in LTTE blast in Batticaloa
By Kesara Abeywardena and Mohamed Ghouse, Batticaloa Correspondent
A powerful bomb set off by the LTTE on Vesak day near a vesak pandal close to the
Mangalarama Buddhist temple in Batticaloa town killed 22 people including 16 civilians,
mostly Tamils and six security personnel.
Police in Batticaloa said that the time bomb had been brought to the site concealed in
an ice box.
They said the explosion which occured at about 5.30 pm on Wednesday had injured 69
people including 41 civilians, 18 soldiers and 10 policemen. The injured were admitted to
the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital.
The Vesak pandal and lantern exhibition near the police station in Batticaloa is an
annual event organised by the Army and Police.
The government yesterday condemned the explosion at Batticaloa, where Sinhalese, Tamils
and Muslims live, as an attempt to trigger an ethnic backlash.
A statement issued by the Special Media Information Centre of the government said that
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had placed on alert the civil defence
committees already set up in different parts of the country to protect the Tamil people.
The Media Information Centre said news about the explosion was disallowed by the censor
until measures were taken to protect civilians and prevent communal violence.
A story about the explosion sent to the Censor by "The Island" on Wednesday
was not returned on that day.
Following is the text of the statement issued by the Media Information Centre:
On May 15, 2000, around 5.50 p.m. a powerful bomb was exploded by the LTTE near a Vesak
Pandal close to the Mangalaramaya Buddhist Temple in Batticaloa town. Sixteen (16)
civilians mostly Tamils, and six (06) security forces personnel were killed in the blast.
The day marked the first time Vesak Poya Day was declared an international holiday by
the United Nations. The blast set off near a Buddhist Temple confirms the ruthlessness of
the fascist LTTE.
The blast in the eastern town of Batticaloa where the main Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim
communities have been living harmoniously, seems an attempt by the LTTE to trigger an
ethnic backlash and bolster their propaganda machine.
The LTTEs attacks on innocent civilians and Buddhist Temples began several years
ago. The attack on the Temple of the Sacred Bo Tree at Anuradhapura in 1985, the killing
of Buddhist Priests at Arantalawa and the assassination of the Chief Priest of the
Dimbulagala Temple are a few examples of LTTE brutality.
As the Vatican for the Christians and Mecca for the Muslims, Buddhists hold sacred, the
Temple of the Tooth Relic at Kandy. LTTE bombed this hallowed temple in 1998.
The aim of the LTTE seems to be to stall the war effort in the North by causing ethnic
disharmony through the bomb blast on this day held sacred to Buddhists all over the world.
There is no doubt that Buddhists who were engaged in various religious activities to
mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Lord Buddha, would have been deeply
shocked by this brutal attack. It is for this reason that the government decided to
withhold this news until necessary steps were taken to safeguard innocent civilians and
prevent an ethnic backlash.
The President has ordered that the Civil Defence Committees established to protect the
ordinary Tamil population be kept at full alert.
The Government appreciates the responsibility shown by most sections of the media.
However, some sections of the media have published this news without permission from the
Competent Authority with a view to creating ethnic disharmony. The actions of these media
institutions are now under investigation by the government.
The Government seeks the cooperation of the entire population including the Sinhala,
Tamil and Muslim communities in its military effort to root out terrorism without being
misled by the brutal tactics of the terrorists. The Government also calls upon all
citizens to protect from any Sinhala extremists, the majority Tamil population of the
country who do not subscribe to the brutal acts of the LTTE terrorists.
arrest Tiger cadres at Kotahena, unearth explosives in Vavuniya
By Saman Indrajith
This operation was mounted on information obtained from an LTTE cadre arrested by the
Bambalapitiya police last weekend following a tip off from an employee of the Department
of Immigration and Emigration at Bambalapitiya, he said.
The Tamil Tiger had attempted to commit suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule hidden
in his shirt collar when he was taken into custody. However the policemen saved his life
giving proper first aid and medical treatment to the terrorist.
The LTTE cadre receiving medical treatment under police detention had revealed the
names and addresses of some hard-core LTTE cadres including Black Tigers.
Following the information police raided two of their hideouts at Kotahena and captured ten
Tiger cadres. Policemen found six cyanide capsules hidden inside pens.
On facts gained from Black Tigers named Arulnadan, and Sadeep Kumar, police
intelligence officials were able to unearth an explosive nook at Uppukulan Koviladi area
in Vavuniya on Tuesday. This explosive hoard buried about three years ago comprised three
boxes containing nine bombs, detonators, 90 kg of High Explosives, TNT and RDX, he said.
