Douglas must come to Tamil Nadu says public prosecutor

Dismissing Douglas Devananda's recent attempt to fight his Indian arrest warrant through video conferencing from Colombo, the Tamil Nadu's public prosecutor M Prabhavathy, said: "The accused Anandan [Devananda's former alias] was arrested in the year 1986, now Douglas Devananda claims that he is the said Anandan who is holding a constitutional seat now." "Unless he presents himself before the court and is properly identified, there is every possibility of miscarriage of justice, the police said, adding that Douglas had not stated any valid reason as to what prevented him from appearing before...

UK parliament debates human rights violations faced by professionals in Sri Lanka

The British Parliament debated the challenges of human rights violations faced by professionals on Wednesday, with a Conservative party report naming Sri Lanka as a region of the world where these violations occur. Leading the debate, Conservative MP Robert Buckland stated, "It is also known that in conflict zones, medical professionals are deliberately targeted by those involved. For example, in Sri Lanka, during the final stages of the civil war, the military was accused of intentionally shelling field hospitals, killing doctors and other medical professionals. The United Nations report of...

Commonwealth urges Canada to drop CHOGM boycott threat

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma has requested Canada to drop the threat to boycott next year’s Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, reported AFP on Thursday. "My message to all leaders is to participate at this (Sri Lanka) CHOGM," he told reporters in Colombo on Wednesday, after discussions with President Mahinda Rajapakse at the end of a five day visit to the island. "I understand a dialogue is going on between the two countries," he said, saying that he hoped the issue would be "resolved" so that Canada could attend the summit.

UPFA says SLMC coalition imminent in East

As was always expected a UPFA-SLMC coalition appears likely in the Eastern Province. Addressing journalists in Colombo the UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premjayanth, SLFP General Secretary Minister Maithripala Sirisena and SLFP Treasurer Minister Dallas Alahapperuma, said the SLMC (Sri Lankan Muslim Congress) would join them to form a coalition. Sirisena invited the TNA to join, stating that they had no other option left.

Douglas attempts to fight Indian arrest warrant

The infamous paramilitary leader Douglas Devananda has requested the IVth Additional Sessions court in Chennai to recall the arrest warrant issued against him, reports the Express News Service. The warrant, which is without bail, was issued in 1990, for his alleged part in a shootout and murder case in Chennai during 1986. He has also been accused of kidnapping a boy in 1988. In 1989, he was arrested and released later on bail. He was previously unable to fight the warrant, due to the risk of arrest if he were to land in India. Indeed, during a visit to India last year, a writ petition was filed against him seeking to arrest and prosecute him in relation to the previous and pending criminal case. However, the Indian External Affairs Ministry reportedly informed the Madras High Court that as a cabinet minister of Sri Lanka, Devananda enjoys diplomatic immunity . According to the Express News Service, Devananda maybe permitted to appear before the High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, and pursue the case via video conferencing. See more of Douglas' escapades: The shame of being honoured by Douglas (11 Sep 2012)

Fear and loathing in the Eastern elections

The results from the recently held Eastern provincial council elections have been brandished by Sri Lanka as a sign of wavering Tamil demand for self rule, and more perversely, that Tamils are now content with Sri Lanka’s rule. However, rather than signal a weakening of Tamil aspirations, the elections clearly revealed the true nature of the Sinhala state’s governance in the Tamil homeland; a mixture of violence, threats, intimidation and colonisation. The elections were a far cry from the free and fair expression of Tamil sentiments that they were trumped up to be. Instead, as became clear through the campaign, they were marked by ongoing incidents of violence against candidates and voters with hundreds of government thugs dispatched to the Tamil homeland for the purpose. The well documented and choking colonisation of the East also served its purpose – providing a reliable Sinhala vote base for Rajapakse’s UPFA. The brazenness of the intimidation during the campaign even prompted R. Sampanthan, the infamously timid leader of the TNA, to appeal to President Rajapaksa for “free and fair” elections to be allowed to take place. The appeal predictably failed and Sampanthan has recently released a statement slamming the “UPFA campaign of terror” and stating that it "violated all norms of democracy and good governance". The purpose of the Sinhala state’s violent electoral campaign was very clear. Tamil voters were warned of “unpleasant consequences” if they opposed the UPFA and told in no uncertain terms that they voted for the TNA at their own risk.

More transparency needed over OCHRC funding – Sri Lanka

The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council a said that there is a need for increased transparency in the funding and staffing of the Office of the High Comissioner for Human Rights. Speaking on the opening day of the 21st session of the UNHRC in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha said that most of the funding should come from the OCHRC’s own budget. “Sri Lanka is firmly committed to maintaining the independence of the OHCHR, and supports the High Commissioner in her efforts to fulfil her mandate as contained in GA resolution 48/141.# "Towards this end, we see...

South Africa calls for “concrete effort” from Sri Lanka

The South African government has called on Sri Lanka to address the issue of accountability following the end of armed hostilities in May 2009, stating “that there should be demonstrable and concrete effort and movement in that regard”. In a press release issued on Monday, South Africa stated that, “Since the end of the war in May 2009 and the release of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General's Report of the Panel of Experts in April 2011, as well as the Sri Lankan government's own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report in December 2011, there has been a heightened demand and urgency in the international community for the Sri Lankan government to implement the outcomes of these Reports and other decisions of the UN Human Rights Council, with specific emphasis on the need to address the accountability issues following the events of May 2009.”

TNA on Eastern PC elections

Condemning the ruling UPFA for having "violated all norms of democracy and good governance" in the lead up to the Eastern Provincial Council elections, the ITAK (Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi) President, Sampanthan, and General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah, issued a statement on Sunday as follows: The elections to the Eastern Provincial Council have concluded and the results have been announced. The ruling UPFA violated all norms of democracy and good governance in a polls campaign that was marked by a well documented pattern of gross abuse of the state apparatus and resources. The UPFA utilized all governmental resources to influence the result. It also intimidated opposition parties’ candidates, bribing, unduly influencing voters and even spreading false propaganda to the effect that the TNA leader had announced the withdrawal of the ITAK from the contest. Despite this UPFA campaign of terror the people of the Eastern province have reiterated their support and confidence in the TNA (ITAK) and we are pleased that we won two of the three districts securing the majority vote in both the Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts and a substantial vote in the Ampara District. The elections took place in an environment where a large number of Tamils yet continue to be displaced and a larger number of Tamils have fled and continue to flee the country due to the policies of the Rajapakse Administration. We sincerely thank the Tamil speaking people for the support and solidarity that they have demonstrated at this election, despite the ruling UPFA violence and intimidation. The ruling UPFA barely secured 6,200 votes more than TNA in the whole Eastern Province, largely on account of its abuse of state resources.

The shame of being honoured by Douglas

The prominent South Indian Carnatic and Kollywood singer P Unni Krishnan has apologised to his Tamil fans, for being honoured by Douglas Devananda in Jaffna during a music concert last month, reports Uthayan. Unni Krishnan said he was deeply ashamed of the incident, in which Devananda marked the singer with the traditional honour of being draped in a silk cloth or ‘ponnaadai’ during a performance at Nallur Kanthasamy temple in Jaffna on 18th August 2012. Describing the incident as a "black mark" in his musical journey, the singer apologised for hurting Tamil sentiments worldwide. Speaking in an interview, Unni Krishnan said (translated text follows): “I was invited to perform at a musical concert during the Nallur Kanthasamy Temple Festival (Thiruvizha) in Jaffna. Having earned a place in the hearts of Eelam Tamils through songs on liberation, I agreed to go to Jaffna to meet and perform for them.”