Tigers blast Dvora, 10
Dvora fast attack craft was sunk and 10
crewmembers were listed as missing off the
Mullaitivu coast yesterday morning, defence
The Navy said that the locally built craft bearing the
serial no P-438 had begun to list after an
under water explosion hit the hull and sank
around 2.00 am off the waters east of the
Nayaru lagoon south of Mullaitivu.
Six crewmembers including the commanding officer were later
rescued by another craft that was patrolling
However, Tamilnet quoting Tiger sources said that the craft
had been rammed by Sea Tiger suicide crafts.
“The boat being caught in the explosion started to take in
water making it difficult for the crew to
manoeuvre it to safe area. The impending
consequence was unavoidable peril leaving
the crew with no alternative other than
abandoning the craft. Then they got onto
life rafts and started drifting. Six members
of the crew have thereafter been rescued by
other boats,” the Navy said.
A search operation had been launched in the area where the
craft sank but there was no information of
the missing crew 12 hours after the sinking.
Air Force jets also carried out raids on
Tiger bases in the Nayaru area later
Survivors from the craft had later said that they heard a
loud underwater explosion before the boat
started taking in water and listing
According to the Defence Ministry, the crew
later abandoned the craft after sending out
a distress call. Crewmembers were later
rescued by crafts that responded to the
Unconfirmed reports said that the craft was on patrol with
another when the explosion took place. The
Army said that the craft had been routine
patrol duty in the area.
The Defence Ministry blamed the sinking on a ‘mystery
blast,’ probably a sea mine and ruled out an
attack by the Sea Tigers.
“The survivors have reported an underwater blast that
damaged the boat’s hull and caused it to be
sunk in a short time. According to the
survivors there has been no sea
confrontation nor any LTTE craft were
present in the area. Navy suspects the blast
was caused by a possible sea mine or due to
some underwater weapon developed by the
The Tigers are known to use floating and underwater mines
to target naval crafts. However, the Tigers
said that P-438 was sunk after suicide boats
Tamilnet quoting LTTE sources said that the craft was hit
during a sea confrontation between Sea
Tigers and naval vessels that went on for 45
minutes. It said that the craft was sunk at
a location between Nayaru and the Mullaitivu
2.00 a.m. Tamilnet said that three Sea
Tigers, Anpumaran, Niranjani and Kaninila
had been killed in the suicide attack.
Sporadic clashes between government troops and Tigers were
reported from areas south of Nayaru last
Defence Ministry said that clashes had been reported at
Kokillai, Kokkuthuduwai and Anadankulam (in
the Mullaitivu District) on three
consecutive days from March 17.
The Tigers said that artillery fire had been directed into
their areas from camps in Weli Oya just
outside the FDL, on March 16. The shellfire
had been directed at Andankulam on the coast
of the Nayaru lagoon and the Tanimirupukulam
tank further west.
P-438 was the second locally built fast attack craft that
was lost in northern seas in the last three
December 26, 2007, P-413, a similar Dvora
was sunk during a night confrontation with a
flotilla of Tiger boats south of
Twelve crewmembers were listed as missing in
the attack while several others including
the commanding officer were rescued.
The Tigers said that P-413 was sunk after being rammed by
suicide crafts, but the Navy said that it
sank while being towed after listing.
P-413’s engines had been immobilized after
suicide crafts exploded in close vicinity.
On February 4, a Navy jet was lost and six
crewmembers listed as missing in seas just
north of Mannar. A survivor later said that
the boat was fired upon when it tried to aid
an Indian fishing trawler that had indicated
it was in Trouble
Mervyn before police
Sirasa accuses Minister of criminal
Sirasa TV lodged a police complaint of
criminal intimidation against Labour
Minister Mervyn Silva on Friday.
The complaint lodged by Director, News of
MTV/MBC, Susil Kindelpitiya follows a threat
issued by Minister Silva on Thursday, March
20 in Kelaniya.
Minister Silva threatened News First
journalists of Maharaja Television when they
went to cover an event on the new flyover in
"Today I point my finger at you. Hereafter I
will raise my hand. Therefore in the future,
do not let me see you attending any function
held in my electorate. I ask you who spread
evil to find a place to hide," Minister
Silva said referring to the News First
Silva's threat came barely 24 hours after he
gave an assurance to President Mahinda
Rajapakse that he will not threaten any
Following the threat issued by the Minister,
News Director Kindelpitiya wrote to IGP
Victor Perera and brought to his notice
"Given the numerous past instances of public
violent attacks against citizens and media
institutions by Minister Mervyn Silva, we
are seriously concerned about threats to
life and property of our News First staff,"
He also said a public threat by a
constitutional authority is an assault on
democracy itself and constitutional
principles and creates a fear psychosis in
the minds of the public.
