Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stop Media treachery against armed forces members!

We are living in a country, which is badly torn by a vicious 28 year old war. Over 70,000 lives have perished so far, simply because we have failed to eliminate the brutal terrorist organization we have been fighting with. Why we have failed in the battle may have myriad explanations. Among them what stands out most is the failure of successive governments to rally sufficient international and public support to sustain any meaningful military effort. This failure should be attributed to the strong anti Sri Lankan propaganda mechanism operated by the LTTE sympathizers and indeed to the lack of counter strategies on the part of the government.

However, today our nation's struggle to be rid of terrorism has come to its most decisive stage. It has been proven more than once that we are dealing with an enemy with whom no rational dialogue is possible. We suffered many painful losses in learning this bitter lesson. We may be a nation notorious for having short memories, but we cannot afford to forget that V. Prabhakaran is a remorseless megalomaniac. He is in pursuit of an ethnically "pure" state that bows to the cult of his personality. His followers place their messianic zeal on this utopian state and are equally fanatical as their leader. On the orders of their bloodthirsty chieftain and being carefully fuelled by his extreme tribal ideologies, LTTE cadres have butchered tens of thousands of people in various terror attacks. Moreover, the bitterest part of the reality is that there lives a part of our brethren in the North in the evil grip of a one mad man and his army of fanatics. This is the truth about this country that no discernible Sri Lankan can deny. Thus, we must have the right to defend ourselves, we must have the right to live in a country free of terrorism and that is exactly why our soldiers are risking their lives in the battlefield.

With the above points we want our viewers to draw their attention to the relationship among three phenomena, i.e. the on-going war on terror, anti-Sri Lankan propaganda and LTTE terrorism. The simple formula that governs the relationship is that whenever the military is gaining success and the government adapts a bold uncompromising policy against terrorism, the terrorists intensify psychological operations and propaganda against the defence authorities. The obvious aim of this is to bring international and public pressure on the government to abandon the military effort. The recent trends in the sections of the media show that these anti-Sri Lankan sentiments have been reaching its highest levels in the last three decades. The most recent example is the campaign undertaken by the usual LTTE stooges in the media over a reported assault on journalist Keith Noyahr.

An NGO, which is known to have great penchant to make tendentious allegations against members of the armed forces in a statement on this matter speculates of a connection between the alleged attack and the soldiers. The Free Media Movement (FMM) as it calls itself and is glad to spread lies and rumours speculating that Mr. Noyahr had been beaten up because of his criticism of high ranking military officials and for his independent reportage over defence matters.

It states, "There is no other reason for this latest attack against a journalist than his independent writing and analysis of the war in the North, if that is a reason at all. His reporting was critical of high-ranking military officers and the Government's approach to and conduct of the war".

Interestingly, the FMM made these allegation just days after it had spread a lie that the defence ministry is committing "cyber crimes" against web based independent news agencies. Although the Ministry requested the NGO to withdraw the statement the reply received showed none other than the insolence and intolerance of this so called "media rights group" over the government's right to inform the public about such matters. Further, the same organization had been quoted by Mr. Iqbal Athas in his foul reportage on the Muhamalai incident to record the army deaths in hundreds. Therefore, it is natural for any soldier to feel that this NGO is engaged in a malicious propaganda campaign against members of the armed forces of this country.

We are humble enough to admit that as soldiers we are not qualified to enough to write in-depth analysis on media freedom and related ethics. However, as soldiers who are engaged in the uphill task of defeating the false propaganda campaigns against our nation we have some knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of the media profession. We know it is wrong for any media person to support any party that promotes communalism; we know it is wrong to give casualty figures without sources, and we know it is wrong to hold somebody responsible for a crime without sufficient evidence. In our view, the FMM's attempt to hold the armed forces' members responsible for the assault on Mr. Noyahr does not go with the ethics of the media profession. However, we leave that issue to the learned media professionals in this country to decide.

Nevertheless, there is something we are quite qualified to comment on, i.e. about the motives and conduct of a propaganda work, for it is a kind of a weapon in warfare.

It is a well known fact that the LTTE carries out its propaganda work through politically sympathetic pressure groups and media units. Their activities are coordinated by an overarching umbrella of front organizations that operate in spheres of Human Rights, Relief work, Civil Rights, Peace Building, etc. Anti Sri Lankan campaign against the Sri Lankan cricket team carried out during last World Cup, and the ballyhoos aimed at outvoting Sri Lanka from the Human Rights Council few days ago, are some of the examples of the terrorist propaganda work. Not only have the terrorist propagandists lobbied some populist Human Rights professionals but they have also been able to lure some of these activists to speak in favour of the most brutal terrorist organization known to mankind. In reality, the LTTE had a free run in getting the international opinion in its favour by smartly playing the Human Rights card until the late 90s.

Apropos of Mr. Noyahr's case, we have seen that even some truly independent media persons have raised doubts about the possibility of the armed forces having a hand in the incident. According them, the FMM has pointed its finger where there is room for doubt, and nothing more. We can empathize with their feelings on the grievance about their fellow journalist, and do not try to extenuate the situation if any armed forces' members are involved in the incident. But we too have our doubts of how the whole episode had transpired.

Firstly, the timing of the attack was so perfect that it gave the maximum opportunity for the anti Sri Lankan propagandists to draw sympathy towards them. The attack took place on the day following day when Sri Lanka lost its seat in the HRC. This was something that anti Sri Lankan organizations called a great achievement for them, for they can get huge foreign findings if exploited effectively. The FMM was so quick to make a statement blaming the government for the attack. Then the incident followed a great hue and cry against the Sri Lankan defence authorities on the part of those dollar vultures in many foreign funded NGOs. Ironically, but understandably, the FMM even claimed the credit for the "quick" release of the victim who is said to have returned home with soaring wounds. In our view, no organization other than the FMM has benefited by the incident. Therefore, there lies a reasonable doubt on the real motives of the perpetrators of the alleged attack.

Secondly, we have reasonable concerns over the behaviour of the FMM itself. We have never seen Mr. Sunanda Deshapriya, the convener of the FMM, wailing in the Sirasa TV over the media freedom in the LTTE held areas. Like Sirasa TV taking great care to avoid the word LTTE in reporting whatever civilian massacres committed by the terrorists, the FMM observes an abominable silence or self censorship over all violence committed by the LTTE against media personnel. We can understand the motives of their paymasters but the acolytes should no longer be allowed to conceal their work under the free media curtain. In our view this type of media organizations are the subtlest form of terror propaganda machines.

Thirdly, we have serious concerns over this "defence analyst" issue. We do not mind any person trying to make his living by writing whatever crap to the newspapers. It is the freedom of expression that we have vowed safeguard even at the risk of our lives. Yet, we too have our right to lay bare the truth of those cowboy defence analysts, for the good of the public. War is handled by officers with 35-40 years of service, who had spend most of their lives in the battlefront, we seriously do not believe that people like Mr. Iqbal Athas have any capability to question about military tactics, service promotion schemes or even about the military procurement.

For instance, some of the so called "defence analysts" in Sri Lanka have a great tendency to give a misleading picture on military procurements. They always quote numbers and try to speculate something fishy about the deals. Nevertheless, they rarely inform the public about the needs of the soldiers and the urgency of meeting such requirements. Those speculations are very often aimed at character assassinations of the service commanders than informing the public. What these "analysts "hide form the public is that all these procurements are being made after a thorough analysis by expert technical evaluation boards and on their recommendations. Also, what the public is unaware about these mean spirited people is that they are being highly paid by the weapons dealers for acting as opinion makers for them.

On the other hand, it is often observed that decisions on promotions of the service commanders are being often criticized by the media ignoring the damage that such criticism can cause to the soldiers' morale. It is a well known fact even in the non military organizations the head of the institution must have the right to choose the best people for the mission he/her leads. It is the leader who knows the capabilities of his followers' best than any other person. Thus, if the media tries showing a picture that the armed forces are being lead by incompetent people; it will obviously damage the loyalty of the soldiers towards their commanders on whom they must keep faith in battle.

Therefore , those people can raise any doubts or even make false allegations to secure their income, but once they are being answered at least they should have the courtesy to admit that they were wrong without cursing the authorities. Gone are the days of such professionals, it seems. The media freedom in this country has been encroached upon by few sociopaths that can be found in almost all anti Sri Lankan outfits.

Last but not least, the concern we have about the work of these people is the damage they try to inflict on military discipline. The fighting capability of any military depends on the discipline of the rank and file. Thus, the best way to ensure the defeat of an army is to break the discipline by spreading rumours, promoting disloyalty, exploiting personal grudges, carrying tales, engineering personal disputes etc. So, whoever lures disgruntle members of the armed forces to act against the good order and the military discipline of the service, he is committing treachery against the nation.

We have seen in the media that the Editor of the newspaper, Mr. Lalith Alahakoon, had even contacted Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and informed him about the alleged incident. Further, the President himself said to have contacted the editor as soon as he received the information on the incident. That shows importance that had been given to the plight of journalist in this country. On the other hand, if Mr. Noyahr had really criticized the soldiers as claimed by the FMM, he is not the only one who does this for the job. Up to now, no one has made official complaints that they have been threatened other than making intermittent cries in the media, just to get some public attention. Therefore, we do not believe that Sri Lanka's media freedom has any threat from our soldiers. But of course there may be other problems that the media people may have to face when they try to do too much dirty work of their paymasters. Any discernible person who sees Sirasa TV, or reads the Sunday Leader, the Morning Leader, Iru Dina, the Daily Mirror, and the Sunday Times, Lanka Dissent, Lanka E news, etc can understand the way that the soldiers are being humiliated, scorned and blamed. Up to now, we have never mentioned a word over such shameful institutions even on this website for we know the public are not moved by the trite campaigns undertaken by their paid Cassandras. However, we urge the government to be mindful excessive falsification of facts committed by some of the agencies as such action may be detrimental to the national interest in the international forums.

