Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sri Lankan tells of asylum death voyage

TWELVE of Pararasasingam Paheertharan's fellow travellers drowned, including brothers aged 13 and 14 employed as crew, after people-smugglers herded him and 38 other Sri Lankan Tamils on to an ill-equipped fishing boat for an ambitious journey across the Indian Ocean.

In the first interview about last November's tragedy, soon to be examined by the West Australian coroner, Paheer said the people-smugglers promised passengers they would be transferred to a bigger vessel after two or three days sailing from Negombo, on Sri Lanka's west coast.

"After 10 days travelling we realised we were deceived by them," he wrote in an email after The Australian visited him in detention on Christmas Island last week.

"After 27 days travelling, our vessel had a hole -- we tried to remove the ocean water but we couldn't control it," Paheer wrote.

He emptied two oil canisters, tied them together and hung on in big waves after the boat sank 350 nautical miles northwest of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands on November 1.

Most survivors were taken aboard the LNG Pioneer, while others were rescued by the Taiwanese fishing vessel Kuamg, which was first to respond.

The former student union activist told how he was rescued at 3am on his 32nd birthday after eight hours in the water.

All 27 survivors, including a 15-year-old boy, remain in detention on Christmas Island.

Paheer and four other survivors await a decision on their claims for asylum, while seven have received initial rejections and can ask for an independent review.

"We never forget it, every day at night we see our people, who are shouting `please help us' from the ocean," he said.

Paheer is among those asylum-seekers who typically pay up to $US10,000 ($10,700) to try to get to Australia from Indonesia or, in his case, from Sri Lanka.

One Customs officer told The Australian he was astonished that so many dilapidated asylum boats made it as far as they did.

The dangers of the journey from Negombo to Christmas Island did not bother the people-smugglers who took Paheer's money, and for Paheer it seemed worth the risk.

Paheer recalled how, as a passenger who spoke good English, it was his job to radio for help at about 1am on November 1, when it became obvious the boat was in trouble.

Nine hours later, a fishing boat appeared. "We waved towards it, it came near us, we explained our situation, then the boat captain said `we informed the Australian government, they sent a ship'," Paheer said.

"Around 6.30pm we saw a ship coming towards us -- unfortunately before the ship came near us our vessel sank.

"I saw that some of us were swimming towards the ship, others shouting here and there, in front of me I saw three people sink into the ocean."

One body was recovered. Those who died included the boat's captain and his young nephews, brought to work as crew. A rescued 19-year-old arrived at Christmas Island with the other survivors last November believing his father had been rescued by another boat.

It was a police officer's duty a few days later to tell the young man his father was not coming, and was believed drowned.

35 comments:

Bhairav said...

Please see the original article at this link:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/sri-lankan-tells-of-asylum-death-voyage/story-e6frgczf-1225852474240

jaso said...

we can not live in srilanka without puligal becouse in srilaka stilt genocide going on n on.TAMIL NEED A FREDOM TAMIL EELAM.......

Tamil Kovil said...

Psychological effects of Torture

Torture was used as a method of coercion or as a tool to control groups seen as a threat.

Torture is about reprogramming the victim to succumb to an alternative exegesis of the world, proffered by the abuser. It is an act of deep, indelible, traumatic indoctrination. (Psychology of Torture – Sam Vaknin). Torture can be physical or psychological or sometimes a combination of both. Torture methods are designed to prolong the victims’ pain and fear for as long as possible without leaving visible evidence.

The Torture Victim of Hammond Hill prison

The effects of torture can hound a person even decades. Mr. X2 participated in the 1971 insurrection and along with other members attacked the Jaffna Police station. The assault was a failure and the police arrested most of the rebels. Mr. X2 and others were taken to the police station and beaten with batons and wooden poles for nearly 4 hours. After the assault, nearly 80 people were put to a small cell where they could not move. All the suspects were kept in the cell fully naked until the afternoon of the following day.

After a few weeks, the suspects were taken to the Jaffna Hammond Hill prison. Hammond Hill fortress was built by the Dutch and they had large nine dungeons to store gunpowder. These dungeons were turned in to prison cells. At the Hammond Hill prison, the prisoners had to face inhuman conditions. The air inside the dungeons was not breathable. The heat was intolerable and due to poor ventilation and sanitary facilities, one prisoner died. During the interrogations, Mr. X2 was beaten and he was compelled to confess his role in the 71 uprising. His sense of self-worth and self-esteem was crippled. He felt guilty and disgraced. He strongly held the view that he betrayed himself and his friends. He lost the capacity to cope with stressful interpersonal relationships

Following his confession, the hard-core members ill-treated Mr. X2 and treated him as a traitor and on numerous occasions, he was subjected to various physical and mental harassments. Mr X2 spent nearly one year in the Jaffna Hammond Hill prison and was then transferred to Akarayankulam open prison. He was released in 1977.

After nearly 38 years, Mr. X2 still has nostalgic feelings about his days at the Hammond Hill prison where he witnessed torture and experienced unbearable living conditions. Today he is an alienated character, politically inactive and has limited life goals.

