The Lanka Academic

JULY 8, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 93

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
Lanka gives up national govt plan
chennaionline, July 8. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremayake today ruled out any further discussion with the opposition for the formation of a ‘government of national consensus’ and pointed at other options, including dissolution of Parliament.“We have the entire pack of cards with us and we can use it at any time, but we will act within the democratic framework after deliberations,” the premier said, adding, “we can go for any one of them.”Refuting the belief that Parliament cannot be dissolved before the completion of one year after the last general election, he said, “There is no such rule.” Editor's Note Comments and feed back on the above article may be submitted by using the Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage. More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 23:27:32 EDT 2001

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!

ValuComOnline: Call Sri Lanka
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Sri Lanka in political turmoil as govt shuns parliament
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Sunday, July 08, 2001. Frenetic behind-the-scenes activity is on to forge an understanding between the government and the opposition to solve Sri Lanka's grave political crisis, while President Chandrika Kumaratunga shields her minority People's Alliance regime from facing Parliament. More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 09:49:22 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP commands majority in House
Gulf News, July 8. The parliamentary opposition moved in for the kill yesterday, formally informing the Speaker that they commanded the majority in the 225 seat House, and that the date for the motion of no-confidence against the government of President Chandrika Kumar-atunga should be debated on a date fixed by the opposition, not the government. Opposition and United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Gulf News yesterday that they have communicated to Speaker Anura Bandaranaike the fact that a majority of MPs – 115 to be exact – have agreed to sign a petition aligning themselves with the opposition and in view of that majority in Parliament should have control of the conduct of parliamentary business. At present the House Business Committee,which guides the affairs of Parliament is controlled by the government. More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 10:49:56 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan Tamils sore with Sai Baba
The Hindustan Times, july 8. A PRO-LIBERATION Tigers of Tamil Eelam e-mail news service has accused the Sai Baba of Puttaparthi of seeking to destroy the Sri Lankan Tamils and asked the latter to "stop worshiping this false teacher." In the July 4 despatch of the Circle Digest, writer Thamilkaavalan said Sai Baba was a "well known friend of the Sinhalas" and counted among this devotees Sinhalese armymen and political leaders like Deputy Defence Minister General Anuruddha Ratwatte, Chief of Defence Staff General Rohan de S Daluwatte, former prime minister the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Speaker Anura Bandaranaike More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 23:02:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka halts air strikes on rebel bases
Kyodo, july 8. In what may be a response to strong criticism from the United States and India, Sri Lanka has at least temporarily halted air strikes on Tamil Tiger rebel position in the embattled northern Jaffna peninsula, reliable defense sources said Saturday. After a spate of raids on rebel bases last weekend, the air force has been given no new strike orders, the sources said. This has fueled speculation that the operations have been called off, although another senior defense official said the air force ''is ready to take on more identified targets.'' More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 10:56:34 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Jaffna judge refuses to free Indian fishermen
indiainfo, july 8. A Jaffna magistrate has refused to release the 66 Indian fishermen languishing in jails after being arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters.The fishermen, all from Tamil Nadu, had moved an application before the magistrate for their release from Jaffna jail. The prosecution said the relevant papers, which police sent to the Attorney General have not been returned. More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 10:44:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka Oppn to press for no-trust vote
Times of India (Breaking News), july 8. Strengthened by defections from the ruling coalition, Sri Lanka's political opposition said Sunday it will press for a no-confidence motion against the government following a meeting next week with the speaker of the House."We hope that democratic norms will be followed and the vote of no-confidence will be taken up next week," said Karu Jayasuriya, a spokesman for the opposition, which includes several political parties and commands a majority in Sri Lanka's Parliament More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 09:52:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Govt defeated opposition plot: Kumaratunga
NDTV/MSNBC, Friday, July 6, 2001 (Colombo). Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga today said the government had managed to defeat what she called an LTTE-backed opposition plot to remove Emergency by voting against it in Parliament. "The government has been able to defeat a treacherous conspiracy hatched at the behest of the LTTE by the United National Party and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to remove the Emergency," she said in a statement. More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 23:00:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika invokes PTA to curb lorry,trailer movement in Colombo
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 9.31 AM SLT Sunday July 8, 2001. President Chandrika Kumaratunga on saturday issued regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to curb the movement of lorries and trailers in many parts of Colombo and Colombo district designated as the "High Security Zone".In the past,the LTTE has used bomb laden lorries in its strikes against the Central Bank and the World Trade Centre in the capital's business district.

A government release said that no lorry or trailer would be permitted to be driven to the High Security Zone without the written permission of the Colombo DIG.All such permits would specify the routes within which such lorries might be driven.Any person driving a lorry or a driver who enters or remains within the High Security Zone without such a permit would be liable to action under the PTA.

The High Security Zone comprises Wellawatte Bridge,Hospital Road,Sri Sarnankara Road,Pamankada Bridge,Straford Road,High Level Road,Kirulapone Mawatha,Elvitigala Mawatha,Kanatte Roundabout,D.S.Senanayake Mawatha,Gnanartha Pradeepaya Road,Technical College junction,Olcott Mawatha,First Cross Street,Main street,Khan Clock Tower,N.D.H.Abdul Cader Road,and the coastline between the Port of Colombo and Wellawatte bridge.

Inspector General of Police Mr.Lucky Kodithuwakku has been designated as the Competant Authority in the regard.

The President had invoked the PTA on July 6 to renew the ban the LTTE, which had lapsed with the lapse of the Emergency Regulations on July 4.

The government fears that the LTTE may renew terrorist attacks in Colombo taking advantage of the unstable political conditions triggered by the opposition sponsored no-trust motion in parliament.The government produced evidence of the LTTE's feverishly preparing for an offensive to capture Jaffna and even launched air strikes against LTTE gun positions and bunkers in Pooneyrn and Nagarkovil on June 30.July 5 was Black Tigers' Day and in a memorial meeting somewhere in the Wanni,LTTE chief V.Prabhakaran had said that his Black Tigers or suicide squads had changed the very character of the Tamil struggle armed struggle.
Published: Sat Jul 7 23:31:49 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka renews ban on trucks in capital to prevent bombings  -

Israel Sends Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Nothern Light, Sunday, July 08, 2001 6:41 AM EST . COLOMBO, Jul 8, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Israel has sent its ambassador to Sri Lanka more than a year after the two countries resumed diplomatic relations, officials here said Sunday. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that David Matnai, a career diplomat of Israel, presented his credentials to President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Friday. The Israeli ambassador to Sri Lanka is based in Bangkok, capital of Thailand. More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 09:18:36 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Israeli ambassador takes charge in Sri Lanka a year after new ties  -

Pope Calls for Sri Lanka to Pursue Peace Talks
Yahoo, 8 July. Pope John Paul (news - web sites) on Sunday called for Sri Lanka's government and rebel leaders to pursue negotiations to put an end nearly two decades of ethnic violence on the Indian Ocean island.On the day Sri Lanka's Catholics celebrate the festival of the Madonna (news - web sites) of Mahdu, the 81-year-old Pontiff urged the faithful to pray for a resolution to the conflict between the Sinhalese-led government and the Tamil Tiger guerrilla army.``The parties involved in this tragic ethnic conflict, which for almost 20 years has sown violence and atrocities on the nation, have found it hard to find the path to peace and reconciliation,'' the Pope said in his weekly Angelus address in St. Peter's Square.``But negotiation is the only way to tackle the grave issues which are at the heart of this conflict.''On Saturday the Sri Lankan government launched its first air strikes in months against Tamil Tiger positions in the northern rebel-controlled Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 08:31:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Instability makes Sri Lanka markets jittery
Yahoo Asia, july 8. Sri Lanka's political crisis and a bitter struggle for parliamentary power has dashed hopes of an early recovery of the war-battered economy, say bankers and business leaders.Panic-stricken businessmen and industrialists, worried by the political battles, have appealed to President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the main opposition, led by former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, to form a unity government."The high cost of living has become unbearable for most resulting in many thefts, robberies and murders that are destabilising civil society," the Joint Business Forum told both Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe. More...
Published: Sat Jul 7 23:08:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Secret talks on for national unity gov't in Sri Lanka
Kyodo, July 7. Intensive backstage discussions are now on between leaders of Sri Lanka's ruling People Alliance coalition and the opposition United National Party (UNP) to explore the possibility of setting up a national unity government to address the country's ethnic and economic problems, a senior minister said Saturday. ''The ongoing discussions have continued very fruitfully throughout the week,'' Industrial Development Minister Lakshman Peiris told Kyodo News. ''A short document is being worked on, but there are some gray areas to clear.'' More...
Published: Sat Jul 7 19:32:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika-Ranil talks fail to resolve crisis
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 12.50 AM SLT Sunday July 8,2001. President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the United National Party (UNP) leader Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe held secret talks a few days ago in an effort to form a National Government but they failed to reach an agreement due to a conflict over the Prime Ministeship,reliable political sources said.

