Remembering Major Sothiya

Today marks 32 years since the passing of Major Sothiya, the commander of the LTTE's first female unit. Maria Vasanthi Michael, known by her nomme de guerre ‘Sothiya’, was born on 20 September 1963. She first joined the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1984. A formidable fighter, Sothiya took part in many battles, as female cadres began to take part in combat operations from 1986 onwards. Extracts from Adele Balasingham’s ‘Women Fighters of Liberation Tigers’ below document some of Sothiya’s achievements on the battlefield. “On one occasion the Sri Lankan army penetrated between two...

Forests, another frontier of Tamil resistance

The Sri Lankan military has undertaken massive deforestation of parts of the Tamil homeland since the end of the armed conflict. Sharing images from Google Earth on Facebook, Kilinochchi journalist M. Thamilselvan illustrated the loss of forest cover surrounding army camps on the east side of the A9 road between Mankulam and Murikandy in the Mullaitivu district.

Sri Lanka’s Indo-phobia and Gammanpila’s U-turn - A closer look at the Trinco oil deal

The Sri Lankan government has signed a long-awaited agreement with India that will allow New Delhi to restore at least 75 oil tanks in the eastern city of Trincomalee this week. Sri Lanka’s energy minister Udaya Gammanpila “claimed that 85 of 99 tanks will be under Sri Lankan control which were under Indian control”. A closer look at the deal, however, reveals a slightly different picture.

Still searching for justice - 16 years on from Trinco 5 killings

This week marks 16 years since five Tamil students were summarily executed by Sri Lanka's Special Task Force, whilst they spent an afternoon on the beach in Trincomalee. To date no one has been held accountable for the murder.

2021 - A year of defiance

As 2021 draws to a close, Tamil Guardian reflects on some of the most significant moments across this past year. This year started off with an attempt by Sri Lanka's security forces to destroy a Mullaivaikkal monument held at Jaffna University. Tamils responded by launching large-scale protests, sit-ins and a hartal across the North-East despite the continued surveillance, intimidation, and threats of violence by Sri Lanka's security forces. The month was marked with unprecedented unity across the North-East as major Tamil political leaders, Tamil civil society actors and Tamil survivor...

Remembering the waves - 17 years on from the tsunami

On December 26th, 2004, over 35,000 people perished during the catastrophic tsunami that hit the coasts of the North-East and South of the island of Sri Lanka.

Revisiting the Mirusuvil massacre

This week marked 21 years since the Mirusuvil massacre, where Sri Lankan soldiers murdered eight Tamil civilians in Jaffna, including three children, before dumping their bodies in a mass grave. Earlier this month, the US State Department announced that Sunil Rathnayake, one of the soldiers involved in the massacre, would be barred from entry to the United States over his role in the killings.

University of Colombo graduates snub Rajapaksa backed monk

During a graduation ceremony, students at the University of Colombo refused to accept their degree certificates from the newly appointed University Chancellor, and Rajapaksa-aligned, Buddhist monk Muruththettuwe Ananda. The act of protest follows a statement by the University of Colombo’s Science Teachers’ Association (UCSTA) expressing their opposition to Ananda's appointment as Chancellor. The UCSTA highlighted that “even though the Chancellor’s role is mostly ceremonial, the person who holds the position ideally should have a track record of flawless professional and personal integrity,...

Sri Lanka’s crisis deepens after being hit by yet another downgrade

Responding to the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, Fitch Rating agency has downgraded the country’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘CC’, from ‘CCC’, a move that reflects the dire state of Colombo's finances. “The downgrade reflects our view of an increased probability of a default event in coming months in light of Sri Lanka's worsening external liquidity position, underscored by a drop in foreign-exchange reserves set against high external debt payments and limited financing inflows. The severity of financial stress is illustrated by elevated government-bond yields and downward pressure on the currency” the report notes.

China looks North as ambassador visits Tamil homeland

China’s ambassador to Sri Lanka continued his tour of the Tamil homeland today, visiting the historic Jaffna Library and Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, as well as meeting with fishing communities in the peninsula and in Mannar. The visit comes as Beijing looks to “to maintain contacts between Jaffna and China in the near future,” according to Ambassador Qi Zhenhong who addressed reporters whilst visiting the Jaffna library earlier today.