Monday, May 25, 2009

Indian media, including Teheleka is interested in who is LTTE:

Dear Friends:

The Indian news media is always biased in some or the other news, hence there were a gap between reality and romanticising. Recently some magazines tried to patch the gap "Tehelek". However, they too proved not to fit that frame. Therefore i am collecting news from countries. which talks of the atrocities committed in the war zone and the camps.

Thanks times
Horror for civilians trapped in Sri Lanka's 'no-fire zone'

Catherine Philp in Colombo
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From the air, the battle zone reveals itself one clue at a time — the scorched patches of earth, the blasted palm trees, the burnt-out skeletal houses.
Then the helicopter banks sharp right over the green lagoon and a blaze of white sand appears — to the gasps of the first outsiders to glimpse the beach where the Tamil Tigers made their last stand.
Sri Lanka’s no-fire zone is a scene of such utter devastation it mocks its very name. It is a glimpse of hell unleashed in paradise. A glistening white beach packed with home-made bunkers where civilians huddled to protect themselves from the shells that the government denies launching in the final weeks of the offensive. The craters in the white sand; the charcoal coloured scorch marks and bombed-out dwellings; the abandoned bus, its forlorn white flag still flying, and the human detritus tell a very different story.
Peering down from above, one struggles to imagine the terror of being here in those last days of battle when 100,000 civilians were trapped in this tiny spit of sand between the guns of the Tamil Tigers and the cannons of the Sri Lankan army. No journalists, aid workers or independent observers have had access to the zone until this weekend when a small group of journalists accompanied the United Nations Secretary General on aa flight over the zone.
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200,000 Tamil civilians imprisoned in camp
Tigers begged me to broker surrender
US satellites spied on Sri Lankan conflict
Father Amalraj does not have to imagine; he was here in the bunkers, among his flock, until the day before the Tigers announced their surrender. He described the terror of living under the constant shelling as the last battle approached.
"The people were targets for both side," the Roman Catholic priest told The Times inside the barbed wire fences of Manik Farm, one of the camps to which Tamil civilians were sent after they escaped from the no-fire zone.
"There was heavy shelling from the army side. The LTTE shot people. The army were trying to capture us. The people were caught in between in the last moment for the LTTE and the crucial point in the battle for the army. I cannot say which side was crueller."
He and his parishioners fled their village, Poonakary, just below the Jaffna peninsula when government forces overran it last November. They were on the move for months, fleeing ahead of the fighting over and over again until they reached the narrow strip of land on the eastern side of the Nanthikadal Lagoon, north of Mullativu in February, soon after it was designated a no-fire zone" by the Government.
It was anything but. Father Amalraj described how the people in the zone had cowered in improvised bunkers built on the beach for weeks on end to escape the shelling. "The shelling was just like raining," he said. "Within this two square kilometres, there were more than 100,000 people, packed in and shells raining down."
Many were killed. The UN believes that between 8,000 and 10,000 civilians have died in the conflict since the beginning of this year.
Father Amalraj, albeit anecdotally, believes the final tally is far higher. "We cannot say exactly how many died, but it was many, I think about 20,000."
The Sri Lankan government denies inflicting a single civilian death, blaming the shelling on the Tamil Tigers, despite the accounts of witnesses like Father Amalraj who testify that the shells came from the direction of the government front line.

As April turned to May, and the artillery exacted a heavier toll, bodies went unburied.
"We didn’t have the chance to bury our kith and kin," Father Amalraj said. "We left them on the road. The whole crowd is a witness to that," he said, gesturing around to the parishioners gathered in his tent in Manik Farm. "All around, the dead and injured."
Some people were buried. From the air neat rows of freshly dug graves revealed themselves but it was unclear if they contained the bodies of fighters or civilians. Others have been dug but not filled. A crater next to them appears stained red. Elsewhere, on the beach near to civilian shelters, similarly shaped mounds appear in the sand. The Times has passed the photographs to independent experts for analysis.
Some of those who emerged to try and escape were felled by the Tigers’ gunfire. "The LTTE shot people trying to escape," Father Amalraj said. "It was not at random. They shot in the air and then they shot at the people and killed them."
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200,000 Tamil civilians imprisoned in camp
Tigers begged me to broker surrender
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He named a Tiger commander who gave the orders to shoot at fleeing civilians as Tiramulai. The last person he saw shot before he fled was one of his parishioners, killed while trying to flee the zone on the afternoon of May 16, two days before the Tigers' leader Vellupilai Prabhakaran was killed.
But by then, the shelling was so intense that the remaining civilians decided that they had no option but to try to escape, even at the risk of being shot themselves.
"I said I am going with my people because we are going to die tonight here," he recalled. Most of the remaining civilians believed the same thing. Fifty thousand of them began to make their way towards the causeway out of the zone, rebuilt by government troops on the other side.
"We started coming out and they [the Tigers] fired at us. But they didn’t shoot me, they couldn’t stop me. We knew it was useless to stay. We put our fate with God."
What happened inside the so-called no fire zone will not be the subject of any investigation in Sri Lanka, although the Prime Minister has called for a commission to probe the arming and activities of the Tigers.
At a joint press conference with Mr Ban, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama brushed away questions about the chances of an investigation into war crimes by both sides. Was he entirely confident then that no Sri Lankan forces had committed such crimes? "Absolutely," he replied.
On Tuesday the UN Human Rights Council will meet to decide whether it believes there is cause for an international probe. Britain and the US are among the countries calling for one.
Father Amalraj, meanwhile, searches the tents of Zone Four in the Tamil "welfare camp" at Manik Farm, looking for his lost sheep. Of 4,000 original parishioners, he has no idea how many survived. Which side, in the end, does he blame for the terror and loss of those last few months in the no-fire zone? "As A Tamil, I can’t blame the LTTE for fighting for the Tamil people," he says. "Look at this camp and you can see. They are planning to oppress the Tamil community under the pretext of terrorism. All our efforts have been brought to zero."
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Thanks TamilNet
Tamil civilian reported missing in Colombo[TamilNet, Monday, 25 May 2009, 09:34 GMT]