Police Terrorist Investigation Division is conducting further investigations.
DWLC employees assaulted
By Chittaranjan de Silva
Two employees of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) were admitted to
Puttalam hospital last Saturday (13) after they were severely beaten at Kaluwaragaswewa by
a group led by a politician of the area, Director DWLC, A. P. R. Gunesekera said
He said that the two men, a park ranger and a driver, who had been attacked with the
butt of a pistol, were seriously hurt. A complaint had been lodged with the Puttalam
According to the attackers, the DWLC men had slandered the MP of the area, he said.
Mr. Gunesekera while denying the reason for the attack, charged that the attackers were
drunk at the time of the assault.
This was the third occasion, he said, where employees of the wildlife department had
been assaulted by politicians while they were on official duty in the last few weeks.
Earlier two employees were attacked and injured by a politician and his men with the
butt of a T56 rifle in the Udawalawe National Park.
In another incident at Lunugamwehera, employees from the wildlife department had come
under attack by politicians, he said.
The settlement at Kaluwaragaswewa, according to a Wildlife and Nature Protection
Society source, lies in elephant territory.
The source said that the settlement has blocked an important elephant corridor linking
Raswehera and Wilpattu National Park.
The human-elephant conflict in the area has worsened due to the blocking of the
corridor. A few people have died due to attacks by wild elephants.
The society appealed to the authorities to take action to resolve the human-elephant
conflict in the area.
Troops repulse attacks
The special Media Centre of the Information Department in a situation report on Jaffna,
said yesterday that troops continued to repulse terrorist attempts to push back the
Security Forces defences at Colombuthurai. Several attempts by the terrorists to advance
eastwards from Ariyalai area too were contained by the Security Forces by readjusting the
defended localities. Seven Security Forces personnel have been wounded due to
confrontations during the last twenty four hours, it added.
Sri Lankan General visits
By Our Special Correspondent
CHENNAI, May 17 - (CENSORED)
Purnima in Bangalore under the aegis of Sai Baba
The annual Buddha Purnima festival in connection with Vesak will be held on May 25
under the aegis of Sathya Sri Sai Baba at White Field in Banglore with the participation
of a large number of Buddhists from all over the world.
Many Sri Lankan Buddhists have already left for India to take part in this event where
they will be given pride of place in regard to performing Pada Namaskara (worshipping Sri
Commemoration for lives
lost to AIDS
Colombo will be among 400 cities and towns that will hold an AIDS Candlelight Memorial
on Sunday May 21.
The annual event, coordinated worldwide by the Global Health Council, commemorates the
lives lost to AIDS, demonstrates support for people living with HIV/AIDS, and mobilizes
community-based response to HIV/AIDS.
Alliance Lanka is organising the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial event together
with its Partner NGOs in Sri Lanka. The local event is scheduled to take place at the
Vihara Maha Devi Park, Colombo on Sunday, the 21st of May from 3.30 to 6.00 p.m.
The theme of this years International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is "Break
the Silence: Honour Every Death, Value Every Life." According to Swarna Kodagoda,
Executive Director of Alliance Lanka, coordinator of this event, "The International
AIDS Candlelight Memorial is an opportunity for each of us to dedicate ourselves - for the
first time or once again - to the fight against AIDS. We will join together in our
commitment to continue our fight against AIDS until the pandemic is over for all people
Around the world, local coordinating Organisations, which are often community-based
AIDS Organisations, religious groups, or coalitions of people living with AIDS, have
already begun planning Candlelight events in their areas.
Alliance Lanka and its Partner NGO network will be lighting candles, distributing
leaflets on HIV/AIDS, reading the International Declaration and reciting / singing poems /
songs especially composed for the occasion at the Vihara Maha Devi Park on the 21st of
Alliance Lanka is a local non-Governmental Organisation with a mission to build
capacity of other NGOs and Community based Organisations in implementing HIV/AIDS
prevention and Care & Support programmes aimed at reducing the spread of the pandemic.
Since its inception, Alliance Lanka to-date, has supported 173 projects of 98 local NGOs
in 16 districts covering 8 Provinces of Sri Lanka.
protest against privatisation of nature reserves
by Chittaranjan de Silva
Wildlife and nature conservationists yesterday protested against an eco-tourism
project to be undertaken by the government with funding of the World Bank and the Asian
Director, WildLife Department, A. P. R. Gunasekera said that a Memorandum of
Understanding on the eco-tourism project was signed two weeks ago between the government
and the World Bank.
He said that it would be beneficial to the country.
