crew challenge time extension
Flight attendants of the national carrier SriLankan Airlines
have moved the Court of Appeal, challenging a decision to extend
the flight time of the cabin crew.
The Court on Friday issued notices on Civil Aviation Director
General Lal Liyanar-achchi, Asst. Director H.MC. Nimalsiri and
SriLankan Airlines officials cited as respondents in this case.
Justice Gamini Amara-tunga listed the matter to be heard on
April 29.The Flight Attendants' Union has in its petition said
that due to the very nature of their job which was physically
and psychologically demanding, the human stress factor and the
rapid onset of fatigue were always made allowance for in the
employment of a flight attendant.
The union also claims the extension violates the Ceylon Air
Navigation Regulations which bar any licensed operator from
employing a crew member for more than eight hours a day, 100
hours a month or 1000 hours a year. The Union contends that
the approval of the extension of the flight Time together with
the adoption of a 'Four Grid System' is illegal. It has sought
the court to issue a writ of certiorari quashing the decision.
fuel soon at little extra cost
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is said to be bearing the
cost involved in removing lead additives from petrol presently
being marketed, in order to introduce unleaded petrol to the
market. CPC officials said the cost will be high, but were
unable to give the exact amount to be borne by the corporation.
Since the CPC will be absorbing the cost, the price difference
between leaded and unleaded petrol will not be a big amount,
The decision to introduce only unleaded petrol was made following
intense lobbying by environmentalists over the years pointing
to the impact leaded petrol had, especially on children. Environmental
Foundation Executive Director Hemantha Withanage said lead
in the environment killed brain cells of children, reduced
the level of haemoglobin in the body, reduced transmission
of nerve signals and stunted the growth of children. In addition,
lead also resulted in epidemiological diseases breaking out.
Unlike leaded petrol, unleaded petrol had only aromatic hydrocarbons
and thus does not pose much of an environmental hazard. The
CPC has modified its refinery to remove lead additives from
petrol marketed in Sri Lanka now. Accordingly, from the second
half of this year, the CPC will market two grades of unleaded
petrol which will be distinguished by their Research Octane
In the first phase of this programme, the CPC has already
introduced 95 RON (Research Octane Number) unleaded petrol.
The 90 RON unleaded petrol will be introduced from the second
half of this year. The CPC has also informed that anti-valve
recession additive would be made available at filling stations
to motorists whose vehicles are fitted with engines manufactured
prior to 1986 which may have soft exhaust valve seats for
which lead provided a lubrication function.
ladder for PSD boss
By Tania Fernando
As Presidential Security Division director Nihal Karunaratne
has been placed under prison guard at the National Hospital,
shocking details about his promotion to the rank of Superintendent
of Police without necessary qualifications have stirred another
It is learnt that the controversial chief bodyguard of President
Chandrika Kumaratunga has been promoted as an SP though he
did no sit the Efficiency Bar Examination (EBE). he was promoted
with special cabinet approval, apparently overriding regulations
of the police service and the Public Service Commission.
Mr. Karunaratne was promoted as an SP in March 2000 after
the then PA cabinet on March 1, 2000 approved the promotion
on condition that he should pass the EBE within one year of
the appointment. But in April, another cabinet memorandum
was presented by President Kumaratunga in her capacity as
the Defence Minister, seeking the approval of the cabinet
to nullify the March 1 cabinet decision and promote Mr. Karunaratne
on a permanent basis with effect from March 1, 2000, not subject
to any stipulation on the EBE.
The normal procedure would have been for him to sit the EBE
conducted by the Public Service Commission. Justifying the
request for exemption, the President said in the cabinet memorandum:
"I am firmly of the opinion that the denial of the required
leave for him to study and prepare for the Efficiency Bar
Examination was unfair and deserves to be compensated. In
fact the call on duty of this nature deprived him this essential
His colleagues on the other hand, had no such impediment.
