Jun 3 – 9:

Parliament is becoming increasingly irrelevant

By M. A. Sumanthiran

This is a timely motion that’s being brought to the Parliament, reminding us all that private members’ motions that are debated and approved must be taken seriously, since they are approved by Parliament. They cease to be labelled a private member’s motion once it is approved by Parliament because it is something the Parliament agrees with, and therefore from that point onwards there must be a seriousness attached to it. [DBSJ]

‘Pulathup Puligal’ (LTTE) protest against Mahinda in London

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Mahinda Rajapaksa was let down badly by the London based Commonwealth Business Council that had invited the Sri Lankan President to deliver the keynote address in a symposium organized by it for the Diamond jubilee of accession to the throne by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.

Intense political pressure mounted by Tiger and pro-tiger elements in Britain and Europe resulted in the C’wealth Business council abruptly cancelling the event in which Mahinda Rajapaksa was to participate on June 6th 2012. [DBSJ]

Rajapakse besieged in London, after Gota denies Tamil region

by Dushy Ranetunge in London

On the eve of the Presidents visit to the UK to attend the Queens Diamond Jubilee, Gotabaya in his usual finger wagging style told the BBC that the north cannot be recognised as a “Tamil” region.

Front page of ‘The Independent’, Thursday, June 7, 2012

In the run up to the first Presidential election, Mahinda Rajapakse told his Sinhala Buddhist electorate that he is from the “south”. Was he not indicating that he was from the Deep South, which is hard line Sinhalese? [DBSJ]

‘One cannot have true reconciliation without accountability’

Remarks by Amb. Michelle Sison at the Confirmation Hearing of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jun 6, as US Ambassador to Sri Lanka & Maldives Nominee: [TW]

Time for introspection running out for Sri Lanka

Rajapaksa’s action replay in UK

by Col R Hariharan

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s key note speech at the Commonwealth Economic Forum organised by the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) and the City of London today was called off by the organisers “due to pressure of pro-LTTE elements in London” as the Sri Lanka High Commission claimed. Though the Scotland Yard was ready to provide assured security, the CBC “decided it was not in their interest to stage the event” according to media reports.

However, CBC website merely said: “After careful consideration, the morning sessions of the Forum… will not take place.” [TW]

Meeting Ranjini: A Day at the Villawood Detention Centre

by Niromi de Soyza

As soon as I step into the reception room which reminded me of a sterile hospital cafeteria, a woman with long dark hair in a black blazer catches my eyes. The epaulettes on her jacket give her small skinny frame an air of authority.

I recognise the young woman easily as Ranjini, she looks exactly like in the pictures splashed across newspapers and news media over the past few weeks – sparkling eyes, a big bright smile and the unmistakable side-parting of hair. [DBSJ]

Storify: Sri Lanka President at Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Storifying tweets and Videos published during the stay of President Rajapaksa in London, Jun 4-6:

Smoke in Park Lane as Tamils burn another effigy outside president’s hotel ~ Watch Sri Lanka President meeting the queen. Top story on Channel 4 News: [TW]

Commonwealth Institutions seem unable to lend a helping hand with Sri Lanka

By Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah

The Queen will be joined by both Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose country will host the next CHOGM, and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, who has said that he will not attend CHOGM unless the Sri Lankan government addresses human rights violations. [DBSJ]

‘My Appeal is That the Sinhala and Tamil People Must Live Together’

Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Interviewed by Ayesha Zuhair

We have tried to find an acceptable solution within a united Sri Lanka for quite some time. Let us leave aside the LTTE era. Even before the LTTE era, during the days of my leader Mr. Chelvanayagam, Mr. Amirthalingam, and subsequently after the end of the war in 2009, and in the course of our bilateral talks with the Sri Lankan government, we submitted proposals in writing which contemplated an acceptable political solution within the framework of a united, undivided Sri Lanka. [DBSJ]

An effort is on to drive a wedge between traditional moderates and one-time militants

By N. Sathiya Moorthy

At the annual conference of the ‘Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK)’, which he heads as the elected president, the nominated chief of the larger Tamil National Alliance (TNA), R. Sampanthan, made a few points.

