The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

D-Day is today-Eelam War IV officially declared: Beware!

‘One Nine Base’ was the LTTE’s code name for their most important intelligence base, located north of Puthukkudiyiruppu, in the general area of Kombavil, Mullaitivu.

The base was heavily fortified with armed LTTE cadres and also, heavily mined. The base also had several underground bunkers, connected by tunnels. This is one of the bases where LTTE intelligence leaders met and planned their missions.

On January 12, LTTE intelligence sent a secret message to their military intelligence area leaders to attend an important meeting at the above mentioned base.

In Colombo, military intelligence was well informed of this scheduled meeting by an informant. Consequently, an intelligence official informed Sri Lanka Air Force of the date and time of the meeting.

On 14, two young fighter jet pilots were summoned before their commanding officer (for security purposes this column refrains from disclosing the names and ranks of those personnel). The commanding officer briefed the two pilots of their top-secret task and the importance of the operation.

Supersonic jets took off from the Katunayake Airbase runway towards their target. Within a couple of minutes, they released bombs on One Nine Base. Some leaders managed to escape through a tunnel, but the most important leaders fell victim, on the spot.

When the news reached the LTTE leadership, they did not allow any civilians to enter the area. Wounded LTTE cadres were transported to one of LTTE’s underground hospitals. The LTTE leadership had given instructions not to reveal the numbers died or their names, because it would demoralise fighting cadres, as well as the Tamil diaspora.

The air bombing was significant for the Air Force and intelligence because this was the first time one of LTTE’s main intelligence locations was bombed. Many of their intelligence operatives were killed in the attack.

However, although the Air Force bombed One Nine Base, the LTTE’s intelligence operatives are still roaming around Colombo, and the rest of the island. One military intelligence officer said that the LTTE has hired Sinhalese and Muslims as spies. For example, in the past, the LTTE was able to hire two Army officers to function as spies and the military intelligence managed to identify them. One officer was court martialled and sentenced to life imprisonment. The other was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). A senior CID officer said that they will submit their report to the Attorney General’s Department to indict the accused officer.

The backbone of the Security Forces is intelligence. During the ceasefire period, the LTTE killed three intelligence officers, two of them from the Army and one from Police. Operatives and many officers fled the country for the sake of their security.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Air Force bombed another LTTE target on January 14, in Vidattaltivu east, north of Mannar. It was an LTTE artillery gunnery position. The LTTE fired 122 mm artillery since morning towards advancing Army troops. Around 1:00 p.m. Air Force fighter jets bombed the LTTE artillery position and managed to inflict damage to the 122 mm gun. Artillery coordinator Mangalesh and eight cadres who operated the gun were seriously injured and admitted to Neyoman Hospital (an LTTE hospital located in Vidattaltivu). In the evening, Leader Mangalesh and two other cadres died.

Heavy fightingin Mannar
Pro-LTTE website Tamilnet said the LTTE killed 30 Sri Lanka Army soldiers in a battle in Mannar.

However, according to a senior military officer from Mannar, “When the LTTE is being defeated, they resort to this type of propaganda, in order to build up the moral of the Tamil diaspora. It is because of this reason they publish this type of false news.” He further said, “If any officer or soldier died, their bodies should lie in funeral parlours.” He added that there were only four soldier deaths and fifteen causalities.

The Army handed over 23 LTTE dead bodies, from January 1, up to 14, to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Some LTTE bodies were completely disfigured due to artillery and MBRL fire from the Army, which, therefore, had to be buried.

Troops are, at the moment, heading towards Mannar, Adampan Town and there is only one and half kilometre more to the Adampan town.

On January 10 morning, Sri Lanka Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka arrived in Vavuniya Security Forces’ headquarters. He was received by Vavuniya Security Force Commander Maj. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya.

There, 58 General Officer Command (GOC) Brigadier Shavindra de Silva briefed the Army Commander on the ongoing operation, and 57 GOC Brigadier Jagath Dias briefed the Commander on the ongoing operation in north Vavuniya and around the Madhu area.

The Army Commander listened to his field commanders and gave further instructions for operations.

