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]