The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Court restrains lab from delivering prints of 'Prabhakaran'

A civil court today restrained the Gemini Colour Lab from delivering the prints of Sinhala Film 'Prabhakaran' for a week.

Admitting a suit filed by Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) President Thol Thirumavalavan, I Additional City Civil Court Judge Sethuraman ordered notices to the State Home Secretary, Director General of Police, the Union Home Secretary, Sinhala Film Producer Osmand-de-Silva and Film Director Thusara Peiris to file a counter in two weeks.

In his petition, Mr Thirumavalavan said the film contained scenes and dialogues which highly affected the Tamil diaspora. The Tamil population in Sri Lanka had been displaced and was living as refugees worldwide due to the ethnic conflict.

But the film showed the majority Sinhala population as being displaced and living in poorly maintained refugee camps in Sri Lanka. It also showed them starving, which was totally untrue, the petitioner contended.

He said the film by a Sri Lankan producer was being processed at the Gemini Colour Lab here.

The producer was dubbing the film in Tamil and other Indian languages, making sufficient number of prints for release in India, including in Tamil Nadu.

The petitoner also prayed for permanent injunction against the film. The judge then posted further hearing in the case to April eight.


Sri Lankan bishop appeals for peace zone near prominent Marian shrine

With Sri Lankan forces closing in on the Marian shrine of Madhu in northwestern Sri Lanka, Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar, Sri Lanka, has appealed to government forces and the Tamil rebels to leave the area around the shrine a "zone of peace."

"Today as the military operations are taking place very close to the shrine, we are compelled to make an urgent appeal to both the government and the (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to respect the Madhu shrine and (its) area as a zone of peace," Bishop Joseph said in a written appeal.

Tamil rebels had already moved into the church compound, and Sri Lankan soldiers were very close, the bishop said.

"The situation is really serious, and the shrine could be razed to the ground unless an immediate cease-fire is declared there," Bishop Joseph told Catholic News Service April 1 following his appeal.

Father Emilianuspillai Santhiapillai, the shrine's administrator, told the Asian church news agency UCA News April 1: "The whole of last night, we were awake as heavy fighting continued and shells kept falling close to the church and into the compound. ... This morning again until 11 a.m., we could hear blasts going off."

Father Santhiapillai said it had become so unsafe that the four priests, four nuns and 15 domestic helpers staying with him "made small bunkers in the sacristy so we can shelter ourselves when shells fall."

In his written appeal, Bishop Joseph urged both sides in Sri Lanka's war "to keep away from the area and to ensure that area remains completely and solely under the control of the church" and "to completely desist from using the shrine for their military and political purposes."

The Marian shrine at Madhu is one of the biggest pilgrimage centers in Sri Lanka. In mid-August, hundreds of thousands of people from across Sri Lanka obtain a special pass from the government to cross over to Madhu, which is under the control of the Tamil rebels.

In January, 18 Catholics were killed and many more injured near the shrine when a bus carrying school students, teachers and others got blasted by a claymore mine hung from a tree.

While the rebels blamed the government's "deep penetration" unit for the mine, the government accused the rebels of being responsible for the blast.

Since 1983, the Tamil rebels have been fighting for autonomy for ethnic majority Tamil areas in the north and east of Sri Lanka.


61 killed in intense Sri Lanka clashes

At least 58 Tamil Tigers and a security personnel were killed in fierce clashes in the embattled northern Sri Lanka as Air Force jets pounded and destroyed an LTTE secret meeting place in the rebel stronghold of Mullaittiuvu, officials here said on Wednesday.

Bullet-ridden bodies of two civilians were found in North-central part of the country.

At least 13 LTTE militants were killed on Wednesday in intense fighting between rebels and security forces at Kalliadanchan, about 1.5 kms North of Giant's Tank northern bund in Mannar front, the Defence Ministry said.

Air Force fighter jets targeted a secret meeting place of LTTE kingpins located in the West of Visuamadu Kulam in Mullaittiuvu in the morning.

According to Air Force Spokesperson Wing Commander Andrew Wijesooriya, the fighter pilots have confirmed the target was accurately hit.

A soldier also lost his life and 12 others injured in the confrontations, the ministry said.

In deadly clashes with the army, at least 18 LTTE cadres were killed in Padeirkulam area in Vavuniya on Tuesday in two separate incidents, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said.

While six LTTE militants were killed in Nagarkovil in Jaffna on Tuesday, five rebels were shot dead in Marathamadu in Vavuniya, the MCNS said.

As many as 12 LTTE cadres were gunned down in sulaina Marthamadu in Vavuniya on Tuesday in intense clashes with the army, the Defence Ministry said.

In a separate incident, three militants were gunned down in a confrontation in Andekulam in North-east Welioya on Tuesday, it said.

One Tamil Tiger was killed in Andankulam in North-western Mannar on Tuesday, the army said.

Meanwhile, two bullet riddled bodies of civilians were found at Galayaya in general area Nochchiyagama on Wednesday afternoon in Anuradhapura district in North-central province.

Motive for the killing and the identity of the assailants are yet to be known, Nochchiyagama police said adding an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Source: Hindu