The Lanka Academic

JUNE 21, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 76

Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Muslims split over Sri Lanka pullout
123india, june 22. Sri Lanka's main Muslim party split following its pull out that turned the ruling coalition into a minority government, party officials said Friday.The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) announced disciplinary action against two of its legislators who defied the leadership and remained with President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA) coalition. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 23:59:42 EDT 2001

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Future of Chandrika Govt. at stake?
The Hindu (International), Friday, June 22, 2001. The exit of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) from the People's Alliance coalition has put a question mark over the future of the Chandrika Kumaratunga Government but much depends on the other political realignments expected to take place in the coming days. Seven MPs of the SLMC quit the Government on Wednesday, but four other MPs stayed on. Even so, the PA was reduced to a minority of 109 in Parliament, four short of the required number for a majority in the 225-member House More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 18:34:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Testing time for Kumaratunga  - Times of India
Chandrika ministry on brink  - gulf-news

Hakeem a threat to national unity - President
CDN, june 22. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in a statement issued last evening said that SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem was removed from the Cabinet of Ministers in the greater interests and the common good of the country and the people. She pointed out that Mr.Hakeem's policies posed a major threat to the PA Government and to the unity and understanding among different communities. The President recalled that on many occasions she had advised him to act with patience and cooperation, before the decision to remove him was taken. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 22:35:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka balance favors Tamil rebels
CNN, June 21. Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka's new political kingmaker is dangling his party's make-or-break votes to pressure President Chandrika Kumaratunga to resume peace talks with Tamil separatists. Rauf Hakeem, whose Sri Lanka Muslim Congress had just withdrawn support for Kumaratunga's ruling People's Alliance, said on Thursday he was still deciding whether to support a no-confidence vote against the president in July. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 15:32:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Marxists take centre stage in Sri Lanka crisis  - MSNBC

Maoist JVP may be Lankan kingmaker
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, June 21 . THE MAOIST Janatha Vimu-kthi Peramuna will be the kingmaker when the no confidence motion, to be ta-bled on Friday by the opposition United National Party, comes up for vote in the Sri Lankan parliament in the coming weeks. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 18:30:28 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka opposition mounts government ouster drive  - Yahoo Asia

'SLMC behaved unethically'
The Hindu (International), Friday, June 22, 2001. The Sri Lankan Government today said ``unethical and unacceptable behaviour'' by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) was one of the main reasons for its leader being sacked from his Cabinet post. The abrupt removal of Mr. Rauff Hakeem from the Cabinet has led to a crisis for the Government with seven SLMC MPs walking out of the People's Alliance in protest, reducing the ruling coalition to a minority in Parliament. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 18:33:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka opposition seeks interim government amid political turmoil, Jun 21 2001 20:49 IST. Sri Lanka's main opposition party launched talks Thursday to form an interim administration after President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government lost its majority in parliament.The right-wing United National Party (UNP) said it held talks with a former Kumaratunga ally, the Marxist JVP or People's Liberation Front, and agreed on a radical constitutional reform program "to re-establish democracy".The government said some JVP members may defect in the event of a crucial vote in the House, a claim denied by JVP legislator and spokesman Wimal Weerawansa. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 12:58:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP to pitch for government of "National Reconciliation"
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 8.00 PM SLT Thursday,June 21,2001. The United National Party (UNP),which is confident of defeating the government when a motion of no-confidence is put to vote,is hoping to form a government of "National Reconciliation" with a number of parties including a major section of the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA).

The UNP does not envisage any conflict between "Prime Minister" Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Chandrika Kumaratunga."Both are good people and know each other well enough to be able to work together," said an MP in the top echelons of the UNP.

"Consensus and reconciliation are the need of the hour for Sri Lanka,given the fact that no major decisions on core issues like good governance,economic development, ethnic conflict,war and talks with the LTTE can be taken without a bi-partisan or multi-party consensus," the MP said.

