'Release Jaffna University students' - Kilinochchi residents

A protest was held outside the Kilinochchi District office calling for the immediate release of Jaffna University students along with civilians who are in detention centres. Protesters shouted slogans and carried placards that said “release Jaffna University students immediately” and “Military get out”. Tamil National Alliance MP Suresh Premachandran, TNPF leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and other politicians from other political perties were present. See the report from Uthayan here .

TNA youth coordinator's home attacked

The home of the youth coordinator for the TNA on the islets in Jaffna has been targeted by a grenade attack, reported TamilNet on Tuesday. Nishanthan, who is a former EPDP member, said he escaped the attack as the grenade hit a tree outside the house. The young politician left the pro-government EPDP after discovering fraud in the municipal council of Jaffna, where he was elected for the EPDP. For more details see report on TamilNet here .

TNPF condemns Sampanthan's parliamentary address

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) expressed ‘severe dissatisfaction’ with the comments made in Parliament by TNA leader Sampanthan. The TNPF questioned why, if the TNA did not demand complete demilitarisation in the North-East, had TNA parliamentarians participated in protests calling for withdrawal of the army and signed a statement demanding demilitarisation in New Delhi in August 2011. TNPF went on to accuse the TNA of acting falsely for the sake of winning the support of the Tamil people, and asserted that as parties forming the alliance and other TNA parliamentarians had not spoken out against Sampanthan’s statements, they must be assumed to agree with them. Criticising Sampanthan for ‘undermining the Tamil people’s liberation struggle’ by portraying to the LTTE as terrorists. The TNPF stated that Sampanthan’s comments ammounted to justifications of the ‘war on terror’ argument offered up by the Rajapakse regime. Extracts from the press release : “Tamils see the Sri Lankan Army, which is 99% Sinhalese, as an occupational army. Reason being, this army is the prevalent tool employed in the Sri Lankan state’s scheme to destroy the existence of the Tamil nation.” “Mr Sampanthan’s comments emphasising the reduction of military presence rather than demilitarisation is a sign of support for those forces that yearn to break the spirit of Tamil nationalism.”

Despite waiver, SL still can’t buy oil from Iran

The Ceylon Petroleum Company has stated that Sri Lanka still has not been able to obtain any crude oil from Iran, despite being granted a waiver from US sanctions. Speaking to the Sunday Times Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Managing Director L.E. Susantha Silva said that despite the waiver, banks still refused to open letters of credit and insurance companies would not provide any cover for ships to transport the oil. He further said that Sri Lankan banks were too afraid of being blacklisted by the US to risk opening up letters of credit. His comments come after the United States announced they...

Fears for 3 detained at Joseph camp

Whilst seven students are reported to have been released today, three students are believed to have been arrested and detained at Joseph camp in Vavuniya, notorious for reports of torture.

Protests against Jaffna uni arrests continue in London

Tamils in London protested on Monday against the on-going intimidation and arrest of Jaffna University students. The protest, organised by British Tamil Forum (BTF), was held outside the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 10th December to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

Canadian MP expresses concern over Jaffna Uni incidents

The Canadian MP for Kitchener Centre, Stephen Woodworth, reiterated his concerns over the human rights situation in the North-East, drawing attention to the recent incidents at the University of Jaffna. In a statement , Woodworth said: “Parliamentarians have the responsibility to make it our first priority to raise our voice in support of every person’s fundamental human rights,” “I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers towards all those that have been affected by the latest violent attacks and I urge the international community to call on the Sri Lankan Government to put in place...

India concern over Sri Lanka’s tax raise for vehicle imports

Indian officials have expressed concerns about recent moves by Sri Lanka which increased duty on Indian vehicle import into the country. Sri Lanka has increased the duties for imports of vehicles from India, while giving exemptions to imports from Japan, reported the Sunday Times last month. The paper also reported that a Chinese company was given clearance to set up a car plant. A spokesperson for the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said Sri Lanka has nearly doubled the import tax on vehicles manufactured in India, and if reports about the Chinese plant proved correct,...

Jaffna uni lecturers protest against student arrests

Photographs EelamNews Lecturers from the University of Jaffna, protested in solidarity with their students on Friday, against the arrests and intimidation of several students over the commemoration of Remembrance Day on 27th November.

Sampanthan speaks for himself

Sampanthan outlines his views on militarisation of the North-East in the Sri Lankan parliament on Friday: Here's a video of his address, extracts reproduced below: "There seems to be a rather mistaken belief among some people in this country that the Tamil people want the armed forces out of the North and East, that's not correct. Let me put it on record, that we realise and we accept that the armed forces have got to be present in the North and East, as they are in the whole country. We only ask that the presence of the armed forces in the North and the East, is not in such a manner as to be...