notable absentee at last week’s joint opposition protest against
the government’s privatisation programme was Anura Bandaranaike.
All the opposition big guns were present including Opposition
Leader Mahinda Rajapakse, JVP Group Leader Wimal Weeravansha,
MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena and Sihala Urumaya Leader
Thilak Karunaratne, among others
by Asoka Fernando
threatens MSD director with
Chandrika Kumaratunga last week threatened Director Ministerial
Security Division, SSP Jayantha Jayasinghe with death after the CID
commenced investigations on a complaint made by Jayasinghe into a
missing T-56 weapon taken possession of by her former PSD chief
T-56 weapon with 100 rounds of ammunition were according to MSD
records taken possession of by Nihal Karunaratne in 1994 when he was
heading the security team of Kumaratunga who was chief minister of
the Western Province at the time.
underworld criminal Baddegana Sanjeewa too was in Kumaratunga’s
security contingent in 1994.
learnt that last week, ASP Amaradasa of the MSD who was formerly a
security officer attached to Anura Bandaranaike had forwarded a
report to Director Jayasinghe that there was no inventory in the MSD
of the weapon and ammunition handed over to Karunaratne in 1994.
this report, the MSD had called for an inventory report from the PSD
which too had communicated to the MSD, there was no such weapon in
sources said MSD Director Jayasinghe had in a report to IGP A.
Anandarajah subsequently brought to his notice the missing weapon
and requested the CID be directed to investigate the matter.
Thursday, October 10, the CID summoned Nihal Karunaratne to record
his statement with regard to the missing weapon and ammunition
leading to the president’s ire.
in his statement to the CID stated he does not know the whereabouts
of the weapon or ammunition in question, since he had handed it over
to a police constable.
CID was expected to record the PC’s statement yesterday. It is
learnt that Karunaratne can be charged under the offences against
the Public Property Act if the police constable denies receiving the
weapon or is unable to account for it.
this development the president telephoned Jayasinghe on the IGP’s
official telephone while he was attending a meeting at Police
Headquarters and threatened him with death for reporting the missing
weapon to the CID.
who was earlier director of the Prime Ministerial Security Division
of Sirimavo Bandaranaike was told by an angry president he was a low
down “scum” who was “licking the ba..side of the UNP.”
know what you have done. I am the president of the country. Mama
paligannawa, paligannawa, paligannawamai (I will take revenge,
take revenge, will definitely take revenge),” the president had
nonpulssed MSD director had simply said, “Thank you Madam,” and
cut the line but later brought to the notice of the CID the
president’s threatening telephone call.
is now expected to seek special protection from the IGP, following
the president’s threat.
is the father of three young daughters, the eldest of whom has just
qualified for medical college with straight As. President
Kumaratunga’s daughter, Yasodhara too recently passed out as a
bid to reach a compromise with the nine dissident MPs of the Sri
Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on
Friday, October 11, issued a statement asserting the government
would address the issue of a separate council for the Muslims in the
north and east during the course of negotiations with the LTTE.
has maintained that there can be no immediate resolution at this
moment in time and that the matter can be dealt with only as the
peace talks progress.
the crisis snowballed over a period of two days with violent
incidents breaking out in the eastern province, the Premier, after
consulting with Muslim religious leaders from the East, and Minister
Rauf Hakeem, issued a statement that is seen to be an attempt to
meet the 9 MP’s at a halfway point.
PM’s statement was jointly signed by the Muslim religious leaders
as well, who had agreed with Wickramasinghe and reiterated they
would persuade the 9 SLMC MP’s to return to Parliament next week.
