The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 181

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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 1-46 by Mr. Moonesinghe here. We will post all answers soon.
The Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka
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(The proposed new constitution)
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Current Colombo weather
CNN Colombo forcast
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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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Suicide bombers terrify Sri Lankan polticians, Oct 04 2000 08:26 IST. COLOMBO, Oct 4 (AFP) - Assassinations of two candidates running in Sri Lanka's upcoming parliamentary elections have terrified politicians across this country ravaged by a violent Tamil separatist movement. A Muslim candidate affiliated to the ruling People's Alliance party, Mohammed Baithullah, and 22 others around him were killed on Monday by a suicide bomber on a bicycle who rode into a rally in the island's northeast. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 23:40:04 EDT 2000

A moment of national unity
Susanthika at Sydney Olympics
Janath Tillekeratne in Colombo.
About ten minutes before 3 PM, I walked down to Main street, Pettah to ... my office and the moment I sat down, the whole area was suddenly ripped apart with the sound of thousands of crackers bursting simultaneously. I thought initially that some rich politician on his campaign trail is coming down 2nd Cross street, but immediately I got a call from my wife who said with an emotional voice (she was probably shedding tears of joy) that Susanthika had won a bronze medal. I immediately ran down the stairs (three stories mind you) in no time and rushed to the store front I left a few minutes ago which was streaming with people by then. All of them were shouting with joy and some were obviously ecstatic. Shops and work abandoned, they all spoke so proudly of "our girl's" achievements in Sydney. I also stood among them with an erect spine and deliberately squared shoulders brimming with pride. I must say it was an explosive moment.

I was thrilled, over-joyed and happey as ever, not just because of Susanthika winning againt all odds, but with the sudden realization at that instant that every Muslim, Tamil and Sinhala in Pettah were shedding happy tears together for our beloved Sri Lanka, without any racial, religious or ethnic bounderies. That particular instant, all of us were one race, one enitity and one identity, though I do not know whether it is the Sri Lankan, Ceylonese or Serendibian identity and I just did not care.

God bless you Susanthika for not only winning us an Olympic medal, but also for giving us this brief moment of a true national identity.

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Sri Lanka's Olympic heroine feted on return home
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on October 3, 2000. Colombo, Oct. 3. (Reuters): All that glittered was bronze in Sri Lanka today as the war-torn island gave a tumultuous welcome to its first Olympic medallist in half a century. Susanthika Jayasinghe was greeted by Government ministers as she returned home from Sydney after winning the bronze medal in the women's 200 metres, the first medal for a Sri Lankan since Duncan White won silver in the 400 metres hurdles in 1948. ``God, it's good to be a Sri Lankan today,'' said a factory executive, one of tens of thousands who forgot a 17-year ethnic war to throng the route from the airport to the city. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 12:19:20 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Olympian returns home to political storm  - Yahoo

Colombo DIG talks tough
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 8.00 p.m October 3. Deputy inspector general Colombo, Bodhi Liyanage requested all voters in Colombo to cast their vote without any fear as he will take stern action against any party which attempts to break the law. He said " We will not allow any party to intimidate the voters and provide tight security at all polling booths" Liyanage also made an appeal to all religious leaders to extend their support to the police.

Bodhi Liyanage is known to be a tough police officer. Liyanage clashed with minister Richard Pathirana during the last presidential elections.The DIG ordered the minister to leave his office when Pathirana tried to interfere with his work. Liyanage was in charge of the Southern region at the time.
Published: Tue Oct 3 10:00:38 EDT 2000

