A TASTE OF FREEDOM: Three of the 10 'prisoners of war'
released by the LTTE last week as a goodwill gesture following the ceasefire, are seen at
the press conference in Colombo organised by Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala.
Photo by Gamini Wickramasinghe
|PSD chief faces indictment
Chief of the Presidential Security Division (PSD)
Nihal Karunaratne is expected to be indicted for having threatened the Officer-in-Charge
of the Hanguranketa police station with death.
On November 20, 2001, at a meeting at Horamadulla in
the Hanguranketa area where President Chandrika Kumaratunga was speaking, Karunaratne had
threatened OIC Gunaratne Bandara with death saying he would
kill him and hide his body. Karunaratne unleashed his wrath against the OIC accusing
Bandara of working in support of S. B. Dissanayake.
The OIC had immediately reported the incident to his superior, the ASP of the area, and
made a police entry recording the exact words Karunaratne had used which included slang.
Police investigating the case will soon record a statement from the PSD chief with
regard to the incident. It is expected that Karunaratne will thereafter be arrested,
indicted and charged. When a police officer is indicted he is automatically interdicted.
Section 486 of the Penal Code states that "whoever commits the offence of criminal
intimidation by threatening death shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to seven years or with a fine or both."
Meanwhile, in a separate incident also involving personnel from the PSD, another police
investigation has found that a party of low ranking officers attached to the PSD had
arrived at Maturata on November 30, last year and that a claim by this party that they
were on a recce before an official visit by the president does not carry weight as
Kumaratunga had by this time already concluded her election campaign to this area .
The police party was led by Police Sergeant Kamal from the PSD and had left Colombo as
an advanced party to secure the areas of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya from possible terrorist
attack. The police party had claimed that their reconnaissance was necessary as President
Kumaratunga was scheduled to visit these areas and address public election rallies.
The president had by this time already completed her public addresses in these areas
having concluded her meeting at Hanguranketa too on November 20, 2001.
Police Sergeant Kamal meanwhile was accompanied by PC Sumedha, soldiers Silva, Perera
and Tissera. They travelled in vehicle No. 253-6272.
Their 'out entry' in Colombo was logged by SI Jayantha at 7.15 p.m. on November 30,
2001. Jayantha however did not accompany this police party.
A police investigation into this matter has found that this police party leaving in the
manner that it did is highly irregular. For instance, when the president was scheduled to
leave for Hanguranketa for her meeting ten days earlier on November 20, the advanced
police party that left Colombo consisted of high ranking police officers, namely, DIG
Illangakoon and PSD Chief Nihal Karunaratne who travelled by helicopter to Kandy and
picked up DIG Balasuriya and SSP Ratnaweera before continuing to Hanguranketa.
It was on this occasion that Karunaratne had threatened the OIC for Hanguranketa with
The police party that left Colombo surreptitiously on November 30, 2001 were all issued
with pistols, a grenade launcher and a T56. PC Sumedha and the soldiers were given T56
assault rifles in addition to the weapons they are normally granted.
The police investigation has found that the weapons were all issued on the orders of
PSD Chief Nihal Karunaratne.
Evidence that has now surfaced has raised the question as to whether the issuing of
such weapons to a low-ranking police party attached to the PSD is legal. Investigations
are also being made as to what personnel from the PSD were doing in the Maturata area ten
days after the president had concluded her election campaign and had no further official
visit scheduled. This police party was arrested by the OIC of Maturata after they were
found committing an act of mischief by firing at a vehicle parked on the side of the road
BCCSL elections before March 31
Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed Sports Minister Johnston Fernando that fresh
elections be held before March 31 this year at the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri
Since April last year, the BCCSL has functioned under the directions of an Interim
Committee headed by Vijaya Malalasekera who was asked to take over after the then Minister
of Sports, Lakshman Kiriella, in March 2001 abruptly dissolved the Executive Committee of
the BCCSL of which Thilanga Sumathipala was president.
