Sri Lanka's law and order minister blames Tamil cinema for gang violence

Speaking to Colombo papers following what he described as a 'fact finding mission' in Jaffna, Sri Lanka's law and order minister, Ranjith Bandara, said he had concluded that it was Tamil films that was fuelling the gang violence in Jaffna. "These Tamil youths were emulating the violent scenes to instill fear before carrying out their criminal activities such as robberies," he was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying. "They brandish swords to terrorise the people," he added. Announcing his intention to visit the North-East, Mr Bandara's team had said earlier this week that the minister was...

Colombo court calls for Sinhala translation of ‘pro-LTTE’ speech

Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake has ordered Sri Lanka’s state translation department to translate into Sinhala and English a speech by former UNP minister Vijayakala Maheswaran, where she stated that the LTTE was needed in the North-East to prevent the rising violence and anti-social behaviour that is taking place in the region. The Chief Magistrate’s Court also issued an order demanding full video footage from the event earlier this month, reports The Island. The order comes follow a request made by Sri Lanka’s Organised Crimes Prevention Division. Sri Lanka’s Criminal...

Former SL cricket captain praises Sirisena over death penalty policy

Sri Lanka's former cricket captain T.M. Dilshan on Friday praised the president, Maithripala Sirisena for deciding to implement the death penalty for drug traffickers. "There is no purpose in safeguarding human rights if we cannot save the country. Cases of drugs use and child abuse has increased at an alarming rate today. So is is essential to carry out the death sentence,” Mr Dilshan was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying. “Not only for drugs, it should be implemented for child abuse and rape cases,” he said, adding that the decision should have been made a long time ago. International...

Keppapulavu families mark 500 days of protest against military occupation

Families from Keppapulavu today marked 500 days of protest against the occupation of their lands by the military. "International community are you also closing your eyes? Are you too devoid of justice," banners read, as families campaigned for their lands to be released.

Protest in Colombo in solidarity with Tamil families of the disappeared

Civil society groups and human rights activists demonstrated in Colombo on Friday to show their support for the ongoing struggle for justice by families of the disappeared. Holding placards and banners, demonstrators urged the government to provide answers to the whereabouts of missing loved ones and drew attention the plight of families who have been protesting on the issue for over 500 days.

Duterte praises Sri Lankan president for following Philippines 'war on drugs'

The Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte praised his Sri Lankan counterpart, Maithripala Sirisena for what he described as following the country's 'successful war on drugs'. The Sri Lankan cabinet this week announced they would implement the death penalty for drug trafficking offences. Despite widespread criticism of the move, Mr Sirisena defended it saying he was attempting to replicate the 'success' of the Philippines. Commenting on this at a press briefing this week, Mr Duterte's spokesperson, Harry Roque said, “Of course, we are happy that other countries have taken note of our war on...

Indian foreign secretary discusses fishermen arrests with Sri Lanka PM

The Indian foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale discussed the ongoing arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy during a visit to Colombo on Friday where he met with the Sri Lankan prime minister. Mr Gokhale discussions with Mr Wickremesinghe came as 16 Tamil Nadu fishermen who had been detained were ordered to be released by a Jaffna court. Indian projects on the island were also discussed with Mr Wickremesinghe saying that they would commence this year.

Protesting Keppapulavu families - 'government is continuously betraying us'

Keppapulavu families accused the Sri Lankan government of "continuously betraying us" as they prepared to mark 500 days tomorrow of their ongoing protest against the military's occupation of their land. "This government keeps telling us that more time is needed and is making us wait on the streets," protesters told reporters today. "In this situation we are no longer prepared to believe in these promises," they added.

Hundreds of unseen photographs from Mullivaikkal massacre released

Hundreds of new photographs from inside Mullivaikkal in 2009, where tens of thousands of Tamils were slaughtered in a Sri Lankan military offensive, have been released by TamilNet this week. The photographs, taken from inside the infamous No Fire Zones, show the aftermath of Sri Lankan military shelling.

Tamils ‘very concerned’ about progress on accountability and justice acknowledges US ambassador nominee

The nominee for the next US ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz acknowledged that “the Tamil community is very concerned about progress made towards reconciliation, accountability, justice,” in her testimony to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last month. Responding to questions posed by the committee on the “reconciliation prospects between the Tamil and Sinhalese communities”, Ms Teplitz said, “ there remain significant differences ”. “ The Tamil community is very concerned about progress made towards reconciliation, accountability, justice, specifically commitments made by the...