UNP sources believe that President Kumaratunga would not be averse to the idea of a government of National Reconciliation.She had herself mooted the idea after winning the last Presidential elections.Lately,key ministers like Mr.S.B.Dissanayake and Prof.G.L.Peiris have urged the formation of a "National Government",though the President has denied that she is thinking of one.

UNP sources do not expect President Kumaratunga to prorogue parliament if defeated in the no-trust vote.They do not expect her to order a snap parliamentary poll after October either.The fact that no MP wants another election so soon, is expected to weigh heavily with her.It is also believed that the international community will back any move to form a broad based government of national reconciliation because it will give the country the stability needed to solve its problems.

The UNP believes that its plan to give good governance through the establishment of independent commissions to oversee the conduct of elections and the functioning of the police,the public service, and the judiciary, will help bring other parties to its fold.It is hoped that the JVP will also come into the fold, given the fact that it is all for basic structural changes to provide for good governance.
Published: Thu Jun 21 11:41:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition leader warns of a conflict between Parliament and the President
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1515 slt 21.06.01. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today warned his parliamentary group to prepare for a battle between parliament and the President as the UNP finalised the no confidence motion against the Kumaratunga government. Wickremesinghe told his members of parliament to prepare for street demonstrations after the motion is tabled in parliament warning that the President will try to stay in power at any cost. The political crisis comes amidst one of the country worst economic down turns. The crisis is expected to further damage the economy as parliament and president fight for control
Published: Thu Jun 21 05:30:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Tamil journalist to go on fast against LTTE intimidation
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 5.40 PM SLT Thursday,June 21,2001. In a rare challenge to the LTTE,a young editor of a London-based Tamil monthly is to go on an indefinite fast in protest against the seizure of copies of the publication and the intimidation of its sellers in Switzerland.

Poopalasingham Seevagan,the editor of "Vaan Murasu", had lodged a formal complaint to the LTTE's representatives in London and warned that as a professional journalist, he would not hesitate to take any action to uphold his professional rights,if the LTTE did not ask its men to stop intimidating him.

"Since no reply was received from the LTTE by the deadline I had stipulated,I have decided to sit on a fast in front of the LTTE's office in London," Mr.Seevagan said.

According to Mr.Seevagan, the LTTE was disturbed by the fall in the circulation of "Eela Murasu" ever since "Vaan Murasu" with its independent and analytical news reports,appeared on the stands throughout Europe.Most Tamil publications in Europe tended to toe the LTTE line uncritically,and when the "Vaan Murasu" appeared,it was like a breath of fresh air for many Tamils in Europe.The "Vaan Murasu" has a circulation of 20,000.

Mr.Seevagan,who also works for the independent Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) in London,was earlier in Colombo with " Virkesari","Dinakural" and BBC's "Tamil Osai".
Published: Thu Jun 21 07:59:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan troops kill 17 LTTE cadres
The Hindustan Times, Thursday, June 21, 2001 . SEVENTEEN LTTE rebels have been killed by Sri Lankan troops in separate encounters in the Weli Oya area in northern Sri Lanka, the military said on Thursday. Six LTTE rebels were killed in a confrontation at Ethanutuwewa in Weli Oya area while eight were killed near Tanduvan in the same sector in an army ambush on Tuesday, a military statement said. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 10:50:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Eleven rebels killed in Sri Lanka clashes  - Times of India (Breaking News)

UNP to hand over no confidence motion against the government tomorrow
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1248 slt 21.06.01. The main opposition United National Party (UNP) is to hand over a motion of no confidence against the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga to the s Speaker tomorrow. The government lost its three seat majority in the 225 r member parliament when seven members of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress crossed over to the opposition yesterday. "We are meeting the JVP this afternoon. Even if they have not made a decision yet, the UNP will hand over the motion tomorrow" UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said.
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:21:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Chandrika Govt may survive no-trust motion  - The Hindustan Times

