The Lanka Academic

MARCH 28, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 6, NO. 356


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Sri Lanka sets up court in prison to handle drug cases, March 28. A court has been set up for the first time in Sri Lanka inside a prison premises to handle drug cases, prison officials said Tuesday.

A special High Court dedicated to deal with drug offenses is set to open Tuesday at the capital Colombo's main Welikada prison.

According to Justice Minister Amarasiri Dodangoda, suspects of drug related cases have come under attack from rival groups while being transferred from the prison to the court.

"This move to set up a court inside the prison will help us to prevent that type of violence," said Dodangoda.

Sri Lanka had experienced several incidents of drug barons coming under attack while being transferred in prison vehicles to the court to face charges in the past.

Commissioner General of Prisons Rumy Marzook said that after the main Welikada prison, similar High Courts will be set up in other prisons elsewhere in the island. More...

Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 28 20:23:47 EST 2006

Sri Lanka military recruits Muslim for exclusive Muslim battalion
Associated Press, Tue March 28, 2006 07:52 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan military on Tuesday began recruiting Muslim youths for the country's first exclusively Muslim infantry battalion to provide protection to those living in a troubled eastern province, officials said. Sri Lanka - 's military is made up of mostly Sinhalese, the country's majority community. There are few Muslim officers who generally work in intelligence.

Muslims Sri Lanka - 's second-largest minority after ethnic Tamils can speak the Tamil language and generally oppose the Tamil Tigers, who have accused Muslims of supporting the government. The rebels also oppose Muslims cultivating land in areas they consider Tamil territory.

During two decades of civil war that was halted by a Norway brokered cease-fire in 2002, the rebels carried out systematic killings of Muslims, including a massacre in August 1990 of 130 Muslims at two mosques on the same day.

Tens of thousands of Muslims fled northern Sri Lanka - 's Jaffna Peninsula after the rebels started their separatist campaign there in 1983. Many migrated to the east, before the rebels began to increasingly assert their control over that region as well.

Sri Lanka - 's eastern province has been the hotbed of violence in the two-decade conflict, which has killed more than 65,000.

The truce has come under severe strain due to spiraling violence, with more than 166 people, including 87 government security personnel, killed since December.

Both sides agreed in Geneva, Switzerland last month to scale down violence and meet again for talks next month. Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 28 09:24:03 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka recruits Muslims to protect east from rebels  -

HL:Reputed Tamil gang leader deported to Sri Lanka after immigration probe
Associated Press, Tue March 28, 2006 03:17 EST . Tue March 28, 2006 03:17 EST HL:Reputed Tamil gang leader deported to Sri Lanka after immigration probe TORONTO (CP) _ The reputed leader of a Tamil gang whose battle with rival gang members on the streets of Toronto claimed the lives of more than a dozen youths in the late 1990s, and once led to a midday shooting on Highway 404, was deported late Monday night to Sri Lanka.

Kaileshan Thanabalasingham was one of the main targets of Project 1050, a joint police and immigration investigation that ended with the arrest of close to 51 alleged gang members on Oct. 18, 2001.

The majority of the accused were charged under a section of the immigration act that prohibits involvement in a criminal organization, marking the first time street gangs were classified as ``organized crime'' under immigration laws.

Known in Toronto's Tamil community as Kailesh, the 36-year-old father was accused of leading the VVT gang, a west Toronto group that was formed in the early 1990s and named for Valvettithurai, a northern Sri Lankan town.

Thanabalasingham denied he led the VVT, or that his criminal convictions _ possessing a machete in 1996 and a 1998 conspiracy to commit assault for trying to acquire guns for others _ were related to gang membership.

A January Immigration and Refugee Board decision that cleared the way for his removal classified both convictions as gang-related and also noted Thanabalasingham was known to visit incarcerated gang members.

``It's quite instructive that the appellant took it upon himself to attend court when gang members were charged with criminal offences, to assist in preparing their defence and then visit them in jail when incarcerated. He acted like a shepherd tending to his flock,'' wrote IRB appeal division member Egya Sangmuah in his Jan. 6 decision.

Thanabalasingham's lawyer, Barbara Jackman, had argued that as a Tamil, he would be targeted by the Sri Lankan government if returned home due to media reports that have linked the VVT to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, a guerrilla group fighting the Singhalese government for independence.

Sangmuah dismissed claims that Thanabalasingham would face danger.

``The Minister (of Immigration) does not allege that the appellant or the VVT is connected to the LTTE,'' he wrote. ``(E)ven if the appellant is wrongly perceived as a member of the LTTE, he will likely not face persecution.''

Jackman said Monday she believed her client was being punished unfairly since he had already been sentenced for his criminal activity.

Thanabalasingham came to Canada in July 1991 and was granted refugee status, then became a landed immigrant on Aug. 31, 1992. Police believe he became leader of the VVT in 1997, after the two former alleged leaders, Sri Ranjan Rasa and Niranjan Claude Fabian, were arrested (the men remain in Canada fighting their deportation).

