LTTE tries to target Trinco, other
The security cordon in Colombo and other parts of the
country has been strengthened after the LTTE on Thursday
for the first time openly vowed to hit major economic
and military targets in Sri Lanka.
The security boost comes amidst intelligence reports
that the LTTE is planning to launch air strikes in
Trincomalee and Colombo after the security forces
captured Thoppigala on Wednesday, sources told The
“Defence authorities are on high alert and are not
taking any chances,” highly placed sources said.
Government to take fresh peace
plans to India
The government is contemplating on a negotiated
settlement to the ethnic conflict after they consolidate
themselves in the East.
Government sources told The Nation that President
Mahinda Rajapaksa is awaiting the final outcome of the
All Party Representative Committee (APRC) report to send
a high-powered delegation to India to brief them on Sri
Lanka’s latest peace plans.
The march that commenced in
Mavil Aru last year ended last Wednesday with the capture of
Thoppigala by the security forces, marking the end of a campaign
to liberate the Eastern Province. Here the army’s elite
Commandos ascended the cap shaped mountain, Baron’s Cap, to
hoist the flag of the nation and that of their regiment (Pic
by Ishara S. Kodikara)
German Embassy says–
‘Minister’s utterance fabricated’
Highways Minister and Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj
Fernandopulle dropped another bombshell yesterday, accusing
German Ambassador in Colombo Jurgen Weerth of being guilty of
tarnishing the image of the country and further warned...
Fowzie to shift loyalties?
Speculation is rife that Petroleum Minister A. H. M. Fowzie and
his son Nauzer Fowzie are planning to join the United National
Party (UNP) soon.
Gallantry medals for armed forces
The government is seriously contemplating decorating all
military officials who took part in the successful Thoppigala
and eastern liberation offensive.
Maldives to send four Tigers
for Colombo trial
Four Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres who
are currently in a Maldivian jail, caught while
smuggling weapons to Sri Lanka in a hijacked Indian
trawler, will be sent to Sri Lanka to stand trial as
Maldivian Foreign Minister Dr. Shaheed announced that he
would not stand in the way of transferring the LTTE
cadres jailed for smuggling guns through Maldivian
waters, also to stand trial in Colombo on additional
charges of terrorism under Sri Lankan law.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Male, Mohamed Farooq
has confirmed to a Maldivian news agency that he has had
successful talks with the Maldivian Foreign Minister
about the transfer of the prisoners and the Maldivian
Foreign Minister has indicated that he would not stand
in the way of a transfer of the terrorists to face a
trial in Colombo.
Both men have played down the concerns of some pro-Tiger
NGO’s that the LTTE prisoners’ lives would be at risk in
a Sri Lankan jail.
During a six week investigation, according to the
Maldivian Foreign Ministry officials, the four cadres
confessed they were men of the LTTE. In early July they
also pleaded, according to Maldivian authorities, guilty
of gun running in the Maldivian waters. A Maldivian
court sentenced them to a jail term of 15 years.
At first the Maldivian authorities were reluctant to
extradite them to Sri Lanka. But later, following
discussions between the two governments, Maldives
reportedly changed view.
The Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Male, Farooq has
said, “If we find they intended to commit terrorist acts
in our country, we have the right to charge them with
Farooq, denying the charge that they would be tortured,
said there were many LTTE inmates in Sri Lankan jails
and none of them had been harmed.
London permits pro-LTTE group
rally at Trafalgar Square
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has granted
permission to an alleged pro-LTTE organisation, the
British Tamil Councillors and Associates, to hold a
rally in Trafalgar Square to protest against human
rights violations against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The rally was scheduled to take place last afternoon,
amidst much protest by mainly Sri Lankans living in the
UK who have pointed out that the GLA’s decision to grant
authorisation to a pro-LTTE organisation to hold a rally
in London was against the law as the LTTE was a banned
organistaion in UK.
“The GLA is granting permission to the rally and is
making it a condition in its permissions to the
organisers that there will be no promotion of the LTTE
on stage (including banners) or through the rally
programme and that the focus of the rally is a peaceful
protest regarding human rights issues in Sri Lanka,” the
authority’s Public Liaison Unit stated.