The Torture Victim of 88/89

Mr L5 was arrested by the Ruwanwalla Police in 1988 for alleged illegal possession of political documents and posters. He was physically beaten a number of times. His interrogators used to hit him on the head with batons. To prevent, bleeding they used to keep a book on his head and then administered the beatings. Still for all Mr. L5 could feel the shock, pain and vibration. After his release in 1990, Mr L5 led an isolated life. He underwent a psychological assessment in 2001 and according to the assessment; he was experiencing nightmares, intrusions, insomnia, decreased libido and periodical headaches.

Tamil Kovil said...

Psychological effects of Torture

A Man who was detained under the PTA

Mr K3 was arrested in Vaunia under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in early 1993. He articulates his experiences in the following account.

When I was arrested I was taken to the ….. camp and questioned about a claymore explosion which occurred several days ago. I had no idea about the incident. They put me in so-called Darmachakra torture method. My Hands and legs were tied like the “Dharma Chakra” symbol and while rotating my body two people hit my soles with strips of wood. Then they asked me various questions. I was disoriented and experienced immense pain.


I was ordered to lie down on a table, face downwards, and they hit me with clubs and S-lon pipes on my back, feet and soles. After a series of events I was questioned by Major ….. who was a fine officer from the Army Intelligence . He knew I had no connection with the terrorist act. He ordered my release. If not for Major ….I would have been killed.


After my release, I could not work and the slightest physical exertion gave me bad body pain. I could not sleep and every night I was on guard. I had an unexplainable fear that they would arrest me again. I had mental pictures of

Darmachakra torture method and sometimes I relived that painful event repeatedly. I had no interest in life anymore. I had no interest in my wife and children. my life was falling a part……..

Torture is a Double-edged Sword

Torture is a doubled edged sword that can harm not only the victim but the perpetrators as well. Many people who engage in torture have various psychological deviations and often they derive sadistic satisfaction. For a considerable degree, torture fulfils the emotional needs of the perpetrator and willingly he engages in these activities. They lack empathy and their victim’s agonized painful reactions, screaming and pleading give them a sense of authority and feelings of superiority.

The Police Officer who derived a sexual satisfaction torturing a young victim

According to the eyewitness account of Mr Birty Ranjith (who initiated the attack of Jaffna Prison and the author of the book Bakmaha Kandulu that gives a detailed account of events during 71) and many other participants of the Jaffna Police and Jaffna Prison attack in 1971 insurrection, a police officer tortured a captured young rebel in public. He gently touched the victim’s thighs and admired it, then took a knife and made deep cuts. When the young boy was shouting in pain, he was thrilled and excited. The boy fell down and he was bleeding profoundly. Yet the officer found it very fascinating.

Tamil Kovil said...

Prabaharan's Mother Deported From India

A paralysed 80-year-old Parvathi was deported
I am preplexed by Indian government's action in deporting old woman. When Rajiv's family forgave the direct assasins what is the use of harrasing one old woman who comes to India for medical treament. She could have been permitted by humantarian grounds.

Tamil Kovil said...

Tamils hoped for Indian rescue

An old Tamil woman who was in the Sri Lankan war zone till the last day of the war, then in the IDP camps and has now come to India.. She has lost her son. She has experienced things that we could not even imagine or understand. She has walked over dead bodies to save her life. At this old age, she had to literally run. She hadn't come out of the war shock. She explained all her experiences with no tear in her eyes. No shake in her voice. Even when she spoke about her son, she said it in a plain tone.'We were waiting for India to come to our rescue. Our only hope was with India. But India too betrayed us' and with that she broke down to tears. Imagine how guilty I would have felt sitting before her.

This guilt is what is killing us today. We want to do something. At least for those people remaining alive. Not just for their livelihood, but for their freedom, their dignity

Tamil Kovil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tamil Kovil said...

Jaffna yet to overcome fear psychosis

A pro-government armed group led by Minister Douglas Devananda is harassing the Jaffna people now.

Killing, raping, kidnappings in Jaffha is done by the Mahinda Rajapakse supported -Douglas Devananda gang.

Tamil woman was killed and dumped into Araali sea in Jaffna.

An employee of Sri Lanka Red Cross had appealed to the HRC to save his life. The armed Douglas Devananda thugs come to his place in the nights and intimidate him with threats of abduction and death.

The body of the The teen-age girl student of Jaffna Hindu Ladies’ College was recovered from a well near her home in Chemma’ni in Nalloor Monday. She had gone missing Saturday night. Meanwhile, the woman whose body was found in I’lavaalai Sunday had been sexually assaulted before being killed, according I’lavaalai police. Mysterious killings and persons going missing have increased in Jaffna peninsula in recent times causing its residents to be gripped in fear and anxiety.

Arul said...

