Sampanthan trusts India to take up the Tamil issue

The leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, has affirmed his faith in India to take up the Tamil issue on the island of Sri Lanka, reported Uthayan. Delivering a statement on the recent trip of a TNA delegation to New Delhi, Sampanthan is reported to have said: “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given his assurance that India will take responsibility in ensuring that the Tamil people in Sri Lanka can live with justice, dignity and self-respect. Manmohan Singh said that he will do everything he can for this.” “Upon meeting leader of the opposition, Sushma Swaraj, we were reassured that this would remain the case regardless of regime changes in India. She further said that it is not just the Tamil Nadu government that is concerned about the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Each state in India is on the side of the Tamil people. Ms Swaraj told us that all Indian states are committed to resolving the problems of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.” “India’s attitude to the problems of Tamil people is a sympathetic one. I believe that they will soon take up responsibility in finding a solution to these problems.”

Gotabaya repeats calls to repeal 13th Amendment

The defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse has repeated calls to abolish the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution, reported The Island . He said the political strategy of the TNA left him with no option but to recommend the abolition of the amendment. Rajapakse said that the TNA was causing unnecessary friction and it could not be allowed to dictate terms to the government, in relation to the deployment of security forces. He added that the TNA was attempting to stoke ethnic tensions by criticising the settlement of Sinhalese in Tamil regions. More calls to repeal the 13th Amendment (...

Sri Lanka’s sole refinery faces closure after Iran sanctions

Sri Lanka’s only oil refinery may be forced to shut for up to two weeks after sanctions on Iran have led to Sri Lanka struggling to seek out alternative supplies of crude oil. Sri Lanka depends almost entirely on Iran for crude oil, with the 50,000 barrels-per-day refinery in Sapugaskanda only able to process that particular type of crude oil. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation general manager Susantha Silva told Reuters , "At the moment, we are having problems with getting the required Iran crude... We are still trying, even right now. If it is not, then we have no choice, but to shut down for two...

In a hurry to resettle refugees in India

The Sri Lankan government has issued 50 birth certificates, 130 citizenship certificates and 60 passports to Tamil refugees at a camp in Rameswaran, Tamil Nadu, reports the Hindu. The Deputy High Commissioner, RKMA Rajakaruna, said : “The military presence in North has been drastically reduced. The claim of militarisation is only an academic theme. There are no soldiers at every house or under every tree as claimed by anti-Sri Lanka elements.”

More calls to repeal the 13th Amendment

Adding to the chorus of Sinhala voices calling for the 13th Amendment to be abolished, the JHU and the now infamous Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities, Wimal Weerawansa, joined in. In a letter to President Rajapaksa, Weerawamsa, requested that a referendum be held to repeal the provincial council system, stating that the system was introduced without the public consent through the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987. Meanwhile the JHU's deputy leader, Udaya Gammanpila, told the that the party plans to launch a campaign to repeal it, adding, the " 13th Amendment is harmful to the government and, therefore, it should be abolished. This will bring an end to a series of problems ." Extract of Gammanpila's comments to the ‘Our party has requested the government to abolish the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. We have done this because the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has based all its arguments on devolution of powers as well as ideas of separatism based on the 13th Amendment . “The TNA has resorted to action in the courts based on this 13th Amendment. The judiciary is helpless as this is now part of the Constitution. The existence of this Amendment is an obstacle to the development of the country. Whenever the country tries to move forward the issue of this amendment is brought forward stalling the progress. The 13th Amendment is harmful to the government and, therefore, it should be abolished. This will bring an end to a series of problems .

Attacks now 'commonplace' - say TN fishermen

As concerns are raised about four Tamil Nadu fishermen who never returned home after setting off on Saturday night, fishermen in Tamil Nadu spoke to the Times of India, of the relentless alleged attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy. District Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association, B Jesu Raja, said , " The attacks have become commonplace nowadays and we are coping with them ," Whilst another leader of a fishermen's association said: "Their absolute goal seems to be to shun Tamil Nadu fishermen entering their borders for fishing. Unfortunately, our fishermen at Rameswaram...

Lankan Navy continues attacks on Tamil Indian fishermen

Fourteen Tamil Indian fishermen were attacked yet again by the Sri Lankan Navy off Kodiakkarai on October the 17th. According to the Hindu , fishermen set off in two boats from Nagapattinam and were confronted by Sri Lankan naval craft which “opened fire” damaging boats and leaving three fishermen severely injured. The Sri Lankan navy also threw nets and GPS equipment belonging to the fishermen into the sea and are then accused of beating them. The severely injured fishermen received treatment at the Nagapattinam government hospital.

Sri Lanka plans to use KP to speak to Tamil diaspora

Adding to recent unsubstantiated claims by the Sri Lankan government that it is talking to the Tamil diaspora, the Minister Keheliya Rambukwella explained that it was a government strategy to use the recently freed former LTTE commander, Selvarasa Pathmanathan or KP to forge "constructive dialogue" with the Tamil diaspora. Rambukwella said : “We must take a positive view on the KP factor and use him for a constructive dialogue with the Tamil Diaspora and other detractors. We must compare the merits and demerits of using him as a tool to put an end to the proxy war against Sri Lanka by LTTE...

Case filed against detainees for 2007 offensive

A high court complaint has been filed against two political detainees, allegedly ex-LTTE cadres, for the deaths of four soldiers, including two senior officers, in the Wilpattu National Park in 2007. According to Uthayan , the complaint, filed at the Anuradhapura High Court, accuses the detainees of a bomb attack and gunfire, killing two senior army officers and two further army personnel. The detainees have been identified as Iyan of Vasavilan and Sivaprakash Sivaseelan of Kondachi.

UK to deport 60 asylum seekers on Tuesday

British authorities are set to deport 60 failed asylum seekers to Sri Lanka on Tuesday the 23rd of October, according to reports. A specially chartered plane is set to take the asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, departing from an undisclosed terminal at Heathrow Airport reported Ceylon Today . The scheduled deportation comes just days after the Foreign Affairs Committee released a report which called on the British government to take greater care in evaluating the risk of torture to deported asylum seekers returning to Sri Lanka. See our earlier post: UK Foreign Affairs Committee criticises asylum...