Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sri Lanka is Quickly Becoming the Congo of South Asia for Its Continuous Subject of Rapes of Tamil Women and Girls

Never ending stories of rapes of Tamil women and girls at the hands of Srilankan armed forces and its paramilitaries is norm of daily lives of Tamils who what they face in Sri Lanka nowadays. What is so alarming is that these criminals were never brought into justice. For example, Krishanthy case, in which the victim - Tamil teenage girl -was gang raped and later killed by two dozen Srilankan military men in the outposts of their camp in Ariyalai, Jaffna, in early 90s when she was on the way to her school. And another story of young Tamil woman worker of TRO ( Tamil relief Organization ) how she was gang raped and killed by about 20 paramilitary members of TMVP ( Karuna led faction of LTTE) for her suspected affiliation with LTTE in 2006. Because of the culture of impunity in Sri Lanka it encourages the Srilankan armed personnel to inflict more crimes against Tamil women and girls whenever they get chances. In the past, Srilankan armed forces often used to see every Tamil woman as their sexual pry or LTTE cadre given how the civil war played out in last 3 decades . Now LTTE is not in the picture, and it makes things easier for paramilitaries and Srilankan armed forces to go after any Tamil woman or girl whom they like. Raping of Tamil women and girls by Srilankan armed forces has become widespread in Sri Lanka but many stories never hit the mass media due to the backlashes the families of victims expect both from the culprits and the Tamil community itself.

One can argue that what are the benefits in trying to prevent the future rapes if the victims can go through anguish, isolation and the stigma by revealing their horrifying events to the public. Well, how many of you knew that more than 4,000 Tamil women were raped by IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) and its paramilitaries ( ENDLF, PLOTE, etc) during their stay of 3-year period from 1987 to 1989? Even if the local media knew about those incidents, they failed to bring into public because of the retaliation from the culprits of these rapes. People familiar with the IPKF rule in Jaffna knew well about how Tamil women and girls suffered at the heels of IPKF and its paramilitaries. And those paramilitaries often wait on the streets of Jaffna for the school girls to come out from their schools like Veambadi, Chundikuli and Hindu Ladies College etc. These victims were often disappeared for days and released later on with the mercy of their captors or they were killed in some instances. It was evident from the findings of many female bodies buried beside the Ashoka Hotel that was occupied by IPKF and its paramilitaries during their stay in Jaffna. Many can think that 4,000 rape victims may not be high enough to think as epidemic of rape and grotesque violence against Tamil women in IPKF time. In fact, if you go into those little details of the Jaffna population, you would see it was clearly on the epidemic scale.

What it made me to write this post is clearly this news - that appeared on Tamilnet few days back. And I see this is as the troubling sign of what to come from the Srilankan armed forces and its paramilitaries who stationed in Jaffna town which currently falls in the high-military zone. I’m already privy to one such incident happened few months ago and won’t reveal the victim’s name and her place for obvious reasons. The victim was raped by 9 EPRLF men (a paramilitary group that led by Douglas Devananda who is minister of the current ruling government in SL ) It is important to highlight the sufferings of Tamil women what they endure at the hands of Srilankan armed forces and its paramilitaries, otherwise it can once again become epidemic of rape against Tamil women and girls in Sri Lanka.

One should not forget the barbaric nature of Srilankan armed forces who are often given incentives to work in North East provinces of Tamil homeland that they can always get way with the sexual assaults of Tamil women. Past history of Srilankan armed forces is real proof what you can expect from them. During the final stages of Eelam war IV last summer, Defence Sectary Gotabaya Rajapaksa even said that all the Tamil women can become the possession of his military personnel and Tamil men should be thrown into Indian ocean. If military head can have that kind of mentality, no need to mention how the lower ranks work. It was said in many channels that widespread sexual assaults were on going against Tamil women and girls who were part of the 300,000+ Tamils put behind the barped wires by Srilankan government aftermath of its military victory over LTTE last summer.

Haitian peace keeping mission of Srilankan armed forces is a testimonial for how rouge Srilankan armed forces are. If they can go and involve in the raping spree of Haitian girls in their peace keeping mission of Haiti, not to mention that Haiti is more than 12,000 miles away from their country, they sure can inflict more violence against Tamil women in Sri Lanka given the history of hatred Srilankan armed forces have against Tamils in SL. What U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of Sri Lanka is no accident that rape had been used as a weapon of war in Sri Lanka.
If we do not escalate the issue of rapes of Tamil women how they suffer at the heels of Srilankan forces and its paramilitaries, we may see 100s of brothels between Elephant Pass and Jaffna town on A9 highway just as what Colombo has it between Negombo and Pettah. The cultural city of Jaffna can become history for what it is known if we neglect the seriousness of these rapes. More importantly, there is no end to the sufferings of our women.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ruwanda, Congo, Darfur, now Sri Lanka - Up to 40,000 civilians 'died in Sri Lanka offensive'

By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent
Friday, 12 February 2010

The bitter controversy surrounding the final stages of the Sri Lankan government’s operation to crush separatist rebels has been reopened after a former UN official claimed that up to 40,000 civilians may have been killed.

In the final stages of last year’s move to defeat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the UN protested strongly about the number of Tamil civilians caught up in the fighting. Privately, officials estimated that between 8,000-10,000 lost their lives and that many more were wounded.

Now, Gordon Weiss, who until the end of last year was the UN’s spokesman in Colombo, has suggested the figure may be much higher. “A lot of civilians died inside the siege zone. I have heard anything between ten and forty thousand people and that’s from reliable sources who had a presence inside the zone,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “[The Sri Lankan authorities] repeated a number of things that were either intentionally misleading or were lies. One senior government civil servant remarked at the end of the war that the government insistence that the figures were very low was a ploy. It was a ploy to allow the government to get on with its business.”

