Tigers and TRO in FBI net
By Frederica Jansz
An explosive report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sworn before United States Magistrate Judge Eastern District of New York on August 7, 2006 sheds light on an intricate web of arms procurement, human.....
> Preserving Galle's heritage Chinthana style
> 'Hundred men raped me within 20 days'
Tigers and TRO in FBI net
By Frederica Jansz
An explosive report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sworn before United States Magistrate Judge Eastern District of New York on August 7, 2006 sheds light on an intricate web of arms procurement, human smuggling and money laundering among other criminal
activities by the Tamil Tigers in the US and Canada.
Since 1999, FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force ('JTTF') in America have been conducting an investigation of individuals and charitable organisations for violating United States criminal law by providing material support to the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The Tigers have in place an elaborate weapons purchasing system in the United States
The arrest last month of six Tamils in the US and Canada has succeeded in threading together this investigation, providing evidence that despite the LTTE being listed as a terrorist organisation in the US - the Tigers have been successfully using illegal methods to raise money, acquire weapons and technology and publicise its cause of
establishing an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka in America.
The FBI investigation concludes that the Tamil Tigers rely heavily upon supporters in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and elsewhere to raise and launder money, acquire intelligence, purchase technology, military arms and equipment, and improperly influence elected
politicians and other government officials.
A terrorist organisation
The LTTE has been designated by the United States State Department as a foreign terrorist organisation since 1997, and is banned in several other countries as well. As such, the LTTE cannot legally raise money or procure operational equipment or other material in the United States.
Individuals involved in these activities or other forms of material support are subject to federal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 2339b and other statutes. The United States' designation of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation has significantly hindered the LTTE's propaganda campaign to
portray itself as a legitimate 'liberation' movement for the Tamil population in Sri Lanka.
However, rather than abandoning their terrorist tactics - suicide bombings targeting innocent civilians, assassinations of political figures, use of children as soldiers, etc.- to change its image in the international community, the FBI investigation reveals how the LTTE has attempted to bribe its way off the foreign terrorist organisation
list, has resorted to secret fundraising through front 'charitable' organisations in the United States, and has relied upon supporters in the US and US-based e-mail accounts to acquire operational equipment and technological know-how from illegal dealers and unsuspecting North American companies.
The LTTE manages its worldwide operations through a hierarchical organisational structure. As the head of the LTTE Velupillai Pirapaharan maintains close oversight over almost all aspects of the LTTE's worldwide activities.
S.P. Tamilselvan is the head of the LTTE's political wing. Sanmuganadan Sivashankar, also known as Pottu Amman, leads the intelligence and operations wing. Veerakathi Manivannan, also known as Castro, is in charge of the LTTE's 'International Communications Secretariat.'
Six Tamil men
The six Tamil men who were arrested in the US and Canada last month serve as principal liaisons between Pirapaharan and other LTTE leaders and LTTE supporters in North America, Europe and Asia, and have been found to have actively engaged in procuring operational equipment from
around the world.
The six Tamil men are Suresh Sriskandarajah, also known as Waterloo Suresh, Tirukumaran Sinnathamby, Thirukumaran Sivasubramaniam, Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy, also known as Dr Moorthy and Vinayagamoorthy Murugesu, Vijayshanthar Patpanathan, also known as Chandru and Nachimuthu Socrates, and Ramanan Mylvagnanam.
Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy (Moorthy) is a senior LTTE supporter who has direct and frequent contact with the LTTE leadership in Sri Lanka and is often dispatched by the LTTE to countries around the world, including the United States, to facilitate projects.
The FBI found that Moorthy serves as an intermediary between LTTE supporters in the United States, Europe and elsewhere and the Sri Lankan leadership. Suresh Sriskandarajah, Nachimuthu Socrates, who uses the names Vijayshanthar Patpanathan, as well as Chandru, Thirukumaran Sinnathamby, Thirukumaran Sivasubramaniam and Ramanan Mylvagnanam are
all LTTE activists in North America.
The FBI is in possession of proof that these men and several others are engaged in a far-reaching conspiracy to provide material support to the LTTE, in violation of criminal law 18 U.S.C. 2339b in the United States.
Moorthy and Chandru have been found to have resorted to bribery to persuade purported U.S. State Department officials to remove the LTTE from the Foreign Terrorist Organisation ('FTO') list, to also gather classified intelligence about the LTTE in the US and to enable them to travel freely to and from the United States.
The FBI report maintains that the six men were determined to maintain and expand their illicit relationship with the purported State Department officials.
On or about December 2, 2005, Chandru met with two men (who were in fact undercover agents for the FBI) but who posed as State Department officials. They are referred to in the FBI investigation as UC-1 and CI-1.
They met concerning the purchase of a purported classified intelligence document about the LTTE. Having successfully won the trust of the Tiger operatives, Chandru gave UC -1 $1,000 in cash, and UC -1 permitted Chandru to view and take notes of a classified intelligence document, which references a joint investigation by the United States
and a foreign government into the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), currently under investigation even in Sri Lanka as a suspected LTTE front fundraising organisation.
The document states that US and foreign government authorities interviewed four TRO officers, and learned that TRO had transmitted a large sum of money from London to Sri Lanka. The document further states that the US authorities concluded that this information did not warrant continued investigation of the TRO in the United States, and that
the investigation had ceased.
The next morning, December 3, Chandru called a senior Tiger to inform him about the meeting and the document. They discussed offering UC-1 a $50,000 annual salary to provide additional information. On or about December 10, 2005, Chandru called Moorthy to relay to Moorthy the information contained in the document. Concerned about secrecy and
their phones being tapped, Chandru asked Moorthy whether he was in a 'good place' and talking on a 'random number.' Moorthy told Chandru to talk 'in a hidden way.' Thus, the contents of the document were explained to Moorthy. Chandru subsequently again bribed UC-1 to give them a purportedly classified document detailing LTTE activities in the US.
