6:10 PM

Prabakaran paying his last respect to the demised Balraj

LTTE Peace secretariat released photographs showing reclusive leader of the outfit Velupillai Prabakaran paying his last respect to the demised Balraj at an undisclosed hideout in Vanni.
Details of where and when Prabakaran, the leader of the terrorists outfit paid his last respect to self styled Brigadier Balaraj who died of a heart attack on last 20 May in Vanni, were not disclosed.
Pro-LTTE news websites revealed that Balraj (Balasegaram Kandiah, born on 27 November, 1965), hails from Kokkuththoduvai in Mullaiththeevu district, has commanded the Charles Antony Brigade between 1991-1993 and between 1995-1997. He was an expert on different forms of warfare, including psychological operations, and deployed different tactics during the planning and the conduct of the operations.
According another pro LTTE website, along with LTTE leader Prabakaran - Several commanders of the outfit: Masal - Commander , Keerthi - Special Commander of Batticaloa, Vasanthan – Special Commander for Trincomalee, Sasikumar – Special Commander of the Inteligence Unit, Thinesh – Senior Military Trainer, Pukalenthi – Senior leader of the outfit, Kapilan – Officer in Charge of domestic intelligence, P.Nadesan – Head of the Political Division, Manivannan - Commander Kittu Artillery Brigade, Goapal - Commander Kuttisri Mortar Brigade, Gopith – Commander Charles Antony Special Brigade, Colonel Aathavan – Officer in Charge of army training school, Pavanithi – Commander Kuttisri Mortar Women Brigade, Rathinam – Commandar Military Intelligence, Maran –in charge of the medical unit, Commander Jerry, Commander Vikkies and Commander Lawrence and several other officials of the armed groups participated in the ceremony.

5:07 PM

Two TMVP cadres shot dead

Two TMVP cadres including an area commander were shot dead around 11.15 am this morning at the Kathankudi bus stand. One of them was identified as Shanthan, a top official of the outfit and the other is identified as Tharsan.
According to a police report the two paramilitary cadres were shot and killed while they were riding in a motorcycle.
Yesterday night, there was a clash reported between the TMVP cadres and the EPDP cadres. In the clash 4 EPDP cadres were reported to have sustained injuries. This attack has taken place inside the compound of the Kathankudi Pentecost Church compound.
It is reported that armed cadres claiming themselves as belonging to TMVP are roaming in the Kathankudi, a predominantly Muslim populated area.

3:06 PM

Hisbullah takes oaths as Health minister in EPC

Colombo, 22 May, (Asiantribune.com): M.L.A.M. Hisbullah took oaths this morning at the Temple Trees as the Eastern Provincial Council Minister of Health, Youth and Women's Affairs before President Mahinda Rajapakse.
However, Mr.Hisbullah said yesterday he agreed to abandon their protest if the government adds education to the ministerial portfolio offered to Hisbulla in addition to Health and Muslim Affairs.
The majority of the people in the Eastern Province, he said, were Tamil speaking and the subject of education should be assigned to a minister who was conversant with their problems and needs.

8:55 AM

Two more LTTE cadres arrested in Paris

French police detained two leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on May 13. These two had evaded arrest last year when the police closed in on them during the major round up of top Tamil Tigers operating in Paris. The French Police arrested two leading LTTE activist Subramanium Muhundan and Yogarasa Sivarasan in Paris after painstaking investigating lasting several months.

Muhundan and Sivarasan were heavily involved in fund raising and money laundering for the LTTE since the arrest of 19 LTTE cadres including top most leaders of all the divisions of the terrorist organization April 01, 2007. After preliminary investigations, 5 of them were released but the top 14 leaders were remanded without bail. The detained include LTTE’s French leader Nadaraja Mathinatharan alias Parithi and the Political Leader Aravindan Thuraiswamy alias Metha.

At that time, several LTTE cadres including Muhundan and Sivarasan who crossed over to neighboring countries though the open border points.

After the arrest of the top leaders, the LTTE appointed Stalin Sarvarimuthu alias Ranjan to the top post. Ravi Manikkam alias Utha Ravi was appointed as ‘enforcer’ to intimidate the Tamil community. But within months, the Sous Directorate Anti Terrorism (SDAT) arrested them together with three others taking the total LTTE detainees to 19.

Although the lawyers submitted several appeals for release, the Magistrates of Paris refused bail for 19 LTTE leaders.

The French police produced the detainees before the judge and their bail applications were rejected and their custody period was extended by another four months. The Court was informed that the suspects would be tried in April 2008 for several criminal activities including extortion, intimidation, forceful fund collection, money laundering and fraudulent finance dealings.

The sources in Paris said that another detainee, Thuraisamy Jayamurthy alias Sinna Jeya was in-charge of finance and money laundering.

Ranjan and four others were apprehended after questioning the first group pf 14 who were arrested in April. Though Ranjan was keeping a low profile, French police were monitoring the activities of the LTTE’s second rung, after nabbing the top leaders.

French police officers informed the courts that they had uncovered large number of documents from several LTTE offices and other front organizations and it would take several months to examine all the evidence. It is also known that if the suspects were released on bail it would hamper investigations and it would be difficult to get witnesses as the LTTE is well known for intimidation of hostile witnesses.

8:42 AM

UNHRC: Lanka gains 101 votes

UN: Sri Lanka yesterday obtained an absolute majority at the vote for the UN Human Rights Council, gaining 101 out of 192 votes on offer.

Out of the six countries which vied for four slots on offer for Asia, Japan, South Korea, Bahrain and Pakistan secured seats leaving behind Sri Lanka and East Timor. Candidates for the council are chosen by regional groups, and the 192-member General Assembly votes by region by secret ballot.

Analysts said yesterday that 101 countries expressing confidence in Sri Lanka, enabling it to obtaining an absolute majority was in itself was a victory despite an anti-Sri Lanka campaign by some individuals and organisations.

Any such criticism regarding Sri Lanka's human rights record should only be levelled after a careful study of the whole picture, in addition to giving due consideration to the views of all parties, said Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe on the eve of the vote yesterday.

The Minister said that comments by former US President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and some other groups to this effect were ill timed, and that they had never given the Government a chance to answer the allegations beforehand.

He also alleged that some local groups and individuals with vested interests too were behind this campaign to prevent Sri Lanka's continued presence at the Council. The report of the working group on the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka was unanimously adopted on Monday at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Minister said that Sri Lanka's National report, which was presented at the UPR had come in for high praise at the working group, as a comprehensive and detailed document that was forthright and candid about the situation facing Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the report the Minister said that it presented a descriptive and accurate picture of the prevailing human rights situation and identified national priorities and capacity building needs.

He also said that the report highlighted strengths and identified challenges Sri Lanka faces as a nation in its efforts to promote and protect human rights. As a founder member of the Council formed in 2006, Sri Lanka has played a constructive role to develop mechanisms such as the UPR and also to engage in institution building of the Council he said.

He also noted that as a former coordinator of the 13 member Asian regional grouping within the Council and as the holder of the Vice-presidency since 2007, Sri Lanka has helped to build consensus and has cooperated with fellow member states to uplift human rights promotion and protection in the globe.

For two seats in the group of Western states, France received 123 votes and Britain 120 votes - just one vote more than Spain which got 119 votes. The other contested race was for two seats in the Eastern European group. Slovakia and Ukraine defeated Serbia and the Czech Republic.

Courtesy: Daily News