The GLA also claimed that the police have confirmed that
the British Tamil Councillors and Associates is not a
proscribed group under The Terrorism Act 2000 and have
no specific intelligence at this time to suggest the
event would be disorderly. “The police have confirmed
that if the GLA grant permission that they will provide
a proportionate level of policing and deal with any
offences, which may come to light, as with any community
event in Trafalgar Square. There is, therefore, no basis
to refuse permission for such a rally,” GLA added.
Concern mounts over recent
Authorities are concerned over the statement made by
LTTE Political Wing Leader S.P. Thamilselvan that the
LTTE would attack military installations and key
economic centres. Highly placed security forces said
yesterday that this is the first time that the LTTE had
openly announced that it would take military and
economic targets. It is normal for the LTTE to channel
its announcement through the Norwegian facilitators but
in this case it has not said anything of that sort to
Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar who went to
Kilinochchi on a farewell call mid last week. Brattskar
had not been able to meet with LTTE supremo Velupillai
Prabhakaran during his visit.
JVP wants debate on
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has written to
Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara seeking a debate on the
In a letter to the Speaker, JVP Propaganda Secretary
Wimal Weerawansa has requested a full day debate on the
topic during the impending parliamentary week beginning
“The security forces have cleared the LTTE from the
Eastern Province, and they should be congratulated on
their feat,” Weerawansa stated in his letter.
TNA briefs international
A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation led by its
Parliamentary Group Leader R. Sampanthan is currently on
an European tour to brief the international community
about the present political situation in the country.
The TNA team comprising Parliamentarians Suresh
Premachandran, S. Adaikalanathan, Gajen Ponnambalam and
S. Senadhirajah left the island last week and are
expected to return next month, a TNA spokesman said.
According to the spokesman their mission was to bring to
the attention of the European countries the plight of
the Tamils and the ongoing violation of human rights in
Meanwhile TNA Parliamentarian N. Srikantha told The
Nation that the objective of the visit was to get the
international community to mount pressure on the
He said though the government was in a jubilant mood to
celebrate the victory of Thoppigala, the Tamils were
He said the Thoppigala intrusion by the armed forces
further complicated the already complex situation in the
He said if the government genuinely wanted to resume
talks, then it should honour the Ceasefire Agreement.
He said if there was any willingness to honour the CFA
then the government would also have to strictly honour
all the clauses enshrined in the CFA.
SC drafting new circular on
Grade 1 admissions
The Supreme Court is considering to draft new circular
on guidelines for the admissions to Grade 1 children to
national schools of the country, because the court
disagreed with guidelines submitted by the Secretary to
The Nation learns that the court is seeking to consider
the views and proposals of parents, past pupils’
organisation, educationists, teachers and other
interested parties before formulating the guidelines.
In order to give them an opportunity to submit their
views and proposals, Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva has
directed Supreme Court Registar to mention the relevant
fundamental right application before the court on July
When the Fundamental Rights Application filed by a
parent who failed with the admission of his child to
Ambalangoda Dharmasoka College came before court, it
issued an interim order to cancel the existing
guidelines and directed to forward new guidelines.
Following this direction President’s Secretary Lalith
Weeratunga forwarded new draft guidelines to the court.
The Nation learns the new guidelines were also very
similar to guidelines cancelled by the court, and
deleted the marking scheme which court considered to be
Supreme Court is of the view that without the marking
scheme, the guidelines empower to use the discretion of
the principals and education officers, thus paving the
way for corruption.
Top team leaves today to plea
A high level Sri Lanka delegation headed by Foreign
Affairs Deputy Minister Hussein Bhaila will leave for
Riyadh today to meet top officials of the Saudi Arabian
government and the family of the four-month old infant
who was allegedly killed by a Sri Lankan housemaid
Rizana Nafeek, currently on death row.
Nafeek’s parents and the high level delegation is
scheduled to seek a pardon or plea against the ruling,
at least for a lesser sentence taking into consideration
the housemaid’s age as she was only 17 at the time she
allegedly committed the crime two years ago. The
government, it is learnt, has agreed to bear all
travelling and other incidental costs of the parents.
It is also learnt that the delegation will be carrying a
letter by President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed to the
It is also learnt that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh
has signed an agreement on July 11 in Riyadh with the
law firm, Kateb Fahad Al-Shammari to retain their
services to file the judicial appeal against the death
sentence imposed on Rizana Nafeek, by the Dawadami High
Court last month.
