Jagath's backflip

Sri Lankan Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya has backtracked from statements made by him at an event in Kurunegala. According to the Daily Mirror the headquarters of the Sri Lankan Army has said there was an error on the Sri Lankan Army website in regards to his speech and has amended it accordingly. Jagath Jayasuriya was first reported to have said that President Rajapakse personally gave him a call instructing him to 'complete the operations as planned'. See both paragraphs below: Original: “I still remember, the President, personally giving me a call instructing me to pursue the operations...

Security forces to search for 'ex-LTTE' returning from abroad

Sri Lanka's security and intelligence agencies launched a search operation in the Eastern province looking for 'ex-LTTE cadres' who had returned from overseas, the Daily Mirror reports . Authorities have stated that individuals that had not gone through the government's 'rehabilitation' program would be detained, questioned and their details registered.

Rajapakse defied international pressure to pursue military operations – SL Army Chief

President Mahinda Rajapakse ‘personally’ instructed the Sri Lankan military to pursue the military operations in 2009, despite enormous international pressure, the army commander has revealed. Speaking to soldiers at an event in Kurunegala, the head of the Sri Lankan Army Jagath Jayasuriya said President Rajapakse was ‘determined’ to see the operations through till the end. “ President Mahinda Rajapaksa was determined and did not give in to pressures of the international community to suddenly stop the military operations when the Wanni humanitarian operations were entering a decisive phases...

Monks and the mob in Dambulla

Last Friday a mob of about 2,000 Sinhalese, led by a group of Buddhist monks, stormed into a mosque in Dambulla. The mosque and a Hindu temple have been long standing in an area now designated a sacred Buddhist site. The above video of the incident, some of which was broadcast on TV, shows leading members of the Buddhist clergy (Sangha) engaged in the violence. The security forces, as ever, stand by. The incident ends with speeches to the mob by the monks ... and a bit of worship and chanting. This article on groundviews.org offers a commentary on the incident and a translation of the Chief...

UK MP raises question on Major Silva's immunity

Addressing the UK House of Commons last week, the Labour MP for Mitcham and Mordem, Siobhain McDonagh, questioned the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ decision not to declare Major General Prasanna Silva persona non grata. McDonagh said, "Three months ago a dossier about war crimes committed by the defence attaché at Sri Lanka’s high commission in London, Major General Prasanna De Silva, was sent to the Foreign Office. However, the Foreign Secretary has reportedly refused to strip him of diplomatic immunity so that he can be questioned about these terrible accusations ." "I hope we can have a debate about the case and about the abuse of diplomatic immunity, because if the attaché is allowed to leave without being questioned, that will undermine Britain’s proud reputation for not tolerating war criminals ." " If we are soft on Sri Lanka, other shady regimes will surely also begin to regard us as a refuge for people who commit atrocities ."

Government orders removal of mosque and Saiva temple

The Sri Lankan government has decided to demolish a mosque and a Saiva temple located in a Buddhist sacred area. Thousands of Singhalese, led by Buddhist monks, attacked the mosque in Dambulla on Friday, calling for its destruction as it was constructed illegally. The protest only dispersed after officials promised an answer by Monday. Videos show Buddhist monks addressing the crowds saying the campaign against the mosque was a success for "those who love the race, have Sinhalese blood and are Buddhists" . The BBC’s Charles Haviland reported a monk was seen exposing himself against the mosque...

Demilitarising the North 'unreasonable' - Rajapaksa

Responding to the Indian delegation currently visiting Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa said it would be " unreasonable " to expect Sri Lanka to remove the military from Northern province. Rajapaksa retorted , " Can I send them to India? " It was "deployment in Sri Lanka, not on foreign soil," he added. Rajapaksa's remarks come less than a month after a resolution was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council specifically calling for the demilitarisation of the North, as documented in the government's own inquiry, the LLRC.

Army collects personal details of NGO employees in Batticaloa

NGO workers and government employees in Kallady, Batticaloa were subject to questioning by the Sri Lankan military who were collecting personal information on employees, reported Tamilwin . According to reports foreign NGOs were particularly targeted. According to a senior employee at one NGO, who wished to remain anonymous, affected employees were very concerned by the army's actions.

Teachers campaign against building of army camp over teaching centre in Palali

Teachers in Palali launched a campaign this week, against the planned construction of a Sri Lankan army base over a teaching centre, reported Tamilwin . Led by Joseph Stalin of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union, a petition was launched following a meeting held this week. The petition demanded that the proprosed construction of an army base be halted, schools in the North is allowed to resume daily activities without hinderance and the transfer of 98 teachers from Vanni is carried out without further delay. The teaching centre was taken over by the Sri Lankan army, preventing lessons from taking...

Cracks emerge in JVP dissident party

Members of the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), made of JVP dissidents, revolted against the party leader on Saturday. The FSP dissident group, led by MP Dimuthu Bandara Abeykoon and former Western Provincial Councillor Waruna Rajapaksa - neither of whom were elected into the FSP's Central Committee - criticised the party leaders for following the JVP's path, instead of providing an alternative.