News Category: Mannar
  • Colombo detains ITAK youth leader cum editor after criticism on PTA arrests
  •    [ Apr 27, 2016 19:15:20 GMT ] [ TamilNet ]

        The notorious 'Terrorist' Investigation Division (TID), operated by the 'Defence Ministry' of genocidal Sri Lanka has arrested V.S. Sivakaran, the Youth Wing secretary of Ilangkai Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK) and the editor of Tamil weekly ‘Puthiyavan’ on Wednesday afternoon at the paper office located on Mannaar Main street. Sivakaran's arrest is an attempt to suppress criticism being levelled against the abduction-styled arrests taking place in the Tamil homeland, journalists in North said. The arrest comes 2 days after Sivakaran went on record strongly condemning the PTA based arrests that have taken place in the North and East. [ Full Report ]

  • Road & rail link between India's Rameswaram and Sri Lanka's Thalaimannar could be a reality soon!
  •    [ Aug 04, 2015 23:26:16 GMT ] [ Economic Times ]

        A road and rail link between India's Rameswaram and Sri Lanka's Thalaimannar could be a reality soon as the government of India has asked Asian Development Bank to carry out pre-feasibility study for financing the project across Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. A short boat ride used to connect the railway lines that ended at Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka and Dhanushkodi in India, which was in operation till 1966. [ Full Report ]

  • Mid-sea fight threatens to jeopardise bilateral talks between Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka fishermen
  •    [ Mar 03, 2015 16:33:14 GMT ] [ ToI ]

        "Sri Lankan fishermen are very upset that their Indian counterparts are destroying their marine wealth and fishing gear in spite of repeated appeals. They alleged that our fishermen attacked them in mid-sea and it appears they are thoroughly antagonised," U Arulanandam of Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen from Pamban said.Justin Soysa, president of Federation of Mannar District Fishermen Associations in Sri Lanka, said the atrocities of Indian fishermen were increasing by the day.On Sunday, Karaikal fishermen passed a resolution agreeing not to trespass into Sri Lankan waters. [ Full Report ]

  • Mannar Demands Justice For The Missing…
  •    [ Feb 01, 2015 13:56:09 GMT ] [ Sunday Leader ]

        The previous government launched several investigations and even appointed a presidential commission to look into the complaints related to missing persons during the war in order to help the friends and relatives of the missing persons to find as to what happened to them – and also to establish truth and to help them move on. However, many have observed that these investigations and the commission have not led anywhere in terms of giving relief to those who were affected by the war. The mothers of forcibly-disappeared persons still lament on streets holding placards demanding the government to establish truth and give them answers. [ Full Report ]

  • Will there be “Maithree” and “Yahapalanaya” for Navy occupied Mullikulam?
  •    [ Jan 24, 2015 10:23:06 GMT ] [ GV ]

        Last week, I went to Mullikulam, a beautiful and resourceful village in the Mannar district, which has been illegally occupied by the Navy for more than 7 years. It was my first visit for more than a year. The people didn’t seem to have any fresh hopes of reuniting as one community, regaining their lost lands, houses, fishing and agricultural activities and being close to the school and historical church they are devoted to. Access to the Catholic Church in Mullikulam is still restricted and appears to be getting worse. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka ex-warzone church prepares for first papal tour
  •    [ Jan 12, 2015 6:29:10 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        A small church nestled in a Sri Lankan wildlife reserve was on the frontline of the island's decades-long civil war, but is now preparing for the first ever papal visit seen as a beacon of harmony. The Our Lady of Madhu church is a pilgrimage destination in the island's north for Catholics from both the Tamil and the majority Sinhalese communities, making it a rare symbol of reconciliation in a country riven by ethnic and religious divisions. [ Full Report ]

  • Interest in resettlement cost life to Nakuleswaran
  •    [ Nov 17, 2014 19:45:29 GMT ] [ TamilNet ]

        Funeral of assassinated Krishnasamy Nakuleswaran was held on Sunday at his village, Eekam-kudiyiruppu (settlement of sacrifice), at Ve’l’laang-ku’lam in Mannaar. 15 uniformed SL military men were busy taking photographs from different corners at the funeral and 70 of the 200 participants were intelligence operatives on surveillance assignment, residents told TamilNet Sunday. While many people believed that the SL military intelligence had chosen a target to create fear psychosis among the families of Tamil Heroes, the residents of the village were of the opinion that Nakuleswaran’s interest in working for the proper resettlement of his people had cost him his life. [ Full Report ]

