Monthly Archives: February 2011

Sri Lanka: Desecrating ashes of a mother in Jaffna – Immediate inquiry necessary .

NfR – Net working for rights in Sri lanka
Exile network for media and human rights in Sri Lanka
Press release/ 24 February 2011

NfR, Network of exiled Sri Lankan journalists and human rights defenders, expresses its serious concern about the incident on the 22nd instant,  of  the ashes of  a cremated mother in Jaffna being  desecrated and the putting of the bodies of 3 dogs killed by shooting  on the cremation spot.   In accordance with the Hindu tradition,  the ashes of a cremated body are collected the next  day  to be dissolved in a river or sea. According to media reports the  ashes had been scattered by military vehicles running over the spot. NfR sources in Jaffna confirmed the truth of this incident and indicated  that no one wants to speak about it openly because of fear.
The mother known as  Parvathi Ammal,  happened to be the mother of Velupillai Prabaharan , leader of the LTTE. It is clear this dastardly act was carried out just because of one of her siblings happened to be this  Parbaharan.  Mrs. Vallipuram Parvathi, who has been ill for some time passed away on last Sunday the 20th February 2011.  Condemning this kind of inhuman brutality does not mean that one condones the actions of  the LTTE or its leader Prabaharan.
NfR condemns this despicable act of desecrating her cremation site  which goes against  basic civilized norms and behaviors.   Respect for  dead is an age old human tradition. This uncivilized behaviour  goes against the noble  Buddhist precepts  which the present  leaders of the country  are claiming to follow.  The symbolic message this uncivilized behaviour  will convey, especially to the people in Jaffna and Sri Lankan Tamils  in general, and the people of the world outside in particular,   is that the Tamils are subjugated people who are not even allowed to exercise their basic cultural right to  respect their dead. Even the rules of war specify respect for the dead enemies.  Indeed, no Sinhalese would accept such an act to happen on their dead and would protest vehemently against such incidents.  However, in the current political climate in Sri Lanka, Tamil people cannot speak out because of the existing fear-psychosis. Nor can the right think citizens of the country do so without facing undesirable consequences.  In  highly militarized Jaffna, the general perception would be that  it is the security forces that should be held accountable to this act. Several media outlets had reported that the military prevented  people from  participating freely at  the funeral of the dead lady.
NfR views this incident as a continuation of military responses to Tamil peoples grievances and sending a signal of continued suppression of cultural rights  of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
NfR demand that an immediate and impartial inquiry  be held into this incident in order to find out the culprits  responsible for  this highhanded behavior. The findings of such inquiry should be made public and those responsible should be dealt with in a manner that  would be a deterrent to similar incident in the future.  Failing  to  initiate  such an inquiry and bring the culprits to book would lead to the inevitable conclusion   that this is an another atrocity committed by the security forces in collusion with the government of Sri Lanka.
Issued by Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka

Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)

C/O, 19447, Victory Blvd,#2, Reseda,CA 91335, USA NfR.SriLanka@gmail.com
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Sri Lanka: An year has passed since HR defender Patti Razeek disappeared

NFR Press release/ 11 February 2011

Disappearance of journalists and human rights defenders continue  unabated in Sri Lanka today. One year ago, on 11th February, 2010 Pattani Razeek, a member of the Executive Committee of  the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development and  one of the Trustees of the Community Trust Fund  based in Puttalam   was  intercepted at Polonnaruwa  by a white van while he was travelling with members of the  staff of the Community Trust Fund. Pattani Razeek, is reported to have disembarked from his vehicle and gone up to the white van to check why his vehicle was intercepted.  Following a conversation he had with the occupants of the white van,  he had told his staff that he would be travelling in the white van up to Valaichena and had asked  his staff to meet up with him there.  That was the last time they  saw him.

NfR expresses it serious concern that  disappearance of Mr.Razzek  has not been investigated by the authorities and  he has been missing for a year by 11th February 2011.

