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Showing posts from September, 2009

How do people 'escape' from the refugee camps in Sri Lanka unless they are internment camps?

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(September 30, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Wording in some of the statements of the state officials reveal the true nature of the status of the refugee camps in Northern Province of Sri Lanka where around 300,000 internally displaced, mostly Tamil civilians are held. Sri Lanka's Sinhala nationalist English daily 'The Island' today published this report: At least 20,000 of the nearly 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Vavuniya camps had escaped , SSP for Kandy Ranjith Kasturiratna said at the Kandy District coordinating committee meeting, chaired by Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, on Monday.   SSP Kasturiratne said special police teams from Kandy had been dispatched to the IDP camps in the North to conduct investigations . Police investigations had revealed that about 20,000 had escaped from the camps. They were believed to be LTTE cadres . Marxist nationalist People's Liberation Front (JVP) MP Vijitha

Land Sri Lankans fought for homelands is now in foreigners' hands

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(September 29, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils fought almost three decades for land in Sri Lanka where the land is being acquired by foreign businessmen following the end of the civil war with total annihilation of Tamil rebel forces. This land acquisition both in land of the 'Sinhalese Lions' ain the southern parts of the island as well as the Tamil homeland in northern and eastern areas previously the de facto state of the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels existed. Sri Lanka has a span of 6.5 million hectares and 80% it belong to government, that restricts foreigners from buying land. But the state cannot block the 20% private land be sold to foreigners despite the government levies a tax of 100%. In most cases the selling price is undervalued in deeds and the state loses much of the tax revenue while the local land owners, most of them ardent patriots supporting the present system, do not disclose the real amounts they gained through deals w

Norway, Solheim helped establish LTTE-Eritrea links for arms deals - Sri Lanka's Sinhala nationalist newspaper

(September 27, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Sri Lanka's leading Sinhala nationalist English daily The Island reported today that the former peace facilitator Norwegian government helped the Tamil rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) to establish relations with Eritrea, which allowed the group to purchase arms, ammunition and equipment from China on Eritrean end-user certificates and other documents needed to legally buy weapons, according to 'well informed sources'.  The rest of the feature is as follows: Sources said the tripartite understanding had been reached in Norway as far back as 2002-2003, when it facilitated negotiations purportedly aimed at ending Sri Lanka’s war. Sources said the on-going investigations had revealed that Norway facilitated the meeting between Eritrean representatives and the LTTE. Responding to The Island queries, sources said the then Sri Lankan government had not been aware of Norway’s surrept

Sri Lanka President vows not to betray the people for US $ 150 million GSP Plus concession

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(September 28, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse vowed not to betray the nation for US $ 150 million concession received through GSP Plus tariff relief scheme of the European Union. "I will earn that amount in another way and safeguard the industries," he said addressing lower rank government officers and village level elite of Southern Province at his ancestral home in Medamulana in Hambanthota district. Rajapakse showed that he was clever to obtain the IMF stand-by arrangement that was also in balance one time. He boasted that as a man born in southern Sri Lanka, he was well versed in dealing such matters. The President pointed out that one third of the land and two third of the sea given to Tamil rebels under agreements were united to the national economy. Sri Lanka is about to lose the GSP Plus tariff concessions given to it by European Union to recover from the damages of 2004 Boxing Day tsunami due to criticism on its human rights con

Sri Lankan journalists rally to protest Press Council and to get Tissainayagam released

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(September 27, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Several leading media organizations of Sri Lanka call for all citizens who value freedom in all its forms to staunchly oppose the reactivation of the draconian Press Council and to agitate for the release of our colleague J.S. Tissainayagam who was branded a terrorist and sentenced for 20 years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).   "We can achieve these objectives only through a show of commitment and solidarity. Hence, a large gathering of journalists, civil society activists, political parties, artistes, religious leaders and civic minded citizens who wish to fight for a just and free society will come together on September 29 at the Jayewardene Center, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 07 (opposite Vihara Maha Devi Park) at 4 pm.  "We intend initiating a people’s petition against the reactivation of the Press Council and invite you in your capacity as a socially conscious citizen who wishes to safeguard demo

New tactics of Sri Lankan legislators to undermine freedom of expression for the MPs

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(September 26, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) In Sri Lanka's deformed democracy, the honorable Members of Parliament are now suspected of deliberately boycotting parliament to disrupt each others freedom of expression. On last Tuesday, the opposition United National Party (UNP) MP Ravi Karunanayaka showed at the adjournment debate that the house has no quorum. As a result, the Deputy Minister of Highways W.B. Ekanayaka lost the opportunity to deliver the government answer of the debate on a major road development project the opposition accused of having massive mismanagement and misappropriation. Later the Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardhana said the opposition move was a breach of an agreement not to raise the quorum issues at the adjournment. Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera apologized. However, on Friday, the government Minister of Transport Services Lasantha Alagiyawanna blocked UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka proposing the adjournment debate by showing there was no

Sri Lanka Marxists question the ethics of raising money from soldiers to felicitate themselves

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(September 26, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Sri Lanka oppsition People's Liberation Front (JVP) parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Disanayaka says that the Army has deduced Rs. 1800 (around US $ 16) each per a personnel from their salaries for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Army.The MP queried the meaning of felicitating the soldiers with their own money. The MP further pointed out to the parliament yesterday (25) that no house has been granted to war heroes (fallen soldiers) from the 'Api Wenuwen Api' housing fund that raised massive funds from public. Some Rs. 45.6 million (US $ 400,000) collected from the employees of the state-owned Transport Board has not still been transferred into the accounts of the aforesaid fund.  Army has organized a massive celebration to mark its birthday that falls immediately after the war victory against the Tamil rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). They include Army Exhibition at BMICH (Oct 3-7) and the Army Tatt

Sri Lankan Minister seeks UN permanent investigative commission to look into human rights violations of US

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(September 25, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) National Heritage Party (JHU), a Sinhala Buddhist ethno-religious party in coalition with Sri Lanka's ruling alliance is going to commence a petition campaign against US. The JHU expects to collect a million signatures since next month denying breach of human rights since the inception of US and urging for UN permanent investigative commission to look into them, said ruling alliance Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Irrigation, Livestock Production and Development, Trade and Environment in Western Provincial Council at a press conference held in Colombo yesterday. JHU move is considered an effort to counter the international pressure to investigate the human rights violations in the last leg of the war against the Tamil Tigers. Sinhala Buddhist nationalist JHU is a party that handles the ideological stand of Sri Lanka government. It vehemently opposed the peace process and mobilized forces to militarily defeat the Tamil se

Restructuring of Sri Lanka's internal defence; new security forces headquarters in south

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(September 25, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) As another step of restructuring and strengthening the internal defence of Sri Lanka, the state has taken steps to set up new headquarters of security forces that are in the process of southern areas of the island. The new headquarters set up in Panagoda military complex will coordinate the security of the areas other than the Northern and Eastern Provinces. These areas are dominated by ethnic Sinhala majority of the country and they are relatively free of revolts. "This new security forces headquarters commands 11 Division in Panagoda, 112 Brigade in Polhengoda, four Area Headquarters in Kandy, Hambantota, Galle and Diyatalawa, two Sub Area Headquarters in Ratnapura and Kurunegala and Operation Command Colombo (OCC) covering the largest area of the country with approximately 77% of the country’s total population," says Army. Sri Lanka Defense Ministry has already set up security forces headquarters in Jaffna, Vanni and East. Fol

Corrupt ex-secretary of Finance Ministry of Sri Lanka granted permission by Supreme Court to re-enter public service

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(September 24, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Supreme Court of Sri Lanka granted today the ex-secretary of the Finance Ministry Dr. P.B. Jayasundara to revoke an affidavit he submitted promising not assume any state office in future. Seven-member bench of Supreme Court chaired by Chief Justice Asoka De Silva and comprised of judges Dr. Shiranee Bandaranayake, Saleem Marsoof, Jagath Balapatabendi , K. Sripavan and A. Ratnayake ruled to invalidate the affidavit filed by Jayasundara only Dr. Shiranee Bandaranayake dissenting the judgment. Supreme Court previously found Dr. Jayasundara guilty of committing damage to the state through his acts in a deal to sell a state land belonged to Ports Authority to John Keells Holdings. Jayasundara was fined Rs. 500,000 for his offense and the former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva directed to submit the aforesaid affidavit. Jayasundara said in a motion filed in Supreme Court that he was asked by the President Mahinda Rajapakse to assume the post of