  • U.S. Trade Delegation Discuss Business Training, Partnerships For Sri Lankan Women
  •    [ Oct 17, 2014 14:16:06 GMT ] [ US Embassy, Colombo ]

        Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Michael Delaney speaks with Neela Marikkar, Chairperson from The Grant Group, to discuss the launch of the “War Widows Project” in partnership with the Ministry for Industry & Commerce. The project is supported through nearly 15 million Sri Lankan Rupees from the United States to open handloom training centers and entrepreneurship training for widows in Mannar and Mullaitivu. Two of the centers were opened in May 2013, where more than 60 widows underwent six months of training on handloom techniques and money management. [ Full Report ]

  • Amid Violence, Returning to Elections in Sri Lanka After a Void
  •    [ Sep 21, 2013 14:56:51 GMT ] [ New York Times ]

        The thugs first appeared around 11:20 on Thursday night, a dozen or so men lurking outside her house. Two wore army uniforms.Ananthi Sasitharan — a Tamil candidate in the first provincial elections to be held in 25 years in the former insurgent stronghold here — said she had woken up her three daughters and prepared for the worst. She called a few friends, who soon appeared and persuaded her and her daughters to sneak out the back. It was a good thing they left. [ Full Report ]

  • Freedom of assembly in post-war Sri Lanka
  •    [ May 16, 2013 21:31:46 GMT ] [ Groundviews ]

        The war in Sri Lanka ended on 18th May 2009. During three decades of war, civil liberties were severely curtailed, often in an arbitrary manner, without possibilities of challenging them or seeking remedies through independent bodies. The Ministry of Defense, the military and police reigned supreme. Even judicial discretion was curtailed, with the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) compelling Judges to obey wishes of the Ministry of Defense and the police through the Attorney General’s department when it came to remanding people, bail etc. The PTA remains as a dreaded legal weapon in the hands of the government to use against it’s peaceful opponents. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lankan bishop shrugs off Tamil separatist charges
  •    [ Apr 26, 2013 13:46:38 GMT ] [ UCA News ]

        A Catholic bishop responded today to allegations by local media accusing him and the Church of engaging in a conspiracy to promote a separate Tamil state in collaboration with representatives of the Indian government.“I have neither stood for the separation of the country nor at any time rejected any viable political solution to the national question,” said Bishop Rayappu Joseph, who serves as the vice chairman of the Catholic National Commission for Justice, Peace and Human Development. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's Northern rail rebuilding on track: IRCON India
  •    [ Apr 25, 2013 12:52:59 GMT ] [ LBO ]

        A 43 kilometre stretch of Sri Lanka's Northern Railway line has been re-built to allow trains to be run up to a speed of 120 kilometres, Ircon, an Indian state-run transport engineering firm said.On April 24, a 43 kilometre stretch running from Madawachchiya to Madhu Road station was tested by a trial run, Ircon said in a statement. "The trial run was successful and comfortable and we are very pleased that this phase of the project has been completed," S L Gupta, general manager of IRCON International said in a statement. [ Full Report ]

  • SRI LANKA: Mannar Bishop denies 'separation' seeks 'viable political solution'
  •    [ Apr 22, 2013 13:06:26 GMT ] [ AHRC ]

        Bishop of Mannar, Most Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph said he never stood for the separation of the country nor rejected any viable political solution to the national question. The Bishop made this statement in response to the lead story published in The Nation last week titled "Mannar Bishop, TNA Resurrect LTTE's ISGA Demand".In this context, I have neither stood for the separation of the country nor at any time rejected any viable political solution to the national question. Therefore, your report is totally Inaccurate and misleading. [ Full Report ]

  • France sees signs of communal tensions in northern Sri Lanka
  •    [ Jan 17, 2013 13:48:14 GMT ] [ Xinhua ]

        France said Thursday that there are signs of communal tensions in northern Sri Lanka, particularly in the town of Mannar. French Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Christine Robichon, in a statement said that she had toured the areas where both the Tamil and Muslim communities displaced by the war, are being resettled including recently reopened part of the former high security zone in Jaffna. [ Full Report ]

