BBS to launch ‘crusade’

The leader of the Bodu Bala Sena, a Buddhist organisation, has said that a crusade would be launched in Sri Lanka, blaming the government for letting the TNA engage in politics. Galagodaaththe Gnanasare, a Buddhist monk, said that the TNA was the political front of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the government must be held responsible for the TNA winning the Northern Provincial Council elections. He called on the government to declare the Sinhala Buddhist majority as the historic nation of the state, according to ColomboPage .

SL leases land to India in a joint thermal power venture

India and Sri Lanka confirmed today that the two governments will sign up to a joint venture that will see a 500 MW thermal power project established in Trincomalee. India’s External Affair Minister, Salmaan Kurshid, will meet Sri Lankan counterpart, G.L Peiris, in Colombo to finalise the agreements on land lease and power purchase, which would see land given out on a long term lease by the Sri Lankan government.

"Is this what we voted for" asks Jaffna newspaper

Newly appointed Chief Minister of the North, C. V. Wigneswaran will take his oaths before Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Monday morning. In a statement , TNA leader R. Sampanthan said on the decision: “This decision is in consonance with the commitment of the Tamil National Alliance to ensure that the Tamil People are able to live in security, safeguarding their self respect and dignity, fulfilling their legitimate political, economic, social and cultural aspirations within the framework of a united and undivided country, as overwhelmingly demonstrated in their electoral verdict. The Tamil National Alliance expresses the wish that the Government of Sri Lanka would meaningfully reciprocate this positive step on the part of the Tamil National Alliance.” However Jaffna-based newspaper Uthayan devoted its front page on Saturday to reporting the objections and outrage expressed by voters throughout the North, headlining one article “Disregarding the people’s wishes, oaths before the President” and another feature titled "Is this what we voted for?"

Express delivery of justice for Sinhalese victims of SLA

Sri Lankan army commander Lt Gen Daya Ratnayake has said that the army had exceeded their legal remit during the shooting of protesters in Weliweriye and said that a "summary of evidence" is being prepared in order for charges to be brought at a court martial. Ratnayake was appointed by the court of inquiry to investigate the shooting, which left 3 civilians dead. “The Court of Inquiry report stated that the deployment of troops was within the legal boundaries, however the report indicated that the Army had gone beyond their legal duties during the post shooting incidents. The Army will give...

British peer knows better than Navi Pillay

The Vice-Chairman of the British-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group, Baron Dennis Rogan, has declared that the militarisation of the north was not as bad as often portrayed and that he had no issues talking to ordinary citizens in all regions, after a seven-day visit to the island. "During my visit to all parts of the country, North, East, South, and West I was able to speak freely and openly with ministers, government officials, religious leaders, and most importantly ordinary citizens from all sections and walks of life. What struck me particularly was that the military presence in the North was substantially less than what has been often portrayed," the Ulster Unionist Party peer told the president, Mahinda Rajapakse, during a meeting with him and Chris Nonis, the Sri Lankan ambassador to the UK.

Military reprimands Tamils for voting TNA

Days before the military decided to destroy the bunker of the LTTE Leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, security forces personnel repeatedly chased away Tamil residents that came to visit the site as a reprimand for voting in the TNA, reports Colombo Telegraph. Chasing them away from the bunker, Sri Lankan army soldiers argued , “We have done so much for you people, still you went and voted for the TNA.”

Women sexually harassed by creditors

Voluntary organisations in Batticaloa have accused micro-credit lenders of sexually harassing vulnerable female borrowers, reports BBC Tamil . Since the end of the war, micro-credit lenders have been active in Batticaloa, giving loans for self-employment especially to women in resettlements or deprived villages. Lending officials reportedly harass women for sexual bribes when they strugge with repayments, mainly due to high rates of interest on most micro-credit loans.

Switzerland defends deportations

Swiss authorities have defended the deportation of two men to Sri Lanka, despite numerous human rights concerns regarding their treatment in the country. The Swiss Federal Office for Migration stated that the two men, were accused of "taking part in activities in the service of the LTTE" and were taken into custody by Sri Lankan officials at Colombo airport upon their arrival. However, shortly following the deportation, Swiss authorities admitted that, "there may also have been shortcomings in the work processing the asylum applications of the two detainees". The UN High Commissioner for...

Smiles all round

After calling for the removal of the Governor of the Northern Province last week, a beaming C.V. Wigneswaran went to receive his letter of appointment as Chief Minister, from none other than the Governor himself. Speaking to Ceylon Today last week, Wigneswaran reportedly said, “he would give priority to the reduction of military presence in the North and the removal of the military official currently serving as the Governor of the Northern Province ”. Below, Wigneswaran picks up his letter of appointment from the very same military official Major General G.A. Chandrasiri on Tuesday. Photo...

Sri Lanka blocks documentary screening at Film Southasia Festival

The Sri Lankan government has pressured Nepali authorities to block the screening of three documentaries about the island at the Film Southasia festival this month. The films are ‘Broken’ and ‘The Story of One’, directed by Kannan Arunasalam, and No Fire Zone’ directed by Callum Macrae. In a statement released on their website, Kanak Mani Dixit, Chair of Film Southasia, said, “FSA protests this unwarranted intrusion into the cultural sphere, an action that goes against the freedom of expression and the right of documentary filmmakers to exhibit their work.” The three films will now be screened outside the festival venue at ‘private screenings’. Commenting on Sri Lanka’s actions, Macrae said in a statement, “The government has constantly assured the international community – and in particular the members of the Commonwealth – that they will investigate the serious allegations war crimes and crimes against humanity which we exposed in No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” “In practice though, they seem more concerned with travelling the world attempting to suppress our film – and prevent anyone from seeing the evidence of these crimes... I am glad to say that so far they have not succeeded.” " Once again the Sri Lankan government has shown its true colours. While telling the world that it is investigating the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity – it is in practice mounting an international campaign to deny the truth and silence the witnesses. Film South Asia deserves every credit for refusing to stop the screenings, instead moving them to another venue."