The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 119
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Malaysian News. LABUNORUWA, Sri Lanka, Aug 1 (Bernama) - The dusty track in this village is like another village path in Sri Lanka's harsh dry zone except that the nameboard has some unique features unlike normal nameboards and bears some unusual names. "Our young are just dying away in the war," laments rice farmer Heen Appuhamy, who himself lost a son in the war. If losing their sons or husbands is enough grief to the village, it is worst when government compensation schemes don't reach them. More...

Lakdiva. The resplendent and ever beautiful isle we know as Sri Lanka has a rich historical record. The Divapvamsa an Pali chronical in verse was compiled in 4th century A.D. It was the source for the Mahavamsa composed by a Buddhist monk at the Maha Vihara in Anuradhapura around the 6th century A.D. The Pali text of the epic is available today in the form of a commentary written from about the 12th century A.D which continued the record in the Culavamsa till 1815 on Ola manuscripts. We felt there was an urgent need to post on the world wide web a more detailed history of ancient Lanka. It is useful to select a more readable modern text than the original Mahavamsa but an interpretation old enough to be unbiased by the unfortunate turmoil of the recent past. We have selected the Short history of Ceylon by H. W. Codrington, B.A. (Oxon.) F.R.N.S. of the Ceylon Civil Service published in 1929 since it gives the history till 1833 in about 50,000 words. This E-book was translated to HTML by Rhajiv Ratnatunga in the summer of 2000. More...
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
TOI, August 3. Political and civil rights groups flooded Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on Wednesday with petitions challenging President Chandrika Kumaratunga's controversial draft Constitution.With just one day available to file action against the country's most controversial bill in years, several organisations including three political parties and one civil rights group, rushed to the court with their petitions.They also protested against Chief Justice Sarath Silva heading the three-member bench hearing the constitutionality of the draft Constitution as he was one of its co-authors when he held the post of attorney general. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 19:37:42 EDT 2000

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Clerical aristocracy on the warpath
Nirupama Subramanian,The Hindu, COLOMBO, AUGUST 2.. It is Sri Lanka's other army. A 27,000-strong force ever prepared to protect the country. But unlike the regular army, this one is not required to go to the front. Rather, it takes to the streets whenever it perceives a threat to the country, it is not answerable to the Government and has its own agenda, which is promotion of Sinhala-Buddhism. And, it is entirely fitted out in saffron. The monks, in keeping with the traditions of the Theravada school practised in this country, are more aggressively protective of their faith and more politically conscious than their counterparts in other parts of the world. ``The Buddhist clergy consider themselves the key stake-holders in the political process of this country and important members of its power-elite. They are Sri Lanka's clerical aristocracy,'' said Dr. Jayadeva Uyangoda, who teaches political science at the Colombo University. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 23:47:49 EDT 2000

Citizenship for Tamils
Hindu, August 3. If Sri Lanka's proposed new Constitution is adopted, it will resolve one of the more tragic aspects of the country's ethnic crisis but one that has no connection with the conflict in the north-east of the Island nation. Under the proposed Constitution, thousands of Tamils of recent Indian origin, officially categorised as Indian Tamils, most of whom work on Sri Lanka's tea estates, will be finally granted citizenship after being stateless for five decades. Sri Lanka's stateless comprise Indian Tamils who obtained Indian passports under the terms of the 1964 Sirima-Shastri pact but did not get repatriated to India, and their descendants. In all, they number around 86,000. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 19:40:55 EDT 2000

Girl reveals LTTE conscription
chennaiOnline, August 3. A 14-year-old girl LTTE cadre, who surrendered to security forces, said she had been conscripted by the separatist outfit when she was barely seven.Her statement was made public by the government Information Directorate. ‘Indira’ said she had been studying in class 2 in Mankulam area when she was forcibly taken away by an LTTE cadre called Tanam Akka to a camp in 1993. She had been trained to handle T56 rifle and hand grenades. The cadre number given to her was ENA 2173, she said. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 20:18:10 EDT 2000

