Sunday, August 30, 2009

SLIIT Wins Dr.Amith Munindradasa Memorial Challenge Trophy

Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology Men’s Badminton Team won the Dr.Amith Munindradasa Memorial Challenge Trophy at the Inter University Badminton Championship 2009. Last years Inter University Badminton Champions, University of Moratuwa was defeated 3-2 in the final match played at the new Gymnasium University of Moratuwa.

SLIIT – Woman’s Badminton Team won the runners-up trophy, while Prathibhani Bambarandage one of the team members won the best player award at the above tournament. The Sports council of University of Moratuwa organized this tournament for the third consecutive year.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vanni TNA MP pours scorn over Prabhakaran Chelvanayagam

Vanni TNA MP pours scorn over Prabhakaran Chelvanayagam

Two Failed Tamil Leaders - Late  Prabhakaran and  Late S.J.V. Chelvanayakam

Two Failed Tamil Leaders - Late Prabhakaran and Late S.J.V. Chelvanayakam

Colombo, 18 June, (

Vanni TNA Member of Parliament is the surprise addition to the growing tribe of leaders who are pouring scorn over Prabhakaran and Chelvanayagam The surge of surrender of erstwhile LTTE cadres is continuing. On Wednesday alone, 9,700 LTTE cadres surrendered to the Sri Lanka Army; they were moved to temporary camps set up at Rambaikkulam Girls School, Kovil Kadavai Hindu College, Technical College, Co-operative building (at Poonthoddam) and University building at Pambai Madu.

In an exclusive interview with the Asian Tribune, the MP Sivanathan Kishore dismissed the allegation that he had become a government lackey. ‘I have not joined the government. No I am not angling for any position in the government’, he candidly stated adding that his criticism of the LTTE chief was based on his first hand experience of the troubles and tribulations the Tamil people were subjected to keep one megalomaniac alive for long years. He declared that he would remain a member of the Tamil National Alliance until the next parliamentary election. He will support the government though.

‘Prabharan is a failed leader’, Kishore said by way of his assessment of the ‘fallen’ Tamil Hero. He held that the LTTE supremo who died of SL Army bullets rather than of the traditional cyanide pill, responsible for the death and destruction’s of the Tamils.

‘More than 20,000 Tamil youths died for him, to keep him (Prabhakaran) alive. He killed more than 25,000 innocent Tamil civilians. He chased away more than 100, 000 Tamil speaking Muslims from the North and they are languishing in temporary huts and camps in Puttalam for the last 18 years. He chased away the more than 10,000 Tamils of the Indian origin from Vanni and they are still in the Vavuniya camps’, Kishore said blaming the LTTE chief for the death of more than 10,000 innocent Tamils between January and May this year alone.

Vanni TNA Member of Parliament has no kind word for S.J.V. Chelvanayakam either.

‘Chelvanayagam may have struggled for the rights and aspirations of the Tamils through a democratic process for nearly 30 years but he was a failure’, said Kishore in reply to a question.

‘Chelvanayagam united Tamils politically but he had failed to deliver on his promise of securing for the Tamils their rights’.

About Prabhakaran, Kishore said, ‘He had held the Tamils together through threats, intimidation and chanting the mantra of Tamil Nationalism. His armed struggle has left nearly 300,000 Tamils on the road without a roof. The Tamil homeland became a myth in the end’.

Asked why he is supporting the Rajapaksa government, the TNA leader attributed his change of heart to the plight of Vanni people. ‘These Vanni people who had voted for me in the last general election are living in camps at the transitional villages. It is our topmost priority to resettle them. That is why I support the Government’s efforts to resettle them’.

Kishore recalled that in the last parliament session 14 TNA MPs did not attend Parliament. ‘They are all away from the country at present’. He and seven other TNA MPs attended the parliament session.

‘When the House took up for voting the resolution on extension of the Emergency, seven TNA MPs voted against the motion. But I abstained from voting. Because we have to resettle the 300,000 Tamils now quartered in the camps. To do this it is our duty to support the Government,’ the Vanni lawmaker said .

- Asian Tribune -

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dengue takes serious turn


The number of deaths from Dengue has risen to 127 by yesterday. Over 9,000 persons have been infected with dengue so far, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said.

He said this is the highest number of dengue deaths since 2000. In 2004, the highest number of dengue cases were reported and it was 15,463 but only 88 dengue deaths were reported in the same year. This year 52 deaths had been reported in May alone. Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kurunegala, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Kegalle, Matale, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Puttalam have been identified by the Ministry as badly affected areas.

According to the spokesman dengue mosquitoes breed in clean and shallow water and even a cap of a bottle is adequate for them to breed.

Political parties rallying round UPFA

by P. Krishnaswamy

Several Tamil and Muslim political parties are rallying round the ruling UPFA in the run up to the Vavuniya UC and Jaffna MC polls, which are expected to be held early next month, authoritative political sources said.

