Friday, April 30, 2010

The purpose of the TNGTE is to instill hope in a people that has become disenfranchised!

Canada’s Tamils to vote on transnational govt.

Assembly ineffective without world recognition, say opponents

Toronto: Tamils in Canada go to the polls on Sunday (May 2) to elect members for the first transnational government, which will represent the million-strong Tamils living outside Sri Lanka.

Polls will also be held in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Germany to elect an assembly of 135 members.

"After the war last year, the Tamils are now trying to use the democratic space to bring about consensus among Tamils," said Chandra Kanthan, a human rights advocate.

"The purpose of the government is to instill hope in a people that has become disenfranchised."

Canada is expected to have the greatest presence in the government with 25 elected members, 15 from the Greater Toronto Area.

The elections will be overseen by an independent committee made up of non-Tamil school board trustees from around the city.

Kanthan said the assembly is not seeking legitimacy or acceptance from world governments. Its initial goal is "to have a common consensus on where the Tamil community should move from here at a time when there is no political space for them to express their opinion in their homeland".

The ultimate goal is the establishment of an independent Tamil state, he said. "Eventually, we will work toward recognition, but not initially."

But not everyone likes the idea. Chris Sandrasagra, secretary of the Toronto-based Canadian Relief Organization for Peace in Sri Lanka, said the transnational government is focused on the formation of a separate country, when many Tamils want a united Sri Lanka.

He also believes that without international recognition, such a government will be futile.

"The Canadian government is not going to accept an exile government," said Sandrasagra, adding many Tamils in the city plan to boycott the election.

The vote takes place from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.

An electronic voting system will be used to elect the members.

There will also be a few physical voting places in areas in the US with high Tamil populations. (


There is a strong Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in several countries.!!! They have ability to raise funds!!! They have a good propaganda network..!!!

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Friday, April 30, 2010
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Feature: Governments of laws, not of men....

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Last modified on: 4/29/2010 12:31:23 PM "Master Strategist" of winning war speaks to Indian Defence Review
Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in New Delhi on a low key visit early this year. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's younger brother is known as the 'master strategist' in the power circles in Colombo. Gotobaya is credited with several military strategies that enabled the Sri Lankan military to defeat the LTTE. One such tactics now described as the 'small boats' strategy came up for discussion with Indian defence planners and strategists.

"General Fonseka will be tried for treason and politicizing the Army." GOTABAYA RAJAPAKSA

Sri Lankan Navy's 'small boats' strategy outflanked and out-manoeuvred the Sea Tiger's naval capability. This is being closely studied by Indian strategic planners because New Delhi is mulling over a 'small boats' strategy for India's maritime security and surveillance. In an exclusive interview to Indian Defence Review, Rajapaksa says, "General Sarath Fonseka will be tried for treason and for politicizing the Army".

What is the government's thinking on General Sarath Fonseka's entry into politics?

The commander succumbed to personal ambitions. He worked for four and half years with us as a team member. Then without any justifiable reason he teamed up with the very Opposition that had been so critical of him and the Army's war against terror. He teamed up with people and groups that were critical of the military campaign against the LTTE. He teamed up with people who were against him. He betrayed our national cause for his personal ambition.

The Sri Lankan government says Fonseka has committed treason...

From the day he decided of coming into politics he began projecting the military campaign in such a manner so as to get public sympathy.

Is that the reason why he has been arrested?

The action taken by government is not based on politics. We are purely doing the right thing. Any person has the right to come into politics. But when you exercise that right there are rules and regulations, rights and wrongs to follow.

What are the charges against Fonseka?

The biggest damage he did was to the military. Our military was out of politics for so many years. Army, Navy and Air Force was apolitical. Unfortunately, Sarath Fonseka politicized the Army. He should have joined politics after making a clear break from the Army. Military is such an important institution. He served it for 38 years. He commanded the Army. As the Army Commander he constantly talked about discipline. But for his personal and political advantage he used the military. He used the military for personal gains. He used senior officers for his political campaign.

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He even started his political campaign from the Army Commander's official residence. He kept the military resources allocated to him by the government because of his status as the Army Commander and used it for political purposes. He has committed several illegal acts. Merely because he contested the Presidential Elections, one cannot turn a blind eye to it.

So by arresting Fonseka the government is signalling its intention to purge politics out of the Army?

It is the responsibility of the government, senior officers of the military and me to roll back and reverse the politicization of the Army. If no action is taken it will give a wrong message to the military. We have to take remedial measures. Taking legal action against Sarath Fonseka may not be wise politically. But to do the right thing is important.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa eventually won the Presidential elections quite comfortably. What's the first priority of the government?

The damage done by LTTE's terrorism over the last 30 years is visible to everyone. The hidden part of this damage was the stagnation of economic development. While the world has technologically advanced, Sri Lanka remained bereft of this advantage because the entire national attention was focussed on combating terror. The first port of call for investors visiting Colombo is to the office of the Secretary of Defence! I have had to meet with several investors concerned about the safety of their investments. Over the last five years I have met investors who wanted to know whether we could defeat terror.

So the investors interested in Sri Lanka would be feeling reassured now?

Real victory will be achieved when we bring the economy on track and move towards a high rate of growth. Real victory will be achieved when we pass the benefits of a booming economy to the Sri Lankan people. We have to focus on the rural economy. It is the rural areas that need to be developed and it is principally in these regions where development initiatives must be focussed.

Also Read The India factor in Afghanistan

Why focus so disproportionately on the rural economy?

Most of our soldiers are from rural areas. They are our real heroes. Eighty four percent (84%) of people who died in the war were soldiers who had one month to two years of service. Almost all of them were from rural areas.

Is this a conscious effort to keep the military happy?

Sri Lanka's Armed Forces have done so much of sacrifices. In the last 30 years 30,000 military personnel were killed in action and 20,000 disabled.

Clearly, the government is keen to keep the military operationally ready. Why?

We cannot allow LTTE terror to come back. The first phase of the war is over. The LTTE's war machinery, its fighting ability and its leadership in Vanni have been decimated and destroyed. The second phase of the war will be in a different form. So we can't relax. Our operational preparedness must be high, but invisible. Our security strategy has to be in a different form.

Keeping peace is more difficult than fighting a war?

We have to develop superior intelligence gathering abilities and mechanisms. We have to develop military intelligence. We have to develop a national intelligence gathering infrastructure. We must dominate the jungles and prevent remnant LTTE members or supporters and sympathisers from setting up bases. We have to dominate the coastal belt to ensure that weapons and ammunition are not brought in from the sea. We now know how much weaponry, artillery pieces were brought in from the sea by LTTE ships. Therefore, maritime surveillance is of utmost importance to prevent any new group that takes the mantle of LTTE to bring weapons to the country.

Also Read Gaps in Maritime Security

At the same time we want to bring normalcy. We had imposed a lot of restrictions that adversely affected our economy. Like the restrictions on fishing activities. We want to change the image of Sri Lanka. We are removing bunkers and toning down security presence on the streets. Our security presence will now be largely invisible with a strong emphasis on gathering real time tactical, technical, and human intelligence.

So the remnant LTTE organization outside Sri Lanka continues to remain a threat?

The LTTE has developed a good network outside Sri Lanka. They have a good network in Europe, America and in South East Asia. Over the last three decades they have developed fund raising capabilities. There is a strong Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in several countries. Within this Diaspora there is a significant pro-LTTE section. They have ability to raise funds. They have a good shipping network. They have a good arms procurement network. They have a good propaganda network.

Also Read The Rajapaksa Model of defeating terror

There are several LTTE assets invested in legitimate businesses in countries having sizeable Tamil Diaspora presence. Moreover, even though the LTTE is destroyed in Sri Lanka, fact is there are still several LTTE operatives active in countries outside Sri Lanka. With the help of foreign governments we have been successful in getting KP (Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias Kumaran Pathmanathan) and Rajan (The Terrorist Investigation Division announced Rajan's arrest on January 28, 2010. Rajan was involved in procurement of weaponry and military hardware for the LTTE). Colombo's quiet diplomacy seems to be paying off...

There is international interest to dismantle LTTE's network spread over several countries and liquidate their assets. The only stumbling block is the presence of Tamil Diaspora in several Western countries.

Courtesy : Indian Defence Review

© 2009 Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Within 6 hrs of CM/TN going on fast we could defuse the crisis in TN by issuing a statement announcing end of combat operations&shelling inside NFZ.!

4/29/2010 8:33:02 AM
Winning Wars: political will is the key - Defence Secretary
(interview with Indian Defence Review)

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa took several brave decisions. In the final analysis, it was the cumulative effect of those decisive, brave decisions that enabled Sri Lankan Armed Forces (SLAF) to liquidate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)"

- Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary, Sri Lanka -

Sri Lanka's Master Strategist, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, reveals to the Indian Defence Review the key decisions of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that led to the successful completion of SLAF's combat operations against the LTTE.

The Intangibles
Gotabaya said: "Usually in a military operation the world outside the conflict theatre, domestic and international, see only soldiers fighting. They see tanks, guns, armoured vehicles, artillery weapons and men and women in battle fatigues. What is not visible to the people, to the outside world, is the strategy. What is also not visible immediately and also not recalled at that moment in time is the history that led to the current context of military operations. What was that context? Eight previous governments led by four different Presidents had failed to end the war. They had failed to rein in the LTTE. It is not as if those eight governments and four Presidents did not have under their command good military leaders and soldiers. In fact, when President Rajapaksa's government assumed charge in 2005, around 26,000 SLAF soldiers had already sacrificed their lives."

The Calculus of Political Will
Political will is the supreme commander. That is, in effect, what Gotabaya emphasizes. In fact, he points to the successful Operation Liberation or Vadamarachchi Operation from May to June 1987 and Operation Riviresa from October to December 1995 to suggest that there was no deficiency in the SLAF. The Vadamarachchi Operation led to the recapture the Vadamarachchi region in Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE control. This was SLAF's first conventional combat engagement in Sri Lankan soil after the British colonial rule. During Operation Riviresa (Operation Sun Rays) the SLAF launched a successful assault to wrest control of Jaffna and rest of the Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE. Using these past examples, Gotabaya, explains that if at all there was any deficiency then it was on account of inadequate, lax and effete political will.

Mr Gotabaya added: "When President Rajapaksa assumed office in 2005 we studied all previous war operations: Eelam War I (1976-1987); Vadamarachchi Operation; IPKF intervention; Eelam War II (1990-1995); Operation Sea Breeze; Operation Thrividha Balaya; Operation Balavegaya I, II; Eelam War III (1995-2002); Operation Riviresa; Operation Jayasikurui; Operation Rivibala; Operation Ranagosa; Operation Rivikirana; and Operation Kinihira I, II, III/IV, V/VI, VII, VIII, IX.

"The objective of our study was to arrive at conclusive reasons for our previous failures to comprehensively finish the war against the LTTE in the last 30 years. All four previous Presidents had resorted to military means and yet had failed. So a political decision was made by President Rajapaksa to comprehensively study all previous war operations and arrive at a solution for every factor of failure or inability to win to the war. For every factor we found a solution," said Mr Gotabaya.

