The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Friday, 17 October 2008

Breakaway rebel groups clash in Eastern Sri Lanka

Two factions of the breakaway rebel party in Eastern Sri Lanka clashed over the party's printing press today as the party leader, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna resumed the duties as a Parliament member.

According to the police, Karuna faction of the breakaway rebels raided the printing office run by the Pillayan faction in Batticaloa town this afternoon.

Police confirmed that the cadres of the Karuna group had taken the control of the office called "Thenagama" and detained 13 members of the Pillayan group. No one was injured in the scuffle.

The police said they are on alert over the developing situation.

Source: CP

14 DMK MPs hand in resignation letters over Sri Lanka issue

Fourteen DMK Lok Sabha MPs, including central ministers T.R. Baalu and A. Raja, handed over post-dated resignation letters to party head and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Friday evening demanding an end to the violence in Sri Lanka.The move came even as the central government asked Sri Lanka to halt its military offensive against the Tamil Tigers in the island nation.

Earlier in the evening, the ruling DMK had announced that four of its Rajya Sabha MPs had submitted post-dated resignation letters to Karunanidhi on the issue.

The resignation letters will come into effect only if the killings do not end by Oct 29, said a party spokesperson.

“We have great faith in the United Progressive Alliance leadership at the centre and hope the suffering of our brethren in the island will end soon,” the spokesman said.

Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi had handed her resignation letter to her father Tuesday.

Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry together have 40 members in the Lok Sabha - all of who have offered to quit if the government fails to take action on the Sri Lankan issue.

Lawyers in Coimbatore burnt an effigy of Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony within the court premises earlier in the day, alleging a conspiracy by bureaucrats of Kerala origin to keep the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka on tenterhooks.

The protesting lawyers burnt copies of The Hindu newspaper, which carried an interview Friday by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa saying that he was committed to a “just and enduring political solution” to the festering problem. The lawyers alleged that major newspapers in the country were ignoring the “just demands” of the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Source: thaindian

West urged not to ignore Sri Lanka

A senior western diplomat has warned that living conditions are deteriorating for tens of thousands of civilians displaced inside Tamil Tiger rebel-held areas in northern Sri Lanka. It is a humanitarian disaster waiting to happen, he says.

"We have one of the biggest humanitarian problems emerging in the north at the moment. Unfortunately it's not attracting enough international attention," the diplomat, who's familiar with the Sri Lankan situation, told the BBC.

Sri Lankan security forces are carrying out a multi-pronged offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in the north and some army units are reported to be very close to the town of Kilinochchi, where the Tamil Tigers have their administrative headquarters.

The United Nations says more than 200,000 people have been displaced in the latest round of fighting and they have been moving from place to place inside Tamil Tiger-controlled areas.

With the army capturing more and more territory from the rebels, the civilians have now been confined to a smaller region. Sooner or later hostilities are expected to break out in areas not very far from them. Some fear that they might get caught in the crossfire.

The diplomat, who didn't want to be identified, said Western governments had lost interest in Sri Lanka because "they think that there is little value of going back to the peace process because they are not sure whether the rebels will negotiate in good faith".

Political threat

With the international community showing little interest in the Sri Lankan conflict, the Tamil Tigers now appear to have turned towards their supporters and political parties in neighbouring India to bring about a ceasefire in the island nation.

Pro-rebel political parties and some fringe groups in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have been holding protest rallies against the Sri Lankan army offensive claiming many Tamil civilians are being killed in the conflict.

Sri Lankan officials deny the charges, saying they are only targeting the rebel fighters.

Tamil Nadu is home to more than 60 million Tamils, who share close linguistic and cultural ties with the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Most of the major political parties from Tamil Nadu have warned that their lawmakers will quit the Indian parliament if Delhi fails to broker a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. If the threats were carried out they could trigger a political crisis in Delhi.

But these protests are viewed by some as an attempt by the pro-rebel groups to try to protect the Tamil Tigers, who appear to have been cornered by the Sri Lankan security forces in recent months.

India has been pursuing a hands-off policy in Sri Lanka since the assassination of the former Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, allegedly by a female Tamil rebel suicide bomber in 1991. However, it actively backed the Norwegian-led peace process, which was officially called off early this year.