The Minister of Tourism had emphasised earlier that wildlife and nature parks are
considered to be Sri Lankas major tourist attractions.
But conservationists, while understanding the need to develop tourism, said that the
countrys wildlife would be further endangered if the project is implemented.
The WildLife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) and the Environmental Foundation
Limited (EFL), said they are against the projects proposals to privatise the
countrys nature reserves.
According to them, under this project the government is to promote eco-tourism by
allowing the private sector to set up hotels close to the borders of national parks.
They added that the nature reserves at Giritale and Minneriya are among the first to
come under private sector management under the agreement. Yala, Udawalawe, Wasgamuwa and
other parks would also be privatised later, they said.
The private management would be allowed logging and the controlling of the animal herds
when managing these parks, they said.
General Secretary of the W&127;&127;NPS, Charitha Gooneratne, said that setting up of
hotels close to the borders of national parks would greatly endanger the wildlife and also
pollute the environment.
He said that according to the project, all the existing circuit bungalows inside the
parks are to be removed.
Gooneratne warned that the move would endanger wildlife since monitoring activities
such as poaching inside the park would be difficult without these bungalows.
He warned that water for the hotels would have to be obtained through deep wells and
that would have adverse effects on the water table in the area. Eventually the fauna and
flora would be affected.
He further said that garbage from the hotels, especially the plastics and even rotting
food stuff, would attract animals and pollute the environment.
He explained that when the borders of the national parks become populated as a result
of the development, poaching and the illicit trade of animal related artefacts would also
Executive Director, Environmental Foundation Ltd, Hemantha Withanage said that the
private sector management of the wildlife parks, which would be centred more on
profitability, would be disastrous.
He said that there was no guarantee that private parties would ensure that the wildlife
and the environment would be protected.
He said that community service organisations should be allowed to play a bigger role in
the buffer zones of the wild life parks.
The funds collected at the gates should be entirely used for the development of the
parks. The community close to the borders of the parks should also benefit, both the WNPS
and the EFL officials stressed.
They said the fees collected at the park gates go to the treasury and are not used to
develop the park, or assist the community surrounding it.
Understanding Labour Law
The Institute of Industrial Law will hold a seminar on "Understanding Labour
Law" at the Ball Room of Hotel Taj Samudra on May 31.
The Institute of Industrial Law was formed a few years ago, by a body of lawyers,
professional labour consultants, administrators and human resource managers all skilled in
the practice of labour law.
President of the Institute Nihal K. M. Perera said that one of the objectives of the
Institute laid down in its constitution is to do research studies and to promote
intellectual discourse and dialogue among the public, with a view to the better
understanding and promoting of industrial peace.
He said that the growth of labour law is in a state of infancy when compared to other
legally related disciplines. In the result there are several misconceptions relating to
principles of labour law.
"We have already organized a series of seminars targeted at lawyers,
administrators, human resources managers, company and state sector executives and
professional labour consultants with a view to eliminating some of the prevalent
misconceptions surrounding the practice of labour law."
The seminar on Understanding Labour Law would address such aspects of
labour law as the law relating to the termination of employment, employment of women,
young persons and children. It will also deal with labour problems at random, such as
matters relating to EPF, ETF, maternity benefits, payment of gratuity, shop & office
legislation, industrial disputes, workmen compensation and holding of domestic inquiries.
Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who will be the Chief Guest will deliver the keynote
address at the seminar. The speakers include Nihal K. M. Perera, Dr. Joe Silva, V.
Vimalarajah and R. K. S. Sureshchandra.
demand commission from farmers?
From our Gokarella Corr.
"There is an allegation to the effect that the C.W.E. officials who purchase
paddy in the Galewela area demand a commission of Rs. 20/- for each sack of paddy from
farmers. This is a very sad state of affairs. This matter should be looked into without
any further delay", said the member of the Galewela Pradeshiya Sabha D. S. K.
Marasinghe at its monthly meeting held recently.
M. P. R. Jayathilleke, Chairman of the Sabha, presided. R. M. Wijethunge Banda, leader
of the opposition said that nearly 90% of the people in the area were farmers and
requested the chairman to inform the authorities concerned to make arrangements to
purchase their produce at a reasonable rate.
Chairman said that he would take immediate action in this connection.
Member D. G. Sarath Jayasinghe (PA) said that school children in the area were faced
with great difficulties in receiving their education as the year 7 maths book had not been
received so far and requested the Chairman to bring this matter to the notice of the
Minister of Education.
