Rajapaksas dominates South with landslide victory in Sri Lankan elections

Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa clan have dominated the island’s general elections this week, with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) sweeping polls on a staunchly Sinhala nationalist campaign and putting the party firmly in control of parliament. The SLPP secured 145 seats across the island, including through its National List, fulfilling expectations that it would win throughout the South. Alongside its affiliated parties, including paramilitary organisations in the North-East, the Rajapaksas look set to secure a powerful two-thirds majority that will grant the regime the power to make...

Tamil homeland goes to the polls

Tamils across the North-East took to the polls amidst heavy Sri Lankan military presence today, as voting began in Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections. The Tamil homeland in the North-East has registered a sizeable turnout, so far, with all districts registering over 50% turnout as of 17.00.

Sri Lanka’s big Facebook spenders

Drawing on work by Sanjana Hattotuwa, we examine the hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on advertisements across the island and in the North-East, as recorded by Facebook. According to Facebook's Ad Library report, from May to August 2 alone, $478,545​ was spent on 26,710 advertisements.

TNA revives federalism and North-East re-merger for election manifesto

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in its manifesto has again promised to spend the next parliamentary term demanding a federal political solution for the Tamil people and a re-merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces. Touching on key Tamil issues such as militarisation, land return, political prisoners and accountability, the TNA also warned that international pressure was needed now more than ever. Political solution “Power sharing arrangements must continue to be established as they existed earlier in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure, in a...

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.

Kuttimani, Thangathurai and the Welikada prison massacre

Selvarajah Yogachandran, referred to as Kuttimani, and Nadarajah Thangavelu, alias Thangathurai were the co-founding leaders of TLO (Tamil Liberation Organisation). The group consisted of student revolutionaries working for a common goal – a free Tamil Eelam. TLO was informally formed in 1969, in Valvettithurai. It then later became the centralised notion for Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO). It was rumoured that they robbed banks to fund their radical activities. In 1976, Kuttimani’s name appeared on the list of 47 Tamil prisoners held without trial under Emergency Regulations...

Remembering Black July

Today marks thirty-seven years since the horrors of the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983, when thousands of Tamils were killed by Sinhala mobs backed by the then UNP government and state forces. Armed with electoral rolls, Sinhala mobs targeted Tamil homes and businesses, looting and ransacking property. Driven from their homes, particularly in Colombo, over 3000 Tamils were massacred, whilst thousands more were effectively deported by the state to the North-East.

Tributes paid to civil rights legend John Lewis

John Lewis, the venerable congressman of Georgia’s fifth congressional district and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom has died at age 80. Often dubbed “the conscience of the Congress”, Lewis was also a solid component of the Civil Rights Movement. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2019. Former President Barack Obama and Martin Luther King III were amongst those who expressed their condolences and their gratitude for Lewis. Obama on Lewis: “He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promises. And through...

Murali’s true colours

Former Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan has come out and backed the leader of the National Freedom Front and prominent Sinhala Buddhist nationalist Wimal Weerawansa, ahead of Sri Lanka’s general elections next month. Muralitharan - arguably Sri Lanka’s most famous cricket player - is well known for his unwavering alliance with the Rajapaksa regime, and has himself denied that war crimes had occurred.

Sri Lankan police push back mourners at Navaly Church bombing remembrance

Uniformed Sri Lankan police officers pushed back Tamil mourners as they attempted to light candles to mark 25 years since the Navaly Church bombings in Jaffna earlier today. Crowds gathered a memorial constructed for victims of the bombing were met with a heavy security presence, that included several armed and uniformed Sri Lankan army soldiers.