EPDP wants an 'Eelam'
By M. Ismeth and Chris Kamalendran
The EPDP, a constituent partner of the PA coalition led by President Chandrika
Kumaratunga, has called for a "Kingdom of Eelam" and pledged it would campaign
for a fully autonomous administrative unit in the north and east with a
EPDP leader Douglas Devananda, a cabinet minister in the PA government,
told The Sunday Times that his party's position had been made clear in
the manifesto released earlier this week.
"I will never abandon the goal of achieving a kingdom of Eelam," Mr.
Posters sprung up this week in Colombo bearing the photograph of Mr.
Devananda and a section from
the manifesto which said that his party's ultimate ambition would be 'leading
to an Eelam state'. Mr. Devananda confirmed that the posters were put by
The EPDP has declared in its manifesto that it would want the government
to seek the facilitation of India and Norway when talks are held at international
level with the LTTE.
Mr. Devananda said he had included the stand on the 'Kingdom of Eelam"
as he believed that in a similar situation to India where an original demand
was made for a separate state for Tamil Nadu and eventually they were given
an autonomous state.
One of the salient features in the manifesto is that Eelam under the
EPDP should have all powers to negotiate for foreign loans, investments
"Even at present we are importing cement directly from India, to Jaffna
and we are selling it at a nominal price, rather than getting it from Colombo
at a higher price. Therefore I see nothing wrong in calling for this,"
The EPDP's call for talks with the LTTE came as the Tamil National Alliance
made a similar demand that talks should be held with the LTTE with international
third party involvement.
The alliance in its manifesto declared that a solution to the ethnic
conflict should be based on four principles which include the 'recognition
of an identified Tamil homeland and the guarantee of its territorial integrity'.
President Kumaratunga addressing a news conference on Tuesday to launch
the PA manifesto hailed the EPDP for joining the mainstream of politics,
after giving up its armed struggle.
Sudden blackouts likely, says CEB
Though the power cuts have been removed, sudden blackouts cannot be ruled
out, Ceylon Electricity Board engineers have warned.
They said there could be breakdowns in power supplies during peak hours
due to over load.
"Consumers are suddenly using a lot of electricity. In such circumstances,
the trip could go off and several attendant problems could come up. But
thesituation will return to normal soon," an engineer said.
The CEB lifted a four-month-old power cut last week after the country's
catchment areas received adequate rain and a new thermal power unit was
However, the engineers said that the country was still short of 50 to
100 Mgw of power.
Startling disclosures on Katunayake catastrophe
The July 24 Black Tiger attacks on the Sri Lanka Air Force base and the
adjoining Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake were directed
and controlled by cellphones from a command centre in guerrilla-held Wanni.
Using a powerful antenna linked to a cellphone communications tower
in Anura–dhapura, LTTE intelligence boss Pottu Amman, gave regular instructions
to a senior Black Tiger cadre living in Negombo.
This was after his leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, decided to carry
out a fierce retaliatory attack to avenge the Sri Lanka Air Force bombing
of targets in the north in late June to thwart reported guerrilla attempts
to capture the Jaffna town.
Startling details of how the Katunayake attacks were planned and executed
have been bared in a near four month long investigation directed by DIG
(CID), Punya de Silva. This is the largest ever investigation conducted
by the CID and led to significant breakthroughs. In his exclusive report
today, Iqbal Athas, writes about how the attacks at Katunayake, for which
reconnaissance had been carried out since 1998, were executed.
See Situation Report - Katunayake: CID digs
out full shocking story
UNP candidate shot dead in Batticaloa
The unprecedented election violence took a deadly turn yesterday when the
UNP's Batticaloa district candidate Thambirasa Jeyakumar, was shot dead
at point blank range by a suspected LTTE gunman. Police said Mr. Jeyakumar,
55 a former Chief Inspector of Police was travelling in a van for a meeting
at Ondachchmadam area, when the gunman stopped him and shot him four times.
They said the gunman who came on a motorcycle had hit the candidate
in the head, chest and neck.
Meanwhile the LTTE is reportedly demanding Rs. five million to release
a PA national list nominee, an independent candidate in the Kalmunai area
of the Ampara district and four others, who had been abducted earlier this
Trap for ghost voters
By Shelani de Silva
The Elections Department is to send a list of voters who died during the
last year to each polling booth in a bid to prevent impersonation of dead
people at next month's elections.
The list of the dead voters which was prepared by the Divisional Secretary
and Grama Sevakas of each district will be handed over to the Senior Presiding
Officer at the polling booth.
An official of the Elections Department told The Sunday Times that if
any person tried to use a dead person's vote, he would be checked, arrested
and charged. Registrar General Mihindu Ratna–yake told The Sunday Times
the list provided by his department would be effective in catching 'ghost
Bandaranaike lands and economic woes
Responding to a statement made by President Kumaratunga in an interview
with the state-controlled ITN television, L.H. Plantations (Pvt.) Ltd.
has isssued a statement. It says:
"We refer with regard to President Chandrika Kumaratunga's answers at
an ITN TV interview of November 11th on the lamentable state of the economy.
"In this interview, when asked to explain 'why the present economy is
in this state', the President replied that one reason is that 'The main
problem here is that the land (allegedly upto 3500 acres) owned by Bandaranaike's
for 900 years which was given to the people of this country, had subsequently
been transferred to Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe's mother'. The President stated
that Ranil Wickremesinghe, as Chairman of the Economic Sub-Committee in
a former UNP administration, had recommended that privatization of nationalised
state agricultural lands and that he was responsible for an irregularity
when state lands (including vast Bandaranaike lands) were transferred to
a government plantation company Kurunegala Plantations Ltd. whose shareholders
were Ranil Wickremesinghe's mother, brother and two nephews.
"We lament the President's continuing poor grasp of facts, and direct
interested readers to the replies on the same issues given by us on numerous
occasions such as 'LH Plantations Refutes Charges' (Sunday Times 24.1.1999),
'Mangala vs LHP: Facts and Fallacies' (Sunday Times 1.4. 2001) etc.
"Once again, we burden readers with the following statement:
1. In 1992 state agricultural lands were leased to about 21 competent
private management agencies in an initiative of the World Bank and the
Government, and not at Mr. Wickremesinghe's directive. This was done primarily
to relieve the government of the burden of subsidising these lands and
to build a better future for this sector on a profit sharing bases with
the Managing Agents.
2. Kurunegala Plantations Ltd. is a 100% government owned plantation
company - with no private shareholders - and with a government appointed
Board of Directors.
3. It owns about 14,957 acres and not 21,000 acres as claimed by the
President. Neither Mr. Wickremesinghe's mother, her brother, nor any relative
either ever had or have any shares, or own even one inch of any such land
(Bandaranaike or otherwise), whatsoever in Kurunegala Plantations Ltd.
As to the President's claim of 3,500 acres of Bandaranaike lands owned
for 900 years, all we could say is that we believe about 724 acres of such
lands are still owned by the government under the wholly government owned
Kurunegala Plantations Ltd.
"We leave it to the readers to judge whether the alleged transfers of
such lands could help explain the dismal state of the economy."