11:14 PM

Tamil political and HR activist assassinated by LTTE gunmen

LTTE gunmen shot dead Ms. Maheshwari Velayudan, public relations coordinator and adviser of Minister Douglas Devanada in general area Karaweddi, Nelliaddy this evening (May 13) at around 7.50.

According to available information Ms. Maheshwari, 53, was visiting her mother when she was assassinated, by gunmen who were clearly identified as LTTE attempting to guise as military, sources close to Ms. Velayudan said.

Ms. Maheshwari has directly arrived from Colombo to see her mother who was said to be a cancer patient. Three gunmen had stormed into the house, directed several pistol gunshots at Ms. Maheswari claiming her life and fled immediate amidst the tensed atmosphere, informed sources said. Several other close relatives of Ms . Maheshwari were also said present during the tragic incident. "Three individuals in military similar attire but in slippers rushed into the house, asked for our identity cards and deliberately spoke in influent Tamil. We realised that some thing was fishy and in seconds Maheshwari was lying in the floor with head shot injuries. It was terrible and hardly we could react as we were traumatized by the incident" a close relative of Ms. Mahewari was quoted as saying.

Ms. Maheshwari was a renowned Human Rights activist and loved among many as a representative and a figurehead of the Jaffna Tamil community; a member of the EPDP central committee and a lawyer by profession. She was also a competitive and a competent spokesperson of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP), a mainstream Tamil political organisation who are constantly opposing the ruthless dictatorship of the LTTE for suppressing the legitimate rights of the majority Tamils over decades.

The LTTE has assassinated over a dozen EPDP members and other main stream Tamil politicians and academics during its spree of three decade long violence.

Minister Douglas Devananda and other EPDP members have been on the LTTE’s hit-list. On 28th November 2007, Minister Devananda escaped an assassination attempt by an LTTE suicide bomber; it was the 11th attempt on his life.

7:28 AM

Pillaiyan thanks Tamils for helping him to defeat for the first time Vanni Tigers democratically

Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan popularly known as Pillaiyan told Asian Tribune that he wanted to convey his thanks to the Tamils who are in fact 48 percent of the total population in the East, for helping him and his party to defeat the Vanni Tigers for the first time democratically. He added, I bow my head to the people in the East for helping us to grow democratically to this height. Pillaiyan said that by taking over the Provincial Council, we will be able to fulfill the political aspirations of the people of the East.

When News-Lanka asked about his chances of becoming the Chief Minister, he said that the majority of the people in this province are Tamils and everybody knows that a Tamil has to be the Chief Minister of this Province. There are no two words about this.

Secondly in this election UPFA polled 308, 886 votes which includes the votes of Tamils, Muslims, Sinhalese other communities in the Province. Out of this total votes, TMVP candidates received more than 160,000 votes. Therefore, the UPFA has to consider a TMVP candidate for the position as the Chief Minister.

He added that he is personally not demanding that the Chief Ministership should be given to him as the leader of the TMVP. He said in case I fail to obtain the Chief Ministership that is due to a Tamil from the Tamil community and then it would be considered a historical blunder and would be recorded in the history of this province.

Pillaiyan said that we the TMVP came forward to join the Government to bring about sense of togetherness in the country. We joined the UPFA to show the world that we are with the Sri Lanka Government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa and wanted to defeat terrorism and bring about a national unity in this country.

“In this noble effort of ours, more than 300 of our cadres martyred. We joined hands with President to show to the international community that Tamils oppose Prabakaran and the Vanni Tigers and the terrorism unleashed by them. We have now shown that Prabakaran and Vanni Tigers are not the sole representatives of the Tamils. We shattered this myth of Prabakaran and his so called Tamil nationalism,” TMVP Leader said.

TMVP Leader further said-

“We led our Tamil community in the East and became equal partners of the Government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa.
‘We could have easily contested the East Provincial Council election under our own party banner, but for the sake of the unity of Sri Lanka we decided to coalesce with the UPFA and contested the election.
“Furthermore, as far as the Muslims in the East are concerned they are my brothers and we wanted to embrace them and wishes to live with peace and harmony with them. We wanted to solve their problems, mainly their land issue.
“When you look at the Muslims, one can notice that almost all the Muslim parliamentarian from this region is holding ministerial positions. That alone is enough for the Muslims in this province to get the maximum support and help.
“But look at the plight of the Tamils in this region. There is not a single Tamil minister to look after the affairs of the people in the region.
“In the earlier days we have to take to arms to force the successive governments to yield to the aspirations of the Tamils. Later by 2004, we thought that separation and arms struggle are not the right choices to meet the political aspirations of our people and we decided to join the mainstream politics of the country and joined democratic mainstream.
“We contested to serve our people by democratic means. Rest is history and the country knows it well.”
Pillaiyan added, “Chief Ministership is something that belongs to us. There are no two words about it. “
He said in case if our rights are not meted out, then we may have to resort to democratic action which might have severe repercussions.

7:27 AM

President to address Oxford Union

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is due to address the Oxford Union today(13), on the invitation of the Oxford Union and the Sri Lanka Society of Oxford University.

The topic of his address will be 'Strategy towards empowering the rural economy in Sri Lanka'.
President Rajapaksa will be the first Sri Lankan Head of State and Sri Lankan statesman who has not previously held office in the Oxford Union to address it as a guest speaker. The last distinguished Sri Lankan to address the Union was former Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar.

3:25 AM

Tamil Democratic Alliance backs Pillaiyan for CM

The chances of TMVP chief Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan became stronger with the unqualified support extended to him by the lone council member belonging to the Tamil National Democratic Alliance (TNDA) in addition to the six Tamil members elected on UPFA ticket.
Rasaiyah Thurairatnam, National Organiser of the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (Vartharaja Group) who won a seat in the East Provincial Council on the TNDA list insisted that the Chief Minister for the East has to be a Tamil and no one else. In an exclusive interview with News-Lanka, he declared that he would support a Tamil becoming the Chief Minister of the East Provincial Council.

Rasaiyah Thurairatnam, the national organiser of the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (Vartharaja Group) is one of the few alternative voices in the Tamil community. In 2000, he, with Varatharaja Perumal led a group of party activists to set up EPRLF (Varatharaja Group) when a group led by Suresh Premachandran decided to join the LTTE proxy Tamil National Alliance.

Thurairatnam said that the 13th Amendment brought under the Indo-Lanka Peace accord offered solutions to many a grievance of the Tamil people. “We, having agreed with the Provincial Council system, entered the main- stream of politics to find a peaceful solution to the issues confronting the Tamils of Sri Lanka in particular and the country in general. Therefore the recent Provincial Council election was an attempt to find a solution to the Tamil separatist issues and nothing else,” he said. “Hence the three political parties namely EPRLF, TULF, and PLOTE decided to participate in the Provincial Council Election”.

He pointed out that 74% of the population in the Batticaloa district s is Tamil and of the balance 24 % are Muslims. “The most ridiculous things in this election are that because of Tamil political parties joining hands with the chauvinist political parties and working openly with the intention to subterfuge. However 6 Tamil members to represent the Tamils (break down – 3 Tamil members from UPFA, 2 Tamil members from UNP and 1 from EPRLF) were elected. The Muslims who represents only 24% of the population got 5 seats (3 Muslims from UPFA and 3 from UNP). This is planned strategy to destroy our Tamil region in the East,” he said.
“What those who have joined hands with the Chauvinists have done was that they have seen to end of Tamils’ representation according to the proportion of Tamil population in the area. However, beyond all these things the Provincial Council is meant to bring about the devolution of powers to the Tamils,” Thurairatnam said.