Heavy security in Colombo on eve of unveiling new bill
TOI, August 3. Sri Lanka's new draft constitution, which proposes to combine powers of the presidency and that of the prime minister and offers a broad package of autonomy to govern the temporarily merged Tamil-dominated north-eastern province, will be submitted to parliament here on Thursday amidst unprecedented security measures. Scores of policemen and army personnel are being lined up on several key roads leading to parliament to prevent Buddhist monks from blocking roads leading to the legislature, official sources said here. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 19:35:06 EDT 2000

Chandrika set to unveil new Constitution
TOI, August 2. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga will make a radical bid for ethnic peace when she presents a new Constitution to Parliament on Thursday, seeking to meet the minority Tamils' demand for greater autonomy by turning the island nation into a quasi federation.The draft Constitution revealed that while the country would revert to the Westminister system from the present executive presidency, Kumaratunga will continue to retain the powers of the executive president for six more years even as she assumes the office of the Prime Minister. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 19:32:50 EDT 2000

Key vote for Sri Lanka
BBC, August 2. The Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, faces one of the most important periods of her six years in power on Thursday when she presents her plans to change the constitution in parliament. The devolution proposals in the reform package are the culmination of efforts by the president to bring an end to the country's 16-year-old civil war, which has resulted in 60,000 deaths.If the changes go ahead, Sri Lanka in effect will become a federal state in which President Kumaratunga will wield even more influence than she does today. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 15:55:38 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka tries to woo monks on war path
123India, August 2. Sri Lanka's ruling party was Wednesday desperately trying to win support from the influential Buddhist clergy who told the government to press ahead with a controversial peace plan but only over their dead bodies. President Chandrika Kumaratunga had been trying to meet with two leaders of the Buddhist hierarchy to seek their blessings to the controversial bid to turn the country into a de facto federal state.Sources close to the monks said the President's office had been in touch with the two main temples in the central town of Kandy to meet with the leaders of the Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters of monks, but no meeting had taken place. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 13:01:10 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's main opposition formally pulls out of reform deal
123India, Wednesday Aug 2, 08:33:15. COLOMBO, Aug 2 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's main opposition party Wednesday formally withdrew support for President Chandrika Kumaratunga's controversial political reform bill, 24 hours before it was due to be placed before parliament. The opposition United National Party (UNP), which holds the balance of power to make or break the reforms, informed the government Wednesday at their final round of talks that they would oppose the reform bid. The UNP said it also decided to meet with the influential Buddhist clergy and unilaterally explain their position regarding the reforms which seek to turn the country into a de facto federal state. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 08:27:32 EDT 2000

Chandrika may get wide support for new constitution; parties cautious
HT, August 1. Political observers expect the Sri Lankan President, Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga, to get a wide measure of support, if not a two-thirds majority, for her Constitution Bill which is to be placed in Parliament on Thursday.

Though most parties have chosen to tread very warily on the plea that they have not seen the Bill yet, many of them are expected to jump on to her bandwagon eventually. The President herself is reported to be "very confident" of getting the 150 votes needed to give her a two-thirds majority in a House of 225. The present strength of the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA) and its fellow travellers is 138. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 20:27:47 EDT 2000

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Chandrika may get wide support for new constitution; parties cautious  - AsiaGateway

PA - UNP talks today
AsiaGateway, Wednesday Aug 2, 08:25:10. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has invited the United National party for another round of talks today (2) at Temple Trees on the proposed Bill on Constitutional Reforms. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will not be participating in today's talks but party Chairman Karu Jayasuriya is to lead the delegation, party sources said. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 08:19:20 EDT 2000

SA snatch thrilling win
BBC, August 2. South Africa squared the series with a seven-run triumph after Arjuna Ranatunga had threatened to win the match for Sri Lanka on a thrilling final day at the Asgiriya Stadium. Set 177 to win, the home side were bowled out for 169 with left-arm spinner Nicky Boje having Mutthiah Muralitharan caught behind by Mark Boucher. It was a tremendous performance by the tourists, who had reduced Sri Lanka to 21 for four and then saw Ranatunga threaten to take the match away from them with a magnificent exhibition of attacking batting. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 08:48:38 EDT 2000
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South Africa win test against Sri Lanka  - Hindu
South Africa take Second Test in thrilling finish.  - Cricinfo

Sri Lanka faces Buddhist opposition over key reform
MSNBC, Wednesday July 2, 07:45:20. COLOMBO, Aug. 2 — The Sri Lankan government was on Wednesday desperately trying to muster support from militant Buddhist monks who have threatened to fast until death against a new constitution aimed at ending the long ethnic war. But a day before the government is to table its draft constitution at a special sitting of parliament, it seemed highly unlikely the influential monks in the mainly Buddhist country would throw their weight behind the peace effort. The Supreme Court was on Wednesday expected to give a favourable ruling on the legality of the new constitution, making it impossible for anybody to challenge it in the courts. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 07:52:32 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka set go federal in bid to end ethnic bloodshed
123India-AFP, August 2. Sri Lanka is set to unveil a new statute that will make country a de facto federal state in which President Chandrika Kumaratunga will have unprecedented powers, the draft bill showed Wednesday.

The draft constitution which is aimed at ending decades of ethnic bloodshed that has claimed more than 60,000 lives in the past two decades is to be presented in parliament Thursday as a bill "urgent in the national interest." More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 06:28:05 EDT 2000

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New Lankan Constitution for north, east regional councils  - Asianage

Numbers game on as deadline nears
Nirupama Subramanian, COLOMBO, AUGUST 1. Pocket calculators are out as politicians in Sri Lanka frantically add and subtract numbers to determine whether the ruling People's Alliance (PA) coalition has the numbers to push through Parliament the Constitutional Reforms Bill, on the fate of which rests the future course of the long-drawn-out ethnic conflict. The passage of the Bill requires the support of 150 of the 225 members. The PA alliance, to begin with, had 113 members.Later, two of its parliamentarians aligned themselves with the opposition United National Party (UNP). Tamil leaders who met Mrs. Kumaratunga yesterday and last week, said she appeared confident. ``She seemed positively buoyant,'' said a Tamil politician. If she is unable to gather 150 votes, the Bill may not come to the voting stage, predict both ruling and Opposition politicians. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 23:59:50 EDT 2000

Rebels using civilians as human shields: Lankan govt
TOI, August 1. Tamil Tiger rebels are moving large numbers of civilians from their villages and relocating them close to rebel camps in the north and northeast to guard against air force strikes, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

The rebels moved the people closer to their camps in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Pooneryn and Elephant Pass "as in the past to tarnish the image of the security forces and gain international sympathy," said government spokesman Ariya Rubasinghe, who did not explain how he got the information. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 20:12:41 EDT 2000

Chandrika trying to win over key monks on reforms
TOI, August 1. President Chandrika Kumaratunga tried to win over two key Buddhist monks on Tuesday as more than 1,000 members of the clergy staged a protest meeting against her proposed constitutional reforms.

The protesting monks threatened to organise a grassroots campaign to oppose Kumaratunga's controversial bid to end the ethnic war saying that it would lead to the division of the country and "dilute its Sinhala heritage." More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 20:15:38 EDT 2000

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Sri Lanka president preaches peace to monks on war path  - 123India

Tribunal sends notice to LTTE
Hindu, CHENNAI, AUGUST 1.. The Tribunal constituted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, to adjudicate the ban order against the LTTE, has sent a showcause notice to the rebels.The Tigers' London office had received the notice and has reportedly sent it to a lawyer in Chennai, who will represent the organisation before the Tribunal. The outfit was declared a banned organisation in India in 1992. The ban has been extended periodically every two years, with the latest notification being issued by the Union Home Ministry on May 11 this year.The LTTE, has sent a `vakkalat' naming the advocate, Mr. N.Chandrasekaran, to appear before the Tribunal on its behalf. The advocate had represented the Tigers the last time around too. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 19:56:19 EDT 2000

Tigers issue may dominate Lanka polls
TOI, August 1. Tamil Tigers could be the theme song for Sri Lanka's upcoming parliamentary elections, with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her main rival, Ranil Wickremesinghe, accusing each other of holding secret talks with the separatists.