Polls to the two local government bodies are very significant in that they mark the beginning of the first phase of post conflict measures towards restoration of democracy and civil administration in the Northern province, the sources also told the Sunday Observer.

Nominations from political parties and independent groups contesting the two local government bodies will be received from June 18 - 25 (noon) and 18 booths for Vavuniya UC polls and 70 for the Jaffna MC polls will be set up while more booths, cluster or otherwise as may be deemed necessary, would be set up outside the peninsula for the nearly 20 percent IDPs in Vavuniya, Mannar, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Gampaha, Kalutara and Colombo, the respective Assistant Commissioners of Elections clarified.

Application forms for voters who are now living in other places as IDPs to have themselves registered for voting at nearby cluster polling booths have already been issued. On receipt of all such applications, their number and the respective areas will be intimated to the Commissioner of Elections for him to determine the number of cluster polling booths or normal booths to be set up in closer vicinity.

Political parties and independent groups contesting the Vavuniya UC polls are required to nominate 15 candidates of whom six have to be in the age group of 18 - 35, Vavuniya Assistant Commissioner of Elections (ACE) A. S. Karunanidhi clarified. The number of registered voters is 24,626 and the number of members to be elected to the UC is eleven, he also said. The number of registered voters for the Jaffna MC is 100,417. The number of candidates to be nominated is 29 while the number to be elected is 23, ACE Guhadasan said. 10,126 of the registered voters are Muslim voters, he stated.

NICs, valid passports, elder's IC and valid Driving Licences or temporary ICs issued by Grama Niladharis and certified by the respective Divisional Secretaries/ACEs will be accepted as authentic document of identity. Ninety percent of the voters in Jaffna already possess valid ICs while applications to others for obtaining temporary ICs have already been issued, the Jaffna ACE said.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

International Crisis Group pontificates


Alan Keenan of the International Crisis Group addressing members of Chatham House in London said giving immediate attention to Muslim refugees who were chased out of Jaffna in 1990 October is not appropriate.

Keenan was referring to nearly 100,000 Muslims chased out of Jaffna Peninsula in an act of ethnic cleansing by Velupillai Prabhakaran allowing them to carry only the equivalent of US $5 Sri Lanka money of their wealth and leaving the balance and other valuables, jewellery and real estate properties to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

He said he had been informed that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had informed that when Jaffna resettlements take place, those people should be given priority.

The International Crisis Group representative who belongs to a NGO that proposed foreign intervention in Sri Lanka through the dogma called R2P had been always involved in controversies regarding Sri Lanka.

The Muslims of Jaffna, who lost all their property and wealth to the LTTE were virtually turned to penury and some started living in Puttalam, a Muslim majority area in squalid conditions.

The horrible IDP crisis was completely ignored by the Western press.

Keenan did not describe why, the forcibly chased out refugees should be allowed to go back to their former homes just like the other refugees as the longest suffering category of refugees in Sri Lanka, on a priority basis. He, however said, some have found places to live on their own by now.

Speaking of the Eastern Province, he accused what he called Sinhalization. He did not mention even before the last war one third of the province was Sinhalese and during the years there had been a population shift of the Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

The crisis group representative did not show these facts to the audience. While there was no opposition shown against Tamils migrating to other provinces they were only against an alleged Sinhala migration to the Eastern Province. Under Sri Lanka Constitution people are free to live anywhere they wish to live.

Keenan accused the India produced 13th amendment is a confused document that did not devolve power but only delegated power. The power could be taken back , he charged.

In the Indian state governments, if power is abused, the state governments could be dissolved and the delegated power taken back by the Center.



International Crisis Group pontificates
Ceylon Daily News - Ceylon,Sri Lanka


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

SC annuls housing allocation

Wasantha Ramanayake

The Supreme Court yesterday annulled the decision to alienate 500 houses in Norochcholai, Deegawapiya since they were not duly made in terms of applicable laws.

The Court ordered the respondents to duly allocate the houses in terms of applicable laws and ordered the State to pay the petitioners a sum of Rs. 150,000 as compensation.

Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC delivering the judgment with rest of the Bench agreeing allowed the rights application filed by seven petitioners including Rev. Ellawala Medhanandha Thera and Chief Incumbent Nannapurawe Buddha Rakkitha Thera of Deegavaipiya Viharaya and observed that the rights of petitioners had been violated by the respondents decision to alienate 500 houses constructed by the government exclusively among the Muslim community, excluding the Sinhalese and the Tamils.

The Chief Justice noted that the recipients who were part to the application had not mentioned the procedure followed in getting the houses and the circular produced by the respondents in that connection also would not be acceptable.

President's Counsel Manohara de Silva with W.D. Weerarathne, Arinda Wijesurendra and Bandara Thalagune appeared for the petitioners.

