கவனிக்க: இந்த மின்னூலைத் தனிப்பட்ட வாசிப்பு, உசாத்துணைத் தேவைகளுக்கு மட்டுமே பயன்படுத்தலாம். வேறு பயன்பாடுகளுக்கு ஆசிரியரின்/பதிப்புரிமையாளரின் அனுமதி பெறப்பட வேண்டும்.
இது கூகிள் எழுத்துணரியால் தானியக்கமாக உருவாக்கப்பட்ட கோப்பு. இந்த மின்னூல் மெய்ப்புப் பார்க்கப்படவில்லை.
இந்தப் படைப்பின் நூலகப் பக்கத்தினை பார்வையிட பின்வரும் இணைப்புக்குச் செல்லவும்: Tamil Times 2001.04
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"I do not agree with a word of what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
ISSN 0266 - 44 88 Vol. XX No. 4 15 APRIL 2001
Published by: TAMIL TIMES LTD PO Box 121, Sutton, Surrey SM13TD United Kingdom Phone: 020 - 8644 0972 Fax: 020 - 824 4557 Email: prajan(G)gn.apc.org editor(a)tamiltimes.org
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No Alternative to Talking 03 Military Misadventure 04 LTTE Ends Ceasefire O6 Ready for Talks - Govt O7 Lift Ban Says LTTE 08 Mannar Rape Case 09 Negotiated Peace Urged 10 News Review 14 The Pragmatic Message 19 Peace and Suffering 21 Sri Lanka-Window to lndia 24 Prof. Eliezer - A Tribute 27 Classified 30
Many believe tha initiative to bring the self-imposed four-mc launched by the Sri Certainly Created an for peace talks to be In early April, Sri liament that the gove and the date for the C end of April. Howevel Os Can be realised.
When the LTTE ( as a ploy. The LTTE each occasion to last goodwill" towards the The government utilising this period pc rejecting the LTTE's failure in appreciating lf nota full-fledged C with the aim of alteri government today St. ceasefire period of foi
What is Worse is Agni Kheela", withinh the army Command fo offensive. If this was t a humiliating defeat.
The reasons give alties suffered by the artillery and mortar fir with the Tigers, didn't they lay landmines in weapons? What the g too important a matte An unacceptably or severely inured. Inc gerating the losses su deception. The latest Lankan military north the battlefield. If the p option is to negotiate. What offers hope given up their efforts gian peace envoy, Erik ory and most vulnerat are still issues which responsibility on both are able to make SOm peace."
It seems clear th, been recognised and and restoring peace it publicly engage in a past track record or q only serve to poisont also a moratorium On productive peace talk
ing is the only option
the latest developments have dealt a severe blow to the Norwegian overnment and the LTTE to commence peace talks. The ending of the hth old ceasefire by the LTTE and the military offensive within hours ..ankan army resulting in hundreds of casualties On both sides have tmosphere of Continuing confrontation rather than a Congenial climate in in earnest.
-anka's Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, told the island's parnment was fully committed to the Norwegian-backed peace process Ommencement peace talks with the LTTE would be announced by the it is now doubtful whether the expectation of the Foreign Minister will
ffered a month-long truce last December, the government dismissed it said it would observe its truce anyway and extended it three times on a month asking that the government should reciprocate its "gesture of Norwegian facilitated peace process. committed a grave error in not responding to the LTTE's ceasefire and isitively to take the peace process forward. Summarily and repeatedly Ceasefire as just a ploy and a stunt demonstrated the government's the danger that such a stance posed to the whole peace process itself. basefire, at least an offer to suspend all offensive military operations ng the military situation on the ground could have been made. The ands Criticised for squandering the opportunity presented by LTTE's Jr months. that the armed forces launched a major military offensive, "Operation Ours of the LTTE ending its ceasefire. The post-facto excuse given by r the offensive was that they made the first move to pre-empt an LTTE he real intention, certainly it was not realised and the military suffered
n for the fiasco of the military operation and the large number of casuarmy are the heavy resistance put up by the Tigers, their long-reaching 2, and landmines laid in the area. Given years of experience of fighting army Command know that Tigers do not normally runaway from battle, areas from which they withdraw and that they possessed long range overnment and the politicians of the Country must realise is that war is to be left in the hands of generals.
arge number of young persons battling on both sides have been killed lulging in the familiar practice, repeated On this OCCasion toO, of exagFfered by the other side and minimising their own is an exercise in selfighting has again made One thing absolutely clear, that neither the Sri LTTE can inflict defeat on the other side and expect to win the war on arties are genuinely interested in ending the conflict, the only available
in an otherwise unpromising situation is that the Norwegians have not p bring the government and the LTTE to the negotiating table. NorweSolheim remains Optimistic saying: "The peace process is in a preparatle stage. Hopefully the parties will decide to start direct talks, but there will have to be sorted Out before that is possible." Placing the entire parties to take the process forward, Solheim says, "If in the future we 2 SUCCesses it will be because the parties are ready to move towards
t the imperative of talks between the Government and the LTTE has accepted by both sides as absolutely essential for ending the conflict the country. In this context, the parties should resist the temptation to ropagandist game of accusing and demonising each other for their estioning their current motives and bona fides. Such an exercise will eatmosphere. Not only a cessation of hostilities in the battlefield, but he war of Words is a must for a congenial atmosphere to be Created for
4 TAM TIMES
AR 28 - The ambitious military of-fensive launched by the Sri Lankan armed forces against the Tamil Tigers turned into a misadventure by the fourth day with government troops pulling back from the newly captured areas. A statement from the military confirmed that had government troops had withdrawn to their original position.
The army admitted to losing five officers and 152 soldiers, while more than 860 soldiers being wounded in the four days of fierce fighting with the Tamil in the southern sector of the Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka. Military sources speaking in confidence estimated the death toll on the part of the military to be much higher than official statistics revealed.
According to the army statement, initially, troops very successfully advanced and captured the forward areas held by the Tigers, but due to very heavy artillery and mortar fired by the Tigers, troops were re-deployed in the original defense line because, preparation of the new defense line, that would have given little advantage, would have cost more in terms of lives.
The armed forces also abandoned their aim to expand the area under their control after suffering heavy casualty. Sounding triumphant, a Statement issued by the LTTE on 28 April stated that the "Sri Lankan army suffered a humiliating military debacle with unprecedented heavy casualties as their major offensive operation was repulsed and the troops, which penetrated the LTTE controlled territory, were pushed back to their original positions in the early hours of the morning today. In the ferocious counter-offensive assaults by the Tamil Tiger combat formations which lasted for four days, more than 400 Sri Lankan troops were killed and over 2000 injured. On our side 75 LTTE fighters, including female cadres, were killed.'
The armed forces launched operation Agni Khela (fire flame) at 5.30am on Wednesday, 24 April soon, barely
Military Offensive ntO a Major Misativ
five hours after th by the LTTE end the army said, " launched a fresh ing by 5:30 cod AGNI KHELA II” nsula to clear terra rther expand the Security Forces ( MADDUVAL du HIRA IX Stage II Thousands C ahead, supported and air force brok sitions in Eluthur malai on the neck air force pounde defenses in the so peninsula. Accor ces, the offensive "enemy positions the Eluthumaddu military did not area but the offe aimed at regainir LTTE hands sinc All the phase cluding capturin Elephant Pass, w and organised months, military number of troop Nagar Kovil-Kil for retraining and Khela series of ( ary this year, ac The latest o' expanding the ar on the road tow strategic corrido ninsula with the same objective out in January ir and captured ei Pallai along wi isthmus gatewa captured by the a massive offen to the gates of miles) to the no "Fierce figh out the operatic alties to both Si
15 APRIL 2001
d. A statement from he Security Forces iffensive this morn
named "Operation In the JAFFNA Penirist positions and fuareas brought under ontrol in ELUTHUing Operation KINI
f soldiers marched by artillery, armour e out of forward pohadduval and Muhaof the peninsula. The rebel hideouts and thern sector of Jaffna ding to official sourwas launched to clear and further expand val defence line. The identify the targeted nsive was apparently ng Pallai, a village in e May last year. s of the operation, ing and consolidating ere carefully planned for more than four sources said. A large on the FDLs of the liaxis were pulled out to prepare for the Gini perations since Januording to them. fensive was aimed at ny's territorial control irds Elephant Pass, a that connects the pehainland. This was the with which troops set a two-stage operation ht sq km of territory. h Elephant Pass, the to the peninsula, were TTE last year during ive that brought them affna city, 30 km (18 hwest. ng took place through | causing heavy casus. Most of the casual
ties suffered by the security forces were due to very heavy use of artillery and mortars by the terrorists. It was observed terrorists have used Anti Personnel Mines in an extensive manner to further restrict the movement of security forces,” the army said.
Defending the decision to undertake the offensive, the army said that it was conducted to pre-empt the LTTE from launching a major attack on the armed forces. The operation was successful in destroying rebel deployments that posed a major threat to the defense lines of the security forces.
According to the armed forces, more than 180 LTTE combatants were killed and hundred wounded. The Tamil Tigers, on their part, claimed that more than 350 government soldiers were killed and more than 1,400 wounded in the battles. The guerrillas said that they had lost some 60 cadres. Analysts said that if the army had launched the offensive to pre-empt the LTTE from launching its own offensive against the armed forces, the exercise had turned out to be a major disasterfor the military, which suffered enormous casualties. The reversal would be a major setback to the armed forces, but would boost the morale of the Tamil Tigers, they added. "The rebels have beaten back the security forces in a conventional battle, which is a major gain for them,” an unidentified military observer said.
With the casualty of security per
sonnel mounting in the Jaffna offen
sive, urgent pleas for blood were issued by the Colombo National Hospital. The hospital was the scene of hectic activities throughout the day and night since the fighting began. Hundreds of wounded soldiers were airlifted from the battlefront and some of them were shifted to other hospitals due to shortage of space. All civilian flights to the north were stopped on the afternoon of 26 April as the Air Force said they needed the planes to fly down injured soldiers instead.
In a front-page advertisement, a newspaper put out an "SOS for blood” and asked the public to donate blood urgently and liberally.
By the second day of fighting, with 38 more soldiers succumbing to injuries, the total number of security personnel killed in the offensive rose to 70 and the number of injured had also
15 APR 2001
gone up to 340, according military sources who guessed LTTE casualty to be around at least l 10. Although casualty of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was not known, the Voice of Tigers radio has said they had lost only 33 of their cadres.
By 28 April the defense ministry said a total of 126 soldiers were killed and placed rebel losses at 180 Tigers, killed in fighting since the fighting began on 25 April. Sporadic artillery exchanges continued Friday 27 April, but the main battles had died down, officials said.
The LTTE placed military losses at over 300 soldiers killed and 1,200 wounded. "The Government troops suffered heavy casualties as they ran into minefields and fell prey to accurate artillery and mortar fire by the Tamil Tigers,” it said. The LTTE also refuted the Government claim, reiterated in a statement from the Defence Ministry, that Air Force bombers had successfully targeted two busloads of LTTE cadres. It said it had destroyed "several battle tanks and armoured vehicles' of the army.
Casualties started rising when several advancing SLA troop concentrations were hit by heavy artillery fire from the LTTE's gun positions in the rear, military sources in Jaffna said. A large number of these were airlifted to government hospitals in Colombo and Anurudhapura. Many of the seriously wounded were also sent to the government general hospitals in Jayawardhanapura and Ragama near Colombo. Others were admitted to provincial hospitals, according to medical SOCCS,
Army Routed says LTTE
The statement issued by the LTTE on 28 April said, "The Sri Lankan army suffered a humiliating military debacle with unprecedented heavy casualties as their major offensive operation was repulsed and the troops, which penetrated the LTTE controlled territory, were pushed back to their original positions in the early hours of the morning today. In the ferocious counter-offensive assaults by the Tamil Tiger combat formations which lasted for four days, more than 400 Sri Lankan troops were killed and over 2000 injured. On our side 75 LTTE fighters, including female cadres, were killed.
LTTE comma clearing the ar. kilometers, vacat Eluthumadduval Jaffna. Decompos and their weapon where in the area field commanders ready started crem integrated bodies tary honours, an will be handed ovi Red Cross.
Just a few hou mination of the old cease-fire in t morning on the 2 of Sri Lankan troi 53 and 55 Divisic of strength, supp lery, multi-barrel and naval bomba major offensive LTTE positions in rected by the Dep Ratwatte and head in the Palaly milit Lankan troops through the heavil forward defence along the Kilaly Nagar Kovil axis. hardened combat and anticipatingal by the Sri Lankan cious counter-off heavy artillery, m rel rocket launche The intrusions troops in Kilaly a tors were repulsec on the first day of ing heavy casualti the army managec tre stretch of Eluthumadduval highway.
These trooper surrounded by th three sides faced mortar fire day an Unable to sustair sault by the LTTE and the unaccept alties on the oth troops finally aba territory and fled tions in total disar battle ceased toda Russian jets are co LTTE's positions
do units have started a, about 2 square d by the army in the sector, in southern ng bodies of soldiers are scattered every
according to LTTE . The Tigers have alating thoroughly dispf soldiers with miliidentifiable bodies r to the International
rs following the terTTE's four months he early hours of the 4th April, thousands ops of the SILA’s 52, ns, in a major show orted by heavy artilrocket fire and aerial rdment, launched a assault against the southern Jaffna. Diuty Minister General s of the armed forces ary complex, the Sri initially breached y entrenched LTTE's lines on three fronts -Eluthumadduval - The LTTE's battleunits well prepared imminent offensive army launched feroinsive assaults using rtars, and multi-bar
of the Government nd Nagar Kovil secby the LTTE forces the offensive inflictes on the enemy. But 1 to hold a 2-kilometerritory in the sector near the A9
holed up in an area e LTTE fighters on intense artillery and inight for four days. the determined asfighters on one side ble mounting casu2r, the government hdoned the captured to the original posiay. Though the land y, Israeli Kfirs, and ntinuing to pound the
TAM TIMES 5
In response to the LTTE announcement that it had called off its unilateral cease-fire, President Kumaratunga said Thursday 28 April reiterated her government's position: "As far as we are concerned having a cease-fire is irrelevant to the peace process,” adding, "We are still totally committed to commencing negotiations with the LTTE and working out a solution to the problems which have led to the war. We do not believe it can be solved only through military means. Once again I reiterate with all honesty and very strongly my call to the LTTE not to continue with their tactics of pretending to the world they are ready for peace while putting all sorts of obstacles to delay the process of negotiations,"
When the LTTE offered a monthlong truce last December, the government dismissed it as a ploy and the military continued its attacks against the Tigers. The LTTE said it would observe its truce anyway and extended it three times for a month. The LTTE said l60 cadres had been killed in Sri Lankan attacks during its truce. The Defence Ministry, however, claimed that the LTTE had violated its own selfdeclared cease-fire over 224 times in the past four months since it was declared on Christmas Eve last year, and that the Tigers had used the period of the cease-fire to regroup and rebuild their defences, and to receive supplies of arms and ammunition. For their part, the Tigers said they were pulling out of their truce because the government because of the failure by the government to reciprocate and the military used it to intensify attacks against them, killing 160 Tiger fighters and wounding more than 400 in the past four months.
Reflecting his widely known hardline stance towards the LTTE, Prime Minister, Ratna siri Wickremanayake said at a public meeting on 22 April at Panadura, about 15 miles from the capital Colombo, that the government was not agreeable to a cease-fire, being fully aware of the true nature of the LTTE. "We burnt our fingers once and we are not prepared to let it happen again,” he said in an apparent reference to the LTTE's past record of unilaterally breaking ceasefires and resuming armed hostilities.
“The LTTE is a ruthless group of
separatist terrorists who are trying to revolt against a democratically elected Government. They have no morals, principles or ethics,” he said adding that the government would not consider lifting the ban against the LTTE unless and until it is positively assured that future peace talks with the government appear to be absolutely sincere and honest.
Tamil Parties Critical
As the military offensive began, the moderate Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) on 26 April called upon the government to halt the military operation and negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis. "We hold no brief for the LTTE but at what cost does the Army want to advance towards Elephant Pass? More than 100 lives were lost yesterday. Does it matter if they were LTTE or soldiers? They were all people, "Mr. V. Anandasangary, parliamentarian and senior vice-president of the TULF Stated.
"It is still not too late to salvage the peace process. The Norwegians have said they will continue with their ef. forts. The Government should be cooperating with them instead of going around the World asking other Governments to ban the LTTE,” he added.
Tamil party leaders strongly condemned statements made by the Prime Minister that the war against the Tamil Tigers would continue and that the government would not declare a cease-fire again. “The Prime minister’s pronouncement on Friday (20 April) makes it amply clear that the Sri Lankan government is not interested in peace negotiations at all. The PM is a confidante of the President. His renewed belligerence shows that the government is on the war path again", charged a spokesman for the alliance often Tamil parties.
“The PM. has declared that war is the only solution to the ethnic problem at a time when the Liberation Tigers have reiterated their commitment to peace by unconditionally observing for four months the cease-fire they declared unilaterally as a goodwill measure to create a suitable climate for the peace process to begin. This proves once again that the government cannot be trusted", said Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, TULF MP for Batticaloa.
In another statement on 24 April, Mr Pararajasingham said, "The Tamil
he Liberation Eelam (LTTE) suedon 22 April fra in the Vanni in no stated that the organ not to extend its ul cease-fire. At the sa it remained seriousl would continue to erate in every pos: Norwegian governi and noble effort to and negotiated pol the Tamil national
The full text oft said that "the organ not to extend its ul cease-fire that expi the 24th April 200 "We are comp painful decision as the hard-line, intra the Sri Lankan gov not only refused ti tively to our peace
people have totally
Lankan governme Tigers observed a ally for four mont that the Tamil peo tinue to suffer anc conducive for Nor By rashly rejecting stubbornly refusing government displ sitivity to the ago! ple. It is now e Lankan governme interested in peac ing lip service to a eration Tigers ha ing and support i The internationa longer view with bona fide and its efforts. The Inte should have seiz portunity opened fire and prevaile government to m tions and peace people had in th international con trayed.”
