promises UNP defectors Rs. 850 million to keep
them in govt.
after Edward's resignation and crossover
50m for each of the 17 MPs for a project
to be allocated through Nation Building Ministry
taken after top level meeting at TT
Advisor Basil Rajapakse last week promised to
give each of the 17 remaining UNP defectors a
project worth Rs. 50 million to keep them within
the government fold.
pledge was met when Rajapakse met the
government's alliance partners in the evening of
Tuesday, April 3 following the resignation and
cross over of Deputy Railways Minister Edward
Gunasekera to the opposition in Parliament
earlier that day.
Rs. 50 million payment is to be made exclusively
to the 17 remaining UNP defectors and not any
other government or opposition MP. The members
who would receive Rs. 50 million each from the
government are Karu Jayasuriya, Navin
Dissanayake, M.H. Mohomed, Dharmadasa Banda, G.L.
Pieris, Milinda Moragoda, Bandula Gunawardene,
Rajitha Senaratne, Hemakumara Nanayakkara, Myown
Mustapha, P. Dayaratne, Gamini Lokuge, Neomal
Perera, S. Sooriyarachchi, Mano Wijeratne,
Mahinda Wikesekera and Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene.
total allocation of funds for the 17 UNP
defectors will be a staggering Rs. 850 million.
had told the UNP defectors the monies would be
allocated through the Nation Building Ministry
to the 17 MPs to enable them to launch a project
and service their supporters. Present at the
meeting presided by Basil Rajapakse were
Ministers Jeyraj Fernandopulle, Nimal Siripala
de Silva, Maithripala Sirisena, Tissa Vitharana,
D.E.W. Gunasekera, Karu Jayasuriya, Milinda
Moragoda, Rauf Hakeem, Hasan Ali, Muthu
Sivalingam and R. Yogarajan.
Jayasuriya had argued at the meeting they would
not be able to hold on to their members if the
promises made at the time of the cross over
including the allocation of monies were not
it is learned had explained the difficulties
faced at the outset in honouring the promises
made and pledged to do so within the next few
days. A top source at the meeting told The
Sunday Leader Rajapakse looked visibly shaken at
the meeting following the Gunasekera cross over.
is learned Minister Fernandopulle had argued
strongly in support of the UNP defectors,
stating the promises made before the cross over
must be honoured and that the failure to do so
would result in more cross overs leading to the
Rajapakse's promise to deliver on the Rs. 50
million pledge to each defector, the Jayasuriya
group on Thursday issued a statement supporting
the Rajapakse brothers performance in government
and accused the UNP of being a proxy of the LTTE.
of court papers filed against Harry J
Stassen Exports Ltd. Dr. V. P. Vittachi filed
contempt of Court charges in the Court of Appeal
against Harry Jayawardena complaining that the
Company Managing Director has defied, disobeyed
and violated the interim order issued by the
contempt of Court application filed through
Attorney-at-Law G. G. Arulpragasam, stated that
the Court of Appeal issued an interim order on
February 21, 2007 restraining Harry Jayawardena
from intervening, interfering and obstructing
Vittachi functioning as a director of Stassen
Exports Ltd and also issued a restraining order
restraining him depriving Dr. Vittachi the
salary, allowances and other emoluments and
vehicle facilities provided by the company.
his petition Vittachi alleged that he visited
the office on March 7 and was entering the
company premises in his vehicle bearing No. WP
HL 3249, when he was stopped at the gate of the
premises and informed by the security guards
that they need to seek permission from
Jayawardena to allow him to enter the premises.
In proof of same Vittachi submitted two
photographs to court showing his vehicle being
stopped at the gate.
the petition it is further alleged that after
sometime the gates were opened and when he went
to his office room, to his surprise and
disbelief, Harry Jayawardena was seated on his
chair and was using his desk. When Vittachi
requested Harry Jayawardena to leave his office
room and to allow him to occupy the said room,
Harry Jayawardena refused to leave Dr.
