TID arrest senior Tamil doctor, Kilinochchi locals protest

Sri Lankan terror police arrested Dr S Sivaruban, the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) at Palai Hospital in Kilinochchi, alleging he had links to terrorist activities. Dr Sivaruban was arrested in the Elephant Pass area by Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) officials at around 8.30pm on Sunday and then taken to his workplace Palai Hospital, which the TID subjected to a two-hour search. Following the search, a colleague of Dr Sivaruban’s was called upon by the TID and made to take over his duties. While Dr Sivaruban remains in detention reportedly with TID in Jaffna, Palai residents...

Sri Lanka wildlife dept seizing agricultural land in Mullaitivu

Sri Lanka’s wildlife department has taken over crop fields owned by Tamils and declared them as a wildlife sanctuary, despite the owners possessing centuries-old deeds for the lands. Residents of Kokkuthoduvai, a village of Mullaitivu District bordering Trincomalee have been distressed by the wildlife’s department’s seizing of their fields in Vellai Kalladi, Thimunthal, Kunchukaalveli and Kottaikeni and erecting boards declaring them state-owned sanctuary land. “In 1984, people of our village were systemically driven out by Sinhalese thugs and the whole village got displaced. Afterwards the Mahaweli ‘L’ zone was created under the name of Weli Oya and 1036 acres of our lands with tanks were seized and given to Sinhalese people,” said Sivalingam, a resident and member of the Karaithuraipattu (Maritimepattu) Divisional Council.

Sri Lanka defiant as criticism of army chief appointment piles on

The Sri Lankan government has lashed out against international criticism of the promotion of alleged war criminal to the post of army commander. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that “foreign entities trying to influence the decisions and internal administrative processes of public service promotions in Sri Lanka is unwarranted and unacceptable.” “Articulating a position of concern on this appointment by certain bilateral partners and international organizations, based on allegations, is regrettable and contrary to the principles of natural justice espoused by all...

US, UN among critics as war crimes accused Shavendra Silva promoted to army chief

Despite widespread criticism of the appointment of Shavendra Silva to second-in-command of the Sri Lankan army earlier this year, the war crimes-accused general was promoted to army commander by the Sri Lankan president on Monday. Formerly the head of of Sri Lanka’s notorious 58 Division, an army unit that committed grave violations of international law during a military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils, Silva has been named in several United Nations reports for his role in overseeing abusive military operations. Shavendra Silva - ‘the most wanted man in Sri Lanka’ “I am...

Vavuniya villagers protest Sri Lanka forest dept land-grabs

Residents of a Vavuniya village protested against the Sri Lankan forest department’s land-grabs last month. Protesting in front of the old mosque in Sooduventhapulavu, the villagers said that the forest department had declared 428 acres of land under its jurisdiction. However this land belonged to and was cultivated by the villagers since 1974. The protestors said that 428 acres of land was provided to 428 people (one acre per person) and they planted useful crops like coconuts and have been farming black gram. They said even though some documents were provided for those lands back when they...

Court dismisses police complaint against Tamil council member

A complaint filed by the Sri Lankan police against a Tamil politician for ‘breach of peace’ was dismissed by the Mullaitivu magistrate’s court on first hearing. Mulliyavalai police had filed a case against Karaithuraipatru (Maritimepattu) Divisional Council (PS) member Thavarasa Amalan claiming he had breached the peace, after he had taken journalists to a well to expose how Sri Lankan military forces were exploiting the public water source. The specific incident had occurred in October but had been preceded by ongoing disputes between locals of Kanukkeni West and the military, who locals accuse of pumping out millions of litres of ground water from the tube well and causing pollution and damage to the rest of the area’s water supplies.

Tamil archaeological site under threat from granite mining

Locals of Oddusuddan, Mullaitivu are concerned about threats to the ancient Vavettimalai hill, whose history intertwines with the district’s iconic Thanthondreeswarar temple. Large scale stone mining in the area is destroying the hill’s archaeological and spiritual characteristics, locals say. On the day of Oddusuddan Thanthondreeswarar Temple’s Vettai (hunting) Festival, it is customary to go to the Vavetti Easwarar temple in Vavettimalai, where special rituals are carried out before the re-enactment of the hunt. Worshippers were unable to carry out this custom during the most intense phases...

Massacre of 53 school girls by Sri Lankan air force remembered

The massacre of 53 schoolgirls by the Sri Lankan air force was remembered in the Tamil homeland on Wednesday on the thirteenth anniversary of the attack. On 14 August 2006, 53 schoolgirls and three teachers in Mullaitivu were killed by the Sri Lankan air force who bombed the Sencholai school in Vallipunam. The attack was conducted by the Sri Lankan air force after the children's home was designated a humanitarian safe zone and its GSP coordinates were handed to the military by the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC). A vigil was held at the...

Gotabaya Rajapaksa launches presidential bid

Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary, who oversaw the military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils in Mullivaikkal, officially launched his presidential bid this week. Gotabaya Rajapaksa accepted the nomination made by his brother and former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to represent the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna as its presidential candidate. He said he was in the process of renouncing his US citizenship in order to be eligible for presidency. Gotabaya faces two lawsuits in the US, brought by survivors of horrific abuses including torture and sexual violence. See: 10 new...

Amnesty International calls for reforms and justice for Trinco 5

Amnesty International has said that reforms are required in Sri Lanka if new investigations into the ‘Trinco 5’ massacre are to be effective. In a statement welcoming the Sri Lankan attorney general’s decision to recommence investigations after 13 Special Task Force (STF) suspects were acquitted last month, the organisation noted the “importance of a thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the killing to ensure that victims of human rights violations and abuses can access justice”. Still searching for justice - 13 years on from Trinco 5 killings “The government of Sri Lanka has...

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