Tensions flare in Mullaitivu as Buddhist monk storms Tamil Pongal festival

A group of Sinhala villagers led by a Buddhist monk disrupted a Thai Pongal celebration at a Hindu temple in Mullaitivu last week, as tensions continued to flare in the area with the construction of a large Buddha statue.

UPFA MP ‘confident’ that jailed BBS leader will be freed

UPFA MP and former Minister Duminda Dissanayake said he was confident that the jailed leader of the Sinhala extremist Bodu Bala Sena group Galagodaaththe Gnanasara would be freed on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day, after visiting the monk in prison this week. “The Thera should be released on the Independence Day after considering the service he rendered to the country, to Sinhala Buddhists and his struggle to protect the Buddhism in the country,” Dissanayake told reporters after visiting the monk at Welikada prison. Gnanasara, who is currently serving jail time for contempt of court, has led the...

Sri Lankan police claim to seize explosives from ‘radicalised Muslims’ 

Photograph: Hiran Priyankara for the Sunday Times. Sri Lanka’s police claimed to have seized a haul of high powered explosives and arrested at least four men who are accused of belonging to “a radicalised local group of Muslims”. The discovery was reportedly made as the police were investigating the vandalism of Buddha statues on the island. "Following information received by the CID (Criminal Investigations Department), they found 100kilos of high explosives and 100 detonators," Sri Lankan police said in a statement. The CID claimed to have also found 20 litres of nitrate acid, wire codes,...

TID arrests former LTTE cadre

Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) officers arrested a former LTTE cadre yesterday. The 40-year-old man, who is understood to have undergone an amputation, has been identified as Suthan, from Karanthai Palai. Accusing him of possessing weapons at his house, the TID have said two pistols, 150 bullets and locally made gun were found at his address. The TID have taken him to Vavuniya for further inquiry. The arrest is part of a series of interrogations and detentions of former LTTE cadre across the North-East over recent months.

PHU leader accuses Tamil MP of controlling government

The leader of the hardline Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), Udaya Gammanpila, accused the Tamil National Alliance MP, M A Sumanthiran of controlling the Sri Lankan government. Saying that Sumanthiran had become the "unofficial prime minister of Sri Lanka", Gammapila was quoted by Adaderana as saying, "now, MP Sumanthiran is the guidance behind Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Prime Minister implements Sumanthiran’s ideas." "Sumanthiran forgets the presence of media when he speaks with his friends in North and boasts that the government is in his hands and that he is able to topple it...

Indian national arrested over kidney racket

An Indian national, Tara, been arrested in Sri Lanka for alleged involvement in a kidney trafficking racket, the Deccan Herald reported. Sri Lankan police said Tara had confessed to the crime and had been a victim of the kidney racket herself. Tara is a resident of MES colony in Malavalli town, Karnataka. Read more here .

Canadian Prime Minister calls for justice in Sri Lanka, as politicians praise Tamil diaspora at Thai Pongal

Speaking at an event to mark Thai Pongal in Toronto last week, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for justice and accountability in Sri Lanka, as dozens of Canadian politicians from across the political spectrum praised the Tamil diaspora’s contributions. Trudeau noted that 2019 marks ten years since the end of the armed conflict on the island, where tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed, and said that it “leads many of us to reflect still on family members and loved ones who were affected, who lost their lives or injured and harmed in those 25 terrible years”. “We need...

Tamil journalists face intimidation as construction of Buddha statue steps up in Mullaitivu

Local villagers in Mullaitivu have documented how a Sinhala Buddhist monk has been leading increasing efforts to construct a large Buddha statute that encroaches on a generations old Hindu temple. The construction, which is taking place in the Karaiththuraipattu division in Mullaitivu, is reportedly being supported by Sri Lanka’s archaeological department. When Tamil journalists visited the region to document the building of the statue, Sinhala constructers began to photograph the journalists in an effort to intimidate them. The issue was raised last month by the secretary to Presidential...

Human rights groups warn Sirisena to face the ICC if he follows Duterte's 'war on drugs'

Human rights organisations in the Philippines and around the world have denounced Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena’s praise of the Philippine president’s campaign against illegal drugs, which has been internationally condemned for its brutality. Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch Carlos Conde, said Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign was “a human rights calamity that no country in the world should even try to emulate”. Philippines police claim at least 5,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed in the president’s campaign, with local activists stating that...

Trinco village protests over lack of teachers

Residents of Paddalipuram, Trincomalee protested on Thursday over the lack of teachers at the village schools. The village, which falls under Muttur division, has experienced a shortage of teacher and educational support staff over a number of years, residents said.