The Lanka Academic

MARCH 25, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 354


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SRI LANKA'S 'PARLIAMENT MONK' As Fighting Flares in Civil War, Key Buddhist Shuns Nonviolence
Washington Post- Registration may be req'd, march 26. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Draped in his burnt-orange robe, Athurliye Rathana strolled onto the veranda of a posh hotel here one recent evening and an entire wedding party adorned in fine silks knelt as one, in a gesture of respect and honor to one of the country's best-known monks.

"I guess I'm popular," said a slightly surprised Rathana, 45, rubbing his shaved head. "I knew our Sri Lankan people love monks. But I didn't know they loved the 'Parliament Monk.' "

Rathana is a celebrated figure in this predominantly Buddhist nation, where monks are cherished for their spiritual guidance. But he is known for more than just his religious leadership. Dubbed the Parliament Monk and the War Monk by the Sri Lankan press, he is a legislator who has pushed for the use of military force to end this island nation's 25-year civil war, which has left 70,000 dead and displaced nearly a half-million people at its height.

"Am I an extremist? Sometimes I am. Sometimes I am not," Rathana said over green tea, when asked about reports from foreign human rights groups that accuse his party of hindering peace talks. "The point is that we need to end this war. And we are forced into a military solution." More...Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 25 21:21:07 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka Military: Fighter jets bomb rebel camp as infantry clashes kills 3 rebels, 1 soldier
Associated Press, Tue March 25, 2008 06:53 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka war planes bombed a Tamil rebel camp while scattered infantry battles in the embattled north killed three rebels and one government soldier, the military said Tuesday.

Fighter jets pounded a rebel camp believed to be used to store military equipment in the rebel-held Mullaitivu district Tuesday morning, said air force spokesman Wing Commander Andy Wijesuriya.

He did not give details of damage and casualties, but said pilots have confirmed that they hit the target.

Meanwhile, ground fighting along the front lines of the civil war in the north has slowed in recent days because of heavy rains, officials said.

Battles in the Mannar district on the border of the Tamil Tigers' de facto state killed two rebels and one soldier Monday, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. Fighting in the Jaffna peninsula killed one rebel, he said.

It was not possible to get independent accounts of the clashes because the war zone is restricted to journalists. Both the government and the rebels often exaggerate their enemy's casualties and underreport their own.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment.

The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils who have been marginalized for decades by successive governments run by majority ethnic Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
Published: Tue Mar 25 09:12:34 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka navy, air force strike at Tiger rebels  -
2,500 Tigers killed since January 1  - hindu

Sri Lanka navy fights Tiger boats, Tuesday, 25 March 2008. Sri Lanka's navy has fought a battle with a flotilla of Tamil Tiger boats off the island's north-east coast.

It comes days after officials said a navy fast-attack craft was sunk by a sea mine. The rebels claimed it was sunk by a suicide attack.

Meanwhile, fighting is continuing on land too.

Battles have intensified since January when the government pulled out of a ceasefire. It has vowed to crush the rebels by force.

The latest sea confrontation took place in the middle of the night.

A navy patrol spotted a small flotilla of Tamil Tiger boats hugging the coast and opened fire.

Navy spokesman Lt Cdr Rohan Joseph said one rebel vessel was disabled in the fighting but he had no details on whether anyone on board was wounded or killed. More...
Published: Tue Mar 25 17:39:22 EDT 2008 Back to the top

BJP opposes military aid to Lanka
statesman, march 26. Chennai, March 25: Tamil Nadu BJP has opposed providing military equipment and training to Sri Lankan military saying that such a move will affect the island Tamils... Back to the top

Israeli prime minister urges visiting Sri Lankan premier not to 'give in to terrorism'
Associated Press, Mon March 24, 2008 13:38 EDT . - - JERUSALEM (AP) Israel's prime minister is urging Sri Lanka not to give in to terrorism... Back to the top

West Indies 96-1 chasing improbable 437 to win 1st test
Associated Press, Tue March 25, 2008 18:04 EDT . CRAIG COZIER - Associated Press Writer - GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan scored an unbeaten 74 together as West Indies made an encouraging start on Tuesday in its quest to avoid defeat against Sri Lanka - in the opening cricket test... Back to the top

Family of Sri Lanka massacre victims doubt justice, March 25. COLOMBO, March 24 (Reuters) - Relatives of 17 aid workers massacred in Sri Lanka said on Monday they did not expect justice as a heated human rights inquiry began into their execution-style murders more than a year ago... Back to the top

Politics keeping Lanka from helping Tibet, 25 March 2008 . A FREEDOM fighter, he was known as Tibet Jathika S Mahinda, though his original name was Tasilmgal... Back to the top

'We are better off without the LTTE'
rediff, March 25. S C Chandrahasan is the son of Samuvel Selvnayagam, a Tamil leader who was known as the Mahatma Gandhi [Images] of Sri Lanka [Images]... Back to the top

Heavy Fighting Kills 105 In Sri Lanka
ahn, March 25. Colombo, Sri Lanka (AHN) - Heavy fighting between the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in the country's north over the weekend killed at least 100 rebels and five soldiers, the military said on Monday... Back to the top

No evidence for Clarke child sex allegations: S Lanka govt
afp, March 25. OLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lankan authorities said that the British-born sci-fi writer Arthur C... Back to the top

Veteran Lankan film-maker’s work to be screened
gulf news, March 25. THE Sri Lankan film, Aganthukaya (The Outcast), directed by Vasantha Obaysekara, is to be shown today at Doha Cinema, as part of the ongoing 14th Doha Bank-Pravasi Asian Film Festival... Back to the top

Sri Lanka asks Pakistan to make way for Indian league
afp, March 25. COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka have asked Pakistan to re-schedule a proposed one-day international series in order to allow their players to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL), a top official said here Monday... Back to the top

Fighting In Sri Lanka Kills 105, March 24, 2008 6:04 p.m. EST. Colombo, Sri Lanka (AHN) - Heavy fighting between the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in the country's north over the weekend killed at least 100 rebels and five soldiers, the military said on Monday... Back to the top

Vaas, Muralitharan take 3 wickets each and Sri Lanka well in control of 1st test
Associated Press, Mon March 24, 2008 17:41 EDT . CRAIG COZIER - Associated Press Writer - GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) Veterans Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan took three wickets apiece as Sri Lanka closed in on a large first-innings lead over West Indies after day three of the opening test on Monday... Back to the top

Lanka violating accord: MP
newindpress, march 24. CHENNAI: The Sri Lankan Government was wantonly disregarding the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord by holding elections to a separate Eastern provincial council, thereby effectively preventing its re-merger with the Northern province, said N Srikantha, Sri Lankan MP of the Tamil National Alliance Parliamentary Group... Back to the top

Lankan court orders release of 12 Indian fishermen
hindu, march 26. Chennai, March 25 A Sri Lankan court today ordered the release of 12 Indian fishermen and four boats, which had been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on March 7, 2008... Back to the top

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