Defining moment for Sri Lanka

May 20 (DN) It was certainly a defining moment for Sri Lanka which harkened back to Independence Day a half century ago when the country became liberated from the British. Only this time it was a different kind of liberation - the liberation of the country from the grip of a three decade long terrorist campaign seeking it’s dismemberment and undermine that hard won Independence. No patriotic Lankan could have failed to be moved by the emotionally charged speech of President Rajapaksa when more..

Govt ready for DNA test on Prabha’s body

May 20 (Island) Defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said that if the need arose the government was prepared to subject the body of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to a DNA test. Responding to a question he said Prabhakaran’s body has been identified. There was no need to go for a DNA test unless required for a legal matter. He was speaking at a news conference held at the Information Department. more..

China agrees to develop liberated areas of North and East

May 20 (Island) On a request made by Agriculture Development Minister Maithrepala Sirisena, the Chinese government agreed to assist Sri Lanka to develop agriculture in the newly liberated areas of the North and East. China has also expressed its willingness to provide livelihood opportunities to the conflict affected people sheltered in welfare centres and assist Sri Lanka to overcome the impact of the financial recession, more..

Landslide kills 6 in Hatton

May 20 (Xinhua) At least six people were killed in a landslide Wednesday in central Sri Lanka, relief officials said. Keerthi Ekanayake of the National Disaster Management Center said the police confirmed the deaths at Norton Bridge area in central parts of the island, 160 km from capital Colombo. He said a house in the hilly area was swamped by a large pile of earth. Two children were among the dead. more..

Actress remanded for criminal breach of trust

May 20 (DM) A film and tele drama actress who is alleged to have deceived three persons amounting to Rs 196,500 upon the promise of employment as security personnel in Dubai was remanded by the Colombo Additional Magistrate Ravindra Premaratna. The Narahenpita Police arrested the actress Dulika Marapona, sequel to a complaint made on April 24 to the Narahenpita Police by one Dharshana Indunil Edirisinghe of Nawala Road Narahenpita. more..

TNA not present in Parliament

May 20 (DM) The TNA did not participate in the parliamentary session yesterday when President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed the nation from the House announcing the defeat of the LTTE militarily. TNA leader R. Sampanthan, General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah and MP Suresh Premachandran are currently in India. Besides, a few other members such S. Gajendran, Pathmini Sithamparanathan, M.K. Sivajilingam have been in Europe for several months now. more..

President joins street crowds celebrating the victory

May 20 (GDI) Having accomplished the most important and impossible national task of wiping out LTTE terrorism from the face of the Sri Lankan earth, the man who traversed many a street and every corner in his life and journey in politics, last night was seen mingling with the crowds celebrating the victory over LTTE terrorism in the city of Colombo. more..

Natural gas power plant begins construction in Kerawalapitiya

May 20 (DM) The Ministry of Power and Energy yesterday said the foundation stone will be laid for the first natural gas power plant tomorrow at Kerawalapitiya by the Minister of Power and Energy John Seneviratne. $ 600 million was estimated to complete the Kerawalapitiya power plant and it will provide 488 MW electricity for the national grid. The investor of the project has assured that the power plant would be completed within 18 months. more..

Sri Lanka's bloody victory comes at a price

May 20 (ANN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in a jovial mood when he declared that his government had finally won the civil war against the separatist LTTE, which has been trying for decades to forge a separate homeland for the Tamil population. Now that the 25-year-old war is over - leaving more than 70,000 people dead and over 250,000 as refugees - it is time for the Sri Lankan government to start considering future needs. more..

'Danduwam Madalali' shot dead

May 20 (LBO) A man who ran an illegal Ponzi-style 'investment' scheme in Southern Sri Lanka, offering high interest rates until its collapse last year when he failed to repay investors, has been shot dead, police said. Piyadasa Ratnayake, from the southern Sri Lankan township of Hungama was abducted in the early hours of Wednesday, by an identified group that came in a pick-up truck, police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera said. more..