Hero's welcome for Sri Lanka medallist
BBC South Asia, Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK . Sri Lanka's only Olympic medallist, Susanthika Jayasinghe, has returned home to an enthusiastic welcome - despite being at the centre of press criticism.Thousands of people lined the route from the airport, throwing flowers and letting off firecrackers.On Monday, a pro-government newspaper, the Daily News, accused her of disowning her country because of comments she made at a news conference in which she said that she would have to find somewhere other than Sri Lanka to carry on with her training. The athlete's allegations are highly embarrassing for the government, which has sent numerous messages of congratulations to her in addition to giving her a scholarship for further training.The stance of the Daily News is in contrast to that of the Sunday Times which castigated the sports ministry for the way it says Susanthika Jayasinghe was treated in the run up to the Olympics. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 16:35:20 EDT 2000

Army launches offensive ahead of Sri Lanka elections
Virtual New York, Tuesday, 3 October 2000 12:19 (ET). Sri Lanka's acting defense minister Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte Tuesday said that the armed forces had launched an offensive against separatist Tamil Tigers in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The defense minister's statement came six days ahead of parliamentary elections in the country. Unprecedented violence has marred the campaigning for the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections in the rest of the country, even as government troops are fighting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the Jaffna peninsula. . More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 16:28:05 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka battles to retake lost ground ahead of monsoon  -

LTTE aiming to disrupt elections: Minister
The Hindu (International), Wednesday, October 04, 2000. COLOMBO, OCT. 3. The Deputy Defence Minister, Mr Anuruddha Ratwatte, said today that it was not the government, but the LTTE that was planning its offensive in northern Sri Lanka with an eye on the October 10 parliamentary elections. "The LTTE will do everything it can to disrupt the elections," he said at a news conference today. "We are in a continuous process of retrieving land we lost to the LTTE, starting with the peninsula," he said. But unlike the Prime Minister, Mr Ratnasisi Wickramanayake, who recently promised in a campaign speech that the security forces would wrest the Elephant Pass garrison by polling day on October 10, the Deputy Defence Minister refused to be drawn into a time table. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 18:35:52 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Tamil rebel bombers infiltrate Colombo to disrupt polls, say police  - Times of India
Sri Lankan bomb attack warning  - BBC South Asia

European monitors express horror at bomb carnage, Oct 03 2000 18:19 IST. COLOMBO, Oct 3 (AFP) - The European Union monitors observing Sri Lanka's parliamentary vote campaign Tuesday condemned the suicide bomb attack that killed a candidate and 23 others at an election meeting. The head of the EU mission, John Cushnahan, said he was visiting the north-eastern port district of Trincomalee Monday when the blast ripped through a meeting at the nearby town of Muttur. Nothing can excuse and no cause can justify the taking of human life. Violence has no part to play in the democratic process," he said. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 09:35:36 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
LTTE suicide bombers out to disrupt polls  -
Lanka suicide bomb blast toll reaches 24  - India Abroad
Suicide bomber gets second election candidate  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

Run up to polls tense in the Jaffna Peninsula
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.15 p.m. SLT Tuesday October 3. The Jaffna Peninsula visited by election monitors namely the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence on September 28 and 29, 2000 concluded that the situation remains non-conducive for the conduct of a free and fair election.

In fact, the offensive and counter-offensive (launched by the LTTE on Sep 28th) has resulted in significant displacement of civilian populations in the Thenmarachchi area and indications on the ground are that this will increase greatly in the days to come. The heavy shelling and counter-shelling in this final phase of the campaign renders even faint hopes for minimal ground conditions for an election untenable.

Notwithstanding the military context, it appeared to CMEV that even administratively the election will face severe problems.

Arrangements to transport voters from camps and other temporary habitations to their home polling stations are dependent on the availability of adequate numbers of buses in the region. It does not appear that these requirements can be met, given the current military situation.

Even the alternate polling centres for displaced voters and clustered polling centres for voters in "uncleared" areas have not been finalized yet, or so CMEV was informed by the Commissioner of Elections on September 29, 2000. However, according to "unofficial" information received by CMEV, the clustered polling centres do not appear to provide a reasonable or equal opportunity for voters in the "uncleared" areas, as well as for those who have been displaced on both the long- and short-term. For instance, the provision of one and only one composite polling centre at Jaffna Hindu College for 37 gazetted polling centres in the "uncleared" Kilinochchi area is a mere charade, given the fact that voters of these centres must travel many miles across the forward defence lines along which a fierce battle is being waged in order to cast their ballot.