Numbers Make A Difference
"We found that there was really no 'failure factor' attached to the military. In fact, we realized a simple fact in 2005, that if we launched war operations against the LTTE then we would have to fight with the same military that had fought the LTTE in the last 30 years. We were confident of winning with the same military and its Special Forces and commandos. They were already there! Yet, what explained the inability of the previous governments led by four different Presidents to utilize the country's military strength effectively? We came to the conclusion that the solution was to increase the force strength. The key factor of SLAF's previous inability to finish the war was inadequate numbers. We realized the expansion of military would have a definitive impact on LTTE." Gotabaya revealed to IDR that, therefore, the second decisive political decision was to expand the SLAF.

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Holding the Ground is Critical to Military Success
President Rajapaksa and his advisors detailed and nuanced study of previous war operations was marked by two defining characteristics. One was attention to detail and the second was their ability to quickly arrive at a clutter-free decision. The third important political decision was a natural corollary of the imperative to expand the SLAF. "We realized that all previous operations had failed to hold the ground in the immediate aftermath of battlefield success. President Rajapaksa, therefore, made a political commitment to ensure that his government will find the resources to expand the SLAF to ensure that there were enough armed forces personnel available to hold the ground."

Multiple Front Operations
Gotabaya says the decision to increase numbers actually enabled the SLAF to address two previous 'failure factors'. The first has already been discussed. The second was the previous inability of the SLAF to conduct war operations on a broad front and operate simultaneously across multiple frontlines. "When we cleared the Eastern Province, the LTTE said they were not defeated and that its forces had merely staged a tactical withdrawal. The LTTE was confident that the SLAF will not have the troop strength to hold the ground in the Eastern Province. Like all earlier occasions the LTTE believed that if it opened sporadic operations along the Northern Frontlines then the SLAF will be forced to redeploy enabling LTTE to regain ground in the East. Several opposition party leaders, too, openly declared that the military operations in the East will not be sustainable. We lulled everyone into believing that the previous status quo will prevail - that the SLAF will fight and win, then the LTTE will open a new front, and the SLAF will redeploy and fail to hold ground and consolidate in the areas where they had attained victory - this would enable LTTE to regain control over lost areas. Little did the LTTE know that we had prepared a new war doctrine! That we were indeed prepared to fight war on a broad front, along multiple frontlines." The fourth political calculus of a military victory was President Rajapaksa's decision to back the formulation of the SLAF's new war doctrine.

Re-invent the Role of the Navy and the Air Force
Gotabaya says that smaller countries with smaller armies must re-invent the role of the Navy and the Air Force. "We had taken the decision to increase the numbers, but we knew it couldn't happen overnight. So we decided to re-invent the role of the Navy and the Air Force by taking them out of their classical roles and deploying them in ground roles as well. We trained them for ground roles. So, overnight our strength to hold the ground increased. We used the Special Task Force for the same purpose. (The Special Task Force is the Para-Military arm of the Sri Lanka Police, deployed essentially for counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency operations within the country. They are also deployed for close protection Units, providing security for VIP's and key installations). We also used the Sri Lanka Police Units to buffer the strength of our combined forces deployed to hold the ground."

"We also raised a new 42,000 strong para-military unit, the Civil Defence Force. We recruited able bodied men from villages threatened by the LTTE, trained them, provided these recruits with automatic weapons. Their task was to defend their villages from LTTE counter-attacks. In fact, within two weeks in the last month of the war (May 2009) in the summer of 2009 we inducted 5,000 Civil Defence Force members into the Army."

This was the fifth critical political decision that influenced the course of Eelam IV and put the SLAF on a clear trajectory of military success. This decision enabled the SLAF to single-mindedly focus on the war in the northern jungles against the LTTE. "We were able to operate on a broad front. We had the tactical freedom and maneuverability to surround the LTTE from multiple directions. The re-invention of the roles of the Navy, Air Force and Police Units gave us the breathing space to induct and train the new SLAF recruits. With combined forces holding ground in the East and with the SLAF dedicating itself to operations along multiple Northern Frontlines, we not only mounted pressure on the LTTE, but also ensured that we could secure time-bound expansion of the SLAF. We were forming new battalions, new task forces by adding 5,000 troops every month. We tripled the strength of the Army from 100,000 to 300,000 in three years. In fact, in the 1980s the strength of the military (Army, Navy and Air Force) was 30,000. In 2005 when President Rajapaksa assumed charge the strength was 125,000. Between 2005 and 2009 the figure swelled to 450,000 out of which 300,000 is the strength of the Army. This increase in numbers enabled us to quickly replace those injured in the battlefield. It helped us to ensure adequate rest and rehabilitation for our troops. It helped us to mount military pressure on the LTTE."

The Supreme Commander of the Military does not Wear Battle Fatigues, He Displays Political Will
Finally, the battlefield commander fights to win the battle. But it's the political will that determines success or failure in war. If the battlefield commander is let down by lack of political will or consensus, victory is impossible to achieve. "These decisions were taken by the Supreme Commander, the President of Sri Lanka and not by the Army Chief or Battlefield Commanders. It is the Head of State who can decide the course and trajectory of war operations," says Gotabaya. "All the four previous Presidents could not take bold decisions. They were indecisive and were afraid that bold decisions might negatively impact our small economy. They were afraid that our country's economy could not sustain such a large expansion of the SLAF. In fact, the previous Presidents and political leaders were genuinely apprehensive of a rapid military expansion and its possible impact on the polity." "I remember distinctly the Security Council meeting in Colombo in 2005. I told the President that we must expand the Army by 50,000 as soon as possible. This was mandatory to win the war. The President immediately issued a directive that if that was required to finish the war for once and all times to come we must make the necessary allocation right away. It is this on the spot, tough decision-making that finally led us to victory."

Gotabaya says that he along with SLAF top brass 'read' and analysed the war operations every hour, every day. "I could understand and gauge the need and requirements. Any military commander will ask for everything, every possible weapon, every possible inventory. My job was to understand the priorities, rationally organize those priorities in terms of what was really required for victory and flush out needs and requirements that had zero relevance to our objectives. "When you go home, tell them of us that we gave our today, for their tomorrow" is the political mantra that fires the military imagination.

"President Rajapaksa was determined to single-handedly absorb the pressure of deaths and causalities," says Gotabaya. This seventh political decision made all difference for the SLAF. "In three and half years nearly 6,000 soldiers were killed. You can imagine the political pressure on the President when body-bags come home from the battlefield. The President was determined to absorb the political pressure generated by battlefield casualties. He committed his Presidency and his government to achieving the objective of winning the war. He demonstrated his courage to continue the war till the military objectives were completely attained. This is what made him different from all previous Presidents. After all, the President is responsible to the people and the fact is that he needs the support of the people to be elected back to power. He knew that he was risking his political career because any other President in his place would have succumbed to the enormous political pressure created by mounting casualties in war operations."

Also Read Interview with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary, Sri Lanka

"The Muhamalai debacle of April 23, 2008 in which 120 soldiers were killed by the LTTE in just one day could have shaken up any other President. In fact, in this case the LTTE took away the dead bodies of the soldiers. Any other President would have doubted. But President Rajapaksa did not waver from the objective his government had set at the very outset. The war must be won. Not for a single moment in the three and half years of the war did he unplug himself from taking stock of the war operations. Every Wednesday he attended Security Council meetings from morning till evening. He followed every operational development closely. He was, therefore, able to take correct and timely decisions. He knew we were on the correct track."

The India Factor
"President Rajapaksa clearly outlined the India Factor at the very outset as a key strategic factor that could either influence victory or bring defeat," says Gotabaya. "The President realized that keeping India aligned with us was important. Our study of previous war operations led us to examine in detail the reasons why we could not sustain the successful Vadamarachchi Operations of 1987." Brigadier Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Colonel Vijaya Wimalaratne, two SLAF war heroes in the annals of Sri Lanka's military history had assured the then President, Junius Richard Jayewardene and the then minister of National Security Lalith Athulathmudali that the LTTE will be militarily defeated. But the Government of India intervened through Operation Poomalia, which involved the Indian Air Force air dropping food packets over Jaffna on June 4, 1987. Jayawardene buckled under Indian pressure which led to the signing of the India-Sri Lanka Accord and the entry of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in the island nation.

"President Rajapaksa decided that he would consciously go out of his way to keep New Delhi aligned to Colombo's military objectives in its battle with the LTTE. He did not want a repeat of Operation Vadamarachchi. During the course of the three and half years of war between 2005 and 2009, there were several instances where India could have forced us to stop the operations. We did not allow such a situation to arise because we kept New Delhi briefed properly. We realized that the UPA government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh was a coalition government and so the Congress Party was sensitive to the concerns of its coalition partner, primarily the DMK. We realized the sensitivity of the issue with regard to civilian causalities in Tamil Nadu. So President Rajapaksa ensured that he briefed the Indian leadership. We also ensured that our line communications were open at all times. From our side Basil Rajapaksa (Senior Advisor to the President and Member of Parliament), Lalith Weeratunga (Permanent Secretary to the President) and myself interacted extensively with MK Narayanan (former National Security Advisor, India and now Governor of West Bengal), Shiv Shankar Menon (former Foreign Secretary, India and now National Security Advisor) and Vijay Singh (former Defence Secretary and now Member, Union Public Service Commission). Between the six of us we had continuous dialogues. Whenever there was a sensitive issue, we met and discussed and resolved it. This helped the SLAF to continue its military operations absolutely unhindered."

"A day before the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi went on a fast on April 27, 2009 at the Anna Memorial in Chennai protesting against the SLAF offensive against the LTTE, Menon called me on my cell phone at 4.30 pm. The Indian team wanted to visit Colombo for urgent talks. I went straight to the President's office and got his sanction and called Menon back within five minutes. Within six hours of Karunanidhi going on fast we could defuse the crisis in Tamil Nadu by issuing a statement announcing the end of combat operations and shelling inside the 'No Fire Zone', which led to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister ending his fast. This was a classic example of quiet, corrective diplomacy between two officially designated government teams."

"The manner in which President Rajapaksa tackled India was a key factor of our military success. We knew that only India influences us militarily. India is a huge power in our neighbourhood and our proximity to Tamil Nadu with 60 million Tamils sensitive to what's going on in Sri Lanka made the situation extremely complex for us. We knew that while other countries could or would resort to economic sanctions, only India had the power to militarily influence the course of our war operations. So it is to the credit of President Rajapaksa that he was successful in keeping New Delhi aligned with Colombo's military objectives."

