Daily Archives: February 20, 2007
By Walter Jayawardhana
SRI LANKA MEDIA CENTER CHARGES THAT LTTE MURDERED A STUDENT CAMPAIGNED FOR RE-OPENING ON THE DAY OF THE OPENING OF JAFFNA UNIVERSITY
After being closed for more than six months due to military clashes between government troops and the insurgents of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the government funded free university of Jaffna opened its doors for academic studies on January 19 2007 marking the opening with religious ceremonies in a Hindu temple and a Catholic church.
But no sooner it was opened pro-LTTE student activists put up black flags and declared two days mourning alleging a student has been murdered by government troops. The army categorically denied that and the pro-LTTE students did not substantiate the charge.
Mysteriously the 25 year old Krishna kamaladas who had been murdered was no sympathizer of the well known LTTE student activists of the Jaffna university and had been one in fact asking the authorities to re-open the university since their academic studies were hampered by the prolonged closure.
Then why did some one murder him coinciding with the re-opening of the university? The party who murdered him should be a party who surely wanted to keep the university closed many civilian sources in Jaffna said. Now, the media Center for National Security has issued a statement saying that the murder of the university student in Jaffna on Sunday the 18th, one day prior to the opening of the university was clearly an LTTE act who wanted the university to be kept closed indefinitely to create agitation among the students.
The University of Jaffna, in the midst of an area that once boasted of producing the country’s topmost intellectuals, has been the target of violence of the LTTE for a long time. The insurgent group wanted to make it a hot bed of violence and hauls of weapons and ammunition were discovered hidden inside its campus. The University’s well qualified Vice Chancellor Ratnajeevan Hoole, told Triangle, the newspaper of the Drexel University at Philaelphia Pennsylvania in the United States how he and his family received death threats from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam under which he had to flee his native country, Sri Lanka and find temporary employment at Drexel.
He said his fourteen year old daughter received threats that his father would be chopped to death and how she started hanging around him without going to school thinking that would give him some kind of protection.
LTTE wanted Hoole to resign from the post of Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University, a lead story of the Triangle, written by Aditi Dubey said in January. According to Hoole, Tamil Web sites carried stories with headlines such as “Army Spy Appointed VC” when his appointment was announced to the public, the newspaper further reported. Hooles have not been supporters of the army as such but his brother has been connected with the respected human rights group, UTHR (J) which famously exposed the child conscriptions of the LTTE.
The present Vice Chancellor of the University R. Kumar Vadivel said the university reopened its doors after considering the plight of the final year undergraduates who wanted to complete their studies as soon as possible.
Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in the world that does not charge any tuition fees from students from kindergarten to any level in the university. The government is also anxious to run the universities without any interruption. But hundreds of students have to give up studies when insurgents conscript them for guerilla armies.
The Jaffna University was also anxious to run its courses hurriedly since the times are restricted in Jaffna town because of the curfew imposed due to insurgent activities. The university was planning classes only up to 3 p.m. to accommodate the evening curfew.
The Vice Chancellor expected the university would return to normalcy after the “mourning” period of two days declared by the pro-LTTE students groups.
The Media Center in its statement said, “The ulterior motive behind the killing of this youth is to disturb education of innocent Tamil students in Jaffna and to thwart the attempts by the Security Forces to restore normalcy”.
“The undergraduate of the University of Jaffna was shot dead by a group of suspected LTTE assassins at Iyaththalai on Sunday (18th) Morning. The victim identified as Krishna Kamaladasa, aged 25 years was a final year student of the art faculty”, the media center further said.
The Center charged, “LTTE leader V. Prbhakaran himself is a school dropout and his so called political leader P. Thamilselvan had had his school education only up to the third year. It is well understood by the LTTE leadership that he would not be able to convert the Tamil youth to a bunch of suicide losers unless they are uneducated. It is in this backdrop V. Prbhakaran had given orders to launch a massive campaign to force the Jaffna children to boycott schools.”
By Walter Jayawardhana
SRI LANKA’S FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS NO COUNTRY COULD ACHIEVE PEACE WHEN THERE IS TERRORISM
Totally rejecting the idea that the his government was waging a futile war for peace Sri Lanka’s new Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said there is no possible way to achieve peace when there is terrorism in a country.
In an exclusive interview with the Gulf News, an Abu Dhambi newspaper Bogollagama asked, “How do you get peace when there is terrorism?”
He said his government was getting blessings from the international community to root out terrorism in all its forms and they would not tolerate terrorism in their country at all.
Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, traveling with his minister, who were passing through Abu Dhabi in transit told the newspaper that Sri Lanka wanted to maintain relations with both India and Pakistan and the island nations relations with both countries ran back to 2000 years.
The following is the full text of the interview Gulf News published between the newspaper’s staffer Neena Gopal and the Sri Lankan foreign officials:
“Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday firmly rejected international criticism that his government was waging a futile “war for peace”.
“He said no such accusations had been levelled against his government, and asked “how do you get peace when there is terrorism?”
“We will not tolerate terrorism in our country,” he said, adding that his government had the backing of the majority of the people and the international community to “root out and end terrorism in all its forms”.
“Even the Tamils have voted with their feet. Some 54 per cent of Sri Lankan Tamils have left the Tiger controlled north and are living peacefully with the rest of their compatriots in the south,” said the minister, who led peace talks with the separatist Tamil Tigers in Geneva last year that collapsed unceremoniously over the militia’s insistence that a key highway be re-opened.
“A lifeline to the Tiger stronghold in the Wanni, it is now in government hands and severely limits the ability of the violent separatists to wage their hit and run attacks on government forces.
“It was an excuse to break off talks. What kind of leaders put the opening of a highway over the needs of their people,” Bogollagama asked, saying that his government had stepped up supplies to the besieged city of Jaffna where food shortages had initially caused enormous hardship.
