The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Government to discuss LTTE ban after APRC

The government is to discuss proscribing the LTTE after the proposals from the APRC are submitted this week, a top government Minister said on the condition of anonymity.

Source: Dailymirror

Two more held in Tamil Nadu for 'assisting' LTTE

Continuing its crack down on LTTE's emerging supply network in Tamil Nadu, police on Sunday arrested two more persons, including a Sri Lankan Tamil, who allegedly helped the recently arrested intelligence wing member of the outlawed group in procuring materials for making explosives.

The state "Q" Branch Police, which deals with terrorist and extremist groups, arrested Selvaraj (60), a native of Kumbakonam now working in a sweet stall in Mumbai, on his arrival here and Dileepan (23) from the Mottamalai refugee camp in Virudhungar District, Q Branch sources said.

The arrests were made based on the interrogation of LTTE intelligence wing operative Thambidurai Parameswaran, who was detained on Jan 16 along with seven Sri Lankan Tamils from a city suburb.

The group was on a mission to procure supplies for the LTTE and gathering information on movements of former Chief Minister of Sri Lanka's north eastern province Varadaraja Perumal and Sri Lankan Social Service and Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda, who frequently visit Chennai.

Selvaraj was lured by Parameswaran for a 'handsome sum' for supply of iron balls from Mumbai, the sources said.

Source: Times of India

President Visits Killed Civilians

Today His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapakse paid his last respects to the villagers who were massacred by LTTE terrorists in Tanamalwila, Kaluwalgala and Hambegamuwa recently.

The HE the President Mahinda Rajapakse visited the home of the two brothers slain, messrs. Ruwan Kumara (18) and Priyantha Kalum (24) at Kadagalara in Middeniya and shared his deep sorrow with the members of their family.

The HE President also expressed his deepest sorrow on the death of all the persons killed in the incident. Addressing the people gathered HE the President stressed that he will take all possible steps to stop the brutal terrorist acts He further regretted that persons who encouraged the terrorists are found in our midst and warned the people to be vigilant. The President also paid his respects to the late Mr. Piyadasa Amarasinghe a senior member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.


34 LTTE men killed in Sri Lanka Army offensive attack

Stepping up the offensive against the LTTE sans the ceasefire, Sri Lankan army today killed at least 33 rebels, including two women, in the embattled north and lost one of its soldiers.
Troops launched an attack and killed four militants in Madhu and Periyathampane areas of North-western Mannar today, the army said.

The army found bodies of two women LTTE cadres after it attacked a line of LTTE bunkers 500 meters south of Adampan in Mannar.

In Jaffna, one soldier was killed in the Kilaly frontline that came under mortar fire last evening, the Defence Ministry said. "Troop retaliated and suppressed the militants' indirect fire," it said.

Despite the raging gunbattles and recent string of attacks by the LTTE after Colombo scrapped the 2002 ceasefire on Jan 16, the government said that it will continue with the Feb 4 Independence Day celebrations, though an additional 4,00 troops will be deployed in the capital to bolster security.

On the Nagarkovil front in Jaffna, troops attacked LTTE bunkers and killed two LTTE cadres yesterday, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) reported.

On the Vavuniya front, troops stationed in Vilattikulam confronted with a group of rebels on Saturday morning, the MCNS said. Ground troops confirmed that four militants were killed in the incident, it said.

At Mullikulam in North-western Mannar, troops attacked a group of militants and killed three rebels yesterday, the army said


Sri Lanka says independence celebrations on despite bloodshed

Sri Lanka will hold large-scale civilian and military independence day celebrations in the capital despite fears of Tamil rebel attacks and a sharp escalation in fighting, officials said Sunday.

Security will be increased further for the 60th Freedom Day celebrations on February 4, with 4,100 extra troops bolstering thousands of police and soldiers already deployed here, public administration minister Karu Jayasuriya said.

"Cultural and sporting events will also be held in addition to the main event in Colombo," Jayasuriya said, adding that armed forces would provide major security support.

Heavy fighting raged in the north of the island Sunday with security forces smashing a line of bunkers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the defence ministry said.

It said eight guerrillas and a soldier were killed in Sunday morning clashes and raised to 67 the number of rebels killed in confrontations over the weekend, according to military estimates.

Two government soldiers were killed and a handful wounded during the weekend, according to the latest defence ministry statements.