  • Drought hits northern rice farmers
  •    [ Oct 18, 2012 10:21:29 GMT ] [ IRIN ]

        fficials in northern Sri Lanka’s Vavuniya District say 60 percent of the rice harvest could be lost if the dry weather continues. “In Mannar District [in the north] we have records indicating that between 5,000 to 6,000 paddy hectares of the cultivated 10,000 are lost,” Ravi Vinanithambi, an environment officer for the North East Reawakening Programme (NERP - part of the Ministry of Economic Development), told IRIN. [ Full Report ]

  • Who burnt houses of returning Muslim IDPs in Mannar?
  •    [ Sep 15, 2012 1:18:32 GMT ] [ GroundViews ]

        “We feel for our Muslim neighbours, but they have at least been permitted to return to their own lands, we are still waiting. And as we have faced a lot of difficulty to come this far, we can’t afford to risk it all by taking sides at the moment. So we’d rather not say anything further on the issue,” said a Tamil villager from the Malankaadu temporary resettlement camp. On the 3rd of September when they were awaiting the Navy water bowser which was later than usual to make their daily delivery to the camp, the camp Coordinator had called the Navy to find out the cause for the delay. [ Full Report ]

  • AG finds evidence to file action against minister
  •    [ Aug 08, 2012 13:08:27 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        The Attorney General’s Department has found sufficient evidence in the police report to file charges against Minister Rishard Bathiudeen over allegations that he had threatened the Mannar Magistrate on July 18, the Daily Mirror learns. An AG’s Department source said yesterday a preliminary study of the the CID report had indicated there was a prima-facie case against Minister Bathiudeen over his alleged involvement in organising the Mannar protests and threatening Mannar Magistrate and District Judge Anthonypillai Judeson. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka judges boycott courts over political interference
  •    [ Jul 20, 2012 18:24:40 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        Courts across Sri Lanka were paralysed on Friday as judges and lawyers staged a boycott to protest alleged political interference with the judiciary, activists said. The influential Bar Association of Sri Lanka stayed away from courts to protest the alleged intimidation of a magistrate in the island's northwestern town of Mannar earlier in the week. "Courts across the court did not function today because of the protest," secretary of the Judges' Association, Pradeep Jayatillake told AFP. "We endorse the move by the Bar Association to stay away from hearings today." [ Full Report ]

  • TNA protest against Army in Mannar
  •    [ Jul 09, 2012 10:37:24 GMT ] [ Hindu ]

        Meanwhile in Mannar, on Saturday, the Tamil National Alliance organised a protest, against appropriation of land by security forces, and the ‘pass’ system for fishing in the northern province. “We are also Sri Lankans. Let us live peacefully,” read a placard. The protest, organised in Mannar, is the third such in a series that the TNA has planned. The Alliance alleges that about a fifth of the land in Mannar district has been taken over for military purposes. [ Full Report ]

  • Military bars Tamils from their homes
  •    [ Jun 26, 2012 17:24:53 GMT ] [ UCAN News ]

        Military personnel evicted more than 45 internally displaced Catholic Tamils in northern Sri Lanka over the weekend, saying they needed permission from the Defense Ministry to resettle in their own homes. The families had returned to the church housing project on Mannar island two weeks ago, after fleeing civil war violence in 2008. Naval officers said they not been informed about the resettlement, villagers reported. “The military asked us to vacate the resettled housing scheme before midnight, and we walked over five kilometers with our children to the church,” said Pius Ananthakumar Asuntha. [ Full Report ]

  • It is not just the diaspora or Tamil Nadu people who are up against Sinhala chauvinism
  •    [ Jun 01, 2012 12:08:44 GMT ] [ Weekend Leader ]

        On February 14, more than 500 fisher men from Mannar came to the streets to protest against the fuel price hike and other related issues. The message is very clear: it is not just the Diaspora Tamils or Tamils in Tamil Nadu who are coming to the streets to protest against the atrocities of the Sri Lankan state, the Eelam Tamils too are beginning to raise their voice. [ Full Report ]

  • Bishop of Mannar may disappear and it is for the Pope and the world to take note of
  •    [ May 12, 2012 10:44:38 GMT ] [ Weekend Leader ]

        This is an urgent appeal to prevent the possible assassination/ ‘disappearance’ of the outspoken Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, his fellow Catholic priests in the North and East, and others, who call themselves ‘Civil Society’, who are the only voices of the Tamil people in this part of Sri Lanka. I write, not as a concerned Christian, but as a concerned human being, to apprise the international community, including the Pope, of what might happen in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, as it likes to call itself. [ Full Report ]

