and the Karuna phenomenon
goes around comes around! When John F. Kennedy was
assassinated in 1963,Black American leader Malcolm X observed
that "the chickens have come home to roost" implying
that the US, having exported political violence.....
- sticking like flies
in limbo as lands stand in the way
into the journos
patriot of the east
of a workaholic Prez!
and the Karuna phenomenon
P. Tamilselvan, Karuna Amman, Kausalyan and Velupillai
goes around comes around! When John F. Kennedy was
assassinated in 1963,Black American leader Malcolm X observed
that "the chickens have come home to roost" implying
that the US, having exported political violence including
assassinations abroad, was now faced with it domestically.
Violence, however, is corrosively contagious and some years
later the very same Malcolm X was assassinated.
spectre of political violence has loomed large over Sri Lanka
in many ways. One of its most virulent manifestations has been
in the Tamil community.
arms raised proudly at one time in defiance of the
'oppressive' Sinhala state later turned inward. The militant
groups engaged in internecine warfare debilitated the Tamil
polity. Sadly this intra-Tamil violence continues to this
latest such violence was in the east on February 7 when six
people including Tiger political commissar for the east and
former Parliamentarian, Chandranehru Ariyanayagam were
assassinated. The LTTE has accused "paramilitary"
elements of being responsible. It is widely believed that
cadres belonging to the Karuna faction of the LTTE were aided
by some sections of the armed forces in this.
LTTE however considers it infradig to even acknowledge openly
that a 'Karuna Amman phenomenon' exists. As far as the LTTE is
concerned its erstwhile Eastern Regional Commander,
Vinayagamoorthy Muralee-tharan alias Karuna Amman is not a
factor worthy of reckoning.
Tigers therefore emphasise the alleged complicity of armed
forces in the killing as being the vital factor in the
Kausalyan assassination. Tiger propaganda organs at home and
abroadamplify and echo this charge ad nauseam.
singular focus on alleged security force involvement in the
killingsappears a weak argument when offset against some
LTTE has sought and obtained helicopter transport for some of
its senior cadres to move about in the north east. It also
procured security forces escort for several cadres travelling
to and from the Wanni to the east for Kausalyan's funeral. The
security forces also provided aerial transport for Tiger
leaders to go to Trincomalee.
does seem incongruous that an organisation accusing security
forces of being responsible for assassinating comrades could
request and utilise transport and protection from the same.
blatant contradiction however does not diminish the threat
perception of the LTTE in the east. This was patently visible
in the conduct of its Political Wing Head, S.P. Tamilselvan.
Having obtained helicopter transport to reach Batticaloa,
Tamilselvan also wanted aerial transport to go to Thirukkovil
in Amparai from Kokkadicholai in Batticaloa to attend the
funeral of Chandranehru. The unavailability of a helicopter
resulted in Tamilselvan being a conspicuous absentee at the
is one who has fine-tunedhis survival skills over the years.
His obvious reluctance to risk a road journey in eastern
territory denotes the insecurity he experiences in the east.
The custom of sympathisers calling on the bereaved family to
express condolences was reversed because of the paranoid
wife and son travelled up to 'safe' Palugamam to meet
Tamilselvan who conveyed his sympathies. A photograph of the
meeting showed Tamilselvan having a firearm strapped to his
waist. This again demonstrated the security consciousness of
the political commissar.
obsession with security also exposed the hollow emptiness of
the LTTE claim that all was quiet on the eastern front after
the Karuna revolt. It revealed clearly the beleaguered feeling
of the top Tigers in the region. In a replay of the chickens
coming home to roost, the predator had now become prey.
invincibility myth of the LTTE has been badly undermined.
There is no doubt that the Tigers face a serious threat from
what may be termed the Karuna phenomenon.
the Karuna revolt occurred this column was one of the few
voices urging rapprochement in the larger interests of the
Tamil people. Even the LTTE English Journal published in
London, The Tamil Guardian, changed its earlier stance of
advocating a settlement.
column pointed out then that Karuna could not fight the LTTE
and the state simultaneously and that he would have no choice
other than to throw in his lot with Colombo if the mainstream
LTTE drove him up against the wall.
column also said that there could be no military solution to
what was essentially a political question. The pro-LTTE
elements fired up by fairy tales of 'superman' type special
forces were in no mood to countenance moderate counsel and
could only vilify this column.
Tiger sycophant went to the extent of urging the LTTE to
"spit" on this column. Today this column has been
proved right. Karuna and his followers are compelled to seek
security force protection and in return function as cat's
are around 200 to 300Karuna loyalists actively opposing the
LTTE in the east. The presence or absence of Karuna is
immaterial to this development. The LTTE betrayed the terms of
its understanding with Karuna when it executed erstwhile
commanders of Karuna who surrendered.
witch hunt for Karuna loyalists and the arrest of over 200
cadres suspected of having supported the Karuna revolt has
worsened the situation. The fate of these cadres taken to the
Wanni for interrogation is unknown.
Tigers were unwilling to even let Karuna loyalists seek safety
elsewhere. Ex Tiger cadres considered Karuna loyalists were
killed mercilessly in many parts of the east and Colombo. The
most horrible massacre was in Kottawa.
persons including Karuna's treasurer, Kuganesan and chief
bodyguard, Castro were drugged and then massacred in cold
blood as they lay on their beds and mats in a stupor. The
Tigers are now shouting about the cowardly killing of
Kausalyan. If one is to talk about cowardly killings, the
Kottawa massacre has no equal.
Tigers talk of treacherous killings in the context of
Kausalyan's murder. Again it must be pointed out that the LTTE
cannot take moral high ground on this. The treacherous killing
of Karuna's brother Sivanesathurai alias Reggie as he was
sleeping by someone he thought was trustworthy is a glaring
too was the killing of Satchi Master in the Batticaloa jail by
a man who had wormed his way into his confidence. The killer
had done menial tasks like massaging Satchi's feet and pouring
water for bathing, etc. Treacherous killings are a Tiger
the Karuna faction is now doing it then one can only say that
both are same mattaigal
(husks) soaked in the same kuttai (puddle).
LTTE also talks of unarmed cadresbeing killed at a time of
ceasefire in a government controlled area as being
reprehensible. Certainly that is true. Again the Tigers are
the people who started this practice. Nearly 200 unarmed
activists belonging to groups like the EPDP, EPRLF and PLOTE
were killed in government controlled areas including Colombo.