No doubt that media freedom is sacrosanct in a democratic society. It is secured in our constitution that we have sworn to protect unto our death. However, it should be noted that the free media would only flourish in a society free of terrorism. The armed forces' members of this country are engaged in this noble mission not only for the benefit of their own but also for the whole nation. Thus, we call all members of the armed forces to unite and guard against these treacherous media campaign against them. Also, we request all responsible media persons to not to undermine the soldiers' effort for the greater good of the country. Any division of interests between us will only give the advantage to the common enemy and hand over our burden to another generation.

Anti-Lanka actions will stoke conflict - Int'l Trade Minister

Sri Lanka called on Western powers to be wary of imposing sanctions for alleged human rights violations, warning that the action could worsen the conflict.

"It is necessary to have sympathy for and understanding of the problems of a developing country grappling with terrorism," International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said in Washington.

"And to cut off resources, to threaten to withdraw trade benefits and GSP (General System of Preference) are unhelpful as that will only mean the dissemination of poverty, deprivation and adversity," he told AFP.

Minister Peiris said under such sanctions and other pressures on "a democratic Government pitted against terrorism, you can't possibly prevail."

The Minister was in Washington for talks with US officials and to woo US investors to set up business in the Eastern Province.

The US State Department said Thursday that there was no military solution to the ethnic conflict, and emphasized the need for a political settlement.

"We have said repeatedly that there is no military solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka and there needs to be a political solution," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Evan Feigenbaum. AFP

Courtesy : Daily News

2 killed, 9 injured in hand grenade explosion - Wellawatta [02nd Lead]

According to the latest report received said that 2 civilians were killed while another 9 suffered injuries exploding a hand grenade shot while ago in Wellawatta today, May 31.

Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said that the explosion took place near a bus halt along the Colombo-Galle main road, opposite the Arpico super market in Wellawatta.

The victims were rushed to the Kalubowila teaching hospital for immediate medical attention.

RELATED NEWS: Hand grenade explosion in Wellawatta [01st Lead]

Civil Defence Force averts possible disaster - Rajanganaya

Civil Defence Force personnel on duty at Yaya 18 (zone 18) village on the borders of Wilpattuwa jungle confronted with a group of terrorists last night (May 30).

According to the defence sources in the area, the terrorists had forcibly entered into a civilian house around 7.45 pm and started butchering the innocent residents. Alerted by the wailing residents the Civil Defence Force personnel had rushed to the location and confronted with the terrorists who attempted to continue their cowardly attack at the civilians, said the sources. After a brief confrontation the terrorists had fled to the Wilpattuwa jungle, the sources added.

One Civil Defence Force personnel suffered gunshot injuries in the attack. Also, a 50 year old mother of the house that the terrorists had raided was killed and her husband was seriously injured. The two injured people later succumbed to injuries at the Anuradhapura hospital, said the sources.

LTTE is a ruthless terrorist organization that routinely target civilians in pursuit for a mono ethnic separate homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The outfit has killed tens and thousands of innocent civilians in number of ethnic cleansing raids at Sinhalese and Muslim villages in North and East.

Related News>>>

LTTE terrorists murder elderly mother, injure her husband - Rajanganaya

Counter terrorist ops continue, 26 LTTE killed, 23 wounded in fighting

Sri Lankan security forces claimed that at least 26 LTTE terrorists were killed and 23 wounded during fighting ensued between troops and LTTE in the Wanni and Northern battle fronts on Friday (May 30).

In addition 4 soldiers have laid their lives and 13 others reported wounded, security sources said. According to reports received, 3 LTTE terrorists were killed and 4 injured at the Vavuniya battle front, while military claimed that a soldier was also killed and another 2 wounded in the fighting.

Meanwhile, Army infantrymen forced into the LTTE defences at Mannar during multi-pronged counter terrorist operations launched on Friday as heavy clashes were reported in Koddikulama, Nedunkandal and Pulliyankulama general areas. 19 terrorists were reported killed, another 15 wounded during the clashes, security sources said.

At the Welioya battle front, 3 terrorists were killed and similar numbers wounded during clashes, security sources said. A soldier was also wounded in the fighting, the sources added.

Five suicide jackets found; suspect detained - Chilaw

Police acting on an information received from intelligence sources found 5 jackets designed for the LTTE suicide bombers from Maina Doopatha (an islet) in the Chilaw area this evening (May 30). According to the police sources, only four out of the five jackets were filled with high explosives.

Police said the jackets were unearthed from a location close to an abandoned Hindu Temple around 6.30 pm. A person was also detained for further inquiries, the sources added.

LTTE is the terror outfit that pioneered the suicide terrorism and introduced recruitment, brainwashing, and technical expertise for suicide bombing to the terrorist organizations in the world over. It has carried out over 200 suicide attacks killing hundreds of people during its two and half decades of terrorist war against Sri Lankan citizens.

Police find LTTE claymore in public transport bus - Moratuwa

Sri Lanka police personnel on duty at the main bus stand, Moratuwa have found a claymore mine inside a public transport bus around 9.30 pm, today (May 30).

According to the police sources the bomb has been found inside a parcel placed under the rear seat of the bus that completed its trip from Colombo. The bomb has not been armed, but the detonator and few electrical batteries have been found with the bomb, the sources said.

Air Force bomb disposal team defused the bomb, the sources added.

21 terrorists killed , 11 wounded in yesterday's clashes in North

Finalized military reports received form the warfronts in the North for yesterday (May 29) indicate that 21 terrorists were killed and 11 others wounded in counter terrorist operations conducted in the Jaffna and the Wanni theaters of battle. Further, 15 others were reportedly killed or suffered serious injuries, according to the reports.

In the Jaffna theatre of battle, troops confronted with the terrorists in the Elathumadduwal area last morning. A soldier suffered injuries in this confrontation. No details on terror casualties were available. Meanwhile, another soldier suffered injuries due to an anti personal (AP) mine explosion earlier on the same day morning.

In addition, army and navy repulsed a pre-dawn terror attack at the Chiranththivu islet located along the Jaffna - Mandathivu causeway. A soldier was killed, and two others were injured while a soldier and two sailors reported missing in this incident. Ground troops claimed that at least 15 terrorist were killed in the retaliatory fire. Following the attack the terrorist, engaged heavy artillery at civilian dwellings in the populated Kolombuthurai, Gurunagar and Pasiuura areas. 6 civilians including 2 children were killed and 20 others including a pregnant woman suffered injuries.

Elsewhere, suspected LTTE assassins gunned down a civilian at Kallikai in the Nelliady area. Police probes in to the incident.

Troops made significant gains in Wanni theatre of battle as multi front attacks on the terror defences were continued throughout the day.

On the Vavuniya front, troops confronted with the terrorist in the Periyamadhukulam, Muppankulam, and Palaimoddai areas during the daytime and claimed to have killed 4 terrorists and wounded 8 others. Also, 3 soldiers suffered injuries due to small arms fire in the confrontation that took place at Muppankulam. A soldier suffered injuries due to an AP mine explosion that took place in the Periyamadhu area last evening. Meanwhile, troops engaged in clearing operations in the Mundimurippu area removed 18 AP mines during the day.

On the Mannar front, troops raided an LTTE strong point located in Andankulama area last morning. Troops claimed that at least 6 terrorists were either killed or wounded while two soldiers also suffered injuries in this incident.

The major thrust of the on-going counter terror operation continued to remain on the Welioya front, as troops captured LTTE's main logistic base known as " Munnagam Base" located 6 Km North of Janakapura last evening. According to the defence sources, the base that provided the lifeline to the terrorists operating in the forward positions is consisted of 3 permanent buildings, 3 fortified command bunkers, and observation turrets. In addition, the base half-square acre in size has a large kitchen facility, and a storage room and an underground trench system linking each other. The sources further said that the camp was provided with electricity by a generator and facilitated with the water supply with two water towers and a well.

Separately , troops captured another fortified terror location with 7 bunkers and trenches located in the North of Janakapura area on the same day evening. During the subsequent search, troops found one T-81 riffle along with 7 magazines, 500 ammo used for the same weapon, 28 hand grenades, and other military gear.

Separately, in series of clashes occurred in the North of Kiriibbanwewa and North of Janakapura areas with in the course of the day , 2 terrorist reportedly killed and 3 others wounded. In addition, 9 others were either killed or wounded, according to the ground sources. Troops suffered no casualties in the Welioya front for the day.

Meanwhile, troops engaged in clearing operations in area removed 53 AP mines, 4 booby traps, 3 improvised bombs during the day.

Limited offensives are being continued.

Keith Vass steps down after repeated accusations for pro-LTTE behaviour

The controversial character Keith Vass, President and the Convener of the British Parliamentary Group for Tamil Solidarity, has resigned from his posts, sources from London revealed.

Mr. Vass's pro-LTTE behavior has been severely criticized by many local and foreign bodies over several months.

His participation at a ceremony to commemorate the LTTE leader's birthday in London created a tense situation in diplomatic circles since the LTTE has been listed as a terrorist organization by Britain. This act also drew the ire of Sri Lanka and led to strongly worded protests being lodged in London.

Later the British Parliamentary Group informed the Government of Sri Lanka Keith Vass had acted without the prior knowledge of the Parliamentary Group and apologized to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan Government regarding the incident.

It is reported that the person nominated to succeed Vass had refused to accept the post.

Analysts point out that while Keith Vass' resignation is a blow to pro-LTTE groups in the UK, it will be difficult to find a successor given the notoriety that has accrued to the Group for its now proven strong LTTE sympathies.

Courtesy : Government Information Department

Air Force fighter jets pound LTTE artillery & mortar launching platforms - Poonaryn

Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets pounded on LTTE artillery and mortar launching platforms located at Kalmunai point, in the Poonaryn general area this afternoon (May 30). According to the Air Force sources, to separate sorties were launched around 12 noon and 1.20 pm.