Sumathipala continues to assert that the minister's decision was illegal and that once
dissolved, the administrative functions of the BCCSL would cease.
The issue is now before the Court of Appeal in a Writ Application by Gamini Marapona P.
C. Sumathipala will not contest the BCCSL election this year.
Somasiri defies Charitha's order
Despite a circular issued by the Secretary to the Treasury and Finance Ministry
Charitha Ratwatte to the public service, provincial public services, public corporations
and statutory boards suspending all recruitment, the Director General of Telecommnication,
R. D. Somasiri has flouted this order by recruiting four persons to the Telecommunication
Regulatory Commission (TRC).
The government directed that all such recruitment, whether on permanent, temporary,
casual , substitute or any other basis should cease forthwith until further notice, by a
circular No. 14 on January 3, 2002.
However, Somasiri, The Sunday Leader learns, has gone ahead to appoint four persons to
the TRC barely four days after the treasury secretary issued the directive.
Those appointed by Somasiri to the TRC are Chandima Asiri Wellala of Colombo 09, Aruna
Niroshan Lokuge of Galle, Malka Kellsi Ranasinghe of Dehiwala and Karunapala Viyanwattage
Sriyani Perera of Nugegoda. These appointments were made on a contract basis by Somasiri.
Somasiri in addition recommended a monthly income of Rs.9,000 to each employee. The
duration of the contracts of these employees, according the Contract of Employment, is one
year, commencing from January 7. The employees are also entitled to EPF and ETF.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week instructed Mass Communications
Minister Imthiyaz Bakeer Markar to remove Somasiri and replace him with someone suitable
for the post.
Norway moots time-bound ceasefire
for govt and LTTE
By D. B. S. Jeyaraj
Norway in its capacity as mutually accepted facilitator is mooting a propsal to bring
about a time-bound ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE as a prelude
to commencing direct negotiations aimed at a peaceful settlement to the ethnic conflict,
it is learnt.
Although not finalised yet, it is envisaged that the ceasefire when coming into force
would extend for a period of at least one year initially, informed sources said.
Oslo has already formulated a preliminary draft that seeks to harmonise the parallel
ceasefires declared and adhered to separately by the government and the LTTE.
It would incorporate provisions relating to a permanent ceasefire, a framework
governing the ceasefire, codes of adhering conduct for both parties, mechanisms to monitor
the ceasefire and an outline regarding the modalities for preliminary negotiations, said
The Norwegians are currently engaged in obtaining the views and suggestions of both
parties and making suitable amendmennts to the draft document.
Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Hegelson led a delegation to meet LTTE chief
negotiator Anton Balasingham on Jan 4 and then followed it up with a two-day visit to
Colombo on Jan 10.
Thereafter Norwegian foreign ministry special adviser Erik Solheim and ministry
official Kjirste Tromsdal undertook two trips to London to meet Balasingham on Jan 15 and
Balasingham submitted a set of suggestions on behalf of the LTTE that would help
formulate a framework to govern the ceasefire.
Given past experiences where ceasefires collapsed, the Tiger purpose was to devise
procedures that would prevent immediate collapse of the ceasefire if an unfortunate mishap
occurred and streamline procedures that would minimise opportunities for such mishaps to
In that respect the LTTE made concrete proposals like segregated areas of control for
both sides in a post-ceasefire scenario and the setting up of 'neutral' zones separating
both sides physically. Clear rules of passage were to be drafted to govern movement of
personnel by either side to the other.
In a related development rules of conduct for both sides to follow during ceasefire
were also mooted.
It was suggested that precise rules should be formulated to clearly define what
constitutes a 'ceasefire' violation. This entailed a set of 'do' s and 'dont's' for both
sides. A monitoring committee to oversee the ceasefire was also necessary. This could
comprise international and local representatives.