Hence this situation should not stand in the way of his promotion;
a promotion which he richly deserves."
also said the case should not be treated as a precedent.
also claimed that on numerous occasions Mr. Karunaratne had
requested for leave, but the DIG/PSD had to refuse such leave
continuously because of the ongoing commitments. "I am
personally aware that on several occasions when the DIG/PSD
spoke to me about this matter, I was myself at a loss whether
to grant his request," the President said.
Prior to the April cabinet memorandum, the then Defence Secretary
Chandrananda de Silva on March 22, 2000 wrote to the Secretary
of the Public Service Commission, stating that the President
had granted special approval for the promotion of Mr. Karunaratne
and sought the PSC approval for promotion on assurance that
the PSD chief would sit the exam within one year.
"It was also decided that this appointment is made on
account of special circumstances which are personal to Mr.
Karunaratne by the nature of his duties. It should not be
considered a precedent," the letter said. Then came the
April cabinet decision to grant the promotion, exempting Mr.
Karunaratne from sitting the exam.
9, 2000, the PSC secretary informed the Defence Secretary
that as per the decision of the Cabinet, Mr. Karunaratne had
been promoted as an SP with effect from March 1 without having
to sit for the examination.
Mr. Karunaratne is under arrest in connection with charges
related to the Mathurata assassination attempt on Minister
S. B. Dissanayake during the December election campaign.
suspects in prison hospital; one ward for Ratwattes
At least nine suspects, including Lohan and Chanuka Ratwatte,
are continuing to remain in the Bogambara prisons remand hospital
without proper authority of prisons doctors, The Sunday Times
Besides the Ratwatte brothers, seven other suspects in custody
also are reported to have used their influence to remain in
the prisons hospital. The prisons hospital can accomodate
only 40 patients in the four wards. The two Ratwatte brothers
occupy one ward and the remaining prisoners share the other
As a result, some ill prisoners who should be kept in hospital
continue to remain in their cells. Meanwhile, Desmond Fernando,
former President of the International Bar Association (IBA)
and Vice President International Commission of Jurists, yesterday
cited the rights of a remand prisoner.
Quoting UN standards of minimum rule for the treatment of
prisoners, the Prison Ordinance and Prison rules, Mr. Fernando
said that "clearly it should be kept in mind that the
law in no way requires that a person who is deemed to be innocent
should in any way be punished prior to conviction by being
made to change his lifestyle."
He said there seemed to be some confusion about the legal
rights and principles relating to remand prisoners.
"The first important principle in this respect is set
out in article 84.2 of the UN Standards of Minimum Rule for
the Treatment of Prisoners. The principle is 'unconvicted
prisoners are presumed innocent and shall be treated as such'.
The UN document then sets out the rights of unconvicted prisoners.
Our own prison Rules which are legally binding are rules made
under the Prison Ordinance of 1877 as amended. The rules were
made over 100 years ago.
"It is important to note that in law a remand prisoner
has to be treated in accordance with his 'status and condition'
(rule 196(1)of the Prisons Rules). Thus a remand prisoners
is entiled to be a paying patient in a separate room in a
hospital (rule 198(2)).
"In addition remand prisoners are enttled to follow their
respective occupations and professions, to have daily visits
from his relatives and friends (rule 200(1). To have confidential
commucations with his legal adviser which the prison authorities
have no right to examine (204 (3)). He is also entiled to
have at his own expense books, newspapers and stationery.
He is also entitled to such furniture and other equipment
for his room provided that he does so at his own expense.
"In addition to getting his food from home or a third
party he is also entitled to consume beer, cider, coconut
toddy not excceding one pint and wine not exceeding half a
bottle (rule 193) each day."
gets tough on labels
By Faraza Farook
The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council
is monitoring labelling violations, especially on imported
products to ascertain if the labels contain the required information
such as the expiry date. With several sweets flooding the
market for the New Year the department is also taking samples
of these sweets.
However, the lack of a microbiologist is hampering work in
the Public Health Department. Though regular raids are carried
out and samples collected, the department is unable to prosecute
people and carry out tests on all the samples.