The targets were accurately hit, but the exact damages to the enemy are yet to be ascertained, the sources added.

According to the defence sources in Jaffna, LTTE terrorists had used the targeted locations to launch artillery attacks at the Tamil villages in the peninsula yesterday. 6 civilians including two children were killed and 20 others including a pregnant mother were injured in these attacks. Dozens of civilian houses and a catholic church were destroyed.

UN condemns LTTEs repeated attacks targeting civilians

Condemning the brutal terrorist attacks of the LTTE targeting civilians, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said yesterday (29) that 'the targeting of non-combatants is a contravention of International Humanitarian Law, for which those responsible must be held accountable.'

'This despicable behaviour must stop,' he added

The LTTE terrorists killed more than 20 civilians just with in this week and injured several hundreds clearly showing the terrorists were not ready to abandon violence and destruction even though the Government had repeatedly pledged its commitment to peace and a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Yesterday an LTTE mortar attack killed 6 persons in Jaffna. The victims included children.

These repeated acts of terror clearly indicate that Tiger terrorists are restoring to killing innocent civilians in the face of heavy setbacks on the battlefield.

Last Monday nine people died and 73 were injured when LTTE exploded a bomb on a busy commuter train in Dehiwela.

Courtesy : Government Information Department

A discussion not a threat- says Government

On the 26th of May Defence Secretary had called in the two senior members of the free media movement Mr. Sanath Balasuriya and Mr. Poddala Jayantha to the Defence Ministry. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the fact that they criticized the Armed forces at a protest on the 23rd of May. The rally was held as a protest against the abduction and assault of Nation Deputy Editor Keith Noyar.

This meeting was interpreted by some media movements as an indirect threat against journalists. Five media movements jointly issued a letter to the secretary of Defence alleging that he had threatened the two journalists. However in a media briefing at the MCNS Wednesday(28) Director General of MCNS Mr. Lakshman Hulugalle answering a question raised by journalists stated that it was a discussion that lasted two hours and not a threat. He further said that although the two journalists hold position in the Free Media Movement they are first and foremost journalists of Lake House therefore government servants. are governed by an establishment code said Defence Spokesman Hon. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella at the press briefing. He went on to say that they have a duty to refrain from commenting against the government policy. The sole purpose of the meeting was to discuss the breaking of this ethic. Although the media may interpret this as a threat it was not so directly or indirectly, he further stated.

Courtesy : The Media Centre for National Security

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No stop till terrorism is defeated - President Rajapaksa

"I will not stop till terrorism is defeated," said President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Sri Lankan media commenting on the bomb blast by the LTTE on a train at Dehiwela yesterday (26).

The President said: "My Government and I are committed to defeating terrorism. No one should have expectations that there will be a let up in the battle against terrorism because of the frenzied attacks by the LTTE. I will leave no room for terrorism in this country."

"In its desperation the LTTE is now trying to whip communal strife and take the country back to the situation as in 1983. The Government will not let this happen," he added.

President Rajapaksa said the bomb blast on the train at Dehiwela followed the discovery of three other bombs placed in passenger buses by the LTTE, which were found by bus employees and passengers. This showed the extent of the LTTE's frenzy in the face of its current defeats and setbacks in the North. It was clear that in the face of defeat the LTTE was increasing its attacks targeting innocent civilians. This is the reality that can be seen from these savage attacks,

He said the Government's battle against terrorism was not directed against the Tamil people. The Government was committed to protect the rights of the Tamil people, as it had done in the East. We intend to take the success in the East forward, until we ensure the people of the North of their rights.

The President emphasized there would be no let up in the war against terrorism. There will be a political solution given from the Tamil people. "We have sent a speedy message to the North from the East", he said.

He called on the media to act with responsibility in the national interest in dealing with the government's war against terrorism.

President Rajapaksa was addressing the heads of media institutions and editors of the Sri Lankan media at a meeting to discuss current issues with them at Temple Trees today (27)

Courtesy: Presidential Media Unit opens online payment gateway for Api Wenuwen Api fund has opened an on line payment gateway for those who are willing to make contributions for the Api Wenuwen Api fund maintained by the Ministry of Defence , Public Security , Law and Order of Sri Lanka. The fund facilitates Api Wenuwen Api housing project aimed at building 50000 houses for the members of the armed forces.

The online payment facility has been set up as a result of requests made by Sri Lankan expatriates to have a trouble-free way to make their contributions. The Ministry of Defence with the co-operation of the Sampath Bank provides the secure payment facility on its official website from today onwards.

The first phase of housing project is presently underway at Ipalogama in the Anuradhapura district. Construction works of 1620 houses have already been completed.

A house built under this projects costs 2.4 million rupees out of which 1 million is provided by the government while the rest is expected to be found through donations. The houses will be given to the security forces, personnel at a cost of 800,000 rupees each.

Viru Dana Gee Sara successfully held at BMICH

Viru Dana Gee Sara, a musical spectacular organized by the Seva Wanitha Unit of Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order was held successfully at the Bandaranayke International Convention Hall (BMICH), Colombo last evening (May 26). The event was organized as a part of fund raising campaign for the Ministry sponsored Api Wenuwen Api housing project for the war heroes.

First Lady, Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa was the chief guest to the occasion. Chairperson of the Ministry's Seva Vanitha Unit, Mrs. Ioma Rajapksa, Tri Forces' Commanders, and the Inspector General of the Police and Senior officials of the Ministry of Defence graced the occasion.

Popular local artists including Victor Rathnayake, Keerthi Pasquwel, Nirosha Virajani, Edward- Charitha duo, Senanayake Werilyadda, Nelu Adikhari and many others entertained the audience. Dancing events were performed by the Tri Forces, Police, Civil Defence Force dancing groups and students of Ranga Kala Ayathanaya. Music was provided by the Tri Forces and Police bands. The Independent Television Network (ITN) staff coordinated the event.

The Seva Vanitha Unit also presented mementos for those philanthropists who had contributed to the success of the event. The organizers said the funds raised from the tickets will be credited to the Api Wenuwen Api fund.

The Api Wenuwen Api housing project undertaken by the Ministry on an idea of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is aimed at building of 50,000 houses for the members of the armed forces. The first phase of the project is already underway at Ipalogama in the Anuradhapura district where the Ranjaya Pura is being built at present. Over 1600 houses along with all the infrastructure facilities have been completed so far under the Ranajaya Pura housing scheme.

TULF Leader suspects LTTE for both Dehiwala and Kilinochchi bomb blasts

President of Sri Lanka's oldest Tamil political party, Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Leader V.Ananda Sangaree while condemning the Kilinochchi claymore mine attack and the Dehiwala train bomb attack that killed sixteen and nine civilians respectively queried how could the army or paid agents of the army strike so close to the LTTE headquarters in Kilinochchi, as claimed by some Tamil newspapers.

Blaming the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) also for the Kilinochchi Claymore Mine explosion Sangaree said, "How is it possible for the armed forces to reach areas so close to their Head Quarters. Even if one assumes that it is the work of the paid agents of the armed forces, the LTTE must seriously consider winding up the fighting and come to terms with the Government, since their days are numbered. Secondly even if one accepts that army can reach these areas through their paid agents, it cannot be true all the time."

He said, "My strong suspicion is that the Tamil Media is pressurised by the LTTE to put the blame on the forces soon after some incident takes place, merely to gain sympathy from the International Community after themselves doing it either intentionally or by mistaken identity. I call upon H. E. the President to appoint a presidential Commission to find out who is responsible for such attacks taking place in the LTTE held areas and how within a few hours the Local papers claim that all such attacks are by the deep penetrating unit of the forces."

Following is his full statement: "A claymore mine attack at Murugandy in Kilinochchi on Friday afternoon took the lives of 16 innocent men, women and children and also left 3 seriously injured. A bomb blast in a crowded train on Monday left 9 killed, 73 injured and out of the four women killed one was a pregnant mother. I strongly condemn both incidents and grieve with the kith and kin on their losses. This is not a cricket match for anyone to announce the score and celebrate it with a party. How many widows, widowers, orphans and destitute persons, these two horrible incidents had created? One who left home, happily in the morning returns home in a beautiful coffin, some in pieces and some others beyond identification.

Thousands of innocent non-combatants had died and also thousands in the war front. Now we have in our country several thousands of widows, widowers, orphans and destitute persons, not to count those who had lost their eyesight, limbs etc. The pain of the loss of a life is felt only by the victim's dear ones and not by those who promote the war and who gain by the war. Is there no end to this? - is the question every one of us should ask.

"As I had been repeatedly pointing out, the Human Rights Violations continue unabated both in the Government controlled areas and in the LTTE controlled areas, the only difference being that there is transparency in the former and complete blackout in the latter where people open their mouths only when asked to do so.

"I am misunderstood by some for accusing the LTTE and holding them responsible for the claymore mine attacks taking place in their areas. My reasons for doing so are two fold. One is My strong suspicion is that the Tamil Media is pressurised by the LTTE to put the blame on the forces soon after some incident takes place, merely to gain sympathy from the International Community after themselves doing it either intentionally or by mistaken identity. I call upon H. E. the President to appoint a presidential Commission to find out who is responsible for such attacks taking place in the LTTE held areas and how within a few hours the Local papers claim that all such attacks are by the deep penetrating unit of the forces. His Excellency can refer a few selected cases for a Presidential Commission to inquire into. As one who had represented the Kilinochchi Electorate for over 14 years, I have an interest in knowing whether what the papers say are voluntary or under compulsion.

"At least at this stage, if the Government comes out with a reasonable proposal acceptable to the International Community, not out of fear for the LTTE, but only to give confidence to the International Community to take a bold step forward to help to find a solution. Every one who has sympathy for the poor innocent man on the street who falls a victim to the LTTE's claymore mine, bomb or even their bullets must without any hesitation support my proposal. The TULF condemns all types of violence on the innocent civilians."