Military Victory is Dependent on Public Goodwill
Gotabaya says the ninth decisive political decision was to ensure sustenance of the war operations tempo by forging public goodwill. "The President repeatedly emphasized in almost all national security council meetings that sustaining a war campaign over a long period of time will require public support. He directed his government officers and ministers to ensure public support for the war campaign. Public support was also critical to ensuring that we succeeded in getting new recruits for the SLAF. 'Let's not use war as an excuse for failing to provide good governance and undertaking development activities'. That was his clear one line directive. Therefore, even as the war campaign continued in the North, the government embarked on mega development projects in other parts of the country. The government also became one of the biggest employers in the country by recruiting for various public sector enterprises. In the course of the three and half years of the war, the President also effected a pay hike for public sector and government employees. He managed the economy in such a manner that he did not allow the public support for the war campaign to diminish."

Political Stability is Vital for Military Focus
The final political decision was an internal political choice that President Rajapaksa made. In 2005 when he took over as President he was entrusted with the responsibility of stitching together a coalition alliance to ensure political stability. This factor led to his decision to create a jumbo cabinet. He increased the cabinet, the biggest in Sri Lanka's history, by providing positions to leaders from all political parties in the coalition alliance. "His only condition was that he wanted a stable government till the end of the war," says Gotabaya.

Courtesy : Indian Defence Review

© 2009 Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If we sincerely resolve to do good and act with tolerance and determination, we shall succeed.!!!

Intolerance is intolerable: Can it be tolerated anywhere?

Intolerance by itself cannot be called a dirty word: it is a word used to describe the reaction, good or bad, when what it stands against and its end result is looked at.

In the ultimate analysis, people can be divided into two categories: You and I and there are things which are common to both.

Let us first consider some of the basic things common to both: [1] they are both human [2] personality: the sum total of mind, faculties, physique, health, ability [3] similar essential needs of food, clothing and shelter [4] likes and dislikes though not necessarily of the same things [5] families and relationships [6] friends and enemies

Let us consider the differences between the two categories: [1] the degree of development of their faculties and ability [2] levels of existence - economic, social, political.

The commonality and the differences are both individual and collective – the kin group, since no individual lives in isolation . Therefore, the two categories get expanded from two persons to two groups, small or large, communities and countries.

If the human being accepts the above, he/she will realise that no two categories – persons [even identical twins] can be identical in all aspects of the human persona and so also the group persona.

Therefore, since the differences are there, they cannot be ignored, and human beings must realise that it is in their hands to choose either to accommodate each other and their differences through understanding and live in harmony and peace, or adopt an attitude of confrontation which in turn would result in the differences between the two categories widening the gap between the two into a chasm which may become unbridgeable and result in strife and conflict, with each category attempting to prevail over the other.

One has only to look at nature to realise the variety that exists and that the same species does not fight each other except over something which each is striving to get, which is not the same thing as fighting over any difference in each other.

Equally, it is well taken that humans too like variety as the "spice of life", so why not recognise variety in the human persona and the resultant expression of it? Hence the paramount need of the day is to" live and let live" and care for and share with others without succumbing to intolerance or greed and trying to deprive the other of his/her share.

Just think what a dull world it would be if we were all alike or even similar!

Equally, we well know our common humanity and must accept it as what "is" and unchangeable – not what we want it to be.

So, if one gives serious thought to our common humanity and can accept differences and variety in life, why should we be intolerant? It is irrational to be intolerant. Of course, it takes two to tango and the effort must be made by both You and I.

Is there anything about which we should be intolerant? Yes! We should be intolerant of seeing the acceptable make up of You and I, such as ethnicity, creed, caste, class, as exaggerated out of proportion and thereby as divisive elements

which must not be tolerated if we are to live a life of harmony and peace.

In the context of Sri Lanka, our common humanity must be translated and recognised by each other as being Sri Lankan above all divisive forces - which is what we are in this wonderful land, which is Yours and Mine - especially when we are awakening from decades of conflict of which the first step was intolerance. If we sincerely resolve to do so and act with tolerance and determination, we shall succeed.

Manel Abeysekera


Demand of Eelam partly due to inability of the Sinhala police/Security forces to win over the hearts & minds of the Tamil population in Jaffna!!!

Back to idyllic Jaffna? Yes and no

by Lt. Col. (Retd.) Anil Amarasekera

My first ever visit to Jaffna when I was just a kid was way back in the early fifties. My uncle Mr. Tissa Ratnatunga was an important government official in Jaffna. He had a large bungalow within the Jaffna Fort and our family spent a holiday with my uncle and his family in this bungalow. The only memories I have of that visit over five and a half decades ago was this majestic old Dutch bungalow and the small but beautiful Jaffna Fort with its impressive entrance across an equally enchanting moat and the herds of wild ponies that we saw running freely in great numbers all over the Delft island.


In 1973 as a lieutenant of the second volunteer battalion of the Gemunu Watch, I was sent to Jaffna to perform duties with the Task Force for Illicit Immigrants (TAFFII). I was initially the officer commanding the Mathakal Army Detachment, and after promotion to the rank of captain, I served as the officer commanding the Valveddittuari (VVT)Army Detachment in 1977 and 1978. Though there was a lot of turmoil and unrest in the south due to the JVP insurrection during the early seventies, the Jaffna peninsula had a calm and tranquil environment at that point of time and the people of Jaffna were not hostile towards the army on TAFFII duty. However the demand for a separate state put forward by Tamil chauvinists such as S.J.V.Chelvanayakam was seen to gain ground by 1978, during the latter stages of my service period in Jaffna. This was partly due to the mistakes made by power hungry politicians from both, the Sinhala and Tamil communities, and partly due to the inability of the police and the security forces to win over the hearts and minds of the Tamil population in Jaffna.
One good example with regard to the inability of the army to win the hearts and minds of the Tamil population will be illustrated by one of my own personal experiences when I was the detachment commander of Mathakal. I had dispatched a section of soldiers under a sergeant with specific instructions to establish a road block to apprehend a vehicle transporting smuggled items. On my way to the road block to check if it had been established at the correct road junction, I encountered some Tamil civilians carrying bicycles on their shoulders. When questioned as to why they were doing so, I was informed by them that the army soldiers at the road junction had ordered them to carry the bicycles home on their shoulders for cycling in the night without lights. I instructed them to remount their bicycles and to ride back home. When the sergeant was questioned by me in this regard, he informed me that he had given those civilians the same punishment that the police usually give them. I had to warn him never to repeat that kind of action, as TAFFII duty was very different from traffic police duty, which we had no mandate to perform.
A bicycle after all is a way of life in the Jaffna peninsula. In the early seventies hub dynamos for bicycles were not freely available. Therefore the dynamo for the bicycle headlight had to be powered by attaching it to the side of the bicycle tyre. As a result the side of the tyre wore out fast. The thrifty Jaffna man used his dynamo very sparingly to get the maximum mileage from his bicycle tyre. Knowing this mentality of the Jaffna man, the police and the army should have taken a more understanding attitude without giving harsh punishment for such trivial offences. If the police and the army had been friendlier towards the people of Jaffna and had they been able to win their hearts and minds, it would have been difficult if not impossible for separatist and terrorist organizations to win support and acceptance of the Tamil people in the Jaffna peninsula.


Power hungry Tamil politicians who propagated a separatist ideology misled the Tamil people to accept a false belief that they would be better off if a separate Tamil state of Eelam which could be established by amalgamating the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. The insurrection staged by the Janatha Vimukthi Peremuna (JVP) in the south showed how a few thousand armed and motivated youth were capable of terrorizing and bringing a government to its knees. The militant Tamil youth who realized that the passive resistance of their power hungry senior Tamil politicians would never be able to achieve their proposed state of Tamil Eelam, decided to emulate the insurrection staged by JVP youth in the south and to bring the government in Colombo to its knees through acts of terrorism.
The mishandling of foreign policy with India by the J.R Jayewardene government resulted in India providing military training to militant Tamil youth organizations. Therefore terrorist and sabotage activities staged by militant youth organizations began to increase rapidly in the northern parts of Sri Lanka. Yal Devi, the train that linked Jaffna with Colombo was dynamited and the northern rail track was damaged beyond repair by terrorists. It was by train that most people travelled to and from Jaffna. I have myself travelled in this train on numerous occasions. When travelling from Jaffna to Colombo, I used to often see Tamil gentlemen changing from their vetties to trousers when Anuradhapura was approaching, and when travelling to Jaffna from Colombo it was a common sight to see Tamil gentlemen changing from trousers to their vetties, no sooner the train leaves Anuradhapura. Normal traffic flow along the A9 highway too came to a standstill as the government lost control in much of the northern province. While links between Colombo and Jaffna were deteriorating, links between Jaffna and Tamil Nadu began to flourish due to support from Tamil Nadu for the separatist cause in Sri Lanka.

Maha Weera families

All the effort the Sri Lanka army took through TAFFII to prevent smuggling and illicit immigration from India to Sri Lanka came to a grinding halt as the government lost control in most of the northern coastal areas. On a recent visit to Kanagarayankulam, I met a member of a Maha Weera family. He informed me that he was an Indian Tamil who was to be repatriated to India under the Srima Shastri Pact. However having avoided repatriation, he and his family had settled in Kilinochchi. His children joined the LTTE and one of his sons was killed in action. As a result he was given Maha Weera family status and provided with a house and a large extent of land in Kanagarayankulam by Prabhakaran. He had been requested to contact his relations in Tamil Nadu and to persuade them to come and settle in the land so provided to him. He said that all other Maha Weera families too were given large extents of land by Prabhakaran and they too had been requested to invite their relations in Tamil Nadu to come and settle in these lands. There had been many families who had accepted this invitation and come from India to settle in these Maha Weera family lands. Some of these families have obtained affidavits after bribing the Grama Niladharies to prove that they were long time residents in Kanagarayankulam. These families are now being resettled by the government in these very same properties. What I noticed during my two visits to the Jaffna peninsula in February and April this year was that the people were very relaxed and happy and were once more travelling around in bicycles, more than in any other form of transport.
The police and the security forces were very courteous and friendly towards not only the visitors, but also to the general public of Jaffna. Mr. Ramalingam with whom I stayed during my last visit, also confirmed that the police and the security forces were now conducting themselves with dignity and had won over the hearts and minds of the Jaffna people.
Though I was happy to hear such news, I was saddened when I saw the magnificent Jaffna Fort now, only just a rampart with no buildings within. The majestic Dutch buildings within the Fort were razed to the ground by the LTTE after the withdrawal of the Sri Lanka Army from the Jaffna Fort. When I visited the Mathakal Army Detachment, only the parapet wall was left standing, while the building that the army occupied had been completely destroyed. All the buildings that were occupied by the army in the VVT camp too had been completely raised to the ground by the LTTE and in its present condition no one would believe that a company of 150 soldiers ever lived in that location. These are I believe the inevitable results of a separatist war that brought only death and destruction and no good to anybody.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Be judicious for both the govt & Opp. parties to consider increasing the representation of ethnic minority representatives on their national lists.!!!

