Navaly remembers victims of air force bombs 24 years on

The Church of St Peter at Navaly commemorated over 140 Tamil civilians killed in its premises by Sri Lankan Air Force bombs 24 years ago during the presidency of Chandrika Kumaratunga. On July 9 1995, the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the St Peter’s Church in Navaly and the nearby Sri Kathirgama Murugan Kovil, which were both sheltering displaced Tamils from army bombardment. A total of 13 bombs were dropped on the sheltering shrines, killing 147 on the spot with many more succumbing to injuries later. Despite no perpetrators being held accountable, survivors of the bombing and the church’s...

Sri Lankan army employee arrested with drugs in Jaffna

A Sri Lankan army employee was arrested along with four others for possession of heroin in Jaffna on Monday. The five were found in possession of the drug during a patrol search in the Eechamoddai area, Jaffna police said. One of the arrested was a Tamil employee of the Sri Lankan army.

Muslim doctor was framed by police says CID, but remains in Sri Lankan custody

Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) concluded that there is “no justification” for the arrest of a Muslim doctor accused of sterilising Sinhala women, yet the man continues to be held in custody. Court documents seen by AFP show that Sri Lanka’s CID found no evidence to support any of the allegations against Mohamed Shafi and instead said that Deputy Inspector General of Police Kithsiri Jayalath, chief in Shafi's home region of Kurunegala, fabricated evidence and fed it to Sinhalese newspapers. "There is no justification for the arrest of Dr. Shafi," the CID concluded. His...

Failure of Trinco 5 case demonstrates needs for international court - Amnesty and HRW

The acquittal of Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) troops over the murder of five Tamil students in 2006 demonstrates the need for “a court with international participation” said Human Rights Watch in a joint statement with Amnesty International on Monday. “Sri Lankan authorities have proven unable to obtain justice for the murders of five young people and the resulting coverup despite the considerable evidence available,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The failure to convict anyone in this emblematic case after 13 years demonstrates the need for a court...

‘The Rise of Militant Buddhism’ - NYT

Both Sri Lanka and Myanmar are “on the forefront of a radical religious-nationalist movement,” said Hannah Beech, the Southeast Asia Bureau Chief for The New York Times this week, in a piece that looked at the growing “militant Buddhism” in both regions. In Sri Lanka “over the past few years, Buddhist mobs have waged deadly attacks against minority Muslim populations,” said the piece. “Buddhist nationalist ideologues are using the spiritual authority of extremist monks to bolster their support.” “A fusion of faith and tribalism is again on the ascendant in Sri Lanka,” it adds, stating that it...

Officer involved in covering up murder oversees passing out of Sri Lanka’s Special Forces

A Sri Lankan navy officer accused of aiding a key suspect involved in the abduction and murder of 11 Tamil youths was the guest of honour at the passing out ceremony of hundreds of Sri Lankan Special Forces troops last month. Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne, Sri Lanka’s Chief of Defence Staff, was given a special guard of honour at the ceremony and awarded Special Forces badges and Colours to troops, before addressing the crowd. Wijegunaratne was released on bail by a Sri Lankan court in December, after he was accused of helping the main suspect accused of conducting the disappearances in...

BBS chief calls on Buddhist clergy to create Sinhala government

Sri Lanka’s most notorious hardline Buddhist monk, the recently pardoned from jail Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, has called on Sri Lanka’s 10,000 Buddhist temples to campaign for a Sinhala government to protect Sinhala interests. Around 1000 Sinhala Buddhist monks and thousands of hardline supporters reportedly gathered in Kandy on Sunday for a convention called by Gnanasara, the head of the Sinhala supremacist Bodu Bala Sena group. Police lined the streets while Muslims had pre-emptively shut their businesses in fear, with memories of last year’s anti-Muslim mob violence instigated by monks...

Hundreds attend Neeraviyadi temple's pongal 'festival of resistance'

Hundreds of Tamils flocked to Mullaitivu on Saturday as a Hindu temple, formerly on the verge of being colonised by Buddhist monks, held a festival for the first time in over a decade. The Neeraviyadi Pillaiyaar temple in Semmalai has been at the centre of a local dispute about land-grabs and Sinhalisation, as a Buddhist monk has spent the last ten years establishing a vihara on the temple’s premises, culminating in the building of a massive Buddha statue. The Hindu temple which was previously out-of-bounds due to Sri Lankan army occupation has restarted worship activities after a court ruled...

OIC warns of rising hate speech in Sri Lanka

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned that it had been “monitoring closely the situation of Muslims in Sri Lanka” and that it was concerned over “the rise in incidents of intimidation, anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate speech” on the island. “The OIC reiterates the call on the authorities in Sri Lanka to counter firmly the spread of rhetoric of hatred and intolerance, while ensuring the security and safety of the Muslim community in that country,” it said in a statement released on Wednesday. The OIC, which consists of 57 member states, acknowledged that Sri Lanka’s president and...

Muslims close shops in fear as extremist Sinhala Buddhist monks meet in Kandy

Muslims shops in Kandy will remain closed this weekend as extremist Sinhala Buddhist monks from the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) announced it will meet in the town tomorrow. “All Muslim-owned shops are likely to be closed on Sunday to avoid any possible confrontation, as thousands of monks are expected in the town for the conference,” Niyaz Muheeth, president of the Kandy Muslim Traders Association, told Reuters. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), also called on Muslims to avoid visits to the central district. The BBS announced that the meeting in Kandy, the town which houses a Sinhala Buddhist...

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