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Ensure power devolution for enduring peace: experts

May 19 (PTI) As Sri Lanka is all set to script a new chapter in its history with the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran, experts here say the first job for Colombo will be to ensure that another guerrilla leader does not emerge by proper devolution of powers to Tamil areas in northern region. They say that India should remove the "mental block" which it had on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue due to Prabhakaran, an accused in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, and more..

Prabhakaran, dead or alive?

May 19 (HN) It was the final assault by Sri Lanka to wrest control of areas controlled by the LTTE. According to the island nation's defence website, Army Chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka announced that "Sri Lankan armed force have militarily defeated the LTTE and freed the nation from three decades of terror". After the news broke out, Indian foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, spoke to Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Prabhakaran's death: mixed feelings in Chennai

May 19 (IANS) Relief and frank disbelief - as news came in that Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran had actually been killed, some in this Tamil Nadu capital said it was long in coming and others simply refused to believe it was true. Unwilling to take chances, the establishment tightened security all over the state and especially in Chennai, where the issue of Tamil Eelam, or a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka, has always been an emotive one. more..

'Victory was achieved with sacrifices of all'

May 19 (LT) A large number of people have made sacrifices for thirty long years for the military victory Security Forces have achieved today and the honour of this victory belongs to all of them said UNP Parliamentarian Kabeer Hasheem. Mr. Hasheem said, “A large number of political leaders, soldiers, civilians were killed by tiger terrorism. We should remember them at this time of victory. more..

'JVP pays tribute to all those who contributed to the defeat of tiger terrorism'

May 19 (LT) The JVP pays its tribute to all those who contributed to the defeat of separatist tiger terrorism that was a threat to sovereignty and national security of Sri Lanka for nearly 30 years says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. Mr. Amarasinghe said the three forces and the STF have made sacrifices that are unbelievable and masses too sacrificed immensely by containing hardships and sufferings. more..

Ranil congratulates president & armed forces

May 19 (CT) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has congratulated the President and all members of the armed forces for their victory against LTTE terrorism. Mr. Wickremesinghe, presently on an overseas visit, telephoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa to convey his best wishes to all of them. He said in a statement that those who had laid down their lives in the more than 20 years of ethnic conflict should also be remembered on this occasion. more..

Pope prays for reconciliation in Sri Lanka

May 19 (UCAN) Pope Benedict XVI has made a pressing appeal to both the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels in the country's civil war to guarantee protection for and assistance to civilians. He made his appeal from his study window in the Vatican on Sunday, May 17, even as news agencies were reporting that the war had come to an end, with the Tamil Tigers acknowledging defeat. more..

'New nonviolent group should replace LTTE'

May 19 (IANS) A new democratically-minded and nonviolent group is needed to win the aspirations of Tamils in Sri Lanka following the defeat of the LTTE, a leading member of the Tamil diaspora in Britain said Monday. "At the moment, there is mourning everywhere among the Diaspora, but once we have had time to mourn and hold our memorials, we should sit down and chalk out the way forward," said Thaya Idaikkadar, Chairman of the British Tamil Councillors and Associates (BTCA). more..

Sri Lanka issue is sensitive, says Congress

May 19 (PTI) After the annnouncement of the death of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, the Congress on Monday said the Sri Lankan issue is a sensitive one and External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the matter. "Sri Lanka is a sensitive issue, our Foreign Minister is meeting the Prime Minister. The Government of India will contact the Sri Lankan government to ascertain the fact," more..

Bodies of 18 senior LTTE leaders positively identified

May 19 (SO) Armed forces officials have positively identified 18 bodies of senior LTTE cadres including that of Pottu Amman. The following is list of identified LTTE leaders found among the dead today (May 18). * Pottu Amman- LTTE's Intelligence Wing Leader * Bhanu - LTTE military leader *Jeyam- LTTE military leader *B.Nadesan- LTTE political head *S.Pulidevan- Head of LTTE's Peace Secretariat *Ramesh- LTTE special military leader *Ilango- LTTE police chief *Charles Anthony- the eldest son of LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran more..

