The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 155

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The Lanka Academic, will carry a series of online "Question and Answer" sessions with prominent Sri Lankan personalities. As the first guest in the series, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe will answer questions submitted by you. A moderator will maintain the decorum of this online forum. While the scope of the questions is wide open, it's expected that the questions submitted would fall within the areas of expertise relevant to Mr.Moonesinghe's background as a politician, scholar and a diplomat. The guidelines and instructions for sending in questions and viewing answer are posted at current issue of The Lanka Academic here. The current Question and Answer session will end on September 17th, 2000.
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Chulie Kirtisinghe de Silva, LAcNet. This story relates the realization of a dream of a dedicated virtual community of globally dispersed volunteer Sri Lankan academics, who mobilized Sri Lankan Diaspora for funding; and then formed horizontal partnerships with local and international agencies to set up a computer center in rural Sri Lanka. It also relates the metamorphosis of an out of work teacher to be the Digital Ambassador for Sri Lanka through training and empowerment. It is the story of two communities coming together; one virtual in cyberspace, the other a land based poor rural community; one the haves, and the other the have nots; - the empowered, empowering and bridging the digital divide. More...
US State Department. Colombo, 4 August 2000 - The U.S. State Department announced on July 31 that the mail-in period for the next U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program (DV-2002) will run from noon, October 2, through noon, November 1, 2000. There is no application fee and no special application form is required. The application with the necessary information can simply be typed on a blank sheet of paper. More...
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Media watchdog slams suspended jail term for Sri Lanka editor, Sep 06 2000 11:10 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 6 (AFP) - An international media rights organisation Wednesday slammed the Sri Lankan government for prosecuting an editor on criminal defamation charges for which he was given a two year suspended jail sentence. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said it condemned the sentencing and asked President Chandrika Kumaratunga to make good on her promise to repeal draconian laws against media freedom. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 04:01:31 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sunday Leader Editor convicted  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Lankan editor gets jail term  - India Abroad
Lankan editor gets 2-yr jail term for defaming president  - Times of India (Breaking News)
S.Lankan editor sentenced for defaming president  - ABC News
Lankan editor sentenced for defaming President  - The Hindustan Times

Ask Mangala: Send in your questions to the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe and receive answers.
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New organisation for democracy to be set up
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2127 06 September 2000. 60 trade unions and civil society groups are to gather in Colombo on Friday to set up a new organisation to safe guard democracy in Sri Lanka. The organisation named the Alliance for Democracy will hold its first General Meeting Tomorrow. It includes most of the top trade unions and leading civil society groups/ The Alliance for Democracy is planning to launch a yellow ribbon campaign for free and fair election on the 11th of this month. The organizers say they hope to persuade at least one million people to ware a ribbon round the wrist as a show of support for free and fair election. General elections are to be held on October 10th amidst growing fears of widespread violence,intimidation and systematic rigging on polling day. end
Published: Wed Sep 6 11:40:32 EDT 2000
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Buddhist monks to play crucial role in Lanka polls  - Deccan Herald

Three buses carrying UNP supporters attacked as more election related incidents are reported
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2125 SLT 06 September 2000. Three buses carrying UNP supporters to a party rally in Kandy were attacked today in Mawanalle injuring four people. The Election Secretariat at the Police headquarters said this was among 20 incidents reported in the last 24 hours
Published: Wed Sep 6 11:40:31 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka polls campaign off to bloody start  - Yahoo

Lanka Air Force hits rebel base
The Asian Age, Colombo, Sept. 6 . Sri Lankan aircraft attacked rebel targets in the island’s northwest on Wednesday, but the battlefields of the Jaffna peninsula in the north of the country were quiet after fierce fighting earlier in the week. “Ground attack aircraft of the Sri Lanka airforce engaged identified Sea Tiger locations in general area Veditalativu today in the morning,” a government statement said on Wednesday. The statement gave no further details about the attack in the northwestern Mannar district. An Air Force official said that the helicopter gunships had straffed several boats at a base of the Sea Tigers, the Naval wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 21:13:33 EDT 2000

Bodies of LTTE fighters handed over
The Hindu (International), Thursday, September 07, 2000. COLOMBO, SEPT. 6. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam today took charge of 36 bodies of its fighters handed over by the Sri Lankan Army through the International Committee for the Red Cross. The LTTE has not yet disclosed the total number of fighters it lost in the battle earlier this week following an Army offensive, but the Government said 230 were killed. The rebels' clandestine Voice of Tigers radio announced the names of 10 more cadres who had died in the fighting. It had given out the names of 20 dead cadres on Tuesday. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 20:32:31 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Army hands over 36 bodies of LTTE rebels to the ICRC  - Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo

LTTE admits losing 110 men
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, September 6. THE LTTE has admitted losing 110 of its cadres in the recent round of fighting in northern Jaffna peninsula, while the army's death toll stood at 109 even as 36 bodies of the rebels were handed over to the outfit's leadership. The LTTE, in its update on its website, said 110 rebels were killed while resisting the army offensive last weekend to push defences beyond Colombuthurai in the southern outskirts of Jaffna town. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 15:17:16 EDT 2000

CPJ Condemns Sentencing of Sri Lankan Editor
CPJ, september 6. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the sentencing today of Lasantha Wickrematunga, editor of the English-language weekly newspaper The Sunday Leader, on charges of criminally defaming President Chandrika Kumaratunga. A judge from Colombo's High Court sentenced Wickrematunga to two years in jail, but suspended the sentence for five years. "No journalist should ever face the threat of jail for something he or she writes," said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. "With a potential jail term hanging over his head for the next five years, Mr. Wickrematunga is bound to think twice before writing anything critical of the government." More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 10:42:45 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka mounts air strikes, returns Tiger bodies after bloodbath
123India, september 6. Sri Lankan forces launched fresh air and sea attacks as troops Wednesday returned the bodies of 36 rebels killed in the latest bloodletting that left 360 people dead on both sides, officials said. Ground attack aircraft pounded suspected positions of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) while the navy attacked rebel boats, the defence ministry said.There were no immediate details of casualties in the morning strikes, but the defence ministry said "identified Sea Tiger locations" had been hit. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 11:31:32 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Tamil Tigers take pounding from army's big guns  - Yahoo
Sri Lanka airforce strikes rebel base on coast  - MSNBC

Fighting stops, stalemate persists in Jaffna
The Hindu, Wednesday, September 06, 2000. COLOMBO, SEPT. 5. After the bloodletting in the Jaffna peninsula over two days in which over 300 combatants were killed and more than 1,000 wounded, the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam today got down to the business of counting the dead and exchanging bodies through the International Committee of the Red Cross. The fighting ceased today. The LTTE claimed over the clandestine radio, Voice of Tigers, that it had repulsed the army advance, killing over 100 soldiers. ``We are in occupation of Colombuthurai on the outskirts of Jaffna town. We have got where we wanted to be and we will be releasing a video-tape soon to show where we are,'' said a senior military official. A government release said its troops were in the process of ``constructing defences and are consolidating in the newly captured areas''. More...
Published: Tue Sep 5 16:57:17 EDT 2000

Army captures female LTTE cadre
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on September 6, 2000. Colombo, Sept. 6 (PTI): A minor girl cadre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who survived the latest fighting between the soldiers and rebels in northern Jaffna, has been captured by the Army, Sri Lankan Government said today. The capture of 14-year-old Renuga Hewanar who hailed from Mungavil in the LTTE-controlled Vanni region strengthened Government's claim that rebels were pressing in child soldiers into the frontlines, army sources said. The girl said she was taken away by the LTTE in May 1998 from a school in Akkarayan, where she was studying in grade seven, the release said. She was given one-month training and pressed into the battlefields, it said. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 11:42:44 EDT 2000
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LTTE child soldier tells all  - PRIU
Sri Lanka troops capture Tiger child soldiers: report  -

Army's blitzkrieg to safeguard polls in Jaffna
Times of India, 7 September 2000 . COLOMBO: A costly offensive against Tamil separatists is necessary to protect parliamentary elections in some Tamil areas and allow moderate Tamils to vote without fear of violence, military officials said on Wednesday. "Surely we lost soldiers, but at least we have ensured that the terrorists are not able to interfere with the elections," military spokesman Sanath Karunaratne told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Sri Lanka goes to the polls on October 10 to elect a new Parliament. The elections are crucial for President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who failed last month to muster the required two-third parliamentary majority needed to approve a new constitution giving greater autonomy to Tamil majority areas. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 20:30:47 EDT 2000

It’s a politicians’ poll in Jaffna, not a popular one
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, September 6. NOMINATIONS HAVING closed on Sept.4, there are 20 parties and independent groups in the parliamentary elections in Jaffna district. With each party/group having submitted a list consisting of 12 names, there are 240 candidates vying for the nine seats up for grabs. But, by all accounts, the approximately 250,000 voters seem to be apathetic. As a Jaffna resident told The Hindustan Times over the phone today: "It's a politicians's election and not a popular one." More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 20:28:31 EDT 2000