Vittachi's office room and ordered him not to
come his office room again.
the petition it is also alleged that Vittachi
was threatened by Jayawardena not to enter or
use the office room again and that he (Vittachi
) was placed in a helpless and embarrassing
situation and that he left his office room and
lodged a complaint at the Grandpass Police
alleged that by the aforementioned wrongful,
illegal and unlawful acts, Harry Jayawardena has
willfully defied, disobeyed and violated the
interim order issued by the Court of Appeal on
February 21 and thereby challenged and ridiculed
the authority of court in a contemptuous and
derogatory manner and accordingly requested to
court to punish Harry Jayawardena for contempt
the above application came up before the
President of the Court of Appeal Justice
Sripavan and Justice Rohini Perera on Thursday,
court informed counsel for Vittachi that the
leave to appeal application will be proceeded
separately in Court No. 110
and the contempt of court matter will be
taken up in Court No. 303 and therefore
requested the counsel for Vittachi to file fresh
papers to take up the contempt matter in Court
No. 303 before the President of the Court of
Rajapakse P. C. with Kuvera De Zoysa
Attorney-at-Law and Kapila Liyanagamage
Attorney-at-Law instructed by G. G. Arulpragasam
Attorney-at-Law appeared for Vittachi.
killed in claymore attack
people traveling in a CTB bus from Mannar to
Vavuniya were killed and 25 injured when a
claymore mine was triggered near the 28th Mile
Post on the Mannar-Vavuniya Road yesterday
claymore attack also left 26 injured, some of
them critically. The dead were all civilians
except one soldier who was in civvies travelling
home on duty leave. Four other soldiers in
civvies who were also travelling in the bus were
injured. The six civilians killed in the attack
and the 22 others injured were Tamil and Muslim
spokesperson, Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe told
The Sunday Leader the claymore attack took place
at 7.30 Saturday morning. He said the claymore
mine was not in the bus but on the roadside. The
government has accused the LTTE of targeting
civilians in the face of military defeats in the
the LTTE yesterday accused the government of
responsibility for the attack and said civilians
are being targeted to pin the blame on the LTTE
in view of the growing international pressure on
the government's human rights record.
gets access to A5 highway
troops have gained access to the strategic A5
highway linking Chenkalady and Maha Oya running
through Tiger held areas south of Thoppigala,
both the Tigers and the military said last week.
Tigers said that troops were operating in areas
just outside the line of control.
military has entered the A5, they are in an area
called Koppalaveli, that is about 3 to 4 km east
of Pillumalai (the last Tiger held
village)," LTTE military spokesperson
Rasiah Illanthirayan said.
the military said that its gains were far
greater and that troops now controlled a large
stretch of the southern part of the highway.
now control the whole stretch of the road from
Pillumalai to Rukam," Military Spokesperson
Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said. The stretch
is about 17 km and the Tigers still hold a
section of about 35 km from Rukam to Black
Bridge running through Karadiyanaru.
said that troops had in fact crossed the highway
and were operating in the Rukam tank area. The
Tigers denied the claim
highway is the only major access road in the
area and losing control would severely disrupt
supplies to the Tigers. The Tigers are massed in
the Thoppigala area, that lies north west of
Rukam and thus far have retreated further
interior without taking on the advancing
fleeing civilians said that at least 3000 cadres
are suspected to be near Thoppigala waiting for
the government assault. The Karuna group also
told The Sunday Leader that the Tigers were
believed to have stationed artillery guns and
rudimentary anti-aircraft weapons in the
points finger at Wimal for betraying JVP Leader
Parliamentarian and former politburo member
Nandana Gunathileka has denied charges that he
tipped off the state intelligence units of the
real JVP Leader, K. Gunarathnam alias Kumara
any involvement in revealing Kumara Mahattaya's
true identity in the party, Gunathileka has
stated that the question as to who divulged his
identity should be posed to the party's
Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa.
had further stated that although Kumara
Mahattaya and he were at loggerheads over
certain issues, he was well respected by him as
the party's leader.
to the former politburo member, he never did
anything to harm the party even though he did
not agree with Kumara Mahattaya's ideas. He had
also said that it was one of the main reasons
for him to withdraw from active politics without
damaging the party's image.
has charged that it was Weerawansa who betrayed
Kumara Mahattaya to the intelligence units. He
had further stated that since he withdrew from
the party, he never accepted any of the
invitations extended to him from Temple Trees.
any plans of accepting
positions in the government, Gunathileka
accused Weerawansa of being behind the false
propaganda carried out to tarnish his image.
fresh moves for talks
are no fresh efforts to initiate any dialogue
between the Tigers and the government, the
Tigers and the SLMM said as international
watchdogs repeated warnings of a precarious
situation, especially for the civilians in the
normal meetings are taking place, there is
nothing new," Tiger military spokesperson
Rasiah Ilanthirayan said.