Revival of Opposition necessary to
strengthen democratic institutions
by Jehan Perera

The enthusiastic participation of the electorate in the electoral process is one indication of a country governed by democratic norms. Another indication is the presence of strong institutions, such as an independent Election Commission, police and public service, which are able to inspire confidence in the electorate that the elections will take place freely and fairly. On both these counts Sri Lanka has been reflecting a deteriorating trend. An effectively functioning democracy requires a strong Opposition with the capacity to be a check and balance on the power of the government. With every electoral defeat suffered by the Opposition, its campaign has got weaker which has enabled the government to obtain majorities hitherto not thought possible.

Not surprisingly, these successive electoral defeats and punitive actions have sent a discouraging message to many Opposition supporters that their participation in elections is to no effect, as the result is pre-determined. The recently concluded General Election did not evoke a large voter turnout although more than 7,000 candidates jostled for 225 seats in Parliament. Where victory is concerned it can also be seen that the government has not been leaving anything to chance. The government has taken necessary measures to win by as large a margin as possible. The stated motivation has been to achieve a two-thirds majority in Parliament that would enable the government to engage in constitutional change to its satisfaction.

On the other hand, there has also been the individual and personal motivation of every contesting government candidate to win by a huge margin and thereby obtain a satisfactory position within the government leadership. One of the disturbing features noted by independent election monitors was the high prevalence of intra party violence, where government candidates in particular fought each other for votes under the preferential voting system. This is not to detract from the prevalence of violence inflicted by goons on the campaigns of Opposition candidates, most notably in Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee where repolls are taking place.

Institutional decay

Measures taken by the government and its candidates to secure victory must be seen in tandem with the institutional decay that has affected institutions that once might have guaranteed free and fair elections. The breakdown of institutions of governance, and especially of norms of separation of powers, has been taking place over the years, and through successive governments. The misuse of the state media and other state resources, and the inaction of the law enforcement authorities, so pronounced at the recently concluded Presidential and General elections, are therefore not confined to the present government, but were witnessed in previous years as well, though not on the same scale. This has been commented upon by election monitors in their reports, where they have bemoaned that their recommendations have been ignored time and again. The problem is that the abuse is growing and with it the problem of institutional decay.

Governments in power at the time of the holding of elections have the opportunity to utilise the machinery of state for their election campaigns. This has put the Opposition parties at a tremendous disadvantage where they cannot compete for votes on equal terms. It is perhaps Bangladesh in the South Asian region, which has found the best answer to this perennial problem through the establishment of caretaker governments. These comprise non-partisan persons who are mandated to lead the government for three months prior to the holding of general elections. On the other hand, in Western countries where institutions of state are stronger and less susceptible to governmental misuse, it has proved to be possible to conduct free and fair elections while the government remains in power.

The way that Sri Lanka’s own political leadership chose to handle the problem of institutional decay was through the 17th Amendment, which was passed into law by a unanimous vote in Parliament in 2000. This law was implemented for a brief period and only partially. It had teething problems that could have been ironed out and the country might have enjoyed a non-partisan public administration, police force, Elections Commission, judiciary and Human Rights Commission. But the law posed too much of a challenge to the over-mighty executive power of the Presidency. President Chandrika Kumaratunga, and then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, refused to implement the 17th Amendment relying on the impunity of their presidential office from judicial sanctions. This simultaneously dealt a death blow to the prospects of free and fair elections.

Government’s role

Bearing in mind the prevailing institutional decay, there are several options that could be utilised to improve the situation pertaining to governance in the country. The most hopeful would be for the government to take the lead in rebuilding these institutions. President Rajapaksa has been speaking of making Sri Lanka a first world country. If the President means what he says this would mean strengthening the systems of checks and balances, and of institutional autonomy, which are a hallmark of first world democracies. The most important institutions that need to be rebuilt in Sri Lanka are precisely the ones marked out by the 17th Amendment, namely the public service, police, judiciary, Elections Commission and Human Rights Commission.

In his first term of office, President Rajapaksa and his colleagues in government were adamant that the 17th Amendment was a flawed piece of legislation that could not be implemented as it was. This led the government to appoint a Parliamentary Committee that met on several occasions to work out how to change the infirmities in the law and make it a practical one. However, there appeared to be no sense of urgency at that time and the exercise got lost in the hustle and bustle and further institutional decay that set in with the coming of election time. Now that the government is firmly ensconced in power and has nearly obtained a 2/3 majority, the time is opportune for the government to revisit the 17th Amendment or to devise a more appropriate alternative to it in consultation with the Opposition.

On the other hand, relying on the government leadership to voluntarily curtail their own powers by setting up systems of checks and balances may be unrealistic. Lord Acton’s dictum written in 1887 that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely was born of his observation of political life in England, which is often thought of as the modern mother of democracy. A strengthened Opposition would be a necessary supplement to relying on the government’s own sense of statesmanship and responsibility. Sri Lanka is a country that is still in the process of setting up institutions of state which are non-partisan and can act as a real check and a balance to the power of government. In this context, a vibrant Opposition that challenges and calls the government to account is an indispensable part of democracy.

Opposition’s role

Reviving the Opposition would be the primary though not sole responsibility of the UNP, as it is the main Opposition party. The UNP leadership has to come to terms with its failure to inspire hope and confidence in the mass electorate. Ranil Wicremesinghe, as the leader of the UNP, has retained the confidence of the urban electorate that has repeatedly returned him to Parliament with the largest amount of preferential votes obtained by any Opposition candidate. But his party’s repeated electoral defeats also show that these strengths are not sufficiently compelling to win national elections for his party. The rebuilding of the Opposition party machinery and the adoption of new campaign themes will be necessary if the Opposition is to play its role as an effective check and balance in Sri Lanka’s democracy.

One factor that emerged at the recent elections was the difference in voting patterns between the North and East which are primarily populated by the ethnic minorities and the rest of the country. Although government representation in Parliament from the North and East will be better this time, the circumstances under which that representation was obtained did no credit to free and fair elections. Election observers documented the plight of internally displaced persons put in buses that took them to wrong polling stations too far for them to return to the correct ones on time. They have also alleged that others were bused by government candidates to cast their votes twice over at polling stations in two separate locations. In other areas the climate of intimidation due to the presence of armed paramilitaries deterred opposition campaigning.

As a result of these undemocratic practices the actual representation of ethnic minority interests might be less than it ought to be and more subservient to government interests than it might have been. In addition, ethnic minority representation outside of the North and East has also fallen due to the failure of ethnic minority candidates to secure sufficient preferential votes to obtain election on the lists of the mainstream political parties for which they contested. Sri Lanka has only recently put behind it one of the worst ethnic-based civil wars in the world that arose from a sense of minority grievance at non-participation in governance. It will, therefore, be judicious for both the government and Opposition parties to consider increasing the representation of ethnic minority representatives on their national lists for Parliament. Stronger ethnic minority representation in Parliament would be another necessary check and balance for good governance in the country.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

CHINA: Expand bilateral exchanges & coop in politics, economy, trade, culture & tourism the stage is set for both to accumulate even more benefts!

Bilateral relations at a new high:

China - Sri Lanka’s top lender in 2009

by Our Special Correspondent in Beijing

This article attempts to highlight the political and economic vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to achieve new heights in development assistance to Sri Lanka.

The BMICH, a symbol of Sri Lanka - China ties

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in January 1957, bilateral relations between China and Sri Lanka have seen smooth and upward development. The exchanges and co-operation in the political, economic and social fields have been frequent and fruitful. China and Sri Lanka share common views and support each other on major international issues, with Sri Lanka adhering to the ‘One China’ policy, which recognises Taiwan as part of China. All past and present presidents of Sri Lanka have visited China, and there are frequent visits of State leaders and high-ranking officials between the two nations.

As of December 2006, Sri Lanka has been the recipient of grants to the value of RMB 63.9 million, credit lines totaling RMB 64.5 million and preferential loans of RMB 96 million from China for development and infrastructure projects. The most visible symbol of Chinese assistance remains the BMICH which is an enduring testimonial to Sri Lanka - China friendship.

Prior to the Rajapaksa period, China had funded several projects including the Supreme Court Complex, the Central Mailing Exchange, Gin Ganga Flood Protection Scheme and the redevelopment of the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital. In the aftermath of the tsunami disaster China helped Sri Lanka build three fisheries harbours for those affected by the event and extended US$ 300 million worth of support.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa being greeted by Chinese President Hu Jintao in China.

The Rajapaksa era has taken this silky relationship to an unparalleled height during the past four years as China emerged as the island’s biggest financial donor in 2009.

The Treasury Department of the Ministry of Finance said China became the biggest donor to Sri Lanka in 2009, with US$ 1.2 billion (Dh 4.4bn) worth of assistance in the form of grants, loans and credit representing 54 percent of the total $ 2.2billion committed by foreign countries and multilateral agencies. The next highest contributors were the Asian Development Bank with $ 423 million and the World Bank with $241 million.

The Mahinda Chinthana policy document embodies a more gradual approach to reform, combining the positive attributes of market economic policies, including encouragement of foreign direct investment (FDI) with support for domestic enterprises. The core of the Mahinda Chinthana is to achieve high growth rates through investment in large scale infrastructure and the knowledge economy, and focus on rural development to help lagging regions. The Mahinda Chinthana is completely homegrown and has a high degree of country ownership.

The significance of the policy is to make sure that economic benefits are equally distributed among the public. Since independence everyone was questioning the economic independence of Sri Lanka and now under the Mahinda Chinthana, there is a clear strategy to achieve it. Sri Lanka is expected to achieve an eight percent growth in the coming years by developing the country as a shipping, aviation, commercial and knowledge hub.

As many economists believe, under this strategy the country’s economy is not being pushed from the back, but is being pulled from the front. The strategy is seen with the commencement of the infrastructure development of Sri Lanka in the fields of ports, roads and highways, power, public utilities, arts and culture. It is in this context that the Government embarked on a more rational and exciting journey aligned with China to create better infrastructure conveniences to the nation that would bring enormous economic gains in its 10-year development strategy.

The key factors that attract Foreign Direct Investments and progress to any country are peace, a sound investment climate and most importantly, political stability coupled with proper infrastructure such as aviation and shipping facilities, electricity, telecommunication and transportation. With the end of the war, the country is embarking on an exceptional development in these sectors. Soon, Sri Lanka would be one of the first countries in the region with the ability to give its investors a written guarantee on these facilities and Sri Lanka would be in an even better position to encourage more FDIs.

Sri Lanka as a transshipment hub
The development of a port in Southern Sri Lanka to reap the benefits of busy international shipping lanes closer to Sri Lanka had been in the air for over three decades with successive governments taking no serious interest in it.

President Rajapaksa, who already knew the importance of the project, presented this study and several other proposals on the construction of the port to the then leaders of the country. Various explanations were trotted out and the project never got off the ground.

The proposal embodied the construction of a deep water harbour in Hambantota, demonstrating its potential of being developed as the deepest and largest harbour in the world, with a location just half an hour off the world’s busiest sea-lane which is used by 100 - 200 ships a day. President Rajapaksa’s Government came forward to give political muscle to a project that would not only modernise the Southern and the Uva Provinces, but also lead the country as a whole towards a future of affluence and prosperity. The construction of the Hambantota port, the dream of President Rajapaksa, will bring in its wake not only a revival of the past glory of Ruhuna, but an economic, social, cultural and political resurgence of the country as a whole.

