Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Friday, January 31, 2014

“Isn’t Democracy All About People’s Choice Through The Ballot Box?” - No.

| by Laksiri Fernando
( January 31, 2014, Sydney, Sri Lanka Guardian) The question in the title is from K. A. Sumanasekera to my last article on “President Reduces Democracy to Elections and Human Rights to Defeating 

No Free And Fair Election Is Possible In A Dictatorship Not Even An Elected Dictatorship

Colombo Telegraph
By R.M.B Senanayake -January 31, 2014 

R.M.B. Senanayake
R.M.B. Senanayake
For the first time people protesting against the ruling government have opposed elections. It is in Thailand. It is really interesting to ask the question why since they want to change the government. Is it because they do not have any faith in elections due to the failure of the incumbent governments in several countries in Asia to hold free and fair elections? Or is it because the protesters think they do not constitute the majority who are not with them in their attitude to the government? I think people have lost faith in elections. This constitutes a dangerous situation for it means change of government through an election will no longer commend credibility. It means the risk of civil protests and even violence to change a government which is unpopular.
We too have failed to ensure a free and fair election procedure. The incumbent party uses the public resources such as state employees, State owned vehicles, State properties for their benefit and secure an unfair advantage. They even harass the opponents and deny meeting places for the opponents by bringing pressure on the owners of premises. So governments rig elections to win.
The former Soviet Union held elections regularly and the Communist Party obtained almost 100% of the votes. They thought the people were with the party but they did not hold free and fair elections. So the Communists continued to rule assuming their popularity until the 1980s when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power. By 1989 the Communist Party’s hold in Soviet Union began to crumble.
The provision for setting up an Election Commission under whom the commissioner of Elections would function has been ignored by governments that held power. So did the present regime. But more and more people are beginning to realize that a government that rigs elections is resorting to the use of their power illegally an unethically.
In Bangladesh there was a provision that elections should be conducted by a caretaker government. But after winning a landslide victory in 2008 the Awami League of Sheik Hasina used its big parliamentary majority to amend the Constitution and do away with this requirement. So the Bangladesh National Party of Khaleda Zia boycotted the election. So democracy has ended in Bangladesh.Read More

Peasaalai villagers mobilize against genocidal land grab in Mannaar

Peasaalai villagers mobilize against genocidal land grabTamilNet[TamilNet, Friday, 31 January 2014, 07:52 GMT]
The Tamil Catholic people of the coastal village of Peasaalai in the north-west of the Mannaar island on Thursday took to the streets in protest against the genocidal land grab by the occupying Sinhala military. The protest took place when the SL Navy brought land surveyors to measure a land belonging to the 600-year-old church in their village. The occupying Navy, which is already stationed in the one-acre coconut palm grove, is now trying to permanently seize the land from the church. The people of the village mobilized against the move and blocked the surveyors from measuring the land despite the harassment by the occupying navy video-filming the people amidst the deployment of a large number of SL navy sailors at the site. 
Peasaalai villagers mobilize against genocidal land grabLawyer and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) councillor of the Northern Provincial Council, Mr Antony Soosairatnam Pirimussiraiva, Mannaar Divisional Council (PS) member Mr Jastin Jude Consal Kulaas (TNA) and Fr Arudkumaran were with the villagers, when the SL Navy officers from Sunny Village camp deployed additional troops at the site.

The people and their representatives refused to allow the surveying to take place. 
Peasaalai villagers mobilize against genocidal land grab
A SLN officer was threatening the villagers and grabbed a cell phone from a protesting civilian and threw it away. He also warned the reporters against covering the episode. A SL Navy person was taking video of the protesters, but the people didn’t leave the site till the SL Navy withdrew the troopers back to the barracks.
Colonisation and Sinhalicisation of MannaarThe Church of Our Lady of Victory is one of the largest Catholic churches in the island.

Peasaalai is a large village, situated in the North-West of the island of Mannaar, with a population of 8,000 Eezham Tamils and 90% of the population are Catholic fisher folk.

With one of major resourceful fishing beds in the island, Pesaalai fishermen were supplying fish to the entire island before 1980.

The Sri Lankan military is alleged of scheming Sinhalicisation of Thalaimannaar Pier, which is the closest point in Mannaar to the coast of Tamil Nadu in India.