SLMM also said that there were no fresh moves
either by them or the Norwegians. "The
message we get from both sides is that they are
interested in talks, the Tigers say the CFA is
the basis, while the Government Peace
Secretariat also maintains that it is ready for
a dialogue, but action on the ground is very
different," SLMM Spokesperson Thofinnur
lack of a fresh initiative comes as warnings
persisted of more civilian suffering especially
in the east.
World Food Programme in its latest report said
that it feared more fighting in the north would
cause the food situation to deteriorate.
in Sri Lanka have been increasing during the
past month and there are strong indications that
heavy fighting will shift to the north from the
east," it said.
International was at the receiving end here due
its advocacy campaign being timed to coincide
with the Cricket World Cup blaming all three
parties, the government, LTTE and the Karuna
group for rights violations.
said that the government and the Tigers had
hampered supplies and access to civilians as the
military situation became bleaker.
government as well as the LTTE severely
restricted access to Batticaloa District and
other conflict areas under their control,
leaving tens of thousands of new IDPs, and large
numbers of other affected populations, without
adequate international protection and access to
humanitarian assistance," it said last
said the Karuna faction was moving in IDP camps
in Batticaloa armed and that there were reports
of harassment and abductions.
displaced persons living in camps in
government-controlled areas of Batticaloa
District report that armed men, reportedly
wearing the uniforms of the Karuna faction, are
infiltrating the camps, roaming in them and even
taking over the distribution of relief
of IDPs increases to 300,000
number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
around the island has now increased to over
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
records show that there are 308,612 displaced
persons, which includes 82,456 families.
records show that there has been a significant
increase in the number of displaced persons
originating from the Muttur Divisional
Secretariat in Trincomalee.
this category, the UNHCR records shows a 43.7
percent increase in the number of IDPs which
consists of 2,286 families that includes 8,752
persons who have moved to the Ampara Division.
has been an overall increase of 0.87 percent in
the total number of IDPs.
other areas - including Jaffna, Kilinochchi,
Vavuniya, Mannar, some areas of Trincomalee,
Batticaloa, and Anuradhapura - the number of
IDPs recorded remain the same.
March 28, the UNHCR has not recorded any decline
in the number of IDPs.
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC),
which consists of findings from various NGOs
noted in their latest situation report that the
NGO's moves to provide temporary shelter for the
displaced persons was being hampered due to the
non availability of building materials for the
construction of wells, overhead tanks and
toilets. Cement is also a rare commodity where a
limited number of bags are sold at Rs. 4,000
regard to the Trincomalee district, the IASC
report states that some IDPs who returned from
Batticaloa to sites in Kiliveddy and then to
their places of origin, are attempting to go
back to the IDP camps either at Kiliveddy or
the Batticaloa district, the latest UNHCR IDP
records indicate that the number of registered
IDP population in the district was 41,942
families consisting of 155, 872 individuals
living in 90 IDP camps situated around many
UNHCR reports that the number of IDPs in Ampara
has increased from 5,815 individuals in March to
8,921 individuals by April 4.
seeks cooperation of SAARC to counter terrorism
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that peace and
security are essential to have meaningful
economic and social progress in the SAARC
region. Addressing the SAARC Council of
Ministers at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi last week
(2), Bogollagama said that the association
within the last two decades had enabled to
charter various projects and programmes to
achieve its objectives.