Via the undercover agents, the FBI discovered that the LTTE purchases arms and other military equipment, communications devices and other technology from countries around the world.
Chandru is a principal LTTE procurement officer. He has used several US-based e-mail accounts to purchase and/or inquire about, among other items, military arms, unmanned aerial vehicles for 'jamming of radio and radar,' submarine design, flight lessons, cell towers, radio controller equipment, Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment,
short wavelength radio equipment, radio and satellite equipment, air traffic equipment, cameras, computers and engineering publications. Sriskandarajah, Sinnathamby, Sivasubramaniam, Mylvagnanam, and Moorthy, among several others, have facilitated these transactions for the LTTE.
Suresh Sriskandarajah, who resides in Canada, has assisted LTTE officials in Sri Lanka in researching and acquiring, in the United States and elsewhere, aviation equipment, submarine and warship design software and communications equipment.
The FBI has proof that Sriskandarajah has used student couriers to smuggle items into LTTE-controlled territory. On or about October 23, 2005, Sriskandarajah e-mailed three students about their travel to Sri Lanka, and explained to them in explicit detail how to deceive Sri Lankan customs officials at the airport in Colombo about the purpose
of their trip, how they would be transported up to LTTE-controlled territory, and how to smuggle the materials that Sriskandarajah would provide to them - including books, 'Sparton compasses,' a 'Jvad GPS Receiver,' an 'RFMD computer boards kit,' laptop computers and other items, past Sri Lanka Army officials. (See box for e-mailed instructions Sriskandarajah gave the students)
Conspired to purchase
In March 2006, Sriskandarajah and Ramanan Mylvagnanam conspired to purchase approximately $22,000 worth of submarine and warship design software from a U.K. company. According to its website, the company was incorporated 'under an initiative from U.K. Central Government and U.K. Ministry of Defence,' and its 'primary purpose was to enhance
and make commercially available a (60 million British Pound) MOD (Ministry of Defence) development of warship and submarine design and analysis software.'
Based on the purchase order attached to an e-mail sent by Sriskandarajah to Mylvagnanam, the software that Sriskandarajah and Mylvagnanam arranged to purchase included a 'solid modeller' that, according to the company's website, 'enables the designer to create a solid model of a marine vehicle,' a programme that 'allows the designer to
assess the stability of a submarine,' and other programmes that enable a designer to 'perform dynamic simulations of a submarine.'
Sriskandarajah and Mylvagnanam were concerned about questions regarding why they wanted to purchase military software. In one e-mail, Mylvagnanam cautioned Sriskandarajah, saying, "They are asking me a lot of questions. I don't want to sound suspicious, so want to give them a good answer. Please see if you can or whoever has a good idea
about it to describe what we are going to use it for." In response, Sriskandarajah devised an elaborate scheme to make it appear as if the software was merely for a school project.
Sriskandarajah and Mylvagnanam also attempted to purchase night vision equipment from a company in British Columbia, Canada. To deceive the company, Mylvagnanam told the company's representative that the products were for 'a fourth year design project we are doing at our university.' Mylvagnanam also assisted Sriskandarajah in purchasing and
shipping computer equipment, electronics components and communications equipment, and wire transferred over $5,000, at Sriskandarajah's instruction, to two companies in Singapore that distribute smoldering equipment.
Sriskandarajah also facilitated the purchase of 'Towers.' In an e-mail dated September 29, 2004, Sriskandarajah says that, "We're ready to buy the equipment, but still need to hear from you regarding ... 1.height of towers (2) 2. Distance between towers 3. Would you be able to build a Tower at the checkpoint, etc. . 4. Height of hill
where tower 2 is located please call me to speak about this so that we can order the parts tomorrow."
In March 2005, Sriskandarajah provided the LTTE with a contact at Raytheon Aircraft Company, a large military contractor. By e-mail dated March 15, 2005, Sriskandarajah told the LTTE that the contact "works on air traffic radars. He does talk a lot but does little . . . But see if he's of any use to you."
Thirukumaran Sinnathamby who used his bank account to launder funds for the LTTE, has also assisted Sriskandarajah in purchasing technology. By an e-mail dated October 5, 2004, Sinnathamby provided the LTTE with three web sites and quotes for sourcing a short wave car radio antenna.
On or about January 17, 2005, Sinnathamby provided the Tigers, by e-mail, a quote of $2,749 for a Dell Computer. On or about March 15, 2005, Sinnathamby outsourced for microprocessors from 'IC distributors,' a source of electronic components and integrated circuits. On or about October 28, 2005, Sinnathamby sent an e-mail to LTTE top rungers
with links to two web sites for United States companies for sourcing torches with led technology.
Purchase of materials
According to the FBI, Sinnathamby also helped establish accounts to purchase materials for the LTTE. By an e-mail dated February 9, 2004, Sinnathamby informed the LTTE hierarchy of a step by step "procedure for opening an account at Paypal."
'Paypal' is an account-based system that permits anyone with an e-mail account to purchase materials online using a credit card or bank account.
Sinnathamby, with the assistance of Sriskandarajah, also arranged to help smuggle scientific magazines to LTTE-controlled territory in Sri Lanka. In an e-mail dated August 22, 2005, Sinnathamby told a senior LTTEer that, "I have received a box of magazines just last week. I will be handing it over to Sriskandarajah who always has
volunteers coming to the Wanni. I will let you know who'll be taking the magazines."