Kindelpitiya followed up his letter with a
complaint to the Kelaniya police calling for
an investigation into the criminal
intimidation threat issued by the Minister.
TMVP and Govt. are
Chief Minister must be a Tamil says TMVP
The TMVP last week insisted that the Chief
Minister to be elected at the forthcoming
provincial council elections must be a Tamil
TMVP spokesperson Azath Moulana told The
Sunday Leader that the party insisted on a
Tamil Chief Minister, as the east was
predominantly a Tamil area and added that
Muslims and Sinhalese should also be given
"We stress that the Chief Minister should be
a Tamil person.
We say this because the majority of those
who live in the east are Tamil people. There
are also people of other races. However,
Sinhalese and Muslims should be given equal
importance in appointing the provincial
councilors," Moulana said.
The TMVP however stated that it had not
decided whether to contest with the UPFA or
The decision was to be taken following a
meeting of the TMVP high-rankers yesterday,
He however stated that the TMVP would
continue to be partners of the UPFA even if
it is decided that it would not contest
under the same banner. "We have not decided
whether to contest with the government or
not. However, even if we contest alone, it
does not mean the TMVP is at loggerheads
with the UPFA. We are partners of the
government," he said.
Select Comm. report on
17th Amendment in May
Constitutional Affairs Minister D.E.W.
Gunasekera says that the report on the
amendments to the 17th Amendment would be
finalised and handed over by May.
President Mahinda Rajapakse has already
stated that he would not appoint the
Constitutional Council (CC) until the select
committee report on the amendments to the
17th Amendment are presented to him.
However, during the last parliamentary
session, Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe warned of an impending crisis
the House would face in appointing a new
secretary general to parliament due to the
non-appointment of the CC.
"At present the CC is defunct. So, there is
no possibility of appointing a new official
to the post when it falls vacant," he said.
Gunasekera, who heads the select committee,
said that they have already met once on
March 7 where the UNP has presented its
proposals to the committee.
According to Gunasekera, the committee had
agreed to majority of the proposals put
forward by the UNP excluding two, which are
to be taken up for discussion when the
committee meets next.
"The hold up in finalising the report was
the fact that the UNP delayed presenting its
proposals to the committee. Now that they
have come we can finalise the report after
meeting for two more sessions. I hope to
present the report by May," he said.
Gunasekera said that the proposals of the
UNP were imperative since the amendments
could receive the two-thirds majority in
parliament only if the main opposition was
agreeable to it.
He also said that the fundamental point that
has been taken up for discussion to be
presented as an amendment to the 17th
Amendment is the fact that in future, the
delay in appointing one member to the CC
should not in anyway hamper the formation of
However the Opposition as well as civil
society have blamed the president for the
non appointment of the CC stating a
Constitutional provision cannot be suspended
pending the outcome of a select committee
JVP backed NTUC does
somersault on strike issue
By Nirmala Kannangara
The proposed one-day token general strike
planned by the JVP affiliated National Trade
Union Centre (NTUC) has been postponed
indefinitely, Convener NTUC Samantha
Koralarachchi told The Sunday Leader.
Chairman NTUC and JVP Parliamentarian K.D.
Lalkantha at a press briefing last week
warned of an impending one-day token general
strike at the earliest in order to urge the
government to put a halt to media and trade
union suppression in the country. But
according to Koralarachchi the proposed
trade union action has been postponed
"Although all our trade union leaders gave
their support to resort to a severe trade
union action and to launch a one day token
general strike with the participation of all
public sector employees, it was later
decided to give one more chance to the
government to stop the suppression by the
national steering committee members last
Wednesday," claimed Koralarachchi.
When questioned as to why the NTUC changed
its decision even before the lapse of 24
hours Koralarachchi said that since the
government had given an assurance to make
every possible effort to call a halt to the
suppression of the media and trade unions,
the steering committee had decided to give
one more chance to the government to stick
to its promise.
"It is an open secret that the attacks on
Rupavahini employees was instigated by the
Labour Minister. If the country's Minister
in charge of workers has failed to protect
the lives of the workers then there is no
other option but take stern trade union
"Basil Rajapakse has openly said that
Mervyn Silva was the person behind these
attacks. But when the government has assured
the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC)
trade union leaders that their lives would
be protected, it is unfair by the government
to launch a one day token general strike
without giving the government a chance to
implement its assurance.