A letter from Sri Lankan Secret torture camp
We were captured in large amount. Now day and night only I hear is screaming voices. Our brothers have been needled, chopped and let in the blood until they tell where our leaders and secret camps are. I cannot even write about what is happening to my sisters in the camps. All I hear is the voice of deadly screaming day and night. Blood is flowing all over the camp and smell of blood is the only smell in the air. Sinhala military is determined to finish our lives in 20s and 30s . Voice of torture and voice of being raped, rhymes each other and echoing all over place as I cannot believe I am living on earth. It looks like a scene in a horror movie. Next day we ourselves have to take those bodies and cremate them. I do not even know whose body I am cremating. The faces are covered by cloth and only they ask us to burn them. Whoever it could be but I know he is lucky to die. I am not yet lucky enough to be killed. I just need death , that is enough for me now. All I can see is , i am going to die here in the same dungeon. I know my life is going to end here. I cannot see many faces that were there when we were brought down here. Yes many of them have already left the earth. Eventually our group is missing many faces and it shows we all will die here soon. Even we all scream louder , nobody can hear us. Even this letter will be read and thrown because nobody can even imagine what I am writing about. Jungle camps will never become to light because nobody can come here. All you will see in the history is just ashes of us.

Arul said...

Four “New” Sinhala Doctors Conduct a Medical Camp in Mandaitheevu

The North- South Dialogue Desk of The Lanka Centre for Social Concern organized a Medical Camp conducted by the recently passed out doctors of Colombo Medical College from 5th April to 7th April 2010.

In Vavuniya, we had a visit to VAROD (Vanni Rehabilitation Organization for the Disabled- Differently Able). The Sinhalese doctors were thunder struck to see the young wounded inmates and listen to their stories of agony during the war. Sewwandi was so immersed in their stories of pain; we had to extend our stay at VAROD by a half an hour.

“They are like us. Their wounds although healed or is healing but their hearts need to be healed. Today I realized the cruelty of war especially the gravity of cluster bomb attacks and haphazard shelling. I could not bear the pain of the youngster who is paralyzed forever and more than that his loosing all of his loved ones. Still some of them carry the pieces of shells in their bodies and that shows they carry the pieces of hatred towards us in their bodies. We need to remove these pieces of venom from their hearts”.

These were the on the spot comments of the doctors on their first exposure to the realities of war. Anuradha, who works in the rehabilitation Centre for the War- Victim Sri Lanka Soldiers said, “I too treat the soldiers who are going though wounds of war. But these Tamil war victims look really hopeless, depressed as many have lost all they possessed including their loved ones and surely their suffering is more acute

The A-9 journey was a special attraction for these medical doctors on their first visit to Jaffna. “I felt that A9 is neither a pathway to Jaffna nor a link between North and South of Sri Lanka. I could see only army sentry points and extended army camps throughout the journey to Jaffna. Why are there so many Buddha statues along the A9 route? Are they in memory of the Army personnel engaged in war?

Were there Buddhists along this path other than the Sri Lankan forces?

Arul said...

MandaitheevuThey we were able to meet Clinton Anandeshan and Vishnunathan, aged sixty and sixty two respectively. Both of them are related through marriage, had come to Paranthan after the 1983 July riots from Kandy. They were estate Tamils and had to find a safer place for their children and their cultivation.

They related their story of displacement with laughter, fear, anger and some moments in tears, “We lost everything we had bit by bit in this displacement and at last we became beggars. Now we are beggars.”

Clinton has three girls and a boy. Vishnunathan had lost two sons, aged nineteen and twenty two in the final battle, those who were conscripted four months before. His son in law lost his hand and the old aunt’s stomach was ripped open in a shell attack.

“From Paranthan, as other people were leaving, we too joined. It was terrible as the air attacks were fierce and the ground attacks were merciless. Some of our relations were killed with their little ones. Attacks were random and haphazard. We collected all our belongings including the asbestos sheets, door frames, furniture and the sacks of paddy, loaded them in a tractor and moved towards Murasumottai. We just settled there for a few months, midst heavy shelling. We put up a small hut for us only to sleep and built a bunker for safety. When it was unbearable we collected all we could take and moved towards Dharmapuram. On this journey we did not have a vehicle, so we had to take all we could on foot. The journey to Udayarakattu was very hard.

Some of our own people, three of them died due to the tiresome, hard journey and bombardment. A few weeks there and we moved to Suvandirapuram. Every displacement reduced our traveling baggage.

Then to Vaikkal, Vattuwal and Rettai Vaikkal (Double Canal) were the last places of our displacement till we crossed over to the Army controlled areas. In all these places we suffered.”

They answered two of our questions posed to them, “Do you enjoy peace now? What do you expect from the Sri Lankan government?”

“There is some kind of normalcy, no more arms and fierce war but there is no peace. Still we are struggling to live. There are so many of our children in detention camps, some more in the IDP camps. There are armed groups and the Chavekachcheri incident (A seventeen year old boy was murdered by unknown persons) proves the point. There is continuous checking in our resettled areas in Paranthan. We are suspected. Then do you think we enjoy peace in freedom?”

“We want the government to compensate our loss. We lost everything. At least the government must help us in self employment by income generating projects. We were not beggars but today we have been made beggars. Recently we had to come to the convent to beg for some cash to buy some food to survive. We need employment”

Arul said...

Just before the camp Medical Camp at Mandaitivu, the doctors visited the Mandaitivu village and the people in their own displaced huts. For the past twenty years, the Sri Lankan Navy has captured the Mandaitivu village with these peoples’ houses and made it a High Security Zone.