Bringing economic development to the neglected southern corner of the island was a cornerstone of President Rajapaksa’s election manifesto. A region devoid of investment and infrastructure is, according to the Government, going to be transformed into the economic and industrial heart of the country. An international port, airport, highways and a railway were visualised to the southern part of Sri Lanka to achieve this mission.

Under the Ruhuna Re-awakening Program, the Mahinda Chinthana promised the construction of the Hambantota Port, expediting work on the Southern Highway and converting Hambantota to a commercial town. As soon as President Rajapaksa was elected, he got the Hambantota project moving, and most importantly, through direct talks with Chinese leaders. By visiting the People’s Republic of China three times during the past three years, he persuaded and obtained the necessary funds from the Chinese government to kickstart the project.

The total cost of the project is US $ 360 million for phase one. Thereafter, phase two and three will be constructed with another US$ 600 million.

The project is financed through the EXIM Bank of China and the construction is being undertaken by the China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC) and the Sino Hydro Corporation. China Harbour Corporation is one of the world’s largest companies in this field and bears the national qualification under the Ministry of Construction of the People’s Republic of China for Harbour, Road, Building, Environmental, EPC and other engineering projects. The Sino Hydro Corporation is also the largest and most successful Chinese construction company in the field of hydraulic and hydropower engineering.

The CHEC has completed numerous technically advanced roads, bridges and tunnels all over the world and has a unique experience in the construction of sea-crossing bridges. The world’s No.1 and No.2 longest sea-crossing bridges were constructed by the CHEC. Further the company has undertaken projects such as the construction of the Macau International Airport and the Hong Kong International Airport, the Port of Sudan, Design, Construction and Completion of the Second Penang Bridge Off Shore Approach Light Structure, the new Doha International Airport and Pakistan Deep Water Container Port to name a few of a long list of projects presently undertaken to the value of US$ 19 billion in 95 countries.

The people of Sri Lanka have suddenly realised that the Hambantota project is now a reality, a dream of more than three decades which has now become a certainty. When the Hambantota Port is completed, ships could save nearly three days sailing time, fuel and enjoy numerous benefits by anchoring at Hambantota. It is expected that at least 20 percent of the shipping traffic, mainly oil tankers, would call over at the Hambantota Port, while many of the 4,500 oil tankers passing this sea route annually would anchor in Hambantota for bunkering, ship repairing, and to purchase food, water and medical supplies and logistics. The Hambantota Port Development Project will be constructed to handle 100,000 DWT vessels. It will have an approach channel 210 metres wide.

To support logistics and bunkering simultaneously with the port commencing its operations, the Hambantota Port Tank Farm Project has also commenced under Exim Bank funding. This bunkering facility will comprise 14 tanks. Eight tanks will provide oil for ships while three will be used to store LP gas. The rest will be used to provide oil for aircraft. The total cost of the project is US$ 76 million; the China Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corporation which has ranked among the top 225 international contractors and top 200 international design firms released by the Engineering News Record in six successive years and remains the only Chinese company to enjoy both honours simultaneously, has undertaken this project. To date, this company has undertaken more than 36 tank farm projects around the World. They are expected to work on this project before 2012.

The Port of Hambantota is planned as a service and industrial port and subsequently, it could be developed as a transshipment port depending on increasing cargo volumes.

Energy supply
Norochcholai coal power plant - An objective of the Mahinda Chinthana was to relieve the country from the impact of increasing energy prices in the world market and raising energy supply to the increasing demand of the economy.

This project was delayed for decades despite all plans being prepared and donor funding made available. The social issues were resolved and construction work on the project was launched. Although the construction of the Norochcholai electricity generation plant was proposed in 1988, the construction commenced in 2007. The first phase of the project will be completed in 2010.

This power plant, constructed in Norochcholai, a coastal fishing village 120 km north of Colombo along the west coast, will have an ultimate capacity of 900 megawatts of electricity when it is completely developed. The first stage at a cost of US$ 455 million generates 300 Megawatts to the national grid while the second and third phase will generate 600 Megawatts. The cost for the second and third phase is estimated at US $ 891 million. The construction of the first phase of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant was inaugurated by President Rajapaksa on May 11, 2006. The construction of the second stage will simultaneously progress with the work on the third stage expected to begin in 2012. The completion date is set for 2013. It is expected to deliver a steady and low cost energy output of 1658 Giga Watt hours annually to the consumers, when completed.

The construction of the three phases of the project is to cost US$ 1.35 billion, according to reports by the Ministry of Energy. Financial aid for the project is provided by the Exim Bank of China. Construction is carried out by China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation. This company has been listed among the largest 225 contractors in the world by a famous magazine in the United States, Engineering News-Record for several consecutive years. The Chinese have agreed to carry out the project on a Design, Build and Transfer basis. The main objective of the project is to cater to the increasing demand for electricity while supplying steady and low cost electricity to the national grid. With the completion of the Norochcholai coal plant, the cost of a unit of electricity will be reduced to Rs 5 from Rs.11. The CMEC is using the best technology available in coal power generation in this technologically advanced coal power plant.

Compared to hydro and thermal power generating sources, coal is the most economical and feasible power supply. As hydro dependability is threatened by drought and silt, and thermal is an expensive source, coal is cheaper and more widely available. The successful completion of the project will benefit the populace.

Development of highways
Roads are a line of communication which will fortify communal harmony and act as a channel to bring people of all communities as well as goods and services together. With developed road networks, people of all ethnic groups will find it easy to move between the North and the South, the East and the West. It will bridge the cultural gap that had developed over the past few decades.

The Government understood the importance of roads for the superior development of the country. To accomplish the need, China came to our assistance in an admirable way.

Emerson Tenant, one time Colonial Governor of then Ceylon said, “Ceylon first needs roads, secondly roads and thirdly also roads. Give them roads and the country can be lifted to greater economic heights.” The Government understood the significance of a proper road network to uplift the economy.

Colombo - Katunayake expressway
The important roads in a country are the ones linking the international airport and the capital city.

Not only would this be the key link to the centre of business in the country, but also a major factor in the first impressions created among tourists. Currently, the trip from the Bandaranaike International Airport to Colombo takes about an hour and a half with medium traffic. Devoid of congestion, this could be a mere 15-minute drive. The new expressway could make this happen.

The proposed expressway will be 25 km long and 27.2 metres wide and will have four lanes, two on either side.

Developing the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway had been in the pipeline for decades with former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike proposing one for the 1976 Non-Aligned Summit.

With the initiative taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Colombo-Katunayake highway project will soon be a reality.

The estimated cost of the highway is US$ 292 million of which 85 percent ($ 252 million) will be provided as a loan by the Government of the People’s Republic of China whereas the balance 15 percent ($ 40 million) has to be borne by the Government of Sri Lanka. The completion of the highway will enable vehicles to reach the Katunayake airport within 20 minutes; this now takes one and a half hours.

The construction of the highway was started in 2000. Work was later stopped and restarted in 2003 and was again stopped. Under the instructions of President Rajapaksa, the delayed expressway work began with Chinese assistance and the Metallurgical Group Corporation of China has taken the challenge to complete the highway in 39 months.

Southern Expressway- Pinnaduwa to Matara
A long-felt need is becoming a reality and once more the Chinese Government has come to the forefront to fund this section of the Southern Expressway with US$ 162 million. The Southern Expressway, which is largely funded by the ADB and JICA, consists of four sections - two funded by JICA, one by ADB, and the other by China Exim Bank. The bulk of the work is being carried out by China Harbour Engineering Corporation Ltd. (CHEC) which has been awarded the first bid section (34.5 km long), from Kottawa in the capital, Colombo, 20 km southward to connect the A4; the termination is in Dodamgoda where the second bid section starts.

Apart from the above, a number of road network projects in the reconstruction process of the North and the East is in the pipeline to be funded by the Exim Bank of China, including the reconstruction of the A9 expressway, to the value of US$ 520 million.

During President Rajapaksa’s State visit to China in 2007, the setting was created to make the existing plan a more productive and significant one. The MoU on Cultural Affairs which was then signed strengthened the relations between the two countries in the field of culture, resulting in the speeding up of the construction of the National Performing Arts Theatre.

The new building complex of 33,000 sq.ft is being constructed on a 217 hectare site. China bears the cost of the theatre complex amounting to US$ 23 million for which the agreement was signed on November 25, 2007, for the acceleration of the project work and award of contract. The Chinese authorities entrusted the construction of the theatre to Yanjian Group to complete the project within 26 months.

The main purpose of the National Performing Arts Theatre is to offer a theatre complex for artistes, local and foreign, equipped with modern facilities needed for the performance of music, dance and drama. In addition, the new theatre will be a centre of interest for the cultural tourists, and will support cultural tourism. This is the realisation of a long-felt need in the field of performing arts in Sri Lanka.

The new theatre will be a masterwork of architecture designed by the Chinese and festooned with the image of traditional Sri Lankan architecture. The National Performing Arts Theatre once completed will contribute to the development of performing arts in Sri Lanka and to the promotion of the distinction of artistes. It will remain a fitting monument to Sino-Sri Lanka friendship.

Railway transportation
Under the sustainable mobility vision of the Mahinda Chinthana, the intention was to provide an adequate and comfortable transport system to the people of the country.

To achieve this target during the period 2007-2008, China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan Railways Department to provide 100 rail carriages. Accordingly, the railway authorities of Sri Lanka, for the first time in history, obtained a warranty from the manufacturers that they will compensate the Railways Department US$ 50 for each day, in case a carriage is taken out of operation within the warranty period.

At least 50 railway carriages should be added to the service annually, if Sri Lanka is to provide a satisfactory train service to the public. However, not one carriage has been added to the service since 1992. The Sri Lanka Railway, which caters to over 300,000 passengers daily, faced a severe shortage of passenger carriages due to the non-import of rail carriages for the past 15 years. With the deployment of these new carriages, the Sri Lanka Railway is now in a position to provide a better service to the rail commuters.

Sri Lanka added 15 power sets (S10 category) imported from China to the railway fleet under its 10-year Railway Development Strategy highlighted in the Mahinda Chinthana as a priority. After President Rajapaksa’s visit to China, the Chinese Government provided these power sets stipulating the lowest price per power set at US$ 2.46 million which was the market price in 2003. The power sets were provided by China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Ltd, the sole domestic major equipment manufacturer, which is ranked among the Global 500 Most Valuable Brands.

Another US$ 100 million has been obtained from the EXIM Bank to boost the capacity of the Sri Lankan Railway to acquire two diesel multiple units AC, seven UC (up-country) and four DMU KV (Kelani Valley) from China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Ltd.

The extension of the Matara-Kataragama Railway line (first stage) at a cost of US$ 60 million is also on the pipeline to be finalised in 2010.

