Army restricts access to places of worship

The Sri Lankan military in Valikaamam North has been blocking access to temples and churches located within Jaffna’s ‘High Security Zone’ reports TamilNet . St Joseph Church in the Vaasaavilan village was given military permission to hold its annual feast on Wednesday last week. However, the parish priest and worshippers were blocked at the ‘Forward Defence Line’ by the SLA and turned back after 4 hours of arguments with military officers. There have also been widespread reports of restricted access to other temples and churches in the ‘High Security Zone’.

Gandhi statue destroyed in Ariyalai

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Ariyalai, in Jaffna district, was destroyed by unidentified persons, reports Uthayan . According to Jaffna based newspaper, the incident occurred on Saturday night. Police officers in Jaffna claim to be investigating the incident. No arrests have been made.

Civil society calls on TNA to reject constitution, PC model and demerged North-East

Almost 100 civil society leaders have signed a memo to the Tamil National Alliance urging them to reject the provincial council system and the demerging of the North and East, as they prepare to contest in the upcoming Eastern Provincial Council Elections. The statement, signed by student activists, academics, religious leaders, trade union leaders and professionals amongst many more from across the North-East, noted that, “Tamils have consistently made it clear that a unitary constitution and a provincial council system within the confines of a unitary constitution are incapable of...

Attorney General shrugs off child sex abuse claims

Sri Lanka’s Attorney General has dismissed claims that sexual abuse of children in Sri Lanka was on the rise, suggesting that the majority of cases were consensual relationships between teenagers. Attorney General Palitha Fernando, who is Sri Lankan government's chief legal advisor and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court, told Lakbima News , “But I must tell you, very rarely do we get cases where abuse is committed by force, violent abuse… where, let’s say, a girl is dragged into some place and raped. Those cases are very rare and we need to view them very seriously.” “In a situation not...

Lankan Navy attack Indian fishermen with stones and logs

Ten Indian boats fishing near Katchatheevu were attacked by Sri Lankan navy with stones and logs early this morning. Fishing officials said the Lankan navy cut the fishing nets in the boats and threw them into the sea. No fishermen were reported injured in the assault. These ten boats were part of a fleet of 696 boats which set off into sea from Dhanushkodi last night. See our earlier post: 23 Indian fishermen arrested by SL Navy (22 July 2012)

Weerawamsa speaks

Speaking at the International Cuban Solidarity Day held in Colombo, the minister for housing and construction, Wimal Weerawansa said , “The country which is the most insecure in this world is US. They live with an insecure mentality. That is why the American police have imprisoned five Cuban patriots while labelling them as terrorists when those people have done nothing wrong.” See more from Minister Weerawamsa here: US will take over Sri Lanka warns Weerawamsa (05 Jun 2012) SL Minister: ‘Americans are trying to kill me’ (20 March 2012) SL Minister urges boycott of Google (13 March 2012)

TNA MP arrested for Black July remembrance

TNA MP and TELO political coordinator, Sivajalingam, was arrested and detained by the Sri Lankan Army on Thursday for remembering the massacre of political prisoners at Welikade prison during the 1983 pogrom , reported TamilNet. Posters had been put up remembering the 54 Tamil prisoners that were killed by their Sinhala inmates, including TELO leaders, Kuddimani and Thangathurai. According to TamilNet Sivajalingam was later released at Nelliyadi but warned 'not ‘antagonize’ the military officers of the SL military'. See here for full story on TamilNet.

Navy intelligence calls for asylum seekers to be sent back

The Sri Lankan Navy has called on Australia to deport asylum seekers back to the island, following the deportation of Dayan Anthony, the first Tamil asylum seeker to be sent back to Sri Lanka since the end of 2009 massacre. Speaking to The Australian, head of Sri Lankan Naval intelligence Nishantha Ulugetenne said , "When you start deporting, then this problem will ease for us," "Sending just one man back from Australia will not help. More than 1500 Sri Lankans have landed in Australia in the last six months. What are you going to do with them? Screen them one by one?" Ulugetenne’s comments...

Solheim details 'assassination attempt'

Erik Solheim has discussed planned assassinations and attacks on him during his visit to Sri Lanka in May 2000, with Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten . He confirmed with Aftenposten that intelligence police had briefed him about assassination plans, with the tip coming from Norwegians with access to information on radical groups in Sri Lanka. Solheim told the newspaper, “We assumed that the threat came from Sinhalese extremists.” “We were at different times made aware of the threats, and also had access to highly classified information on the situation in Sri Lanka.” “Throughout the whole time...

Paramilitary terrorise and intimidate Batticaloa voters

Paramilitary operatives are reportedly intimidating and threatening voters in the district of Batticaloa, TamilNet reported. Voters have been threatened that they will be driven out of the area if they are found to be voting for the TNA (Tamil National Alliance) party at the forthcoming election to the eastern provincial council. The armed men under the direction Pillayan’s TMVP, a constituent of the ruling party, UPFA (United People’s Freedom Alliance), have been roaming the village of Vaakarai, where over 7,500 Tamils are eligible to vote in the elections. Paramilitaries have been using...