Last night, the Sri Lankan government dismissed the claims. Lucien Rajakarunanayake, a senior presidential spokesman said: “All I can tell you is that [Mr Weiss] is unaware of the facts. The figures are a total exaggeration. The UN itself has given figures that are much lower than this.”

Precisely how many civilians were injured or wounded as Sri Lankan forces defeated the remnant of the LTTE fighters making a final stand in the north east of Sri Lanka, may never be known. At the time, the UN and other organisations claimed that civilians were being struck by ordinance fired by both sides. Testimony provided by Tamils who escaped from the war zone suggests that many civilians were used as human shields by the LTTE as government troops advanced.

Mr Weiss was last night unavailable to comment and the UN in Sri Lanka refused to discuss the claims of its former spokesman, believed to be writing a memoir of his experiences in Sri Lanka.

In the interview, the former spokesman also suggested there was a need to investigate allegations of possible war crimes. While there have been widespread calls for such an inquiry, including from some senior figures within the UN, the Sri Lankan authorities have refused such an undertaking. “I will not allow any investigation by the United Nations or any other country. There is nothing wrong happening in this country?Take it from me, we will not allow any investigation,” Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the country’s defence secretary and brother of the president, recently told an interviewer.

Indeed, the purported readiness of former army chief Sarath Fonseka to cooperate with such an inquiry has been cited by the government as one of the reasons he was arrested and placed in detention and will likely be placed before a court-martial. Mr Fonseka, who last month failed in his electoral challenge to Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had said allegations about war could be investigated. The defence secretary said of Mr Fonseka’s undertaking: “He simply cannot do that. For one thing it is a lie.”

Yesterday, hundreds of lawyers marched through Colombo to protest against Mr Fonseka’s continued detention. They gathered near the country’s Supreme Court which admitted a petition filed by the former general’s wife that claimed his detention by the military police was illegal. The court has given the government four weeks to reply.

Such a date would be less than a month before parliamentary that Mr Fonseka has intended to contest. The government has not yet specified which charges it wishes to bring against him, but has repeatedly claimed he was plotting a coup – something he denied.

Meanwhile, the US and Norway denied claims made by the government that they had bankrolled Mr Fonseka’s campaign. In a statement, the US Embassy in Colombo said: “The United States backed no candidate but strongly supported a free, fair, and credible democratic process.”

Monday, February 1, 2010

VP, Death, and the Myth!

The latest story at Tamilwin - - is stirring the controversy surrounding the death of VP once more. It is astonishing to see how the person who is Srilankan army officer on this image resembles the body of VP that was shown in all Srilankan channels.

It's the real image of VP that was taken on 2007 Maveerar Day.

There were mixed opinions among pro-Tamils about the death of VP prior to this news story at Tamilwin as some thought he may have been killed and some simply said he never dies. For any common-sensed person, it was hard to reject the opinion of death of VP earlier as all the evidences in Mulliyavaikal directly pointed his death. Mind you, well into first week after the alleged killing of VP on May 18th by SLA, KP who is in Srilankan army custody now maintained his position that VP was alive then. I will reproduce few excerpts of the Tamilnet’s interview with KP that took place on May 18th, 2009.

TamilNet: The Sri Lankan Government has declared the war won and has claimed that Mr Pirapaharan, the leader of LTTE has been killed. Has Colombo really won the war?

S. Pathmanathan, Head of LTTE's International Diplomatic Relations
Pathmanathan: The Sri Lankan government makes unverified claims. I am only able to ascertain that our National Leader is alive and well. It is true that many of our senior members and leaders have either given up their lives or been treacherously killed. This is very unfortunate, but it is important to realize that our struggle will continue until the aspirations of our people are realized.

The Sri Lankan Government may have declared a military victory. But it does not realize that it is a hollow victory. It has completely lost the trust and confidence of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

One thing is clear that LTTE hierarchy was confident of KP then, otherwise they wouldn’t have moved him into higher up the position of Head of LTTE’s international relations when things started to get serious in the midst of Wanni war. After the executions of political leaders- Nadesan, Pulidevan and along with 300 others- on May 17th, the remaining LTTE hierarchy, assume VP was alive then, may have smelled the rat in KP and that put them not to share the info with KP anymore. Either way LTTE intelligence wing that learned the lessons of its life in the final week of battle in Wanni may have awaken from its sleep in time to think what was right for Tamils and its organization by going silent about the death of VP, even if he was alive. What puzzling to me is that why LTTE allowed the common enemy – GoSL- takes control of KP saga. The seismic proportions of Wanni events may have prevented LTTE think clearly for some time. It looks to me they’re still figuring out the good and bad apples even in their organization itself now.

Revelation of VP alive can bring greater harms than VP dead for Tamils for the time being. Let it be what is now that VP is dead. For your own euphoria, you may bring harm to those 14,000 Tamil youths who’re in SLA’s custody now and to those who lost loved ones and their own limps in the war from any chance of rebuilding their remaining scattered lives.

As it seems, LTTE is slowly overhauling its ship now. Look at their new website – – and it looks to me real site of their own. Don’t jump on the bandwagon quickly, and the GoSL and its Intel channels can double or even triple cross you here with their abundance of Tamil traitors from its arsenal. If you visit, you would know that it is functioning well now. All it suggests that they’re in the fast-paced rebuilding mode now. The immutable fact of life for anyone is that there are two states in SL now regardless of VP’s existence.