Officially, India wants a negotiated settlement within a united Sri Lanka, knowing that any fragmentation of Sri Lanka could have serious ramifications for its own security. If Delhi attempts to exert any pressure on Colombo it is bound to trigger an angry reaction from hard line political parties in Sri Lanka.

So the protests in Tamil Nadu may not result in a major shift in India's Sri Lanka policy as Delhi's options appear to be limited.

"The rebels seemed to have made a miscalculation on when and how India will intervene. I don't see any chance of the conflict ending in the next few weeks," the western diplomat said.

'Better strategy'

The Sri Lankan military would also stoutly oppose any move to stop the offensive which seems to be going in their favour.

Analysts say the military's numerical superiority, stronger firepower and better military strategy have helped them to push rapidly deep inside rebel-held territory in recent months. But their progress has been slow in recent weeks due to stiff resistance from the Tigers.

Many military observers agree that if the present trend continues then the army will capture Kilinochchi sooner or later.

The fall of Kilinochchi would deal a significant blow to the Tamil Tigers. Militarily, Kilinochchi will also open the gates to strategically important areas like Paranthan and Elephant Pass, the strategic land bridge leading to the Jaffna Peninsula.

If the army achieves its objectives, then the rebels would be confined mostly to the Mullaitivu region.

Now the fear among the Tamils is if the rebels are weakened then the government may not show interest in devolving powers to Tamil areas.

"There is a danger that there will be little pressure on the Sri Lankan government to devolve powers to Tamil regions if the rebels lose the war," says Sri Lankan analyst DBS Jeyaraj.

However, he argues that the fall of Kilinochchi may not be the end of the rebels as most of their weapons and cadres are still intact and they may be gearing up for a long, drawn-out guerrilla war.

Source: BBC

Four DMK MPs send resignation letters over Sri Lanka issue

Even as the central government asked Sri Lanka to halt its military offensive against the Tamil Tigers, Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK announced Friday that four of its Rajya Sabha MPs had submitted post-dated resignation letters to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to demand an end to the violence in the island nation.This was stated in a statement faxed to newspaper offices in the evening.

A party spokesman told IANS late Friday that more MPs were likely to hand in their post-dated resignation letters.

“Most MPs are still in Tamil Nadu while a few are returning from New Delhi. The party has not worked out a programme for an en masse resignation as the central government is seriously acting upon the resolution passed at the all-party meeting (held Monday),” he said.

Asked about Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi handing her resignation letter to her father Tuesday, the spokesman said the gesture was of “a symbolic nature since she felt that the upper house members did not come within the purview of the resolution”.

“The resignation offer from all MPs of Tamil Nadu comes with a rider. It will take effect only if the killings do not end within a fortnight, which expires Oct 29. We have great faith in the United Progressive Alliance leadership at the centre and hope the suffering of our brethren in the island will end soon,” the spokesman added.

Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry together have 40 members in the Lok Sabha - all of who have offered to quit if the government fails to take action on the Sri Lankan issue.

Lawyers in Coimbatore burnt an effigy of Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony within the court premises earlier in the day, alleging a conspiracy by bureaucrats of Kerala origin to keep the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka on tenterhooks.

The protesting lawyers burnt copies of The Hindu neewspaper, which carried an interview Friday by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa saying that he was committed to a “just and enduring political solution” to the festering problem. The lawyers alleged that major newspapers in the country were ignoring the “just demands” of the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Source: thaindian

Food aid reaches Sri Lanka north

A UN food convoy has reached rebel-held northern Sri Lanka where some 200,000 people have been displaced by fighting.

The World Food Programme said aid was handed to local government officials.

The 50-truck convoy carrying 750 tonnes of food was due to reach the Wanni region on Thursday but had to turn back after coming under artillery fire.

The UN tried again after receiving safety assurances from Sri Lankan forces and Tamil Tiger rebels who have fought fierce clashes in recent weeks.

A member of the World Food Programme, Mads Vejlstrup, said Friday's journey had been without major incident.

"Today we had no problems except rain," he told the BBC Tamil service.

"We are now off loading in Pudukudiyiruppu. My colleague has gone with another group of lorries to Kilinochchi district and so far offloaded 80 tonnes of food. We are planning to come back tomorrow morning."


