The Lanka Academic

 
NOVEMBER 13, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 221

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IN MEMORIAM

We have lost a great mathe- matician, engineer, scientist, an old timer of SLNet/LAcNet and a former LAcNet director. Pubudu Dayawansa (Daya) was instrumental in carrying out many LAcNet projects. He was responsible in setting up "Colombo Calling" a website that was designed to carry weekly articles from Sri Lankan Academic community and Human Rights activists. [ More...]
TLA FEATURE CORNER
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
Anti-war activists march in Sri Lankan to honor slain Tamil lawmaker, demand peace
Associated Press, Mon November 13, 2006 06:18 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Thousands of anti-war activists paraded the body of an assassinated Tamil lawmaker through the streets of the capital on Monday to demand an end to fighting that has killed more than 3,000 Sri Lankans this year.

Police armed with assault rifles mingled with the marchers and trucks carrying anti-riot police followed the procession. Soldiers were deployed along the route and at government offices.

Organizers of the rally, the National Anti-War Front _ a coalition of 120 civic groups, human rights organizations and opposition parties _ called also for a strike in Colombo to protest the renewed violence between government forces and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

Many Tamil-owned shops adhered to that call and remained shuttered Monday, with white flags fluttering outside.

Some 4,000 protesters joined the march, according to Colombo's police chief Pujitha Jayasundara.

A hearse carrying the body of Nadaraja Raviraj, a Tamil lawmaker of the pro-rebel Tamil National Alliance party who was shot to death in broad daylight on Friday, joined the march. His bodyguard also died in the attack.

Raviraj's party blamed the government for the killing, but the administration has denied involvement.

Most of the marchers carried placards reading ``Shame'' as they walked toward a popular park. ``Live and let live,'' one poster read. ``Stop crime against humanity,'' said another.

Many fear that near-daily attacks and killings are driving the country back to full-scale war, although the government and Tamil Tiger rebels both say a 2002 cease-fire _ which halted two decades of civil war _ is still in place.

The Defense Ministry says 3,289 people have died in the fighting this year, including 860 government security personnel, 549 civilians and 1,880 rebels. The rebels don't generally release casualty figures.

A dispute over a blocked highway has been enflamed by the lawmakers death.

Raviraj's family and party want to drive his body to Chavakachcheri, his hometown in the northern Jaffna peninsula. But the military has blocked the main A-9 highway to the rebel-controlled area, saying the move is necessary to stop rebels transporting weapons and fighters into government-held areas.

``Interested parties should not make the opening of the A-9 road an issue for narrow political gain,'' said chief government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella.

The government said it would fly Raviraj's body to Jaffna for cremation. His party said no formal offer had been made and that it has chartered an air force plane to fly the casket.

Raviraj's body will be kept for public viewing in Jaffna and cremated on Wednesday, lawmaker Suresh Premachandran said.

Arguments over the highway led to the collapse of peace talks in Switzerland last month aimed at salvaging the 2002 cease-fire.

Meanwhile, the military reported on its Web site that Tamil Tiger rebels killed two Tamil civilians _ Ravi Sanjeewan, 15, and Kangarupan Kelli, 21 _ in Jaffna on Sunday. The military did not suggest a motive for the killings. Calls to rebel headquarters rang unanswered Monday.

The rebels began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka's north and east for the minority Tamils, citing discrimination by the ethnic Sinhalese majority.
Published: Mon Nov 13 09:01:36 EST 2006

Related News Stories
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Thousands protest killing of Sri Lanka pro-rebel MP  - scotsman.com

Security heightened in Sri Lankan capital ahead of march for slain lawmaker
Associated Press, Sun November 12, 2006 23:12 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Security was tightened in the Sri Lankan capital Monday ahead of a planned march with the body of a slain Tamil lawmaker who was gunned down last week by unidentified assailants outside his home.

The National Anti-War Front a coalition of 120 civic groups, human rights organizations and opposition political parties also called for a shutdown of Colombo on Monday to protest increasing violence in the country.

``We are closing several roads and there is increased security in the city,'' police spokesman Rienzie Perera told The Associated Press.

Nadaraja Raviraj, a Tamil lawmaker from the pro-rebel Tamil National Alliance party, was assassinated and his bodyguard also killed in Colombo on Friday. The Tamil party has blamed the government for the killing an accusation the administration has denied.

March organizers said the procession with Raviraj's body will culminate in a mass gathering at a popular city park.

Many fear that near-daily attacks and killings are driving the country back toward full-scale war, though the government and Tamil Tigers both say a 2002 cease-fire, which had halted two decades of civil war, is still in place.

Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said the army was aiding police with security preparations ahead of the march. ``The military is also standing by and will be deployed if there is an emergency,'' Samarasinghe said.

