The Lanka Academic

 
APRIL 6, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 6, NO. 365

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Headline Summary
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
LTTE front threaten Jaffna Academics with death. Several professors told to leave Jaffna.
K.S. Rajkumar, April 06, 2006. Increasing numbers of parents and students of the University of Jaffna are getting frustrated with the disturbing developments at the University after the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor Prof Ratnajeevan Hoole. Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole was nominated to be the Vice-Chancellor for the Jaffna University based on a majority vote by the University Senate. Soon after the University Grants Commission made the announcement, LTTE front groups in Jaffna began an orchestrated campaign against Prof. Hoole and warned him against taking up the position. The LTTE web site Nitharsanam operating from Norway, issued a chilling warning to Professor Hoole that he will 'receive the ultimate punishment' if he were ever to take up his new position. Several reports quoted Prof. Hoole stating that he received death threats over the phone. In statements issued to the press the 'Jaffna University Students Union' stated that the students will 'never accept Ratnajeevan Hoole as the vice-chancellor'. Furthermore it went on to state that 'He is a traitor for the Tamil cause and should not set foot in our soil'. A student leader identified as Vijeyaruban said on LTTE television TTN that he will take “tough action” on Hoole if he enters the University campus'. Since Prof. Hoole is unable to function in Jaffna, the University grants commission appointed Professor Parameswaran of the Faculty of Medicine as the acting Vice-Chancellor for Jaffna. Prof. Parameswaran also received death threats from this particular 'Student organization', and the home of another Professor who spoke defending Parameswaran, was stoned and damaged.

In recent days Nitharsanam web-site, widely regarded as being controlled by the LTTE's intelligence unit and managed by a close relative of Pottu Amman published a series of articles under the heading 'Who is this fool?'. The articles warned Hoole that he would receive the maximum punishment from the 'patriotic people of Jaffna'. The articles further warned other academics in Jaffna not to support Prof. Hoole and other “traitors”.

In the midst of all these chaos, posters appeared in the vicinity of Jaffna University on Tuesday night, giving a chilling warning to the Jaffna University Senate members. The intimidating poster published in the name of 'patriotic community of the University' showed the photos of the University Senate members. The poster was also published in several LTTE web sites in Tamil. Under the caption 'Who are the 15 traitors who voted for Hoole? You have to step down immediately. Else you will be identified, exposed and receive the 'ultimate punishment'. Five of the Senate members' photographs were replaced with the 'skull and bone' symbols.

In an interview to the Colombo newspaper, Daily News, Prof. Hoole said he and his family members have also received threatening phone calls. " I have to face the same fate faced by Rajini Thiranagama. My wife was warned over the phone that if I came to Jaffna I would return to Colombo in a coffin beheaded. My fourteen year old daughter was told over the phone, that if I came to Jaffna they would chop up her younger brother!!"

Residents in Jaffna say it is only a vocal minority of students who are causing these problems, while the majority of students are eager to continue with their studies. Speaking to the students, it is clear who is behind this carefully coordinated intimidation campaign. "These student leaders receive instructions from Kilinochchi. They are trying to close down the University" said a student in the Science faculty. Several parents echoed this statement.

A retired school principal whose daughter is a Medical student in Jaffna told “the Tamils started fighting because we were discriminated in the University admissions. Now after 30 years, we face the imminent danger to our education caused by our own people. This is tragic. But nobody will protest or speak out due to fear. I am really worried about the future of our children”.

While the LTTE is trying to shut down the University of Jaffna and threatening the academics with death, several media reports say that the children of senior LTTE leaders' including the children of the LTTE leader Pirbakaran and Tamilselvam are pursuing higher studies and professional degrees abroad in Europe. Discuss this story
Published: Thu Apr 6 20:09:01 EDT 2006


Tamil rebels, Sri Lankan govt to go ahead with Swiss peace talks: Norwegian peace envoy
Associated Press, Thu April 6, 2006 09:16 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government will go ahead with peace talks in Switzerland despite simmering tensions and accusations that both sides violated a cease-fire agreement, Norway's top peace envoy said Thursday. Erik Solheim, who heads Norwegian efforts to end Sri Lanka - 's nearly two decades of civil war, said he had urged both sides to stick to the cease-fire agreement and work toward strengthening their peace efforts.