It is presumed that  Pattani Razeek  had been abducted  on account of his legitimate and peaceful  work in the field of human rights.  Though the members of his family had promptly made a complaint to the Police,  he has not been found so far.  However, the Police had filed a  ‘B’ Report to the Magistrate of Puttalam in response to the complaint of Razeek’s disappearance.  It is said that the  ‘B’  Report indicates  that one Shahabdeen  Nowshard, a former employee of the CTF  and a person connected to a leading Muslim politician,  is alleged to be  responsible for the disappearance.  The Police had based their suspicion on Nowshard as he had been found to have made a telephone call  using Razeek’s mobile telephone  after he had disappeared.  Following this, Nowshard had made an application  to the Magistrate  for ‘anticipatory bail’  which had been refused.  He had then appealed to the High Court  of Puttalam for a revision of that order.  This appeal is to be heard  on the 10th February, 2011.

NfR is holds the view  that the Police are not pursuing their search for Pattani Razeek seriously on account of the political connections of  the suspect Nowshard.  In the  meantime  it is reported that the family members of Razeek had been receiving telephone calls  asking for ransom for the release of  Razeek.

Abductions, disappearances and demands for ransom have become  very common in Sri Lanka these days leading to a sense of insecurity among the people.   Such incidents are rarely investigated  seriously by the police.  It is urged that the State should take serious note of  such incidents  and  bring the perpetrators to book.  Not taking action against the perpetrators  only indicates  the absence of the rule of law in Sri Lanka today.  Besides,   the Police and  the Military are under the direct control of the Ministry of Defence which is headed by   a supposedly efficient  Secretary.  Allowing such incidents to go uninvestigated and unchecked  would leads to the inevitable  conclusion that  the State has  a hand in these incidents.

Issued by
Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka
Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)
C/O, 19447, Victory Blvd,#2, Reseda,CA 91335, USA                    NfR.SriLanka@gmail.com
http://nfrsrilanka.blogspot.com/ ; Face book nfrsrilanka

Sri Lanka: “Vaara Uraikal” Editor assaulted

NfR – Net working for rights in Sri lanka
Exile network for media and human rights in Sri Lanka
Press release/ 10 February 2011

For a third time in less than two years, the “Vaara Ureikal”, the only provincial newspaper in the Eastern region has come under attack.  In the latest instance,on February 8, 2011 the Editor of the newspaper, M.I Rahumathulla has had chilly powder thrown at his face and has been assaulted with iron rods.
Networking for Rights views this assualt, yet another attempt to silence the media, as a violation of human rights and strongly condemns the attack.
This newspaper which has been fighting corruption in the Muslim dominated Kathankudi and Batticaloa areas has been subjected to many threats over the years. Unidenfied men, armed with swords and clubs broke into the newspaper office which is located at Mr. Rahumathulla’s residence on April 1, 2009 and assaulted him severly.  Though a complaint was made to the Kathankudi police,  no arrests have been made as of today.  On September 13, 2010, the newspaper was attacked by a gang believed to have political patronage. At the time, Mr. Rahumathulla told the media that he held a deputy minister of the ruling political party in the area responsible, as the newspaper was allegedly attacked for its coverage on corruption in the Co-operative sector.
The continued attacks on “Varra Ureikal” is an extension of the prevailing violent environment in Sri Lanka. Media personalities,human rights activists and opposing political party members are constantly harassed and assaulted for daring to dissent and expose wrong-doings.  Networking for Rights calls on the government to launch an immediate and genuine investigation into the attack and bring the culprits to book. It also reiterates its stand that this culture of violence and impunity should end immediately, and freedom of expression restored as a pre-condition for a successful  post-war reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

ssued by
Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka
Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)

C/O, 19447, Victory Blvd,#2, Reseda,CA 91335, USA                      NfR.SriLanka@gmail.com
http://nfrsrilanka.blogspot.com/
Face book : nfrsrilanka

Sri Lanka: Violent attack on opposition led march and media on the Independence day

NfR – Networking for rights in Sri Lanka

Exile network for media and human rights in Sri Lanka

 

Press release/ 04 February 2011

NfR expresses its deep concern that a peaceful march  by the main opposition political party UNP has come under violent attack in the presence of sizeable police force. We also express our concern that journalists covering the event have been attacked by politically motivated thugs. MTV network has reported that their cameraman’s video camera has been taken away after assaulting him. This incident took place on 4 February 2011 in Punchi Borella in Colombo.