The President was willing to offer cabinet posts to the UNP but not the Prime Ministership,but the UNP leader insisted that the Prime Ministership go to him as the legitimate representative of the opposition which had majority in parliament.The current position is that the combined opposition has 115 MPs, as against the government's 109.Political sources say that the divisive issue is not the establishment of the five independent commissions but office and power.

Despite the breakdown of talks at the highest level,efforts are on to bring about a rapprochement between the ruling and the opposition parties.Admittedly, Prime Minister Mr.Ratnasiri Wickramanayake is himself engaged in this exercise.Though many UNP MPs proclaim from the rooftops that they are determined to bring the government down first before cobbling a government of national reconciliation,they are engaged in secret parleys with the leaders of the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA) to find ways of avoiding a confrontation and consequent bitterness.

As an MP said,a confrontation could eventually lead to the dissolution of parliament and fresh elections, which MPs,across the board,dread.Given the combativeness of President Chandrika Kumaratunga,she could prorogue parliament and order elections to be held after October 10.As the Executive President elected by a popular vote, she is secure and can rule by decree,while the members of parliament will lose their positions.

Ruling party MPs point out that her combativeness was evident in the way she tackled the problem of facing parliament on the issue of extending the Emergency.Instead of issuing a fresh Proclamation of Emergency and facing parliament for a ratification within ten days,Mrs.Kumaratunga invoked the Public Security Ordinance and the Prevention of Terrorism Act to ensure security and to continue the proscription of the LTTE.She declared that she had,thereby,beaten a "conspiracy" to get the Emergency and the ban on the LTTE revoked.

While holding out the threat of proroguing and disssolving the house,Mrs.Kumaratunga and her partymen are actively engaged in garnering support for the PA.Some contacts had been made with the shadowy supremo of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in London through a former MP and minister,sources said.The JVP's decision to leave the matter to its parliamentary group when the matter comes up for debate and voting has left ample room for manouevre.

Most independent observers rule out the possibility of ruling party MPs defecting to the opposition,discounting a report in a certain political daily.Also,defections from the UNP seem unlikely.What is considered to be likely is the trekking back of some of the seven Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) MPs who had earlier defected reducing the government to a minority.Some ministers have already established contact with them."Talks are on," said a cabinet minister.

Unlike the Tamil parties ( barring of course the EPDP and CWC),the SLMC is keen on being in power.Like the CWC and EPDP,it believes that the minorities can be served and protected by participation in mainstream politics and by holding governmental positions.As an associate of Mrs.Ferial Ashraff's Muslim dominated National Unity Alliance (NUA) put it,a party like the SLMC would be able to secure power and retain its identity only when it is in alliance with the Sri Lanka Feedom Party (SLFP).The UNP does not believe in forming a coalition of ethnic parties because it believes that it represents all ethnic groups."Moreover,in the Eastern Province,the SLMC will get extinguished if it goes along with the UNP because the UNP too has a significant presence there," the NUA member said.The Muslims,including those in the Rauff Hakeem faction, also know that the UNP would not meet the their political demands like a Muslim majority Kalmunai district and devolution of power.

