers, the military said.

Troops directed heavy artillery and medium range gunfire attacks at identified LTTE positions causing heavy damage, security sources said.

Confirming the report the pro-LTTE web site said ‘movement of LTTE combatants near the northern Forward Defence Line (FDL) positions had triggered the clashes’.

A large stock of weapons ammunition and other military items were recovered in subsequent search operations, security sources said.

Nine Tamil youths escape from LTTE bondage

Nine Tamil youths who fled from LTTE captivity sought refuge at the Sri Lanka Navy and Police Fishing Marshalling Point at Pallemunai in Mannar 30th October 2007 around 7.15 a.m according to a milittary source.
Preliminary investigations revealed they had arrived from Papamotai and cited several instances of harassment, abduction, forcible conscription and killings meted out by the LTTE to those who defy the terror outfit’s dictates as their main reason for escaping from the LTTE clutches, he added.

All the escapees are males in the age group of 18 – 26. They were in the prime of youth. They had expressed their desire to live a normal life enjoying the benefits available to their counterparts residing elsewhere in the country where normalcy prevails.

There were two youths aged 18 from Mannar and another two aged 24 and 26 from Mullaitivu. One youth, aged 19, had escaped all the way from Jaffna. The rest were from Kilinochchi and were aged 21, 22, 24 and 25 respectively.

One youth talking to the security forces perrsonnel stated that they were taken forcibly from their homes for training in LTTE camps. They had fled from their training camp since they found the training hard and declined fighting. Another claimed that they were forcibly retained at the training camp under harsh conditions.

"They lacked food and no place to sleep while in training. They were not given medical treatment when they fell ill. All said in unison that they all had to look after their aging parents and had family members who were dependent on them for financial support,"the soucre also said.