“Issuing a strong call to the terror group, reeling from a string of military setbacks in its rapidly shrinking north-eastern base, to return to the negotiating table, Bogollagama announced a “new package was under consideration” that would make the Tamils stakeholders in the peace process.
“We are ready for peace at any time. It’s the Tigers who have to set the date for talks,” he said when asked whether a new round of peace talks was on the anvil.
“Speaking to Gulf News in Abu Dhabi while en route to Colombo after an official visit to Pakistan, he also pointed out that “for 27 years all the previous leaders attempted the exercise but it never happened.”
“Every time it looked as if there would be a breakthrough, the Tigers backed out. Which makes you wonder if the Tigers are for peace.”
“He said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government which has in recent months steadily pushed the Tigers out of the eastern districts of Batticaloa and Trincomalee and limits their area of operation to the northern Jaffna peninsula beyond a Forward Defence Line laid down by a fraying Cease-Fire Agreement, was committed to “a negotiated settlement” while “maintaining a multi-cultural, pluralistic society.”
“Backed by a Supreme Court directive to bifurcate the north from the east, the Sri Lankan government is likely to press ahead with plans to secure the eastern part of the country, which the Tigers consider part of their homeland.
Situation changing in rebel-held areas
”Abu Dhabi: Sri Lanka’s new foreign secretary Palitha Kohona said that a key indicator that the situation was changing in Tiger-held areas was the recent shutdown of the eastern town of Vakkarai.
“It came after a Tamil priest was killed by suspected Tamil Tigers after he greeted the visiting President Mahinda Rajapakse with a traditional ‘arati’ – a lighted wick in a mud lamp and the smearing of vermilion and turmeric paste on the forehead of the visitor.
“It’s a turning point. It’s the first time the Tamil people have stood up against the Tigers.”
“Kohona who accompanied the foreign minister to Islamabad, said that Sri Lanka wanted to maintain friendly ties with both Pakistan and India, who have stood steadfastly behind the country in its hour of need.
“We have a 2,000 year history with both nations,” he said.
”Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama visited New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh soon after his appointment to seek stepped-up patrolling of the “Palk Straits and Gulf of Mannar where the embattled Tiger Navy run an elaborate arms smuggling network.
“India also has concerns over the Tigers pushing in operatives under the guise of refugees.”
By Walter Jayawardhana
INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER A.K.ANTONY ORDERS MORE SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT FOR COAST GUARD AFTER CATCHING 2 EXPLOSIVE LADEN TIGER BOATS
India’s Defense Minister A.K. Antony has ordered bigger ships and more aircraft for surveillance for the Indian Coast Guard as a result of the seizure of arms and explosives carrying Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) boats off the Tamil Nadu coast.
He also asked the armed forces to be alert to the “danger lurking” near India’s shores after a Fleet Review of the Coast Guard ships, Indian news web sites reported.
He was quoted having said, “We have to be constantly alert, otherwise there is danger lurking at the sea coasts,” Apart from the two LTTE boats carrying explosives and other material necessary to fabricate claymore mines like high – powered plastic explosives and steel balls used as shrapnel seized by the Indian Navy and the Indian coastguard Sri Lanka Navy also has been engaging many LTTE boats coming from India carrying arms and ammunition. From the latest boat sunk by the Sri Lanka Navy frogmen later salvaged 28 sacks of steel balls made in India containing 1.5 million balls to be used as shrapnel in improvised explosive devices popularly known as claymore mines.
Antony told reporters the arms, explosives and the suicide belt found in one of the LTTE boats could be only the tip of the iceberg. “There can be several such instances in the vast sea,” the alarmed Indian Defense Minister said Before Antony made that statement India’s controversial Janatha Party leader Subramanian Swami suggested that the state government of the DMK of Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi should be dissolved since some of his coalition partners openly support the LTTE.
Antony’s statement also comes in the wake of the statement of Security Advisor M.K. Narayan’s remarks that some non existing company’s operating in Mumbai and Chennai stock markets have been traced to the Sri Lankan terrorist group, the LTTE. Narayan has been constantly attacked by LTTE supporter Gopalaswamy Vaiko as being pro-Sri Lankan. Vaiko leads another political party in Tamil Nadu known as MDMK. Narayan has said the LTTE was raising funds for its activities in the stock market. “Terrorists, who have launched attacks in India killing hundreds of people, as well as Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers had in part funded activities through legitimate businesses, including restaurants, real estate and shipping” Narayanan was quoted having said at a conference in Munich, Germany. He suggested lifting of corporate veil and bank secrecy in terrorist related cases.
On the top of all that Home Minister Shivraj Patil has said terrorist groups were making inroads into big cities and operating clandestinely.
Defense Minister Antony thanked India’s intelligence services crediting them for the seizure of the suspected LTTE boat, and said, “We are in the process of upgrading our intelligence-gathering capabilities.”
According to him the Coast Guard has massive expansion plans, including the acquisition of 15 new ships and 23 aircraft. He said the plan includes multi-mission maritime aircraft, twin engine helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enhance the capability to carry out surface and aerial surveillance.
“The Coast Guard is the youngest and a fast growing force of the country and its demands to make it a better force are being met,” he further said. To enhance the fleet of ships of the coast guard he has requested both state owned and private shipyards to speed up the production of ships. He said he wanted to make the surveillance of India’s coast the topmost priority of both the Coast Guard and the Indian navy.
Defense Minister Antony also said that the Central government of India through the Home Ministry is helping coastal states to establish more police stations along the coast in this direction.
To prevent terrorist boats bringing arms and ammunition to the island Sri Lanka has requested joint patrols of the navies of both countries but pro-LTTE Tamil Nadu political parties have brought pressure on the government to stop it.