On Thursday shells exploded "uncomfortably" close to the convoy inside the Wanni region, a UN spokesman said. It is not clear who was behind the firing.

The first UN convoy of food aid was sent into rebel-controlled northern Sri Lanka a fortnight ago after the UN and other agencies were ordered out in mid-September.

The UN says the latest convoy was carrying enough food to feed the population in the Wanni for about a week.

Troops and rebels have fought fierce battles in recent weeks as the army advances towards the key rebel town of Kilinochchi.

Sri Lanka's military is continuing an offensive aimed at capturing territory controlled by the Tigers and ending their fight for a separate state for the ethnic Tamil minority.

According to the military, soldiers are now only 1.5km (one mile) from the outskirts of Kilinochchi.

But with journalists barred from the area, the claims cannot be independently verified.

Many civilians have fled Kilinochchi to escape the fighting in recent weeks.

Source: BBC

Vaiko demands withdrawal of information exchange accord

Saying the Indian government's approach to the Sri lankan issue indirectly helped the Sri Lankan government and not the Tamils, MDMK leader Vaiko on Friday demanded withdrawal of the information exchange agreement between the navies of the two countries.

Adressing the members of the Tamilnadu Advocates' Association and Madurai Bar association who observed a fast in front of the Madras High Court Bench here, he said the government should also withdraw the radars given to the Sri lankan government as the Sri Lankan President has "refused" to stop the war and vowed to destroy the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).

The central government and the international community were duty-bound to stop the massacre of innoncent Tamil people, he said.

Though no military accord had been signed, India was extending all military help to Sri lanka.

He rejcted the contention of the government that if India did not help Sri Lanka, Pakisthan and China would help them and India's security would be affected. He said Tamils would be better "security fort" than Sinhalese in the southern tip.

Source: Hindu

Sri Lanka seeks to avoid spat with India over military drive

Sri Lanka said Friday it will send a delegation to India to defuse mounting tensions over the escalating conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Sri Lanka's minority Tamils share close cultural and religious links with the 55 million Tamils in the nearby south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Colombo's all-out assault on the northern stronghold of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has prompted New Delhi to voice "grave concern" over the conflict.

"We are hoping to send a team of MPs to India to educate them on the latest situation," Media Minister Yapa Abeywardena said in a statement over national radio, signalling that Sri Lanka was attempting to defuse pressure from India.

He insisted the government was trying to avoid civilian casualties.

"We know the difference between the Tamil civilians and the Tiger terrorists," he said, rejecting complaints from Tamil Nadu politicians that Tamil civilians were being targeted.

A group of MPs from the state have threatened to resign -- a move that could destabilise the federal government -- unless New Delhi puts pressure on Colombo.

The Sri Lankan government, which pulled out of a Norwegian-backed truce with the rebels in January, is trying to capture the rebel political headquarters of Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres (205 miles) north of Colombo.

Sri Lanka's ethnic Sinhalese-dominated government is engaged in one of its biggest offensives against the Tamil Tigers, who control part of the north of the island and want to carve out a separate state.

India, meanwhile, kept up the pressure on Sri Lanka, asking the government to "ensure the rights of its civilians are respected and they are protected from attacks".

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon conveyed India's concerns to Sri Lankan ambassador to India, C. R. Jayasinghe after the top diplomat was summoned to the foreign ministry in New Delhi.

The foreign secretary told Jayasinghe India was "gravely worried" over the escalating conflict, an Indian government official said.

"Menon also told the Sri Lankan envoy that Colombo should find a negotiated political solution to the ethnic problem rather than look for a military victory," the Press Trust of India quoted the unnamed official as saying.

An estimated 230,000 Sri Lankan Tamil civilians have been displaced by the latest fighting.

Late on Thursday, Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee echoed the foreign secretary's concerns, urging Colombo to find "a peacefully negotiated political settlement... within the framework of a united Sri Lanka".

New Delhi would "do all in its power to achieve this goal, to ameliorate the humanitarian conditions", he said, repeating the Indian view that the long-running dispute cannot be resolved by yet more fighting.

Sri Lanka's government, however, says peace will only come once the Tigers have been defeated.

