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Archive for November 28th, 2007

The United Nations Office in Colombo, in a statement issued regarding concerns raised in Parliament on the Ready-to-Eat meal packets imported into the country and impounded by the Customs, said while the UN acknowledges and fully supports the right of a sovereign Government to investigate credible allegations of wrongdoing, the circumstances of this action appear to have been driven by unsupported statements in Parliament by a member of the Opposition’.

The UN has issued the following statement on this matter:

“The Sri Lanka customs service has impounded a consignment of Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs), at a UNICEF warehouse in Colombo. This consignment had earlier been cleared through customs in early August. The Government of Sri Lanka was notified of the importation of these rations and their intended use.

“This consignment was purchased by UNICEF on behalf of 12 UN and other agencies,” for the use of only staff in every UN office in Sri Lanka in the event of an emergency when food might be scarce. This “three day ration” is in accordance with global security measures stipulated by UN Headquarters, and is common practice throughout the world.

“Of greater concern is that the unsupported allegation is the latest in a series made in the pages of the press and under parliamentary privilege, the total effect of which gives a false impression to the people of Sri Lanka that the national security is affected by the presence of the UN. This is contrary to the record, which is that the UN operates in Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka, and with every effort at full transparency, serving people throughout Sri Lanka. Through this work, for over 50 years the UN has worked to make people’s lives more secure by supporting the Government’s efforts to meet the basic development and humanitarian needs of Sri Lankans.

“Furthermore, in the estimation of the United Nations, this false impression undermines the security of every UN staff member, obstructs the implementation of basic development projects for all Sri Lankans, erodes the confidence of donor government, and damages the generally excellent working relationship of the UN and the government.

“The Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, has clearly stated the agreed mechanism for the investigation of credible allegations against UN or NGOs in Sri Lanka. The UN looks forward to a speedy resolution of this issue, so that the good work of the UN in Sri Lanka can continue unimpeded, the statement further said.

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International media reports and civilian sources in LTTE dominated Wanni region state that a bomb blast in Kilinochchi yesterday (November 27) had killed at least 13 people. Quoting LTTE terrorists, international media reports said that 11 “schoolchildren and two others were killed Monday when Sri Lanka’s military activated a roadside bomb near a car travelling” inside the LTTE stronghold.

However, Sri Lanka army categorically denied the allegation saying that no deep penetration unit are presently operating in an area which is just 15 Km from LTTE’s main base in Kilinochchi.

According to the civilian sources in Wanni, the blast had taken pace in the Kokkavil area which is well over 50Km from the last security forces’ check point at Omanthai, Vavuniya. The sources further revealed that LTTE had ordered all the government schools to be kept closed yesterday and the schoolchildren to participate for “Suicide Bombers day” celebrations held at local towns in the region. A large number of school children were reported to have forcibly recruited to the terror outfit during these celebrations.

Defence observers say that LTTE, itself might have carried out the attack to give a psychological boost to its recruitment drive. Hours after the attack, the LTTE leader read his annual suicide bombers’ day statement from his underground den in Kilinochchi. In his statement, he blamed all except himself for his ignominious defeats in the battlefield and vowed to waste more Tamil lives in pursuit of his megalomaniac vision. Also, he requested Tamil people around the world to provide funding for his terrorist war, so he would be able to turn more Tamil girls into suicide bombers and recruit more child soldiers.

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Sri Lankan Minister and a Tamil politician Dogulas Devananda may turn out to be the proverbial cat with nine lives after five assassination attempts have wounded and scarred him and left him blinded in one eye. Compelled to live a life in the shadow of death, Kathirvelu Nithyananda Douglas Devananda, co-founder of Eelam People’s Democratic party (EPDP), on wednesday miraculously escaped an assassination attempt for the fifth time when a suspected female LTTE suicide bomber blew herself up in front of his office.

The woman, said to be physically challenged, tried to enter the building housing Devananda’s office by taking advantage of the day when the Social Services and Social Welfare Minister, personally meets people to address their grievances.