Lanka strongly feels that it is time that we
focus on strengthening practical measures of
cooperation in terms of the existing instruments
on suppression of terrorism in SAARC and other
multilateral fora, while reaffirming our
commitment to condemn terrorism in all its forms
and manifestations in order to ensure a region
free of violence and terrorism. It is indeed
happy to note that SAARC is moving from
declaratory statements to implementation
process. Towards this end we support the
proposal to rationalise and prioritise the
activities on the broad principles of progress
made in the sectors and the requirement of high
level interaction and regional priority and
needs," Bogollagama further said.
also noted that after four years of intense
negotiations among the SAARC countries, an
agreement was reached as a first step towards
creating a free trade area in South Asia, which
would develop 'trade in services' and finally
reach the lofty goal of creating a SAARC
economic union. According to Bogollagama this is
a move that has made the international community
respond confidently in the regional association.
further said that, "To keep the momentum
going and also to prepare us as a region to face
the challenges posed by
globalisation in the 21st century, we
should ensure that
is fully implemented. We should also
address all related issues to create a conducive
environment for all member countries to freely
conduct trade in the region. Implementation of
SAFTA will inject a new sense of dynamism and
take the association to a greater level of
Ministers of all seven SAARC countries with the
latest addition to
SAARC, Afghanistan participated at the
meeting chaired by the India External Affairs
Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Regional
Connectivity, SAARC Visa Scheme, SAARC
Development Fund and SAARC Food Bank were other
issues discussed and presented to the heads of
government at the 14th SAARC summit.
calls AI for dialogue
government last week invited Amnesty
International (AI) for a dialogue on the human
rights situation in the country even as the
organisation criticised the government's
reaction to its international campaign arguing
that it was more interested in playing cricket
than addressing human rights violations.
said although the government had raised a
healthy debate on the organisation's
international campaign it had not in any way
intended to affect the Sri Lanka cricket team
but purely to focus attention on the human
rights crisis in the country.
AI said it was prepared to participate in
an open discussion with the government if it
received an official invitation.
international watchdog had also intensified its
campaign by adding a new website, The Sunday
government meanwhile said that while it deplored
the AI campaign targeting the Cricket World Cup
it would still want to open a dialogue with the
watchdog. "The campaign is going very well
and we are not going to give up," Regional
Campaign Coordinator, Asia Pacific Programme,
Amnesty International, Rob Godden told The
Sunday Leader. He said following the launch of
its campaign last week and ensuing media
coverage, the government had written to it
through the Sri Lankan High Commission in
however said that the government's focus
appeared to be on the wrong issues.
are all grown up, matured adults. We all know
what Sri Lanka's problem is. And right now the
problem is not cricket," Godden said.
Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda
Samarasinghe said that the government felt that
the timing of the campaign was not appropriate
but added that the government had invited AI to
is a pity that AI has launched such a campaign
which will have a bad effect on the Sri Lankan
players. We strongly believe that this campaign
should have been reviewed. That is why we have
invited AI for an open dialogue," he said.
for politicians to unite
Development and Women's Empowerment Minister
Sumedha G. Jayasena last week said that a
solution to the ethnic problem could be reached
if all political parties work together, leaving
aside their differences.
is not the politicians who suffer due to party
politics, but the innocent villagers who
frequently get into undesirable situations due
to being affiliated to various political
parties. Should it be blue, green, red or any
other colour, it is irrelevant in bringing
solutions to the problems in the country,
especially the ethnic issue,"
reiterated Jayasena. She further stressed
that after participating at the Janatha
Sathkaraka Sewawa programme held in the
from March 31 to April 1, she observed
that most of the issues that people faced in
this district were as a result of poverty.
issues also arose due to land conflicts. Many
people were facing difficulties due to matters
such as being unable to get their own identity
cards, which should not be a matter of
difficulty," she said.
post for Lankan professor in UK
Lankan born Professor S. Arulkumaran has been
elected President of the Royal College of
Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the UK. He is the
first President to get elected from outside the
is the Professor and Head of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology of the St. Georges Hospital Medical
School in the University of London.
Arulkumaran who was born in 1948, is the son of
the late K.
