Karuna’s party debarred from
In an obvious blow to LTTE renegade leader Karuna
Amman’s much hyped political future, his political arm
Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) will not be
allowed to contest the forthcoming Eastern Province
election scheduled to be held before the end of this
year, The Nation learns.
The TMVP which has some 20 political offices in the
Eastern Province and one in Polhengoda, Colombo has not
been recognised or even been registered as a political
party by the Commissioner of Elections Dayananda
Dissanayake as of July 10, 2007.
The TMVP (also known in English as Tamileela People’s
Liberation Tigers) initially submitted their application
to the Department of Elections....
CJ quips about BOI chief
Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva on Friday quipped that
Board of Investment (BOI) Chief Dhammika Perera would
not be able to protect other companies and attract
investment into the country, when the company in which
he is a partner, Royal Ceramics Lanka Ltd.itself has
Who will have the last laugh?
None of them have much reason
to laugh these days. Ranil Wickremesinghe after losing 14
elections, ought to exercise caution in hoping to win the next.
Mangala Samaraweera, King Maker of the current administration
faces an uncertain political future, his estranged ally, S.B
Dissanayake is yet to regain his civic rights, while their
common adversary, at least momentarily, President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has even fewer reasons to laugh, facing growing
dissent within his own ranks. Yet the main actors in the Sri
Lankan political theatre found reasons to smile last week, the
first three at the rally marking the new political alliance
between UNP and the SLFP(M) and the latter at the wedding of
veteran film star Ravindra Randeniya’s son (Pix by Nissanka
Wijerathne and Ishara S. Kodikara)
Blair turns down Lankan offer to focus on
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had turned down an
offer to be actively involved in Sri Lanka’s peace process, as
he found the role of being a Middle East envoy more politically
significant, a highly placed source told The Nation.
“Although Prime Minister Blair always took a special interest in
Sri Lanka’s situation, he has already taken over the post as
Middle East Envoy. As such, he would not be actively engaged in
UK’s efforts,” the source said.
The revelation came just days after British High Commissioner
Dominick Chilcott disclosed that his country was hoping to take
on a more ‘active’ role in an attempt to realise.
|Govt. issues ultimatum to
Japan over controversial power plant
Controversy surrounding the second power plant to be
built in Kerawalapitiya appears to have reached new
heights with the Sri Lankan Government issuing an
ultimatum to Japan informing them that they will not
permit the construction of the plant unless the Japanese
agree to convert the plant from the proposed thermal
based generation to Liquefied Natural Gas.
Work has already commenced on the original 300 MW
combine cycle power plant in Kerawalapitiya by Lanka
Transformers Limited who won the tender to construct it.
The original plant is mentioned in the Ceylon
Electricity Board long term generation plan. However,
the plan has, at no instance mentioned about a second
plant in the same vicinity, and is a proposal purely
mooted by Japan’s Mitsubishi Company.
Deputy Minister of Power and Energy Mahindananda
Aluthgamage confirmed that a proposal spelling the
demands by Sri Lanka have already been submitted to the
Japanese authorities over the construction of the power
“We have pointed out that it is not viable to generate
electricity from this proposed plant using thermal
(diesel) due to the high costs and so asked them to
covert the project to LNG instead. It will cost
approximately Rs. 18 to 19 to generate a single unit of
electricity from this plant if it generates from
thermal. However if it converts to LNG it will cost
approximately only Rs. 7,” the Deputy Minister told The
Nation yesterday. At present, it costs the Ceylon
Electricity Board Rs. 12.80 to generate a single unit of
electricity on an average.
Govt., Opposition snub USAID anti-corruption action plan
The government, opposition and members of the judiciary
appeared to have snubbed the launch of the USAID
Anti-Corruption Action Plan held last morning at the
Although the USAID had sent out invitations to President
Mahinda Rajapaksa, Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara,
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister
Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva
and members of the legislature, not a single of these
invitees attended the event.
U.S. Embassy’s Charge’ d’Affaires, James R. Moore making
a statement at the event noted that, “Corruption is a
worldwide phenomenal that affects all of us, United
States of America has experienced its share of
corruption and continues to be vigilant against
corruption and work to prevent and to prosecute it.”
He emphasised that whenever corruption occurs it slows
the economic development, weakens institutions and the
rule of law and gives the economically privileged an
unfair advantage over the vulnerable and less fortunate
members of our society. “The fight against corruption is
a vast undertaking that requires committed involvement
by all members of the government, civil society and the
privet sector,” he said.
