Daily Archives: December 21, 2006

Solheim says late Balasingham believed in federal system

By Walter Jayawardhana

Map of separate state at funeral

The Sinhala service of the BBC, Sandeshaya said in its website that the Norwegian minister for international Development and the architect of the controversial Sri Lankan Peace Process, Eric Solheim, told the broadcasting program that the late Anton Balasingham, chief negotiator for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stood for a federal state.

Although the website did not reveal what mode of a federal state the late Anton Balasingham professed a federal state of whatever power has to be constituted within the framework of the Republic of Sri Lanka.

It could be a quasi federal state like that of India, a federal state like that of the United States or a con-federal state with minimum control of the central government with seceding inherent powers for a state.

But just before Balasingham’s death the LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran has stated in his Heroes Day speech that he professes a separate state for the country’s Eastern and Northern Provinces.

The separate state called Eelam, a Tamil corruption of the Sinhalese name, the Sinhala Dweepa, according to the Madras University Tamil Dictionary, encompasses one third of Sri Lanka’s land mass and two thirds of the island nation’s sea coast.

The map of the putative Eelam lit by electric bulbs was clearly demonstrated by the side of bier on which the open casket containing the body of the late Anton Balasingham was laid in the 40,000 pounds a day Alexandra Palace Hall in North London rented for the funeral by the moneyed terrorist group although banned by the British government.

Norwegian Minister for International Development, Erik Solheim, was among the mourners gathered there..

Speaking exclusively with BBC Sinhala, the website reported, after the funeral Minister Solheim said:

"He was one of the very few in the SL peace process who has not lied to me. He wanted the peace process to be a success. He believed that an everlasting solution will have to be on the Olso agreement which is a federal solution".

But the website did not describe or published any statement of Solheim revealing why the Tamil terrorist group decided to kill every Tamil like Appapillai Amirthalingam, leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front and one time Federal Party who believed in a federal system of government.  The present TULF leader Ananda Sangaree, who publicly professes a federal system of government is still on the top of the list of LTTE’s intended assassinations.

Solheim’s statement also gave rise to the belief that many lied to him during the negotiations and Anton Balasingham was one who did not lie. He did not reveal who were the people who lied to him at Kilinochchi and who lied to him at Colombo.

The website did not publish the full interview with Solheim.

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Sri Lanka says LTTE is still holding seven Tamil boys and one girl they abducted

By Walter Jayawardhana

Sri lanka government’s Defense spokesman Keheliye Rambukwella said that out of the sixteen girls and and seven boys the Liberation Tigers admitted of having abducted one girl and seven boys are yet to be released.

Rasiah Ilantheriyan, the LTTE spokesman in a statement to the BBC Sandeshaya admitted that it was a terrible mistake on the part of some of their junior cadres to take these children from a private school where they went to receive tuition in preparation for a public examination, the GCE ordinary level examination.

During the interview Ilantheriyan, said that he also ended up in the army of the LTTE while he was studying for an examination. He did not say what public examination he was studying for. He did not say how he ended up as a child in the rebel army when he was studying for an examination but records of UNICEF and other humanitarian institutions show that the LTTE has been abducting Tamil children for the last 20 years and forcefully recruiting them for military service. The reports of the University Teachers for Human Rights(Jaffna) show how hundreds of Tamil children have been kidnapped from schools, playgrounds, temple festivals and schools to be recruited to the rebel army without the consent of their parents or the students.

LTTE spokesman said the junior cadres who took them will be disciplined and promised to return the children back to the parents.

The two teachers who were also taken into custody by the Tamil Tigers from Ampara, in the country’s besieged Eastern province said they and the some of the children were assaulted before being forced to walk through a jungle to a LTTE military camp. After the kidnapping the parents who came to know about the abduction walked to the camp and were demanding their children back.

Underage boys Ganeshamurthi Sadeneshan (16) Mailvaganam Jeyakumar (16) Pakkiyaraja Rajeshwaran (17) Rasalingam keerthanan (16) Gokulakrishanan Ketheeshwaran(16) A. Sajindaran (16) A. Nirojan (16) have not been released according to Rambukwella.

The name of the girl still not released is unknown at this time. Rambukwella said their parents have refused to return without their children and still waiting at the LTTE camp.