The first shots in what promises to be an acrimonious campaign were fired by the state-run media, which accused Wickremesinghe, leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), of having held a two-hour meeting with an alleged arms procurer of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Singapore last month. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 20:10:19 EDT 2000

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Sri Lanka polls to be held in early November  - 123India

Big pro-government demo in Colombo
BBC, august 1. Thousands of pro-government demonstrators brought the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, to a halt on Tuesday in support of efforts by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to implement a constitutional settlement which they say could end the country's 17-year old civil war. President Kumaratunga will be submitting the new constitution to parliament on Thursday, where she needs a two-thirds majority if it is to be accepted. Many of the demonstrators were trade unionists who had been specially brought in by the government from outside Colombo to take part in the protest. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 12:18:15 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka on alert ahead of reform bill
123India, Wednesday Aug 2, 08:33:10. COLOMBO, Aug 2 (AFP) - Sri Lanka was placed on red alert Wednesday as the government tried to rush a new constitution through parliament that seeks to turn the country into a de facto federal state. Officials said security was being tightened around parliament as the government prepared to press ahead with the draft statute aimed at ending decades of ethnic bloodshed that has killed over 60,000 people. Officials said parliament was due to debate the bill for three days and put it to a vote on August 9. More...
Published: Wed Aug 2 08:31:38 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka reform bill goes to Supreme Court  - 123India

Monks protest against new Constitution
Hindu, august 1. Hundreds of saffron clad monks gathered at the National Youth Centre Auditorium near here under the leadership of Amarapura Nikya Mahanayaka Madihe Pannaseela Thera. The National Sangha convention hosted by the National Joint Council urged all Sinhala Parliamentarians not to support the proposed Reform Bill in Parliament. ``Most of them (Parliamentarians) had been sent to Parliament by votes of the Sinhala people and therefore they are bound to safeguard the interests of the silent majority,'' they said. Their main fear is that the new Constitution would sell out to the `Tamils and the LTTE who wanted a separate homeland. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 09:33:10 EDT 2000
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Colombo ignores monks protest, sends statute Bill to SC  - Nirupama Subramanian

Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy take onto the streets.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 16: 44 Tuesday.. Sri Lankan government's proposal for constitutional reform ran into further trouble on Tuesday when thousands of Buddhist clergy took to the streets just out side of commercial Colombo city.

The demonstration was organized by Jathika Sangha Sabaha (national congress of mahasangha) against the package that is expected to be tabled before the parliament on Thursday.

Last week, the Mahasangha formally rejected president Chandrika Kumaratunge's devolution proposal citing the proposals are betrayal of the Sinhala nation. Prior to Mahasangha's rejection, seven Tamil political parties rejected the proposals stating that the proposals fell short of the aspirations of minority Tamils in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

"Now with Tamil political parties, the Mahasangha and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rejecting the proposals the only option this government has is, to defeat the Tamil Tigers militarily", a western diplomat in commercial city of Colombo said.

Last week, the Mahasangha not only rejected the proposals but also urged the government to re-instate Major General Janaka Perera, the former overall military commander for northern province. He was removed from his post by president Kumaratunge due to a rift with his deputy military commander Major General Sarath Fonseka.

A government source said that proposed constitutional reforms would be placed before the parliament as planned on August 3.

Tuesday's demonstrations were held at Maharagama, a town located three Kilo meters from Colombo. More than 3,000 monks partcipated in the peaceful demonstrations.
Published: Tue Aug 1 07:26:27 EDT 2000

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Monks on war path as Sri Lanka pushes reform plan  - 123India

Ronnie - Sri Lanka's new Minister for Industries
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.20 p.m. SLT Tuesday August 1. Former UNP stalwart and Finance Minister during the regime of the United National Party, Ronnie De Mel, will be sworn in as the PA government's new Minister for Industrial Development.