Deputy Solicitor General Bimba Thilakaratne appeared for the respondents.

SC annuls housing allocation
Ceylon Daily News - Ceylon,Sri Lanka
The Supreme Court yesterday annulled the decision to alienate 500 houses in Norochcholai, Deegawapiya since they were not duly made in terms of applicable ...



Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cabinet Minister of Justice Mr. Amarasiri Dodangoda Passed Away

Sri Lanka's minister of justice Mr. Amarasiri Dodangoda passed away this evening at the Colombo national hospital. He was born in 18th of October, 1948. Mr. Dodangoda represented Galle district and he was a senior member of the Sri Lanka freedom party.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Velupillai Prabhakaran Killed By Sri Lanka Army

LTTE Terror leader Velupille Prabhakaran has shot dead by Sri Lanka army. Not only Sri Lankans but also whole world was waiting so eagerly to know the fate of this world’s most ruthless terror leader. 

Await more information.

LTTE’s Ealam Dream Dissolved – Dozens of LTTE High Rank Terrorist Killed

A 30 year long war with one of world’s most deadliest and ruthless terrorist organization LTTE has almost nearing it’s end. At the time of writing, pro LTTE websites has acknowledged it’s defeat. In the mean time dozens of LTTE top ranked terror leaders have either killed or surrendered to Sri Lanka armed forces.

LTTE political wing head Nadeshan, So called peace secretariat head S. Pullitheban, Ramesh, Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthoney, LTTE intelligence wing head Kapil Amman and Police wing chief Illango.

It is also highly believed LTTE leader Prabhakaran, Soosei and Poddu Amman are encircled by Army Special Force.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka President His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksha will address the nation tomorrow morning at 9.30(SL time).     

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Last Battle is Nearing it’s End – Number of Top LTTE Leaders Killed

Sri Lankas worst ever terrorism is about to end and it is a matter of another couple of hours. It is reported that number of LTTE top ranked leaders are either killed or surrendered to government forces by now. Several reliable sources has reported that LTTE leadership Vellupillei Prabhakaran has either died or captured bt the army. Sri Lanka army is in the process of clearing up the area eliminating final attempts by the remaining carders.

Sri Lanka’s president His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakshe will return to country tomorrow (16th Sunday) concluding the Jordan visit. It is reported that he will address the nation soon after his return.  

Await more information soon 

Friday, May 01, 2009

Desperate LTTE Supporters Hacks Official Army Website

Suspected LTTE supporters has hacked Sri Lanka Army official website this morning.  At present the website is offline and it is reported that the officials are working hard to restore the site as soon as possible. Sri Lanka Army has cornered the world's most brutal terrorist to a small area of about 8sq kilometers and operations are continuing to overwhelm terror outfits.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Western Provincial Election Concludes Successfully

The Western Provincial Council (WPC) elections polling begined at 7.00am this morning and successfully concluded at 4.00pm in the evening. The number of eligible voters were 3,820,214 and are expected to cast at 2,769 polling centers in the Colombo,Gampaha and Kalutara districts. Out of the qualified voters 53% in Colombo, 60% in Kaluthara and Gampaha have cast their vote.

Monday, April 20, 2009

World’s LargestHostage Rescue Mission in Progress

Sri Lanka Army has started the world’s largest hostage rescue mission to rescue more than 50 000 innocent civilians who have taken hostage by ruthless LTTE or Tamil Tigers. This mission has almost become  a success which has rescued more than 30 000 people already.

Await more news…

Sunday, April 19, 2009

IPL Upcomming webcast shedule

Sat 19th Apr:-
Kings XI Punjab Vs Chennai Super Kings 4.00pm(India)(+5.5GMT)
Delhi Daredevils Vs Rajasthan Royals(Delhi) 8.30pm(India)(+5.5GMT)

Sun 20th Apr:-
Kolkata Knight Riders Vs Deccan Chargers 4.00pm(India)(+5.5GMT)
Mumbai Indians Vs Royal Challengers      8.30pm(India)(+5.5GMT)

Click here to watch IPL Free Web Cast on these times.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sri Lanka Army Liberates Whole Puthukudiirippu Area from LTTE Terrorists

Sri Lanka army has fully liberated Puthukudiirippu area from LTTE terror clutches this morning. Mr Udaya Nanayakkara said LTTE leaders Vidhusha, Dheepan, Durga, Nagesh and Gadafi whois the private security office of Prabhakaran have died along with more than 200 LTTE carders. It is also reported that Bhanu has injured from the army attacks. Now LTTE is restricted to government declared “no fire zone” which is only about 20 SqKm.

Three 130 mm artilleries, one 85mm weapon and many other heavy LTTE weaponries have captured by 53 and 58 brigades who are continuously operating in the area.   

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bomb Blast in Akuressa- Matara Kills Several People

A bomb blast which has taken place in Akuressa near Matara has killed around 10 persons. According to the available information blast has taken place at a public function. According to the avaialble information around 20 people have injured including government minister Mahinda Wijesekara.

