News Category: Jaffna
  • Sri Lanka president visits Jaffna over gang-rape anger
  •    [ May 26, 2015 14:18:07 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena flew to the island's former warzone of Jaffna on Tuesday to defuse rising tensions over the gang rape and murder of a teenager, a spokesman said. Sirisena met relatives of the 17-year-old school girl killed in the minority Tamil stronghold in the island's north two weeks ago, an incident that sparked clashes between residents and police, who were accused of failing to act swiftly. "The president invited the mother and brother of the victim to lunch with him and promised speedy legal action against the perpetrators," Sirisena's spokesman Dharmasri Bandara told AFP. [ Full Report ]

  • Once Tiger Den Jaffna Now a Hub of Crime?
  •    [ May 25, 2015 17:43:16 GMT ] [ Indian Express ]

        The phenomenon of rising crime in Jaffna after the end of the war is worrying experts. A place known for its law-abiding citizens is today a happy hunting ground of criminals and law-breakers. Sebastian Nehru, a Jaffna resident who had worked in the UK police said, “The crime rate is very high. Twenty to 30 bicycles are stolen every day in Jaffna town alone. Seventy per cent of the motorbikes here have no licence. The police, mostly non-Tamil, turn a blind eye, and the courts give bail because there aren’t enough prisons.” The high rate of unemployment is one cause, says Dr Muthukrishna Sarvananthan of the Point Pedro Institute of Development. [ Full Report ]

  • Nets within nets: Untangling the problem of illegal fishing in the north
  •    [ May 24, 2015 11:09:25 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Early this month three fishermen from Jaffna were selling their catch along the main road when a couple of Navy officers stopped to buy some. One of the fishermen thought he would be honest with the officers and had apparently told them that the fish was not good for cooking as they were caught by means of an ‘explosion’, in other words, dynamite fishing. The fishermen were arrested immediately by the two officers and handed over to fisheries officials. [ Full Report ]

  • Jaffna Seeks Justice For Vithiya
  •    [ May 24, 2015 10:59:29 GMT ] [ Sunday Leader ]

        Incidents of rape have become alarmingly high in post-war Jaffna and many young women have become the victims of ruthless rapists who seem to walk away scot-free. With reference to many such incidents, people question the law enforcement authorities for their prolonged inability to bring the culprits to justice. Recently, an 18-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered in Kayts in the Jaffna Peninsula adding to the long list of female victims who were subjected to atrocities committed by men in the post-war North. On the 13th of this month, Sivaloganathan Vithiya... [ Full Report ]

  • CID in Jaffna for full probe on protests
  •    [ May 24, 2015 10:56:03 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        A 15-strong group of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detectives arrived in Jaffna last night to conduct an urgent probe into a string of incidents that culminated in Wednesday’s attack on the Magistrate’s Court. The probe will centre on the causes that led to the incidents and whether any ‘anti national’ groups were attempting to destabilise the peninsula. One of the first tasks of the detectives yesterday was to obtain from Police the identities of persons who took part in the attacks. This was after Jaffna Magistrate P. Sivakumar issued an order for those in possession of video footage to hand them over to the Police. [ Full Report ]

  • Three brothers arrested for alleged rape and killing
  •    [ May 18, 2015 16:06:22 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Three brothers from the same family in the Jaffna peninsula have been arrested over the alleged rape and killing of an 18-year-old school girl and remanded until next Thursday, police said. Initial investigations have revealed that a long-standing dispute between the two families had allegedly led to the abduction of the girl while she was on her way to school on Wednesday morning. The suspects were produced before Kayts Magistrate Lenin Kumar. The girl was later allegedly raped and been dumped in a scrub jungle. Her hands and feet were tied with a rope and the body had cut injuries. The victim’s parents lodged a complaint at the Kayts police station on Wednesday when she did not return home from school. [ Full Report ]

  • Valalai (Jaffna): Re-militarisation of released villages with façade of resettlement
  •    [ May 18, 2015 15:57:10 GMT ] [ Groundviews ]

        Valalai[1] is a Tamil village of about 233 acres[2] that was occupied by the military for nearly 25 years and before it was handed back to villagers in March 2015 by President Sirisena. Yet, more than 50 days after that handover, villagers don’t see hope for resettlement as almost nothing has been provided for them to resettle into. I met a few villagers who had already decided to stay there in makeshift tents and huts and few others who had visited for the day. I was told that only about 10 out of 155 families[3] are staying there and that a few others visit for the day. [ Full Report ]

