Buddhist monks lead rival prayers at Kanniya on Tamil fast day

Buddhist monks in Trincomalee led prayers at the Kanniya hot wells, with hundreds of Sinhalese followers attempting to crowd out Tamil devotees who were commemorating an important fast day at the spring’s Hindu temple. Rituals to mark Aadi Amavasai, the July new moon fast which Tamil Hindus observe to honour their deceased fathers and forefathers, have continued at Kanniya’s temple in recent years despite intense Sinhalisation of the area. However this year rival rituals led by Buddhist monks led to difficulties for the Tamil devotees in accessing the area and carrying out their normal...

Sri Lanka Parliament passes state of emergency extension

Sri Lanka's Parliament passed an extension of the state of emergency for the third time since the Easter Sunday attacks by Islamist extremists, who targeted churches and luxury hotels. The bill received 42 votes in favour, whilst 2 Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs voted against the extension. On July 22, President Maithripala Sirisena issued an extraordinary gazette extending the state of emergency. The emergency regulations, which grant the state's security forces additional powers, have been used to carry out widespread search operations, detentions and arrests.

Sri Lanka offers free visas amid tourism crisis

As Sri Lanka’s tourism crisis continues, Colombo announced that they will offer free tourism visas on arrival, in a move to boost tourist numbers following the Easter Sunday bombings. Visa-free entry will be available to 48 nations and the offer will remain for six months. On April 21, Islamist extremists targeted three luxury hotels in Colombo and three churches in Batticaloa, Negombo and Colombo, killing over 250 people. Following the attacks, several countries then issued travel advisories, undermining Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. Foreign visitor arrivals fell by 70.8 per cent in May...

‘Future of Sri Lanka will be worse than anything we have ever seen’ warns TNA

Without a political solution to Sri Lanka’s enduring ethnic crisis and a new constitution for the island “the future of this country will be worse than anything we have ever seen,” warned senior Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran.

Muslim minister says he gained support for Sri Lanka at UN, as he returns to cabinet

The leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Party Rishad Bathiudeen said that Sri Lanka’s Muslim politicians had canvassed support for Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, where Colombo was attempting to fend off investigations into mass atrocities committed by the military against Tamils during the final phase of the armed conflict.

Sri Lankan cricketer thanks Rajapaksa in farewell speech

Sri Lankan cricketer Lasith Malinga paid tribute to former president and accused war criminal Mahinda Rajapaksa in a farewell speech last week, after he announced his retirement from One Day International cricket. “I was able to play cricket longer than expected only because of President Mahinda Rajapaksa,” Malinga told the crowd at the Ranasinghe Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. “I am forever grateful for his help.” He also credited Rajapaksa for introducing him to a doctor that helped with an injury he suffered. “If not for this, I would not have continued playing,” he said. In 2013, Tamil...

Former Tamil political activist denied entry to Sri Lanka

Former Tamil political activist, Mr Kaviraj Shanmuganathan, was denied entry into Sri Lanka upon arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport on Monday. Upon enquiry, he was told he was denied entry as he was listed as someone who worked against the sovereignty and interests of the country. He was then told that he could voluntarily return a country of his choice or go back to the UK where he could make an application to visit with the permission of Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry. He would need to contact Sri Lanka’s High Commission in London. Tamilpolity reports that Shanmuganathan has chosen...

Sri Lankan army opens Sinhala martial arts village in Kilinochchi

The Sri Lankan military declared open a new village, exclusively run by the army, in the Tamil heartland of Kilinochchi last week. The village is set to be a “form of a tourist attraction” according to an official military website , with soldiers practising the Sinhala martial art of Angampora. It would also “inevitably serve as a regular training centre” for Sri Lankan soldiers, it added. The art was “practised exclusively by our royalties to resist foreign invaders” the Sri Lankan military added. The announcement of a new military run village comes as local Tamils still have no access to...

Seven Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Naval personnel

Seven Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by Sri Lankan naval personnel on Sunday for allegedly fishing in the island's territorial waters. The fishermen claimed that the strong winds and rough seas caused them to cross the International Maritime Boundary Line. They were charged for poaching in Sri Lanka's territory, their boat was seized and they were arrested.

Sri Lanka court grants bail to Muslim doctor falesly accused of sterilisation

Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court has granted bail to a Muslim doctor, Mohamed Shafi, who was falsely accused of having sterilised over 4,000 Sinhala women. Safi was given bail of 2.5 million rupees after a five-hour court hearing. His defence lawyer, Faris Saly, that when he was initially arrested in May, the judge found “no reason to refuse bail”. Nationalist Buddhist monks and other locals had crowded outside of the court to demand his continued detention. They allege that Muslims are seeking to spread influence by maintaining a higher birth rate and hampering the birthrate of Sinhala...