9:33 AM

LTTE retreating in Lanka: The Time of India

On Friday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met an array of Sri Lankan political forces in Colombo, ahead of the SAARC summit. Those he met included Tamil groups opposed to and sympathetic to the LTTE. To everyone he had one message: India would like democratic forces to prevail in Sri Lanka's northeast.

Meanwhile, the refugee flow into India is manageable. New Delhi is also relentlessly pursuing the LTTE in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere so that it does not source war materials from India. This is music to Colombo's ears.

Less than three years after it took on Colombo with aggressive war mongering, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is desperate for fighters, say Tamil activists and diplomatic sources.

According to Tamil sources in the island's troubled northeast, the LTTE is appealing to Tamil families to contribute at least one member each, irrespective of age and gender, to take on the advancing military.

The LTTE now controls about 4,000 sq km - or just six percent of Sri Lanka's land territory. And the population under its control is said to be about 250,000 - a mere 1.25 percent of the country's total.

This is a far cry from 2005 when it controlled a vast area in Sri Lanka's north and east. However, soon after President Mahinda Rajapaksa took power in November that year, the LTTE took the offensive, stoking a war that rages to this day.

Military officials say that the LTTE's ability to counter-attack in a major way has been seriously eroded over the past year. The loss of the east has meant that the LTTE has lost valuable training ground and a region where it recruited cadres to wage war.

While Sri Lankan leaders admit that it will be impossible to crush the LTTE as long as a sense of Tamil nationalism exists, the LTTE appears to be on the retreat in the north. But those who have known the LTTE warn that it will not give up, come what may.

Most diplomats feel that neither Colombo nor the LTTE desire talks. Colombo certainly thinks it is winning the war. And although the pro-LTTE media makes noises about the need for a dialogue, there is no guarantee the LTTE wants that.

In any case, calls for peace talks are dismissed in Colombo as a disguised pro-LTTE stand. The state refuses to listen to hectoring on human rights. Western activists are told that they cannot cross a line. If they do, reaction is swift.

In Sri Lanka, the two most key anti-LTTE Tamil leaders, former Tiger commander Karuna and his deputy and Eastern Province Chief Minister Pillayan, appear to have made up. Residents in the east say that Karuna will be in charge of party affairs while Pillayan will handle only affairs related to the provincial government.

Karuna's men are reportedly looking for 300 ex-LTTE cadres they believe are hiding in Colombo. It is trying to hunt them down in the Tamil areas of the capital with the help of the security forces.

At the same time, Sri Lanka seems to be in no hurry to unveil a political package that would be acceptable even to Tamil moderates.

Source: The Time of India.

9:29 AM

Nallur Kandasamy annual festival commences today

The annual festival of Nallur Kanthasamy Kovil (Temple) in Jaffna commences today with Kodi Etram - the ceremony of flag hoisting to mark the beginning of the temple festival. The festival will commence at 10 AM, in the morning. According to tradition, Nallur Kanthasamy Temple is said to be one of the few temples in the peninsula that practices rites and observances according to Saiva agama traditions, and reflected with regularity, splendor and pageantry.Nallur Kanthasamy Kovil is one of the most important temples in the Jaffna peninsula.

The annual festival used to commence on the sixth day of the Adi Amavaci – New moon in the month of Aadi (July) and would last for 25 days.Nallur Kanthasamy Kovil is one of the most important temples in the Jaffna peninsula. The annual festival used to commence on the sixth day of the Adi Amavaci – New moon in the month of Aadi (July) and would last for 25 days.

The temple festival will be held for the next 25 days. Unlike earlier annual festivals, according to the temple authorities, this year too the festival is to be held with subdued version of the pageant and pageantry.

The day pooja (adoration of deities with rituals) is to be held with the temple deity taken into procession within the inner court of the temple.

The evening pooja during the festival days will be held with the deity taken in procession at 4.45 pm. Temple authorities revealed that the day’s pooja will be over by 5.30 pm in the evening .

Today, the temple flag will be brought in procession from the ‘Theradi Murugan matt’ located at the Sattanathar Street, to be used for the hoisting.

The annual festival is expected to draw tens of thousands of pilgrims from all corners of the country and also this year, a few dozens of Tamil expatriates from Western countries are expected to arrive for the festival.

7:47 AM

Light Tremor Felt In Tangalle

Light earth tremor felt in Tangalle, Beliatte, Ranna & Kudawella around 5.45am. No damages to property or any threat from it-Met Dept

6:27 AM

over 20 terrorists killed - Vavuniya

Sri Lankan Army thrashed an LTTE offensive attempt in general area west of Kalvilan in Vavuniya front killing over 20 LTTE terrorists and injuries many others this afternoon, 5 August, the latest information received from the Vavuniya battlefront said.

According to the available sources, hours long fighting ensued between LTTE terrorists and security forces lasted till 8.00 PM and troops have retaliated with Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRL) and artillery.