  • Nearly 50% of rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres are Graduates
  •    [ Apr 19, 2015 18:49:04 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Nearly half of former LTTE cadres who sat the GCE Advanced Level (A/L) exam while undergoing rehabilitation during the past few years, qualified to enter university and graduated, according to Commissioner General (CG) of Rehabilitation, Maj. Gen. Jagath Wijetilleka. Of some 723 who sat for their A/Ls, 324 gained university entrance. The CG said that the majority of this number have already graduated, with 4 Doctors and 2 Engineers among them. Of a total of 12,088 ex-combatants who were arrested or turned themselves in during the Wanni Humanitarian Operation, have been socialised. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka police in Jaffna criticised for arrest and intimidation of journalists
  •    [ Apr 14, 2015 10:10:30 GMT ] [ IFJ ]

        The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Free Media Movement (FMM) condemn the heavy-handed action of Sri Lankan police in charging a freelance journalist on Wednesday, April 8 in Jaffna. The IFJ said this attack on press freedom appeared to be aimed at intimidatintg the media. "The FMM urges the government to investigate these incidents at the same time to implement structural and policy changes to avoid such incidents in the future.” “This is clearly an attempt by police to intimidate journalists in Jaffna and shows the dismal status of press freedom in Sri Lanka even after the promise by the new government to improve safety situation” [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka releases Army-controlled land in Northern Province
  •    [ Apr 13, 2015 8:59:13 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Sri Lanka's new government has released 570 acres of privately-owned land in the Tamil- dominated Northern Province that were until now held by the army, as part of a reconciliation with the minority community. Sri Lanka Army's Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said that privately-owned land held by the military in Jaffna Peninsula's Valikamam sector was released to the charge of the chief administration officer there. The district secretariat office will formally hand the land over to their rightful owners, Jayaweera said. [ Full Report ]

  • Security breach during Narendra Modi's Sri Lanka visit, government probes
  •    [ Mar 22, 2015 1:53:39 GMT ] [ India Today ]

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Sri Lanka visit suffered a security breach when a Sri Lankan youth broke the security cordon in Jaffna and reached a vulnerable distance to the PM as he was about to board his car after a public event last Saturday. The Prime Minister's Office is monitoring the probe and the RAW and the Ministries of External Affairs and Home are also part of the investigation, an Indian Express report said. [ Full Report ]

  • ‘Security breach’ at PM Narendra Modi’s Jaffna event
  •    [ Mar 20, 2015 1:25:08 GMT ] [ Indian Express ]

        In a suspected security lapse that set off alarm bells in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s entourage, a Sri Lankan youth broke the security cordon in Jaffna and walked up to within handshaking distance of the PM as he was about to board his car following a public event there last Saturday. Sources said the Special Protection Group (SPG) is “looking into” the incident given that two of its officials were responsible for the section of the security cordon that the youth allegedly breached. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's Tamil-majority region CM hits out at his PM for saying Indian fishermen will be shot at
  •    [ Mar 19, 2015 13:50:43 GMT ] [ CNN-IBN ]

        After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Jaffna, the Chief Minister of Tamil-majority region in Sri Lanka hit out at Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe for his controversial comments on shooting trespassing Indian fishermen. Talking exclusively to CNN-IBN CV Vigneswaran said, "That is not the way for a head of government to say to a friendly country. As far as the fishermen are concerned, all deep sea trawlers must be sent to Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea." [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka’s Tamil Minority Grows Impatient With Just Promises
  •    [ Mar 16, 2015 12:50:41 GMT ] [ New York Times ]

        There may be no place more beautiful on the breathtaking tropical island of Sri Lanka than the white sand beaches along the Palka Strait, which is why building a luxury resort here made sense. Still, there are drawbacks to staying at Thalsevana Holiday Resort. Arrive without a reservation, and you could be arrested. Stroll too far down the beach during a blood-red sunset, and a soldier carrying an automatic weapon will appear out of a bunker, declare that you have entered a high-security zone and order you to turn around. [ Full Report ]