15 APRIL 2001
Tigers of Tamil in a statement isn its headquarters thern Sri Lanka, sation had decided laterally declared he time it said that committed to and upport and co-opble way with the ment in its untiring bring about peace tical settlement to onflict. he LTTE statement sation had decided ilaterally declared red at midnight on
elled to make this
a consequence of insigent attitude of ernment which has o reciprocate posigesture but intensi
lost faith in the Sri
nt. The Liberation cease-fire unilateris because they felt ble should not conto create a climate
way’s peace efforts. their cease-fire and to reciprocate it, the yed its gross inseny of the Tamil peoident that the Sri t was not genuinely but was only pay
ettlement. The Libe got the full backthe Tamil people. community can no spicion the LTTE's mmitment to peace ational community the window of op
y the LTTE's ceaseon the Sri Lankan
ve closer to negotiahe trust the Tamil good offices of the hunity has been beO
Ends C asfire
fied land, sea and air attacks causing heavy casualties on our side.
“It has become impossible to contain the military assaults of the enemy with our self-restrained defensive tactics without resorting to counter-offensive operations. Under such dangerous conditions we can no longer Sustain our self-imposed truce which the enemy has been exploiting to its own military adVantage.
“The Tamil Tigers unilaterally declared a month long cease-fire on Christmas Eve (24th December) last year as a gesture of peace and goodwill and has been extending the truce on a monthly basis for the last four months until 24th April this year. The Sri Lanka government of Chandrika Kumaratunga consistently rejected the LTTE's offeras a political Stunt' and continued with offensive operations with intense naval and aerial assaults provoking the Tigers to the maximum.
Our repeated plea to the international community, particularly the United States, Britain, European nations and India to use their diplomatic good offices to persuade Sri Lanka to reciprocate positively to our peace gesture was of no avail. Instead of commending and promoting our peace offensive some international Government's have imposed proscription and other restrictions against us whereas the other party in conflict (Sri Lankan State) is being provided with financial assistance, military aid and training facilities thereby encouraging our enemy to adopt a hard-line militaristic approach.
"During the last four months of our self-imposed cease-fire we suffered serious set-backs militarily loosing strategically important territory in the Jaffna Peninsula and suffering substantial casualties. Over 160 cadres have been killed and 400 injured. Civilian settlements of the coastal villages of Mullaitivu and Trincomalee have been subjected to regular and systematic aerial bombardments that caused heavy civilian casualties and massive property damage.
"Though the LTTE has been strictly
15 APRIL 2001
and rigorously observing cessation of hostilities, the Sri Lanka armed forces have been relentlessly engaged in hostile military operations to frustrate and demoralise our fighters. Furthermore, Sri Lanka government has been importing lethal Weapon systems and boosting up its navy and Airforce with the objective of strengthening and modernising its armed forces in preparation for an all-out war.
"On our part we have co-operated in every possible way with the Norwegian Government in their facilitatory peace efforts. Our cease-fire for the last four months was intended to create a congenial atmosphere conducive for talks. By observing peace we did implement the obligations of the Norwegian Memorandum of Understanding by suspending all forms of armed operations and violent attacks in Colombo and in the southern provinces. The Sri Lanka government refused to allow the free flow of essential items into Vanni, and therefore deliberately delayed the Norwegian initiative.
“While our unilateral cease-fire provided the basis for hope and optimism and brought four months of peace and stability to the Sinhala south, the same period has brought war, violence, death and destruction among the Tamils in the north-east. Despite Sri Lanka's public claim of lifting a few banned items, the draconian embargo on food, medicine, fuel and other essential items continued in Vanni subjecting our people to immense suffering. Sri Lanka has been blatantly refusing to reciprocate to our call for de-escalation and normalisation of civilian life in the northeast. Rather, the Sinhala armed forces who control most of the populated cities have intensified military persecution of the civilian masses by arrests, detentions without trial, torture, rape and summary executions.
"The Kumaratunga government, which is dominated by ultra-nationalist and chauvinistic elements, is not
genuinely interested in resolving the
ethnic conflict through peaceful means and therefore it has been refusing to take any practical steps towards peace.
“We remain seriously committed to peace and to peacefully resolving the protracted ethnic conflict though we are compelled to withdraw our self-proclaimed cessation of hostilities, which turned out to be a futile exercise as Sri
"For some wet has been ready, an day, to finalise and ment on the implen tarian measures, tc plementation of the assistance of mon political negotiati possible agreed da expeditiously. The Lanka repeats its ( engage honestly a mencing the proces, not to squander, yi opportunity for pe even now the LTT self to helping th achieve their real as ernment said in a S 28 April by the M tion and Media on drawal of its ceasef
The statement "was not a genuine but rather a unilate tional deception,” outset the Governn unequivocally that ing the LTTE’s “u described by the L measure to facilitate because “further ge are unnecessary wh has clearly indicate in talks with the LT substantial issues in to resolving the et ing the war and cor peace.'
"The Governme its agenda for peace of the designated re Norwegian Govern ing as facilitators.
Lanka has failed to
structive meaning a eration organisatic support and co-ope ble way with the ment in its untiring bring about peace litical settlement to conflict.'
TAL TIMES 7
cs the Government remains ready toformalise the docuentation of humanicommence the ime measures with the LOrS, tO COmmence ons at the earliest e and pursue them Government of Sri all to the LTTE to ld swiftly in comof negotiation, and t again, a valuable ce, and hopes that E would commit it: Tamil people to pirations,” the Govtatement issued on inistry of Informathe LTTE's withire. said that LTTE's unilateral ceasefire al effort at internaand that from the nent had "declared it was not acceptilateral ceasefire, FTE as a goodwill the peace process, stures of goodwill 2n the Government its wish to engage TE forthwith on the volved, with a view nic question, endstructing a durable
nt went ahead with with the assistance presentatives of the ment who are actThe LTTE partici
recognise its condpurpose. Our libwill continue to ate in every possiorwegian governund noble effort to nd negotiated pohe Tamil national
O Commence Talks
LTTE, SayS GOWt
pated in these efforts and considerable progress had been made in reaching agreement on a document that would embody humanitarian measures to alleviate any hardships and dangers to civilians affected by the ongoing armed conflict, and contribute to building understanding and a foundation on which negotiations can take place,' the statement said.
“But in the last round of extensive talks with the Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Jon Westborg, who went to the Vanni on April 6 to meet some of the LTTE leaders they raised certain "concerns' associated with the commencement of negotiations. Consequently, Ambassador Westborg had to return to Colombo without having finalised the content of the said document, although the Government had given its approval to all substantial matters in that document prior to Ambassador Westborg’s journey into the Vanni...... The latest action of the LTTE fully justifies the Government's decision not to reciprocate its unilateral ceasefire. The LTTE has once again proved that it cannot be trusted on the issue of a genuine ceasefire. It has unilaterally abandoned earlier ceasefires and cessations of hostility, the last being in April 1995.”
The government said the LTTE has in fact violated its own unilateral ceasefire on more than 224 occasions during the past four months, adding that this conduct on the part of the LTTE also fully vindicates the Government's rejection of its unilateral ceasefire as a "political stunt' from the very outset.
“The LTTE laments that its repeated pleas to the international community, particularly the United States, Britain, European nations and India to use their diplomatic good offices to persuade the Government of Sri Lanka to reciprocate its ceasefire were of no avail. The LTTE must understand that of the countries mentioned - India, the United Kingdom and the United States of America - two of them have proscribed the LTTE and one has declared it to be a terrorist organisation. The European countries too have of late
come to revise their assessment of the LTTE. As for India, our closet neighbour and the country most concerned with the LTTE's activities, the LTTE should know that the Government of Sri Lanka has kept the Government of India fully informed of the progress that was taking place with the Norwegian facilitation, and that the Government of India was in turn fully appreciative of Sri Lanka’s position.”
In abandoning its own ceasefire the LTTE also makes a threat of violent attacks in Colombo and the Southern provinces. By saying that that they had suspended all armed operations and violent attacks in Colombo and in the southern provinces, the LTTE, at last publicly admitting responsibility of all the earlier carnage and destruction it caused through violent attacks in Colombo and the southern provinces, the Government said
Though in November, 2000, the LTTE leader, at a meeting in the Vanni with the Norwegian representatives, offered to open a dialogue for peace "with no conditions attached', later, the LTTE began to place obstacles in the way of negotiations variously described as "pre-conditions”, “pre-requisites' and "concerns'.
There is ample evidence that over the past months, under the cover of its unilateral cease-fire, the LTTE has been training, arming and Supplying its cad
res. Arms and ammunitions have been,
and are being, landed by sea.
"The Government maintains that mere gestures towards peace, such as cease-fires are unnecessary. In the Government's view, as it stated in its press release of December 12, 2000, "the crucial political issues that affect the future of Sri Lanka should not be evaded any longer. The Government states that political talks with the LTTE, aimed at resolving the conflict, can and should begin forthwith. This requires that the LTTE agree that the core issues should comprise the agenda of negotiations. The core issues, as the Government has consistently maintained, are: the stoppage of war, the stoppage of all terrorist killings, the resolution of the Tamil people's problems through negotiated political settlement and a speedy resolution of the problems of those displaced by war, etc.'
“This Government wishes to reiterate that it has never believed in the
April 7 - "Mr. S the Head of the Po Liberation Tigers (LTTE), has called ment of Sri Lanka ti organisation and rec to the LTTE's unil essential pre-requi mencement of poli This message was the Norwegian Al lombo Mr. Jon Wes lengthy discussion leaders of the LTTE northern Sri Lanka the organisation sai on 7 April.
The press relea: Westborg and an c wegian Embass Strangland, arrived yesterday afternool marathon discussio night with the LT leaders. The discus more than two hol today before the N Colombo. Along
use of violence for
problem. It has f made every endeav LTTE to halt armé engage in dialogu solving the proble the military confli continues to be policy. This Gov aware, and has a there are difficulti ian population, in North and East. Til capable fact that war for which the responsibility.... sized that it is the stantly disrupted and services to the ern and Eastern ernment is of the cerning the early vilian life could the course of the
15 APRIL 2001
Talks Only After ng of Ban - LTTE
P.Tamil Chelvan, tical Wing of the of Tamil Eelam upon the governlift the ban on his procate positively teral cease-fire as ites for the comical negotiations. 2onveyed through hbassador in Cotborg when he had with the political in Mallavi, Vanni, on 6 and 7 April' d in a press release
e added, “Mr. Jon fficial of the Nory, Mr. Tomas
in Mallavi, Vanni and engaged in a n for six hours last TE's political wing sions continued for urs in the morning orwegians left for
with Mr. Tamil
he resolution of any om the beginning our to persuade the d hostilities and to with a view to rens that have caused t. The Government committed to this rnment is acutely "eady said so, that s faced by the civilonflict areas, in the is is due to the ineshere is an on-going TTE bears a heavy has to be emphaLTTE that has conhe supply of goods people in the Northovinces. The Goview that issues conormalization of ciso be discussed in oposed talks." O
Chelvan, Mr. Thangan, Mr. Pulidevan and Mr. George were present during the discussions.
"Presenting the LTTE's position on peace talks Mr. Tamil Chelvan insisted that a climate of peace and goodwill conducive for talks should be created before the commencement of political negotiations. The LTTE has always emphasised the necessity and urgency of the cessation of armed hostilities by the parties in conflict before talks, Mr. Tamil Chelvan told the Norwegian diplomat. "We have argued that it would be difficult to hold talks while engaging in a bloody war. Irrespective of the belligerent stand taken by the Sri Lankan government, the LTTE had unilaterally declared cease-fire and has been extending the truce for the last few months. This measure clearly demonstrates our sincere determination to seek peace and a negotiated settlement. So far Sri Lanka has not positively responded to our goodwill gesture. But it is absolutely essential that both the parties cease all armed hostilities and maintain peace as an essential condition for the resumption of peace talks”, Mr. Tamil Chelvan said.
"Mr. Tamil Chelvan also impressed upon the Norwegian delegation of the necessity of lifting the ban on the LTTE by the Sri Lanka government to create a goodwill atmosphere for peace talks. “We are glad to note that the Sri Lanka government has finally realised the importance of talking to the TamilTigers to resolve the ethnic conflict. This realisation entails recognition that the LTTE is the preponderant representative organisation of our people. Therefore, the time has come for the Kumaratunga government to lift the ban on the LTTE and embrace us at the peace table as the authentic representatives of the Tamil people. We will not under any circumstances participate at the peace negotiations as an out-lawed outfit"; the LTTE's political wing leader told the Norwegian Ambassador. “The major portion of the discus
15 APR 2001
April 24 - Five suspects including the head of the Special Investigative Unit, M. N. M. Suraweera were remanded by the Acting Judge for Mannar on 23 April after having been identified as suspects in the rape and sexual molestation of two Tamil women, Nanthakumar Wijikala (22) and Sinnathamby Sivamani Weerakon (24).
The controversial case, first brought to light by the Bishop for Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, has resulted in the arrest of five men including the former head of the SIU, three police constables and an army lieutenant.
According to the Bishop of Mannar, Rev. Rayappu Joseph, On the 19th of March 2001, about ten Navy personnel entered a private lodge at Uppukulam in Mannar at 10.30pm and arrested two women by name Wijikala (22 years) and expectant mother already with one child and Sivamani (24 years) a mother of three children.
They had been living in the refugee camps in Vavuniya and had come to Mannar on private business.
After the arrest on their way to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), the Navy personnel started to make sexual advances on these two helpless females
n Mannar Rap
and on arrival at ll:30 in the samé taken in and along sonnel, some SIU in a room and fo naked, tied her ha table and sexually so inhuman and quently, two of raped her repeates In the meanw was kept in a wh Navy had been Navy and sexual and one of them his stocking. The was holding both a Navy man forcei a while Sivamani her dresses on, to was forcibly strip in a brutal way se all present in ther Navy personnel w SeX tOrture rO Om t on the walls. Thei heard by the detain they, in tears relat Bishop when he company of a uni up in Mannar on t told the Bishop th
sion time was devoted to the “Memorandum of Understanding, the proposals submitted by the Norwegian Government to de-escalate the conflict and pave the way for talks.
Having expressed their dissatisfaction over the alterations by Sri Lanka of the title of the document into an "Agreement on Humanitarian Measures' the LTTE delegation insisted that the original version of the title as "Memorandum of Understanding should be retained. The LTTE delegates also expressed their displeasure over the distorted comments made by Mr. Kadirgamar on this crucial document, the implementation of which is vital for the normalisation of civilian life in the northeast and peace and stability in the
ʻʻMr.Tamil C] more depth and de of fuel and cemen for agriculture, in construction of th tally destroyed by war. Expressingh Lanka governmer restrict the flow of vital for the econc people, Mr. Tami Norwegian envc Lanka to allow th satisfy the require fected civilian m assured the LTTE resentatives that h sues raised by the and Norway gove
the SIU, Mannar at night Wijikala was with some Navy perpersonnel joined up cefully stripped her inds and laid her on a assaulted her in ways so brutal. Consethese men brutally lly. hile, Sivamani who ite van used by the made naked by the y molested by them plindfolded her with driver of the vehicle ner hands behind and fully raped her. After was also taken with the above room and ped naked again and 2xually assaulted by oom while rest of the ere peeping into this hrough the openings r cries could only be ees at the SIU. When ed their trauma to the visited them in the t in the prison lockhe 27th instant, they
at they would iden
helvan explained in tail the requirements t in the Vanni region lustry and for the ree infra-structure tothe savagery of the s dismay over the Sri t’s determination to these essential items mic life of the Tamil | Chelvan urged the y to persuade Sri 2 fuel and cement to ments of the war af. sses. Mr. Westborg s Political Wing repe will discuss the ism with the Sri Lanka nments.“ O
tify most of these criminals and they mentioned frequently the names of one Raja (a Tamil speaking one) and of one Wimal of the SIU who were mercilessly extra brutal to them. They also said that the person whom they came to know as the OIC of the SIU was also taking part in this brutality.
These victims then, were threatened with further torture and were forced to sign a statement to say that they were from the LTTE. Three days later they were taken to the DMO, Mannar. These victims were told by the SIU that they would be killed if they revealed anything to the DMO. The helpless victims told the DMO out of fear, being in the presence of the SIU, that they had no complaints to make and they were briskly taken away by the SIU. This is how the medical examination of these poor victims was made to end up. The victims were taken before the Mannar Magistrate by the SIU only on the 27th instant at 6.30 pm.
On an appeal made by the Bishop to the magistrate and to the Deputy Provincial Director of Health Services, Mannar in the name of the public, a fresh medical examination of these two unfortunate victims was undertaken by the DMO, Mannar on 30.03.2001.
The District Medical Officer of Mannar, Dr G Somasekaram, in his medical report to the Mannar court submitted on 1 April concluded in respect of the first victim, "From the history given by the subject and (from) examination I come to the conclusion that Nanthan Wijikala was tortured and raped'. In respect of the second victim, the DMO concluded, "From the history given by the subject and examination come to the conclusion that Sivamani Sinnathamby Weerakon was tortured, hurt and sexually harassed. But there in no evidence to say that penetration has taken place.”
As the news of the alleged rape was widely published, on the directive of the Inspector General of Police, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) commenced investigations in respect of the allegations of rape and torture, and recorded complaints of Vijikala and Sivamani.
Conducting further investigations, the CID recorded statements of the other important witnesses, took charge of the books and related documents from the SIU office, arrested and pro
duced four suspected officers including a sub-lieutenant of SL Navy and the Officer in Charge of SIU, before the Magistrate of Mannar.
N. P. N. Suraweera, OIC/SIU (now under interdiction), filed a petition before the Court of Appeal citing Attorney General as a respondent, and requested the transfer of the case out of the jurisdiction of Mannar Magistrate's Court either to Colombo or Anuradhapura. The reasons set out in support of this application inter-alia were partiality of the Magistrate and the fear of personal safety. Further he maintained that... 'a false case has been fabricated against me and that I will be denied my right to a fair trial'.