One, the ITAK was the leader/ guiding spirit of the TNA and that the Sri Lankan Tamils (SLT) have for long accepted the ITAK as reflecting their aspirations. [DBSJ]

‘Killing fields’ protest: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee lunch hit by 3,000 strong march in central London

Mr Rajapakse was jeered as he swept through the main gate in a Range Rover. His car did not carry a flag because of security concerns. [London Evening Standard]

President Rajapaksa’s London address to Commonwealth Economic Forum cancelled

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

In an unexpected,sudden development the Commonwealth Economic Forum the event in which Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scheduled to deliver the keynote address has been called off.

The Commonwealth Business Council that had organized the event made a special announcement announcing the decision. [DBSJ]

Tamils deported to Sri Lanka from Britain being tortured, victim claims

by Shiv Malik

The British government is forcibly deporting asylum seekers who are then tortured in Sri Lanka, according to the testimony of one victim who was left scarred and suicidal after a brutal two-week ordeal.

The victim told the Guardian he was tortured over the space of 17 days after being deported from the UK last year. His torturers accused him of passing on to British officials information about previous beatings at the hands of state officials and other human rights abuses, to ruin diplomatic relations between the two countries. [The Guardian]

Murugesu Sivasithamparam the ‘Lion of Udupiddy’: Tenth Death Anniversary Tribute

M. Sivasithamparam (July 20, 1923 - June 5, 2002)

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Panchamum Noiyum Nin Meiyadiaarkko, Paarinil Menmaigal Verini Yaarkko” (If famine and disease are for your true followers for who else then are glories in this world) – Subramania Bharatiyaar in his Ode to the Motherland’s (India) freedom.

Veteran Sri Lankan Tamil political moderate leader, Murugesu Sivasithamparam, passed away peacefully after a brief illness in the Colombo National Hospital at 1:50 a.m. on June 5 2002. [DBSJ]

President Rajapaksa visit to London draw protests

Why is British Queen to lunch with Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa, unapologetic overseer of atrocities and war crimes’, Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights queried on his twitter feed on Friday, June 1. [TW]

Video ~ Militarization and Eviction: Plight of people from Mullikulam and Ashraff Nagar

Features on the Connections Programme of Jun 4, 2012 include:

A glimpse of Home: Residents of Mullikulam attend a Special Mass

Evicted from Ashraff Nagar : Residents seek legal redress [TW]

Pope Benedict to express concern over Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph’s safety to President Rajapaksa at Vatican

Rev Rayappu Joseph

by D.B. S. Jeyaraj

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is expected to express concerns over the personal safety of most reverend Rayappu Joseph the Catholic Bishop of Mannar-Vavuniya diocese in Sri Lanka when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa calls on him at the Vatican later this week.

President Rajapaksa scheduled to visit Britain on June 3rd for a four day trip connected to the Diamond jubilee celebrations of her majesty Queen Elizabeth the second is expected to arrive on June 7th at the Vatican where he has been granted an audience with Pope Benedict. [DBSJ]

May 27- Jun 2:

Priests from any religion to be debarred from contesting parliament?

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

United National Party(UNP) Parliamentarian& & Bar Association (BASL) president Wijedasa Rajapakshe wants priests debarred from becoming MP’s.

He has with the consent of Opposition & UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe submitted a private members bill seeking a Constitutional amendment. [DBSJ]

Gota’s BBC Interview: ‘Absolute Truth’ about Tamils and the Northern Province

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The recent interview given by Defence and Urban development secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Charles Haviland of the BBC in Colombo has resulted in the “Archaeological expert” of the Jathika Hela Urumaya(JHU) showering praises on the presidential sibling.

image courtesy of BBC ~ Gotabhaya Rajapaksa: Sri Lanka north 'not just for Tamils'

JHU parliamentarian Ven.Ellawela Medhananda Thero in a statement to the “Dasa Desin”programme has described the utterances of the Defence secretary as “the most honest truth expressed in this century”. [DBSJ]

Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism Generally Perceives Muslims to be a Grave Threat

By Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri

The recent attack led by Buddhist monks on the Khairya Jumma mosque located in the so-called “sacred zone” of the Dambulla rock temple in the central province is important even though it did not develop into a larger scale clash between the Buddhist and Muslim communities of Sri Lanka.

