The Lanka Academic

 
APRIL 5, 2004 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 4, NO. 365

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Sri Lanka 's president appoints new prime minister as rebels threaten fighting
Associated Press, Mon April 5, 2004 13:33 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's president on Monday appointed veteran politician Mahinda Rajapakse to be the country's new prime minister, as Tamil Tiger rebels threatened to start fighting again, casting concerns on a shaky cease-fire that halted a two-decade civil war. Outgoing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had initiated the most recent attempts to seal a lasting peace with the Tamil Tiger rebels, who fought a long, bloody war for a separate state for Sri Lanka - 's minority ethnic Tamils, claiming discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

Wickremesinghe's approach was a major factor in a bitter feud with Kumaratunga, who has taken a tough stance toward the rebels and accused Wickremesinghe of giving them too many concessions.

It wasn't immediately clear how Rajapakse's appointment would affect the fragile truce with the Tamil Tigers, or future negotiations with them. Rajapakse is an ethnic Sinhalese.

Kumaratunga's first choice for prime minister had apparently been former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. She changed the decision under fierce opposition from Rajapakse.

Kadirgamar, a Tamil, is credited with getting the Tamil Tigers banned overseas as terrorists. He's less popular on the ground than longtime lawmaker Rajapakse.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Tigers said on Monday that they hoped a political solution could be found to their demands for sweeping autonomy.

If not, ``the Tamil people will fight to establish the Tamil sovereignty in their homeland,'' the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site said.

Earlier, Kumaratunga's top aide said peace talks with the rebels were first on her agenda.

``The top priority of the Freedom Alliance is to take steps to resume negotiations'' with the Tamil Tigers, said aide Harim Peiris.

What remains unclear is the direction those talks, on hold for the past year, could take.

While the Tigers have said they would negotiate with whichever political party emerged on top, the president left blind in one eye by a rebel assassination attempt has made no secret of her distrust for them.

And for the Tigers, divided since the March defection of a powerful guerrilla commander, negotiations would be highly complicated.

The renegade commander took with him some 6,000 guerrillas from the 15,000-strong rebel army.

The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka - Monitoring Mission charged with overseeing a cease-fire that has held since February 2002 said there were no changes on the ground Monday.

A top military analyst discounted war fears for now.

``Technically, the (Tamil Tigers) can resume fighting any time but I think they will wait and see if they get that autonomy by talking,'' said retired Air Marshall Harry Goonetilleke.

After hammering out the cease-fire that halted Sri Lanka - 's civil war, Norwegian negotiators withdrew at the peak of a power struggle between Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe last year, saying they would return only after the two settled their differences.

The two longtime rivals failed to stop their bickering, eventually leading to Friday's snap poll, which came more than three years ahead of schedule.

Although the shaky cease-fire has held for two years, the main Tiger leadership has warned the government not to negotiate with the breakaway faction.

Kumaratunga has refused to give the Tamils the degree of autonomy the rebels want, saying that would all but formalize the de facto state they've created.

President Kumaratunga's alliance emerged just eight seats short of an absolute majority in Parliament in Friday's elections.

An official at the presidential secretariat said Kumaratunga's United Peoples Freedom Alliance, which secured 105 seats in the 225-member Parliament, was holding talks with smaller parties and considered a ruling coalition a certainty. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Under Sri Lanka - 's constitution, the president has the power to administer the oath of office to a prime minister, but the latter must prove a majority in the Parliament, which is scheduled to convene April 22.
Published: Mon Apr 5 14:52:41 EDT 2004

Related News Stories
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Sri Lanka s new PM a moderate  - rediff.com
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Sri Lankan president appoints veteran Mahinda Rajapakse as prime minister  - Associated Press

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The LTTE’s eviction of the alive and the buried.
North East sources, April 5. As of April 3rd, about two hundred Jaffna Tamils have left Batticaloa in response to LTTE (K) orders and out of fear of an impending war and retaliation. Of these 200, there were 15 from Valachenai, 20 from Chenkaladi, 60 from Batticaloa town and another 40 professionals such as doctors, people associated with the university etc. About 27 Jaffna Tamil shops have been shut down. These are mainly jewellery shops and chillarai kadaikal (groceries). People were threatened and asked to leave but told that they could return after the elections. It is a fact that Karuna's cadres were involved in such threats. Most people who left intended to return after the elections. Will they be allowed to return? No one should be evicted in this manner and no group has the right to evict any number of people from their homes, their businesses or the region they choose to live in on the basis of their perceived membership of a group.