But for the alert action of security in stopping the assailant, who almost went close to his room, things could have been different.

Devananda’s active career started in 1978 when the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS) sent him for military training when he was 21 years old.

When the anti-Tamil riots broke out in July 1983, Devananda was lodged in Welikada and he is one of the few prisoners who escaped death during an attack at the prison complex.

In September 1983, he along with other Tamil political prisoners escaped from the Batticaloa prison and fled to Tamil Nadu. Following the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement, the EPDP decided to give up the armed struggle and joined the democratic political mainstream in the island nation.

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The term “ethnic cleansing”, incorporated into the English dictionary in 1990s has been extensively used by the international media in relation to the Yugoslav wars and has become a popular phrase from 1992 onwards.

There is no formal legal definition of ‘ethnic cleansing’. A broad generalisation, however, refers ‘ethnic cleansing’ as forcible deportation of a population and an act of crime against humanity, under the statutes of both International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal.

‘Ethnic cleansing’ is a method which involves terror, associated with a distasteful misfortune of refugees. It brings about gloom with the ruins of ravaged homes. Its purpose is to ensure destruction through threat, humiliation, mass murder, torture, rape and sexual assault, confinement of the civilian population, use of civilians as human shields, destruction of cultural property etc.

The UN General Assembly condemned “ethnic cleansing” and racial hatred in a 1992 resolution and held that the practices associated with ethnic cleansing “constitute crimes against humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes”.

Taking a bird’s eye view on the issue, at the modern world, since mid 1990s, what has the world witnessed?

  • Botswana government, as a policy was engaged in moving ‘Bushmen’ off their lands in the Game Reserve, using armed police with threats of violence or death

  • In Zimbabwe, the Mugabe regime started an expulsion drive of white farmers in 2000 when the country was known as Rhodesia.

  • In 2005, through the implementation of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan, around 8,500 Jews were removed from the Gaza Strip, and around 660 from four small settlements in the West Bank.

  • Janjaweed Arabs and Muslim militias of Sudan attacked Arabs from Chad and Niger on the African population of Darfur, a region of western Sudan in 2007 which made up to 75,000 cross the border into Darfur within a period of two months, and some 2.5 million were forced to flee their homes later .

  • Entire neighborhoods in Baghdad are being ethnically cleansed by Shia and Sunni Militias as a consequence of American-British war in Iraq from 2003 to present. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that 2.2 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighboring countries, and 2 million were displaced internally, with nearly 100,000 Iraqis fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month.

  • 1971 Census in Sri Lanka indicated a population of 20,514 Sinhala civilians living in the Jaffna peninsula. By mid October 1987, they were completely and ethnically cleansed by the LTTE, the elusive Tamil Eelam separatists.

  • Paradoxically, since 1984 over 400,000 Tamils had moved into ethnically diverse Colombo metropolis to live in security and harmony among the majority Sinhala and all the other communities.

The expulsion of the Muslims from Jaffna was an act of ethnic cleansing carried out by the terrorists (LTTE) in October 1990. In order to achieve their goal of creating an ethnically “pure” Tamil state in the North and East of Sri Lanka, the LTTE forcibly expelled the entire Muslim community – numbered at around 80,000 – from the northern Jaffna peninsular, giving only 48 hours of warning. Muslims were not even permitted to take any of their belongings; subsequently refugees’ belongings were looted by the LTTE.

The LTTE sentiments with regard to Muslims was amply manifested in their actions. From the first week of October, 1987 terrorists proceeded with no provocation to massacre Sinhala and Muslim civilians from Trincomalee down to Batticaloa. The atrocities committed on Muslims alone were as follows:

  • 62 Muslims (both sexes and all ages) hacked to death at Nintavur in the Ampara District on the 21st June 1990.

  • 140 Muslims murdered and 66 injured while at prayer in the Meera Jumma and Hussainiya Mosques at Kathankudy in the Batticaloa District on the 5th August 1990.