The latest figures raised the death toll since the start of the year to 505 rebels and 22 soldiers. The figures cannot be independently checked as no journalists or rights groups have access to the embattled areas.

The fighting came after the military accused the Tigers of killing at least 10 civilians late Thursday in the relatively calm south.

President Mahinda Rajapakse attended the funeral in the deep south of the island and met with the bereaved families, his office said.

Both the LTTE and the largely ethnic-Sinhalese armed forces have been accused of killing civilians during the decades-old ethnic war, which has left tens of thousands of people dead.

The extra security measures in and around Colombo follow the collapse this month of a moribund 2002 truce between the government and the Tigers and a surge in fighting in northern areas of the country.

The guerrillas run a de facto state in the north of the island and the military has vowed to dismantle it by the end of June this year.

Sri Lanka's military has gained the upper hand with a string of territorial gains in the east of the island last year and appears convinced it can destroy the fighting capability of the rebels who are known for their suicide bombings.

"We are taking maximum precautionary measures against any attack," said a police official in the capital, who declined to be named. "We are getting a large number of home guards (paramilitary police) to assist..."

The main independence day celebration takes place along the sea-front Galle Face promenade and access to the area, which is normally busy with people out for a stroll, was severely restricted on Sunday.

Source: AFP

Sri Lanka Govt to Propose Transfer of Power

President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse assured he is set on submitting a proposal for the transfer of power next January 23 to solve more than two decades of tamil ethnic conflict.

He affirmed the objective is to present the initiative before Parliament and apply it after obtaining the necessary approval.

Rajapakse, quoted by Indian news agency PTI, said the recommendation of the Committee of All Representative Parties (APRC) on this issue will be included in a provisional report.

The Sri Lanka president made the statement on occasion of a meeting in his residence to commemorate the Pongal Festival.

Since its creation two years ago, the APRC has carried out 57 meetings on the transfer of power package before the creation of provincial councils in the conflicting regions in the north and east of this country.

The combats between soldiers and militants of the Tigers for the Liberation of Tamil Eejam (TLTE) intensified over the last weeks, in spite of the government s and rebels intention to comply with the cease fire agreed on February, 2002.

Colombo withdrew on January 16 from that fragile truce signed with Norway as a mediator.

The armed struggle exploded in July, 1983, when the TLTE started their fight to establish an independent state for the Tamil minority in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

It is estimated that over 75 thousand civilians, rebels and military have been killed in the almost 25 years of fighting.


Partisan British MPs blame Sri Lanka for abrogating Cesefire Argreement

A press release issued by the British Tamil Forum, a pro-Tiger front in London, said that several British MPs expressed their regrets about the Government of Sri Lanka abrogating the Ceasefire Agreement. None of them, however, mentioned that the CFA (2002 - 2008) was abrogated because the Tamil Tigers who were a signatory had violated 98% of its terms and conditions making it totally dysfunctional.

This meeting, which was organised by the British Tamils Forum, a front of the banned Tamil Tigers, was chaired by Keith Vaz MP. They met with the Tamils in the Parliament premises on 16 January 2008 to discuss the formal abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement in Sri Lanka. All these MPs and the Tamils spoke of the escalation of the war and blamed the Government for violations of human rights. Not a single MP or Tamil spokesperson mentioned the cold blooded massacres of the civilians by the Tamil Tigers and the violations of the Ceasefire Agreement by the Tamil Tigers which led to it being abrogated by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL).

A press communiqué issued by the Tamil Forum stated:

"Gareth R Thomas MP (Parliamentary undersecretary of state, Department for International Development) said that the Government regrets the decision of GOSL to walk away from the peace process and the cease fire agreement. He also stated that last year the Government suspended aid payments to Sri Lanka because of growing concerns of human rights abuses by government forces fighting Tamil rebels. Minister further said that “there must be vigorous debate within the United Nations and that’s the only way. We must encourage the engagement of the UN”

"Mark Todd – Labour Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire, said that the GOSL is extra ordinarily short sighted in its decision to pullout of the CFA and that there cannot be a military solution to this problem. He also said that “we will do everything we can to bring a peaceful solution to this problem”.

"Dr. Raj Chandran a member of the Conservative Party said that he is not a supporter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). However he said because of the LTTE that the Tamils today are able to walk with pride even when there are gross human rights violations carried out by the GOSL.