On 17th June, 2006, the Sri Lanka Navy, in one of its brutal attacks on the village, shot at least four innocent Tamil civilians through their mouths and lobbed a grenade on the civilians, who had taken refuge at the church, killing a woman and injuring 44. Six civilians, one of them a Muslim, were killed by the SLN that day.

Many youths have been reported missing in the village.

The people of Peasaalai have been protesting against the occupation of their village by the Sinhala military for almost 10 years.
The area of Sinhala militarisation and colonisation in the Mannaar district, abetted by New Delhi and Washington, targeted against the interaction of Eezham Tamils with the coast of Tamil Nadu

Third consecutive US resolution targeting SL: Consultations in London after US official’s Jaffna visit


By Shamindra Ferdinando-January 30, 2014, 

Senior British officials dealing with the LTTE based in the UK will meet US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal early next week in London as they step up pressure on member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to back a third US resolution targeting Sri Lanka since 2012.

Biswal, an American of Indian origin is expected to be in London on Monday (Feb. 1).

Assistant Secretary Biswal will fly to London from Colombo after having completed a three-day assignment here. She is expected to meet senior government as well as Tamil National Alliance (TNA) representatives and visit Jaffna before leaving for meetings in the UK as well as Geneva.

Government sources alleged that India was being pushed by both the US and the UK to back the forthcoming resolution. India backed the two successful US resolutions in 2012 and 2013.

The US State Department announced that Assistant Secretary of State Biswal would focus on a range of bilateral issues, including post-conflict resolution, justice and accountability during her first visit to Sri Lanka. Discussions in London and Geneva would center on the proposed third resolution which was to be built on previous resolutions in 2012 and 2013.

The 47-member body is divided into five groups namely Africa (13 seats), Asia-Pacific (13 seats), Latin America and Caribbean (8 seats), Western European and other states (7 seats) and Eastern Europe (6 seats). Members of the council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for not eligible for re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

The US embassy spokesperson told The Island that Assistant Secretary Biswal would address the media in Colombo on Saturday afternoon.

Biswal recently succeeded Robert O. Blake, the war-time US Ambassador in Colombo credited with an initiative which led to the US providing the intelligence leading to destruction of four LTTE floating arsenals on the high seas.

GoSL sources told The Island that various Diaspora groups too, were campaigning in support of the US-led resolution with the UK based British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) pressing foreign governments, separately.

A senior External Affairs Ministry official told The Island yesterday said that Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London Chris Nonis would attend a conference at the British parliamentary complex today (January 31)  organized to discuss alleged Sate takeover of land belonging to Tamil speaking people in the Northern Province. A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is in the UK for the conference jointly organized by the BTF and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T).

Members of the UNHRC are Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kuwait, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Namibia, Peru, South Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Sources said that the UK was trying to convince Commonwealth member states serving the UNHRC to vote for the US resolution. Although the British faced somewhat difficult task, EU members would vote together against Sri Lanka, they said, adding that Sri Lanka was in the process of making representations to member states. President Mahinda Rajapaksa already sent special envoys to several countries seeking their support at the next vote.

The UK Government must ensure the establishment of an independent, international war crimes inquiry

uk meeting 2labouThe UK Government must ensure the establishment of an independent, international war crimes inquiry in Sri Lanka, says UK Labour Party leader
 Rt. Hon Mr Ed Miliband MP, the leader of the UK Labour Party, has reiterated his Party’s support for the establishment of an independent, international inquiry to investigate the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka.
At the crucial UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Session in March, Mr Miliband pledged his full backing for a resolution to initiate an international commission, under UN auspices. His Party would continue to bring pressure to bear upon the UK Government to use their position as a current voting member of the UNHRC to support such action. He urged the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Mr David Cameron MP, to push for this process to begin now, given the Government of Sri Lanka’s failure to establish a credible accountability mechanism.

Meeting with a number of representatives from the UK Tamil community, including Tamils for Labour, Global Tamil Forum and British Tamils Forum, at his office in Parliament, on Wednesday 29th January, the Labour leader discussed a wide-range of concerns relating to Sri Lanka and the plight of the Tamil people. The militarisation and Sinhalisation of Tamil lands in the North and East was raised, as was the on-going perpetration of human rights abuses committed by State forces against Tamils and others.