Thirukumaran Sivasubramaniam in addition to using his bank account to launder money for the LTTE, has also assisted Sriskandarajah in procuring technology in the United States for the LTTE and laundering money for the purchases through different bank accounts.
In April 2006, for example, Sriskandarajah, Sivasubramanian, Mylvagnanam and other co-conspirators acquired approximately $12,000 of technology from companies in the United States.
On or about April 29, 2006, Sivasubramaniam sent an e-mail to Sriskandarajah detailing purchases that he and three other individuals had made. Sivasubramaniam identified for Sriskandarajah the "list of things I have paid for," and specified $1,000 for 'Ramanam' (a reference to Mylvagnanam), amounts for other co-conspirators, and
over $4,000 for "myself" - i.e. Sivasubramaniam - which was for purchases of a "camera and case and battery," "labtop" (sic) , "4 g memory card" and $250 for "my great service."
Sivasubramaniam told Sriskandarajah that "I will deposit cheque for myself for that amount next week... I will deposit cheque to (a co-conspirator) on Monday as well..." on May 1, 2006, Sivasubramaniam sent a follow-up e-mail to Sriskandarajah, explaining that "I have deposited $12520 into account. And I also deposited $4700
into (....) account today... I hope you have money in your account..."
Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy alias Moorthy has also facilitated purchases for S.P. Tamilselvan, the head of the LTTE's political wing, and others.
For instance, in January 2004, Moorthy assisted in purchasing Thuraya Satellite telephone 'scratch cards' from an applied satellite technology. In addition, on or about November 12, 2004, Moorthy e-mailed Tamilselvan, saying, "We are hoping to be there on November 14,
2004. We are hoping to sort out the things that were sent through TRO when we are there."
In December 2004, Moorthy e-mailed the Tigers about several computers that had been purchased for him and, apparently, taken to Sri Lanka during his (Moorthy's) trip there in November 2004.
Moorthy, the investigation reveals also maintains and manages several bank accounts and credit cards for the LTTE in the U.K.
Fund raising events
The FBI maintains that these six men, while conspiring to provide material support to the LTTE also includes fund raising in the United States and Canada. The LTTE relies on front charitable organisations, including the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) and World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), among others, to give their
fundraising activities the appearance of legitimacy.
FBI investigators state that the WTCC openly sells LTTE propaganda and literature on their websites, and have held fundraising events in which the featured speakers - with LTTE flags flying behind them on a stage - openly called for those in attendance to support the LTTE. The investigation concludes that these organisations are also used to
smuggle goods to the LTTE in Sri Lanka.
Chandru is affiliated with both the TRO and the WTCC, and is an active LTTE fundraiser. His phone number is listed as a New York contact on the TRO's website, and Chandru is the secretary of the WTCC.
Chandru has travelled to LTTE-controlled territory in Sri Lanka to meet with the senior leadership of the organisation. In or about October 2003, Chandru told a US undercover agent (CI - 1) that, during his trip, he met the "leader," (a reference to Pirapaharan), as well as Castro, Balraj (a reference to 'Colonel' Balraj, the head
of the LTTE military wing), and Pottu Amman (a reference to Sanmuganadan Sivashankar, head of the LTTE's intelligence and operations wing, among several others.
Chandru also said that he was supposed to meet with 'Colonel' Soosai, a reference to Thamodarampillai Sivanesan, the commander of the Sea Tigers - but that Soosai was busy and instead called Chandru on a cellular telephone.
Chandru told CI-1 that he told Soosai that he wanted to go with him to the sea, and added, laughing, that Soosai responded that they will train him and send him on the next ship for a suicide mission. Chandru also gave CI-1 a detailed description of how he was covertly transported
through the jungles on a motorcycle to where the LTTE leaders reside.
Chandru has acknowledged to CI-1 that he has laundered money for the LTTE and that "we have sent millions" through the TRO.
Chandru has also detailed to CI -1 how the LTTE raises money in the U.S. and Canada. He said that, in total, more money is raised in Canada, but that the LTTE relies more heavily on donors in the United States for time-sensitive financing needs.
On or about June 25, 2004, Chandru told CI-1 about being stopped by immigration officials for suspected money laundering for the LTTE. He explained that "the one time they captured me for money, I did not take money with me."
"Before that I have taken money several times in several ways but they never checked me and capture me. For my luck, that day I did not take any money." Chandru also told CI-1 that, "from here (US), taking money out or bringing money in is not a big problem," but that "sending money from Canada is a problem."
for this reason, Chandru said, "from the beginning (money) was brought from there (Canada) to here (US)." Chandru also noted that "after the money reaches the destination the people who are involved in the process are ready for anything. After the money has reached, we have no problem in going to jail. . . One guy going to jail is better than the loss we incur by getting
The finer points to escape detection
How Sriskandarajah advised student couriers to get past Sri Lankan officials with counterfeit goods for the LTTE.
This is what he told them in emails..
"Here is the info you'll need. . Read it/ print it/ delete this email afterwards. It contains important info so read it all but don't share with others...
Don't tell anyone besides your family about your departure; you idiots already told way too much people. . .
Pack up properly! There is lots of money being dumped on these things; pack smartly. . . Put the stuff I gave properly and put teddies and chocolates to cover up although they are not problematic; just computer stuff.
When you land in Sri Lanka . . . only speak in English near them (customs officials); never speak in Tamil in front of Sinhalese guys. So, tell customs guys you are here on vacation and will travel around whole island with your family. . . See Colombo address below to give in customs form. . . When the guy
checks the boarding pass, just smile and show him and tell him there's only personal clothes and chocolates, etc. (gifts for family). Give him a bag of chocolate. If they ask you what these things are for: say it is gift for family and try to make up some bs. . .