Stormy session ahead for Ranil
The Working Committee meeting of the United National
Party (UNP) scheduled for next week is expected to be
stormy with several committee members waiting to
question the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe over his
sole decision to sign the agreement with former Minister
The agreement signed by both Opposition Leader
Wickremesinghe and Samaraweera, it is learnt, has caused
splits within the party as many of the senior members
indirectly opposed to the agreement saying they were not
Some of the working committee members were of the
opinion that Wickremesinghe should have obtained party’s
working committee consent to sign the agreement with
The Nation learns some of the members of the committee
were planning to question Wickremesinghe on this issue
at the next Working Committee Meeting scheduled for
They said one of the clauses in the agreement which
recommended Samaraweera to be the deputy Prime Minister
will also be taken up for discussion at the committee
End of the road for Rizana?
Shattering all hopes, an Arabic newspaper has reported
that the family of the four month old infant, who was
allegedly killed by the Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana
Nafeek, has refused to show any mercy on the Lankan
The family reportedly refused to give any pardon to the
housemaid when they had met Deputy Foreign Affairs
Minister Hussain Bhaila late last week. A Foreign
Ministry spokesman and a source from Saudi Arabia both
confirmed that an article claiming this latest
development appeared in a newspaper in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Rizana’s parents have already returned to the
island, and the deputy minister was due today.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman was unable to give more
details on the latest developments citing that they too
were in the process of obtaining it, but said that
confirmed details could be obtained once Bhaila returns
to Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, sources from Saudi Arabia told The Nation
yesterday that the government’s decision to recall the
present Ambassador in Saudi A.M.J. Sadiq will further
hamper hopes of seeking clemency from the infant’s
JHU demands Rs. 2.5 billion
The five letters of demand addressed to Opposition
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe by the Jathika Hela Urumaya
(JHU) will be sent this week. The letters will demand
Wickremesinghe to pay up to Rs. 2.5 billion for publicly
defaming JHU members after he accused them of selling
their luxury vehicle permits.
JHU Legal Adviser, Udaya Gammanpila told The Nation
that, “Separate letters from Ellawela Medhananda Thera,
Athuraliye Rathana Thera, Omalpe Sobitha Thera, Kotapola
Amarakiththi and Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka
will be sent to Wickremesinghe with each member claiming
Rs. 500 million in damages.”
He noted that the letters have already been drafted, but
the JHU was awaiting the arrival...
Tamils facing deportation
launch hunger strike
Thirty-five Sri Lankan Tamils who are to be deported
from the United Kingdom have launched a hunger strike.
The 35 Lankans are currently detained at Harmondsworth,
Oakington and Tinslely detention centres where they are
carrying out their strike, a Foreign Ministry spokesman
told The Nation yesterday
“This is a protest against their asylum applications
being rejected by UK authorities,” the ministry official
The detainees have claimed to have sought asylum in the
UK on grounds that they face continuous human rights
violations in Sri Lanka.
Nevertheless, the Ministry sources revealed the
detainees have exaggerated the situation. “Even the LTTE
lobby groups are dramatising the incident. They will
have to come back to Sri Lanka.”
It is learnt that the immigration authorities are
treating them well. A government spokeswoman in the UK
had said that the staff cannot force the detainees to
eat as it would be seen as an assault. She had also said
that the situation remains calm at all three centres and
the Border and Immigration Agency is actively engaging
with detainees to discuss their concerns. They have also
ensured that the detainees receive medical treatment as
and when necessary.
on small mercies
Last week saw the government celebrating the
‘liberation’ of Thoppigala and supposedly, the
Eastern Province from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE). Marking the event was a National Day
style celebration at Independence Square-a ceremony
which assumed significance for many reasons.
First, there was President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his
rhetorical best-or worst, depending on the
perspective. Then, there was the virtual boycott of
the occasion by the major opposition parties and the
diplomatic community and then, there was the
lukewarm response from a much burdened general
Perhaps President Rajapaksa’s pronouncements were
the most enlightening. There were reports that the
President’s emotional address was possible only
because a teleprompter was aiding him. Prompted or
not, the President made it abundantly clear that he
would not mollycoddle the LTTE, come what may. If
the Tigers wanted war, that is what they would get,
the President seemed to suggest.
The rally that turned a
eyes were on UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake
when he took the stage at last Thursday’s (26) Jana
Raliya organised by the UNP and the SLFP splinter
group, the Mahajana Wing, to protest the sins of the
Dissanayake – always a firebrand and ready to speak
his mind, with his own healthy share of ambition,
had been making a significant amount of noise over
the past week, ever since the MoU had been signed on
July 19. Dissanayake and several senior UNPers had
taken serious issue with the fact that the UNP
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had not consulted any of
the party members when drafting the MoU he entered
into with Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi
A day or two prior to the rally, Dissanayake who was
especially irked at the manner in which affairs with
regard to the MoU had been conducted, told close
friends and associates that all he would have to
talk about at the rally on Thursday would be ‘the
weather’. Dissanayake was alluding to the fact that
he had been in the dark about the agreements...
