The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 173

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The Lanka Academic carried an online "Question and Answer" sessions with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe from September 1, 2000 through September 24, 2000. You can view the questions from visitors like you and the answers 1-37 by Mr. Moonesinghe here. We will post all answers soon.
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Where is MIR today?
Bandula Jayasekera, in Jaffna. Bearded face of PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Sidharthan can be seen all over the city of Jaffna. Hand drawn posters with the fish symbol supposed to be of an independent group are widely displayed. Posters of TULF are not to be seen. EPDPs Douglas Devanandas posters were clearly visible but, I saw more of the PLOTE leader. There are no poster wars even though few posters are tarred at some places. No body gave the reason as to why people had done it. People of Jaffna say that posters are displayed side by side but no one tries to kill one another because both sides are armed, meaning the EPDP and PLOTE. They are no political meetings, only distribution of handbills and the people of Jaffna say that they are in no election mood. More...
Bandula Jayasekera, in Colombo. He is soft spoken, kind hearted and extremely gentle. He wants to keep a low profile even though he is doing a very high profile job, representing his country as High Commissioner. He is a true son of the great land and the youngest grandson of the greatest man of this millenium, Mahatma Gandhi. 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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TULF calls for ceasefire, third-party mediation
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on September 25, 2000. Colombo, Sept. 25. (PTI): A Sri Lankan moderate Tamil party has asked the Government to declare an immediate ceasefire monitored by international observers and hold talks with the LTTE in order to end the 17-year-old conflict. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), in its election manifesto released here, said ``there should be effective third- party international mediation and that, if in order to facilitate these processes there needs to be a ceasefire, such a ceasefire should be brought about with impartial international monitors and observers.'' More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 11:15:37 EDT 2000

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Gun politics may swing poll in Sri Lanka's Jaffna
MSNBC, JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, Sept. 25. Douglas Devananda woos voters in Sri Lanka's war-torn Jaffna peninsula, promising them that a cinema he has converted into the fortress headquarters of his militia will one day actually show films. ''The people of Jaffna want peace and normality,''Devananda, leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), told Reuters at the heavily fortified Sridhar cinema in Jaffna city. Behind Devananda, an EPDP poster for the October 10 general election uses pictures of satellites and computers as symbols of Jaffna's future. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 22:34:21 EDT 2000

LTTE use students to carry out protests
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 9.25 p.m September 25. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has begun to train students in areas under their control to protest and march against the government. A report revealed today that rebels have made it compulsory for the students studying in grades 10, 11 and 12 to take part in the training from 8.00 a.m to 9.00 a.m daily. The report revealed that all other students and teachers are forced to remain in the school grounds while the senior students are trained by the LTTE.

The students who are trained by the LTTE are then asked to collect food items and supply them to their camps and treat the injured. Students of Mulliyaweli central college in Jaffna have already been used by the LTTE to treat the wounded. Student who refuse to take part in the training are banned from sitting for the ordinary level and advanced level examinations by the LTTE. They have informed the authorities that they have carried out the orders of the LTTE due to fear and the reluctance to neglect their studies.
Published: Mon Sep 25 11:30:56 EDT 2000

People in Jaffna ask for peace; Not elections.
Bandula Jayasekara in Jaffna, September 25, 2000. The city of Jaffna is full of faded blue posters of President Chandrika Kumaratunge displayed during her presidential election campaign. Some one said that she was waving in Tamil in Jaffna. There are no signs of blues and greens or the Sihala Urumaya, which created much hype about contesting in Jaffna. One person said " No. I don't know anything about this Sihala Urumaya fielding candidates from Jaffna. But, I heard that our former cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunge is contesting from that party in Colombo" He paused and asked me " Is it true?" Soldiers and policemen at checkpoints said, " They came to hand over their nominations, distributed leaflets, that's was all" Come what may it is still Tamil politics and Tamil politicians in Jaffna. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 18:19:57 EDT 2000

Matale Police shoot at JVP procession
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.35 p.m. SLT Monday September 25 . Police in the Matale district today at around 10.30 a.m. fired tear gas and arrested 14 members of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

The JVP say that after having conducted a picketing campaign for which a 1000 strong crowd of supporters had gathered the party had attempted to conduct a peaceful march.

