Wednesday, July 23, 2008


'Victory day not far off'

-Army Chief, Gen. Sarath Fonseka

Agreeing that the national problem could only be solved through political means, the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said that not only Tamils but also Sinhalese and the Muslims need political solutions to solve some of their problems.
He said that the political solution should be completely different from what the LTTE and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) were clamouring for. Their ultimate goal is to destroy Sinhalese as was revealed by the 'Eelam Pandiyan' cadres, who had surrendered earlier."
They admitted that they were motivated by the LTTE during their training period not only to kill the Sinhalese soldiers but also the Sinhalese people as well".
The Army Commander said that numerous problems faced by the innocent Tamils in the North and East due to LTTE terrorism would not be solved by making R. Sampanthan or someone else the Prime Minister of the so-called Eelam.
Welcoming President Mahinda Rajapaksa's invitation to the LTTE to resume peace talks provided they lay down their arms, the Army chief assured that the Army's forward march to liberate Wanni would continue without any hindrance.
Commenting on recent allegation on the attack on the media, Lt. Gen. Fonseka said that he has a huge military arm with a strength of over 162, 000 men who have been trained to kill but not to assault.
"Certain media personnel, who have been misled by certain disgruntled military officials, do not write in the interest of the people and the country. How can they demand media freedom when they do not follow basic ethics", he queried.
LTTE's route to ferry across ordnance is blocked with the capture of Vidathalathivu.
Some more LTTE controlled areas to be captured before NCP elections.
President and the government will no doubt deserve the credit for the military victories.
LTTE avoid confrontations with the military to minimize their casualties.
LTTE have lost over 9,000 cadres in the last two years and 3000 have been forcibly conscripted.
LTTE Leader Prabhakaran is good as dead and is too old to command a terrorist outfit.
Prabhakaran's true nature shows when he kills unarmed civilians whenever defeat stares at his face.
Army never had an overall strategy earlier to fight and capture LTTE controlled areas.
The strength of the Sri Lanka Army has risen from 118,000 to 162,000, with a reserve of 12,000 well trained soldiers in the North.
The Army was not responsible for the attack on Keith Noyair.
Some disgruntled high ranking military officials provide misleading information to the media.
Top Army officers are frustrated because their personal welfare is not looked after at the expense of Army welfare.
Officers who ran away from Mullaithivu, Kilinochchi and Elephant Pass battle fronts are senior Generals in the Army now today.


Q: What is the strategic importance of Vidathalativu and what would be the impact on the LTTE which had lost its main Sea Tiger base after 18 years of control?
A: Vidathalathivu was a major Sea Tiger base in the Western coast, where most of the sea operations of the LTTE were launched. They maintained this base to smuggle in arms and ammunition from India via the Mannar islands.
Now all their operations in the West are blocked and have to operate from Nachchikuda side, where the movements are quite difficult. The main thrust has now reached very close to Thunukai. The Kokkadival and Kadavan have to be captured to protect the Western flank.

Q: But the Opposition has claimed, that Vidathalativu, was abandoned by the LTTE some weeks ago and now dominated by the military, has become a show piece to get political mileage during the forthcoming North Central Provincial elections?
A: I feel the Opposition must be conducting some reconnaissance missions in these areas. The military is no doubt entitled to get a political mileage especially after capturing areas like Vidathalathivu and Mannar.
Most probably we will capture many more places before the elections. Are they expecting us to sit and wait until the elections are over? We would like to know who the people are keep monitoring our movements from their houses.

Q: They aBoldlso claim that the Army helps the government to take political mileage through some of these military victories. How do you see these allegations?
A: The President of the country being the Commander in Chief is entitled to get the credit for all these military victories. He is the one who takes decisions and responsibilities of launching these major offensives. Wars are launched by the governments and credit of its success will naturally go to the government and not to the Opposition.
Do they expect the Army to lose these battles and face reversals? So, then the credit will not go to the government like what had happened in the past.

Q: You have set deadlines to capture Wanni in the past and also gave an assurance of a turning point in August. Is the military ready to go for this target now or do you have to reset another time-frame?
A: No, I never gave specific deadlines as such but what I said was that I will here to capture Wanni during my tenure of office. And, I never said as to when I will be finishing my term. That depends on how long the President wants me to serve. I will do my best to finish it within a reasonable time.
I don't think any layman would ever think of capturing such a massive area killing 8,000 to 9,000 terrorists in the process within an year. We captured Vidathalathivu and the troops have advanced 3kms within a day.
In Chirandikulam we killed 25 terrorists few weeks ago. Now we have seven km north of Chiraddikulam and three km in the south of Thunukkai.
The changes are taking place in the battle fronts. The Army could not move even 100 metres further up and we fought for months to inch forward. But now the troops are getting into a faster mode. We had only 12 casualties last week whereas those days there used to over 40 soldiers who get killed.
Now they do not confront us as earlier, where we were able to kill more than 150 terrorists a week. Last week only 15 terrorists were killed. The LTTE is avoiding confrontations with us as they do not want to suffer high number of casualties. They have now changed their way of confronting us.

Q: Isn't this pattern changing because that they are facing a severe shortage of manpower?
A: Yes, that has resulted to a greater extent. They have lost over 9,000 in the last two years. The number of cadres were killed in the East was over 2,000, then over 1,000 in Jaffna, 3,000 in Wanni, over 2,000 in Mannar, and over 1,000 in Weli Oya. The Air Force has killed about a 1,000 and the Navy has killed 329. These official figures were officially released at the last Security Council meeting.
The total number of casualties is very high. According to intelligence there are over 5,000 cadres in the North including their political cadres, home guards in bunkers and Nadeshan's cadres. The LTTE has recruited over 3,000 people forcibly. The quality of their fighting has deteriorated.
In addition to the shortage of manpower, the LTTE lacks leaders, after the death of their so called leaders, Anton Balasingham, Tamilselvam and Balaraj. Prabakaran is as good as dead and is too old to lead a terrorist outfit. Normally terrorist leaders are aggressive and young people. So the LTTE is fighting a losing battle while the Sri Lankan military is becoming stronger day by day.

Q: According to a certain media, the number of LTTE cadres killed is different from the figures that you give. So some claim that it is a numbers game to continue with the war. What do you have to say ?
A: The Army gets these numbers from our intelligence by listening to the LTTE transmissions. After every confrontation, the LTTE updates these numbers and they are not decided by the Army.
In Vidathalathivu, the LTTE has lost over 30 terrorists and these numbers are confirmed by their transmissions. People who claim that this is a numbers game are the ones who believe that the terrorists, and also have more faith in the LTTE than the Sri Lankan Army.

Q: You have said that the LTTE's days are numbered. How confident are you that you can eliminate the LTTE before the end of your tenure?
A: Yes, why I say that their days are numbered is by comparing what had happened during the last two years. In the last two years they have lost territories, the East and now Mannar. Over 1,200 square km area in the North have now been captured. This same trend was there for two years when we liberated the East and the same will followed until we capture the North.
LTTE has lost two thirds of its manpower and a large stock of weapons including 2,500 rifles and other heavy weapons. They are running out of arms now. As the fighting is going round the clock the LTTE could not remain without ammunition and weapons to face us. So, I don't think that the LTTE can keep pace with this schedule. It is an impossible task for them.

Q: How do you assess the input of the intelligence services? Are they more efficient than it was some years ago?
A: Yes, at the moment they are doing a tremendous job. In the past when we were in the field we did not have confidence in their services. They were actually doing basically, 'post mortems' on the movements of terrorists and how their planned attack.
Now the situation has changed and we can rely on them who give us accurate intelligence information on terrorist activities, their strength and possible actions that they may resort to. We revamped the intelligence services with some important changes.

Q: Innocent people in Yala still come under LTTE attacks. Why has the military failed to capture the LTTE terrorists who have a free run in Yala?

A: It is a long 90 km stretch of jungle terrain, with a width of 40 km from Yala to Kanchikuddichchiaru in the Eastern Province towards Ampara. The group which had shot at the bus was the same group that had fired at the Army patrol in Panama about a month ago.
They have used the same weapons this time as well. When they are defeated they use very cheap tactics under the instructions of Prabhakaran, who has never being humane. After the Army clears the Kanchikuddichchi area, the STF will set up new camps in this area to deter them. We have already taken steps with the STF to hunt them.

