War erupts in Wayamba again
DIG ordered to take action; OIC transferred
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga on Friday visited the Office
of the Deputy Inspector General of Police (North Western Range), Seneviratne
Banda, to order action into an incident where the son of a People's Alliance
candidate was reportedly killed by the Police.
The Sunday Times learns she took this course of action after representations
were made to her by Kurunegala PA candidate and former Deputy Minister
Salinda Dissanayake, whilst she was in Kurunegala. He also accompanied
President Kumaratunga to the DIG's office.
The Presidential order for immediate Police action, The Sunday Times
learns, related to an incident in the Rambodagala Police area in Dodangaslanda,
where 24-year-old Sisira Asantha Kumara, son of A. D. Wimaladasa, PA candidate
in the Kurunegala district, was killed allegedly as a result of police
The incident is said to have occurred during a rally in support of United
National Front's Kurunegala district candidate J.C. Alawathuwela, a former
Last night, the officer-in-charge of Rambodagala Police, Inspector Sugath
Weerasuriya, was transferred from his station to Kurunegala Police. With
this move, inquiries into the shooting incident have been taken over by
Criminal Investigation Department detectives. Senior CID officials were
in Rambodagala last night recording statements.
United National Front spokesman G.L. Peiris told a news conference yesterday
that President Kumaratunga's visit to the DIG's office was unprecedented.
He alleged that the President had ordered the arrest of three UNF candidates
— Johnston Fernando, J.C. Alawathuwela and Major General (retd) Sarath
Munasinghe. He said the trio would file fundamental rights applications
in the Supreme Court tomorrow.
In another development in Kurunegala last night, one person was critically
injured when a hand grenade was lobbed at the stage shortly after a meeting
addressed by UNF leader Ranil Wickremesinghe ended.
Police said the incident took place about half an hour after Mr. Wickremesinghe
left the venue.
Actor in last minute drama
By Nilika de Silva
Actor turned politician Cletus Mendis contesting on the PA list from the
Colombo district has withdrawn
as a candidate, resigned from the party and left for Singapore last morning.
Mr. Mendis, chief organiser for Colombo North, in a letter to President
Kumaratunga said he felt obliged to leave the party as even after seven
years in government, the PA had been unable to give the people the principled
and ethically rich political culture he wished to bestow on them.
He said he believed the past seven years and the current election campaign
were corrupt, anti-democratic and filled with lies.
"Madam, I can no longer remain as a candidate under your leadership
in the People's Alliance," he said.
Sarath Dikkumbura who has taken over as PA organiser for the Colombo
North confirmed that Mr. Mendis had withdrawn.
Reports said that after Mr. Mendis sent his resignation on Friday, his
vehicle had been attacked.
Govt. rejects LTTE's deban call
The Government last night rejected LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's
call for de-proscription of his guerrilla group as a prelude to future
peace talks and declared it can be considered only "if and when the peace
process has verifiably advanced to the point of irreversibility."
The Government's response to Mr. Prabhakaran's "Heroes Week" address
last Tuesday was spelt out by Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in a
11-page statement released to the media last night.
Mr. Kadirgamar said when Mr. Prabhakaran invited Norwegian representatives
to meet him on November 1, last year, he did not ask for de-proscription
as a condition for entering into peace talks. In his "Heroes Week" speech
last year, he said twice that the LTTE was willing to enter into negotiations
without preconditions, although the proscription had been in force since
the Dalada Maligawa bombing in January 1998, Mr. Kadirgamar pointed out.
Mr. Kadirgamar noted that the LTTE leader's speech dealt with five themes.
The first is a complaint that the international community has not, in defining
terrorism, distinguished between a national liberation movement and a terrorist
movement. The second is the allegation that the Government of President
Kumaratunga has refused to open the doors for peace negotiations despite
the LTTE's offer to engage in constructive peace talks. The third is the
aspirations of the Tamil people. The fourth is the stand of the LTTE vis-a-vis
the forthcoming General Election. The fifth is the lifting of the proscription
of the LTTE as a necessary prerequisite for the LTTE to participate in
peace talks as the "legitimate, authentic representative of the Tamil people."
Referring to developments after the September 11 incidents in the United
States, Mr. Kadirgamar said there was unequal condemnation of the use of
violence to promote a political cause by provoking a state of terror in
the general public.
Pointing out that motivation was irrelevant, he said, international
thinking had now reached the point, from which there would be no return,
of rejecting conclusively the argument that an act which would otherwise
qualify as a terrorist act was justifiable when committed in pursuance
of a political or other type of cause or motive.
"Judged by these universally accepted criteria can it reasonably be
argued that the LTTE's massacres of unarmed, innocent civilians — men,
women, children and monks; the assassination of a former Indian Prime Minister
(the grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru) and a Sri Lankan President, and numerous
democratically elected leaders, including Tamil leaders and the distinguished
human rights activist, Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam; the bombing of the Sacred
Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Mali–gawa) and then Central Bank; the
attempted assassination and partial binding of the present head of State;
the destruction of civilian aircraft at the international airport - were
not terrorist acts.
"Were these not acts of "indiscriminate violence" calculated to provoke
"terror in the public," "intimidate the public" and "influence the Government"
for a "political purpose" - the purpose being to advance the so called
"liberation struggle" of the LTTE ?
"The bombing of the Central Bank by the LTTE in Colombo was conceptually
and symbolically no different from the destruction of the World Trade Centre
in New York by Al Quaida — in one case a large explosive device was driven
into the building by a suicide driver, in the other a large aeroplane was
converted into an explosive device and flown into the building by suicide
pilots," Mr. Kadirgamar said.
Shoot-on-sight orders to police
By Chris Kamalendran and Faraza Farook
Amidst unprecedented violence and the worst-ever election campaign in Sri
Lanka's history, Police have been given orders to shoot on sight anyone
who tries to disrupt polling or tamper with ballot boxes on election day.
Police Elections Chief Gamini Navaratne told The Sunday Times yesterday
they were being forced to enforce such tough measures especially in trouble-torn
districts such as Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Ampara, which have been hit
by the highest number of elections-related incidents.
In addition to the three districts identified by the Police, independent
election monitors have raised an alarm about rising tension in the Kandy
district which had been the worst hit by violence and malpractices at last
year's general election.
DIG Navaratne said the Police would be assisted by the Army in maintaining
the tightest security around polling booths to ensure the safety of voters
and their unhindered access to booths.
He said tighter security would also be imposed when transferring ballot
boxes with six policemen being assigned instead of two.
Senior Superintendent T.J. Miskin, who is second in command for election
operations, said riot squads and troops were being deployed in potential
One of the main elections monitoring groups, the People's Action Front
for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), is deploying more than 10,000 local
observers in addition to 80 foreign observers, especially in areas where
violence has been rampant.
The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has identified the
coastal belt north of Colombo, Anamaduwa and Chilaw in the Puttalam district;
Kalawewa and Kekirawa in the Anuradhapura district; Tissamaharama and Beliatta
in the Hambantota district, Rambukkana, Mawanella and Aranayake in the
Kegalle district; and many areas in Kandy, as potential trouble spots.
With Puttalam district seeing the worst violence, the Human Rights Commission
also intervened following scores of complaints that voters were being denied
their fundamental rights because of violence, intimidation and threats.
SSP Miskin has assured the commission that tough security measures in
association with the Army would be enforced to restore law and order in