The ‘liberation’ of Thoppigala
UNP ups the tempo as Govt. revels in
word that reverberated throughout the country last week was Thoppigala,
a stretch of much-coveted territory in the Eastern Province. As security
forces wrested control of the region, the response of the rest of the
country said much for its debates and divisions with regard to the
ethnic conflict that has engulfed the nation.
It cannot be denied that parallel to the military operation to
‘liberate’ Thoppigala, there was another strategic war that was being
fought in the state-run media houses in Colombo. The instructions were
quite clear – portray the capture of Thoppigala as a significant
military advance that has the potential to be the beginning of the end
for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Hence the barrage of
video footage in the electronic media, which captured for posterity the
capture of Thoppigala.
Then came the congratulatory messages beginning with a brief but special
announcement from the Commander-in-Chief himself, President Mahinda
Rajapaksa. Even the likes of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) – which
does not always see eye to eye with the government these days – joined
in paying tribute to the war heroes.
The dissenting voices came first, understandably, from the LTTE, which
described the event as a temporary retreat for strategic reasons. That
was supplemented by a threat which the Tigers made no attempt to
disguise – a warning that the terrorists would now focus their attention
on vital economic targets.
The other to pooh-pooh the Thoppigala success was, predictably, United
National Party (UNP) and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Perhaps
what Wickremesinghe meant to say was that capturing Thoppigala did not
mean that the Eelam war was over, but given his penchant for expressing
the correct sentiments in the worst possible way, he did not do himself
main question that hangs over the government today is what would
come next in the aftermath of the Thoppigala victory.
There is no doubt that the government is basking in the euphoria
of the Thoppigala victory, which by all means is a significant
achievement on the part of the country’s armed forces.
However, the government’s victory celebrations would not last
long if it fails to address the other burning issues of the
Even as the government is patting itself on the back over the
victory, the opposition parties are blaming the government for
trying to push the burning problems faced by the people under
the shadow of the Thoppigala military gain.
Following the Thoppigala victory, the government is ready with
an elaborate plan to develop the east, without which it would
not be able to win the hearts and minds of the people. However,
it is certain that the second phase of the government plan would
be much more difficult than the military onslaught to secure the
If the government fails in its effort to develop the east and
provide basic facilities for the people such as roads, basic
healthcare, schools, etc., the objective of the military push
becomes meaningless because the people, who have gone through
sheer difficulties over a long period of time, would tend to
drift towards the LTTE in desperation. Therefore, the task
before the government is difficult and should be handled with
Test the waters
Simultaneously, it is now time for the government to think of
the referendum in the east in terms of the Indo-Lanka Accord
signed in 1987 to determine the will of the people and to
ascertain whether they would be willing to be part of north-east
joint administration. This would be a good opportunity for the
government to test the waters since India too is unhappy over
the de-merger, which took place owing to a judicial decision.
The Bench, Bar & You
Retrospective legislation dealt with
Sepala Ekanayake created history by committing the criminal
offence of hijacking an aircraft – in doing so he became the
first Sri Lankan to hijack an aircraft. The plane belonged to a
powerful country – Italy. Ekanayake was motivated to commit this
criminal act by the love he had for his son and wife.
His action forced the government of Sri Lanka to pass
retrospective legislation to take legal action against him. He
was the first person to be tried under Act No. 24 of 1982
certified on July 26,1982.
The Italian government did make an application to Sri Lanka for
the extradition of Ekanayake, but the application was refused
due to a technical defect in the application. The members of the
Parliament insisted that he should be tried by the courts of Sri
The Italian government was more concerned with Ekanayake’s
criminal activities when he threatened the crew of the Italian
plane, held the passengers and crew as hostage and obtained a
large sum of money as ransom from the Italian government.
Ekanayake committed this offence between June 29 and July 1,
1982. At that time there was no legislation to prosecute
Ekanayake for the crime he committed.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Bangkok gave an assurance to Ekanayake
in Bangkok that he would not be arrested on his arrival to Sri
Lanka and also assured him of safe flight to Sri Lanka.
The Ambassador had given this assurance after consultation with
Colombo. Ekanayake had also undertaken to release the hostages
when his demands were met. From July 1 to July 3 he was a free
man but the government had to change this due to very important
reasons, which would benefit the country.
