The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 169


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Sri Lanka police force ethnic Tamils to reregister
Associated Press, Sun September 21, 2008 12:26 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians lined up at schools and Hindu temples in Sri Lanka - 's capital Sunday to comply with a police order requiring all who moved to Colombo from the island's north to reregister with the police.

Also Sunday, a Hindu priest of a prominent temple was shot dead in eastern Sri Lanka - and the military blamed the killing on Tamil Tiger rebels.

Migrants from the north which has been wracked by civil war for more than 25 years have long had to register with police when they move to Colombo. But last week, police said that they needed to update their records to ensure security in the capital and that all who made the move in the past five years must register again.

Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera said Thursday that the order would affect more than 100,000 people. The overwhelming majority of those people are minority ethnic Tamils. Some complained that Sunday's forced registration was unfair and unlawful.

``This is very wrong in a democratic country. We already have our registrations with the police so why should we do it again?'' R. Gajendran told The Associated Press at his home in a predominantly Tamil neighborhood of the city. The unemployed 28-year-old said he fled to Colombo to escape violence in his native Jaffna.

Authorities have not said what will happen to those who are unable or refuse to reregister Sunday.

Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils after a history of marginalization by successive governments controlled by majority ethnic Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.

On Sunday, rifle-toting police kept watch as entire families, including infants and the elderly, crowded the registration centers.

``The government is drawing here a distinction between us and the rest of the citizens. We are Sri Lankans too,'' Paramanathan Thileepan, a 23-year-old Tamil who works as an accounts clerk, said after registering at a center set up at a school in the same neighborhood.

Many others refused to speak, fearing reprisals for criticizing the authorities. However, a 74-year-old trader who identified himself only as Ponnuthurai said he was happy that the formalities were completed quickly without having to wait for long.

``It all went well. What's the harm in having to register once more?'' he said.

Colombo-based Tamils complain of frequent police raids, harassment and arbitrary detentions. Authorities try to justify the measures by saying rebel agents could be hiding among the Tamil community.

Tamil lawmaker Ramiah Yogarajan called the registration a ``harassment of the peace-loving'' and said some Tamils feared they would be banished back to the north after they reregister.

More than 300 Tamils were forcibly evicted from Colombo last year but were returned to the capital a day later on a court order.

Yogarajan accused police of violating a court order that prohibits summoning people for registration.

Police spokesman Gunasekara insisted the reregistration was legal and peaceful.

Later on Sunday, unknown assailants shot dead Hindu priest Kugaraja Kurukkal while he was riding his motorbike in the eastern city of Trincomalee. He was a priest at Koneswara Temple, a popular pilgrim site.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara blamed the rebels for the killing but it was not possible to contact rebel officials for comment because most communication lines to the north have been cut.

The majority of ethnic Tamils are Hindus, while most among the majority Sinhalese are Buddhists.Discuss this story
Published: Sun Sep 21 15:09:39 EDT 2008

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100000 Tamils living in Colombo forced to register with Sri Lankan ...  -
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Former Sri Lankan President Wijetunga dies
Associated Press, Sun September 21, 2008 09:28 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Former Sri Lankan President Dingiri Banda Wijetunga died Sunday in the central town of Kandy from a chest illness, an aide said. He was 92.

Wijetunga became the island's third president after his predecessor, Ranasinghe Premadasa, was assassinated by a Tamil Tiger rebel suicide bomber at a May Day rally in 1993. He held the position for 18 months.

Wijetunga won election to Parliament for the first time in 1965. He later led several key ministries, including finance and defense, and served as prime minister from 1989 to 1993.

As president, he was credited with increasing political freedoms, restoring the freedom of the media and trade unions in the aftermath of an insurrection by Marxists during Premadasa's rule that resulted in the deaths of thousands.

His aide, Sarath Muniratne, said Wijetunga's body will be honored in Parliament on Thursday and cremated in Kandy later that day.Discuss this story
Published: Sun Sep 21 10:47:06 EDT 2008 Back to the top

UN says Sri Lanka offices looted, Sun Sep 21 12:29:51 CEST 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) ó The United Nations said Sunday its offices in the rebel-controlled north of Sri Lanka had been looted after aid workers were evacuated last week.

A statement from the UN said that it suspected the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were involved in the theft from buildings it had left on the orders of the Sri Lankan government.

The UN did not disclose what was stolen, but local media reported that the suspected rebels took large stocks of fuel and electricity generators.

UN and other international agencies pulled staff out of the tense area near the rebel political capital Kilinochchi after the government said it could not guarantee their safety.

Fighting has escalated around the rebel-held Wanni region, comprising Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu, as security forces fight to dismantle the Tigers' northern territory. More...Discuss this story
Published: Sun Sep 21 06:32:26 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Prominent Hindu priest shot dead in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sun September 21, 2008 11:40 EDT . Colombo (dpa) - Suspected Tamil rebels shot dead a prominent Hindu priest in north-eastern Sri Lanka on Sunday evening, a military spokesman said... Back to the top

Take Aid From China and Take a Pass on Human Rights
NYT(Registration Reqd), Sep 21. FOR 25 years, the dirty little war on this island in the Indian Ocean has stretched its octopus arms across the world... Back to the top

Sri Lanka battles kill 26 rebels, 1 soldier
Associated Press, Sat September 20, 2008 03:05 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Government soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels fought a series of battles across Sri Lanka - 's war-ravaged northern region, killing 26 rebels and one soldier, the military said Saturday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Fighting Kills 34 Tamil Rebels, One Soldier (Update1), Sunday, Sept 21, 2008. Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan troops killed at least 34 Tamil Tigers during gun battles in five places in the country's north, where the military is trying to wrest control of the last bases of the rebels. Clashes between soldiers and members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam took place in the districts of Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Jaffna over the past three days, the Ministry of Defense said in two separate statements posted on its Web site... Back to the top

Sri Lanka condemns bombing in Pakistan
Associated Press, Sun September 21, 2008 03:19 EDT . - - Colombo (dpa) Sri Lanka - Sunday condemned the bomb attack at Hotel Marriot in Islamabad and said it supports all measures being taken by Pakistan to combat terrorism... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: An island of blood, September 19, 2008. Hundreds of thousands have fled Sri Lanka's civil war, many of them to Canada... Back to the top

Sri Lanka, The Endless Civil War
BBC, September 20. Nestling off the southern tip of India, the tropical island of Sri Lanka has beguiled travellers for centuries with its palm-fringed beaches, diverse landscapes and historical monuments... Back to the top

Army redoubles efforts to crush Tamil Tigers as battle reaches ..., September 21, 2008. .
From Anuj Chopra in Galgamuwa
THE GROUND was shaking and shrapnel flew everywhere," says Mahendra, 29, grim-faced, as he packed his suitcase in his tiny hut in this village in north-central Sri Lanka. "In a few minutes, corpses lay everywhere... Back to the top

RP, Indísia, Lanka to blacklist abusive employers in Jordan
gn, 09/20/2008. AMMAN, Jordan -- The Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia -- the three Asian countries sending household service workers (HSWs) here -- have agreed to share information on abusive employers and put them on a common blacklist, Philippine Ambassador to Jordan Julius Torres said... Back to the top

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