  • India to help in rehabilitating Lanka''s Industrial Zone
  •    [ Dec 09, 2011 13:33:10 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        India today said it will undertake a major infrastructure project to rehabilitate the Atchchuvely Industrial Zone (AIZ) in Tamil-dominated Jaffna district at a cost of USD 1.7 million. The objective of the project is to assist potential investors to commence business ventures by providing for required infrastructure and utilities at the AIZ, the Indian High Commission here said. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's half million mines will take a decade to clear
  •    [ Sep 21, 2011 9:56:56 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        Post-war Sri Lanka will need another decade to clear the half million landmines which lie buried under swathes of agricultural and forest land and around villages in the north of the island nation, the head of a demining group said. The country is in its third year of peace after government forces defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers in a civil war which lasted a quarter of a century, killing and injuring tens of thousands of people. "Based on our current clearance rates, there are perhaps half a million landmines that need to be cleared," said Nigel Robinson, country head of the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), which has cleared 60,000 mines since 2002. [ Full Report ]

  • Abductions shock Mannaar, relatives of victim confront white van
  •    [ Jan 07, 2011 12:04:10 GMT ] [ TamilNet ]

        Sinhala-speaking armed men in white-van rushed through Mannaar abducting four males, one of them a Muslim youth, Jaharil Jazeel. The episode resulted in a confrontation between the relatives of Mr. Jazeel and the abductors, exposing the level of top-hierarchy involvement of Sri Lankan defense authorities in the chain of abductions. Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Army and Police guarding the Mannaar Bridge withdrew their security, allowing the abductors to proceed southwards after seeing a piece of paper produced by the men right in front of the victim’s relatives, who were chasing the white van in four three-wheelers. [ Full Report ]

  • Bishop seeks equal aid for Tamil refugees
  •    [ Sep 30, 2010 10:16:03 GMT ] [ UCAN ]

        A Tamil bishop in Sri Lanka has appealed to authorities for equal distribution of aid and cash grants to resettled families. “Deal fairly with all refugees as they had lost virtually every possession they owned to the war,” Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar diocese appealed to state officials in a recent meeting on Sep.21. The World food Program sponsors some 300,000 refugees. Each family is eligible to a food ration card. Non-food items are distributed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. [ Full Report ]

  • ICRC office shut
  •    [ Sep 10, 2010 10:09:21 GMT ] [ Daily Mirror ]

        Following a review of its operations more than one year after the end of active hostilities the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will close its office in the Mannar district at the end of November. "Recognising the lasting impact of armed conflict on people's lives and the importance of support in the early stages of recovery and reconstruction, the ICRC continues to respond to humanitarian needs in the area", Paul Castella, the head of the ICRC in Sri Lanka said. [ Full Report ]

  • Mannar - Tamil misery continues
  •    [ Aug 29, 2010 13:56:50 GMT ] [ BBC Sinhala ]

        Broken, torn buildings tower over the tiny UNHCR tents on the gardens and court yards. Hanging clothes, pots and pans and carry bags scattered around the land show signs of civilian life. Thirty years of war has taken a lot from the lives of the Mannar farmers and they still await a sense of security. “Be careful and watch your mouth. The government security forces are vigilant and they do not like us talking to outsiders," my hosts warned. [ Full Report ]

  • Colombo accelerates Sinhalicisation of Madu
  •    [ May 10, 2010 22:32:25 GMT ] [ TamilNet ]

        Colombo has launched a large scale Sinhala colonisation at Madu Road Junction, located on Mannaar-Madawachchi Road, which branches off the main route to Madu shrine, situated in the middle of traditional Tamil area, by officially claiming to "resettle" 80 Sinhalese families after renovating a Buddhist temple into a large Vihara at the junction. Categorising the Sinhalese settlers as "Internally Displaced Persons," the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry officials said the Sinhalese "IDPs" had met Resettlement Minister Milroy Fernando and G.A. Chandrasri, the former SLA commander of Jaffna, who is serving as the Northern Province Governor, with the Chief Incumbent Buddhist Monk of the Vihara. Caritas, a Catholic agency for justice, peace and development has been pressurised to construct the houses for the Sinhalese settlers. [ Full Report ]

  • Relatives call for disappearance probe
  •    [ May 01, 2010 21:48:37 GMT ] [ BBC Sinhala ]