After Ekanayake’s arrival in Colombo, the then Italian
Ambassador Franco Micilli de Biase made a complaint to the
police that Ekanayake retained stolen property belonging to the
It was suggested that the International Federation of Pilots
Association, International Private Passenger Carriers,
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and also the
Indian government and other nations demand that the Sri Lankan
Government should prosecute Ekanayake, and appropriate
legislation should be introduced for the punishment of hijacking
The Italian Ambassador’s complaint was made after Ekanayake had
banked a major part of the ransom money, US$ 280,000. He had
deposited the sum at the Bank of Ceylon International Division.
Consequent to the Ambassador’s complaint, the police commenced
investigations with regard to the retaining of stolen property
under the Penal Code of the country.
If Ekanayake had not demanded ransom when he hijacked the plane,
the police could not have commenced the investigation since, at
that time, Sri Lanka lacked legislation to deal with hijacking
Dr. JJ lost in his own importance
A medical officer by profession, he was elected to Parliament
in 1994 on the UNP ticket. He was appointed Rehabilitation,
Resettlement and Refugees Minister in 2002.
Target for extremists
Jayawardena claims that public accusations by his political
opponents that he is an LTTE sympathiser having close links with
them, has made him a target for assassination by nationalist
groups. Recently he claimed that the police informed him of his
life being in grave danger.
“Anura Senanayake of the Crimes Division told me that I’m a
primary target of various extremist groups. This is the result
of constant claims by the government and parties such as the JVP
and the JHU, that I’m an LTTE agent. But, the government is not
giving me adequate security.”
Dr. Jayawardane claims that this is not the first time the
police has warned him of the risk.
“The police and the CID have acknowledged my claims twice in
2005 and 2007 but the government has turned a deaf ear. This is
not the way the UNP behaved when we were in power.”
Dr. Jayawardane claims that the UNP in 2002, made security
arrangements to safeguard the lives of opposition members who
|Murali completes 700 in 50th Test
Champion off-spinner Muttiah Muraliltharan grabbed his 20th match bag of ten
wickets or more and became only the second bowler in Test history to capture 700
wickets when he bowled Sri Lanka to a comprehensive innings and 193-run victory
over Bangladesh in the third and final cricket Test which ended at the Asgiriya
International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. The win inside four days gave Sri
Lanka their third whitewash of a Test nation and also their fiftieth win in 170
Test matches since 1982. They had earlier beaten Zimbabwe and West Indies at
home by similar margins. After Sri Lanka had closed their innings at the
overnight 500-4 with an imposing lead of 396, Muralitharan got to work on the
hapless Bangladesh batsmen as he twirled his way to another six-wicket haul
taking 6 for 54 to follow his first innings bag of six for 28. It was the 60th
occasion he had taken a five-for in an innings. Bangladesh resisted with their
first two wickets adding 123 before Muralitharan got into the act to sweep the
rest of the batting under the carpet. Bangladesh was eventually all out for 176,
eight minutes before tea. Only left-handed opener Shariar Nafees offered any
kind of resistance batting as long as 161 minutes for 64 (9 fours).
Fingara Cricket Talent Search in
International Cricket Academy (FICA) conducted its 4th cricket talent search
among 22 schools in the North Central Province at the Rangiri Dambulu
International Cricket Stadium recently. There were over 225 young cricketers
from among schools in Dambulla, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kekirawa, Thalawa,
Eppawala, Yatiyalpathana, Palugaswewa, Thibbatuwawa, Bakamuna and
Rattanakadawela who participated and immensely benefited from the coaching
programme conducted by the team of FICA coaches headed by Hemantha Devapriya.
