President promises India full implementation
of 13th Amendment
No military solution reiterates Indian PM
Ranil discusses Indo-Lanka cooperation with
Indian PM turns down meetings with JHU and
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on
Friday urged President Mahinda Rajapakse to
speed up a political solution to the ethnic
conflict and reiterated New Delhi's position
that there is no military solution to the
The Indian Prime Minister also reminded
President Rajapakse of the earlier time
tables given to conclude the All Party
Representative Committee (APRC) proceedings
and stressed the importance of presenting
the final proposal at the earliest.
President Rajapakse had a one to one meeting
with Prime Minister Singh at the
Presidential Secretariat on Friday prior to
the bilateral discussions between the two
The Sunday Leader learns President Rajapakse
had assured the Indian Prime Minister that
he would fully implement the 13th Amendment
to the Constitution in the Eastern Province
including provisions of land and police
powers while concluding the APRC sessions at
The Indian Prime Minister had also stressed
India's concerns with regard to the killing
of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lanka Navy.
President Rajapakse however had said that
India should discourage Indian fishermen
from crossing the international line of
demarcation since the LTTE uses it as a
cover for their activities.
At the conclusion of the bilateral sessions,
a statement was issued where references were
made to the assurances given by President
Rajapakse to implement comprehensively the
13th Amendment to the Constitution and
conclude speedily the APRC proposals.
"President Rajapakse also reaffirmed the
commitment of his administration to
implement comprehensively the provisions of
the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in
the Eastern Province, and said that parallel
to this process, the APRC is expected to
submit recommendations to forge a further
political consensus for a solution to the
current crisis," the join statement said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Singh also met
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Taj
Samudra Hotel on Friday evening where the
current political situation in the country
and Indo-Lanka cooperation were discussed.
Wickremesinghe stressed the UNP's commitment
to a political solution, which the Indian
The Indian Premier also met former
President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday at
Further to these meetings, Singh met
delegations from the Tamil National Alliance
(TNA), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), All
Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC), Ceylon
Worker's Congress (CWC) and the Tamil
Democratic National Alliance (TDNA) led by
Requests by the JHU and the TMVP Chief
Minister S. Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan to
meet the Indian Prime Minister were turned
down. Indian sources said given the unfair
criticism levelled against New Delhi by the
JHU, it was decided no point would be served
by meeting the JHU.
The decision of Prime Minister Singh not to
meet Pillayan it is learnt is because the
TMVP continued to operate as a para military
organisation. India However offered for
Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon to
meet Pillayan. The TMVP, informed sources
said rejected this offer and informed the
Indian High Commission that if Pillayan was
not given an audience with Prime Minister
Singh, he did not wish to meet with any
other member of the delegation.
The JVP neither asked nor was offered a
meeting with the Indian Prime Minister.
security causes stir
A major security lapse by
security detail for Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh caused panic among the Indian
authorities at the Presidential Secretariat
on Friday with Indian security forced to
move in to restore calm.
The Sunday Leader learns that after Prime
Minister Singh concluded his meeting with
President Mahinda Rajapakse at the
Presidential Secretariat and returned to his
vehicle, it was discovered that the Sri
Lankan Personal Security Officer assigned to
travel in the Premier's car, SSP Kapila
Jayasekera was missing.
Informed sources said with Singh having to
rush for his next appointment, an Indian
Security Officer who was in a back up
vehicle had rushed and got into the
Premier's vehicle following which the convoy
had started moving.
It is learned, SSP Jayasekera had then
rushed to the scene and observing that the
convoy was moving stated running behind it
and tapping on the window of the vehicle to
stop the Premier's vehicle causing panic
among the security detail.
Sources said President Rajapakse had
questioned the SSP after the incident and
told him to be more alert in the future.
High toll in Mallavi
Heavy fighting was reported on August 1
in the Mallavi area, the strategic town
midway on the Vellankulam-Mankulam Road,
according to government and Tiger military
sources and the army yesterday said it
captured Vellankulam, west of Mallavi.
