Saturday, November 22, 2008

Politicians belittling victories are an insult to the nation: Army Chief


Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka has said that politicians who are building negative attitudes belittling the contributions of the war heroes, are an insult to the entire nation.

Friday, November 21, 2008

LTTE FDLs at Muhamalai attacked using heavy weapons - Northern War Front - 21Nov2008

Large stock of Arms & Ammunition found in Pooneryn - Wanni Operation - 21Nov2008

Troops Capture LTTE FDL at Muhamalai - Northern War Front - 20Nov2008

TF 1 Captures LTTE Airstrip at Nivil - Wanni Operation - 20Nov2008

The Economist: The war in Sri Lanka's north - In the Tigers' lair

Nov 20th 2008 COLOMBO
From The Economist print edition


The martial mood intensifies

INDEPENDENCE DAY is not celebrated until February. But flags are flying from buildings and lamp posts in Colombo in a show of public support for the government’s military campaign against the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. On November 15th, as his government faced a crucial parliamentary vote on the budget, President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced on national television that troops had seized the Tiger-held town of Pooneryn for the first time in 15 years. His generals are calling this a “turning-point” in the 25-year war. It places the entire western coast under military control and opens up a land route to Jaffna in the north, for the transport of troops and supplies that for months have been sent by sea or air.

The well-timed broadcast helped Mr Rajapaksa sideline critics of a budget that raised taxes on dozens of imports—from fruit and vegetables to milk powder—and lifted defence spending to an all-time high of $1.6 billion. It also helped rally the public around the war despite an annual inflation rate of 20% and plummeting investor confidence. According to Harsha de Silva, an independent economist, the defence budget will be met almost entirely through borrowing, and after next year’s debt repayments, government revenue will not cover even defence expenditure, which he estimates at about $2 billion.

The populist Mr Rajapaksa, now exactly halfway through his six-year term, continues to dazzle the Sinhala majority with his commitment to beating the Tigers militarily. A study by the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think-tank, found 93% of Sinhalese and 57% of Muslims satisfied with his conduct of the war. Significantly, however, 87% of the Tamil minority were unhappy with the military campaign.

No wonder. The Tigers have been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland, and Tamils have been hardest hit by the war. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said this month that tens of thousands of Tamil civilians from the Wanni, the Tigers’ stronghold, remain displaced. Hicham Mandoudi, who heads the ICRC’s Wanni operations, says many are exhausted after fleeing several times since hostilities escalated in July, each time abandoning more of their belongings.

An estimated 200,000 civilians remain inside Tiger-controlled areas in the north and rely on limited convoys of food, medicine and other essential items being sent by the government. The ICRC is the only international humanitarian agency left in the Wanni, after the UN and others pulled out in September, when the government said it could not guarantee their safety. The ICRC also says that recent months have seen an increase in the number of people arrested in connection with the conflict. It does not say so, but most detainees are Tamils suspected of links with the Tigers.

The capture of Pooneryn was followed by that of a strategic road junction at Mankulam and then, after a bloody battle, of part of the Tigers’ northernmost defence line in the Jaffna peninsula, at Muhamalai. The victories have wrapped much of the south in a shroud of euphoria. In his televised speech, Mr Rajapaksa called on Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Tigers’ leader, to “lay down your arms and come to the negotiation table”. Other ministers have been echoing the call for a ceasefire.

But the Tigers show no sign of complying, despite a claim early this month by their political chief, B. Nadesan, to TamilNet, a pro-Tiger website, that the Tigers were ready for a ceasefire with “no hesitation”. This was anyway promptly rejected by the government. Maithripala Sirisena, the agriculture minister, told Parliament that the government would talk to the Tigers only if they disarmed. Other government ministers called it a “trap” and a ploy to regroup and launch fresh offensives.

Despite vast military gains, Kilinochchi, the Tigers’ administrative headquarters, remains a difficult target. Soldiers have been skirting its fringes for weeks, held back by strong resistance and, at one time, heavy monsoon rains. The army’s spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, admits it has been taking casualties, but insists it is “on target” to take the town.

Besides funnelling money into the army, the government is on a massive recruitment drive, even using mobile-phone networks to urge young people to enlist. Economists such as Mr de Silva worry that the government has “got the war euphoria mixed up with economic management.” Whipping up patriotic fervour in expectation of military victory may indeed distract attention from the worsening economic outlook. But that strategy needs victory to come soon.