Q: You have taken part in almost all the major military operations in the last 25 years. Where do you think that we had failed and why?

A: We had failed due to many reasons. The main reason was the Army did not have an overall strategy to fight and capture the LTTE controlled areas. We were only going for very limited operations. We launched offensives without aiming to capture Jaffna and there were no plans to liberate the East.
We commenced operation 'Jayasikuru' and fought for three years without a proper plan to eliminate LTTE cadres from that area. We merely captured camps. We were limited only to certain operations like the rescue of Jaffna Fort or the Elephant Pass. The Army started Eelam war I and II just to rescue camps.
At that time we did not have plans to deploy troops to hold on to these camps. While we were conducting operations in the North the Army vacated all the camps in the East. When I was the Brigade Commander, Welikanda, I remember how we vacated Mavil Aru, Vakarai and Kadiraweli in 1993 and in 1994 because we were attacked from the Punani - Valaichchenai road.
Today, we have an overall plan and this plan did not come up from nowhere. We worked very hard, trained troops, then created over 40 new battalions, and then we have deployed over 8,000 additional troops in the East. And we have a reserve about 12,000 in the North, where we had only 1500 earlier.
In Wanni, Mannar and Weli Oya, over 13,000 troops are going on the offensive operations. We have filled almost all the vacancies. The Sri Lanka Army which had a force strength of 118,000 has now gone upto 162,000.
We have put lots of efforts on training and the expansion of the Army. Although we are fighting in Mannar, Weli Oya and Vavuniya we are also planning ahead to capture Kilinochchi or Mullaithivu. The top officials of the Army do not sit in well secured offices and give them orders. Guidelines are very clear and don't give impossible tasks, so the soldiers are going ahead with lots of confidence.

Q: The Chief Opposition Whip, Joseph Michael Perera has accused you of having a special squad to attack media personnel who are critics of the military. Is there any truth in what he says"?

A: I have a large force operating with a strength of 162, 000 who have been trained to kill and not to assault. He who says all these things must furnish all the details to the police if he has all the information. I think he has lots of sympathy for me. No point in him talking inside the Parliament, where nobody is going to take any action. As far as what he has mentioned all what I can say is that these are baseless allegations.

Q: But it is reported that the Army is behind the attack on Keith Noyair of The Nation newspaper who had written a military story criticizing the military few weeks before the attack. What do you have to say about this allegation?

A: How many other journalists write political or military columns? Why should the Army attack only on Keith Noyair. I have never seen anywhere that Keith Noyair had said that the Army had attacked him. Some people are trying to put us against him. He has never accused that the Army had assaulted him. And I think perhaps he is guilty that he has done something wrong by writing against the military.

Q: Is he tight-lipped because he is supposed to be in fear of reprisals?
A: If he has not done anything wrong, he does not have to live in fear. If he has done some damage to our organisation or to a person, especially when he has done something which he is not suppose to do, then it is natural he must be living in fear. If they think that they have done something of that nature the best thing for them is to correct themselves and rectify the mistake.

Q: What is the role you expect the media to play during the time of war?
A: War or no war, the media should write in the interest of the country and not to please their favourites. The media is supposed to play a neutral role to educate people. They are not supposed to create situations where they groom people and make heroes out of them. I do not think that certain media in this country is doing their duty with a sense of responsibility.
We know that they are being bribed, given 'drinks', treated in restaurants and they have their own vested interests. And is it ethical them to go for agendas misleading people?.
These so called media guys are not responsible to the people and they are not entitled to such media freedom. Media freedom is there for you to do the right thing and to be fair by everybody. Nobody has given freedom for anybody to drive their own agendas. We know very well about those media people who take bribes, write and voice their opinion for some personal gains.
That Keith Noyair who was assaulted was returning from a restaurant with his friends and they were drunk. We do not know that somebody in the restaurant had got annoyed with them, followed him and assaulted.
So, especially the media people should behave well and set an example to others. To me, those who stage protests with unshaven beards, long hairs and wearing costumes like in fancy dress competitions are not scribes who are clamouring for media freedom but a gang of thugs.

Q: Journalists too have the right to stage protests demanding media freedom, justice and their appearance seems to immaterial. Can you deny that right?
A: They can stage their protests in a decent way. I do not mind learning from them if they can behave properly. Behaving like thugs! Is that what you call media freedom? They can talk if some thing goes wrong in the interest of people and the country. They can point it out. I am ready to learn from those who have a sense of responsibility towards national interest.

Q: Some media organisations claim that the military wants to cover up reality in the name of war. What is your comment?
A: I hope I have explained the reality of some of the media people in this country. Those who are criticising on the progress that the Army has made, by confining to their editorials can come with us to have a look at most of the bunkers.
It is a shame that some of these journalists who criticize the military have never gone beyond Madawachchiya. When the offensives were going on in the East they had never stepped beyond Manampitiya.
This is how they write their criticisms claiming the military assault and the media to cover up the reality. So, we can arrange these media personnel to listen to terrorist transmissions. But they have to write what exactly that they listen to.
Meanwhile, I want warn these media guys to beware of those disgruntled high ranking military officials. They are the ones who are leaking out misleading information to the media. We know about them and have sidelined them now.

Q: There is a claim that certain top military officials are frustrated as they are not getting their due promotions. What are the steps taken to rectify the situation?
A: Yes, they are frustrated because we are now not looking after them. I want the Army to look after the welfare of the country. Our army officers can not walk around like US or British Army officers.
These people are frustrated because I am not going out of my way to look after their welfare at the expenses of the Army welfare. If I put a weak man to command a division and thereby sacrifice hundreds of soldiers like what happened in Mullaithivu, Elephant Pass and Killinochchi.
Then I will be really looking after them. Those who ran away leaving their command posts in Mullaithivu, kilinochchi and Elephant Pass are senior Generals in the Army now. Their welfare have been perfectly looked after that time. But who looked after the welfare of those who died and went missing? Do they want me to do the same? No, I will never do that.
Those who can't produce results will not be looked after and the only way that I can help them is by helping them to get a job outside. Because, there are lots of jobs for retiring Generals and Brigadiers.
There are others in the Army who deal with anti-war NGOs and the media to insult the Army. These are the people who leak information and pass the wrong information to create unfortunate situations.
So the media should be careful about these disgruntled top military officials. I am not occupying this seat merely to look after those failured officers.

Q: President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reiterated the willingness to resume talks with the LTTE, if they lay down their arms. Do you think that holding peace talks is necessary when the LTTE is getting cornered?
A: Yes, only if they lay down arms and come for peace talks after totally stopping terror activities. In such an environment, the President's willingness to negotiate with the LTTE is absolutely a correct decision.

Q: If the LTTE accept the condition to commence peace talks will the military be confined to the barracks?
A: That will never happen. They can continue with the Talks but we will clear the North. The President had never said that forward march of the Army to liberate the North will have to stop. Our troops will carry on.

Q: We can achieve military victories against LTTE terrorism. But do you agree that the national problem can be solved only through political means?

A: Yes, I think the whole country needs some political changes to solve certain problems. So these political solutions have to come not only for Tamils but for all the communities.
Some Tamil political, especially the couple of TNA MPs who say some thing here and utter differently when in the LTTE controlled areas may have some serious political problems which no one can address as their aspirations are totally different.
In those war torn areas the people are facing tremendous hardships.
The damage due to war is huge and they do not have better infrastructure like roads and bridges like in other areas. People are uneducated and children are suffering from malnutrition.
These problems cannot be solved by making R. Sampanthan or somebody else the Prime Minister of the so-called Eelam. These people need solution for these problems.

Courtesy : Sunday Observer

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


No stop till terrorism is defeated

- President Rajapaksa

"I will not stop till terrorism is defeated," said President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Sri Lankan media commenting on the bomb blast by the LTTE on a train at Dehiwela yesterday (26).

The President said: "My Government and I are committed to defeating terrorism. No one should have expectations that there will be a let up in the battle against terrorism because of the frenzied attacks by the LTTE. I will leave no room for terrorism in this country."