Former Sri Lanka A player Sanjeewa Weerasinghe and former Sri Lanka schools
under 19 Captain Malintha Gajanayake were among the cricketers who participated
at the event and shared their experiences with the young cricketers. Cricket
gear was presented to the respective schools, in addition to providing them with
meals, refreshments and travelling charges. Deputy Chairman Mervyn Jayasinghe,
Striking a balance
There is certainly something wrong somewhere in the Future Test Program
(FTP). Otherwise how can Sri Lanka find itself playing a full series of three
Test matches against a weak country like Bangladesh and only two Tests against
the best Test-playing nation Australia when they tour there in November? As much
as divided opinion would suggest the more exposure that Bangladesh gets they are
bound to improve, the same principles of justice could be applied to Sri Lanka
who are striving to become the best Test-playing nation by displacing Australia
from its pedestal. But a series of two Tests with Australia is certainly not
going to help their cause at all. What Sri Lanka should be doing is reverse the
roles and play two Tests with Bangladesh and three with Australia. That would be
fair justice to any team vying for the top spot in the ICC Test cricket
Kiriella challenges Rajapaksa to get
into witness box
Q: The UNP has woken up from its slumber and is finally taking
on the UPFA government over the alleged monetary deal with the
LTTE. What is the truth behind this entire episode?
A: Soon after the last presidential election, we suspected
that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had some kind of a deal with
the LTTE, but we had no proof. It was only a suspicion then. It
was Sripathi Sooriyarachchi who first gave us evidence to
establish the existence of this secret deal.
On April 5, he revealed in parliament that millions of rupees
were paid to the LTTE before and after the presidential
election. He said this was to prevent the people in the north
east voting for the UNP and to ensure Rajapaksa’s victory.
Q: You have said that the party has obtained an affidavit
from a person who happened to be the key witness to the deal.
Can you name the person and disclose his identity if this is
A: We can. But we will do it at the correct time. I could
say with responsibility that we have affidavits from people who
were there when the transaction took place before the election.
We also have documentary evidence of the monies that were paid
after the election, with both transactions running into
Q: An affidavit, according to the law, is not an authentic
document to establish any truth even before a court of law. Do
you, as a lawyer, think the government could be taken to task
with such a document?
A: That is why we have asked for a select committee. In
other countries the established practice is to appoint a select
committee when incidents of this nature are revealed in
For example, we have the Committee on Public Enterprises.
“All legacies must end” – Anura
Q: How did your niece Yasodhara’s wedding in London go?
A: The wedding went off very well. We had about 150 guests,
most of them were English. My sister had invited only very few
Sri Lankan friends in addition to Sunethra and I and it was very
well done and was very elegant. There was no church ceremony or
poruwa ceremony. She will be having the real homecoming here in
Sri Lanka in September. They are looking for a place to have it.
There will be about 3,000 guests, a hell of a lot for a wedding,
so they are looking for a place. It will probably be at the
Q: When is your sister, Chandrika Kumaratunga due in Sri
A: She is due next month – in August. She’s busy with this
Clinton Foundation work. She is due to go to Mozambique within
the next few days on assignment and from there she will come
Q: Do you think that after her daughter’s reception is over,
she may explore the possibility of getting back into the
political groove, even in some small way?
A: Well at the moment, she is not interested in getting
involved in politics. She is very keenly watching the situation
and she is very strong in her views about what’s going on. But
apart from that she has no plans to enter politics immediately.
She may do so later on.
Q: How do you think she feels about the invitation extended
to her by former Minister Mangala Samaraweera to come back and
save the SLFP?
A: Well, Mangala has asked her to do that. If she gets
involved in politics at all, she might become the catalyst for a
joint national government. The SLFP, the UNP – not only parts of
the UNP like today but the entire party – then the SLMC and CWC.
She doesn’t want to hold office however, so she may only play
the role of a catalyst.
Q: The entire East has been secured. The three armed forces
have worked in tandem. As the Air Force Commander, in your view,
what is the secret for greater cooperation among the three
A: The Commanders of the Army, the Navy and I, have all been
around for a very long time. All three of us are veterans of
this war. We know the weaknesses and strengths of the enemy, as
we give leadership to our forces. We also work as a team,
knowing the importance of joint operations.
We knew we had a job to do. To be effective, we knew that each
has to play its part and support the overall objective.
The common goal was to finish this war as quickly as possible
and rid the people of this burden. We know that the country has
tremendous potential. We have to finish this war, for the
government to take over and negotiate a solution.
From the inception, each of the forces prevented the LTTE from
calling the shots. In the sea, the Navy made a invaluable
contribution. The Army carried out their operations
successfully, according to a plan. As for the SLAF, I could say
it played its part; the pilots were accurate, the air traffic
controllers, those handling ground operations and special
operations and those handling ground security, all contributed
towards our success.