Source

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sri Lanka extends olive branch to pro-LTTE groups

Colombo (PTI): In an olive branch to Tamils, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited over ground ethnic groups to participate in the political process to find a lasting solution to the decades old conflict.

Rajapaksa has invited the United National Party and the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance to participate in the political process "to find a lasting solution to the (ethnic) conflict", Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Parliament.

Referring to the defunct Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE, the minister said that even as the government took the bold decision, he had manifested in the Cabinet that there was a need to accelerate the process towards a political solution. Accordingly, the interim proposals were submitted in January by the Chairman of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) Prof. Tissa Vitarana, who is also the science and technology minister.

The recommendations were accepted by President for immediate implementation, he said. "The results of this decision have been manifested in the restoration of democracy and civil administration in the Eastern Province. Today, the administration of the Eastern Province is in the hands of the people, headed by a Chief Minister, from the Tamil community who was a child soldier (Pillayan)," the minister said.

The Minister reiterated the government position that the engagement of the military is to counter terrorism. Sri Lankan President has also repeatedly asserted to the international community that political issues can only be solved through political measures, Bogollagama said.

He said the government's mandate is to fully implement the devolution of power to the provinces under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Turning to ties with India, Bogollagama said that Colombo has enjoyed close relationship with New Delhi and it has been further strengthened by the frequent exchange of visits by the leaders of the two countries.

"Sri Lanka maintains the closest relationship with her neighbour, India, which has been cemented by the frequent high level political interaction between the two countries, including President Rajapaksa's meetings with the Indian leaders, as well as his own dialogue with the Indian leadership," he said.

The Minister also told Parliament on Tuesday that the Foreign Ministry has been playing a role in gaining the support and confidence of the international community in combating terrorism in the country.

Bogollagama said Sri Lanka has enhanced its bilateral relations with countries in the neighbourhood, including India and China, as well as forged new relationships in regional and multilateral fora such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Economic and Technical Cooperation (BIMSTEC), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).

Bogollagama told Parliament that Sri Lanka's active engagement internationally has yielded positive results in terms of enhanced development assistance, such as the massive infrastructure development aid from China and a 25 per cent increase in overseas development assistance from Japan, an official statement said.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Train of Brotherhood to Help Tamil IDPs and Security Forces

The Tamils and the Sinhalese are very closely united culturally. This is evident in places of worship such as Kataragama. The struggle to gain independence from the British colonial administration had the two communities working together in a brotherhood that gave tremendous strength to the independence struggle. However, soon after independence opportunistic political aims of both the Sinhalese and the Tamil leaders saw cracks appearing in this Sinhalese Tamil brotherhood. These cracks have widened to such an extent over the passage of time that a call is now being made by the LTTE to divide this tiny country into two nations. If this ever happens, the two countries so formed will be at constant war with each other and posterity will never be assured of peace and prosperity.

Therefore since division will destroy all of us while unity will take us from strength to strength, let us endeavour to rebuild the brotherhood that once existed between the Sinhala and Tamil people for a better tomorrow for all of us.

With many Tamil families that underwent tremendous suffering in the hands of the LTTE now slowly but steadily breaking out from the LTTE hold and moving into government controlled areas, there is no better opportunity to re-establish the Sinhalese Tamil brotherhood. As a first step in this direction, the Manel Mal Movement is in the process of organizing a Train of Brotherhood.

The Train of Brotherhood is scheduled to commence its journey from Matara at 6.55 A.M on the morning of 22nd November 2008. The train will stop at Galle, Ambalangoda, Kalutara South and Moratuwa before reaching Colombo Fort at 1.30 P.M. The timings of departure from each of the above mentioned stations will be as follows.


Railway Station Time of departure


Galle 9.00 A.M


Ambalangoda 10.00 A.M


Kalutara South 10.50 A.M


Moratuwa 12.40 P.M

The train will remain over night at the Fort Railway Station and will commence the next leg of its journey from Colombo Fort at 10.40 A.M on 23rd November 2008. The train will stop at Gampaha, Vayangoda, Polgahawela, Kuranegala, Mahawa and Anuradhapura before reaching its final destination of Madawatchchiya at 6.30 P.M.