Friday, one MP, Noordeen Mashoor, did show up in Parliament for the
vote on the Petroleum Corporations Reform Bill.
other eight MP’s however could not be contacted on Friday October
11. The Sunday
Leader was told they were all out of Colombo.
source close to SLMC Chief Rauf Hakeem, said Friday that the matter
still remained unresolved, and that the SLMC leadership too were
trying to meet with the 9 dissidents and persuade them to return to
Parliament this week.
suspects JVP hand in Trinco attacks
A fall out
from Wednesday’s (9) attack on the STF camp at Kanchirankudah in
Tirukovil, Ampara resulted in the deaths of three more Tamils on
Friday, October 11, in Trincomalee.
emotions running high after eight Tamils were shot dead by the STF
on Wednesday at Ampara, the Tamil community in Trincomalee decided
to observe a one day hartal on Friday in protest of
to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), shortly after 8 a.m. on
Friday, a group of Sinhalese home guards from Srimapura in
Trincomalee had thrown some grenades and opened fire on a Tamil
village called Thiruthataloor.
One, Tamil civilian was killed in this incident and 2 others
hours later, more grenades were flung at a place called Abepura.
Once more, the TNA alleges, Sinhalese home guards were
politicians charge that there is a suspicion some of these attackers
are members of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. The allegation however
has not been proved.
two attacks resulted in the death of 3 Tamil civilians while at
least 20 other Tamil civilians were injured at a Tamil dominated
village called Ambuvalliburam.
incidents forced the government to declare an immediate curfew in
the Trincomalee district beginning Friday 12 noon which is to
continue until tomorrow, the 14th.
Secretary Austin Fernando, had a different version of what happened.
According to Fernando, the LTTE had allegedly by force taken
11 boats belonging to Muslim fishermen at Kiran.
Defence Secretary says thereafter around 7.30 a.m. tyres were set on
fire at four different junctions at Trincomalee. The police were
called and an incident occurred at Marathadai junction when a
grenade was thrown and one Tamil civilian killed The army were
thereafter called in as tensions ran high and angry mobs began to
the Anuradhapura junction at Trincomalee at around 10.10 a.m.
another grenade was blasted. This was followed with two Tamil
civilians being killed at Abepura.
Fernando said even ambulances that were called to take away
the injured at Ambepura had been prevented from doing so by the
if the attacks were led by Sinhalese home guards as claimed by
Sambandan, Fernando replied, “I don’t think so.
However all these incidents are being investigated.”
admitted that Friday’s incidents were a fall-out of what happened
at Ampara on Wednesday.
reiterated that the government could not draw any conclusions from
the incidents until investigations are concluded. He added that
depending on any further developments over the weekend the
government would take a decision on whether to further extend the
three-day curfew in Trincomalee.
the government rushed Major General Anton Wijendra, Deputy Chief of
Staff for the Army to Trincomalee to supervise and coordinate a
strategy that would ensure calm prevailed in the troubled areas.
Sambandan, MP for Trincomalee, Secretary General for the TULF and
Parliamentary Group Leader for the Tamil National Alliance said,
“In the context of events taken place it is perfectly clear the
victims have been Tamils.”
only pray that Tamils will not retaliate against the Sinhalese which
given the LTTE capacity and capability is not beyond Tamil reach,”
to Wednesday’s attack on the STF camp at Kanjikudah, Sambandan
asserted the killing of eight Tamil civilians by the STF “was
totally disproportionate to whatever the provocation may have been
by the Tamil civilians. He
said the attack was a result of “a totally unprovoked and
unwarranted attack on a tractor driver and 2 LTTE cadre by the STF.”
invites Muslims to air their views
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has pacified growing discontent
amongst his own Muslim legislators about not being consulted on the
ongoing peace process, and has invited them to come up with a common
proposal regarding their concerns on the north and east,
authoritative UNP sources said.
group of UNP Muslim legislators met the Premier on Thursday
afternoon, just before the PM met the SLMC delegation who are on a
Parliament boycott, the UNP delegation has impressed upon
Wickremesinghe that they felt excluded from the process despite the
eastern province being a vital component of the problem.
about lending an ear only to the SLMC demands and grievances, they
have reportedly explained that there was a growing school of thought
that if one needed to win their demands on behalf of Muslim, they
had to belong to the SLMC.
