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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Will New Sri Lankan Government Prioritize Resettlement of War-Displaced?

Despite six years of peace, life is still hard in areas where Sri Lanka's war was at its worst, especially for internally displaced people (IDPs). Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS
Despite six years of peace, life is still hard in areas where Sri Lanka's war was at its worst, especially for internally displaced people (IDPs). Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS
By Amantha Perera-Monday, August 31, 2015
JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, Aug 30 2015 (IPS) - The new Sri Lankan government that was voted in on Aug. 17 certainly didn’t inherit as much baggage as its predecessors did during the nearly 30 years of conflict that gripped this South Asian island nation.
"Do you know how it feels to live in other people's houses for so long? You are always an outsider. I am getting old [...]. I want to die in my own house, not somewhere else." -- Siva Ariyarathnam, an IDP in northern Sri Lanka
But six years into ‘peacetime’, the second parliament of President Maithripala Sirisena will need to prioritize some of the most painful, unhealed wounds of war – among them, the fate of over 50,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), some of whom have not been home in over two decades.
Though the fighting between government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in 2009, closing a 28-year-long chapter of violence, Siva Ariyarathnam is still waiting for a government official to tell him when he can go home.
Like tens of thousands of others, Ariyarathnam fled with his family when the military took over his land in the country’s Northern Province in the 1990s as part of a strategy to defeat the LTTE, who launched an armed campaign for an independent homeland for the country’s minority Tamil population in 1983.
The outgoing government says it plans to give the land back to 50,000 people, but has not indicated when that will happen, and Ariyarathnam says he is running out of time.
“Do you know how it feels to live in other people’s houses for so long? You are always an outsider,” Ariyarathnam told IPS. “I am getting old and I want to live under my own roof with my family. I want to die in my own house, not somewhere else.”
A decades-old problem
Ariyarathnam’s tale is heard too frequently in the former war-zone, a large swath of land in the country’s north comprising the Vanni region, the Jaffna Peninsula and parts of the Eastern Province, which the LTTE ran as a de facto state after riots in 1983 drove thousands of Tamils out of the Sinhala-majority south.
During the war years, displacement was the order of the day, with both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government forcing massive population shifts that would shape ethnic- and communal-based electoral politics.
For ordinary people it meant that the notion of ‘home’ was a luxury that few could maintain.
The cost of the conflict that finally ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the Tigers by government armed forces was enormous.
By conservative accounts over 100,000 perished in the fighting, while a report by the United Nations estimates that as many as 40,000 civilians died during the last bouts of fighting between 2008 and 2009.
According to the Ministry of Resettlement, Sri Lanka’s post-war IDP returnees stood at an impressive 796,081 by the end of June.
But the same data also reveal that an additional 50,000 were still living with host families and in the Thellippali IDP Centre, unable to return to villages still under military occupation.
These militarized zones date back to the 1990s, when the army began appropriating civilian land as a means of thwarting the steadily advancing LTTE.
By 2009, the military had confiscated 11,629 acres of land in the Tamil heartland of Jaffna – located on the northern tip of the island, over 300 km from the capital, Colombo – in order to create the Palaly High Security Zone (HSZ).
This was the area Ariyarathnam and his family, like thousands of others, had once called home.
New government, new policies?
Many hoped that the war’s end would see a return to their ancestral lands, but the war-victorious government, helmed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was slow to release civilian areas, prioritizing national security and continued deployment of troops in the North over resettlement of the displaced.
A new government led by President Maithripala Sirisena, Rajapaksa’s former health minister who took power in a surprise January election, promised to accelerate land release, and turned over a 1,000-acre area from the Palaly HSZ in April.
But top officials tell IPS that genuine government efforts are stymied by the lack of public land onto which to move military camps in order to make way for returning civilians.
“The return of the IDPs is our number one priority,” Ranjini Nadarajapillai, the outgoing secretary to the Ministry of Resettlement, explained to IPS. “There is no timetable right now, everything depends on how the remaining high security zones are removed.”
The slow pace of land reform has kept IDPs mired in poverty, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), an arm of the Oslo-based Norwegian Refugee Council.
“The main reasons why there are higher poverty levels among IDPs include the lack of access to land during displacement to carry out livelihood activities, [and] the lack of compensation for lost or destroyed land and property during the war, which was acquired by the military or government as security or economic zones,” Marita Swain, an analyst with IDMC, told IPS.
An IDMC report released in July put the number of IDPs at 73,700, far higher than the government statistic. Most of them are living with host families, while 4,700 are housed in a long-term welfare center in Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.
The lingering effects of the policies of the previous administration led by Rajapaksa, which prioritized infrastructure development over genuine economic growth for the war-weary population, has compounded the IDPs’ plight, according to the IDMC.
Despite the Sirisena government taking office in January, it has been hamstrung over issues like resettlement for the past eight months as it prepared to face parliamentary elections that pitted Rajapaksa-era policies against those of the new president.
Nadarajapillai of the Ministry of Resettlement said the new government is taking a different approach and reaching out to international agencies and donors to resolve the issue.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is helping the government devise a plan to resolve the IDP crisis, added Dushanthi Fernando, a UNHCR official in Colombo.
Still, these promises mean little to people like Ariyarathnam, whose displacement is now entering its third decade with no firm signs of ending anytime soon.
Edited by Kanya D’Almeida

