The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

U.K. Tamils protest outside Downing Street

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Britain’s pro-LTTE Tamil groups on Monday used the 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence to launch a high-profile campaign to highlight the “sufferings” of Tamils in the island nation, with a protest outside Downing Street.

The protest, organised by the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) was condemned by the Sri Lankan authorities here with a spokesman of the High Commission describing it as “LTTE propaganda”.

He expressed concern that although the LTTE was banned under Britain’s terror laws its “front organisations” were operating freely.

Organisers said the protest was intended to mobilise world opinion against “state terrorism in Sri Lanka”.

Protesters carried banners and raised slogans demanding “justice” for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

“Let us all unite together to save our relations, to ask for our rights,” a leaflet distributed at the rally said.

Barely a few yards away, the British Tamil Forum organised a photo exhibition depicting what it described as the “history of the past 60 years of oppression, ethnic cleansing and discrimination” faced by Sri Lankan Tamils.

“The aim is to educate the second generation Tamils who live in the U.K. and the general public about the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka. We also intend having this exhibition in other major cities here in the U.K. and in Canada, Australia, United States of America and South Africa during the year,” said Suren Surendiran, a Front spokesman.

He claimed that several public figures, including MPs, were expected to visit the exhibition.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan authorities claimed that two London-based LTTE activists were arrested in Canada on suspicion of stealing “thousands” of credit cards of British customers.

“Toronto Police said two Londoners, Kirubakaran Selvanayagam Pillai (38) and Sethukavalar Saravanabhavan (35), connected with Tamil Tigers and arrested there may have stolen information of thousands of credit cards of U.K. customers,” the Sri Lankan High Commission spokesman Walter Jayawardhana said.

Source: The Hindu

Sri Lanka Marxists call "Dayata Kirula" a waste of money

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa says the "Dayata Kirula" mega exhibition, to be held this week, is a waste of money and provides additional toil for members of the armed forces.

Making a special statement in Parliament, the MP said that now is not the time for the government to show such “extravagant exhibitionism” when the whole country is shocked by the recent terrorist attacks. Also, he underscored that the exhibition would marshal large numbers of civilians that can fall prey to the Tiger terrorists.

However, at a media briefing in Colombo, Deputy Minister of Finance and Government Revenue Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the exhibition is the lowest-costing mega exhibition ever organized by a Sri Lankan government.

Source: colombopost

Lankan Navy complains to India on fishermen threat

Sri Lankan Navy has lodged a complaint with the Indian authorities over ''serious threat'' posed by the poaching Indian fishermen after a naval craft was damaged in a shooting incident off Thalaimannar last night.

Navy spokesman Commander DKP Dassanayake said a flotilla of over 400 Indian fishing trawlers were spotted about 4 km north of Thalaimannar and when the naval patrol craft approached them they came under fire.

''When a couple of naval waterjet inshore patrol craft (IPC) approached to assist a trawler pretending as disabled, people onboard opened fire at them and damaged one of our IPCs,'' Commander Dassanayake told UNI over the phone.

Claiming that the Sea Tigers have been using the presence of Indian fishermen to attack the navy, he said an extensive search operation was underway in the area to apprehend the attackers.

He said the poaching by the Indian fishermen was causing ''a hell of a lot of problem'' to Sri Lanka and the Navy Headquarters have lodged a complaint with the Indian High Commission in Colombo in this regard.

''Poaching of Indian fishermen has been posing a very dangerous threat to our national security. Our craft are vulnerable to enemy attacks and we are unable to fire back due to the presence of large number of Indian fishermen,'' Commander Dassanayake said, adding that the complaint was made last night itself.

''They have to take some serious action to stop this immediately.

We are waiting for their positive reply and action,'' the navy spokesman said.