‘Computer crime’ certified
The Computer Crimes Bill was recently enacted by Parliament and
certified by the Speaker as the Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007. This
legislation is the result of numerous contributions from sources such as
CINTEC Law Committee, a Sub-Committee of the Law Commission and the
Ministry of Justice. It is being enacted at a time when advancements are
being made in the field of Information Communication and Technology in
Sri Lanka, through several technology development initiatives such as
the e-Sri Lanka Development Project.
Nature of computer crime
Apart from providing a better way of life for society the rapid growth
of Information Technology raise fundamental questions regarding storage
of confidential information, privacy, data protection and crime.
Computers are not only targeted for crime but are also important
instruments used in the commission of other offences such as theft,
fraud, forgery, damage, deletion of business information and sabotage of
computer facilities etc.
The term ‘computer crime’ is a generic term used to identify all crimes
or frauds that are connected with or related to computers and
information technology. The term ‘computer crime’ is also synonymous
with ‘cyber crime’ although the latter tends to be focussed towards
criminal activity resulting from the use of the internet.
“IPKF should have been allowed to finish
the job” – Gen. Ranatunga
Following are excerpts:
Q: As JOC Chief, you had advised President J.R. Jayewardene
to stand by his commitment on the Draft Agreement of the Indo
Lanka Accord. Minister Lalith Athulathmudali did not budge from
his position. Do you think your advice was prudent?
A: In the first place, the Accord was not a thing that the
President wanted at that stage. But, because of the pressures
that were brought on him by the big neighbour, he had to give
in. It all started with Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister
of India, not seeing eye to eye with President Jayewardene. As a
result, this unpleasant feeling prevailed between the two
leaders and India was not giving in. That was how it all
Q: The military operation at that time had to be called off.
Could you tell us the exact military situation at the time the
operation was called off?
A: It was the Thennamarachchi Operation that was called off.
I had successfully finished the Vadamarachchi Operation. We were
very careful to protect the innocent people there. The whole of
Vadamarachchi consists of the principal towns Thondamanarachchi,
Velvettiturai (VVT) and Point Pedro. It was a densely populated
area. We dropped leaflets and told the people to go into school
buildings, churches, kovils, temples and other such places to
Peace accord did not fail : Gen.
Q: General Amarjit Kalkat, what were the principal reasons for
the peace keeping operation to turn into a military operation?
A: The IPKF was, initially, deployed to prevent clashes
between the militant Tamil groups and the Sri Lankan Forces and
to provide security to the Tamil population in the Northern and
Eastern Provinces. They were also required to collect arms which
the Tamil parties at the Thimpu Meeting had agreed to surrender.
The LTTE did not hand over their weapons and thereafter,
attacked the IPKF on October 7, 1987, inflicting casualties,
which led to operations against them.
Q: Under your command, you forced the LTTE out of the Jaffna
peninsula, the Tigers’ heartland. Where were the other sectors
from which the Tigers were defeated by the IPKF?
A: The LTTE was not only forced out of the Jaffna peninsula,
they were systematically cleared out of all the habited areas of
the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Clearing them from the
Jaffna, Vadamarachchi, Kilinochchi, Mulativu and Vavuniya
Districts was the difficult task, comparatively less difficult
in the Mannar District and much easier in the Trincomalee,
Batticaloa and Amparai Districts. They were ultimately
marginalized, militarily, in the entire Northern and Eastern
Provinces, culminating in their final defeat in August 1988, in
the Battle of Nitikai Kulam (Operation Checkmate I), after
which, they dispersed into the Wanni jungles in small groups and
ceased to be an effective fighting force. We were, thereafter,
able to successfully hold the Provincial elections in Oct 1988,
without the LTTE being able to interfere (Operation Checkmate
II), resulting in the merger of the Northern and Eastern
Provinces, which marginalized the LTTE politically. This was
followed by the Presidential and Parliamentary elections and
soon thereafter, the LTTE started making secret overtures to the
new Sri Lankan Government.
|Six Lankan cricketers next on ICL radar
With every passing day the Indian Cricket League (ICL) launched by Zee Sports
owner Subash Chandra is slowly gathering momentum.
According to sources former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu, former Sri Lanka
cricketer turned commentator Russel Arnold, leg-spinner Upul Chandana, fast
bowlers Nuwan Zoysa and Ruchira Perera and Moors SC all-rounder Anil
Rideegammanagedera are spoken highly of joining the league for its inaugural
multi-million dollar Twenty20 tournament scheduled to take place in India in
These players according to sources have been approached by former England
captain and popular cricket commentator Tony Greig to sign up with other top
celebrities of the game. Indications are that most of them will.