Sri Lanka At The Crossroads: Pursuing Accountability & Strengthening The Rule Of Law

Colombo TelegraphBy Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan –August 31, 2015
Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan
Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan
Given the recent political developments in Sri Lanka in 2015, namely the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, it is prudent to ask: what will the new and old government in the post-Rajapaksa era do to encounter impunity and achieve accountability in Sri Lanka? Shortly ahead of the next United Nations Human Rights Council Session in September, it seems that the Obama administration -that initially pushed firstly for the investigation and later for its deferral- favors a domestic mechanism to prosecute perpetrators for alleged war crimes.
The author will inquire firstly discuss the elections and the implications of the results on accountability, the evolution to the upcoming Report of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the current state, depict other venues for achieving accountability while using other country examples; subsequently, he will discuss the feasibility of those mechanisms and finally present his own findings as how accountability can be achieved in Sri Lanka.
The elections
After the surprising victory of opposition candidate Sirisena in the Presidential election, Foreign MinisterSamaraweera said that Sri Lanka will create a domestic mechanism within two months to probe allegations of rights violations and bring perpetrators to justice. He called for the UN report to be held back saying the UN findings could then be referred to the domestic mechanism for “necessary action.”
Maithripala Sampanthan“Unlike the previous government we are not in a state of denial, saying that such violations have not happened. We believe such violations have happened,” Samaraweera told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “We are ready to ensure that those who have violated human rights in Sri Lanka will be brought to justice through such a mechanism.” The Parliamentary election now validated President Sirisena once again. The electoral defeat of the former president Rajapaksa for a second time within six months showed that he, Rajapaksa, has not understood the dynamics of change that has got embedded in public discourse to win elections. This election may now pave the way for genuine approach to reconciliation and accountability, while Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe have not won in the North and the East. They still have to win the confidence of the Tamil population, now with the greater sense that the international eyes are on Sri Lanka,
The UN Commission of Inquiry Report                           Read More

Second chance to deal with the past

By Jehan Perera- 

Within a week of former government’s second electoral defeat, this time at the general election, two senior representatives of the United States paid a rare joint visit to Sri Lanka. They were the first representatives of foreign powers to visit the country after the elections. They came even before parliament has met and the new government has been formed. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera was one of only three ministers to be appointed at the time of their visit. The speed of his appointment may have been due to the rapport he has demonstrated with the hitherto alienated sections of the international community. US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Sri Lanka after the presidential election and referred to him publicly as a friend. It can only help that Sri Lanka is viewed by the US positively at this time and not negatively.