legislator who did not wish to be named told The Sunday Leader that
despite belonging to the UNP, as representatives of the north and
the east they also had their share of concerns which needed to be
addressed. He said that sometimes UNP Muslim legislators felt that
it the SLMC often managed to take the cake as they were eternally
bargaining with the center, leaving the members within the UNP fold
but representing the same areas with no bargaining clout.
minister has assured them that there was no intention to leave out
anybody, and that he valued everybody’s contribution to the peace
process and invited more candid discussions in the future.
promised that there would be a process of consultation and the MPs,
particularly those representing the east would be kept well informed
and their views sought.
also said that for any proposal to be accepted and from a basis for
a broad discussion it should have unanimity and for all Muslim
legislators to work on one proposal. The UNP has the largest number
of Muslim legislators besides the SLMC.
M.H. Mohomed, A.R.M. Abdul Cader, Imtiaz Bakeer Marker, A.H.M.Azwer,
Kabir Hashim, Mohomed Maharoof, legislators A.M. Maharoof, M. Y.
Mustapha and M.H. A. Haleem, attended the meeting. This was the
first time the Premier met his Muslim legislators, as a group to
discuss their viewpoints on the peace process and science and
technology minister Milinda Moragoda was also associated with the
likely to arrive
LTTE Theoretician Anton Balasingham is to arrive in Sri Lanka today
to meet LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in the Wanni to discuss
the next move on the peace talks scheduled for late this month,
highly placed government sources said.
addition to the meeting scheduled with the LTTE supremo, Balasingham
is also tipped to meet members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
and Economic Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda who is also a member
of the peace team representing the United National Front (UNF)
contacted, TNA members denied any knowledge of Balasingham’s
arrival but said that they have continuously had a dialogue with the
LTTE, and sometimes met Balasingham also to “discuss common
All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) Parliamentarian Gajen Ponnambalam
said he was personally unaware of any such visit by the
controversial LTTE theoretician, but said that his party has
continued to have a dialogue with the LTTE on matters of common
land distribution comes to a halt
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday (8) intervened to halt the
illegal distribution of land in the Hantane area, part of which is
distribution of land has continued for a month with the blessings of
a powerful ruling party politician from Senkadagala, and Kandy
District Secretary Sumanab-andara Beddewela, who did not wish to
comply with the politico’s orders has been transferred out of
Kandy a fortnight ago.
District PA legislator Thilina Bandara Tennakoon told The Sunday
Leader that upon making a written complaint to Prime Minister
Wickremesinghe on Tuesday at his office in parliament, immediate
instructions were issued to halt the ongoing land distribution. He
said that the premier promised to find out whether the alleged
transfer had any victimisation involved.
learned that the said local politician has attempted to move the
families from the area who have been occupying part of the land for
years. At present, 87 families dwell in the particular area and
attempts have been made to evacuate them without any form of
compensation, a move reportedly resisted by the senior government
official who was transferred out recently.
reserve area is recognised as a unique area with fragile
bio-diversity. Tennakoon said that there have been many powerful
politicians in the area in the past, yet nobody attempted to touch
the Hantane range, as people were aware of its significance in terms
of ecology and aesthetic appeal.
that there were areas marked for land distribution and what irked
people was that a sensitive area at the foothills of Hantane was
chosen, in flagrant violation of the country’s environmental law.
The PM has
immediately ordered the halting of the land distribution initiative
and has promised the transfer would be cancelled forthwith.
to reduce prices of drugs causes confusion
to reduce the prices of all drugs by five per cent has caused
confusion among retail and wholesale sellers.
retail sellers abide by the new regulation, wholesale sellers, The
Sunday Leader learns, have failed to do so. As a result, retail
sellers are not certain as to whether the prices should be changed
in accordance with the new regulations.
reduction was introduced by the Finance Ministry through the State
Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) with effect from October 1.