The Solicitor General C. R. de Silva, PC vehemently objected to the transfer and invited the attention of the Court to the Medico Legal Report issued by the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) in order to negate the allegation of fabrication.
In the Medical Report, the JMO describes the various injuries seen on the women when he examined them on 6.4.2001 and expressed his opinion as "... the scars are consistent with healed
injuries sustained on or around
The Bench comprising the president of the Court of Appeal Justice JA N de Silva and Justice Ms. Tilakawardane, having considered all the material placed before the Court in their order stated that, in all these circumstances submitted, Judges found that the Application to transfer this case at this juncture when investigations were pending and incomplete was premature.
The Court also directed that for the protection of the suspect, that State takes steps to afford him maximum possible security. Such protection to be made available also to his Counsel if he so wished.
: 2T- "Rwé
The National P Lanka, in statemen regretted the fact c LTTE's unilateral
months without a it from the gover break ofbloody fi. peninsula once aga government and I peace talks immedi unilaterally determ conditions or seek per hand delay the
visit by a group of Jaffna during the stated: “The critica the LTTE in nego the ethnic conflict
sages received by personnel from th media who visited J five-day visit was c
On 23.4.200 Parades were held Court of Mannar. Nominated by the assist the investigi trate on legal issue present in Court. and three polices fied.
The Court rej by the Counsel fo: when the State C the suspect was fi
The other off will be produced Magistrate on l ( 2001 for further i
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15 APRIL 2001
ace Council of Sri ssued on 25 April,
the ending of the easefire after four ositive response to ment and the outhting in the Jaffna n, and called on the TTE to enter into tely without letting ned issues of preng the military up
. issued following a media personnel to hird week of April ly important role of iating a solution to was one of the mes
a group of media e state and private affna last week. The organised in associa
seven Identification at the Magistrate's The State Counsel Attorney General to tors and the Magisin this case was also wo Navy personnel uspects were identi
cted the application the suspects for bail punsel objected and rther remanded.
ers attached to SIU before the Mannar h and llth of May entification. O
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tion with members of the University of Jaffna and the Centre for Women and Development in Jaffna and the National Peace Council with the support of the Embassy of the European Union in Colombo
The ten-member team had a series of meetings with Jaffna-based civic organisations representing a wide variety of sectors, including trade unions, teachers, lawyers, cooperatives, traders and religious leaders. It appeared that the LTTE's ceasefire had helped to reinvigorate Jaffna society. Most of the groups expressed the view that they wished the LTTE to represent the interests of the Tamil people in the peace process. They also strongly rejected war and violence. These expressions will have to be viewed and understood in their proper context.
Many of the groups put forward their own problems and proposed solutions to them, and also their suggestions as to how the ethnic conflict could be politically resolved. The University of Jaffna Teachers Association put forward a proposal that would includeautonomy on the Swiss or US models for the northeast and shared rule at the centre in the ratio of 60:40 between the majority and minority communities. As this example demonstrates, a range of possible political solutions to the ethnic conflict do exist, but there needs also to be a willingness to sit down and negotiate on them.
The NPC regrets very much the ending of the LTTE's unilateral ceasefire after four months without a positive response to it from the government and the outbreak of bloody fighting in the Jaffna peninsula once again. The NPC calls on the government and LTTE to enter into peace talks immediately without letting unilaterally determined issues of pre-conditions or seeking the military upper hand delay them. Now that the LTTE's unilateral ceasefire has ended, we see a great need and an opportunity for the Norwegian facilitators to broker a mutually accepted de-escalation of hostilities and peace talks that could lead to a just solution that the people of Jaffna and elsewhere yearn for.”
15 APRIL 2001
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Muslims Return Sl tO War-torn J aff
April 18 - Sri Lanka’s Muslims, caught up in a war between the island's two main ethnic groups, have formed a tiny beachhead in troubled northern Jaffna after being run out of the area a decade ago.
Several of the returnees said that they were happier running businesses among their Tamil neighbours in Jaffna City than depending on aid handouts in refugee camps.
About 40 have returned in the last several years from the 15,000 who were given two hours to leave the city in October 1990 by the LTTE.
An estimated 10,000 were forced out of Jaffna peninsula by the LTTE who was widely accused of ethnic cleansing.
“They (the Tamils) invited us back. We can work here, there was no busi
ness in the camp Mum Thahir, who wave of 23 Muslin returned to run b Jaffna two years ag Puttalam, abou up the coast from C an open refugee car half of the Muslim north.
Muslims make cent of Sri Lanka's while Tamils accc and Sinhalese the
Thahir came ba ing shop in the ci though he was hel 1990 to 1992 by family paid a ranso ($1,150).
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in Puttalam,' said was part of the first h businessmen who usinesses shops in O.
: 120 km (75 miles) olombo, is home to up that houses about s forced to flee the
up about eight per19 million people, unt for 18 percent
St. ck to reopen a clothntre of town even for 530 days from he LTTE until his n of 100,000 rupees
and we were kept in nine different camps around the peninsula until our families paid,” he said.
Now he is still trying to save enough money to repair his home which was partially destroyed by looters after he was taken away.
Thahir said several other shops run by Muslims had opened in the last several months and that more were likely to return if recent developments between the government and rebels towards peace talks gathered pace.
K.M.S. Hameed, who was a deputy school principal before he fled in 1990, felt confident enough to return to open a business but has left his family in Puttalam until there are more indications of a lasting peace.
“Our families are ready to come back, we just want a sign that there will be more peace,” Hameed said after taking part in afternoon prayers at a mosque in central Jaffna. The brightly painted mosque is the only one operating in the peninsula and was reopened two years ago, with a mullah, or priest, arriving one year ago. (Source:Reuters)
April 18 - Mahanayaka theros from all major chapters strongly criticised the conduct of the ultra-nationalist Sinhala organisation, Sihala Urumaya party supporters over attacking a Buddhist monk last week.
"If somebody thinks monks should not be involved in creative art, how can they advocate that the same monk to politically support them. Political activism is also against Buddhism,” Most Ven. Weveldeniye Medhalankara, Mah
anayaka of the Ram in an interview with
A group of Sihal ists had attacked Vijitha thero, while feature titled “Un Vijitha thero has ide ers, nearly 300 Co students, as Sihala ers and some of the tested the last gener Although monk
April 23 - The Norwegian Prime Minister Hon. Jens Stoltenberg on a five-day visit to India said that his country was helping to bring the two warring parties of Sri Lanka to the negotiating table to end the ethnic conflict in the island. This was going to be the first initiated process taken by a country outside the region.
The Prime Minister told pressmen on Sunday 21 April at the Airport in Bangalore that he was optimistic about
the ongoing peacept He added that his co 100 percent sure that sides to the negotiat
He said that his wide experience in t ing peace in the pa came forth to crea among the Sinhala ( Tamil Community fighting is going on een years with heav
Recruitment of Ch Soldiers - Amnesty A
Amnesty International issued an urgent action appeal on 30 March directed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stating that the organisation was concerned for the safety of three boys, eight-year-old Chandrasekaran Udayakunnar, l 2-year-old Ravichandran Prathishan and an unidentified child friend, who are thought to have been recruited as combatants by the LTTE.
Amnesty International has been concerned about the recruitment of children as combatants in Sri Lanka for many years, and has been campaign
ing for the practice
Chandrasekara his home in the v puram, Vavuniya d He told his parents to play with friend home and has not of 29 March, there about him. Ravicl left his home in th nkulam, Vavuniya on 20 March. He s a shop near the bu getting on a bus tc dentified friend of
anna Nikaya, said 3BCs Sandeshaya. a Urumaya, activMahakunumulle shooting his short completed Tale”. ntified the attackombo University Jrumaya Supportm had even conal election.
is directing films
15 APRIL 2001
cannot be accepted according to the Buddhism, harming a monk by the socalled Buddhists is not the correct way to prevent such activities, said Most Ven. Madihe Pannaseeha, Mahanayaka of the Amarapura Nikaya.
According to Most Ven. Professor Varakave Dhammaloka, secretary of the Asgiriya Nikaya, all Buddhists should condemn this attack as every individual, including Buddhist monks, are entitled to their right of expression via their selected methods of expression. As Buddhist monks are renowned for creative art, such as Kavsilumina, Guttilaya, etc. a monk directing a film cannot be questioned, said Batapola Nanda thero.
"ocess in Sri Lanka. untry was still not it could bring both ing table. s country has had he process of makast. “We therefore te understanding ommunity and the n Sri Lanka where for the past eighty casualties.”
Hon. Jens Stoltenberg added that he received vast support from the leaders in India in ending the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The Indian leaders consider that there is no other choice but a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Sri Lanka because the continuation of the war can lead to instability in the region.
The Norwegian Prime Minister briefed the Prime Minister of India, Hon. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, about the Norwegian efforts to broker a solution between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE that would bring about lasting peace. The Indian Prime Ministerpromised that he would do his best to provide India’s support to the peace process initiated by the Norwegian Government.
to be eradicated. 1 Udayakumar left llage of Ganeshastrict on 15 March. that he was going ... He did not return een seen since. As has been no news andran Prathishan village of Anapadistrict around 9am lid he was going to stop. He was seen gether with an uniis age. They report
edly took their identity documents with them. Some parents in the area, believing that Ravichandran Prathishan and his friend were going to join the LTTE, reportedly prevented their children from joining.
Amnesty International has been concerned about the recruitment of children as combatants in Sri Lanka for many years, and has been campaigning for the practice to be eradicated. In May 1998, the leadership of the LTTE told the United Nations (UN) SecretaryGeneral's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict that it would not use children under the age of 18 in combat, and would not recruit anyone under the age of 17. However, since then, Amnesty International has continued to receive reports that children as young as 12 years of age are
15 APRIL 2001
being recruited as combatants. The recruitment of children as young as eight years of age is reminiscent of the early 1990s, when both the LTTE and armed Tamil groups opposing the LTTE were recruiting very young children on a large scale. LTTE representatives have admitted that some of their members are very young, but argue that they have not been forced to join. They have also promised to investigate any complaints
regarding the recrl under the age of l children are found cruited, they will b
Quoting LTTE website said that L futed allegations b tional that they ha children as combat accusations as "ma said that the LTTE
Sri Lankan Human Rights campaigner Basil Fernando has been awarded with the prestigious Kwangju Human Rights Award. Mr. Fernando, the executive-director of the Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been intensively working on human rights in the Asian region.
As a prominent human rights activist, Mr Fernando has criticised the bu
reaucratic System tional human right cluding the UNCH overcome the probl these large bureau by trying to establ organisation which ple and that place selves at the centre
Media Watchdog Criti Probe On Journali
April 19 - The Paris Based media watchdog, Reporters Sans Frontiers, has criticized the lack of progress in the investigation into the murder of Jaffna based journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, and called on President Chandrika Kumaratunge to do everything in her power to ensure an impartial and speedy inquiry takes place.
Highlighting several shortcomings
in the police inves a letter to Presiden it was deeply conc Lankan governme willingness to she der.” The letter ad zation was also w ments made by g. implicating the LT what it calls an at
AI Urges Action Aga
Rapists in the Forc
Amnesty International on 4 April wrote to the President of Sri Lanka urging her to take action to stop rape by security forces and bring perpetrators to justice.
Following several recent reports of rape by security forces in Mannar, Batticaloa, Negombo and Jaffna, the organization reminded President Chandrika Kumaratunga that safeguards to protect women in custody (as contained in presidential directives for
the welfare of deta 1997) were being Security force punished if they f safeguards. Fema present during the male detainees a responsible for searches.
Among the cas of two women w after being arreste
uitment of children 7, and that if such to have been ree released.
officials, Tamil Net TTE on 2 April rey Amnesty Internaad recruited young ants, describing the alicious'. They had did not recruit com
batants under the age of seventeen. "The accusations by Amnesty International are malicious and calculated to discredit the image of our liberation movement. It is not the policy of the LTTE to recruit below the age of seventeen,” the officials had said adding, "We have no knowledge of the events leading to the disappearances of the children described by Amnesty International.'
of existing internas organisations, inR. He has sought to ems associated with cratic organisations lish a human rights is rooted in the peois the people themof the human rights
"I hope the occasion of this award will provide us with a further opportunity to rededicate ourselves for a future in which all of us, men, women, children can live with dignity and without humiliation,” a delighted Mr. Fernando reacted on the award.
The first Kwan-gju Human Rights Award was given to East Timor independence lea-der Xanana Gusmao in the year 2000. The award ceremony will take place on the 18 of May, 2001 in the Kwangju city in the Republic of Korea.
tigation, the RSF in t Kumaratunge said erned about the Sri ent’s “apparent und light on the murded that the organiorried about stateovernment officials TE in the murder, in tempt to lessen the
seriousness of the crime. The organisation, which advocated an impartial and independent inquiry, also volunteered to be part of an international investigation into the killing.
Nimalarajan, who was a correspondent for several local and foreign media organisations in Jaffna, including the BBC, was killed in his home, on night of 19th of October last year. Inspector General of Police, Lucky Kodituwakku, has handed the investigation of the murder over to the Criminal Investigation Department.
ainees issued in July ignored.
personnel should be ail to adhere to these le guards should be interrogation of feld should be solely carrying out body
es reported are those ho were gang raped d by members of the
navy and police in Mannar on 19 March.
The pace of investigations into several other casesofalleged rape, including the case of Ida Karmelita who was raped and murdered in Mannar in July 1999, are proceeding very slowly. Other cases have collapsed because the victims or the witnesses were threatened or feared reprisals.
All necessary measures should be taken to protect the victims and witnesses and any security officer found to be responsible for rape, sexual abuse or other torture, or for encouraging or condoning them, should be brought to justice.
Hopes that peace talks between the government and the LTTE would
at last commence were raised, possibly in May this year, when on 3 April Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, told Parliament during the budget debate that the government was fully committed to the Norwegian-backed peace process and the date for the commencement peace talks with the LTTE would be announced by the end of April.
On 4 April, the Government announced that it had lifted the ban on the transport of 24 items. The list included fruit juice, gelatin, roneo paper, balm, paint (except green, black and brown colours), Vitamins, rice, eggs, noodles, cigarettes, soft drinks, agricultural equipments, alcohol, Soap, aspirin, wine and sleeping mats.
Everyone interested in a negotiated settlement of the ethnic conflict now thought months of shuttle diplomacy by Norway’s Special Envoy, Erik Solheim, had borne fruit in clearing the preliminaries for talks to begin. It was said that even the venue for the talks, a foreign capital, had been agreed between the parties.
During his six-month long endeavours Erik Solheim had been working on a document, known as the "Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU), containing certain steps that both parties, the government and the LTTE, would agree upon before formal talks began.
On the government's part, it was to relax the restriction and/or totally lift the ban placed on the number items that could be transported to the war-torn areas of the north and east. On the LTTE's part, it was to assure that would not carry out any offensive action in areas outside the North and east, the two designated operational Zones.
It appeared that general agreement had been reached between the parties on the contents of the document. However, the government wanted the title of the draft document changed from “Memorandum of Understanding Humanitarian Measures" to “Agreement on Humanitarian Measures”. It is said that the thinking behind this move was the belief that the word "Agreement' imported a more formal, definite and binding meaning than the words "Memorandum' or "Understanding” which were open to different interpretations. The government also had
made a modification the draft document read: "The purpose o of Jnderstanding is phere conducive for ess that will lead to ment and to take m the humanitarian situ the human suffering flict.' The governme. “The purpose of thi take measures to alle and dangers to civili on-goingarmed con ute to establish a foi negotiations can tak It was with this c Norwegian Ambassa and his diplomat ci Stangland, traveled t discussions with the Wing leader, S P Ta and 7 April. The pu trip was to finalise cluding the date, for commence between After ten hours thon” discussions la Norwegian diploma Chelvan in the com rades, Mr. Thangan, Mr. George, they rel in the afternoon of evening, the LTTE r to the press, which Tamilnet website, g discussions the LT had with Jon West league.
The LTTE state while objecting to ti by the government randum of Unde Chelvan had raised had not been previc the document.
According to thi the message given government, during Jon Westborg was there should be hostilities between LTTE as an essent resumption of peac the governmen on the LTTE and e the peace table as sentatives of the
15 APRIL 2001
o the preamble to The initial draft the Memorandum ) Create an atmosnegotiating proca peaceful settleasure to improve |tion and to reduce aused by the contaltered it to read: Agreement is to riate the hardships ns affected by the lict and to contribndation on which : place." raft document that dor, Jon Westborg blleague, Thomas ) the Vanni to have LTTE's Political Lmil Chelvan on 6 rpose behind their arrangements, inthe peace talks to the parties. of detailed “marasting two days the tS had with Tamil pany of his comMr. Pulidevan and urned to Colombo 7 April. That same leased a statement was posted on the ving details of the TE representatives borg and his col
nent indicated that, le alterations made o the draft Memostanding, Tamil new issues which usly covered by in
LTTE's statement, to the Sri Lankan he discussions with s follows:
cessation of armed he government and l condition for the
should lift the ban brace the LTTE at he authentic repreamil people. The
statement quoted Tamil Chelvan telling the Norwegian Ambassador as: “We will not under any circumstances participate at the peace negotiations as an out-lawed outfit.'
the LTTE delegation was dissatisfied over the alterations by Sri Lanka of the title of the document into an Agreement on Humanitarian Measures and insisted that the original version of the title as 'Memorandum of Understanding should be retained.
The government should allow the requirements of fuel and cement in the Vanni region for agriculture, industry and for the reconstruction of the infrastructure totally destroyed by the war.
The LTTE statement pointed out that the lifting of the ban on the LTTE and the reciprocal cessation of armed hostilities by the government of Sri Lanka"as essential pre-requisites for the commencement of political negotiations."