Given the imminence of the next UNHRC Session, the main talking point was the prospective resolution on Sri Lanka. Sen Kandiah, Chair of Tamils for Labour, stated that for reconciliation and lasting peace to take root there had to be truth, accountability and justice for what happened during the conflict. An independent, international investigation was the only means by which this would come about, he said, and Mr Kandiah suggested that the resolution should include a clause stating that any non-compliance by the Government of Sri Lanka on this matter should result in sanctions. Attempts by the Rajapaksa regime to undermine the accountability process should be given no quarter. In light of the above, Mr Miliband agreed that the Prime Minister had to be held to the promises he made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2013, when Mr Cameron first acknowledged the need for an international inquiry.

The leader of the Labour Party said he looked forward to continuing his, and the Labour Party’s, engagement with the Tamil community on all the matters discussed. Labour will continue to press the UK Government to do all they can to support accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka and Labour will demand action from the Government of Sri Lanka as well.

uk meeting 1laboSpeaking after the meeting, Sen Kandiah said “I am incredibly grateful to Ed Miliband for finding the time to meet with us all. The Labour Party has shown genuine leadership on matters relating to Sri Lanka and has led the way for all major UK political parties by calling for an independent, international inquiry in 2011. As a result of the interest and concern they have shown on relevant issues, and the means by which they have consistently sought to challenge the culture of impunity and on-going human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, the Labour Party has a special place in the hearts of the Tamil people. The pressure that Labour can exert on the UK Government is crucial at this time and I am most appreciative that the Party will continue to closely engage with the Tamil diaspora community, in order to ensure that their aspirations of truth, justice, accountability and peace are secured.”

NPC councillors demand SL military to hand over seized cattle back to civilians

TamilNet[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 January 2014, 18:31 GMT]
The occupying Sri Lankan military in Vanni is operating a dairy farm near Muththaiyan-kaddu tank in Mullaiththeevu and is competing with the resettling Tamil farmers by cutting the prices down through its military-corporatist approach, according to Tamil councillors P. Iyngaranesan and K. Sarveswaran of the Northern Provincial Council. The occupying SL military had seized around 2,000 cattle belonging to Tamil farmers in Vanni during the genocidal onslaught and has seized 65 acres of the lands and buildings belonging to the Irrigation Department to run its dairy farm. 

After consuming the milk needed to the military, the SL military is marketing the milk to the public and is selling the remaining to Nestle company. 

In the meantime, farmers who lost their cattle are struggling to sustain their livelihood, those who depend on the income from owning cattle are also affected by the competition by the SL military run dairy farm. 

Tamil councillor Sarveswaran demanded that a civil authority such as a ministry under the NPC should take over the dairy farm, return the cattle back to their real owners and operate the facility under a civil administrative mechanism with transparency. 

The SL military is running similar dairy farms in Vavuniyaa and Mannaar as well as in the former High Security Zone, which is being transformed into a Sinhala Military Zone in Valikaamam North in Jaffna, news sources further said. 

The SL military in Jaffna has recently brought 65 severely infected cows for treatment at a civil facility in Jaffna and serious diseases are spreading from the SMZ in Jaffna to other places.

Rajapaksa State Media Slays CBK; Calls Her “Mother Of All Liars” For Championing Religious Freedom