Railway Station Time of departure


Gampaha 11.20 A.M


Vayangoda 11.35 A.M


Polgahawela 12.20 P.M


Kurunegala 1.00 P.M


Mahawa 2.00 P.M


Anuradhapura 5.45 P.M

At Madawatchchiya the goods transported by the Train of Brotherhood will be handed over to the Army. The items collected for the Tamil internally displaced people will be distributed in camps where they are now accommodated.

Collection centers have already been established in the towns mentioned above for the public to hand over their donations. A collecting center will also be established in front of the Fort Railway Station from 17th November 2008.

The items that will be collected for the internally displaced Tamil people are as follows.

  1. Rice

  2. Flour

  3. Coconuts

  4. Dried Fish and Sprats

  5. Tined Fish

  6. Milk Power

  7. Mats and Pillows

  8. Mosquito nets

  9. Soap and Toothpaste

  10. Exercise books, pens and pencils

The items that will be collected for the Security Forces are as follows.

  1. Biscuits

  2. Chocolates and toffees

  3. Bottles of mineral water

  4. Small bottles of Ghee for application to prevent foot rot

  5. Under wear

  6. Shaving Razors

  7. Soap and Toothpaste

  8. Mospel, Siddhalepa

  9. Panadol, Disprin and Micogel

  10. Thick rolls of black polythene

Those who intend to make cash contributions could do so by sending your contributions to the Manel Mal Movement Current account number 078100143688412 at the Peoples Bank Borella Branch.

We are looking forward to a good response from all of you not only to help the innocent Tamil people who have suffered so much misery in the hands of the LTTE, but to also improve the morale of the Security Forces who are sacrificing so much on our behalf to defeat LTTE terrorism.

Collection Centre at Colombo Fort Railway Station

uesday, 18 November, the organisers inaugurated a stall at the Colombo Fort Railway Station to enable the general public to contribute towards this project. It will remain open until the evening of Saturday the 22nd of November to collect public contributions in the form of gift items and money. It was very encouraging to watch the response of the general public soon after the stall was opened. Several people who may be possibly even baggers by profession came and contributed in cash with a lot of feeling. There was also a person sans one of his legs who hobbled to the collection till to make his contribution. Therefore it is time for you too to tap at your conscience and join hands to contribute towards this project even in a very small way, keeping in mind that many such small contributions will result in a large contribution to make the project a total success. We would all have then participated together in a project in the national interest to make this country a better place for all of us and our children to live in the future.



What is this Train of Brotherhood" ? Background Information

THE TRAIN OF BROTHERHOOD

The Tamils and the Sinhalese are very closely united culturally. This is evident in places of worship such as Kataragama. The struggle to gain independence from the British colonial administration had the two communities working together in a brotherhood that gave tremendous strength to the independence struggle. However soon after independence opportunistic political aims of both the Sinhalese and the Tamil leaders saw cracks appearing in this Sinhalese Tamil brotherhood. These cracks have widened to such an extent over the passage of time that a call is now being made by the LTTE to divide this tiny country into two nations. If this ever happens the two countries so formed will be at constant war with each other and posterity will never be assured of peace and prosperity.

Therefore since division will destroy all of us while unity will take us from strength to strength, let us endeavour to rebuild the brotherhood that once existed between the Sinhala and Tamil people for a better tomorrow for all of us.

With many Tamil families that underwent tremendous suffering in the hands of the LTTE now slowly but steadily breaking out from the LTTE hold and moving into government controlled areas, there is no better opportunity to reestablish the Sinhalese Tamil brotherhood. As a first step in this direction the Manel Mal Movement is in the process of organizing a Train of Brotherhood. It will travel from Matara, the last railway station in the Southern railway line to Madawatchchiya the last functional railway station in the northern railway line. This train will collect along its way items needed to sustain the Tamil families in internally displaced persons camps, until the habitat in which they once lived is made free of terrorists by the Security Forces for these Tamil families to return and resettle in their traditional villages.

The train will also collect items that are donated to the Security Forces who are sacrificing their blood, sweat, tears and toil and sometimes even their very life and limb to defeat terrorism and usher in peace and tranquility to our country.

The Manel Mal Movement invites all the political parties, Business establishments, social service organizations, religious bodies and the general public in the government controlled areas and even our expatriate organizations in other countries to join hands with us in this endeavour, because reestablishing the lost brotherhood between the Sinhalese and the Tamil people by such a project as the first step is the only way forward to usher in peace and prosperity once more to this beautiful country of ours that has been torn apart by war and strife.