Mission Accomplished

DNA tests on body of Prabhakaran

May 19 (Times) The body of the leader of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran, is to undergo DNA and forensic tests along with the corpses of other top rebels, officials said today. Prabhakaran was killed this morning along with two of his deputies after a two hour firefight when they tried to break to freedom through advancing government troops, defence officials said. His body was badly burnt when his armour-plated van was hit by a rocket and burst into flames. more..

Sri Lanka promotes three service chiefs after LTTE's defeat

May 19 (PTI) The chiefs of armed forces, who led the successful military campaign that wiped out the entire LTTE leadership, were on Monday rewarded with rare promotions. Army Chief Sarath Fonseka was promoted to the rank of General, Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda has been made an Admiral, while Air Force Chief Roshan Goonathilake is now an Air Chief Marshal. The three defence chiefs became the first Armed Forces Commanders to hold four star ranks while in active service, more..

Tears spill in London for Tamil leader

May 19 (Independent) For much of the past six weeks, the 41-year-old van driver has travelled every day from his home in Harrow to Parliament Square where hundreds of British Tamils have been holding a non-stop vigil to protest against the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka. Night and day Mr Seevaratnam and his friends had chanted one phrase louder than any other: "Prabhakaran, Our Leader! Tamil Eelam, Our Nation!" more..

Kingsbury temple attacked again in 'suspected Tamil revenge attack'

May 19 (HT) A series of attacks on a Buddhist temple in Kingsbury could be motivated by religious hatred, police have said. Officers are linking two attacks in the space of five days on the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Temple, when windows have been smashed and one of the monks was attacked. In the early hours of Sunday, a man wielding a copper pipe tried to hit the monk over the head, while a second man hurled a brick through one of the temple's windows. more..

Wanni operation 18th May

At war's end, Sri Lanka left with deep wounds

May 19 (NPR) The war on the Indian Ocean island nation of Sri Lanka is over after more than a quarter of a century of conflict, off and on, in which tens of thousands of people have died. The final act played out in the island's north, on a spit of palm-fringed coastland that is roughly one square mile. There, remnants of the Tamil Tiger separatist forces were defeated over the weekend in a siege that created a wave of refugees and untold civilian casualties. more..

US Ambassador pays farewell call on Foreign Minister

May 19 (LG) The outgoing US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert O. Blake paid a farewell call on Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama at the Ministry today. Ambassador Blake informed the Minister that he had arrived in Sri Lanka at a time when the security forces had commenced their operations against the LTTE following the closure of the Mavil Aru sluice gates in July 2006. He noted that he was completing his assignment in the country at a historic moment, more..

After The Tigers

May 19 (OI) According to reports from the Sri Lankan Army, it has completed the liberation of all the territory under the control of the LTTE and decimated its entire leadership including V. Prabakaran himself, his intelligence chief Pottu Amman, Soosai, the Chief of the Sea Tigers, and others. No leader based in the Northern Province appears to have succeeded in escaping. Confirmation of the deaths through forensic identification of the dead bodies is awaited. more..

France calls on Sri Lanka to seek lasting peace

May 19 (AFP) France on Monday called on Sri Lanka to seek a lasting peace after its military declared victory in the decades-old conflict with the Tamil Tigers. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who spoke by phone with his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama, said fighting must come to an end after the rebel LTTE admitted defeat. "Today, it is up to the Sri Lankan government to act responsibly toward civilians and build conditions for a lasting peace that will benefit all of the population of Sri Lanka," more..

Prabhakaran: From catapult killer to ruthless insurgent

May 19 (IANS) His first victims were squirrels and birds, and his first weapon a humble catapult. From such beginnings, Velupillai Prabhakaran -- who died ignominiously Monday -- grew to be the world's most shadowy and ruthless insurgent who at one time lorded over vast areas in Sri Lanka's northeast. The over 35 years Prabhakaran spent underground building the once unknown LTTE into an awesome war and more..