Tens of thousands of people have died on both sides since the LTTE launched its campaign for an independent state in 1972.

Source: AFP

Tamil Nadu stand on Lanka could endanger India unity: Newspaper

Terming the recent expression of concern by Tamil Nadu parties over the ongoing violence in northern Sri Lanka as a contradiction of India's own policy on terrorism, a leading newspaper here has called it "latent separatist tendencies" in the Southern state.

In a front page editorial titled "India's moment of Shame", the Island Newspaper warned that the pressure from some Tamil Nadu politicians could endanger the unity of India.

"Interestingly, India has spelt out this strategy to deal with terrorism while it is coming under increasing pressure from backers in Tamil Nadu to intervene and put obstruction's on Sri Lanka's 'robust fight' against terrorism.

"The pro-LTTE sections are all out to make India undertake something fraught with the danger of leading to its own disintegration one day, given the latent separatist tendencies in Tamil Nadu," the editorial said.

The newspaper also said the LTTE, has managed to hold India to "ransom through its terror partners in Tamil Nadu" in spite of its proscription.

"What (LTTE Supremo Velupillai) Prabhakaran has achieved -remote-controlling the Central Government of India representing one billion people -- is something that not even countries hostile to India can ever dream of," it said.

Recalling that Prabhakaran was a convicted criminal in Sri Lanka and wanted in India for the assassination of a former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the editorial said "he has made a mockery of Indian law and sovereignty".

Source: Hindu

India asks Sri Lanka to stop military offensive against Tamils

With the political temperature rising in Tamil Nadu over the situation in Sri Lanka, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon Friday summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner C.R. Jayasinghe and asked Colombo to “take steps” to stop the violence that has severely affected Tamil civilians in the island nation. “India expressed grave concerns over the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka. He asked Colombo to take concrete steps to stop the military offensive in Sri Lanka,” an official source said after Menon summoned Jayasinghe to South Block, the seat of the external affairs ministry, to register India’s unhappiness with the situation in Sri Lanka.

This is the third message from New Delhi to Colombo in the last three days.

With Tamil Nadu MPs threatening to resign en masse if the violence against innocent Tamils is not stopped in Sri Lanka, Menon again impressed upon Colombo to pursue a negotiated political solution, rather than continue with military means to settle the decades-old ethnic feud.

Menon also asked Colombo to ensure that the harassment and killing of Indian fishermen in neighbouring areas are stopped forthwith.

Menon’s decision to summon the Sri Lankan envoy comes a day after President Mahinda Rajapaksa told The Hindu newspaper that his government was committed to finding “a just and enduring political solution” and there were “no military solutions to political questions”.

This shows New Delhi’s growing impatience with Colombo over the way the Sri Lankan government has launched its biggest ever offensive against the Tamil Tigers, leading to much hardship and suffering for civilians caught in the crossfire, the source said.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had sent a stern message to Colombo Thursday asking it to shun “military means” and pursue a political settlement that respects the human rights of minorities in the island nation.

“It is essential that their rights be respected, that they be immune from attacks, and that food and other essential supplies be allowed to reach them,” Mukherjee said.

In a clear warning to Colombo, Mukherjee said the Indian government would “do all in its power to achieve this goal and to ameliorate the humanitarian conditions in Sri Lanka”.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday had asked Sri Lanka to de-escalate hostilities and pursue a negotiated political settlement.

In Colombo, India’s High Commissioner Alok Prasad met Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and conveyed New Delhi’s “concerns” over the situation in the north and east.

“The discussion centred on current issues pertaining to Indo-Sri Lanka bilateral relations in the context of developments in the North and the East of Sri Lanka. Concerns being expressed in this regard in India were conveyed to Minister Bogollagama by the High Commissioner,” the foreign ministry here said in a statement.

Bogollagama responded that Sri Lanka was “fully conscious of the concerns being expressed and understand the context in which these matters are being raised”.

“The minister assured that in the spirit of existing excellent bilateral relations, Sri Lanka intends to further discuss these issues bilaterally to address those concerns. It was indicated that bilateral consultation process in this regard could continue at appropriate levels,” the ministry statement said.