  • Be patient with Sri Lankan govt.: Modi to Tamil leaders
  •    [ Mar 16, 2015 12:40:56 GMT ] [ The Hindu ]

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked Sri Lanka’s Tamils to be patient with the new government in Colombo, The Hindu learns from sources. He met senior leaders of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — the main party representing the island’s northern Tamils — in Colombo on Friday. Pointing to the “beginning of change” in the country following the victory of President Maithripala Sirisena in the January elections, Mr. Modi reportedly said the TNA should “help that change take place,” and not derail the process. [ Full Report ]

  • Modi Visits Tamils’ Cultural Heart in Tour of Sri Lanka
  •    [ Mar 16, 2015 12:38:11 GMT ] [ New York Times ]

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India brought his rock-star appeal to this island nation Saturday in a visit that has charmed this once deeply divided society. He became the first Indian prime minister to visit Jaffna, a city in this nation’s northern province that is still struggling to recover from decades of war between Tamil rebels and the central government. Mr. Modi, whose own country is home to millions of Tamils, has made a strong appeal for empowerment of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. [ Full Report ]

  • Modi showers promise of achche din for Jaffna
  •    [ Mar 14, 2015 15:44:52 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Making a historic visit to a region once ravaged by strife, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for equitable development and respect for all citizens in Sri Lanka, seen as an oblique reference to Tamils who had suffered during the war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and forces. Winding up his public engagements on his two-day trip to the island with a hugely-symbolic visit to Tamil-dominated Jaffna, the first by an Indian prime minister, he said he was glad that it "is one to wipe tears from the eyes of those who suffered". [ Full Report ]

  • PM Modi hands over houses in Jaffna, to meet Rajapaksa later today
  •    [ Mar 14, 2015 13:57:40 GMT ] [ Zee News ]

        PM Modi will meet former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa later today in Colombo. Narendra Modi has returned to Colombo. This is a unique type of project - owner driven. This idea was started in Gujarat after 2001 earthquake: PM These houses are not merely walls of bricks and stone. These houses are an effort to make the lives of those who have suffered happier, says the PM. I am glad this programme, my final public programme, during my Sri Lanka visit, is one to wipe tears from the eyes of those who suffered: PM [ Full Report ]

  • Jaffna spreading message of peace to the world - Modi
  •    [ Mar 14, 2015 11:09:58 GMT ] [ Adaderana ]

        Jaffna is making a new mark for itself, spreading message of peace to the world, says Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “India is proud to have an opportunity to establish a unique and world-level cultural centre in Jaffna,” he said, addressing a gathering at Jaffna Public Library after laying the foundation stone for the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre. When a library is established, a place where books can be found, it unites the generations, he said. [ Full Report ]

  • PM Narendra Modi Visits Jaffna in Sri Lanka
  •    [ Mar 14, 2015 11:07:26 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        PM Narendra Modi meets with Northern Province CM Wigneswaran in Jaffna Public Library. PM Modi flew to Jaffna by an Indian Air Force chopper after brief visits to the holy town of Anuradhapura where he offered prayers at the sacred Mahabodhi tree and Talaimannar where he flagged off a train service. He is only the second foreign leader to visit the battle-scarred region. British Prime Minister David Cameron had visited Jaffna during a Commonwealth summit in Colombo in November 2013. Jaffna is about 400 kilometres north of Colombo. [ Full Report ]

  • U.S. Embassy Visit Emphasizes Commitment to People of Sri Lanka
  •    [ Mar 11, 2015 19:08:07 GMT ] [ US Embassy -Colombo ]

        “This is a time of great potential for all of Sri Lanka, including the North,” said Mr. Mann. “We look forward to the resolution of a number of outstanding concerns for the people here, from returning land to addressing the issue of political prisoners and resolving missing persons’ cases.” The delegation also met with local journalists and civil society leaders to hear their views. “The United States will continue to promote human rights, good governance, transparency, accountability, and economic development for all the people of Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Mann. “We stand ready to work with the new government to help address these issues.” [ Full Report ]