"In its desperation the LTTE is now trying to whip communal strife and take the country back to the situation as in 1983. The Government will not let this happen," he added.
President Rajapaksa said the bomb blast on the train at Dehiwela followed the discovery of three other bombs placed in passenger buses by the LTTE, which were found by bus employees and passengers. This showed the extent of the LTTE's frenzy in the face of its current defeats and setbacks in the North. It was clear that in the face of defeat the LTTE was increasing its attacks targeting innocent civilians. This is the reality that can be seen from these savage attacks,
He said the Government's battle against terrorism was not directed against the Tamil people. The Government was committed to protect the rights of the Tamil people, as it had done in the East. We intend to take the success in the East forward, until we ensure the people of the North of their rights.

The President emphasized there would be no let up in the war against terrorism. There will be a political solution given from the Tamil people. "We have sent a speedy message to the North from the East", he said.
He called on the media to act with responsibility in the national interest in dealing with the government's war against terrorism.

President Rajapaksa was addressing the heads of media institutions and editors of the Sri Lankan media at a meeting to discuss current issues with them at Temple Trees today (27)

Courtesy: Presidential Media Unit

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Final Battle On...Officially
- Army Commander
The final battle to recapture the Vanni is officially declared. Army Commander Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka, talking to local journalists have revealed the intention to recapture Tiger Heartlands. The declaration of intent comes after the abrogation of the CFA and observations of LTTE defensive actions, specially in Mullaithivu, Mannar and Pooneryn sectors.
According to reports and DefenceWire's own sources, five specially trained Offensive Formations comprising Task Force I (Commanded by Maj. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya), which includes the 57 Offensive Division advancing towards Vavuniya North, Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu from Vavuniya, 58 Offensive Division (Commando, 10GR, 8SR, 6,8 and 9GW) advancing from Mannar South to Mannar North and Kilinochchi (via Parappakandal, Adampan, Mullikulam etc), the newest addition, the 59 Offensive Division under Brigadier Nandana Udawatte, which commenced the advance on Monday towards Mullaithivu from Weli Oya and Task Force II comprising the 53 and 55 Divisions, including 1 Commando, 1 Special Forces, Air Mobile, 5th Gemunu (3 GW, Muhamale) and 8th Wijeyaba (8 VIR, Nagarkovil) Regiments advancing towards Pooneryn will trap the Tigers into their territory, forcing the Tigers to go on the defensive. In addition 2 and 3 Commando and 2 and 3 Special Forces Regiments will performing medium and deep battle-space operations, offensive raids and other specialized roles. Newly formed Mechanized Infantry Units integrated into each Task Force will spearhead the advance.

An unspecified, yet high number (possibly around 500) of LTTE fighters, including elite Charles Anthony, Soothiya and Malathi unit fighters have been killed and an equal number injured in recent fighting in North Mannar, North Vavuniya, Weli Oya, Muhamalai and Nagarkovil. The total number of LTTE killed since the start of fresh offensives in the last quarter of 2006 could be over 2500 with the SLA implementing a 'Kill Ten a Day' policy in the five fronts mentioned before, and SLAF's relatively accurate bombings.

Casualties to own troops is around 1000 killed and over 4000 injured since the last quarter of 2006, of which about 25% will never return to the battlefield. These figures are expected to rise to at last threefold by mid to late 2008. SLA's calculations are to end the war by the end of August 2008. Many casualties are due to booby traps.A heavy daily dose of mortars, artillery and rockets being fired at the Tigers every day, who are responding with own artillery. Face to face confrontations have been limited so far.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Paving way for Tamil Eelam....

In mathematics we speak of necessary and sufficient conditions but with Tamil Eelam we have just two conditions any one of which will guarantee Tamil Eelam. One is LTTE military victory over the government forces which now is impossible though Ranil Wickramasighe has been saying all along that "this war is un-winnable" meaning that we should surrender. He will awake from his dreams very soon. The other is devolution in any shape or form however innocuous.
This latter condition for Tamil Eelam is a possibility if Mahinda Rajapaksa decides on the slightest form of devolution which will even in an extremely small way dent the existing unitary character of the country. It is that minute denting that the infamous "International Community" is waiting for to recognize any declaration of independence by any area where the Tamils are in a majority. Please remember that all the Tamil political parties have the letter E which stands for one thing and one thing only, namely Tamil Eelam the carving up of our country that has been a unitary state from the beginning of our history except for brief periods of occupation by enemy forces.

Where the Muslims are in a majority they will likewise declare independence which the International Community will accept with the greatest of extreme sadistic pleasure. To that end the Muslims have been colonizing the Buddhist Deegavapi lands ever since CBK was put into power by a stupid electorate. They are continuing to do so under this government as well.
Over and above all these considerations the JVP has issued a threat that if there is going to be any devolution they will put the government out of office which means another general election. Mahinda Rajapaksa may with full justification think that all the work he has done that will benefit the poor would secure him their votes at a new general election held so soon.

That is where the danger is for all of us. From the day Mahinda came into power the MTV and Sirasa have both brainwashed the rural masses against his government everyday and the government has never taken any steps through government channels to correct the image projected by the MTV and Sirisa.. If all the Sinhala Buddhists saw Ranil Wickramasinghe as an enemy then he should not have got any more than 25 percent of votes at the last Presidential Elections. But he got 47 percent. Apart from everything else common sense tells us that it is too risky to go for another election so early in Rajapaksa's term of office.

Baloney will not deter military operations - Army Chief

The present military operations leading to the Wanni, the last bastion of LTTE terrorists, will not be affected by the false and distorted campaigns carried out by the unpatriotic media or the diplomats , Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka said.

He blamed some media personnel for their highly irresponsible role in reporting on fighting terrorism in the country. Gen. Fonseka said that there were no major obstacles for the military in their operations as these unpatriotic media, non governmental organisations, some diplomats and certain foreign organisations had tried to show the world.

"They are trying to distort present military operations to discredit and discourage the military intending that we would give up our offensive in the Wanni. It will never happen as the Sri Lankan military is getting stronger now", he said.

The Army Commander said that the Army is five times stronger than earlier and our defence lines are stronger.According to Gen. Fonseka, the military has the capability to remain in the East while extending the military operations towards the Wanni. He said that East had not been weakened unlike in the past, where the military captured Jaffna using its all resources and abandoning the East.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Open Letter to Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

- Defence Secretary,

Government of Sri Lanka Colombo, Sri Lanka

The word that is going around is that* “Enough is Enough. It is now clear to everyone that all these terrorist activities are being planned and executed by the LTTE Tamil Tiger terrorists living in lodges in Colombo. Therefore, the Sri Lanka Government should take immediate actions to inspect all these lodges and arrest suspected personnel.”*

* *Last June when 301 Tamils of a population of 125,036 Tamils in Colombo were removed from lodgings and bussed North, as it had been suspected for months that these lodgings were cocoons for Tamil Tiger bomber-assassins, there was a big hue and cry by Human Rights advocates, local and foreign, saying that it was ‘ethnic cleansing’. They obviously did not have an inkling of what ‘ethnic cleansing’ was all about. Perhaps they may want to be honest with themselves and revisit incidents of ‘ethnic cleansing’ around the world before labeling the Sri Lankan government’s alleged act of ‘ethnic cleansing’ with the 301 Tamils sent north.
Here is what ‘ethnic cleansing’ is all about, and not the 301 Tamils bussed north which the bleeding-hearts Human Rights activists would like us to believe.

In 1990 when the Tamil Tigers wanted 100,000 Muslims in the North of Sri Lanka to get out within 24 hours, leaving their belongings and treasured valuables at the nearest mosque, that was a text book example of ‘ethnic cleansing’ /par excellance./ Prabhakaran made Idi Amin look like an angel as Amin had a heart to give the Asians in Uganda three months to leave the country and not 24 hours, the deadline being November 9^th , 1972. And that was “ethnic cleansing”. When in August 1977, the 400 Sinhalese undergraduates and lecturers were stoned and chased out from the Jaffna campus and the peninsula itself, that was ‘ethnic cleansing’. I hope these bleeding-heart human rights activists now got a real understanding of what ‘ethnic cleansing’ is all about.