What Golden Age?

by Alan Nasser
( August 31, 2015, Boston, Sri Lanka Guardian) In 1919, the percentage shares of total income received by the top 1 percent and the top 5% stood, respectively, at 12.2 percent and 24.3 percent; in 1923 the shares had risen to 13.1 percent and 27.1 percent and by 1929 to 18.9 and 33.5 percent. According to the Brookings Institution, in 1929 “0.1 percent of the families at the top received practically as much as 42 percent of families at the bottom of the scale.”
By 1929, 71 percent of American families earned incomes of under $2,500 a year, the level that the Bureau of Labor Statistics considered minimal to maintain an adequate standard of living for a family of four. 60 percent earned less than $2,000.00 per year, the amount determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics “sufficient to supply only basic necessities.” 50 percent had less than $1700.00 and more than 20 percent had less than $1,000.00.
During the steep recession in the first years of the decade unemployment (among non-farm workers) hit 19.5 percent in 1921 and 11.4 percent in 1922. In 1924 it rose from 4.1 to 8.3 percent, fell to 2.9 percent in 1926 and was back up to 6.9 percent in 1928. 1922-1926 was the period of fastest growth in production and profits before over-investment and under-consumption slowed the rate of GDP and sales growth. Yet two of those boom years saw unemployment comparable to or exceeding 2015’s official unemployment figures.
Real poverty can be disguised, and the principal means of obscuring material insecurity when there has appeared to exist a middle class has been the extension of credit to vast numbers of working households. During both the 1920s and the Golden Age households accumulated mounting debt in order to achieve the “middle class standard of living.” Workers’ wages needed a substantial supplement of financial speed to goose the buying power required for middle class pleasures. The Twenties were the first instance of what was to become an abiding feature of American capitalism, the need for large scale credit financing to sustain levels of consumption required to stave off macroeconomic retardation and persistent economic insecurity. The Hoover Commission Report, a massive study of the economy of the 1920s conducted by a large team of the country’s most prominent economists, reported that:
“The most spectacular and the most novel development in the field of credit was the growth after 1920 of a variety of forms of consumers’ borrowing… the amount of such credit was tremendously expanded, both absolutely and relatively, during the past decade.”
The proportion of total retail sales financed by credit increased from 10 percent in 1910 to 15 percent in 1927 to 50 percent in 1929. Over 85 percent of furniture, 80 percent of washing machines and 75 percent of phonographs and radios -indeed most new consumer items-   were purchased on time. A prime reason GM pulled ahead of Ford in car sales was that it enabled credit purchases through the General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC). Credit was even used to buy clothes. Young single working women often went into debt to keep up with the latest styles. By 1929 sales on installment approached $7 billion. Many more people bought these goods than would have had they had to save the total price in cash before making the purchases. Credit pervaded the household economy and disguised low wages, as it would again in the postwar period.
In Middletown, the landmark study of the industrial town Muncie, Indiana, in the years 1924-1925, Robert and Helen Lynd note the pervasiveness of credit in the everyday lives of working people there:
“Today Middletown lives by a credit economy that is available in some form to nearly every family in the community. The rise and spread of the dollar-down-and-not-so-much-per plan extends credit for virtually everything – homes, $200 over-stuffed living-room suites, electric washing machines, automobiles, fur coats, diamond rings – to persons of whom frequently little is known as to their intention or ability to pay.”
Wages did not increase as rapidly as did debt growth. In fact, wages remained flat throughout the 1920s. So debt grew to the point at which it could not be paid. Borrowing and purchasing power then declined in 1926; under-consumption became conspicuous as excess inventories and capacity built up. Crisis ensued.
In 1946 the ratio of household debt to disposable income stood at about 24 percent. By 1950 it had risen to 38 percent, by 1955 to 53 percent, by 1960 to 62 percent, and by 1965 to 72 percent. The ratio fluctuated from 1966 to 1978, but the stagnation of real wages which began in 1973 pressured households further to increase their debt burden in order to maintain existing living standards, pushing the ratio of debt to disposable income to 77 percent by 1979. And keep in mind that accumulating debt was necessary not merely to purchase more toys, but to meet rising housing, health care, education and child care costs. With prohibitive health care costs the leading cause of personal bankruptcy, debt was necessary for all but the wealthy to stay out of poverty.
By the mid-1980s, with ‘neo-liberalism’ in full swing and wages stagnating, the ratio began a steady ascent, from 80 percent in 1985 to 88 percent in 1990 to 95 percent in 1995 to over 100 percent in 2000 to 138 percent in 2007. As debt rose relative to workers’ income, households’ margin of security against insolvency began to erode. The ratio of personal saving to disposable income under neoliberalism began a steady decline, falling from 11 percent in 1983 to 2.3 percent in 1999. The debt bubble that became unmistakable in the 1990s was to be far greater than the bubble of the 1920s; the financial system by now was capable of far more fraud and treachery than was possible in the 1920s, thanks largely to deregulation and derivatives.
The majority of Americans were poor. Working Americans were poor. America was a poor country. In neither period was hard work and the corresponding wage sufficient to avert relative poverty. In the absence of organized resistance, the current age of rising inequality, low wages, high un- and underemployment and increasing economic precariousness will persist indefinitely.
Alan Nasser is professor emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College. His website is: His book, United States of Emergency American Capitalism and Its Crises, will be published by Pluto Press early next year. If you would like to be notified when the book is released, please send a request to