Monday, March 09, 2009


The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to Aus Agri (Private) Limited and Sheila Baxter Training Centre (Private) Limited. Mr. Dhammika Perera, Chairman / Director General signed the agreements on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to the investors.

The investment agreement signed with Aus Agri is for a pioneering project to manufacture animal feed using leaves and green stem of the Gliricidia plant, which will supplement the income of rural outgrowers. The project is an initial investment of US $ 250,000 sponsored by Australian based Aus Agri (Pte) Limited. This is the first time that Gliricidia plants are used to produce processed animal feed. The company will set up its first manufacturing plant in Mahailuppallama, Anuradhapura and will also set up another plant in Puttalam at a latter stage. Commercial operations of the plant situated at Mahailuppallama will commence later this month.

Directors of Aus Agri Limited, Mr. Robert Irwin and Mr. Chamara Perera signed the agreement on behalf of the company.

Mr. Perera said the animal feed produced will be exported to markets in the Middle East. The company expects to produce 100 tons of animal feed weekly which will be increased up to 400 tons.

Gliricidia is a medium size tree that typically grows to 10 m in height, with a broad canopy. It grows best in tropical, seasonally dry climates. It is a fast growing tree used throughout the tropics for many environmental services and products it provides.

Initially Aus Agri will collect the Gliricidia from outgrow farmers in the area, providing them with an additional income. The company will provide encouragement and support to develop the outgrower system. The company expects to have an out grower farmer base of 50,000, which will help develop the rural economy. The venture also expects to grow Gliricidia in 3200 acres in the second phase of the project to complement the outgrower system

Aus Agri will also purchase cassava (manioc) and maize from local farmers as well as buying rice polish which is a little used by-product of the rice milling process.  He thanked Prof. Nimal Perera, Vice Chancellor of Wayamba University for providing advice and guidance to implement the project.

The BOI also granted approval to Sheila Baxter Training Centre (Private) Limited to commence a training institute for skill development. The project sponsored by Australian based institute of the same name is an investment of US $ 500,000.

Mr. Maxwel Mervyn, Director of Sheila Baxter said that the centre will provide training for skill development, which will aid students expecting to migrate to Australia. This institute will provide training in Hair Dressing, English, Accounting and IT for 1000 students annually. 

The institute will establish its first centre in Colombo and expects to set up more centres in Kandy, Galle, Nuwara Eliya and Kurunegala. The institute will be creating 50 new employment opportunities which include a panel of 20 training staff, added Mr. Mervyn.

Mr. Mervyn, Director signed the agreement on behalf of Sheila Baxter Training Centre.


Daily Mirror - Colombo,Western,Sri Lanka
The company will set up its first manufacturing plant in Mahailuppallama, Anuradhapura and will also set up another plant in Puttalam at a latter stage. ...


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

6 Sri Lankan Cricketers Injurs From a Shooting in Pakistan

Sri Lankan cricketers including Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavithana and two others have injured from this incident. According to the available information team has caught in crossfire between Police and an armed group near Gadaffi stadium, Pakisthan.

Sri Lankan sports ministry has called off the Pakistan tour and team will return to Sri Lanka soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kothalawala Remanded For Financial Mismanagement

Sri Lanka’s well known businessman Mr. Lalith Kothalawala has been remanded by the Mt.Lavinia magistrate this afternoon. Mr. Kothalawala is a top businessman in Sri Lankan who has more than 250 businesses where most of them are financial institutions such as banks, finance companies and real estate companies.

The controversial Golden Key credit card company which was owned by him crashed off recently due to the financial mismanagement. It is believed that the billions of customer deposits have been swallowed by the company. Recently Mr. Kothalawala announced that he will sell his stake in Saylan bank to repay the customer deposits of Golden Key company and after that feared customers of the bank started withdrawing money.

A warrent has issued to remand his wife Cecile Kothalawala also and magistrate has also ordered to repay the customer deposits within 10 days.         

Friday, February 20, 2009

LTTE Aircraft Shot Down at Katuayake

A returning LTTE aircraft after dropping a bomb to Colombo, has been shot down by SLAF in Katunayake. According to the available information a body of the pilot has been found so far and search operations are continuing.
Around 35 people have injured by the bomb blast. LTTE crafts have dropped the bomb to the inlend revenue department building but most probably their actual target might be some other place.

Colombo Air Defense System Activated

Air defense systems of Colombo city has activated as a security measure. Most of the areas are experiencing an intentional power cut also.
Await more information.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sri Lankan Mobile Telephony Market Heats Up Again – Cheapest Prepaid Package From Mobitel

The highly aggressive Sri Lankan mobile market has shaken once again with the introduction of a new tariff plan by Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel. India’s Airtel started operation in Sri Lanka from the January this year and almost all the existing operators started slashing mobile charges aggressively. However Airtel came up with a “Very Simple Plan” of Rs 2/min outgoing to any network with incoming totally free without a daily rental.  