8 Indian fishermen apprehended by Lankan navy
Times of India (Breaking News), Thursday, 21 June 2001 . COLOMBO: Eight Indian fishermen have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy for fishing in Lankan waters, taking the total number of Indian fishermen detained in the island since April to 59. The fishermen were picked up six nautical miles off Talaimannar on June 19 and handed over to the Talaimannar police for investigation, a defence ministry statement said here on Thursday. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 09:18:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Hectic talks to resolve rift between SLMC and NUA leaders
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1251 slt 21.06.01. Hectic negotiations were been conducted to end a rift between Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauf Hakeem and Mrs.Fariel Ashraff the leader of SLMC's sister party, the National Unity Alliance(NUA). Mr.Hakeen sacked from the cabinet by President Kumaratunga crossed over to the opposition with six SLMC MP's yesterday. Mrs.Ashraff announced that she too would quit her cabinet post but kept open the option of staying on in the ruling alliance. NUA has four members of parliament. Mrs.Ashraff is reported to be demanding that she be made either chairman or general secretary of the SLMC. Mr.Hakeem has agreed to make her chairman if Mrs.Ashraff resigns as NUA leader.
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:21:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

President Kumaratunge sacks Rauf Hakeem
Leo de Lile in Colombo, 4.45pm SLT, June 20, 2001. Rauff Hakeem, leader of the Muslim Congress prays in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday, June.20, hours after President Chandrika Kumaratunga sacked him from her Cabinet giving no reason. Hakeem, who heads the country's main Muslim party with 11 seats in the Parliament is an ally of Kumaratunga?s coalition government, hit back and convinced three deputy ministers of his SLMC to resign from the government. It was not immediately known if all the 11 lawmakers of Hakeem would remain loyal to him. If so it will reduce Kumaratunga?s government to a minority in the Parliament. However Kumaratunga's decision brings with it a fear of political instability at a time when the government is trying to enter peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 07:16:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Lankan President sacks dissenting Minister  - Press Trust of India

Two of three judge bench refused to hear Sunday Times editors case
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1258 slt 21.06.01. Supreme Court judges A.R.B. Amerasinghe and Justice Ismail have recuse themselves from here the special leave application of Sunday Times Editor Sinha Ratnatunga's appeal to the supreme court against his conviction of Criminal defamation of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. A new three member bench will have to constituted to here the case. Ratnatunga was given a suspended sentence of seven years in prison for defaming the President By the Colombo High Court. The Appeal court upheld the decision. end
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:21:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNHCR assists Sri Lanka counter Tiger threat to census
India Abroad, 21 June. THE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is helping Sri Lanka conduct its first nationwide census in 20 years as enumerators begin fanning out in the island's embattled north and east. Census chief A.G. Nanayakkara said UNHCR has provided logistical support, such as transport, in the northern Wanni district, large tracts of which are under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Nanayakkara Thursday said the July head-count, for which preliminary surveys are under way, has met with resistance from Tamil Tiger separatists in Wanni. "We are watching the situation and we hope to sort it out. We have completed the initial listing of all the households in Jaffna and the Wanni. What we need now is cooperation from the public." Tiger separatists and several Tamil political parties have protested against the holding of the census in the north and east saying the ongoing ethnic war had displaced thousands of civilians. "We cannot postpone the census any more. We have gone beyond the point of no return," said Nanayakkara. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 06:32:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka political crisis deepens amid ouster moves, Jun 21 2001 10:33 IST. Sri Lanka's ruling coalition faced further trouble Thursday as the opposition stepped up plans to oust the government after it lost its parliamentary majority. The opposition United National Party (UNP) was lobbying other opposition parties to support a vote of no confidence against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's eight-month old government.The no-trust resolution against the government was confined to a single paragraph to ensure that it was backed by all shades of opinion in the opposition parties, a UNP spokesman said. "That this House declares that it has no confidence in the government since it is demonstrably clear that it cannot solve the pressing problems of the country and its people," the resolution said. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:12:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan Muslim woman minister may bail out govt
Times of India (Breaking News), 21 June 2001. Sri Lanka's main Muslim party split on Thursday, giving new hope to President Chandrika Kumaratunga that her Peoples' Alliance coalition may not fall. Four out of 11 Parliament deputies of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress refused to cross over to the opposition benches with their party leader, signalling that they were with Kumaratunga. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:18:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka's Muslim leader Hakeem checkmates government
India Abroad, 21 June 2001. THE leader of Sri Lanka's main Muslim party, Rauf Hakeem, was readying for an intense battle for primacy until President Chandrika Kumaratunga sacked him. Hakeem, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), left the government and led Muslim lawmakers to the opposition benches in Parliament Wednesday hours after Kumaratunga took his trade, ports development and Muslim affairs portfolios away in a bid to checkmate him. Political sources said Kumaratunga's sudden removal of the controversial SLMC leader was intended to strip him of his power base and leave him without a prop in the raging battle for the party's leadership. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 06:50:55 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Hakeem: shedding status to change status quo in Sri Lanka  - Yahoo Asia

