The Lanka Academic

 
MARCH 11, 2008 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 8, NO. 340

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Sri Lanka charges Tamil Tiger leader for murder
xinhuanet.com, 2008-03-12 07:25:15. COLOMBO, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan authorities have filed indictment against the leader of the rebel Liberation Tigersof Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Velupillai Prabakaran for the murder of former foreign minister, officials said Tuesday. Officials from the Attorney General's Department said that Prabakaran and five other rebels were charged on Tuesday for the August 2005 murder of then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. A fellow Tamil, Kadirgamar was gunned down near the swimming pool of his Colombo home by a LTTE gunman. Kadirgamar had led an international campaign against the rebels which resulted in several countries banning the rebel outfit. More...
Published: Tue Mar 11 22:42:42 EDT 2008
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Prabhakaran, five LTTE operatives charged in Kadirgamar killing  - IANS

Pro-government former rebels win key Sri Lankan election despite rights violations charge
Associated Press, Tue March 11, 2008 01:53 EDT . BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A militia of former Tamil Tiger rebels swept local elections in eastern Sri Lanka, winning control of the city of Batticaloa amid accusations it waged a campaign of violence ahead of the voting, official results showed Tuesday.

The Karuna Group, which is now allied with the government, took 53 percent of the votes cast in Batticaloa on Monday, giving it 11 of the 19 seats on the municipal council, according to official figures.

The government had billed the vote, the first in 14 years, as a first step toward restoring order in a region long dominated by the Tamil insurgents and only taken by government forces last year.

However, human rights groups and opposition politicians said a climate of violence and chaos tainted the election.

Much of the violence was blamed on the Karuna militants, who have been accused of forcibly recruiting child soldiers, demanding protection money from businessmen and brazenly killing people since the government takeover in July.

Rasiah Thurairatnam, who ran as an independent candidate in Batticaloa and appeared to have won a seat on the council, said people voted out of fear of the group. He alleged serious irregularities by Karuna supporters at many polling stations.

``This is a victory for violence, and it will elicit serious repercussions from the people,'' he said. ``I see this as a license for extortion and child abduction.''

However, Nafur Khan Ramllan, a candidate from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, hoped the militia's victory would help transform it into a democratic party.

``They can't do politics with arms and retain the people's confidence at the same time,'' he said.

Several diplomats said before the vote that a major victory for the militia would raise questions about the fairness of the election.

Observers reported the election was free of violence and fraud and there was no evidence of vote rigging, said Sritharan Sabanayagam of People's Action for Free and Fair Elections, an independent election monitoring group.

The militia _ officially called the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal _ was formed in 2004 when the top rebel commander in the region, known as Col. Karuna, broke from the Tamil Tigers and took thousands of fighters with him. The defections helped the government rout the rebels from the region last year and force them back into their de facto state in the north.

Fighting between the rebels and government troops has escalated in the north in recent months. On Tuesday, the military reported that 40 Tamil Tiger rebels and four soldiers were killed in two days of fighting along the front lines in the north.

Both sides have been accused of inflating their enemies' casualties. Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer a call for comment.

The Karuna Group's electoral victory _ it also won control of eight smaller town councils _ means that former rebel Edwin Krishnanandaraja, known better by his nom de guerre Pradeep Master, is likely to become mayor of Batticaloa.

Krishnanandaraja dismissed allegations his group engaged in violence and said he hoped to disarm his fighters ``gradually.''

Even before the vote, human rights groups and opposition parties said the election was irredeemably tainted by the climate of violence. The country's main opposition parties boycotted the election, saying they would not run against armed groups.

The Rev. Harry Miller an American Jesuit priest who has lived here for more than 60 years, said the election should not have been held because of the unrest here, and though it was relatively peaceful during the election period, he feared violence would soon return.

Residents said they were desperate for order to be restored.

``We don't expect the leaders to give us anything other than a chance to live in peace,'' said voter Sinnakutty Nagalingam, 36, a father of three who works as a mason.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for an independent state in Sri Lanka's north and east for minority ethnic Tamils, who were marginalized for decades by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority.

Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 11 04:12:16 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
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Breakaway rebel group wins elections in eastern Sri Lanka  - hindustantimes.com
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Former Tigers win Sri Lanka poll  - aljazeera.net
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Former Tamil Tiger rebels win Batticaloa municipal election  - Associated Press

Fighting across Sri Lanka 's north kills 40 rebels, 5 soldiers, says military
Associated Press, Tue March 11, 2008 08:30 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Army troops launched a pre-dawn attack Tuesday across the front lines in northern Sri Lanka - , killing four Tamil rebels as a wave of fighting killed another 36 insurgents and five soldiers, the military said.

Reports of fighting have increased in recent months amid government promises to capture the rebels' de facto state in the north and crush the group by the end of the year. But diplomats and other observers say the army is facing more resistance than it had expected.

In the battle in the Mannar area early Tuesday, troops repeated a tactic they have used repeatedly in recent weeks, piercing the front lines to force a confrontation that killed four rebels, the military said Tuesday.

In fighting Monday, rebels attacked the village of Puliyankulam in Mannar, which soldiers had captured earlier in the day, sparking a battle that killed 26 insurgents and one soldier, the military said.

Other scattered battles killed four soldiers and 10 rebels, the military said.

Tamil Tigers spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer calls seeking comment.

It is not possible to independently verify reports of the fighting because the government restricts access to the north where the conflict is raging. Both sides routinely exaggerate their opponents' casualty figures while underreporting their own.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for an independent state in the north and east for the country's ethnic Tamil minority after decades of being marginalized by Sinhalese-dominated governments. The fighting has killed more than 70,000 people.Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 11 09:45:31 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Tamil Rebels Condemn India for Backing Sri Lanka Army (Update2)
bloomberg.com, 11 march. March 11 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam condemned India for supporting military offensives against rebel bases in the north, saying Tamils face ``ethnic genocide'' in the region... Back to the top

Peaceful local body polls in Sri Lanka's volatile east
hindu.com, March 10. Colombo (PTI): Sri Lanka's restive eastern district of Batticaloa went to local body polls for the first time in 14 years, with some 50 per cent of the electorate casting the ballot in the exercise that passed off peacefully... Back to the top

On eve of eastern Sri Lanka poll, 34 killed in the north
hindustantimes.com, March 10, 2008. Nine soldiers and at least 25 Tamil rebels were killed in clashes in northern Sri Lanka as the country's eastern region held its first elections in 14 years, a military spokesman said... Back to the top

Wild elephants hold up Sri Lanka vote: police
google.com, 10 March 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) Security forces armed with loud hailers were deployed in eastern Sri Lanka Monday to drive away wild elephants blocking access to polling booths, police said... Back to the top

Natural Product Chemistry and Institute of Fundamental Studies
Prof. Kirthi Tennakone, March 11. Many media reports past few days have highlighted and exaggerated an incident at the Colombo Air Port, of a Professor from the Institute of Fundamental Studies (IFS) attempting to carry a plant genetic material to a foreign destination... Back to the top

Armed ex-Tigers seen winning east Sri Lanka poll
reuters.com, Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:42am IST. .
By Simon Gardner BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Residents in swathes of Sri Lanka's war-ravaged east voted for the first time in more than a decade on Monday, but with armed former Tamil Tiger rebels seen as the likely poll winners peace remains precarious. The local elections are seen as a dry run for a wider provincial vote in the north and east -- the government's blueprint for devolution in minority Tamil areas it hopes will go hand-in-hand with its push to win a 25-year civil war... Back to the top

Blast in Sri Lanka capital kills one
reuters.com, Sun Mar 9, 2008 11:29pm EDT. COLOMBO, March 10 (Reuters) - A suspected rebel bomb exploded in a mostly Tamil residential area of the Sri Lankan capital on Monday, killing one and wounding five, including children, military sources said... Back to the top

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