When you get out of this part, you should see Mayooran there. . . He will put you on a van to Wanni. Before that, give him the things you need to give him and pickup anything he gives (not sure if he will give you anything yet).
From airport, you got about eight hour journey to Wanni. You get to army checkpoint after Vavuniya. This is the trickiest part but it is not a problem at all. . . You will be asked to take out the suitcases and open for them to see. Put the suitcases without any problematic things in the back of the van
first; so when you have to take out the bags. . Take these out first. . . Give them like one bag of chocolate for all of them and smile. Give cigarette too...
If they ask about anything; say they are gift for family; they are computer parts. Make up some bs. . Remember; speak in chilling way only in English. Do not tell these guys or at airport that you are going to Wanni ... Do not say Wanni or Kilinochchi. Say you are just visiting around family; nothing else;
not helping; no nothing else. . .
Now you get to the Tigers checkpoint, only five minutes away. . . Tell them Waterloo Suresh sent you and that you will be in Wanni for two months. . .
In Killinochchi town, go to Nanthavanam which is right beside the sports ground. There, tell them Waterloo Suresh sent you and you need to see Elil. I need to know that you arrived safely and more importantly all the things got there safely. . .
Take everything to Wanni and give to Elil who will be your person there. . Everything else give to Elil so he will distribute to people you will work with."
Human smuggling - the LTTE way..
The FBI investigation asserts further that Chandru and others have also conspired to bribe public officials in the US to smuggle family members and associates into the United States from Sri Lanka.
In or about October 2001, Chandru and CI-1 met multiple times at CI-1's Staten Island apartment and elsewhere. Chandru gave CI-1 photographs and biographical information for two Sri Lankans (identified by code as -'Alien 1' and 'Alien 2') whom Chandru wanted to smuggle into the United States from Sri
Chandru believed that CI-1 had a relationship with a corrupt INS officer ('UC 3') who could prepare fraudulently obtained 1-512 forms for the Sri Lankans for a bribery fee of $6,000 per 'Alien.' The 'Aliens' could then use the forms to illegally gain entry into the United States. Fraudulently obtained
1-512 forms were subsequently prepared and provided to Chandru to give to Aliens 1 and 2.
On or about January 18, 2002, Alien 2 arrived at Newark International Airport via Singapore Airlines and was paroled into the United States. Chandru met CI-1 at the airport, gave him $5,500 of the $6,000 bribery payment and said he would pay the remaining balance at a later date. On or about March 1, 2002,
Alien 1 arrived at Newark International Airport via Singapore Airlines and was paroled into the United States. Chandru paid CI-1 the $6,000 fee for Alien 1.
In or about February 2002, Chandru met CI-1 at his Staten Island apartment and gave him the remaining $500 for Alien 2. He also provided CI-1 with a Fedex envelope containing biographical information and photographs for four additional Aliens ('Alien 3,' 'Alien
4,' 'Alien 5' and 'Alien 6') to be smuggled into the United States.
On or about March 15, 2002, Chandru provided CI-1 with biographical information and photographs for three more Aliens ('Alien 7,' 'Alien 8,' and 'Alien 9'). On or about April 4, 2002, fraudulently obtained I- 512 forms were issued for Alien 7, Alien 8 and Alien 9. CI -1 gave Chandru the false 1-512 forms
for Alien 8 and Alien 9 on or about April 7 and for Alien 7 on or about April 12. Fraudulently obtained 1-512 forms were issued for Alien 4 and Alien 5 on or about April 30, 2002.
On or about May 10, 2002, Alien 5, Alien 7 and Alien 9 arrived at Newark International airport via Singapore Airlines. Chandru was at the airport and paid CI-1 $13,500 of the $18,000 due for Alien 5, Alien 7 and Alien 9. On or about July 1, 2002, Alien 4 arrived at Newark international airport via
Singapore Airlines. Chandru paid CI -1 $6,000 for Alien 4, as well as the remaining $4,500 balance due for Alien 7, Alien 8 and Alien 9.
In or about March 2006, Chandru met with CI-1 and UC-3. Chandru said that Alien 2 and Alien 4 were facing deportation proceedings in Buffalo, New York, and that Chandru was willing to pay UC -3 to stop their deportation. UC-3 agreed to assist Chandru for $3,000. On or about March 19, 2006, Chandru made a
$1,400 payment to CI-1 to give to UC-3, and subsequently paid CI-1 the remaining balance.
First the Presidential Palace, now Galle Fort
Preserving Galle's heritage Chinthana style
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti, Arthur Wamanan and Chinthaka Fernando
Sri Lanka's fourth World Heritage Site, the old town of Galle and its fortifications are being altered in an ad hoc manner in stark violation of the UN Heritage Convention to which Sri Lanka is a signatory.
With scant regard for these historical monuments the highest officials in the land are aiding and abetting the move. With a cavaliar attitude the authorities concerned, instead of preserving these monuments for posterity, are helping deface and alter the character of the Dutch architecture that forms part
of the world's heritage.
Galle International Cricket Stadium under reconstruction (inset) Sajin Vass Gunawardena's letter and UDA guidelines
A heritage lost is lost forever. While that may be the thinking behind the World Heritage Centre, an arm of UNESCO, dedicated to preserving heritage the world over, such thinking is alien to politicised individuals going on ego trips.
Sri Lanka has erred in grand style that protests have already been lodged at the Paris based World Heritage Centre as a school situated within the Galle ramparts is being expanded at will while the tsunami devastated Galle International Cricket Stadium is also being reconstructed in sheer violation of the island's obligations to uphold the
UN Convention, the Archaeological Ordinance and the Urban Development Authority Act under which the area was declared a 'specially designated area.'