With the MRI burdened with the task of catering to the entire
country, the Public Health Department sent only a limited
number of samples, those which they are certain of taking
PHI officials say the recruitment of a microbiologist will
help the department in carrying out more raids and prosecute
more violators of health standards.
peace award for Dhanapala
The San Francisco-based Global Security Institute is presenting
its inaugural Alan Cranston Peace Award to UN Under-Secretary-General
Jayantha Dhanapala, who heads the world body's disarmament
Affairs department. The award honours "visionary leaders
who share the late Senator Alan Cranston's conviction that
nuclear weapons are unworthy of civilisation".
The award is also meant for those who, through their efforts,
demonstrate exemplary service in eliminating weapons of terror.
The institute says that Mr. Dhanapala, who for 30 years has
been steadfast in his dedication to global peace and security,
"has made countless contributions in strengthening the
international arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament
regime". The award will be presented at a ceremony on
April 16 at the United Nations.
visit the North on peace mission
Lawyers of the Colombo Magistrate's Court will visit Jaffna
on April 25 as part of 'The Movement Towards Peace' launched
recently. The 35 lawyers, most of whom are members of the
Colombo Magistrate's Court Lawyer's Association (CMCLA), would
be leaving Colombo on the eve of April 25, a spokesman said.
The lawyers would build a rapport with their colleagues practising
in the North and discuss problems faced by the legal fraternity
and in the administration of justice, he said. During the
visit, the lawyers would meet religious dignitaries, refugees
and displaced persons and other officials to discuss the establishment
of a Legal Aid Centre in Jaffna to give refugees access to
justice. They would meet representatives of the LTTE, he said.
CMCLA president Hemantha Warnakulasuriya had liaised with
several donor agencies here and abroad to establish a Legal
Aid Scheme to help the poor in the North and East. The second
phase of the project would concentrate on conducting seminars
and allaying the fears of the people of the South, sources
Airlines delaying tactics on bonus payment
By Tania Fernando
The management of SriLankan Airlines catering services is
yet to pay the annual bonus of last year, despite instructions
from the Labour Commissioner requesting them to make the payment.
The letter sent to the chief executive officer of the Catering
Services said the staff should be paid their annual bonus
for the year 2001 and 2002.
wish to draw your attention to clause 10 (1) of the collective
agreement signed between SriLankan Airlines Catering Services
and the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sangamaya (SLNS) that non payment
of bonus is a violation of the collective agreement,"
the letter said.
It said inspite of the drop in the aviation industry profit,
the earning capacity of the airlines catering services had
been relatively good. "As such you are advised to pay
the employees the bonus of the past year." The directors
were to take a decision over the matter, sources said. "If
they don't pay the money, the SLNS is planning to take legal
action against the Catering Services", sources said.
They said the management had been postponing it for the past
two months and was not keen on taking a decision probably
feeling that the rest of the airline staff would also request
for the bonus.
for trade unions
The government is to set up an institute for trade unions,
Labour Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe announced this week.
"The institute will be set up this year," he told
The Sunday Times. Mr. Samarasinghe said talks were being held
with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as it supported
the project. Meanwhile, All-Ceylon Union of Government English
Teachers (ACUGET) president M. A. Stanley Perera told The
Sunday Times the government had taken steps to set up the
permanent centre for trade union officials with staff, equipment
and other facilities and this was revealed to an ACUGET delegation
which met the Labour Minister in parliament this week.
The minister had assured the delegation that certain proposals
made by unions would be embodied in the formation of the proposed
trade union institute, Mr. Perera said.
The institute is to be a residential school where lecturers
would be drawn from various departments, universities and
organisations like the ILO and located in a permanent building,
of hope for internally displaced people
The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlement in a coordinated
effort with the UNHCR began the registration of internally
displaced persons (IDPs) on Wednesday to plan their future.
The registration or survey on the number of IDPs to be carried
out by nearly 500 enumerators and 60 supervisors, is expected
to be completed by the end of April and the preliminary report
will be made available in mid-May.