Prabhakaran's ex-aide wants to meet Gandhis

May 20 (IBN) LTTE chief Prabhakaran’s closest aide of 22 years, Colonel Karuna says he wants to meet Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi to explain to them the “circumstances that led to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination”. Col Karuna was flown to Jaffna on Tuesday to identify the body of the slain LTTE chief, who was reportedly shot dead by the Lanka Army on Tuesday. Karuna identified the body as that of Prabhakaran and told CNN-IBN that there was no doubt that it was the LTTE chief’s body. more..

Sri Lanka war over but war of words continues

May 20 (TS) The Sri Lankan consul general in Toronto yesterday shot down new pleas from the federal government and local Tamils to allow international help for civilians in the island war zone. And the Canadian Tamil Congress rebuffed Ottawa's condolences, telling Canada to go "beyond words" to help civilians in Sri Lanka. The 26-year war in Sri Lanka is over but the war of words goes on. more..

UNHCR concerned about conditions in IDP sites in Sri Lanka

May 20 (UNCHR) As the fighting in north-east Sri Lanka comes to an end, the scale of the challenges facing UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies on the ground become more apparent. It is now estimated that up to 80,000 people have left the former fighting zone in the last three days, which brings the total who have fled the fighting in the last several months to 280,000. Some 230,000 have been screened and registered and are currently accommodated in 41 sites more..

Army ceremonially silences their guns

Tamils suspicious of president's 'unity' offer

May 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president marked victory over Tamil Tiger guerrillas with a vow that Tamils would not be victimised, but the minority community remains deeply suspicious after years of discrimination. Accounting for about 13 percent of the island's 20 million population, Tamils have long been wary of governments run by the Sinhalese-majority, which they accuse of treating them like second-class citizens. more..

Aid groups ask for access to Sri Lanka battlefield

May 20 (AP) Aid groups pushed for access to Sri Lanka's former battlefields to check on any wounded civilians stranded there, as the country celebrated a holiday Wednesday to honor the military's victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels. Though the president officially declared the country free from terror on Tuesday, government forces shot and killed two squads of rebel fighters — a total of eight insurgents — who were preparing ambushes in eastern Sri Lanka, the military said. more..

Will Tamils' 'Sun God' live on?

May 20 (TS) There was no glamour about the shattered remains of Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, shown yesterday by Sri Lankan TV. And little resemblance to the charismatic Che Guevara, the murdered Argentine-born fighter who became a pinup for a generation of young rebels. Prabhakaran, pronounced dead by the Sri Lankan government, but said by Tamil supporters to be in hiding, was a violent figure in life. And his drawing power, like Guevara's, may continue after his demise. more..

Brothers led decisive victory over Tamil Tigers

May 20 (NYT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Tuesday savored a victory that had eluded every Sri Lankan head of state before him: he declared on television that after more than 25 years, his troops had defeated one of the world’s most enduring guerrilla armies on the battlefield. Behind that victory speech was a historic and bloody family triumph, guided by two of the president’s brothers: Gotabaya, the influential secretary of defense, and Basil, a so-called special adviser more..

The Jaffna Tamils

May 21 (LG) As I watched TV visuals of the death of V.Prabakaran, the head of the LTTE, and read and heard accounts of the way his dead body was disfigured and rolled in dirt by the Sri Lankan Army , my mind went back to the years 1951-55 when I was a student of the Loyola College of Chennai, run by the Society of Jesus. Every class, including mine, had four or five Tamils from the Northern Province of Ceylon as Sri Lanka used to be known before 1972. more..

Is it the end of struggle?

May 21 (LG) Is it true? Has Prabhakaran met his inevitable end? Sri Lanka watchers in India will find it difficult to believe, for the simple reason that those who are opposed to the Tigers have claimed that Prabhakaran has been killed on earlier occasions also. To illustrate, during the IPKF interregnum, the Indian media had headlines in the front page that Prabhakaran has been killed. Two days later the LTTE published a photograph of Prabhakaran, alive and kicking. more..