"As a result the national steering committee
decided to postpone the trade union action;
but we will launch a lightening striking in
the event the government failing to uphold
its promise," said Koralarachchi.
Economies of the north and east can bounce
The regional economies of the north and east
could still bounce back despite the adverse
effects of government imposed economic
embargos and Tiger illegal taxations pushing
them to lowest levels in the country, a
recent study found.
The book titled - Economy Of The Conflict
Region In Sri Lanka: From Embargo To
Repression, by Sri Lankan researcher
Muttukrishna Sarvananthan has been published
by the East West Centre in the US.
It identified the government imposed embargo
between 1990 and 2001 as the single largest
contributor to the economic downturn in the
"The single most important cause of the
economic and social decline in the Northern
was the economic embargo imposed by the Sri
Lankan government between 1990 and 2001," it
However the chances of a revival after the
2002 ceasefire were pegged back by taxes
imposed by the Tigers. "Following the
Ceasefire Agreement signed in February 2002,
economic repression by the LTTE, including
illegal tolls on vehicle traffic, custom
duties, and sales taxes - along with the
earlier expulsion of the entrepreneurial
Muslim community - seriously impeded
economic recovery before renewed hostilities
broke out in December 2005 and the formal
end of the ceasefire in January 2008."
The study however said that the economies
could revive, not as agricultural or fishing
hubs, but by making use of newer global
"Due to national and global economic changes
since the beginning of the civil war, the
study argues against a return to the
economic conditions and structure of the
pre-war period. Rather, Northern Province
has the opportunity to take advantage of the
human capital and strong Tamil diaspora to
play a significant role in the global
knowledge-based economy, and the Eastern
Province is well-positioned to become a
highly productive industrial region with a
significant tourism industry."
The Customs Department last week detained
complimentary copies of the book sent to the
author, to check whether there were any
anti-government material. The author has not
been informed when they would be released.
The book is freely available as a download
on the East West Centre site.
Cader to settle defamation issue with
Former Kandy District UNP MP A.R.M. Abdul
Cader has decided to settle with Rupavahini
Corporation the issue with regard to the
defamatory statements made on its news
telecast in 2007, without monetary payments.
In a letter to the Chairman of Rupavahini,
his lawyer has stated that Abdul Cader had
expressed his willingness to settle the
issue without monetary payment as he valued
his reputation more than money.
The defamatory statements against Former
Co-operatives Minister, Abdul Cader were
telecast on July 9, 2004 in Rupavahini and
It was stated in the news items that the
former minister was involved in fraudulent
transactions, acts of misappropriation and
cheating, during the time he was the
Mano briefs Canadian Ambassador on ethnic
Canada should lead the international
community in the Lankan issue, Mano Ganesan
told Canadian Ambassador Angela Bogdan.
The international support to the legitimate
government of Sri Lanka in the past has led
the people to political depression and blunt
human rights violations, Civil Monitoring
Commission (CMC) Convener and
Parliamentarian Mano Ganesan said.
He made this statement during a meeting with
Canadian Ambassador Angela Bogdan on
Wednesday (19) at the Canadian High
A media communiqu‚ issued from Ganesan's
office stated that he had also told Bogdan
during the meeting that the international
community should become conscious that
achieving peace in Sri Lanka is achieving
Tamil aspirations. It is nothing but
fundamentalism that stands between war and
peace in Lanka.
Ganesan has also told Bogdan during the
meeting that the international community
should become conscious that achieving peace
in Sri Lanka is achieving Tamil aspirations.
"It is nothing but fundamentalism that
stands between war and peace in Lanka. It
created Tamil extremism and Tamil
terrorism," he has said.
"International community stands for the
unity and integrity of Sri Lanka and it has
been supporting the legitimate government
over the last many decades. But this support
has led our people into a stage of political
depression and blunt human rights
violations. It is time that the
international community strikes up a
parallel and balanced approach between the
unity of Lanka and Tamil aspirations."
He also stated that the government cannot
address the ethnic issue, with mock
"It is also imperative that the government
is made to realise that it cannot simply
dismiss the grave human rights violations.
International participation is a must in
view of the total collapse of the state
sponsored human rights commission and other
institutions," he had said.
Floods destroy crops
Hundreds of thousands were hit by flash
floods last week, mainly in the war hit
areas while government and other relief
officials warned that destruction to crops
could be very high.
Rains in the early part of last week
affected 173,000 persons from 44,000
families in nine districts according to the
National Disaster Relief Services Centre (NDRSC)
by March 19 morning.