Israel will learn a good lesson if it attacks Iran, says state-owned newspaper of Sri Lanka

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(September 24, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Israel will learn a good lesson if it attacks Iran, says the editorial of Sri Lanka's state-owned Sinhala daily Dinamina newspaper. The newspaper that propagates the foreign policy of Sri Lanka charged that the recent statements of Israel officials to attack Iran is the voice of US. Pointing out that the President of Iran will never surrender to US, the editorial says that both Israel as well as US must understand that the world forcing are uniting to respond the malicious attitudes of US. The editorial also explains that US economy is run with money borrowed from China and Israel depends on aids of US. This paradigm will change if Israel is attacked, says The Dinamina.

Rabies among elephants in Sri Lanka

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(September 24, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) Veterinary doctors of Sri Lanka have identified two elephants that were infected by rabies. This is the first time the decease was identified among elephants, said Sri Lanka's virology research institute chief Ochala Wimalaratna addressing a seminar held yesterday. The infected elephants are tamed ones that live in Colombo municipal limits, she said. Sri Lanka is among the ten leading countries in the world that report highest death rates from human rabies and animal bites requiring post-exposure treatment. Dogs are the main reservoir and transmitters of rabies in Sri Lanka. Each year a total of about 75 human deaths are reported on the island, according to WHO reports. 

Ex-official challenges former Chief Justices judgment in Sri Lanka

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(September 24, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) A seven member bench of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka is to consider a motion by the former Secretary to the Ministry of Finance appealing to revoke an affidavit filed by him promising not to assume any government post in future. P.B. Jayasyndara, former Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, was ordered by the former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva to submit the aforesaid affidavit as he was found linked to illegal privatization of public property. Jayasundara now states that the President Mahinda Rajapakse has invited him to assume the post of the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and the affidavit he submitted unwillingly under pressure is a obstacle to it.  Many of the controversial judgments delivered by the ex-Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva is legally challenged now.

No liquor policy of Sri Lanka increases state revenue

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(September 24, Colombo - Lanka Polity ) "Fullstop to alcohols," a policy of the President of Sri Lanka, has opened new revenues to the cash-strapped government, according to the police chief of the state. Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramaratna says that the police conducted 17639 raids within the last two years and the fines imposed to the culprits were well over US $ 260,000. Sri Lanka state imposes over 100% excise on all kinds of alcohol. However, home-brewed illegal spirits can be purchased from all nooks and corners of the island despite regular raids of the police and excise officials.

Park and ride service in Sri Lanka displays the corporate responsibility of the business class

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(September 23, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Transport authorities of Sri Lanka in March this year introduced a service called Park and Ride City Liner on Galle Road from the outskirt of Colombo to the city heart. The vehicle park on Galle Road near the Angulana Junction at Katubedda provides parking for around 150 vehicles and is serviced by the first CityLiner Coach Service for which a permit has been granted to E.C.D. Global Ltd by the Western Provincial Road Passenger Authority on the recommendation of the National Transport Commission for operating between Moratuwa and Fort via Nawam Mawatha. The Transport Ministry website says, "This service provides a facility that allows commuters and other people wishing to travel into the city center, to leave their personal vehicles in a secured car park and transfer to a luxury coach which will take them as close as possible to their destinations. Initially the Katubedda-Fort service will be operated every 30 minutes between 6.30 a.m. to 7

Peep into the democracy of Sri Lanka through Southern Provincial Council election

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(September 22, 2009 - Lanka Polity) The Southern Provincial Council election is providing the world a panoramic window to peep into the state of the democracy in Sri Lanka. These days, a candidate of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by President Mahinda Rajapakse is hitting headlines. The candidate, Nishantha Muthuhettigama is seeking representation from Galle district vowing to be the next Chief Minister of the Provincial Council by hook or by crook. Talking about his qualifications for the post, he says that he will be the second Chief Minister who can fire guns with both hands. The first, he says, is Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan who was a child soldier in Tamil rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). Muthuhettigama is now in remand following publicly blaming police at a press conference last week and Criminal Investigation Department is to grill him over his statements. This man's brawls are not