26 terrorists killed in yesterday's clashes in Wanni

Troops engaging terror held positions in the Wanni yesterday (May 27) claimed 26 terrorists were killed and 15 others wounded in counter terrorist operations carried out in the Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya fronts. Also, three soldiers suffered injuries in these operations.

On the Vavuniya front, troops had several confrontations with the terrorists in the Maruthamadu, Vedamakilam, Periyamadhu, and Palamoddai areas with in the course of the day and claimed to have killed 6 terrorists and wounded 5 others. No soldiers suffered injuries in the Vavuniya front for the day. Meanwhile, troops engaged in clearing operations removed 65 anti personal (AP) mines.

On the Mannar front, troops confronted with the terrorist in the Velakulam Mampuilukulam Veddayamurippu Pappamodai and Nedunkandal areas during the day and claimed 6 terrorist were killed. Further, ground troops reported that at least 10 others were either killed or wounded. 3 soldiers suffered injuries during these incidents.

On the Welioya front, troops engaged artillery fire at two terror strongholds in the North of Janakapura area during the day. Monitored radio transmissions confirmed 11 terrorists were killed and 5 others wounded during these attacks. Further , troops confronted with the terrorist at 2 separate incidents occurred in the North of Janakapura and North of Kiriibbanwewa areas in the morning hours. 3 terrorists were killed and 5 others were wounded during these incidents. Meanwhile, troops engaged in clearing operations on the Welioya sector found 333 AP mines and 4 trapped mortar bombs .

Limited offensives are being continued.

Monday, May 26, 2008

7 Killed, 73 wounded in LTTE bomb explosion - Dehiwala [3rd Lead] [Updated

7 civilians were killed including a pregnant mother and 73 more passengers suffered injuries when the LTTE terrorists exploded a bomb inside a highly crowded Colombo-Panadura train around 4.55 p.m today.

According to the available information the explosion occurred inside the 5th carriage of the Panadura bound train which leaves the Maradana railway station around 4.25p.m.

It is believed that the parcel bomb exploded had been placed on the luggage rack in the train, police sources said.

Many of the victims were office workers headed home at the end of the workday and the victims who suffered injuries were rushed to the Kalubowila teaching hospital and National hospital Colombo.

Earlier, LTTE terrorists detonated two bombs in two carriages of a highly crowded train at the same railway station killing more than seventy and wounding over hundreds of innocent civilians in the same manner on 24th July 1996.

LTTE is a ruthless terrorist outfit notorious for crimes against innocent civilians. In its pursuit for a mono ethnic separate homeland for Tamils, the outfit has killed and maimed over tens and innocent children, Tamil and Sinhalese political leaders in indiscriminate bomb attacks. FBI in a recent report called LTTE the most dangerous terrorist outfit in the world.

An LTTE expert in explosive devices killed in air raid - Mannar

An expert in explosive devices of the LTTE in Mannar front identified as "Dhora" has been killed in a successful air raid carried out by the SLAF MI-24 helicopters this morning, May 26.

An explosive dump of the LTTE terrorists was also destroyed in this attack, sources further said.

The air raid was launched targeting LTTE stronghold located in general area Andankulam, 1.5 Km north of the security forces defence in Mannar front around 8.30 a.m. today.

People of Jaffna throng 'Reawakening Carnival'


Large crowds thronged the Duraiappa stadium in Jaffna during the last three days for the "Jaffna-reawakening" carnival, despite a call by the LTTE to boycott the event.

Amidst 'The Voice of the Tigers' radio station airing repeated calls to boycott the event more than 100,000 people attended the carnival during the last three days organised jointly by the Army's 51st brigade and the Jaffna Traders Association .

In addition to musical shows and sports events, the carnival also included numerous outlets which provided consumers an opportunity to buy essential food items at concessionary prices.

A number of other initiatives were also included to help students in the area where 21 computers were provided to students who obtained outstanding results at the recent GCE Ordinary Level examination.

Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda who attended the event said the LTTE was trying to create dissension between the public and Security Forces by spreading false rumours.

He said the Security Forces' efforts under the directions of Major General G.A.Chandrasiri in the area was commendable. Their latest effort under trying conditions to provide suitable entertainment and facilities for the Jaffna population, denied to them under the tyranny of the LTTE, was a step forward in ushering greater normality in the area, the Minister said.

Courtesy: The Daily News

SLAF launches close air support mission - Mannar front

Sri Lanka Air Force MI-24 helicopter gun ships launched close air support mission in Mannar front this morning, May 26.

According to the Air Force spokesperson the air sorties launched targeting LTTE stronghold located in general area Andankulam, 1.5 Km north of the security forces defence in Mannar front. The air mission was launched around 8.30 a.m, spokesperson added.

Seven Tamil civilians seek protection with security forces- Mannar

Seven Tamil civilians including two females sought protection with security forces at the Navy and Police jointly manned fishing marshalling point at Pallaimunai, Mannar yesterday (May 25) around 2.30p.m., after fleeing from the LTTE dominated Vedithalathivu area, security sources said.

The civilians were later handed over to the Mannar police and subsequently taken to an IDP centre in Mannar, the sources said. According to available information, the civilians have fled due to unprecedented hardships and forced recruitment by the terror outfit.

Three Tamil youth seek refuge from Navy

Fleeing from LTTE clutches, three Tamil youth, a married couple and their elder brother, sought the protection of the Navy at the Pallimunai Fishing Marshalling Point in Mannar on the 23rd May 2008 around 10.00 a.m.

They had fled Nachchikudah via Vedithaltivu in a fibre glass dinghy (FGD) fitted with a 9.9 Horse Power Out Board Motor (OBM).

The young couple, the husband aged 23 and the wife aged just 17, had been compelled by the circumstances to marry young. During the preliminary investigations, the elder brother had revealed that the only option they had was to give their consent to his sister's early marriage in order to protect her from being recruited by the LTTE. However, it did not work as they thought because LTTE cadres kept looking for the girl ignoring the fact that she was married and was four months pregnant. Thus, she had been living in hiding, like all other young girls of her age, in constant fear of being forcibly recruited by the terror outfit which is faced with a severe shortage of cadres, both male and female at present.

They were directed to the Representative of the Government Agent at the Civil Coordinating Office in Mannar for further action.

Curtsey: Sri Lanka navy (

7 LTTE terrorists killed, 22 wounded in Wanni and Northern clashes

s7 LTTE terrorists were killed and 22 others reported wounded during counter terrorist operations continued by military on Saturday (May 24), at the Wanni and Northern battle theaters. Two soldiers have laid their lives and 7 wounded, MCNS reported.

At the Jaffna battle theater in Muhamalai, troops have destroyed 11 LTTE bunker defences, security sources said. A soldier was also reported wounded due to an AP mine explosion in general area Nagarkovil, sources further added.

Also, the military said, a terrorist was killed and 4 others wounded during clashes between troops and LTTE in general areas at Vediyamurippu, Nedunkandal and Malithidal at the Mannar front. According to security sources, a soldier has also been wounded during the confrontations. At the Vavuniya battle front, a terrorist was reported killed and 4 other terrorists wounded in yesterday's clashes, MCNS further said.

On the Welioya front, 5 terrorists were killed and 14 others wounded during ensued confrontations between troops and LTTE in general area Janakapura. According to military a soldier was also killed and 5 other also reported wounded in the confrontations.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bus bomb found in Moratuwa; vigilant civilians avert 2 terror attacks in one day

Vigilant civilians yesterday (May 24) foiled two cowardly attempts made by LTTE terrorist to massacre civilians in the Moratuwa and Ganemulla areas, defence sources said.

According to the sources, a civilian had found a time bomb weighing 3kg, the second finding for the day, placed inside a public transport bus that had been plying from Colombo to Moratuwa around 8 pm. The civilian had become suspicious about an ownerless parcel left in the bus and informed the matter to the bus conductor, the sources further said. The bus conductor had immediately stopped the bus at Rawathawatte , asked the passengers to get down from the bus and informed the 119 emergency service, the sources added.

The army bomb squad rushed to the location and found that the parcel was a time bomb and later defused it, said the sources.

Earlier on the same day evening, a bus conductor found 1.25 kg time bomb placed inside a bus that was to travel from Parkandeniya to Colombo. The conductor had detected the ownerless parcel at the end of a trip and threw it away at a remote place close to Kossinna temple. Then he informed the 119 emergency service operated by the Ministry of Defence. The Police Special Task Force (STF) bomb squad rushed to the location and disposed the bomb.

The two civilians whose vigilance is strong enough to defeat the cunning tactics of bloodthirsty LTTE terrorist saved dozen of innocent lives. Their deeds should be honoured by the whole nation. Further, reminds the public that the terrorist who had placed those bombs are still freely moving in the society looking to plan another cowardly attack. This is the greatest challenge in the counter terrorist warfare because unlike in conventional warfare these terrorist can act as innocent civilians no matter how many lives they had taken. Further, there are many outfits tasked by the LTTE to look after its agents. These outfits usually operate under most righteous themes like, civil rights, free media, human rights and etc, and do everything they can to prevent law enforcement authorities laying hands of those terror agents. Therefore , we request the general public to understand this bitter truth and to give their maximum corporation to the armed forces in defeating this decades old terrorist menace.

Terror bomb attack at civilians averted- Ganemulla

Sri Lanka Police Special Task Force (STF) bomb disposal team defused a time bomb weighing 1.25 kg this evening found in a public transport bus at Kossinna in Ganemulla (May 24) . According to the defence sources, the conductor of the bus who initially detected the ownerless parcel has thrown it out of the bus at a remote location. Then he has alerted the STF on the suspected parcel, the sources said.

The bomb was found in the bus that was due to leave Colombo from Parakandeniya. According to the sources, there were no passengers in the bus when the conductor detected the suspected parcel found under one of the passenger seats.

More details will follow.