Rehabilitation and resettlement Ministry's senior consultant
A. Kunasingham said the registration of IDPs was to establish
actual figures on the number of displaced which would help
donor organisations and NGOs to formulate programmes to assist
A ministry source said they would register around 250,000
families in Sri Lanka. Of the 250,000 questionnaires published,
220,000 copies were in Tamil and the rest in Sinhala. A poster
also had been published asking IDPs to contact the UNHCR or
the ministry if they were interested in returning to their
homes, he said.
The largest number of IDPs were reported from Puttalam, Mannar,
Vavuniya, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna with the second
largest group from Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara and the
third largest from Gampaha, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura,
ministry sources said. They said 700,000 to 800,000 were displaced,
41,309 families were in welfare centres and 142,000 with families
and friends. Both these groups had been given dry rations,
they said. The number of IDPs with friends and relatives were
not known while refugees in Tamil Nadu camps amounted to 66,000
persons and thousands more outside camps. The number of persons
who fled abroad was not known, sources said.
Under a crash programme the ministry would resettle 20% of
the families living in camps. Meanwhile, in areas such as
Thenmarachchi, families had voluntarily resettled without
the assistance of the ministry. Resettled families would be
provided with dry rations for six months and under the Unified
Assistance scheme they would be given Rs. 15,000 to assist
them and under the second phase of the same programme, families
would be given Rs. 50,000 as a permanent housing grant, ministry
The UNHCR has expressed willingness to complement the Unified
Assistance Scheme by offering a needs-based package to all
returned IDPs which would comprise essentials, such as, cooking
utensils, plastic sheeting, mats, bedsheets and if required,
shelter materials. With the Treasury lacking funds to assist
resettlement programmes in the country, the ministry is seeking
assistance from other sources to carry out it projects. Sources
said the ministry was negotiating with funding agencies to
finance their resettlement projects.
Dr. Kunasingham said the ministry spent Rs. 2500 million per
annum on dry rations to be given to nearly 200,000 families.
The UNHCR spokesmand said the situation in the country was
still fragile to actively promote any repatriation and thus
would not encourage any organised return of refugees.
SC offers to set aside conviction on ST editor
The Supreme Court this week offered to set aside the conviction
and sentence against The Sunday Times editor Sinha Ratnatunga
and discharge him from the indictment of criminal defamation
against President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Chief Justice Sarath
N. Silva on Monday said in view of the admitted facts in this
case, the Supreme Court could act in terms of the Criminal
Procedure Code and set aside the conviction on the basis of
a statement the editor could make and the consent to that
statement from the Attorney General and the virtual complainant
(President Chandrika Kumaratunga).
Chief Justice Sarath Silva said the court could set aside
the conviction under Section 306(1) of the Code of Criminal
Procedure Act No. 15 of 1979 on the basis of the statement
made by the editor.
Senior Counsel for the editor S. L. Gunasekera moved for time
to study the Chief Justice's proposal. The Bench comprising
Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Dr. Shirani A. Bandaranayake
and P. Edussuriya granted time till May 13 for the matter
to be taken up again. Chief Justice originally offered to
settle the case when it came up first before him on August
28 last year. The criminal defamation case arose out of a
gossip column published in The Sunday Times in February 1995.
The High Court of Colombo had found the Editor guilty on two
counts and given him a 1 1/2 years imprisonment sentence suspended
for seven years.
The Court of Appeal later upheld the order of the High Court
and the editor then took the case to the Supreme Court. Senior
Counsel S. L. Gunasekera with Ronald Perera instructed by
Samararatne Associate appeared for The Sunday Times Editor.
R. I. Obeysekera PC with Wijaya Wickremasinghe PC, Ashley
Herath and A. W. Yusuf appeared for President Kumaratunga
and Deputy Solicitor General Palitha Fernando with State Counsel
Gihen Kulatunga appeared for the Attorney General.
gets parliament funds
By Harinda Vidanage
The government will use funds allocated to parliament to pay
the members of the Constitutional Council and the independent
commissions to be appointed by it under the 17th Amendment.
Parliamentary Secretary General Dhammika Kithulgoda who is
also the secretary to the Constitutional Council told The
Sunday Times since there was no time to make the necessary
allocations before the 2002 budget, this measure was adopted.