Q&A: After Prabakaran

May 21 (OI) Q: Can the LTTE stage a come-back like the Baloch freedom movement did in Balochistan and the Taliban did in Afghanistan? A: Unlikely. The late Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto could destroy only the cadres of the Baloch freedom movement through his Army and Air Force. He could not destroy the leadership which managed to take sanctuary in Afghanistan and re-built the organization before starting a new phase of their freedom struggle. more..

Chronicles of a death foretold

May 21 (OI) The termination of the 2002 cease-fire agreement with the LTTE by the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and of the role of the foreign cease-fire monitors and facilitators underlines the determination of the government of Sri Lanka not to let anything stand in the way of its military operations against the LTTE reaching their logical conclusion. In its objective, such a logical conclusion would be the disruption, if not the destruction, beyond recovery of the command and more..

Sri Lanka : likely Scenarios

May 21 (LG) No reason to doubt the statement of the Sri Lankan Army about the death of Prabakaran, the leader of the LTTE, and other leaders of the LTTE. Doubts about the circumstances relating to their death will remain. These doubts will have no impact on the ground situation. Pointless wasting time and space analyzing the doubts. Almost the entire Northern component of the LTTE, including the leadership and a large number of cadres, wiped out. more..

Wijeweera and Prabakaran: Rebels within a dysfunctional democracy -Part 2

May 21 (AHRC) Exactly what made both movements represented by these two leaders (The JVP and the LTTE) abandon the struggle for democracy and rule of law altogether and resort to violence reflects on the limitations of other political movements within the country. At no time was there a single political party or tendency in Sri Lanka which made it their aim to construct and improve the institutions of the rule of law and democracy. more..

Wijeweera and Prabakaran: Rebels within a dysfunctional democracy -Part 1

May 21 (AHRC) Following the demise of the LTTE leadership there is now much discussion about the LTTE itself. In 1971 a similar movement in the south to the LTTE was the JVP and this movement, lead by Rohana Wijeweera, took to arms again from 1987 to 1991. Today there is much to be gained by studies and reflections of both movements. Of course there are vast differences in the two movements. more..

"Decency in War, a Lost Art?"

May 21 (LG) As fireworks are lit in the streets and a thousand parties in Colombo celebrate the fall of the LTTE and the death of their leadership, the Sri Lankan Army continues to mop up remaining pockets of resistance and begins the grim task of identifying the dead. Finally proving the total success of the military, Sri Lankan troops have identified the body of the founder and leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

I hope …

May 21 (LG) Finally, with the defeat of the LTTE, the war is done. A piece of me feels a bit of sadness at the LTTEs demise - only because of the ‘what-ifs’. They were born out of a necessity - the need to counter the violence and terror the state and its goon squads visited upon Tamil citizens from the time of Sinhala only, long before the Tigers came on the scene, culminating in the atrocities of 1983. more..

War over, Sri Lanka's next fight lies ahead

May 21 (Reuters) With a quarter-century civil war in the history books, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will now put to the test his theory of using a military victory over terrorism as the first step to tackling its root causes. Flush with the success of victory over the LTTE in a 25-year war once dubbed unwinnable, Rajapaksa offered compromise and reconciliation with the Tamil minority in a victory speech Tuesday. more..

Eight Tiger rebels killed as Sri Lanka marks victory day

May 21 (PTI) Eight LTTE rebels, who had evaded the military offensive in the northeast of the island, were killed by troops in shootouts today, as the UN asked for "unfettered access" to civilians camped near battle field. Small groups of LTTE militants still remaining in the eastern Batticaloa and Ampara districts staged attacks on the security forces, but were gunned down even as more..

