leaves a vacuum in the east
Tamilselvan paying his last respects to the slain Kausalyan
Amantha Perera and Easwaran Rutnam
September 7, slain LTTE Political Head of Amaparai and
Batticaloa Districts, Eliathamby Lingaraja alias Kausalyan
walked into a meeting with the Head, Sri Lanka Monitoring
Mission (SLMM) Trond Furhovde with a smile.
have someone you want to meet," he said, and in walked
Ramnan, the LTTE intelligence head for the east. The peace
monitors had been trying desperately to meet with the elusive
Ramnan, who they knew was spearheading Tiger efforts to
consolidate the east as well as replenish cadre levels. SLMM
monitors had once driven up to the 49 Base near Vakarai to
meet with Ramnan, but were turned back.
Ramnan did not take part in the meeting or participate in any
future meetings the then 32 year old Kausalyan had once again
lived up to his word. In the face of mounting criticism by the
monitors as well as other organisations like UNICEF that the
Tigers were recruiting children, the onus fell on Kausalyan to
take some sort of assertive action. The bringing together of
Ramnan and the SLMM officials was Kausalyan's way of
signalling to the monitors that he had brought them face to
face with the military commanders.
who was brutally slain last week at Namalgama near Welikanda
on the A-11 highway linking Habarana and Valachchenai had the
knack of winning hearts. Small made and effusive, he came
across as the man who would listen and be patient. From the
army to the SLMM to visiting journalists, everyone was eager
to meet Kausalyan in the east. "Kausalyan was a decent
and soft spoken man who was tired of war and longed for a life
with prosperity and peace," said a source within a
multinational agency based in Batticaloa who interacted
closely with him.
after his elevation as LTTE Political Commissar of the east,
Kausalyan got the opportunity to travel abroad. He once
returned from a study trip to Scandinavia on the federal
system curious as a child. "He had a real genuine
curiosity about life and governments in other countries and
always asked me many questions about how minorities in other
countries had fought for their rights and won either
independence or autonomy," the same source said adding
that Kausalyan kept on peppering questions about federalism
and power sharing.
was no secret within the LTTE that Kausalyan was a rising
star. "He is a very high ranking member," former
Eastern Military Head, Ramesh remarked to SLMM monitors just
before he was recalled to the Wanni and replaced by Bhanu.
Kausalyan was the point man for the LTTE in the east. He in
fact took part in the latest round of talks Norwegian
Ambassador Hans Brattskar had with Political Head S. P.
Tamilselvan in Kilinochchi. And his death leaves a vacuum that
would be very difficult to fill.
is no ordinary man, he commanded the respect of others,"
TNA MP M. K. Elaventhan who had recently helped in the tsunami
relief efforts in the east said.
was a good decision maker and he was patient," echoed
Marshall, a middle level LTTE member from Vakarai.
funeral itself stood testament to his standing within the
organisation. The body was paraded in all the major towns from
Batticaloa to Kalmunai, irrespective whether they were in
government held areas or otherwise. Top Tiger leadersflew in
for the funeral.Never has there been a similar funeral for a
slain LTTEer. He was laid to rest at the Thandiyandi Heroes
Cemetery near Karadiyanaru. A crowd of more than 15,000
attended the funeral.
members of the army agreed that Kausalyan's loss would be felt
greatly. He was in fact credited with holding back extreme
elements within the eastern command from launching all out and
while the new military leaders like Bhanu, Prabha, Ram and
Ramnan kept their distance while dealing with the security
forces or the SLMM, Kausalyan played Tamilselvan of the east
for the LTTE.
his history within the LTTE including military service and
stints in the finance division and judicial section, Kausalyan
was respected by the military wing members as well. His word
carried a lot of weight in the east, especially after the
Karuna defection. Last August, The Sunday Leader was stranded
in Kokkadicholai within Tiger areas-all top ranking leaders
were deep in the interior held back in discussions and if not
for a nominal meeting with the man, movement was severely
restricted. Kausalyan conveyed a message through his secretary
cum translator S. Manoj. "Go where ever you want to, do
what you want, if anyone asks questions, tell them Kausalyan
has okayed this," was the message and all restrictions
were lifted. There wasn't even the usual LTTE political wing
more than such power it was the public face that was of more
value to the Tigers. "He represented a brighter future
for the LTTE and the Tamil people because he was so eager to
learn and to adapt," sources from an international
organisation working in Batticaloa said. Even on very small
matters, Kausalyan intervened.
army officers complained to him about some Muslims being
prevented from going to their fields in LTTE-held areas.