13 LTTE terrorists killed in skirmishes at Wanni and North

13 LTTE terrorists were killed and 8 others reported wounded during fighting ensued between troops and LTTE ahead of the Wanni and Northern defences on Friday (May 23), security sources said.

Troops have also destroyed 13 LTTE bunker defences during a military offensive launched at LTTE positions south of the A-9 trunk road at Muhamalai, according to MCNS sources. Two soldiers have also received injuries during the confrontations. Separately, at Muhamalai 3 other terrorists were reported killed during a fierce fighting erupted between troops and LTTE at around 5.45p.m.

On the Vavuniya battle front, 4 terrorists were killed in confrontations in general areas at Periyamadu and Navathkulama. 10 hand grenades were also recovered by troops during subsequent search operations conducted, MCNS sources said.

On the Mannar front, an LTTE terrorist was killed in confrontation with troops in general area Nedunkandal, at around 5.45p.m. In addition, a soldier was also killed and another reported wounded due to an IED explosion in the same area at around 6.30a.m.

According to military, 4 terrorists were killed and 8 others wounded during a fierce gunfire exchange between troops and LTTE terrorists at Kurunkandai, Mannar yesterday morning. Meanwhile, another terrorist was also reported killed by troops in general area Vediyanmurippu

Friday, May 23, 2008

Defeat terrorism and communalism

President appeals to masses :

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday called for the defeat of both terrorism and communalism in all their manifestations.

"We are now swimming upstream against racism. Our Nation is now fully prepared and accustomed to handle and endure the situation, as a multi-racial society. They have no hatred in their hearts. We must establish a society and an environment where the rich and diverse cultures of all communities could be enmeshed together, appreciated and cherished as our very own assets and treasures," President Rajapaksa said.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the commencement of work on the Chinese-funded multi-million dollar National Performing Arts Theatre (NPAT) in Colombo, the President said cultural endeavours would help in a better understanding among communities.

The Theatre which would be constructed under the auspices of Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, at a cost of Rs. 2,430 million, covering a ground surface area of 14,000 square meters, would be fully funded by the Chinese Government.

The President said several significant monumental buildings such as the BMICH and the Court Complex in Hulftsdorp and all varieties of Chinese goods available here reflect the strong cultural and social bonding between the two friendly countries. The Theatre is expected to be completed within 26 months.

This historic joint venture would further consolidate these existing traditional and friendly links between Sri Lanka and the People's Republic of China.

"A long-felt need to protect, enhance and nurture the indigenous Arts and the Cultural Heritage of the land, which has no race, caste or creed barriers, finally became a reality this day, thanks to the Chinese Government and its people. The unavailability of a NPAT was a drawback in the uplift of our Arts and Culture," he said.

He categorically pointed out that our rich cultural heritage and the Performing Arts which from ancient times were entwined, were woefully stagnant for long, due to the barbaric terrorism that prevailed in certain regions of the country, and resulted in some communities being driven out and displaced from their natural habitats.

He was of the view that in the market-oriented and fiercely competitive world of today, we too should not drift away in rampant commercialisation, to the detriment of spiritual, cultural and social values of the nation.

"We too wish to come out of the morass and raise our head, like China. We will develop our villages in all forms possible, especially its infrastructure. We will adopt a 'Arts and Culture friendly' Chintanaya (concept)", he noted.

Reminiscing and condoling the devastation caused by the recent earthquake in China, President Rajapaksa stated that China, as a true-friend, had steadfastly stood by us when the Tsunami catastrophe rocked our island nation. China has consistently stood by us and never ever isolated or abandoned us in any form of peril or natural calamity, in the past.

Sri Lanka will also follow suit and 'stand by' with China in all circumstances.

The Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Ye Dabo pointed out that there was bilateral trade between China and Sri Lanka, in the order of US$ 14 billion. China has become the fourth largest trade partner of Sri Lanka.

"China is a true and genuine friend, committed to the development and the prosperity of Sri Lanka," Ambassador Dabo added. President Rajapaksa unveiled a 'Commemorative Plaque' to symbolically mark the inauguration of the NPAT.

The President also cut the first sod of soil to mark the epoch-making event.

Two minutes silence was observed in memory of our 'War Heroes' who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in combatting terrorism, the 'Nargis' cyclone-victims in Myanmar, and the earth-quake victims in China.

President Rajapaksa and Chinese Ambassador Ye Dabo unveiling the commemorative plaque. Pictures by : Sudath Silva and Sudath Malaweera

President Mahinda Rajapaksa cutting the first sod of soil to mark the symbolic inauguration of the construction of the 'National Performing Arts Theatre' at Nomads Grounds yesterday
Courtesy : Daily News

Police probe into alleged assault on journalist

Sri Lanka police has deployed 3 special teams of police officers to investigate into the case in which a senior journalist has been beaten up by an unknown party last night (May 22). Police media spokesman Deputy Inspector General N.K. Ilangakoon speaking at a media briefing held at MCNS, Colombo, told that the police teams are presently conducting investigations in Colombo and its suburbs.

He said that the wife of Mr. Keith Noyahr had logged a complaint at the police station Dehiwala, around 11.30 pm that her husband had disappeared leaving his car in front his residence. The police had rushed to the location and commenced the investigations there onwards, he further said.

Speaking further he said that Mr. Noyahr, has returned home this morning with injuries to his head and he is undergoing treatments at Colombo National Hospital at present. The victim has not been able to make a statement on the incident due to his medical condition though the police had made an attempt, he added.

Questioned how the event had occurred, the police spokesperson said that the victim had been returning home after a dinner before being beaten up. However, no one is reported to have witnessed the scene, he further said.

Mr. Noyahr is a deputy editor of the Sri Lanka English weekly the Nation. The incident has been already exploited by anti Sri Lankan propagandists to attack defence establishments in the country. The controversial NGO, Free Media Movement was quick to speculate a connection between the incident and a defence establishment by stating that there is no other reason for the attack other than the victim being critical over the war and high ranking military officials. However, learns that no evidence has been found so far to prove such a tendentious allegation.

Wanni offensive in progress, 21 terrorists killed

Troops engaged in offensive march in Wanni and Jaffna theatres killed 21 terrorists and injured 21 in yesterday's (22 May) clashes. More 12 terrorists were reportedly killed or wounded as the report reached from the warfront stated.

On Wanni front, in Vavuniya front, troops attacked fortified LTTE defences in general area Periyamadu killing 5 terrorists and injuring 3 others during day hours yesterday. 2 soldiers also suffered injuries due to LTTE's retaliation. Meanwhile, troops ambushed an LTTE movement in general area Mundimurippu. Intercepting terror transmission it is leant that 4 terrorists were killed while 7 others injured. An army soldier also suffered injuries and he was rushed to Ampara hospital.

Further, troops launched an attack at LTTE bunker in general area Palamoddai killing 4 LTTE terrorists. 2 army soldiers also received injuries due to LTTE's retaliation. Meanwhile, 5 army soldiers suffered injuries exploding anti-personnel mines in general areas Kontakkrankulam, Periyamadu and Palamodai.

In Mannar front, army snipers deployed in general are Alankulam gunned down an LTTE terrorist last afternoon. In the same area, troops attacked fortified terror bunker and ground troops confirmed that one terror cadre was killed while another 3 suffered injuries.

Separately, 6 more terrorists were reportedly either killed or wounded due to a confrontation occurred in general area Veddayamurrippu. Meanwhile, 5 terrorists suffered injuries when the troops launched an attack at LTTE bunkers in general area Nedunkandal.

Troops engaged in mine-clearing operations unearthed 12 AP mines from general area Mantota.

In Welioya front, 4 terrorists were killed 3 more suffered injured in clashes occurred in general areas north of Janakapura, Kokkuthuduwai and north of Kiriibbawewa. Six more terrorists reportedly killed or wounded due to the security forces attacks. Further, 2 army soldiers were killed while another 3 suffered injuries due to yesterday's clashes erupted in Welioya front.

29 anti-personnel mines were unearthed by the troops engaged in mine-clearing operation in general areas north of Janakapura and Kiriibbanwewa areas.

On Jaffna theatre of battle, 2 terrorists were gunned down by the army snipers deployed in general area Muhamalai.

Army hands over 4 LTTE bodies to ICRC

Four more bodies of female LTTE cadres who were killed in recent clashes in Welioya handed over to ICRC officials at the Omanthai Entry/Exit point this afternoon, May 23.

The ICRC representative, Mr. P.Kabeshan who was in charge of the mission had taken the bodies to LTTE held areas in Wanni to be handed over them to the LTTE, sources said.

Pro-LTTE reports on attacks against civilians refuted

The Sri Lanka Army flatly refutes and despises attempts of the pro-LTTE media to blame the Army over alleged explosions of claymore mines in un-cleared areas of Kilinochchi, targeting both an ambulance and a van during the course of the day (Friday,23rd, 2008). The areas alleged in those reports lie about 100 km away from the northern most Omanthai Entry/Exit point and defence lines under the government control in Vavuniya.

Those reports shamelessly claimed that an ambulance carrying an Assistant Director of the Fisheries Corporation, Mannar and a civilian was the target of the first claymore mine in Muzhangkaavil, Kilinochchi. Adding another dimension a few hours later, the same pro-LTTE mouthpiece alleged that one more van carrying sixteen civilians, including six children, four girls and two boys was attacked with a claymore mine at about 2.15 p.m. on Friday (23) in the same un-cleared Muzhangkaavil area while they all were allegedly returning from a hospital.

It is crystal clear that those LTTE reports have been attributed to the Army with a sinister move and the sheer intention of tarnishing the image of the Army unreservedly and also provoking the international community in order to win back the world sympathy for their lost cause. Many such reports carried in their media in the past provide ample evidence and examples to this effect. The Army categorically refuses such reports and appeals sensible readers to judge the motive behind such pro-LTTE allegations.

Courtesy :

SLAF fighters destroy LTTE boat hideout

Sri Lanka Air Force supersonic fighter jets carried out an air attack targeting an LTTE boat hideout this afternoon, May 23.