Sabaratnam and Gnambikai and had his education
at Jaffna Central College and Mahajana College,
entered the University of Ceylon in 1972 and
passed his MBBS with Hons. He has
obtained additional qualifications as
DCH (Cey), FRCOG Edin ,FRCS Edin, MD Edin,
and PhD Sing.
will assume office in October 2007.
schools in Batti closed
to the zonal director of education for
86 schools in the Batticaloa District
remain temporarily closed.
This number includes the
14 schools occupied by the IDPs.
temporary schools with 2110 new IDP students are
functioning in the Batticaloa zone, but
attendance is very poor.
Ampara the school in Saraswathi now has 28
families occupying it. The week before there
were only nine families.
school is currently closed for
New Year holidays but will be used by the
IDPs until alternative shelter is found for
government authorities in this area are
assessing the needs of the IDPs living in
temporary shelters as well as with friends and
District Secretariat has also allocated land
opposite this office to build 100 transitional
District Secretariat has also identified two
community buildings near the Ranamadu School to
be used to house the displaced should their
these sites lack proper sanitary facilities
whilst the floor is not cemented.
monk accuses govt. of betraying intelligence
officer to LTTE
Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
leading Buddhist monk has accused the government
of compromising the life and identity of a top
naval intelligence officer by arresting him
under the pretext of being an LTTE informant in
order to politically victimise former Minister
of the Jathika Sangha Sammelanaya (JSS), Ven.
Galabadatte Gnanasara Thero charged that Navy
Intelligence Officer Rohana Gamage was arrested
by the CID on March 13 as part of a political
victimisation campaign unleashed against
Sooriyaarachchi and in the process exposed his
identity to the LTTE.
leading monk said Gamage's family informed him
that they would now be forced to go into hiding
overseas to avoid being killed by the LTTE.
was released on Thursday, April 5 by the Colombo
Chief Magistrate. The police who arrested him
for alleged links with the LTTE did not elicit
any evidence to substantiate the allegations of
Gamage being an informant of the LTTE.
was arrested alleging links with the LTTE while
serving as a navy intelligence officer. His wife
Rasika Priyadarshani addressing the media a few
days after his arrest said Gamage never had any
such links with the LTTE, but was asked to help
President Mahinda Rajapakse's campaign during
the presidential elections in 2005 by Defence
Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse.
was serving in Vavuniya when Gotabhaya had asked
for his help to carry out campaign work in
Vavuniya during the election.
wanted his help. Then Gotabhaya appointed him as
the deputy director of the Yovun Senankaya in
2005," she said.
Gnanasara Thero told The Sunday Leader that
Gamage's arrest was a great betrayal of the
country's intelligence units and is similar to
Millennium City issue.
to the thero, Gamage's family members have
revealed to him the threat on his life following
his exposure by the Government. Gamage was
closely associated with Sooriyaarachchi and was
arrested days before the former minister's
has now been released. Where is the state media
now to tell that he was innocent? They gave wide
publicity to his arrest, but what about now? The
damage is done because he has been exposed to
the LTTE as a top naval intelligence officer.
The government is responsible for Gamage's life
from now on," Ven. Gnanasara Thero said.
Gnansara Thero also came down hard on the so
called patriotic forces like the JVP and the JHU
that have aligned themselves with the government
for keeping silent when the government has
betrayed the intelligence units and compromised
national security for petty political gain.
the Millennium City intelligence units were
betrayed during the Ranil Wickremesinghe
government, there was a huge outcry by the so
called patriotic forces claiming that national
security has been compromised. Now Rohana Gamage
was arrested alleging links with the LTTE and
his identity exposed, which too is a great
betrayal, but so far everyone has been silent.
Those like the JVP and the JHU who shouted at
Wickrem- esinghe for betraying the nation are
today silent. Is this not betrayal of national
security as well?" the thero charged.
to Ven. Gnansara Thero, Gamage never had any
links with the LTTE as he worked for the country
with conviction and also to bring President
Mahinda Rajapakse into power.
never had links with the LTTE, that is why we
stood by him. He worked for the country with
conviction and also worked to bring the
President into power. It was Gotabhaya Rajapakse
who got Gamage to work under Sripathi
Sooriyaarachchi in the Yovun Senankaya. Why is
there a conspiracy now?" the thero charged.
further observed that the government instead of
denying or responding to the accusations leveled
against it by Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi
Sooriyaarachchi was arresting important
intelligence officers instead.
his visit to see Gamage after his arrest, Ven.