  • India's Modi to visit Sri Lanka's Tamil heartland
  •    [ Mar 05, 2015 15:42:23 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Sri Lanka's former war zone and Tamil heartland of Jaffna during a visit to the island this month, the government said Thursday. Modi, who will also address parliament during his three-day visit, will be only the second foreign leader to visit Jaffna, the centre of bitter fighting between government forces and Tamil rebels seeking independence. "The Indian prime minister will visit Jaffna and later address the Sri Lankan parliament too," Sri Lankan Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told reporters in Colombo. [ Full Report ]

  • After Sri Lanka Trip of Feltman, UN Won't Tell ICP If Got Genocide Resolution
  •    [ Mar 05, 2015 14:52:07 GMT ] [ InnerCity Press ]

        Nine days after the UN Human Rights Council under Joachim Rucker granted HCHR Zeid's request to withhold the already delayed report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, the UN on February 26 added Jaffna as a stop to the Sri Lanka visit by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's highest political official Jeffrey Feltman.That came two days after Inner City Press asked if Feltman would go to Jaffna, site of protests of the delay, and was told "Colombo only." But when Inner City Press asked the UN on both March 3 and again on March 4 if Feltman while in Jaffna had received what's called the genocide resolution, and what he will do with it, the question has gone unanswered. [ Full Report ]

  • Missing Persons in Illegal Detention: CM
  •    [ Mar 04, 2015 15:31:12 GMT ] [ IE ]

        The Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran has told President Maithripala Sirisena that many of the Tamils who had allegedly “disappeared” during the war, are actually in “unofficial” government detention. It is high time they were identified and an amnesty was given. Wesak comes on May 3. May I suggest an amnesty for them on that Holy Day?,”... Appealing to the President to look at the war-ravaged Northern and Eastern Provinces differently from other Lankan provinces, Wigneswaran said that administration in the North is hampered by a severe shortage of staff. [ Full Report ]

  • Jaffna may be on PM Modi’s Sri Lanka visit itinerary
  •    [ Feb 28, 2015 14:42:59 GMT ] [ Hindustan Times ]

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi may visit the Tamil-dominated Jaffna region during his trip to Sri Lanka next month. The PM is scheduled to reach Colombo from Mauritius on March 12. There is, however, no word on whether he would visit Maldives which is currently in turmoil over the arrest of former president Mohamed Nasheed, sources in South Block said. A Modi visit to the former stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is likely to have immense political significance for Tamil Nadu where elections are due next year. The BJP is trying to enlarge its presence in the southern state. [ Full Report ]

  • UN Feltman's Visit to Sri Lanka Expands to Jaffna, Amid Protest of Delay
  •    [ Feb 26, 2015 20:22:25 GMT ] [ ICP ]

        Nine days after the UN Human Rights Council under Joachim Rucker granted HCHR Zeid's request to withhold the already delayed report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, the UN on February 24 added Jaffna as a stop to the Sri Lanka visit by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's highest political official Jeffrey Feltman. This comes two days after Inner City Press asked Feltman would go to Jaffna, site of protests of the delay, and was told "Colombo only." But what will Feltman say, in Jaffna? What would Zeid say? [ Full Report ]

  • The mobile technology helping Sri Lanka cope with climate change
  •    [ Feb 25, 2015 13:34:56 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        Floods and landslides linked to climate change have battered parts of Sri Lanka in the past two years, disrupting food output, but scientists believe a new programme to install low-cost weather stations based on open-source technology could help farmers adapt to increasingly wild weather. New Mobile Weather Stations, made mainly from local parts, are starting to give farmers quick access to rainfall data, so they can better plan for floods or other extreme weather, Yann Chemin, a scientist leading the new initiative, said on Tuesday. The easy-to-make sensors cost about $250 to produce compared with about $10,000 for standard weather stations, he said. [ Full Report ]

  • Tamils hold anti-UN protest in northern Sri LankaTamils protest in Sri Lanka
  •    [ Feb 24, 2015 18:57:53 GMT ] [ Dalje ]

        Tamil academics, politicians and activists staged an anti-United Nations protest Tuesday in northern Sri Lanka for its decision to delay a report on alleged crimes committed during the civil war, police officials said."We cannot delay a solution to the problems of the people affected by the war. The war crimes report should be published immediately," said A Rasakumara, president of the University Teachers' Association in Jaffna. The UN Human Rights Council said last week it would delay publication of the findings by six months, after the newly elected government said it would carry out its own investigation. [ Full Report ]

