The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Fifty two killed in violence in Sri Lanka

At least 49 Tamil Tigers and three soldiers were killed in fierce clashes between the rebels and the security forces in the embattled northern Sri Lanka, the military said on Saturday.

While three Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels were killed at northern Kokkuthudawai, five Tigers were gunned down in clashes at Muhamalai and Nagarkovil in Jaffna peninsula on Friday, it said.

Meanwhile, a security personnel was killed and ten others were wounded in Nagarkovil during clashes on Friday, the Defence Ministry said.

Separately, in the Vavuniya front, troops surged into LTTE-controlled territory killing 12 rebels, including eight during a gun battle in Sinnapanddichurichchan area, the government's Media Centre for National Security said.

In Mannar, eight rebels were killed and a soldier was wounded in clashes at Sirikulam, Nedunkulam, Kallikulam, Adampan and Karapiddimoddai areas on Friday, it said.

Two LTTE rebels were killed in Vilathikulam area of Vavuniya on Friday, while another was gunned down in Kathirathan in Jaffna, the army said.

Source: timesofindia

Sripathy Sooriyaarachchi Dies in An Accident

(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lanka freedom Party Mahajana Wing (SLFP - M) parliamentarian Sripathy Sooriyarachchi died due to an road accident today (09) afternoon at Thambuththegama, Anuradhapura.

The Vehicle which carried the Sripathy and his security personnel collided into a tree near the road. Mr. Sooriyarachi was confirmed dead at the Thambuththegama hospital. He was 45.

Two of the security personal and another person were also killed in this accident.

MP Sripathy met with his tragic death exactly one year after he was stripped of his ministerial portfolio by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on February 9, 2007.

Sooriaarachchi was a former minister and a key figure in the breakaway SLFP - M. Also, he was a reputed lawyer and a retired Navy officer.


Left dumps Sri Lankan ally to please DMK in Tamil Nadu

The CPI(M), in an apparent move to keep its Tamil Nadu allies, including the ruling DMK, in good humour, has decided not to invite the Sinhalese “Leftist” party from Sri Lanka, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP-People’s Liberation Front), to its nineteenth party Congress to be held in Coimbatore this March.

The JVP, famous for its anti-LTTE stand, has been an invitee in the CPI(M) party Congresses since the 1970s, including the last one held in Delhi in 2005. The JVP, the third largest party in Sri Lanka, does, however, share a warm party-to-party relation with the CPI(M).

Although there are no official confirmation for the reasons for the denial, CPI(M) sources said the party believes that the JVP’s stand on the current situation in Sri Lanka will not help to solve the age-old conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese. The JVP has always proclaimed the unitary status of the island country and opposed any kind of ceasefire with the LTTE. They have been maintaining that the LTTE has to be liquidated through military and ideological warfare. On the other hand, the CPI(M) wants to dissolve the crisis through mutual dialogues between the Sinhalese and the Tamilians in Sri Lanka.

“Since 2005, the JVP has been increasingly exhibiting its Sinhalese chauvinist nature. This will not help to defuse the tension in Sri Lanka. That is the reason to keep the JVP away this time,” a senior politburo member of the CPI(M) said in condition of anonymity. The CPI(M) has been considering Tamil Nadu as one of its “priority states,” where growth is possible in the near future. The party’s close ally in Tamil Nadu, the DMK, has also been considering the JVP as an “anti-Tamil” party.

The JVP leadership also confirmed that they have not been invited this time for the CPI(M) conference. “Yes, the CPI(M) has not invited for us for their party conference. We don’t know the reason for it. But we share a strong relationship with both the CPI(M) and the CPI,” JVP’s international secretary Vijitha Herath told FE over phone from Colombo.

However, the CPI has invited the JVP for its 20th party Congress to be held at Hyderabad in March. “Yes, the JVP is a Sinhalese nationalist party. But they are Leftists,” said Pallab Sengupta, secretary, international department of the CPI. JVP parliamentarians Bimal Ratnayake and Ramalingam Chandrasekhar will participate in the conference, Herath said.