        A group of residents from Pesalai, Mannar urge the government to provide information about their loved ones who disappeared during the war. The relatives of those disappeared made this appeal at a media conference summoned by the Inter University Student Union. The relatives spoke to the media on the condition of anonymity. A mother said her son disappeared when he came to Colombo in 2008. She said she complained to the police, Human Rights Commission and Tamil politicians but so far she did not get any information about her son. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka to start ocean survey in oil search
  •    [ Feb 24, 2010 10:15:44 GMT ] [ LBO ]

        Cairn India which is exploring for oil in Sri Lankan waters is to start gathering meteorological data and monitor ocean currents next month ahead of a test drilling programme, an official said. The sub-contract for the 'metocean and currents survey' in the Gulf of Mannar, off the island's north-west is to be awarded soon, said Neil de Silva, head of Sri Lanka's petroleum resources development secretariat overseeing exploration efforts. "You might see a ship going out next month to put instruments in the sea and collect data such as wave heights and ocean current strengths in the drilling area." [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka wants more players in oil race
  •    [ Dec 12, 2009 12:54:58 GMT ] [ AFP ]

        Sri Lanka plans to offer three more blocks off the island's northwestern shores for oil exploration, the government said on Saturday. "We need more players in the oil exploration race and the government plans to call for tenders for three more blocks off the Gulf of Mannar early next year," Petroleum Resources Minister A.H.M. Fowzie told AFP. Cairn India, a unit of Britain's Cairn Energy Plc, began a 100 million-dollar seismic survey off Sri Lanka's northwestern coast earlier in the week to explore for crude oil. In the 1970s, overseas companies explored areas off Sri Lanka's northwest coast but failed to find any oil and gas reserves worth exploiting commercially. [ Full Report ]

  • Mannar, the drama of 2 thousand widows with no means to survive
  •    [ Nov 15, 2009 6:45:04 GMT ] [ Spero news ]

        Mannar - Marginalized by society, the object of scorn, deprived of a job, often with young children or elderly dependents and no economic support. This is the condition of more than 2 thousand widows in the district of Mannar in northern Sri Lanka, who are living a double tragedy: they have lost their husbands in many cases to the war, and have been abandoned by the government. And, in the heart, they have only one desire: " to start living like everyone else." [ Full Report ]

  • Tamil refugees going home to an open prison
  •    [ Sep 15, 2009 16:19:20 GMT ] [ Asia News ]

        In villages in Mannar district, the government’s ‘Northern Reawakening’ programme has not brought promised changes. Homes are still broken; services are non-existent, and freedom of movement still limited by heavy military presence. Their homes are broken, fields cannot be farmed, and the soldiers are everywhere. There are no basic services and the situation is such that in villages like Kokkupadayan primary school children, all 80 of them, have no chairs or desks to study with. [ Full Report ]

  • Tens of thousands gather at Sri Lanka's Catholic shrine
  •    [ Aug 15, 2009 12:55:09 GMT ] [ IANS ]

        Over 400,000 devotees have gathered in Sri Lanka's northern Mannar district Saturday to participate in an annual religious festival, military officials said. The festivities at the Madhu Church, the holiest shrine for the island's Catholic minority, ends Sunday. This was the first large gathering at the church since government troops liberated the northern and eastern provinces from the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lankan writer among three refugees rescued by Navy
  •    [ Jul 15, 2009 11:27:57 GMT ] [ CoL ]

        A Sri Lankan Tamil writer was among three refugees rescued by the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and local fishermen after they were stranded near an island off Tamil Nadu's Rameswaram coast. The writer, K Thirunavukkarassu, and the other two were rescued and brought to shore yesterday following information that three persons were stranded near Iyantham Thittu, a sand dune, near Rameswaram, a police release said here today. During their questioning by police, the three said they came by a boat from Mannar in Sri Lanka and the boatmen had dropped them near the island. [ Full Report ]

  • Free detained Tamils for Marian feast, bishop urges
  •    [ Jul 09, 2009 3:55:11 GMT ] [ UCAN ]

        The bishop of Mannar in the country’s Northern Province has called for displaced Tamils to be allowed to leave government camps to celebrate the feast of the Assumption at the revered Madhu Marian shrine. “Allow all to the shrine, including refugees detained in camps,” Bishop Rayappu Joseph demanded on July 2, speaking to reporters in Mannar the day another religious celebration at Madhu was cancelled for security reasons. “More than 300,000 Tamils now held in welfare centers would be denied the opportunity to attend the feast day,” he said. The government has not allowed them to leave since it announced the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and end of the 25-year civil war in mid-May. [ Full Report ]

