The Lanka Academic

JULY 21, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 106

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
Sri Lankan Opposition to intensify campaign
Hindu, july 22. Sri Lanka's Opposition parties are preparing to intensify their campaign against the Government with countrywide demonstrations to be held by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) on Monday and protests in Kandy by the United National Party (UNP) on July 27. The Opposition parties want the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, to reconvene Parliament and cancel the referendum on the need for a new Constitution. The Election Commission has already allotted symbols for the referendum, with a lamp denoting `yes' and a pot denoting `no'. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 18:26:28 EDT 2001

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Chandrika to begin constitution making from scratch
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 12.43 PM SLT Saturday July 21, 2001. President Chandrika Kumaratunga is to begin her constitution making exercise from scratch,setting aside the August 3, 2000 draft so painstakingly prepared by a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) over a period of two years.

According to the state owned "Daily News" today,she told representatives of the Joint Trade Union Federation that the constitutional proposals tabled in parliament on August 3, 2000,would not be the basis for the new constitution she was contemplating.

She went on to say that she would consult the Maha Sangha,the Buddhist clergy,the ethnic minorities and the smaller parties before finalising the new constitution.She said that a draft of the new constitution would be placed before parliament as a bill "within a short period".

The President had ordered a referendum to be held on August 21 on whether there should be a new constitution or not.The constitution making exercise is expected to begin in right earnest after the referendum, assuming that a majority says "Aye" to a change in the constitution.

However,in her last telecast,Mrs.Kumaratunga had given an idea of some of the basic features of "her" constitution.The Executive Presidency would go,the electoral system would partially change to the First Past the Post System, and independent commissions would be set up to oversee the work of certain key institution of the state like the judiciary,the public service and the Election Commission.

In the outline,Mrs.Kumaratunga had very cleverly left out any mention of devolution of power to the provinces perhaps because it is a very contentious issue.While the Tamils are clamouring for devolution to a unified North Eastern province and the Muslims have begun asking for a South Eastern Council for themselves,the majority Sinhalas are dead against any devolution because in their view, it will be a stepping stone to secession.The principal opposition party,the United National Party (UNP) is also not in favour of devolution.It has proposed "power sharing" at the Centre.But this is rejected outright by the Tamil parties,not to speak of the LTTE,which wants Tamil Eelam.Perhaps to ensure the failure of any discussions on devolution,the UNP has been advocating talks with the LTTE before a constitution is drafted.

But despite all these road blocks,the President will have to address the issue of devolution,which is a cardinal aspect of the Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka.She has to do it now because,there is a Big Power backed,Norwegian facilitated peace process on.As yet,there is no clue as to what she has up her sleeve.

But what is certain is that she is trying to build bridges and establish rapport with the Sinhala-Buddhists and the Tamils too.

To win over the Maha Sangha led by the Mahanayakas,Mrs.Kumaratunga has appointed a Commission of Inquiry to study and report on the problems faced by the Buddhists,the state of the Buddha Sasana in the island and the protection of the properties of the Buddhist temples.The commission,to be headed by the Anunayake of the Malwatte Chapter Most Ven.Rajakeeya Panditha Ambanwella Sri Siddhartha Pannasekara Thera, would sumbit its report by January 18, 2002.

And to win over the Tamils,the President has appointed a commission to probe the anti-Tamil riots in Colombo and other parts of the island from 1981 to 1984 with special reference to the 1983 pogrom.To be known as the "Truth Commission",the panel headed by former Chief Justice S.Sharvananda,a Tamil,and comprising a Sinhala and a Muslim, would make recommendations on promoting communal harmony and suggest ways to prevent the recurrence of such violent communal conflicts.
Published: Sat Jul 21 02:42:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SLMC Condemns police killing
Saroj Pathirana in London. Saturday 21/07/01 2110GMT

The leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) condemned the killing of two protesters by police authorities in Colombo, on Thursday. "We strongly condemn it and pledge to continue the struggle for the upkeep of democracy" SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem told The Lanka Academic. Mr. Hakeem, whose recent sacking from the cabinet by the President Chandrika Kumaratunge led to a political crisis in Sri Lanka said he was himself a victim of "terrorist activities" by political giants of the Peoplesí Alliance (PA) government. He said that the PA which behave like a dictator is responsible for these killings and violence has become a part of the current political culture in Sri Lanka.
Published: Sat Jul 21 17:12:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka goes on alert ahead of funerals, Jul 21 2001 12:47 IST. COLOMBO, July 21 (AFP) - Sri Lanka has stepped up security ahead of funerals of two opposition activists shot dead by police in a crackdown on anti-government demonstrations, officials said. Heavily armed police were deployed near the home of one victim at Colombo's Kotahena area Saturday as mourners poured into the area to pay their last respects to the 26-year-old man. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 04:29:01 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Ravaya claims existence of undated resignation letter of Anura Speaker planning trip abroad but no dates set
Island, 22 July 2001. Speaker Anura Bandaranaike had indicated to party leaders he met on Tuesday that he is planning a trip abroad. However, sources close to him said that he will not be leaving the country in the next few days. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe confirmed that the speaker had in fact said that he was going abroad. But there was no date mentioned. Bandaranaike, who was not available for comment yesterday, is believed to have planned a trip to Los Angeles before the current political crisis occurred. Meanwhile the Ravaya newspaper reported yesterday that an undated letter of resignation had been tendered by Bandaranaike to President Chandrika Kumaratunga at the time his nomination for the post of speaker had been cleared. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 23:00:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Police say ‘stern action’ if JVP takes to the streets
Island, 22 July 2001. Police headquarters yesterday defended last Thursday’s bloody crackdown on opposition protests in Colombo against the suspension of parliament and referendum on constitutional change while preparing to face the JVP inspired countrywide protest campaign against what the party termed the "dictatorship of President Kumaratunga and the fraudulent referendum." "The JVP would not be permitted to go on processions," an authoritative police officer said expressing belief that the JVP would not try to defy the ban on processions that came into effect on July 11 after the President set date for the controversial referendum. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 22:54:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sivaji Ganesan dead
chennaionline, july 22. Veteran Tamil film actor Sivaji Ganesan died at the Apollo Hospitals here following cardiac arrest. Considered a role model for the acting fraternity, the star of many a Tamil hit over decades, he was admitted to the hospital a few days ago as he had breathing problem. The end came at 2010 hrs.He was 74 and He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 18:21:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Princeton prof. says 'No' to Sri Lanka child monks
Kyodo News, 22 July 2001. A campaign by Sri Lanka's prime minister to recruit 2,000 children into Buddhist monastic orders to cope with a shortage of monks has met criticism from a scholar who says child ordination is against Buddhist doctrine. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 23:10:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Watchdog alarmed by British arms sales to Nepal, Sri Lanka
yahoo, july 21. An arms export watchdog has raised concern over the increasing export of British arms to Nepal and Sri Lanka. Saferworld has expressed concern over the increase in export of arms to Nepal and Sri Lanka as published in the annual Strategic Export Controls report Friday. The report lists increased sales to several countries with what Saferworld calls "repressive regimes" and areas of conflict and instability. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 13:54:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Peradeniya teachers express moral outrage
Island, 22 July 2001. Thirty nine teachers of the University of Peradeniya have made public their sense of outrage and moral indignation at "the untimely prorogation of parliament and the decision by the government to hold a hasty and ill conceived referendum in complete violation of democratic convention and all norms of decency in conducting affairs of state". Excerpts of the statement follow. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 23:04:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Political turmoil takes the sunshine off Sri Lanka holidays
Yahoo Asia, 22 July 2001. Sri Lanka banked on foreign cricket teams to bring their cheer squads and fill empty hotel rooms, but unexpected political instability is playing spoil sport. When England came to Sri Lanka for a Test and One-day series, they brought an army of some 10,000 fans which helped the recession-hit tourism industry to hope for better times. Tourism Minister Lakshman Kiriella who also oversees sports, thought cricket could take a prominent place in promoting the island republic. But the gambit appears to have failed. Attempts to entice India and New Zealand fans to follow their national teams for the current tri-nation tournament here have flopped. "We have tried a lot of promotion work in India," said a travel agent. "We didn't have the same success we had with English fans despite Sri Lanka being so much closer for the Indians." More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 22:48:12 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka crackdown draws fire
The Indian Express, COLOMBO, JULY 20. OPPOSITION parties blasted the Sri Lankan government on Friday for a violent crackdown during which police used live ammunition to quell protests against the suspension of Parliament.They said that one of the two men killed on Thursday during the street battles in the capital Colombo would be buried on Sunday with Opposition leaders attending his funeral. The other man, the father of a three-day-old baby girl, was likely to be buried on Monday. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 22:49:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Two killed as protest in Colombo is quashed  - Yahoo
Sri Lanka under fire for killings at opposition rally  -

UNICEF says Tamil Tigers still use child soldiers
MSNBC, july 20. Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate state in Sri Lanka are still using child soldiers as young as 12 despite promising to stop, the United Nations Children's Fund said on Friday.UNICEF also called on the government to ease restrictions on humanitarian activity and help tackle a critical shortage of teachers in conflict areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). ''One of the most serious violations of children's rights in Sri Lanka is the continued recruitment of children by the LTTE, despite its promise to end this practice,'' UNICEF said in a statement. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 13:15:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
LTTE rebels recruiting child soldiers: UN  - Press Trust of India
U.N.: Sri Lanka Rebels Recruit Kids  - Nothern Light

Lanka oppn parties to campaign against referendum
Press Trust of India, Colombo,Saturday, July 21, 2001. Sri Lanka's opposition parties have vowed to intensify their protests to force the government to re-convene Parliament and call off a proposed referendum next month on whether the country needed a new Constitution.A day after two protesters were killed in police firing and dozens wounded in a crackdown on the demonstrators, the United National Party (UNP) and Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) came together, with a few Tamil parties in attendance, for a joint strategy session yesterday. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 07:22:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Opposition parties call for withdrawal of referendum  - The Island

Sri Lanka, battered by civil war, heads for more political chaos after bloody demonstration in capital
ABC News, 07/21/2001 2:18 am ET . Colombo is used to violence. But the outbreak that left burning tires and blood stains in the streets this week was not the work of Tamil separatist bombers. It was a result of political disarray that many fear will slow the search for peace. In one of the biggest shows of public anger since Chandrika Kumaratunga became president seven years ago, up to 20,000 opposition supporters fought with police for 10 hours on Thursday. They demanded that the president reconvene the Parliament she suspended July 11, and that she face a no-confidence motion. More...
Published: Sat Jul 21 03:33:17 EDT 2001 Back to the top

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Sri Lanka -- Police must uphold the right to peaceful pro...
Nothern Light, Friday, July 20, 2001 11:09 AM EST . The death of at least two people from bullet wounds and the injuring of well over 30 more as a result of police action against a predominantly peaceful demonstration in Colombo on Thursday constituted the use of excessive force on the part of the police, Amnesty International said today condemning the police action. Achinte Perera from Algama and Manjula Prasad from Janpatha St, Colombo 15, both supporters of the United National Party (UNP), died whilst participating in a peaceful protest called by a coalition of opposition parties in Sri Lanka. The post mortem reportedly reveals that death was caused by live ammunition from a T56 automatic weapon, the type used by the police and the army. Amnesty International also condemned the invoking of the 1981 Referendum Act by the government. The Act bans all processions between the calling of a referendum until after the result is announced, other than Mayday, religious or social processions, and the latter must not contain anything that may affect the referendum result. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 12:24:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Amnesty condemns killings at Sri Lanka anti-government rally  -

Despite Vows, Sri Lanka Rebels Recruiting Child Soldiers
Yahoo India, July 20. Despite promises to U.N. officials, rebels in Sri Lanka are still recruiting children to fight in their bloody insurgency against the government, UNICEF said in a statement Friday. In the three years since the Tamil Tiger rebels made verbal commitments to halt child recruitment, "the U.N. has observed increased recruitment activity in and near schools and has received an increasing number of complaints from parents." The U.N. Children's Fund said children as young as 12 were being swept into the rebel ranks More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 21:53:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
UN slams Tiger recruitment of child soldiers  -

