The Sunday TimesNews/Comment

19th January 1997



Karunanidhi approves of ban on LTTE

NEW DELHI, Saturday (AFP) - A prominent Indian Tamil politician said in remarks published Saturday that he approved of New Delhi's ban on the Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger guerrilla group.

"I consider the ... ban on LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is a correct step," Muthuvel Karunanidhi, chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, was quoted as saying here Friday.

New Delhi outlawed the LTTE in 1992 after accusing it of assassinating former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in May the previous year. The ban was extended last year by the present government.

Karunanidhi, whose DMK party is a member of Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda's coalition, said he approved of the ban and had lost sympathy for the powerful Tamil separatist group.

Lecture today

A public lecture on "United Nations on World Trade" will be delivered by Desamanya Ambassador Dr. Gamani Corea, former under Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of UNCTAD.

The lecture organised by the Colombo Unit of the United Nations Association of Sri Lanka will be held at the Sri Lanka Branch of the Association of Business Executives (U.K), No. 65, Jawatte Road, Colombo 07 today at 1 p.m.

"Little Christmas" in Moratuwa tomorrow

By J. Annesley Fernando

The Annual feast of St. Sebastian, the warrior Patron Saint of Moratuwa will be celebrated tomorrow.

This traditional "Little Christmas" will bring down the curtain on the prolonged Christmas festivities in this sub-urban town.

A massive crowd of over 50,000 is expected from far and wide to flock to this church to pay their homage to this saint of the sick and the afflicted.

Arrangements are being made by the Moratuwa Police in co-operation with the church authorities to control traffic and maintain order.

The highlight of the feast is the mammoth candle-light procession with the miraculous statue taken round the decorated streets of Moratuwa.

Mayor pledges: no more dumping

The Dehiwela-Mt. Lavinia mayor yesterday gave an assurance to clear a garbage dumping site at Kalubowila after residents campaigned for it, by forming an environmental organisation a fortnight ago.

Over one hundred members of this new environmental committee yesterday met at Kalubowila, to hear the mayor announce that garbage would not be dumped anymore into a one-time quarry beside Wijeyamangalarama road.

Earlier on an appeal made by the committee to the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, a paddyfield around same area is to be filled and turned into a playground.

President of the Environment Committee Tissa de Silva following their successful move to evacuate a garbage dumping site has called on residents of the Dehiwela-Mt. Lavinia Municipal limits to form similar groups to solve environmental issues.

New dispute over translation of book

A Sinhala "translation" of the controversial book "Mary and Human Liberation" by Fr. Tissa Balasuriya has been published by the Centre for Society and Religion, the Catholic Messenger, editor Manel Abeyratne said.

In this book the author acknowledges that it is a " translation" of only some of the chapters. He has also stated that a new chapter has been added, she said.

This "translation" does not contain most of the chapters which became the object of the inquiries instituted by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka and the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

It is mainly on the content of those non-translated chapters that disciplinary action has been taken, Ms. Abeyratne said.

Hence, a reading of this Sinhala "translation" alone will not be sufficient for any one to understand the objectionable nature of the book, "Mary and Human Liberation" in its original English language print of 1990 and the disciplinary measures taken against the author, she added.

"In this light, the Sinhala readers of this book ought to be careful in drawing any conclusions concerning the actions of the Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith based on this "translation" alone.

In response CSR spokesperson Bernadine Silva told "The Sunday Times" yesterday, any suggestion that Fr. Balasuriya had deliberately omitted some chapters from the Sinhala translation was absurd. She said only three chapters had been published in Sinhala, because of technical problems in getting a proper translation done. She said the other chapters were being translated and would be published soon.

Meanwhile, Fr. Balasuriya is continuing his normal work as Chairman and Director of the CSR.

* See Plus! section for further excerpts from the controversial book.

Night of nights in Kelaniya

The Annual Kelaniya Duruthu Maha Perahera will be held from tomorrow till Wednesday. This historic perahera had its origins in 1927, largely due to the efforts of the great philanthropist Don Walter Wijewardena.

This pageant is now an annual event and is regarded as the most elaborate low country pageant. On a national scale, the Kelaniya Perahera is only comparable with the Kandy Esela Maha Perahera, the organisers said.

The annual pageant begins with the Udamaluwe Perahera tomorrow and on Tuesday. It will conclude with the Maha Perahera on Wednesday.

The perahera will commence with the handing over of the relic casket to Chief Basnayake Nilame, Shalitha Wijesundera by the Viharadhipathi, Ven. Dr. Kollupitiye Sangharakkita Nayake Thero. The relic casket will be carried three rounds around the temple by Basnayake Nilames Dhammika Attygalle and Dr. Rohan Wijesundera on the first and second days of the perahera.

The perahera will begin daily at the following times: tomorrow 9.00 pm, Tuesday 9.00 pm and Wednesday 9.30 pm .The Chief Basnayake Nilame of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara Shalitha Wijesundera along with Basnayake Nilames Dhammika Attygalle, Pradeep Hapangama, M. P. Suranimala Rajapakse, M.P. Upali Gunaratne, M.P. Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Siri Dissanayake, Mr. Thilaka Waragoda and the Jt. Secretaries Jayaraj Chandrasekera and Saman Ranasinghe are responsible for organising this event.

Commenting on the significance of the event, Mr. Wijesundera said that the perahera will be done maintaining the traditional dance and culture. This year a special effort is being made to focus on tourists eager to acquaint themselves with the majesty and splendour of Sri Lanka's cultural facets such as this historic perahera.