Source: thaindian

India summons Lankan envoy

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon has summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner C R Jayasinghe to convey India's concerns over situation in island nation, said sources.

Menon tells Lankan envoy that his country should take steps to address India's concerns over humanitarian situation in Lanka and stop killing and harassment of Indian fishermen, sources added.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had expressed serious concern over the situation in Sri Lanka and said the National Security Adviser had already conveyed it to the Lankan government last week.

Source: NDTV

As DMK continued to mount pressure on the Sri Lanka Tamil issue, government on Friday summoned Lankan High Commissioner to India C R Jayasinghe and told him that Colombo should address New Delhi's concerns over the humanitarian situation in the island nation and stop harassing and killing Indian fishermen.

Jayasinghe was called by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon who said that Sri Lanka should ensure that the rights of its civilians are respected and they are protected from attacks, sources said.

Menon told Jayasinghe that India was gravely worried over the situation arising out the conflict in Sri Lanka and wanted Colombo to address these concerns, the sources said.

The Foreign Secretary specifically said India wanted Sri Lanka to stop harassing and killing of its fishermen in the common waters between the two countries, they said.

Menon also told the Sri Lankan envoy that Colombo should find a negotiated political solution to the ethnic problem rather than look for a military victory.

Source: expressindia


In a clear warning to Colombo, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the Indian government would ‘do all in its power to achieve this goal and to ameliorate the humanitarian conditions in Sri Lanka’.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday had asked Sri Lanka to de-escalate hostilities and pursue a negotiated political settlement.

Source: sindhtoday

ANALYSIS-India rumbles over Sri Lanka war, but to what end?

By C. Bryson Hull

COLOMBO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Indian political pressure on Sri Lanka to throttle back an offensive to wipe out the Tamil Tigers will do little to sway a Sri Lankan government increasingly confident it can end one of Asia's longest insurgencies.

Despite threats from Tamil politicians at home, India is loath to repeat its disastrous 1980s intervention in the war on its doorstep, leaving Sri Lanka free to wage a military campaign that has energised President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political base.

"The military is very unlikely to stop now, because this is the government's key political agenda item," said Maria Kuusisto, an analyst with Eurasia Group. "Now when they have gone this far, to backtrack would be a negative."

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week expressed concern at the escalation in the conflict, which has raged on and off for 25 years, and called for a negotiated settlement.

Singh's comments, which echoed India's existing diplomatic stance, were described by analysts as pre-election manoeuvres by a government that must call a national poll by May 2009.

The Indian leader is under pressure from his administration's southern allies in Tamil Nadu state, where the mainly Tamil population accuses largely Sinhalese Sri Lanka of trying to wipe out the island's Tamils.

And despite his criticism, Singh also endorsed Sri Lanka's position that the country must not allow the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to split the Indian Ocean island nation in two, nor tolerate the actions of a group on U.S., EU and Indian terrorism lists.

"India loves to play all sides, and has always done that," said Reva Bhalla, an analyst with the U.S. private intelligence firm Stratfor.

"They can cater to the Tamil politicians and benefit from the Tigers' military capability going down without taking too much political risk."

Underscoring India's dual-track approach to Sri Lanka, furious denials erupted from Colombo and New Delhi last month after two Indian radar technicians were injured in a Tiger assault on a Sri Lankan military base.

Rajapaksa later said the men were providing after-sales service to radars India's Bharat Electronics sold to the military. India has also helped Sri Lanka intercept Tiger boats, which it considers a threat to national security, analysts say.


Brewing diplomatic tension has been bubbling since the radar fiasco, with ethnic Tamil politicians increasingly echoing the Tigers' charge that the war is "genocide". The LTTE for years has funded politicians in India's Tamil Nadu state.

The threat comes as Sri Lanka, which has vowed to crush the Tigers militarily this year, says its troops are 2 km (1 mile) from the rebel capital of Kilinochchi, a strategic and symbolic target.

On Wednesday, the complaints peaked when 39 legislators from Tamil Nadu state threatened to resign from Singh's ruling Congress party-led coalition if India did not stop the Sri Lankan advance within two weeks.

Stratfor's Bhalla, echoing a widely-held view, said there was no chance of direct intervention given the history India's humiliating 1987-1990 peacekeeping mission, in which it lost more than 1,200 soldiers and was accused of human rights violations.

