Jaffna University Students Union declines backing Sajith

The Jaffna University Students Union has decided not to back the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) stance of endorsing Sajith Premadasa at next week’s Sri Lankan presidential elections, says a senior Tamil MP. Mavai Senathirajah, head of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), told reporters that “the Jaffna University Students Union had declined to abide by the TNA division to support the NDF candidate and I hope that they will have a change of heart at the forthcoming election”. However, he went on to state his party “will take indefatigable efforts to induce Tamils to exercise their votes in...

Sumanthiran files complaint over ‘fake news’ in Sri Lankan newspapers

Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran has instructed his lawyers to request a criminal investigation into three Sri Lankan newspapers, who have published articles stating that he called for voters to back Sajith Premadasa in next week’s presidential polls “in order to defeat the Sinhalese people”, even after the news was found to be false. A letter from his Colombo-based lawyers called for “a criminal investigation” and the reports in the Sri Lankan newspapers “blatant falsehoods”. The Ceylon Today ran a piece this morning with the headline “Sinhalese can be defeated: Only...

Accused war criminal sends off Sri Lankan peacekeepers to UN mission

The head of Sri Lanka’s army was at Colombo’s international airport last night, as he saw off a group of soldiers sent to join a United Nations Peacekeeping mission, despite controversy over rights abuses and war crimes. Shavendra Silva, who personally stands accused of overseeing crimes including the execution of Tamils in 2009, was appointed to the head of Sri Lanka’s army earlier this year, sparking widespread condemnation. In response, the UN declared a ban on all “non-essential” Sri Lankan troops from its peacekeeping missions. However, in a surprise move last week, the global body said...

Another Tamil politician summoned by Sri Lanka terrorism division

Former Northern Provincial Council member S Kugathas has been summoned by Sri Lanka’s terrorism investigation division (TID) for questioning. He was handed the summons on November 9 by TID officials who went to his home in Chulipuram, Jaffna and told to appear in Colombo on November 13. Kugathas believes he may have been summoned over his participation in Tamil memorial events including the Mullivaikkal genocide memorial in May and remembrance events for the fast unto death of Thileepan in September. Tamil groups have raised the alarm over the spate of summons issued to Tamil politicians and...

Tamil man linked to LTTE acquitted of war crimes by German court

A Tamil man has been acquitted by a German court of charges of war crimes related to his alleged involvement with the LTTE. The 37-year-old defendant known as Sivatheeban B was acquitted by the Higher State Court of Düsseldorf on November 8, 2019. During the course of the hearings which started on August 26, it became clear that the accusations would not be proven, the court said in a statement. In fact the arrest warrant against him was waived in October and he was released from pre-trial detention. The German federal prosecutor’s office had accused Sivatheeban of having been a member of the...

Sri Lanka’s electoral commission rules out social media ban

Following concerns of circular fake news and rumours, Sri Lanka’s electoral commission chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, has ruled out a social media ban during the final stage of the election. Speaking to the Daily Mirror he stated that such a drastic move was unnecessary. Concerns over the spread of disinformation to disincentives voters from heading to the polls follows a broader debate in which people have expressed a need to tackle fake news shared on Facebook. This follows the spread of false rumours which has fuelled anti-Muslims attacks. Others have argued, that a ban on social media would...

In the shadow of the military, Tamils continue clearing LTTE cemetery

Though the Sri Lankan military has completely destroyed and occupied the site of a former LTTE cemetery in Mullaitivu, locals from the region embarked on clearing areas around the cemetery ahead of Maaveerar Naal this month. The cemetery - or Thuyilum Illam - was bulldozed by the Sri Lankan army in 2009. The site, in Alampil, is now entirely occupied by the military. Despite this, locals proceeded to clear shrubs in the surrounding areas in the run-up to Maaveerar Naal - or Heroes’ Day - which is marked on November 27th. Alampil is a heavily militarised area and one that has seen intense...

India continues five-year ban on LTTE

Delhi’s High Court confirmed, on 7 November, that they will uphold a five-year ban on the LTTE (Liberational Tigers of Tamil Eelam) despite hearing from the leader of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko, who are sympathetic to armed struggle. India has been the LTTE since the assassination of prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs extended the ban for a further 5 years on May 14 but on May 27 a tribunal was set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to allow sympathisers to make their case. The...

Petition against MCC to be heard by 5 judge bench

A five judge bench has been appointed to hear three Fundamental Rights petitions challenging the signing of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCC), Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA). The petitions were filed by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), three Buddhist monks, namely Angulugalle Siri Jinanda Thero, Bengamuwe Nalaka Anunayake Thero and Madegoda Abhayathissa Thero, and Attorney-at-law Dharshana Weraduwage, according to the Daily Mirror. They allege that signing these agreements violates the territorial...

'Healthy mind, body and soul’ – Mental Health day marked in London

How do you achieve a healthy mind, body and soul? This was the question that was addressed at the World Mental Health event held in Kingston on Nov 3 rd , 2019 to commemorate Mental Health Day organised by the Centre for Community Development.

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