ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 49

President seeks India’s support

Weeratunga carries message to Manmohan Singh

Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga has flown to New Delhi with a special message from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Government sources remained tight-lipped over its exact contents. The Sunday Times learns that the message includes steps taken by President Rajapaksa to introduce Sri Lanka Freedom Party's proposals for devolution to end the ethnic conflict -- a matter that has figured prominently during talks between the two leaders on at least three different occasions. Mr. Weeratunga had also taken a copy of the proposals to New Delhi. He was also to brief India on threats of terrorism from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), particularly in view of the four air raids within a month.

The last guerrilla air raid on Sunday led to panic with several members of the public being injured. This is particularly from firing by Security Forces and the Police. In fire, directed at suspected guerrilla aircraft from the Air Force base at Ratmalana, homes in Nugegoda, Nawinna and Maharagama were damaged. At least one resident in Nugegoda is now under Intensive Care whilst another member of the same household regained consciousness in hospital after an hour.

As Mr. Weeratunga was in New Delhi, a team of Indian experts arrived in a special Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Friday. They are to assist the authorities in matters relating to the effective working of the 2 D radar system provided free by the Government of India. New Delhi has also heeded a Government call for a third 2 D radar.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa offering his country's help to revive the peace process with the help of Norwegian facilitators. For this purpose he is learnt to have offered to send to Colombo two special emissaries to discuss the modalities.

Premier Blair's letter has been handed over to the President's office by Britain's High Commissioner Dominic Chilcott.

Don’t panic, stay indoors

Air Force Commander Roshan Gunatilleke has told senior officers to explain to the public not to panic when there are warnings of impending air attacks by Tiger guerrillas.

He has told his senior officers that during their interaction with the public the position should be made clear.

Officials said yesterday that air defence activity creates a very spectacular colour lights followed by heavy fire. Those are in fact tracer bullets which, because of the chemicals they are treated in, burn after they are fired. This allows the gunners to see where the bullets are going.

For every tracer there are four to five normal bullets which are not visible to the naked eye. They can pose a bigger danger if they fall on people or enter through windows of building. This is why the public have been advised not to stay out or watch through their windows when such activity takes place.

During last Sunday's air strike, Security Forces and Police personnel even used their assault rifles to fire into the sky. An unfortunate situation, officials warn, could lead to people looking out of windows becoming victims.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.