With that pressure from busy-bodies of Human Rights groups, Sir, your government let loose the 301 Tamils and they took a bee-line back to the Colombo lodgings, terrorists and all.
But what is painful is that these lodgings have been recognized to be the spawning grounds for the likes of, Minister Douglas Devananda’s attempted suicide bomber who killed herself and one other and injured two others critically. Then the Nugegoda market place bombing which killed 19 and injured 37, and now the Slave Island bombing which has killed four and injured 28.
So these bleeding-heart human rights advocates won the day with a shot in the arm, when the Supreme Court brought down an interim order in response to a petition filed by the Centre for Policy to stop removing these Tamils from suspected bomb making lodgings. But, then, there hasn’t been one single voice of reason screaming that there have been human rights violations by the Tamil Tigers abusing the right to life by snuffing out the breaths of the unfortunate innocent victims who were killed by these terrorists assassins by detonating their planted bombs. The question that goes begging is who has the democratic rights –is it the Tamil Tiger terrorists who are allowed to go about killing with impunity or is it the innocent civilians who have a right to life, and are killed by these Tamil terrorists for no reason at all? That is indeed the million dollar question.

Another question that needs to be answered is, was the rounding up of Colombo’s transient lodgers who were all Tamils from the North, to be checked out by the law enforcing authorities a fair price to pay, because some among them would, very likely go out and plant a bomb to kill scores of innocent civilians. Is the government abdicating its responsibility to guard the right to life of its subjects by giving into these bleeding-heart human rights activists with knee-jerk reactions?

But what is needed here is to keep the eye on the ball. The fact is that Sri Lanka is at war, and we’ve got to make sure that we do not harbour Tamil Tigers, mousing-up with tripping wires, detonators, exploding chemicals, gunny bags filled with millions of lead pellets and suicide body packs, and later for them to go out and plant the assembled bombs to kill hundreds of people.
If there was one suicide bomber among the 301 Tamils bussed back to the north only to be kept away from Colombo, then it would have been a substantial winning for the government even though having been lambasted by Human Rights critics, as the Devananda, Nugegoda and Slave Island bombings would have never happened. At that point Sri Lanka could have told these bleeding-heart human rights activists, to go fly a kite as the government believes that safeguarding the right to life of her subjects overrides sending back the Tamils to where they came for the security of her peoples.

Let them know that protecting human rights is no monopoly of theirs as it also happens to be Sri Lanka’s business, and that is protecting the right to life of those that the Tamil Tigers want to snuff out. Especially when Prabhakaran expects his Tamil Tiger Colombo lodgers sent on a mission to plant a bomb on a busy street in Colombo by hook or by crook and detonate it.
Sir, your Government does have a choice. If you all are not allowed by Human Rights activists to sieve out these assassins from the private lodgings as one would use a pest controller to get rid of vermin, then for God’s sake have these underground bomb assembling lodgings closed for good. Remember, the government has a role to play in this feud. To keep Law and Order as well as guarding the right to life of its citizens, and the latter would certainly override removing the transient Tamils from these suspicious lodgings. There is no reason to hesitate. Just, do it.

Asoka Weerasinghe


Proscription on LTTE soon

The Cabinet has discussed its action to Proscription of the LTTE soon.
The Cabinet has already discussed the issue in the wake of annulling the CFA, which, says Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka, was already dead. All what the government has done is to write the death certificate, according to the Minister. He recalled that the JHU (then Sihala Urumaya) was the first to oppose the CFA on the very day it was signed.

Those who expressed their opposition included Champika Ranawaka, Ven. Ranpathwila Wimalarathana Thera, former DIG (Crimes) H.M.G.B. Kotakadeniya. As expected right from the start the LTTE began violating the agreement and the process reached its climax with the Mavil Aru incident. To date the Tigers have violated the CFA over 300 times.
Govt. shouldn't try to walk on one leg
-By C P Kuruppu

The People know that the government is winning the war on terrorism and they salute the heroic forces for the sacrifices they make while achieving the victories. But the government should not expect to remain popular only on its military achievements. It is just like trying to walk with one leg.

The fact is that 2008 does appear a happy year to consumers. With the start of the New Year the consumers have had to pay more for their essential food items like dhal, sugar and potatoes. The Shell gas price has gone up by Rs. 175. The prices of bakery products had shot up two weeks ago due to the increased price of wheat flour by the Prima Company. The average price of rice is around Rs.60 per kilo and a coconut is Rs. 30.

The people expect the government to take steps in the New Year to ease their unbearable burden on the commodity prices. But it has not happened and this could be a stumbling block in achieving national. The government knew that the prices will go up. The import tax concessions given to the importers of essential food items came to an end on the 25th December 2007 . The Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) has allowed the Shell Gas Company to increase the price of a gas cylinder. Prima increased the flour prices with informing the CPA.

During the budget debate the government said that it has given many concessions under the budget and has taken many other steps to reduce the prices. The Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardene now says the prices of essential goods will be stabilised by April 2008. Does that mean the government expect the consumers to wait for another three months till April to buy their essential commodities at reasonable prices? We hope not. The budget proposals are for a whole year. The ordinary consumer cannot wait for a full year till the proposals are materialised. They expect the government to take steps, even out side the scope of the budget to ease their burden.

The Commodity Importers say that with the lifting of the tax concessions given to them the prices of eight commodities like, potatoes, green gram, gram, dry chillies, sugar two types of dhal and tin fish had gone up. Apart from the prices of those products the prices of local products like rice and coconut and vegetables also have also gone up.
It is unlikely that the prices of the rice and coconut would come down unless the government steps in. The traders say that the December floods in the paddy and vegetable producing areas and coconut tree disease in the Matara District helped the prices to go up. But the consumers believe that the real reason is hoarding and black marketing.

The Prima Company increased wheat flour prices for the sixth time in one year making the prices of bakery products to shot up again. The government is going to introduce an amended Consumer Protection Bill to prod the Prima. In the mean time the government imported from China a thousand ton consignment of wheat flour and distributed among low income groups.
The CPA has again allowed the Shell Gas Company to increase the gas prices by Rs.175. Its new price is Rs. 1488. This is the sixth time that the Shell Gas increased its prices in 2007. With regard to gas and other fuel prices not only the government of Sri Lanka but also the government of America is unable to keep the price down as the world crude oil prices have again shot up again nearing $100 mark.

There are two other commodities of which the prices have sky rocketed. They are the wheat flour and the milk powder. The government has given long and mid term concession given to develop the production of rice which is the best alternative to wheat flour and the production milk and animal husbandry. But the consumers believe that the government should have given them subsidies to cushion the high cost of wheat flour and the milk powder, at least until their international prices come down. The people expected the government to take sufficient steps in the New Year to ease out their burden.

The rising cost of wheat flour and milk powder is a temporary one. The prices of these two commodities have gone up due to the prevailing severe drought conditions for more than a year in the wheat and milk producing countries. We all know that just after a drought a good weather prevails. Then the wheat and milk production will naturally go up and the prices will come down. Until such time the government must step in to ease the burden on the people.
It is important that with out delay the government must identify some of the projects and areas where the wastage and corruption is high and try to curb them immediately. The money saved from those projects may be diverted to give concessions to needy consumers of essential goods, especially to those of the low income groups. If immediate action is not taken the government's popularity will slump.

The government should not forget that people's stomachs too speak. Not only the UNP but also the JVP, a constituent party of the UPFA that won on betel leaf symbol is attacking the government on rising cost of living. They do it because it is one of the issues that directly affect the common man and an issue that they can capitalise to the fullest. The Mahinda Rajapaksa government must remember that Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike's government did a lot of good work for the wellbeing of the common man but her government was defeated at the 1977 General Elections on cost of living issue.
Government to annul CFA
- goodbye to SLMM

The government annulled with effect from Jan.2 the so-called the ceasefire agreement and the 'memorandum of understanding' (MOU) between the LTTE terrorists and the Sri Lankan State in 2002. The decision will be conveyed to the Norwegian Government and other relevant parties within 14 days in accordance with clause 4 of the CFA.