While Mr.Hakeem might be reluctant to come back to the PA fold and Mrs.Kumaratunga might be equally reluctant to take him back,given the intensity of recrimination,Mr.Hakeem's followers are apparently open to the idea of crossing over again.However, to help save face, they want some of the Muslim demands to be met publically."We'll have to wait and see as to what the government has to offer us," said a SLMC MP.
Published: Sat Jul 7 14:50:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan Oppn seeks no-trust move in July itself
Indiinfo, July 7. The Opposition, which is enjoying a clear majority in the Parliament, has decided to request Speaker Anura Bandaranaike to take up the no-confidence motion against the Kumaratunga government for debate in the third week of this month instead of next month as proposed by the ruling party.The 115 MPs of the Opposition met in Parliament on July 6 and placed their signatures on a letter requesting the Speaker to take up the debate on the no- confidence motion on July 18, 19 and 20. More...
Published: Sat Jul 7 12:08:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE says Sai Baba is anti-Tamil: Report
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Sunday, July 08, 2001. A pro-LTTE electronic bulletin has asked Tamils the world over not to worship Indian religious leader Sathya Sai Baba, alleging that he is against the Tamils' struggle in Sri Lanka.A pro-LTTE electronic bulletin has asked Tamils the world over not to worship Indian religious leader Sathya Sai Baba, alleging that he is against the Tamils' struggle in Sri Lanka. The Circle Digest, a daily bulletin sent by e-mail to subscribers, said in a despatch on July 4 that Sai Baba was a "known friend" of Sinhalese leaders and was trying to turn his Tamil devotees against the Sri Lankan Tamils' movement against the government, the state-run 'Daily News' reported today.Sai Baba has become the latest target of attack by the LTTE, the daily said, while giving extracts of the bulletin, which accused the religious leader of being "false preacher". The bulletin appealed to the Tamils to stop worshipping him as he was asking Tamils to live peacefully with the Sinhalese, without preaching the same to the majority Sinhalese community in Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Sun Jul 8 08:28:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
LTTE says Sai Baba anti-Tamil: Report  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Govt move to ban LTTE under PTA illegal: Expert
indiainfo, july 7. Colombo: Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's move to proscribe the separatist outfit Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was a move beyond the powers of Legislation, eminent lawyers have observed.Retired Supreme Court Judge K M M B Kulatunga said such proscription was unwarranted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act Number 48 of 1979. More...
Published: Sat Jul 7 12:06:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Child soldier problem spreads
Financial Times , july 7. About 300,000 child soldiers, some as young as seven, are actively fighting in 41 countries, while 500,000 children are recruited into paramilitary organisations, guerrilla groups and civil militias, according to a report released on Tuesday. A third of them are in Africa.The problem is world-wide: there are child suicide bombers in Sri Lanka and child soldiers in Burma, child guerrilla fighters in Colombia and child fundamentalists in Afghanistan and Sudan. More...
Published: Sat Jul 7 19:40:13 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka says Indian criticism was "unrealistic and unacceptable"
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 5.33 PM SLT Saturday,July 7, 2001. Drawing a sharp contrast between the Indian and American statements on the air raids against LTTE positions late last month, Sri Lanka has said that while the US statement was "principled and realistic", the Indian reaction was " unrealistic and unacceptble".

Without naming either India or the US, a spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said today that while expressing disapproval,one of them (the US), explicitly recognised Sri Lanka's right to defend its territorial integrity against aggression, while the other (India) did not.

India had expressed "great disappointment" and the US "concern" over the bombings.India said that there was "no alternative to peace" while the US said that "violence tended to beget violence." But while the US also said that it recognised a government's right to defend its territorial integrity,India said nothing of that sort.India had not mentioned the Sri Lankan government's position that the air strikes were a pre-emptive measure to forestall a bid to capture Jaffna.

"The question is whether the Government of Sri Lanka should seek peace at any cost.If the price of peace is that our government should abjure the right to self-defense and remain passive even in the event of an attack on its territorial integrity,no Government of Sri Lnka will ever pay that price," the spokesman said.
Published: Sat Jul 7 07:35:41 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka takes another shot at India over air raid concern  -
Indian response unrealistic: Sri Lanka  - Times of India

PTA has no provision to ban LTTE,says ACTC
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 4.32 PM SLT July 7, 2001. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) of 1979 under which the ban on the LTTE was reimposed on July 4, has no provision for banning the LTTE or any other organisation for that matter,according to Mr.A.Vinayagamoorthy,All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) MP from Jaffna.

He told the press here on saturday that according to Sec.30 of the PTA,the ban on the LTTE and other organisations imposed earlier in 1978,had been lifted.Therefore,when the LTTE was banned again in 1998, the proscription was carried out not under the PTA but under the Emergency Regulations (ER) which had a provision for proscribing an organisation.

But when the ER lapsed on July 4, President Chandrika Kumaratunga invoked Sec.27 of the PTA to continue the ban on the LTTE.According to Mr.Vinayagamoorthy,this cannot be done because Sec.30 of the same act had lifted the ban ! If the ban were to be reimposed legally, parliament would have to amend the PTA to make room for the ban, the Tamil MP said." The current ban is illegal and ultra vires of the PTA.Therefore,the LTTE has not been de-proscribed",Mr.Vinayagamoorthy contended.
Published: Sat Jul 7 06:33:46 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Canadian Jews demand action on terrorism
National Post - Canada, july 7. Terrorist Ahmed Ressam's confession that he considered bombing a Canadian neighbourhood should serve as a wake-up call to politicians that tougher counterterrorism measures are needed, experts and community leaders said yesterday.The federal government has been talking about toughening counterterrorism measures since an Air-India flight out of Vancouver was bombed in 1985, allegedly by Sikh militants in British Columbia who used a charity as cover. The blast killed all 329 aboard, most of them Canadians.But since then, almost every major terrorist organization, from the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka to Egypt's Al-Jihad, has continued to work in Canadian cities where they raise money, buy weapons and plot attacks. CSIS warned in a report last month that the terrorist threat to Canada was higher than it had ever been. More...
Published: Sat Jul 7 12:36:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

© Copyright 2000, 2001 Lanka Academic Network.