"The next day he sent a message and all was ok,"
security forces sources in the east told The Sunday Leader.
With such action he was at least able to rebuild some of the
burnt fences with the eastern Muslims.
was not that he wasn't a tough bargainer. Recently he walked
out of a relief related meeting when the JVP walked in and
kept on insisting that the rapprochement efforts between the
government and the Tigers in the east would not be fulfilled
just as long as Karuna and his loyalists continued with
violence. He also deftly answered issues raised by the armed
forces side on violence allegedly perpetrated by the LTTE.
the split, Karuna supporters have been taking out the public
faces of the Tigers in the east, namely political wing
first big hit came two months after Karuna defected to
government areas when the Wanni faction launched a ruthless
attack during Easter weekend last April. On July 5, the LTTE's
Heroes Day, Ramalingam Padamaseelan alias Lt. Col. Senathiraja,
who headed the political office in Batticaloa was shot in
Batticaloa town. He died eight days later.
over a month later, on August 20, Vasu Bawa, the former
political head for Amaparai and Yoga another political wing
cadre were killed in an ambush near Kajuwatte, on the
Batticaloa-Trincomalee highway. They had just entered
government controlled areas when they fell victim to a
claymore-mine blast and subsequent shooting.
Senathi and Bawa maintained very good relationships with the
SLMM and security forces. When Senathi's body was being
ferried from LTTE controlled areas to government controlled
areas at the Mammunai crossing, Bawa pointed at the casket and
a senior army officer standing near the ferry dock and said
"they were very close."
that Kausalyan too has joined the list of victims of
internecine violence within the LTTE, the political wing in
the volatile east has been left weakened. His replacement Daya
Mohan still has to prove his mettle. Mohan was handling LTTE
administrative affairs in the east and functioned as
Kausalyan's deputy in the tsunami relief effort. The relief
effort is also very likely to be disrupted.
retaliation from the Tigers will be worse than what followed
the Senathi and Bawa murders.
lining up the roads when the casket moved through Batticaloa
and Amparai, were livid
and calling for all
retaliation. Once again the only thing holding back an
immediate attack was the hierarchically dictatorial regime of
the Tigers. If the orders were to break out and launch, the
eastern brigades of the Tigers were ever willing to do that
last week. However, the leadership indicated that it was being
patient. "Fighting is not the way towards peace talks. We
will continue with the peace talks," an English statement
read at the Devanayagam Hall in Batticaloa town on Thursday
morning when the bodies of Kausalyan, former MP Chandranehru
Arianayagam and three other LTTE cadres were displayed.
LTTE in Kilinochchi said that evidence from the cadre who
survived the shooting would prove that the army was involved
in the incident.
Media Coordinator, Daya Master told The Sunday Leader the
cadre identified as Vinodan who is currently receiving
treatment at the Colombo National Hospital had mentioned that
the assassins were in military fatigues.
Political Wing of the LTTE in a press release issued on
Tuesday also noted that the assassins were in military
fatigues, but failed to point fingers at the army directly
although Karuna's name was also not mentioned on the release.
queried as to why Karuna's name was not mentioned on the
official press release and if the LTTE was trying to say that
the army was "directly" involved in the shooting
incident, Daya Master simply said "it's up to you to
the statement made in Batticaloa was more direct, "this
terrible act is supported by the military side," it read.
reports emanated from the army and the LTTE almost immediately
after the shooting. The army said that soldiers at camps near
Namalgama had heard the gunfire and rushed to the location.
