Mahinda and Basil decide to expand fertiliser subsidies

Sri Lanka has announced that a new subsidy for fertilisers would be granted to farmers with supplementary crop cultivations, expanding a scheme currently only available for paddy farmers. Minister S.M. Chandrasena stated that the new subsidy was decided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapksa, after discussions with farmers. He announced that the new subsidy was a means of tackling a surplus of paddy cultivation. The move comes just weeks after the government announced that the state-owned company Milco would buy all unsold milk from farmers...

Marina Beach candlelight vigil held for Mullivaikal

Thousands of people gathered on Marina Beach in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, to remember those that perished in Mullivaikal, shouting slogans of grievance and calling in international independent investigation into war crimes. Organised by the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam and the May 17th Movement, the crowd also called for a referendum in establishing a separate state and were heard to shout slogans such as, “We will never forget India’s betrayal” and “We will never condone”. An organisation called Youth Against War Crimes and Genocide also took part in the event, collecting signatures for their campaign. See below for more photos.

Over 200 Tamil prisoners on hunger strike

A total of 234 Tamil detainees are now on hunger strike at prisons across the country , which has stretched into its fifth day, with more detainees joining the protest. The detainees, some who have been held without charge for several years, have asked to be either charged or released. TNA MP Sumanthiran told the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency , that he was due to have a meeting with prison authorities today, regarding the detainees. Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with countries in South Asia, Jean Lambert , also told Xinhua that the European Union was calling...

Row over lending of Buddha's relics

India’s plans to lend ancient fragments of the Buddha’s bones to Sri Lanka have been slammed by Tamil Nadu activists. Sri Lanka signed an agreement with India on Friday, permitting the transfer of the relics for the celebrations marking the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha’s enlightenment. The request was made by President Rajapakse to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a visit last year. Tamil Nadu politician Vaiko criticised India’s decision in a letter to the Prime Minister. The move was "pouring fire in the terribly wounded hearts of the Tamils", said the letter. Speaking at a Mullivaikal...

Media organisations criticise Supreme Court decision

The Committee to Protect Journalists has slammed the Sri Lankan Supreme Court’s decision to rejection a petition on the government’s website censorship earlier this week, filed by members of the Free Media Movement. Bob Dietz, coordinator of CPJ’s Asia Program stated , “In handing down its decision, the Court appeared to rule that freedom of expression in Sri Lanka is not an absolute right and can be restricted--and you don't need to pass a law to do so . The Supreme Court could have allowed the case to proceed and--after more hearings, the presentation of proof, and the testimony of...

Rajapaksa pardons General Fonseka

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has used a presidential pardon to grant the former army General Sarath Fonseka release from prison, after he was jailed in 2010. Around 2,000 supporters greeted Fonseka at his release, waving the Sri Lankan flag and chanting , "Victory to our war hero! Victory to our leader!" Photograph: Courtesy of Daily Mirror Photograph: Courtesy of Ceylon Today Supporter Tiran Alles stated that, “They were waiting for this moment. That is why everybody is celebrating all over the country.” Another supporter went on to tell the BBC , "He is the true leader who liberated this...

Honouring our symbols of strength and courage

Addressing the Mullivaikkal remembrance event in Trafalgar Square, London on Saturday, Jan Jananayagam of Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) paid tribute to the thousands of Tamil lives lost, calling them “symbols of strength and courage”. Taking the opportunity to remember life in the Vanni before the assault by the Sri Lankan Army, she stated, “The Vanni was above all a sanctuary. A sanctuary from the horrifying lawlessness of the Sri Lankan state and its military apparatus.” “A military that runs amok today in the Tamil Eelam homeland, eroding and ultimately destroying every good it comes into...

'May 18th defines precisely what cannot be reconciled' - TYO UK

Addressing the Mullaivaikkal remembrance event in London , on Saturday, the Tamil Youth Organisation UK (TYO UK), condemned the ongoing abuses, colonisation and oppression taking place in the North-East and asserted, "history makes two things very clear. Justice cannot be compromised on and oppression will not be tolerated forever ." See TYO UK address in full here . Extracts reproduced below: "Three years ago, tens of thousands of Tamils perished as the Sri Lankan Army annihilated the Vanni. As we wept, the world urged reconciliation." "Yet three years on, May 18th defines precisely what...

Eelam Tamils 'will resist subjugation' - BTF

The British Tamil Forum condemned the continued oppression of the Tamil nation in their speech at London's Mullivaikal remembrance event on Saturday. BTF asserted that the Tamil people will never accept 'servitude in their own land' and 'subjugation' will be 'resisted'. For full BTF speech see here . See below for extracts: "[We are gathered here] to remind ourselves; to remind the world, that we will not forget what was done to our people. We will not abandon our people. We will not let the international community abandon our people. "The Tamils, the ancient people of that island, will not...

UK Tamil university societies condemn Jaffna student attack

British Tamil students from across the United Kingdom have released a joint statement, denouncing the attack on the secretary of the Jaffna University Student Union. In a statement released on Saturday, student organisations deplored the “brutal act of violence that seeks to terrorise Tamil youth” , after Paramalingam Tharsananth was assaulted by a gang, alleged to have been linked with Sri Lankan army intelligence. The student was due to speak at a remembrance event in Jaffna University, marking three years since the massacre at Mullaivaikkal. Signed by 12 British university Tamil societies and the Tamil Youth Organisation UK, the statement goes on to say, "The attack marks yet another attempt by the Sri Lankan state, through intimidation, aggression and sheer violence, to deny Tamils the very basic of rights – the right to mourn our dead . Justice is paramount. However, reflecting on over sixty years of genocide faced by the Tamil nation, we view this attack as another in that continuum. We note with dismay and abhorrence that it will no doubt be met with injustice and impunity. Our thoughts are with our brothers and sisters in the North-East who continue to face this genocide today. " See the full statement and list of signatories below.

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