Sri Lanka's intensified offensive over the last three months has produced the bloodiest fighting since the government officially annulled a 2002 ceasefire in January, and sent 230,000 people fleeing their homes in a growing humanitarian crisis.

"The last thing India would want is an influx of refugees to its territory," G. Parthasarthy, a former Indian diplomat and expert in Indo-Sri Lanka relations said.

Thousands of refugees have poured across the narrow Palk Strait into Tamil Nadu repeatedly since the war started in 1983.

Singh last month refused to meet Rajapaksa at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which analysts say was a sign that he was unhappy with the progress of political negotiations on the Tamil issue.

Rajapaksa's government has promised that devolution for Tamil areas in the north and east of the island would go hand-in-hand with its push to win the war.

"A year ago the president had given repeated assurances that while the military component was going on, he would have a political package ready," Colombo-based analyst Iqbal Athas said. "The fact that process has not moved forward is why Singh didn't give him an appointment in New York."

It also prompted Rajapaksa to call a meeting of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), a panel designed to forge a political compromise, over the weekend and urge the Tigers to lay down their weapons and enter the democratic process, Athas said.

A senior Sri Lankan government official said Rajapaksa's offer was not too different from the solution Singh had demanded.

"The government agrees that the concerns of the minority must be addressed through a political process, which is already on train," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity, referring to the APRC.

Source: Reuters

UN Food Convoy Resumes its Journey to Un-Cleared Areas

THE KILINOCHCHI and MULLAITHIVU bound WFP (World Food Programme) food convoy that returned due to LTTE artillery and claymore attacks Thursday (16) left for un-cleared areas again Friday (17) afternoon.

Fifty lorries loaded with medicine and essential food items for the consumption of civilians in un-cleared areas of KILINOCHCHI and MULLAITHIVU crossed the OMANTHE entry/exit point around 12.50 p.m..

The convoy was initially dispatched to un-cleared areas Thursday (16) morning with coordination of Sri Lanka Army but was compelled to return to VAVUNIYA the same day afternoon since the LTTE fired artillery and detonated claymore mines targeting the convoy on the way in un-cleared areas.


Saving Sri Lankan Tamils: destroy LTTE

by Hasaka Rathnamalala

THE STATEMENT made by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Sri Lanka conflict gives a sense of direction in finding a solution to this two-decade old conflict. In his statement, Dr. Singh mentioned, “…the situation in Sri Lanka does not call for military victory but a negotiated, political settlement that respects Sri Lankan sovereignty and the human rights of ethnic Tamils”. I think that was what successive Sri Lankan governments believed in and worked for; but unfortunately each negotiation ended in more bloodshed as LTTE never believed that a negotiated settlement was the answer to this conflict.

Hence, the question that arises is who should the Sri Lankan government negotiate with? Is it the LTTE? If the negotiation is with the LTTE, will the latter agree to a solution within the framework of a sovereign Sri Lanka as Dr Singh mentioned? If the answer is yes, why did LTTE walk out of the previous negotiations citing trivial reasons? Not only the previous peace talks but also the India-brokered 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution was a fine opportunity for any one interested in a real solution to this conflict. Unfortunately, LTTE placed more faith in a military solution and the opportunity went unutilised. Successive Sri Lankan governments since 1983 recognised and conceded almost all Tamil demands except the one that sought a separate country for the Sri Lankan Tamils. But LTTE wanted a separate country, as living in an undivided Sri Lanka was not what it wanted.

LTTE knows it can never wangle a separate country for Tamils through negotiations. Their complaint now is, ’Tamils don’t have a country of their own’. Is that Sri Lanka’s problem? If LTTE wants a separate country for Tamils they may believe Sri Lanka is an easier target than India or Malaysia. Raising such a demand in Tamil Nadu or Malaysia will prove disastrous for it. Instead, carving a country for Tamils out of Sri Lanka will give the LTTE elements a huge boost.

