Was trawler sunk for non-payment of "kappan"?
Hard on the heels of the Navy sinking a Tiger guerrilla cargo vessel with military hardware comes the news of an incident involving a fishing trawler in the northeastern seas.
Two fishing trawlers - Fu-Yung Yu 225 and Fu-Yung Yu 226 - were in the deep seas off Mullaitivu pre-dawn last Thursday when they were reportedly surrounded by a flotilla of Sea Tiger boats.

They fired RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) to disable the first trawler. When it began to sink, the crew shifted to lifeboats. Sea Tigers flashed torchlights to identify them and opened fire with assault rifles. Seventeen crew members, all Chinese barring two Sri Lankans, are feared dead. The second trawler rescued 11 crewmembers including one Sri Lankan. Later they radioed and a Naval craft picked them up. They were brought to the Eastern Naval Area Headquarters in Trincomalee. Two of the crewmembers were said to be in a critical condition and were flown to Colombo in a helicopter.

The two trawlers are said to belong to a Board of Investment (BoI) approved company. The crewmembers are from the People's Republic of China and their Embassy in Colombo has reacted with concern over the incident.

Many questions have arisen over the incident. Some wonder whether Sea Tigers attacked the trawler assuming it was a Naval craft. Others say it was a Sea Tiger retaliatory attack on a merchant ship in the area to express their protest against the Navy sinking of their cargo vessel.

A few State agencies are probing the matter. At least one agency, Alia has learnt, is looking into a rather unusual aspect. Those are reports that the Sea Tiger action was because they were not paid "kappan" or simply "taxes" as the Tigers would call it

Sleuths claim a dispute about this matter has been in the air for sometime. It is no secret that big time business interests operating in the Jaffna peninsula or its environs have to pay substantial amounts of money as "taxes" to obtain Tiger guerrilla approval and protection.

This aspect of the investigation is assuming greater significance since the owners of local backer of this joint venture effort, if not officially, in an unofficial capacity, is said to be the wife of a leading UNF politico. Was that why they stood their ground not to pay "kappan" or "taxes"?
Whatever it is , the LTTE has sparked off an international controversy. It owes an explanation.

Hello!! Hello!!! Snoopers are back again
After a silence of well over an year, snoopers are back again listening in on who says what to whom. The operation, insiders say, began on Thursday March 13.
One top source characterized the latest operation as purely an effort to identify those who were "all out to wreck the peace process and thus endanger national security interests." A whole host of them including politicians, trade unionists, political activists, "suspected" media personnel are among those in the list, according to insiders. The watch on media or "wild asses," as they are identified, is more for their "sources." over reports that are embarrasing. No different to the practice of the People’s Alliance when in power.

Of course, one finds it difficult to blame UNF leaders who declared upon coming to power that they would not resort to this "heavily practiced art by the previous Government" both on grounds of transparency and to prevent intrusions into the privacy of the public. However, as one of them explained, the intelligence inputs they received were "woefully inadequate to keep close tabs on what is going on."

Hence top level Sri Lanka Telecom officials were approached to put right technical defects before the latest operation commenced on land based communications.
Interesting enough, after being voted to power, the People's Alliance Government declared in 1994, it would do away with snooping. It did not take more than six months before the help of Telecom engineers were sought to connect junction cables for the re-commencement of operations. But this time, there was more work to do than just connecting junction cables !!

Bala will not retire after all
Plans by Tiger Guerrilla Chief Peace Negotiator, Anton Balasingham, to go into "retirement" after the impending donor meeting in Japan , have been dashed.
He told a public meeting in the Wanni before departure for the latest round of peace talks in Hakone that he had told his leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, that he was tired and wanted to call it quits.

His leader had reminded him that retirement for Tiger guerrillas come only after their death. So Mr. Balasingham will continue to give his best.

An outsider served as officer for 3 years
Itis incredible but true. An outsider served as a Captain in the Sri Lanka Army for three long years. The discovery has sent shock waves down the Army leadership.
The man in question, reportedly from the Gajaba Regiment, has been visiting Army Headquarters frequently on various chores.

How did he enlist into the Army? How did he succeed in inveigling everyone for three long years? The man was first handed over to the CCMP (Corps Ceylon Military Police) who in turn have handed him over to the Police for further investigations. The outcome is being anxiously awaited. Needless to say concerns will heighten if evidence is uncovered that the man has been a plant by one group of the other.

"Tamileelam" bank seeks foreign investors
The "Bank of Tamileelam," whose main offices in Kilinochchi was declared open by LTTE Chief Negotiator, Anton Balasingham, last week, is wooing Tamil expatriates to invest in what it calls "Thayaka Oil" (or Light of Homeland). To attract hard currency from the Tamil diaspora abroad, this "Bank" is offering what it calls "high interest rates." Non Resident Fixed Deposits are said to carry an interest of 11 per cent on maturity for 24 months whilst it is ten per cent for an year.

The 24 month interest rate for Resident Fixed Deposits is set at ten per cent whilst for a year it has been fixed at nine per cent. A note circulated to Tamil diaspora abroad says they could phone + 941 (0) 21-222 3967 to obtain information. The "bank's" slogan to attract investment is "to your prosperity and the economic development of Thamil Homeland."

A puzzle
Did a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the Hakone peace talks telephone Colombo to ask the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) to move in immediately after reports reached Japan that a fishing trawler had been sunk by Sea Tigers?
Both security and political circles are buzzing with reports of this move after claims that the caller wanted to ensure that an eye was kept on the Navy.

Back to Top
 Back to Columns  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.