I'm not ready to form a government, says Ranil
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 20/06/01 1730 GMT. The removal of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress(SLMC) leader Rauf Hakeem from the Cabinet has taken the opposition unaware. Ranil Wickramasinghe, the leader of the opposition says he is not yet prepared to form a new government. With SLMC?s withdrawal from the ruling coalition, for the second time under the 1978 constitution, the opposition makes up the majority of the parliament. But Mr. Wickramasinghe strongly believes that the priority should be given to establish five commissions of reform than forming a new government under his leadership.

"It is the need of the public today to set up electoral, police, public services, judicial and media commissions in order to re-establish the democracy" Mr. Wickramasinhe told BBC?s Sandeshaya. Being continuously criticised for the lack of strategic leadership, the ex-premier lost his temper when asked whether he is not going to make use of this opportunity fallen to his lap without much effort, to form a government.

Sri Lanka saw the first opposition government in 1994 , when Chandrika Kumaratunge became the Prime Minister under the then UNP President D.B.Wijethunge. The country sailed through a crisis, however, as Mrs. Kumaratunge stepped up to the presidency with 62% mandate within three months.
Published: Wed Jun 20 13:28:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka kingmaker to push democracy, peace
MSNBC, 21 June 2001. Sri Lanka's new political kingmaker said on Thursday he had no immediate plans to topple the ruling coalition after quitting it, preferring instead to use his pivotal status to push democratic reforms and peace moves.Rauf Hakeem, whose Sri Lanka Muslim Congress holds the balance of power in parliament, told Reuters in an interview that the party had still not decided how it would vote on a planned confidence motion against the government. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 06:04:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Stars in wrong place for Sri Lanka census, Jun 21 2001 12:33 IST. Sri Lanka's first national census in 20 years is to be brought forward by a day because the authorities had chosen one of the most astrologically auspicious days of the year for the head count. Census chief A. G. Nanayakkara said the July 18 date set aside for the nationwide count of Sri Lankans would coincide with a large number of marriages because the day was seen as particularly lucky. More...
Published: Thu Jun 21 03:13:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Speaker rejects Supreme Court stay order
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12 p.m. SLT Wednesday June 20. Speaker Anura Bandaranaike today told Parliament that he will not abide by a Supreme Court order preventing him from proceeding with parliamentary procedure to probe an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice.

Bandaranaike said the document carrying charges against the highest judicial officer in the land, Sarath N. Silva would be placed on the Order Paper today and Parliament would immediately begin proceedings to investigate and assess the charges.