  • 40 Muslims murdered at Akkarapattu in the Ampara District the following day.

  • 127 Muslims murdered at the Saddam Hussein Village, Poovaikadu and at Kalavaichanai near Eravur in the Batticaloa District about four days later.

  • This trend continued in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and spread to adjacent villages like Palliyagodella and Alinchinnapotai in the North Central province where families were hacked to death while going about their day to day affairs, or at night when asleep.

  • In 1992, the LTTE gave every Muslim in all parts of the Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya, and Mullativu Districts the option of leaving the Northern Province within 24 hours or being murdered. These Muslims who had co-existed in the North with Tamils for generations left their homes and fled to refugee camps. (A detailed report of all of the above killings and many more are to be found in “TIGERS, ‘MODERATES AND PANDORA’S PACKAGE’ by S. L. GUNASEKARA)

‘Throughout history Tamil political leaderships have followed a policy of ethnically cleansing Sinhalese and Muslims from the North and the East, after having ‘Tamilised’ thousands of Sinhala place names in these areas. (Weligama to Weligamam, Maracci Rata to Thena Maracci and Vada Maracci, Kudathana to Kudathanai, Sangathana to Sangathanai etc… etc… there are over a thousand in Jaffna’ alone).

“After the massacre of the Christians, Sankili’s (King of Jaffna) insane fury longed for more victims and he fell upon the Buddhists of Jaffna who were all Sinhalese. He expelled them beyond the limits of the country and destroyed their numerous places of workship. Most of them took themselves to the Vanni and the Kandyan territories (Ref: Yalpana Vaipava Malai by Mailvagana Pulavar translated by C. Brito), and those who were unable to do so became the slaves of the Tamil chieftains and are now known as ‘Kovia’, a corruption of the Sinhalese word ‘Goviya’ or ‘Goiya’ and that their original status was equal to that of the Vellalas can be inferred from customs which are still in Vogue in Jaffna.” (Page 382 of Ancient Jaffna by Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam)

The Sinhalese, who were the original inhabitants of Jaffna, (Page 384 of Ancient Jaffna) have been systematically ethnically cleansed by the Tamils over a period of time. In the 1990’s the remaining Sinhalese, who were the original inhabitants of Jaffna (Page 384 of Ancient Jaffna) have been systematically ethnically cleansed by the Tamils over a period of time, and in the 1990’s the remaining Sinhalese and Muslims were given 24 hours to pack their bags and leave by the ‘liberator’ of Tamils, Velupillai Prabakaran. (Ref: US State Department, Human Rights report on Sri Lanka). (Courtesy: Umberto GUI – London)

Taking the lead from Norwegians, some of the International Non Governmental Organisations who profess to be peace makers and make a living out of working in Sri Lanka and leading luxurious lives with converted foreign exchange salaries running up to millions of rupees a month have been instrumental in disseminating false propaganda to such an extent that at one time the whole of the international community was brainwashed to think that there was ‘ War’ in Sri Lanka.

The power hungry opposition UNP in Sri Lanka joining their band wagon not only has denuded themselves as traitors but managed to earn a name as ‘Prabakaran’s sympathisers or spokesmen’ which has not helped the Sri Lanka administration in its effort to resolve the alarming terrorist problem that still exists in a very much diminished level. Thanks to the firm and determined policies, decisions and actions taken by the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who himself was a well trained war hero, to crush the terrorist menace from the Sri Lankan soil for ever with the aid of his gallant security forces are taming the ‘Tiger’ today, seemingly but surely.

In Sri Lanka there is no war. The definition of the word ‘War’ is a conflict between nations or countries. What Sri Lanka has been experiencing for nearly three decades is a grave terrorist problem with a group of citizens of the same country trying to separate the land with the bullet as opposed to the ballot. There is no genocide as some try to paint a bleak picture among the international community. Genocide means the deliberate extermination of a race or a nation (for example the infamous Mylai massacre in Vietnam in 1968 or the equally infamous massacre by the British of Sikhs in Amritsar (1937) by the American and British Governments). In any confliction where the security forces are commissioned to fight and safeguard the sovereignty of a country there is bound to be casualties on both sides, trapped in between at times will be civilians who become victims when the terrorists forcibly use them as human shields.