It said that 120,000 had been affected in
the Batticaloa district while 44,000 were
affected in Mannar, the focal point of
recent battles between the armed forces and
the Tigers. Over 16,000 had been affected in
the Mantai west Division in Mannar. Heavy
fighting has been reported in the northern
parts of the division.
UN and other relief agencies had said
earlier that new travel procedures beyond
Medawachchiya had curtailed access and
transportation of goods into Mannar since
Government officials said that most persons
had remained at their homes despite the
floods and NDRSC said that only six IPD
camps had been set up in all of the
districts, five in Batticaloa and one in
Badulla. A little above 1800 families had
moved into the IDP camps, it said.
However damages to crops and other
livelihoods are likely to be high, officials
said. "Over 12,000 acres of paddy in Mannar
went under water. They were just about to be
harvested," Mannar GA, A. Nicholas- pillai
There were reports that a similar number of
paddy land may have been hit in the
Tissamaharama area, in the deep south as
"Not only the loss of harvest but we would
have to look at providing seed paddy for the
next season," Nicholaspillai said.
"Some areas in the east-central districts
were inundated following torrential rain,
affecting livelihoods, particularly rice
production," the World Food Programme said
in a hot spots report on March 19. No
immediate WFP intervention is required, but
WFP is monitoring the situation, it added.
The Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC) said crop
losses were reported from the Badulla
district as well. The government had
allocated Rs. 4.5 million for immediate
The weather had eased by the end of the
week, but the Meteorological Department said
that more showers were expected in the flood
Govt. blamed of spiralling hikes
By Nirmala Kannangara
The government's inability to control the
price of rice is set to further impact on
current prices resulting in another hike
before the end of March, the Eksath Udara
Lanka Jathika Govi Peramuna (EULJGP)
The government's continuous failure to
compete with private traders in order to
purchase the paddy harvest has now created a
paddy monopoly which has directly impacted
on the soaring cost of living, EULJGP
sources said.Accusing the Rajapakse
administration for its covert support to two
government heavyweights controlling the rice
market, General Secretary, EULJGP,
Priyankara Dheera- singhe told The Sunday
Leader that the price would go up to Rs.100
in the next few days.
"Why can't the government purchase paddy at
Rs.30 per kg to compete with private traders
and bring down the rising prices? They have
failed to stock the bumper paddy harvest.
Even if the Paddy Marketing Board purchases
paddy at Rs.30 they can still earn a profit
by selling rice at Rs.40. Instead of giving
relief to the public the Rajapakse
administration has allowed the government
heavyweights - the Agriculture Minister's
brother and deputy minister, Gamlath to
purchase paddy at Rs.30 and then sell rice
at a much higher price," Dheerasinghe said.
According to him the rice monopoly was a
creation of parliamentarian Basil Rajapakse
who receives a 10% commission from the two
government ministers. "This is an open
secret and this is why the President or the
Consumer Affairs Minister have failed to
bring down the rice prices," Dheerasinghe
He also accused the government of failing to
waive off import taxes in order to sell
Indian rice at a much cheaper rate. "If the
government is really concerned about the
people they could waive off the import
taxes. We also have statistics as to how the
lands used for paddy cultivation have
increased since 2002. In 2004 the country
produced an excessive stock. Since then
although paddy cultivation and the harvest
have increased the Rajapakse administration
has ruined the rice market," he said.
Minister favours constituents - JVP
By Nirmala Kannangara
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) employees
have accused Power and Energy Minister, John
Seneviratne of recruiting employees to the
CEB from his constituency - the Ratnapura
The JVP affiliated Lanka Viduli Sevaka
Sangamaya (LVSS) accused Seneviratne of
bypassing government rules and regulations
with regard to recruitment and said that
almost 2000 vacancies have been filled from
the Ratnapura district.
"There were 7000 clerical and subordinate
vacancies at the CEB but despite the
employees vehement protests Minister
Seneviratne's party supporters from the
Ratna- pura district have being recruited,"
convener, LVSS, Ranjan Jayalal alleged.
Jayalal told The Sunday Leader that this has
been the practice since 1977 and this has
prevented other job seekers from getting
employment at the CEB.
"Although previous regimes recruited their
supporters to government institutions
against laid down procedure the United
People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was elected
in 2004 to put a complete stop to these
irregularities. If this government which
pledged to de-politicise government
departments so as to provide an efficient
service is now engaged in such malpractices
then there is no difference between the
present and past regimes," Jayalal said.
According to him, although all the new
recruits have stated that they are from
various parts of the country it has come to
light that they are from the Ratnapura
Minister Seneviratne and CEB GM, Ranjith
Pulleperuma were not available for comment.