Hundreds of Indian and Sri Lankan troops on reciprocal visits

The Sri Lankan and Indian armies engaged in joint visits last month, with troops from both militaries touring each region as relations between them continue to grow despite reports of continued human rights abuses. An official military website said 159 Indian soldiers had arrived in Colombo last month, from the army navy and air force, along with their spouses as they toured the south of the island before returning. A similar Sri Lankan delegation consisting of 162 troops also visited India, according to the military. “A special flight of the Indian Air Force has been made available for this...

Minister admits Sri Lanka history education racist

Hill Country Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella has admitted that Sri Lanka’s biased education system with inaccurate historical accounts are being taught to propagate ethnic hatred. In the minister’s statement, he claimed that ancient Sri Lankan kings were not nationalists and that Tamils and Muslims were “relatives” of the Sinhalese as opposed to foreign invaders. “The Tamils and Muslims are our relatives. The Tamils came from India. We also came from India. We have to accept that. Some people are not willing to accept that”. The minister further raised specific concerns over the...

Tamil newspaper distributor arrested by army for LTTE leader cover photo

A Tamil newspaper distributor was arrested by the Sri Lankan army in Mullaitivu for possessing newspapers with photos of the LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran on the cover. The distributor of a Tamil weekly was arrested and handed over to Oddusuddan police after being stopped and searched on the Oddusuddan-Nedunkeni road by the army. The newspaper he was distributing featured an article about southern politicians’ remarks about the LTTE leader and a photo of the leader as its cover photo. The distributor was released after questioning.

Buddhist monk files High Court appeal against Mullaitivu Tamil temple

The Vavuniya High Court has placed an injunction on works being carried out to a Hindu temple in Mullaitivu, following a Sinhala Buddhist monk’s appeal against a magistrate’s court ruling in favour of the temple. After ongoing disputes between the historic temple at Neeraviyadi, Semmalai, and a Buddhist monk who had appropriated some of its land and built a large Buddha statue adjacent, the Mullaitivu magistrate’s court had ruled in favour of the temple’s precedence and said that both shrines should carry out their activities without disturbing the other. However malcontent with the court...

Indian conference calls for lifting ban on LTTE and slams Sri Lankan militarisation

A conference in Thanjavur to mark a decade since the genocide at Mullivaikkal condemned Sri Lanka’s militarisation of the Tamil homeland and called on both India and the European Union to lift their bans on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The conference, organised by the World Tamil Confederation and chaired by veteran Tamil politician P Nedumaran, also called for an international accountability mechanism to prosecute those guilty of war crimes and for a referendum to determine whether a separate Tamil Eelam state should be created as part of a political solution to the island’s...

Another new building for Sri Lankan soldiers in Jaffna

The Sri Lankan military consolidated its presence in Jaffna this week, announcing the completed construction of yet another building at the army headquarters. An official military website declared the opening of an Officers’ Mess building at the Brigade Headquarters of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment (MIR) at Iyakachchi, Jaffna. The new building is reportedly “equipped with all modern facilities” and marks a further building constructed by the army, which continues to have a large presence in the region. Though the Sri Lankan government has repeatedly pledged to demilitarise the Tamil North-...

Navaly remembers victims of air force bombs 24 years on

The Church of St Peter at Navaly commemorated over 140 Tamil civilians killed in its premises by Sri Lankan Air Force bombs 24 years ago during the presidency of Chandrika Kumaratunga. On July 9 1995, the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the St Peter’s Church in Navaly and the nearby Sri Kathirgama Murugan Kovil, which were both sheltering displaced Tamils from army bombardment. A total of 13 bombs were dropped on the sheltering shrines, killing 147 on the spot with many more succumbing to injuries later. Despite no perpetrators being held accountable, survivors of the bombing and the church’s...

Sri Lankan army employee arrested with drugs in Jaffna

A Sri Lankan army employee was arrested along with four others for possession of heroin in Jaffna on Monday. The five were found in possession of the drug during a patrol search in the Eechamoddai area, Jaffna police said. One of the arrested was a Tamil employee of the Sri Lankan army.

Muslim doctor was framed by police says CID, but remains in Sri Lankan custody

Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) concluded that there is “no justification” for the arrest of a Muslim doctor accused of sterilising Sinhala women, yet the man continues to be held in custody. Court documents seen by AFP show that Sri Lanka’s CID found no evidence to support any of the allegations against Mohamed Shafi and instead said that Deputy Inspector General of Police Kithsiri Jayalath, chief in Shafi's home region of Kurunegala, fabricated evidence and fed it to Sinhalese newspapers. "There is no justification for the arrest of Dr. Shafi," the CID concluded. His...

Failure of Trinco 5 case demonstrates needs for international court - Amnesty and HRW

The acquittal of Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) troops over the murder of five Tamil students in 2006 demonstrates the need for “a court with international participation” said Human Rights Watch in a joint statement with Amnesty International on Monday. “Sri Lankan authorities have proven unable to obtain justice for the murders of five young people and the resulting coverup despite the considerable evidence available,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The failure to convict anyone in this emblematic case after 13 years demonstrates the need for a court...

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