The LTTE first said they had received an urgent call from one
of the survivors after the attack, most likely Vinodan.
army first maintained that the van was followed by another
vehicle and then fired. Thereafter the assailants walked up to
the van and fired at point blank range. The LTTE said the
attackers had waylaid the van and ambushed it. Then walked up
and shot. The second description looks the most plausible
given the state of the van that was sprayed with bullets.
is no denying that Kausalyan was the target, the attackers had
walked up and aimed at his head and fired an automatic T56 at
him killing him on the spot.
Namalgama area has always been suspected to be a hive of
activity ofKaruna supporters and the LTTE has repeatedly
notified the SLMM about their fear.
(close to Namalgama) is full of Karuna people and the LTTE has
for a long time alleged they are enjoying a safe haven there.
In the evening, the army is not active in that area and it is
possible the gunmen could have been there unseen, but there
are too many stories about Karuna people hanging out in the
area for it not to be true," said sources with access to
both the LTTE and the army.
weeks back when The Sunday Leader travelled on the same
stretch around 8 p.m. in the night, several armyfoot patrols
were on the road.
Tigers have maintained that Karuna supporters are active on a
ring that stretches from Aralaganwila south of the A-11
highway all the way up to Omadiyamadu close to the Trincomalee
border in the north. The Tigers say that Karuna supporters
lurk on the Batticaloa - Polonnaruwa border and infiltrate
when the time is opportune.
location of several attacks targeting LTTE cadres including
Bawa and Yoga and installations like the attack on the
Periyapillumalai LTTE guard post on the border with Maha Oya
on September 7 indicate the possible infiltration from within
the ring. An LTTE infiltrator also carried out a major attack
on Karuna supporters at Nagasthenne in Welikanda on October
slaying of Bawa and Yoga, and of Senathi, it's clear that
Karunapeople are involved and it is at least a possibility
that they had the confidence to do that partly because they
know their enemy very well, and partly because they were not
obstructed in any way," the same source said.
day after the attack, two army informants (names withheld)
said they were in the area when the attack took place and were
able to clearly indicate where Kausalyan had been seated,
right behind the driver.
the same day, a report appeared in a relatively unknown pro-Karuna
website Athurady that quoted a Karuna supporter by the name of
Barathi alleging that Thaiyaseelan, a former LTTEer now with
Karuna had carried out the attack. It said that a former
security guard of the slain MP had given the tip off when
Kausalyan switched from the double cab into the van in
Polonnaruwa and that the attackers had been informed of the
switch by way of a SMS.
sources confirmed they are aware of Thaiyaseelan, but added
that his name had not
been linked to Karuna since the defection.
Thursday night a statement was issued by a group calling
themselves the Tamil National Force (TNF) taking
responsibility for the attack. The statement issued under the
name of Cheran said that the TNF was under the command of
TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) - Karuna's
political party and the Eelam National Democratic Liberation
statement said the assassin operated alone adding, "if it
was done by the Sri Lankan Army, why should the army wait to
kill one by one in face-to-face encounters? They could easily
get rid of Balasingham, Tamilselvan, Karikalan, Kausalyan,
Thamilenthi and others, when they use to air-dash in the Sri
Lanka government's helicopters by targeting it with a Sam 7
and kill all, lock, stock and barrel?"
sources confirmed the presence of a cadre by the name Cheran
when Karuna held sway in the east.
Rajarathnam, the only official to appear in public on behalf
of the TMVP and ENDLF since the split told The Sunday Leader
last year that TMVP members were active in Batticaloa but were
looking after their own security. He disappeared soon
afterwards and is believed to have been abducted by the
October the LTTE released a wanted list of sorts identifying
former cadres now working for Karuna. The leaflet named
Iniyaparathi, Mangalan, Markan, Ruthira, Sinnathambi, and
Pillaiyan with pictures as the top Karuna lieutenants active
in Batticaloa. Markan is known to be the group that is known
as 'the Markan group.'
photos of six men the LTTE posted as wanted, they are
apparently responsible (for the Bawa and Senathi murders)
according to LTTE intelligence," sources from the east
said. They revealed that the six were reported to be active in
the area of the Kausalyan assassination. In fact Markan
survived the Nagastenne attack.