Second international airport
The vision of the Government of Sri Lanka is to enhance the economy of the least developed regions of the island. Hambantota and Moneragala districts are identified as potential regions under the Greater Hambantota Development Program designed to uplift the economic activities of the region. The Government’s manifesto contained in the Mahinda Chinthana emphasises the establishment of a second international airport in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s second international airport in Mattala, Hambantota will be commissioned in December 2011 with the first flight landing in the end of 2011.

The airport construction project is under way on a 2,000 hectare land at a cost of US$ 200 million and the EXIM Bank of China is financing the project under a concessional loan constructed by the CHEC. The project was launched by President Rajapaksa on November 27, 2009.

The new airport will be a boon to the local aviation industry while being a catalyst for the Southern Province economic development, generating international trade, tourism, vocational training and employment.

It is obvious that during the past four years, Sri Lanka-China relations have reached new heights and China has figured prominently in providing funding for socio-economic development projects in particular, during the concerned period reaching an extraordinary level of US$ 3.5 billion. China with its fast emerging status as a global lender had provided economic support in the form of loans worth US$ 22,375 million from 2002-07.

South East Asian nations have been able to attract loans from China to the tune of US$ 7,114 million for the same period. Comparatively, Sri Lanka as a single country has been able to attract over three billion US dollars.

It adds to a significant amount although only a fraction compared to China’s total lending package to other countries. All these mega infrastructure projects, some of which would be completed by the year 2011, will alter the infrastructure landscape of Sri Lanka, bringing in many positive direct development as well as trickle-down effects in the economic empowerment of the island’s people. It undoubtedly would mark a golden era in Sino-Sri Lanka friendship.

An unparalleled level of foreign assistance to Sri Lanka and a sizeable share in its history during the past years have been possible due to the far-sighted thinking and vision of President Rajapaksa, with a dedicated team of officials who had worked tirelessly in making this vision “Prosperous Sri Lanka for All” a reality.

As both countries are willing to further increase friendly exchanges between the Governments and people of different walks of life, and expand bilateral exchanges and cooperation in politics, economy, trade, culture and tourism the stage is set for both countries to accumulate even more benefits from this new-found dynamism.

The objective of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to provide the people of the North with all the facilities and privileges enjoyed by the South people!

North to be treated equally - Jaffna Commander

by Tennekoon Kulasekera and Ananda Pathiraja - NCP correspondents

The objective of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to provide the people of the North with all the facilities and privileges enjoyed by the people in the South, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe said on Saturday.He made these comments after inaugurating the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival at Marathanamadam ground in Chunnakam in Jaffna.

He said the people in the North who had been battered by the three decades long war are now enjoying a free lifestyle after the defeat of the LTTE in May last year.

Major General Hathurusinghe said that the Sri Lanka Army under the guidance and the leadership of the President was doing its best to restore and improve the livelihood of the Jaffna people after allowing them to engage in fishing and other activities.

"The Government under the Uthuru Vasanthaya program is taking speedy action to improve the infrastructure facilities like housing, water, sanitation, health, education and transport in the North for the betterment of the resettled people in the North", Major General Hathurusinghe said.

More than 40,000 displaced families have already been resettled in the North.

He said that the de-mining activities in Vadamarachchi and Muhamalai areas are now being speeded up under the supervision of a foreign de-mining company and the area will be suitable for resettlement once the de-mining activities are over.

Priority must be given for the quick functionng of a NPC, so the devolution of powers through this admin body to the North will be effective.!!!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

North and East Parliamentarians should play bigger role - Prof. Balasundarampillai Ananth PALAKIDNAR

The President of the Jaffna Citizens Council for Peace and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna Professor P. Balasundarampillai urged all political parties from the North and the East to be more cohesive with the ruling party with regard to fulfilling the political aspirations of the people they represent.

Prof. Balasundarampillai, commenting on the outcome of last week's election to choose members for Sri Lanka's seventh Parliament, told the Sunday Observer that unlike in the past, Tamil parliamentarians elected from the North and the East should be more compromising towards achieving their goals.

All political parties, the Tamil parties in particular, are entering the Parliament in a totally democratic atmosphere after three decades.

Therefore, the Members of Parliament elected from the North and the East have a highly responsible role to play politically to fulfil the aspirations of their people.

On the other hand, the ruling party and its alliance must also accommodate parties from the North and the East in a compromising manner to make the peaceful atmosphere that prevails in the country a reality in future too.

He said, "Priority must be given for the establishment of a Northern Provincial Council, so the devolution of powers through this administrative body to the North will be effective." Secondly, the rehabilitation and resettlement process should be expedited.

The IDPs who had gone through the agony of the war should be allowed to re-start their lives from their own home lands.

"Thirdly, a Ministry for Tamil and Hindu Cultural Affairs should be established to preserve the Tamil and Hindu cultural identities which had been marred to a great extent due to the war", he said.

Prof. Balasundarampillai said Tamil Parliamentarians elected from the North and the East have a bigger role to play in addressing the grievances of their people, apart from the political stance they adopt".


M.A. Sumanthiran — Upbeat and positive..!!! Prominent lawyer is on the National List representing the TNA..!!!

A New Face In Parliament?
Apr 11th, 2010

By Raisa Wickrematunge

M.A. Sumanthiran — Upbeat and positive

Prominent lawyer M. A. Sumanthiran is on the National List representing the TNA. He sat down with The Sunday Leader at his chambers and shared his views on minority rights, the day before election day.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: The general political mood in the north and east appears to be quite apathetic. Many didn’t foresee a change in government. Would you agree?

A: We have seen evidence of that. However in the three to four weeks that I have been involved in the campaign in the north and east, I’ve seen a change for the better. I wouldn’t call it apathy — it is more a sense of helplessness and lack of motivation. They just cannot see how anything is going to change. Given that perspective, I think they are justified in adopting that view, but we have tried to communicate to them the importance of exercising their vote in this general election.

Q: There are a lot of areas in the north and east that need development. Would one of your goals be a focus on development?

A: I wouldn’t like to call it development. Development is something that you start from a neutral point and seek to improve. The people of the north and east are not at such a level. They have been deprived of the most basic provisions to carry on with their lives. Displacement, if you place the numbers properly, exceeds 500,000 people. 300,000 in the district of Wanni alone. In the High Security Zones in Jaffna, Sampur and Muttur, there are easily more than 200,000 others. Something needs to be done about that.
There is no necessity for High Security Zones in the future. The people must be given their lands back. It’s not merely a question of letting them go back to their land. They must be granted adequate compensation for having been kept away. They must be extended livelihood support to restart their lives and compensation must be paid for loss of lives, property and incapacitation of various kinds. It is only after the speedy restoration on all these matters that one can look to development.

Q: Now that you are on the National List, what do you plan on doing when you get into parliament?

A: The position of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka since Independence has been that they’re a separate, distinct people as defined by the United Nations, particularly by UNESCO.

The Tamil people feel they have been left out of their legitimate share in the governance of the country as a whole. Their claim that some degree of autonomy must be granted to them as a people has not been granted.

As an unfortunate result of that non accommodation, there was an armed struggle for the last 30 years. Now that has been brought to an end, but that does not mean that the legitimate political aspirations of the Tamil people can be suppressed. This being the first general election after the end of the armed conflict, it is important for the Tamil people to speak to the government and international community and state what their position is. That is the role I see for myself in the next parliament.

The Tamil National Alliance has put forward a manifesto and seeks the mandate of the people for that purpose. We are confident that the Tamil people in the north and east will grant us that mandate.

Q: Can you give us some main points of the TNA manifesto?

A: Our manifesto focuses on two things for the future. One is what you call the political solution to the national question. Equally important and perhaps more urgent than even settling the political question is the day to day issues confronting the people of the north and east.

Q: Does the manifesto call for a separate state?

A: No it doesn’t. It specifically doesn’t. But it asserts the right to self- determination which must translate into a federal state of government. The pacts and the Indo Lanka Accord that the government entered into recognised the need for a federal solution. This includes the 2000 August proposals of the government presided over by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

I want it to be very clearly noted that what we are asking for is what has been already agreed to by different Sinhala governments. By leaders such as Bandaranaike, Dudley Senanayake, and as recently as August 2000, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. This is not something that we are articulating for the first time. All that we are saying is that what has been agreed to should be granted.

49 Responses for
“A New Face In Parliament?”

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Daniel says:
April 11, 2010 at 1:09 amA person like Sumanthiran gong to parliament on National List of TNA will enrich the whole House. It is time youngsters like him with clear mind and without any personal baggage take up the leadership in due course. Now that the H.E. has a clear majority it is prudent to discuss matters with people like Sumanthiran. Tamils will like it.

Srilankan Netherlandian says:
April 11, 2010 at 1:20 pmI agry with you our Srilankan Tamil brothers and sisters are very educated people ,that is why they forward this type of Educated Young Fresh farthinking people to the parliment than like my own Sinhalese foolish “Voters” sending uneducated foolish jobless “Nikamas” to the parliment just for a monthely paid “Job”.

Reply Peter R de Fries says:
April 11, 2010 at 6:52 pmSumanthiran does have a small vote but it will be drowning in sinhala nationalism as we have seen all these years before, if Rajapaksa does not allow a federal state as the TNA demands than this war will continue in the future I am afraid! This part of the region has become explosive and Tamil Nadu is looking very critically to what the Indian government is doing for them and in particular the eelam tamils in the north and east of sri lanka!

Reply pinky says:
April 11, 2010 at 7:39 pmMr. Sumanthiran is a youngster, I cannot see him as a youngster through his photo. what is his age.

Reply Psycho says:
April 11, 2010 at 1:45 amWithout talking about Sinhala Government and Tamil Government its always correct to call as united Sri lankan Government.

Rhetoric, theatrics and language can veto understanding and solutions.

Peter R de Fries says:
April 11, 2010 at 6:40 pmIt is obvious that there is no support from the tamils for sinhalese politics, most of them don’t even understand sinhala language but the way Rajapaksa has been treating them and how the sri lankan army massacred 40.000 tamil civilians will never be forgotten!

The only peaceful solution is Tamil Eelam,
62 years of sinhala racism and genocide proof that!
and no I am no LTTE but a white person who has been following your countries warcrimes against tamils for many years!

Leela says:
April 12, 2010 at 7:27 amI have been waiting to get at a white to tell his kind what they have done to this country and Sinhalese in particular while they were here as colonists. But I feel you an impostor. So I shall save my energy until the genuine ones come up.

Reply Psycho says:
April 12, 2010 at 3:31 pmSo you are the “Sudda”, which part of your anatomy is “sudu”?

Did you get your skin peeled?

Mr Fries did you get youself fried with french fries??

Reply Guru Sathyadasa says:
April 11, 2010 at 4:51 amThe TNA people appear to be lost in the desert. They backed Gen F in the presidential elections. This backing is a clear endorsement of Gen F’s views including those he had as a soldier. At the peak of the war, Gen F said that “SL is the land of the sinhalese and minorities should accept what is given to them by the majority”. Shocking to see a major political representative of a minority community supporting a guy with such a view.

