22 more Indian fishermen arrested in Palk Strait

The Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 22 Indian fishermen off the coast of Neduntheevu, Jaffna, for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Navy headquarters spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya told The Island that the fishermen and 6 trawlers were taken into custody in Kankesanthurai. Earlier this month, over 100 fishermen from India were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy. 'We are only protecting ourselves' SL Navy Chief tells Tamil Nadu (20 Dec 2013) Mass arrest of fishermen is 'near warlike' act says Tamil Nadu CM (12 Dec 2013)

SL Intelligence call TNPF organiser for questioning again

Sri Lanka's Special Intelligence Branch called the Tamil National People's Front's (TNPF) Vice President and Trincomalee organiser, Rasakone Hariharan for questioning again on Thursday over a commemoration event being planned by TNPF for the assassinated TNA MP, Joseph Pararajasingham on Sunday. Hariharan was previously questioned on December 23rd by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) in Trincomalee. The questioning was undertaken in a "very hostile and threatening manner", said Hariharan.

Govt census designed to minimise death toll - TNA MP

Slamming the Sri Lankan government's proposed census count, the TNA MP, Suresh Premachandran said the it was designed to minimise the death toll, reports Arab News. “ We strongly believe this is an attempt to give lower figures for war fatalities, ” said Premachandran. Highlighting the need to provide social services to those in need including single parent families and orphans, he added, “ for planning purposes of the council, we want the actual numbers, not watered down figures .” See our TG View - Erasing the dead and related articles: Sri Lanka rejects dismissal of ethnic conflict census (26 Dec 2013)

SL Navy opens resting point for Buddhist pilgrims in Jaffna district

A resting point for Buddhist pilgrims was opened in Mathagal in Jaffna district this month, by the chief Buddhist monk at Nagadeepa Temple, situated in Nainatheevu, along with a number of Sri Lankan Navy officials. The newly built complex is called 'Dambakolapatuna Pilgrims Rest', and is by the recently built Buddhist temple - Dambakolapatuna Sangamitta Viharaya.

Rs. 200 million losses for state-owned Milco

The Chairman of the state-owned Milco company has declared that losses of Rs. 200 million have occurred so far, and the situation is being compounded by factory workers striking. Sunil Wickremasinghe, who is accused of bribery and corruption by the striking workers, asked them to return to work at a news conference, reported ColomboPage . He went on to add that the company had suffered losses due to them purchasing milk from farmers for Rs. 50 per litre, double the previous price. Last year, the government vowed to support rural dairy farmers, by purchasing any unsold milk, following protests...

Sri Lanka deports arrested Indian journalist

Earlier today, Sri Lanka deported the Indian journalist, Tamil Prabhakaran, who was arrested on Christmas day for allegedly taking photographs of the High Security Zone and military installations on a tourist visa. Speaking to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), a police spokesperson Ajith Rohana said , “We deported him this evening without pressing charges. But, we deleted all the pictures he had taken in the north.” Elaborating on the reason for the deportation, Rohana said that the reporter was trying to produce a documentary and write articles that tarnished the image of Sri Lanka. Calls for...

Jaffna commander laughs off rape accusations

In an interview with Al Jazeera, the Commander of the Security Forces in Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe laughed off reports of abductions, torture and rape committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces, dismissing them as ‘lies’. Speaking on the documentary ‘Scars of Sri Lanka’, which aired on Thursday, Hathurusinghe dismissed claims of abductions, stating, “I flatly deny... None we do not. We don’t have anyone and we don’t abduct. Because there is no reason, why should we abduct? We have no terrorism.” See interview from 14:00 When questioned about individual reports of abductions by reporter Evan Williams, Hathurusinghe laughed before responding, “You know... I really can smile. There is nothing else I can do. Because this is politics. This is the problem…” Further questioning on rapes and abductions from a Human Rights Watch report released earlier this year (see here ), lead to more smiles from the Commander, who went on to add, “I suppose my smile tells the story. They are all fabricated, no base at all, all stories. Because they just want to stay in UK. They want to continue in other countries. These are all lies. These are all lies.” Last month an Australian Senator and New Zealand MP visitng the North-East had seen text messages sent Hathutusinghe himself to 'comfort women' he personally abuses .

Calls for Indian intervention in journalist arrest

Tamil Nadu political parties and media associations have appealed to the Indian government to secure the release of a Tamil Nadu journalist that was arrested in Kilinochchi on Wednesday. MDMK leader Vaiko, rallying along with PMK and VCK wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying: "Prabhakaran was a journalist and had every right to visit any country on a tourist visa and the freedom to meet people," The Chennai Press Club and Chennai Union of Journalists wrote to the external affairs ministry explaining that Prabhakaran had written a series of articles about the treatment of Tamils in Sri...

G.L. Peiris criticises 'threatening and int'l pressure'

In an interview this week to Prensa Latina, the Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris criticised the increasing international scrutiny Sri Lanka faced. Peiris reportedly said, "the threatening and the international pressure are not the path for us to go forward. The international community should give us a vote of trust, because the Sri Lankan government has the greatest will to do things right and is dedicating great resources to reconciliation and reconstruction. We have the institutions to solve our problems," "It is a mistake to apply selective and subjective standards to Sri Lanka. The UNHRC must consider the facts, by their own merits,"

CPJ calls for release of Indian journalist

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called for the immediate release of Indian journalist Tamil Prabhakaran, who was detained by Sri Lankan security forces on Wednesday. "Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa continually insists that his administration has nothing to hide, yet time and time again, we see authorities harass and intimidate journalists in an effort to prevent them from doing their work," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Sri Lanka should release Tamil Prabhakaran immediately." Calls for Indian intervention in journalist arrest (27 Dec 2013) Indian journalist...