Kausalyan joined the LTTE in 1989 when he witnessed an attack
by troops based at a camp near Punnani.
LTTE leadership held several rounds of discussions on Tuesday
on their next move with regard to the peace process and aid
distribution following the assassination of Kausalyan who was
posthumously given the rank of Lt. Colonel.
LTTE political division officer, who wished to remain
anonymous, said that Kausalyan's death is a major blow to the
organisation as he was a good leader and an asset to the LTTE.
noted that the LTTE had decided not to use force against the
army under any circumstances after the tsunami but that stand
have been a number of instances where the LTTE was the target
of Karuna's supporters operating under the assistance of the
army. The LTTE held back on those occasions. Now I believe the
line has been crossed," he said.
was in Kilinochchi the day prior to his assassination to meet
Tamilselvan to discuss tsunami relief activities related to
cancelled a planned meetinghe was to have with the World Bank
and Asian Development Bank officials in Kilinochchi on
Tuesday. The Tiger flag was flown at half mast at all LTTE
institutions and buildings in Kilinochchi.
Tamils in Kilinochchi were shocked at the news of Kausalyan's
death saying he was a much respected man who worked hard for
the sake of peace in the country.
ready for war
was no way the incident could have taken place without the
support of the army because it was in a military controlled
area. This is an attempt to instigate violence between the
army and the LTTE. I believe this will impact the future of
the peace process," says S. Sabesan, a textile store
owner in Kilinochchi.
noted that the LTTE could have easily restarted the war if it
wanted to but was patient with the interest of the Tamil
people of the north and east in mind.
19 year old LTTE cadre identified as Senthamil said that it
was obvious the army had a hand in the killing.
cannot just enter army territory and assassinate someone
without their help. Once the cadre who is in hospital gives
concrete evidence I'm sure it will prove the army was directly
involved," he said.
the indication at the funeral was that the Tigers had decided
not to take extreme measures. Yes they kept blaming the
security forces for allowing the murder, the underlying
message was that the Tigers were not quite ready for war as
married only recently, leaves his wife four months pregnant.
in govt. reconstruction estimates?
Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
to two months after the tsunami, the country is faced with a
new set of challenges - rebuilding the country and the
aid pledged and debt moratoriums have so far contained the
economy from hitting rock bottom due to the disaster - at
least for the time being.
implications of debt moratoriums on the country's economic
future have largely been overlooked due to the state coffers
filling up rapidly. (See box)
leading donor agencies - World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB)
and the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) - the
joint preliminary damage and needs assessment report estimates
direct losses from the tsunami of December 26, at US$ 1
billion. Reconstruction costs are pegged at around US$ 1.5
billion. According to the World Bank, that is seven per cent
of the country's annual domestic economic output (GDP).
human terms, the devastation is widespread, and the needs are
great. The coastal areas hit by the tsunami are among the
poorest parts of Sri Lanka. Nearly 100,000 homes have been
destroyed, and some 443,000 people remain displaced.
the preliminary needs assessment has summed up US$ 1.5 billion
as the total amount of funds needed for reconstruction, it is
interesting to note that almost half the reconstruction needs
are being met by various private sector donors as well as NGOs
example, the damage overview and recovery needs in the housing
sector have been estimated between US$ 437 million and US$ 487
million. This amount is expected to cover the rebuilding costs
of the 99,480 completely destroyed and the 44,290 partially
destroyed houses in the tsunami ravaged districts.
to the donors, the state would need up to US$ 487 million to
rebuild houses. However, it is interesting to note that
private donors and NGOs have come forward to rebuild the
houses in most of the districts.