A-32 Road from Mannar to Pooneryn is strategically important for both the Army and the LTTE.

Currently, 58 Division is commanded by Brigadier Shavindra de Silva, and his three brigades, 581, 582, 583 and commandoes are engaged in the Mannar operation, with the support of artillery.

Troops are moving from three directions: Admpan west, Parapakandal and Andankulam.

Consequently, the 581 Brigade was able to destroy nine LTTE bunkers in Parapakandal with the backing of MBRL and artillery and overrun the LTTE defence line. During early morning, tactical small groups entered the LTTE territory and destroyed more bunkers.

Also, the 582 Brigade is advancing from the west of Adampan, towards north Mannar. The LTTE, in the meantime, observed troop movements, and fired mortars and 122 mm artillery, towards the advancing troops. The Army suffered four deaths and 15 casualties. At the same time, the Army detected the location from where the artillery and mortar were fired and directed MBRL fire towards the area (Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers have the range of 20Km, and within 20 seconds, can fire 40 rounds of rockets). The result of Army artillery and MBRL fire was many, around 16, LTTE cadre deaths and more casualties, a battlefront source said.

The LTTE assigned three doctors from Kilinochchi to Neyoman Hospital in Vidattaltivu this week. Intelligence sources said these doctors were assigned because the LTTE casualty number was increasing by the day.

In 57 Division, commanded by Brigadier Jagath Dias, troops are moving towards west, north Vavuniya and Madhu. A senior officer said troops are moving slowly and steadily. While troops are advancing, they are defusing booby traps and landmines. The senior officer said, “We don’t want to rush unnecessarily and suffer casualties. Our objective is to kill a maximum number of enemies with minimum casualties to the Army, and we are changing our strategy and tactics from time to time.”

LTTE targets assessedby intelligence

While the battle is heating up in the north with the Army advancing towards LTTE targets, the LTTE too has their targets in Colombo, with the view to paralyse military operations. This column mentioned very clearly last week the economic targets the LTTE will aim at, as well as individuals such as the President, the Prime Minister, Minister Douglas Devananda, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle or any other minister, the Defence Secretary, or TULF Leader V. Anandasangaree.

The Army Commander, Air Force Commander, Navy Commander, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and field commanders in battlefront can also become targets, when they are in Colombo.

One of the following ways would be used by the LTTE to eliminate their targets.

1. Suicide missions

2. RPG attack on a convoy

3. Landmine (the LTTE could infiltrate as labourers of the Ceylon Electricity Board, Sri Lanka Telecom and the Water Board, as well as plant bombs underground on main roads)

4. Food or water poisoning

5. Sniper gun fire

Army Commander’s comment

“I do not want to leave this problem to the next Army Commander,” Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who would be retiring in December, told defence correspondents on January 11, at the General’s house.

“We (the Armed Forces) are doing very well. And at the rate we are going, there will be major changes in the coming six to seven months. You will see a different LTTE then,” he said.

According to Gen. Fonseka, the LTTE has been losing its fighting cadres rapidly.

In the last two years, they had lost 2,300 cadres in the east and about 1,500 in the north, which had reduced their strength to about 4,500 cadres, he said.

“That they have been weakened is evident in the fact that they do not carry away their battlefield dead the way they used to. Earlier, our troops were not able to see LTTE bodies, now they do,” he added.

“Secondly, with dwindling cadre strength, they are throwing young girls into battle. In the recent attack on their bunker lines in Mannar, we recovered bodies of 16-year-old girls,” Gen. Fonseka said.

The LTTE cadres, Gen. Fonseka said, were good fighters and highly committed, but it was necessary to remember that most of their fighters had been forcibly recruited.

“Only 30% of the Tiger fighting cadres are volunteers. The rest have been forcibly recruited. These are sent to the frontlines and forced to fight to the finish by others standing behind them with guns pointed at them,” he said.

Asked how long it would take for the Sri Lankan Armed Forces to take the northern districts, collectively known as the Wanni, and where the Tigers were holed up, the General said: “We are not in a hurry.”

“We want to reduce their strength through our operations. It is a war of attrition,” he explained.