The Tigers said that the fighting began at
around 5.00 a.m. on Friday morning and went
7.00 p.m. Both sides confirmed that heavy fighting was reported, but gave
varying casualty figures. Tamil Net quoting
Tiger military sources in the Mallavi area
said that 30 armed forces personnel had been
killed in the fighting, 60 injured and that
Tigers had also seized a troop carrier.
"The Sri Lanka Army attempted to break the
LTTE defence with the support of helicopter
gunships and intense artillery and
Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) fire
while engaging the ground forces on three
fronts," it said.
The report also said that Mallavi is the
fourth largest town in the Wanni.
According to the sources, troops of 57
Division continuing their advance towards
the strategically vital Thunukkai town and
Mallavi town have come under stiff
resistance from LTTE terrorists struggling
to hold their strongholds. Terrorists have
lobbed hundreds of mortars in order to
slowdown the advancing soldiers," the
Defence Ministry said late August 1 night.
Yesterday the Ministry said that nine Tigers
and 11 soldiers were killed in the fighting
in the Mallavi area, while 27 Tigers and 20
soldiers were injured.
"According to the available information,
several soldiers have been killed and others
suffered wounds due to the enemy mortar
fire. The terrorists too have suffered
Mallavi has remained the focus of the
military advance north in the
Mannar-Vavuniya sector since regaining
Vidattalathivu in the north western coast.
Military analysts and former Tiger eastern
military commander Vinayagamorthi
Muralitharana have said that cutting of the
Vellankulam-Mankulam Road would seriously
compromise Tiger supply routes. Troops had
reached the southern border of the
Kilinochchi District on July 31 afternoon
when troops from Task Force One moving on
the Mannar-Ponnaryn Road and east of it had
closed in on Vellankulam, the Defence
Ministry said. At least 29 Tigers had been
killed in clashes on July 31.
Meanwhile, UN and other agencies said that
the fighting had displaced over 30,000 in
the last two months.
MR calls on SAARC to combat
terrorism as a menace
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
President Mahinda Rajapakse called upon
SAARC leaders gathered in Colombo to combat
terrorism as a 'menace' that needs to be
collectively dealt with.
In his inaugural address to the 15th SAARC
Summit in Colombo yesterday that heavily
emphasised on the need for eradicating
regional terrorism as well as domestic
terrorism, Rajapakse said, "There are no
good terrorists and bad terrorists.
Terrorists are terrorists. This menace
requires to be dealt with in the strongest
He noted that the government has taken all
possible steps to eradicate terrorism in the
island and said this objective was achieved
in the Eastern Province this year that has
led to a transformation.
"We defeated terrorism in the east. Then
there is an elected minority community
former terrorist leader heading the
"He was also a one-time child recruit of the
movement. That much of political
transformation has been possible in the east
and my dearest wish is to achieve the same
in the north."
Calling upon the SAARC leaders to work
together to rid the region of terrorism,
President Rajapakse noted that there was a
great need to curb terrorism in "all its
He added that the social impact of the
menace was such that it could not be ignored
in anyway. "That's why general co-operation
in combating terrorism is required. It is
beneficial to all of us," he emphasised.
President Rajapakse called for a people
oriented SAARC and said it was of historic
to hold the summit in Colombo in the year it
celebrated 60 years of independence from
He also emphasised on the need for adopting
a common currency for the region, the full
implementation of the SAFTA and the creation
of a SAARC Food Bank to ensure regional food
and Mauritius were formally inducted by
President Rajapakse as observer states of
the regional grouping.
Protocol disaster at
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
There is no disputing the fact that the
BMICH appeared impressive in all its
splendour, the beautifully created stage and
the head table, the expensive flowers and
the ambience adding to the wholesome picture
to the unsuspecting eye. But all of the
above did not manage to conceal the truth
that the SAARC summit inauguration ceremony
failed to reach the mark in event
The far from perfect event to start with,
the SAARC seating arrangement was one huge
mess and an abysmal failure in protocol.