Sri Lankan police kill two protesters
Gulf News, july 20. Two anti-government protestors were shot dead by police as opposition supporters braved tear gas attacks and gun fire to march into the capital demanding the resignation of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's government. Life in Colombo was brought to a stand-still during six hours of pandemonium as police failed to stop angry demonstrators slipping into the city. The main battles between the police and demonstrators took place at Nugegoda just outside Colombo where UNP's Assistant Deputy Leader Gamini Athukorale was leading group of more than 7,000 people trying to enter the city and at the Peliyagoda junction where the party Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya was leading a crowd of over 10,000. Both, Athukorale and Jayasuriya also came under intense tear gas attacks.The younger UNP MPs including former president late Ranasinghe Preamdasa's son Sajith Premadasa and former presidential candidate late Gamini Dissanayake's son Navin Dissananyake were leading large groups of protesters. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 22:28:25 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Suicide shocks Canadian Tamil community
Rediff, July 20. She laid the scroll of papers in front of the photo of her dead husband with a simple statement in Tamil, 'Do you want me to come?' In the bedroom of the 32-year-old Yaso Mahendran's suburban Scarborough, Toronto, home, her relatives found funeral clothes laid on the bed: a sari, and formal attire for her little girl Shiyami, 5, and boy Sangeeve, 3. According to Yaso's relatives, these were the clothes they wore last year when Yaso's husband, Mahendran Thiyagarajah, died in an accident. He was 42. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 22:17:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition initiates President's impeachment in Sri Lanka
The Hindustan Times, july 20. Sri Lanka's joint opposition on Friday appointed a panel to draw up articles of impeachment against president Chandrika Kumaratunga whose government has been reduced to a minority in Parliament. The Opposition action came a day after Kumaratunga ordered tough police action to break up anti-government rallies, in which two people were killed and more than 80 wounded. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 11:16:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka opposition plans more anti-government protests
Yahoo, july 20. Sri Lanka appears set for political turmoil as opposition parties planned more anti-government protests, a day after thousands of supporters took to the streets to oppose President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Shops and schools re-opened as usual after Thursday's rioting in Colombo and its suburbs, but an uneasy calm prevailed as the opposition announced it would keep the heat on Kumaratunga's minority ruling coalition. The radical Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the only opposition party that did not participate in Thursday demonstration, has said it will call out its cadres July 23 for a similar rally. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 12:53:00 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka s political turmoil spilled onto the streets of its capital on Thursday as two people were killed and more than 60 injured in clashes between police and opposition supporters, hospital officials said.  - MSNBC

Three cops remanded
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.35 p.m. SLT Friday July 20. Three policemen were remanded today over the shooting of a civilian at Kotahena last morning. The cops admitted to having used 'live' bullets to quell an anti-government demonstration, led by the main opposition United National Party.

Another civilian was shot dead at Peliyagoda. No police personnel have been arrested yet over this killing.

Police spokesman, SSP Rienzie Perera today confirmed that the police had used 'live' ammunition on demonstrators yesterday. Asked on whose orders the cops had acted, he replied, "I do not know."
Published: Fri Jul 20 11:33:11 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Magistrate orders arrest of police over Sri Lanka killing  -

ICRC Supports SLA Training On The 'Law Of Armed Conflict'
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.30 p.m. SLT Friday July 20. " The production of the SLA training film on the 'Law of Armed Conflict' illustrates once more that the will to apply at least a minimum of humanitarian standards on the battlefield comes from deeply within the Sri Lankan Army, and will positively influence awareness, understanding and respect for international humanitarian law among the many officers and troops to be trained in the future. "

This was stated by Jean Luc Noverraz, Deputy Head of delegation, ICRC Sri Lanka, when he handed over the first copy of the Training film on the 'Law of Armed Conflict' to SLA Commander Lt. General L.P. Balagalle at a brief ceremony at the Army HQ in Colombo this morning.

The 17 minute film shot on location at the Army Training School at Maduruoya was produced by the SLA, and sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The training film focuses on aspects of Rules for Behaviour in Combat - Distinguishing between Military and Civilian Targets, Humane Treatment of the Captured and the Wounded, Respect for Civilians and their property and Command Responsibility. The film will be distributed to all SLA training establishments, Formation HQs and unit regimental centres.

The Commander of the SLA, Lieutenant -General L.P. Balagalle, in his speech said that "despite violations of human rights which occurred in the past, today our troops conduct themselves well and have moved ahead". Focusing on the importance of training in the Law of Armed Conflict, " we have to thoroughly educate our soldiers in this aspect as it must register in the mind of very soldier.... For whatever positive achievement the SLA has achieved in Law of Armed Conflict, we are grateful to the efforts and support of the ICRC since the late 80's, "the Commander pointed out.
Published: Fri Jul 20 11:33:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Referendum - a ruse to bring in devolution package through backdoor: Sihala Urumaya
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 2.17 PM SLT Friday,July 20,2001 . The August 21 referendum on the need for a new constitution is but a ruse to bring in the rejected devolution package through the backdoor, according to Mr.Thilak Karunaratne,Sihala Urumaya leader and former MP.He said that his party had told the Election Commissioner that it would campaign against changing the constitution in the run up to the referendum on the issue.