According to the air forces sources, SLAF fighters raided a place where terrorists used to conceal their boats located in general area Thundikulam, in Chundukulam beach area around 2.00 pm. The air raid was launched on precise information received from naval patrol. Pilots have observed that few LTTE boats set ablaze due to the bombardment and flames had lasted for more than15 minutes, air forces sources further said.

SLAF launches air support missions - Mannar Front

Sri Lanka Air Forces fighters launched air support missions in Mannar front this afternoon, May 23.

MI-24 helicopter gun ships engaged in close air support mission raided an LTTE gathering point located in east of Adampan town, 1.5 Km ahead of the security forces defence line. The raid was launched around 4.40 pm air force spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, SLAF jets raided another LTTE gathering place located in general area Periyamadu in Mannar front around 2.10 pm, spokesperson added.

Air Force fighter jets pound on terror command centre - North of Mannar

Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets pounded on an LTTE Command Centre located in the Parappakadattan area, on the Mannar warfront this morning (May 23).

According to Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Andrew Wijesuriya, the target was engaged around 7.40 am to support troops advancing on the Mannar front. He said that the target was effectively hit but details of damages caused to the terrorists are yet to be verified.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Child soldiers in Sri Lanka and their rehabilitation

The problem of child soldiers has been a recurrent nightmare for Sri Lanka, since the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam made almost a fetish of using children in their forces. Their baby brigade was a source of pride during the nineties and, even though they tried in the course of that decade to establish themselves as a respectable military organization, the issue of child soldiers reveals most clearly perhaps their rejection of civilized norms.

Though the issue had been noticed previously, it became a focus of attention following the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement. Child soldiers became the symbol as it were of continuing LTTE militarization. According to UNICEF data, there were a total of 6,183 cases of child recruitment by the LTTE in five years after the February 2002 CFA. Out of this 3,732 were boys and 2,451 were girls. Although these numbers appear high, these are still probably lower than the actual numbers. It is not possible to accurately determine the full extent of under-age recruitment for several reasons. Some parents are not aware of existing reporting mechanisms. Others fear reprisal and so do not report. Most families suffer from intimidation and threats if they contravene LTTE orders.

During the same period, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, which ruled after examination on Ceasefire Violations, declared that there had been 1743 confirmed cases of child recruitment by the LTTE (out of 2062 allegations). There were none of course by the Government of Sri Lanka, which has never used child soldiers - though there was a single accusation of child recruitment made against the government, which was dismissed.

Though the Sri Lankan government has never used child soldiers, there have been allegations against it of complicity with former members of the LTTE in recruitment of child soldiers during the last few years. UNICEF has maintained a database of recruitment of children in the Eastern Province by the Karuna faction, which broke away from the LTTE in 2004. It should be noted that, immediately after the split, an estimated 1,800 children were released by the Karuna group. However, there was widespread re-recruitment of these children by the LTTE in mid-2004 and the Karuna faction then claimed that it was forced to take in children who were otherwise in danger.

UNICEF data confirmed a total of 351 children overall recruited by the Karuna faction, mostly boys. There is no confirmation at all of government involvement, and the only allegation made by UNICEF was of soldiers at a checkpoint waving through cadres including children. Investigation revealed that, when the matter was brought to the notice of authorities, disciplinary action had been taken against the soldiers involved. No other allegations were made and, though a UN official recorded assertions of complicity in a report in 2006, he did not respond to requests for evidence. Significantly, the UN Secretary General, in his own report, only mentioned allegations against government forces in a few instances, while categorically condemning the LTTE for several instances of child recruitment and the Karuna faction in a few.

The government has tried to ensure release of all children held by the Karuna faction, and initially set a target date of 2007 for this. This was not achieved, but the number is only in double figures now, and these cases too should be resolved soon. One problem however, as became clear when arrangements were being made to take over several late last year, was the inadequacy of arrangements for rehabilitation. The Karuna faction had little faith in UNICEF, and this was understandable in the past, though recently with a new head of UNICEF plans for a productive partnership between government and UNICEF are in train.

Most recently, government has been able to instil confidence in the TMVP, the democratic political party into which the former Karuna faction has been transformed, with regard both to collaboration with UNICEF and general safety in the East, following the successful conduct of peaceful and pluralistic elections in the region. Two sets of former combatants have now been restored to their parents or to government custody for a rehabilitation programme, in which UNICEF has agreed to partner the government.

The failure of rehabilitation in collaboration with the LTTE

Unfortunately, following the Ceasefire Agreement, UNICEF thought it could work with the LTTE to rehabilitate former child soldiers. The then government accepted this position, in its anxiety to display commitment to the peace process, and these attitudes continued for several years despite continuing evidence of LTTE violations of the CFA.

Thus GOSL institutions such as the NCPA which has the mandate to uphold the protection rights enshrined in the CRC was left out of planning because they had advocated strongly against child recruitment, which led to strong objections to their involvement by the LTTE. Instead of the NCPA, the partner GOSL institution in rehabilitation projects was the Ministry of Social Welfare which was acceptable to the LTTE but without much experience in this field.

Though UNICEF continued to advocate against child recruitment with the LTTE and attempted to get them to honour their commitments to cease recruitment and release all child soldiers, this advocacy did not yield the desired outcome. As part of the Action Plan for Children, UNICEF in collaboration with the GOSL planned a mass media awareness campaign on child rights emphasizing advocacy against child recruitment. According to reports by UNICEF, the mass media campaign was indefinitely postponed since January 2004 as the LTTE did not approve of the key messages. It was subsequently not implemented.

More importantly, the demobilisation of already recruited child soldiers by the LTTE and the prevention of new recruits faced serious constraints. The programme on rehabilitation and reintegration which was planned by the GOSL in collaboration with UNICEF and the LTTE in 2003 was not effectively implemented. The LTTE agreed to the programme only on the basis that the main implementing agency was an NGO, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), which was the only organisation acceptable to them. The GOSL was represented by the Ministry of Social Services at that time.

According to UNICEF as of 31 March 2006, the estimated number of children released was 1,614, out of which 173 had been sent to transit centres and 1,441 directly to their homes. UNICEF reported that the following activities took place1:

(a) A transit centre, managed by UNICEF in collaboration with the TRO, was opened up in Kilinochchi (October 2003). However, it functioned only for a few months. During these few months, UNICEF maintained a 24-hour presence at the transit centre with both national and international staff. However the centre did not continue to function as no children were released to the centre.

(b) UNICEF allocated resources for land, construction of the centres, supplies and equipment, furniture and recruitment of international and local staff. Two other transit centres were planned in Batticaloa and Trincomalee. These centres were never opened. Substantial resources were provided by UNICEF for both the Killinochchi and the other two centres. The main reason for the non-functioning of the centres was the non-release of child combatants by the LTTE. The very few children released did not justify the cost of running such transit centres.

(c) During the time period between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2005, only 17 boys and 22 girls were released to the transit centre. During the same period, 269

were considered released from all districts in the North except Trincomalee District.

(d) Between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2005, the Kilinochchi transit centre accommodated released children for 13 weeks. These released children from this transit centre have been reunited with their families.

(e) In December 2004, UNICEF met with senior level LTTE leaders to discuss the usage of the transit centres. Due to the limited number of children being released it was agreed that the Killinochchi transit centre should be reprogrammed for an alternate use.

(f) UNICEF withdrew all their support to the transit centre, including their staff by the end of December 2004.

(g) UNICEF continued to maintain the hope that the transit centres would be used to accommodate released children, should the LTTE release a sufficient number. However such plans were abandoned since there were too many unresolved issues related to such centres, relating to the type of staff employed to run the centre, how reunification occurs, rehabilitation of child combatants and the quality and access to psychosocial therapy they could hope to obtain.

Other absurdities on the part of UNICEF included the enthusiasm of its Head for the commitment of the LTTE, as late as 2007, to release children under 17. When it was pointed out that 18 was the lower limit, she remarked that the LTTE had told her it needed to introduce new legislation for this purpose, since the limit on its existing law was 17. When it was pointed out that the LTTE could not legislate, she apologized, and referred to regulations. It was clear that she had been totally taken in by LTTE masquerades as to its intentions.

The importance attached by the LTTE to continuing use of child soldiers is apparent from its attempt to remove the topic from discussion at the last sets of peace negotiations held under the CFA in 2006. At a meeting with the Norwegian ambassador held in March 2006, in preparation for negotiations in April, they 'insisted that the issue of child recruitment does not fall within the parameters of the CFA, and should not be part of the agenda at the next round of talks...Mr Bratskar has pointed out that the CFA does mention of the abductions. Since a child cannot voluntarily join the LTTE military force, all recruitment will have to be treated as abduction. He had also argued that looking at the history of the six rounds of talks, there is an acknowledgment that recruitment should not be continued, and that continued recruitment was extremely damaging to the image of the LTTE at the international level.'

After this exchange, the LTTE refused to go to talks in April. In June they went to Oslo but refused to talk. Finally in October they did talk for one day, but not on the second. Though the issue of child soldiers was not the only one they were diffident about, clearly they felt very uncomfortable when it was on the table.

Future Plans
It is apparent now that no reliance can be placed on the LTTE with regard to child soldiers. Recently a large proportion of young girls have been found amongst the dead in LTTE bunkers and, though these may not be children, it is apparent that the practice of putting the vulnerable in the front lines has resumed.

All this however makes it more important that the government, in collaboration with UNICEF and other appropriate agencies, sets in place plans for rehabilitation, that will cater not only to the children now in custody, or who may soon be released by the Karuna faction, but also those who might be able to escape from LTTE clutches.

A Committee set up by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Rights (IMCHR), which functions under the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, has developed plans for several rehabilitation Centres, and identified partners who can provide suitable care plus high level training to give former child combatants better opportunities for employment. Working together with UN agencies that move beyond the basic dependency needs of most victims of war seems the best option, and projects have been proposed to ILO and IOM, in addition to bilateral donors.