``For three years the Tamil community was held hostage by two gangs vying for control in Toronto,'' said Det. Sgt. Greg Getty, head of Project 1050, in an interview Monday before Thanabalasingham was escorted on a 10:40 p.m. flight out of Toronto.

``If he does get deported, it's a great day for the Tamil community.'' (Toronto Star) Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 28 08:21:26 EST 2006 Back to the top

U.N. agency urges tsunami-hit countries to make sure fishing boats meet safety standards
Associated Press, Tue March 28, 2006 13:02 EST . In Sri Lanka - , where almost 19,000 boats were destroyed, more than 13,000 boats had been replaced by the end of November 2005... Back to the top

Sri Lanka seizes control of first test with 251-run second innings lead
Associated Press, Tue March 28, 2006 07:52 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Ferveez Maharoof took a career-best 4-52 Tuesday and was assisted by brilliant top-order batting to help Sri Lanka - seize control of the first cricket test against Pakistan with a comfortable 251-run lead in the second innings... Back to the top

Sri Lanka trade gap widens: central bank, March 28, 2006. Sri Lanka's trade deficit has widened to 240 million U.S. dollars in January 2006, the Central Bank said Monday... Back to the top

Lanka to create first Muslim battalion, 3/28/2006. Colombo: Sri Lanka is setting up its first infantry battalion made of only Muslims, the country third largest community, to protect Muslim residents in the east from Tamil rebels, the first ever exclusive battalion for any community, the government said... Back to the top

‘We support Tamil right to self-rule in Sri Lanka’ ….- Erik Solheim
com, March 27, 2006, 12:00 EDT. Prabhakaran promised to do his part to put a stop to the escalating violence... Back to the top

Explosion Sinks Sri Lankan Navy Boat
NYT-Shimali Senanayake, March 26. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, March 25 — In a blow to newly revived peace efforts in Sri Lanka, suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up their boat and sank an approaching navy craft on Saturday, leaving eight sailors missing and feared dead... Back to the top

Sri Lankan military arrests four suspected Tamil Tiger rebels, seizes weapons
Associated Press, Mon March 27, 2006 06:58 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ The Sri Lankan military arrested four suspected Tamil Tiger rebels and discovered weapons during a search of a government-held northern town, the military said Monday... Back to the top

Tharanga strokes stylish 64 as Sri Lanka takes command of the first test
Associated Press, Tue March 28, 2006 04:49 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Upul Tharanga scored an unbeaten 64 Tuesday to put Sri Lanka - in command of the first cricket test against Pakistan at tea on the third day... Back to the top

Terror papers probed
National Post, March 27. Police are examining documents that appear to support allegations the Sri Lankan terrorist group known as the Tamil Tigers has been collecting money in Canada... Back to the top

Sri Lanka President awarded damages over tsunami graft probe, Mon, 27 March 2006. Sri Lanka's Supreme Court Monday awarded 5,000 dollars in damages to President Mahinda Rajapakse over a pre-election police investigation that he siphoned off of millions of rupees in tsunami aid... Back to the top

S.Lanka suspected rebel front warns of new attacks, 27 Mar 2006 08:04:14 GMT. COLOMBO, March 27 (Reuters) - A suspected Tamil Tiger front threatened on Monday to resume attacks on Sri Lanka's military, with the government and rebels seen unwilling to compromise weeks before talks aimed at averting renewed civil war... Back to the top

Sri Lanka bans fishing along border with India, March 27, 2006, 11:45 EDT. Colombo, March. 27 (PTI): Sri Lanka today banned deep sea fishing along the border with India, two days after suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up a navy boat killing eight sailors. Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda, would supervise the "prohibited zone" and no one will be allowed into the area without written permission... Back to the top

CHRONOLOGY-Recent suspected S.Lanka Tiger rebel attacks, March 27. A suspected Tamil Tiger front threatened on Monday to resume attacks against Sri Lanka's military two days after the Navy accused rebels of sinking a patrol boat in a suicide attack... Back to the top

War, tsunami displaced in Sri Lanka denied right to vote, march 27. COLOMBO, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's civil war displaced and the victims of the Indian ocean Tsunamis are denied the right to vote at this week's local council election, an independent election watch dog said here Monday... Back to the top

Roots of Muslim identity in Sri Lanka, March 27. A community's search for identity and its subsequent development as a political unit, stem from an environment of communalism... Back to the top

Hunt launched for impersonator in kidnap, rape of Lanka woman; US ..., 27th Mar 2006 . KUWAIT CITY: Police are looking for an unidentified police impersonator, for kidnapping and raping a Sri Lankan woman, reports Al-Rai Al-Aam daily... Back to the top

Pakistan seamers push Sri Lanka to 71-5 at lunch
Associated Press, Mon March 27, 2006 02:33 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Pakistan opening bowlers Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul shared five wickets Monday to grab an early advantage as Sri Lanka - struggled to 71 for five wickets at lunch on the second day of the first cricket test... Back to the top

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