Current Issues In University Education

By Harini Amarasuriya –August 31, 2015
Dr. Harini Amarasuriya
Dr. Harini Amarasuriya
Colombo Telegraph
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak a few words today. I think this is an important topic which requires debate and discussion in our society and I am very appreciative of CEPA’s initiative in this regard.
What I want to do today is to reflect on the current discourse on university education. I think this is important –because I have found that most of our discussions about university education start with many unexamined assumptions. Certain ‘truths’ have become established and worryingly these ‘truths’ are being reproduced endlessly with very little critical reflection. So, with your permission, I am not going to describe ‘current issues’ in university education today; instead, I want to step back a little and reflect on how ‘current issues in university education’ are being constructed.
FUTAIn general, there is a strong sentiment in society that university education in Sri Lanka is in a state of crisis. Many examples are put forward in support of this view: our graduates, especially those graduating with Arts degrees are considered unemployable and of low quality; universities hotbeds of student violence and radical politics; the quality of teaching deplorable and curricula outdated; the quality of research and innovation pathetic etc. In general, universities are considered to be in a mess. Most university academics would add to this list, issues such as the deterioration of academic freedom, university autonomy and the politicisation of university administration. These issues have been debated and discussed but generally, these are accepted as more or less characteristics of the crisis in our universities.Read More

Democracy on bumpy ride

India propose to give the opposition leader post to Sampanthan


The TNA has thrown its hat into the ring for the Opposition Leader’s post. The UPFA will cease to be an Opposition party if it joins forces with the UNP to form a national government. Therefore, the TNA, with 16 MPs elected on the ITAK ticket, demands the aforesaid post.

The JVP has also staked its claim for the position of the Opposition Leader. Those who are opposed to the TNA politically maintain that it lacks a national reach and, therefore, is not qualified to lead the Opposition. But, there is no constitutional provision to that effect and what really matters is the number of seats in Parliament.

President Maithripala Sirisena sought to justify the appointment of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister following the Jan. 08 presidential election on the grounds that the Opposition coalition which backed his candidature had asked for a popular mandate for that purpose. Today, the SLFP has decided to join a UNP-led national government though the UPFA coalition, of which it is only a constituent, told the electorate, in no uncertain terms, before the August 17 general election, that it would not join any government with the UNP as a partner. About 4.7 million people endorsed its position!

What we are witnessing today is antithetical to good governance. Some candidates rejected by the people at the recent general election have been appointed to Parliament through the backdoor and the party which the electors have relegated to the Opposition is going to exercise power as a partner of the government. When Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the last presidential election President Sirisena et al asked him to respect the people’s verdict and go home. While Rajapaksa was making a bid to secure premiership President Sirisena told him that there were other SLFP seniors who were eligible for that post. But, the President has appointed a bunch of defeated candidates to Parliament at the expense of more deserving nominees on the UPFA’s National List! Such action is not only tantamount to a distortion of the will of the electorate but also bound to lead to a severe erosion of public faith in the electoral system.