It is learnt that Hegelson will lead a delegation to London next week and meet
Oslo's ambassador in Colombo Jon Westborg will also be in this team. Oslo is focusing
at present in forging a "structured and durable ceasefire as its first
TRC's white elephants
Four 'mobile vehicles' (MV) purchased by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission
(TRC) at a cost of nearly 60 million rupees have come under heavy criticism. TRC uses MVs
to monitor radio frequency interference.
The Auditor General in a report has revealed that four MVs had been purchased in May
2000 at a cost of Rs. 60,441,383. The report adds that only one driver and a technical
officer had been assigned to all four vehicles raising queries as to why these vehicles
were imported if personnel could not be found to use them.
The Sunday Leader reliably learns that these vehicles that are not suitable for Sri
Lankan roads are simply left to rot in the premises of TRC.
When complaints are made to the TRC, it is learned the officials are unable to despatch
these vehicles because of the road conditions.
For seven months beginning from May to December these four vehicles have performed only
4,069 kilo meters, said the auditor general's report.
The TRC receives complaints from licensed broadcasters, telecasters and
telecommunication operators who use radio frequencies for data transmission and from
Please see the breakdown of the performance of these vehicles in the attached box.
LTTE request conveyed to Delhi
The Norwegians have informed the LTTE that two requests made by the organisation have
been forwarded through appropriate channels to the Government of India for due
consideration by New Delhi.
It is learned that details of the requests had been conveyed to the Indian government
through the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopalakrishna Gandhi and also formally
communicated by letter from Oslo to New Delhi.
The LTTE had earlier informed Norwegian Minister Helgeson, who is part of the team
facilitating talks, that it desired Indian good offices to help resolve the Sri Lankan
ethnic conflict by acceding to its two requests.
Firstly, it wanted India to allow the LTTE chief negotiator and political advisor Anton
Balasingham and wife Adele Anne to relocate to Chennai temporarily and secondly for talks
to be hosted by India in a South Indian city like Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram or
When particulars of the LTTE requests were revealed in the media on January 8, New
Delhi maintained a studied silence on the matter on the grounds that no such requests had
been officially communicated to the government of India.
Reports in the Indian media however stated that "informed discussions between the
ministries of external affairs and home affairs on the subject were held and that the
dominant view was to keep the LTTE at bay from the southern states."
Missing car found in carpark
By Risidra Mendis
A state owned vehicle, removed before the December 5 general elections and not returned
by a minister of the former Peoples' Alliance (PA) regime was recently found parked in a
car-park of a luxury apartment complex in the suburbs of Colombo.
The Sunday Leader in its January 13 issue highlighted the missing vehicles that were
forcibly taken away by former Lands and Samurdhi Minister Salinda Dissanayake. It also
stated that the former minister returned only the keys of ten of the 17 vehicles he had
taken for election purposes.
In the January 13 edition of The Sunday Leader it was reported that of the vehicles
that had been taken away by Dissanayake, one bore the registration number 64 - 1592.
Last week an avid reader of The Sunday Leader informed the newspaper that one of the
vehicles mentioned in the newspaper was found at the Royal Park condominium basement.
The paper learns this particular vehicle was not given permission to be parked in the
car-park, but regulations has been overruled.
It is also reliably learned that the owner of this vehicle resides in one of the
apartments in the condominium. The public had seen Salinda Dissanayake twice travelling in
Talks on Palk Strait bridge
A joint meeting between India and Sri Lanka is to be held in February this year to
initiate the process of building the proposed bridge between the two countries spanning
the Palk Straits, a government minister said on Friday.
According to Science and Technology Minister Milinda Moragoda, a joint feasibility
study on the bridge will be undertaken by the two governments.
Moragoda said both governments have taken this issue, which was mooted by Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, seriously, and are determined to go ahead with the
implementation of it as soon as possible. He admitted however a special team from Sri
Lanka was yet to be appointed by the Prime Minister to study this matter, but added it
would be done soon.
The minister said in today's world of globalisation large trading blocs were emerging,
adding that when such bloc formations take place small countries like Sri Lanka could not
avoid belonging to them. He also emphasised that countries should tie up with each other
for enhancement of trade and other related activities.