With the new Mobitel SMART tariff plan outgoing local calls will be Rs 2.50 and incoming is totally free without any conditions. If the customer is using Mobitel network for more than a year 10% of a discount will be offered and if the time he spent on the network is more than 2 years a discount of 20% will be offered. Therefore a customer who has been using Mobitel for 2 years can expect outgoing calls to any network at Rs 2.00 per minute.

At present Dialog has the largest market share which is they are loosing rapidly and Mobitel , Tigo and Hutch shares the rest more or less. Dialog has been able to minimize the number of customers who are abandoning the network with the introduction of Dialog Blaster package. But most popular Upahara post paid package from Mobitel is still on top and still manages to grab customers in thousands. Probably we can expect some kind of a tariff revision for Upahara also in the near future. 

Mobitel Smart New Tariff Details 

VAS1st YearAfter 
1st Year
2nd Year
SMS to M Best Friend Mobitel Number **50 cents
SMS to Mobitel Numbers75 Cents68 Cents60 Cents
SMS to any other Local NumberRs. 190 cents80 Cents
SMS to Overseas Numbers per messageRs. 5
MMS to Mobitel NumbersRs. 2Rs. 1.80Rs. 1.60
MMS to Email or any other Local NumberRs. 5Rs. 4.50Rs. 4
MMS to Overseas NumbersRs. 10
(Uplink and Downlink Speeds upto 1Mbps)
1 cent per kB

Dial  #111# to activate new Mobitel Smart package.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Monitors say polls relatively violence-free but not free and fair

Pix by Gemunu Wellage, J. Weerasekera, Shane Seneviratne, Hiran Priyankara Jayasinghe, Kanchana Kumara Ariyadass, Pushpakumara Jayaratne, Augustine Fernando and Hilton Berenger

Given Sri Lankas violence-ridden elections in its recent history, the run-up to yesterday's polls in the Central and North Western Provinces was surprisingly calm and peaceful, according to police and polls monitors.There was violence, but it was few and far between. But this did not mean that the playfield was level.

Opposition parties and polls monitors charged that state resources were at the disposal of UPFA candidates who were seen making use of state vehicles and buildings. The role the state media played in bolstering the UPFA was no less, they said.

Polls monitors said the run-up to the polls was comparatively less violent, though they began to receive more complaints of assault and intimidation as election day approached.

Voting at a polling booth in Kandy

The People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said it had received 64 complaints of violent incidents from the two provinces during the six weeks of campaigning which ended on Thursday. But eight incidents were reported to them after the campaign ended on Thursday.

"When compared to the 191 incidents reported from the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces during the elections held there in August, the pre election period in the Central and North Western Provinces was relatively calm," PAFFREL's Deputy Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said.
According to PAFFREL figures, the 64 complaints also included 21 cases of assault and 12 instances of causing damage to party offices. In the Central Province, 25 incidents were reported from Kandy, 12 from Matale and five from Nuwara Eliya, while in the North Western province, 17 cases were from Puttalam and five from Kurunegela.

In one of the serious incidents after the campaigning ended, a vehicle of a UNP candidate was attacked on Thursday at Anamaduwa in the Puttalam district, Mr. Hettiarachchi said.

He said informal meetings and campaigning activities continued in Kandy and Puttalam areas even after Thursday's deadline with several of these meetings taking the form of religious ceremonies. 
He said PAFFREL welcomed the Elections Commissioner's move to appoint special officers to check identity cards or other valid documents of the voters at every polling booth.

Keerthi Tennakoon, media spokesman for the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), said he would not label the elections as free and fair. He said his group had received 103 complaints regarding election violence in the run-up to the polls.

Of the 70 complaints recorded in the Central Province, 32 cases were from Kandy, 20 from Nuwara Eliya and 18 from Matale. In the North Western province, 15 incidents were from Puttalam and 18 from Kurunegela.

"Although the number of election-related violent incidents has declined, state property was misused on a large scale. Election law violations occurred in every district, creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity. We can only say that there was less violence, when compared with some of the elections held in the recent past," he said.

Mr. Tennakoon said there was little voter enthusiasm and as a result voter education programmes, especially on the need to produce an identity document at the polling booth, were at their minimal. 
Backing up his allegation of misuse of state property by UPFA candidates, the CaFFE spokesman said a vehicle belonging to the Tea Research Institute (TRI) of Thalawakele was seen being used by UPFA activists in the Nuwara Eliya district with the state emblem on the vehicle being covered by party stickers. 
The National Polls Observation Center (NPOC) said it received 66 complaints of election violence. Its spokesman Sagara Kariyawasam said only one incident reported from Puttalam was of serious nature where firearms were brandished by a group.