Giving reasons for the successes scored by the Army in the last two years, as compared to the past, Gen. Fonseka said that postings and commands were now being given purely on merit and not on seniority.

“I am sending the 15th on the line to do a job instead of the fifth, if the former is more competent,” he said.

The intelligence that the Armed Forces are getting now is also better.

According to the General, this is so because he has asked the infantry in the field to collect the ground intelligence.

And such hard intelligence was being shared with the other services to good effect, he added.

The Air Force had hit targets, both on land and sea, based on Army ground intelligence. Except for the last four ships, those sunk were taken up on the basis of Army intelligence, the General claimed.

Above all, there was “very good” coordination between the Armed Forces and the country’s political leadership, he stressed.

Asked if he believed in a military solution to the ethnic conflict, the General said that he did not believe in a military solution.

“Ultimately, any solution will have to be political. But there can be a political solution only after the LTTE had laid down arms,” he clarified.

And it was the task of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces to break the LTTE militarily and thus pave the way for a political solution, he said.

“Once the LTTE is out of the way, the country’s political leaders can discuss devolution of power with Tamil parties and groups, which are in the democratic stream,” the General stressed.


Be resolute and calm in face of provocation - President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has unequivocally condemned the LTTE's savage attacks on a civilian bus at Buttala and a village Okkampitiya, has called on the people of Sri Lanka to be vigilant in the face of provocation by terrorists, remain calm, and assist the security forces in their efforts to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka.

The President states: This further act of savagery on the part of the LTTE should attract to it the opprobrium of all in Sri Lanka and abroad concerned about safeguarding democracy and achieving peace in Sri Lanka. This is a brazen demonstration to the whole world of its unchanged commitment to terrorism and the absolute rejection of democracy and all norms of civilized behaviour, in the pursuit of its unacceptable goal of separation, which threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

Text of the President's statement:

I unequivocally and severely condemn the explosion carried out by the LTTE at Niyadella in Buttala today, and the subsequent armed attack on the village of Dambeyaya at Okkampitiya, targeting innocent civilians including women and children, and reject with contempt the renewed message of terror and violence sent by the LTTE through these acts of unmitigated brutality.

I wish to first express my sincere condolences to the families and kin of those killed, and send my good wishes for the speedy recovery of all those injured in these brutal attacks carried out by the terrorists of the LTTE. I also thank all those who have readily volunteered to assist the victims of these attacks in many ways, despite the hardships of the terrain where they have taken place.

These acts of savagery by the LTTE once again exposes its total commitment to violence and terror, despite the many attempts made to show that it stands for peace in Sri Lanka. It appears that this attack has been carried out to coincide with the abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement, which comes into effect today. The terrorists of the LTTE may be attempting by these acts of savagery to show Sri Lankans and the world that it is the decision of the government to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement that is the immediate cause for this carnage caused by it.

On this occasion we recall how the LTTE carried out a similar act of savagery at Kebethigollawa on 11th July 2006, killing 67 persons and injuring a similar number. There too all the victims were innocent civilians including many women and children. It is also sufficient to recall this and many other similar acts of savagery carried out by the LTTE while this agreement was in place, to show that the LTE had at no time respected the Ceasefire Agreement.

This further act of savagery on the part of the LTTE should attract to it the opprobrium of all in Sri Lanka and abroad concerned about safeguarding democracy and achieving peace in Sri Lanka. This is a brazen demonstration to the whole world of its unchanged commitment to terrorism and the absolute rejection of democracy and all norms of civilized behaviour, in the pursuit of its unacceptable goal of separation, which threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

On this occasion I call upon all people of Sri Lanka who value democracy, human values and peace to be even more resolute in their determination to rid this country of the menace of terrorism. I also call upon them to be vigilant in the face of provocation by terrorists, remain calm, and give all assistance to the security forces in the exemplary efforts to eliminate terrorism from our land and bring about a genuine and sustainable peace in Sri Lanka.


