UK activists, unions and campaigners come together over Tamil question

Photograph BTF member @vakesan In a landmark 'Solidarity Day', British Tamil activists, UK trade unions and rights campaigners from a wide array of communities came together to discuss the need for action on the Tamil question. The event, which included speakers from Unison, Public and Commercial Services Union, National Union of Teachers, RMT Transport Union, Unite, a UK Based Turkish and Kurdish community centre, Youth Fight for Jobs and Education Campaign, Nepali political activist, Rape is No Joke campaign, Stop Boda Bala Sena and Committee for a Workers' International, as well as from event organisers - British Tamil Forum and Tamil Solidarity - focused on three key issues: - Tamil people's right to self-determination - An international, independent inquiry into the atrocities committed in 2009 and recognition of the genocide that has been perpetrated against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan state over the last 65 years; - Relocation of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting ( CHOGM ) in November 2013, which is currently set to be held in Colombo – or, failing that, a boycott of this meeting by leading Commonwealth member states such as the UK.

#BoycottLKA campaign bowls over Cardiff

Young Tamil activists staged a demonstration outside the Swalec Cricket Stadium, where the Sri Lankan cricket team played their first game of the International Cricket Champions Trophy, in Cardiff today. Calling for a boycott of the Sri Lankan Cricket team, the activists handed out leaflets to raise awareness about the atrocities that were committed by the Sri Lankan government, and the on-going human rights abuses of Tamils in the North-East of the island. The activists handed out leaflets to spectators that outlined the oppressive ground realities in Sri Lanka whilst inviting them to ask further questions about why a boycott of Sri Lanka was necessary.

Jayalalitha calls for deportation of Sri Lankan officers

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalitha has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to expel two Sri Lankan military officers, who are currently training in Tamil Nadu. Jayalalitha called on Singh to make a policy decision not to train any more Sri Lankan armed personnel until credible action is taken by the government to stop human rights violations against Tamils and illegal attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen. She also expressed surprise that the previous decision not to train Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu was flouted. "I strongly urge you to give suitable instructions to immediately discharge the two Sri Lankan officers from the training course at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and to send them back to Sri Lanka forthwith," she said in a letter to the prime minister.

Outrage over lack of reverence for Lanka

Sri Lanka is reportedly indignant at the snubbing of the Sinhala national anthem in favour of a Hindi song at the opening ceremony of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Champions Trophy tournament. Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) media manager Rajitha Fernando told the Nation newspaper: “SLC had specifically sent the Sri Lankan national anthem to the ICC to be aired during the opening ceremony. Therefore, it is quite strange how a Hindi song was played following our captain’s speech,” Sri Lankan Buddhist organisation Ravana Balaya are expected to protest, demanding an apology from the ICC...

7yr old rape victim identifies SL soldier as attacker

The 7-year-old victim of sexual assault from Nedunkeni, Vavuniya identified her attacker in court on Friday reports Tamilwin. A soldier was reportedly arrested in connection with the assault. The girl was abducted and raped on her way home from school on the 14th May. The attack sparked demonstrations in Vavuniya demanding the arrest of the rapist.

Army deny involvement in Hindu temple looting in Batticaloa

The Sri Lankan Army's spokesperson, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, denied that the Army was responsible for the recent spate of looting of Hindu temples in Batticaloa, reports Asian Tribune . Brigadier Wanigasooriya said: "These allegations are totally baseless and far from truth. However, investigations on a burglary that took place on 1 June at Pillaiyaar Kovil in Vellaveli have revealed that it has been carried out by a team of burglars from the area and yesterday [7th June] a suspect has been arrested in this connection and Sri Lanka Police in Batticaloa is conducting further...

Govt responsible for hate speech and physical attacks against Tamil newspaper - Tamil MP

The Sri Lankan government was responsible for a campaign of "hate speech backed up by physical attacks" against the Tamil Jaffna based newspaper, Uthayan, accused a Tamil MP. Listing the attacks against the newspaper, the TNA MP, MA. Sumanthiran, accused the government of being responsible, pointing out that armed attacks were taking place despite the heavy militarisation present. "The last seven years, attacks on this newspaper [Uthayan], the incidents are over 30. Three zero. I don't think any other media institution in this country has suffered this amount of attacks." "Two of their employees were shot dead, inside the premises. Gunmen came and opened fire, three others were seriously injured. Two died. That has not been inquired into. Nor has that crime been resolved. This was some time ago." "If one is to look at the recent incident, just this year alone, their newspaper distributor was attacked, then their distribution centre in Kilinochchi was attacked by armed personnel, and you know you can't have an armed group in Kilinochchi doing this kind of operation and getting away. The highly militarised environment in Kilinochchi... if that can happen, it can only be an act of the government. "

Only in Sri Lanka

During a parliamentary session, the former MP for Muslim Affairs, Mohamed Azwer, condemned criticism of the Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, DM Jayaratne, asserting that Jayaratne was a reincarnation of the Buddha. See video at 16:08. Mohamed Azwer's outcry against a TNA MP's criticism of Jayaratne's silence at attacks on the Tamil newspaper, Uthayan, has been transcribed below: "He [TNA MP] is calling the honourable minister of Buddha Sasana a *indiscernible* . He is a reincarnation of the Buddha . There are no *indiscernible* . He can't even inquire that.. You can't...

Sri Lanka to seek coal plant loan from Japan

Sri Lanka’s Power and Energy Ministry’s Secretary MMC Ferdinando has said that his government is in discussions with Japan for a $600mn loan to fund a coal fuelled power plant in the south of the island. "The cost is estimated at $600 million. This will be from a 40-year concessional loan. We have proposed a 600 MW capacity plant. But all will be decided after the feasibility study," the Secretary said. A Japanese team is due to visit Sri Lanka to conduct a feasibility study.

Christian shrine found destroyed in Jaffna

Photographs A Christian shrine in Jaffna, was found vandalised on Wednesday with its statue of Jesus smashed into pieces, reports . The shrine was located by the 5th avenue in Maniyanthorttam. Local residents have made a formal complaint to the Sri Lankan police.