Saiva families coercibly converted to Islam

Civil societies sources in Amparai state that disadvantaged Tamil Saiva families are being converted to Islam by mosque leaders through financial enticement, reported TamilNet. Approximately seventy five Saiva families living in Nainaakdu have been converted to Islam and a mosque has been erected recently for the convertees’ use. Tamil girls working in textile shops owned by Muslims in Kalmunai-Akkaraippaththu have also been facing sexual harassment and used for prostitution. These allegations have been reported to local police, who are however to be believed to be part of the prostitution...

GL Peiris boosts cooperation with Kuwait

The Sri Lankan foreign minister, GL Peiris arrived in Kuwait this weekend to take part in the ACD foreign ministry meeting - Asia Cooperation Dialogue. The meeting will include ministers from 32 ACD countries.

GTF - diaspora united in fundamentals and determined

Speaking to The Island this weekend, the GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran commented on the recent statement by the TNA on their visit to New Delhi, and stressed the diaspora's determination to continue. "India’s interest in Tamil affairs in Sri Lanka is vital in achieving a just political solution for the Tamil National Question, equality, dignity and justice for Tamils. India is not just a regional power, it is growing to be an international power. Having a regional alliance with the Tamil Nation is not just important for Indian security but also significant to establish a stable region." "For the current Indian Government, the politics in Tamil Nadu is key to sustain the existing coalition and in the elections that are due in less than two years. In those circumstances, it is vitally important the elected representatives of the Tamil people, the TNA, to engage India at the most senior levels of the establishment. We are encouraged by the Indian Prime Minister’s remarks that `India would never backtrack from its position that Tamils in Sri Lanka should lead a life of dignity and self respect in a peaceful environment’ as reported in the local Indian media." "The diaspora is united in its fundamentals. Therefore be it at the UNHRC or any other international forums we, collectively will continue to demand for an international independent investigation to establish the truth on what happened at the last leg of the war that ended in May 2009. The fact that human rights conditions for Tamils, particularly for young women and generally for the youth has deteriorated since the end of the war will be exposed with credible evidence at every international opportunity presented to us."

TNA's statement on recent visit to India

The Colombo Telegraph has published a statement by the TNA on the party's recent visit to India. Reproduced in full below: A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentary delegation led by its leader R. Sampanthan and comprising, S Senathirajah, K Premachandran, A Adaikalanathan, A Vinayagamoorthi, Pon Selvarajah and M A Sumanthiran visited New Delhi on the invitation of the Ministry of External Affairs between the 10th and 13th of October 2012. During the visit the delegation met with the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, the Minister for External Affairs Shri S M Krishna, the Leader of the Opposition Shrimati Sushma Swaraj, the National Security Advisor Shri Shiv Shanker Menon, the Secretary of External Affairs Shri Ranjan Mathai, the Joint Secretary Shri Shringla and other officials.

Gotabhaya - repeal 13th Amendment without delay

In an interview with the pro-government newspaper, The Sunday Island, the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa called for the 'abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution without further delay'. Stating that the 13th Amendment was 'nothing but an impediment to the post-war development process', Gotabhaya Rajapaksa asserted 'that the SLFP-led UPFA should either do away with the 13th Amendment or amend it taking into considering ground realities'. He went on to liken the constitutional amendment to the Norwegian led 2002 Ceasefire Agreement, and said: "The 13th Amendment and...

Sri Lankan embassy gearing up to fight US resolution

The Sri Lankan embassy in the US has managed to ward off a campaign launched by a US congressman pushing for progress on the UNHRC resolution adopted earlier this year, according to sources at Sri Lanka's External Affairs Ministry. Speaking to the Sunday Leader , sources at the ministry said they had managed to have House Resolution 177, first presented by Republican congressman, Michael Grimm in 2011, removed from the calendar this year, but feared that it may be re-submitted and passed before January. According to the Sunday Leader, sources said: "Ambassador Wickramasuriya and officials...

India and SL discuss nuclear cooperation

Indian and Sri Lankan officials have held talks about civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries. A statement , released by Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry, said that the discussions were “warm and friendly”. “Discussions were held in a warm, friendly and cordial manner. Both sides exchanged views on all aspects of civil nuclear cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the uses of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to mutual benefit of the people of the two countries. “It was agreed that the two sides would work towards a...

Indian foreign minister calls for resumption of talks

Meeting the TNA leader R. Sampanthan and his delegation, the Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna stressed the need for early resumption of talks. The seven member TNA delegation are currently visiting India, and have also met with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Sampanthan said , "Prime Minister said India would never backtrack from its position that Tamils in Sri Lanka should lead a life of dignity and self respect in a peaceful environment. He told us that India is fully with Sri Lankan Tamils and would continue to engage with TNA."

Joint task force to double SL-India trade

Sri Lanka’s information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle has announced that a joint task force, consisting of private and public sector personnel, has been set up to double trade between Sri Lanka and India. Industry and commerce minister Rishad Bathiudeen made the proposal, which was then accepted by the cabinet. India is also reported to have agreed to the setting up of an industrial zone, “most probably [...] in Trincomalee,” according to Bathiudeen. Bilateral trade between the two countries was worth US$ 5 billion, with Sri Lankan exports to India reaching US$500 million last year.

Monks block Saiva temple extension, claim yet another sacred Buddhist site

Members of the JHU, Sri Lanka’s Sinhala Buddhist Nationalist party have been blocking plans to extend the ancient Shiva temple in Munneswaram, Chilaw. Temple authorities had applied in May 2012 for permission to construct a ten-storey front tower (Rajagopuram) for the building, but are yet to be given the go-ahead by the Divisional Secretary. According to TamilNet , an ancient scripture was found during preparations for the construction, which the Department of Archaeology have now claimed belongs to Buddhist culture. Monks have also been spreading claims that the discovery of a Bo tree on...