He said his group was happy that election violence was low during the run-up to yesterday's elections to the two provincial councils but it would be happier if the polls were conducted in a free and fair manner.

Local politico's brother behind attack: UNP

UPFA supporters attacked the UNP main election office in Nawalapitiya town last evening causing injuries to nine party supporters and extensive damage to the glass panes and furniture of the office, a UNP spokesman charged.

He alleged that a brother of a local politician had led the gang soon after polling closed and the attack took place in spite of police presence some 500 metres away from the scene.

Polls calm and dull except for Baiz antics
Sunday - Columbo,Sri Lanka
As in other districts, Puttalam saw a relatively low voter turnout for ... In certain rural areas of Puttalam, the voter turnout was less than 40 percent. ...


Repeat performance at polls, says report

Repeat performance at polls, says report

Several election-related incidents, including attacks on vehicles, canvassing and chasing away voters, were reported from the North Western and Central Provinces yesterday.

People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) charged that election propaganda was carried out by two UPFA candidates on the day of polling through a radio channel in Puttalam.

Postal vote results:

Nuwara Eliya District                    Matale District

UPFA 3685                     UPFA 6756

UNP 1203                       UNP 1501

JVP 99                                 JVP 209

PAFFREL also received reports of voters being chased away from polling stations in Kandy, PAFFREL deputy executive director Rohana Hettiarachchi said. The vehicle of a UNP supporter was attacked by a man on a motorcycle bearing the number plate CPUC 2839 near the polling booth in Ratmalgahaela primary school.

The vehicle of a UNP candidate also came under attack by two UPFA supporters in Dambulla town at about 11 am yesterday. In Pahalawewa, a group had driven away UNP people who had come to cast their votes and proceeded to paste stickers of the UPFA candidate on vehicles.

The Sunday Times learns that the presence of armed gangs in jeeps outside polling booths in Ehelepola and Dimbulagamuwa had led voters to turn away without casting their votes.

The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) received incidents of polling agents being threatened in areas in Kandy, Pathadumbara, Nawalapitiya and Kundasale, its media spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon said.

He added that canvassing was also carried out in Matale, Kandy, Pilimathalawa and Hunnasgiriya during elections with several candidates urging voters to cast their votes for them.


Repeat performance at polls, says report
Sunday - Columbo,Sri Lanka
... Elections (PAFFREL) charged that election propaganda was carried out by two UPFA candidates on the day of polling through a radio channel in Puttalam. ...


Polls calm and dull except for Baiz antics

North Western Province

Asif Fuard reporting from Puttalam

As in other districts, Puttalam saw a relatively low voter turnout for yesterday's provincial elections with most people apparently more interested in their daily chores than in voting.

Many polling stations reported a shocking turnout of less than 20 voters upto noon. Some of them were empty with only the Presiding Officers, independent elections monitors and police officers being present when The Sunday Times team visited the polling stations.

This situation had never prevailed before in this part of the region which often had a voter turnout of more than 50 percent. In certain rural areas of Puttalam, the voter turnout was less than 40 percent. 
"I have been a presiding officer for many elections but I have not seen such a low voter turnout. It seems as if there is no election happening. Many people are continuing with their day-to-day activities and it seems they believe they have more important things to do rather than casting their vote," a presiding officer said.

People were seen walking on the streets of Puttalam like on any other day with shops playing loud music and vendors trying to sell their goods. There was little or no election fever accept for the candidates and their supporters who roamed the streets of Puttalam with UPFA stickers of the candidates pasted on their vehicles.

Salim Farook who runs a bakery on the Kurunagela-Puttalam road said he did not want to cast his vote because he thought that the two main parties had not fielded a candidate who deserved his vote.
"I think this election is a waste of time. People are not in the mood for elections. We have to finish the war and then develop the economy. Over here people are fed up with politicians who give false promises," he said.

Truck driver Hussain Abdullah said he had no confidence in any candidate. Three-wheeler driver Rameez Abdeen said that he did not wish to waste his time on voting as he had to do more important things such as earning for the upkeep of his family.

"In the past, elections were like carnivals. But people have appeared to have lost interest and hope. There are no proper provincial leaders who are genuinely committed to fulfil the people's needs. So I decided not to vote," hardware businessman Mohamed Nusky said.

In contrast, school teacher Sithy Fathima said she and her family woke up early in the morning to cast their votes. "I only pray and hope whichever party or candidate that comes into power doesn't let the people of Puttalam and the Wayamba down," she said.

Despite the low voter turnout, the silver lining in yesterday's elections was that it was one of the calmest or the most non-violent in recent times. A few isolated incidents took place but nothing like the notorious Wayamba polls of 1999.

In one of the serious incidents at the Fathima Centre polling booth in the heart of Puttalam town, Deputy Minister K.A Baiz is reported to have almost clashed with police officers.