The LTTE's pre-requisites' produced a flurry of comments in the media, particularly the so-called independent privately owned media - which by and large editorially and otherwise remain consistently opposed to the government having any negotiations with the LTTE while at the same time giving space to some notable Tamil columnists to peddle their own pet themes. Dissecting the LTTE's statement that detailed the purported discussions between Tamil Chelvan and the Norwegian diplomats in minute detail, they raised the issue of the LTTE placing new "preconditions” for commencement of peace talks. Journalists and commentators had a field day indulging in the semantic luxury of the similarities and distinctions in the meanings of the words and terms such as "preconditions”, “pre-requisites”, “Mermorandum”, “Agreement”, “Understanding” etc.
However, the fact of the matter was that Jon Westborg had been pre-empted by the LTTE's statement in regard to the discussions he had with Tamil Chelvan. He was inundated with calls, particularly from the media. He tried to avoid making any comments to the press before he had an opportunity to debrief the President and the Foreign Minister. Because of the pressure he was under, the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo issued a press release on 8 April which, inter alia, said: “A number of concerns and questions raised by the LTTE concerning a proposal for building ofun
15 APRIL 2001
derstanding and creation of a foundation for direct talks between the parties were clarified. Possible alternatives were discussed.
“The discussion revisited Some importantissues also raised in the past, and the LTTE expressed concern that negotiations between the conflicting parties took place in an environment absent of hostilities and present of respectand understanding. These issues were presented as concerns that needed deliberation and it was agreed to refer a couple of questions to further consultations in the near future. "Norway will continue its efforts of consultations between GOSL and LTTE.”
On April 10, Mr Westborg met and debriefed President Kumaratunga and Foreign Minister Kadirgamar. As the account of the Norwegian Ambassador and the LTTE statement put out on Tamilmet contained significant variations, both in content and emphasis, the government decided to seek further clarification from the LTTE through the Special Envoy, Eric Solheim.
Whatever remaining doubt one had about the authenticity of the Tamilnet version and contents of the LTTE's statement on the discussions between Ambassador Jon Westborg and Tamil Chelvan was removed when the LTTE's radio, "Voice of Tigers', broadcast an identical version.
O BALASINGHAM EXPLANS In an interview given to the Tamil Guardian on 17 April, the LTTE's chief advisor Anton Balasingham, explaining in detail the LTTE's position in regard to the issues raised by Tamil Chelvan during discussions with the Norwegian Ambassador, said: "We are not stipulating new pre-conditions for negotiations. We have been consistently insisting on de-escalation and de-proscription as practical and necessary steps to create a strong foundation of peace and goodwill conducive for serious political negotiations.” LTTE's call for reciprocation of its ceasefire and lifting of its ban by the government should be viewed "as pre-requisite practical steps to build a cordial atmosphere of mutual trust essential for the warring parties to enter into a peace process,' he said adding, "If Sri Lanka wants to engage the Tigers in a serious and constructive dialogue to arrive at a political solution, it is essential that the LTTE should be given the legal political status as the
authentic represent He said that it w should enter the n partners with due r. ponderant represen our people.”
In regard to th
Understanding', B it was submitted by ernment to the LT government "with proving the humar ease the human su an atmosphere col tions.” He said tha tained "mutually r by which Sri Lank lift the economic free flow of good LTTE has to ceasi and sabotage in the An international m is proposed to Sup tation of the recipr. LTTE leadership ment in principle tions, except sugge the formation of t mittee.” Lately, th alterations in the t the document abc was not happy, an nal version should
The indication ment would not ac "pre-requisites' o the lifting of the g the LTTE imposec following the Suic the Dalada Maliga sation of hostilitie: raised before and t in the Norwegian randum of Unders
The question i would renew its when it expires on ernment did not ag uisites”. One hope tend the ceasefire : expressed commit But from the ton statement, the cha not.
O THE RO ΟP THE The role of No the peace process during April with the LTTE express the subject.
tative of our people." as "crucial that we egotiations as equal 2cognition as the pretative organisation of
he 'Memorandum of alasingham said that the Norwegian govTE and the Sri Lanka the objective ofimlitarian situation and ffering and to create nducive for negotiaat the document coneciprocal obligations a Government has to embargo facilitating S into Vanni and the all acts of violence a southern provinces. Ionitoring committee ervise the implemenocal obligations. The endorsed the docuwithout any alterasting amendments to he monitoring comhe government made itle and preamble to but which the LTTE d therefore the origibe retained, he said s are that the governcede to the two new f the LTEE, namely government's ban on on 27 January 1998 ide-bomb attack on wa and a formal cesS which had not been herefore not included draft of the Memotanding. S whether the LTTE unilateral ceasefire 23 April if the govgree its two "pre-reqes the LTTE does exas it will reinforce its ment to peace talks. e and content of its inces are that it will
FACLITATOR rway as Facilitator in also came into focus the government and ing varying views on
Lakshman Kadirgamar, in an in interview given on 6 April to N.Ram, the Editor of the Indian fortnightly "Frontline" (14-27 April) elaborated on what he perceived as the role of Norwegians. He said that "they have been engaged by the parties as a facilitator and not as a mediator. As a facilitator, their task is to bring the parties together. To facilitate the parties coming together. Well, a third party's role is limited. It is limited to bringing the two parties together. Shuttling back and forth between the parties. Carrying messages. And laying the groundwork for them to meet. They are logistical things they will have to attend to, in due course. There will be venues and times and schedules and various things of that kind. But when it comes to substantive negotiation, the Norwegians will have no particular role at all. They will certainly have no mandate to make any judgmental decisions. In that sense, they're not arbitrators, they're not judges, and they're not mediators. Mediators tend to be people who, at a certain stage, are entitled to say to the parties, “Now, we think you're right and somebody else is wrong. And we say you must do this, that or the other.' And they assume a kind of judgmental character. That character the Norwegians definitely will not have in this process.”
As for the LTTE, Anton Balasing ham directly contradicted the Foreign Minister's view on the role of Norway as facilitator. In an interview given to the London-based Tamil Guardian, Mr Blasingham said that Mr Kadirgamar wanted "Norway to function within the rules of facilitation, which is confined to brining the parties in conflict to the negotiating table. Once that is achieved, in Kadirgamar's conception, Norway's facilitatory role comes to an end. I do not share his view because it is very rigid, technical and non-creative. It is not flexible or dynamic enough to cope up with the set of new problems and difficulties that might arise when the belligerents, with a lengthy history of mutual distrust and hostility, face each other on the negotiating table without the assistance, advice and guidance of a third party.”
Mr Balasingham favoured “the concept of third party involvement rather than adopting the defined roles of facilitation and mediation. In our perspective the third party involvement is crucial even after the commencement of the negotiations. Playing the role of a neu
tral advisor and observer, the third party, in our case the Norwegians, can continue to involve themselves in the negotiating process to prevent misunderstanding between the protagonists and to help to promote the forward movement of the dialogue without imposing judgmental decisions on the parties. It is our view that without the presence and participation ofan experienced third party the negotiations between the two historical enemies may run into serious difficulties.'
It is quite obvious that the government and the LTTE have different ideas about Norway's role. While the LTTE wants Norway to play a more participatory or interventionist role in the peace process as it progresses, the government sees it as one limited to logistical facilitation to bring the parties to the negotiating table and remain on the sidelines leaving the parties themselves to engage in negotiations.
O UNP PLOT AGAINST GOVERNMENT An interesting political drama unfolded in the parliamentary complex during the recent Budget debate. Some senior UNP parliamentarians backed by a few big private companies in Colombo saw the possibility of defeating the Government during the voting in the Second Reading of the Budget. They discussed the matter with the UNP and Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe who promptly appointed a committee headed by deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya to examine the prospects of inflicting a defeat upon the government in parliament. The other members of the committee were: Gamini Atukorale, M.H. Mohammed, Rukman Senanayake and Lokku Bandara. This Committee was to be in charge of the strategy and tactics to mobilise sufficient number MPs to bring down the government.
The UNP's move was leaked to Sports Minister Laxman Kiriella who passed the information to Sri Lanka Freedom Party Secretary, Minister S. B. Dissanayake, who promptly informed President Kumaratunga who was on a visit to Germany. She instructed that every Government MP should be present in parliament at voting time on March 19. The Government carried the day by 9 votes, 1 15 voting for and 106 against.
The narrow margin of the vote added strength to those who felt that the Government could be toppled through
a parliamentary voti tained the idea of def ment during the Thi. Budget and the forma ment of National Rec could rope in all oppo some of the constitu governing coalition. made to the Ceylon (CWC) and the Sri La gress (SLMC), both ners in the Governm somewhat discontent ya-Atukorale duo als gari and Sampanthal discuss the UNP's r ernment back bench proached with offers money if they voted tion.
The government moves by the UNP ernment at the Thir Budget through a but friend of former UN Sarath Kongahage, Y latter after being app UNPersto raise fund exercise. According ti a sum of Rs.80 milli tioned as the sum ava some MPs belonging coalition. The Presi meeting of the gove tary group at which S liamentarians of th warned them not to UNP's plan.
If the UN P’S machinations had su try a possible dissol and a General woul cards. In the event, t the Budget was pas ing in favour and l ( Had the opposi defeating the gover any aspect of the Bl would have opted fo solution of Parliam the formation of a ment in coalition W The Constituti President from dis within one year oft However, if the g feated on a vote inv posal, it is open to solve Parliament. even within the UN wanted to support the government di pect of facing ano
and they enterting the governReading of the ion of a Governnciliation, which ition parties, and nt parties in the Approaches were orkers Congress hka Muslim Conf which are part2nt coalition, but ed. The Jayasuri| met Anandasanof the TULF to ove. Some Govcrs were also apof large sums of with the opposi
got wind of the o defeat the govi Reading of the inessman, a close P Parliamentarian who contacted the proached by some s for the crossover o the businessman, on had been menailable to buy over g to the governing dent summoned a nment parliamenhe warned the Pare UNP plan and fall a prey to the
ehind the scene cceeded the countion of Parliament have been on the le Third reading of sed with l l 6 vot7 against. ion succeeded in ment in a vote on dget, the President an immediate disnt than permitting UNP-led governh other parties. n prohibited the olving Parliament e general election. vernment was deolving a fiscal prole President to dis}me of those MPS P who would have he move to defeat not like the proser election at this
Although, the government won the vote, it was not achieved without much effort on the part of the President. Having to depend on her coalition partners to sustain the slender majority in Parliament, particularly the Ceylon Workers Congress(CWC) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, she had to make concessions and enter into deals with these two parties to assure herself that the required majority was intact. The fact that the leaders of these parties, while being Ministers, accepted invitations from UNP leaders to meetings where the chances of defeating the government and formation of an alternative government were discussed demonstrates clearly the tenuous and opportunist nature of the relationship among the parties constituting the governing coalition.
O UN P’S CONDITIONAL
Norway's bid to broker peace in Sri Lanka has come up against a new hurdle with the country's main opposition United National Party (UNP) demanding domestic political reforms as a precondition for support for the peace plan. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, during his recent visit to Oslo had said that his party would withhold support in the legislature if the government did not establish independent commissions to be in charge of police, elections, civil service and the judiciary.
Analysts see Wickremesinghe on a new tack to link his party's domestic agenda with the internationally backed attempt to open peace talks between Colombo and the LTTE. Many, particularly the Tamil political parties, have criticised the UNP leader's statement. They question the need for the linking the two matters and suspect that the UNP leader is already preparing his party to backtrack on the peace procGSS.
A statement issued form the UNP headquarters in Colombo on 18 April said, "Mr. Wickremesinghe pointed out that the UNP has displayed its bona fides by fully supporting a consensus between the government and the LTTE to pave the way for lasting peace. The government must reciprocate by establishing the four independent commissions in order to strengthen and protect democracy in the country. If the government deliberately fails to take necessary steps to appoint these four commissions in the near future, the UNP
15 APRI 2001
would not have a choice but reconsider its support to the government.”
The government has, however, resisted the call to appoint the commissions saying the proposals have already been included in the government’s proposed draft constitution. However the UNP wants the commissions in place before any attempt is made to finally settle the ethnic problem.
In the event the peace process progresses to a satisfactory conclusion, it must inevitably lead to substantial constitutional reform, or as the government has proposed, a new Constitution. All matters, including the question of independent commissions, could be addressed when the new Constitution is discussed. The UNP leadership knows that the government, with its slender majority in Parliament, would not be in a position to enact a new Constitution without the support of the UNP MPs. In this context, for the UNP to put the issue of the appointment of the four commissions as a pre-condition for its support for the peace process is an attempt at scuttling whole process itself. The UNP statement added, “Leader of the opposition Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe has said in Oslo that while finding a durable solution to the North East conflict in Sri Lanka, it must also ensure that the rights and aspirations of all communities must be safeguarded. During the bilateral talks he had in Oslo, Norway, Mr. Wickremesinghe, explaining the stand taken by the United National Party on the ethnic problem, further stressed that any solution meant for lasting peace must protect the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. It was under these fundamentals, devolution of power should be implemented in order to carry out a cultural, social and economic development in the North East.”
O THE PLOT
TO OUSTRAN The depths to which political chicanery can sink would have perhaps surprised the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who learnt from far away Oslo of the plot to oust him by his own deputy leaders who were political non-entities until Ranil himself brought them onto the public arena and elevated them to their present positions. He could not have ever imagined that these pretenders to the his throne would have waited for an opportunity for him to be away from the country to put into practice the conspiracy they had
It is now knowr into action after M accompanied by V tional List MP Mil| Dr. S. Walson left f The challenge w claimed “Reformis ty's deputy leader group included in as Gamini Atuko Bandara, Dr. Rajit Karunanayake P. D eral other leading intriguing was the Media Movement ty Waruna Karunathi tively involved. group's plans to o that these two gen representing the A racy, went round mentarians collect petition demandi down from the leac Having learnt Anura Bandaranail telephone convers. oust him, the UNP visit to Norway be home to find that trusted leading figu demanding his re leader. They were in collecting signa oust him.
If the dissident enough signatures ing for the removal the plan was to sub Anura Bandaranaik being the Leader Upon his remova would have been r of the Opposition. The move to ol the party came in ure of the UNP’s at the government du debate, and in its party government possibly led by the The main cha Ranil was that he d adequately enougl government durin debate by promo motion and thereb The UNP leader w formist group of tabling the no-c against the gover accused of being a
that plotters swung (r Wickremesinghe wife Maithree, Nainda Moragoda and or Oslo on April l l. as led by a self-pro
Group"led by parKaru Jayasuriya The cluded such figures ale, V J M Loku ha Senaratne, Ravi Abeyratne and sevUNP figures. More role played by Free wins Victor livan and laka who were acIn the UNP rebel ust Ranil. It is said tlemen, purportedly lliance for Democamong UNP parliaing signatures to a ng that Ranil step lership of the party.
from the Speaker ke who told him in ation of the plot to leader cut short his ating a hasty return
many of his once res in the party were signation as party feverishly engaged atures from MPs to
group had secured for its petition callof Wickramasinghe, mit it to the Speaker ce to deprive Ranil of of the Opposition. l, Karu Jayasuriya ominated as Leader
1st Ranil as leader of he wake of the failtempt to bring down ing the recent budget place install "an allof national unity UNP.
rge brought against id not pull his weight to bring down the g the recent budget ting no-confidence y let the party down, as accused by the reiragging his feat on onfidence motion nment. He was also weak leader, Wimp,
vacilator, and lacking in energy and determination. W J M Lokubandara said the root of the problem was the lethargy and inertia on the part of the leadership, which prevented them from ousting the Government. Another grouse of the rebel group was the alleged interference in party matters by a former policemen, Sudath Chandrasekera, who is now the private Secretary to Ranil Wickremasinghe.
They point out to the fact six years had elapsed since Mr. Wickremesinghe assumed the leadership of the party. Under his leadership, all the elections - provincial, parliamentary and presidential, more than 10 in number, have becn lost. They have no faith in Mr. Wickremesinghe's ability to lead the party to victory. They believe that he is a "born loser'. So long as he is leader, the party would never come back to power, they aSSert.
A columnist, C A Chandraprema, wrote, "The inevitable has happened. There is a concerted move within the UNP to remove Ranil from the leadership. The surprising thing is that it took so long for this situation to materialise. The UNP has a serious problem. With a government that has proved beyond doubt that it is unable to govern, the UNP has not managed to make any headway as an opposition party. The UNP vote bank has remained static over the past few years while that of the JVP has improved tremendously. Many people now tend to regard the JVP as the opposition. The UNP has proved itself totally inept. Many people think the problem besetting the party is Ranil. Ranil no doubt is a problem. There is a body of opinion, which is now firmly established that he cannot deliver the goods. That is the general impression in the country among all sections of the people whether UNP or non-UNP.”
Bruised and battered though, Ranil appears to have temporarily emerged out of danger, but with the hold on the leadership his party very much weakened. However, the campaign by the conspirators to elevate the party deputy leader Karu Jayasuriyaas the Leader of the Opposition allowing Ranil to continue as the UNP leader continues unabated.
In an attempt to retain his party position asparty leader, Ranil had to concede a lot to the dissidents. UNP Sources said that if an All Party Government move succeeded, Wickremesinghe had agreed to make Karu Jayasuriya the
18 TAM TIMES
Prime Minister of that government while he remained as leader of the party.
Nineteen dissidents styling themselves as the UNP reformist group at a meeting with the UNP leader held at Malik Samarawickreme's residence in Bullers Road, proposed the appointment M.H. Mohomad as the Chairman of the Party, P. Dayaratne as the General Secretary and to create a new post of National Organiser to be handed over to Gamini Athukorale.
Ranil Wickremesinghe had also agreed to the proposal by the “reformist group' led by party Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and Assistant Leader Gamini Athukorala for wide ranging reforms within the party to establish inner-party democracy and that if a national government is formed the parties that constitute the government would elect its leader. He also agreed to implement all future decisions affecting the party through the newly set up Political Committee comprising himself, the Deputy Leader, Assistant Leader and the Party Chairman.