Gnanasara Thero said he started to receive death
always worked against the LTTE. We went to see
Rohana Gamage after he was arrested and was
punished for it. I started to receive death
threats within 48 hours and was also asked to
make statements against Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi
and Mangala Samaraweera. This is not what we
expected from the government," the thero
thero said as a party to bringing into power the
present government, he was now embarrassed of
its present position.
is Jim Garrisson's words that come to my mind
now - The responsibility of a true patriot is to
protect his people from the state and false
patriots," Ven. Gnanasara Thero said.
wife Rasika told The Sunday Leader that the
family was now united once again, but was living
in great fear. "He was released without
being charged proving his innocence, but his
life and that of the family is now under great
threat as he was exposed," she said.
also observed that they were unable to return to
their home due to security reasons, adding that
so far no protection has been provided for them.
is no protection for us and I don't think there
will be any either," she said. According to
Rasika, Gamage is now in a depressed state.
"We are all psychologically down, we
can't even walk on the roads. We have to be very
careful now," she said.
in opinion on Katunayake radar
Dilrukshi Handunnetti in New Delhi
aerial strike by the LTTE on the SLAF base in
Katunayake had led to differences in opinion
between New Delhi and Colombo on the
effectiveness of the radar system gifted by
India with New Delhi insisting that the system
is functional and without defect.
issue however did not undermine bilateral
relations though Sri Lanka's concerns over her
air security loomed large when the matter was
raised by journalists in pre SAARC briefings.
Minister of External Affairs, Pranabh Mukherjee
during an informal gathering at Ashok Hotel, New
Delhi last Monday said that there could not be a
question of technical failure, given the fact
that India herself was currently using a similar
system to safeguard the Indian skies.
from Sri Lanka about defects in the air defence
system inadvertently assisted the Liberation
Tigers to attack the air base in Katunayake are
being refuted by New Delhi.
the best of our knowledge, there was no question
of system failure," Indian Foreign
Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said on Tuesday.
has been suggested that the lightweight Tiger
aircraft managed to travel 400 km undetected due
to existing radar deficiencies.
Lanka formally raised the issue with New Delhi
prior to the 14th SAARC Summit.
to Indian diplomatic sources, the Sri Lanka
Defence Ministry raised the issue of
shortcomings in the system and earned the
response that it was "an operational
problem and could not have been a system
current radar system was installed by India
during President Chandrika
is now being alleged that India intervened to
make a gift of the system at a time when Colombo
was studying the possibility of purchasing a
three-dimensional radar system from China.
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama responding to
reporters in New Delhi in a pre-SAARC summit
briefing sounded cautious. Responding to
queries, he said the failure to detect the LTTE
aircraft was being studied by a committee at
present "I await the committee findings and
shall say no more," he said.
thunder and lightning - Met Dept.
country is experiencing seasonal thunderstorms of the first inter monsoon season
which will continue till the second week of May
according to the Meteorological (Met)
Met. Department forecasts gloomy conditions
during forenoon or afternoon in most parts of
the island during this period. The usual
disturbance in the weather pattern with possible
strong winds could be experience mainly in the
afternoons or evenings according to the
weather with thundershowers and storms are
likely to hit the interior of the country and
also the western slopes of hills in the central
Met. Department sources added.