Colombo TelegraphJanuary 31, 2014
The state controlled media turned its hate-filled guns on former President Chandrika Kumaratunga for daring to champion the cause of religious freedom yesterday, referring to her as the “Mother of All Liars” and claimed she had ‘joined hands with the enemy” to discredit Sri Lanka ahead of the UNHRC.
Kumaratunga photographed after the LTTE suide attack
Kumaratunga photographed after the LTTE suide attack
In his most recent editorial Editor of the state-run Daily NewsRajpal Abeynayake called Kumaratunga an “odious, intemperate, country hating ex-President that has palpably joined hands with the enemy, and there is nothing less that can be said about Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga’s so called apolitical effort to focus via some organization that styles itself as SAPRI, on an interfaith effort to address “attacks on churches”.
In their attack against Kumaratunaga, the RajapaksaAdministration’s mouthpiece says “Nobody has been eliminated for speaking out, and the gross resort to fabrication on this score makes it beyond clear that the garrulous ex-President’s motives are anything but apolitical these days.” Adding further Abeynayake says “However, the ploy is clear. The modus operandi is to shut the voice of the free thinking and patriotic forces first. The way to do this is to tag anything that is said against people such as Kumaratunga and their fabrications ‘state attacks on Human Rights defenders.”
It is unclear why the Daily News Editor feels the cause of religious freedom is equated to “country hating”.
Except that in his Editorial of January 22, the Rajapaksa Government’s state media – the Daily News again run by Abeynayake justified the attacks on Christian Churches claiming that the Buddhists taking the law into their hands are a persecuted people and that the Sinhala majority in Sri Lanka are often not permitted to do anything tangible about aggressive proselytization and the barely legal establishment of churches and other places of religious worship.
That  editorial titled, THE ONGOING GENOCIDE AGAINST THE SINHALESE Editor of the state controlled Daily News says people besieged in this way can easily be paranoid, or they can overreact and it is suspected that the entire idea is precisely to get them to go over the top, so that this fact can be used against their further persecution as well, taking on the role of apologist for marauding saffron mobs perpetrating violence against minority religious communities.
“The Sinhalese majority is in the unenviable position of not being able to defend any sustained undermining of its culture, and way of life. There is no freedom of expression for the Sinhalese if it means pointing out that their values are being usurped, or that there are systematic unethical conversions for instance,” the editorial says.
Rajapal Abeynayake is appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Editor of the Daily News. Rajapaksa is also the Leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and it was Kumaratunga’s father that was the founder leader of the SLFP. The Bandaranaike family led the SLFP since its inception in 1953 until the retirement of President Kumaratunge in 2005. It is unclear whether the SLFP, the main constituent party in the ruling UPFA alliance has sanctioned the State Media to attack its former leader or whether Abeynayake is merely carrying out instructions given to him by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Once again, the Rajapaksa Administration should indicate if as with other state run newspapers under other regimes around the world, the voice of the Daily News is a reflection of the policies and perceptions of the ruling Government, and if not, the SLFP or the President should demand an apology or resignation from Abeynayake for his putrid abuse of a former SLFP President of Sri Lanka.
GTF's Father Emmanuel calls on Sydney Archbishop to press for international inquiry
30 January 2014Continuing the campaign to increase support for an UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka that calls for an international inquiry, Father S. J. Emmanuel of the Global Tamil Forum called on an old friend in Australia last week, the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.

Old friends from previous years in Rome, Father Emmanuel told the Australian Archbishop of the massacres that took place in 2009 at the end of the armed conflict, and the militarisation, colonisation and violence that continues to take place today in the Tamil area of the North-East.

Stressing that there would be no accountability through an internal process, Father Emmanuel explained that the Tamil people had no faith in the Sri Lankan state and were seeking an UNHRC resolution calling for an international inquiry would do. He said that GTF remained hopeful that Australia would co-sponsor any such resolution, as it had done with the previous two.

Drawing attention to Australia's notorious treatment of asylum seekers, including the numerous Tamil detainees who are being held indefinitely, the GTF's president appealed to his fellow clergyman to push the Australian government to act more humanely and provide those persecuted with a place of sanctuary. 

Sri Lanka Human Rights Commissioner Exposes His Bias; C’wealth Capacity Building Turns To Dust

January 31, 2014
The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission that is consistently touted by the Rajapaksa Administration as one of its domestic mechanisms to address human rights concerns put forward by the international community has exposed itself badly following a interview granted to the state-controlled press by its Commissioner yesterday.
Prathibha Mahanama
Prathibha Mahanama
Colombo TelegraphCommissioner Prathibha Mahanama who heads an institution that is supposed to be a recourse for citizens whose rights are being abused by the agencies of the state, told the Daily News that the Northern Provincial Council resolution seeking an international war crimes inquiry was a ‘sinister political agenda’ two months ahead of the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva. “We all know the allegiance that existed between the formerLTTE terrorist group and the Tamil National Alliance that represents the Northern Provincial Council,” Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commissioner told the Rajapaksa state media which carried a major story on his comments yesterday.
“Their move has come just two months ahead of the Geneva UN Human Rights Council sessions. There is nothing but a sinister political agenda that is at play to discredit the government and the country. This has placed the country’s national security under threat,” Mahanama, who is a loyal acolyte of Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, reflecting the sentiments often expressed by members of the defence establishment – against whom the most heinous allegations of rights abuses in the country are being made.
Mahanama claimed that passing of a resolution by the Northern Provincial Council calling for an international investigation into the alleged massacre of civilians in the final stages of the war was “similar to the unilateral declaration of a State of Eelam by Varadaraja Perumal, then Chief Minister of the North-Eastern Province and the leader of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) in 1990.”
It is deeply ironic that Commissioner Prathibha Mahanama and the Human Rights Commission he heads is touted by the regime as an example of the robust human rights protection mechanism that is in place in Sri Lanka.  It is even more ironic that it was for the HRC headed by Mahanama that the Commonwealth Secretariat spent the better part of its year assisting with building capacity so that the Commission could engage in a more efficient and credible process to investigate rights abuses in the country. The Secretariat’s interest in the Commission was motivated by the need to convince Commonwealth Member States that Sri Lanka was doing enough to address the mounting human rights charges against the Rajapaksa Administration domestically to warrant it assuming the Chair of the organisation.
Mahanama’s remarks to the state owned press, however, makes a mockery of these efforts.
If there was any doubt how Mahanama would view any allegation against the state for violating human rights it is clear when he views a call for credible investigation into alleged violations of humanitarian law as being sinister agendas aimed at ‘discrediting’ the country and posing national security threats.
Making further remarks in the Daily News, Mahanama said Washington and London were “hell bent” on bringing a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in March. “They are trying to take advantage of the situation to promote their sinister political agenda by virtue of this opportunity,” he said of the TNA.