The Dambulla Khairya Jummah mosque had been in existence for over 60 years and the mosque trustees have legal documents regarding its construction. [DBSJ]

Connections Video: 18th May commemorative events in North

Connections is a TV series from Young Asia Television; featuring on the Connections Programme of May 28, 2012 are:

I. TNA Commemorates War Victims: [TW]

HRW Urges UK to Suspend Deportations of Tamils to Sri Lanka due to Reports of Returnees being Tortured

The United Kingdom should immediately suspend deportations of ethnic Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and review its policies in assessing these claims, Human Rights Watch said today. The next scheduled deportation of Tamils from the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka is due to take place on May 31, 2012. [DBSJ]

Revival of community courts in Rwanda to strengthen reconciliation

By Moara Crivelente

The ethnic aspect which is usually defined as a cause of conflict between Hutus and Tutsis – either historically fundamented or discursively constructed, and instrumentalized by political leaders – has deep roots with which society has to deal. [DBSJ]

Why and How People in Tamil Nadu are Protesting Nuclear Energy

By S.P. Udayakumar

We have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) since the late 1980s. This Russian project was shelved right after the Soviet Union’s collapse and taken up again in 1997. [DBSJ]

Regional Advisor of UNESCO writes to Secretary General on plight of Tamils

Hasan Mohammed Jinnah with Superstar Rajinikanth

Hasan Mohammed Jinnah, Regional Advisor (Asia-Pacific Region) for Human Rights and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has written to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Secretary General, Dr. Tae Sul Kim towards emphasizing the United Nations taking measures in establishing the Independent State of Tamil Eelam, a report in Viduthalai newspaper said. [TW]

Text of Presidential Address by Rajavarothayam Sampanthan at 14th National Convention of ITAK in Batticaloa

My greetings to all respected delegates of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi

pic courtesy of: virakesari.lk

I sincerely welcome you all – the life and vitality of our party – to our National Convention here in Batticaloa.

As those in service to the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi, which has become the political symbol of the Tamil Nation, with its own political culture and ideals, we are proud to gather here for its 14th National Convention in the year 2012. [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka army may never come a truly national one

Why military matters in the North?

by Col R Hariharan

pic: news.lk

With the army already bloated beyond national requirements it may never come through in any sizeable numbers to make Sri Lanka army truly a national one. And that is all the more reason for the government and defence establishment to scale down the numbers and reduce presence of army in the North. [TW]

How do the Liberals respond to the global war on ‘terror’?

by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha MP | Leader – Liberal Party of Sri Lanka

Let me first express my thanks to our hosts, the Civic Will Green Party of Mongolia, for having invited the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats to their country, and arranging this very timely seminar.

The Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, which has supported CALD so graciously over the years, was established to promote freedom, and it is this core value of Liberalism that we must see as the bedrock, not only of our own philosophy, but also of equitable and sustainable development all over the world. [DBSJ]

Sampanthan and Senathirajah re-elected in B’Caloa as President and Gen Secy of ITAK

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)formed in 1949 is currently holding its 3-day long 14th national convention in Batticaloa town.

In Batticaloa, May 26, 2012-pic: Tamilwin

The ITAK is presently the chief constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) which contests polls under the ITAK symbol of House.

Other constituents of the TNA like EPRLF&TELO have been clamouring for registration of the loose alliance as a separate political party. [DBSJ]

Sarath is only one of the political prisoners

by Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne

The parties of the opposition who joined in the campaign of Virodhaya, the VV, were jubilant that general Fonseka was given freedom. If there are restrictions, obviously we should continue our campaign for release of political prisoners.

In any case Sarath is only one of them. There are more than 800 such political prisoners, who are variously dubbed as Tigers, Sinhala Tigers, etc. [TW]

Fasts limelight plight of Tamil political prisoners and the missing

A day long fast was observed in Vavuniya on Thursday May 24th calling for release of Tamil political prisoners and seeking information on missing kin.