Three incidents relating to the snatching of polling cards have been recorded from the peninsula, amounting to well over 1500 polling cards. In addition, due to the fact that voter lists have not been systematically updated since1981 to account for outward migration, the total registered voter population is over 625,000 while the entire current population in the peninsula is approximately 450,000.
Published: Tue Oct 3 06:51:59 EDT 2000

Mahinda Rajapakse receives Susanthika at the airport.
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.50 a.m October 3. Minister of sports and youth affairs S.B. Dissanayake was not present at the Katunayake international airport when Susanthika Jayasinghe , 200 metres Olympic bronze medallist at the Sydney Olympics arrived in Sri Lanka this morning. Minister Mahinda Rajapakse who helped Jayasinghe during her troubled times with the sports authorities was present to greet Susnathika. He was the only high ranking member from the ruling People's Alliance government present at the airport.
Published: Mon Oct 2 21:57:44 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Press attack on Sri Lankan medallist  - BBC South Asia
Red carpet welcome for Susanthika  - Island
TALKING POINT - A commentry on Susanthika  - Ceylon Daily News
Sri Lanka Olympian accuses officials of harassment  - Virtual New York

Partisan Cops
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.30 p.m. SLT Tuesday October 3. Political parties have made complaints to the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence regarding the partisan behaviour of some police officers. The most serious concerns are the allegation of murder against the HQI Matale, KC Hapuarachchi, who is also the brother-in-law of PA candidate for Matale, Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake, and the well-documented instances of systematic collusion between the OIC Puttalam, IP OKD Gunadasa and PA candidate DM Dassanayake. In addition, there are complaints that the Akkaraipattu Police Station displays a strong bias in favour of the SLMC, in recording complaints, follow-up investigation and even in the provision of information.

Here too, in general, the most violent areas are precisely those in which the Police has acted in a partisan and unprofessional manner, providing virtual immunity to many prominent perpetrators, while denying even basic rights and justice to some of the victims.

The alleged interference of PA political leaders in police affairs has resulted in sharply opposing and contradictory outcomes in different instances, where uniformity and consistency are necessary for the restoration of public faith in the forces of law and order. The most glaring example is the contrast between the modus operandi for the accelerated release on Rs 25,000/- personal bail of Deputy Defense Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte's son Chanuka Ratwatte against whom there were allegations of shooting at UNP candidate Keheliya Rambukwella at the Getambe junction on September 24th, and the extended incarceration of the UNP's Rohitha Bogollagama from September 20th onwards on charges of an incident that allegedly took place in December 1999 despite the fact that the Appeal Court has ruled that he be released on bail.

The Galnewa, Eppawela, Talawa, and Galenbindunuwewa Police Stations in the Anuradhapura District have continuously displayed partisan support towards the People's Alliance during this campaign. The JVP's Anuradhapura Office too has officially complained of its dissatisfaction with the Galnewa Police in relation to their handling of the assault of JVP supporter Upali Dharmaratne at his cycle shop on September 18th.They allege that the recording of complaints is delayed and the complaints are not recorded in an impartial manner.

In the Nuwara Eliya District, an incident that took place on October 1, 2000 at the Agrapatana town bazaar provides an example where the Police appear to be powerless in the face of armed militias and influential politicians. The Up Country People's Front meeting in the town bazaar turned into a full-fledged battle between over 200 CWC and UCPF cadres who fought each other for one-and-a-half hours in the heart of the town.