housing needs in the Hambantota District have been completely
taken care of by the private sector. (See box)
same applies to the education, health and water and sanitation
private sector organisations, NGOs, INGOs and even foreign
volunteers have come forward with relief aid.
outpouring of humanitarian aid and assistance for various
affected sectors in the aftermath of the tsunami means a
considerable reduction in the estimated cost of
could also mean a decline in the country's borrowing needs as
country has so far received much of the funds from donor
agencies in the form of grants and soft loans. Assistance in
the form of soft loans will further add to the country's
already burgeoning debt bill.
has so far provided the country US$ 80 million to address
urgent reconstruction needs.
JBIC Representative, Shinya Ejima, the bank acting on behalf
of the Japanese government has already made available the
money pledged and is being utilised through the line
Ejima did not know the amount that has already been spent from
the funds made available by the Japanese agency.
Country Head, Alessandro Pio said that the bank's assistance
has been on three steps.
first step of addressing the immediate relief measures
according to Pio cannot be quantified. The second was to
re-allocate funds from already existing programmes. So far,
the bank has re-allocated between US$ 30 to 35 million from
existing fund allocations.
Bank Country Head, Peter Harrold observed that the bank is in
the process of calculating the amount spent so far under
emergency relief measures.
World Bank on Friday made available US$ 75 million for the Sri
Lankan government to use for rebuilding purposes.
noted that by end February, a new fund of US$ 75 million -
part grant and part soft loan - would also be made available.
to Harrold, US$ 1.5 billion is expected to be mobilised
between 2006 and 2007.
the active role played by the private sectors and NGOs in the
rebuilding process is expected to reduce the initial damage
and needs assessment considerably, according to Pio, the
preliminary damage estimates would remain the same as it is a
calculation of the total amount needed to rebuild the nation.
also observed that the role played by the private sector and
NGOs would reduce the need for excessive borrowing.
ADB, Pio said would contribute to the end of overall
also pointed out that the country would need funds at hand as
the money declared has to still come in.
a historical perspective it is evident that most often donor
aid pledged does not materialise in full.
is yet to receive even a fraction of the donor aid pledged to
rebuild Bam after an earthquake left the city devastated
taking thousands of lives. Central American cities which were
pledged money for rebuilding have so far reported to have
received only one third of the money pledged.
difference in monetary aid pledged and received would be felt
by the country as the rebuilding process progresses.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) meanwhile has reported that
while the Sri Lankan authorities' initial estimates have put
the physical damage at US$ 1.3 to US$ 1.5bn, the implications
for the economy were much wider than this.
broader macroeconomic impact will clearly be substantial but
the details are difficult to assess at this early stage,"
the IMF said. Growth, inflation, the balance of payments and
foreign exchange reserves are all expected to show the effects
of lost businesses and reconstruction costs.
to the IMF, earnings from tourism this year are expected to be
15% lower than last year.
growth this year is expected to be 4%, which is about 1% less
than previously forecast. Inflation could climb to 14%
compared to a previous estimate of 12%.
major exports have not suffered, the IMF has pointed out that
the reconstruction effort will require higher imports which
could damage the balance of payments.
IMF has approved Sri Lanka's request for a freeze on loan
moratoriums and future economic implications
relief might bring in the cash in the short term but can
make it more difficult for countries to borrow money in
the longer term.
tsunami debt relief is expected to be confined to
official government debt, a move which should protect
Indonesia from the possibility of a credit rating
Sri Lanka's position is yet to be seen.
increase in a country's debt would downgrade the
country's position in the credit list thereby being
categorised as a "high risk" player. In such
an event, donors would think twice before allocating
funds to countries deemed bad pay masters.
about corruption, questionable political intent,
economic sovereignty and the dangers of encouraging
reckless spending surround the debate on debt relief.
with the best of intentions, it can be difficult to
absorb the cash and turn it into real improvements on
organisations and developing country governments have
always found it hard to turn the streams of aid into the
kind of growth that cuts poverty.