Providing a positive future is essential for these children who have been so badly abused in the past. If the current intransigent LTTE leadership changes, it is possible that a younger generation, some of whom suffered abuse as children as did many in the Karuna faction, will promote a change of approach that will open up opportunities they were denied. Sri Lanka hopes that the international community, some of which still continues despite all statistical evidence in a state of denial about LTTE brutality in this regard, will contribute to the change that is so urgently needed.

Courtesy: Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP)

An end to terrorism

President George W Bush's recent speech to the Israeli Knesset is very illuminating as it provided a deeper insight to America's attitude towards terrorism. The US President made it clear that no nation should be forced to negotiate with terrorists. He staunchly defended the right of nations to defend themselves against terrorism and extremism.

Terrorism is terrorism, everywhere. There are no good terrorists or bad terrorists. Some attempt to create a distinction between so-called freedom fighters and terrorists, but as Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the US Bernard Goonetilleke pointed out in a recent speech in Alaska, even 'freedom fighters' should not resort to terrorism to achieve their aims. Only a very few countries have not experienced acts of terrorism perpetrated either by home-grown or foreign terrorists. It is truly a worldwide phenomenon.

The US has vowed to destroy al-Qaeda. Here in Sri Lanka, the Security Forces are battling the LTTE, described the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) as the deadliest terrorist group in the world, even ahead of al-Qaeda. But herein lies a contradiction.

Many powerful nations often request the Sri Lankan Government to "negotiate with the LTTE for a permanent settlement". In the same breath, they vow to destroy terror groups such as the al-Qaeda.

There certainly cannot be such double standards in dealing with terrorism as terror groups operate all over the world and maintain links with each other. The LTTE itself is a prime example. Several LTTE operatives have been arrested in the US, where it has remained on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTOs) since 1997.

Other LTTE cadres have been arrested in India, France and the UK. The LTTE is thus perceived as a global terror outfit.

All Sri Lankan Governments have tried talking to the LTTE, including the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. No Sri Lankan Government delegation has ever walked away from talks - it is the LTTE which had always done so on a flimsy excuse.

Negotiations clearly are anathema to the Tigers. It was not the Government which started the fighting and violated ceasefires. Even now the Government is willing to enter into a dialogue with the LTTE provided it is genuinely seeking peace.

But if the LTTE's response is more violence, the Government has no option but to strike against it and liberate innocent civilians. This does not mean an end to the quest for a political solution, but destroying terrorism is a priority. OPPOSITION'S RESPONSIBILITY

The Opposition in a democracy has a serious role to play. One of its main functions is to offer constructive, not destructive, criticism of Government policies and programmes. The Opposition should not oppose Government policies and programmes merely for the sake of opposing them to gain a narrow political advantage.

But when it comes to national interests, both the Government and the Opposition should think and act along the same lines. There are certain matters over which there should be consensus. National security, foreign policy and the upholding of the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty are among these.

The Opposition should not act in a manner that will jeopardise the interests of Sri Lanka and affect its people. This is very clear if one looks at established democracies in the West and the East.

The record of our current Opposition leaves a lot to be desired in this regard. Tarnishing the Government's image in Parliament and before local audiences for petty political gain is somewhat understandable from a purely political point of view, but extending this to foreign audiences is inimical to the country's well-being.

The Opposition's current campaign against the Government's human rights record is one such example. The Sri Lankan people will be the ultimate losers if facilities such as the GSP Plus are not extended by the countries concerned. Such a step will adversely affect the garment industry, one of the main sources of foreign exchange earnings. It is also a main source of employment and hundreds of thousands of families will be affected if the garment industry collapses.

It is this context that fears have been expressed over Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's proposed visit to Germany. According to media reports, anti-Sri Lanka and pro-LTTE forces in Germany are planning to use this trip to denigrate Sri Lanka in the eyes of German leaders. They are reported to be banking on the Opposition Leader's meeting with the German Parliament's Human Rights Committee for this purpose.

This is indeed a very alarming trend at a decisive moment in the country's history when the Security Forces are poised to wipe out terrorism. Any international action against Sri Lanka at this moment can only help the terrorists to revive their sagging morale after a series of humiliating defeats.

The Opposition should not let that happen if they truly care for the people of this country and wish to see an undivided, peaceful and prosperous nation.

Courtesy: Daily News


No nation should be ever forced to negotiate with terrorists - US President

UNHRC: Lanka gains 101 votes

UN: Sri Lanka yesterday obtained an absolute majority at the vote for the UN Human Rights Council, gaining 101 out of 192 votes on offer.

Out of the six countries which vied for four slots on offer for Asia, Japan, South Korea, Bahrain and Pakistan secured seats leaving behind Sri Lanka and East Timor. Candidates for the council are chosen by regional groups, and the 192-member General Assembly votes by region by secret ballot.

Analysts said yesterday that 101 countries expressing confidence in Sri Lanka, enabling it to obtaining an absolute majority was in itself was a victory despite an anti-Sri Lanka campaign by some individuals and organisations.

Any such criticism regarding Sri Lanka's human rights record should only be levelled after a careful study of the whole picture, in addition to giving due consideration to the views of all parties, said Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe on the eve of the vote yesterday.

The Minister said that comments by former US President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and some other groups to this effect were ill timed, and that they had never given the Government a chance to answer the allegations beforehand.

He also alleged that some local groups and individuals with vested interests too were behind this campaign to prevent Sri Lanka's continued presence at the Council. The report of the working group on the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka was unanimously adopted on Monday at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Minister said that Sri Lanka's National report, which was presented at the UPR had come in for high praise at the working group, as a comprehensive and detailed document that was forthright and candid about the situation facing Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the report the Minister said that it presented a descriptive and accurate picture of the prevailing human rights situation and identified national priorities and capacity building needs.

He also said that the report highlighted strengths and identified challenges Sri Lanka faces as a nation in its efforts to promote and protect human rights. As a founder member of the Council formed in 2006, Sri Lanka has played a constructive role to develop mechanisms such as the UPR and also to engage in institution building of the Council he said.

He also noted that as a former coordinator of the 13 member Asian regional grouping within the Council and as the holder of the Vice-presidency since 2007, Sri Lanka has helped to build consensus and has cooperated with fellow member states to uplift human rights promotion and protection in the globe.

For two seats in the group of Western states, France received 123 votes and Britain 120 votes - just one vote more than Spain which got 119 votes. The other contested race was for two seats in the Eastern European group. Slovakia and Ukraine defeated Serbia and the Czech Republic.

Courtesy: Daily News

5 LTTE terrorists killed; bodies recovered- Vavuniya

Troops continued to dominate in the Wanni battle front today (May 22) as Army infantrymen carried out sporadic attacks at LTTE, security sources said.

According to MCNS, 5 terrorists were killed in a confrontation with SLA in general area North of Parappakadaththan in Vavuniya at around 2.50p.m. Meanwhile, during a subsequent search operation conducted in the area troops have recovered 5 LTTE bodies along with 5 T-56 assault riffles, the sources further added.

2 TMVP members gunned down by unidentified gunmen - Kaththankudi

Two TMVP (Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal) members were gunned down by unidentified gunmen in Kaththankudi town today, May 22. The victims were identified as Shanthan, the party's chief organizer of Kaththankudi, and Parasuraman, sources said.

According to available information the victims were riding a motorbike when they were shot by the gunmen in front of the Kaththankudi bus stand around 11.55 a.m.

Two more civilians who received injuries in this shooting incident were also admitted to the Batticaloa hospital, sources further said.

The TMVP was formed as a Tamil political party by the former eastern leader of the LTTE, Karuna Amman. Since then the party members have been fighting for survival against violence unleashed on them by the LTTE terrorists as well as the hateful propaganda campaigns engineered by pro-terror NGO activists

Soldier injured in LTTE claymore mine explosions- Akkaraipattuwa

A soldier received minor injuries when LTTE terrorists triggered off 2 byroad claymore mines, targeting an Army route clearing patrol along the Akkaraipattuwa - Pottuvil main road in Akkaraipattuwa, today (May 22) at around 10.15a.m.

The explosions were said, have occurred between Urani and Komari general areas, MCNS sources said. The injured soldier was immediate rushed to the general hospital at Akkaraipattuwa.

During subsequent search operations conducted, troops have found 4 battery cells, sources further said.

Two more LTTE bodies handed over to ICRC- Vavuniya

Sri Lankan Army has handed over two more LTTE bodies located by troops during search operations conducted in Vavuniya battle front to the ICRC officials today(May 22), at around 10a.m.

According to military, the ICRC has made preparations to handover the bodies to the LTTE at the Omanthai' Entry/ Exit point.

Army Inches forward to Mullaithivu; 17 terrorists killed on the Welioya front

The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) says that 17 terrorists were killed in daylong clashes occurred in Welioya warfront yesterday (May 21).

Troops inching forward to Mulaithiuvu jungles attacked and destroyed a fortified enemy defence located in the North of Janakapura area last evening. Fierce clashes erupted around 2.20 pm as army infantrymen charged to the enemy defence. Ground troops claimed 7 terrorists were killed in this incident.

During subsequent search troops found 4 bodies of female LTTE cadres along with two rifles (T-56, T -81), 2 hand grenades , 72 Anti Personal (AP) mines and 29 Improvised bombs.

10 Other terrorists were killed in a series of other clashes occurred elsewhere.

On the Vavuniya front, reports indicate three clashes occurred in the Palampiddi, Mundimurippu, and Palamodai areas during the day. During these clashes 3 terrorist were reportedly killed and 6 other wounded. Also, one soldier was killed 2 others wounded due to LTTE mortar fire.

On the Mannar front, troops confronted with a group LTTE cadres detected in the Nadunkandal area around 4.30 pm. One soldier was killed in this incident. During the subsequent search troops uncovered 2 T-56 rifles.