It brings an end to the 'services' of the so-called Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission which was little more than a scarecrow during this period. The SLMM - staffed with Scandinavians - rarely condemned the Tigers' ceasefire violations. Instead they were more interested in finding fault with the Security Forces and the Government.

The agreement was signed by the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Tiger 'Supremo' Velupillai Prabhakaran alias the self-styled Sun God. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga was informed of the CFA only at the last minute. The agreement gave the LTTE the idea that it was a legitimate organization and began imposing customs duties and other taxes on those using the A-9 road. At the same time the LTTE backed out of peace talks on several occasions giving flimsy excuses and violated the CFA an umpteen number of times. The so-called peace that prevailed at the time gave LTTE cadres grand opportunity to enter government controlled areas and assassinate at will members of the State's intelligence services.
Govt will liberate North soon
- President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserts that his Government which liberated the East, would likewise liberate the North as well by next year and provide equal health facilities to all by the provision of a fully-equipped hospital in every district.

President Rajapaksa made this assertion last Tuesday at Temple Trees where he felicitated the Ampara Hospital staff on their being awarded an internationally renowned Asia-Pacific Region 'Quality' Award in recognition of the qualitative service. This is believed to be the first ever of its kind to be awarded to a government institution.

The President said that the Government was making a colossal investment annually in the health sector envisaging a quality and optimum service to the people who have great faith and expectations in the Government Hospitals, its doctors and the nursing staff.
He praised and thanked the Ampara Hospital staff who had shunned petty ideologies and worked with team-spirit and commitment to achieve the high standards.
President Rajapaksa underscored the importance of installing 'Bio-Metric' machines in all government institutions, inclusive of the health sector in which there had been much anxiety in the recent past.

"This measure which would be extended to Parliamentarians too, would help enhance efficiency in the public service", he added. President Rajapaksa also made a presentation of awards to the Ampara Hospital staff.
Health and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva speaking on the occasion, lauded the services of the Ampara Hospital staff who had done a yeoman service and qualified for an award. "This was a classic example where the attention of the whole world was focused on Sri Lanka's entire health sector", Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.

Ampara Hospital Medical Superintendent P.K. Lanka Jayasinghe said a qualitative shift for the better could be made within the public service, if there could be a paradigm shift in the development of idealogies and concepts. Minister and Ampara District Parliamentarian P. Dayarathna, the Acting Health Ministry Secretary, Secretary-General of Health Services, Dr. Krishan Silva, K.V.C. Janaka, J. Dahanayake and other officials of the Nursing staff participated.

LTTE could be banned if attacks continue
- President
Government may outlaw the Tigers if they continue to mount large scale attacks, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said last night.
"One or two more attacks, we have no option," Rajapaksa told reporters after hosting a Christmas evening. "(We will) have to ban." "There is a limit to our patience," he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
He said he would seek peace while continuing to fight the Tigers and did not view the two as mutually exclusive. "We are convinced peace is possible only if we can weaken the LTTE militarily," Rajapaksa said. The LTTE is outlawed as a terrorist group by a host of nations, including the United States, Britain, India and the European Union.
The LTTE was initially banned in 1998 after the attack on the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy.
The proscription was lifted along with the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002. The Government recently banned the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation, a front organisation of the LTTE.

Loud and clear message to traitors
By Gomin Dayasiri

The message has been transmitted loud and clear –the government cannot be dismantled provided the struggle against the LTTE is properly directed. The credit should go more to Brother Gothabhaya than to the President. It's the war that saved the day for the PA government. Whatever the foreign funded NGO's may say majority of the people support the war as reflected in the vote in Parliament. It is indeed a vote more to show loyalty to the Forces- an obvious patriotic phenomenon during an ongoing war.

The message comes out meaningfully due more to the stand of the JVP. It shows that the patriotic forces which stood together at the presidential election have coalesced again, in crisis time, to defeat the forces disloyal to the nation. In the case of the UNP it is not mere disloyalty; in it is a desire to gain power rapidly, so national interest is thrown to wind and a ready willingness is shown to cohabit with the public enemy No 1. Naturally UNP is a serial loser. To the credit of the JVP they did not succumb; and does not seek any return unlike the rebels from the UNP to whom some carrot has to be offered. Indeed the JVP would have incurred the wrath if the war efforts were thwarted.

The JVP stand kills any further efforts to defeat the government; for 38 members by declining has delivered the message- though opposing the government on other fronts including major differences on political stances- it will not permit the UNP to emerge provided the war effort is relentlessly pursued successfully .Again UNP has always played Santa Claus to the LTTE and become a chimney sweep.

The temptation to defect is diminished in the governing party as the possibility of a near election recedes into the background as 38 votes reflect a bulk. CWC becomes in the circumstances, irrelevant. The UNP failed to read the obvious road signs and suffered another set back in having over identified with forces associated with the LTTE. Ranil is the President best bet for his political longevity. It also means Presidents future is dependent on the successful early completion of the war.The technique of the agents of the LTTE would be to drive a wedge between the government and the JVP to change the equation in Parliament. The losers title at the budget goes to Anura Bandaranaike who probably has cupboard full of such trophies. To Ranil's worth with experience he has learnt to take defeat gracefully and live to fight another day which deserves an honorable mention
Terrorism has no place in modern history
- President
Terrorism has no place in modern history. It is not an acceptable means of expressing political dissent. There is no excuse for killing innocent children, women and men and terrorise innocent civilians, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the ODA Committee of the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament yesterday (10).
The President told the Japanese Parliament that while vigourously countering terrorist threats, the government is" firmly committed to work with all stakeholders in promoting a political settlement."
He also requested "the Government and people of Japan to exert pressure on the LTTE to give up terrorism and come to negotiations in order to find a political solution which will be beneficial to all Sri Lankans."
The President also expressed "gratitude to the Government of Japan, its people and the ODA Committee for standing by us in promoting peace through development and understanding of our concerns.'

Full text of the speech:

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I address you today in the Diet Building during my first official visit to Japan as the President of Sri Lanka. At the outset, let me express my sincere appreciation to you and the Government of Japan for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation.
Japan and Sri Lanka have enjoyed a long standing friendship since 7th Century AD when a Japanese Buddhist scholar Amoga Vajira visited Sri Lanka to study Buddhism under Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks in our ancient capital of Anuradhapura. Since then, we have remained loyal friends to each other. Our diplomatic relationship itself has now been over 50 years and continues to remain strong. The role played by Japan in the development of our country during this period is unique and commendable. In fact Japan has emerged as our lead partner in development.
Excellencies, at present, Japanese ODA accounts for 60 percent of the bilateral assistance and 40 percent of the total ODA received by Sri Lanka. The Japanese ODA in Sri Lanka has contributed to build up modern infrastructure facilities. They cover wide areas including telecommunications, sea ports and air ports, highways and bridges, power generation and distribution system, water supply and irrigation, hospitals and schools. The construction of our Parliamentary Complex, National Television Network and the National Blood Bank are also landmark contributions made by your government. The ODA has also helped the growth of SMEs, the development of lagging regions, poverty reduction and peace building efforts.
Excellencies, I wish to place on record that Japan was the first to extend its generosity when our country was hit by the unprecedented tsunami disaster in December 2004, which cost us nearly 40,000 lives. I am proud to say that we have now bounced back successfully and wish to extend my sincere gratitude for the unprecedented level of humanity shown towards us by you. The role played by Japan would remain in our minds for many more years to come.
Excellencies, almost after one year of the tsunami disaster, I received a mandate from the people to lead my country as their elected President. Based on the election mandate, my government has now commenced the implementation of "Mahinda Chinthana": A vision towards a New Sri Lanka the Ten Year Development Horizon Framework 2006 - 2016 to create a strong national economy with equal development opportunities to all. The ten year development framework gives the highest priority to develop modern infrastructure consisting of electricity, expressways and national road network, modern irrigation and drinking water facilities, ports and air ports. Equal priority is also given for the development of education and health facilities as well as culture, art and religion recognizing the home grown values of our diverse society.
Excellencies, I strongly believe that the benefits of economic development must reflect at the community level. Our development in the past has been Colombo based and remained lopsided. Many Provinces in the South, East, Central and North have lagged behind. The thrust of my economic policy strategy is to expand the development beyond our capital city and Western Province. We have therefore, given highest consideration for rural development programmes through "Gama Neguma" - a community based development initiative to empower people. I am glad that the Government of Japan through its ODA has recognized such principles and extended financial assistance for SME sector development as well as small and medium scale infrastructure development projects at rural level. The remarkable contribution by Japan to reduce poverty through provision of infrastructure and market facilities for agriculture is amply demonstrated by the Udawalawe Irrigation Project, which will be completed next year with a total investment in excess of 9 billion Yen.
Excellencies, since I assumed office as the President of Sri Lanka, your ODA programme has assisted our government to speed up the implementation of several important infrastructure projects under Randora - the infrastructure initiative of my Government. The development of a four lane Southern Expressway will connect several backward Southern Districts to the commercial hub of our economy. A further support has been granted to build a six lane Outer Circular Road to expand the development boundaries of Western province. The development of a modern terminal building at our international airport has completed recently and further expansion is being lined up.
The work on the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project has been accelerated. This project can be a strong candidate for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) credit. In line with the commitment to create an environment friendly power generation strategy in the long run, we have requested assistance for LNG based power generation and related infrastructure development. In my 2008 budget speech to the Parliament, I have emphasized the need for environment considerations and outlined new initiatives for environment friendly development in our country which is consistent with the ODA policies of Japan.
The economic development is the key to promote peace and democracy. In the context of our country, development in the lagging regions, whether they are in the South or North can no longer be delayed. I am encouraged that you believe in development as a necessary step towards promoting peace.
In appreciation of such efforts, let me refer to a few ODA initiatives of Japan in our country. The construction of Manampitiya Bridge which connects the Eastern Province was commenced when I was the Prime Minister and Minister of Highways. Very recently, it was completed and I commended it as a "peace bridge". I am encouraged that Japan has commenced the construction of a similar peace bridge in Mannar which is also an area that the government has liberated from terrorists in addition to the East. As you have helped us to build the Kilinochchi Hospital, I am also determined that we will together build the Jaffna Teaching Hospital and complete another peace building project soon.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me also mention that our Government has successfully commissioned the Jaffna and Trincomalee Court Complexes and initiated the development of Jaffna Water Supply Scheme and several other infrastructure projects with the assistance of other development partners as well for the benefit of people in the North and East who have suffered enough from the LTTE terror and violence.
Excellencies, having given the priority for the development of lagging regions, we have requested from the Government of Japan to fund Moragahakanda Multi Purpose Development Scheme under the 40th Yen Loan Package. This project will divert water to the Eastern Province and boarder areas of North Central Province. An accelerated implementation of this large project will certainly contribute towards achieving peace and development in our country.
Excellencies, since last year, Japanese ODA to Sri Lanka has exceeded 40 billion Yen. We expect this level of assistance each year over the next three years from your Government in support of our ten year development initiative. During last two years, we have improved the project implementation and aid utilization with the cooperation and assistance of the officials of JBIC and JICA and with the able and dynamic leadership of H.E. the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka and commitment of his staff. We value it very much indeed. I also wish to complement the group of Upper House Parliamentarians who visited Sri Lanka in August this year on a ODA review Mission. I am encouraged that the delegation was impressed with what they have seen on the ground and achievement through Japanese aid to Sri Lanka.
Excellencies, my country is confronted with many challenges. The rising oil prices have cost us heavily. Our exports are faced with global competition. Our people have demanded security, liberation from terrorism and economic development and peace. These are their priorities. Our security forces are engaged in providing protection to people and property as well as exerting pressure on LTTE to give up terrorism. We do not consider military means alone can solve all problems faced by innocent people. We work hard towards formulating a political settlement. We are also engaged in strengthening provincial administration in the East which is already provided under our Constitution.
At the same time, we have designated the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka as a model for reconstruction and development since its liberation by the security forces. The Government has progressed on the resettlement of displaced families and has launched a programme of providing electricity, drinking water, schools, and hospital facilities to provide a decent living. Main roads are being constructed to connect all major townships. Agriculture, livestock, fisheries and tourism have been revitalized. Incentives have been offered for private investments. We are also seeking assistance from our development partners for the reconstruction strategy in the East. All these are formidable challenges, requiring increased resources, time and effort and above all genuine commitment to manage.
Excellencies, we have succeeded in achieving a good progress in our economic performance in spite of all those challenges. In my first year of administration, our economy achieved 7.7 per cent growth - the highest growth in 30 years. This year too we expect near 7 per cent economic growth. Export earnings have increased in excess of 12 per cent. FDI has exceeded US $ 600 million and is on the rise. Foreign reserves are maintained in excess of US $ 3.5 billion. Government revenue has increased to 17 per cent of GDP the highest level of revenue in 7 years.
Defence expenditure is maintained below 3.5 per cent of GDP despite an increased demand for providing much needed security for the people, property and national assets. The budget deficits have been reduced from 10 to 7 per cent of GDP. Unemployment has reduced to 6 per cent and per capita income is expected to reach US $ 1,500 this year. Progress towards achieving millennium development goals (MDGs) and sustaining a higher human development index is on track. However, due to the impact of oil and international commodity prices, our inflation has increased. The government has made a concerted effort to reduce inflation to a single digit level next year.
Excellencies, as you are aware, our country has suffered heavily from terrorism. Several democratic solutions to harmonize the needs of different communities have been attempted by successive Governments. All such attempts have failed due to arrogance of LTTE that believes in only violence and terror. We, all who believe in democracy, agree that terrorism has no place in modern society. It is not an acceptable means of expressing political dissent. There is no excuse for killing innocent children, women and men and terrorize innocent civilians. The government will vigorously counter such terrorist threats.
We are also firmly committed to work with all stakeholders in promoting a political settlement. Our Government has also mobilized all major political parties including Tamil and Muslim parties to formulate a political settlement addressing concerns of minority communities. In this regard the All Party Representative Committee [APRC] has come a long way in it's deliberation and is expected to finalise its proposals soon. In the meantime, the devolved administration enjoyed by the rest of the country under our Constitution will be strengthened in the East and North Provinces systematically. We hope that LTTE will denounce violence and terrorism and cooperate with all these efforts to work out an acceptable solution.
Excellencies, I must also take this opportunity to reassure you that our Government will take all necessary measures to safeguard human rights. In this process of liberating innocent people in the Eastern and Mannar districts from the LTTE clutches, the security forces have been commended for a difficult job well done with absolutely no civilian causalities. However, we have taken serious note of criticisms leveled against us despite the fact that many of them have no basis. We have appointed a Commission of Inquiry to investigate serious concerns of human rights. The work of the Commission is being observed by international observers. This Commission of Inquiry was appointed in consultation with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. My Government appreciates the role played by Prof. Yokota, Japan representative in the deliberation of Commission of Inquiry.
I must also mention our Cabinet has approved a bill on witness and victim protection. We have maintained a policy of open and constructive engagement relating to human rights and have cooperated with all UN human rights mechanisms. Our openness has led us to invite high level of UN officials to our country. This year alone several high level officials have visited Sri Lanka. We appreciated that Japan as a member of the Asian Group of the Human Rights Council has extended its support to Sri Lanka against moves unfairly critical of Sri Lanka, such as the EU sponsored draft resolution. Japan also disregarded a call by the Human Rights Watch to suspend development aid to Sri Lanka. I believe that the denial of development is denial of peace. I wish to express my gratitude to the Government of Japan, its people and the ODA Committee for standing by us in promoting peace through development and understanding of our concerns.
As a major development partner, I also request the Government and the people of Japan to use their goodwill with the global community to exert pressure on the LTTE to give up terrorism and come to negotiations in order to find a lasting political solution which will be beneficial to all Sri Lankans.
Excellencies, before I conclude my speech, permit me to draw your attention to a special project that I have referred to your Government to mark my visit to Japan. I have requested a special grant assistance to build a National Workers' Hospital and Nursing Teaching School in Colombo. This project is dedicated to the upliftment of welfare and productivity of the working population of Sri Lanka. I look forward for your support for this noble venture which will mark a new beginning of our friendship and cooperation between our two nations.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to convey to you and the Government and people of Japan, the heartfelt thanks and the best wishes of the people of Sri Lanka.