Paris Club of creditor nations offered an unconditional
freeze on debt repayments for Indonesia, Sri Lanka and
the Seychelles to help recover from last month's
catastrophic tidal waves.
payments owed this year amount to US$ 3 billion for
Indonesia, US$ 328 million for Sri Lanka and US$ 5
million for the Seychelles, though some of those sums
may be owed to private creditors.
decision is an exceptional measure. It is justified by
the scale of the catastrophe. In this exceptional
situation, creditors wished that the suspension not be
submitted to any conditions, neither an accord with the
IMF, nor to comparable treatment by private
creditors," Club president Jean-Pierre Joyuet
stressed at a press conference.
conditions typically accompany aid by the 19-member
Paris Club, an informal cluster of some of the world's
richest creditor nations.
measure takes effect immediately. It will allow
countries affected to use all available resources for
humanitarian needs and reconstruction," Jouyet
evaluations of needs by the IMF and the World Bank would
allow the Paris Club to fine-tune its offer, in
particular regarding how long it would remain in effect,
the club said.
need for supplementary measures would also be
determined, with some political leaders and
non-governmental organisations calling for debt
restructuring or outright cancellation.
countries affected such as India, Malaysia and Thailand
have not asked that their debt payments be frozen, and
official aid announced at UN-sponsored meetings in
Jakarta and Geneva was independent of the Paris Club
principle of a debt repayment freeze was agreed upon by
the Group of Seven industrialised nations and by several
members of the Paris Club.
transferred by President's office
to the CNO, there was a surge of donations from
well-wishers from here and overseas to the President's
Fund in the immediate aftermath of the December 26
disaster. The President's Office then set up a separate
Fund for Disaster Relief at the People's Bank to receive
these donations, states a Presidential Secretariat press
funds accrued as at January 17, to these two accounts
have now been remitted to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
total funds thus transferred from the President's Office
are as follows:
Disaster Relief Fund A/c. Rs. 162,791,538.72
funds have now been credited to the 'National Fund for
Disaster Relief' opened at the Central Bank of Sri
Lanka. All monies in this account are expected to be
utilised to fund the proposed rehabilitation and
heads rebuilding of Hambantota
work in the worst affected southern district, Hambantota,
has begun under the guidance of Premier Mahinda
and resettling of displaced persons is never an easy
task considering the fact that life for them would never
return to normal. Frustrated and traumatised, these
people are only too keen to sleep under a solid roof in
a house they could call their own.
Hambantota District Tsunami Relief and Development
Programme - Helping Hambantota - is all geared to meet
the challenges of rebuilding housing facilities for the
displaced in the district.
of houses would be done under two categories - build on
own land and building on new land (relocation).
to Spokesman, Helping Hambantota, Willy Gamage, the
district's need to rebuild 12,000 houses has been
completely taken care of by private sector donors and
work on the houses, built on a land plot of 20 perches
each has already begun and the first phase of the
settlements is to be completed before the Sinhala New
housing schemes are expected to be completed by then.
fishermen in Hambantota who expressed displeasure in
being relocated out of the town will be relocated to a
land owned by the State Timber Corporation in the town
itself. This land is expected to house more than 432
observed that although fisherfolk do not wish to be
relocated to areas inland, the availability of land for
construction has posed a problem.
from the housing sector, fisheries and tourism sectors
took a heavy beating in Hambantota.
observed that the fisheries sector has been badly
affected by the tsunami.
of 195 multiday boats in the country, 83 were from
Hambantota and the tsunami destroyed all of them. Each
multiday boat is valued at Rs. 5.5 million.
boat was purchased by the fishermen by utilising the
initial Rs. 10 lakhs down payment made by the
government. The rest of the amount was being met by
from that, more than 1,000 other boats have been either
partially or completely destroyed.
from them many others, even those in the interiors have
lost their livelihoods due to the tsunami.
herculean task ahead for Helping Hambantota is to
address all these issues and bring some normalcy to
those traumatised by the devastation.