Terrorists fleeing after Buttala attack murder 6 civilians at Okkampitiya

Tiger terrorists fleeing after carrying out the claymore bomb attack on a civilian bus at Helagama, Niyadalgama at Buttala killing 26 innocent civilians have brutally attacked a group of chena cultivators at Dambeyaya at Okkampitiya. The farmers had been attacked with sharp weapons and shot at.

6 people have died in the incident and one has escaped with serious injuries. He has been admitted to hospital.

Source: Lanka Truth

Lankan govt decides to 'eliminate' Prabhakaran to bring peace

Colombo, Jan 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said it has decided to "eliminate" LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran to bring peace to the strife-torn Island nation, while maintaining that it was still open to negotiations with the rebels.
"If Prabhakaran is ready to take the white flag, we will leave some window open to consider that offer. Otherwise we have decided to eliminate him to bring peace in Sri Lanka," Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.

Briefing newsmen on the deadly bomb attack in the country's southeast which killed 26 people today, Rambukwella said LTTE political chief Nadesan's offer to implement the Ceasefire Agreement after the government decided to abrogate it was "hilarious".

The Sri Lankan government today formally ended the Norwegian-brokered truce reached in 2002 between the administration and the Tamil rebels

Source: PTI



Pictures of the aftermath



Source: Reuters

No direct help to Lanka to fight Tigers so far: Indian Naval chief

India today said it was not giving any "direct" help to Sri Lanka in its fight against LTTE but was maintaining a vigil along the coast to prevent any adverse impact on the country.

Naval chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said Indian Navy is not providing any direct help to its Lankan counterparts in its efforts to recapture the Tiger strong-holds in northern parts of the island nation.

"There is no direct support. We support them by checking our activities on their coast and their activities on ours. In this way, we help ourselves by helping them," Mehta told reporters here.

His comments came after reporters asked him whether Indian Navy is helping its Lankan counterparts in their war against the Tigers.

Mehta said the Navy was keeping a tight vigil on the coast and are closely watching the situation in the neighbouring country.

Lankan Navy chief Wasantha Karannagoda yesterday said in Colombo that co-operation with India has been extremely successful in countering the LTTE.

"Every year, the Indian Navy with the Indian Coast Guard and the Sri Lankan Navy holds four bilateral discussions. We are conducting coordinated patrols with the Indian Navy as well," Karannagoda said.

Apparently emboldened by its recent military successes against the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government has on January two decided to scrap its ceasefire agreement with the rebel outfit that was signed in 2002.

Source: outlookindia

Sri Lankan soldiers patrol on a street in Colombo

January 16, 2008 as security has been stepped up after the end of ceasefire agreement as the government quit a Norwegian-arranged ceasefire two weeks ago. At least 23 people were killed and 67 injured Wednesday in a suspected Tamil Tiger bomb attack on a crowded bus in southwest Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said.

Pictures:(AFP/Sanka Vidanagama)

update :24 killed and 66 wounded

According to the latest reports 24 people have been killed and over 60 suffered injuries in the attack. Hospital sources said that 8 people among the wounded are in critical condition.

Bus bombing kills 23 in Sri Lanka: AP

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - A bomb tore through a packed civilian bus Wednesday in southeastern Sri Lanka, killing 23 people and wounding 67 others, the Sri Lankan military said.

The attack in the remote town of Buttala, about 150 miles southeast of Colombo, came as the government formally withdrew from a tattered cease-fire with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, who provided the casualty figures, said it was unclear if the bomb was on the bus or planted by the roadside.

Senior Superintendent Daya Samaraweera, a local police official, said it was a roadside bomb and that gunshots were fired at the vehicle after the blast.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A roadside bomb hit a civilian bus Wednesday in southeastern Sri Lanka, killing nine people and wounding 20 others, Sri Lankan police said.

After the bomb exploded next to the bus, which had about 50 passengers, gunshots were fired at the vehicle, said Senior Superintendent Daya Samaraweera, a local police official.

The attack in the town of Buttala, about 150 miles southeast of Colombo, came as the government formally withdrew from a tattered cease-fire with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Source: AP

bus bomb - Monaragala

LTTE terrorists have carried out a cowardly bomb blast targeting innocent school children at Okkampitiya, Monaragala this morning (16 January).

According to the available information the bus which was plying from Buttala to Okkampitiya with large number of school children has been targeted in the explosion.

Police sources in the area said that the bomb has been placed inside the bus. The explosion has taken place around 7.40 am at a location close to the 3rd mile post at weliara, Okkampitiya. Over 67 casualties have been taken to the Monaragala hospital, the sources added. According to the Hospital sources more than 23 people have been killed in the incident. These figures can be increased, sources further added

LTTE is a ruthless terrorist outfit notorious for crimes against women and children. In its pursuit for a mono ethnic separate homeland for Tamils, the outfit has killed and maimed over tens and thousands innocent children in ethnic cleansing raids, indiscriminate bomb attacks and by using child soldiers at the battle fronts. FBI in a recent report called LTTE the most dangerous terrorist outfit in the world.

More information will follow.

Sri Lanka Ends Truce With Rebels, Pans UN Human Rights Comment

By Paul Tighe

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka formally ended its 2002 cease-fire with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, rejecting as inaccurate a United Nations statement that the conflict may intensify and threaten human rights.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government said the truce, brokered by Norway, will formally end today because the LTTE used it to boost its forces and prepare attacks. The Tamil Tigers last week said they were ``shocked and disappointed'' by the decision.

``The cease-fire ended quite some time ago when the LTTE unilaterally returned to full-scale hostilities in December 2005,'' Sri Lanka's mission to the UN in Geneva said in a statement yesterday.

Sri Lanka's army has driven Tamil Tiger forces from the eastern region, leaving the group in control of bases only in the north as it fights for a separate homeland. The 2002 accord helped the South Asian island nation's $27 billion economy post uninterrupted growth and international aid donors have expressed concern at the ending of the truce, saying there can be no military solution to the 25-year conflict.

Sri Lanka's government and the LTTE must abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians, Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement yesterday.

``An intensification of hostilities will likely have a devastating effect on the human rights of many Sri Lankans from all communities,'' she said. People violating rules covering the protection of civilians could face charges under international law, including ``those in positions of command.''

No Violations

Sri Lanka hasn't violated international law during the conflict either before or after the cease-fire, its mission in Geneva said.

``Sri Lanka is firmly committed to a political solution to the legitimate grievances of the Tamil people, based on the devolution of power,'' it said. ``It will not be deterred by thinly veiled (if pathetically unenforceable) threats, attempting to undermine the morale of its military.''

The Tamil Tigers, designated a terrorist group by the U.S., the European Union and India, have been fighting for a separate homeland in a conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people. Fighting intensified in the north and east after two rounds of peace talks in 2006 failed.

Japan's Aid

What Sri Lanka's government ``does and does not do will be an important consideration'' regarding future aid, Yasushi Akashi, Japan's representative for peace-building, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Sri Lanka, said yesterday in Colombo.

``Our aid programs and volumes are based on a complex set of economic, political and humanitarian factors and we will be making a decision on this in the future,'' he said.

The Japanese government has emphasized the need for a political solution to the island's conflict, Akashi said, stressing that a military strategy would have ``dire humanitarian consequences.''

Japan, along with the U.S., the European Union and Norway, members of the so-called co-chairs of international donors for Sri Lanka group, asked the government and LTTE to allow access by aid agencies to serve the people affected by the conflict.

Sri Lanka's government will release a proposal to devolve power to regions on Jan. 23, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Akashi two days ago, according to the Defense Ministry's Web site.

Regional Powers

Sri Lanka's government rejects any settlement that would divide the country of 20 million people. Tamils make up 11.9 percent of the population and Sinhalese almost 74 percent, according to the 2001 census.

A 1987 constitutional amendment that envisaged devolving power to the island's regions is the basis for ending the conflict, Rajapaksa told local television two days ago, according to the Defense Ministry.

Sri Lanka is seeking $1.8 billion in aid and investment in the next five years to rebuild the eastern region captured from the LTTE in July. Japan is Sri Lanka's biggest donor.

Investing in roads, power and ports and developing the eastern region will increase growth to 8 percent from about 7 percent, Rajapaksa said in his budget speech in November.