The people were displaced several times in different places and have last come back but they are staying outside of the naval camp in huts just gazing at their own homes occupied by the Navy. The doctors spoke to the people and observed their utter poverty.

There were about sixty patients, infants, children, young and old. These young doctors attended to the patients with care and concern. Rev Fr. Paul and Sr. Priscilla acted as translators.

We will always remember them” During the visit to the Mandaitivu village, the southerners met some excombatants.

They listened to their stories of struggle and the life in the detention camps. In one house, we discovered a photograph of a young man garlanded. The young doctors inquired about it from the lady who was at home. She said, “This is my eldest son. He was in the Sea Tiger unit. He was killed in battle. He is my beloved son”.

When we were returning after the visit to the village, some of them were arguing, “Why did they join the movement? Why does this mother venerate her son who was in the LTTE?”

Within the group we could hear the whisperings, “Surely there must be a reason for the Tamils to take up arms. They saw it as a Struggle for liberation. That is the reason for these youngsters to volunteer and commit for the cause. As we see in our villages, the war heroes are honored, roads named after them and statues are made, these people honor their young leaders who sacrificed their lives for a cause”.

Arul said...

On the same day late at night the youngsters met a first year student from the Faculty of Arts in the Jaffna University. He explained his last hours in Vanni with shelling , a few months in the IDP camp in Zone 5 of Cheddikulam and his release to be in the university to pursue his studies.

He recalled with deep pain that his parents are still in the IDP camp and he had visited them recently.

On our way back to Colombo, we visited The Holy Family Sisters at Kilinochchi. It was a revealing episode. We could see their convent just shape up upon return. One sister shared with us, “Seventy one of my students from Kilinochchi Maha Vidiyalayam were killed in this recent war. Many are missing. When I go to school, I feel the loss and the immense pain.

Recently I asked the children, who had survived, displaced, lived in the IDP camps and just returned to Kilinochchi, to write about their memories of the final stages of war. I meant it to be a therapeutic exercise. They wrote so many pages in tears, sobbing and some moments with anger and fear.”

We had an opportunity to glance through these letters of pain and anguish. Almost all of these were ended with “Nandri” (Thank You Sister). That means the writing of the letters initiated by the Teacher sister of these little ones had brought some kind of relief to relieve their pain.

As we coming out of the Holy Family Convent we were introduced to the lady cook of their house. She had lost two of her children in the recent Civil War. She lost her son as he was a victim of a Sri Lankan Army kfir attack. She had to bury her son hurriedly as they were running away in fear and in the dark. She does not know where he is buried and how he was buried.

The loss of the daughter she was unable to recall. She was lost in the rush in the final hours of the battle as they were walking back into the Army controlled area through the waters. Although her friends pacify her saying that the eighteen year daughter is still living, she believes that she is no more on earth. She says that she experiences sense of a deep loss.

This mother, a widow was gazing at Fr. Sudam for awhile and began to weep and wail. She cried, “He looks like my son, my own son who is no longer on earth. My son was killed”

Nisal - නිසල් said...

[[Chuti Malli said...
http://boycottsrilanka.com

New kind of powerful marketing against Sri Lanka.]]

Few more thing to boycott.

Boycott Israel
Boycott Singapore
Boycott Malaysia
Boycott Australia
Boycott USA
Boycott Japan
Boycott RIAA
Boycott Microsoft
Boycott Novell
Boycott McDonalds (if no fart unto death campaign)
Boycott KFC
Boycott Nike
Boycott Apple
Boycott Apple iTunes and iPod!
Boycott India
Boycott China
Boycott eBay
Boycott Facebook
Boycott Twitter
Boycott Gillette
Boycott Wal-Mart
Boycott Google
Boycott Yahoo!
Boycott Microsoft Bing
Boycott Nesle
Boycott Fox News

Boycott The New York Times
Boycott CNN
Boycott Amazon
Boycott Coca Cola

and last but not least...
Boycott Everything

Arul said...

The Sinhalese are continuing the ethnic cleansing

They are shamelessly stealing Tamil land from the Tamil villages

CALL TO STOP LAND BEING ROBBED FROM MANAMPITIYA TAMIL VILLAGE

Aipril 19, 2010: According to historical records, the Manampitiya Tamil Village was established in 1893. In 1897 the residents of this village constructed a dam across the Galarawila River, a branch of the Mahaweli River in order to obtain water for their farming activities. However, the dam was destroyed in the floods that took place in 1948 and it has not been reconstructed by authorities to date.

The implementation of the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Project did not provide any relief to these residents who were forced to face several more hardships as a result of their land being acquired by the government for development work. Of the 250 families residing in this village at the time, 120 families had marsh land in addition to their farmland. Only 16 families were provided with their entire property while the other families were only provided with a quarter-acre plot. This was not the case for other residents of the area who were provided with half-acre plots of land to cultivate on. Meanwhile, 70 plots of land that were meant for the Tamil residents of this Tamil village had been divided amongst the Sinhalese officials of the Manampitiya Divisional Secretariat

Arul said...