Mr. Baiz had come with several of his supporters to the booth and attempted to forcibly enter. When he was questioned by two police officers, he told them that he had brought food for one of his polling agents.

As words were exchanged between the deputy minister and the two police officers, Mr. Baiz's supporters had reportedly tried to assault the officers, who in turn had pointed their T-56 assault rifles at the politician and his supporters.

Finally, Mr. Baiz is reported to have telephoned a senior police officer and got the two police officers moved elsewhere, while he had his way. A CID officer stationed at the Zahira National College polling booth faced a similar situation.

The CID officer, who was sent from Colombo for election duty, said some UPFA supporters had been canvassing and handing out leaflets outside the polling station.

"When I tried to stop them handing over leaflets making announcements on loudspeakers, they ignored me. They were even bringing in vehicles full of people to vote. It was obvious this was orchestrated by a particular politician. I didn't allow them to go in and told Puttalam police officers to take action. I was shocked to hear the police officers take the politician's side and say that one of the individuals was a candidate and I had to let them in," he said.

Previously Deputy Minister Baiz using a provincial radio channel called "Puttalam FM" asked the people to vote for the betel leaf. Election monitors of PAFFREL called this action a violation of the election laws.



Polls calm and dull except for Baiz antics
Sunday - Columbo,Sri Lanka
As in other districts, Puttalam saw a relatively low voter turnout for ... In certain rural areas of Puttalam, the voter turnout was less than 40 percent. ...


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SEP campaigns in a Sri Lankan fishing village

By our correspondents      10 February 2009

As part of its campaign for the February 14 provincial elections in Sri Lanka, a Socialist Equality Party (SEP) team visited Udappu, an isolated fishing village in the Puttalam district of Northwestern province. The SEP is standing two lists, each of 19 candidates, one for Puttalam district and the other for Nuwara Eliya district in Central Province.

The party is well known in Udappu as a result of its principled opposition to the government's war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the SEP's campaigns against the victimisation of the island's Tamil minority. The population of the village is about 15,000—most are Tamils descended from poor immigrants from India.

To reach Udappu, one has to take a disintegrating 4-kilometre road from the Colombo-Puttalam main road at Battuluoya, north of Chilaw. On both sides of the road are deserted fields and prawn farms where village women can be seen working. The only transport is a private passenger bus service that runs between Chilaw and Udappu every two hours.

Women carting waterWomen carting water

Udappu is a compact village with eight sections, including Andimunai, Selvapuram and six wards. Most fishermen are very poor. Their homes are huts with wooden walls and thatched roofs. During our visit, several huts were leaning badly and about to collapse. They have no sanitary facilities or water supply. Villagers have to buy drinking water brought by a tractor for five rupees per 15 litres. Some people walk long distances to collect water from a well in buckets or pots. But the available well water is salty.

While Udappu is nowhere near the frontlines of the civil war, the conflict nevertheless reaches into every aspect of life. As Tamils, the fishermen are automatically treated by the security forces as supporters of the LTTE and suspected of smuggling. Heavy restrictions have been placed on their fishing activities, leading to a loss of income. Locals are subject to constant harassment by police and military personnel who conduct frequent sweeps through the village. Over the past year, several people have been murdered or abducted—in all likelihood by military-sponsored death squads that have killed or "disappeared" hundreds throughout the island.

Fisherman preparing to go to seaFisherman preparing to go to sea

Some 4,000 families depend on fishing for their income. The poorer fishermen use rafts, known as teppam made from wooden logs or fibreglass. A small navy camp has been established in Udappu as a base for patrolling. Fishermen are banned from coming close to navy vessels and must return from sea by 9 p.m. A pass system has been recently imposed on boat owners. They have to obtain their passes from a navy camp at Kalpitiya, about 70 kilometres further north. If they go to sea without a pass, they face physical abuse.

Selva 53, a fisherman, said: "The president says war is over. How can it come to an end as long as the cause of the war is there, as it is? I don't think that peace will prevail in this country. The situation may become worse. After this victory, the communally-minded elements have taken the upper hand. Only the unity of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people can get rid of the present political parties and bring prosperity and peace."

Selva's son-in-law was abducted last March by an armed group in a white van—the trademark of the death squads—but somehow managed to escape. Fearing for his life, he fled to India. Selva continued: "Recently some fishermen who came near the navy camp in their boats were detained, ordered to kneel for hours and all of them were soaked in water a number of times. Limitations have been imposed on the fishing areas. We can't carry out our fishing activities as normal."

Letchumanan Letchumanan

Letchumanan, another fisherman, compared the situation in the war-torn North and East with Udappu. "What a lot of trouble we face with the presence of a small number of navy personnel in a normal area like this. What must it be like for those people, who live in a war zone with a large number of armed troops waging a war?"