What this eviction by Karuna shows is that LTTE (K) may be a breakaway faction of LTTE (P), but it is business as usual and the same kind of politics the LTTE has always practiced. Whether it is the 1990 Eviction of Muslims from the North or the 1995 forced Exodus of Tamils from Jaffna Town, the LTTE has always used its power to force groups to move whenever and for whatever reason it sees fit with the gun. The ability to force eviction is part of the gambling game they play with the lives of those in the North and East. The deeply worrying trend that this eviction of Jaffna Tamils from Batticaloa shows is that despite the breathing room opened up by the split in the LTTE, LTTE (K) too intends to play the game the way they learnt it. Any hopes that they may have even attempted to try and be different from LTTE (P) are being extinguished. Karuna has denied that his cadres issued such threats. This is simply the same kind of lip service that the LTTE (P) gave condemning the Rajan Sathiyamurthy murder even though everybody knew that they were responsible, the Tamil media was not covering anything and it has even been confirmed by the Tamil Net editor in his Daily Mirror article (31-03-2004) under the name Taraki. The evicted must be allowed to return and their right to choose to stay if they want to must be respected.

The slow eviction of Jaffna Tamils was accelerated by the murder of TNA candidate Rajan Sathiyamurthy, a Karuna loyalist, by LTTE (P). LTTE (K) had issued an anonymous warning to Jaffna Tamils to leave but they did not enforce it rigidly initially. But since the murder of Sathiyamurthy they seem to have hardened their tactics. Feelings are running high in Batticaloa after the last few weeks of killings and shootings carried out covertly by LTTE (P) and it is also clear that more people support Karuna than they did prior to the killings. Sathiyamurthy’s body was displayed from town to town. After the murder on the 30th of March, at 3 p.m., Karuna’s cadres went into Batticaloa town in two vans and closed five or six shops including Sunshine Bakery and Shanumugam Stores. They locked these Jaffna based stores and took the keys away. They claimed that the previous week two of Pottu Amman’s people had been arrested and that they were acting on information received. LTTE (K) claims that one of the youths who worked in the six shops closed was involved in the killing of Rajan Sathiyamurthy. LTTE (K) went about in vehicles announcing that Pottu Amman’s people loyal to the Vanni leadership should leave. Furthermore, the LTTE (K) has also claimed to capture 14 of Pottu’s intelligence cadres since the Sathiyamurthy murder. Pottu’s cadres may have infiltrated Batticaloa Town but nonetheless those who were made to leave were not members of LTTE (P) but civilians.

In addition to this, the Tamil Media loyal to LTTE (P) (e.g. Tamil Net) have also sought to further inflame regional feeling against the East by reporting that 5,000 people from the North have been asked to leave the East and that 20,000 have lost their franchise, which is not the case. It is ironic that the same media is not sufficiently self-reflective to see that their silence on election rigging and intimidation by both factions of the LTTE did in effect lead to the disenfranchisement of lakhs of people. Indeed what is worrying about how LTTE (K) has acted is that they may force the same kind of evictions on the Muslims and Sinhalese communities in the East as the LTTE had in the North with the 1990 eviction of all Muslims. The same media refuses to accept that there has been a clear political precedent for LTTE (K)’s actions.