Mohan, Varathan, Sinna Bala, Bawan, Singham... the list is
exhaustive. A suicide killer was sent to assassinate a Cabinet
Minister, Douglas Devananda. People who kept silent about this
killing spree have suddenly found their voices when the LTTE
gets a taste of its own medicine.
this backdrop Karuna loyalists had no choice other than to
throw in their lot with the security forces. It was sheer
survival. Today these men are holed up mainly in areas north
of Chenkallady in Batticaloa. They are also living in the
areas on either side of the Batticaloa-Polonnaruwa border.
Some stay in jungle areas. Others take refuge with Sinhala and
Karuna cadres are careful in staying close to security force
camps. They may even be frequenting those places often. There
is no doubt that some sections of the security forces are
helping to sustain them. Security personnel are most probably
turning a blind eye to their movements.
the snake ensconced in safety around Lord Siva's neck
insolently inquiring after the health of its nemesis, the kite
bird, Karuna loyalists too engage in anti-Tiger attacks. In
this tragic climate of mutual bloodshed several Tigers
regarded as 'Praba loyalists' have been exterminated. Notable
among these are Senathi, Bawa, Yoga and now Kausalyan, Pugalan
notable civilians executed by the Karuna faction are
journalist Nadesan and politician Chandranehru.
killing of a political leader like Chandranehru has to be
condemned firmly. There is no doubt about that. His TULF and
TNA colleagues have protested loudly. But then what an
exhibition of hypocrisy!
fellow candidate on the TNA list for Batticaloa, Rajan
Sathiyamoorthy and his brother-in-law were gunned down in cold
blood while praying at the shrine room in their home. Later
Sathiyamoorthy's buried corpse was dug up and thrown elsewhere
in a half burnt state. The LTTE defileda person it killed even
take the case of another TNA ex-parliamentarian, Kingsley
Rajanayagam. This man who won an election was intimidated into
resigning his seat. He was taken into LTTE custody and
'effectively' persuaded to resign his seat. Later he was
brutally assassinated to issue a 'warning' to anyone desirous
of joining Karuna's political party.
TNA that beats its breasts now kept silent when all this was
happening. This is the lamentable state of Tamil politics
today. The politics of terror is applicable both externally
the Karuna revolt occurred, this column predicted that at best
Karuna would be like the Afghan warlord Rostom and that at
worst he would be the leader of a group affiliated to the
security forces like those led by EPRLF Razeek, PLOTE Mohan
and TELO Varathan. That has now come true.
so-called Karuna faction is now an appendage of the state
fighting as the running dogs of majoritarian hegemonism. In
what may be a pleasant irony to security forces both segments
are in need of them. The Karuna faction needs security force
patronage to survive. The LTTE needs security force protection
to move about in Tamil areas. O Tempora! O Mores!
salient aspect of the Karuna phenomenon is that his followers
do not need his physical presence. Karuna is now a brand name
taken under a bizarre franchise by loyalists.
five main groups fighting as autonomous unitsin the east are
led by Pillaiyaan, Iniyabharathi, Sinnathamby, Mangalan Master
are scattered in different areas of northern Batticaloa and
border areas of Polonnaruwa. The two strongholds are in
Omathiyamadhu and Senaitheevu. The Vadamunai jungles are also
areas of habitation for these cadres.
is no doubt that these elements will continue to fight for
their survival under the Karuna brand name regardless of
whether Karuna wants it or not. The consequences have
overtaken the cause.
mainstream LTTE that failed to resolve the Karuna crisis
through dialogue and discussion earlier is showing no signs of
a reappraisal on this front even now. Too much of water or
blood has flown under the Valaichenai bridge for the LTTE to
revise its approach now.
is a case of the jungle law prevailing now. Jack Londons Buck
in his Call Of The Wild put it best - "Kill or be killed;
eat or be eaten."
cadres in the east
LTTE while obtaining security force protection for its top
notch leaders has also been quietly sending additional cadres
to the east over the past few weeks. A squad of 35 men from
Pottu Amman's dreaded Intelligence Wing is now in the east to
help discover the whereabouts of Kausalyan's killers and also
places where Karuna faction cadres are located.
units of leopard commandos and special forces trained in
are also in Batticaloa now, with 125 men under Tharan
and 75 under Jegan. Ina disturbing development it is also
reported that assassins have been sent to Europe to kill
Karuna supporters engaged in propaganda through the internet.
the other hand, Karuna's supporters in the east are claiming
that Karuna is back with a vengeance. April 12 will be the
first anniversary of his ignominious exit from Batticaloa.
April 14 will herald a new year.
is said that Karuna has sworn to transform the eastern
situation before these significant dates. He and his loyalists
can only do this by violent mode. The Tigers too will resist
this by violence.
hapless eastern Tamils have suffered a military tsunami and a
natural tsunami. Now they are in for a third tsunami of
- sticking like flies
Vijitha - not yet
coalition government has been doomed since its very formation.
Hence, the current deadlock between the two main constituent
parties of the UPFA is almost child's guesswork - it has been
coming for some time.
partners with diametrically opposite economic policies and
political agendas, both the SLFP and the JVP formed the ad hoc
alliance to defeat the UNF government a year ago. Having
accomplished their common objective and pledging this nation a
new social order, they even weathered the teething problems,
creating the impression that they would somehow pull it along.
has not been a happy marriage from the beginning with a
belligerent partner eternally threatening to break the
when President Chandrika Kumaratunga gave a piece of her mind,
so to speak, at a rural bank opening in Nittambuwa exactly a
week ago, on February 13, it did not surprise the nation.