The family of the slain lawmaker and the pro-rebel party want the government to open the key A-9 highway so Raviraj's body can be driven to his hometown of Chavakachcheri, in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula.

The government has refused to reopen the vital artery that links the country's south to the rebel-controlled north, saying it would allow the guerrillas to freely transport weapons and fighters. The government closed down the highway on Aug. 11 after rebels attacked a military checkpoint.

``Interested parties should not make the opening of the A-9 road an issue for narrow political gain,'' said chief government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella.

The government has said it was willing to fly Raviraj's body to Jaffna for cremation, but the family and his party have yet to agree. The cremation is scheduled for Wednesday.

The failure of talks on reopening the key road led to the collapse of peace talks in Switzerland last month aimed at salvaging the 2002 cease-fire.

The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 in a bid to carve out a separate homeland in the country's north and east for the minority Tamils, who cite discrimination by the ethnic Sinhalese majority. Discuss this story
Published: Mon Nov 13 00:17:38 EST 2006 Back to the top


British official to visit Sri Lanka to share Northern Ireland peace experience
Associated Press, Mon November 13, 2006 04:42 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A former British Cabinet minister who was closely associated with the Northern Ireland peace process will visit Sri Lanka - this week to share his experiences in peace-building, the British High Commission said in a statement Monday. ``While in Sri Lanka - Mr. Murphy will meet a range of key participants in the Sri Lankan peace process and share his experiences of building peace in Northern Ireland,'' the statement said, adding that the visit follows a meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse in August on ways in which Britain could support a Norwegian-facilitated peace process.

The Norwegian peace efforts that led to a cease-fire in 2002 between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels face huge hurdles. Increasing violence has all but shattered the truce with near-daily killings.

Both sides maintain their stands: the rebels want a separate homeland for the ethnic Tamil minority, while the government says regional autonomy is the maximum it will give.

Murphy, who is currently the chairman of the British Intelligence and Security Committee, will be accompanied by Christopher MacCabe, the British joint secretary of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Secretariat.

The team will begin its visit on Tuesday and leave Sri Lanka - on Thursday. Discuss this story
Published: Mon Nov 13 06:19:50 EST 2006 Back to the top


U.N. accuses Sri Lanka government forces of aiding child soldier recruitment
Associated Press, Mon November 13, 2006 11:55 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The United Nations on Monday accused the Sri Lankan military of helping an armed group to recruit children as fighters against separatist Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Army soldiers deployed in Sri Lanka capital ahead of slain Tamil lawmaker procession
Associated Press, Mon November 13, 2006 03:24 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Army soldiers in larger number were deployed in the Sri Lankan capital Monday ahead of a march in memory of a Tamil lawmaker assassinated last week by unidentified gunmen... Back to the top

Mudslides cause deaths in Sri Lanka
upi.com, Monday November 13, 2006 - 16:40 EDT. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Heavy rains have caused a number of mudslides in Sri Lanka killing at least five people and disrupting train and automobile travel. Five bodies have been recovered from vehicles trapped by a landslide that blocked a main road in Pussellawa, the online news service LankaPage reported... Back to the top

Sri Lanka faces tough call on interest rates in face of rising ...
lankabusinessonline.com, Mon, 113 November 2006. Sri Lanka faces a tough call on interest rates on Tuesday as it balances the need to keep inflation in check and ensure economic growth remains on track, analysts said... Back to the top

Tamil rebels fire at 4 military camps in east, 2 Tamils killed in north
Associated Press, Sat November 11, 2006 22:58 EST . DILIP GANGULY Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's civil strife left two more ethnic Tamil civilians shot dead, and Tamil Tiger rebels separately fired artillery at four military camps, officials and rebels said Sunday... Back to the top

Ready to airlift body of slain MP: Sri Lanka
hindu, November 12. COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan Government on Sunday said it was ready to airlift the body of slain Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj to enable family members perform funeral rites in Chavakachcheri, Jaffna on Wednesday... Back to the top

Landslide kills 5 in Sri Lanka , main road linking tourist resort town blocked
Associated Press, Mon November 13, 2006 02:29 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A landslide triggered by heavy rain killed five people, blocking the main road that connects Sri Lanka - 's tourist town of Nuwara Eliya with the capital, police said Monday, as the weather office forecast continued downpours... Back to the top

LTTE smells danger in getting food aid from India
hindustantimes.com, Sunday November 12, 2006 - 09:20 EDT. The LTTE has smelt danger to its vital interests in the Sri Lankan government's plan to bring food from India to Jaffna to mitigate the severe food shortage there... Back to the top

WITNESS-Waking up paralysed in Sri Lanka s war zone
alertnet.org, Sunday November 12, 2006 - 09:20 EDT. AYLESBURY, England, Nov 12 (Reuters) - When I came round, I thought I was lying on a corpse... Back to the top

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