Acid attack: home invaders still unknown

May 21 (SMH) Police say they have no leads on the men responsible for the violent home invasion in Sydney's west in which two Sinhalese men were badly burnt after being splashed with acid. A police spokeswoman this morning said there was still no known description of the attackers and no further updates in the efforts to find them. Jayasri Watawala, 22, and Chathurika Weerasinghe, 27, were badly injured when at least four men broke into their home more..

Criticism and sadness amidst Sri Lanka’s celebration

May 21 (AN) The Government of Sri Lanka decreed today to be a day of victory over the Tamil Tigers. This has been met by enthusiastic crowds celebrating the end of the war but also by criticism and fears for the future. Crowds have invaded the streets of Colombo and other major Sri Lankan cities following the announcement that rebel forces were finally beaten and President Mahinda Rajapaksa publicly joined in the celebrations last night. more..

Sri Lanka welcomes Russian Statement on the defeat of terrorism

May 21 (LG) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has welcomed the official reaction by the Government of the Russian Federation to the historic victory achieved by the Sri Lankan security forces against LTTE terrorists, resulting in the restoration of Government control over the entire territory of the country and the freeing of civilians held as human shields by the LTTE. more..

UN urged to probe child abuse in Sri Lanka

May 21 (IANS) Children under 18 years are being abducted from refugee camps and from Vavuniya town in northern Sri Lanka by paramilitary groups who enjoy the tacit support of the Sri Lankan government, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers said Wednesday. The Coalition welcomed the initiative by the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) on children and armed conflict to send a special envoy to Sri Lanka to investigate these and other abuses against children. more..

A Tragic Misdiagnosis

May 21 (HP) "We are in fear, not just for my life, but for all the civilians and patients and staff." It was just 24 hours later that an injured Dr. Varatharajah, and several other government physicians who had remained to serve patients in the "No Fire Zone" in North Eastern Sri Lanka, were taken into military custody. Perhaps he was relieved. Though his fate in government hands will be no less than that of other dissenters ("traitors"), more..

Sri Lanka appreciates Malaysia's assistance for IDPs

May 21 (RW) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama telephoned the recently appointed Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Datuk Anifah Bin Haji Aman, and congratulated the latter on his new appointment. The Minister said that he looked forward to working closely with his Malaysian counterpart for the mutual benefit of the two countries. Further, he conveyed the Sri Lankan Government's appreciation for more..

Prabhakaran made two last-minute attempts to flee: Navy

May 21 (PTI) LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran made two last-minute attempts to escape to India or Malaysia, but these came too late as the Sri Lankan Navy had put up a effective naval blockade by then. These failures left no option for Prabhakaran, who had earlier hoodwinked and outmaneuvered the Sri Lankan security aparatus, to stay put in the northern war zone and fight to the last. more..

Tiger by the Tail

May 21 (NYT) I met Neelan Tiruchelvam, a prominent activist who had entered Sri Lankan politics, on my first trip to the island nation 15 years ago. Over several cups of tea he patiently explained the complexities and risks for ethnic Tamils who were critical of both the government and the separatist LTTE. He believed that as a member of parliament, he could help bring peace to the country, mired in a brutal civil war since the mid-1980s. more..

End of the LTTE and future of the Tamil Struggle

May 21 (GV) The LTTE which claimed to be the sole representatives of Tamil people, one of the most feared and considered as one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world is vanquished. LTTE guerillas who once considered them in an equal footing with the SLA are silenced with their first and second rung leaders all killed. One of the bloodiest civil wars ended with all the due recognition given to more..

Prabhakaran was with 18 men when he was killed: Karuna

May 21 (IANS) Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was with 18 of his most loyal bodyguards when he was trapped and killed by the Sri Lankan military, one of his former rebel associates said on Wednesday. Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan alias Karuna, whose 2004 revolt played a vital role in the weakening of the LTTE, also said the Tigers would never rise again. more..