What is worse is that the stadium was to be relocated under a master plan to develop Galle under former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, a fact present authorities have not spared a thought for.
The Rs. 300 million reconstruction project is to soon get underway with the blessings of President Mahinda Rajapakse. In fact the cricket authorities trumpet this fact to those who oppose the stadium reconstruction stating if presidential approval has been granted, there is no need
for others to agitate against the project.
The exact site is described by Prof. Ashley de Vos in his concept proposal for the Rehabilitation of the Tsunami Devastated City of Galle through Human Resource Development as, "Galle Fort is located in southern Sri Lanka, 120 km from Colombo. It is a unique monument and remains the best-preserved example of a fortified colonial town in
In 1986, the fortified port town of Galle, 90 acres in extent, with massive rampart walls, 10 bastions with pepper pot sentry points and 648 buildings, all laid out within its walls, was nominated to the World Heritage list."
On July 20, Director General, Galle City Development Plan Project, Prof. Ashley de Vos officially lodged his protests with Director General, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Dr. Francesco Banderin claiming that the tsunami
devastated cricket stadium was now being reconstructed in violation of the UNESCO guidelines and domestic laws.
They said the master plan for the redevelopment of Galle has also identified an alternate location 700 hectares in extent and in close proximity to the proposed Colombo-Matara Highway which would include a regional sports complex. The said complex will include stadia for cricket, football, athletics, swimming, indoor sports etc.
" We have written numerous letters to the authorities concerned but they seem to have fallen on deaf ears," de Vos claims, adding that it appeared that the rebuilding of the stadium may even have Presidential backing, a fact that is obvious given the fact that the President has consented to lay the foundation stone itself on a
De Vos told Paris, "we see this as a dangerous precedent that could threaten World Heritage and other special sites in Sri Lanka, on the basis that if it was good enough for Galle why not here, leading to the eventual destruction of the unique cultural heritage of this island" and urged preventive action and a speedy intervention.
With unauthorised constructions taking place within the Galle Fort area, de Vos fired his first round of salvos in August 2005. He first wrote to Chairman, Board of Control for Cricket, Jayantha Dharmadasa. He wrote: "As you are aware, the Archaeological Ordinance does not permit any construction within 400 yards of a protected site.
This does not refer only to Galle but encompasses all sites in Sri Lanka. We do not expect the Department of Archaeology to afford any special concession to the Board of Control for Cricket regarding Galle as it would be a dangerous precedent which would affect all protected sites around the island."
His letter further states that as statutory permission for all constructions require approval from both the UDA and the Department of Archaeology, the present location violates the Archaeological Ordinance and an alternate location has been suggested for the cricket stadium of the future."
CBK takes action
At that time, during the same period, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga wrote to the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Jeevan Kumaratunga informing him that it was clearly 'not possible' to undertake any new construction activity to rebuild the International Cricket Stadium in its present location as such construction would
violate provisions of the Archaeological Ordinance. " Hence, no action towards rebuilding the Galle International Cricket Stadium should be permitted."
Kumaratunga said, noting that an alternate site for the same purpose has been identified in Koggala where the new stadium could be built.
But that was a different attitude and a different President. Prof. de Vos had to lodge his written protest a year later when the same project recommenced, apparently with Presidential blessings. De Vos now wrote to President Mahinda Rajapakse on May 25 informing him there was no provision for the construction of a building within 400 yards
of an archaeological monument.
He also spelt out details of the plans to put up a regional sports complex that would include a cricket stadium, a viable alternative that should be considered by the sports authorities facilitating efforts to conserve heritage.
Protests fall on deaf ears
Interestingly enough, Director General, Dr. Senerath Dissanayake also wrote to Chairman, Board of Control for Cricket, Jayantha Dharmadasa quoting provisions of the Archaeological Ordinance violated by the Board and urging corrective measures to be taken in this regard. But all the protests went nowhere, and giving an interesting political
twist to the tale, Presidential Coordinating Secretary, Sajin Vass Gunawardena promptly wrote back to Dharmadasa informing that "He is directed by the President's Secretary to inform you that reconstruction work of the Galle International Cricket Stadium is authorised as envisaged in your letter of request."
Further, Vass Gunawardena has requested Dharmadasa to submit a work programme providing all relevant details for the information of the Presidential Secretary. On May 31, Assistant Secretary for Presidential Secretary, Harsha Wijewardena wrote to Dharmadasa informing that the President would in due course give a date for the foundation stone
laying ceremony of the main pavilion at the Galle International Cricket Stadium.
The stadium however formed only one part of the problem. A school located within the conserved walls has wanted to expand its premises and had in fact, illegally authorised this though the school authorities live in absolute denial.
Problems commenced three years ago, in 2003 when All Saints' Maha Vidyalaya, Galle submitted a request to the UDA proposing expansion. It was stated that some land needed to be acquired for a 'public purpose' which is the expansion of the school.
UDA does not approve
The then Director General, UDA, J. M. L. Jayasekara however did not grant approval. When an affected party inquired about the school expansion project, Jayasekera explained that there was no possibility to permit such expansion.
In his reply to F. A. Bawa, he explained that in terms of the guidelines made under UDA Section 23 (1) of the UDA Act of 1978, Galle Fort has been declared a 'Special regulatory area.' As such, schools are not permitted to expand within the Galle Fort. He added: "Galle Fort has
been declared a 'World Heritage site' and it is to be developed as a cultural and tourist location.
"All government and administrative offices such as the Kachcheri, education offices and other government buildings were to be shifted in the year 2003 according to development plans of the Galle Heritage Foundation." He further added that under the UDA regulations, further reconstruction, modification and reconstruction within the
limits of Galle Fort was prohibited without the approval and guidelines from the UDA.