The police attempted to intervene by using teargas and by firing into the air, but eye-witnesses indicated to CMEV that the police officers themselves were stoned by the mobs. One person, UCPF supporter F Kalimuttu received serious injuries in the fracas and has been warded at the Kandy Hospital where he is scheduled to undergo an eye operation to rectify the damage to his retina by stoning. The OIC Police Mr Chaminda Pinto told the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence that he lacked adequate manpower to bring the situation under control and that his men had received injuries in the incident.
Published: Tue Oct 3 06:51:59 EDT 2000

Sihala Urumaya wants English as the common language
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.30 a.m October 3. Deputy Secretary of the newly formed Sihala Urumaya , Anuradha Yahampath, said today that her party is not a communal party as projected by some people. Speaking to Lacnet she said " We are not a communal party at all. We believe in co-existence. Our country is not having an ethnic problem but, a terrorist problem My neighbors are Tamils and they live among us peacefully. Can they live among us if we have an ethnic problem?" " But, again can the Sinhalese people live in Jaffna peacefully?"Yahampath questioned.

Anuradha said that successive governments in the country have failed to look after the majority Sinhalese and pretended to look after the minorities but, Sihala Urumaya pledges to protect the rights of the majority community and then the rights of the Tamils. "Our party will encourage people to learn Tamil and propose to have English as the common language. Tamils need not worry about us" concluded Yahampath.

Anuradha Yahampath a mother of three children , including a two week old contesting from Colombo district in the forthcoming general elections.
Published: Mon Oct 2 21:34:29 EDT 2000

Most number of complaints against PA -UNP
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.15 p.m. SLT Tuesday October 3. The PA's alleged share of election related violence is 605 incidents or 52.1% which is nearly three times the UNP's contribution of 227 (19.5%). Persons of unknown political affiliation are being held accountable for 281 (24.2%), the JVP for 09and the EPRLF for 08 incidents. In terms of the major incidents alone, the PA is allegedly responsible for 55.3% and the UNP for 20.6%. If you consider only the major incidents in which the alleged

perpetrator has been identified, the PA and UNP taken together account for 94.6% of all complaints.

Regionally, the Western and North-Western remain the most violent areas, recording 230 and 185 incidents respectively. Sabaragamuwa is the least volatile of the provinces, but it too has crossed the 100 mark. In terms of districts, Gampaha has produced 117 incidents, Puttalam 97 and Kurunegala 88. Outside the North-East, the lowest number of incidents has been recorded from Ratnapura and Hambantota (30 each), but the types of incidents recorded even in these areas do not leave any room for complacency as regards polling day. In general, the escalation of violence has affected all of the districts adversely, creating a climate of tension and fear among ordinary voters.
Published: Tue Oct 3 06:51:59 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
850 incidents of elections related violence  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo
Violence mounts ahead of Sri Lanka elections  - Virtual New York

Police say polls related violence nears the 1000 mark
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3 p.m. SLT Tuesday October 3. The Police Elections Secretariat said today that polls related violence nears the 1000 mark with the main opposition UNP having made over 400 complaints so far. the PA have made over 300 complaints while the JVP are third in the number of complaints made.

Yesterday the police recorded 26 complaints from the UNP, 20 by the PA and 2 by the JVP.

Meanwhile Centre for Monitoring Eelection Violence has recorded 1162 incidents of election-related violence in the first 28 days of the campaign, 80 of which were reported on October 1, 2000, making it the second most violent day so far. 640 of the 1162 incidents (55.1%) are serious or major ones, and 522 (44.9%) are relatively minor incidents. The reports received on September 29th, September 30th, October 1st and October 2nd - the four most violent days of the campaign by far - include 24 Murders, 05 Attempted Murders, 36 records of Hurt, 06 instances of Grievous Hurt, 67 Assaults, 23 acts of Threat & Intimidation, 05 cases of the Misuse of State Resources, 01 Robbery, and 07 instances of Arson.

Of these 1162 complaints, 517 (44.5%) were reported by supporters of the UNP, 345 (29.7%) by supporters of the PA, 143 (12.3%) by the JVP, and 57 (05.9%) by persons without any known political affiliation. 73 (21.2%) of the PA's 345 complaints were directed against supporters of the PA itself, the only significant examples of intra-party rivalry recorded in this campaign.
Published: Tue Oct 3 06:51:58 EDT 2000

LTTE sends powerful poll message by killing Muslim candidate
Yahoo, Tuesday October 3, 12:52 PM. Colombo, Oct 3 - Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have sent a powerful message to Muslim candidates campaigning for next week's general elections with the suicide slaying of a ruling coalition contestant. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 07:15:49 EDT 2000

AI slams Tigers for bombing
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.05 a.m. SLT Tuesday October 3. Amnesty International today slammed the LTTE for a suicide bombing carried out in Sri Lanka's Eastern town Trincomalee. The human rights organization has criticized the attack which claimed 24 lives including that of PA candidate Mohammed Faithullah and injured over 40.
Published: Tue Oct 3 06:51:58 EDT 2000

Commonwealth team to observe Lanka polls
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on October 3, 2000. London, Oct. 3. (PTI): A five-member Commonwealth team is visiting Sri Lanka to observe the October 10 parliamentary elections there, it was officially announced here today. The team, led by E N C Hare, former deputy secretary-general (development cooperation) in the Commonwealth Secretariat, will stay in the island country for 10 days from today. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 12:35:42 EDT 2000

Fierce fighting continues in the North
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Tuesday October 3. Fierce fighting continued in the North yesterday as rebel combatants kept up an attack on the Forward Defence Lines of the military. The battle claimed 19 lives on both sides while defence ministry spokesmen say that armed forces successfully repulsed Tiger fire. The LTTE are reported to have used heavy artillery, mortar and bombs in a bid to penetrate military boundaries.

The military said that on Saturday Lankan soldiers killed over 50 rebels. The military casualty Saturday was 4 soldiers killed and over 40 injured.
Published: Tue Oct 3 06:51:58 EDT 2000

More suicide bombings feared in Sri Lanka as toll hits 24, Oct 03 2000 11:28 IST. COLOMBO, Oct 3 (AFP) - Sri Lankan police Tuesday warned of more blasts ahead of next week's parliamentary elections as the death toll in an overnight suicide bombing in the island's northeast rose to 24. The bomber detonated explosives strapped to him as a Muslim candidate addressed his supporters in the town of Muttur, police said, adding 54 people were wounded in the attack that killed a total of 24.Tension gripped the towns of Muttur and Trincomalee following Monday's mass killing and most shops remained closed, local residents said by telephone. They said more police and troops were seen patrolling the streets. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 04:06:52 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Toll rises to 23 in Lanka blast  - Times of India (Breaking News)
20 killed in Sri Lanka  - The Hindu
Sri Lankan suicide bomber kills Muslim candidate, 22 others  -
Sri Lankan Muslim candidate killed in bomb attack, 20 injured  -
Bomb at Trinco - kills 30  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

Amnesty slams Tigers for suicide bombing, Oct 03 2000 09:25 IST. COLOMBO, Oct 3 (AFP) - International human rights watchdog Amnesty International Tuesday condemned Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels for a suicide bombing that killed 24 people, including an election candidate. Amnesty said Monday's killings were a "clear violation of international humanitarian law" and it had protested to the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have been blamed for the bombing.A suicide bomber detonated explosives he was carrying in the north-eastern town of Muttur on Monday, killing Mohammed Baithullah, a candidate in the October 10 parliamentary elections and 23 others. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 00:23:43 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Tigers blamed for suicide bombing - Ananova alert  - Ananova
Chronology of Sri Lankan suicide bomb attacks  -
Sri Lanka blast kills 19  -
Sri Lanka blast targets rally  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lankan suicide bomber kills Muslim candidate, 18 others  -
Sri Lanka blast kills 19 at political rally  -
Sri Lanka Muslim candidate assassinated in bombing, 19 dead  -