However the police reportedly turned up and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Dimuthu Abeykoon, a JVP Provincial Council Member for the Kandy District and Wimal Ratnayake also a JVP Provincial Council Member for the Kurunegala district were among those arrested.

Matale police say the crowd showed signs of becoming unruly and that was why they took action. The police maintain they are conducting further inquiries into the matter.

One person was admitted to hospital with injuries as a result of the confrontation.
Published: Mon Sep 25 03:48:27 EDT 2000

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One hurt as police fire on Sri Lanka protest-party
MSNBC, Sep 25 2000 19:07 IST. At least one person was seriously injured on Monday when police opened fire on an opposition demonstration in the central Sri Lankan town of Matale, party officials said. 'It was a peaceful protest and we were brutally attacked with batons and tear gas before the police began shooting,'' Mahesh Silva, spokesman for the People's Liberation Front (JVP), told Reuters by phone in Colombo.The incident occurred as the main opposition United National Party candidate Anura Bandaranaike said his office in the Attanagalle electorate near Colombo had been ransacked by armed men on Sunday night.''This is turning out to be a travesty of democracy,'' Bandaranaike, the estranged brother of President Chandrika Kumaratunga told a news conference in Colombo. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 10:17:01 EDT 2000

Anura B's party office smashed
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Monday September 25 . The party office of Opposition MP Anura Bandaranaike at Attanagalla was smashed at around 2.30 a.m. this morning when an unknown gang first destroyed a huge cutout of the burly and outspoken MP before smashing his party office to smithereens.

The incident took place opposite the party office of a PA candidate. Another huge cut-out of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle remained intact during the attack.

Some 100 policeman deployed in the Attanagalla area yesterday to ensure security for tomorrow Tuesday September 26, which is commemorating S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike's death anniversary, were apparently comatose while the attack was taking place.

A European Union mission meanwhile monitoring the forthcoming Lankan parliamentary election said yesterday they are concerned over police not acting against an election related violence at Kandy on Saturday September 23.

The incident involved shooting at Opposition candidate Kheliya Rambukwella contesting for the United National Party. Rambukwella's motorcade was allegedly shot at by the son of a leading politico of the area.

Foreign polls observers who were in Kandy at the time of the attack say police inaction is a cause for serious concern in ensuring a violence free election.

EU polls monitors in the country for only a week, have already deplored the incidents of election related violence in the run up to polls as they say it will hinder the vote which is taking place in an atmosphere of violence and intimidation.
Published: Mon Sep 25 02:26:08 EDT 2000

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President directs full probe into attack on Anura's office  - CDN
Chandrika Kumaratunga accused by brother of unleashing violence  -
Sri Lankan leader accused by brother of unleashing violence  -

Chandrika's men ransacked my office, says brother
The Hindu (International), Tuesday, September 26, 2000. COLOMBO, SEPT. 25. The estranged brother of the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, today accused her bodyguards of wrecking his election office, 40 kms from here. ``My office was smashed, cut-outs were destroyed, telephone lines were cut-off, they threatened the caretaker,'' Mr. Anura Bandaranaike, who is a member of the United National Party (UNP), said. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 18:44:13 EDT 2000
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Brother accuses Chandrika's staff of attacking his office  - India Abroad

SLMC to change image
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.10 p.m. SLT Monday September 25. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress which helped the Peoples Alliance to form a government in 1994 is to change its name to the National Unity Alliance in bid to move away from secular politics.

The NUA's new co-leader Rauf Hakeem in a statement issued yesterday said that the SLMC has been hindered over the years due to it being identified primarily as party representing only the Muslim community.