Former deputy Minister, 2 others in bribery net

by Harischandra Gunaratna

Bribery sleuths on Thursday arrested former Deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs and Director General of the Central Cultural Fund A. V. Suraweera, Bandula Mandawela, Director (Development) and T. M. J. Jude Thilan, Deputy Director (Promotions) on a charge of bribery.

The suspects were alleged to have advanced a sum of Rs. 1,382,052 to a contractor who had undertaken rehabilitation work at the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Reserve, acting against the tender procedures.

The Bribery sleuths acted on a complaint lodged by the Acting Director General of the Central Cultural Fund Premalal Abeysinghe Gunasekera on August 3, 2003.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi ordered the suspects to be released on Rs 15,000 cash bail and Rs 1.5 million surety bail.

The suspects were ordered to surrender their passports to Court, report to police on every last Sunday of the month and directed to appear in Court on 28 March.

Source: Island

Sri Lankan Tamil businessman shot dead, wife injured in Kotahena

Informed sources say an internecine battle has started among the Colombo underworld gangs that have been dealing with the LTTE.

Feb 09, Colombo: A Tamil businessman and his wife were shot by two motorbike-riding gunmen on the St. Lucia road in Kotahena yesterday evening.

Kulanthaweli Veera Subramaniyam, a businessman, died on the spot, while his wife suffered serious injuries. Mrs. Subramaniyam has been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital.

Mr. Subramaniyam was 54 years old and known to be a wealthy businessman. The couple was going to a pharmacy after attending prayers at St. Lucia Church when they were shot. According to the Kotahena police, the incident occurred around 8 PM on Friday evening.

Informed sources who suspect possible links say an internecine battle has started among the Colombo underworld gangs that have been dealing with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Police yesterday arrested 10 people from the Grandpass area on suspicion of selling vehicles to the LTTE.

Source: Colombo page

Sri Lankan army team on secret mission in Pune

PUNE: A high-level team of officers from the Sri Lanka military intelligence corps (MIC) and army were brought stealthily into Pune five days ago for advanced intelligence training at Indian Army's various high-security institutions here.

The initial phase of the training at the National Defence Academy (NDA) got over on Friday. The team is expected to be briefed on advanced electronic warfare, command, control, communications and computer intelligence at the Military Intelligence Training School and Depot (MITSD), the only institution of the Indian Army which imparts training in all aspects of intelligence.

The secret visit comes as a precursor to the setting up of an intelligence training school in the island nation, which has been battling the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels for 25 years.

The visit assumes added significance in the backdrop of recent statements by chief of naval staff Admiral Suresh Mehta that Indian Navy and Coast Guard had shared intelligence regarding movement of LTTE Sea Tiger boats in the Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar.

According to senior officers of directorate general of military intelligence and NDA, the three-member team from General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), Colombo, is being led by Major General S K Balasuriya, commandant and vice-chancellor of the university, and include Lieutenant Colonel ALPS Tillekeratne, commanding officer of the training wing, and W M Amardasa, acting director of the academic service.

"Unlike other foreign countries' delegations that visit the NDA, the Lankan trio were detailed on the entire spectrum of activities of the academy," said a senior NDA official.

Interestingly, an eight-member team of Indian MI officers led by a major general had visited Sri Lanka in August 2007 on a reconnaissance mission for setting up the school.

Source: Times Of India

Sri Lanka: 8 Separatist Leaders Killed

Colombo, Feb 8 (Prensa Latina) In its latest offensive against TLET (Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers) the Sri Lankan Army claimed Friday to have killed eight separatist leaders in Nagarkovil and Muhamalai.

These locations are in the northern region of the country where the rebels have been fighting for 25 years for a separate state for the Tamil minority community.

Military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara reported troops ambushed the rebels in Nagarkovil and Muhamalai destroying six bunkers and killing five rebels, among them a TLET chief.

For the first time a Tamil release confirmed deaths, stating five leaders died and 10 members wounded, noted the Daily News.

In addition, TLET reported that in January 49 Tamil civilians died and 18 were missing.