Ex-Chief Justice of Sri Lanka to be grilled by bribery investigators

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(September 20, 2009 - Lanka Polity) For the first time in history, a group of concerned citizens of Sri Lanka  have lodged a complaint against an ex-chief justice.  The complaint was recorded on September 17 before the Bribery or Corruption Investigation Commission against former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva. Silva, under whose authority the country's judiciary took a new turn, was publicly blamed by 'Ravaya' Sinhala newspaper editor-in-chief Victor Ivan in his book titled 'Unfinished Struggle' regarding a number of malpractices and misconducts. However, the retired Chief Justice who was appointed in 1996 to the post by then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga bypassing other senior judges, remained silent without denying the charges or taking legal action against Ivan. Sarath N. Silva was considered an ardent loyal of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga. Later he changed sides to current President Mahinda Rajapakse. Several judgments

Tamil leaders, drop your error of considering the Sinhala polity as a single chauvinist element

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(September 18, 2009 - Lanka Polity) “We cannot achieve anything through disunity and violence. There is a pressing need for us to unite under one umbrella. This is essential. In such a situation, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and other Muslim parties should also be accommodated,” said R. Sampanthan, the leader of the Sri Lanka’s major Tamil constituency in parliament, Tamil National Alliance (TNA). We consider this as a progressive proposal made in the context of total disarray of the minority political parties in Sri Lanka whilst the majority Sinhala polity has united at least in one aspect, i.e., not granting the rights of the minority communities. Sri Lanka government totally annihilated the rebel Liberation Tigers for Tamil Ealam (LTTE) that fought a bloody battle for national liberation for three decades and eliminated the entire local leadership in May this year. The executive-President led government has taken control of the entire island now and the limited devolut

Sri Lanka garment workers are to be made guilty of the wrongs of the rulers

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(September 17, 2009 - Lanka Polity) European Union is likely to discontinue the GSP Plus tariff concessions that had been granted to Sri Lanka to recover from the damage of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. The trade sanctions, as some identify it despite it is retraction of preferences, is aimed at roping in a nation led by an arrogant regime that is rapidly drifting away from its traditional allies like Europe and US to the hands of the anti-Western block led by China. The regime led by President Mahinda Rajapakse and his brothers has vowed to look into new markets in China and India etc. for Sri Lanka's garment exports. Sri Lanka produces good quality, cheap garment and 52% of them are exported to European Union countries. The withdrawal of tariff relief will increase the price of the garments by 10% and Sri Lanka is likely to lose the market for cheaper exports from countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam.  Sri Lanka government has pledged to ass

At UNHRC Sri Lanka promises to create a new multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious state

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(September 15, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka promised to create a new multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious state before the international community although the Sinhala nationalist elements in the ruling coalition had challenged this 'multi' factor strongly. "We have to rebuild our institutional foundations to foster and preserve the new multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Sri Lanka that we wish to create. Our vision is the creation of a new Sri Lankan identity which acknowledges and cherishes the wonderful diversity that characterizes our society." Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said.  On Monday, 14 September 2009, Sri Lanka Minister of Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe addressed the Twelfth Session of the UN Human Rights Council which began its 3-week long session on that day.   "Since June this year, when we last addressed this forum, Sri Lanka has made significant strides towards a lasting

Execution video of Channel-4 causes chaos in political circles related to Sri Lanka

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(September 15, 2009 - Lanka Polity) A video aired by UK's Channel-4 has caused lots of chaos in Sri Lanka's local and international political arenas. The relevant video, said to be recorded in January this year was given to Channel-4 by a new media group called Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS). JDS was formed in July this year by a group of media persons exiled in various countries. The group said in a press release that more than 50 Sri Lankan journalists are in exile. A large number of them are the majority Sinhalese journalists that were sympathetic towards the right of self-determination of the Tamils. The group did not declare the names of the leaders but the government says that a Sinhalese newspaper editor that is in exile in Germany is the leader of this organization. The government also links JDS to the Tamil rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) international wing. The video shows Sinhala speaking personnel clad in Sri Lanka Army uniforms exec

ICJ Condemns Misuse of Anti-Terrorism Laws to Prosecute Sri Lankan Journalist, J. S. Tissainayagam

