Sri Lankan army and police increase presence in hospitals

The Sri Lankan army and police are increasing their presence at hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, in an apparent move to stop patients ‘escaping’. Sri Lankan security forces claim this move is in response to a patients’ escape from a hospital in Mulleriyawa. “At present most hospitals are protected by private security guards,” Police Media Spokesman SSP Jaliya Senaratne told reporters . “In addition, the hospitals have been provided security by the Sri Lanka police and the army to coordinate with the security personnel.” Most recently, 39 officers have been deployed to the country’s main...

'We could not be silenced' - Tamil protests in London, 1984

“It had been a year since the Black July riots in Sri Lanka. We had protested in front of the Sri Lankan Embassy in London but wanted to try something different. Something bigger. The Sri Lankan cricket team was coming to play their first test match at Lord’s, the home of cricket. It was a big deal. Why don't we put on a protest there? It would be disruptive, yes, but was there a bigger stage for our message?

Remembering the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1957 

On this day in 1957, Sri Lankan Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and the leader of the Federal Party SJV Chelvanayakam signed a deal, that contained provisions for the recognition of Tamil as the language of administration for the Northern and Eastern provinces, which came to be known as the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact. However, hawkish Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalists railed against the pact, leading ultimately to the unilateral abrogation of the agreement. This was one of the earliest instances of failed negotiations and broken agreements that would eventually seal Tamil hopes of achieving a settlement through Sri Lanka’s political processes.

Militarisation of Trinco continues with foreign assistance

The Sri Lankan navy opened an underwater museum in Trincomalee with the assistance of Tokyo Cement Group, despite repeated calls for demilitarisation of the Tamil North-East. With the support of their 'longstanding partner', the navy personnel used the cement to create sculptures relating to “historical scenes” associated with Trincomalee, Adaderana reported . Over a decade has passed since the end of the armed conflict and yet the Sri Lankan military continues to occupy vast swathes of land in the Tamil North-East, where intense militarisation continues to be a pressing issue for locals. In...

Tamil journalist threatened by paramilitary-linked local politician

A Tamil journalist was threatened by a local politician with links to a former paramilitary MP on Wednesday. The freelance journalist was photographed against his consent near the entrance of the Kilinochchi Magistrate’s Court by a member of the Karaichi divisional council, and another individual who accompanied him. The council member is reported to be a member of a political party led by M Chandrakumar, a former parliamentarian who served under the paramilitary Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) until 2016. When the journalist objected to being photographed, the two reportedly verbally...

Identity checks installed at Nallur temple festival

Devotees will be required to present proof of identity to enter the Nallur Kandasamy temple in Jaffna, the Sri Lankan police announced as the temple’s annual festival – thiruvizha – begins . “All arrangements for the festival have been completed. All devotees visiting the temple will only be authorised to enter the temple by showing a piece of identity at a special check point set up on the temple premises’’ stated Jaffna police. It was further added that individuals from overseas would need to present an isolation certificate to be able to enter the temple. In addition, all worshipers will...

Controversial British immigration detention centre to be shut down

A controversial immigration removal centre (IRC) in Lincolnshire, UK is to be shut down. The site called Morton Hall which has seen numerous deaths in recent times will be converted to a prison once more, as it was between the years 1985 and 2011 when accommodating female convicts. The detention centre is currently managed by the prison service for the Home Office, and is frequently criticised for its harsh regulations and its isolated setting. “The fact that this place is closing is a huge thing,” said Janahan Sivanathan, a Tamil law student and refugee who was held at Morton Hall for 5 months.

Explosives discovered in Vavuniya well

Sri Lankan police recovered 14 motor bombs in the area of Omanthai, Vavuniya last week. A resident in the area noticed suspicious objects in the well, and informed the Omanthai police. Following this lead, the police and Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) troops retrieved and defused the 14 motor bombs. Since the end of the bloody war in 2009, there have been several findings of this kind in the North-East.

CCUC calls for nationwide tactical voting to prevent ‘anti-democratic’ SLPP gaining two-thirds majority

The Ceylon Communist Unity Centre (CCUC) urged people to use the upcoming parliamentary elections to vote against and “prevent Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and the forces aligned with it” coming into power. The CCUC stressed the importance of exercising the right of ballot to prevent SLPP from achieving the two-thirds majority it needs in the upcoming parliamentary elections to amend the constitution.

‘Don’t give us empty promises, seek immediate justice once elected’ - Mannar families of the disappeared

The Mannar families of the disappeared association secretary, Sharmila Madutheen urged the future parliamentarians that be elected from the upcoming parliamentary election to “seek immediate justice for the missing persons”. “While these canvass efforts are supposedly putting pressure on the state, these campaign promises should not simply be about winning votes in the election, but ultimately also about finding a solution for those of us who are mourning the loss of our children and husband and not given answers for their whereabouts,” she said.