"You have to tie yourself to something larger than you are. If Sri Lanka has a
vision, it must create a gateway into India," he pointed out.
He said much foreign investment comes to India through Dubai, because both countries
have links of this nature. "It may be because of the geographical pattern of the
country. But we in Sri Lanka too have to explore the possibilities of establishing such
links for further development, " he pointed out.
He also said there is a decision in principle to issue visas on arrival within the
SAARC countries and the implementation of the bridge would make matters easy for trade,
tourism and other links between SAARC countries.
Colombo seven residents complain
of high rates
By Marianne David
Residents of Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo are distraught over the recent hike in municipal
rates, which is done regularly at five yearly intervals by the Colombo Municipal Council
The municipal assessor calculates the yearly amount based on 15% of the market rent.
This is estimated according to the floor area, usage, age, condition and facilities of the
Estimated annual value is the annual rent plus the rate. The rate is 25% of the annual
Many of the residents are upset because their yearly rental has increased by over 100%
and in some cases upto 300% and questioned as to why they should pay such high rates when
they do not get a satisfactory service from the CMC.
"If we call the municipal workers to clean out the manholes, they charge Rs. 500
for each. To cut branches of trees hanging over our property they charge Rs. 1500.
"They do not collect the garbage on time and do not even wear their uniforms. It
is upsetting when they hang around near our houses and expect money for collecting the
garbage too," complained a lady resident of Horton Place.
She demanded to know what facilities residents are provided to have to pay so much as
rates. She said their houses were depreciating in value when taking the cost of repairs
"These are old houses and we have no way of coming up with so much money given the
economic situation today," she continued.
When contacted by The Sunday Leader, Municipal Assessor, P. P. T. Mohideen said,
"Every year we issue notices and every five years we give an estimated rent of the
building. If the house or building owners feel this amount is too high, they can appeal
within one month. We will have an inquiry and give them a fair reply."
He admitted that if the estimate was unrealistically high, it could be because of a
mistake. If the residents were unsatisfied after appealing to the CMC they could go to
courts, he said.
Rev. Nesakumar is new Jaffna Archdeacon
Rev. Selliah Phillip Nesakumar of the Anglican Diocese of Colombo succeeds Ven. Joseph
Sarvananthan as the new Archdeacon of Jaffna. He was appointed by Rt. Rev. Duleep de
Chickera, Bishop of Colombo. Rev. Nesakumar is a product of Jaffna Central college.
Rev. Nesakumar had his theological training at the Theological College Lanka,
Pilimatalawa where he obtained his B.th (Serempore). He was made a deacon in 1987 and a
priest in 1988. Since his ordination, he has worked in various parts of he diocese.
His early years in the ordained ministry were spent in the Archdeaconry of Nuwara
Eliya. Since 1991, he has worked in Jaffna offering a pastoral responsibility to the
parishes and schools in most difficult times. He also served as area dean of Jaffna.
Rev. Nesakumar will be installed in his new office at a service at the Cathedral of
Christ the Living Saviour on Monday, January 28, a release from the Diocese of Colombo
Dearth of campuses cause havoc
Of the 80,411 students who completed their advanced level examination and qualified for
higher studies last year, Sri Lanka's twelve universities could absorb only about 12,760,
a statement from the Rotary Club, Colombo said
The statement also said an estimated 400,000 youngsters enter schools every year but
only an average of 129,242 qualify to be eligible to pursue the advanced level .
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association (SLANA) says many of the students
who do not make the grade at A/Ls, move out from pursuing higher studies and add to the
large numbers of delinquents and drug addicts.
SLANA said that during the year 2000 there were 15,600 arrests for drug abuse, of which
more than 8,000 youngsters were in the age group of 15 to 29.
During the last year more than 80 kg of heroin valued at an estimated 100 million
rupees was detected, the SLANA statement revealed.