"Baroness Sarah Ludford - Liberal Democratic Party MEP, who has many responsibilities including being the Vice-Chairwoman of the European Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Committee, speaking at the meeting condemned the GOSL for indiscriminately arresting Tamil civilians in Colombo and stated that there can be no military solution to a political problem. The Baroness further suggested that the Sri Lankan economy had the potential to grow at least a further 2% than its reported growth, if not for the war.

"Lee Scott – Conservative MP for Ilford North condemned the Government sponsored human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

"Jeremy Corbyn – Labour MP for Islington North spoke with passion and straight from his heart. He suggested that most Tamils in Sri Lanka do not know the meaning of normal life due to the continued aggression by that country’s authorities and Government. He said war is a failure of politics. The parliamentarian further stated “rights of Tamils to live in their own land and speak their own language is basic human rights”

"Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP, said that it is a big mistake of the GOSL to pullout of the CFA. He further said that the UK Government must endeavor in bringing peace to the island nation. He also said that as elected representatives of all the people he will defend everyone’s freedom of speech and that he will be debating the human rights violations of GOSL with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner here in the UK.

"Paddy Tipping MP for Sherwood said that he will always support the Tamil’s cause and keep the Foreign Secretary David Miliband briefed at every opportunity he finds.

"The President of the Liberal Democratic Party Simon Hughes MP said that it is a very sad day and that we are gathered here with heavy hearts due to the current and developing humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. He said that a Government does its job properly only when it recognizes aspirations of its people. There cannot be a peaceful solution in Sri Lanka unless the President of the day and the Government of the day recognizes the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils. He said just like in Northern Ireland peace can be achieved by negotiation. He further said that it is not new to have independent states, autonomies and even Governments within the same country. He drew parallels to The Great Britain where there are 4 different functioning Governments.

"He pointed out of the debate that he has requested from the Speaker to discuss the current and deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka has been granted and that it will be held tomorrow afternoon in the main Chambers.

Other Members of Parliament who spoke at this meeting were Phyllis Starkey, Susan Kramer, Keith Vaz, Barry Gardiner and Virendra Sharma.

A series of requests in form of questions and answers were discussed.

The following are a sample of suggestions that were discussed:

* Ban the Government of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth

* UK Government to facilitate seamless supplies of essentials and medical supplies to the war affected North and East of Sri Lanka which is predominantly Tamil area.

* UN resolution sponsored by the UK condemning the abrogation of the CFA by the GOSL

* Europe wide arms embargo

* How best can the UK Government work closely with the Royal Norwegian Government to revive the peace process

* Importance of LTTE de-proscription

Source: Asiantribune

Red alert in TN over LTTE

CHENNAI: Days after US intelligence agency FBI listed LTTE as the most "dangerous outfit and deadly extremist group in the world", a red alert has been sounded in India, particularly Tamil Nadu, following a warning from the Interpol.

"This is not just because of the FBI statement. We have realised that the LTTE infiltration has increased, at least by three times, in the region. They also seem to be developing networks for communication besides discretely raising money and support for their plans," said a senior intelligence officer.

The arrest of seven Sri Lankans, including an LTTE intelligence member, on Thursday was one such plan thwarted by the Chennai Q branch. They were gleaning information on Varadaraja Perumal, leader of rival group Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front, who has been hiding in India as he was on the LTTE hit list.

According to them, Thambidurai Parameswaran alias Nathan alias Suruli, the member of LTTE intelligence wing, was working under the guise of a taxi driver of a hotel. He was in touch with most of Perumal's family. He had been spying on Varadaraja Perumal, whose daughter's wedding has been scheduled early next month in Delhi, to the LTTE leaders in Sri Lanka.

They were also suspected to have been spying information on Sri Lankan minister Douglas Devanand.

"We have been advised to be extremely careful and alert. It was one such exercise that helped us spoil most of their plans. But we are expecting some larger game plans," said a senior officer based in Tamil Nadu.

The issue had been politicised by opposition parties, including AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa. At a recent press conference, she had alleged that the LTTE was being allowed to carry on smuggling arms and explosives. Earlier, chief minister M Karunanidhi had penned a tribute to the slain LTTE leader Tamilselvan.

Source: Times of India