A Parliamentary Select Committee will now be set up to study the impeachment charges. Bandaranaike told the House today that he would not allow for the supremacy of parliament to be violated by the courts.
Published: Wed Jun 20 02:12:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Lanka House defies apex court ban to impeach chief justice  - Deccan Herald
Lanka begins Impeachment Proceedings against Chief Justice  - Press Trust of India
Sri Lanka house defies supreme court, moves to impeach chief justice  -

Two persons jailed for helping journalist into LTTE land
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.55 a.m. SLT Thursday June 21. Two persons were yesterday jailed by the Vavuniya magistrate for secretly helping an American journalist crossover into rebel held territory.

The men were sentenced to six months imprisonment for aiding the London Sunday Times, American born correspondent, Marie Colvin into Tiger land in April this year.

Colvin was shot at and wounded by Army personnel when attempting to cross back into government territory.

Flown out for medical treatment later to the US, Colvin received bouquets and bric-a-bracs for her escapade, including flowers and a get- well-note from Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge.
Published: Wed Jun 20 21:55:06 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chair crisis amid Sri Lanka's political drama, Jun 20 2001 18:47 IST. A sudden defection by Sri Lanka's main Muslim party from the ruling coalition created a shortage of seats among the opposition Wednesday, parliamentary officials said.The withdrawal of support for the government by 11 members of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) led to a demand for more opposition chairs in the 225-member assembly. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 15:20:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

AsianAge, june 20. There are 817,000 tamil refugees or asylum seekers in foreign countries, with Canada topping the list with 400,000 of them, the U.N. High commissioner for refugees said Wednesday. In addition, this small island nation, the size of Ireland or west Virginia, has about 800,000 internally displaced people, or about 4 percent of its population. The refugees are tamils displaced by the 17-year separatist war that has left more than 63,000 people dead. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 21:43:29 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Ferial - Hakeem unite to leave government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.25 p.m. SLT Wednesday June 20. In a surprise move, Ferial Ashraff, walked out of the PA coalition, hours after her compatriot Rauf Hakeem, Leader for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was sacked by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge.

Ferial and Hakeem have been at loggerheads battling each other for leadership posts in the SLMC/NUA. Today however the two united in a massive show of strength as Ferial left her ministerial post, no sooner she heard that Hakeem had been given his marching orders by the President.

The situation has unified a divisive SLMC/NUA whose leader, Rauf Hakeem had already secured a deal with the United National Party yesterday.

Meanwhile, reliable sources said that key members from the President's cabinet of ministers are also expected to 'crossover' soon. The moves bode well for the UNP initiated no confidence motion, even as Speaker Anura Bandaranaike today rejected a supreme court Stay Order, which the Speaker said violated the supremacy of parliament.
Published: Wed Jun 20 05:24:28 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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Sri Lanka government loses majority as Muslim party quits  -

Lame-duck government as Sri Lanka Muslim ally quits
Yahoo Asia, Wednesday, June 20 8:09 PM SGT . President Chandrika Kumaratunga lost her majority in parliament Wednesday when her main Muslim coalition partner quit, plunging Sri Lanka into political turmoil. The crisis was precipitated when Kumaratunga sacked trade minister Rauf Hakeem, head of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), from her cabinet and the party retaliated by withdrawing its crucial support from the shaky government. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 09:38:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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SLMC may offer issue-based support  - The Hindu
Key Sri Lankan Muslim minister out, instability in  - India Abroad

Sri Lanka walks tourism tightrope
Asia Times, June 20. A British professor walks into the dining room of a posh Sri Lankan hotel for breakfast and is confronted by a restaurant manager dressed in a double-breasted suit who asks, "Sausages, bacon and eggs, sir?" "I was horrified," recalled the professor to a Sri Lankan conservation specialist later. "Look, sausages come from my country. I want some traditional Sri Lankan food, please." The surprised hotel employee simply walked away. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 15:25:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SLMC may still vote for govt in no-confidence motion
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 7.17 PM SLT Wednesday June 20, 2001. Though the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC),led by Mr.Rauf Hakeem,has decided to sit with the opposition,there is a possibility that it may not vote against the government on the no-confidence motion to be tabled by the opposition United National party (UNP).