There she announced that a particular coalition partner was
eternally threatening to leave the government and in fact if
such was their desire, they were welcome to do so and welcome
to match their words with action.
seems that Kumaratunga has reached the end of her tether. Her
presidential diplomacy extended only to the extent of not
naming the political party as she lambasted one constituent
party that was in the habit of threatening to leave at every
a rare demonstration of statesmanship, she did not attribute
this to the regular conflicts in opinions and the war of
words. Instead, she connected it to the urgent need to
initiate a peace dialogue and identified the said party as the
trouble-maker and the stumbling block which prevents the
government from moving towards bringing about a lasting peace.
fight over a mere word. It is a joke, and a sad one at
that," said Kumaratunga at the bank opening.
she expressed her desire to root out nepotism in politics and
expressed her wish to ban the entry of other members of
political families from running for office. To this too, she
identified the same constituent ally as being the stumbling
block. "Who stands in my way but a party that addresses
people as brothers and sisters who are attempting to fish out
SLFP party cadres," she alleged further.
she minced no words when she made the most stinging comment
about "our people will kill me before Pirapaharan
does." The statement itself is ample proof that
Kumaratunga has no love for the red-capped Marxists and those
who know her chequered personal as well as political history
cannot blame her for the negative sentiments expressed.
having made the last allegation has nevertheless failed to
lodge a complaint with the police station. Inspector General
of Police Chandra Fernando confirms that no complaint has been
lodged by the President on a possible threat of elimination
from any quarter.
what cannot be doubted is her refusal to trust her constituent
partner and her innermost fears that get expressed when least
expected, as happened at the bank opening. Despite the
politics played with the assassination of her husband Vijaya
Kumaratunga, the founder of the more liberal Sri Lanka
Mahajana Party (SLMP), it is widely believed he was gunned
down by the military arm of the JVP at the height of the
Kumaratunga's aversion to the red types can well be
is also an opinion she freely expressed before the signing of
the memorandum of understanding between the two parties where
she warned her party cadres that they might all live to regret
this decision and urged them to reconsider. Finally agreeing
to the alliance, she went on record having stated that she was
falling in line with the collective party sentiment and this
in no way reflected her personal view of what the SLFP's
future should be.
February 13, Kumaratunga may have said a mouthful but what is
interesting to note is the JVP's stoic denial to rise to the
bait, something they were so good at just a few months ago.
is no denying that the inference was to the JVP, though the
President stopped short of identifying the particular
belligerent constituent partner.
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), Community Party (CP), Lanka
Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the National Unity Alliance (NUA)
have not said a word to offend the main constituent party, the
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and have collectively toed the
line without a whimper of protest since they came on board. To
that extent, they have maintained collective responsibility.
even the vocal MEP Leader, Minister of Urban Development and
Water Supply, Dinesh Gunawardene has maintained his Sinhala
hard-line politics since he joined the coalition. The left
parties in Sri Lanka have long since paid a huge price for a
few portfolios and hence, this inference has no bearing to any
leads to the ultimate conclusion that it is the JVP that has
been identified as a personal threat to the President's
security as well as to a negotiated political settlement to
the ethnic conflict.
twin concerns are bad enough and the President had said that
much, and has in fact asked the belligerent group to leave the
coalition. To that, there is deafening silence from the JVP, a
trait developed since of late to appear nonchalant and
JVP joined the coalition with much fanfare pledging many
benefits to the populace. The battle was on from the moment
the new government began assigning portfolios, with the JVP
behaving like Shylocks.
compromises were made, but soon the reds were made to eat
political humble pie.
opposed the UNP's and the PA's privatisation programmes and
threatened severe action if the coalition acted in
contravention of the agreement reached. Often, Rural
Industrial Development Minister K.D. Lalkantha is seen
actively encouraging the working classes to take to the
streets in protest against the government's various policies.
Yet, they stick on like flies glued to a festering carcass.
the UPFA too is guided by the same "cronies" the JVP
alleged the UNP was guided by. Thus, there are various
commitments made to the lending agencies and developmental
work that have urgent targets to meet on top of rebuilding
this nation after a devastating tsunami.
much of the tsunami second phase relief is connected to peace.
That requires some quick action, if the pledges are indeed to
be converted into reality.
UPFA too has initiated a restructuring programme - the
politically correct word for privatisation. The government
last week called for expressions of interest on the
Valachchenai Paper Mills and the CEB restructuring will
continue despite protests.
of the worst indictments of the JVP's duplicity was bared when
four JVP ministers signified their consent to a new water
policy that would convert a basic right to a commodity,
regulation of water resources and issuing permits to obtain
public, they continue to make passionate speeches about not
allowing it to happen, despite a May 15 deadline that would
translate the policy into an ongoing programme.
JVP has also been denied an active role in the post tsunami
relief distribution scheme and the SLFP and the JVP have been
trading charges on the issue for over a month.
more, Kumaratunga has reimposed emergency regulations under
the Public Security Ordinance (PSO). It was the tsunami that
led to the invoking of these provisions, but over 1,000
workers have been discontinued under these regulations while
the champions of the working class maintain a deafening
is strange about the JVP's conduct is that despite their
regular threats of disassociation, abuse and criticisms, they
still continue confining opposition to mere words. What they
pledged the public has not materialised and even the party
itself has been forced to remodel itself to follow a
compromised political agenda. They have been compelled to make
serious compromises on their advocated Marxist polices. Yet
through it all, the JVP has shown a relentless commitment to
the power game.
JVP too has indicated about the sour relationship with the
most prophetic statement being made by Parliamentary Group
Leader, Wimal Weerawansa a fortnight ago. Announcing the JVP's
decision not to participate in the the tsunami debate, when he
said, "silence could be stronger than a thousand words
sometimes. This could also be the beginning of a longer
tale," said Weerawansa, his statement loaded with
Kumaratunga's speech, only National Heritage Minister Vijitha
Herath has made an official comment that they would continue
to oppose decisions that are to the detriment of the public -
a laughable statement considering how quick they have been to
hang on to the presidential saree pota.
Herath has also said that Kumaratunga's statement is not
considered a big issue by the JVP. But news reports appeared
quoting unnamed JVP sources that claimed that the JVP was
earning the presidential ire due to the SLFP getting defeated
at the Gampaha co-operative polls recently.