EU nations calls for Sri Lanka war crimes probe

May 19 (AP) European Union nations called Monday for an independent war crimes investigation into the killing of civilians in Sri Lanka. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, who chaired EU foreign ministers talks, said the EU wanted alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws investigated. It remained unclear who the EU wanted to carry out such a probe in Sri Lanka. Its government said Monday it has crushed the 25-year conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels and more..

265,000 people fled Sri Lanka conflict zone, says UN

May 19 (DPA) The UN refugee agency said Monday that 265,000 people have fled the conflict zone in northeastern Sri Lanka in the last several months. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Ron Redmond said the refugees had 'endured extreme conditions' in the conflict zone, a tiny strip of land that was controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels. The area had constantly shrunk as government forces moved in closer. more..

Time to heal the wounds of conflict and war

May 19 (AT) Sri Lankan Armed Forces have done what was unthinkable a few years ago. President Rajapaksa has done what none of his predecessors even dared to imagine was possible. The military battle with the LTTE is over. One has to pinch one self to believe this has happened. Much will be written about this battle, and the bravery of the Sri Lankan Forces. They need to be written about and admired for their courage. more..

Sri Lanka - the only nation to have defeated the LTTE & ended Terrorism

May 19 (AT) No congratulatory messages from world leaders – No applause for Sri Lanka’s military – No mention for the world’s biggest humanitarian rescue operation by the armed forces that rescued almost 250,000 Tamil civilians from LTTE clutches - No plaudits for the Only Nation to have crushed the world’s worst Terrorist movemen. Did we not say that barring a few friendly nations, world leaders remained hostile towards Sri Lanka preferring more..

A Time for Reconciliation

May 19 (AT) The Sri Lankan military and the government are reporting the end of war with the LTTE after the latter's crushing defeat at the hand of a superior force. They are also reporting the demise of LTTE chief Prabhakaran and other senior leaders of the organization such as Soosai, and Pottu Amman. After decades of fear, death and destruction that engulfed the country, especially the northern and eastern provinces, the ending of war is welcome news more..

FM calls on UN to acknowledge Govt’s success in rescue mission

May 19 (AT) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollgama has urged the UN to acknowledge the success of the humanitarian mission of the Sri Lankan armed forces to rescue the thousands of civilians who had been held hostage as human shields by the LTTE in the no-fire zone (NFZ). The dire predictions made by certain elements of the international community of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” and a "bloodbath" did not materialize, more..

'We have won the battle, but the war is not ended'

May 19 (AT) Archbishop of Colombo Oswald Gomis has congratulated the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Chiefs of the Defence Forces who supported him with deep commitment and self-sacrifice to bring an end to the war in Sri Lanka. In a press release he expressed his happiness that the war is ended and that the government’s Security Forces have been able to release all the innocent civilians who were trapped in the battle. more..

Sri Lankan and Croatian Presidents agree to enhance bilateral ties

May 19 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with Croatian President Stjepan Mesic on the sidelines of the Group of Eleven (G - 11) Meeting at the Dead Sea in Jordan last Saturday, during which the two leaders agreed to further consolidate economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and Croatia. They agreed that much potential exists for cooperation in the fields of port development and ship building. more..

Sri Lanka and Jordan agree to expand bilateral cooperation

May 19 (LG) Foreign Minister Bogollagama met with his Jordanian counterpart Naseer Judeh on the sidelines of the G-11 Summit and World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea in Jordan last Saturday and agreed to take measures to expand ongoing bilateral cooperation into a multi-sectoral engagement, covering trade, investment and tourism sectors. He said that trade in goods and commodities, light engineering and tea needed to be included in such an expanded cooperation. more..

Sri Lanka to re-open its Embassy in Baghdad

May 19 (LG) Vice President of Iraq, Adil Abd Al-Mahadi and the Minister of Investment of Pakistan, Waqar Ahamed Khan called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Friday in Amman, Jordan on the sidelines of the meetings of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and the G-11 Summit. They complimented the President on the success achieved in defeating terrorism in Sri Lanka and the measures taken to rescue the civilians held captive by the LTTE. more..