AI tells India to back call for war crimes probe against SL

Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN , Our Special Correspondent-
January 30, 2014

NEW DELHI, January 29:

India must support demands by civil society actors, UN officials and survivors of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka for an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the civil war, Amnesty International India said today.
 Amnesty noted that the elected government of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province also reinforced such calls on Monday by seeking an impartial global probe. 
Amnesty issued the statement even as visiting Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Prof GL Peiris was meeting his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid here to discuss bilaterial issues.
Last year, while supporting a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution asking Sri Lanka to conduct an "independent and credible investigation", India had noted that such an investigation must be to the "satisfaction of the international community". Given the lack of progress from the Sri Lankan government’s side, it is now time for facilitating an international investigation, Amnesty said.        
On 27 January 2014, Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the country’s armed conflict. The government came to power in a landmark election in September 2013.
"An elected body of representatives calling for an international probe shows how little faith some people in Sri Lanka have in any domestic mechanism," said G Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India.
"India must take note of this resolution, and press Sri Lanka at every opportunity to conduct an independent international investigation into all allegations of crimes under international law committed by Sri Lankan government forces as well as the LTTE."
There is substantial evidence, including eyewitness accounts by civilians and humanitarian workers, that in the last months of the 2009 Eelam war, Sri Lankan government forces committed war crimes, including alleged enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, intentionally shelled civilians and protected areas such as hospitals, and blocked food and medicine from reaching civilians trapped by the fighting, Amnesty charged.
There is also evidence that the LTTE committed war crimes, including the use of civilians as human shields, killing individuals who tried to escape and recruiting child soldiers. 
The Sri Lankan government continues to deny credible allegations of crimes under international law committed by its forces  and to resist calls for independent investigation of senior officers allegedly responsible, several of whom remain in positions of authority.
In April 2013, a military court of inquiry exonerated the Sri Lankan military for civilian casualties in the last stage of military operations, concluding that any casualties that occurred were the fault of the LTTE. The inquiry’s full report remains unpublished. 
 A second military inquiry into alleged extrajudicial executions of individuals who surrendered to or were captured by the Sri Lankan military in the final days of conflict was initiated in March 2013, but by the end of 2013 investigators had not even interviewed witnesses other than army field commanders.
"The chances of justice or truth emerging out of an army inquiry into its own alleged crimes are very slim indeed,"  said Ananthapadmanabhan.
Since the war’s end, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has steered his country in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has described as "an increasingly authoritarian direction". The government has concentrated powers in its own hands and led an assault on dissent, harassing and attacking critics including journalists, human rights defenders and opposition politicians.
"Sri Lanka has not kept several promises to conduct a credible investigation into past and present abuses and prosecute alleged perpetrators. India must keep the pressure up on Sri Lanka to do the right thing, accept an international investigation and cooperate with it" said Ananthapadmanabhan.
The government of the U nited States has said it will sponsor a third resolution on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2014. 
In March 2013, India and 24 other countries voted in favour of a resolution calling on the government of Sri Lanka to conduct an independent and credible investigation into alleged violations of international law, and asking the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a comprehensive report on Sri Lanka in March 2014.

Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts deserve death sentence: SC

 Thursday, January 30, 2014
New Delhi: Prisoners convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case deserve the death sentence, the Supreme Court said on Thursday as it refused to go into the merits of their conviction. 