Rambukwella said it was funny that the LTTE claimed that the children were not known to be underage at the time of the abduction since everybody knows that GCE O level  or grade ten students are all below 18 years of age in the country. He said the lTTE’s claim of ignorance cannot be accepted at all and for the last 20 years they have been kidnapping children for military service with impunity.

Rambukwella charged the LTTE professed Fascism could only be maintained only when there is an uneducated generation of Tamils and that’s why they have been destroying the education of the Tamil children provided for by a commendable free eductation system by the government. He said these children should be immediately released to the parents  as the LTTE promised to the world.

Meanwhile the spokesman of the Sri lanka Army said this year the LTTE or Tamil Tigers have abducted 455 underaged children from Sri lanka government controlled areas.  The spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said that those figures have been compiled using complaints made by parents at police stations but the number could be many times more as many parents do not make complaints fearing retribution.  

Meanwhile the United Nations Childrens Fund, UNICEF, said according to their data the LTTE has abducted 539 children upto the end of November and the number could be many times higher than that. UNICEF also said the rival faction of the LTTE, has abducted 186 underage combatants during the same period. Known as the TMVP or karuna faction the group is a breakaway group of the Tamil Tigers led by the LTTE’s former Eastern Province leader, Karuna Amman alias Vinayagamurthy Muralidharan.

Ally Pally Funeral for a terror group’s peace negotiator

By Walter Jayawardhana

Norway’s International Development Minister Eric Solheim at the Balasingham funeral

ALLY PALLY FUNERAL FOR A TERROR GROUP’S PEACE NEGOTIATOR, SAYS A NEIGHBORHOOD NEWSPAPER IN LONDON

The funeral of a home office listed terrorist group leader for whose funeral the group rented a hall called Alexandra Palace for 40,000 Pounds was intended for a low key event NL news of London said in a news item published about Tamil Tiger negotiator Anton Balasingham’s funeral.

The item was published in a neighborhood newspaper called Hornsey and Crouchend Journal 24, a London newspaper with a dateline of December 20.

Although the group is listed a terrorist group fighting for a separate Tamil State in Sri Lanka Harigey Police in London was quoted in the news items as saying the terrorist group intended to keep a low profile. The item was published under the heading, Ally Pally Funeral for Terror Group’s Peace Negotiator.

The following is the full text of the news item:

THE FUNERAL of a senior peace negotiator from Sri Lankan terrorist group the Tamil Tigers is due to take place at Alexandra Palace today (Wednesday).

The Palace’s Great Hall has been hired out for a reported £40,000 for mourners to pay their respects by the open casket of Anton Balasingham, the chief strategist and peace negotiator of the Tamil Tigers, officially known as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The Home Office lists the LTTE as a terrorist group fighting for a separate Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

But Haringey police said on Tuesday they intended to keep a low profile at the event.

Chief Inspector Wayne Mawson, head of operations based at Wood Green police station, said: "We are not putting on any extra police as such, but the Safer Neighbourhood Team that police that area will be on duty at Alexandra Palace, and we understand the event organisers will have about 20 stewards there.

“It is supposed to be a very sombre, low-key event, with no problems expected.”

Mr Balasingham died last Thursday aged 68 at his south London home, where he had been suffering from bile duct cancer.

Mourners were able to view Mr Balasingham’s body in the Palace for seven hours on Wednesday, before his cremation at another venue.

It was expected that high-level mourners from the Norwegian government, led by the minister for international development, Erik Solheim, would attend the funeral ceremony.

Mr Solheim told an Indian news agency: "He [Balasingham] was such a towering figure in the peace process. So it will now become more difficult without him.   

Capital Maharaja pioneers Internet Protocol TV

Text and pix by Ashwin Hemmathagama

Capital Maharaja Organisation Group Director Mano Wikramanayake (right) exchanging a signed copy of the agreement with New Media Group Chief Executive Officer Randy McGraw.

Capital Maharaja Organisation (CMO) yesterday signed a joint venture with Tokyo based New Media Group in launching the country’s first IPTV (Internet Protocol Television).

With this landmark agreement CMO plans to broadcast most of its programmes to Sri Lankan expatriates abroad from next month. CMO Group Director Mano Wikramanayake giving details of this strategic measure stated that company is looking at catering to the needs of the Sri Lankan community living abroad while expanding its technological abilities facing the future challenges.

"This is not a partnership but a joint venture. The partnership will see MTV’s locally produced programs in Sinhala, Tamil and English being offered on an Asian bouquet to the Sino-Japanese region including the Koreas. Initially we are not looking at telecasting commercials but might consider in a latter stage," Wikramanayake said.