The last stand of the cowards

May 19 (DW) Prabhakaran's death is established primarily through circumstantial evidence. The remains of an individual with very similar physical structure to Prabhakaran has been discovered and tests are being performed to establish his identity beyond reasonable doubt. The Army needs no testing to establish the LTTE leader's death. Certain sections of the media have misreported the circumstances surrounding Prabha's death. more..

More battles ahead for Sri Lanka

May 19 (AT) The Sri Lankan government, which has come under heavy criticism for the humanitarian crisis in the country's war zone, appears to have won the 25-year-old military conflict, but it is fighting a tough propaganda war overseas. "It is a very stressful time here," says Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, a former chief of the United Nations Treaty Section. Although the military has scored unbelievable gains, he said, more..

Lack of news frustrates local Tamils

May 19 (NZH) Tamils living in New Zealand are trying to contact their relatives following news that the Tamil Tigers have conceded defeat in Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war. More than 50,000 civilians were said to have been released from the conflict zone at the weekend, after being trapped during the final days of battle. Mt Roskill resident Donna Kalpagee, whose two sisters were among those trapped, said she has been trying to contact them since Sunday - but without success. more..

Outside Sri Lanka, Tamil diaspora not ready to surrender

May 19 (NYT) In a telephone interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News on Sunday (featured in the video report embedded above), a spokesman for Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger militants, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, said that while the defeated rebels were laying down their arms, they would “not surrender.” He also said in a statement on Sunday that the group had an “unending commitment” to the cause of a separate state. more..

Tamil demonstrators bring central London to a standstill

May 19 (DM) Pro-Tamil demonstrators today caused traffic chaos as they mounted a sit-down protest on a busy road opposite the Houses of Parliament. Hundreds of protesters moved en masse to occupy parts of Bridge Street and Westminster Bridge, a major thoroughfare through central London. Traffic in the area was diverted and a large police presence gathered around the protesters with police helicopters circling above Parliament Square. more..

Joy and wariness in Sri Lanka

May 19 (BBC) Euphoric. That is the only way to describe the mood on the streets of Colombo. Kiri bath [milk rice] is being cooked and handed out on the streets. Every single shop and house is carrying a flag. I have never seen so many flags out in the country. People are joyful, celebrating, there are firecrackers literally everywhere you go. I was in Colombo and they were throwing firecrackers onto the street. It is one big party. more..

Prabhakaran's cousin sister in Kerala 'deeply distressed'

May 19 (ET) As Sri Lanka rejoiced over the death of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, grief gripped the family of 77-year-old Janaki Amma, who says Prabhakaran is her first cousin. Speaking to ET from her home at Poonthalathazham near Kollam, Janaki Amma bemoaned the death of Prabhakaran: "I am deeply distressed. I came to know about it only at 2 pm. I was just hoping that the war would end and he would be able to live a good life". more..

Editorial: End of the war

May 19 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan armed forces have won a comprehensive victory over the LTTE in a military campaign that began in the eastern province in August 2006. With its entire top leadership and thousands of fighting cadres killed in action, its military structure, assets, and capabilities destroyed, its political organisation decimated, the LTTE no longer exists as a military force. Belying conventional wisdom, Sri Lanka has found a military solution to more..

The making of a militant leader

May 19 (Hindu) September 1986 was a sensitive time for India’s engagement with the Sri Lankan Tamil question, and with the militant groups, above all the LTTE and its complex and then little known supremo. We reproduce here excerpts from a wide-ranging interview by N. Ram for The Hindu with Velupillai Prabakaran in Chennai. The interview was published in two parts on September 4 and 5, 1986. more..

Red alert in Tamil Nadu

May 19 (Hindu) High-level security was in place across Tamil Nadu soon after the news of the death of LTTE leader V. Prabakaran spread on Monday. While intelligence agencies issued a red alert calling for enhanced vigil at vital installations, particularly central Government establishments, the State police decided to move in para-military forces for deployment in sensitive districts, police sources said. “We have issued an alert to all districts. more..