Mr.Rauf Hakeem said here today that though his group was sitting with the opposition, it would function as an "independent" group,and take decisions on specific issues on merit according to the need of the hour.This could be interpreted to mean that he might vote with the government on the no-trust motion.

Though the National Unity Alliance (NUA) leader, Mrs.Ferial Ashraff,also tendered her resignation from the cabinet today,she said that she would have to consult the NUA to take a final view on the matter in the "national interest".This means that the four member NUA may stay put with the government.In the evening,there were rumours that Mrs.Ashraff was meeting President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

If the 11 member SLMC-NUA combine eventually votes with the government, the latter will stay in place.But if there is split and only the NUA votes with it,the government will be in a soup.The government will be a reduced to a minority with only 109 MPs ( PA 96;Ceylon Workers' Congress-4; Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party - 5 and National Unity Alliance-4 ).

Any party to be in government will have to have 113 of the 225 MPs in the house assuming that all members are present and voting.

The opposition,led by the UNP,will have 106,seven short of the need ( UNP-89;SLMC-7; Sinhala Urumaya-1;Tamil United Liberation Front-5;Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation-3 and All Ceylon Tamil Congress -1).

Only the JVP can break the deadlock.If the JVP casts its lot with the government, the latter sails through.On the other hand, if it votes with the UNP,the government sinks.The other way to win will be to get MPs from the other side to cross over.Both the PA and the UNP are trying to get each others' MPs.It was rumoured in the morning that three deputy ministers might cross over to the UNP side.

The JVP has a third option.It could well abstain.If it does,the government will scrape through with a majority of three (109 for PA and 106 for the opposition),because the fate of the no-trust motion is determined by the number of MPs present and voting.
Published: Wed Jun 20 09:11:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indian, Sri Lankan leaders security risks at CHOGM
yahoo, June 20. Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been clubbed with his counterparts from India and Sri Lanka as facing maximum security threat at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Brisbane from October 7-8. While Howard has been advised by the Australian security experts that he faces a threat from some socialist fringe organizations, the Indian and Sri Lankan prime ministers would be provided security cover against attempts by terrorist groups from the subcontinent with presence in Australia. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 10:21:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Hakeem - disillusioned with the government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.25 p.m. SLT Wednesday June 20. Fighting to assert himself as the Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Hakeem has crossed swords with his predecessor and mentor's widow, Ferial Ashraff.

Ferial, two weeks ago summoned a meeting of the National Unity Alliance of which Hakeem is General Secretary, without informing the SLMC Leader.

A furious Hakeem later said he would call the shots and change the present status quo if Ferial continued to misbehave. According to the constitution of the SLMC, the Leader of the former must also lead the NUA. The compromise with Ferial however was reached after she demanded that there be a joint leadership for the Muslim political party.

More seriously, Rauf Hakeem has become an embarrassment to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge. His recent stance over the Mawanella riots and his demand for a separate Muslim administrative council in the East, has angered Kumaratunge's cabinet of ministers. So much so, both her Prime Minister, Rathnasiri Wickremanayake and party secretary, S. B. Dissanayake have suggested the formation of a national government hoping that this way the minority parties, and in particular the SLMC can then be side-lined.

Hakeem, disillusioned and depressed, confided that if in fact, S B Dissanayake's call for a national government is to side-line the minority parties then it is a "nationalistic government," Dissanayake and even the Premier are attempting to form.

Hakeem's partnership with the People's Alliance has been fettered with a shopping list of broken promises. Early this year, he chose to eat humble pie, and accepted a face saving gesture from the President, when she appointed him to Chair a Parliamentary Select Committee which purportedly would study piecemeal amendments that would supposedly pass deliberations with regard to the appointment of an independent police, judicial, election and public service commissions.

Hakeem backed out of a pledge he made to quit the government after 100 days if none of the above commissions were appointed. The countdown, which began on October 18 last year and ended on January 28, this year, finally resulted in Hakeem having his face rubbed in the mud. At least where the public were concerned.