JVP on February 14, boycotted an all party meting on disaster
preparedness. The meetings have taken place on a weekly basis
following the tsunami with Weerawansa representing the party.
the JVP considers its next move, Kumaratunga it appears is
keen on converting the international goodwill received during
this nation's hour of need into a more politically significant
one. Hence, nobody could fault her for considering the urgent
need to resume peace talks. And as she says, she does not need
allies who oppose a "single word" in the draft
document for talks and stand in her way. In that sense,
President Kumaratunga has shown courage by asking the JVP to
simply get out of the coalition, leaving her and her
supportive allies to follow a political path that collectively
suits them - and to pursue peace leaving the Marxists to
indulge in more effigy burning before the Norwegian Embassy -
the kind of activity they are best at.
in limbo as lands stand in the way
Dinesh Gunewardena and Minister Maithripala Sirisena
weeks after the tsunami, the country's post tsunami
reconstruction effort is still in disarray with the government
initiative limping and its ambitious target to build 60,000
houses in three months yet to take off ground.
original fervour has died a natural death with the government
still being engaged in identifying lands for the construction
of houses - leave alone the building effort itself. However,
notice has been issued to those with fully damaged houses
within the 100 metre buffer zone that they would be relocated
is learned that the lands identified in the immediate
aftermath of the tsunami have been declared unsuitable and
impracticable by the authorities charged with the
responsibility of building houses, which has led to a second
round of land selection.
now, the state policy is settled - that is to provide land
free of charge to all builders. Initially, it was confined to
the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) but with the
private sector also offering to undertake massive construction
projects on behalf of the tsunami affected, the government a
fortnight ago took a policy decision to provide land free to
all builders - the state housing construction agency, private
sector builders, non-governmental organisations and foreign
a massive demand for permanent housing following the permanent
displacement of some 250,000 people, many offers have come the
government's way to rebuild their shattered homes.
the open policy of offering land to any well-wishing builders
of homes, some private builders, particularly foreign NGOs and
groups find the red tape too restrictive.
foreign groups told The Sunday Leader that they came here with
specific building plans and technical support to identify
possibilities of building on the land granted. "It was a
nightmare. We bring a plan and that clashes with the
government specifications," said a construction engineer
from the Netherlands.
it is learned that the authorities actively discouraged a team
of Germans who visited Sri Lanka to remodel a village
according to their specifications. The Germans had their own
plan and the Sri Lankan authorities insisted on following the
local specifications to the letter.
is necessary to adhere to government specifications provided
by the NHDA under UDA instructions. But remodelling of towns
is a different task for we look at much more than mere
construction of houses. It deals with town planning,"
added one German builder.
complaint is not uncommon. While the government certainly has
the writ to decide as to how the lands provided should be used
for housing construction purposes, these donors claim that
plans that differ from those of the government are sometimes
queried whether they felt there was prejudice, the German
builder said a vehement "no", but added that the
government requested him to donate the money to the state's
tsunami fund for the government to undertake the construction
that's the first snag - the state's request to direct money to
the government fund. Most builders find this completely
unsatisfactory, as they prefer to build on their own and hand
over the houses to the Sri Lankan government. Some builders
(for example a Dutch team), were disappointed that their
enthusiasm to build houses for the displaced was not shared by
the authorities who requested them to direct funds to the
SEEDS Southern Region, Daya Walegedara told The Sunday Leader
that Sarvodaya, one of the most effective non-governmental
organisations in helping tsunami victims, that they too have
requested state land. SEEDS is an affiliated organisation of
Sarvodaya which has come into a partnership with Holcim
International Ltd. Holcim Ltd has invested Rs. 65 million in
the construction of 42 houses in Galle and Matara each.
for the land, victim families with lands beyond the 100 metre
buffer and those with families or friends willing to offer
land for the construction of houses have been chosen.
is only for this phase. We also will require state grants to
go beyond this," says Walegedara who is confident of
completing the houses before the Sinhala-Hindu New Year.
to government rebuilding plans, some 110,000 houses are to be
constructed for the fisher folk. This will include 60,000 walk
in flats and 50,000 housing units in cluster settlements.
this requires finding state land in safe areas close to the
affected areas. "That's the policy. People should not be
completely removed from their original environment. There are
difficulties in doing this, as land is not always available
where you want to find it. This is why some of the originally
identified lands were not acceptable for this purpose,"
says Mahaweli and Rajarata Development Minister, Maithripala
Sirisena, also a member of the newly appointed parliamentary
select committee on disaster preparedness.
lands have been already identified in certain districts. The
state, according to Sirisena is keen to minimise relocation
problems and is prepared even to purchase private land, if
necessary. "But only if owners are willing. We invite
philanthropists to hear our call and assist us," adds
he admits that the government has no clear idea as to how much
should be paid for such land acquisition, besides be guided by
the prevailing land prices. Admittedly, state acquisition of
both buildings and lands leads to heavy under-valuation of
property resulting in a reluctance to sell property to the
state - even for a public purpose of this nature.
of Urban Development and Water Supply, Dinesh Gunawardena says
that though there is an urgent need to resettle the displaced,
the state should be guided by a fresh map of Sri Lanka which
would clearly identify disaster prone areas.
reconstruction phase should be different. Land selection and
acquisition should pay heed to possible threats," says
Gunawardena who believes that that houses for tsunami the
ravaged should not be built in landslide prone areas either.
I mean is that we should do this scientifically. So naturally
it takes time and people are compelled to stay in camps. Their
return may still be unsafe," he adds.
for the need for all houses to conform to UDA specifications,
his answer is unclear. "It is how government housing
schemes are created generally," he notes, but adds that
private builders should have a certain amount of discretion in
the construction process, now that they have come into the
construction effort magnanimously.
to Ministry officials, the construction of cities and
townships affected by the tidal waves could differ as donors
may exercise some level of discretion.
those who must relocate and move into new houses, there is the
other category of legal dwellers of the coastal buffer who
prefer to relocate though not affected by the tsunami. The
government policy for these people is unclear.
with the issue of clearing land and building over one million
houses, the government is yet to consider those who would
voluntarily relocate." We haven't decided who to deal
with such persons. If they live within the buffer, they cannot
reconstruct their houses, so they must move," admits
is recommended in such situations is the special long-term
loan scheme for rebuilding purposes. Most banks are coming up
with their own special loan schemes to help tsunami victims,
the pioneer loan scheme being Susahana introduced by the
quantum of payment for the construction of a fully damaged
house is Rs. 400,000, yet there is no decision on the
partially destroyed houses - a category that is able to
resettle faster than the former.
houses, however would not have structural designs to weather
natural disasters, an aspect some of the foreign investors are
worried about as they prefer to invest in a plan that has a
more scientific approach.
to the government, the completed houses will have Jayabhoomi
deeds - issued by the state.
deeds can be issued only by a presidential writ and
accordingly, plans are afoot to empower the President to
alienate land for the post tsunami-rebuilding programme.
to a Lands Ministry source, only the President could alienate
land under both the Land Development Ordinance as well as
State Lands Ordinance.
is learned that some 4,000 acres coming under the Land
Commission as well as 300 acres coming under the Land Reforms
Commission will be alienated for this purpose.
addition to the above, so far uncultivated land in areas where
housing needs are urgent will also be acquired by the state.