India should understand that saving LTTE now will result in a grave threat to its own security. After all, those want the Sri Lankan Tamils saved want the LTTE saved, given the grave situation LTTE is facing in Killinochchi right now.
Those who voice support for the Tamils should know that 54 percent of the Sri Lankan Tamil population lives with the Sinhalese in other provinces. Of the remaining 46 percent, a big chunk lives in the Eastern province and the rest lives in the Jaffna peninsula. These Tamils don’t support LTTE or its terrorism. In fact, they have chosen the democratic path to fulfil their demands.

There are so many Tamil ministers in the present Sri Lankan government. There are many high-ranking officers serving in every wing of the Sri Lankan government services. Those Tamils have been working for one identity, viz., the Sri Lankan identity not just a Tamil-only identity. Tamil Nadu politicians and Indian politicians must understand this truth before they comment on Sri Lanka’s internal matters. Also they should understand that Sri Lankans cannot progress as a country without getting rid of LTTE-sponsored terrorism. If Tamil Nadu politicians really want to support the Tamils in Sri Lanka, they should help the Sri Lankan government destroy LTTE once and for all. That will help the Tamils in Sri Lanka to live in peace.

Source: merinews

Sri Lanka Navy initiates Agri-revival in Toppur in Eastern Province

Sri Lanka Navy has taken measures to initiate an agri-revival in Toppur, an area located 40 kilometers South-east of Trincomalee in the Eastern Province, for the betterment of the farmer community in the area.

Under the patronage of the Sri Lanka Navy, the Toppur villagers have now begun to savour the freedom of peace and harmony which had been denied to them by the ruthless LTTE, whose presence has now been eliminated from the area by the naval troops deployed for the civilian protection.

The Navy has commenced this act of benevolence with the sole intention of enhancing the wellbeing of the farmers who had been severely battered by the merciless LTTE. It is expected that there will be a great revival in the agriculture in the area and a great reawaking in the lives of the people when the entire irrigation network, once abandoned due to the LTTE terror, is reconstructed and renovated.

Thousands of acres of paddy fields, which were hitherto left unused and neglected as the irrigation network had been severely damaged due to the LTTE activities in the area, will be cultivated under the agri-revival initiated by the Sri Lanka Navy.

Toppur farmers will be benefitted once all paddy fields are cultivated with the improved irrigation network. The bountiful harvests, then undoubtedly, usher in an era of prosperity and happiness for all communities living in Toppur.

This agri-revival initiative is another community service of the Sri Lanka Navy, which is always concerned about the betterment of innocent people, whose pride and prosperity has been destroyed by the LTTE. All naval personnel are committed to work relentlessly for the uplift of all citizens of the motherland, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion and language.


UN to seek security steps before sending relief to Sri Lanka

A major UN food convoy carrying essentials for the internally displaced people in Sri Lanka's restive north was forced to turn back due to fresh fighting between security forces and LTTE in the region, prompting the world body to halt the supplies till the warring sides assure it of security.

The UN will seek renewed security assurances from both sides before attempting to make the route again, the world body's Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne, said here after the convoy was forced to return.

The convoy the second to be dispatched in as many weeks had been headed for the northern Wanni in a bid to reach an estimated 230,000 civilians displaced behind the lines of confrontation in the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.

The World Food Programme (WFP) convoy was carrying 750 tonnes of food in 50 trucks when it left the town of Vavuniya on Thursday afternoon and was expected to reach its destination by the evening.

Intensified clashes between the military and LTTE in recent weeks have displaced tens of thousands of people and sparked warnings from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other UN officials about the humanitarian impact on civilians.

According to the officials, the UN convoy loaded with essential food items had crossed the Omanthai entry/exit point but had come under the LTTE artillery fire and a claymore mine attack and had to turn back to Vavuniya.

Officials said the Tiger cadres fired "indiscriminately" at the food convoy meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The lorries were carrying a large stock of medicine and essential items such as rice and sugar, officials said adding 18 other food lorries will be sent to civilians living in IDP centres in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

Five of the 18 vehicles will be distributing essential food items coordinating with relevant authorities in Mullaitivu district while the remainder will be distributed in Kilinochchi district.

Meanwhile, Commissioner General of Essential Services S B Divaratne submitted a report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the ongoing operations to supply foods to Wanni.