This train of Brotherhood is scheduled to commence its journey from Matara on the 22nd of November and will collect donations from several railway stations before remaining overnight at the railway station in Colombo Fort. It will commence the second leg of its journey on the morning of 23rd November from the Colombo Fort railway station and will collect donations from several railway stations before ending its journey at the Madawatchchiya railway station.

A coordinating office for this project has been established at the Manel Mal Movement head office at No.18, Rodney Place, Colombo 8. The Manel Mal Movement office telephone number is 2699666. The cell phone numbers of the two project coordinators Anura and Chandana are 0713243162 and 0772512823 respectively.

The e-mail address is manelmal@sltnet.lk

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Courtesy: SPUR

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What would be the fate of the country if President not elected?


Three years have passed since the holding of the 2005 Presidential polls. Minister Dulles Alahapperuma queried as to what would have been the present situation of the country if any person other than Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected..

The Minister also referred to the direction the country was moving and the terrorist activities that being brought under control as well as the development that is taking under the current leadership. He queried as to what direction that country would have moved if his rival Ranil Wickramasinghe assumed power. He observed that the people of this country should peruse the differences. The JVP voted in favour of last years budget at a decisive stage of liberating the East. However he queried as to why they did not vote in favour of the 2009 budget when a battle was waged to liberate the North. Minister Alahapperuma queried as to why they did not vote in favour of the budget this time when the troops were engaged in a decisive operation to liberate the north from the terrorist. The Minister asked whether any of these military victories could have been achieved if the JVP members took this decision in last years budget when there were 37 JVP members. He said he wished to query from the JVP members who were committed to electing this Government into power.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Troops capture Pooneryn after 20 years

Last Tiger bastion on North Western coast falls

Troops of the 58 Division took full control of Pooneryn, the last bastion of the LTTE on the Western coast in the wee hours of yesterday.

Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka informed President Mahinda Rajapaksa of this landmark victory of the Security Forces as the President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Security Forces.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the victory of the troops and congratulated the valiant troops whilst inviting the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to lay down arms and enter into the path of negotiations.

The 58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva were operating in the Western edge of the Kilinochchi front to take control of the Pooneryn-Paranthan B-69 road at the ninth Mile Post and reached Pooneryn capturing more than an eleven kilometre stretch amidst stiff resistance from the LTTE, military sources told the Sunday Observer.

“In the early hours of yesterday troops of the 12 Gajaba Regiment and 10 Gajaba Regiment took control of the Pooneryn-Paranthan road at the ninth mile post up to Pooneryn junction with the support of the Commandos and Special Force troops. Fierce fighting continued till 3.30 am yesterday until the LTTE withdrew from the area”, a senior military official said.

By last evening troops took full control of enter Pooneryn including Kalamunai Point, Dutch Port, Sanguppiddy Jetty, Nagathivanthurai, Pooneryn and Coma Point where Sri Lanka Army had their camps prior to 1994, Brigadier Silva added.

Troops were engaged in search and clear operations in the area yesterday afternoon. The capture of Pooneryn marks the opening of a land route for the military to reach Jaffna for the first time after thirteen years.

The LTTE had its arms smuggling points from Silavathura in the South of Mannar to Pooneryn and now the entire North Western coast is beyond the reach of Sea Tigers.

With the capture of Pooneryn the LTTE threat on the Jaffna town and Jaffna islands is also minimised as it was the LTTE’s launching pad for artillery attacks on the Jaffna peninsula and Jaffna islands.

The capture of Pooneryn is also significant as troops can easily control the Kilali and Jaffna lagoons which can be used by the LTTE to launch lightning attacks on the Security Forces operating in Jaffna’s FDLs.

The winning team of the 58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva who marched all the way from Vavuniya - Mannar road to achieve the peak of their success to capture Pooneryn. Commander of the 58 Division and the Comando Brigade Commander, Brigadier Shavendra Silva, Brigade Commanders of the 58 Division Lt. Colonel Sanjay Wanigasinghe, Lt. Colonel Deshapriya Gunawardena, commanding officers of the respective battalions and other officers are in this picture which was taken by our staff photographer Rukmal Gamage while they were attending a function few weeks back.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa at yesterday's Defence Council meeting with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka.