Arts festival becomes a govt mouthpiece - F Harrison

Writing in the Asian Correspondent, the former BBC journalist and author of Still Counting The Dead, criticised the arts festival Colomboscope which was funding by the British Council. See here . Reproduced in full below: 'Perhaps most shocking was that they came in military uniform to an arts festival. It could have been a bold move to include a session on war reporting in the latest literary event in the Sri Lankan capital – Colomboscope. Sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank and organised by the British Council and Goethe Institute, the boundaries of freedom of expression should at least have been nudged forward a little. But three of the four-member panel were government spokesmen. The only dissenting voice a very articulate German war correspondent, who didn’t seem to have actually reported on the end of the war in 2009 (another journalist was invited, but later pulled out). She looked increasingly frustrated and uncomfortable as the session proceeded and she came under attack as part of an undefined western conspiracy against Sri Lanka. Her words about coming to terms with the past were applauded by the audience but made little impact on the panelists bent on rewriting history to their advantage.

BJP leader: no stopping oppressed people rising up for independence

Updated Speaking in Tamil Nadu, the leader of India's BJP party, Yashwant Sinha asserted that there was "no stopping" oppressed people rising up for independence. Sinha said : “So far, the BJP’s position to resolve the much-prolonged Tamils ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka has been for a negotiated settlement within the territorial Integrity of Sri Lanka,” " But recent history has shown that the more the rulers of a country decide to suppress an already heavily discriminated section of its people, the more independent minded they become ,” “ If people rise there is no stopping ,” The former Indian...

Trawling for trouble - the Economist

See here for the Economist's story on worsening relations between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Extracts reproduced below: "Tamil Nadu’s hostility to Sri Lanka is growing more overt." "Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s powerful defence secretary, growls that Tamil Nadu dictates policy to feeble Delhi. Airlines have cut flights. Traders who once bustled to-and-fro now stay at home. Textile shops in Colombo say stocks are running short." "On March 29th Salman Khurshid, the foreign minister, rebuffed suggestions to label Sri Lanka unfriendly, let alone impose sanctions. Instead India continues as a...

Sri Lankans look to boycott India...

Dock workers at one of Sri Lanka’s main container ports have called for a boycott of cargo shipped from neighbouring India in response to the anti-Colombo protests continue to take place in Tamil Nadu. The workers, who were all affiliated with the ruling party, staged the protest at Colombo harbour, demanding that the government retaliate to calls, by Tamil Nadu politicians, for trade sanctions against Sri Lanka. Speaking to the Associate Free Press, a union spokesperson, Nalin Apsono, told reporters, “There is an anti-Sri Lanka campaign in Tamil Nadu, we want the port to stop handling cargo...

Buddhists threaten Sri Lankan cricketers

Hundreds of people have attended a protest organised by the “Ravana Balaya” Buddhist group, which includes several monks, outside the headquarters of Sri Lanka’s cricket board. The protestors demonstrated against the decision by Sri Lankan players to take part in the Indian Premier League, despite widespread protests against their country. The protestors vowed that they will “take action against the cricketers who are prostituting themselves for money” . “These cricketers have prostituted themselves for Jayalalithaa’s money. We respect those who refused to bow down to money power,” the...

Tamil newspaper office attacked in Kilinochchi

The office of the Tamil newspaper Uthayan was vandalised and its employees attacked on Wednesday morning by a group of unidentified persons. According to one of the owners and TNA MP E. Saravanapavan, masked attackers used poles to attack the manager and staff including two delivery boys at the Uthayan office in Kilinochchi. Three employees have been admitted to hospital with serious injuries, whilst four others sustained minor injuries. Equipment such as an office computer and distribution vehicles including two motorcycles were also vandalised. Saravanapavan has pointed the finger at...

Sri Lankan conspiracy theories ...

The Sri Lankan Army dispelled allegations of media intimidation, claiming instead, that special interest groups were being funded to highlight that there is no media freedom in Sri Lanka. Addressing a workshop organised by the Sri Lanka Press Complaints Commission, Army spokesman, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, purported that groups were engaged in funded efforts to portray to the international community that there is no media freedom in Sri Lanka. The army spokesman went on to argue that , “There are no obstructions in the country for the publication of news, news reporting or sale of...

ACF reiterates call for international investigation

French charity Action Contre La Faim (ACF) has reiterated calls for an international, independent investigation into all allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka, noting that the recently passed resolution at the UN HRC on Sri Lanka was "not enough". Speaking to AlertNet , ACF's Humanitarian Advocacy Advisor Pauline Chetcuti, said, "It's great that the international community got together to pass this resolution, but it's really not enough because the terms of the resolution are not strong enough and it doesn't force Sri Lanka to do something concrete". "What we are calling for is an...

Ranil visits India

The leader of the UNP, Ranil Wickremasinghe, left on a two day official visit to India today. According to party sources the visit is following an official invite by the Indian government. He is to hold bilateral talks with the Indian president Pranab Mukherjee, reports Colombo Page.

Charges against Buddhist attackers dropped

The suspects in an attack on a Muslim business have been released, after a court in Colombo dismissed all charges against them. Seventeen people, including 3 monks, were arrested after last week’s attacks on a clothing store owned by Muslims, one of several attacks on Muslims in recent months. "The case was dropped because the parties (police and the victim) did not want to proceed," a court official said, who declined to be named. "The magistrate warned the monks to follow Buddha's teachings or face serious consequences," he said. The lawyers for the owners of the “Fashion Bug” store in...

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