Greig who was in Sri Lanka to commentate in the recently concluded Sri
Lanka-Bangladesh cricket series is one of the executive directors of the ICL
board where former Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev is the CEO. Dean Jones and Kiran
More, two former cricketers from Australia and India are the other members of
Apart from Atapattu and Chandana who are contracted to Sri Lanka Cricket the
others are not binded by any contract and are free to sign with whom they wish.
Arnold retired from cricket at the end of the 2007 World Cup while Chandana,
Zoysa and Perera have not held onto a regular place in the national side.
The one-day series between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh proved to be another
disaster with the hosts running away with a 3-0 whitewash to follow their
similar triumph in the Tests.
Much was expected of Bangladesh at least in the shorter version of the game
because they had their full contingent of players who represented them in the
2007 World Cup where they excelled to the point of qualifying for the Super
Eight and beating such big names in the game like India and South Africa.
It is in the overs limit game that Bangladesh is most suited for because their
domestic cricket is structured in that manner. But the manner in which Sri
Lankan bowlers exploited the weakness of their batsmen against the short pitched
delivery even without their two experienced bowlers Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah
Muralitharan painted a poor picture of the opposition.
One of the few momentous occasions to arise from the totally one-sided series
was the milestone achieved by the country’s elder statesman Sanath Jayasuriya
who added another feather to his cap by capturing his 300th wicket in one-day
internationals at the age of 38. These figures added to the 12,000 runs he has
accumulated for his country as a destructive opener makes him the leading
all-rounder in the one-day game.
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene summed Jayasuriya’s illustrious career up
beautifully when he said: “Batting wise a lot of people have recognized him but
not many have recognized his capabilities with the ball. He’s made a huge
difference to our team over the last 10-12 years with his bowling. That’s why
we’ve got a very good balance in our team. Sanath has done it in a very quite
manner. He hasn’t taken a lot of credit for the work...
and I will clash over Chandrika”
Q: Did you have any initial hesitation with regard to the MoU
signed between the UNP and the SLFP (M)?
A: Yes I did. The biggest problem was not the fault of the
leader or the party. It just so happened that I was completely
out of the political loop, I had taken a break from party
activity because my eldest son was getting married and all my
attention was focused on the preparations for that wedding. The
homecoming was at my home in Hanguranketha and I needed to
attend to some things in the house and garden so I spent a lot
of time there. So I was not really aware of what was going on in
terms of this new alliance with the SLFP Mahajana Wing. So yes,
I did have some reluctance at the outset.
Q: Did you see a draft of the MoU before it was signed on
A: No I did not. I think that was the biggest mistake that
was made. It was a serious oversight by the Party Leader that
the MoU was not openly discussed by the political affairs
committee and the working committee of the party. If the issue
had been discussed with the party as a whole, the problems that
have arisen today would simply not have come into play. It is
not just me, but everybody in the party had a degree of
hesitation and concern when the MoU was first revealed to us.
Q: Who drafted it, according to your information?
A: I am unaware of who drafted it.
Q: Do any of the party members know who drafted the
A: As far as I can see, the Party Chairman (Rukman
Senanayake) appeared to have some knowledge of the drafting
process. But it has to be said that this is not a huge problem.
In the coming days, the party’s working committee and the
political affairs committee will discuss the matter at length.
And in fact, as soon as my son’s homecoming was over, the Party
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe came to meet me and spoke to me of
this matter. He explained a lot of things to me that day. You
see, as he pointed out to me, Mangala and Sripathi are fairly
confident of being able to woo large numbers of SLFPers away
from the government.
won’t join new alliance
Following are excerpts:
Q: The Trade Union Centre, of which you are the President,
was planning a massive strike against the government, with the
plan being to conduct a general strike in the public, private
and estate sectors. What happened with regard to this strike?
A: When the country was honouring our armed forces for the
victory at Thoppigala by defeating the LTTE in the Eastern
Province, we felt that it was not the time to launch a general
strike. It was done to show our gratitude to the armed forces.
However, the government should not take cover under that victory
and deny the rights of the working population, which is
undergoing great hardship due to the high cost of living and
maladministration of the government. The government should at
least honour the agreements reached on these demands.
Q: If the JVP welcomed the Thoppigala victory, why didn’t it
attend the national celebration organised by the government to
mark the victory?
A: We consider the Thoppigala victory as an event which did
not warrant an Independence Day-styled celebration. Such a
celebration would have been justified if the entire north and
east had been completely liberated from the LTTE.