When Prof. G. L. Peiris last year mooted an Equal Opportunities Bill, Hakeem on a TV chat-show, hotly defended the controversial bill, emulating the President's far reaching outlook towards ensuring equality for all segments of Sri Lankan society.

The draft bill never saw the light of day. Following protests by schoolboys and some parents, an opportunity to provide equality to all races was laid to rest with barely a murmur from the government, in its defence.

A truly dejected man - Hakeem now believes that Kumaratunge does not have the courage of her own convictions. Instead the moment there is some agitation against any proposal she drops the entire exercise.

His stance last Saturday (June 16)saying the SLMC was not to be played around with resulted in him negotiating a 'deal' with the United National Party.

Kumaratunge who got wind of the memorandum of understanding between Hakeem and the UNP,lost no time in sacking him from office this morning. Twenty four hours before he was scheduled to sign the deal with the UNP.
Published: Wed Jun 20 02:32:05 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Special Task Force remove Hakeem's vehicles
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday June 20. Armed members from the Special Task Force a short while ago removed Minister Rauf Hakeem's official vehicles. Hakeem who was sacked from office by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge today said that his security has also been withdrawn.

Hakeem is meeting at present with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress's parliamentary group to assess and evaluate his present position.

Meanwhile, sources divulge that Hakeem has already brokered and sealed a memorandum of understanding with the opposition United National Party.
Published: Wed Jun 20 02:12:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan government loses majority as Muslim ally quits, Jun 20 2001 14:57 IST. COLOMBO, June 20 (AFP) - Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga's shaky government Wednesday lost its parliamentary majority when the main Muslim coalition partner withdrew its crucial support. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) announced mass resignation of its members from all key positions they hold in the eight-month-old government after Kumaratunga sacked its leader Rauf Hakeem from the cabinet earlier in the day. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 08:28:35 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Kumaratunga govt reduced to minority  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Sri Lanka Muslim leader sacked
BBC South Asia, Wednesday, 20 June, 2001, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK . The Sri Lankan Government of Chandrika Kumaratunga has lost its majority in parliament after a key Muslim ally withdrew support. The Sri Lankan president has sacked a key Muslim ally from her cabinet putting in jeopardy the future of her coalition government. According to repeated broadcasts on state-run radio, Rauff Hakeem has been sacked from the cabinet but no reason has been given. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 05:09:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Key Sri Lanka minister sacked  - BBC South Asia
Sri Lankan government loses majority as Muslim ally quits  -
Sri Lanka's main Muslim party quits government  -

Sri Lanka parliament to impeach chief justice, Jun 20 2001 10:35 IST. COLOMBO, June 20 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's parliament Wednesday clashed head on with the Supreme Court by rejecting a ban imposed on the Speaker and began impeachment proceedings against the country's chief justice. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 08:29:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka to impeach chief justice  - Virtual New York
Lanka begins Impeachment Proceedings against Chief Justice  - Press Trust of India

Sri Lanka modernizes Central Bank with support from The World Bank
Nothern Light, Wednesday, June 20, 2001 10:26 AM EST . The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will increase effectiveness of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) with support from a US$30.3 million credit announced today by the World Bank. The Central Bank Strengthening Project provides resources and technical assistance to bolster ongoing improvements and modernization within the Central Bank. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 19:25:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka crisis deepens with sacking of key Muslim leader, Jun 20 2001 09:36 IST. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga Wednesday sacked from her cabinet the leader of a key Muslim ally, plunging the shaky ruling coalition into deeper crisis, state radio said. The radio interrupted a regular program to announce the dismissal of Trade Minister Rauf Hakeem, who leads the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) which provided crucial support for Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA) government. More...
Published: Wed Jun 20 05:01:14 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka coalition in crisis  - BBC South Asia
Kumaratunga sacks key Muslim minister  - India Abroad
Sri Lanka sacks key Muslim leader  -

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