While hearing the plea of the convicts on commuting the death penalty to life due to delay in deciding their mercy plea, the apex court said, “They deserve death sentence, but the question is how long can they be kept in solitary confinement.” 

The Supreme Court had on January 21 commuted sentences of 15 death row convicts, ruling that “inordinate and inexplicable” delays in their execution were grounds to change their sentences to life imprisonment. “Unexplained delay is a ground for commuting the death penalty to life sentence,” read a ruling from a three-judge panel headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Sathasivam on Thursday restrained the counsel appearing for the death row convicts to argue on the merit of the conviction.

The counsel appearing for the convicts submitted that there had been an unreasonable delay in deciding the mercy plea of convicts Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan. The counsel argued that while the mercy plea of several other prisoners had been decided, the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination had to wait because of the government. 

The Centre, which is opposing the plea of the prisoners, will put forward its argument on February 4. 

The apex court had in May, 2012, decided to adjudicate itself the pleas of Rajiv Gandhi killers against their death penalty and had directed that their petitions, pending with the Madras high court, be sent to it. 

The court had passed the order on a petition by one LK Venkat, seeking transfer of their pleas out of Tamil Nadu on the ground that free and fair hearing would not be possible in the state due to an unfavourable atmosphere. 

On a petition by the three death row convicts, the Madras high court had earlier stayed their hanging and issued notices to the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government. 

The main contention was that the delay in disposal of the mercy petitions by 11 years and four months made the execution of the death sentence "unduly harsh and excessive," amounting to violation of their right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.


PPT verdict and Eelam Tamils

TamilNet[TamilNet, Friday, 31 January 2014, 13:18 GMT]
While the PPT hearings peeled away the layers of oppression the Eelam Tamils had faced due to the prolonged activities of the UK and USA, a “vortex model” that is now put in action with the allure of proximity to power, has created a new kind of thinking among many Eelam Tamils. These Eelam Tamils rationalise their pro-UK-USA position, thinking that Eelam Tamils will not gain justice without the support of these states and thus exposing their complicity will not work in our favour. Such a position is incompatible with the meaning of struggle. Eelam Tamils should develop a better strategy for their struggle than one that requires them to cover up the crimes of those states that were in complicity in the genocide. The PPT verdict should play a central role in that new strategy, writes N. Malathy. 

Full text of the communication from Dr N. Malathy, a key member of NorthEast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) and the author of ‘A Fleeting Moment in my Country’, follows:

Dr N Malathy
Dr N Malathy
I was a witness at the PPT session on Sri Lanka held in Germany in December 2013. I sat through most of the public evidence that was presented. 

The evidence given by Sinhala activists, Viraj Mendis and Bashana Abeywardane and also Phil Miller from London against the UK and the USA for their complicity in the genocide was liberating. 

It generated a strong emotion in me. It felt like layers of oppression Eelam Tamils had faced for more than a century due to the activities of these two states were being peeled away. I cry as I write these sentences. 

The PPT on Sri Lanka website says this evidence will be published on the website soon. I will urge all Eelam Tamils to read it.

* * *
This evidence gives broader context to the “vortex model” which was my earlier attempt to comprehend the post-2009 western campaign against Sri Lanka. 

The vortex model places the institutions like: the governments of the UK and the USA; United Nations; INGOs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Channel-4; and individuals like Francis Harrison and Gordon Weiss in layers. 

The entities in these layers have very little disagreement among them. All of them work for the same mandate but present different public faces confusing the Eelam Tamils. 

During my stay in London I was appalled to observe the trust the Eelam Tamil activists are placing in the British Establishment. The “vortex” in action I thought. 

* * *
The vortex model has another attribute - allure of proximity to power. 

In relation to this, a comment made by someone from Colombo on the assassination of Neelan Thiruchelvam in July 1999, allegedly by a LTTE suicide bomber is of relevance. 

The person was reflecting on whether Neelan Thiruchelvam despite his brilliant intellect and multiple skills had fallen prey to the allure of king making. Indeed Neelan Thiruchelvam too was a victim of the “vortex”. 

* * *
The vortex has also created a new kind of thinking among many Eelam Tamils who are aware of the complicity of the UK and the USA. 

These Eelam Tamils rationalise their pro-UK-USA position as follows: They think that Eelam Tamils will not gain justice without the support of these states and thus exposing their complicity will not work in our favour. 