a five per cent reduction was imposed on every drug that is imported
to the country. According to the new regulation, the defence levy
would also not be imposed on imported drugs with effect from October
by this regulation, all pharmacies are supposed to reduce the prices
of drugs,” says State Pharmaceutical Corporation Promotions and
Research Manager, Surangani Perera.
pharmaceutical sources said that wholesale businessmen failed to
abide by the regulations, thereby putting retail sellers in to
inconvenience. “If retailers or dealers don’t reduce their drug
prices by five per cent the Fair Trading Commission will carryout
inquiries and the sellers will be prosecuted,” sources said.
retailers say that they have a problem when they buy from
that at most times, wholesalers do not indicate the retail price on
the drugs. “We sometimes see only the wholesale prices on the
drugs. And we are not certain whether the five per cent is added or
reduced. This causes confusion,” they said.
misunderstanding is mainly between retailers and wholesalers, as
wholesalers do not tell retailers if their prices are reduced or
said at times this five per cent also comes under a series of
changes as the dollar rate is subjected to change every week.
if there is a change in the dollar again, and retailers have the old
prices, they are likely to be prosecuted by the Fair Trading
Commission,” they said.
about 6,000 types of drugs and this price reduction is applicable to
all drugs. The changes should also be in accordance with the change
in the dollar rate and with the Fair Trading Commission’s prices,
more speeches with defamatory remarks
Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and ITN will not air President
Chandrika Kumaratunga’s speeches in full in future if they contain
any defamatory remarks.
Kumaratunga recently wrote to both stations inquiring why they were
telecasting her speeches repeatedly if they contained defamatory
Chairman Dammika Ganganath Dissanayake and his ITN counterpart
Gyrika Perusinghe told The Sunday Leader that the station will not
air speeches with defamatory content.
stations have been slapped with charges of carrying speeches with
defamatory remarks. Government politicians including Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe, Ministers S. B. Dissanayake and Prof. G. L.
Peiris have written to the stations alleging defamatory remarks.
against fertiliser subsidy
are up in arms against a decision taken by the government to reduce
the subsidy on urea fertiliser from Rs. 10,647 to Rs. 6,000 per
metric ton with effect from Thursday (10).
are now contemplating protest action against the government over
this issue, sources from National Farmers’ Alliance (NFA) said.
under the previous government, former Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickramanayake promised to purchase paddy at the rate of Rs. 13 per
kilo. They said this is how the former premier convinced them to
withdraw a hunger strike they launched.
the UNF government also made similar promises but has not kept to
fact, the UNF government pledged to consider purchasing paddy at the
dollar rate and accordingly the government had to purchase paddy
from the farmers at the rate of Rs. 17 or 18. But, this is not
happening even under this government,” sources said.
bells for Dilan
bells will ring again for a young legislator from the opposition PA
- Dilan Perera.
The man is
said to be getting ready to tie the knot again, this time to a lady
with a lot of diplomacy.
time Badulla representative who shifted from one electorate to
another and ended up coming to parliament on the national list, will
say ‘I do’ for the second time this December to a pretty lady
with a Parisian touch. It will be long distance love however until
she ends her term at the mission which is French.
cases to be transferred to the north
National Alliance (TNA) has welcomed the decision taken by the
Attorney General’s Department to transfer pending cases of
detainees held in prisons under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
(PTA) to the Jaffna High Court.
Attorney General’s Department has decided to allow the transfer of
pending cases of LTTE suspects taken into custody from Jaffna to the
high court in Jaffna. This decision has been viewed as “good and
reasonable” by Tamil politicians.
the detainees who were arrested in Jaffna would be allowed to make
requests through their lawyers and would be able to get their cases
transferred to Jaffna, sources said. A total of 222 detainees held
under the PTA at present are serving sentences in prisons in the
south of the country and of them, 139 are languishing in the
department has said that such a move to transfer pending cases would
ease congestion in the prisons in the south. Besides, it would also
give the prisoners a sense of relief since they would be transferred
to places of their birth, the department said.
held in prisons under the PTA have on many occasions held protests
including hunger strikes because they were facing trials in Colombo
and other places in the south.
who have been holding a hunger strike in the Kalutara prison
recently have also said that they were detached from the families as
their family members did not have the money to come to Kalutara
every time to see them.