Private land for acquisition will be after evaluation of
displaced needs and then distributed. Quantum of compensation,
has not been decided on.
pressurised to provide shelter to the homeless, the current
regime has decided to utilise agricultural land by filling
them with sand to urgently relocate affected families,
authoritative sources said.
to estimates the per capita extent of land available in the
year 2003 was 0.29 ha which has further declined. With a
projected population of 25 million by the year 2030, the per
capita extent of land availability will be 0.22ha, it is
this is expected to reduce drastically after families affected
by the tsunami are relocated at new houses that are being
built on unutilised land. In Hambantota, some 500 acres of
forestland is being cleared to create a new town.
the vision of the Land, Irrigation, Livestock and Agriculture
Ministry is to become the optimal user of land resources among
Asian countries. The Ministry website states that its mission
is the management of land resources with optimal utilisation,
with the objective of sustainable development through a
national policy, while maintaining the environmental
a new dimension to the land saga is the Surveyor General's
Department which is faced with a new legal problem with some
600,000 deeds being washed away by the tsunami. Compounding
matters, most demarcations have also been altered or destroyed
making land alienation even beyond the 100 metres in certain
areas somewhat difficult.
Deputy Surveyor General, A.K. Visumperuma says that terrible
alterations of the geographical features have occurred in
certain coastal areas. It is another problem the government
will soon have to deal with, if alienations are to be done
that is only the beginning of further trouble. With extensive
sea erosion, the existing boundaries such as fences and
parapet walls too have been destroyed. A fresh problem has
surfaced with most coastal dwellers being displaced - that of
outsiders attempting to encroach upon the coastal properties.
to Visumperuma, the department would strictly confine itself
to demarcating land on behalf of legal dwellers. " Half
the population living at the water's edge were unauthorised
dwellers," say department officials.
a demarcation exercise is undertaken, what Visumperuma
suggests is the conducting of a special census on land
ownership in the coastal belt. "We have no mandate and
the state should get other agencies to complete the
task," notes Visumperuma.
the Ministry of Justice has prepared a new law titled
"Tsunami Disaster Special Provisions Act" relating
to tsunami victims as an urgent bill. The bill with
retrospective effect will prevent any descendants, ascendants
and collaterals from making any legal claims to the property
of the dead or those listed missing following the December 26
transpires in the end is that if the reconstruction of homes
is to take off, especially the government initiative, the land
alienation aspect has to be immediately dealt with. It so far
has not, not to the extent that builders could start
construction. Those who are currently involved in construction
have received land from private parties or affected people or
their families. Two months after the tsunami, this country
should be experiencing a construction boom.
policy on land alienation
government policy specifically regarding reconstruction,
rehabilitation and resettlement of tsunami victims who
have lost their houses is still not clear although lands
for these purposes have been identified in certain
National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has
already identified lands in Hambantota, Kalutara, and
Galle to construct houses for the tsunami victims.
to NHDA Chairman M.N.Junaid, the authority is in the
process of identifying lands in Ampara, Batticaloa and
Trincomalee for the same purpose.
task of building new houses has been entrusted to donor
agencies and local private companies that have come
forward to help build houses for the tsunami victims.
the lands identified by the state would be handed over
to both the local and foreign donors and once the houses
are built they will be given back to the state, which
will in turn identify the beneficiaries.
to the government specification, the donors are expected
to build each house to the value of Rs. 400,000 with
basic amenities like water, electricity and sewerage
house will have two bedrooms, one sitting room, one
dining room, a toilet and a kitchen. The extent of the
house will not be less than 500 square feet.
government will identify lands according to the land
limits established by the Urban Development Authority (UDA).
criteria adopted by the government to obtain lands are
firstly through the state lands, secondly obtaining
lands from the state agencies like the NHDA, UDA, Sri
Lanka Railways and local authorities and finally if
these lands are inadequate, to meet the demand by buying
land from private property owners.
explained that in the process of acquiring lands from
private individuals the government would be extremely
cautious, as this method cannot forcefully enforced.
government will inform private residents owning lands in
the coastal areas (outside the stipulated buffer zone)
of the plan and invite them for a discussion.
government would make an offer to purchase a portion of
the lands owned by private residents and if the
respective residents do not respond favourably, then the
government would acquire the identified lands under the
Land Acquisition Act Section 2 and 38 (A).
the majority of the houses damaged in the tsunami
disaster belong to the fisherfolk Junaid says priority
would be given to rebuild houses for this community.
to him, the donors have already started constructing
houses in areas identified by the state, especially for
of the situation prevailing in the north east, the NHDA
Chairman says before launching reconstruction projects
the access roads must be finished.
says even to build houses, the roads in some of the
areas are so badly damaged that the reconstruction
process cannot be undertaken by the state.
the government will also vest the originally devastated
lands in their legal owners but would offer a different
block in an area identified as "safe".
However, the owners, despite legal ownership cannot
erect structures in the tsunami-ravaged land. They could
be used for cultivation or some other industrial purpose
under the supervision of the Coast Conservation
Department (CCD) and the Urban Development Authority (UDA).