Speculation was fuelled last month that Ronnie De Mel would cross over to the Peoples Alliance when he voted against the UNP in Parliament on the extention of the emergency. Mr. De Mel left soon after for the UK and will take over his new post weeks before the PA faces a General Election later this year.

Sources revealed that Mr De Mel will also lend his backing to the government's draft constitution which will be placed before Parliament on Thursday August 3. The entire House is expected to vote on the new reforms by August 24.
Published: Tue Aug 1 03:29:32 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan government acquires four more fighter planes.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 16: 09 Tuesday.. Sri Lankan government purchased four more fighter planes to fight the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), now attempting to launch a massive assault against government troops in northern Jaffna peninsula.

The Ukraine built Mig-27 fighter planes arrived in Colombo on Monday and the planes are expected to be inducted to the Sri Lankan air force fighter jets squadron within the day or a two, an air force official said.

The planes fitted with 23mm guns and missile delivery system were purchased from Ukraine, when the government went on a shopping spree last month, just a few weeks after the Elephant Pass reversal, a reversal described as the "worst" in the 17 years of blood-letting.

The Sri Lankan government is also expected to receive another batch of fighter jets within the next few weeks, the air force official said.

The induction of the Migs came just 24 hours before the government's plan to table the constitutional reforms before the parliament. Tamil political parties and the Maha Sangha have already rejected the package.
Published: Tue Aug 1 06:27:59 EDT 2000

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Army boost firepower to crush Tiger offensive  - AsiaGateway

NDA partner visualises Republic for Tamils
Indian Express, august 1. After the National Conference, another National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner is making noises over autonomy. Pattali Makkal Katchi has in fact gone a step ahead and is talking about a Republic for Tamils.The PMK, which has two ministers in the Vajpayee Government, feels that Indian nationalism was about Brahmin autocracy and Hindi imperialism. ``Therefore, we should throw out Indian nationalism and the Tamil nationalism is the only answer.'' A secret paper circulated among the hard-core group of orators that the PMK is training said: ``India should be declared as a Federation of Independent Sovereign Republics of National Races. The right to secede through self-determination from such a federation should be given legally to such national races. India being called as Bharat and the National Racial Republics being called as states should be abolished'' More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 13:28:26 EDT 2000

Lankan House to meet in emergency session
Indoa Abroad, August 01. Sri Lanka's Parliament will meet in an emergency session on Thursday when President Chandrika Kumaratunga is expected to place her controversial peace package before it, officials said on Monday.

They said the country's 225 legislators have been summoned for the critical session, five days before Parliament meets usually for its monthly session every second Tuesday. The parliamentarians have less than a month before the term of the present house is up, and it is unclear if they will actually debate the draft constitution, envisaging far-reaching reforms to devolve power to the minorities. More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 06:07:46 EDT 2000

UNP to oppose Constitutional Bill
The Hindu, Tuesday, 1 Aug. . The opposition United National Party (UNP) today said it would oppose the Constitutional Bill as the Government decided to go ahead without consulting Buddhist clergy and the public. UNP general secretary Gamini Attukole said ``we had asked the Government sufficiently in advance to show the draft bill to make sure that the issues which his party had agreed were incorporated. We have also demanded a white paper to make public the contents of the constitutional proposals. The Government showed little importance to our request and went ahead with the decision to present it in Parliament. We have no alternative but to oppose the Bill.'' More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 04:47:10 EDT 2000

LEAD: Sri Lankan cabinet to propose draft constitution
AsiaGateway, Tuesday Aug 1, 07:59:10. COLOMBO, Aug 1 (Kyodo) -A draft proposal for a new constitution guaranteeing Tamil minority rights as a solution to Sri Lanka's long-running civil war will be tabled in parliament Thursday, official sources said Tuesday. Kumaratunga told the cabinet that the draft will be prepared in line with agreements reached with the main opposition United National Party (UNP) and other parties including Tamil parties, according to the sources More...
Published: Tue Aug 1 07:56:41 EDT 2000
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Cabinet nod for Lankan Constitution reforms  - Deccan Chronicle
Lanka cabinet okays reform bill  - TOI

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