Several Tamil parliamentarians, members of municipal bodies in North and East and officials of Tamil political parties attended the fast along with families of missing and in detention without charges. [TW]

The State of Human Rights in Sri Lanka – 2012: Amnesty International Annual Report

The government continued to arbitrarily detain, torture or ill-treat people and subject people to enforced disappearance. It failed to address most instances of impunity for violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

The government rejected repeated allegations of war crimes committed by both sides of the conflict that ended in 2009, prompting Amnesty International to reiterate calls for an independent international investigation. [DBSJ]

May 20 – 26:

Military scale down necessary in Sri Lanka North and East

In this, the ninth edition of ‘Ask the High Commissioner’ series, High Commissioner H.E . John Rankin also responded to the question, “if there is a need of scale down of military presence in Northern SriLanka”, and pointed that, “there needs to be a scaling down of the military presence in the North and East of Sri Lanka.” [TW]

Sarath Fonseka: Historic confluence of twin processes

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The “release” of General Sarath Fonseka Former Army commander and erstwhile contender for the 2010 Presidential stakes from jail due to remission of his prison sentences by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has infused fresh excitement into the Sri Lankan Political scenario. [DBSJ]

International action urged to provide accountability in Sri Lanka

Remembering the Third Anniversary of the End of the Civil War in Sri Lanka

Excerpts from speech by Hon. Jean Schmidt of Ohio in The House of Representatives, Friday May 18, 2012: [TW]

Credible Sri Lanka plan of action on LLRC yet to be determined

Excerpts of speech by Hon. Michael G. Grimm of New York in The House of Representatives, Friday May 18, 2012: [TW]

Unlawful killings by security forces in predominantly Tamil areas

US States Department Human Rights Report on Sri Lana for 2011

The major human rights problems were unlawful killings by security forces and government-allied paramilitary groups, often in predominantly Tamil areas, which led many to regard them as politically motivated, and attacks on and harassment of civil society activists, persons viewed as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sympathizers, and journalists by persons allegedly tied to the government, which created an environment of fear and self-censorship. [TW]

Second war to be tougher than first for Fonseka 

By Col R Hariharan 

The presidential pardon to General Sarath Fonseka (officially it is ‘ex-General’ as he has been stripped of his hard earned rank) after he completed only two years of a three-year jail sentence should come as no surprise. [TW]

Sri Lanka Civil Society action on LLRC Recommendations

In a situation where you have one soldier for every eight citizens, that you still have disappearances, and you can still have people daring to fly Tiger flags at a political rally..[TW]

Shared cultures and heritage for conflict resolution: A South Asia perspective

 By Dr.Sudharshan Seneviratne

The crippling impact of war and conflict, unleashed on most societies, has come to stay as a permanent feature and self perpetuating dynamic. Even after thousands of years of destruction to life, mind and matter, we have failed to learn from history [DBSJ]

Storify tweet digest: Fonseka released. Is it a ploy to deflect attention from Sri Lanka govt’s lack of accountability for war crimes?

US embassy in Sri Lanka has welcomed the release of former army Commander Sarath Fonseka. [TW]

Ex-general to work for strong opposition

by R.K. Radhakrishnan 

Having watched the opposition parties lie in disarray from the confines of the prison here for over two years, the former Army chief, Sarath Fonseka was clear what the first step needs to be: “The need of the hour for the country is to ensure that there is a strong opposition.”

In his first interview after emerging from prison, he told The Hindu: [The Hindu]

Legacy of war – unemployment and homelessness

Life is slowly returning to normal in northern Sri Lanka, but three years after a decades-long conflict was officially declared over, jobs and housing are the prevailing concerns of returnees.

Most of the estimated 448,000 people displaced before or during 2008 by fighting between government forces and rebels wanting an independent Tamil state have returned to the Northern Province, according to the latest figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). [IRIN]

Congressman Danny Davis hopes for Sri Lanka peace and stability its citizens rightly deserve 

by Congressman Danny K Davis (D), Illinois, Marking the 3rd Anniversary of the “End of Civil War in Sri Lanka’ | Delivered in the 112th Congress on the Legislative Day of 17th May, 2012

Thank you Madam, Chairman

It is my pleasure to rise today, to note the 3rd Anniversary of the ending of the civil war in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Devolution and the concept of concurrency: Abolition or reform?

by Asanga Welikala

Among proponents of devolution as a means of power-sharing in Sri Lanka, one of the key bones of contention about the Thirteenth Amendment has been the Concurrent List. [DBSJ]

It is not possible to remove Armed Forces camps from North and reduce attention to national security

by Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Text of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the nation, at the Armed Services Humanitarian Victory Parade, Galle Face, Colombo on May 19th 2012)

I need not state afresh that this day – the 19th of May – is now a great historic day in our country. [DBSJ]

When you read the book “Gota’s War” you learn that it does not means Gota won the war single-handedly

By Dr. Sarath Amunugama

I consider Mr. Chandraprema’s book “Gotas War” which was launched last week to be the finest and most comprehensive description and analysis of the fratricidal ethnic conflict which affected Sri Lanka for over six decades. [DBSJ]

Is G.L. Peiris lying about not giving the US a ‘very serious and good plan’?

