Eelam Tamil hunger strikers hospitalised in Tamil Nadu

A hunger strike by Eelam Tamil refugees in Chengalpet ‘special camp’ in Tamil Nadu has entered its 12th day, TamilNet reports. Nine of the fourteen hunger strikers have been hospitalised, while protesting and demanding immediate release from the camp, where they are held in squalid conditions. The Chengalpet camp houses 29 Eelam Tamils, held for not having a passport. The detainees are demanding to be released to rejoin their families or to normal refugee camps.

Government denies LLRC implementation proposals

The Sri Lankan government rejected reports that the External Affairs Minister, Prof G.L. Peiris has submitted a document on its plans to implement the LLRC recommendations, during a visit to Washington last month. The chair of the 'task force' overseeing implentation, Lalith Weerathunga, said, “We are yet to determine the potentiality of recommendations in the LLRC report and which recommendations can be implemented,” “We will announce what recommendations could be implemented in due course. We plan to announce the short term strategy of implementation by mid July.”

Military to fight dengue now

From whale-watching to hotels to public health campaigns, Sri Lanka's military have been entrusted with a new role. Over 10,000 Sri Lankan military officers are to be deployed to find dengue fever the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena announced. In a statement, Sirisena said , “Security forces will assist the national campaign against dengue,” Troops have been deployed to drain large pools of stagnating water.

Tamils protest against land grabs amidst military threats

A demonstration was held in the town of Murikandi, near Kilinochchi, on Tuesday, protesting against the occupation of Tamil land by the Sri Lankan Army, Jaffna daily Uthayan reports. Dozens of people turned up outside Murikandi temple, despite of threats and intimidation by Sri Lankan security forces.

India deploys Menon to talk tough

Picture: Daily Mirror India's National Security Advisor to the Indian government, Shiv Shankar Menon, will be arriving in Sri Lanka later this week, to discuss New Delhi's concerns regarding various issues in " the strongest terms ", reports Sri Lanka's Sunday Times. In addition to raising the UNHRC resolution, adopted earlier this year, Menon will reportedly express " strong reservations " over the Sri Lankan government's increasingly anti-India stance and the " inflammatory " statements made by some ministers that India believes are " rousing communal passions " and " obstructing "...

SL rejects India’s Palali airport offer

The Sri Lankan Government has turned down an offer by India to develop Palali airport, reported the Daily Mirror on Monday. India has been involved in several infrastructure projects in the north of the island, including modernising the railway and developing Kankesanthurai harbour. However its offer to develop Palali airport, was turned down by the government and will instead be run jointly by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Air Force. Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said the airport would be expanded for commercial activities and for the use of the Air Force. He said a...

SL army attack civilians in Vanni

Sri Lankan soldiers have attacked uprooted Tamil families sheltering in a school in Kilinochchi, TamilNet reported on Monday. The families were temporarily accommodated inside Hindu Tamil Viththiyaalayam, after being released from Menik Farm IDP camp a few weeks ago. They were demanding resettlement on their own land, which has been grabbed by the security forces. The families had been resisting forced resettlement on land designated by the government and faced harassment by the army. Busloads of soldiers were brought in to the area on Monday, who then went on to assault the civilians,...

Singh pressed Rajapakse on Tamil rights at Rio20+

The Indian Prime Minister Manohan Singh stressed the importance for a political solution in Sri Lanka during talks held with President Mahinda Rajapkse in Rio de Janeiro at the climate conference. The prime minister stressed “the great importance we attach in India to the ability of the Tamil people to lead a life of dignity and as equal citizens of that country”, according to a press statement , released by the Indian High Commission in Colombo on Saturday. He is also reported to have pledged continued assistance for economic programmes and a housing project. "In terms of the overall...

Puttalam mangroves destroyed by Minister's salterns

The Deputy External Affairs Minister, Neomal Perara, has been accused of illegally aquiring land along Puttalam lagoon in order to create salterns, reports The Sunday Leader. The Divisional Secretary of Kalpitiya, Ranga Fernando, said, “The mangrove was completely bulldozed last year without taking any approval from the Forest Department. We got to know that Perera’s men were bulldozing the mangrove on a Sunday morning and immediately took an injunction order by the same evening. Hence we were able to stop further destruction to the mangrove." "Later we found out that they have started illicit mangrove destruction from Friday evening – after all government departments closed for the weekend. We still cannot determine as to what the extent of this bulldozed area is since it is a large extent. I assume it could be several acres. We have to carry out a new survey now to demarcate the boundaries,” During Chandrika Kumaratunge presidency, Perara reportedly aquired 150 acres around the Puttalam lagoon for a saltern on a lease agreement with the support of Gamini Jayawickrema Perara - who was the then chief minister of the North Western province. However, a forest ranger in Puttalam, S.M.K.W. Kotuwegedara alleges that on two occasions Perera has ordered the illegal destruction of mangroves and has illegally aquired land to extend his salterns. Kotuwegedara said, “Perera, little by little he got the saltern extended illegally. As a result we have filed two cases against his company –St. Ann’s Salt (Pvt) Ltd in the Puttalam District Court,”

Government denies land grab accusations

Government officials have denied allegations of land seizures by security forces, after protests by the TNA and other Tamil political groups in the North-East. The Government Agent of Kilinochchi, Roopavathi Ketheeswaran said there was no truth in the allegations. “There are no such things happening here. Most of such claimed lands were earlier occupied by the LTTE and the military has a safety assurance process. Those will be handed back to the rightful owners shortly,” she told The Nation . The TNA is currently collecting details and statistics of lands that have been forcibly taken from...