It is a travesty of democracy for a party sharing power with another in Parliament or any other political institution for that matter to act as the Opposition. In the last Parliament, towards the latter part of its term, the Opposition and the arbitrarily appointed government became political Siamese twins. The next Parliament which will last at least four and a half years, unless, of course, its members decide otherwise, should have an Opposition which is not an appendage of the government. A dichotomy between the UPFA and the SLFP which did not contest the August 17 election is not possible.

The Opposition is to a government what a brake system is to a juggernaut. A robust countervailing force is a prerequisite for protecting democracy and safeguarding public interest. In this country governments are notorious for stealing public funds and abusing power and the public needs the help of a set of disgruntled, jealous thieves to catch others of their ilk or at least raise the alarm. The alleged corrupt deals under the Rajapaksa government would not have come to light if the UNP had been part of the UPFA government.

Attempts being made to form a UNP-SLFP joint administration are sure to run into a legal snag over the number of ministers to be appointed. It was the UPFA––and not the SLFP––which contested the last general election. The 19th Amendment does not provide for the Cabinet to be expanded in the event of a party which has not contested a general election joining forces with the winner to form a national government. This problem can be avoided by limiting the Cabinet to 30 members. But, in such an eventuality, there won’t be enough ministerial posts for the UNP to share with the SLFP!

Whether President Sirisena will succeed in wresting control of the UPFA’s decision-making body and getting it to do his bidding so as to clear the constitutional hurdle at issue remains to be seen. All indications are that there will be a legal wrangle. If the UPFA officially joins the national government on the cards, of its own volition or under duress, it will have to cede its right to the post of the Opposition Leader.

The SLFP has sought to justify its decision to join a national government by claiming that the two main parties should work together if the country is to achieve progress. Its MPs do not necessarily have to savour power for this objective to be achieved. The SLFP can extend conditional support to the UNP for the sake of the country without asking for ministerial posts.

India propose to give the opposition leader post to Sampanthan

India propose to give the opposition leader post to Sampanthan Aug 31, 2015
Diplomatic reports confirm that India has proposed the Sri Lankan President to give the opposition leader post to the leader of the Tamil National Alliance R. Sampanthan in the new parliament which is convening tomorrow the 1st.
President Maithripala today 31st said that the choosing of the opposition leader task should be done by the opposition. Many people misunderstood this statement anticipating that the president has allowed the pro Mahinda faction to choose the opposition leader to their wish.
However the factual opposition of the new parliament which is convening tomorrow would be the Tamil National Alliance and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuana. The Tamil national Alliance which has the majority representatives would have their rights to choose the opposition leader.
International political analysts say there would be very productive results found in a difficult journey of the current national government heading towards a true reconciliation.
President to make special statement

The inaugural session of the eighth Parliament will begin tomorrow at 9.30 am. Afterwards, United National Party (UNP) MP Karu Jayasuriya will reportedly be elected as the Speaker of the new Parliament.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to nominate him for the post. It will be seconded by the opposition according to reports from political sources. After that, he will assume duties in front of Dammika Dissanayake, the Secretary General of Parliament .

After that the MPs will take their oaths before the new Speaker. This will be followed by the election of the Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairman of Committees. It is learnt that someone from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will be the Deputy Speaker. An MP from a small party will be the Deputy Chairman of Committees.

The session will then be adjourned till 3.00 pm.
After that President Maitripala Sirisena will arrive at the parliamentary complex. A gun salute will be accorded to him and he will make a special statement in the House.(Kelum Bandara) - See more at:

After marathon, Ranil begins race to 

rebuild Sri Lanka

Ranil Wickremesinghe: One step enough for me. Pic by Indika Handuwala

The Sunday Times Sri LankaWhen Ranil Wickremesinghe led the United National Party (UNP) to victory at the August 17 general elections, it was not merely the end of a hectic 49-day campaign; it was also the culmination of a 40-year-long political career that had few triumphs and many disasters.