What is more, the UDA head added that the International Council on Monuments and Sites has prepared a Master Plan for the Development and Conservation of Galle Fort which the UDA has approved. Accordingly, development or reconstruction of government buildings including schools is not permitted within the designated area if not in line with
the Master Plan of UDA.
Teaching to vandalise
On May 7, one F. Azmia Bawa has complained to Chairman UDA about the proposed expansion plans of all Saints' Maha Vidyalaya, Galle by the Ministry of Education. According to Bawa's letter, the school is acquiring properties around the school premises for the purpose of expansion activities and has sought to acquire her ancestral property
which has been declared a 'monument.'
A new classroom building has been constructed completely violating the Dutch architectural character of the Galle Fort. Furthermore, Bawa alleges that the building is not in line with the existing streetscape and the height of adjoining properties and is a complete violation of the existing architectural character of the historical fort.
When The Sunday Leader visited the school, authorities simply denied any construction had taken place and debarred the visiting journalists to inspect the site. However, now it is an established fact that a classroom has been added to the school and the premises have been altered sans required approval.
By allowing the expansion not only has the school done wrong by adding such expansion, the Ministry of Education too has assisted in an effort to destroy the country's heritage that is to be conserved for future generations instead of introducing haphazard development. Particularly when this island has shown more commitment in previous
instances when similar situations have arisen. We can only remind the authorities of one thing, and that is to say, heritage once lost is lost forever.
President Rajapakse is however not a man who perhaps thinks too much of history. Recall that The Sunday Leader exclusively reported how Rajapakse threw out an ancient statue of Queen Victoria on her ear and trashed the 20-tonne Portuguese stone in Gordon Gardens which was engraved
with the Portuguese Coat of Arms - all this to make changes to the Presidential Palace - a palace he still hasn't occupied.
If the authorities are merely trying to obliterate our colonial history then they must realise that a nation's past cannot be changed but owned and accepted, for it is only then that a nation can truly change its future.
'Permission not obtained'
Chairman, Galle Heritage Foundation and JVP Parliamentarian, Ajith Kumara told The Sunday Leader that a special permission should be obtained from a sub committee in the Urban Development Authority
(UDA) to undertake any constructions within the Galle Fort.
"Every plan should go through that sub committee. This is even necessary to change the structure of an existing building as well," he said. Galle Heritage Foundation is a consolidated body of UDA, Galle Urban Council, Archaeological Department, Central Cultural Fund (CCF), Government of
Netherlands and few other institutes working towards conserving the city's heritage.
" We are currently losing some of the oldest and picturesque houses inside the Fort because they had been purchased by foreigners. These historical buildings are being completely modernised by them destroying the antique value. They do not
heed our regulations," he said.
According to Ajith Kumara, foreigners have changed around 50 houses and UDA had filed cases against them for illegal modernisation. However, apart from taking legal action, Galle Heritage Foundation has initiated a programme in collaboration with the Netherlands government to protect the old buildings in
their original form. "We provide financial assistance to owners of old houses who wish to refurbish them in the same old style," he said.
Netherlands is providing funds because they too want to preserve the buildings that have been built by their ancestors, he explained. The Dutch built the Galle Fort during their rule. Ajith Kumara complained that the Galle International Cricket
Stadium was being reconstructed without the required special UDA permission.
'Presidential approval is there'
Manager, Galle International Cricket Stadium, Jayananda Warnaweera said that they have received written permission from President Mahinda Rajapakse to go head.
"We don't need to seek permission from anybody when the head of state has granted approval," he said. He also said that no new building would be put up within the ramparts. "We will follow Dutch architecture to make sure our buildings will also resemble that grand old architecture,"
"This is a very significant cricket ground. Fans and international cricket officials always inquire as to why there is no rebuilding effort. It's only our people who do not realise the value of it and try to obstruct the development process," he alleged.
'No new constructions'
Principal, All Saints Maha Vidyalaya, Galle, K. Kulasinghe told The Sunday Leader that no new construction work has been undertaken during the past seven years.
There are no buildings as alleged and the complaints have no basis, Kulasinghe added.
Chairman, National Development Centre (NDC) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Priyantha Algama admitted that the renovation process of the Galle International Cricket Stadium was very much on. But he denied there was any expansion work.
"We are only renovating the stadium. We are not expanding and there is no room to expand," he said, adding that Presidential approval has been received for this purpose.
"The President himself has approved the project. I do not think UNESCO approval is necessary therefore," he added. "Only the existing buildings such as the pavilion and the media centre of the stadium will be upgraded under this project," Algama said.
The stadium project will cost Rs. 300 million and is completely funded by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
History of Galle
The old town of Galle and its fortifications were declared part of the World Heritage Sites under Article 1 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted in 1972.
Accordingly, monuments, groups of buildings and sites are considered 'cultural heritage' due to their outstanding universal value.
The Galle site which includes monuments, groups of buildings and the site itself were collectively declared part of world heritage in 1988.
World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka
Ancient city of Polonnaruwa (1982), Ancient city of Sigiriya (1982), Sacred city of Anuradhapura (1982), Old town of Galle and its fortifications (1988), Sacred City of Kandy (1988),
Sinharaja Forest Reserve (1988), Golden Temple of Dambulla (1991).
Sri Lanka obliged to inform Paris
Secretary General, Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO, Prithiviraj Perera told The Sunday Leader that Sri Lanka, as a state party to the Heritage Convention was required to inform Paris headquarters of any changes to the preserved sites. He said it has not happened in this case.