The report states that the government has been able to continue provision of sufficient food stocks to civilians in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts effectively "despite non- cooperation of some international aid agencies," state-run Daily News said.

"Further, the report recalls that it is the government of Sri Lanka that has been providing food to terror-stricken areas during last 20 years and ... this has been carried out with the utmost commitment to protect its own citizens but not to satisfy any international agency," it said.

Source: Hindu

Human chain protest against Sri Lankan ‘atrocities’

Signalling that he would not be satisfied with expression of concern and wanted some concrete action, Tamil Nadu chief minister Mr M Karunanidhi today announced a human chain protest to press for stopping military aid to the island nation and drastic steps for ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

With AIADMK supremo Ms Jayalalithaa putting further pressure on the DMK by describing the all-party meet as a drama, the chief minister said that the human chain protest would be held in Chennai on 21 October, after consulting the leaders of parties who attended the all-party meet on 14 October. The agitation would demand the fulfilment of the demands including sending food and medicine to the displaced Tamil population through the International Red Cross Society and ending the firing of Sri Lankan navy on Tamil Nadu fishermen. It would be a massive protest expressing the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu, since people from all the districts would participate, he added.

Ms Jayalalithaa, meanwhile, said that stopping the training being provided to the Sri Lankan military in India and saving the civilian population was the major concern now and alleged that Mr Karunanidhi was doing nothing about it.
The DMK chief’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Ms Kanimozhi opted to resign first and gave the letter to Mr Karunanidhi, in line with the resolution of the all-party meeting.

Meanwhile, lawyers boycotted the courts throughout the state and conducted rallies in their districts as well as the capital. In Chennai, the lawyers of Madras High Court and other sessions courts took out a rally condemning the “Tamils’ genocide”. Mr VKR Bernardshaw, one of the young lawyers organising the protest, said that they had submitted a petition to the Governor’s office, demanding that the Centre should stop its military assistance to the island nation. The lawyers would boycott courts tommorrow also and observe a fast, he said.

“If the Centre can interfere in the Sri Lankan conflict and assist the island military through funds, personnel, radars, training and intelligence, they can certainly use that influence to effect a ceasefire and save the Tamil population. If they did not want to interfere in another country’s affairs, why did they rush to assist the island nation in the genocidal war? Why should Indian technocrats labour for another country’s war and suffer injuries?” he asked.
CPI state secretary Mr D Pandian today asked the police not to use force against the students who are boycotting classes and burning effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse. He charged that 16 college students had been injured in lathi charge by the police in Sholinganallur near Chennai. School students also joined protests by college students in many parts of Tamil Nadu yesterday.
The traders had postponed their bandh to 31 October, in view of the two-week ultimatum given by the parties in Tamil Nadu. Film artistes would hold a separate protest in Chennai on 1 November, as all of them would not be able to participate in the protests in Rameswaram.

DMK MPs resign from Rajya Sabha

Three MPs of Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) have today submitted their resignation from the Rajya Sabha to the party President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in Chennai.

The three MPs - Siva, A A Jinnah and Vasanthi Stanley - have resigned following resolution adopted at an all party meeting stating that all MPs from the state would resign if the centre does not intervene and workout a ceasefire in Sri Lanka within two weeks.

Earlier, the MP Kanimozhi had also submitted her resignation to the DMK President.

Meanwhile, all the seven DMK ministers in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government are expected to submit their resignation letters to Karunanidhi on Friday to mount pressure on the government.

According to reports, a senior Tamil Nadu minister said that the seven ministers Cabinet Ministers T R Baalu and A Raja, and Ministers of State S S Palanimanickam, Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan, S Regupathy, K Venkatapathy and Radhika Selvi would hand over post-dated letters addressed to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to Karunanidhi for quitting their parliamentary seats.

On October 14, at an all-party meeting in Tamil Nadu, convened by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, the Centre was served an ultimatum on the Sri Lankan Tamil problem and warned that all MPs from the state would resign en masse, if the government failed to halt the war in the island nation within two weeks.

In the strongest ever message from a key ally of the UPA regime, the DMK and other parties demanded that India halt all military aid to Sri Lanka, take steps to halt Colombo”’’s military offensive to ensure the return of peace, and come forward to despatch humanitarian aid.

Source: thaindian