Sri Lankan Minister flees Coimbatore after protests

The Sri Lankan Minister for Livestock and Rural Community Development, Arumugam Thondaiman, was forced to abandon his visit to the Tamil Nadu city of Coimbatore after protestors besieged his residence. Arumugam Thondaman's visit drew angry crowds to his hotel on Saturday, before he fled to Chennai. The protestors, mostly supporters of Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), demanded Thondaiman leave India immediately and attempted to jump over the gate of the hotel. 15 people were arrested by police over the protest. Thondaman is a member of the Ceylon Workers' Congress, a coaliton partner of the ruling...

'Time for a reality check on the Sri Lankan civil war'

In his blog in The Independent, journalist Emmanuel Stoakes calls for an independent inquiry into alleged war crimes. See below for extracts. "It has been around a thousand days since the conclusion of the war. In that time the response of the government to allegations of abuses, up to and including the LLRC report has been unconvincing, redolent of political self-service rather than an authentic attempt at truth and reconciliation. "Even some of the most ardent patriots who instinctively rally to Rajapaksa must be growing weary of reflexive cries of “lies and propaganda!” every time new...

Without truth, grievances remain 'dangerously unresolved'

Writing in the Dawn newspaper, former BBC foreign correspondent based in Sri Lanka and Iran, Frances Harrison, highlighting the " living hell " experienced by Tamils during the finally stages of the armed conflict in 2009, argues that " without the truth, reconciliation and forgiveness are simply not possible and the grievances that led to conflict in the first place remain dangerously unresolved ". See here for original article. Extracts reproduced below: "A preliminary investigation by the United Nations said Sri Lanka’s “conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime...

Further incident of tourist raped in Sri Lanka

A German tourist has lodged a complaint with Sri Lankan police, stating that she was raped in her hotel room whilst staying in Dikwella in the Matara district. The victim, who is in the country with her partner, alleged that that a man entered her hotel room during the night and raped her before escaping. A 29-year old resident of Dikwella has been arrested on suspicion of rape. The latest case adds to growing number of incidents of foreign tourists in Sri Lanka being raped, the most notable being the murder of a 27-year-old Briton on Christmas Eve, whose 24-year old Russian girlfriend was...

Rudd urged to act over Sri Lanka

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has been under fire for failing to respond to Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report, despite assurances that he would. The report, which was released in December 2011, has already been criticised by both the Canadian and British governments, as well as facing further condemnation from human rights groups. Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, cited the Australian government’s collaboration with Sri Lanka over asylum seekers fleeing the island towards Australia as a possible reason for the delaying, telling reporters in Canberra, "Foreign...

'My brothers' keepers'

In its latest edition, The Economist writes about the Rajapakse clan's stranglehold on Sri Lanka. See below for extracts. 'The past months have brought strikes, riots and protests by students, railwaymen, prisoners and public workers. The opposition Tamil National Alliance swept local elections in the north, leaving the president’s party in the dust. Ranil Wickremasinghe, the main Sinhalese opposition leader, no ball of energy himself, claims to see wide “protests and agitation against unfulfilled promises”.' 'Hushed café talk about a “Colombo spring” overstates things, but Mr Rajapaksa may...

Sri Lankan minister threatens to attack journalists

Douglas Devananda, a Sri Lankan minister and leader of the paramilitary group, EPDP, threatened physical attacks on journalists, reported Tamilnet. In an article published Thursday, Tamilnet quoted Devananda as saying, “ I told my [paramilitary] boys to beat up these journalists. But, the boys are not paying attention. It seems I have to go in person and do it to make these journalists behave " His remarks were made during a meeting held at the Jaffna District Secretariat to unemployed graduates, when he learned that the Jaffna edition of Thinakkural had exposed the diversion of funds from...

Sri Lankan Major General exposed government's abductions to US - Wikileaks

Prasad Samarasinghe, a Major General in Sri Lanka's army and former military spokesperson to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London informed the US about the Rajapaksa adminstration's use of abductions as "political retribution against those though to be disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration", and the prosecution of scapegoats to "appease the international community", according to a US embassy cable, dated 6th June 2007. Major General Samarasinghe is also the chief signal officer of the army and chief controller at the centre for research and development at Ministry of Defence. He was also the commander for three separate brigades in Jaffna, vanni and Trincomalee, Colonel General Staff, 22 Division Headquarters, Trincomalee, Colonel General Staff, Directorate of Operations, Army Headquarters, Assistant Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and the Centre Commandant, Sri Lanka Signal Corps.

TNA holds talks with US war crimes envoy

Members of the Tamil National Alliance met with US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen Rapp, who is on a 4-day visit to Sri Lanka. Mr Rapp and TNA leader R. Sampanthan and MP M A Sumanthiran held discussions relating to the issues faced by Tamils on the island. The visit comes as the US is gearing up for the UN Human Rights Session in Geneva later this month. The US is thought to be preparing a resolution against Sri Lanka and is actively engaging with other countries garnering support for it. Senior US officials Robert Blake and Maria Otero are also due to visit Sri Lanka...

South African Tamils demand international investigation

Photograph IOL News Tamils in South Africa staged a protest on 4th February demanding an international investigation into the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka. The protest, organised by the Tamil Federation of Gauteng (TFG), was held in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg. Nadas Pillay, president of the TFG said, “Today, February 4, 2012, Sri Lanka celebrates Independence Day and projects to the world that it has a stable country with a democracy. But while it looks fine from the outside, within the country it has inequality among its citizens, no freedom of...

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