Shanthi Sachithanandan: In Memoriam

It was with deep sadness that I learnt Shanthi Sachithanandan had passed away yesterday. In emails and face to face conversations spanning many years, I remember an individual who was, at her core, deeply committed to the work around empowering those at the margins to become their own agents of change, even in conditions of great austerity.
Groundviews has featured Shanthi’s work since 2008. As a tribute, links to her contributions and other relevant content are featured below, prefaced by an interview conducted five years ago that highlights, so vividly, who she was and what she believed in.

Basnayake involved in yet another treacherous act ! executive allowances to forces held back

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News- 31.Aug.2015, 12.35PM) The treacheries , villainies and illicit activities of defense secretary B.M.U.D. Basnayake are so many and stormy that they  are flooding the gates of Lanka e news so much so that we are invariably compelled to expose them. Let us for the moment reveal just one of them : Permission was granted under the 100 days interim program of the government of good governance with the approval of the cabinet  to pay the special allowances to the executive grade employees of the government sector , and that was to  commence from last July 1 st. Initially , this allowance was to be paid to the officers in the executive grade of the three forces too, but subsequently  it was withdrawn.
Later ,on the orders  of the president this payment was to be made to the officers of the three forces  , the military spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said issuing a media communique on July 19 th.Accordingly , the officers of the forces eranestly anticipated that this allowance will  be added to their August salaries , but to their consternation this did not materialize.
Clearly what is implied by this omission is , the defense ministry is wielding powers even more than those of the president that they can even  disregard the orders of the latter . It is worthy of note this payment has not been made in spite of  President’s order because the defense ministry failed to issue  written instructions in conformity with   the president’s order , to the three forces.
Who are those so high handedly and illicitly  conducting themselves within the defense ministry ?

Be that as it may , it is based on a decision taken by the additional secretaries , Ms. Jeewanthi Senanayake , Ms.Chathurika Ranaweera, Ms. Lakshika Senaratne and assistant secretary  Siripala Hettiarachi jointly that this allowance was not paid  to the three forces 
by     (2015-08-31 07:08:49)

The Miscarriage Of The JVP Signals The End Of The Socialist Idea In Sri Lanka

Colombo TelegraphBy Shyamon Jayasinghe –August 30, 2015
Shyamon Jayasinghe
Shyamon Jayasinghe
“A fundamental ideological flaw haunts Leftism today. It is the failure of socialism itself.”
A striking feature of the August General Elections is the unexpected slump of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Much was expected that this party would rev up the forces for socialism and ,once again, resurrect the red flag of protest against privilege. As one of the numerous who has been impressed by its leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, I was disappointed with the poor showing of that party. Unrealistically though, I was hoping that the JVP would replace UPFA as the main voice of the Opposition. Anura Kumara Dissanayake does his homework and is thorough with the facts and figures. He is intelligent, well educated, forceful and honest and can fling himself aggressively to make a dent in any powerful government.
Sri Lanka desperately needs such voices in Parliament. Yet, that was not to be. Human events in social and political life are complex in character and many factors have to be reckoned in their explanation. Basically, I think, the JVP was caught right in the middle of the general polarisation of an electorate that had to decide on whether to bring back the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa or whether to resume the Yahapanayarevolution signified by the January 8th Presidential elections. It had to be either one or the other to most voters and in such a context there was no room for a middle force that was theoretically attacking both options. The JVP lost itself in the way. In fact all their articulate and vociferous criticism of the Rajapakse regime went to help the UNP-led campaign. The UNP derived the benefit of the rhetoric of Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Lalkantha and other capable orators.
Anura KumaraThis reveals that the JVP platform was badly oriented. A better course of action for the party would have been to join the United National Front as a constituent member but, as Vladimir Lyich Lenin famously said in 1921, “march separately; strike together.” within the UNF camp until the day of reckoning comes when the party would have gathered greater strength to combat directly. In this election the party was lost in an ambivalent position that confused its potential backers. Voters who went against a Rajapaksa comeback desperately wanted that to happen. The space for any body in between was simply not there.Read More

Excavation Of Mannar Mass Grave To Begin

Excavation Of Mannar Mass Grave To Begin

Lankanewsweb.netAug 31, 2015
The Mannar Magistrate has ordered to excavate the suspected mass grave in a well in Thiruketheeswaram closer to the site that was previously excavated.