In a move directed at satisfying a dissident group, Ranil also agreed to move a no confidence motion on the government during May-June, to table a no confidence motion against the country's
Chief Justice and to lation on the four ind sions in parliament W
Whether orhow lo singhe will survive as question on the lips o
TO ARREST" India has launch international manhu LTTE leader Kumar generally known by h is suspected of being purchase for the Tig clandestine arms ba: head of what is refer cally as the LTTE's ing division, “KP” ha elusive character alleg country to country un The Indian Centra tigation however is of is currently domiciled has requested Swede tradite him to India wanted in connection nation of former Indi Rajiv Gandhi.
The Indian autho that KP was living i
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esent draft legis»endent commishin two weeks. g Mr WickremaJNP leader is the
a controversial ut against senior n Pathmanathan, s initials KP, who in charge of arms ers from various aars. Known as ed to euphemistioverseas purchass proved to be an edly moving from ler various aliases. l Bureau of Investhe view that “KP' in Stockholm and to arrest and exas he is allegedly with the assassian Prime Minister
rities have alleged n Bombay with an
Indian national called Protima Das at the time of Rajiv Gandhi's murder and was therefore needed for further investigations.
Although the Rajiv Gandhi murder trial has concluded, a fresh probe is currently on because of a new recommen- . dation made by the Jain Commission that inquired into various aspects of the killing. The CBI has also requested 23 countries mostly in the West to assist them in their investigations into the LTTE. Apart from KP’ it had earlier requested further information about the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakharan, Intelligence Chief Pottu Amman and Womens” Brigade Commander Akila, all three of whom were named as accused in the Rajiv Gandhi killing.
KP however was not included in the accused list earlier but now faces an Indian inspired manhunt at a crucial time when the LTTE is involving itself in the peace process.
The Indian request to Sweden comes in the wake of media reports stating that the Scandinavian nation may be a likely venue for talks between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE that are expected to occur soon as a result of Norway's efforts.
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15 APR 2001
The Pragmatic Mes
Dr Jehan Perera
n the descent to Palali airport the deOE in the Jaffna begins to be evident. A church stands forlorn near the sea shore, and around it are neglected trees and vegetation. Interspersed are the wrecks of buildings. The journey from Palali airport to Jaffna town is one through a sea of destruction seen at close quarters. These are the results of battles fought several years ago and a testimony to the very high stakes that attach to the success of the present peace process. There are significant changes taking place in Jaffna. Three years ago when an opportunity arose to travel to Jaffna with a PAFFREL election monitoring before the local government elections, the focus of the visitors and the people of Jaffna was on the elections. The main message to come out then was a denial of the need for those elections. The people had other priorities, we were told, such as being supplied with electricity and buses, and the roads needed to be repaired.
This time around the roads on which we travelled in Jaffna were in a very good state of repair. There was a bulldozer to be seen repairing yet another road. At noontime there was a fleet of over 20 big yellow government buses at the main bus terminal with others elsewhere on the road. The electricity Supply to Jaffna has been restored and is available most of the time, though with regular interruptions especially late in the evening due to the problem of capacity.
OfficialS Of the EPDP Who contro manof the local gevernment bodies and also, since the last general elections, the Ministry of Northern Development and Rehabilitation, claim much of the credit. But it was not the roads, buses or electricity that was paramount in the statements made by the civic groups we met with in Jaffna this time. The group of journalists from Colombo who spent five days in Jaffna (on a visit organised by the National Peace Council with funding from the European Union embassy) heard much more about the need for peace, and the people's desire for a non-violent solution, than they heard anything else.
The objective of the visit was to spend
more than the few hou to journalists who travi tary-organised visits. a more indepth view
Jaffna by spending sev also to engage in dial sections of Jaffna soc of Defence not only approval for this long sisted in blocking out
ian flight to Jaffna at sł credit, neither the Mini the military sought to
in the programme foi Jaffna. We were given with whomever we W. ernmental restrictions
Whether it was th sociation, the universit on, the bar associatio association or the relig ation, the main messa them was the same. T people wanted peace a lence. This is a mess likely to surprise any destruction in Jaffna, e place a year ago with ets. The people are ac the possible vastly incr uction likely to occur new weapons systems In this context th situation three years government elections interesting. At that tim peace strategy, and ha war. The voice for pe same civic groups in was more muted. Ins voice was that there v government to hold th elections for the sake LTTE also opposed t in fact, assassinated emerged from them an elected councilors.
The willingness o publicly articulate the to the war at the preser been strengthened by
rs usually available el to Jaffna on miliIt was hoped to get of the situation in veral days there and pgue with different iety. The Ministry gave the necessary er visit, but also asten seats on a civilnort notice. To their istry of Defence nor involve themselves the journalists in a free hand to meet anted with no govbeing imposed.
e Jaffna traders asy teachers associatin, the cooperatives ious leaders associge to come out of hey all said that the nd did not want viosage that is hardly yone who sees the specially what took
multi-barrel rock:utely conscious of eased scale of destrin fighting with the and do not want it. e contrast with the ago when the local were being held is he the LTTE had no d only a strategy of ace in many of the Jaffna at that time tead the articulate was no need for the e local government of the people. The hose elections and, the mayoress who dover a dozen other
f the civic groups to ir desire for an end httime has no doubt its correspondence
to the LTTE's present course of action. For the past four months the LTTE has been pressing the government to reciprocate its unilateral ceasefire. Therefore there is a coming together of the people's aspiration for peace and non-violence (which undoubtedly was always there) and the LTTE's recent strategy of pursuing its objectives through a ceasefire. This congruence seems to have strengthened the people to articulate that they want peace and no more war without fear of adverse reaction.
The second important message to emerge from most (but not all) of the civic groups was that their representative was indeed the LTTE. Perhaps their belief that the LTTE has made a shift to a peace strategy has made this a palatable proposition. Some even went to the extent of saying that the LTTE was their sole representative, a position that even the LTTE seems to have publicly modified to being the "preponderant" representative. Some civic groups preferred not to say anything on the matter. But not a single civic group was publicly critical of the LTTE as an organisation though some said that they did not approve of all its actions.
At one meeting a religious dignitary wentas faras to Say that there was no difference between the LTTE and Tamil people, they were not two. A southern journalist asked whether this meant that the Tamil people approved of the LTTE bombing of the Temple of the Tooth. This led the dignitary to draw a distinction between the aspirations of the Tamil people and the LTTE actions. He also said that he did not approve of this action and had written to the Ministry of Buddha Sasana to express his regret.
Pragmatic assessment i The fact that not a single public criticism was made of the LTTE as an organisation (except on one occasion by those who were affiliated to the EPDP) made the assertions of the civic groups somewhat suspect in the eyes of the southern journalists. Accustomed as they are to a free and democratic environment in which there is no public unanimity about anything, they saw a chilling factor of fear. That the source of the fear of dissent was not the government or army was confirmed by the vigour with which criticisms was publicly about them. This perception was reinforced by a few persons who met us after the public meetings and spoke of the fear of the LTTE and the inability to speak up truthfully in public.
20 AMIL TIMES
However, a dispassionate analysis would suggest that it is not only fear of the LTTE that impels the civic associations of Jaffna to speak up in favour of the LTTE and its representative status. Better than anyone else, the people of Jaffna know the real strength of the LTTE. They saw the LTTE come up to the very gates of Jaffna last year through their military prowess overrunning the massive Elephant Pass army base on the way. While a combination of military and political measures saw the LTTE brought to a halt outside Jaffna town and subsequently pushed back, the LTTE still remains within the Jaffna peninsula.
In short, the people of Jaffna know that peace without the LTTE is not possible now or in the foreseeable future. They know that the peace they desperately need and yearn for will only come about through negotiations between the government and LTTE, because it is the main actor, and no other. They also know that after such a negotiated peace, the LTTE will necessarily play a very important role in a peaceful Jaffna. Therefore they are being pragmatic when they give the preeminent place to the LTTE at the negotiating table, without whose agreement there
cannot be peace.
While pragmat played a big role in that we heard, there ine appreciation oft of many if not most for what they haved not tell for sure sim days and listening ments and private e when peace returns ple vote at a free an will know the truth. may not because lo not translate into v( ance after the war, a ill found after leadi tory after the secon A third messag meetings with the tions was the desire lar exchanges With t are seen to have ac vailable in Jaffna. O. was the formation nalists friendship a by and large no evid timent, which said At more than one "shared rule at the
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m is likely to have he public statements may also be a genue LTTE in the hearts f the people of Jaffna ne. But this we could bly by spending five o their public state(pressions. It is only oJaffna and the peofair election that we Perhaps even then we fe and gratitude may tes for good governSir Winston Churchg his country to vic
world war. : that came out of the "arious civic associaohavelinksandreguhose in the south who CSS tO reCSOurCCS LIhathe immediate outcome »fa north-South joursociation. There was ence of separatist senleave us to ourselves. meeting the phrase centre, self rule at the
region” was voiced. The desire for mutually enriching interaction was most strongly expressed at the meeting with the Jaffna traders association. But clearly, the amount of such interaction will remain limited so long as the highway to Jaffna remains closed. Re-opening it would be a priority of any genuine peace process.
In the meantime, there is much that the government can do, and is not doing, to improve the conditions of ordinary life for the people of Jaffna. There is still the longstanding complaint of government letters coming in the Sin-hala language only, and the police taking down complaints in Sinhala which neither the complainants nor the judges can understand. There were problems pointed out of medicine having to be cleared through the Ministry of Defence, delays in the receipt of school texts and equipment, unfair control by four trading groups over the Jaffna market and the goods and services tax (GST) being charged on the transport cost of shipping to Jaffna. These are problems of an unresponsive government. They problems can be addressed by the government even while peace, and a way out of the "war for peace strategy,' is being sought. O
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Peace and Suffe
Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy
here is a spectre that haunts Sri Lanka: the spectre of peace. But for a people mired in a history of distr-ust and antagonism, peace is a deeply disturbing phenomenon. It challenges once learnt but now naturalised habits of antagonism, hate and fear. It unsettles assumptions.
The peace process itself makes many feel insecure, fearing a loss of control, suspicious of decisions that are being made outside one's sphere of influence. There is a constant and insatiable demand for certainty, transparency and security. For some it resembles Chamberlain flirting with Hitler at Munich. For others it is a sellout, a refusal to accept the imperatives of the right to self-determination. For peace activists, the present historical moment poses the greatest challenge since the beginning of this terrible conflict. Branded as traitors and the targets of hate speech, they have to continue their work in a murky environment of suspicion and fear. Sinhalese peace activists have to face a daily barrage of epithets and hate speech, the possibility of grenade attacks and a government and community hardened by years of betrayal and conflict. Tamil peace activists have the task of convincing both parties that it is in their interest to talk to each other even as they have to come to terms with the ideas and emotions that constitute the concept of the "Tamil nation'.
The two nation concept
Tamil political leaders in the twentieth century from Arunachalam onwards have insisted that there are two nations inhabiting the island of Sri Lanka, one Tamil one Sinhala. Influenced by nationalism in Tamil Nadu, they have insisted on distance and difference from the Sinhala nation. Recently, Sinhala nationalist polemicists have also pointed to this phenomenon, arguing that this stance proves that Tamil racism is the primary cause of the ethnic problem. However, in terms of electoral politics a different reality emerges.
When C. Suntheralingam first
mooted the idea of 1950s, he received of votes. In the 195 munity regarded Tal the eccentricities of loved Tamil polit ideas of Tamil sep one took them seri actly twenty y Chelvanayakam res contested on a plat state. He received port with over 70% voting for a separa very radical happe and 1976 in the Tan derstanding that tı help us come to te obstacles we face in community aboard
Between 1956 a leadership did beco and separatist in its will judge their acti addition the Tam faced with a great de nation. The Sinhala refusal to guarantee Tamil people living and East, standardi. admissions which d Tamils, perceived d ployment and the ri governments to ho ments with regard lution agreements a litany of discrimina cite when asked to separate state.
Discrimination ership by Tamil p deep sense of gri Tamil community nomic and educat: due to the slow gro also added to the ser isolation. In this di young Tamils who ing, the idea of “the tured their imagina came the panaceaf Like an opiate, it belief that everyth once they get their c
Tamil Eelam in the less than a handful 0s, the Tamil commil Eelam as a joke, an elderly but much ician. Though the aratism existed, no ously. In 1976, exears later SJV signed his seat and form of a separate overwhelming sup(6 of the electorate te state. Something ned between l956 nil community. Unansformation will rms with the major bringing the Tamil “the peace train'.
nd 1976, the Tamil me more aggressive advocacy. History ons accordingly. In l community was all of overt discrimiOnly legislation, the physical Security to g outside the North zation of university iscriminated against iscrimination inemefusal of successive nour their committo negotiated devore now the standard tion that Tamils rejustify the call for a
and articulate leadoliticians fuelled a evance among the . The lack of ecoional opportunities wth of an economy seoffrustration and aspairing reality for were Tamil speaknation' finally caption. The nation beor all their problems. ulled them into the ing will be alright own nation. The idea
of fighting for the nation made life more bearable. Benedict Anderson introduced the idea that the nation is not only apolitical/economic construct. It plays with our innagination, highlighting the romanticism of an imagined community. Val Daniel in a recent article shows how the concept of nation state "promises to soothe and heal... the modern nation has promised to provide refuge to those whose lives have been rendered chaotic by catastrophic events..." By the 1980s the concept of a Tamil nation had become the mainstream idea in vernacular, Tamil writings and articles. A whole generation of young Tamils had grown up taking this nation for granted.
The Pluralist Alternative
The other decision moment in Tamil construction of recent history is July 1983. Once JR Jayawardene told a group of Tamil leaders that they speak of 1983 as if it is the demarcating line between BC and AD. In many ways it
Until 1983, the champions of Tamil nationalism were primarily parliamentarians and democratic political leaders, who may have flirted with violent groups but who were generally committed to non-violent agitation.
After 1983, that radically changed. The LTTE had less than seven hundred members in June 1983. By January 1984, their cadres were in the thousands. Along with other Tamil militant groups, the greater part of Tamil youth in the North and the East began to be implicated in armed struggle. A whole generation of young Tamil men exist who have had to negotiate with the call to armed insurrection. They have made their peace in different ways but they have all been touched by the rhetoric, ethics and discourse of armed struggle. Violence as the means of furthering the nation became the dominant tactic of Tamil nationalism after July 1983 with devastating consequences for the Tamil people and Sri Lankan Society.
Since the Vaddukodai Resolution of 1976, Tamil politics of Sri Lanka has been integrally linked to the concept of "The Tamil Nation'. It is this concept that has driven thousands of Tamil boys and girls to willingly or otherwise commit Suicide in pursuance of what they perceive is a heroic death.
Revelling in the life of the imagined community, they are inspired by tales
of martyrdom, bonding and brotherhood. The intoxicating combination of heroism and self sacrifice, the building blocks of nationalist ideology, has inspired young Tamil men and self sacrifice, the building blocks of nationalist ideology, has inspired young Tamil men and women to commit unbelievable, and terribly brutal acts of violence. Dousing the passions associated with this way of life will be a major future challenge of the peace initiative. It is also this concept of nationalism that may eventually prevent Tamil political and military leaders from making a honourable peace with the Sri Lankan government. Unless the Tamil community and Tamil political leaders revisit the concept of nation, think of it differently, and see the possibility of viable pluralist alternatives within the framework of a united Sri Lanka, the peace process cannot move forward.
Nationalism to Tamil Internationalism
Where has nearly thirty years of the relentless, violent pursuit of the nation and nationalism got the Tamil community? What has it meant for the every day lives of ordinary persons? Professor Valentine Daniel in his recent work and writings has spent a great deal of time speaking to Tamil victims of violence. As we think of peace and the possibility of a peace process, it is important to revisit his work. The voices of the people he interviewed are the voices of silence that must be heard. They tell a different story. A story of so much pain and suffering that it is a testament to the need for peace in its own right. Peace is not only the problem of the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka. Peace is about the every day life of people.
When Valentine Daniel asked a young Tamil refugee in the United Kingdom what he thought of Tamil nationalism in the context of today's world, this was his response:
"You ask me about Tamil nationalism. There is only Tamil internationalism. No Tamil nationals. Never was. Never will be. This is Tamil internationalism. Being stuck in a windowless room in Thailand, or a jail in Nairobi or Accra or Lagos or Cairo or America. Or being a domestic servant in Singapore and Malaysia for a rich
Tamil relative. B card racket in Niagara Falls int that there is even on a Norwegia North Pole. All i don't forget the b Charing Cross w speciality as an it to anyone who to believe him. F The relentless f nation and Tamil na war and violence ha in Sri Lanka bein Lankan Tamils. Mr. has gone on record : should continue sinc of attrition, Tamils numerically so smal "manageable minor will provide us with The call for a Tami actually resulted in the Tamil people. image of who is a T ing. Tamils who on considered to be civi ants and professiona the international rad glers, drug couriers members of organi: tempts to outlaw "t ern countries are ve this new "Tamil i Tamil international of Tamil nationalisr ferent phenomenon ality thorough life ir world confronts Ta invest it with a gre Heroic death at hol sit well with humar While there is this the Tamil diaspora ing a proxy war, tl of the early immig interviews with rect West paints a pict people, disillusion often ex militants t new habits and ne; come members of class. In their lives malcy intermingle all those who are m western political the borders of w them a different id the subaltern on th civilization. In th
15 APRIL 2001
ng part of a credit ondon. Crossing Canada. I am told Tamil fisherman island near the ternationals. And iefless barrister at o tries to hawk his migration lawyer s gullible enough e is a Tamil too.' ght for the Tamil tionalism through basically resulted cleansed of Sri N. U. Jayawardene tating that the war at the present rate will soon become that they will be a ity'. History then the greatest irony. nation may have the decimation of nternationally the amil is also changce nationally were l Servants, accountls are emerging on ar screen as Smug, arms dealers and zed crime. The aterrorism' in westry much a result of nternationalism'. ty is an outgrowth n butitis also a difTamil internationthe western undermil nationalism and it deal of cynicism. he does not always smuggling abroad. standard picture of funding and fightis is true primarily rants. Val Daniel's nt immigrants to the re of young Tamil d with nationalism, emselves, learning otiating how to behe British working riminality and noras is the case with irginalized from the stem. Their life at stern society gives ntity, the identity of fringes of western s incarnation they
make alliances with working class movements, other immigrants and the world of criminal gangs and drug couriers. The Tamil nation is not always integral to their survival.