Papua New Gunea example
dams and massive developmental activities being
identified as the main causes of massive displacement,
UNHCR, the UN agency dealing with refugees has called
for the reconsideration of the 100 metre strict coastal
the world's population doubling in the past 40 years,
between 30% to 60% of the urban population in developing
countries currently live in slums and informal
settlements, according to the World Report on
Displacement. It is predicted that populations would
swell in the next decade causing more disease in the
there are many sad examples of forced evacuations
causing massive displacement, there has been the
occasional instance of prudent handling. Papua New
Guinea was devastated by a tsunami in 1998 and in its
aftermath, a survey was conducted and it was decided
that nobody should leave their original land or lose
their land if such could be facilitated. Only those who
migrated following temporary displacement lost their
lands and livelihood while others after some time
returned to their original homes and livelihood.
draft land policy
to the draft policy prepared by the Ministry of Lands in
the year 2003, land was identified as a " scarce
resource" in a densely populated country such as
Sri Lanka with a population of 18.01 million people.
of the salient features of the said draft was to grant
some one million landless people with land, minimise
excessive use and ownership of land and to ensure most
people would eventually own a plot of land.
new policy, according to its drafters was necessitated
by the fact that there was a plethora of decision making
institutions and a complicated legal system resulting in
overlapping policies that lacked an integrated approach,
to former Lands Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, the
granting of land was based on a "land suitability
evaluation" while reservations of lands in
environmentally sensitive areas were meant for
conservation. The policy also discouraged conversion of
agricultural land in urban fringe areas for
policy looked into victims of floods, famines, droughts,
sea erosion and earth slips. We decided to give the
victims legal ownership of both is original land and the
new block," he adds.
into the journos
That bally worm is still in my bubbly! No good screeching
really. Worms may turn but they never seem to go away. To
think dearest, here I am, back from the Bahamas suntanned and
gorgeous, and there you are, I mean to say, just as you were.
And I can bet my last condom at a builders' convention that
the same media worm is still in your bubbly too.
can't wait m'deah to catch up on all the latest goss. I'll get
my people to call your people and we'll set an informal
meeting over a bag of tea or a dish of tsunami relief or
if there's one thing a delicate nose-job doesn't bargain for
it is to be hit a good one on the aquiline by your incessant
and tedious appearance on telly and in the front pages of the
Daily Noise. It's not that I object to an occasional horror
story but is it too much to ask that it be confined to the
last day of October.
I see from the daily rags that finally, you and I see
eye-to-eye on something - especially if you were to quickly
slip on those newly acquired high heels of yours. I was as
thrilled as a dog on a road full of lamp posts to read that
finally, you too feel that your kept press is going overboard
like a drunken sailor caught in AA. Oh well alright
then.....caught in a tsunami. The kept press is packed, you
say, with baseless and absurd reports. So much so you assert,
with womanly warmth, which always becomes us girls well, you
have been reduced to the sorry state of only being able to
read foreign news rags. Tsk. Tsk. First you stopped reading
this bally rag in public although our spies.....I mean flies
on the wall maintain staunchly that you still read us in the
toilet. Then you lashed out at independent media and now you
stop reading altogether. Not even your own bally rag. Who can
noisy rag, apart from being an empty vessel, is, like her
mistress also given to lying (to use a term once frequently
employed by you) like a Trojan. A term I might add the late
old fox once called a misconception of classical history, when
you, in the days of your youth, observed in a girlish manner
that the old fox was, 'lying like a Trojan.' At which comment,
JRJ was to softly point out that it wasn't the Trojans who
am unaware of the quality of your speechwriters dahling, but
from the tenor of your speeches I can deduce that they ain't
much. Elementary, my dear Watson. It has been a habit of yours
dear, a habit about which I would like to have a long
discussion with you, to make veiled references in a sweeping
kind of way. Thus in Hiniduma you say that an opposition
politician is working like a bally beaver to stop tsunami aid.
In much the same way that in Colombo you recently sought to
assert that all judges are corrupt. Much, I say again, in the
same way as you once at your official palace said that a
Supreme Court judge was corrupt, causing seismic tremors of
9.1 on the Richter scale to hit the apex court premises.
master...sorry...mistress of innuendo under cover of
presidential immunity, you seem to be blaming the NGOs and
some mystical European country for amassing tsunami relief and
not giving it personally to you. Oh my dear! The hills are not
going to be too much alive with the sound of music if you keep
talking in that offensive way about 600 million smackers. Or
should I say, doe a deer?
if you mean who I think you mean when talking of the
opposition politician stopping tsunami aid, my darling, I can
scarce forbear to giggle. The theory that Ranil was hopping
about in the Netherlands stopping this and that was the tale
your own Daily Noise carried in its front pages as an
investigative piece supplied by you. I may as well tell you
sweetheart, he is as likely to stop aid to a devastated
Paradise, as a shy and retiring deputy vicar standing on his
left leg in a rural parish in Cornwall is likely to pounce on
some Hollywood superstar.
stopping this and that like an overzealous traffic policeman I
can understand or even imagine. But him? Out of the bally
question. You make him sound like some broken down traffic
light. In that respect my darling, if you ask me, he is as
unlike you as a Japanese teashop girl is to the chief of a
So you see deah, it is hardly profitable to be talking
about Ranil in this wild way. A man who often reminds me of a
wide-eyed Hamlet in a constant state of indecision. That same
sort of moodiness and irresolution coupled with a strongly
marked disposition to see things. That is all that even the
most dyspeptic critic can say of old Amdo.
the subject of dashing male figures, I have to admit darling
that the arrival of Clinton today is making my heart go
boombudi-boombudi-boom-boom-boom. I am a girl who likes the
odd cigar. But what will you talk about dear? May I suggest
you go easy on the NGO-bashing for the nonce? A modicum of
caution dear. Puffing yourself out like a captive balloon and
hissing will get you nowhere. Counter productive if you get my
drift. Thelma, as you know has always been a staunch supporter
of the upper classes and ever ready to trod down on the masses
with you, but even I, cannot allow you to put your foot in it
at this crucial time. I advise you to therefore put a sock in
tempted to speak, why don't you say a neutral something like
etcetera etcetera etcetera? A word you have always liked. And
a helpful addition to any sentence often employed by you I
notice in my astute way, to make others believe that you know
more than you actually do. In this case it might just save
final word on these journo chaps my sweet. In Hiniduma last
week you glibly called the independent media a curse. Tsk. Tsk.