One woman was feeding her one-year-old son inside her thatched hut when we spoke to her. She began crying as she explained: "Last September two persons came, knocked on our door and called for my husband. They were in trousers and jackets and asked about someone else's house. I was also standing there with my husband. They asked me for matches. As I went inside, they started shooting. I turned round and saw my husband lying dead on the ground. They rushed off toward a checkpoint on their motorbike.

"The police came and took my husband to the hospital for a post-mortem. The police took no action. Nothing happened after that. Now my son and I have to go house-to-house to find something to eat. There is no one to help us. It was with the knowledge of the police and security forces that my husband was killed," she said.

The villagers were generally scornful and angry about the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), whose candidates and supporters have again appeared in the village making a new round of empty promises to get votes.

A UPFA candidate, Riyas, issued a leaflet claiming that President Mahinda Rajapakse was carrying out "development programs" while waging the "war against terrorism." L.M. Aupkhan, the main UNP candidate for Puttalam, claimed as a council member to have brought education, transport, electricity, health and self employment facilities to the area.

But the villagers said they had received nothing. They explained that they were seeing these politicians for the first time since local government elections three years ago. Their living standards had deteriorated since Rajapakse restarted the communal war in 2006.

SEP member Karunanithi addressing villagersSEP member Karunanithi addressing villagers

V. Karunanithi, a local fisherman and SEP candidate, explained what day-to-day life was like for Udappu's fishing families. "Because of lack of time and economic burdens our families cook only one meal—rice and one or two curries—per day [that serves] for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We rarely have different meals. We don't cook the expensive fish we catch. We sell those and buy cheap fish for our own use. Usually we eat fish with one or two cheap vegetables.

"We go fishing in the very early hours—at about 3 or 4 a.m. When we reach the shore at about 9 a.m., our wives are there to help us. They help in removing the fish and rubbish from the net. And again we have to disentangle the net. Some days we earn some money and some days nothing. Only on Friday do we have a day off.

"Many people from this village, mostly the women, never travel to other areas. Sometimes they travel to the East with their husbands when they go to fish there. As they sacrifice their whole life to the sea, they never enjoy a family trip or a picnic."

Another fisherman said: "I don't have a boat, so I work for a number of boat owners. Normally during the fishing season I used to get 250 to 500 rupees [$US2.15-$4.38] per day. You just imagine how little you can do with this money when you compare it with the price of basic food items. Even when we go to sea we have to carry our national identity cards, in addition to the fishing pass. But to get a pass, we have to spend days without earning any money."

Women drying fishWomen drying fish

Referring to the present humanitarian crisis produced by the war, he said: "Tamil people in the Wanni have fallen into the fire from the pan. Earlier the UNP and its leader Ranil Wickremasinghe spoke about peace. But now they are clearly supporting the war."

During the south-western monsoon period, Udappu fishermen used to cross the island to the east coast, especially to Trincomalee, to fish. They would stay there for about six months in temporary thatched huts. As the war intensified, they faced growing restrictions and difficulties in the East. Now they are not allowed to sail more than five miles off shore. If they pass that limit, they could be shot at by the navy.

A young fisherman explained the problems. "To go to Trincomalee we need 30,000 or 40,000 rupees [$US263-$350]. We have to load all the fishing gear and goods for meals on the lorry. If we work for a boat owner, we have to pay him an advance of 20,000 rupees. After paying the loans we give our family the balance before leaving again. They have to manage on that money for six months."

Education and health facilities in Udappu are limited—three schools and a hospital developed by NGOs. Many students drop out of school after, or even before, completing their ordinary levels due to lack of money.

One father explained: "Students have to bring water from home as the school has no water supply. We pay 450 rupees per year for school fees. As the government doesn't pay for volunteer teachers, the parents have to collect the money and pay them. The hospital has only one doctor. We took a person who had an accident while fishing to the hospital. The doctor was not there. The fisherman died on the way to Chilaw hospital."

Villagers at an outdoor SEP meetingVillagers at an outdoor SEP meeting

The SEP team campaigned in Udappu for two days then held an outdoor meeting on February 6. About 50 people gathered around the speakers while several hundred more stood listening at a distance, concerned about being too closely identified with the SEP's meeting. W.A. Sunil, V. Karunanithi, Kapila Fernando, A. Shantha Kumar—all SEP candidates—addressed the crowd. Sinhala speakers were translated into Tamil.

As Karunanithi was speaking, one man called out in support for having the courage to mention the large number of killings and abductions that had taken place over the past year. The speeches provoked considerable discussion, with a number of people commenting that this was the only party that told the truth about the war and the conditions they faced.


SEP campaigns in a Sri Lankan fishing village
World Socialist Web Site - Oak Park,MI,USA
The SEP is standing two lists, each of 19 candidates, one for Puttalam district and the other for Nuwara Eliya district in Central Province. ...


Best Pay Per Click Program with Minimum Payout Threshold