Now, Sumanthiran comes out with guns blazing. These guys are a shame to the community. Just look at the voter turnout in their electorates. Hope they get the message and go away. They smell like fish that couldn’t be sold in the market for a couple of days!

Leela says:
April 11, 2010 at 9:53 amWhen the TNA backed General Fonseka, they knew jolly well that if he had become the President, he will neither transfer power to parliament nor abolish the Presidency. TNA knew it is Lieutenant General Fonseka that gave tactical orders to overrun LTTE held areas that Sumanthiran is claiming to have destroyed. We say it is the terrorist LTTE that confronted the legitimate Army and paved the way for destruction. That’s a different topic that has to be discussed separately. What is important here at this moment is; the TNA and the Tamil diaspora have asked Tamils to vote for Fonseka. Why?

I believe that TNA knew very well that Fonseka is a power hungry man. For one thing, General Fonseka is reported to have said that if he wins others have to surrender, and if he loses he will surrender. Whether he did it or not is another matter. But, what kind of logic is that? Then again that is what he is being trained for; for the last forty years.

Recent world history tells us that the desire of third world army Generals in particular is to be dictators. Besides, Fonseka has no moral rules. Otherwise, how could he go back on every word (race etc) that he uttered just a few months back and offer to comply with the wishes of the TNA?

TNA knew Fonseka would not have a majority Mps in the Parliament even if he win the Presidency. One could imagine the way things would have gone from disarrays that followed in his coalition afterwards. But TNA hoped Fonseka will somehow win the Presidency.

If everyone knew that a president of Sri Lanka will be a mare figurehead without the backing of the majority Mps in the Parliament there is no reason to believe the TNA does not know it. Fonseka’s character tells us that he would not be a ChandrikaK in such a scenario. TNA knew President Fonseka (theoretical) would have turned this country to a dictatorship. Moreover they knew such a situation would only bring about instability and confusion to entire political spectrum in this country.

However bad a political instability and a dictatorship is to the country, it fits very well with the TNA game plan. The wily TNA had planned to lurk in the shadows of Fonseka, and call upon the so-called International Community to demarcate the boundaries for Eelam at the right time. And to usurp a separate country.

Now that their plan had gone astray, on one hand Sumanthiran is saying that they are not asking for a separate state; on the other hand he is insisting the right to self- determination which he translate into a federal state of government. Sumanthiran goes further; he is demanding the President who got a two third majority on Mahinda ‘Chintana’ to go back on his word and offer Tamils ’self determination’.

I say; this ’self determination’ is a nothing but a panache for Eelam. If this is confrontational politics then what is it?

Vathy says:
April 11, 2010 at 6:14 pmLeela, You are a fool. In German a lot of people beleived that Jews should be killed because of Hitler. Hitlter did that by telling lies again and again. Now Mahinda has brainwashed you and other sinhalease in the same way. Actually LTTE was very correct in their demands. TNA has come down a lot, infact they are asking nothing. Though they say there was Federal solution in the 1987 agreement there was not enough rights given to Tamils. Mahinda is not even giving that. He has taken away Police and land control. However, Tamils are establishing Trans National TamilEelam which will continue the fight for our rights.

Leela says:
April 11, 2010 at 8:43 pmVathy: I am glad that you have directly come out of the desire of the Diaspora. I wish Sumanthiran and company also be equally frank.

You see Vathy, President Mahinda and those that voted him to power knows that Tamil aspirations, self rule, claim for a homeland, demand for 13th amendment and plus, federal solution, are all a part of the roadmap to Eelam.

That is why he says no police and land powers. We have nothing against Tamils having equal rights in Sri Lanka but we are against Eelam.

To understand the real motive of Tamils we only have to dig in to their recent history. People of Madras state had federal powers at the time of Indian independence. They had land as well as police powers. All non-Tamil Dravidians were satisfied. Were the Tamils satisfied? No.

Tamils instigated other Dravidians to join them to demand ‘self rule’ for Madras state. Indian government had split the Madras state in to three. And ‘Tamil Nadu’ was demarcated for Tamils on racial basis. Were the Tamils satisfied? No.

Tamils voted vehemently for a separatist party, the DMK that stood for 1962 election on separation ticket. Indian Prime Minister Nehru had grasped the game plan of Tamils and responded in a very clear manner. He did not do so with carrot but with a big stick.

Nehru had passed an amendment to the Indian constitution to ban individuals and political parties that promote separation from contesting elections. DMK had to choose between losing their parliamentary seats and dropping the demand for separation. The Central Committee of the DMK met at Royapuram on November 3, 1963, and unanimously voted to drop its demand for independent Dravida Nadu.

Nehru’s prescription is what we should include in our new constitution.
Vathy says:
April 11, 2010 at 9:31 pmLeela, Eelam is our land. We were here even before Sinhalease language was created. So there is no way you are going to demand that all the path ways to Eelam should be blocked. I agree that Tamils made a mistake before independence. They must have asked for a separate country as Ginna did. I have already called you a fool and one who is brainwashed. You have proved me right. India is not a proper Federal State. There is no doubt that Indian Government is not looking after its’ states properly. That is why they are seeing armed conflicts within. India is a Union of States. We do not want that. If you really want Tamils and Sinhalease to live with equal rights and harmony, within one country, Sri Lanka should follow Canadian System of Federal State. There French are minorities with the poplulation similar to that of Sri Lanka and Tamils. In no province English alone is the official language. French in their province have say even in the Federal issues such as immigration, pension etc. Even then when they asked for separation, a referendum was given. Even after that the Canadian government did not say that we are changing to become one country with an “Executive President” because Federal system has led to a referendum. French had left their demand for a separate state. I suggest you read more about other countries. It was a sinhalease who compared Mahinda to Hitler. Under Hitler what happened? You may end up like Hitler and his followers. Oppression never works.
Leela says:
April 11, 2010 at 10:21 pmVathy: You can call me a fool but I am not a fool to call you back with names.

You are wrong. There are no Tamil annals, monuments or rock edits to prove Tamil reign had existed anywhere in Sri Lanka before 1400AC. me one book written by a reputed scholar showing otherwise. Of cause, some Eelamists have written myth, but they were not backed by scholars of international repute.

Sinhalese history is the Sri Lankan history. Sinhala history is not a drummed up history. According to German scholar, Wilhelm Geiger, Buddhist monks of the Mahavihara had maintained chronicles of Sri Lankan history starting from the 3rd century BCE. These annals were combined and compiled into a single document in the 5th century CE by the Buddhist monk Mahathera Mahanama. You can read them in chronicles, Mahavamsa, Chulavamsa and the Rajaveliya. They list our kings and their reigns more normatively and logically than the list of the decedents of the first man, Adam that is listed in the Bible. But Tamils have no such chronicles in Sri Lanka. Yours is in India.

You can visualize what is described in them from thousands of monuments throughout the country. You can feel and read our history in rock edits carved by Sinhala kings. Some of them dated back as far as 2500 years. any

Let me tell you how Sinhalese came to be a race. Wijaya and company of 500 men that settled in Sri Lanka two thousand five hundred years ago had mixed with local tribes Yaksa, Naga, Dava and Raksa, and gradually evolved to be Sinhalese. If Tamils were here in Sri Lanka at the time they too should have joined up. Oxford history scholars such as Rhys Davies say; no proof of continual Tamil history is found in Sri Lanka. Show us if there is any.

Have you heard of a supper intelligent Dravidian monk named ‘Buddhaghosa’ that came to Sri Lanka around 412 AD to translate Tripitaka (fifty two books of around 500 pages each) from Sinhala to Pali. Can you imagine the status of Sinhala language around 1600 years ago to have a translation of that sophistication and magnitude?

Do you know why they had Tripitaka in Sinhala? That is because; the original Pali version had been destroyed and was not available in India. It was available only in Sinhala at the time. Ask Thai, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese or any Modern day history scholar; he will tell you that the Pali version they have now is the one that had been translated from Sinhala to Pali by Buddhaghosa around 412 AD. I hope that explanation would suffix to show you that Sinhala language is much older than 1000 years.

All evidences for Tamil reigns were found in present day Tamil Nadu area. None dispute that. Indian Tamil scholars say; the present day Tamil Nadu had been divided into three principal Tamil kingdoms, namely, Chera Nadu, Chola Nadu and Pandya Nadu for over thousand years. And, they were ruled by Chera, Chola and Pandya kings from the time of written Tamil history.

Even so, one Pandyan King, Parakkirama Pandyan had sought the help of Sinhala king, Parakramabahu the Great to hang on to his capital city of Madurai between 1163 and 1179 A.D. General Lanka Putra went to Madurai with a Sinhala army and installed Parakkirama Pandyan back in his throne. Nevertheless Tamil kingdoms got weaker and weaker within the next few years. And after 1311 A.D. even those three kingdoms ceased to exist. Tamils never have succeeded in having a Tamil kingdom anywhere, since.

That is the crux of the matter. But you will not get it in Sri Lanka. Our President knows how to deal with you lot.
KOOPU says:
KOOPU says:
KOOPU says:

Ernest says:
April 12, 2010 at 8:56 pmThis person is ignorant and fool at the same time and you can´t change her oppinion. What she is writing is an utter lie. She is spreading lies.
KOOPU says:

Jith says:
April 12, 2010 at 7:55 pmHey POOPOO, that key that says caps lock – press it once and you will have Peelam with your Poopoo.

Reply Sarvachitthan says:
April 11, 2010 at 5:07 amA government with a ‘monsterous’ victory can find a permanent solution for the Ethnic crisis in the country by giving proper political devolution to the Tamils. But, Is their any chances to do so now ? Only Mr MR will know about this!
We hope that an everlasting peace and prosperity will flourish with the generosity of the Leaders !

Reply senguttuvan says:
April 11, 2010 at 5:54 amThe idea behind the National List is to gain the benefit of the skill and knowledge of those outside the hurly burly of electoral poliics to assist in the exercise of good legislation. Lawyer Sumanthiran satisfies that need. I was pleased about the language, tone and content of his BBC a day ago with the BBC (The Hub) discussions the election. The TNA has done well with this excellent choice. The election of PHP Piyasena from the Amparai area under the ITAK/TNA has tremendous import in Sinhala-Tamil relations and the
approach to a solution in the coming months. A Sinhalese elected by the Tamils in the NEP? Incredible – but true. Hope, apparently, is very much alive in a landscape when just about everything good is dead – or killed perhaps is a more relevant expression.

In spite of all of this, let us wish President Rajapakse well in his supposed journey to bring peace, unity and prosperity to all of us. He has won – even an
election that is far from perfect. But then, this is not a perfect world.


somawansa says:
April 11, 2010 at 6:25 pmThanks for highlitibg positive sides of this elections . no one talks about this.