On April 3rd night Rajan Sathiyamurthy’s body was dug out of his grave and burned with a tire by LTTE (P)’s cadres. The justification in the rumour mills is that a “traitor” should not be buried next to Annai Pupathi, the LTTE’s matron saint. Such provocation now practiced by LTTE (P), has always been there. It used to be the Sri Lankan Army or the IPKF that they used to provoke, so the civilians can face the brunt of the retaliation. Now they are trying the same tactics with LTTE (K). It is yet to been seen if LTTE (K) will fall further into this trap. The people of the East both of Jaffna origin and of the East are the ones who stand to lose.
Published: Mon Apr 5 00:33:33 EDT 2004 Back to the top


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We will stay Neutral- JHU
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 4.00 A.M Tuesday 6 April. General Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, Thilak Karunaratne says that both the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the United National Party (UNP) made overtures to his party to form a government but his party would stand firm and never join any party or become a prop for them. He said, " We will stay neutral and extend our support only on a case by case basis. We are not like Hakeems and Thondamans who support the winning party to form governments. We don't need any positions. We don't need any perks"

Karunaratne denied reports that the leader of the Bikkus, Ellawala Medananda thero had expressed his willingness to become the speaker of the next parliament. He said "There is no truth in that. Only an experienced parliamentarian could hold the position of the speaker." JHU General Secretary added that no layman would take the position of the monks and the monks would continue to be represented in the parliament.
Published: Mon Apr 5 17:46:38 EDT 2004 Back to the top


The Rediff Interview/Sri Lankan army chief Lt Gen Lionel ...
rediff.com, April 05, 2004. On a trip to India in December, the army commander met Defence Minister George Fernandes and the Indian army, navy, and air force chiefs to fine-tune the details of a defence pact... Back to the top

SLMC requests all parties to immediately start work towards a finding solution to the ethnic conflict
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 5, 2004, 11.39 pm. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) today called upon all political leaders to immediately work towards finding a solution to the ethnic conflict, which could be acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Mahinda to swear in at 10.10 a.m. tomorrow
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 5, 2004, 11.13 pm. Mahinda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister will take oaths tomorrow morning at precisely 10.10 a... Back to the top

Body of Sri Lankan election candidate exhumed, set on fire
Associated Press, Mon April 5, 2004 06:14 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Members of Sri Lanka - 's mainstream rebel movement exhumed and set fire to the body of a slain parliamentary candidate who had opposed the group, police and breakaway rebels said Monday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka's outgoing premier warns peace process endangered
Associated Press, Mon April 5, 2004 05:23 EDT . COLOMBO, April 5 (Kyodo) Sri Lanka's outgoing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned Monday that that the peace process that paused Asia's longest-running conflict for more than two years is endangered by the election results that returned a hung parliament... Back to the top

World News Uncertainty looms as Sri Lanka braces for new ...
newkerala.com, Apr 5 . Sri Lanka's outgoing prime minister Monday hinted at threats to the Norwegian-mediated peace process as a mini power struggle delayed the formation of a minority government in the wake of a hung parliament... Back to the top

Another election on April 24th
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 5, 2004, 11.22 p.m.. All arrangements have been finalised to conduct the North Western Provincial Council election on April 24th, 2004... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to delay naming new PM
xinhuanet.com, April 05, 2004, 07:40 AM EST. COLOMBO, April 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The naming of the new Sri Lankan prime minister and setting up of the new government will be delayed until Tuesday, high ranking government officials said Monday... Back to the top

Kadirgamar likely to be Lanka s new Prime Minister
deepikaglobal.com, Monday, April 5, 2004 . Colombo, Apr 5 (UNI) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's top aide and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lakshman Kadirgamar, is likely to be the next Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, a senior official said today... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's president undecided on prime minister
Associated Press, Mon April 5, 2004 08:46 EDT . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Amid attempts to cobble together a government after inconclusive parliamentary polls, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga faced dissent within her party Monday over her choice of prime minister, a party official said... Back to the top

World News: Sri Lanka to get new prime minister
keralanext.com, 5-April-2004 . Colombo, Sri Lanka is most likely to get a new prime minister Monday, with the frontrunners for the job being veteran politician Mahinda Rajapakse and former foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar... Back to the top