99.4 percent vote for Tamil Eelam in Australia

99.4 percent of those who cast votes in the Tamil referendum across Australia last weekend said “yes” to the formation of independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam in the contiguous north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. The results were announced Thursday at a press conference held at NSW State Parliament in front of state and national media.

Arul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arul said...

Sri Lanka’s new parliament must drop emergency laws

Sri Lanka's first post-war parliament must get rid of draconian emergency laws that have allowed for decades of widespread human rights abuses, Amnesty International said today.

Ahead of the first sitting of Sri Lanka's first post-war parliament on 22 April, Amnesty International is calling on Sri Lanka to lift the State of Emergency that has been in force almost continuously since 1971, and to abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act and other associated emergency security laws and regulations, replacing them with human rights-friendly laws.

The emergency laws grant state authorities sweeping powers of detention and permit the use of secret prisons, a practice that encourages human rights abuses like enforced disappearances, torture and death in custody, which could constitute crimes under international law. In the last thirty years, thousands of Sri Lankans have spent years in detention without trial.

Over the past year, the government has increasingly used these laws to crack down on journalists, political opponents, and trade unionists.

"Sri Lanka must repeal these laws and end impunity for human rights violations if it wants to move forward," said Madhu Malhotra, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Deputy Director. "The Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Public Security Ordinance and other emergency provisions in Sri Lanka enable security forces to systematically violate human rights."

Since the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended almost a year ago, Sri Lankan legislators have continued to extend the State of Emergency on a monthly basis. Successive governments have ignored calls for repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

"The war is over. Perpetuation of the emergency is now just being used as a weapon against political opposition, and as a quick fix for poor law enforcement practices and a dysfunctional justice system," said Madhu Malhotra.

Amnesty International is calling on the new parliament to press for the release of people detained under Sri Lanka's emergency laws unless they are charged with an internationally recognized criminal offence, and are tried in regular civilian courts to international standards for fair trial

Arul said...

Tamil Student arrested

Mr. BALASUBRAMANIYAM JEYAVATHANAN who returned to Sri Lanka after completing his studies in the UK was arrested by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) on 26th February 2010. Since then his family reported facing threats and this has been brought to the attention of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

His father, PARAMAKURUNATHAN BALASUBRAMANIYAM of ARALI South, JAFFNA attacked by unknown armed men who came in a white van.
He is currently being treated in JAFFNA Teaching hospital with severe assault injuries.

Bhairav said...

http://athirvu.com/target_news.php?getnews=news&action=fullnews&showcomments=1&id=3081

As far as I knew, many Lankan Tamils got refuge in M'asia since the end of Wanni war.

Arul said...

This is disgusting news that Malaysia was deporting Tamils to evitable torture in Sri Lanka

鈺禎 said...

真是感人肺腑的文章~~........................................

Arul said...

Tamil culture & heritage are being systematically destroyed in Sri lanka. The Sinhala Democracy used to suppress the Democratic
will of the Tamils. Memorial evidence of the King Pandara Vanniyan has been destroyed.

The Village name Katchilaimadu came as Memorial evidence of the King Pandara Vanniyan. Sinhala Armed forces, personally directed by Government cabinet ministers – A wanton act of genocidal intent to destroy the history of an ancient people.

Mahaveeran Pandara Vanniyan was a rebel Tamil chief from the Vanni region who was known as one of last native cheif to challenge the british rule in the Island nation of Sri Lanka. August 25th, is the memorial day of Tamil Chieftain Pandara Vanniyan who ruled the Vanni kingdom of Adankapatru. British defeat him during the historic battle of Katchilaimadu by Col. Drieberg. The Portuguese who landed at Galle in 1505 and went to Kotte, to befriend the King there, got control of the Kotte Kingdom through political manipulations. They captured the Jaffna Kingdom by defeating Sangili in battle in 1619.

The Portuguese failed to capture two areas: the Kandyan Kingdom and Wanni which comprised most of the present Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. The Dutch, too, failed in their attempts to subjugate Kandy
and Wanni. The British, who wanted to bring the entire country under their control, started with Wanni. They captured it by defeating Pandara Vanniyan in 1803. Before the final battle, Pandara Vanniyan destroyed the British Fort on August 25, 1803.

Arul said...

Sinhalese passenger on a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong was so enchanted by the flight attendants he couldn’t resist touching their breasts and buttocks, a Singapore magistrate heard, the Standard reported. Chief Magistrate Ernest Lin Kam- hung jailed Sinhalese Halpita Acharige Wijith Thalis, 47, for 14 days and fined him HK$15,000 after he admitted indecently assaulting three Cathay Pacific flight attendants last week.

Tamil Kovil said...

Jaffna Tamils Decry Development Plan of Sri Lankan Gov't

Two cyclists from the minority Tamil community are shooed away by government soldiers as they approach this northern Sri Lankan city’s only Buddhist temple while President Mahinda Rajapaksa is paying a visit.

But when a family from the majority Sinhalese family ambles toward the guards, they are treated more amiably.