A People Without Voice
While Tamil nationalism faces international challenges, Tamils who remain in Sri Lanka often find themselves without a voice and without agency. Political leaders speak for them but somehow they do not portray the full reality. What of ordinary people, how have their lives changed because of this persistent armed conflict? Can we speak of Peace without taking them into account? Valentine Daniel's work consists of so many portraits that challenge our indifference. Tale aftertale ofenormous pain and suffering contrast with the strident tones of competing nationalism. There is for example Kamalam:
In 1985, the army took her son away and he never reappeared. She then worshipped his photograph and prayed for him daily until her house went up in flames when a gasoline bomb was dropped by a helicopter gunship. She now sits in a refugee camp in India and every morning she goes to the ocean and sits there staring out to sea. Whenever people ask her why, she says poignantly, “tomorrow my son might come”. Then there is Karunaharen, a sixteen-year-old boy. The Indian Peacekeeping Force stopped him and his sister. While he waited on the road, his sister was taken into a house. He heard her screams. He ran to the window to watch her being raped and then killed. He fled in terror to his home. His parents worrying for his safety just bought a ticket and put him on a plane to Canada. When he reached Seattle in the US, he was taken off the plane and put in a detention centre with a criminal gang from the Seattle area. There he was gang raped and beaten by members of the gang. He was finally saved by a sympathetic prison guard who handed him over to a Tamil lawyer living in Seattle. In retelling stories recounted by Daniel, there is also Shanmugham, aged twenty-eight. He escaped the July 1983 riots and went to Jaffna. There one day he was interrogated and tortured by the security forces. After that he was picked up by the LTTE who according to his own words "relentlessly tortured him' to find out what he told the secu
15 APRIL 2001
rity forces. When he was released by the LTTE, he was picked up by the EPRLF and tortured about what he had told the LTTE. Finally he escaped, went on foot to Mannar and then took a boat to India.
Then there is Punitham. She had lost her father and brothers to the war. She had only a son and daughter. She wanted to save the life of her son and send him to safety. She sold all her possessions and bought a ticket for her son to go to Germany. She then handed him over to "uncles', human smugglers engaged in the trade. She has not heard from him since but still feels that she had given him the gift of life. She told the interviewer, "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't pray for him and weep for him. He was my only son. He is my only son. I am glad he did not die for Sri Lanka or for Eelam. “Maybe he will remember Tamil. That is enough. He will be a German-Tamil. That is enough.”
The Anthropology of Pain
In my work I have spent a great deal of time with women victims of violence. And yet we cannot forget the expectation and suffering of sons and boys.
Because of the armed conflict, young Sri Lankan males, both Sinhala and Tamil have different role models for being "masculine'. Gone are the images of the schoolteacher in Arya Sinhala or the young Tamil accountant/engineer.
Increasingly being masculine in both communities' means wearing camouflage and carrying an AK47. Increasingly being masculine means fighting, dying and shedding blood. Violence has become a central element of Sri Lankan masculinity. Being male in Sri Lanka is to be aggressive, violent and fearless. Punitham put her son on a plane to save him from this ideal, of having to fight and die to live with dignity. The repercussions of these habits of masculinity, of these ways of being male, will haunt Sri Lanka long after the war is over.
It is not only the Tamils who suffer. Unfortunately there is not much scholarship on actual case studies of Sinhalese and Muslim direct victims of ethnic violence, written by those who are concerned with what has now come to be called "the anthropology of pain', even though there has been some recent scholarship on the JVP period. However, there are many fact-finding reports
and third party acco dous violence that S lims have had to suff of this conflict. A rec films by young and capture the fate of th from Sinhala areas ally fight this war. and villages devast and violence result Survivors of LTTE villages have also sp tality and violence th stant fear of being a from forces emergi haunts their every a
A report on th shows the indiscrin ture of the violence v deliberate aim of cleansing. Psycholo South of the countr with the issues ofg ing from bomb expli not to mention the There are also the st families who have their homes in the NGOs working wit Puttalam have a gre about the trauma an victims. Internecinę common in the East of the East an unea ists reflecting a ver tween the communi
In the refugee ( fare centres, Tam Muslims, one milli handouts from the displaced they hav their minds, how next day.
Whatever the f Lanka, the time m must courageously lence that we have vidually and colle defines "social suf astating injuries tha on human experien fer because of the ated with the life ( natural disaster. Ol cause of Social anc that target them. cause someone els them, or feels that t in pursuit of abstra
unts of the horreninhalese and Musr during the course 2nt spate of Sinhala brave filmmakers e rural young men who have to actuhey show families ated by loss, grief ng from this war. attacks on border oken about the bruley face. Their contacked in the night ng from the jungle ction.
attack in Boatte inate, barbaric na/ith the obvious and intimidation and gists working in the y are overwhelmed iefand loss resultosions in Colombo, sheer loss of life. ories of the Muslim been driven out of North and the East. h these families in 'at deal of evidence d suffering of these warfare was once and in certain parts isy equilibrium exy fragile peace beties. amps and the welils, Sinhalese and on strong, wait for tate. Homeless and only one thing on o survive the very
uture holds for Sri ust come when we ake stock of the viosuffered both inditively. Veena Das ering” as “the devsocial force inflicts ce". People can suformal grief associycle, or because of they can suffer bepolitical strategies hey can suffer beimagines a life for ey can be sacrificed ct principles or pas
sions of honour. They can suffer because others can make decisions for them, decisions often affecting their life, death and survival. Violence in pursuit of preserving the nation by the Sri Lankan state and violence in search of a new nation state by the Tamil Tigers has resulted in unimaginable social suffering. The injuries from this confrontation have been so devastating, destroying human beings, extracting enormous pain and suffering and creating a totally traumatized population in the North and East and in some parts of the South. All this suffering has been justified in the search of elusive and imagined goals of victory and glory.
“Social Suffering", then must be centrepiece concern of the peace proc
The voices of those who suffer most should not be ignored in pursuit of abstract goals of conflict resolution or military victories a la Clausewitz. Negotiators in Oslo cannot just sign away the rights and concerns of the civilians of these areas in any formal agreement between the combating parties. Humanitarian and civilian needs must be a cornerstone of any lasting agreement. It is time that we think of those who have borne the brunt of this war the civilians living in the North and East.
Seeking Oracle's Intercession
Patricia Lawrence in her work on the eastern province tells us of a place where the secrets of this armed conflict are revealed in hushed whispers. In the eastern province, the oracles of the Goddess construct a sacred space where the army and the LTTE do not venture. It is the ordinary citizen who comes there to ask the oracle to plead with the Goddess to intercede on their behalf and relieve their suffering. Sitting next to the oracle, Patricia Lawrence was able to hear the stories and thoughts of ordinary people, thoughts and stories they would not dare tell others because of the fear and pain they feel when they relive them. Stories are told to the Oracle in hushed whispers of rape, of torture, of extortion, of fear, of anxiety, of mental illness, of physical pain, of suffering so terrible that the Oracle herself bends in two when she hears them. All these stories relate to the war. The Oracle plays the part of healer, intervenor and counsellor. She absorbs the pain within her body and speaks to the Goddess. She is
often overwhelmed. No one who has been privy to what is told in whispers to the oracle in the Eastern province would be able to justify even one more day of this terrible war.
The Terror of Silence
Veena Das, Valentine Daniel, Patricia Lawrence, all the South Asian scholars who have engaged closely with victims of violence point to the fact that silence is the common reaction of those who suffer violence. In my work as Special Rapporteur, I have found the same thing. When you speak to those who suffer unmentionable violence and ask them to tell you their story, they are often speechless. Some may never speak. Others claim that “words don't come', or that ideas do not form. I have often thought that for victims of violence, the pain is so deep and the anger so fierce that words fail them. Das and Daniel claim that it is even more than that. Being human inevitably entails communication and relationships, and therefore, the refusal to communicate, or the inability to communicate, is a refusal or an inability to be human.
The silence is then a withdrawal from participating in humanity. Silence is before thought, before imagination. It is the void. It is terror. If peace talks are to begin, the victims of this war, both Sinhala and Tamil have to move beyond the terror of silence. Negotiators must be forced to remember that there is more to this conflict than the political resolution of constitutional boundaries.
In conclusion, I have memories of this old Tamil lady in her eighties from Jaffna who boarded a SriLankan Airways flight to London. She wore a white sari, a sign of her widowhood and a large pair of spectacles. I offered to help her with her immigration forms. She sat next to me and would not say a word. During take, off, landing and moments of turbulence, she held my hand tight for reassurance. She had never been on a plane. Throughout the flight a steady stream of tears poured down her face. When I asked her what was wrong, she brushed me aside. She refused to speak. Like Kamalam, she would just stare into space. Her silence was laden with so much pain and suffering. It is her voice that we must capture. It is her anxieties and insecurities that we must address. Any peace process to be fair, effective and just must give her centre stage. O
Sri Lank P.
Speech by His E Commissioner of Gopalakrishna Gal Awards Ceremony award for the best English was end Ondaatje, in rer mother, from the for his novel, The Sri Lanka, “pei dia’s past, present : but linked, all but
Nature has use clasp for its genetic est refraction has e valve of mind and India's Spirit no les no less than ethni life on this isle. Sri dia miniaturized. sub-continental ge has acquired a hu that stands apart fr Sri Lanka deriv not of it; she owes only to herself. Ifh her exclusivity, gec it but after - almost Consider the Palk Sri Lanka from th series of shy is Mannar and Dha that sliver of sea. ther joining up no are an elliptical strung on a filame it requires expertis is India's and thi can imagine two Geo and a girl, scotch on these is nor losing. Just pl; tousled by the sa Salinity is sha and creates mor other substance it ever So narrow, e ders continuity a side of the brine other, thine. And this shore, but e sea - this ceases yours. Tuna mo one territorial w trespass. But the
15 APRIL 2001
, Perfect Window to India's st, Present and Future
cellency the High India in Sri Lanka, dhi, at the Gratiaen 2001. The Gratiaen ri Lankan fiction in wed by Michael embrance of his Booker Prize award English Patient). fect window' to Innd future We are all he same.
India as an oyster S. A pearl of the rarmerged from that bimatter, as Sri Lanka. S than its seed, ethos ity have quickened Lanka is, to wit, InAnd yet, within its station, this diveepa : all its own, a glint om its originations. ves from India but is to India but belongs story has vouchsafed ography has validated - changing its mind. Straits, which set off 2 Indian coastline. A ets between Talai nushkodi hyphenate They hyphenate, neistaying apart. They fridge of sand-discs it chain of salt, where to say this one, here, one, Sri Lanka's. I hildren, a boy called 'olity, playing hoplets, neither winning ying, their little heads ne wind. p. Salt-water divides decisively than any nature. The sea, be it er so superficial, sund nature. So that this comes mine and the otjust this land-side, n this stretch of the o be mine, becomes 2 unblinkingly from er to another; prawn ure tuna, prawn. They
are free to do so. Not so the fishers of tuna, prawn. And they - the fishers - are netted. By Immigration.
Near can be far. "Here', in a trice, can become "there'.
India and Sri Lanka, as coastal states, know that sovereignty can end or begin with a fish's fin. Monkfish Moon could never have been written in India. But nowhere can it be understood better than in India. Understood under the skin, Funny Boy could not have been written in India, for it tells a Lankan tale, but India does understand why “Ammachi (in Jaffna) phoned Nages Aunty to find out if it was safe to send Radha Aunty by train. (And) Nages Aunty said that the tension had died down and that she had arranged for a police friend of hers to escort Radha aunty to the station (to take the train that would take her to Colombo)". Nowhere other than on the subcontinent of India can one understand in our very beings the hazards that train journeys can entail. Train journeys, that is, from one ethnocentricity to another. Both in India and in Sri Lanka, the longer, overnight-type of journeys are journeys from one major ethnic ambience to another. Majorly different, to employ a word disallowed in grammar, yet majorly linked ambiences. "Ceylon' wrote Ananda Coomaraswamy "is a more perfect window to gaze on India's past than can be found in India itself". He is right. The question arises: Is Sri Lanka, the window to India's past, also frozen in the same past? Or is it a window to gaze on India’s present and India’s future, a window that is keeping time with the transformations in the subject of its gaze? Is the window learning, unlearning, borrowing without inhibition, discarding without regret 2 Or is it a painting of Still Life, fixated on some one image of India?
There are those who would like to freeze India and Sri Lanka in the time warps of their preference. I have found with more irritation than surprise the following account in a 1996 British publication dealing with literature on the Indian sub-continent. Writing on "the first historic settlements' in Sri Lanka
15 APRIL 2001
it says: "These settlers came from India, and were composed of Sinhalese from north India, speaking an IndoAryan language and Tamils from South , India speaking a Dravidian language'. Doubtless the writer thinks they came on an upper and lower deck of the same ark, one marked "North Indians headed for Southern Ceylon' and the other "South Indians headed for Northern Ceylon'. Who is to explain to these simple labellers of the world's population that even in that remote antiquity those who moved out of India were unrecognizably inter-bred even before the Tamil queens at Polonnaruwa and the Nayakkar kings of Kandy contributed to the ethnic toss-up of the genetic dice in this dveepa, so that a "throw’ can land on any one of the DNA's multiple faces? India is a civilisation of many constants and many more variables, which is why it is perennial. Only that which moves, stays'.
Barring some prismatists most Lankans know that their window gaze of India is, essentially, the gaze of one dynamic pluralism at another. Likewise, barring some incorrigible ethnicists, most Indians know the diversity of their component parts to be part of a mosaic, which is, in turn, fascinating, bewildering, exasperating, traumatizing but which is always-India, greater than the sum of its parts. Like pieces in a kaleidoscope, forming new patterns with each turn of Time's hand-new patterns that yet remain, each in itself, the same. So that when an earthquake brings apart of India down, something survives the rubble, something vital, something deathless. Deathless not just because it is a billion plus strong, but because it is - India. A torment to the dividers-up of the world into neat blocs, a nightmare to colonialists and post-colonialists unlike, an impossibility to all categorizers, north-south wallas, second-world-thirdworld types, an oxymoron for segregationists, integra-tionists, congregationists, India is a delight, a joy and a rap
ture for the highe Also, of course, ev for lamentation, so contemplation. Su of laughter and of of self-confidence dreams. But a hou; The literatures as, for that matter, c tinent bear a famil cannot but since th selves. Tagore, I Bharati and Ananc created national - a alist - verse of th Bengali, Urdu, Tar - thank God - their wise, Vikram Seth atje when writing about India and Sr the same chapter South Asians, hav araswamy has wr Ceylon is incomp cal Indian in me w read that line. I rea put in exactly thos out Ceylon is inco Coomaraswamy w of Ceylon as a per on India's past, Iw by that line - "Ind incomplete"? And templation, I unde it perfectly. Just a ponents of India, r to complete India, sion of India's non imperium of huma Lanka complete I Sri Lanka is r epilogue to the Ta epigram that enca the pith, the quin the fifth, that con the proverbial “f form and pervad Not for nothing i perfect window t dow that sees it is up. Equally, it is ;
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human sensibility. r so often, a cause ow and, always, for h is lndia. A house ain, of remorse and of memory, and of e that is itself. f India or Sri Lanka the whole sub-conresemblance; they ey are true to thembal, Nazrul Islam, a Samarakoon have s opposed to nation2 same timbre. Yet il and Sinhala retain individualities. Likeand Michael Onda, albeit in English Lanka, write about of life in which we, been sited. Coomtten "India without ete”. The geopoliti'as a little startled to dit again. Yes, it was 2 words. "India withmplete". What could ho has also spoken fect window to gaze ondered, have meant ia without Ceylon is after a while of conrstood; I understood is the different comemaining distinct, go so also in the dimen-territorial culture, its n pluralism, does Sri ndia. ot a postscript or an ctatus Indica. It is the sulates the epic. It is essence, the quintus, ludes and completes our essences' which the culture of India. Sri Lanka the most ecause if it is a winlso one that can show window that can see
Sri Lanka cannot forget India in her thoughts and writings because she cannot forget her derivations. She cannot ignore India, for she cannot ignore diversities. She cannot forsake India for she cannot forsake her destiny. India and Sri Lanka recognise themselves in one another. We see in the other, the prides and prejudices, we know, and the littleness that often mar our daily lives. Equally, we see our humanity, our keenness of mind, our largeness of heart. We have, I am afraid, no way of forgetting what we have not relished. But per haps we can remember without recrimination. We have, I am afraid, no way of repaying what we have borrowed. But perhaps we can lend without arrogance and borrow without feeling crushed by the debt, for do we not know that each loan between peoples has come from a borrowing. And let us remember, in the umbilism of the Palk Straits, we are allbut linked, all-but-the-same. Thank God for distinctions which do not divide, the similarities which do not typify. Thank God, too, that Geo and Polity can hopscotch under a shared, mellow sun, rather than squabble at the solstice of competitive arrogance.
May something in us never grow out of innocence into the venality of modern adulthood. Let the world worship globalisation and wire-connected globalism. Let us celebrate something akin but also fundamentally different: let us celebrate internationalism which, in the words of Coomaraswamy: "Is the recognition of the rights of others to their selfdevelopment and of the incompleteness of the civilized world if their special culture - contribution is missing”. And may the literatures of Sri Lanka - English, Sinhala, Tamil - which we celebrate today, with the help of Michael Ondaatje's endowment, help Sri Lanka, the "perfect window', to gaze at India's past, present and future, and in doing so, see not just its mould but its soulmate.