Buddhist clergy to play a crucial role in the coming Lankan poll, Sep 6 2000 15:02 IST. Colombo, Sep 6 (UNI)- The influential Buddhist clergy of Sri Lanka is all set to play a crucial role in the coming Parliamentary elections by expressing their readiness to act as the election monitors. The Mahasangha, which met at a special convention yesterday decided to demand an official apology from the government after Minister S B Dissanayake, had reportedly stated that the monks need not have discussed the constitutional reforms. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 08:57:55 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Two die in Sri Lanka poll clash  - BBC South Asia
Buddhist clergy, a key element in polls  - The Hindu NUS
S.Lanka Buddhist monks vow to stop poll violence  - MSNBC
Two killed as Sri Lanka election campaign begins  - MSNBC

Another Tamil candidate quits Sri Lanka elections after death threats, Sep 06 2000 20:08 IST. COLOMBO, Sept 6 (AFP) - Another minority Tamil candidate withdrew from standing in Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections Wednesday following death threats from rivals, party sources here said. A member of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) who was standing in the Jaffna district as an independent candidate pulled out after threats, the sources said. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 20:19:27 EDT 2000
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At least two Sri Lankan Tamil candidates quit after death threats  -

2 Tamil militants' remand extended
The Hindu (Southern States), Thursday, September 07, 2000. PUDUKOTTAI, SEPT. 6. The Pudukottai Assistant Sessions Judge, Mr. Kuppusamy, today extended the remand of the two TNRT cadres, Manikandan and Muthukumar, till October 18 in a case relating to unauthorised possession of firearms and smuggling of essential commodities to Sri Lanka. The two were among the five Tamil militants whose release has been demanded by the sandalwood smuggler, Veerappan. Four of them, including Muthukumar and Manikandan, are lodged in the Tiruchi Central Prison. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 20:21:10 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rebels hold key vote in elections
Altavista, Wednesday Aug 6, 09:03:30. COLOMBO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - One man who is most likely to influence the outcome of next month's parliamentary elections in war-torn Sri Lanka is not even among the thousands of candidates conducting a frenzied and an often violent campaign. But Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) rebels, can by subterfuge, assassination and sheer real politik tip the electoral scales when Sri Lanka goes to poll on October 10. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 09:10:23 EDT 2000

431 killed in Sri Lanka fighting: media
The Hindu NUS, 16.00 hrs (IST) on September 5, 2000. Colombo, Sept. 5 (PTI): The latest Sri Lankan Army offensive to push back LTTE guerrillas from the outskirts of northern Jaffna town has claimed 431 lives on both sides, the official media said today. State-run newspaper the Daily News reported that while the death toll for the Army had gone up from 114 to 132, a total 299 rebels perished in the latest fighting. More...
Published: Tue Sep 5 08:56:03 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Heavy bloodshed mars Sri Lanka polls drive, toll hits 344  - Yahoo
Over 300 killed in Sri Lanka  - The Hindu
Lanka fighting claims at least 316 lives  - The Hindu NUS
Army in Sri Lanka claims to have won back key areas from rebels  - NDTV/MSNBC
Sri Lankan Troops Repulse Rebels  - Yahoo
LTTE kills 71 Sri Lankan soldiers  -
Heavy fighting mars Sri Lanka nominations, toll hits 317  -
Hundreds killed as government repels Tamils near Jaffna  - Yahoo
Sri Lankan troops return bodies of 36 Tigers killed in bloodbath  -
Sri Lanka counts the dead in hundreds after fresh fighting in Jaffna  -
Sporadic fighting as Sri Lanka death toll mounts  -
S.Lanka rebels strike back, toll rises  - MSNBC
Costly SLA operation back to square one  - Tamilnet
Hundreds Killed As Sri Lanka Ends Jaffna Push  - Yahoo
Lankan troops repulse rebels, win back key areas  - Times of India (Breaking News)
Heavy bloodletting mars Sri Lanka polls drive, toll hits 344  -

Sri Lanka business group urges peaceful poll
Altavista, Wednesday Aug 6, 08:59:21. COLOMBO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - A group of leading Sri Lankan business chambers on Wednesday urged political parties to refrain from a violent parliamentary election campaign as it could threaten foreign investment to the island. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 09:06:34 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
‘A free and fair election, a must’ says private sector  - PRIU

Jumbo Sri Lankan team for Sydney Games
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on September 6, 2000. Colombo, Sept. 6. (DPA): The biggest-ever contingent to take part in Olympic Games from Sri Lanka left for Sydney with the main concentration on track events, a Sports Ministry spokesman said today. The 19-member contingent consisting of 14 track athletes, two swimmers, two shooters and a lone yachtsman are taking part in the events. They left country early today. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 11:40:16 EDT 2000