Member R. R. G. Alahakoon (UNP) said the year 10 Sinhala Text book too has not been
received by schools as yet. Member T. G. Karunarathna, (PA) said that there were huge
trees on either side of Galewela-Trincomalee Road that might fall and cause destruction
and requested the chairman to bring it to the notice of Road Development Authority to
Sri Lanka crisis
No difference between Centre, State Govt. Karunanidhi
CHENNAI - There is no contradiction in the stands taken by the Centre
and the State Government on the present crisis in Sri Lanka, the Chief Minister, Mr. M.
Karunanidhi, said here today.
He came out with this clarification responding to a question at a press meet whether
there was any incongruity in the context of his saying that he would be happy if the LTTE
secured Eelam through armed struggle or negotiations and the Centre making it clear that
it was not for Tamil Eelam.
Behind his expression was his anxiety that the present offensive in the Island nation
should end and lead to a solution through negotiations. According recognition to Eelam or
not was a different matter. Despite all the developments that had taken place, if the
present war ended and a political solution was arrived at he would be all the more happy,
the Chief Minister said.
Mr. Karunanidi said his sentiment should not be taken to mean that he would raise his
voice on behalf of Tamil Nadu for the creation of Tamil Eelam. What he meant was, whether
it was a question of Eelam or Tamils securing all rights, there should be a conducive
atmosphere where Tamils could live in peace. However, he made it clear that for achieving
this objective he would neither accept nor welcome the presence of LTTE in Tamil Nadu nor
allow the Tigers to use Tamil Nadu as a base for their activities. Even recently, he said,
the police had prevented certain activities of LTTE supporters in the State and that only
demonstrated the Governments firmness in this regard, the Chief Minister said.
His attention was drawn to the Centres contention that the ban on LTTE had been
extended because the Tamil Eelam demand might whip up secessionist tendencies in Tamil
Nadu also. In response, Mr. Karunanidhi said in Tamil Nadu the secessionist demand had
gained strong momentum under the leadership of Periyar and Anna. "It is now long time
since we have totally abandoned such a demand".
Since the start of the recent conflict in Sri Lanka, 114 Tamil refugees had arrived in
the State and the Police and the Coast Guard were keeping vigil, he said answering a
question on the steps taken by the Government to prevent the entry of militants in the
guise of refugees.
Asked about the next stage of negotiations with Kerala on Mullai Periyar dam issue, Mr.
Karunanidhi said, he had planned to stay in Delhi from May 19 to 22 to attend the meetings
of Planning Commission, Cauvery River Authority and Inter- State Council. The Centre had
also arranged talks also on the Mullai Perivar issue. On the penalty of Rs. 28 crore
imposed on Mr. T. T. V. Dinakaran, AIADMK MP and nephew of Ms. Jayalalithas friend
Ms. Sasikala, for contravention of various provisions of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,
the Chief Minister said, action against Mr. Dinakatan was initiated during the regime of
former Prime Minister, Mr. P. V. Narasimha Rao. The penalty was in respect of the cases
registered against him.
On the achievements of his regime in the last four years, Mr. Karunanidhi said there
was satisfaction to a great extent and he was anxious to do more for the people. He was
particularly happy about the popularity of the schemes he had launched during the period
such as Samathuvapuram, farmers market, comprehensive free health check up for all,
Anna Marumalarchi and self-help programme. (The Hindu)
Ambassador meets Sri Lankan Future World Leaders
The French Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Elisebeth Dahan met the Sri Lankan
delegation to the Future World Leaders Summit 2000 at her residence in Colombo last week.
The ambassador explained to the delegation the workings of international aid and global
A spokesman for the organisers said the Future World Leaders Summit would bring
together over 200 student leaders in the age group 16-19 from around the world to
Washington DC to explore international relations and to develop diplomatic skills. The
Summit will also provide students with unprecedented access to Washingtons halls of
power and people shaping international relations. "The Future World Leaders Summit
organised by Presidential Classroom Inc, a non-governmental civic education institute in
the USA calls for outstanding student leaders to become active citizens. The delegates
will discuss a range of topics from diplomacy, global trade, international aid, world
environment, arms control, human rights, peacekeeping, terrorism, nationalism and
The spokesman said that the participants will receive the opportunity to improve their
skills in persuasion, compromise and consensus building which skills the professional
diplomats use. All Future World Leaders Summit participants gain an enhanced university
resume and credit for entrance to many American universities, he added.
Details of the 2001 March Summit are now available from South Asia Representative of
Presidential Classroom on email; email@example.com or telephone on 077-609739. More
information on website, http://futureleader.go.to."