* * *
Such a position is incompatible with the meaning of struggle. 

Eelam Tamils should develop a better strategy for their struggle than one that requires them to cover up the crimes of those states that were in complicity in the genocide. 

The PPT verdict should play a central role in that new strategy.

Executive Appointments for the 2nd Term of the TGTE

tgte logo“Next five years might witness birth of Tamil Eelam”60
1) Expansion of Prime Minister’s office.
2) Inclusion of external experts.
3) Establishment of task oriented units.

I am delighted to extend my warm ‘thai pongal’ greetings to all Tamil people on behalf of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)
The dawn of the month of ‘thai’ brings in fresh hopes and renewal of prosperity for all according to Tamil tradition. It gives me great pleasure to announce on this auspicious day the new Executive of the TGTE for its second term of office.
I am duty bound to inform that the new Executive structure has been shaped using our experience of the past three years, inputs received from Members directly and through the working sessions held during the recent inaugural sessions of the Assembly, and the advice received from numerous interested
citizens and experts alike from the Tamil community.The second term of office for the TGTE shall be for period of five years. This will also be the second and final term of office for me as the Prime Minister, in accordance with the TGTE’s Constitution. The five years ahead augurs to be a crucial period in the path of the Tamil freedom struggle. This might indeed be the period when we will witness the birth of the independent State of Tamil Eelam.Therefore, it is our paramount duty to build up TGTE during this term as a viable and effective organization capable of concerted action towards the goal of our freedom. It has become critical at this juncture that we look beyond the performance of the Members of the TGTE Parliament, and create a number of novel organizational units with external expertise to support them, in order sustain the efforts of the TGTE. It is also urgent that we strengthen the work and effectiveness of the Prime Minister’s Office for it to guide the activities of the TGTE into the future.With this in mind, the size of the Cabinet has been reduced for this term. Instead, a number of portfolios held by Ministerial appointments previously are being transformed into task-oriented Centres. Furthermore, by way of widening the scope and performance of the Prime Minister’s Office, a Chief Executive Secretary has been appointed with responsibility for all administrative matters of the TGTE on the Prime Minister’s behalf. Likewise, the work of building up the country level presence, the infrastructure and activities of the TGTE, is to be performed by a number of new Prime Minster’s representatives to be appointed in the different diaspora countries.
While the task-oriented Centres will function on par with the Ministries, their work will be coordinated and guided by the Prime Minister’s Office. We have also created working groups within the Prime Minister’s Office in order to formulate the strategies and tactics of the TGTE over the coming period.
The structure of the Executive announced here will be subject to revision and expansion as required. The details about the various new and individual projects to be undertaken by the TGTE will be made available in due course.
Working groups consisting of Members of Parliament will be formed to support the functioning of the Ministries and the special task-oriented Centres.
I call upon all elected Members of the TGTE, irrespective of whether they are Ministers or not, to come forward and attach themselves to a project and be prepared for dedicated action.
We have resolved to take forward the work of the TGTE in an efficient and effective manner, through periodic performance reviews on an annual basis.
The Executive Structure of the TGTE is as follows:
60Prime Minister: Mr Visvanathan Rudrakumaran
Chief Executive Secretary: Prof. Nadarajah Sriskantharajah
Deputy Prime Minister: Mr. Kanakaratnam Manoranjan
Minister – Finance: Mr. Kanagaratnam Jayanthan
Minister – International Affairs : Mr. Kanagenthiram Manickavasagar
Minister – Homeland Development : Mrs. Balambikai Murugathas
Minister – Diaspora Affairs : Mr. Nimal Vinayagamoorthy
Minister – Media and Public Affairs : Mr. Sutharsan Sivagurunathan
Minister – Youth and Cultural Affairs: Ms. Karthika Vigneswaran
Head: Centre for Prevention and Prosecution of Genocide-Prof. Muthukumarasamy Sornarajah
Head: Center for Refugees Welfare and Resettlement- Mr. Ratnarajah Muthukumarasamy (Santhan)
Head: Center for Women, Children and Elderly Mrs. Rajanithevi Sinnathamby
Head: Centre for Welfare of the Families of Cadres and Martyrs- Mr. Selvarajah Jeyam
Head: Secretariat/United Nation Representative- Mr. Sukinthan Murugiah
‘Thirst of all Tamils is Tamil Eelam’
V. Rudrakumaran
Prime Minister
Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)