Jane's Sentinel examines the success of the LTTE in resisting the Sri Lankan forces
Janes Sentinel, september 4. The sudden renewed outbreak of violence in the northwestern Jaffna peninsula of Sri Lanka in September 2000 provided the Sri Lankan armed forces with another reminder of the potency of their opposition. Despite the numerical and technological superiority of the army, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) met their offensive with customary ferocity, causing hundreds of casualties and repelling wave after wave of attack. More...
Published: Tue Sep 5 20:39:52 EDT 2000

The government's gameplan
BBC, september 4. Critics of President Chandrika Kumaratunga - who also holds the defence portfolio - say the latest offensive was in part started to boost her Peoples' Alliance coalition in the run-up to general elections that are to be held on 10 October. President Kumaratunga has denied this, pointing out that her strategy has always been to defeat the Tigers militarily before beginning any peace negotiations.Now that the most recent fighting in Jaffna appears to have come to an end, much attention will be paid to what was achieved in return for the lives of more than 100 soldiers who were killed. More...
Published: Tue Sep 5 22:09:25 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's next battle
Frontline, september 2. WHEN Chandrika Kumaratunga won the Sri Lankan presidential elections in December 1999, the strategists of the People's Alliance (P.A.) advised her to dissolve Parliament and hold general elections immediately. Their expectation was that the P.A., led by Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), would win a bigger majority than it had obtained in the 1994 parliamentary elections. The President did not heed the advice. More...
Published: Tue Sep 5 22:23:53 EDT 2000

Foreign monitors to begin massive polls watch
PRIU, Wednesday Aug 6, 08:56:23. The Elections Department would be inviting official monitors, to begin a massive polls watch, during the October elections. While, those invited by other groups would be mainly working on an unofficial basis, Department sources said. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 09:02:54 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka polls: Violent start to campaign  - The Hindu (International)

Nominations for October 10 general election reveal decay of official politics in Sri Lanka - A News Analysis
World Socialist Web Site, september 5. An article entitled “Political somersaults and the voter” in last weekend's Sunday Times commented: “So, the scramble for nominations is on to try and become members of what the editorialist of this newspaper referred to last week as the ‘New Aristocracy'. This aristocracy of the new millennium is an elite class of people with power, privileges in the form of vehicle permits, telephones, meals, and overseas trips all paid for or subsidised by the state and of course, the unspoken potential to make quite a few millions on the sly, with a lifelong pension thrown in for good measure!” More...
Published: Tue Sep 5 20:45:45 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka dead to be handed over
BBC South Asia, Tuesday, 5 September, 2000, 10:10 GMT 11:10 U. Army spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said the authorities were preparing to hand over 37 bodies of Tamil TIgers to the Red Cross. The Tigers' radio said on Tuesday that they rebels were planning to handover 50 dead soldiers. Fighting in the area appears to have died down after some of the most intense clashes since April, when the Tigers launched a push to capture the government stronghold of Jaffna. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 04:06:33 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sporadic Fighting As Sri Lanka Sides Swap Dead  - Altavista
Lanka rivals swap dead amidst fighting  - The Asian Age
Sri Lankan army and rebels exchange bodies as fighting ends  -
Lankan army, rebels exchange bodies  - Times of India
Army, LTTE rebels to exchange bodies  - The Hindu NUS

Sri Lanka: Govt. salaries, pensions hiked
The Hindu (International), Thursday, September 07, 2000. COLOMBO, SEPT. 6. With no restrictions in Sri Lanka's electoral code of conduct against the ruling party granting sops to voters after the announcement of elections, the Government and its allies have been doling out jobs and money in the run-up to the October 10 parliamentary elections. On Tuesday, the President, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, declared a 10 per cent increase in all Government salaries and pensions with effect from October 1 as an ``interim'' measure, pending the implementation of a hike recommended by a salaries commission. Local newspapers reported that Government Ministries had launched a recruitment spree, offering jobs to thousands of people ahead of the elections. The Ports Authority alone is said to have recruited over 4,000 people in the last three weeks. More...
Published: Wed Sep 6 17:10:41 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka raises salaries ahead of polls  -

IGP bans election cuts-outs
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.50 a.m. SLT Tuesday September 5. The Inspector General of Police, Lucky Kodituwakku yesterday ordered his men to remove all election posters and cut-out of politicos from city walls, lamp-posts and other public areas.