Mr. Kithulgoda said they would rectify this soon by making
a formal request to the Treasury to allocate the funds to
an independent head. The government this week released the
salary scales of the commissioners amounting to Rs. 10 million.
The Constitutional Council would include the Prime Minister,
Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker and a representative
of the President and six more members. Each member would be
paid Rs. 30,000 a month. This would amount to an annual expenditure
of Rs 3.6 million, sources said.
They said members of the independent commissions to be appointed
under the Constitutional Council would receive a monthly allowance
of Rs. 20,000 each and the chairmen of each commission would
get Rs. 25,000. The total expenditure would be Rs. 6.4 million,
shock for Teldeniya court
Officials at the Teldeniya Magistrate's Courts are puzzled
over how a fax arrived there from the Presidential Secretariat.
The fax said to be addressed to Courts, had contained a copy
of an order by the Court of Appeal granting bail to three
suspects, all members of the Presidential Security Division
(PSD). The PSD men, who are suspects in the Udathalawinne
massacre, were remanded on the orders of the Teldeniya Magistrate.
Inquiries are now being made to ascertain how the fax originated.
SriLankan Airlines has requested for a guarantee of US$ 10
million from the government to begin flights once again to
Frankfurt and Milan. The airline ceased flights to Frankfurt
and Milan after the attack on the airport in July last year,
when six of their 12 fleet aircraft were damaged. It cited
the destinations were running at a loss.
The government had asked the management of SriLankan Airlines
to begin flights once again, as Germany was one of the most
lucrative destinations for tourism. Meanwhile, the airline
has claimed that the destinations were not profitable hence,
the closure of the offices. However, they have said they would
begin flights immediately if the government would give them
a guarantee of US$ 10 million.
Sources said they were very profitable destinations operated
by the airline.
Tourism Minister Gamini Lokuge told The Sunday Times one of
the best markets was Germany and with SriLankan airlines stopping
their flights, there was a reduction in the tourist arrivals
from that country.
"Even those who want to sign contracts are hesitant to
do so as the airline is not flying to that sector," the
Minister said. He said the airline had to help improve the
tourism industry. "They say they will fly once we give
them the guarantee. We have asked them to forward the necessary
documents for us to look into it", he said.
running our country-Ranil or Oslo?
launches scathing attack on ceasefire agreement and LTTE deals
By Shelani Perera
The JVP yesterday again lashed out at the ceasefire agreement
and proposed peace talks, charging that the LTTE was going
full steam ahead for a separate state while Norway was trying
to run our country. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva in
an interview said the JVP would not in any way recognise the
Norway led ceasefire monitoring committee and would take its
case directly to the court of the people. Excerpts from the
Q: What is the JVP's view on the proposal to setup Executive
Committees on the lines of the principles in the Donoughmore
constitution. The UNF government says the All party executive
committees in Parliament would promote the ideals of consultative,
We will give our response when the proposals are spelled out
clearly. But indications are that the UNF has a hidden agenda.
The aim appears to be not so much to strengthen parliament
democracy and develop the country but to weaken the opposition
and get more authority for the government to push ahead with
some unpopular meassures.
Q : The government is also to introduce amendments enabling
MPs to vote according to their conscience especially on mattress
relation to the ethnic issue. How do you see that?
We don't no the details, but it seems it would be a one way
street allowing Opposition MPs to vote with or crossover to
the government but not the other way.
Q: Last year the JVP started a probationary relationship with
the PA. What is it like now?
The MoU between our two parties ended with the dissolution
of Parliament. There is no official connection now but when
we need to work together on a national issue we will do that.
Q: But on the main national issue- the current ceasefire agreement
and proposed peace talks- the two parties appear to be on
We don't have any specific agreement with the PA on this issue.