Sri Lanka vote turns into referendum on peace plan, Oct 03 2000 07:43 IST. COLOMBO, Oct 3 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's upcoming national election is turning into a referendum on President Chandrika Kumaratunga's power-sharing plan to appease the country's Tamil separatists. Kumaratunga has said she will implement her plan to turn the country into a de facto federal state within two months of re-election after the October 10 polls.he minority party Marxist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, has said it fears the government may interpret any vote for it as an invitation to rewrite the constitution and adopt a federal charter. "We want to warn the voters of this deception plan," JVP spokesman Wimal Weerawansa said. "They are trying to project the election as a referendum on dividing the country on ethnic lines. We are against it. More...
Published: Tue Oct 3 00:26:37 EDT 2000

Assassination Fails in Sri Lanka
Yahoo, October 2. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - A Sri Lankan Muslim leader narrowly escaped a second assassination attempt Monday, police said, two days after gunmen opened fire on his convoy. Another party member and 18 others were killed in a separate suicide bomb attack. A police jeep escorting the bulletproof vehicle of M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, a top official in the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, was hit by a Claymore mine placed near the road, said U. Hewage, senior superintendent of police in Batticaloa, about 130 miles northeast of the capital Colombo. Two policemen were wounded. More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 20:48:57 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka Muslim Leader Escapes 2nd Assassination Attempt  - Yahoo

Artillery duels in northern Sri Lanka
BBC South Asia, Monday, 2 October, 2000, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK . Heavy fighting is continuing in Sri Lanka as the army and Tamil rebels battle for positions in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The army said on Monday that Tamil Tigers had fired mortar bombs and artillery at army positions in the area, drawing retaliatory fire from the military.It said four soldiers had been killed and another 45 wounded in a four-hour artillery duel overnight, in which 15 rebels had also died. More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 07:48:25 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka troops repulse fresh rebel assaults  - MSNBC
15 LTTE, four soldiers die in battle  - The Hindu NUS
Sri Lanka rebels turn artillery on Jaffna airstrip  - MSNBC
Sri Lanka fighting rages, another 19 killed  -
54 Tigers killed - 1500 civilians flee  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

Sri Lanka Air Force Knocks Out Some Rebel Gun Positions
Yahoo, October 2. The Sri Lankan air force knocked out several rebel gun positions in northern Jaffna Peninsula in a new offensive to push the militants further away from areas where people will vote Oct. 10 in national elections, a military spokesman said Monday. Sunday's air raids by MiG-27 aircraft were also aimed at protecting Tamil civilians who have come under rebel attack ahead of the parliamentary elections, Brig. Sanath Karunaratne said. "They are using heavy artillery to scare the civilians to force them to flee," Karunaratne said. "And we are trying to beat the terrorists back so that they cannot disturb the civilians." More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 11:50:10 EDT 2000

Race and religion make a volatile mix: Sri Lanka prepares for elections
Dawn, October 1. Having forced President Chandrika Kumaratunga to withdraw her constitutional reform bill from parliament in early August, a powerful section of Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks is campaigning to defeat her government in the October 10 parliamentary elections. Hundreds of monks have joined the election fray determined to bring down the six-year-old Peoples Alliance government whose constitutional reforms are perceived as creating a federal state leading to Tamil Eelam, the independent state demanded by minority Tamil separatists.Many Buddhists, however, deplore the involvement of their monks in politics and argue that dabbling in politics has debased the sangha (monkhood), divided them and unnecessarily complicated secular issues. More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 19:47:51 EDT 2000

Intra-party rivalry at Ampara
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12 p.m. SLT Monday October 2. In Ampara, intra-party rivalry allegedly resulted in an incident of arson where a shop owned by a prominent supporter of PA candidate Wimalaweera Dissanayake, Mr S A P Kumara Indrajith was burnt at around 1.30 am on September 27th, causing damage estimated at Rs 750,000/-