Source: Bloomberg

Rajapaksa Says 1987 Provinces Law Is Basis for Sri Lankan Peace

By Michael Heath

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said a 1987 constitutional amendment that envisaged devolving power to the South Asian island nation's regions is the basis for ending the 24-year conflict with Tamil rebels.

The amendment, which came out of a peace accord signed with India, established provincial councils to assume some of the central government's role, Rajapaksa told local television, the Defense Ministry said on its Web site yesterday. The council didn't function in the Tamil-speaking northeastern province because of the conflict there and was suspended in 1990, he said.

Peace isn't possible with Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, because ``he will not agree to anything,'' Rajapaksa said.

The Tamil Tigers, designated a terrorist group by the U.S., the European Union and India, have been fighting for a separate homeland in a conflict that has left more than 70,000 people dead. The government this month withdrew from a 2002 cease-fire accord and is targeting LTTE leaders, including killing the group's military intelligence chief on Jan. 6.

Fighter jets attacked an LTTE artillery position in the northern region of Mannar yesterday, the ministry said on its Web site. A rebel artillery commander, identified only as Mangalesh, was among the casualties, it said, citing intercepted LTTE communications.

Soldiers Killed

Tamil Tigers killed 30 Sri Lankan soldiers and wounded 100 more during eight hours of fighting in Mannar as rebels repulsed an army attack, TamilNet reported on its Web site, citing the LTTE. The army was backed by war planes and artillery, the group said. The LTTE lost three fighters in the clashes, while seizing guns and anti-tank weapons, it said.

Sri Lanka will implement the 13th constitutional amendment as it provides the most practical solution to the Tamil minority's demand for autonomy, Rajapaksa said.

The amendment also provides for the establishment of a high court in each province and makes Tamil an official language and English the second language.

Sri Lanka's government will release a proposal to devolve power to the nation's regions on Jan. 23, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Japanese envoy Yasushi Akashi at a meeting yesterday in the capital, Colombo, according to a statement on the Defense Ministry's Web site.

Bogollagama warned against international actions that may boost the position of the rebels and result in increased fighting, the statement said. He didn't elaborate.

Japan, along with the U.S. and European Union, is a member of the so-called co-chairs of international donors for Sri Lanka group, which has pushed for peace in the country. Akashi visited Colombo after a surge in violence following the government's withdrawal from the cease-fire accord.

At least 330 people, 310 rebels, 15 soldiers and five civilians, have been killed in fighting since the end of the truce, the Associated press reported, citing military data.

Sri Lanka's government rejects any settlement that would divide the country of 20 million people. Tamils make up 11.9 percent of the population and Sinhalese almost 74 percent, according to the 2001 census.

Source: Bloomberg

Two government ministers behind increase in rice prices! – ‘Lakmawa Diyaniyo (Daughters of Lanka)

There are two powerful government ministers behind the escalating prices of rice says ‘Lakmawa Diyaniyo’ (Daughters of Lanka) organization.

Ms. Madhurangani Koswatte, General Secretary of ‘Lakmawa Diyaniyo’ speaking at a media meeting held at National Library Auditorium today said, “The prices of essential commodities, especially rice, have gone up in price. A kilo of rice is between Rs.80 and 100. owever, paddy is bought from farmenrs at Rs.20 a kilo. H However, a kilo of paddy is bought from farmers for less than Rs.20.00. The reason for this is a public secret. A brother of the Minister of Agriculture and the Deputy Minister of Agrarian Services are connected with rice trade.”

Speaking further Ms. Koswatte said, “Usually a person who has a small boutique cannot hold any post of even a corporative store. However, the government is silent in this issue. As such, we demand that the government expel the two ministers and mediate in bringing down the price of rice.

Ms. Koswatte said that Prima Company too was behind the price hike in rice as they bought large stocks of rice to be used as fodder and pointed out that any country would take measures to safeguard its staple food. However, there was no such a programme in Sri Lanka said Ms. Koswatte.

Speaking further Ms. Koswatte said the government which refused to give loan benefits to corporative stores gave the two ministers all the concessions. She said if the government fails to mediate in this issue ‘Lakmawa Diyaniyo’ would not hesitate to go to the streets with other masses to protest against such corruption.