``Both sides have agreed to meet in Geneva,'' Solheim told reporters after meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Meanwhile, two members of a breakaway Tamil Tiger rebel faction were wounded in fighting Wednesday in the hamlet of Panichchankern, a rebel-controlled area in eastern Sri Lanka - , according to the TamilNet Web site, which backs the mainstream Tiger rebels.

A rebel faction based in eastern Sri Lanka - broke away from the mainstream Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2004. The LTTE accuses the military of backing the renegade faction a charge the government denies.

There was no independent confirmation of the TamilNet report, as Sri Lankan police and army forces do not enter areas under rebel control.

The government accuses the separatist rebels of continuing to recruit underage combatants and attacking government troops.

A recent spike in violence that has left at least 166 people dead since December in the north and east where the majority of Sri Lanka - 's 3.2 million Tamils live has threatened the cease-fire signed by the government and rebels in 2002.

At the first Geneva meeting in February, both sides pledged to scale down the violence, but the rebels and government have since repeatedly traded accusations of cease-fire violations.

The Geneva meeting was the first high-level contact between the two sides since peace talks broke down in 2003 after six rounds of negotiations.

The Tigers began fighting in 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils, claiming discrimination by the country's Sinhalese majority. The conflict has cost an estimated 65,000 lives.
Published: Thu Apr 6 13:43:20 EDT 2006 Back to the top


Peace broker Norway confident of talks between Sri Lanka and Tamil rebels despite tensions
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, April 6th, 2006, SLT 6:30 pm. Despite seethe tensions between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers over reneging on pledges made at peace talks, Norwegian peace brokers on Thursday, were confident the parties will meet again.

"We expect the talks to go ahead," Erik Solheim, Norway's International Development Minister told the Foreign Correspondents' Association.

The Tigers have been issuing veiled threats not to attend the April 19-21 talks and reiterated their position on Wednesday accusing the government of falling back on promises made at the negotiating table.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE, in a letter had also sought security guarantees for their next trip to Switzerland, where the talks are set to take place.

"The LTTE has requested very clear-cut guarantees," Solheim said, about the issue on which he had closed-door talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse earlier Thursday. "The president gave all guarantees on condition that the LTTE does'nt carry arms."

The government and the Tigers have hurled accusations at each other for not upholding promises made at the conclusion of February talks in Switzerland to save a fragile cease-fire from collapse.

Solheim said the "major issues," since the parties last met were the suspected Tamil Tiger blast that sank a navy vessel and killed eight soldiers and rebel demands on the government to disarm paramilitary groups.

"We urge both parties to stick to the letter on what was agreed in Geneva and implement it," Solheim said, adding both the government and the LTTE had failed to make good on the agreement.

Norway's new peace envoy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, who was on his maiden visit said full implementation of the cease-fire will open the doors for a "serious political dialogue," and urged confidence-building measures.

"Confidence building measures should be implemented, preferably, before the Geneva talks," Hanssen-Bauer said, about the April meeting.

Both envoys left the island for neighboring India on Thursday, to brief leaders there on the latest developments on Sri Lanka's peace bid.

The Tiger rebels had been fighting since 1983 to carve out a separate state for the island's minority Tamils in the island's north and east, claiming discrimination by the Sinhalese majority. Nearly 65,000 people were killed before Norway brokered a cease-fire in Feb. 2002. Discuss this story
Published: Thu Apr 6 11:10:50 EDT 2006 Back to the top


Norwegian peace envoys meet Sri Lankan president ahead of crucial peace talks with rebels
Associated Press, Thu April 6, 2006 03:49 EDT . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Norway's top peace envoy met with the Sri Lankan president on Thursday ahead of talks with Tamil rebels later this month, but with both sides accusing the other of escalating attacks that could cloud the prospects for peace... Back to the top

Development Minister to Sri Lanka
norwaypost.no, April 06, 2006, 16:20 EDT. Norwegian Development Minister Erik Solheim is on Thursday travelling to Sri Lanka for talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse... Back to the top