Meanwhile in the Jaffna theatre of battle, one LTTE cadre was reportedly wounded in confrontation occurred in the Muhamalai area last morning. Also , a soldier suffered injuries due to an AP mine blast.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

29 terrorists killed, 10 wounded in today's clashes - Vavuniya, Mannar fronts

The military reports received from the Wanni warfront this evening, May 15, indicate that 29 terrorists were killed and at least 10 others suffered injuries in the day's offensives. In addition, one soldier laid his life for the sake of motherland while another suffered injuries during these clashes.

In Mannar front, incidents reported from Alankulam, north of Periyaodaippu, Nedunkandal and east of Adampan areas. Troops attacked two fortified LTTE bunkers in early hours today and ground troops confirmed that 6 terrorists were killed while another 10 suffered injuries in this attack.

Meanwhile, troops directed artillery shells observing an LTTE gathering in general area north of Periyaodaippu around 6.30 this morning. Ground troops confirmed that 8 terrorists were killed due to shelling.

Separately, army snipers deployed in general area east of Adampan gunned down an LTTE terrorist in morning hours today, the report said.

An army soldier suffered injuries exploding an anti-personnel mine in general area Nadunkandal this morning, the report further stated.

In Vavuniya front, troops confronted with a group of LTTE terrorists in general area Palampiddi and troops confirmed that 2 terrorists were killed while another two suffered injuries. In the same area, troops ambushed an LTTE movement killing at least 2 terrorists around 11.00 a.m. An army soldier suffered injuries exploding an anti-personnel mine while engage in mine clearing operation in same area, the report added.

At least 10 LTTE terrorist were killed when the troops ambushed an LTTE movement in general area Periyamadu this evening.

Offensive operation in progress.

SLAF fighters raid LTTE military base - Mullaittivu

Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets raided an LTTE military base located at west of Nayaru lagoon around 7.30 p.m today, May 15.

Air Force spokesperson, Wing Commander Andrew Wijesooriya, speaking to said that the air sorties were carried out targeting the LTTE base located in a jungle patch in Mullaittivu area.

The targeted LTTE military base had been under constant air and ground surveillances for long period and the air raids were launched as intensified activities had been observed in the terror base recently, spokesperson added. The target was accurately hit causing maximum damage to the enemy base, he further said.

Terrorists suffer heavy losses in clashes - Vavuniya

Sri Lanka Army soldiers yesterday (May 14) found five bodies of female LTTE cadres along with 5 T-56 rifles, after hours long clashes occurred in the Periyamadhu area on the Vavuniya warfront. According to the defence sources in the front, heavy clashes had prevailed between 8.30- 10 am as troops continued to march ahead into the LTTE dominated Wanni territory.

The terrorists had showered mortar fire on the charging soldiers but failed to halt them, the sources said. One soldier was killed, one reported missing in action and four others suffered injuries in the incident, the sources added.

Elsewhere, troops confronted with a group of terrorists around 2 pm and claimed at least 4 LTTE cadres were killed. One soldier suffered injuries in this incident.

In a similar incident at Palamodai troops attacked two fortified LTTE bunkers around 3.50, last evening. Ground sources have confirmed that 6 LTTE cadres were killed in the incident. Army suffered no damages.

Separately, a sniper deployed in the Palampiddi area claimed to have shot down one terrorist around 11.15 a.m. One solder suffered injuries due to an Anti Personal (AP) mine explosion in the same area on the same day evening.

Meanwhile, Army Electronic Warfare (EW) cells based on radio monitoring reported that terrorists had transferred 8 of its cadres to Molangavil government hospital in the non liberated area, out of which 3 had died at the hospital.

Further details from the warfronts will follow..

Army Commander Reviews Security Situation in Jaffna

Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka in an attempt to take an overall stock of the latest ground situation flew to Jaffna this morning, May 15, with several senior military officers of the Army Headquarters.

Commander, Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ- J) Major General G A Chandrasiri after receiving the visiting Army chief gave a detailed outline of the security developments unfolding in areas under his command. All respective Commanders in Divisions and Brigades joined him afterwards to brief the visiting commander on the current situation.

After reviewing the present security situation in the areas under SFHQ(J), Army chief gave additional instructions to all senior ground commanders on future security arrangements in respective areas.

Courtesy :-

TULF condemns Maheshwary killing

I very strongly condemn the assassination of Maheshwary Velautham of the EPDP by the brutal LTTE. This is yet another act of cowardice by a terrorist group that claims to be a liberation movement, says V. Anandasangaree, President, Tamil United Liberation Front in a press release.

He said: "Maheshwary Velautham, a lawyer and a full time EPDP activist now, had been, as I know a very devoted social worker for well over thirty years.

Having given up her practice as a lawyer she worked most of the time with the refugees both in Sri Lanka and in India and with the downtrodden. Knowing her well and would describe as a harmless and a pious lady who loved her country and its people."

"The killing had taken place in her native village Karaveddi where she had gone to see her ailing mother. Maheshwary can be acclaimed as a heroic Tamil woman because as far as I am aware, among the Jaffna Tamils, she is perhaps the only one next to Sarojini Yogeshwaran, to come out openly to do politics at grave risk to her life. Like Sarojini, the ex-mayor of Jaffna Maheshwary was also killed at her residence.

Both of them were unarmed and had no security officers at the time of the incident. Maheshwary will go down in history as a heroic woman. The Tamil people have been deprived of the services of this lady who had the courage to come out defying all threats from the LTTE, to serve her people.

I am sure those who glorify these cowards will put their heads down in shame for killing an unarmed woman in this uncivilised manner."

"While expressing my sympathies to her parents, kith and kin and all her comrades who worked with her for several years and to those who loved her and cared for her and call upon every right thinking person to condemn this brutal killing by this ruthless and atrocious group of terrorists who do not know the value of human life," the release said.

Courtesy : Daily News

Terrorists suffer heavy beatings in Wanni battle

The multi-pronged offensive launched in Jaffna and Wanni theatres continues further resulting heavy beatings to the enemy yesterday, May 14. According to the finalized report received from the warfront, apart from the news which we have already been published, 4 more terrorists were killed while another 27 reported either killed or wounded in clashes occurred yesterday. Meanwhile, two security forces personnel were killed while another suffered injuries due to the clashes, the report further said.

On Jaffna theatre of battle, one soldier was killed in a confrontation took place in general area Kilaly last afternoon.

In Vavuniya front on Wanni theatre, troops attacked a group of LTTE terrorists in general area Palampiddi last afternoon. Troops confirmed that 3 terrorists were killed in this incident.

In Mannar front, army snipers deployed in general area Nedunkandal gunned down an LTTE terrorist, the report said.

In Welioya front, 9 terrorists reported either killed or wounded in three separate confrontations took place in general area north of Janakapura through out the day. An army soldier was killed and another suffered injuries in one of these incidents, the report further said.

Meanwhile, 18 more terrorists reported killed or wounded in a four clashes occurred in general area north of Kiriibbanwewa during the day hours yesterday. Further, 100 T-56 ammunition, 20 food cans and several food packets were found in a subsequent search operation conducted in the area.

Separately, 220 anti-personnel mines and 11 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were unearthed by the troops conducting mine-clearing operations in general areas north of Janakapura and Kiriibbawewa through out the day, the report further added.

Limited operations are in progress.

Indian Minister express concerns over LTTE air capability

India's Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has expressed concern over the reported air capability of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that could be a threat to the vital installations in South India.

Stressing the need to synergise the efforts of all key partners for a safer and more efficient functioning of the installations in various sectors, he said the government would take all steps to protect the atomic energy installations and ports.

Inaugurating a "Security of Installations in Key Sectors" conference on Monday, Patil said the government was aware of the need to provide foolproof, multi-tier security to key atomic plants, establishments of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and other set-ups in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The conference was attended by heads of installations along with their security chiefs.

"There is a need to pool our efforts, have better coordination and upgrade our technological skills to secure our installations, which are critical to our country," he said. There was need to protect the supply chain of raw materials to the critical industries, particularly in oil and natural gas sectors, as any disruption would not only impede their functioning but also impact the country's growing economy. An integrated security system could be the answer to protect the vital installations.

Perhaps for the first time, security chiefs and heads of public sector giants such as Indian Oil, ONGC and Oil India, port trusts and private companies such as the Reliance Energy and the GMR attended the conference.

Courtesy : Daily News

Outcome of Eastern PC election is message of freedom from East to North

Government Defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday (14 May) told media that the outcome of the Eastern Provincial election is the message of freedom and democracy sent by the Easterners to their brethren in the North. He said that the people in the East have clearly rejected Prabhakaran's desire to create a mono ethnic separate homeland for Tamils but embraced the democracy. The Minister made these comments addressing at the weekly media briefing held at the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), Colombo.

Recalling the Indo - Sri Lanka peace pact signed by late president JR Jayawardane and Late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Minister pointed out that the Provincial council system was originally introduced as a probable solution to the ethnic issue but none of the previous governments could implement it in the areas where its is really intended for.

The Minister further said that the present government has not only liberated the Eastern province from the clutches of terrorism but also launched a massive development program in the area which had been long neglected by previous governments. While doing so, the Minister said that the government has now given the political freedom to the easterners by conducting, the local and provincial council elections peacefully. He added that the elections have created a history as a group of former LTTE cadres had abandoned terrorism and joined main stream politics to achieve their missions.

He further said that election itself was a unique achievement in that the people who were denied the basic fundamental right of franchise did exercise the right after a lapse of 30 years, many for the first time in their life.

Commenting on the opposition's allegations over the election that it was not a free and fair one, the Minister told that the any party has democratic rights to make any such comments, but highlighted that it a natural occurrence in the political field in Sri Lanka to see the defeated parties blaming the winning party. However, he hoped that the opposition would be fair enough to highlight the LTTE terror attacks that had been launched to cripple the election with the other violent activities that it is going to take up in future.