Mr. Indrajith alleges that he has been repeatedly threatened during the past week and warned against continuing to support Mr Dissanayake. Amparai Police have yet to make any arrests in this regard.
Published: Mon Oct 2 03:25:01 EDT 2000

German archeologist here to make a film on Sigiriya
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 8. 15 p.m October 2. Dr. Tamara Spitzing a German archeologist is in Sri Lanka now to make a film on Sigiriya. It has been her dream for the past twenty years to make a film on Sigiriya, a world heritage site. The film is produced by a German television channel and a French/German cultural channel at a cost of of 500,000 DM (250,000 US$) The shooting of the film will commence soon in Sigiriya and the German production team expects to complete the movie within thirty days .

Speaking to Lacnet Dr. Spitzing said " Sigiriya is a very particular and a special place. I have travelled in many parts of the world but never seen a place like Sigiriya. I came to Sri Lanka twenty years ago as a student but, never forgot the marvel of Sigiriya. I am glad that the two German and French television channels approved my proposal to make a film on Sigiriya"

Spitzing also said that she is not scared or worried to commence her shoot at a time when the country is facing elections and election related violence are on the increase. She expressed hope that Sri Lanka will soon become a peaceful country again.
Published: Mon Oct 2 10:13:15 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Polls Closely Fought,But Rigging A Worry-Survey
Yahoo-DJ, October 2. Sri Lanka's Oct. 10 parliamentary polls will be closely fought between the two main political parties, but a high percentage of voters aren't sure if the polls will be free and fair, the Sunday Times reported.The report quoted two separate surveys by independent local groups. In a survey conducted by Research International Ltd., the main opposition United National Party led by Ranil Wickremesinghe or UNP was slightly ahead with 38.1%, against 37.9% for President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance.The survey said Wickremesinghe's party scored better in areas of managing the economy, while the governing alliance was rated higher on solving the 17-year old war between Tamil Tiger rebels and the military. More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 11:53:27 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka ruling party accused of links with Tamil Tigers, Oct 02 2000 18:01 IST. Sri Lanka's main opposition Monday accused President Chandrika Kumaratunga's ruling party of having secret dealings with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels ahead of upcoming parliamentary polls. The opposition United National Party (UNP), in a statement, lambasted Kumaratunga's ruling Peoples's Alliance for hypocrisy. It said that while the PA had accused it of links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a government minister had reportedly admitted a "tacit agreement" with the separatists."The PA must come clean on the LTTE issue," the UNP statement said. "The nation has had enough of the PA's hypocrisy, duplicity and double-talk." More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 09:09:17 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Furore over peace talks letters  - TamilNet

Polls violence in Lanka's Central Province
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.40 a.m. SLT Monday October 2 . In another serious and blatant act of violence which took place in the Central Province at Morankanda in the Harispattuwa electorate on the 27th September at 7.30 pm, UNP Provincial Council Member Haleem and his entourage of around 20 persons were attacked at gun point, resulting in the hospitalization of 04 UNP supporters and the damage to three vehicles. The victims allege that they were set upon by a gang headed by Deputy Defense Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte's eldest son Lohan Ratwatte and PA Pradeshiya Sabha member Gunatilleke Rajapakse who had blocked the road using 06 military vehicles. It was further alleged by Mr Rajakaruna, Secretary to Mr Haleem, that the attackers had forced their victims to strip prior to the assault. Neither Mr Lohan Ratwatte nor Mr Rajapakse were available for comment, and the Police would neither confirm nor deny the veracity of the complaint.

Only yesterday (Sunday October 1) Chanuka Ratwatte, brother of Lohan Ratwatte was produced before the Kandy Chief Magistrate for allegedly shooting at UNP candidate Kheliya Rambukwella's motorcade on September 23. Both are sons of Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte.

Meanwhile Mr. A D Sirideva, the 45-year-old JVP supporter allegedly shot in Matale by Police HQI K C Hapuarachchi on September 25th, succumbed to his injuries Wednesday September 27, bringing the total of election-related deaths to 13.
Published: Mon Oct 2 03:25:01 EDT 2000

Deputy Defence Minister' son released on bail
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.30 a.m. SLT Monday October 2. Chanuka Ratwatte, son of Deputy Defence Minister, Anuruddha Ratwatte was released yesterday on personal bail together with two others by Kandy Chief Magistrate who has ordered that they reappear for the next hearing on November 6.

Ratwatte was produced by Kandy police in connection with shooting at Opposition United National Party candidate, Kheliya Rambukwella's vehicle and motorcade on Saturday September 23.
Published: Mon Oct 2 03:25:01 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Davids to gain from the battle of Goliaths
India Abroad, Oct 02, 2000 16:20 Hrs (IST) . Colombo: Sri Lankans are finding it increasingly hard to choose between the country's two main political parties and their disenchantment may rebound in favor of the smaller groups at next week's parliamentary polls, analysts say. Two parties which could reap a substantial harvest of votes from a jaded public are the leftists Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the nationalist Sihala Urumaya (SU), both of which have launched high-profile campaigns to scoop up more than just the floating vote. Both parties are entering the fray for the first time and jostling for the place of the alternative third force, which can at least be able to call the shots in the event of a hung parliament. More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 08:49:10 EDT 2000
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Distribution of poll cards ends today
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9 a.m. SLT Monday October 2. The distribution of poll cards ends today as the country gears for the General Election next Tuesday October 10. The distribution has not been without incident as in tow instances at least two postmen were attacked and polling cards burnt and stolen. The incidents happened at a Colombo suburb Rajagiriya and in the Northern town of Jaffna.

The Elections Commissioner meanwhile has intimated that it is not necessary to carry a polling card in order to vote. Producing individual identification at relevant polling booths will also be accepted to enable those who did not receive polling cards to exercise their franchise.

Some of the polling cards delivered did not carry the controversial sticker which almost nailed the Elections Commissioner. The Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, maintains that this was because the top secret plan was blown by the Criminal Investigations Department which prevented a 10% of more than 11 million stickers from being printed and pasted on polling cards.
Published: Mon Oct 2 03:25:01 EDT 2000

SLMC at the crossroads
The Hindu (International), Tuesday, October 03, 2000. KALMUNAI (AMPARA), OCT. 2. White flags and streamers, traditional Sri Lankan symbol of mourning, flutter from shops and houses. As this town grieves the untimely death last month of one of its favourite sons, M.H.M. Ashraff, the sense of loss is palpable. Ashraff was the founder of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) which gave voice to this sizeable but insecure eastern Muslim population which fears Tamil domination. Despite his recent efforts to give the party a national and secular look, calling it the National Unity Alliance (NUA) and co-opting politicians across religious boundaries, eastern Muslims still form the party's core. Placed at the crossroads following Ashraff's death, the future of the SLMC, will be decided in the coming elections by its performance in this region, under a new leadership which, for the first time in its short existence, does not belong here. More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 18:32:06 EDT 2000

Liberal leader deemed to have resigned from varsity
Island, Monday, 02 October. Liberal leader deemed to have resigned from varsity Following his candidature for parliament at the forthcoming general election, Rajiva Wijesinha, Professor of Languages at Sabaragamuwa University has been informed by the Vice-Chancellor that the Council has ‘decided to treat you as having resigned from your post in the University.’He had written asking for unpaid leave from his position, as entitled to under the Constitution and the Universities Establishments Code. The question first came up when he contested the presidential election last December. The University Grants Commission Legal Officer then advised that he could contest on no-pay leave, as he was not an officer of the university.The Council however decided to consult the Attorney-General’s Department, which Wijesinha says gave "some ambiguous advice." He said at first he was told he would be assumed to have resigned, but later, at the conclusion of that election, the Vice-Chancellor informed him officially that he would be treated as having been on no-pay leave. More...
Published: Mon Oct 2 03:32:17 EDT 2000

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