May the Noble Triple Gem bless you.
Thank you
Human rights double-speak

In its entire history Sri Lanka has never invaded and occupied another country. Instead for over 2000 years it people have been forced to resist foreign aggression and occupation. The worst of these were those led by Europeans – the ancestors of today's international human rights champions in the West. These white-skinned alien occupiers not only disturbed the country's ethnic and religious harmony but also overturned the island's cultural environment. Their (especially the British) divide-and-rule eventually contributed the present crisis the country is facing.
We are now again facing a second independence struggle against a home-grown enemy which has set up a rogue state within our sovereign territory aided and abetted by foreign moral crusaders and those Westerners engaging in political double-speak. Their political history is filled with countless numbers of human rights violations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East from about the 17th Century to right up to this day.
Yet none of those (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International etc) who pontificate on HR to small fry like us, have never really succeeded in controlling or preventing the glaring atrocities that were and are being committed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Latin America among other states by the governments of the home countries of these bogus pundits.
Since they have to date failed to pressure these governments, especially those of the United States, Britain and Israel to withdraw their troops from foreign lands and cease bombing operations they are trying to justify their existence by 'diplomatically' intimidating small States like Sri Lanka trying hard to safeguard their territorial integrity.
If these global do-gooders are really concerned about human rights violations in Sri Lanka the first step they ought to take is to spearhead an international campaign to pressure the LTTE terrorists to lay down their arms, give up their Tamil elam pipe dream and agree to a solution that is acceptable to the majority of people of Sri Lanka. Then all air, sea and ground operations against the Tigers will automatically cease and the need for arresting, deporting and detaining anyone of adding and abetting separatist terrorism will cease.
Ignoring this reality the human rights crusaders have the gall to say:
" The failure of the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including customary law relating to the methods and means of warfare, and to take all feasible measures to protect civilians from harm, has encouraged a cycle of abuses against civilians with impunity."
Before telling us what we should or should not do Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch should ask the Human Rights Council to urge the United States Government and Israel to agree without delay to the establishment in Iraq and Afghanistan and Palestine of United Nations field operations with a strong monitoring mandate. They should urge the council to call on the U.S. British and Israeli Governments and the NATO to improve civilian protection by:
Ensuring compliance with international human rights standards and international humanitarian law;
Accepting a United Nations human rights field operation with a strong monitoring mandate.
Noted Veteran Sri Lankan Journalist and Editor Asian Tribune, H.L.D. Mahindapala during a speech at the BMICH, Colombo, last Nov. 29:
"The West seems to claim and act as if they are the sole guardians of human rights. This also implies that they own the monopoly to interpret and dictate terms to the rest primarily with the aim of pushing their political and economic agendas. Of course, they have the resources and the power to dominate and dictate which country should have their blessings to get away with violations of human rights and which should be pressured to obey their diktats. They even hire a global army of NGO policemen to monitor the conduct of others who do not confirm to the political standards stipulated by them. Some of the reports are cooked up to suit the agendas of the funding masters abroad as seen in the case of Iraq."
Western baloney on 'human rights'

In a scathing attack on Western double standards on human rights, veteran Journalist and Editorial Adviser Asian Tribune, H.L.D. Mahindapala last week accused Western Powers of pulling the wool over the eyes of the world on human rights. He charged them with jettisoning their HR proclamations as an when the necessity arose for them to defend their nations, their interests and their way of life.
" Their double standards not only give human rights a bad name but also place the future of human rights in jeopardy. Their arrogant actions, riding rough shod over the human rights of others whom they seek to subdue from time to time, give credence to the claim that the place for human rights in contemporary human affairs has been exaggerated and the abuses of institutions set up to safeguard human rights – including the UN – have devalued the promise held out to guide and serve the larger interests of humanity"
Mahindapala was delivering the D.A. Rajapaksa Commemorative Oration titled, 'Man does not live by rights alone' at the BMICH, Colombo on November 29.
He further said, ""The sophisticated theories they tout to push their agendas have come under fire from countries selectively targeted by their think tanks, academia, NGOs and above all, Western media who have a tendency to demonize nations ear-marked for condemnation by the foreign offices in Western capitals,"
Mahindapala attributed the crisis facing human rights to Western leaders debasing the credibility and the viability of human rights by using these selectively to serve their interest.
"Whatever their high-sounding theories and principles may be, in practice, the universality and indivisibility of human rights tend to disappear when the Big Brothers use it as a stick to bring the little ones to heel."
He noted that the United States with its commitment to "life, liberty and happiness" had not hesitated to destroy the life, liberty and happiness of selected segments of American society (Afro-Americans and Native Americans) as well as other nations when it suited their interests. He recalled the murder of Salvador Allende -the first democratically elected socialist leader of Chile (1970-73) and the destruction of Chilean democracy - did not confirm to any known principles of "life, liberty and happiness" let alone basic human rights. The U.S. while creating an image of itself as the most powerful and voice defender of human rights, argued vehemently to exclude its citizens from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Washington had feared that it generals and its commander-in-chief, the President, could be tried like Slobodan Milosevic for violations of human rights.
Referring to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children as a result of a Western naval cordon around Iraq with United Nations approval, Mahindapala said:
"What the 500,000 Iraqi children would never know is that the very institution set up to protect their rights turned against them, under cover of multilateral consensus, and starved them to death. Mercifully, they would never know that the rich and the mighty used the citadel of human rights to violate their right to live. If the UN lends its seal of approval to kill children in their cots why should Kofi Annan, Bush, Blair and their allies be left off the hook of committing this crime against the innocent children of Iraq? When you consider the scale of crime committed in Iraq under UN approval, Idi Amin looks more respectable than Kofi Annan."
Asked Mahindapala "who is there to take these culprits to the International Criminal Court or cut off aid? Certainly, not the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, which is exceedingly busy looking for small fry!"
He recalled that the overall trend points to the dismal fact that the dispossessed and the powerless have not been the primary beneficiaries of any set of rights throughout history. Whatever the benefits they had received came to them like the crumbs that fell off the tables of those who had the power to draft, interpret and dictate either the extent or the limits of rights.
Mahindapala observed: "The history of Western ideologies is studded with the artificial glitter of manufactured theories – from Nazism, Communism, and Apartheid to exploitative liberalism – to justify and/or to cover-up the crimes committed against humanity. Mankind has paid dearly not only to give birth and sustain these theories but also to bring down the institutions built on those theories each time they fail to live up to their promises."
Recalling the past roles of today's human rights champions in the West he said that during World War II when British and American interest were threatened Britain had fire-bombed Dresden to rubble and the U.S. reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to cinders. In Hiroshima , 140,000 died instantly and 80,000 died later. The worst of was it was that the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes knew that these were no military targets and the people were non-combatant civilians.
And these were the very people, he said derisively, who had the gall to condemn the Sri Lankan state for the violent deaths of some 60,000 persons in an internal conflict that has continued for the past 25 years.
"The West seems to claim and act as if they are the sole guardians of human rights. This also implies that they own the monopoly to interpret and dictate terms to the rest primarily with the aim of pushing their political and economic agendas. Of course, they have the resources and the power to dominate and dictate which country should have their blessings to get away with violations of human rights and which should be pressured to obey their diktats. They even hire a global army of NGO policemen to monitor the conduct of others who do not confirm to the political standards stipulated by them. Some of the reports are cooked up to suit the agendas of the funding masters abroad as seen in the case of Iraq."
He charged professional rights activists in NGOs with pocketing heaps of money by living off the plight of the poor, women, and even victims of war.
"Theirs is a money-making business. Rival NGOs compete with each others to grab the dollars pouring out of the Western cornucopia. These NGO activists are mercenaries posing as rights activists to make themselves a name and win some awards while making pots of money on the side."
Mahindapala stressed the need for reviewing the reporting mechanism comprehensively to prevent the abuse of human rights in the hands of these questionable political activists.
"Reporting human rights violations should not be left in the hands of those handpicked from Western nations with a biased agenda or the local NGOs funded by these nations. Some of the UN rapporteurs fly in and out of war-torn countries picking up only the bits and pieces that are useful to their prejudices or their agendas."
On the issue of genuine human rights and duties he drew attention to Mahatma Gandhi's illiterate mother as a universal figure who made history, anonymously and unobtrusively, and remarked:
"She did not write applications in triplicate to funding agencies pushing her claim for funding, most of which goes in this age of rights to maintain the luxury life-style of NGO bosses. Without romanticizing the humble but noble services of Gandhi' smother, it can be averred that in the age of duties the moral sense reigned supreme."