The monsoon rains now experienced in most parts
of the country will spread to other parts of the
island in the days to come and people should be
vigilant as occasional thunder and lightning
that accompany the heavy showers can be
destructive if precautionary measures are
not taken," said the
sources. The sources said tornadoes,
waterspouts and hailstorms are more likely
during the first inter monsoon season and
requested the general public to be vigilant of
lightning that could lead to loss of lives as
should avoid being under lone, tall trees,
bathing near wells and also close to any metal
equipment as they are more prone to be affected
during lightning. Even if you are inside a
building always try to be seated on a wooden
chair which is very safe during lightning,"
the sources said.
have a short lifespan of 10 minutes, but strong
gusty winds which are capable of causing
considerable damage in a small area within a
very short duration," the sources further
asked whether the rains could lead to flood
conditions the sources told The Sunday Leader
that most probably, the first inter monsoon
season generally would not create any flood
situation but the water level in the sea could
on the decline
Civil Monitoring Commission (CMC) which looks
into the disappearances and abductions of
civilians in Colombo and suburbs, will convene a
meeting of the family members of those abducted
member and Western People's Front (WPF) Leader,
Mano Ganesan told The Sunday Leader the meeting
would be held with the participation of
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
added that representatives and human rights
observers of diplomatic missions will also be
invited to attend the meeting.
and foreign Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs) are also welcome to take part in the
event," he added.
CMC recently stated that the number of
abductions had declined after the issue was
taken up at the UN Human Rights Commission
conference in Geneva last month.
the CMC added that the fate of most of the
abducted persons were unknown, while a few of
them had been released.
paying the price in the east
are between 45,000 to 55,000 internally
displaced children under the age of 18 living in
camps for the displaced and with host families
in the Batticaloa District.
children who were displaced following the fresh
wave of violence between the government and LTTE
have had no access to education while some 116
schools in the district have had to close for
safety reasons due to shelling and bombing.
are working to get about 15,000 of the newly
displaced children in to catch up on education
and are providing them with stationery and other
necessary materials," said a spokesperson
for international child rights and protection
organisation Save the Children, which is working
with the zonal education departments on the
are also aiming to get 5,000 newly displaced
children into pre school education."
The Children is creating free spaces for
children in the camps with toys and other
equipment so children can engage in both indoor
and outdoor activities with their peers to play
and express themselves, considered therapeutic
for those exposed to trauma.
mediums such as jokes, story telling and
children's clubs for the older ones, we are
encouraging these children to occupy and express
themselves," said the spokesperson
according to whom the organisation is working
hard to create these spaces in all the camps.
among the newly displaced figure of 22,000
children, 1,104 children have been left with
only a single parent while 467 children have
been separated from both parents although on a
happier note 110 children from the latter group
have been reunited with their parents.
Department of Probation and Child Care Services
is collecting information pertaining to
to latest figures, close to 158,000 internally
displaced people are living in 91 camps in the
district, a huge increase from the 22 camps
which existed in the district not long ago in
the third week of February.
additional camps were required to accommodate
the swelling numbers fleeing the fighting.
Twenty-five schools in the district are being
used as camps to house the displaced. Those IDPs
living with host families are reportedly having
difficulty accessing food rations due to lapses
those displaced are 300 school teachers who have
to be relocated and more vitally, found work to
ease the difficulties with education in the
a further development last week, following a
call from a group of local Tamil MPs, Tamil
school children in Batticaloa, Kalkudah and
Kalawanchikudi stayed away from school to show
solidarity with their counterparts who were
returning to Vaharai where schools are not said
to be operational yet as well as because of the
shelling in parts of the Batticaloa District.
education official from the Sittandi area, who
requested anonymity for obvious reasons, said
there was concern about children being killed
and going deaf due to the shelling.
to this official, two children in Grades 9 and 2
of a local school were killed when at home at
about 7.15 pm and 12 children are suffering from
hearing difficulties. Some schools in the
district were unable to conduct their first term
exams due to children staying away because of
Neguma to look after IDPs
Gama Neguma programme launched by the Nation
Building Ministry apart from building villages
is also addressing the issues of the Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the respective
Building Minister Jagath Pushpakumara told The
Sunday Leader that as the Minister coordinating
the Gama Neguma programme in the Batticaloa
District, the issues of IDPs were also being
addressed in line with other projects launched
to uplift the living standards of the people in
never separate the IDPs and other villagers when
conducting projects for the betterment of
everyone residing in these villages. The
Ministry of Resettlement also significantly gets
involved in these projects and provides all
possible assistance," Pushpakumara said.
added that there were no conflicts between the
IDPs and villagers when it came to putting up
new villages, as everyone was being given equal
priority when providing assistance.