Two campaigners searching for disappeared children pass away

Two fathers who were active in the Mullaitivu protests by families of the disappeared have died this week. Vellaiyan Azhagan whose two sons were fallen LTTE fighters was searching for his daughter Kalaichelvi who had disappeared after surrendering to the Sri Lankan army at Mullivaikkal. He died suddenly aged 69 on November 10 after a brief illness. Another father, Paramasamy Sriskandarasa died of a heart attack on November 11. He had been searching for his son Yugen who was disappeared from a military checkpoint. Sriskandarasa also had another son who was a fallen fighter. Dozens of have died...

Tamil youth managing sound system arrested for TNA rally broadcast of LTTE songs

Sri Lankan police today arrested a Tamil youth who was handling audio arrangements for a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) election campaign rally after LTTE songs were reportedly broadcast at the rally. The TNA had organised a rally in support of presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa in Kalmunai – Amman Kovil Road on Wednesday afternoon. Organisers reportedly made the request to play the LTTE’s revolutionary songs through the event’s speakers as the rally had failed to attract locals. Kalmunai police arrived immediately after the matter was reported and arrested the youth that was managing the...

Excavation of Sri Lanka's killing fields brings up more remains

Excavation efforts in Mullaitivu last month revealed more skeletal remains, including that of at least one human skull, more than a decade on from the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils in the area.

‘In the south, hopes on Gotabaya run high’ - The Hindu

With less than a week to go until Sri Lanka’s presidential elections, in the Sinhala south of the island, former defence secretary and front running candidate Gotabaya Rajapkasa, has widespread popularity, reports Meera Srinivasan for The Hindu. Writing ahead of the elections, Srinivasan says, “In the island’s southern hinterland, almost every local, including those supporting Mr. Gotabaya’s main opponent Sajith Premadasa, assert that “a majority here will vote for Gotabaya”. Past election results are proof enough for that sentiment. Even in 2015, an election that former President Mahinda...

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...

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