"If there is any alteration taking place inside or outside the declared site, it is necessary to have Paris informed of such developments. The general practice would be for the centre to send an evaluation team to ascertain threats to a site.
Normally, headquarters would then call for comments from the local office. Sri Lanka office has responded to Paris following complaints, he said.
Perera further added that the key issue was the protection of authenticity and integrity of a site and to prevent any impairment to the original character.
He noted that previously when the SLAF commenced building an airstrip in Kimbissa, close to the Sigirya site which could have had terrible ramifications on the fabled fortress, the project was abandoned as Sri Lanka decided to comply with state party obligations.
He added that the Government of Sri Lanka gave equal importance to safeguarding the country's heritage of 'Sigiriya' as to the safeguarding of the sovereignty and integrity of the country when they decided against building an airstrip near Sigiriya.
15-year-old-girl relates her gruesome ordeal
'Hundred men raped me within 20 days'
The Inn in Dambulla where 15-year-oldNamali
was allegedly held captive
By Jamila Najmuddin
Her words kept reverberating within the four white washed walls, - "if you were raped in such a brutal manner and 'used' by over a 100 different men in 20 days, would you ever wear a white uniform again?"
Each word brought back dark memories, of 100 arms clutching at her, and when she could take no more, she broke down.
It was a week after Valentine's Day - a week in which a 15-year-old, Namali* found new love.
Thrill of love
While she had heard of extravagant love affairs in her village and her friends sneaking out of school just to exchange letters with their boyfriends, Namali knew that someday she too would find her hero who would love her till death tore them apart. It was that great love she expected when her eyes fell on 23-year-old Sugath* who arrived in
the form of her hero at the Dambulla Hospital on the eve of Valentine's Day.
Looking into her eyes and brushing his fingers with her's as their eyes greeted each other for the first time, Sugath fitted her description of 'hero.'
However little did she realise that this hero, who disguised himself as her lover would very soon lead her to a disaster which was so cruel that it sent shockwaves throughout Dambulla and caught the attention of every child care organisation in the country.
Forced to have sex with over 100 different men within 20 days, 15- year-old Namali now fights each day to get over her trauma and start a brand new life.
Child rights groups consider Dambulla as an important location in trafficking children. They say that the town is more or less a transit point in the child sex trade.
In this case however, Namali did not move out of Dambulla. She had to undergo 20 days of trauma inside a hotel room in the town itself. In those 20 days her life changed forever.
In the little she now speaks, she narrates the tragic incident of February 21, 2006, when Sugath had been waiting in town for Namali to arrive - a daily routine since the day the two had met at the Dambulla Hospital. "I met Sugath at the Dambulla Hospital when I had taken my sister for a check up.
"I liked him immediately and we exchanged our addresses. Ever since that day we decided to meet in town as I had to hide our affair from my parents. He told me he lived in Manatugama. I believed him," Namali said.
The two had met only a week before when on February 21, Sugath offered to take Namali to the Dambulla Temple so that they could be alone. "Sugath had promised to marry. I knew I could convince my parents about our affair. So when he offered to take me to the temple I knew it was
a positive step.
However, instead of taking me to a place of worship, we headed towards a rest house and when we came close to the inn I knew immediately what was going to happen and I told him I wanted to go back home," she said.
However, Namali was too late as Sugath had already instructed the three wheeler driver in which he had brought Namali, to park the three wheeler inside the rest house premises.
Refusing to get down from the three wheeler, Namali says that she threatened to scream if she was not taken home immediately. However all her pleas were in vain as Sugath held her hand and forced her into the guest house.
"As soon as we were inside the guest house Sugath whispered something to the receptionist. He never let go of my hand and even though I screamed no one bothered to help me. A few minutes later I was forcibly taken to a room upstairs," she said.
Relating her ordeal thereafter made the 15-year-old Namali break down in tears. Ashamed to narrate her story further, Namali refused to look into my eyes.
"What happened after we were in the room is something I never want to remember. The sight of men frighten me so much now that I run into my mother's arms for protection whenever I see a man appear at the entrance of my house," she said.
However she added, "as soon as I was pushed into the room by Sugath, I was forced to strip off my clothes. He was very brutal with me, I still have the scars.
"After that he promised me he would return in an hour and left the inn. He locked the door from outside and I waited for about two hours but he did not return. I started banging on the door and a little while later the manager of the guest house came into the room.
Sugath never returned
"I asked him if Sugath had returned but he told me that Sugath had informed them that I was a prostitute and that I could be 'used' by all. He had 'sold' me to the rest house manager," Namali narrated amidst tears.
According to Namali, the 29-year- old rest house manager, Upul* did not leave her room that night and she was forced to sleep with him. Ever since the day Namali began her life as a child sex worker, she was forced to have sex with over five men each day for a period of 20 days.
Namali says she cursed each day for having to wake up in a room where she had to sell her tiny body to so many strangers.
In one of her nights with Upul, Namali said that he had told her that there were four rooms at the inn and each of the rooms had girls locked inside. "I found out that there was a 14-year-old girl locked in one of the rooms. Upul told me that she was used only by the rest house employees and very rarely was she given to customers.
"I met that girl a few days later when I went down to have my food and as soon as she saw me she came running to me and hugged me and said she loved me and wanted to be my friend. She was as frightened as me and when the rest house employees saw us talking, she was dragged away.
Since that day we communicated with each other through letters. My mother has burnt all those letters now," she said.
Namali adds that there were two other girls both aged 23. They were both willingly in the job while the 14-year-old girl had been kept there by her parents.
Although she tried to escape several times, she was caught and severely 'punished' by Upul.
"As I wanted to go home I told Upul several times to set me free.