Dahling! Not done no. Hey, wait just a minute...that's what
they call you. Hmmm! There's a copycat in our midst and we
know who! Ta- ra!
patriot of the east
D. B. S. Jeyaraj
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam awarded its highest civilian
honourposthumously to former Ampara District Parliamentarian
Chandranehru Ariyanayagam who was gunned down along with
Kausalyan, the Tiger political chief for
Batticaloa - Amparai and four others along the A-11
highway on February 7. Chandranehru became the first Eastern
Tamil recipient of the "Maamanithan" or "Great
Person" honour conferred by LTTE Supremo Velupillai
known generally as Chandra and/or Nehru was the latest
casualty caught up unfortunately in the crossfire of a dirty
war between the LTTE and its former Eastern Commander
Vinayagamoorthy Muraleetharan alias Karuna. He had gone by van
to help out Kausalyan returning home from the Wanni. Nehru had
met the LTTE Political Head for the east and his comrades at
Polonnaruwa and was transporting them back when assassins
struck fatally at Pillaiyaarady about five kilometres from the
Welikanda Army camp. His death was a tragic instance of being
in the wrong place at the wrong time.
LTTE Leader's decision to award Nehru the 'Maamanithan' honour
was not motivated by Nehru's service to the Tigers in this
respect alone. It was due to a combination of reasons. In the
first place, Chandranehru was an avowed LTTE supporter and
never hesitated to assert that position in public. Even after
failing to win a seat at the last poll, the man had continued
to serve the people of Ampara to the best of his ability.
continued to maintain a close relationship with the LTTE and
in recent times became a trusted confidant. His last act of
going out of his way to give Kausalyan a ride being a good
example. He was also involved with the LTTE affiliated human
rights outfit known as the North-Eastern Secretariat on Human
a climate where civilian supporters of the LTTE could have
been intimidated by this type of killing, it was necessary for
the LTTE to boost civilian morale by honouring people like
Nehru who were murdered by its foes. As a former
parliamentarian and a human rights activist, Nehru in the
LTTE's eyes had the necessary credentials to deserve such an
award. Also it served to highlight the gruesome killing thus
earning the LTTE some plus points. The Tigers are now engaging
in a lot of propaganda over Nehru's killing as they hope it
will generate a lot of sympathy.
considerations also played a part. Earlier the LTTE had given
Nehru the "Naatrupatraalar" title posthumously. This
means "patriotic citizen" and is regarded as the
second highest civilian award of the LTTE. Subsequently, the
Tigers revised their position and honoured him with the
greater award. The 'Maamanithan' was given to Kumar
Ponnambalam too in 2000 when the Tamil Congress leader was
killed in Colombo.
later that Nehru not being given the highest civilian honour
may not go down well with the eastern Tamils. The high-profile
LTTE contingent that came down to the east from the Wanni to
participate in the funerals felt in their interaction with
people that this could be perceived as discrimination towards
the east. The Karuna faction could have pinpointed this
further. With the LTTE fighting a politico-military battle in
the east to win back the hearts and minds of the Tamil people,
awarding the 'Maamanithan' became almost an imperative.
award was handed over to Chandranehru's widow at a special
ceremony held at Paavattai LTTE base in the Kanchikudichhaaru
region of Ampara District. Nehru's wife is of mixed
Tamil-Sinhala parentage and lives in Komari. Chandranehru's
only son who lives in Britain, as well as his siblings living
in Canada and elsewhere were present. LTTE Batticaloa-Amparai
Military Commander's Ram presented it to Chandranehru widow
after reading the citation signed by Pirapaharan. The LTTE
Leader praised Chandranehru's exceptional service to the Tamil
people and the Tamil cause amid adverse circumstances.
Batticaloa - Amparai special commander Ramesh, ex-Political
Chief Karikalan, LTTE Financial Controller Thamilendhi and ex-
EROS leader and current Senior Member of the LTTE Kamalisini
Velupillai Balakumaran also spoke at the ceremony. Nehru's
body was lying in state at the Tiger camp. Earlier the body
was taken around Batticaloa and Ampara Districts for people to
pay their respects. After the award ceremony the body was
brought back to Nehru's native Thirukkovil and buried
according to Christian rites conducted by Methodist priests.
Political Wing Head S.P. Tamilselvan and the Batticaloa-Ampara
Special Commander Col. Bhanu were also expected to pay their
respects at Nehru's funeral but could not do so as they were
not given helicopter transport from Kokkaddicholai to
Thirukkovil. Chandranehru's wife and son however went up to
Palugamam later and met Tamilselvan. The LTTE Political Wing
Chief consoled the family and expressed his sympathies.
Ariyanayagam was a colourful character with a flamboyant
personality. He was an old 'sea dog' with about 30 years
service as a mariner. Of these at least 20 were as captain of
a mercantile vessel. Years of sea going however did not
diminish the patriotism of this eastern son of the soil whose
family was steeped in Tamil nationalist politics. He returned
home a few years ago to set down roots in his motherland and
took to politics in a big way.
from Thirukkovil in the south of the Ampara District
Chandranehru was the son of a well-known pedagogue, K.A.W.
Ariyanayagam who made a name for himself in the Gandhiyan way
of Tamil national struggle some decades ago. Ariyanayagam was
a founder member of the Federal Party led by the "Gandhi
of Eelam," S.J.V. Chelvanayagam.
Chelva he too was a Protestant Christian. If the north was a
preserve of the American missionaries, the east has been a
Methodist stronghold from the time of William Ault who came
along to Ceylonwith the pioneering
seven Methodist missionaries led by Thomas Coke.
Thirukkovil was one place that took to Methodism in large
numbers. This Christianisation however did not prevent Tamil
nationalism entrenching itself there.
Senior participated in all the non-violent struggles of the
'50s and '60s that the Tamils engaged in to win back their
lost rights. He was the uncrowned king of the Ampara District
Tamils and fostered principles of non-violence in them. As a
result, he was called "Arappor" (Ahimsa struggle)
Ariyanayagam. He also wrote the Tamil national anthem of
Engal Eelath Thamil Thiru Naadu modelled on Tamil Nadu
poet Bharatidasan's 'Thiraavida Ponnadu.'
Chandranehru also participated in many demonstrations during
his student and early youth, including the 1956 and 1961
satyagrahas. Like many Tamils, he became disillusioned with
non-violent struggle and in later years an ardent devotee of
the armed struggle and the LTTE. He believed firmly that only
an armed struggle waged by the LTTE could win back the lost
rights of Tamils.
government service, first as a Fisheries Department employee
he worked in Kalpitiya. The lure of the ocean was irresistible
and he quit government service and joined a Maldivian ship as
second officer. In six years he was captain of his own ship.