  • Protest in Jaffna over deferral of UNHRC report
  •    [ Feb 24, 2015 18:56:07 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        A protest was held outside the Jaffna University over the deferral of the UNHRC report on the probe into allegations of war crimes during the latter stages of the armed conflict. The University Students’Union which organised the protest said in a statement that justice had not been meted out to the Tamil people even after six years had passed since the war ended. It said that though the UNHRC had voted in favour of several resolutions on Sri Lanka the previous Government had ignored them. [ Full Report ]

  • Thousands protest in Jaffna rejecting domestic probe, demanding release of UN report
  •    [ Feb 24, 2015 18:40:29 GMT ] [ Tamil Guardian ]

        Thousands of Tamils protested in Jaffna this morning, calling on the UN Human Rights Council to release the report looking into mass atrocities committed against the Tamil people, the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, next month as planned. Rejecting any domestic inquiry conducted by the Sri Lankan state, protesters questioned how those responsible for mass atrocities can conduct a credible, independent investigation. The protest, organised by the Jaffna University civil society, including students and teachers, was unanimously endorsed by Tamil political parties and civil organisations in the North-East. Some even travelled from the East to take part. [ Full Report ]

  • Lanka’s Northern Council Passes Damning Resolution on Genocide
  •    [ Feb 10, 2015 15:40:42 GMT ] [ Indian Express ]

        Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution saying that genocide of the Tamil minority has been continuous since 1948, and that the UN must investigate it, submit a report at the March session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and refer its findings to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for further action. Expressing lack of faith in the current Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, and his ally, former Army Commander Gen.Sarath Fonseka, the resolution recalled that Sirisena was Acting Defense Minister at the height of the military assault on the Tamils in May 2009. And Gen.Fonseka had asserted that he strongly believes that Lanka “belongs to the Sinhalese.” [ Full Report ]

  • Northern PC adopts another resolution: calls for international investigation
  •    [ Feb 10, 2015 14:36:50 GMT ] [ Adaderana ]

        The resolution has provided information under the five topics of (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. [ Full Report ]

  • Real Executive Powers Of Provinces Rest With Chief Ministers, Not With Governors
  •    [ Feb 08, 2015 11:47:29 GMT ] [ Asian Mirror ]

        Function of democracy depends on rule of law and for ensuring proper function of rule of law the separation of powers is essential. In the process of progressing democratic system, the devolution of powers to the regional units of governance has become fourth pillar of the separation of powers, which in fact ensure the check and balance for good governing of the country. Whoever may be appointed as Governor since he is a representative of the President, imperative is how he acts in the governance of the province. Proper implementation is the essential step for the full implementation of the 13A of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. [ Full Report ]

  • New Sri Lankan president has delicate balancing act
  •    [ Jan 19, 2015 18:27:00 GMT ] [ Japan Times ]

        Once again the people of the Indian subcontinent have sprung a surprise with their commitment to democracy against all the odds. This time, Sri Lankans threw out their strongman President Mahindra Rajapaksa, even though he had brought an end to the long-running civil war and restored stability and high economic growth to a troubled land. Sri Lankans feared that Rajapaksa’s growing power was corrupting the country. Democracy through the ballot box is the easy part. Making true democracy work will tax the competence and commitment of the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena as well as the good will of the potentially rich multi-ethnic country. [ Full Report ]

  • Northern Expressway suspended
  •    [ Jan 19, 2015 10:42:21 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        The government has decided to suspend the execution of the northern expressway project initiated by the previous regime, till its cost effectiveness is fully checked, a minister said yesterday. Before the presidential election, then President Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremonially launched the project which was to be carried out under a loan agreement with China. The highway was due to link Colombo with Kandy via Kurunegala, and then Dambulla. The new Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, said though such ceremonies were conducted to inaugurate the project, nothing had actually been done on the ground with regard to its implementation. [ Full Report ]

  • New Sri Lankan Leader Replaces Governor of Tamil Stronghold
  •    [ Jan 15, 2015 18:35:33 GMT ] [ New York Times ]

        A week after taking office, Sri Lanka’s new president reached out to ethnic Tamils in the country’s north on Thursday by appointing a new governor for the Northern Province, replacing a retired army commander with a retired diplomat. Tamil leaders have long complained that, five years after declaring victory over Tamil separatists, Sri Lanka’s government remained reluctant to demilitarize the former conflict zone, instead maintaining large detachments of army troops and vast military compounds there. [ Full Report ]