The JVP's basic stand is to join any force that fights for
the rights of the people. So if the PA shows the same attitude
in solving this problem we could get together. For example
when the UNP was in the opposition we worked together on certain
the current ceasefire agreement we did have talks with the
PA and agreed on some action. But apparently because of the
local polls, the PA then backed out. The JVP however is continuing
on the course of action against the delas with the LTTE and
the PA is welcome to join us in that action.
Q: How do you see the ceasefire agreement?
The warning we sounded is coming true now. The LTTE is
using the agreement to strengthen itself militarily and politically
. The LTTE is blatantly violating the agreement and the government
is doing precious little about it.
Q:So what is the JVP doing about it?
We believe this move has to be stopped and defeated before
it leads to a separate state. Several related crises like
the Muslim problem have already errupted. We will join other
groups which oppose this initiative and carryout a big protest.
Q: Will the JVP make any official complaints to the ceaefire
We don't recognise this monitoring committee which we
see as largely a pro LTTE committee. This committee also threatens
the sovereignty of our country. Decisions are taken not by
the Prime Minister who was elected by the people but by this
committee or the Norwegian Ambassador. For instance the final
decision on the opening of the A9 road is to be taken by the
chief monitor. It is a blatant interference in the internal
affiars of our country. So we have absolutely no intension
of making any complaints to this committee. We have gone to
the court of the people.
this is his only byline
Beyond and perhaps above the limelight of prestige and fame,
sub editors are a breed who work late into the night as the
last line of defence in producing a national newspaper.
Fernandez was one of them. In the great old days of journalism
there was an unwritten principle that the name of the journalist
would appear in his or her newspaper only in the obituary
notice. Bobby Fernandez had that privilege. Though he served
two newspaper groups for about two decades with efficiency
and dedication his name finally appears only in this obituary.
In lighter vein Bobby also had the traditional journalistic
link with the bottle and his simple sling bag often had Brandy
and shandy besides newspapers. Of course as in so many other
cases in journalism, the occupational hazzard finally drove
Bobby from the desk to the death bed.
Like many Patricians from Jaffna Bobby moved into his professional
life with a command of the English language along with a healthy
awareness and interest in current affairs ranging from politics
to horse racing. After serving for decades in the Electricity
Department and then the Ceylon Electricity Board, Bobby joined
the Sun group of newspapers in the early 1980s as a proof
reader. There were no blackouts and power cuts those days
but Bobby's training in the Electricity Department perhaps
gave him a special insight or inspiration for night work.
His excellent work in reading printouts and page proofs together
with his commitment to work till dawn soon made him the ideal
candidate when the Sun group wanted sub editors. He continued
his good work in the higher position as a sub editor and at
one time was virtually the night editor of the Sun recasting
more than five pages by himself and bringing out the late
city edition safe and sound.
After the closure of the Sun group Bobby moved almost immediately
to the Wijeya newspapers and The Sunday Times where he continued
the good work in editing news for the front pages. But during
the past few years, age caught up with him as did ill health
and Bobby's role and responsibility went into a decline till
he decided to retire in the year 2000.
Bobby Fernandez died last Wednesday at the age of 72. Like
old soldiers old journalists also do not die, they just fade
away.So it was with Bobby. Thank you Bobby for your contribution
and interesting company. Goodbye and God be with you.
monitors meet tomorrow
By Sinniah Gurunathan
The first meeting of the Trincomalee district monitoring mission
will be held tomorrow at the Hotel Club Oceanic in Uppuveli
The committee's Norwegian head Victoria Lund said three complaints
had been received and would be taken up. The Chief Incumbent
of the historic Seruvila Raja Maha Vihare Ven. Sumangala Dharmakeerthi
Thera and a Colombo businessman M.K.Akbar are the government's
nominees on the monitoring committee while the LTTE has nominated
lawyer K.Sivapalan and retired Grama Sevaka officer S.Tharmalingam.
refuses to budge over university issue
By Nilika de Silva
While university chancellors and the President are protesting
against the move to re-appoint the university boards, the
government remains adamant. Although six vice chancellors
have written to the Prime Minister over the issue no response
had been received, sources said.