End of a warlord & zealot

May 19 (Hindu) The 37-year-old quest of the LTTE has ended with the death of its founder Velupillai Prabakaran. He was 54 years old. He was shot dead by the Sri Lanka Army at Mullivaikkal in Mullaithivu district in northern Sri Lanka. His elder son Charles Antony, and also the entire top leadership of the LTTE, including the LTTE’s intelligence chief, Pottu Amman, and the Sea Tigers chief, Soosai, were killed more..

Taming of Tamil Tigers threatens to breed fiercer creatures

May 19 (Hindu) The victory for Sri Lankan forces has come at a high price both in terms of civilian life and damage to Colombo’s international reputation. According to U.N. figures, an estimated 7,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed between January 20, when a military offensive pushed back the rebels into a tiny enclave in the north-east, and May 7. Although the military largely blocked the world’s media from covering the carnage in the so-called no-fire zone, TV images conveyed part of the horror, more..

A cavalcade of deadly blunders

May 19 (Hindu) A continuum of blunders lay behind the downfall of the LTTE, which was not too long ago being seen as an “invincible” force that would continue to engage the Sri Lankan state in an endless and debilitating war. Through phases of peace and war, the LTTE committed the series of blunders in terms of concept, structure and judgment. It may well be that these blunders were what reduced the Sri Lankan Tamils’ “struggle for independence” more..

Witness to one extended roller-coaster ride

May 19 (Hindu) It was February 2002. Supervised by the Norwegians, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had signed a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE. Implicit in the truce was the sentiment widespread at that time that the LTTE could not be militarily defeated. The agreement virtually made over the North-East to the Tigers. The government seemed to have abdicated its responsibility towards its Tamil and Muslim citizens living in that one-third part of the island. more..

Many milestones before the fall

May 19 (Hindu) There were many important moments in the history of the LTTE and its supremo Velupillai Prabakaran. The pictures here provide glimpses from a time when the group enjoyed the comfort of a base in Tamil Nadu, the support of leaders such as M.G. Ramachandran, the historic signing of the India-Sri Lanka Agreement in 1987, and the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Some recently discovered pictures also show Prabakaran with family members. more..

'I knew he could never be caught alive'

May 19 (Hindu) The former Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, D.R. Kaarthikeyan, who spearheaded the Special Investigation Team that probed the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case said he always knew that LTTE leader V. Prabakaran could not be caught alive. “All these years, I knew very well that he can never be caught alive. If it comes to that he will end his life. The LTTE might have had genuine grievances but the method they adopted to arrive at a solution was wrong. more..

India asks Colombo to address root causes

May 19 (Hindu) As the conventional military conflict in Sri Lanka came to an end, India emphasised on Monday that the time was ripe for Colombo to address the root causes of the conflict. This would include political steps towards “effective devolution” of power within the Sri Lankan Constitution so that Sri Lankans of all communities, including the Tamils, could feel at home and lead lives of dignity of their own free will, said an External Affairs Ministry statement. more..

Sri Lanka lost confidence of Tamils: Pathmanathan

May 19 (TN) Stating that the leader of the LTTE Mr. V. Pirapaharan is alive and well, Mr. Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the head of LTTE's international relations, told TamilNet Monday that it was very unfortunate that many of its senior members and leaders have either given up their lives or have been treacherously killed. "The Sri Lankan Government may have declared a military victory. But it does not realize that it is a hollow victory. more..

Have Your Say: Does army victory mean peace for Sri Lanka?

May 19 (BBC) The Tamil Tiger rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has been killed, according to Sri Lankan state television. Is the war now over in Sri Lanka? The announcement on state television came shortly after the military said it had surrounded Prabhakaran in a tiny patch of jungle. There have been street celebrations in the capital, Colombo. Prabhakaran led the rebels in a bloody civil war for 26 years fighting for more..