He worked for many years on Maldivian ships. He also got
married during this period.
life on the high seas took Chandranehru's mind off Tamil
politics, a nasty experience in the mid '80s
brought him back to reality. Coming home on vacation he
was arrested under the Draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act
and incarcerated in Boosa for more than a year. The experience
made him a determined Tamil nationalist espousing separation
through armed struggle.
bade adieu to sea-faringat the end of the last century and
returned home to Thirukkovil. He bought a complex of shops and
became a businessman. Politics was in his blood. Soon came the
2001 elections. Nehru contested on the Tamil United Liberation
Frontticket in Ampara District where Tamils were only 19% of
the total population. Though a newcomer who had been away from
the country for decades, Nehru was able to win a seat of the
total seven in the district.
thing that helped him was the family background. His father
Ariyanayagam would have been an MP in 1960 when Ampara
District was carved out of Batticaloa but for the fact that
the Tamils willingly 'sacrificed' the seat due to them to
allow the Muslims additional representation during electoral
demarcation. Such was the amity that prevailed between both
communities then. In 1977 when Pottuvil was made a
multi-member constituency, Ariyanayagam would have been the
first choice had he been living. He passed away in 1972 and so
entered M. Canagaretnam.
from this one of Nehru's brothers, Ruban, was a popular
Methodist pastor. The Christian community rallied strongly
behind Nehru because of this. Another factor that helped him
was the fact that the Thambiluvil-Thirukkovil people mobilised
strongly in his favour because Nehru was a man from that area.
parliamentary baptism was funny. He came wearing a batik bush
shirt and the speaker refused to let him take his seat as he
was improperly attired. So Nehru had to borrow the white long
sleeved shirt of a parliamentary staffer and take his seat. He
was a firebrand and often made controversial pronouncements.
He took no effort to disguise his unbridled admiration of the
the Tamil Nadu assembly passed a resolution calling for
Pirapaharan's arrest and deportation to India, Nehru lost his
temper. He described India not as "Thainadu"(Mother
Country) of the Tamils but a "Pei Nadu" (Devilish
Country). He also threatened to bring Tamil Nadu Chief
Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram to trial under the Tamil Eelam
irony in all this was that his father Ariyanayagam was a great
admirer of India. He himself was named after two great sons of
India. The Chandra was for Subash Chandrabose and the Nehru
obviously for Jawarhalal Nehru.
the Karuna revolt occurred, Chandranehru was in a quandary. He
took no sides initially and urged unity saying "Pirapaharan
and Karuna were the right and left eye of the Tamils."
Later he was compelled to throw in his lot with Karuna and
spoke at a rally where Pirapaharan's picture was burnt
this Nehru was not trusted by Karuna who had brought in
Pathmanathan earlierto contest on the TNA ticket along with
Nehru. Pathmanathan was from Karaitheevu and married in
Thambiluvil. Thus he dented Nehru's Thirukkovil-Thambiluvil
vote bank while garnering Karaitheevu votes too.
the early stages, Nehru was backed strongly by the Ampara
District Tiger Political Wing Chief, Bawa. About a week before
the election Bawa deserted Karuna and went over to the Wanni.
This left Nehru in the lurch and deprived him of LTTE support.
The intra-Tamil National Alliance campaign between Nehru and
Pathmanathan was very fierce, leading to much violence before
and after the elections.
factor was the religious card being raised. The support of all
Hindu temple trustees was obtained to mobilise Hindu voters
and keep the "vedhakkaran" (Bibleperson) out.
Despite this Nehru lost only by a narrow margin to
eastern situation changed within a week of the 2004 election.
Karuna left Batticaloa after some fighting and the Wanni
hierarchy re-gained the upper hand. Nehru appealed that he
should be given the national list nomination for the east, but
did not succeed. It was given to Joseph Pararajasingham who
had boldly hitched his wagon to the Pirapaharan star while
Chandranehru had been vacillating between Pirapa and Karuna.
time progressed Nehru re-established better relations with the
Tigers in the east as well as Wanni.Kausalyan in Batticaloa
and Balakumaran in the Wanni helped Nehru salvage himself
politically with the LTTE Supremo.The Tiger hierarchy realised
that he was an ardent Tamil nationalist whose heart was in the
right place in spite of temporary problems.
was then made Ampara District representative of the
North-Eastern Secretariat on Human Rightsheaded by Rev.
Karunairatnam. In a newspaper interview Nehru waxed eloquently
about the NESOHRand what he proposed to do. He stated that it
would be even handed and pull up the LTTE too if it violated
human rights. This however had to be taken with more than a
pinch of salt.
practice, the NESOHR is yet to prove its impartiality and
independence. Its reports are an exercise in glossing over
alleged LTTE offences and whitewashing it. When it was
formally inaugurated at Kilinochchi, Tamilselvan went public
with the pronouncement that the NESOHR was being set up to
take forward the Tamil national leaders' ideas and thoughts.
recent times there has been alot of tragedy in Chandranehru's
lost two brothers in the past two years. Both died due
to illness. The recent tsunami disaster hit Thirukkovil hard
and according to a close relative, 26 of Chandranehru's
relations were killed. Now Chandranehru himself is no more. He
leaves behind his wife, son, mother and seven siblings.
of a workaholic Prez!
with rebuilding after tsunamis, killings of Tiger politicos
and myriad visitations by foreign dignitaries - tsunami
surveyors and peace facilitators alike - local politicians
have certainly had a busy year so far. None more so of course
than President Chandrika Kumaratunga herself, who between
hosting banquet after banquet and hopping off on various
visits to say 'thanks,' not to mention her
threatening-to-boil-over stew with the JVP, apparently has no
time to breathe. Oddly enough, despite her round-the-clock
work schedule and appointment of numerous committees, two
months after the monster waves not a single reconstruction
project is off the ground yet.
am a workaholic. And we have I think achieved quite a lot. We
have also had many failures. But when one has a vision and one
wants to do things and you see that something is happening for
the people of the country, especially the underprivileged, it
is very soul-satisfying, but also it has been very
President Chandrika Kumaratunga in an interview with Pakistan
Television on February 9.
again, her confessions MUST be true - after all she wants to
go on 'working' even after her term is up!