Aid group halts Sri Lanka operation

May 21 (AJ) An international aid group has suspended its aid operations in Sri Lanka due to restrictions placed on it by the government. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told Al Jazeera on Wednesday, a day after Sri Lanka's government declared victory over the Tamil Tigers, that "additional restrictions" meant it had no choice but to halt its activities. About 265,000 ethnic Tamils were displaced in the military's recent offensive against more..

Lawyer seized from family car in Sri Lanka

May 21 (Guardian) The abduction of activists and relief workers in Sri Lanka has undercut the message of compromise and reconciliation from the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, human rights groups said yesterday. Campaigners highlighted the kidnapping of Stephen Sunthararaj, of the centre for human rights and development in Colombo, who was snatched by men in military uniform on 7 May while travelling in his lawyer's car in the capital. more..

A close encounter with Prabhakaran

May 21 (HT) The 12th cross street in Chennai’s neighbourhood of Indira Nagar may be one of the posh addresses today. But 23 years ago, it was the home of names that went on to become among the most dreaded terrorists in the world. Vellupillai Prabhakaran was one of them. I met him in one of the rare audiences he gave to journos on the “Lanka beat” in the company of his mentor and LTTE’s ideologue Anton Balasingham. more..

War-zone access becomes flash point

May 21 (CSM) As the Sri Lankan government basks in newfound victory against Tamil Tiger rebels, United Nations and other aid agencies are clamoring for unfettered access to the war zone, something they say is crucial to aid the wounded and to lay the groundwork for rebuilding trust in the divided nation. The former theater of war in northeastern Sri Lanka has been out of bounds for aid workers for months, more..

Naval troops celebrate the Victory

Learn from the past, look forward with hope, say Church leaders

May 21 (UCAN) Church leaders have urged all Sri Lankans to put the 25-year civil war behind them and look to the future with hope. State president Mahinda Rajapakse declared the end of war in parliament on May 19. "We have to leave the sad and bitter memories of the past and look positively and optimistically towards the future in hope," Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo said on national television that day. more..

Inside Sri Lanka's camps

May 21 (AN) Close to a quarter of a million men, women and children have arrived in camps in the north of Sri Lanka. They've fled months of heavy fighting between government and rebel forces, endured a lack of food and medicine, and witnessed unimaginable suffering. Caritas is one of the few international aid agencies with access into the camps, where its staff provide hot meals, medical assistance, and counseling. more..

Quarter of a million Sri Lankans face two years in camps

May 21 (Guardian) Many of the quarter of a million people held in internment camps in Sri Lanka face up to two years behind razor wire, a government official said today. Despite international concern over conditions inside the camps, the defence ministry spokesman, Lakshman Hulugalle, said Sri Lanka was not prepared to let the UN dictate terms over the length of time people could be held. more..

Tales from the Sri Lankan refugee camps

May 21 (Time) Prema and her family escaped the supposedly safe "no-fire" zone at Mullaivaikal by wading across the Nandikadal lagoon, which is studded with landmines and cratered by bombs, leaving deep waters where many people have already drowned. Tamil Tiger cadres opened fire on the civilians as they tried to escape. Her ten-year-old daughter went missing while crossing the lagoon, and her mother died in the water. more..

International community waits for answers for loss of life in war against rebels

May 21 (VoA) U.S. officials are expressing relief that Sri Lanka's civil war is over, while calling for clarity on who is responsible for "the tremendous loss of life" in recent months. In the most direct comments since the fighting stopped, the United States is expressing support for international calls to determine if human rights laws were violated during the final phase of the fighting between Sri Lankan forces and Tamil rebels. more..

Sri Lanka weighs UN request for battlefield access

May 21 (AP) Aid groups and the U.N. appealed Wednesday to be allowed to survey the aftermath of the final battle of Sri Lanka's civil war and pushed for unfettered access to some 280,000 Tamils displaced from the former combat zone. While the nation celebrated the crushing of the 25-year Tamil insurgency, the army clashed with two squads of rebel fighters in the east of the country, an area under the government's control for more than two years. more..