The newly formed National Unity Alliance, Hakeem asserts, will represent the needs and aspirations of all communities in Sri Lanka. The SLMC whose leader M. H. M. Ashraff was tragically killed in a air disaster a week ago, represented 5.5% of the Muslim minority community in the Island.
Published: Mon Sep 25 02:26:11 EDT 2000

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Lanka Muslim Congress to shed sectarian identity  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka's main Muslim party to embrace secular identity  -
Sri Lanka's main Muslim party to change name, focus  -

European monitors stunned by Lanka poll violence
India Abroad, Sept.25, 2000 2:54 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: A European Union (E.U.) team monitoring Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections expressed serious concern Sunday over a shooting incident during campaigning and said they were stunned by police inaction. The E.U. observer mission said its members were in the central hill resort of Kandy when violence broke out at a campaign rally. They said they were not direct witnesses but had spoken to the victims and the police. "I take this matter very seriously and expect it to be investigated thoroughly," E.U. team chief John Cushnahan said in a statement. "I am concerned as to how this matter is currently handled," he added. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 18:39:26 EDT 2000
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Call for cooperation of all parties to ensure free and fair election - EU mission Chief  - CDN
EU concerned over Sri Lanka violence  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lankan Govt. chastises EU poll observers  - The Hindu NUS
EU poll monitors concerned over Sri Lanka shooting  - MSNBC
EU monitors under fire in Sri Lanka  -
EU concerned over Sri Lanka police inaction  -

Unidentified gang burns polling cards
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Monday September 25. An unknown gang today burnt polling cards forcibly seized from a postman in the Kopai area in the Jaffna District. The gang are also reported to have burnt the list carrying registered names of voters along with the postman's other documentation.

On Saturday September 23, another postman delivering polling cards at a Colombo suburb, Rajagiriya was assaulted by two youth who reportedly snatched the polling cards and smashed up his push cycle. The two hooligans were later arrested by the Welikada police.

The postman was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital suffering from wounds received as a result of being beaten by the two youth. The police say that they suspect the two youths were instigated into conducting the attack on the instructions of a politician.
Published: Mon Sep 25 02:26:10 EDT 2000

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Postman assaulted, poll cards snatched  - Island

S. Lanka north quiet as troops consolidate gains
MSNBC, september 25. The guns were largely silent in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north on Monday as government forces consolidated on gains made against Tamil Tiger rebels. Troops clashed sporadically with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) entrenched in the northern Jaffna peninsula, but for the first time this month there was no major weekend offensive.''It is quiet, no offensives are on,'' a military official said in Colombo. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 10:12:41 EDT 2000

Plan to arrest Lanka's opposition leader shelved
India Abroad, Sept 24, 2000 21:10 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: The Lankan government is understood to have shelved plans to arrest Opposition and United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickeremsinghe on the basis of allegations contained in an affidavit filed by a former police officer. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 12:22:06 EDT 2000
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CID told not to arrest Ranil  - SundayLeader

Farmers fast unto death
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.50 a.m. SLT Monday September 25. Seven farmers who began a fast unto death at Ambalampitiya last week were joined by three more today as demands that the government pay compensation for losses suffered in the last harvest were not met.

It is the second time in one month that Lankan farmers have attempted a fast unto death. In August this year some eleven farmers at Hingurakgoda in the Polonnaruwa district also began a fast unto death which was finally resolved after Premier Ratnasiri Wickremanayake agreed to purchase a kilo of paddy at Rs. 13 as compared against the earlier price of Rs. 8/=.
Published: Mon Sep 25 02:26:09 EDT 2000

25 killed in fighting in Sri Lanka
The Hindu NUS, 22.30 hrs (IST) on September 25, 2000. Colombo, Sept. 25 (PTI): Twenty-four LTTE rebels and a civilian were killed in sporadic fighting between the Sri Lankan Army and the tigers in the north and east, while naval troops seized two suspected rebel supply boats and arrested four persons. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 13:20:29 EDT 2000
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Twenty four rebels killed in Sri Lankan clashes  - Ananova
Sri Lanka troops kill six Tiger rebels  -

Heritage: Origins of Malays
YAHOO, September 25. As time went on, their original cultural characteristics were significantly modified as they came into contact with other people. From a religious point of view, they were exposed first to Hinduism and then Buddhism. With the coming of the Persians and the Arabs, they embraced Islam.Their place in the history of Ceylon probably began in the 13th century when they invaded Ceylon. This event was graphically described in the "Mahawansa".A Malay prince, Chandrabanu, landed in Ceylon with a party of followers during the reign of Parakramabahu II, but his attack was unsuccessful. Some years later, he returned with reinforcements and threatened war but again had to retreat. It was believed that Chandrabanu went to Ceylon to obtain an image of Buddha which was reported to have miraculous properties.What he failed to obtain by force of arms, he later obtained by passive means and the image was eventually taken to Siam where even in the early 1930s, it was known as the "Sinhalese image". But until the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, there was no recorded information about the Malays in Ceylon. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 07:54:34 EDT 2000