  • Maithripala Sirisena sacks governor in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province
  •    [ Jan 15, 2015 15:21:28 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena has sacked the ex-military governor of the Tamil-dominated Northern Province and replaced him with a civilian, in an effort to improve ties with the minority community in the war-ravaged region. Retired Major General GA Chandrasiri was replaced by HMGS Palihakkara, a distinguished retired Sri Lankan foreign service career officer, government officials said today. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lankan Tamils defy alleged intimidation to vote
  •    [ Jan 08, 2015 13:32:39 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        "There was a large crowd of people waiting to vote when this happened." Rajapakse is deeply unpopular in Tamil-dominated Jaffna for orchestrating a military campaign against the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in which thousands of civilians were also killed. Tamils are Sri Lanka's biggest minority, accounting for 13 per cent of its 15 million voters, and could decide the election if the majority Sinhalese vote is split between Rajapakse and his main opponent. The main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has thrown its weight behind the opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. [ Full Report ]

  • Will Sri Lanka Elect the Devil It Knows?
  •    [ Jan 07, 2015 15:03:53 GMT ] [ New Yorker ]

        “There is a saying that the devil you know is better than the unknown angel,” Rajapaksa said. “I am the known devil, so please vote for me.” These two sentences encapsulated the swift and intriguing fall of the once-mighty President... And yet, despite this challenge, Rajapaksa may still win...he is now a veteran of many elections—“an old fox who can do this in his sleep,” as an Indian politician who knows him well put it...If Rajapaksa triumphs, he will likely hunker down with even greater tenacity, pulling his family closer still. He will bend the state and its machinery even more to the contours of his power, in ways that will bode poorly for Sri Lankan democracy. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka votes: President Mahinda Rajapaksa fights for his political life
  •    [ Jan 07, 2015 14:52:21 GMT ] [ SMH ]

        Insouciance is the hallmark of Sri Lanka's ever-beaming president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. It's hard to think of another politician who would campaign in Jaffna, the city once capital of a breakaway Tamil Tiger homeland, and ask its cowed population to vote for "the devil you know". As put by H.L. Seneviratne, a Sri Lankan professor of anthropology in the United States: "They have defined this victory as a license to eat, drink and be merry, amass wealth by means foul or fair, tax the poor, sell national assets, commit any illegality with impunity, and in general, do as they please in anything and everything, with no one allowed to ask any questions." [ Full Report ]

  • In Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, an anti-Rajapaksa wave
  •    [ Jan 06, 2015 10:47:10 GMT ] [ Hindu ]

        Rajapaksa has failed in post-war reconciliation, Tamils feel. However, many of them don’t see this as ‘their election’ and can’t see how their lives will change after the polls...Northern Tamils don’t see Maithripala Sririsena as being very different from President Mahinda Rajapaksa. “Both were after all in the same party, working together during the war. However, the Tamils are determined to unseat Mr. Rajapaksa and that is why they will vote for Mr. Sirisena,”...Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said in a statement: “a vote against the [Rajapaksa] regime is a vote for democracy.” [ Full Report ]

  • On the ‘known devil’ and Sri Lanka’s choices
  •    [ Jan 04, 2015 11:22:34 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call to Tamil voters during a rally in the North this week to vote for the ‘known devil’ is typical of the unabashedly unapologetic tone of his election campaign. After four years of relentlessly rolling back Sri Lanka’s constitutional freedoms and the Rule of Law, much needed humility would have been well in order on the part of this Presidency. Instead, what we have are arrogant, brash and let it be clearly said, foolish boasts. Even at the bare minimum, the focus is not, (borrowing from opposing candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s theme), on confession of past mistakes coupled with promises of redress. [ Full Report ]

  • Postwar Sri Lanka’s Awkward Peace
  •    [ Dec 29, 2014 11:27:33 GMT ] [ NewYork Times ]