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15 APRIL 2001
PROFESSOR C J ELIE
A Tribute by Brian Senewiratne University of Queensland, Brisbane,A
(Extracts from a speech in Brisbane on 8.04.20
t is an honour for me, a Sinhalese, to be asked to speak on the life of a great Tamil whom I have known for half a century. It is an emotional task for me and if I am unable to complete some sentences it is not that I do not know what to say but that I am unable to say it. I guess it should not all be sadness but a celebration of an extraordinary life, a life well spent.
As a fellow academic I will list out his amazing academic achievements. He has the best academic record of anyone that Sri Lanka has produced in the past 2000 years.
I will speak of our mutual commitment to the struggle of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka to live with equality, dignity and safety in the country of their birth. Eliezer's commitment to his people extended to the expatriate Tamil community in Australia. This was recognised by the Australian Government who awarded him the coveted Order of Australia, Australia Medal (AM). He was also honoured in October 1997 by those who are shedding their blood to establish a Separate State with their highest award, Maamanithar, meaning "Great Man", for his "patriotic service to the cause of national freedom'. His death will obviously be an enormous loss to Tamils both in Sri Lanka and abroad. It will be an even greater loss to non-Tamils such as myself who have voluntarily joined the struggle to free the Tamil people from Sinhalese domination and discrimination. We leaned on him so much. Even in the closing years of his life when he was unable to play an active role, he was still there to lean on.
It is said that no one is indispensable. I do not believe this. In the context of the chaos in Sri Lanka, four people have been indispensable - Bishop Lakshman Wickremasinghe, Bishop Leo Nanayakkara, Vijaya Kumaratunga (the current President's assassinated husband) and Christie Jeyaratnam Eliezer. My worry is that I cannot see replacements for these people even in the distant hori
Eliezer was born in 1918 in Point Pedro and educated in Hartley College Jaffna. Even as a child he showed an in
terest in mathematics, sand in those lovely be so well. The arithmet stroke of the hand and ated.
He entered the Cey lege, the precursor o Colombo. The Univer lished by the British ir was affiliated to the don and granted exte and BSc of the Londo expected to become a years. It took twenty
Permit me to digre tell Sri Lankans some know. Tamils had t vanced education in . than l92 l, in fact a hu In 1823 the American the Batticotta Seminar British historian Sir assessed as equal in ) pean universities. It pr C.W Thamotharamp Judge in Madras anc dian State of Puthok( tunately the Seminar decades when the N funds.
Eliezer entered College in Colombo bridge University wł in Mathematics and and got a First Class
doing sums on the aches which I know ic was erased by a a new 'slate' cre
lon University Colf the University of sity College, estab1921 in Colombo, University of Loninal degrees of BA n University. It was University in a few
ss for a moment and thing they may not heir centres of adaffna much earlier ndred years earlier. missionaries set up y which the eminent Èmmerson Tennent ank to many Eurooduced scholars like llai, a High Court
Regent in the Intai in 1892. Unforclosed after a few fission ran out of
ceylon University nd went on to Camere he did a degree rheoretical Physics in the Mathematics
Tripos (a "Wrangler" in Cambridge jargon - a special term reserved for those who got a First Class in Mathematics because it is so incredibly difficult). He won numerous prizes and awards, including the Sir Isaac Newton Scholarship in 1942 and the coveted Smith Prize in 1943.
He went on to do a PhD under the Nobel Prize Winner Paul Dirac in 1945. The research for his PhD was on the Spinning Electron and the Electromagnetic Field. The following year (1946) he was elected a Fellow of Christs College, Cambridge. I know of no other Ceylonese who has achieved this distinction. He was awarded the Charles Mayer Award by the American Academy of Science in 1947.
Unbelievably he found time to study law and qualified as a Barrister (Inner Temple) in 1949.
About this time the Chair of Mathematics fell vacant in the University in Colombo and the authorities approached Cambridge for a (white) man to fill the Chair. Cambridge replied that the best one they could find was none other than a Ceylonese — Christie Eliezer.
Eliezer was appointed Professor of Mathematics in Colombo in 1949 at the ripe old age of 31, the youngest person ever to be appointed to a Chair in that University. He was the Dean of the Faculty of Science in 1954 before he was 40
He presented papers in Conferences on the "Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy "in Geneva, Vienna and Bombay. He won a Fullbright Scholarship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton in the USA. There he worked with the world famous Dr Robert Oppenheimer, the Director of the Institute. He also held appointments in the University of Chicago. In 1953 Eliezer had the extraordinary honour of being invited to discuss his research with Einstein, yes The Einstein (Professor Albert Einstein). I know of no other Sri Lankan who has got within a mile of this legend.
It was about this time that I first met Professor Eliezer. I entered the Science Faculty in the Colombo University in 1951 to do a degree in Zoology. It was at a University Student Christian Movement meeting, a group strongly supported by Eliezer, that a soft spoken young man in his early 30s asked me what Faculty I had joined and what I was doing. I thought he was a young lecturer and when he had moved off I asked someone, "Who is that very pleasant guy?" "Don't you know him? He is the famous Professor Eliezer who had that extraordinary career in Cam
bridge". I met him at several of the SCM meetings. He always chuckled, it was a characteristic. He even chuckled in October 2000, the last time we were to meet.
In 1954, I left the Ceylon University for England to study medicine and entered Cambridge University. At the "Fresher's Welcome' tea party, the Vice Chancellor asked me, "And where do you come from young man?' I said "Ceylon". "Ah!", he exclaimed, "that is where Eliezer came from". I told him that the comparison must end right there to avoid disappointment. I said that Eliezer was in a different league and that it was like comparing Frank Worrell with the local village cricket captain because they both came from the same country. My degree results confirmed my pessimism. I passed the Tripos but not with medals and awards
Let me digress for a moment to give you an example of Eliezer's extraordinary modesty. Many years later, in the mid 1980s, when the two of us were in New York to address a Conference on Eelam, we shared a room. Having exhausted every issue on the Sri Lankan problem, I said, "For a change, tell me what you did in Cambridge'. His response was, "Exactly the same as you did l3 years later. I studied and passed the exam. That is all',
There was not a worc being a Maths Wra awards, the PhD und ner, being elected a bridge College or til was Eliezer - a man esty.
I came back to C married (to a Tamil) be, W.T.I.Alagaratr nese Director of Irr sive inquiries abou friend Christie Eliez. This was apparentl turned to England daughter, now Kal Commendably she spite being marrie whose home has bei with papers on Eel Indonesia, Sierra Le public hospitals in knows what else, str so that walking or S The Tamils who hav a Tamil to a roaring loss - she is a 'sle many of her ilk wh the Tamil struggle i
In 1956 when started playing opp
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about the First Class,
gler, the prizes, the ra Nobel Prize Wina fellow of a Came Law degree. That funbelievable mod
eylon in 1956 to get My father-in-law to am, the first Ceylogation, made extentime. He called his :r who gave me a tick. sufficient and I rewith his youngest mallini Senewiratne. has remained so dei to a rabid activist n turned into a mess um, East Timor, Fiji, 'one, the chaos in the Australia and God ewn around the house itting is not possible. eproduced Tigers lost Sinhala Lion. No great eping Tamil' like so o do not know what s all about. S.W.D Bandaramaike prtunistic politics and
15 APRIL 2001
changed the Official Language from English to Sinhalese, Eliezer, then Dean ofthe Faculty of Science, played a crucial role in safeguarding the Tamil students from racists in the University Council.
The Vice Chancellor at the time was the utterly racist Sir Nicholas Attygalle and the Chancellor, that subtle racist Dudley Senanayake. These two and other racists in the University Council held the view that following Bandaranaike’s Sinhala Only Act, Tamil should not be a medium of instruction in the University. This was a diabolical misinterpretation of the Act. As Bandaranaike had stated in the Bill, the Sinhala Only Act was to be applied to administration only and to not the language of education. It was Professor Eliezer and Senator A.M.A. Azeez, the Principal of a Muslim school who was also on the University Council, who thwarted this blatant attempt by racists in the University Council to discriminate against the Tamils. Eliezer and Azeez had the support of none other than Bandaranaike himself. How do I know this? I had it from Bandaranaike himself, whose tennis partner I was He told me that Eliezer was the most intelligent and sincere person he had ever met. Coming as it did from someone who was closely associated with people
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like Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and Sir Anthony Eden, the Prime Minister of Britain, it was some compliment. After the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1958 when armed Sinhalese hoodlums attacked Tamil people and their homes, Eliezer left Ceylon (1959) to take up what he thought was going to be a 2 year assignment in Malaya as Professor of Mathematics in the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. However, with the deteriorating situation in Ceylon, he decided to stay on in Malaysia and Ceylon lost another of its talented sons, perhaps its most famous. He remained in Malaysia till 1968.
In 1968 he was appointed as the Foundation Professor of Applied Mathematics in the newly established La Trobe University in Melbourne. He held the post till he retired in 1983. During this 15-year period he served as the Chairman of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Dean of the School of Physical Sciences. He also served as Chairman of the Academic Board and even acted as the ViceChancellor.
When he retired, the University established the Eliezer Prize in Applied Mathematics awarded annually to 2nd year students. A large fund was established, Supported by very large contributions from many of his former students and colleagues throughout the world, showing the very highesteem the was held in.
Even after his retirement, he continued his research in Quantum Theory and Relativity, Symmetrics of Differential Equations and Mathematical Inequalities. I gather that in atomic physics there is even a theory called “The Eliezer Theory”.
In addition to numerous research publications, he wrote two texts on "Concise Vector Analysis" and "Statics' and even one on Christianity titled " Evolution Creation or What' in 1996.
I returned to the Sri Lanka as Associate Professor of Medicine in Kandy the same year (1968) that Eliezer came to Australia. I was appalled at the sight of thousands of Tea estate workers (Plantation Tamils) dying in the streets of Kandy. They were the people who, by their slave labour had put Sri Lanka on the international map. They were being thrown out of the miserable sheds (“coolie lines”) by Sinhalese hoodlums, presumably with the blessings of Mrs. Bandaranaike's government. I picked up these miserable people from the streets in Kandy and admitted them to my ward where they could die with dignity. Eliezer who was by then in Australia heard about this and wrote me a letter quoting the Bible "Ye are the salt of the earth”. This encouraged me to con
tinue the work with r was what Eliezer did in other areas - to Eliezer was, in fact, ( to campaign for that ignored group. He p were severely disad education and health I followed Elieze to take up a univer Brisbane. Thousand. in this vast country, knew he was there a tered.
When that despi J. R. Jayawardene con of vandalism and ha in Jaffna burnt (l shocked. I called Eli he was the only one I calling. He strongly saying that it "...cut records of an ancient to a valuable educa only to thousands of used the Library da tional scholars of named Jayawardene ters Cyril Math Dissanayake who h Jaffna Supposedly to cil elections who wa brary from the Go across the road.
The 1983 massa me deeply. I felt tha to tender an apology which is more that could do. I sat up a booklet, "The 198. s wered Questions Jayawardene, his C their hoodlums res. on Sri Lanka. Eliez Foreword. I was del not that what he sa tirely accurate
We met again in 1980s. It was, I thin ference which I wa Eliezer was in the gathering of Tamils the saner members ( Sinhalese.
After the New cided to do a world uninformed what th all about. We Athulathmudali (Ja of Security or, mol rity) and correct the tion he was propag lighted to have a Sir elated to have some
newed vigour. That in Mathematics and encourage people. ne of the few Tamils much neglected and pinted out that they antaged in housing,
to Australia in 1976 sity appointment in
of kilometres apart we rarely met but I ind that is what mat
cable man President Imitted that worst act d the Public Library
June 1981) I was ezer simply because could think of worth condemned this act,
the heart strings to past It denied access tional resource, not school children who tly, but also internaTamil research. He 's two racist Minisew and Gamini lad been sent up to oversee district countched the burning livernment rest house
tre of Tamils affected tas a Sinhalese I had to the Tamil people, what Jayawardene ill night and wrote a Massacre , Unan”, in which I held abinet Ministers and Ionsible for this blot r offered to write the ghted and honoured, d about me was en
New York in the mid « the 4th Eelam Cons invited to address. hair at that massive non-Sri Lankans and fmy community, the
ork meeting we detour to explain to the current struggle was ecided to follow "awardene's Minister e accurately, Inseculies and misinformating. Eliezer was dehalese with him. I was ne of his calibre sup
porting me. Since then we have been in close contact despite the distance that separated us in this vast country.
After the 1983 pogrom in the Sri Lankan South, Eliezer worked tirelessly to get the Australian Government to open the doors of this country to Tamils whose safety was in doubt. Every Tamil who has got into Australia as a refugee (and even some who have not come as refugees) owe their existence here to Eliezer. He lobbied everyone and had the doors of this noteasy-to-get-into country opened.
He was the Founder of the Australian Federation of Tamil Associations in 1984. It is now a vast organisation of l l Tamil Associations covering the whole of Australia and New Zealand. He was Founder President from 1984 till he died in 2001. His contribution to the welfare of the Tamil community was recognised by the Australian Government which awarded him the Order of Australia, Australia Medal, on the recommendation of the Honours Committee. Eliezer himself preferred to see himself as "a citizen of the world', which he sure was.
Professor Eliezer died on 10 March 2000 a few days after his last call to me. I went down for the funeral in Melbourne. It was one of the most impressive funerals I have ever attended. It was a clear reflection of the esteem he was held in. Nearly 1000 people mainly Tamils, but Some non-Sri Lankans and even a few sane members of my community, the Sinhalese, were there.
We grieve for Professor Eliezer but grieving alone is not enough. We must construct a memorial for him. What better memorial than the establishment of a separate Tamil State, Eelam, so that his people in the North and East of Sri Lanka could live with equality, dignity, and free of discrimination in the country of their birth. This is what he yearned for and this is what will have to be delivered. It is our business, indeed our obligation, to see that it is delivered.
Goodbye Professor Eliezer. It was my privilege and good fortune to have known you for half a century and worked with you for the last 18 years. I grieve at the loss of a close friend but I also celebrate a life well spent, all the way to the very end. Rani Eliezer and her family must be very proud of a man of extreme brilliance with an amazing academic record, a tireless worker for human rights, a humanist, not just a Tamil but a true citizen of the world who achieved a great deal but was so humble, so unassuming and painfully modest. He has been a role model and an inspiration to us all. O
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WEDDING BELLS Mohan Son Of Mrs N. Sivagnanasundram and the late Mr. V. Sivagnanasundram (Churchill) of 1 Paradise Place, St. Clair, NSW 2759, Australia and Radha daughter of Mrs. P Krishnanandan and the late Dr. S. Krishnanandan of 16/2 Hampden Lane, Colombo 6, Sri Lanka on 6th April 2001 at Chandra Mouleeswarar Temple, Anna Nagar, Madras, India - 77 Coulter Ave., Toronto, Ontario M9N 1 P7, Canada.
Flat Sale A First Floor Flat with Shared Freehold in Colombo 5, Near Bannbalapitiya COn Vent. Please Contact: 916 344 8864 (USA) *
Mrs. Theresa Mariathason of Bambalapitiya Flats, Colombo, Sri Lanka, beloved wife of late Mr. K.A. Mariathason of Education Department, Colombo 2; loving mother of Mano, Gnanam, (UK), Maragatham (Sri Lanka), Soundari, Rajah (UK), Lawrence (Germany), Thiru (UK), mother-in-law of Ratna, Queenie (UK), Chelappah (Sri Lanka), Selva, Rajini (UK), Maheswary (Germany), Ramya (UK); grandmother of Ravi (Australia), Dharshini, Ophilia, Selvi, Priya (all of UK), Pratheesh, Anusha (Sri Lanka) Mellanie, Aaron, Romesh, Rajiv (all of UK) Nidharshini (Germany); Great grandmother of Jade, Ritchi (Raj) (UK); Great grandmother-in-law of James and Shanthan (UK) passed away in Sri Lanka on 28th March 2001 and was buried at the General Cennetery, Kanatte, Borella, Sri Lanka on 31st March 2001.
Mr. & Mrs M.P. Chelvanayagam of Redhill, Surrey and all family members wish to thank all friends and relatives who attended the funeral, sent floral tributes, messages of sympathy, assisted and Supported them during the period of bereavement. They regrel their inability to thank them individually - 6 Brook Road, Redhill, Surrey RH1 6DL, UK. Email: mpcGtalk.21.com
15 APRIL 2001
Mrs Ponnammah Suppiah, beloved wife of the late Arumugam Suppiah (formerly of PM.G's office and C.T.O., Colombo) passed away peacefully on 7th March 2001 at the age of 85 years. She is the dear nother of Dr. Puvirajasingham and dear motherin-law of Jegatheswarie with whom she was living in UK for the last seven years, and mother of Mangaiarkarasy and nother-in-law of SivaSothinathan of Canada. She is also doting grandmother of Nlirmalan, Shivani and Jarnarni all of UK and Sivakanthan, Sathiyaraj, Ramanan all of Canada. She is also grandaunt of Sivasothi (Rasu), UK and great grandmother of Ganesh and Jyothi.
The family wish to thank all friends and relatives who supported them with messages of condolence, attending the funeral and visiting the home both before and after the funeral and bringing flowers, food and Other refreshments during this time. - 76, Rating Lате, Barrow-in-Furness, Cunnbria LA 13 9LD. Phone Of22952f627.
Dr. K. Thirunavukkarasu
(Thiru), formerly Assistant Transportation Superintendent, Ceylon Government
Railways, dearly beloved hus
band of Dr. Sathiamalar; loving father of Yamuna, Menaha and Sukanya; father-in-law of lan Purcell; grandfather of lisha, brother of Jayaseelan, late Mangayarkkarasi Nagendran, Prof. Arulananthan, Ullaganathan, Manoranjitham, Capt. Chandran, Sathanandan and Athiroopawathy Jeyapalan passed away on 27th March 2001 in Cambridge, United Kingdom and was cremated in Cambridge on 31st March.