Mahindapala emphasized:

"No one has a monopoly on human rights. It is part of the human heritage which must be shared in common by all. Maximizing the universality and the indivisibility of human rights is the primary task of those who champion human rights. And this can be achieved only by balancing human rights with traditional duties".


- A true national hero

Nov. 26 will the 189th anniversary of the execution at Bogambara, Kandy of patriot and national hero Monarawila Keppettipola, who led the 1817-18 Uva rebellion against the British two years after the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom.
The British in fact never conquered the kingdom but seized it through craft and deceit taking advantage of the public opposition to Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe's tyrannical rule and the divisions and intrigue among the Sinhala aristocracy. No English soldier was killed or wounded in the process although they had suffered many casualties an earlier unsuccessful attempt in 1803 to capture the kingdom by armed force.
The alien occupation of the kingdom in March 1815 signaled the end of over two thousand years of self-rule and the whole island became part of the British Empire, paying homage to an English monarch who was the tutelary head of the Anglican Church. In should be noted here that the former Nayakkar Kings of Kandy - though their ancestral religion was Hinduism - ruled according to Sinhala customs and recognized Buddhism as the State religion.
Before long the Kandyan Chiefs and the people realized their freedom had been bartered. The bhikkus joined the people in demanding the King of their own to protect Sinhala way of life and to uphold age-old Buddhist religious traditions.
The British – in accordance with their divide-and-rule policy - appointed a Muslim, one Hadjee as Muhandiram of Wellassa in Uva. Elated by his power the muhandiram began to harass Sinhala villagers by forcibly requisitioning their grain, cattle and temple property causing a racial and cultural conflict. In the midst of this there appeared a pretender to the Kandyan Throne, known as Wilbawe alias Doraisamy who proclaimed himself king claiming relationship to the late King Rajadhi Rajasinghe (1782-1798).
This gave the people a good reason to rise against the British in 1817. The then Assistant Government Agent, Badulla, S.D. Wilson immediately dispatched a small force under the Muhandiram Hadjee's command to investigate and report. But the rebels captured and killed him along with the guards. Bewildered, Wilson himself led a larger contingent of troops but he too was killed. This prompted the British to declare Martial Law in the entire Kandyan Kingdom.
By 1818 the entire hill country - except part of Sabaragamuwa - had risen against the British. The colonial rulers then sent Monarawila Keppettipola Dissawe with a squad of English soldiers to suppress the rebellion. However the pleadings of his fellow countrymen very much disturbed his conscience. Keppettipola decided to join the patriots and before taking over their command, dismissed his foreign troops, asking them to take back with them their ammunition and guns. In doing so he declared that it was unbecoming of the Sinhala nation to use the enemy's weapons against the enemy.
The rebellion flared up under Keppettipola and spread through Wellassa, Bintenne, Ulapane, Hewaheta, Kotmale and Dumabara and continued for a year (October 1817 – October 1818). But the rebel force was no match for the superiorly armed British who, with the arrival of foreign reinforcements, eventually captured top rebels – all Kandyan Chieftains - one by one.
The rebels fought more in spirit than in might.
In an act of revenge against the Sinhala peasants for daring to rise against the King of England, the British ordered their troops to destroy all property belonging to the peasants. Soldiers entered villages and completely destroyed houses by setting them on fire, cutting down their fruit trees, jak, bread fruit and coconut. The marauders destroyed harvest having killed or robbed their cattle.
Sinhala peasants were subjected to horrible deaths – by execution, hunger and disease. The British laid waste to the entire area of Wellassa (meaning hundred thousand paddy lands). Many a Sinhala noble and bhikku linked to the rebellion were beheaded to terrorize the population.

No Sri Lankan Government will be able to totally undo the damage that the British did to the Uva Province socially, economically and culturally, in the course of brutally crushing the uprising. The repercussions of this genocidal scorched earth policy are felt to this day in the region, where entire villages were wiped out and crops and livestock destroyed.
The London Times of October 7, 1818, reported: ``the plan of destroying all the grain and fruit trees in the neighbourhood of Badulla seems to have been completely carried into effect, a dreadful measure.''
Generations of poverty-stricken peasants of Wellassa have been paying the price of the havoc wrought by British troops. Nearly 50,000 Sinhala villagers have been suffering from malaria – a direct result of the British destroying thousands of acres of paddy land, irrigation works, many reservoirs and water ways to starve the population to death. The water that spilled into the surrounding areas turned Wellassa into a large mosquito breeding ground. Gradually, the jungle claimed the once-flourishing Wellassa, following over a century of neglect. The devastation was such that it was virtually impossible to restore the place to what it was before.

Justice Lawrie, Senior Puisne Judge in colonial Ceylon in A Gazetteer of the Central Province of Ceylon wrote: ``… The story of English rule in the Kandyan country during 1817 and 1818 cannot be related without shame. In 1819 hardly a member of the leading families, the heads of the people, remained alive; those whom the sword and the gun had spared, cholera and small pox and privations had slain by the hundred.'' (Revolt in the Temple )
Keppettipola was arrested at Nuwara Kalaviya, Anuradhapura in October 1818. Following his arrest and that of his lieutenant Madugalle, both were tried by a Court Martial on November 13 and sentenced to death on November 26, 1818. Both of them were beheaded.
Altogether, the death penalty was imposed on 29 rebel leaders while 27 others, including Pilimathalawe, Ihagama, were banished from the country. Ihagama, once a bhikku, was the guiding force behind the rebellion that Keppettipola led.

The then British Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals in Sri Lanka Henry Marshall was sympathetic to Keppettipola and visited him in prison on several occasions. To Marshall (a Scotsman) Keppettipola was like the Scottish Freedom Fighter, Sir William Wallace, whom the English executed in 1306 for `treason' after he rebelled against King Edward I.
Marshall was so impressed by the Kandyan Chief's bravery and intellect that he took possession of the rebel leader's skull after the execution and presented it to the Phrenological Society of Edinburgh. Returned to Sri Lanka in 1955, the skull now rests in a monument in the Kandy esplanade. A statue of him stands on the Nuwara-Eliya-Badulla road backing the Uva hills where he fought for his motherland.
A very fair British historian, Marshall's believed that ``had the insurrection been successful he would have been honoured and characterized as a patriot instead of being stigmatized and punished as a traitor.''
To this day, tiny villages are found in the Uva Province – up in the mountains and deep down in the valleys. In these huts scattered in the most inaccessible areas live the descendants of the few survivors who escaped the wrath of British troops and hid in remote hamlets.
There were no international human rights organizations in that era to condemn British barbarism in Uva whereas today they are the very people - among others - who periodically pontificate on HR situations in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the crisis-ridden Third World.
After the Uva rebellion was crushed the British Colonial Government embarked on a policy of appropriating on one pretext or another millions of acres of land belonging to peasants in the Kandyan provinces and sold them to British capitalists at the nominal price of one shilling per acre. There is no record of the number of Kandyan peasants rendered landless and homeless by this inhuman act perpetrated between 1833 and 1886.
Six years ago the Uva Provincial Council decided to explore the possibility of seeking compensation from the UK Government for the mindless destruction the British colonialists caused to Wellassa. The then Uva Chief Minister Samaraweera Weerawanni, UNP Parliamentarians W.J.M. Lokubandara (present Speaker) and Dharmadasa Banda were among those who mooted the idea.
The failure of the 1818 rebellion was the beginning of the end of Sri Lanka's dignity as a nation. As Justice Lawrie noted: ``The descendants of the higher classes of the Kandyan times rapidly died out, the lower classes became ignorant and apathetic.'' Today a considerable segment of Sri Lankan society has no sense of history, culture or national pride. And once again foreign powers and their proxies are dictating terms to us and telling us how to run our crisis-ridden country.