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga was
not ushered to an allotted seat and was
first relegated to the third row when
someone had the good sense to gently move
her to a front row seat.
Causing a regional embarrassment, the first
ladies were ushered into the main hall,
minutes before the sessions commenced, but
were made to stand and wait until seats were
sorted. There was Mrs. Manmohan Singh
showing an empty chair in the second row and
they had to queue up and wait until a chair
Much earlier, an unescorted Opposition
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe occupied a fifth
row seat until an embarrassed Chief
Government Whip and Minister Dinesh
Gunawardene and Minister Mano Wijeratne
personally ushered Wickremesinghe to the
Early bird ministers Dr. Sarath Amunugama
and Gamini Lokuge were seen looking for
their seats in an uncertain manner and
finally they had to decide on their own
Some flags were messed up with the reporters
from the respective countries opposing the
colours used on their national flags,
alleging that the green shade on the
Bangladeshi flag and the orange colour on
the Indian flag being inaccurate!
Besides, the car park too had been a mess
with all cars excluding the heads of state
and diplomats being parked together in a
As for the long suffering journalists who
were transported as early as 6.45 a.m. for a
10 a.m. event under tight security were
inconvenienced when officials requested that
the front row be cleared for foreign camera
crews, two hours after they were settled in
Then there were hundreds of local
journalists who could not do their coverage
properly due to the lack of simultaneous
interpretation of the speeches made, a far
cry from SAARC summit experiences anywhere
Adding insult to injury, journalists were
surprised to find former parliamentarian
Somakumari Tennakoon happily settled in the
The media center too turned out to be a
nightmare with internet getting disconnected
every half hour making scribes lose their
typed copies and lens men unable to mail
Also, there were attempts by the Foreign
Ministry to rewrite history in flawed
English. Brief documentaries on member
countries were shown on wide screen as each
head of state arrived and interestingly, the
documentary on Sri Lanka claimed that Sri
Lanka had a population of two billion!
The documentary on
was no better. In raw English, the
documentary noted “America and its allies
came looking for Osama Bin Laden.”
To cap it all, while the invitation cards
said the ceremony would start at 10 a.m.,
President Mahinda Rajapakse made his entry
shortly after 11 a.m.
Diplomatic faux pas
FM's daughter sits in at SAARC Ministers
created a diplomatic stir last week when
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama's
daughter Dilshani sat in on the SAARC
Council of Ministers meeting in violation of
The Council of Ministers meeting was held at
the VIP room in the BMICH Thursday, July 31.
The Sunday Leader learns the Minister's
daughter had walked into the meeting and sat
behind the Sri Lankan delegation leading to
muffled protests from diplomats of member
Informed sources said prior to the
commencement of the Council of Ministers
meeting in the VIP room, there were several
heads of mission present and were requested
to leave the room by the protocol division
of the Foreign Ministry.
However, the sources said the Minister's
daughter had continued to sit in on the
confidential meeting without being asked to
It is learned some diplomats who were asked
to leave the room in keeping with protocol
had protested over the incident.
The Sunday Leader also learns the Minister's
son Dakshitha had also participated at some
of the other official meetings but was not
present at the Council of Minister's
Queries role of STF
Indian PM expresses concern over civilians
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has
expressed concern over the plight of the
civilians caught in the northern theatre of
war and questioned the role of the Special
Task Force (STF) in his discussions with
the minority party leaders on Friday, The
Sunday Leader learns.
Prime Minister Singh had separate meetings
with the TNA, TDNA, SLMC, ACMC and the UPF
where the current political developments,
the situation in the Eastern province,
plight of the refugees, human rights, the
APRC process and a political settlement to
the ethnic conflict came to be discussed.