The members of the family Wish to thank all friends and relatives who attended the funeral, sent floral tributes and messages of sympathy and assisted them in several ways during the period of bereavement. — 20 Coppice Avenue, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB25AO, UK.
Appreciation on page 33.
BOrn. 21. 2. 1916 Died: 08.02.2001 Eliathamby Rasakulasuriar, Retired Chief Mechanical Engineer, Sri Lankan Government Railways; beloved husband of Kamalambikai; son of late Eliathamby and Aachikutti; son-in-law of late A. K. Ponniah and of Mrs. Kankamma Ponniah passed away suddenly on the 8th of February 2001 and Was Crennated at the South Essex Crematorium, UK on the 12th of February.
He was a Wonderful and loving father of Ganesh, Kanthini, Suresh (all of UK), Rohini and Sharmini (both of USA); fatherin-law of Usha, Sheila (both of UK), Vannikumar and Sritharan (both of USA), loving brother of late Mrs PaakialakShmi Sathasivann, Muttiah Sinnarasa, late Mrs. Sivagnanapotham, late Rasaratnam, late Thambapillai and late Sellathurai; brotherin-law of Kesabanathan, late Mrs. Thillaiampalam, late
continued on page 31
15 APRIL 2001
continued from page 30
Pathmanathan, Dr. Ragunathan, Ramanathan, Swaminathan, RasalakShinj Jeganathan (Kili), Kamaladevi Varunalingam (Sinnakili), Mrs. Muthiah and Mrs. Sinnarasa, uncle of T. Jeganathan, loving grandfather of Arjuna, Sudhakar, Maiurun, Amitla (USA) and Naresh.
Mr. Rasakulasuriar was a keen sportsman and was one of the past Secretaries of the well known Moor Road, Wella watte Recreation and Dramatic Club in the nineteen forties for 25 years.
His wife, children and other members of the family wish to extend their sincere thanks and gratitude to all friends and relatives who visited them, attended the funeral, sent cards and messages of sympathy, floral tributes and for all the kind deeds offered to us during the period of intense sadness and sorrow. - Mrs. K. Rasakulasuriar, 3 MVilmot House, Wilmot Green, Brentwood, Essex CM133DF
Dr. Nagalingam Kandasamy, retired General Practitioner, Liverpool; dearly beloved husband of Vadivambikai; loving father of Indraranjan, Anushia and Krishnamuhunthan; father-in-law of Kathryn and Indrakumar, brother of N. Vellupilai and N. Kumarasamy, brother-in-law of Kethies Thuraisingham, Thevakie Karunakaran, Yasothai Sivathondan, Radha Ruthiramoorthy, Pam, Nandapallan Thuraisingham, Saroja and Swarna, devoted grandfather of Anita, Tanya, Oliver and Lauren passed away on Friday, 16th March 2001. Funeral took place on Saturday, 24th March in Sutton, Surrey.
The family are sincerely grateful to friends and relatives who attended the funeral, sent
floral tributes, messages of sympathy and assisted in numerous ways during the period of great sorrow. IN MEMORAM Tenth Anniversary Remembrance
In everloving memory of Mr. Velupillai Nadarajah, former Director, Ceylon School of Social Work, son of the late Mr. & Mrs. Velupillai of Chetty Street, Nallur, Sri Lanka; sonin-law of the late Mr. & Mrs. K. Muttulingam of Tellipallai, Sri Lanka on the tenth anniversary of his passing away on O4.04.91.
Sadly missed and fondly remembered by his beloved wife Muthu Ambikai; daughter Dr. Sakunthala, SOn Dr. Ravindran, Son-in-law Dr. Suresh Thayalan; daughter-in-law Meera, grandchildren Arjun, Nisha and Sathya - 11 Baronia Croft, Highwoods, Colchester, Essex CO45EF
in loving memory of Mr. Vaithilingam Sivagnanasundram (Churchill) on the second anniversary of his passing away on 11.04.99.
Fondly remembered by his beloved wife Nageswary (Lily), loving children Ranjan, Mohan, Thayan and Gowri, daughters-in-law Renuka, Radha and Premini; son-in-law Ajan, grandchildren Mathangi, Sangavi and Ranjitha, brother, sisters and their families - 1
Paradise Place, St. Clair, NSW 2759, Australia.
In loving memory of Mr. Thillairasah Thampu (Bas), Retired Teacher, on the first anniversary of his passing away on 17th April 2000.
Sadly missed and fondly remembered by his loving wife Saras, children Umaa and Hari; father-in-law Nadarajah (Malaysia), sisters Kunchakka, Pulanthakka (Colombo) and Chandakka (UK), brothers-inlaw Sathyanathan (Colombo) and Siva (Malaysia), sisters-inlaw Pathma Machchal (Canada) and Indra (Colombo); Selvam (Malaysia), Nieces, Nephews, friends and relatives. - 102 Cavendish Road, Colliers Wood, London SW19 2EZ Tel 020 85403678.
In loving memory of Mr. Visvalingam Sivasubramaniam, Principal Emeritus, Skanda
Varodaya College, Chunnakam on the fifth anniversary of his passing away on 26th April 1996.
Sadly missed and fondly remembered by his beloved wife Sironmany, children Dr. Sivanandarajah, SivagnanaSunderam, Dr. Sivapalan, Sivathasan, Sivaratnam, Sivaman Oharan and Sivaloshanadevi; son-in-law Thavarajah; daughters-in-law Maninnehalade vi, Anandhi, Yogeswarу, Kamaladevy,
Supathiradevi and Devahi; grandchildren Sutharshan, Priyatharshini, Suseenthiran, Suhanthan, Sutharshika, Suloshan, Suthaharan, Sulakshan, Arooran, Gajamohan, Gajaharan and Vaishna. — 135A Sudbury Avenue, Wembley Middx HAO 6AW Tel: 020 8385 0477.
In loving memory of Mrs. Grace Nagaratnam Rasiah of Varuthalai-Vilan and Illavalai, beloved wife of the late Mr. M.A. Rasiah (former Headmaster) on the fourth anniversary of her passing away on 5th April 1997.
With fondest thoughts, and prayers from her family. - 40 Hillingdon Road, Kingswood, Watford, Herts WD2 6JG.
in loving memory of Mrs. Thaiyalnayaki Sivalingam on the second anniversary of her passing away on 18th April
Greatly missed and fondly remembered by loving children Jeyakumaran, Kaladevy, Gnanendran, Dr. Jeyagowri, Sureshkumar and Sivasuthan, sons-in-law Garneshamoorthy and Dr. Kumaran, daughtersin-law Yogendradevi, Vallinayaki, Malathy and Balasuhanthini, Sister Sethunayaki Sivasithamparam, grandchildren Havitha, Sinduja, Kalyan,
continued on page 32
continued from page 31
Neruban, Rathulan, Pratheeban, Apamah, Geevithan and Abisha. - 24 Sixth Cross Road, Twickenham, Middx. TWW2 5RB Tel 020 8977 6277
In loving memory of Ward & Davy Mr. Vythialingam Anandanadarajah, retired school principal, on the first anniversary of his passing away on 12th May 2000.
Sadly missed and fondly remembered by his children Skandamalar, Sivanandan, Sivakumari, Gayathri, Ravindran and Bhahirathan, SonSin-law lindrakumar, Santhirakumar and Shan Navaratnam, daughters-in-law Bhama, Vasundra and Vathsala, Sisters Kamalanayaki Param Thillairajah and Pathmavathy Balasingam, grandchildren Pradeep, Prasanna, Sharmatha, Murali, Brindan, Thayanuji, Sivanuji, Mayruja, Aarani, Luxmy, Kannan,
Vibushini, Kailesh, Lalithayini, Sanjutha and Shivanthi. - 4a Ringwood Road, Luton, Beds. Tel 01582582619.
In loving memory of Mr. Vellupillai Kumarasamy on the second anniversary of his passing away on 20th April
Fondly remembered and sadly missed by his beloved wife Sarojini; loving children Nirmala, Baskeran, Shyamala and Dayaharan, sons-in-law Rasalingam and Uthayakumaran, daughter-in-law Gnanamanohari; grandchildren Gayathiri, Gayan and Arjun, relatives and friends. - 24 Rowlands Avenue, Hatchend, Middx. HdA5 4BH / 37 Mississippi Road, Seven Hills, NSW2147, Australia / 10 Fairway Drive, Warick QLD 4370, Australia.
In Cherished memory of Mr. Chinnathampy Rasiah on the seventh anniversary of his passing away on 24.04.94.
Deep in our hearts you will always stay loved and remembered every day. Greatly loved and deeply missed by his sorrowing wife Gunamany, beloved children Rajan and Rajini loving daughter-in-law Janaki; son-in-law Lakshman, grandchildren Thabojan, Prashanth and Sulakshan; sister-in-law, nephews and nieces. - 14 Greenbriar Avenue, Wheelers Hill, Melbourne Vic 3150, Australia.
7 Sessions Road, Layafette 94549, California, USA.
15 APRIL 2001
FORTHCOMING EVENTS May 1 May Day. May 2 Feast of St. AthanaSiuS.
May 3 Eekathasi May 5 Pirathosam, South London Tamil Welfare Group (SLTVVG) Drop-in. Tel: O20 8542 3285. May 7 Full Moon (Sithara Paruvam).
May 10 Shasti. May 12 Feast of St. Mathias.
May 16 Feast of The AscenSion of The Lord Jesus Christ.
May 18 Eekathasi; Feast of St. John. May 20 Pirathosam; Feast of St. Bernardine of Siena. May 22 Amavasai; Karthigai. May 25 Feast of St. Bede. May 26 Sathurthi Feast of St. Neri.
May 27 Shashti; SLTWG Elders Day. Tel: 020 8542 3285; Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury. May 31 Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the Bhavan Centre, 4A Castletown Centre, London W14 9HQ. Te: O20 7381 3086,4068. May 13 6.30pm. The 2001 M.P. Birla Memorial Lecture on "Integration - What Next? by the Rt. Hon. Lord DhOllakia (Contact Bhavan if you wish to attend).
May 27 6. pm Mandolin Recital by Snehashish Manjubar.
Tamil Schools Sports
Association (UK) The Annual General Meeting of the above association was held on 11th February 2001 and the following office-bearers were elected.
President: Mr. S. Ratnajothy (St. Michaels College), Vice Presidents: Mrs. E. Gunaratnam (St. Patrick's College), Mr. V. Santhalingam (Hartley College) and Mrs. S. Selvarajah (Holy Family Convent, Ilavalai) Secretary: Mr. K. Seveal (Jaffna Hindu College); Asst. Secretary: Mr. N. Sri Gengatharan (Mahajana College), Treasurer: Mr. K. S. Satku naseelan (Nades wara College), Asst. Treasurer: Mr. K. Rajathevan, Committee Members: Mr. M. Gunalan (Batticaloa Central College), Dr. (Mrs.) J. Kumaran (Skanda Varodaya College), Mrs. R.
Jeyabalan (Vincent Girls College), Mr. V. Jeyabalan (Jaffna Hindu College), Mr. S. Sriranjan (Kokuvil Hindu College), Mr. M. Suthaharan (Kambarmalai G.M. T.V.) and Mrs. S. Thambipillai (Union College).
Cultural Roots Nourish Young South Asians in North America: Chennai in South India is virtually halfway around the World from the little township of Canton, MassaChusetts, USA, a town with a sprinkling of naturalised Asian and African Americans. After a treat of Carnatic music Concerts and Bharata Natyam recitals in Chennai during the annual festival of music and dance in December 2000, Canton turned out to be a lovely bonus when Galwin Middle School was visited for its Heritage Day celebrations on March 15th with a variety entertainment of music and dance.
Quite by coincidence the first item was an invocation dance to the deity Lord Ganesha by 13 year old Gayatry Sooriyakumar. The school authorities would be happy to learn that this is a dance performed first in any recita; perhaps they knew about it. Gaya, as she is popularly known to her peers and teachers made an excellent impression on the audience with her skilled performance and the ease with which she expressed the emotions and meanings of her Salutations to Lord Ganesha.
She received a spirited ovation and was mobbed by friends and peers, when she came off the stage, after explaining some aspects of the dance. They were also greatly impressed by the costume and ornaments, she had on and the significance of each of them. They had many more questions when it dawned on them that her itern Was not a mere cultural piece, but a Spiritual expression in dance form with its traditions going back to thousands of years.
Canton is One of the Satellite Cities of Boston and Indian Music and Dance is becoming popular in these parts. Already cultural festivals are becoming an annual feature and Some of them are centred with a temple as the fulcrum of Such activi
continued on page 33
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ties. Among the leading Gurus rendering their service to the South Asian community are Sridevi Thirumalai, Jothi Raghavan, Gita Murali and Tara Anand who not only impart their expertise with tremendous Commitment to their students, but also orient them to the distinct facets of the sishiya tradition as a third parent to them from the community.
It is heartening to note that more Gurus are taking up the challenge to meet the popular demand from parents to ensure that their children are given opportunities to understand their culture and heritage through music and dance.
Dr. K. Thirunavukkarasu
- An Appreciation
Dr. K. Thirunavukkarasu, D.Ph. (Oxen), DIC (Lond), Mi Mech E was greatly loved by the family and many people whom he helped throughout his lifetime. His generous and unrelenting commitment to encourage and Support young aspiring Students to achieve their goals won the hearts and respect of those who knew him. There were times when he liberally financed students to further their academic careers, as he believed in empowering young people through education. Born in Sri Lanka, Dr. Thirunavukkarasu, affectionately known as Thiru, graduated from the University of Ceylon with an honours degree in Chemistry. He was a lecturer at the University for two years, after which he joined the Ceylon Government railway as an Assistant Transportation Superintendent and Qualified as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer in 1961. He left Sri Lanka for England to pursue his academic career at imperial College of Science and Technology of the University of London, where he was conferred the Diploma of Imperial College (DC).
His natural scientific ability led him to work in the field of rocket technology in the Aerospace industry, California and he won a Senior Scientific Award from the UK Atomic Energy Authority. He was attached to Trinity College, Oxford and carried out research on Bubble Nucleation at Solid Surfaces due to Pressure Transients and earned a justly deserved D. Ph. Following a period of post graduate research at the University of Leeds, Thiru moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked in industry. Six years later, the family returned to Cambridge, England where Thiru worked as a Consultant Engineer in Thermo-dynamics until his retirement.
The fourth of nine children, Thiru's deeprooted sense of duty, sustained his family after his father's early demise. He undertook the Herculian task of educating his brothers and sisters, all of whom have gone on to succeed in their chosen profesSiOn,S.
He will be sorely missed by his family and a wide circle of friends. May his soul rest in peace.
'Hindu by Nirmala R.
Mr.S. Nirmala Ramac has laid the Hindu lasting debt of gratitu book Hindu Heritag heartfelt attempt or greater awareness a dus Who, due to the f ern World tend to be distanced from the which are enshrined hallowed scriptures ancient epics and pl. Humans are tempt reasons: fame, name thať MrS. Farnacha, donate sixty percent is indicative that She with a view to amas refrained from writing suggestive that she fame. A good part statues featured in personal collections that it was her deep admiration for Hindu ard Hirndl Culture force behind her wril bOOk.
Hinduism, a great erty of the whole wi the essential spirit ( live. Hinduism in forms, embraces a r practices, from the which are apparer opposed to one anc twenty one articles that the author has S spirit of Hinduism is though the multifar, tices enShrined in seemingly contradic an and statesnar India, Jawaharlal Ne
handran of Colombo World under an everde through her timely e'. It is a genuine and her part to create lmong the many Hinemptation of the modCome nore and mOre eternal values of life and preserved in the and in the not SO
ed to write for various , money etc. The fact hdran has agreed to of the sale proceeds did not write this book sing wealth. She has I even an introduction, is not after name or of the best icons and the book is from her giving ample proof interest in and great Philosophy, Hindu Art that was the driving ng this modestly large
ocean which is a prop}rld is indefinable and if it is to live and let ts past and present ultitude of beliefs and highest to the lowest, tly contradictory and ther. A perusal of the n the book Will reveal riven to prove that the to live and to let live pus beliefs and pracHinduism are always ory. The great histori
of the Independent hru saidin his reputed
masterpiece Discovery of India Indian Art was not addressed to a narrow Colerie of
ideas of religion and philosophy intelligible to the masses.
Even a cursory glance of this book which has been painstakingly authored by Mrs. Ramachandran after laborious research reveals that the sole purpose of this book is to inculcate the basic notions of Hindu tenets, Hindu religion and metaphysics in the minds of the present day Hindus all over the world, who of late appear to be willynilly drifting aimlessly, little realising that Hinduism is the greatest anchor of hope to which they could firmly attach themselves.
Hindu culture and architecture are so intricately interconnected with Indian religion and philosophy that it would be not easy to appreciate and admire the Indian art unless one has some knowledge of the ideals that governed the Indian mind and thought through the ages. Realising this incontrovertible fact, the author has structured her book in such a way as to juxtapose the theory of Indian religion with photos of appropriate icons and statues in the form of sculptures and paintings so as to make the one intelligible and discernible with the help of the other. Though every great art of any climate affords an intimate revelation of the national thought and ideals of that country, yet that revelation could not be comprehended or appreciated unless the ideals behind those great arts are really understood correctly. It is refreshing to note that Mrs. Ramachandran has managed to bear this stark truth in mind throughout her work. This accounts for the success of her work.
This big book of 180 pages printed on good quality gloss paper and punctuated with beautiful and artistic colour photos is moderately priced at £ 15.00. It is a price that no reader of great books would grudge to pay. I am pleased to Commend Hindu Heritage' to anyone who is interested in knowing the history and grandeur of Hinduism in great depth and to have a panoramic view of Hindu Culture.
The Sixth Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Railway Past Employees Association will be held at John Innes Youth Centre, 61 Kingston Road, Wimbledon (nearest tube - South MVimbledon on Saturday, 20th May 2001 commencing at 10.30am followed by a get together. All members and their families are cordially invited.
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