Sri Lanka urged to keep promises
bbc.co.uk, April 06, 2006, 16:20 EDT. The Norwegian minister Erik Solheim has urged the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to implement the promises made during talks in Geneva last month... Back to the top

Norway sees improved peace prospects in Sri Lanka +
Associated Press, Thu April 6, 2006 09:23 EDT . - - COLOMBO, April 6 (Kyodo) Norway sees the landslide victory at Sri Lanka - 's March 30 local elections for President Mahinda Rajapakse's United People's Freedom Alliance as a strengthening of Rajapakse's hand to take forward the country's fragile peace process, a top Norwegian minister said Thursday... Back to the top

UTHR (J) says LTTE staged TRO abduction drama
com, April 06, 2006, 07:37 EDT. The University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) has alleged that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization has faked the alleged abduction of seven Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) personnel at Welikande on the Batticaloa - Polonnaruwa border in two separate incidents on Jan 29th and 30th of this year... Back to the top

Sri Lanka banks on poorest women
bbc.co.uk, April 06, 2006, 16:20 EDT. Women's banks are flourishing in Sri Lanka but there are questions about whether they really make a difference to poverty... Back to the top

Norway plans to step up financial help in Sri Lanka
lankabusinessonline.com, April 06, 2006, 16:20 EDT. Apr.06 (LBO) – Norway plans to step up financial assistance in Sri Lanka following a request by President Mahinda Rajapakse to raise its profile in the island, peace envoy Erik Solheim said Thursday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka seeking $500 million loan from Saudi Arabia for refinery capacity expansion
Associated Press, Thu April 6, 2006 04:12 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Sri Lankan government is negotiating with Saudi Arabia to obtain a US$500 million (euro407.76 million) loan for expanding the country's only refinery, the Petroleum Resources minister said Thursday... Back to the top

Jaffna residents remember Nallur massacre.
K.S. Rajkumar, April 05, 2006. Tamil residents in Jaffna mourned the death of 63 Tamil youths who were detained and brutally killed by one of their the then area commander of the LTTE... Back to the top

Disappointed, says LTTE
hindu.com, April 06, 2006, 07:37 EDT. COLOMBO: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Wednesday said it was "totally disappointed" with the Sri Lankan Government's "implementation" of the agreements reached at the February talks in Geneva... Back to the top

US warns against charity reaching terror groups
NewKerala, April 5. Colombo: The US envoy to Sri Lanka Tuesday warned against money donated to combat disasters from reaching terrorist groups, as he opened here a meeting of lawmen from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Colombo move evokes mixed response : Muslim regiment in army
Dawn, April 06, 2006, 07:51 EDT. A mixed response greeted the government’s move last week to form an exclusive Muslim military regiment aimed at protecting Muslims living in the east from LTTE attacks... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Tamil groups clash ahead of crucial talks between peace envoys and president
Associated Press, Thu April 6, 2006 01:07 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A top Norwegian envoy arrived in Sri Lanka - on Thursday to discuss the country's peace process with the president, amid fears that interfactional fighting between Tamil rebels could cloud the prospects of peace... Back to the top

BEML may get to put Lankan rail on tract
dnaindia.com, April 06, 2006, 07:51 EDT. BANGALORE: Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) is close to bagging a $20 million order to deliver nearly 80 train coaches to Sri Lanka and upgrade the country’s rail infrastructure... Back to the top

LTTE using truce to legitimise gains
hindustantimes.com, April 5, 2006. The Sinhala nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says that the LTTE is in the peace process not to solve the ethnic question, but to get international legitimacy for its control over parts of Sri Lanka in the North and East... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s Sampath Bank gets credit upgrade from Fitch
lankabusinessonline.com, April 06, 2006, 07:35 EDT. Apr.06 (LBO) - Fitch Ratings Lanka has upgraded Sampath Bank long term domestic rating to AA- (sri) on an improving financial profile... Back to the top

Air Deccan Lanka plans 3 flights to South
com, April 06, 2006, 07:37 EDT. New Delhi: Airfares between India and Sri Lanka are set to head southwards with a new low-cost airline - Air Deccan Lanka, set to take wings in the next three months... Back to the top

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