Former cadres reveal accounts of continued rape

Sexual abuse and rape of former female LTTE cadres by Sri Lankan Army troops remains rampant in the North-East, as harrowing accounts from victims and medical professionals have revealed. Former LTTE cadres told TamilNet of how rape and sexual abuse routinely took place in the detention camps that the Vanni population was herded into in after the Mullivaikal massacre of 2009. The abuse has not ceased, with the women reporting that such assaults were regular occurrences whenever they were “summoned” by Sri Lankan soldiers for “interrogation”. Describing her ordeal as “sadistic” , one former...

Tourism head appointed as market regulator

Former chairman of Sri Lanka’s tourism, Nalaka Godahewa has been announced by the government as the new market regulator for the country - the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). His predecessor, Tilak Karunaratne, resigned in early August citing widespread market malpractice and impunity. Many investors have claimed that stock exchange is over regulated and Godahewa’s “market friendly” charisma has hopes to succeed. But some have noted that regulations will be difficult to enforce even under the new chief as investors are powerful enough to fend off any probes.

The victor's tutelage

After three years of rehabilitation and reconciliation through the state discliplined media and having the military on your doorstep, Sri Lanka recently took to doing a spot-check, looking for the tell-tale signs of those who just refuse to learn the 'truth'. Tamil students in the North sitting a GCE Advanced Level preparatory examination paper were asked to identify "who among the following is inappropriate to the word terrorism: 1. Bin Laden, 2. Pirapaharan, 3. Saddam Hussein, 4. Colonel Gaddafi, 5. Mao Zedong," reported TamilNet. The 'correct' answer being Gaddafi and Mao Zedong. The...

TN parties slam Delhi’s defence of training Sri Lankans

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha and other party leaders have slammed Union Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, for saying that India would continue to provide training to Sri Lanka since it was a friendly nation. “I am surprised to learn that the Government of India has openly declared that the said training will go on since Sri Lanka is a friendly country. "This betrays the total insensitivity on the part of the Government of India towards the views of my Government as well as the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu,” Jayalalitha said in a letter to Prime Minister...

Interviews for formal executioners

Sri Lanka’s Prison Department will be interviewing over 150 candidates to find two executioners, reports Colombo Page . The death penalty has not been implemented since 1976. With 357 prisoners currently on death row, and 1164 since 2004, many have served over 15 years in prison just waiting for their sentences to be carried out. The department is now faced with the challenging task of whittling down 178 eager candidates to fill just two roles – hangman and assistant. The shortage of formal executioners on the island has of course never been of detriment to the Sri Lankan state, which has...

Government fears 'copycat' travel advisory warnings

Having been baffled, incredulous and frustrated by the UK FCO's travel advisory warning, the Sri Lankan government now fears that other countries could follow suit with "copycat" advisory warnings. Speaking to the Sri Lankan Sunday Times, the External Affairs Ministry's Secretary, Karunatilleke Amunugama, said , “The foreign missions will be told to brief their respective governments accordingly, as it was now safe to travel to any part of the country with all previous restrictions removed,” “What is feared most at present, following this travel advisory is that, other nations may come up...

EU to give Sri Lanka €60 million grant for 'development'

The Sri Lankan Economic Development Ministry has announced it is to receive a grant worth €60 million for its District Development Programme. According to the Daily Mirror , the announcement was made by the head of the EU delegation, Bernard Savage during a meeting with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapakse on Monday. The money will go to projects selected by the Sri Lankan government and implemented by UN and World Bank agencies. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Subinay Nandy was also present at the meeting and said its agencies would cooperate with governmental...

China’s support for Sri Lanka’s militarisation

China has agreed to provide US$ 100 million (Rs. 13.2 billion) to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence, in order to fund army camps in the North and East of the island reported the Sunday Times. According to official sources, the funds would be used to provide develop camps all across the North-East including Mannar, Palaly, Elephant Pass, Pooneryn, Thalladi, Karainagar, and Mullaitivu. The Sunday Times reported that the government had deemed such installations “essential for national security”. Additionally China will also be providing a grant of US $1.5 million for the Defence Services College in Colombo, which teaches children of the armed forces and police, from grades 6 to 12. The funding is said to come from the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China, although the details have not yet been reported. See our earlier post: Who benefits from Chinese loans to Sri Lanka? (21 November 2010) Meanwhile Sri Lanka has reportedly agreed to purchase six MA-60 aircraft from China, at a cost of US$ 105.4 million.

Expanding the Buddhist kingdom

A newly constructed shrine of the Buddha in the Vanni district has been unveiled by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence graciously reported that the shrine was built “in order to cater to the religious needs and spiritual upliftment of the people”. They further added that the “meritorious act of building the temple was undertaken by the 56 Division of the Sri Lanka Army” . See our earlier post: The Buddha graces yet another Vanni district (25 August 2012) See more on the proliferation of Buddhist shrines in the North in our piece Buddhist Stupas for Army to be built in...

Vanni seat taken away, Moneragala gains one

In another move politically marginalising the North-East, the number of MP’s elected from the Vanni district has been reduced by the Sri Lankan government, whilst an increase has been allocated for Moneragala in the South. According to the Elections Department in Sri Lanka, the decision was made due to a fall in population numbers in the Vanni district, made up of Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu. The number of registered voters in Vanni, according to government figures, is 221,409, down from 236,449 in 2010 and 270,707 in 2009. Last year it was announced that Jaffna would lose 4 seats after...

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