A Tamil civilian residing in Kottawa in Colombo has gone missing since 19 May according to the complaint lodged with the police by his sister. The person reported missing is N. Mohanathas, 46, a resident of Koayil Rod in Kottawa.He had gone missing after he came out of his house in the morning to dispose garbage on the day he went missing.Complaint has also been made to Human Rights Commission and other civil rights organizations.
Agony in Sri Lanka's refugee camp
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spent Saturday in Sri Lanka pressing for political reconciliation and full humanitarian access for displaced people in camps, following Colombo's declaration of victory over Tamil Tigers rebels.
The BBC's UN correspondent Laura Trevelyan was travelling with Mr Ban and sent this report.

Menik Farm camp houses some 200,000 people
The Menik Farm camp in northern Sri Lanka has a distinctly military air for a place which is housing more than 200,000 people displaced by the fighting.
There is barbed wire everywhere, and camouflage-clad soldiers who are not at all keen on journalists speaking to those inside the camp.
As Mr Ban arrived amid a cloud of dust generated by his helicopter to see for himself the conditions in which people are living, there was an official welcome. Next came a presentation by Sri Lankan officials, about how well run the camp is.
Yet there is clearly overcrowding here. Greson Brando, from the UN's office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, explained that on one plot of land more than 74,000 people were living in a space designed for half that number.
It was a very sobering visit, very sad and very moving
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
How Sri Lanka's military won
Humanitarian challenge
Winning the peace
Eyewitness: Treating the Tigers
Mr Ban came to press the Sri Lankan government to allow the UN and aid agencies full humanitarian access to the camps and to call for those inside to have freedom of movement.
The Sri Lankan government will not let the mostly Tamil people here leave yet.
They are screening them to make sure they are not a security risk (i.e. Tamil Tigers who might begin to fight again).
The UN says people must be allowed to reunite with their families. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told me the screening process is on course and when it is over the resettlement will begin.
What about allowing agencies full access to people here, I asked Mr Bogollagama.
"You can see how much humanitarian access people are enjoying," answered. "People here were denied their basic human rights by the LTTE [Tamil Tigers]."
Malnourished patients
Mr Ban was serenaded by well turned out children waving Sri Lankan flags. The camp floor was neatly swept, there were flowers in the gardens. A huge sign welcomed Mr Ban "to our motherland".

Some of the patients in a makeshift hospital were clearly malnourished
Yet there was no disguising the agony here.
Women spoke of walking through water to escape the fighting, being shelled from both sides, by the government and the Tamil Tigers.
In a makeshift hospital Mr Ban saw elderly, malnourished patients lying on cot beds in the open air, drips attached, flies buzzing round their heads. A few looked close to death.
Mr Ban was clearly moved by what he saw, describing himself as saddened and humbled.
He praised the Sri Lankan government for the help it is providing, while saying it lacked capacity - diplomatic code that more can be done.
'Vision of hell'
From the camp we were off by helicopter once again - this time to see the conflict zone itself - by Mullaitivu.

Mr Ban was flown over the area where the rebels made their last stand
We were the first international journalists to see the scene of the final days of the fighting.
The tiny spit of land in north-eastern Sri Lanka could be a beach paradise. Instead it is like a vision of hell.
Houses have been destroyed, buses blown up, palm trees devastated, and there are craters in the beach. On the sand I saw row after row of tents.
People lived in these cramped conditions, allegedly used by the Tamil Tigers as a human shield while the Sri Lankan military closed in.
Mr Ban did not land and look around the conflict zone. As a guest of the Sri Lankan authorities, he was well aware of the risk of being used by the government to portray international support for their military victory.
So he flew over instead, looking from the safety of the sky.
Joint statement
From there, Mr Ban went on to meet President Rajapaksa. UN officials were hoping to underline with him the importance of winning the peace as well as the war, by reaching out to Tamils and giving them rights in a comprehensive political settlement.
"If issues of reconciliation and social inclusion are not dealt with, history could repeat itself," warned Mr Ban.
The two men issued a joint statement after their meeting.
On the situation in the camps, the statement said the government would continue to provide access to humanitarian agencies, which did not acknowledge that it was not quite doing that.
President Rajapaksa says he will begin talks with all parties - including the Tamils - to bring about lasting peace.
Mr Ban in his dogged way has prodded the Sri Lankan government to address the concerns about the camps and work for reconciliation. The test of his influence is whether anything here changes.

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