Last week the university boards were issued with letters asking
them to resign and inform their willingness to be reconsidered
for appointment. Copies were sent to the vice chancellors
as well with a March 25 deadline. Sri Jayewardenepura University
vice chancellor Jagath Wickremesinghe said he had never experienced
such a request being made before. Prof. Wickremesinghe said,
"Universities enjoy academic liberty and an autonomy
endorsed by the Supreme Court."
Meanwhile, University Grants Commission chairman B. R. R.
N. Mendis in a statement said with the change of government
it was customary to re-constitute the councils and boards.
In November 1994 all university councils were re-constituted
by asking the UGC members to tender their resignations, Prof.
Mendis said. Citing the reasons why the UGC decided to re-constitute
the university councils he said there were many vacancies
in them due to the resignation of UGC-appointed members, expiry
of their term, and members not attending meetings on a regular
He said complaints received from students, staff and parents
about administrative problems in many universities was another
reason for the move. As a result the academic programmes in
many universities were disrupted, sources said.
wants UN action against CBK
Minister Jayalath Jayawardene has renewed his complaint to
the United Nation's Human Rights Commission asking it to take
action against President Chandrika Kumaratunga for allegedly
violating his basic political rights and acting in a manner
that threatens his life.
Dr. Jayawardena said he had told the UNHRC that although a
new government was now in office, Ms. Kumaratunga was still
the President and had legal immunity from any prosecution
here. Dr. Jayawardene's complaint dates back to a speech made
by President Kumaratunga in January 2000 where she accused
him of having close dealings with the LTTE. She had also made
similar accusations against ACTC leader Kumar Ponnamblam who
was mysteriously killed a few days later.
Dr. Jayawardene told the UN Human Rights Commission that he
and his family members faced a similar threat due to what
he saw as a provocative speech made by the President and other
PA leaders. He said the President's action was a violation
of his basic right to life and his political rights.
welcome awaits Tiger politicos
From our Jaffna correspondent
The political scenario in Jaffna is due to undergo changes
as the LTTE, after a lapse of seven years, is set to return
to active politics tomorrow. A committee has been set up to
organise the welcome ceremony for the LTTE cadres who would
return to carry out political activities. The event will coincide
with the opening of the A 9 highway.
President of the welcoming committee, S. Paramanathan told
'The Sunday Times' that they had decided to organise the ceremony
to support the idea of the LTTE returning to the peace process.
All arrangements are being made at the entrance to Jaffna
city from the A-9 road, near Chemmani. The details of the
ceremony were discussed at a meeting held at the Jaffna University
earlier this week.
Representatives from religious bodies, the business community
and labour unions as well as academics and students attended
the meeting. The organisers, most of them youth, have been
busy putting up decorations while posters have sprung up in
the city welcoming the return of the LTTE cadres. Some of
the posters carry verses welcoming their return.
Loudspeakers are being used to play Tamil revival songs and
are set to announce the return of LTTE cadres to Jaffna. Senior
Assistant General Secretary of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers'
Union, T. Panchalingam told 'The Sunday Times' that many of
the people hope that with the opening of the highway, social,
religious and cultural links will be established between the
people of the north and south.
Special arrangements have been made for people who want to
travel up to the entrance to the city while members of cultural
troupes are due to take part in the ceremony.
Senior government servants, Jaffna Mayor Sellian Kandiah and
Tamil MPs are expected to take part in the ceremony. 'The
Sunday Times' learns that the LTTE's political wing representatives
will initially be based at Jaffna Central College as the school
is located close to the police station facilitating them to
make their security arrangements.
harbour closed for visitors
Navy Headquarters has imposed a ban on visitors to the Naval
Harbour and the Dockyard in Trincomalee. The only exception
will be the immediate members of families of Navy personnel.
The Sunday Times learns that orders to this effect have been
sent to the Eastern Naval Area Headquarters by a senior official
at Navy Headquarters shortly after he made a visit to Trincomalee.
The order says the case of government officials and diplomats
visiting the area would be determined by Navy Headquarters.
With the ongoing cease-fire, there has been a large increase
in domestic tourists visiting Trincomalee.