Sinhalese Mullaitivu settler arrested for obstruction after assaulting village officer

A Sinhalese settler in Mullaitivu was arrested on the charges of obstructing a government official from carrying out his duty, after he assaulted the Kokkilai West village officer. The incident occurred on May 14 when a confrontation occurred between the village officer’s team of officials and Sinhalese settlers about a government housing scheme that was to be built in Mugathuvaram. The village officer was assaulted and had his motorcycle keys and work diary snatched from him. While the officer filed a police complaint the next day, police failed to take action for a week. The suspect was...

Sirisena - Sri Lanka's security is 99% ensured

Sri Lanka's president, Maithripala Sirisena yesterday urged the international community to relax travel advisories, stating the security situation was 99% ensured.

Sri Lanka’s tourism continues to tumble in the wake of Easter Sunday attacks

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry continued to suffer, despite government efforts, in the wake of the devastating Easter Sunday attacks last month. Voice of America reports industry experts as saying hotel occupancy rates across the island have fallen by at least 85 percent. “Most beaches, eateries and stores in popular tourist areas are now empty,” it added. The Financial Times reported that the falls come despite efforts by Colombo to help revive the tourist industry. Taxes on hotels and tour operators have dropped from 15 per cent to 5 per cent, and have been waived on imported security...

Men now patrolling Sri Lanka ‘an enormous risk to rule of law’ - ITJP & JDS

Sri Lanka’s military commanders who have been put in charge of the recent ramp up in security across the island pose “an enormous potential risk to rule of law”, said the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) in a joint dossier released last week. The Sri Lankan military reported that 10,000 extra troops have been deployed as emergency rule was re-enacted, grating the security forces wide ranging powers of detention. “Several of the army generals now in charge of deployments played a pivotal role as commanders in the final phase of the...

UNP welcomes presidential pardon of Bodu Bala Sena leader

UNP parliamentarian and health minister Rajitha Senaratne welcomed the presidential pardon of Gnanasara Thero, leader of the extremist Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), adding that the UNP was of the same sentiment. Speaking on the presidential pardon, Senaratne said, “I think it is actually a good thing to release such people, instead of keeping them under arrest and creating an opinion in the country – especially as Buddhist monk. I said ‘whatever the law, don’t do such things. Don’t turn these matters into legal issues even in the future. Gnana Sara Thero used to attack me the most. He was the first...

Three arrested over WhatsApp group

Sri Lankan police have arrested three people yesterday over a WhatsApp group which allegedly shared extremist content. The group, entitled 'Dharga town Breaking News' included 100 members. The three suspects, aged 20 - 23, are all believed to be from Dharga town. The administrator of the group, a 23-year-old resident of Lotus Road, arrived in the country after being employed abroad, the police reported. Twenty-five people left the group today, the Sunday Times reported Last week parliament voted to extend the state of emergency in Sri Lanka, which allows security forces a wide range of powers...

Jaffna Uni students protest for charges to be dropped

Students at the University of Jaffna continued their campaign to have their student leaders cleared of terrorism charges with a protest on Thursday. Following the Easter Sunday bombings by Islamist extremists, the president and secretary of the university’s student union were arrested when a photograph of LTTE leader V Prabhakaran was found in their office during a search operation of the campus. A canteen manager was also arrested and detained when a photo of Thileepan was found in the dining area. All three were released on May 16 by the Jaffna Magistrate Court, granted bail on 100,000 Rs...

Remembering the victims of Easter Sunday: Jeshanika

Jeshanika Thivanithan was in grade 8 at St Cecilia’s Girls College in Batticaloa and excelled at extra curricular. The second of three daughters, Jeshanika’s death at the hands of suicide bombers on Easter Sunday has devastated her family. On Sunday, April 21, thirteen-year-old Jeshanika and her sister, ten-year-old Jeromika, were attending Sunday school at the Zion Church of Batticaloa. They were sitting on the church’s staircase when the first blast went off. Jeromika noticed that her unconscious sister’s nose was bleeding, having sustained a head injury from the blast. She called a Sunday...

Sri Lankan navy arrest 9 people in Trincomalee

The Sri Lankan navy yesterday arrested nine people for alleged illegal fishing in Trincomalee. The nine people were accused of using unauthorised fishing nets. The men were taken into custody and their fishing nets and dinghie confiscated.

Sri Lanka says UN advisors 'insensitive and ill-conceived'

Sri Lanka's permanent representative to the UN in New York criticised UN Special Advisors as "ill-conceived and insensitive" for releasing a joint statement earlier this month, warning Sri Lanka was moving backwards towards inter-ethnic conflict. In a letter to the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and the UN Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protest, Karen Smith, Sri Lanka's Rohan Perera, wrote "it is quite insensitive and ill-conceived that you did not consider it important to share your concerns with the Sri Lankan government first, before going public...

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