"I never got any new clothes or money within those 20 days although I know that the men with whom I was forced to sleep, paid large amounts to the inn manager for one 'session' " she said.
According to her initial statement to the Dambulla Probation and Childcare Services Department, Namali had stated that a sum of Rs. 700 was charged from each customer. The price for spending a night however was much higher she had said in her statement.
Despite such large amounts charged from the customers, Namali says that she was never given a cent. "I did not get any money when I was released and neither am I expecting anything. It is all dirty money which the owner and the employees have collected," she said in embarrassment.
She adds, "every time a customer walked into the inn, they were first shown the other three girls before I was shown. It was only when the customers refused those three girls that they were sent into my room. Despite this, I had atleast four to five men in my room each day. Sometimes I had to deal with more. I was disgusted with
myself," she said.
Namali adds that out of the 20 days she spent at the inn, she was taken out thrice by one of the employees.
"I was desperate to go out and every time I was taken, I was always accompanied by one of Upul's men. I was always taken to Matale. We never travelled in the bus and always took three wheelers and when I was taken out I was forbidden to talk to anybody. The other three girls were taken separately by different employees. I never tried to
escape as I was too frightened. After a few days I got used to living a life of selling my bodyas I had no choice," she said.
While Namali hoped and prayed each day that someone would soon rescue her, her prayers were finally answered when on March 12, the police conducted a raid on the inn. "I was the only girl in the inn when the police conducted the raid as a week before, the 14-year-old girl who was in the other room had started screaming, demanding that
she be released.
"She cried a lot and a man arrived in a three wheeler to take her away. She was severely beaten by that man before she was taken away," Namali charged. According to Namali, the 14-year- old-girl was transferred to another rest house and that was the last she saw of her.
The other two girls who had been in the inn were away on the day of the raid and according to Namali, one of the girls had left the inn permanently to 'work' in Anuradhapura. "I was all alone that day when the police came. I was not asked any questions but was instead taken downstairs and was told to get into the jeep.
It was the first time in 20 days that I smiled. There were many other older girls in the jeep. However the inn employees were not arrested," she said.
After being taken to the Dambulla Police Station, Namali says that she was put behind bars along with the other girls. Namali was kept in the police station that night and was produced before the Dambulla Magistrate the following day.
When she arrived in court she was released on Rs. 500 bail and was finally reunited with her mother who was informed by the police on March 12, that her daughter had been found.
Namali alleges that while she tried to lodge a complaint at the Dambulla Police after her release, the police only harassed her further. "Although I had committed no crime, the police considered me as the criminal and did not do anything to help me. My mother and I returned home, vowing never to return to the police," she said.
Finally at home
Today Namali sits at home, handling the household chores. Her parents have forbidden anyone to talk about the tragic incident and has seen to it Namali is treated with respect and care.
She hides from prying eyes, and wants to be left alone. When other girls of her own age run to school and whisper of boys, she shuns the school uniform like a ghost from the past and seeks the loving arms of her helpless parents.
She would never forget the days she was forced to spend as a child sex worker and blames the authorities for not taking any action to protect the hundreds of girls who are still leading the same life.
* (Names have been changed to protect the identities)
Fresh investigation mooted
It was the watchful eye of a probation officer who was present in court when Namali was produced along with other women arrested during the raid that saved her from a worse fate - a jail term. He had immediately recognised that Namali was under-age and thereafter looked at her file only to realise that she
was just 15-years-old.
The officer spoke to the mother and Namali the day after she was produced in court and a fresh investigation into her particular case was initiated.
The Probation and Childcare Services Department in Dambulla that is currently conducting the investigation into Namali's tragic case says that her case was similar to those of other child sex workers who had escaped from the clutches of their 'masters.'
"Dambulla is famous for child exploitation as it is a transit point. Many children are kidnapped and forced into motels to work as child sex workers and their parents remain helpless," an official from the department said.
After she was released on Rs.500 bail at the Dambulla Magistrate's Court, Namali was put into a rehabilitation home for several weeks where she received treatment to get over her trauma. She is still suffering from severe depression and has refused to take any medicine, officers said.
'Police investigation unsatisfactory'
OIC, Women and Children's Bureau in Colombo, B. P. Balachandra told The Sunday Leader that the investigation conducted by the Dambulla Police was unsatisfactory.
"When I studied the case, there were a lot of questions which had been left unanswered. A new file had been opened and has been sent to the Probation and Childcare Services (PCS) in Dambulla as they are the people who are now conducting the investigations," OIC Balachandra said.
Namali reunites with her parents
Officials from the Dambulla Police told The Sunday Leader that no complaint had been lodged by Namali's parents during the 20 days that the 15-year-old girl had been missing and it was only following a tip off received by a resident in the area, that a raid was conducted on all the hotels which were
situated in the Dambulla town in the early hours of March 12.
"We arrested many girls who were working as prostitutes in different hotels. Namali was the only girl arrested from the inn in which she was working. When she was arrested she did not mention her age to the female police officers who arrested her, when she was questioned by them. She remained quiet
even when she was put behind bars.
"Even though some men came to take her home the night she was behind bars, she did not tell the police anything. Next day she was produced before the Dambulla Magistrate's Court and was released on Rs. 500 bail.
"She was finally reunited with her mother and her case is now being investigated by the Dambulla Probation and Childcare Services Department," a high ranking officer from the Dambulla Police said.
All we want is justice - Mother
Namali's mother, Sujatha* told The Sunday Leader that there were several girls like her daughter who were sold to motel owners in Dambulla. "My daughter is innocent.
"It is very unfortunate that this happened to my child. We do not want the money of the inn owners. All we want is justice," she cried.