To call it genocide there should be constructive evidence of a continuing and planned scheme and policy of a deliberate unnecessary elimination of a particular group or groups. Can those INGOs and some of the diplomats who seem to have gone over their diplomatic boundaries and point an accusing finger at the Sri Lanka government say with a clear conscience that what is happening in the North and East is akin even moderately to what happened to the Jews from 1932 to 1945 at the hands of the Nazi Govt. in Germany or what happening in Kosovo? Why are these foreigners so hell bent on interfering into Sri Lankan affairs when there are real and worse situations in countries like Iraq where human life has no value and everyday people are perishing at an alarming level from 2003?

There has been ample evidence where the international community has been brainwashed and conditioned by some foreign High Commissioners and Ambassadors who are on tour of duty in Sri Lanka becoming politically involved in Sri Lankan internal affairs, an area completely out of bounds from their diplomatic perimeters. UNICEF who profess to be seen as peace makers and working for the betterment of the world are now being exposed of their dual role in Sri Lanka having worked with the terrorists which has compelled the Sri Lankan State to take the bull by the horns and demote their ‘Green Channel’ facility of operation to Red with immediate effect.’ Such dastardly acts by INGOs could be interpreted in a Sinhala phrase as, “ Ange eidan Kana kanawa” (a literal translation which is close to the meaning would be to ‘Sitting on the horns (of a bull) and trying to eat the ears!” ).

Those white gurus who think they are god’s angels sent to Sri Lanka to make peace but get highly involved in internal affairs and politics of the country are quick to allege that ‘minority (Tamils) in this country is having a problem with the majority Sinhalese’ whereas what they deliberately fail to understand and should project to the world at large is that it is sad state of affairs in Sri Lanka where a minority within a majority has turned into a ruthless terrorist organisation in their bid to separate the country and resorting to killing, murder and ethnic cleansing the majority .

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With its movement restricted on the Tamil Nadu coast due to constant surveillance by Navy and Coastguard, the LTTE has started shifting its operations to the Kerala coast, a top Naval official on Monday said.

The Sri Lankan forces have understood LTTE’s tactics and the Indian Navy has increased vigil on the Tamil Nadu coast, making it virtually impenetrable, Flag officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval command, Vice Admiral Sunil K Damle said.

Now attempts are being made by the LTTE to slowly use Kerala coast for smuggling arms and ammunition and drugs. Efforts are also being made by other terrorist organisations to use Malabar as a landing point for RDX, he told reporters.

Citing instances of LTTE’s illegal activities in Kerala waters recently, including when the outfit allegedly seized a fishing vessel between Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, for its clandestine activities, he said “this is just the beginning of infiltration.”

Another militant organisation, which had smuggled in RDX through the Konkan coast, was now trying to bring it in through the Malabar coast. “We were told that some attempts had been made in the Malabar coast,” he added.

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False rumors

It was only yesterday that Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rattled Sri Lanka’s capital with two bomb blasts that caused heavy civilian casualties. At least 18 civilians have been killed in these attacks and 43 more have been wounded. Following the blasts, a series of false rumors have begun spreading in Colombo.

One such rumor is that several bomb parcels have been found today (29th) in various locations across Colombo. This is entirely false. Police received information regarding an explosive device said to be planted somewhere in Liberty Plaza shopping complex earlier today and bomb disposal squads were deployed to the scene. After a thorough search it was declared that there was no bomb threat and the premises was declared safe for civilian presence.

Another rumor that is rapidly spreading is that a key water pump that distributes water to Colombo has been poisoned by the tigers. This is again false information.

These rumors are known to spread via SMS, phone calls and by word-of-mouth. If you come across such statements please verify their source and authenticity before you pass them onto your friends and family members. Meanwhile be on the lookout for abandoned parcels, vehicles or personnel that may look suspicious. You can report such information to police emergency unit which can be accessed via 118 or 119 phone numbers.