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

Last week, Lankan society was electrified by the news that the Rajapaksas regime would accord Gen. Sarath Fonseka an unconditional pardon, on Saturday the 19th. It would have been a fitting act indeed. The 3rd anniversary of defeating the LTTE fell on May 19th, and Gen. Fonseka, together with Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, comprised the politico-military triumvirate which led Lankan Forces to that historic victory. [TC]

Disturbing questions about National Savings Bank and The Finance Company

by Dr A.C.Visvalingam | President, CIMOGG

Recently the Board of the National Savings Bank (NSB) sought to explain why it purchased shares of The Finance Company (TFC) from two or three of the latter’s directors with a premium exceeding 50% of the market value at a time when the entire Stock Market was in dire straits. [TC]

May 22: Fortieth Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Republican Constitution

by Dr.Tissa Vitarana

Forty years ago, on May 22, 1972, at the Navarangahala in Colombo, the Parliamentarians of Sri Lanka concluded two years of sitting there as the Constituent Assembly, by passing and accepting the new autochthonous Constitution of Sri Lanka. [TC]

We are engaged in Revolutionary Praxis as advised by Marx

by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Central bank governor Ajith Cabraal said “This would include the fact that Sri Lanka has recorded a more than 8% growth for two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011, and a projected growth of 7.2% this year. [TC]

If the past was the happy country of our memory the LTTE would not have come into being

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

In the collective memory of the Sinhala South, the past was a happy country, a place where all Lankans lived in amity and harmony. Vellupillai Pirapaharan spoilt it all by igniting a war out of nothing.

Three years after the victorious ending of the Eelam War, Sri Lanka is busy returning to that mythical past. The lessons a people learn from history depends on the history they remember and believe in. [TC]

Being a Treasure Hunter would have been a lot more fun than this Writing Job

by Namini Wijedasa

I have missed my vocation in life. I should have been a treasure hunter.

I fault my parents for this. They never told me it would be so easy, or so painlessly lucrative. All you need is a good archaeological site (and we’ve plenty of those), some basic implements—and a backhoe. These are large, heavy and conspicuous but easily available [TC]

Assets of those linked to terrorism to be frozen

By Chandani Kirinde

Assets of those designated by a Competent Authority as engaged in terrorist activity will be liable for seizure, according to new regulations formulated by the External Affairs Ministry. [TC]

China is so rich that it can now dictate the economic policy to the rest of the world including the USA

By M.S.Shah Jahan

When China wakes, it will shake the world” – Napoleon Bonaparte. Yes he warned 200 years ago. Truer words were never spoken. Chinese dragon has awakened now and it is about to shake the world to its foundations – starting with the United States. [TC]

We need freedom to create with and for everybody living in Sri Lanka

By Rasaiah Loganandan

Mr.Jeyasankar says that there has been a statement in the leaflets like this, distributed at the premier of the drama “Theatre needs no spoken language and it evolutes sans spoken language several decades ago” says the leaflet” [DBSJ]

January 23

In pictures: Tsunami – looking back [BBC News]

The BBC’s Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai has travelled widely through Sri Lanka in recent weeks witnessing the devastation wrought on her country by December’s Indian Ocean tsunami.

This small selection of her photographs gives some indication of the task ahead for those who survived. [BBC]

Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai:

Journalism is more passion than profession.

How easy is it to be a female Journalist in Asia, especially a war ravaged country like Sri Lanka? Working for eleven years a Journalist, I have witnessed people suffering and seen fellow Journalists paying
the price for covering the war in the recent past. Many Journalists
have lost their lives, some left the country while others live in fear. Do you want to challenge yourself as I do?

The special charm of Palani

SB012413

THIS GOD of Love, beauty and knowledge has been exerting His charm on millions of people in South India The word Muruga is derived from the Tamil word `Murugu’ which means honey, beauty, fragrance and eternal youth. He is handsome, brilliant, elegant and enchanting. He symbolises valour, youthfulness, benevolence and compassion. [Hindu]