Perumal not in India

NEW DELHI: The Jain Commission of Inquiry was told this week that Varadaraja Perumal, the former Chief Minister of the North-Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, was not in India.

Appearing before the one-man commission inquiring into the conspiracy behind the killing of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, B. Dutta, counsel for the Centre, said he had received a fax message from the Union Home Ministry saying that Mr. Perumal was not living in India under the security cover of the Central Reserve Police Force.

The Commission had asked the Centre to provide Mr. Perumal's address on a request by the DMK to record his evidence following a report published in The Hindu according to which he was living in a Rajasthan town under security cover.

President on world support for package

By Ratnapala Gamage in Balangoda

President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday said that international opinion was fast turning against the LTTE with pressure mounting on them to quit certain countries where they are now living, if they cannot accept a negotiated settlement.

President Kumaratunga speaking after laying the foundation stone for new school buildings at Balangoda National School, said that there was international support for the political package put forward by the government.

The President said that several newspapers abroad had welcomed the political package, but some of the local papers, sections of religious leaders and some political leaders were against the package.

"However I am sure that the majority of the people are in favour of the package," she said.

She said in most countries the reign of terror had to be ended by blood-shed, but the PA had been able to change it through a democratic process.

Refugees or terrorists?

By S.S. Selvanayagam

Civilians who come to Vavuniya for various purposes are being branded as refugees and detained against their will, a local official has charged.

Vavuniya Urban Council Chairman, G.T. Linganathan in a letter to President Kumaratunga has said many of these civilians are thinking of filing fundamental rights petitions and the intervention by the President could help avert a major problem. He warned that these people might be forced into the clutches of anti-government groups if justice is not done to them.

He said people from liberated areas come to Vavuniya en-route to Colombo, but they were being held in camps in Vavuniya where conditions are deplorable. Military officials say all those passing through Vavuniya have to be held and carefully screened for security reasons.

Sirisena Cooray guilty of contempt

Former Housing Minister and UNP's ex General Secretary B. Sirisena Cooray was yesterday found guilty of contempt of the authority of the Special Presidential Commission probing Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali's assassination for his failure to appear before the commission disregarding summons issued.

The commission comprising retired Supreme Court Judge Tissa Dias Bandaranayake and High Court Judge Justice G. W. Edirisuriya on January 9 issued a warrant on Mr. Cooray as he failed to appear before it despite the service of summons.

IP Suminda Saranagupta told the commission that he visited the residence of Mr. Cooray twice to deliver summons but on both occasions it was under lock and key. He said that copies of the summons both in Sinhala and English were pasted on the former Minister's house having first informed the security personnel employed by Mr. Cooray.

The order of the commission also states that Mr. Cooray had not mentioned anything about the appointment of D. M. Swaminadan Associates as his lawyers or his inability to come before it. Mr. Cooray has been found guilty by virtue of Section 12 (1) of the Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Law No. 7 of 1978 for contempt of the authority of the commission by failure to obey summons.

Sunday Times vs CBK

Revision appeal withdrawn

The revision application filed in the Court of Appeal by the Editor, The Sunday Times in the criminal defamation action filed against him on behalf of Ms Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was withdrawn on Friday.

Senior Defence Counsel Tilak Marapana P. C. made submissions on Thursday in support of the application but on Friday said he was withdrawing his case in view of certain observations made by their Lordships that it would seem that the defence should come by way of regular appeal after the conclusion of the trial than by revision at this stage.

Mr. Marapana submitted that the revision appeal was filed after the High Court Judge stopped the defence bringing any more witnesses to testify whether the ÒgossipÓ item complained of was defamatory or not.

Events have overtaken this application, the defence has had to close its case and therefore what is left is only legal submissions and the judgement, Mr. Marapana said. In view of these circumstances, the defence was not pursuing the revision application, he added.

Tilak Marapana P. C. with S. L. Gunasekera, Kumar Ponnambalam Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, Upul Jayasuriya, Nalin Laduwahetty, Ronald Perera, Lakshman Perera and Maithree Gunaratne instructed by Samararatna Associates appear for the Editor.

The High Court trial resumes on January 27.

Stop hounding me, Chitra tells CDB

By S. S. Selvanayagam

The teenage girl at the centre of an international controversy after her deportation from Denmark has alleged that police are continuing to harass her and had unlawfully seized her passport.

The girl known as Chitra Rajendran but whose real name is believed to be Jeyanthy Rajaratnam has alleged that officers of the Crime Detection Bureau had on December 23 seized her passport and that of her brother- in- law Arunthararajah.

Top lawyer M. L. M. Ameen, appearing for Chitra, has complained to the Director of the CDB that the officers had no right to seize passports which had been obtained legally from the Department of Immigration.

He charged that the CDB had also illegally detained Chitra and her brother- in- law for a day and had not returned their passports till December 27. Again on January 6 CDB officers had seized the passport and because of this continual hounding Chitra had found it difficult to get even a lodging house to stay in Colombo till matters were cleared, Mr. Ameen said.

Chitra hit the international headlines when she was arrested in Colombo after her deportation from Denmark. Danish Journalists who came here to follow up the story were also arrested and deported for alleged illegal activity, setting off protests in Hague and elsewhere.

Mr. Ameen said CDB officers had also seized Chitra's airline tickets but later returned them.

Family sources said on Friday Chitra was still in Colombo but declined to comment on her plans.

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