Sri Lankans In Jaffna Seek Normalcy
Yahoo - By DILSHIKA JAYAMAHA, JAFFNA, Sri Lanka (AP), Saturday, September 23 3:59 PM SGT . Miles of devastated space stretch out where a proud city once stood. Now, it's just a gutted hulk, dotted with dilapidated buildings, caved-in roofs, walls pocked with bullet holes. Residents who spoke to journalists during a rare visit allowed by the military said they yearned for peace. The city has changed hands three times in the past 13 years. A few election posters hang on walls, reminders that elsewhere in this island nation, people are focused on the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections. ``People are more concerned about preventing their house from devastation or getting their children to school,'' says Nesanayagam, a Catholic priest who says he falls asleep to the sound of mortars falling nearby. ``People who live close to these areas pack up their immediate belongings and sleep at relatives and friends' houses away from the front line at night and return during the day.'' More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 01:28:28 EDT 2000

LTTE 'abducts' 10 girls
The Hindu, Monday, September 25, 2000. The LTTE abducted ten school girls in the eastern province to conscript them for filling up its depleted ranks after the Sri Lankan troops captured Chavakachcheri in the Jaffna peninsula, an Army spokesman, Brig. Sanath Karunaratne, said. They were abducted from Kokkadicholai when they were returning home after attending their tuition classes on September 14. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 19:05:13 EDT 2000
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LTTE abducts school girls to fill up ranks  - Times of India

Indian Power Loom Fabrics Exhibition, Sep 25 2000 11:10 IST. Colombo, Sep 25 (UNI) Sixteen leading Indian power loom fabrics manufacturers have put up an exhibition of a variety of their goods here to attract Sri Lankan buyers. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 03:15:47 EDT 2000

National: Zainon Ahmad is media monitor for Lanka polls
Yahoo, Sunday, September 24 6:30 PM SGT . The Commonwealth Press Union has appointed New Straits Times editorial consultant Zainon Ahmad as a media monitor for the forthcoming Sri Lanka parliamentary elections scheduled for Oct 10.He leaves for Sri Lanka tomorrow to join four other Commonwealth journalists who will observe the role the media plays in the electoral process. The leader of the five-member team is Sidharth Bhatia from India. More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 01:23:18 EDT 2000

Major crash averted at Colombo airport
The Hindu NUS, 16.00 hrs (IST) on September 24, 2000. Colombo, Sept. 24. (PTI): A major disaster was averted at Sri Lanka's Bandarnaike Airport recently when a Sri Lankan Airlines A-330 Airbus, piloted by a Sri Lankan and two Indian trainees, landed despite warnings missing by seconds collusion with three military aircraft being cleared off the runway, according to airport officials. The pilot of the Sri Lankan Airbus, which was on a training mission last month, landed despite being told to wait while the ground staff moved two Israeli-made KFIR bombers and an AN-32 military transport aircraft from the runway, the Sunday Times reported here today. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 07:16:01 EDT 2000
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Crash averted in Colombo  - The Hindu

Sihala Urumaya not racist: An interview with S.L. Gunasekera- Leader of Sihala Urumaya
The Island, september 17. Sihala Urumaya was founded to fulfil a long-felt need in our political firmament by giving the Sinhalese a voice in Parliament. Both major parties have taken the Sinhalese for granted and, acting on the assumption that both have ‘block’ Sinhalese votes which will never change whatever they do to the Sinhalese, obsequiously woo the forces of Tamil and Muslim chauvinism in the belief that they hold the key to power, pander to their unconscionable demands and whims and sacrifice the rights of the Sinhalese in the process. Thus it is that both the Government and the UNP have agreed to destroy every trace of a unitary state and convert this country into a federal state. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 21:12:46 EDT 2000