According to the Office of the Police Media Spokesperson, the excavation is to begin on October 7 this year with the Department of Forensic Medicine, Department of Archeology, and the Survey Department. The police media unite added that the Mannar Magistrate visited the well close to the previous suspected mass grave site last week.
“The Mannar Magistrate visited the site upon a complaint received. There is already an ongoing investigation into alleged mass grave in Mannar located in close distance to the newly found well, and the investigations into previous suspected mass grave are being conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID),” the police revealed. The site has been identified with the help of the Survey Department. According to the police media unit, in addition to the ongoing investigations, the Mannar Megistrate has ordered to carry out excavation in the suspected site.
The earlier mass grave in Thirukketheeswaram in Mannar was first discovered in December 2013, when construction workers found two human skeletons whilst digging in Thirukketheeswaram. The excavations had been launched in early 2014, and upon excavations, remains of at least 80 people were unearthed.  Reportedly, wounds were discovered on the bodies which were believed to have been caused by gunshots. However, the excavations came to halt as it was claimed to be a graveyard. Families of the disappeared continued to demand further excavation of the mass grave. The Sri Lankan courts approved the request for further excavations, and also ordered an affidavit from the Mannar regional chairperson, who stated that there were no records of a cemetery in the area. There are ongoing investigations conducted into the case by the CID.

Sri Lanka: Wasim Thajudeen Killing; Three ex-PSD Officers Traced

(Gotabaya Rajapaksa allegedly ran death squads when he was defence minister,Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/ Reuters)
Sri Lanka Brief
Sri Lankan living in UK also linked to ‘conspiracy’, JMO report on Sept 10: Arrests to begin within two weeks.
Three ex-PSD officers – who have been identified by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) as possible suspects of former rugby player Wasim Thajudeen’s killing – will be arrested within the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, a civilian, who is presently in London, has also been identified as a person who was aware of the conspiracy to kill Thajudeen, Police sources added.

“There is no truth in the stories that the suspects have fled to Italy. Probably, they are referring to the person who is presently in the UK. He is a civilian who was aware of the incident. But, the majority of possible suspects are in Sri Lanka and we have traced them. They will not be able to flee the country,” a senior officer involved in the investigations told the Daily News.

“The Police will be able to arrest three of the suspects before the next two weeks,” the officer said.

“The person in the UK fled the country after the incident through the assistance of a former diplomat who has a notorious track record. The diplomat too is under investigation at the moment for a number of other offences. It can be confirmed that he was not a member of the defence establishment,” he said.

The CID earlier this month received information that a secret discussion had taken place at the PSD officers’ mess on Thajudeen prior to his death. The discussion had taken place with the knowledge of a very senior Police officer who had close links to the top echelons of the previous regime.

Meanwhile, the CID has already established that no motor accident had taken place at the site where the rugby player’s body was recovered.

“Thajudeen’s body was not even in the driving seat of the vehicle. At the time the charred body was recovered, it was in the other front seat,” a highly placed Police source said.

Although the initial Police report said the vehicle caught fire within seconds of the accident, the fuel tank of the vehicle was half full, he added.

“There is no way that a vehicle can burn in that manner while the fuel tank is half full,” the officer explained.
“When investigating the vehicle, we found out that there were no signs of an accident. There is evidence to suggest that an ‘accident-event’ had been fabricated to cover up a crime,” he added.

Following this development, the CID carried out investigations to find out whether Police reports have been ‘twisted’ to portray a wrong picture about the rugby player’s death. Initial investigations into his death was carried out by the Narahenpita Police which dubbed it as an “accident.”

Thajudeen’s body was exhumed on August 10 to conduct further investigations into the rugby player’s mysterious death. Inquiries were carried out to ascertain whether fractures in Thajudeen’s body were in line with the findings of the CID. A comprehensive report is this regard is expected to be presented to court on September 10.

The Police also investigated into a vehicle allegedly used to abduct Thajudeen. The vehicle had been handed over to the Siriliya Saviya Foundation, headed by former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, by an international non-governmental organisation.

By Rasika Jayakody / CDN