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Tamil Tiger rebels set off a powerful bomb at a popular Sri Lankan department store in a Colombo suburb Wednesday, the military said, killing 17 people in a rare attack targeting civilians near the nation’s capital.

The blast, which came only hours after a suicide bomber tried to kill a Cabinet minister, showed the rebels remained capable of striking deep in government territory despite months of punishing military attacks on their power base in the north.

Fearing the bombings were only the first in a wave of attacks, officials decided to close all the schools in the Western Province — which includes Colombo — for the rest of the week, and security officers warned Sri Lankans to be on high alert.

“The general public should be extra vigilant about their surroundings especially in trains, buses, crowded areas and even in schools,” police spokesman Jayantha Wickremarathna said.The explosion at the four-story No Limits department store in Nugegoda was set off after a security guard there became suspicious of a package left with him for safekeeping and called over a police officer. When they tried to open it, the package exploded, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

The blast hit as commuters crowded a nearby bus stop during rush hour. It shattered the department store’s windows and sent piles of crumbled concrete pouring onto the bloodstained sidewalk, according to an AP photographer at the scene. Twisted, charred parts of motorcycles and three-wheeled taxis were scattered nearby.

Police and firefighters dug through the rubble in a search for more bodies.

“I was on the top floor of a shoe shop with my wife and child when I heard a big blast and there were glass pieces all over us,” local resident A. Jayasena told AP Television News. “As we ran away, I saw the entrance of the No Limit shop burning, and in the midst of it, a schoolgirl on the floor trying to get up and then falling back again.”

Jayasena and his daughter suffered minor injuries, while his wife was in the hospital being treated for more serious wounds, he said.

At least 17 people were killed and dozens of others injured, the military said. Residents crowded a nearby hospital searching for missing relatives. One girl who suffered a broken arm in the attack sat with her mother as she received treatment.

“We know that the attack bears all the hallmarks of the LTTE. It is nobody else but the LTTE,” Nanayakkara said, referring to the group by its formal name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The Tamil Tigers, listed as a terror organization by the United States and the European Union, have carried out more than 240 suicide bombings and countless other attacks in their more than two decade war with the government.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer calls from The Associated Press seeking comment Wednesday evening.

The rebels have previously killed civilians in attacks on economic targets, such as the central bank, and on religious shrines. However, in the past two years, rebel bombers had stopped targeting civilians, though they have ambushed military convoys amid crowds, causing many civilian deaths.

On Wednesday morning, a handicapped suicide bomber sent by the rebels blew herself up at Sri Lanka’s social services ministry in the heart of Colombo in an unsuccessful attempt to kill a Cabinet minister, the military said.

The attack targeted the offices of Douglas Devananda, the minister of social services and the leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party, an ethnic Tamil party considered a rival to the rebels, the military said.

Devananda, the target of repeated assassination attempts, was not injured, but the blast killed one of his staff members and injured two others, military officials said. The bomber was also killed.

Ilanthirayan, the rebel spokesman, said at the time that he was unaware of the blast.

The attacks came months after the government drove the Tamil Tigers out of eastern Sri Lanka and amid escalating fighting between the military and rebel fighters on the fringes of the rebels’ de facto state in the north.

It also came a day after 22 civilians — including 11 schoolchildren — were killed in separate attacks inside rebel-controlled territory, the rebels said. The Tamil Tigers blamed the military, which denied responsibility for the roadside bombing that killed the children.

“This is a fabricated story. We think that by doing so, they were preparing the ground for an attack in the south,” said Lakshman Hulugalle, director general of the government’s Media Center for National Security.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 to create a separate homeland for Sri Lanka’s minority ethnic Tamils following decades of discrimination by governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. The fighting has killed an estimated 70,000 people.

The military also said it killed one rebel in an attack Wednesday on a Tamil Tiger bunker in the north.

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