Tamil Congress (ACTC) Parliamentarian Gajen Ponnambalam told The
Sunday Leader that it is proper for cases to be heard from the place
where the suspects were taken into custody on both humanitarian
ground and legal grounds.
will ease the congestion in prisons and also unite the suspects with
their family members in Jaffna,” he said.
most of the protests held by inmates are due to this problem. “You
see, their family members do not have money to travel to Kalutara
all the way from Jaffna. It is highly cumbersome for relatives to
travel to the south from the north. It is also a costly affair.
Therefore, this decision is justifiable,” he added.
The Sunday Leader also learns some lawyers are not in favour of the
new decision taken by the AG’s department. Informed sources said
those lawyers who have tied up with foreign non-governmental
organisations for monetary help to appear on behalf of the suspects
are not willing to travel to the north to appear for them.
happens, lawyers may lose out on earning out of these cases,”
sources pointed out.
connections for Jaffna under HOPE
estimated 3,600 telephone connections are to be supplied to Jaffna
town shortly by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT).
to a newsletter issued by SLT, an additional 1,700 more connections
are also to be provided to Point Pedro under phase one of project
newsletter says though there were more than 2,000 ordinary
telephones and about 1,000 wireless telephones in the area, most of
them were out of service.
of project HOPE is expected to cover Jaffna, Chunnakam, Chittankerni
and Chavakacheheri. Sierra is the company that is functioning as the
contractor supplying a part of new connections while the balance
will be supplied by the SLT, the newsletter said.
a new telephone exchange capable of supplying 2,800 telephone
connections to Jaffna was also commissioned recently by Mass
Communication Minister Imtiaz Bakeer Markar.
to the newsletter, there are nearly 8,000 applicants for telephone
connections in the waiting list in Jaffna town. More than 10 per
cent of them are traders, the newsletter added.
on government for information
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
formed Sinhala interest group led by Dinesh Gunawardena claims that
the need for such a group was felt largely due to the government’s
failure to keep the opposition political parties not represented in
parliament and interest groups informed about the ongoing peace
not saboteurs of peace. The opposition and other parties all have a
legitimate right to be kept informed, and not to gather information
from here and there,” Gunawardena said.
that the majority had many questions about the ongoing peace process
- so many identified lapses and flagrant violations of the
understanding reached between the two parties, all of which merited
a process of candid discussions.
citizens have a right to know how this government intends resolving
the country’s most crucial issue. We don’t want minute and
technical details to be shared with us, but to be kept informed on
the peace talks and especially, the fast emerging issue of prisoner
Leader Mahinda Rajapakse, himself a member of the new grouping said
that he was shocked at the LTTE’s scant disregard for the
Norwegian brokered truce and its contemptuous manner of seeking to
swap prisoners. “I think the government was humiliated with the
final swapping, and the entire structure of this sovereign state.
These are issues on which we demand open discussions on, because
peace is needed by all, and even the mechanisms should be acceptable
to the majority, or else how to accept the outcome,” he said.
formed group seeks to bring together all Sinhala Buddhist political
and activist elements together to collectively put pressure on the
government to keep all sections of society informed of the peace
process and to protect the interests of the majority community.
of internal flights has put many armed soldiers into inconvenience
as they say they are stranded at Palaly without being able to fly to
Colombo and proceed to their homes during the short vacations they
of soldiers who wished to remain anonymous told The Sunday Leader
that they are unable to utilise the full holiday they receive as
they are compelled to waste their time at the airforce base at
Palaly due to the shortage of flights.
Leader learns that around 200 soldiers are stranded on a daily base.
These soldiers are thereafter sent to Colombo by ship but according
to the affected soldiers, they are forced to spend nearly eight to
nine hours of their time in the ship which they say is ‘a waste of