Daily Archives: March 15, 2007
By Walter Jayawardhana
KARUNANIDHI BLOWS HOT AND COLD ABOUT NEW DELHI’S STATEMENT THAT IT WAS CONSIDERING JOINT PATROLS OF SEA WITH SRI LANKA
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu continues to blow hot and cold about the Indian Central government’s statement that it was considering to have joint patrols of the sea between the two countries by the Navies of India and Sri Lanka.
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Muthuvel Karunanidhi told reporters in Chennai on Wednesday, “Empirically speaking, it is felt that since it is going to be joint patrolling [with the Sri Lankan Navy], there will be more disadvantages than the advantages we perceive.” But he did go into details as to what are the advantages and the disadvantages of the joint patrols as he claimed.
The question of joint patrols, proposed long ago by President Mahinda Rajapaksa arose, after a Tamil Nadu fisherman had been shot dead, allegedly by the sea-going Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) known as Sea Tigers while the fisherman was out fishing and M. Karunanidhi led DMK held a protest rally in Chennai and accused the Sri Lanka Navy of committing the crime.
Political opponents of the DMK have charged that this was a conspiratorial act of the LTTE to change the mood in Tamil Nadu where LTTE supporters are being arrested by the law enforcing authorities for smuggling out bomb manufacturing material to Sri Lanka.
India’s Janatha Party leader Subramanyan Swami has charged Karunanidhi for secretly supporting the LTTE against the wishes of India’s New Delhi government.
A day before Karunanidhi’s statement, on Tuesday, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Anthony told the Indian parliament that his government was considering a Sri Lankan proposal for a joint patrol of strategic Palk straits in the wake of increasing attacks on Indian fishermen.
Earlier Anthony told the parliament terrorists could easily infiltrate in to the Indian territory using the sea between the two countries easily. Recent Indian police investigations show that there is heavy Sea Tiger traffic in the waters between the two countries not only gun running but also drug running.
Anthony replying to an intervention by a DMK member in the Lok Sabha, the Indian parliament said, “I will like to assure the House that the Government of India will do everything possible to protect legitimate rights of the fishermen.”
Anthony said, the Sri Lankan Defense Secretary had visited the Indian High Commission to explain matters and the Indian Navy Chief had spoken to his Sri lankan counterpart on the matter.
“We are in constant touch with Sri Lankan authorities,” the Defense Minister said. The Sri Lankan authorities, he said, had held the LTTE responsible for the attacks.
Anthony emphasized that the Sri Lankan government has also expressed its concern about the matter and wanted to maintain a very good relation with New Delhi. Anthony said that was the reason Sri Lanka government has expressed its desire to have joint patrol of the sea, the Minister said. He said the proposal was receiving the consideration of the Indian government.
The Minister of Defense said the Indian government would do everything humanly possible to protect the legitimate rights of the Indian fishermen.
By Walter Jayawardhana
MINISTER RAJITHA SENARATNE SAYS THE NEW UNP WORKING COMMITTEE THE LEADER HAS APPOINTED IS ILLEGAL
The working committee of the United National Party appointed by its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is illegal charged minister of Construction and Engineering Services Rajitha Senaratne.
He said while a stay order by a court of law was in force preventing Ranil Wickremesinghe from appointing those bodies, he had illegally appointed his working committee of 50 members.
The Kalutara District MP who crossed over to the government from the opposition United National Party (UNP) said in a press briefing in Colombo that from the day one he became the leader of the UNP he has been acting in a dictatorial manner and no democratic spirit was allowed to sustain in the party.
When members were agitating in the party for reforms, Senaratne said, Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that he was prepared for reforms. But the reforms he did were not the reforms the party members agitated for but reforms Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted from which he benefited.
With the fifty members newly appointed arbitrarily, Senaratne said, now there are also the 18 UNP dissidents who joined the government in the same committee.
The eighteen UNP reformists led by Karu Jayasuriya who have joined the government are expected to be litigating against the leadership of the UNP in a long drawn out battle hampering any progress of the party.
By Walter Jayawardhana
AIR AND GROUND ATTACKS ON THE TOPPIGALA TIGER GARRISONS CAUSE HEAVY CASUALTIES AMONG LTTE CADRES
Following the third consecutive day of air and ground attacks on the Ampara District Tamil Tiger garrisons in the jungles, heavy casualties have been reported.
Although no independent reports were available about casualties, quoting two Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres who surrendered to them at the Black Bridge in Batticaloa District the army said in the Kodawamadu area they had seen the Tamil Tigers were carrying 14 dead bodies of their colleagues in carts who were killed in the attacks by the security forces.
But holding a press conference in Colombo, a member of the proxy party of the LTTE, the Tamil National alliance, Suresh Premachandran said, not a single LTTE cadre had been killed by the security forces attacks.
He said it was the common people who were inconvenienced by the Sri Lanka army and Air Force attacks.
BBC’s Sandeshaya carried report after report that said the common people were hurt by the government attacks on the Tamil Tigers. The reports said 24,000 students were unable to go to school because of the security situation.
The broadcast further added, the students could not continue education due to the Internally displaced persons coming to reside in the school premises.
Defense Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the number of the IDP’s have been greatly exaggerated by some reports as running into hundreds of thousands but from Thoppigala and Trincomalee West areas only 52,000 refugees have arrived at the government controlled areas. The Minister said the refugees are well looked after.
The two cadres of the LTTE( ages 16 and 27) who surrendered to the army at Black Bridge reportedly told the security forces that eight of them escaped to surrender but the other six had lost their way in reaching the Black Bridge camp of the army.
Army sources who are attacking the Thoppigala camps of the LTTE said the same strategy adopted by the LTTE at Vakarai has been adopted by them at Karadiyanaru this time by camping by the Karadiyanaru Hospital to make use of it as a shield. They said the Tamil Tigers have now occupied the hospital for their exclusive use to treat their injured.
Sri Lanka Air Force sources said, “MIG Fighter aircraft launched an air attack on a LTTE gathering in Irrupaikulam, Toppigala, March 14 at 10.00 a.m.”. The sources said the air attack caused heavy casualties among the LTTE cadres.
Meanwhile army sources said, “Security Forces have covertly informed demoralized LTTE cadres to surrender themselves in the wake of repeated defeats suffered in the east. Troops have ensured the safety and wellbeing of Tiger cadres who are escaping the LTTE and surrendering to the troops in the East.”
The BBC Sandeshaya continued broadcasting reports to say the heavy artillery and rocket attacks on the LTTE camps should be stopped since the thunder like noise is disturbing patients in the Batticaloa hospital and children learning in the schools.