President of ‘Lakmawa diyaniyo’ Porshiya Hassan and representatives of the organization participated at the media meeting

Sri Lanka faces fresh crisis

  • JVP wants Norway out, APRC dissolved and LTTE banned
  • UNP says government ‘further’ distances itself from a political solution
  • SLMC, TNA slams government decision, says peace hopes shattered
  • Govt. promises to address Tamil grievances

By Jayashika Padmasiri, Aisha Edris and Kushali Atukorale

The dawn of today, officially brings to an end the much hailed yet controversial Ceasefire Agreement almost six years after it was signed.

The termination of the agreement is expected to drown Sri Lanka in what could be easily termed as one of its worst ever political crises, which will have a bearing on the entire island, including its innocent masses.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), often identified as the party that controls the government, in a statement issued on the eve of the termination of the CFA, called for the immediate dismissal of Norway as the peace facilitator while reiterating the party’s call for the dissolution of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC).

“The government must also take immediate steps to ban the LTTE without further delay,” the statement said.

The JVP also demanded the government not to make any amendments to the existing constitution or to draft a new one even if pressurized by international forces.

The United National Party (UNP) said that the government’s ‘unwise’ decision further confirmed that they were not in favour of a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told The Bottom Line, “By this unwise decision, the government has further distanced itself from finding a solution through political means”.

Attanayake also said that through the decision taken by the government, it has received criticism from the entire world and as a result the LTTE would receive international sympathy.

Secretary General of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress M. T. Hassan Ali said that abrogating the CFA meant that the government had shattered all hopes for a peaceful negotiation with the minority communities, and was committed to end the ethnic conflict through war.

“The government’s decision has disturbed the minority communities as it is they who would be drastically affected by the decision,” he said.

The Tamil National Alliance’s Jaffna district Parliamentarian, Mavai Senathirajah expressed similar sentiments and noted that the abrogation of the CFA would mean that all the corridors to peace would be blocked.

“There won’t be any negotiation with the LTTE. The government by scrapping the CFA has made war its agenda to regain peace in the country. We are not at all happy about the decision taken by the government. Tamils have a right for self-determination. By the abrogation of the CFA, their dream of finding a political settlement to the ethnic conflict will be crushed,” Senathirajah told The Bottom Line.

He also called on the international community, such as the United States, European Union and India to pressurize the government of Sri Lanka to enter into discussions with the LTTE and find permanent peace as the war would only increase civilian casualties.

Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) however, expressed a different opinion and noted that the government was merely issuing the death certificate to the dead body called the CFA by abrogating it officially.

JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told The Bottom Line that the CFA was an illegal, unconstitutional document, which the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had signed according to his individual discretion.

Warnasinghe also condemned the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), the co-chairs and the facilitator for Peace, Norway, accusing them of supporting the LTTE and acting in a pro LTTE manner.

Meanwhile, government Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella assured that despite the government’s decision to withdraw from the CFA, it did not mean that the minorities including the Tamils would be sidelined.

He said that the grievances of the Tamil people would be addressed through the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC).

“Whether the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) is there or not, the war has been going on. However, we will arrive at a political solution through the APRC, while continuing to demolish terrorism from the country,” Rambukwella said.

Source: thebottomline

Selectors opt for six pacies Kapu in Bandara out of Australia tour

Young middle order batsman Chamara Kapugedara forced himself back into the national side as the selectors named him in the 15 man squad that will take on Australia and India in the up-coming tri-nation series in Australia, now renamed as Commonwealth Bank Series (earlier Victoria Bitter).

Sri Lanka leaves Colombo on January 24, and will play their first game on February 5, at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Kapugedara (20), hit the limelight on Sri Lanka’s previous tour to Australia, where he made his debut in Perth and scored 22 runs in 25 balls. He has represented the country in six Tests and 22 ODIs and was dropped after the home series against Bangladesh this year.

"Chamara obviously has talent and has done well in the opportunities he got in the last few months. His ability to bowl a bit of seam too comes in handy," Ashantha de Mel, Chairman of Cricket Selectors, told ‘The Island’ on Monday.