Anura: "The PA is losing the election"- An Interview with Anura Bandaranayake
InfoLabs-SundayLeader, September 17. The PA is losing this election. From the president onwards everybody is losing this time. So what the PA is trying to do is to subvert the process by unleashing violence. This took place even before the nominations. It all started with the assassination of the JVP member in Colombo ad the UNPer in Rambukkana. This is reaching absurd proportions with the PA ministers assaulting each other. In Ratnapura, John Seneviratne was assaulted by Pavithra Wanniarachchi. So there is no control and I think everything is going from bad to worse. There will be a bloodbath if the president does not bring thin under control. It is entirely in her hands because she is the commander in chief. If she does not put her foot down the entire blame will be on her. The violence we see today is because of the PA's weak position. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 21:16:00 EDT 2000

Is UNP for or against LTTE? - PM
CDN, September 24. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, addressing an election meeting at Naula in the Matale District Friday, threw an open challenge to Opposition Leader to say whether he was for or against the militarily elimination of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. "I am directly posing this question to Mr. Wickremasinghe for an immediate answer. It is a simple answer. Is it yes or no"? he queried. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 21:20:06 EDT 2000

Troops turn tables on Tigers as Jaffna gears for ballot amid bullets, Sep 24 2000 09:47 IST. JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, Sept 24 (AFP) - Only five months ago India was about to send its navy to evacuate beleaguered Sri Lankan troops from the northern peninsula of Jaffna as Tamil Tiger rebels advanced rapidly, but now the tables have been turned. Journalists in the Indian capital were trying to book berths on ships put on stand-by to rescue the 30,000-strong Sri Lankan army as the Tigers captured the garrison guarding the entrance to the peninsula in April. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 05:40:14 EDT 2000

"We pleaded but Navy kept firing"- survivor
TamilNet, september 24. "We were fishing after a heavy thunder shower when about ten Sri Lanka Navy boats approached and opened fire on us. We screamed that we were fishermen and pleaded with them to stop shooting. But the Navy surrounded our boats and continued to fire on us. So we jumped in the sea to save our lives" said Punchi Singho, a Sinhala fishermen who survived the SLN attack in the Trincomalee bay Friday night. Two Sinhala fishermen who were caught in the attack are still missing, Police sources in the eastern port town said. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 21:07:13 EDT 2000

Shoot at sight orders in Sri Lanka
Virtual New York, 1:50 GMT Sunday, 24 September 2000 . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Sept 24 (UPI) - Sri Lanka police have issued 'shoot-at-sight' orders to prevent stuffing of ballot boxes and violence during the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 05:42:59 EDT 2000

War of words dominates Jaffna polls
The Hindu (International), Monday, September 25, 2000. JAFFNA, SEPT. 24. In the absence of any meaningful campaign in this strife-torn peninsula, the dispirited run-up to the general election here has so far been dominated by a war of words between the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP). Bereft of charismatic leaders to capture the imagination of an exhausted people, and unable to claim any contribution to bringing back peace to the peninsula, the two parties, each of which sees the other as its main opponent for the election, have resorted to pulling each other down in a vociferous slanging match. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 19:14:34 EDT 2000

Environmentalists lambast politicians
Sunday Leader, 24 September 2000. Environmentalists have expressed their concern over political parties showing scant regard for the environment in their political manifestos.They said that of the 41 registered political parties in Sri Lanka, only about three have placed emphasis on the enviornment in their manifestos while others have not even "bothered" to mention the subject.They also said that political parties were violating environmental regulations by decorating rallies with colourful polythene sheets and strips and then dumping them indiscriminately."Party organisers don't even understand that it is difficult to destroy polythene sheets as they are not bio-degradable. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 00:18:11 EDT 2000

Navy destroys rebel boats in eastern Lanka
Times of India, 25 September 2000 . Two Tamil Tiger rebel boats were destroyed after a night-long gunbattle between the navy and a rebel flotilla off the northeastern Sri Lankan coast, the government's principal spokesman said Sunday.Naval reinforcements were rushed to the coastal town of Chalai on Saturday after navy patrol boats Friday night sighted two clusters of rebel boats and fired at them, said Ariya Rubasinghe. The rebels returned fire with heavy, medium and small arms. More...
Published: Sun Sep 24 19:10:13 EDT 2000

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