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Archive for September 23rd, 2004

[India News] New Delhi, Sep 22 : Crucial changes Tamil Tiger guerrillas have made in their ranks in Sri Lanka’s east portend trouble ahead despite mounting concern voiced by Western diplomats over escalating tensions in the country.

Guerrillas of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have suddenly become conspicuous by their absence in government-held areas in the eastern district of Batticaloa after a long, long time.

This, Tamil sources say, could only mean that the rebels have been pulled back to LTTE-controlled areas in the east or even in the north, probably for further training or military regrouping.

The absence of LTTE cadres in areas held by Colombo was noticed just before the LTTE appointed ‘Colonel’ Bhanu, head of its mortar regiment, in place of Ramesh, the Batticaloa-Amparai chief who succeeded Karuna, the former regional commander who revolted in March against Tigers boss Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Karuna made his way to Batticaloa from the LTTE-held north along with Ramesh on the weekend of Sep 11-12 after extensive consultations with Prabhakaran.

The LTTE leadership is clearly unhappy with Ramesh, probably on more than one count.

Ramesh was Karuna’s deputy when the latter revolted. Ramesh did not side with Karuna and instead fled to the Prabhakaran-held north. In the first public protest in Batticaloa then, Karuna supporters had burnt Ramesh’s effigies and ridiculed him for “running away”.

There were reports then that Ramesh had quietly asked Karuna to leave the region for his own good and safety.

The Karuna revolt ended in early April. By May, there was intense speculation that Ramesh would be replaced by Karikalan, a former close associate of Karuna who too had sided with Prabhakaran. That did not happen.

Since then, however, remnants among Karuna’s supporters who are said to be regrouping, in all possibility with the tacit backing of Sri Lanka’s military intelligence, have carried out some notable attacks on LTTE personnel and the group’s high-profile supporters.

According to Tamil sources, the LTTE feels that Ramesh has failed to check the growth of Karuna (whose present whereabouts are a mystery) and the collusion between Karuna’s men and the Sri Lankan military intelligence that can prove destabilising in the long run.

In contrast, LTTE hit squads have been much more successful in Colombo, eliminating Karuna’s men and other anti-LTTE activists at will.

The appointment of ‘Colonel’ Bhanu is a firm sign that the LTTE is planning something deadly. Simultaneously, one senior LTTE activist who had become very active in the region is Ramanan who also enjoys same rank as Bhanu’s and is a hardcore Prabhakaran loyalist.

“The fact that the LTTE has to appoint a northern man to manage the east also shows the group’s desperation,” a Colombo-based diplomat told IANS.

Norwegian special envoy Erik Solheim has clearly failed to persuade Colombo and the LTTE to resume peace talks, which have been stalled since April 2003. This is the task he came to achieve when he visited Sri Lanka last week.

The Tamil Tigers, true to their past, have simply brushed aside growing appeals from the West to stop recruiting children into their ranks and to be flexible in their approach to the peace process.

The LTTE insists that future talks can he held only around its demand for a powerful interim administration in Sri Lanka’s north and east. Critics say that the proposal is a stepping-stone to an eventual free Tamil Eelam state.

On Monday, Canada’s ambassador in Colombo, Valerie Raymond, travelled to Kilinochchi in the island’s north where the LTTE has its political headquarters to ask the Tigers to show flexibility.

Her trip followed similar appeals from the US and the European Union.

None of this has had any effect. And those who know Prabhakaran realise that such appeals mean nothing to the LTTE boss who remains obsessed with the idea of seceding Sri Lanka’s northeast to form an independent country.

–Indo-Asian News Service

( http://news.newkerala.com/india-news/?action=fullnews&id=32453)

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Eastern Sri Lanka

A new outfit calling itself the ‘Thamilar National Brigade’ and claiming to be headed by former LTTE renegade leader Karuna has called upon the youths and girls to join its cadres to fight against the Wanni leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran.

In leaflets distributed in the east, the new brigade has asked the people whether they want to simply be onlookers to the injustices being perpetrated by the Wanni leadership or they sought liberation by joining the brigade. “Our struggle will not cease till the people in our district are liberated. We are confident that the Wanni Tigers could be driven away if you join the brigade,” the leaflet said.

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The Jathike Hela Urumaya (JHU) yesterday moved an adjournment motion in parliament proposing to ban the slaughter of cattle in the country, and the Government promised to bring forth legislation to ban the slaughter of cows at least in the near future.

JHU monk parliamentarian Venerable Kolonnawe Sumangala Thera in the evening said that Sri Lanka with a large Buddhist population should not tolerate the cruel manner in which cattle are slaughtered. “We have a long tradition of compassion. A nation like ours, which was named the Dhamma Deepa, should stop inhuman practices like this. Or we will protest on the streets very soon,” he said.

The Thera’s views were supported by CWC member V. Puthirasigamoney, who said that September was a month where the Hindu community refrained from the consumption of meat, and appreciated him for making the proposal during this month.

In a lighter vein, UPFA MP Mervyn Silva said, “Any person who consumes the flesh of cattle slaughtered in the cruel manner they are, with so much anger and pain, could not have any good feelings inside them. It is such consumption that is responsible for the incidents that happen inside here”.

Making the reply speech, Agriculture Minister Anura Dissanayake said that around 600,000 cattle are being slaughtered annually, with at least 15% being cows. “We would soon face a problem with dairy production. We have arranged for three farms to buy cattle from farmers before they sell them to the slaughterhouse. The farms were allocated Rs. 30 million and they will look after the animals and give them back to the farmers,” he said.

He also said that laws alone will not stop the slaughter, and that a public dialogue on the matter was needed. He promised to bring laws to ban the slaughter of cows at least very soon.

(http://www.newswire.lk -News Wire 23 Sept )

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Special Correspondent, September 22. Posters bearing the LTTE leader Pirabakaran’s photos have been spray painted with black paint and defaced at several store-fronts in Toronto overnight.

Reports from Toronto say that Canadian public are also becoming increasingly annoyed by the display of these posters and banners. However, it is not clear who spray painted the posters in several Toronto suburbs. Several store-owners removed the damaged posters in the morning fearing reprisals by the LTTE operatives.

The Tamil radio and TV channels operated by LTTE-fronts in Toronto, are asking all Tamils living in the city to participate in the Pongu Thamil rally on Saturday.

(www.theacademic.org)

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An SLA soldier in foot patrol was killed in Sangaththaanai in Jaffna around 8 a.m. this morning when an anti-personnel mine (APLM) blew up on him. SLA sources said that this APLM is new type that has been rarely used in Jaffna. They said the mine springs out of the ground to burst shrapnel in the direction of the victim. It is hence deadlier than other APLMs they said.

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An SLA soldier in foot patrol was killed in Sangaththaanai in Jaffna around 8 a.m. this morning when an anti-personnel mine (APLM) blew up on him. SLA sources said that this APLM is new type that has been rarely used in Jaffna. They said the mine springs out of the ground to burst shrapnel in the direction of the victim. It is hence deadlier than other APLMs they said.

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A claymore mine was triggered by an unidentified person in Panichchankerni, 60 kilometres north of Batticaloa, Tuesday. No one was hurt in the explosion. An LTTE official in Batticaloa alleged that an informant working with the Sri Lanka army had set off the explosion. He said the improvised device may have been aimed at two local LTTE cadres who had passed the Panichchankerni bridge minutes before the explosion.

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