Informed sources said the Prime Minister was
told by TDNA leader V. Anandasangaree an
interim administration was essential until a
final political solution was forwarded by
the Government and that the A9 must be
opened for the people who want to flee the
fighting to come into Government controlled
The minority party leaders had also said the
Tamil people have not had any breathing
space for the last 30 years due to the
conflict and that the displaced persons were
undergoing tremendous suffering.
Asked by the Prime Minister about their view
on the STF, it is learned Anandasangaree had
said the new head of the organisation lacks
credibility and that they were not satisfied
with their role.
Minister of Youth Employment and CWC Leader
Arumugam Thondaman has declined an offer by
President Mahinda Rajapakse to pardon him
and two other senior members convicted of
contempt of court by the Nuwara Eliya
magistrate, The Sunday Leader learns.
The Nuwara Eliya Magistrate on Tuesday, July
29 convicted Minister Thondaman, Deputy
Minister Muthu Sivalingam and Provincial
Council member P. Radhakrishnan for contempt
of court over a party property dispute and
sentenced them to three months simple
imprisonment, which was suspended for six
A Rs. 1000 fine was also imposed.
The Sunday Leader learns the President had
on Tuesday night at 9.30 p.m telephoned
Thondaman and offered to pardon the three
members. The offer it is learned was
declined but Presidential sources informed
the media that a pardon was granted and it
was reported accordingly.
Informed sources said, following these
reports Thondaman had informed President's
office the three members do not intend to
accept the offer as reported to the media.
It is learned the President had met a CWC
delegation headed by Thondaman on Wednesday,
July 30 and insisted on accepting the offer
of pardon but it was once again declined.
Minister Thondaman, sources said had
explained to the President the importance of
the three members getting their names
cleared in court by way of an appeal since
it was a matter of principle for the party.
"The President refused to accept our
explanation but the meeting ended without
the three members accepting the President's
kind offer," the sources said.
Dialog slashes rates
Dialog GSM on Friday introduced a new tariff
platform where its subscribers are offered
50% discounts on call charges.
The Lifetime Discount Programme commenced
from August 1 and would offer the Dialog GSM
customer base of 4.5 million a range of
According to Dialog GSM, the Lifetime
Discount programme gives its subscribers a
50% discount on charges for all local
outgoing calls from the third minute onwards
whilst a 25% discount is offered on the
The Lifetime Discount offers customers a
string of benefits valid for the
Dialog GSM has stated that in order to enjoy
the Lifetime Discount, the subscriber has to
sign up for an all-inclusive one-time
subscription of Rs. 477. The service is
activated via an SMS by typing in the word
DISCOUNT and sending it to 678. The one-time
all inclusive payment of Rs. 477 will be
charged to the subscriber's monthly bill, or
debited from the prepaid credit balance.
Janaka hits out at conspiracy to create
dissension in UNP
UNP chief ministerial candidate for the
North Central Province (NCP), Janaka Perera
has hit out at what he has called an
insidious attempt to create dissension in
the UNP due to fears by the government that
the party was marching towards victory in
the two provincial council elections
scheduled for August 23.
Vehemently rejecting a report that appeared
in a news website on July 31 alleging there
is a serious rift between the UNP leadership
and the UNP chief ministerial candidate,
Perera said it was a desperate attempt to
stall the party's march to victory by
projecting non existent dissension based on
Speaking to The Sunday Leader, the former
army chief of staff and diplomat said, "It
is an ugly plot hatched by conspirators who
want to create a non existing rift and a
malicious attempt to create a crisis."
Perera completely denied the contents of the
news story as a 'malicious fabrication' and
denied a purported conversation that appears
as part of the story as a 'complete figment
of some mischief maker's imagination.'
In a statement issued, Major Gen. Janaka
Perera (retd.) states that the fourth
paragraph of the said story to be completely
false and the purported conversation to be
something that never took place.
"The fabricated story further attributes
malicious motive in not holding the press
conference scheduled to be held after the
Supreme Court ruled on my security measures.
It was cancelled with the consent of all as
the interim order was fair and this was soon
made public knowledge. There was no further
need to hold a press conference," he said.