Mr.Karunaratne pointed out that President Kumaratunga had not mentioned devolution when she set out her ideas on a new constitution in her telecast.What she had mentioned was the need to replace the Executive Presidency and the setting up of independent commissions to over-see the work of certain key state institutions.Mr.Karunaratne said that these things could well have been introduced through an amendment to the present constitution because two thirds of parliament would have endorsed the changes without any fuss.

Now,there is an attempt to bring in the old and rejected devolution package through a vague referendum.If the majority says "yes" to the question on the need for a new constitution, it could be taken as a blank cheque to bring in any kind of constitution including one with the discredited devolution package.

Mr.Karunaratne said that devolution to the Tamil North East was not needed because of the demographic changes since the last census in 1981." In 1981,60% of the Sri Lankan Tamils lived in Jaffna and 90% in the combined North and East.Now 60% of them live outside the North East,the bulk being in West Province,especially Colombo district.This being so,where is the need to designate the North-Eastern province as a Tamil province and devolve power to it ?" the SU leader asked. Mr.Karunaratne said that there was no need for either a Tamil province or a Sinhala or Muslim province,because every Sri Lankan has the right to live and vote anywhere.

According to him, Jaffna Tamils are now over-represented in parliament. They have nine seats now, but this is based on the 1981 census which showed the population of Jaffna to be 675,000.The population now is estimated to be 300,000, which means that Jaffna should have only four seats.
Published: Fri Jul 20 11:09:04 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Controversy in cabinet as ministers protest over crushing of anti government protest.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 0654 slt 20.07.01. Four cabinet ministers voiced their strong objections to the government crushing yesterday's anti government demonstrations. Ministers G.L. Pieris, Mahinda Rajapaksa, MHM Fowzi and Mahinda Wijesekara made the protest when the cabinet met this morning. However Minister Anurudha Ratwatta defended the police action saying the opposition has planned to raid the Presidential Palace under construction in Kotte. 2 people were killed and over 60 injured when police opened fire with live bullets and rubber bullets and fired tear gas to disperse tens of thousands of protestors. end
Published: Fri Jul 20 09:08:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Police admit that it fired live bullets against un-armed civilian protestors
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1253 slt 20.07.01. Police today admitted that it fired live bullets against tens of thousands of un-armed protestors at the anti government demonstration yesterday. Two people were killed and over 60 injured when the police fired volumes of tear gas,fired what was thought to have been rubber bullets and baton charged the protestors.It was the first major protest demonstration organized by opposition parties against the prorogation of parliament and the referendum. Police spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police Rienzie Perera today admitted officially that police fired live bullets and not rubber bullets at the protestors. The postmortem examination of the two people killed during the demonstration has revealed that both were killed by gun shot injuries. The weapons used have been identified as semi automatic T-56 rifles, the standard weapon of the armed forces and also used by the police. end
Published: Fri Jul 20 03:10:50 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan medical official says protesters killed by live ammunition  - ABC News
Doctor Claims 1 Sri Lanka Protester Killed By Live Rounds  - Yahoo Singapore
Sri Lanka police say live rounds used on protest  - Yahoo India

Tamil Rebels Kill 4 Women Members Of Village Militia-Govt
Yahoo India, July 20. Tamil Tiger rebels shot and killed four women members of a government-supported village militia in northern Sri Lanka, a government spokesman said Friday. The Home Guards, as the militia members are called, were killed while returning home from work near the government-held town of Vavuniya on Thursday. Areas north of Vavuniya are mostly jungle that is under control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who fighting for a separate state in the north and east for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils. They claim discrimination at the hands of the majority Sinhalese. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 11:18:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Security worries for India, New Zealand teams amid Sri Lanka unrest
Yahoo Asia, July 20. The Indian and New Zealand cricket teams visiting Sri Lanka were Friday promised maximum security following street battles that killed two people and the threat of further political violence, officials said.Sri Lanka's Board of Control for Cricket assured full protection would be given to the teams taking part in the triangular one-day international series which opened on Wednesday More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 11:19:01 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka President accused over rally killings, Jul 20 2001 10:01 IST. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga came under attack Friday for ordering police to use live ammunition against anti-government demonstrators, killing two men and wounding over 80.The leftist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, accused President Kumaratunga of using "state terror" to crush opponents and sprint towards a "total dictatorship." More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 01:17:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka opposition slams president over rally killings  -