        “They ask me, ‘Now are things good here?’ And I tell them no,” he said. “They look at us as if we are exhibits in a museum. They think we are funny people. They think they won and we lost. Though they don’t say it directly.” “Terrorism memories,” Mr. Kavinda said happily, as he scrambled back onto the train. “They want to know how their soldiers defeated Tamil separatists, put it that way,” said Mr. Subramanian, a Tamil. “That’s what it is, though they don’t say so.” [ Full Report ]

  • The heart of Jaffna Tamil community
  •    [ Dec 17, 2014 15:22:36 GMT ] [ Star ]

        “The area was where the first generation of Jaffna (Sri Lankan) Tamil community in Malaya settled. Many of them were government clerks staying at the Hundred Quarters. Further away, where KL Sentral and Brickfields Asia College are now situated, stood rows of government quarters for Indian civil servants back then. “They sweated blood to build these establishments to preserve their culture and heritage,” said an old-timer of Brickfields who preferred to remain anonymous. [ Full Report ]

  • North in a debt trap
  •    [ Dec 12, 2014 11:15:25 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Incessant campaigning by finance companies, including door-to-door canvassing, has caused rising debt in the Northern Province amongst people who are only just emerging from a debilitating war, community leaders say. Newspapers are writing of suicides related to an inability to settle dues, although there has been no scientific research to connect these deaths with indebtedness. Several crop failures caused by drought have severely eroded farmer incomes, making it impossible for many to pay off loans. “A severe problem is that most of the people are struggling to settle credit,” said Father Christy Daniel, an Anglican priest in Kilinochchi. “These loans have been taken at the beginning of life after resettlement. They are now finding it difficult to pay.” [ Full Report ]

  • Jaffna’s youth hit the bottle
  •    [ Nov 23, 2014 16:31:56 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        More than 15,000 litres of alcohol are consumed daily in the former war-torn district of Jaffna – a dramatic increase in liquor consumption patterns, statistics from the Excise Department reveal. Figures show some 6 million litres of arrack and beer and 5m litres of toddy were consumed last year in Jaffna district, which has a population of under 600,000. This year, 4.2m litres of beer and arrack were consumed in Jaffna up to September. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka north assembly calls for release of Tamil detainees
  •    [ Nov 20, 2014 14:56:04 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Sri Lanka's Northern Provincial Council today unanimously adopted a resolution calling for urgent action for the release of Tamil political prisoners. The resolution was adopted unanimously to this effect, said Council's Chairman CVK Sivagnanam. The Northern Provincial Council is controlled by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an amalgam of five Tamil parties. According to the resolution, some of the Tamil political prisoners have spent between 8-15 years in jail and are continued to be held without charges. [ Full Report ]

  • World Bank HOODWINKED
  •    [ Nov 17, 2014 14:19:47 GMT ] [ Nation ]

        A police investigation has now been launched into a fraud amounting to millions of rupees allegedly committed by several senior officials of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). The alleged fraud involves a project funded by the World Bank. The World Bank, meanwhile, through its Senior External Affairs Officer Sandya Salgado said it was also now ‘looking into the matter in accordance with the World Bank’s Policy on Fraudulent Practice’. Over Rs.100 million had allegedly been defrauded from funds allocated to the project, according to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran. The Nation also has in its possession documents that do point to corruption over a large scale of this project. [ Full Report ]

  • Yal Devi runaway success, more trains on track
  •    [ Nov 10, 2014 2:23:48 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        Raking in Rs. 10 million since its launch on October 13, the northern-bound Yal Devi has become the highest revenue earner for the Railways Department, which now wants to put on more trains. About 10,000 people are using the train for day-to-day activities, earning the department Rs. 600,000 daily. Given the increase of passengers travelling to the north, the department has decided to launch a second night mail train as well as local train services between Jaffna and Kilinochchi, said Sri Lanka Railways General Manager V. Amaratunga. [ Full Report ]

  • Northern travel ban provokes international warnings
  •    [ Oct 27, 2014 7:25:45 GMT ] [ Sunday Times ]

        A number of countries have revised their travel advisories to reflect recent Defence Ministry restrictions on foreigners wishing to go north of Omanthai. Among them are the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Australia and Japan. Most European countries have advised their citizens to exercise caution when visiting Sri Lanka with some urging them to avoid all non-essential travel to “certain areas”. Britain was the first to update its advisory following the October 15 Defence Ministry announcement that all foreign travellers to the north must obtain its permission. [ Full Report ]

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