As the poster war intensified in Colombo and her suburbs, the police yesterday began removing the images of election contestants in the Kalutara district, South of Colombo.

However, images of President Chandrika Kumaratunge, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Justice Minister G. L. Pieris continue to adorn the grubby city walls of Colombo. The leading politicos claim that it is their supporters who are guilty of breaking the Election Act which bans the display of posters, and that the matter is out of their control.

Editorial comment in a leading daily newspaper today has stated that it will be interesting to watch if the police will be brave enough to remove the posters and cut-outs of the President and the Justice Minister which are splayed not only in Colombo but in the country's rural districts as well.

Before each election the police continue to insist that they will not allow the breaking of the law against posters, but have consistently been ignored in their pledge, as political parties and their mass of supporters continue to blissfully break the law.
Published: Tue Sep 5 09:30:36 EDT 2000

Government says LTTE is attempting to disrupt October 10 polls
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9 a.m. SLT Tuesday September 5. As the battle increased in Sri Lanka's North between government forces and the LTTE, the Government maintains that the entire attack on the military is an exercise by the rebel forces to disrupt the General Elections in October this year.

Armed forces launched an offensive on Tiger strongholds in the North after 14 Airmen were killed in a landmine attack at Vavuniya on Friday September 1. The military attack followed two days later which has resulted in heavy casualties for both sides.

Striving to gain ground while facing stiff resistance from the LTTE, the armed forces lost nearly 500 men(190 killed and the rest injured) from its fighting forces in the first 12 hours of battle. Another 800 were injured while the death toll for the military had risen to 340 by Monday September 4.

According to the Ministry of Defence some 230 Tigers were also killed in battle while over 300 rebel combatants had been injured.

The ferocious battle, the worst since a lull in fighting for four months, has restrained armed forces from conquering the Tigers, who though unable to penetrate Forward Defence Lines (FDL) of government troops, nevertheless held the security forces back from advancing towards Chavakachcheri. The Tigers launched a two pronged counter attack on the military's FDL positions at Columbothurai while armed forces backed by air power continued to pound Tiger bases. Editor's Note Story was recast with clarification of the number of dead and injured during the first 12 hours.
Published: Tue Sep 5 09:30:36 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Tamil Tigers eyeing Sri Lanka polls: report  -
Govt mulls implications of LTTE proxies fighting polls  - NewIndpress

Unprecedented number of hopefuls for October polls
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Tuesday September 5. Sri Lanka yesterday saw over 5400 political hopefuls register their candidature for the forthcoming General Elections as nominations closed by 12 noon Monday. The unprecedented number of political parties and independent groups superseded the 1994 General Elections which registered only 1,449 political parties and independent groups.

Jaffna meanwhile had the highest number of nominations handed in next to Colombo with 18 political parties and 4 independent groups handing in their nominations. The nominations for the war torn northern peninsula were registered despite an increase in warfare between the LTTE and government forces.

The political groups will vie for 225 seats in Parliament while contesting parties will woo voters in 22 electoral districts in the Island nation.
Published: Tue Sep 5 09:30:36 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Lanka's Oct 10 polls has the highest-recorded contestants ever  -

Kumaratunga must get majority to avert crisis
India Abroad, September 05, 2000 16:25 Hrs(IST) . Colombo: Sri Lanka will face a major constitutional crisis if President Chandrika Kumaratunga's ruling People's Alliance (PA) fails to get an absolute majority in Parliament after next month's general election. If the opposition wins more than half the seats in the 225-member Parliament, a clash between Parliament and the all-powerful executive presidency will be imminent. Under the system of executive presidency adopted in 1978, the executive president, as head of state and government, will select the prime minister and the cabinet from among elected members of Parliament. The prime minister is merely the senior-most minister. The president heads the cabinet and takes all decisions. More...
Published: Tue Sep 5 09:00:22 EDT 2000

Lanka minister beaten up by own men
The Asian Age, Colombo, Sept. 4 . A Sri Lankan minister was assaulted on Monday by a supporter of a senior member of his own party, hours before campaigning for parliamentary elections formally began, senior aides said. They said tourism minister H.B. Semasinghe had been attacked with a knuckle duster by a supporter of Berty Dissanayake, northcentral province’s chief minister. The incident occurred in Anuradhapura, 200 km north of the capital Colombo, where Mr Semasinghe and Mr Dissanayake are spearheading the ruling People’s Alliance campaign for the October 10 parliamentary elections. Mr Semasinghe was injured and taken to hospital before returning home several hours later. More...
Published: Tue Sep 5 00:26:49 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka minister hurt in poster war  -

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