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(September 12, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Yesterday the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released its Trial Observation Report ( http://www.icj.org/IMG/ICJ_ Tissa_Trial_Observation_ Report_11_Sept_09.pdf ) regarding proceedings before the Colombo High Court in the prosecution of J.S. Tissainayagam , a Tamil journalist. On 31 August 2009, Mr Tissainayagam was convicted under anti-terrorism laws and sentenced by Judge Deepali Wijesundara to 20 years “rigorous imprisonment.” This is the first time that anti-terrorism laws have been used in Sri Lanka to prosecute and convict a journalist for exercising freedom of expression, despite these laws being on the books for decades. The ICJ appreciates the cooperation of the Government of Sri Lanka and the presiding judicial officer in enabling the Observers to attend the trial, meet with the Attorney General and with Mr Tissainayagam and his counsel, and generally conduct their work without interference. The Trial Observation Repo

Terror suspects languish in Sri Lanka's prisons for more than 10 years without trial, human rights lawyer points out

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(September 11, 2009 - Lanka Polity) C.J. Weliamuna, one of Sri Lanka's leading human rights lawyers says that some Tamil Tiger rebel suspects languish in the island's prisons for 10 to 15 years without being convicted or acquitted. The judges cannot grant them bail as they are either indicted or detained under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), said Weliamuna delivering the keynote address of a seminar held in Colombo Center for Society and Religion yesterday on PTA and the imprisonment of media person J.N. Thissanayagam for 20 years on charges framed under PTA. Almost all of these ill-fated persons are ethnic Tamils, he said. In many other cases persons are held for years under PTA and they are released later without charges. The Defense Secretary has wide powers to arrest and detain persons under PTA that is needed to be amended, according to the human rights organizations of the island. Responding to Mr. Weliamuna's speech, a women activist said that

Sri Lanka's biggest drug dealer is a minister, says former Foreign Minister

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(September 11, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka's former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, a dissident of the ruling party, says that that the Police Narcotics Bureau has informed him that the country’s biggest drug dealer is a minister. He pointed out that racketeers are spending millions of rupees of black money in their polls campaigns in recent Provincial Council polls aiming to obtain ruling party ticket in the upcoming general election.   He said the Parliament of Sri Lanka would soon become a center for the racketeers to launder black monies. Samaraweera pointed out that some close associates of President Mahinda Rajapakse that are contesting to the Southern Provincial Council election are spending massive amounts of money and one person even uses a helicopter. He also said that President Rajapakse's nephew Shashindra Rajapakse that contested for the Uva Provincial Council election spent a colossal amount of money well over Rs. 75 million (over US $ 650,000) for h

Ninety-one suspects die in police custody in Sri Lanka under current President Mahinda Rajapakse

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(September 10, 2009 - Lanka Polity) The number of suspects died while they are in police custody is increasing rapidly after present President Mahinda Rajapakse assumed duty including the portfolio of Minister of Defense, a report submitted by the government in the parliament said. Government Chief Whip Dinesh Gunawardhana in response to a question asked by Marxist nationalist People's Liberation Front (JVP) said that 91 suspects died in police custody since November 2005 to 16 August during the tenure of the present Minister of Defense. The number increased drastically as 11 persons died in 2006, 20 in 2007, 26 in 2008 and 32 in 2009 so far. A considerable number of suspects were killed recently by police citing that they were killed as they attempted to attack police and to escape whilst they had accompanied police to recover hidden weapons. Human rights organizations claim that this kind of police action amounts to extra-judicial killings.

Probe on Sri Lankan journalists in suspicion of ploy to kill the President

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(September 08, 2009 - Lanka Polity)   Sri Lanka state has begun an investigation on a newspaper company in relation to a ploy to assassinate the President or any other VIP including his brothers following three journalists of the newspaper were arrested near a mansion being constructed by the brother-in-law of the President Mahinda Rajapakse, reliable sources say. The mansion is constructed in a picturesque area in Deniyaya in the Southern Province and three journalists have been in investigative reporting on if the public property is being misused in the construction, newspaper sources say. Police arrested the three journalists and brought them to Colombo for further investigation detaining them under emergency regulations. The newspaper named 'Lanka' has close links with the Marxist nationalist People's Liberation Front (JVP) and the party that is supporting to the government to crush the Tamil nationalist rebellion has vowed to reconsider the support to pass the emer