Police suppress pro-democracy protest in Sri Lanka; 2 are killed and 60 wounded
MSNBC, July 19. The government sent in the army Thursday, and police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to block thousands of demonstrators from marching into the capital to protest the suspension of parliament. Two protesters were killed, bleeding to death from what appeared to be rubber bullet wounds, and 60 people were hurt by rubber bullets fired at close range or lacerations from police batons, doctors at the city's two largest hospitals said. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 01:55:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika desperate to stay in power, says Ranil Wickremesinghe
Yahoo India, july 20. Two persons died when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at several places in and around Colombo today to disperse protesters defying a ban and marching towards the city centre for a joint Opposition rally against the prorogation of Parliament by the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga.More than 60 were hurt and some of them had to hospitalised, the United National Party leader, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, said. Mr. Wickremesinghe was present when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at Nugegoda, a suburb of the city, to disperse a large group of processionists. Mr. Wickremesinghe told The Hindu that he was bundled into his vehicle by his security officers and escaped unhurt. ``Everything they did to stop us was illegal. But the people have successfully resisted the Government,'' the Opposition leader said. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 01:26:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP protest rampage a flop:
Ceylon Daily News, July 20. The UNP's much vaunted protested campaign in Colombo and suburbs yesterday turned out to be an utter flop, for the crowd that took part in the demonstrations was nowhere near the 1 million which the party boasted about. Police however moved in swiftly to curb mob violence that left two dead and 70 injured, three of them critically. The injured were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital. The hospital authorities however have not established the cause of the deaths. The inquests are scheduled for today More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 02:05:59 EDT 2001 Back to the top

One killed,four seriously injured in police-opposition clash
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 2.27 PM SLT Thursday, July 19,2001. One person is believed to have died and sixteen injured,four of them seriously,as the police tried to prevent thousands of demonstrators from entering Colombo for an opposition United National Party (UNP) led rally in Maradana later this afternoon.The dead man's name is given as Mr.Manjula Prasada of Mattakuliya.He is said to have sustained serious injuries in an incident in Jampettah.

The police haved not opened fire anywhere but are liberally using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse angry crowds,reports from various corners of the town say.There was a mild baton charge in Maradana.There have been no reports of damage to property, private or public yet.

The opposition United National Party (UNP) led demonstrators are defying a government ban on processions under the Referendum Act of 1981 in protest against the prorogation of parliament when there was a non-confidence motion pending in the house.The opposition has been saying that the President prorogued parliament only because she knew that the motion would be carried.The opposition has 115 out of the 225 MPs with it.

UNP Leader Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe had a narrow escape when he tried to get into Colombo from Nugegoda this morning.It was only due to the presence of mind of his bodyguards that he was able to get into his vehicle and speed away,eye witesses said.UNP chairman,Mr.Karu Jayasuriya and Dr.Jayalath Jayawardene MP faced teargas shells and rubber bullets twice in Wattala,north of the city.

Speaking to Lacnet,the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) MP Mr.V.Anandasangaree,said that by stopping people from holding a peaceful procession and rally,President Chandrika Kumaratunga was infringing the right to free movement and free speech."The country is heading towards dictatorship.The Chandrika Kumaratunga government is driving people to revolt", he charged.

Many schools and shops in the affected areas are closed.The rest of the city is normal.
Published: Fri Jul 20 01:32:31 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Photo: Teargas fired as opposition rallies in Sri Lanka
Yahoo India, July 16, 2001. Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga talks to journalists at the president's house in Colombo, on July 16, 2001. Colombo braced itself on Thursday for a huge opposition protest against the suspension of parliament in the face of a police ban on rallies and a threat to arrest violators. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 01:15:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

SRI LANKA PRESS: Colombo World Trade Center Sale On Debt
Yahoo India, 20 July 2001. Overseas Realty (Ceylon) Ltd., which manages Colombo's World Trade Center, plans to sell one of its two towers in a bid to repay foreign debt of around $40 million, the Daily Mirror reports. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 00:56:16 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Cricket-Jayasuriya leads Sri Lanka to opening victory
Yahoo Singapore, Thursday July 19. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya led his side to victory over New Zealand by 16 runs in the first match of a triangular one-day tournament on Wednesday. Defending a modest 220, Sri Lankan's seamers reduced New Zealand to three for two and then 100 for five before Chris Harris raised hopes of victory for the tourists with a knock of 48, including six fours. He was caught in the deep by Suresh Perera when he gave Jayasuriya the charge though, and New Zealand, who were penalised one over for a slow bowling rate, were left struggling at 157 for six. More...
Published: Fri Jul 20 01:19:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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