All-rounder Dilruwan Perera (25), who made his debut in October against England has also been named in the side and de Mel said that the selectors are looking at him as back up to openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga.

The selectors have named six fast bowlers in the side, while there’s only room for a solitary specialist spinner in Muttiah Muralitharan, which means, leg-spinner Malinga Bandara gets the chop.

While Farveez Maharoof has returned from an ankle injury, Ishara Amarasinghe and Chanaka Welagedara, both of whom won their national caps this year, have been named in the side alongside Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara.

Dilhara Fernando is recovering from injury and is not expected to be fit even for Sri Lanka’s tour of West Indies, scheduled for March.

"When you have Murali in the side and when there are others like Dilshan and Sanath to chip in with the ball for a few overs, we didn’t feel there was need for an additional specialist spinner," de Mel explained.

With the Australian authorities deciding to scrap the annual tri-nation cricket series, Sri Lanka along with India and the hosts will be one of the last teams to play this tri-nation competition that was started almost three decades back with novelties such as coloured clothing and day-night games. Benson&Hedges were the sponsors of the event for close to two decades, before a ban on tobacco advertising on sports promoted them to pull out and later VB, a popular beer in Australia took over the sponsorship.

Sri Lanka last played in the tournament in 2005-2006 and reached the final and even beat Australia in the first of three finals in Adelaide before going down to Australia in the remaining two.

Sri Lanka Squad: Mahela Jayawardene (Capt), Kumar Sangakkara (V. Capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, T. M. Dilshan, Dilruwan Perera, M. Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Chanaka Welagedera and Ishara Amarasinghe.

Standbys: Mahela Udawatte, Malinga Bandara and Thilina Thushara.

Source: Island

UNP dismisses Govt’s excuse for fuel hike

The reasons attributed by the government for the price hike of petrol, diesel and kerosene cannot be accepted as reasonable as the present rulers when in the Opposition said a government was not needed if it was going to increase fuel prices whenever their was a hike in the world market and that too when petrol was increased by 3 rupees, UNP media spokesman, parliamentarian Gayantha Karunatillake said in a press release.

He said the reasons for the increase of the prices of oil was the spending by the government on a massive Cabinet of ministers and it was imposing a large percentage of tax on the consumer, burdening the people for the upkeep of the ministers.

Prices of rice had risen to unprecedented heights but the government was unable to control the prices and seemed to have forgotten that rice was the staple food of the nation. It will not be a surprise if a measure of rice goes up to 100 rupees.

The prices of milk powder, bread and flour and all other essential commodities had increase beyond the reach of the people. "We request the public to join the UNP register their protest against the price hikes, the release said.

Source: Island

Japan not demanding anything from Lanka – Akashi

by Ifham Nizam

Japan does not consider it its business to impose its will on other countries. " But we have the right to express apprehnsion over humanitarian and other consequent issues," Japanes Peace Envoy Yasushi Akashi told the media yesterday.

He said the Japanese government does not believe that it should go public on whatever had been achieved as one of the co-chairs. "We feel our efforts have been worthwhile and appreciated by many people in this country. Our genuine efforts are to help in achieving ethnic harmony so that its great potential for growth and harmony could be realised by Sri Lankans."

He also said that when he met President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday evening, he conveyed the serious concerns of the Japanese Government, and emphasised that a political solution to the problem would be indispensable.

"And in that context, a devolution package, on which the Government of Sri Lanka had been exerting considerable efforts, must be drafted as soon as possible."

He said President Rajapaksa had expressed his commitment to a political solution, stating that the drafting of devolution package would be completed very soon.

With regard to human rights issues, Japan urged the Sri Lankan government on the vital need to improve the human rights situation.

"We will continue to observe closely the political, military and human rights situation in Sri Lanka," he said.

With regards to the Japanese government’s economic co-operation with Sri Lanka there were number of misunderstandings but it would not change, he said.

As a responsible government the Japanese aid programme has been determined to complete factors like economic development and the peace process. Future decisions would be taken by closely monitoring these matters, he added.

Source: Island



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