The e-Commerce and Internet arm of the Capital Maharaja Organization, RaiderTech has notched up several lucrative IPTV deals with leading global telcos including France Telecom, to provide Sri Lankan television content across regions such as North America and Europe. The advent into IPTV has meant an aggressive upgrade to the TV companies’ broadcast facilities and the deployment of a complex mechanism to transmit TV software across the Internet in order to enable the pure-play feature.

This was a particularly daunting task, considering Sri Lanka’s broadband infrastructure.

"We were impressed by the quality of the solution and the superior level of service and therefore decided to select the NMG integrated solution for the full-scale commercial launch. -via .. The Island

Child abductions: Who cares?

The LTTE abducted 24 school children and two teachers on Monday and later released some of the children and the teachers under pressure. The LTTE claimed it had let go of those children, as they were found to be underage. What right does the LTTE have to forcibly hold other children simply because they are not minors? The Tigers’ excuse amounts to a confession that they are abducting children, despite their claims to the contrary.

A provincial leader of the LTTE has promised action against his cadres who were involved in the abduction of the ‘underage’ children. Whom is he trying to fool? In the LTTE, nothing gets done without the leader’s nod. It may be that the outfit was desperate to avoid adverse publicity in the international media at a time when grand preparations were being made for Mr. Anton Balasingham’s funeral in London. Abductions couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Tigers.

Whether the LTTE owns up to child abductions or not, the entire world is fully aware of its crimes against children. The UN has placed it on its List of Shame for that reason. But, the question is why the world is not doing enough to rein in the Tigers for the sake of hapless children, many of whom have stopped schooling for fear of abductions. In liberating children from its clutches, as we have said umpteen times in these columns, pressure is the key. We have seen how pressure works as regards Monday’s abductions. But, no powerful country accommodating the LTTE on its soil seems to care!

Strangely, in a world where international aid for sovereign states is linked to human rights, terrorist groups perpetrating heinous crimes against children (as well as others) are allowed to operate in the very countries that lead the global democratisation campaign from the front, despite bans!

An LTTE activist living abroad in comfort and fighting for the cause via Internet from a safe distance once wrote to us that the child soldiers were fighting for ‘national liberation’ and he saw nothing wrong in recruiting them. He said no issue should be made of child soldiers as many children in other parts of the country were being abused as sex workers and child labourers. In countering his skewed argument, we chose not to go the extent of asking him whether he had any of his own children fighting for the LTTE. We only politely reminded him that two wrongs do not make one right and the two issues had to be dealt with separately. An elderly Tamil scholar, who passed away recently, had the chutzpah to try to justify child abductions on the grounds that the LTTE was recruiting children, as it had no other way of raising its numbers, due to a sharp decrease in the population in the North! If so, then why the LTTE leaders don’t encourage their progeny to make a contribution to the armed struggle is the question. Charity begins at home, doesn’t it?

As far as we are aware, Prabhakaran’s children are pursuing studies in clover, while the children of the Sri Lankan  people are being abducted and forcibly trained as combatants. Why doesn’t he set an example? Nay, no argument is being peddled that he should send his children to the battle front. We have nothing but admiration for him for the way he is bringing up his children. (He is an example for other violent fathers who take their sons on demolition missions in Colombo.) If only Prabahkaran had the same concern for other children as well!

The question that the LTTE lobbyists, who are promoting war in the North, advocating peace in Colombo and campaigning to keep the government in the straitjacket of democracy so that it cannot resort to drastic measures in dealing with terrorism, pose to anyone who opposes capitulation to the LTTE is: "Are you prepared to send your son/s to the war front?" But, since President Rajapakse’s son joined the Navy, they have stopped asking that question.

By stepping up child abductions, the LTTE has demonstrated that it can no longer ‘inspire’ the youth to join its struggle voluntarily, unlike in the past.

If the LTTE is allowed to recruit child soldiers at the present rate, the day may not be far off when the areas under its control will be devoid of children. Prabhakaran will sleep none the worse for that. The human rights activists, the Co-chairs and the international community don’t seem to be concerned about children at all. They have apparently deceived themselves into believing that it is a problem that could be solved with the help of an occasional press release or by making a little noise at some forums. It looks as if the parents living under the LTTE jackboot had to turn to the unseen devas for the protection of their precious ones.

-The Island Editorial

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