These twin incidents during Rajapaksa’s rare visit to Jaffna on Apr. 1 illustrate the contrasting ways in which soldiers from an army made up largely of Sinhalese treat the majority and minority ethnic groups.

Nearly a year after the war ended, burnt out, shell-shocked buildings can be seen lying side by side with spanking new ones for banks or financial services as Colombo firms rush to grab a share of the new business opportunities in Jaffna.

But youngsters and city elders clamor for a different kind of development. "We need to be able to own rather than be bystanders (to development)," said a city businessman, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.

Nirmala (not her real name), a high school student, said banks and financial services are not helpful to the Jaffna Tamils.

"A lot of banks setting up branches here are employing people from Colombo. We don’t have jobs. On the other hand, the banks take our deposits, but getting a loan is difficult because the banks want collateral, which we don’t have because our properties have been destroyed or have been taken over by the army for military purposes," she said.

Nirmala was one of a group of 30 16- to 17-year-old high school students who met with IPS recently to discuss their future in an environment where livelihood and employment opportunities are scant. They were unanimous in saying that the people of Jaffna are not part of the development that the government is carving out for the north.

Most of them want to go abroad for studies and live there permanently. "There is no future here. We will always be second-class citizens,"

Perceptions of widespread insensitivity of the Colombo establishment to the city residents became more pronounced when a group of businessmen and bankers flew into the city in late March to lay the foundation stone for a new 80-room hotel being built by a Colombo bank.

Few Tamils from Jaffna were invited to the event and all the speeches were delivered in English even if the majority of the 700,000 people speak only Tamil. Furthermore, local residents questioned the location of the hotel as it is close to a sacred Hindu temple, visited by millions of Tamils every year.

"How can you sell alcohol or meat in a sacred location?" asked Arudpragasam Sivathamby, a taxi driver. Outside the same temple premises, dozens of Sinhala traders are doing business, in some cases displacing the Tamil merchants, causing resentment among the minority ethnic group.

"This is causing a huge problem," said Tamil parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran.

Development is only seen in the form of banks, finance companies and consumer firms opening up in Jaffna while job-creating industries or factories are still inexistent.

Tamils are hoping for a greater role in power sharing. However, Dr. S. I. Keethaponcalan, a political scientist from the University of Colombo, said that is not a priority for the government at the moment. "The government won a commanding majority at the recent parliamentary polls, and trying to appease the Tamils is not the biggest priority at the moment," he declared.

Arul said...

In IDP camps there are still inadequate services to provide everything the Tamils need. At a recent Medical camp visit to the region I witnessed large scale skin infections, malnutrition, PTSD symptoms and many with illnesses which the doctors are incapable of diagnosing and treating with limited facilities. The Tamils are treated like animals-Sri Lankan soldiers thrown empty plastic bottles (unwashed, just emptied of Sprite, Coke etc and thrown away by others in Colombo) and I watched over 300 men, women and children fight over them to the amusement of laughing Sinhalese soldiers. These are luxuries to the IDPs who now have to walk miles in this huge concentration camp to get water. The toilets are horrifying and the little Tamil children are regularly falling into them. Abysmal filth is everywhere.

Arul said...

Sri Lanka rebel leader's home is destroyed
By Swaminathan Natarajan
BBC Tamil




It's not clear how Prabhakaran's house was razed (Photo: Sivajilingam)
The north Sri Lankan ancestral home of Tamil Tiger rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has been demolished by the Sri Lankan army, Tamil politicians say.

The house was situated in the Valvettithurai area of the northern Jaffna peninsula.

The army told the BBC it had not demolished the house.

The Tamil Tiger leader was killed and his rebel movement defeated after heavy fighting in the north last May brought nearly two decades of war to an end.

Must-see attraction

"The Sri Lankan Army was guarding this place. They were not allowing anyone to visit the area. They have been demolishing the house bit by bit for the past few weeks," former Tamil Member of Parliament Sivajilingam told the BBC.

"I have written to the president about this. But when I went back there [on Wednesday] the house was reduced to rubble."





Prabhakaran obituary
Prabhakaran spent his childhood at the house with his siblings.

Prabhakaran's father, Thiruvenkadam Velupillai, died earlier this year and was cremated in Valvettithurai.

The house was badly damaged during army operations of 1987 - the rebel leader's family had left it four years earlier.

The end of fighting in the north has attracted thousands of tourists from the south, and for many Prabhakaran's house was among the must-see attractions in Jaffna.

"Thousands of people were coming and seeing the house everyday. This might have angered the authorities," Sivajilingam said.

But the army denies any wrongdoing.

"It is not correct. We completely deny this allegation," army spokesman Prasad Samarasinge told the BBC.

"We have not destroyed any house of Prabhakaran in the country. The army has not done a thing like that."

But Tamil sources say that the military want to rid Sri Lanka of any memory of the rebel movement.

They claim a number of Tamil Tiger war graves have also been destroyed over the past year.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8652136.stm

Arul said...

Nearly nine months after the end of the war , it was thought to be safe for Tamils from North to travel to Colombo. But in most cases it simply proves to be an illusion. Recently a young Tamil woman from Vavuniya, who is working for an NGO involved in relief operations travelled to Dehiwela, Colombo for training. The reluctant and naïve women on reaching Colombo was questioned by police officers at her lodge. While, none of the policemen spoke Tamil, she couldn’t speak Sinhala. Her requests to call her Colombo office were also denied. On wanting to search her room, her request for a female officer was also turned down. She was remanded; the crime – not speaking Sinhala. This person has already had the childhood experience of seeing her mother’s brains blown off by IPKF soldiers in Jaffna. It was several days before her office was able to secure her release and send her back to Vavuniya, only to never visit Colombo, ever.

Arul said...

I think, Rajapakse is a tyrant and does not have to be careful and the seeds of a future conflict are growing rapidly. The Tamils now are leaving in open prisons in subjected daily to numerous road checks, roadblocks, checkpoints, patrols, systematic surveillance, harassment and intimidation by the Sri Lanka Army.

The Tamils say ?We lost everything we had bit by bit in this displacement and at last we became beggars. Now we are beggars.?

Clinton Anandeshan and Vishnunathan, aged sixty and sixty two respectively. They had come to North of Sri Lanka after the 1983 Black July riots from Kandy.

Clinton has three girls and a boy. Vishnunathan had lost two sons, aged nineteen and twenty two in the final battle of the Civil War. His son in law lost his hand and the old aunt?s stomach was ripped open in a shell attack.

?From Paranthan, as other people were leaving, we too joined. It was terrible as the Sri Lanka Air Force attacks were fierce and the ground attacks were merciless. Some of our relations were killed with their little ones. Attacks were random and haphazard. We collected all our belongings including the asbestos sheets, door frames, furniture and the sacks of paddy, loaded them in a tractor and moved towards Murasumottai. We just settled there for a few months, midst heavy shelling. We put up a small hut for us only to sleep and built a bunker for safety. When it was unbearable we collected all we could take and moved towards Dharmapuram. On this journey we did not have a vehicle, so we had to take all we could on foot. The journey to Udayarakattu was very hard.

Some of our own people, three of them died due to the tiresome, hard journey and bombardment. A few weeks there and we moved to Suvandirapuram. Every displacement reduced our traveling baggage.

Then to Vaikkal, Vattuwal and Rettai Vaikkal (Double Canal) were the last places of our displacement. In all these places we suffered.?

When asked: ?Do you enjoy peace now??

?There is some kind of normalcy. We lost everything. We want the Sri Lanka government to compensate our loss. At least the Sri Lankan government must help us in self employment by income generating projects. We were not beggars but today we have been made beggars. Recently we had to come to the Catholic convent to beg for some cash to buy some food to survive. We need employment

We, the Tamils are still struggling to live, to survive now. There are so many of our children in detention camps, some more in the IDP camps. There are armed groups and the Chavekachcheri incident (A seventeen year old boy was murdered by unknown persons) proves the point. There is continuous checkingby the armed Sri Lankan soldiers in our resettled areas day and night . Any time the military can break the door down and the Tamils are taken away, never to return. We treated like criminals. We are afraid and there is no hope for us, no future now. Then do you think we enjoy peace in freedom??"

Arul said...

I think, Rajapakse is a tyrant and does not have to be careful and the seeds of a future conflict are growing rapidly. The Tamils now are leaving in open prisons in subjected daily to numerous road checks, roadblocks, checkpoints, patrols, systematic surveillance, harassment and intimidation by the Sri Lanka Army.

The Tamils say ?We lost everything we had bit by bit in this displacement and at last we became beggars. Now we are beggars.?

Clinton Anandeshan and Vishnunathan, aged sixty and sixty two respectively. They had come to North of Sri Lanka after the 1983 Black July riots from Kandy.

Clinton has three girls and a boy. Vishnunathan had lost two sons, aged nineteen and twenty two in the final battle of the Civil War. His son in law lost his hand and the old aunt?s stomach was ripped open in a shell attack.

?From Paranthan, as other people were leaving, we too joined. It was terrible as the Sri Lanka Air Force attacks were fierce and the ground attacks were merciless. Some of our relations were killed with their little ones. Attacks were random and haphazard. We collected all our belongings including the asbestos sheets, door frames, furniture and the sacks of paddy, loaded them in a tractor and moved towards Murasumottai. We just settled there for a few months, midst heavy shelling. We put up a small hut for us only to sleep and built a bunker for safety. When it was unbearable we collected all we could take and moved towards Dharmapuram. On this journey we did not have a vehicle, so we had to take all we could on foot. The journey to Udayarakattu was very hard.

Some of our own people, three of them died due to the tiresome, hard journey and bombardment. A few weeks there and we moved to Suvandirapuram. Every displacement reduced our traveling baggage.

Then to Vaikkal, Vattuwal and Rettai Vaikkal (Double Canal) were the last places of our displacement. In all these places we suffered.?

When asked: ?Do you enjoy peace now??

?There is some kind of normalcy. We lost everything. We want the Sri Lanka government to compensate our loss. At least the Sri Lankan government must help us in self employment by income generating projects. We were not beggars but today we have been made beggars. Recently we had to come to the Catholic convent to beg for some cash to buy some food to survive. We need employment

We, the Tamils are still struggling to live, to survive now. There are so many of our children in detention camps, some more in the IDP camps. There are armed groups and the Chavekachcheri incident (A seventeen year old boy was murdered by unknown persons) proves the point. There is continuous checkingby the armed Sri Lankan soldiers in our resettled areas day and night . Any time the military can break the door down and the Tamils are taken away, never to return. We treated like criminals. We are afraid and there is no hope for us, no future now. Then do you think we enjoy peace in freedom??"

采瑩 said...

It's great!!..................................................

Tamil Kovil said...

Sri Lankan Government ideological war against the Tamils
The most casual observer of the Sri Lankan state’s conduct can see that the situation today is the continuation of war by other means.

By war, I am referring to the systematic and ideologically coherent practices of the state against the Tamils and other non-Sinhalese. What we see today is the intensification of structural violence against the Tamil people that began from independence.

By violence I do not mean just disappearances, abductions, murders, rapes and torture, although these are continuing, as we know. I mean more the structural practices of the state, aimed at limiting and suppressing the thriving of non-Sinhala people. We are familiar with some of these: colonization, erasing of Tamil usage in state practices, and the efforts to limit and destroy the socio-economic possibilities for Tamils.

None of this is new. It is part of efforts of the Sri Lankan state, since independence, to break down all resistance to the Sinhala national project. What is this project? To turn Sri Lanka into a modern day realization of an ancient myth that the island belongs to the Sinhalese and in which the minorities have a subordinate existence. As such, anyone who stands in the way of Sinhala majoritarianism – including principled Sinhalese who are not supportive of that project – are destroyed.
The recent parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka have once again brought to power the southern party that most aggressively espouses a Sinhala majoritarian view. It is a case of history repeating itself. It is a carbon copy of the 1956 elections. Then, as now, as the Tamils sought a political arrangement between Tamils and Sinhalese, the Sinhalese voted into power a party that vehemently rejected any compromise with the Tamils.

While constitutional changes are almost certainly in the near future, as the President’s party almost has the required two thirds majority, only the blindest of optimists see these changes as possibly positive towards addressing even basic Tamil grievances. Those who suggest this do so with no regards to either the historic evolution of the Sri Lankan state or the contemporary realities of Sinhala power today.

Let us be clear, change in Sri Lanka cannot come from within.

The last elections prove how overwhelmingly the structural bases of power serve Sinhala nationalism. The JVP for example lost several seats purely because its core platforms of Sinhala nationalism and anti-market economics were more convincingly taken up by the UPFA and President Rajapaksa.

In a contest between the UNP and the SLFP – both of which are essentially Sinhalese entities despite the token Tamils – the party that more aggressively pursued the Sinhala national project has won convincingly.

What we see now is another phase in the further entrenching of the Sinhala people’s dominance over the non-Sinhala.

It is not merely a question of human rights abuses, or lack of media freedom, or lack of governance. Rather, it is a specific kind of governance. This is why the Sinhala people – as in 1956 – are with Rajapaksa and his party.

To repeat, the core driver of Sri Lankan politics continues to be this Sinhala majoritatian nationalism.

This mass ideology predates independence and has now been entrenched in the mechanisms of the state. It is now carried forward in the state bureaucracy, the composition, practices and strategies of the military, the directing of international aid and state investment to some places and not others, and so on.

This Sinhala majoritarianism remains the central obstacle to the constitutional recognition of the Tamils, and other Tamil speaking peoples, as having a rightful place, equal to the Sinhalese, on the island.

And until it is confronted and checked, a truly democratic and peaceful Sri Lanka, one which treats all communities as equal, will remain an impossible dream.

Tamil Kovil said...

Sri Lankan Government ideological war against the Tamils

contd.,

It is worth noting that the ascendancy of this Sinhala majoritarianism has taken place while the country has been in the close embrace of the international community. After several decades of ‘engagement’ by the liberal West there still isn’t a hairsbreadth of liberal space in Sri Lanka. Indeed, it can be argued that Sri Lanka has headed successfully in the opposite direction.

Thus the war continues in Sri Lanka through politics. And as long as the war continues, there will be resistance. Some of us focus on media freedom, others are more driven by human rights concerns, or the humanitarian or developmental needs of the oppressed. But unless all of us recognize that the problems we are opposing stem from a strategic logic embedded in the state, we cannot succeed in our objectives.

We do not believe the course of Sinhala majoritarianism will change from within. Every effort by the Tamils to negotiate or reason with this majoritarianism has resulted in further violence. Look at the history of constitutional change since independence, for example.

Sri Lanka today is in a state of flux. As the Sinhala-dominated and supported state continues to wage war on the Tamil speaking communities, various forms of resistance will emerge, not only from within, but also from without. Today, the Tamils problem is being assessed and reflected upon in far more spaces across the world than ever before in our history.

As long as the oppression of Tamils continues, so too must the struggle for Tamil rights.

SungR_Auclair0佳亦 said...

文章很棒~感謝!!..................................................

Lalith said...

Jaso

You can have your dream TAMIL EELAM in south India.