The Free Media Movement, the freedom of expression watchdog of the country, has already issued a statement condemning the attack on media personnel and opposition politicians.

The march and rally  was organized as part of a campaign for the release of former army commander and defeated Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka.

Human Rights Lawyer and Western Provincial Counselor Shiral Lakthialaka told NfR that a pro-government gang attacked a very peaceful demonstration while police did not take any action to stop the violence. According to Lakthialaka this attack shows once again that this government does not tolerate any dissenting voices in society.

Deputy leader of UNP, Karu Jayasuriya , told Sunday Times Online that these men were carrying swords, iron poles, stones and petrol bombs and attacked the peaceful protesters. The same report also mentions that a number of vehicles of opposition politicians were also damaged. Another news website, LankaTRUTH, has reported that one Minister and one Parliamentarian of the Government were behind the attack.

It is an irony that this violent attack unleashed on democratic rights of the people while the 63rd Independence Day celebrations took place elsewhere in the country.

NfR views this attack on media and opposition as a continuation of suppression of democratic and human rights in Sri Lanka, even in the post-war period. Once and again Sri Lankan police has protected or became by-standers when pro-Government gangs attacked the media, civil society and opposition political events. This shows that rule of law remains as an empty phrase in Sri Lankan society today.

NfR condemns the attack and calls upon all democratic forces in the country to collectively demand that these violent assaults come to an immediate end and the democratic rights of the people be protected.

Issued by Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka

Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)

C/O, 19447, Victory Blvd,#2, Reseda,CA 91335, USA NfR.SriLanka@gmail.com

NFR blog: http://nfrsrilanka.blogspot.com/

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Sri Lanka: Arson attack on Lanka-e-News office – A police cover up

NfR – Net working for rights in Sri lanka
Exile network for media and human rights in Sri Lanka

Press release/ 04 February 2011

Networking for Rights expresses it suspicion of  the news that a suspect has been arrested in connection with the arson attack on the Lank-e-news office in Malabe on January 31, 2011 and calls on the government to conduct the investigation in a transparent manner. Lanka e news journalists. According to a  Lanka  e news report this drug addict  suspect has made a confession that he along with another underworld figure set fire to the Lanka-e-news office as they were given a contract by a unknown person form abroad. Further more according to police this other underworld figure is missing!! This version of police investigation clearly points to  a cheap cover up.

NfR also strongly condemns the front page  news report in the state controlled Sinhala language daily, Dinamina of 02nd January . In an obvious attempt to divert the investigation and tar the image of those attached to Lanka-e-news, the news report claims that empty alcohol bottles, blue films, women’s underwear and similar items have been discovered at the scene of the crime. NfR views this report as a deliberate attempt to discredit the journalists and divert the interest of the people from the actual nature of the attack – a further suppression of media freedom. Lanka-e-news journalists have publicly stated that this is a cooked up story and challenged the government to prove it.

This is a continuation of the allegations and name calling by government controlled media institution to harm the reputation of fellow journalists and human rights activists.

It is important o note that the arson attack on the Lanka-e-news office comes soon after President Mahinda Rajapakse told media heads that a separate unit is investigating the activities of certain websites with a view towards “taking action” against them.

Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rabukwella has stated that the attack is an attempt to discredit the government. NfR asks Minister Rabukwella to initiate action that would ensure responsible and balance reporting by all media institutions, including government controlled journalists and reign in those who justify the attacks for the perks and privileges thrown at them by the government.

Given the many and varied acts of violence perpetrated on media personnel and media institutions which remain unsolved, NfR has deep concerns whether the government is serious about the investigation and committed to bringing the real culprits to book.

NfR reiterates its call for a transparent investigation and concrete action to arrest this trend. We call on the government to ensure that the  investigations would not end in a similar fashion as those on the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunge, disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda and scores of other assaults, abductions and arson attacks which have gone unsolved so far.

Issued by

Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka

Steering committee : Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)

C/O, 19447, Victory Blvd,#2, Reseda,CA 91335, USA   NfR.SriLanka@gmail.com

Blog  Site:  http://nfrsrilanka.blogspot.com/
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