New Religious Party Emerges Dark Horse in Sri Lanka s Polls
oneworld.net, 05 April 2004. COLOMBO, Apr 5 (OneWorld) - The surprising gains made by the newly formed Buddhist monks' party Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) in Sri Lanka's polls indicate a rise in rightwing nationalism among the country's Sinhala majority and growing disillusionment with mainstream political parties, analysts say... Back to the top

World News Gandhi assassination suspect caught in Sri Lanka
newkerala.com, Apr 4. A Tamil Tiger guerrilla reportedly linked to former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination has been caught by a breakaway faction of the rebel group in Sri Lanka's east, a newspaper reported Sunday... Back to the top

Intimidation in North- EU Heads Express Concern
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 10.30 A.M Monday 5 April. The Heads of Mission of the European Union Represented in Sri Lanka says that it is a matter of deep concern that the election process in the North and East was tainted by intimidation and violence... Back to the top

Rebels threaten fighting as President Kumaratunga considers coalition government
Associated Press, Mon April 5, 2004 03:33 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) Tamil rebels threatened to start fighting again, as an alliance headed by Sri Lanka - 's hard-line president tried to put together a coalition government Monday after voters failed to deliver a clear mandate on how to revive the stalled peace process... Back to the top

Privatizations in Sri Lanka likely to slow because of election results
Associated Press, Mon April 5, 2004 04:46 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Privatization of state-run companies in Sri Lanka - will likely slow after the election victory of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's political alliance, which includes a powerful Marxist party, analysts said Monday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan president's party looking for support for coalition
Associated Press, Sun April 4, 2004 22:41 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The alliance of President Chandrika Kumaratunga emerged as the largest winner in parliamentary elections, but fell eight seats short of a majority and plans to seek a partner to forge a ruling coalition... Back to the top

World News US funds healthcare for Sri Lanka s deprived Muslims
newkerala.com, Apr 4. Fourteen years after they were displaced by a civil war, around 800 Muslim families in northwestern Sri Lanka finally have access to free medical facilities, thanks to a largely US initiative, reports OneWorld... Back to the top

World News Pro-LTTE party seeks autonomous powers for Tamil ...
newkerala.com, Apr 4. A Tamil party that swept parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka's troubled northeast Sunday called upon a government that will take office here to devolve substantial autonomy to the region or face the ultimate prospect of a separate Tamil state... Back to the top

Kumaratunga's victorious alliance prepares to name premier+
Associated Press, Sun April 4, 2004 22:04 EDT . - - COLOMBO, April 5 (Kyodo) Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) prepared to name a new prime minister Monday after winning most seats in Friday's parliamentary election... Back to the top

Batti-Amparai LTTE will protect Northern Tamils and their properties- Karuna Faction
Tamilalai, April 4. The Batticalo-Amparai district LTTE had announced that they are not responsible in anyway for ordering the Northern Tamils to leave Batticaloa district... Back to the top

TULF Leader Says People With No Moral Right Sent To Parliament from the North
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 6.45 A.M Monday 5 April. Leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) V. Anandasangaree says that members of parliament elected from the north representing the ITAK got no moral right to come to parliament since the elections in the north were not held in a free and fair manner and under a rule of dictatorship... Back to the top

Sri Lanka board receive news of Muralitharan s tests
cricmania.com, April 5 . MELBOURNE, April 5 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's cricket board already know the results of Muttiah Muralitharan's suspect bowling action assessment but are yet to publicly release the details... Back to the top

LTTE charged with rigging Jaffna poll
hinduonnet.com, April 4, 2004 : 1730 Hrs. Colombo, April 4. (PTI): A key Tamil politician in Sri Lanka has charged Tamil Tiger rebels with rigging the poll in the embattled northern Jaffna peninsula and accused the election commissioner of "legalising terrorism... Back to the top

Investors wary after Lanka polls
gulf-daily-news.com, 5 April 2004 . COLOMBO: By failing to deliver a clear-cut victory for one party, Sri Lanka's election has dealt a blow to the fragile economy which has been dogged by political instability and the shaky progress of peace talks with Tamil rebels, analysts said yesterday... Back to the top

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