Reply Aubrey Schokman says:
April 11, 2010 at 3:03 pmpala demala yanda

Reply Kadalay says:
April 11, 2010 at 4:24 pmUnless we bring in more academically qualifid professionals into parliament we will automatically fall into the Zimbabwe trap, sooner than later…

KOOPU says:

Ernest says:
April 12, 2010 at 8:58 pmBogolagamme was a disgrace, corrupt and birdbrained!


Tamilarasi says:
April 11, 2010 at 9:01 pmYou have said “his” critics and again give “him”. If it is any body in India forget it. My father was one of those who did Sathiyakiram in front of parliment in 1958. He warned that youth would take up arms and fight in his parlimentary fight. Until now nothing we have acheived by non violence or armed conflict other than loss of Tamil lives. Sinhalease want us to be their slaves. India has betrayed us through out. It is time to expose both India and Sri Lanka to UN body and UN can send National army to prevent loss of Tamil lives.

Leela says:
April 11, 2010 at 9:35 pmSince LTTE and Piripaharan had been wiped out, Sinhalese expected Tamils to settle down and live peacefully with equal rights. But, have they? No. Diaspora Tamils like you started looking for new Piripaharans to revive their fight for Eelam.

What loss of Tamil lives you are talking about. We do not know such things. Do you know that most of the Tamils now live out side the north and east. If you call them slaves then you do not know the meaning of slaves. Some of them do business and are the most prosperous of all communities.

I say; there is only one community in Sri Lanka that has specific problems. They are the plantation Tamils that live amongst the Sinhalese. We ought to be ashamed of their sordid living conditions. Lack of opportunity and education are bona fide problems of these unfortunate people, though the present president is doing his best to put them right. Is it fair to put them aside and talk about a solution to nonexistent problems of north and east Tamils?

I don’t think so.

KOOPU says:
KOOPU says:
Tamilarasi says:
April 12, 2010 at 3:10 amSinhala only bill was passed in 1958,my father and others asked for Federal state so that atleast in North and East we could have Tamil as official language. The protest was in a non violence way. They were all beaten, their clothes were torn, personal things like pen, watch, eye glasses were stolen and they were kept in house arrest. In Colombo there was riots. Do you think no body was killed at that time? Know the facts before wrting. Diaspora Tamils were created by Sinhalease dominance. Prapaharan and LTTE became our freedom fighters on their own.
Leela says:
April 12, 2010 at 7:16 amTamilarasi: For 1958,1983 and other riots in Sri Lanka, each side blame the other for starting it. I accept exodus from those riots created Tamil Diaspora. Who ever is right or wrong; such riots had not taken place since. That is what is important.

Instead we had bombs planted in buses, trains and public places throughout that time as if they are for the Sinhalese to be punished. But they did not retaliate. So much so, Tamils have become the majority community in Colombo.

Today, Sinhala is not the only official language in this country. It seems Tamilarasi does not know that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that a government issues its official reports in Tamil? He does not know that Tamils could correspond with government officials anywhere in Sri Lanka in Tamil? I say, if usage of Tamil language is a criterion for happiness of Tamils, then Tamils of Sri Lanka should be the happiest. Of cause there are short comings; that is because not every Sinhalese speak Tamil. Do all the English speak French or Hindis speak Tamil.

Let me give one more examples to prove that Tamils have equal rights and Tamils are not victimised in Sri Lanka. Regardless where they live, Tamils are encouraged to educate their children in Tamil language from kindergarten to the University for free. In Padukka where I live, 99.5% of the population is Sinhalese. However, there is a Tamil medium government school for that 0.5% of children with Tamil mother tong. Do the Tamils in Delhi in India or Penang in Malaysia or Durban in South Africa have similar rights?

Tamils have a dilemma. If we go by the Tamil web sites, you will see that Tamils of Tamil Nadu, India are not happy about Hindis and Hindi language. They point out that the central government of India compels Tamils to learn Hindi for central government jobs even in Tamil Nadu. Being chauvinists as they are, Tamils do not see the benefit of learning the language of the majority. That’s the problem.
Leela says:
April 11, 2010 at 9:05 pmThuraisingham: You cannot con India. Everyone in India knows that Tamils had been demanding ‘self-rule’ since long before India got independence. And, like us, they understand that ‘self-rule’ is the euphemism for a separate country.

The present day states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh constitute Madras state at the time of Independence. And, Madras state was empowered with federal powers at the time. It was vested with land as well as police powers. Were the Tamils satisfied? No. Tamils instigated other Dravidians to join them to demand ‘self rule’ for Madras state. But all the non-Tamil Dravidians in Madras state were satisfied. When Tamils realised it they decided to refine as pure (Tamils) among Dravidians.

India did the biggest mistake that they could never have recovered from social tension even to date. India started its state demarcation on a clear racial and linguistic line to satisfy Tamils. In 1953 Andhra Pradesh was formed, and Tamils were left to concentrate in to Madras state. In 1956 the Bellary and South Kanara districts were given to Mysore state. More Tamils were allowed to concentrate in to Madras state. And Kerala was formed from the Malabar district, the former princely states of Travancore and Cochin. And, when all the others were gone, only Tamils were there in the Madras state. In other words; Tamils got their own racial state. Were the Tamils satisfied? NO.

Tamils put the cat out of the bag in 1962. The DMK stood for 1962 election on separation ticket. It proved that Tamils wanted not more power but a separation. Read above for the rest of the story. All I can say is; India knows your game plan. Save you money, you cannot bluff them.

KOOPU says:

Jith says:
April 12, 2010 at 8:04 pmFor someone who does not know what “caps lock” does on a keyboard, I find your insight on international relations and ICBM’s most intriguing. You sir should be in parliament! with those other asses.
Ernest says:
April 12, 2010 at 9:01 pmLeela, you are doing really good work for the money you get from Rajapakse.

Reply Ram Chetty says:
April 11, 2010 at 9:42 pmEvery Sri Lankan should have equal benefits, equal oppertunities and equal freedom. I am sure that even Singhalese will agree that it is not so. There is enough evidence that Tsunami funds were not distributed equally. Singhalese have got housing in Tamil areas where as Tamils are linguring in camps. Unless the majority should realise that they should treat Tamils with respect, the thirst for freedom will flare up again. There is no gurantee to Singhalese that all foriegn countries that supported the war against Tamils will continue to support.
Singhalese should learn from Palatine and Isral never ending conflict.

Leela says:
April 11, 2010 at 10:35 pmEqual every thing but no Eelam, not even anything near it. That is how vast majority of Sinhalese feel. Not just Tamils all of us could demand equal rights in a peaceful environment but not while a war raged. Do you think we had our rights? We were scared to send our kids to school.

Reply Nadarajah Balasubramaniam says:
April 12, 2010 at 1:18 pmPlaying the game that,” Tamils have grievances, that would be taken care of and the LTTE are terrorists and have to be destroyed”, has seen the end of the day. Now all the intellectuals in the world are clear that the LTTE was only the Rebel army of the Tamils and what happened was a genocide with worst forms of war crimes. LTTE freedom fighters fought with both their feet planted in their land defending it. The Sinhalese army killed more than100 thousand starved and desperate Tamils with full impunity. They are simply murders in spite of their uniforms and decorations. The world has realized this truth.
MR’s government is giving Eelam to Tamils on plate. The inevitable will happen.

Kalag says:
April 12, 2010 at 1:54 pm“The world has realized this truth.”

So what? Who is going to say anything to us? Not a single country can move a muscle in Sri Lanka.

“MR’s government is giving Eelam to Tamils on plate. The inevitable will happen.”

Dream on!! That is the only thing the Tamils can do.

You just wait till the leaders of WTF and Tans-national govt start dropping down into the prisons of those countries or deported to Sri Lanka.

Reply Leela says:
April 13, 2010 at 10:58 amMr. Nadarajah: If there are grievances as you say; Sumanthiran and company should come out with what they are, loud and clear. If they are genuine and do not lead to Eelam, I am sure our President is more than willing to listen, discuss and put them right.

I’ll tell you, no Tamil that live in Sri Lanka face problems because he is a Tamil. Here, problems are not specific to Tamils but common to all communities. That is why Tamils like Nadarajah want to talk about war crimes and not grievances.

In spite of LTTE being the pioneer of suicide bombing, they were just rebels for you lot. And, folk tongued westerners named LTTE as terrorists but treated them as saints. Though their motives are different we know that their aim is the same as Nadarajah and company. Our President has a proven track record; he knows how to deal with them.
What can we expect from the worst criminal of the war crimes in history? Imagine how many people must have been suffocated and killed by the US by dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WW11. They did not stop their brutal acts at that but continued it in Korea, Vietnam etc. They continue to murder innocents for the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now the very culprit and its allies that did worst crimes in history are manipulating to investigate the so-called genocides allegedly done by our forces. They should know that our forces killed the killers that strapped bombs in their bellies, in their bosoms and what not. Whether suicide bombers carry white flag or not we know that the bomb does explode. Say what you like we just eradicated the killers. They are no more. They’ll never be back in this land.

Mr.Nadarajah, you will not get Eelam in a war or in a platter. If you still want Eelam you’ll have to wait for the day that Jesus returns.

Mohamed says:
April 13, 2010 at 12:03 pmTamils who support Pirapaharan and LTTE have no right to talk about the rights of minorities. LTTE’s ideology was the creation of a Tamil Ealam purely for the tamils similar to Hitler’s pure race. The proof is the LTTE giving notice to Muslims to vacate their ‘homeland’ within 24 hours. Theirs was a doomed ideology. There can never be a pure Tamil State. Can anybody in this forum deny that LTTE chased out the Muslms from their homes in Jaffna where they lived for hundreds of years. Same goes for the Sinhalese who were butchered in the border villages by the same LTTE who practiced ethnic cleansing and are preaching against it. As Leela and others are trying to say here, it is best for the Tamil leadership to work it out with the majority community for a peaceful solution so that all of us can live in peace in our beautiful island.

Reply Scrivan says:
April 12, 2010 at 10:11 pmThe proof of the pudding of a free and fair society is in lifting the draconian emergency rule where people can claim the basic fredoms with justice. Now that MR and his party have won again it is time to remove the shackles on citizens all together.

Reply Roger. says:
April 13, 2010 at 3:10 amWhat SF must do now is, join with MR & get ur release then go to the States & tell the UN that u will be the witness to all the crimes commited by the Rajapakse & Bros. they will be in real trouble, & SF will be even.

Reply Daniella says:
April 13, 2010 at 8:49 amWhat do we get out of finger pointing game…please shall we move forward. We have all contributed to where we are today. We have all acted on fear and suspicion…can we at least resolve that we will not let another generation die?
Am contrite and sorry for the pain my community has caused to the other communities in this country.
If we do not support, let alone take steps to alleviate the grievances of the poor, the displaced and the ethinic minorities – whoever they may be – but continue to hold onto our extreme positions, then am afraid there will soon be another arm struggle and our children and grand children will pay for it.
Let us not give room for the evil to flouish, but overcome evil with good.



Reply Shan Nalliah,Gandhiyist Norway says: