Cup of Gota's tea

Dilmah Tea owner and the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary open the latest Sri Lankan military monument in the Tamil homeland . During his address at the opening event, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, made a special mention to Dilmah Tea, one of Sri Lanka's leading brands, "for its patronage, extended to make Thoppigala a place of tourist interest."

'Idea of Tamil nation is not dead in SL'

Writing in Tehelka, Revati Laul, detailed her recent trip to the North-East, concluding, "but even in the aftermath of the terror and genocide, the Tamil idea of nationhood has not disappeared. If India does not want another cycle of violence at its doorstep, it cannot afford to be indifferent to the voices of the Lankan Tamils." See here for original article, extracts reproduced below: "With the war over, things have gone back to usual. Contrary to Rajapaksa’s famed 13th amendment, promising autonomy to the provincial councils in the north for the Tamils, this means a return to State policies from the 1950s that systematically and deliberately excluded them from cultivable farmland and prime fishing waters. The exclusion that sparked the Tamil resistance and war in the first place is back with a bang." "TRINCOMALEE IN the east, a long and beautiful stretch of coastline once held by the LTTE, is now back on the tourist map after it was recaptured by the army in 2006. But Trincomalee is overrun with soldiers at every street corner. Every passenger on every incoming bus to the north and east is checked by the military. Every time you board a bus, you have to write your contact numbers, purpose of visit and passport details." "In another camp in the east — local guides did not wish it to be identified — a frail 53-year-old woman stepped out of her mud hut to greet us. She dashed her daughter off to get us a sweet red drink from a store nearby as her eyes slowly shifted to a faraway place. She now lives entirely in the past. Every waking moment is spent thinking of the home they fled in 2006; the two cows she had to sell, named Neerum or water and Neeruppu or fire. “Even if I don’t get back my farmland, I will live with that. All I want, even if it’s just a small hut, is to get back to my homeland,” she said wistfully. At yet another camp in the north, a fisherman’s eyes brimmed over. Living in a camp for more than 22 years is no life, he said. In the 1990s, he left the camp to live in the Vanni, the LTTE heartland, where he felt protected and thought the Tamils would have a future. Now, at the age of 60, with that dream getting more and more blurred, he confessed, “I think I should just end it all now and walk into the sea.” The refusal to be named or identified is commonplace among the Tamils. Their fear is palpable."

Indian Navy ships on training visit in SL

Three Indian Navy ships arrived in Colombo on Thursday, on a 4 day training visit aimed at increasing mutual cooperation between the two navies. The ships, "INS Sujata", "INS Tarangini" and Coast Guard Ship "ICGS Varuna" were welcomed at the port by the Sri Lankan Navy. A total of 272 Indian Navy personnel and 187 Coast Guard personnel will take part in the special programme organised by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Australian Air Force plane sends asylum seekers home

The Australian government has sent back 38 asylum seekers who arrived by boat in Australia’s busy Geraldton port last week, as refugee advocacy groups claim they were denied access to lawyers. A further 28 asylum seekers who were on the boat are having their claims “processed” on Christmas Island, according to reports, after the group pulled into the port following a 44-day voyage from Sri Lanka. An Australian Air Force jet will be sending the asylum seekers to Colombo. Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor stated , ''Returning this group to Sri Lanka sends the powerful message that people who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process... There is no fast track to Australia - irrespective of whether someone arrives at an excised offshore place. If they do not engage Australia's protection obligations, they will be returned home.'' Meanwhile, as another group of asylum ended a 10-day hunger strike in a Melbourne detention centre, American political critic Noam Chomsky stated, “The true measure of the moral level of a society is how it treats the most vulnerable people... Few are as vulnerable as those who have fled to Australia in terror and are locked away without charge, their terrible fate veiled in secrecy. We may not be able to do much beyond lamenting about North Korean prisons. But we can do a great deal about severe human rights violations right within reach ”. He was joined by critically acclaimed Australian author Thomas Keneally, who said, “If any Australian citizens were treated as these people are, with detention, humiliation and denial of rights, we too would make protests to assert the justice of our cause – just as these present refugees have done”.

Gotabaya opens another war memorial in Tamil homeland

Speaking at the opening of yet another triumphalist war memorial in the Tamil homeland, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa asked critics abroad to come and visit Sri Lanka and see for themselves the progress the country has made. “People were deprived of enjoying the scenic beauty of this area due to the 30-year-old war and people in these areas had to leave their native places and had lived under dire conditions. “After liberating the country from the terrorism, not only Sri Lankans but foreigners also have been able to come and enjoy the scenic beauty of this area,” he said at the opening...

The land of appropriate militarisation...

The Sri Lankan government will acquire a large area of land in Vavuniya, to permanently build a military camp, reported the Colombo Gazette . According to the government of Sri Lanka's Lands Ministry, the owners of the land have been informed of this move. The Lands Ministry claimed that the acquisition is being implemented within the legal frameworks of Sri Lanka, and the owners will be compensated. In an attempt to justify the allocation of land for a permanent military base amidst international calls for demilitarisation of the Northern Tamil Homeland, the Lands Ministry purported that the...

RSF and JDS ‘appalled’ at attack on Tamil newspaper

Reporters Without Borders and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka have denounced an attack on a Tamil newspaper in Jaffna, just 10 days after the same paper’s office were attacked in Kilinochchi. Both RSF and JDS said , “We are appalled by this latest attack, which comes amid growing threats and violence against the Tamil media, and we offer our complete support for Uthayan’s journalists, whose courage has our admiration and respect,” “The police should have agreed to the newspaper’s request for protection after the 3 April attack on its office in Kilinochchi. The passivity of the police...

BBS condemns FCO Human Rights report

The Bodu Bala Sena has condemned the recent human rights report released by the FCO, for “baseless” allegations. Objecting of the organisation name’s translation as ‘Buddhist Army’ in the report, the BBS said its name meant 'Forces of Buddhist Power' and “it is not an Army as specified by the UK.”

Judiciary associations call for suspension of SL from the Commonwealth

Three Commonwealth institutions of the legal profession made joint calls upon the Members of the Common wealth, through the upcoming Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to place Sri Lanka on the agenda of its next meeting on 26 April 2013, and suspend it from the Councils of Commonwealth for serious and persistent violations of the Commonwealth fundamental values. Assembling at the 18th Commonwealth Law Conference, in Cape town, South Africa, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association and the Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges' Association, released...

Revival of resistance impossible - SLA

Spokesperson for the Sri Lankan Army, Ruwan Wanigasooriya, has said that it would be impossible for the LTTE to spark another resistance, reports Uthayan . According to Wanigasooriya, a revival of the liberation movement is unfeasible, although an armed movement could be formed with foreign assistance. Claiming that 'rehabilitated' former cadres only desired 'peace', and would be unwilling to involve themselves in another movement, Wanigasooriya said that networks had been set up to block foreign attempts to facilitate a resistance.