  • Oil, gas exploration in Mannar basin to commence by December
  •    [ Jun 24, 2009 11:58:12 GMT ] [ Island ]

        Seismic studies by Cairn Lanka, to explore oil and gas in the Mannar Basin, are to commence by the end of this year, informed sources said yesterday. "The 3D deep and ultra deep sea seismic studies will be conducted in the Mannar Basin, a frontier petroleum province that is yet to be explored. It would cover approximately 3000 Km2 in water depths of 200 meters to 1800 meters. The work programme includes proposals to acquire 5000 kilometres of 2D, 1000 km2 of 3D seismic and drill three wells in the first three years, of the eight year exploration period." [ Full Report ]

  • 19 Sri Lankan refugees rescued
  •    [ Jun 04, 2009 4:23:36 GMT ] [ PTI ]

        Nineteen Sri Lankan refugees from Mannar and Vavuniya, including five of a family, were rescued by Indian naval personnel today from the fifth isle near here in two separate operations, naval officials said. R N Sharma, Naval area commander, told reporters here that they received information from fishermen here about a refugee family of five members lying unconscious in a boat off the fifth isle. Naval personnel then proceeded ed to the spot and rescued them early this morning. They were given first aid at the naval office here before being handed over to police, he said. [ Full Report ]

  • Caritas Hopes Pilgrims Can Visit Madhu Shrine At Christmas
  •    [ Nov 13, 2008 17:13:10 GMT ] [ UCAN ]

        Following a visit to Our Lady of Madhu Shrine in embattled northern Sri Lanka, a team of Caritas officials wants the government to do what is necessary so pilgrims can visit the shrine before Christmas. Father Damien Fernando, director of Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC (Social and Economic Development Center), told UCA News on Nov. 7 in Colombo that they hope to draw the government's attention to the condition of the shrine, the power supply cutoff due to the war and the prevalence of malaria in the area. [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka's holiest Catholic shrine empty
  •    [ Nov 07, 2008 16:00:20 GMT ] [ AP ]

        Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims once visited Sri Lanka's holiest Catholic shrine, but the church now lies empty because the military ordered worshippers to stay away after seizing the area from the Tamil Tiger rebels. Only 12 people _ two priests, three nuns and seven workers _ remain at the shrine of the Our Lady of Madhu. The church is home to a 450-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary, believed to have miraculous healing powers, and is located in territory controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels until six months ago. The army took control in April and has restricted visits to the shrine, saying land mines threaten the safety of pilgrims. [ Full Report ]

  • Suspected Tamil Tiger airstrike in Sri Lanka: military
  •    [ Oct 28, 2008 18:08:29 GMT ] [ Reuters ]

        A suspected airstrike by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels targeted a military base in northwestern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, military sources said. "One LTTE aircraft was airborne and dropped bombs on Mannar area military headquarters. We are checking on reports of damage and casualties," a military official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters. Another official confirmed the strike. [ Full Report ]

  • 18 Sri Lankan refugees reach Dhanuskodi
  •    [ Sep 27, 2008 10:14:13 GMT ] [ Express Buzz ]

        Eighteen refugees from Sri Lanka landed on Arichalmunai, Dhanuskodi, bringing the total number of refugees who have reached Rameswaram this month to 133, according to aid agencies. The refugees, who had travelled in a small fishing boat from Mannar, reached Arichalmunai on Wednesday night in a group that included at least seven children. One of them was a oneyear old, brought to India by his widowed mother wrapped in a large polythene bag. “The sea was terribly rough and being a small boat, we were completely drenched throughout the journey,” the woman’s 18-year-old brother said. [ Full Report ]

  • Musali Muslims fear Sinhala colonisation
  •    [ Sep 24, 2008 4:07:04 GMT ] [ Morning Leader ]

        Muslims displaced from the Musali area in the Mannar District expressed fears that the government would systematically settle Sinhalese there. President of the Musali People’s Parliament (MPP), S.M.A. Niyas told The Morning Leader that the government, which was supposed to resettle around 57 Muslim families in Musali by September 22 had not done so. He added that the government had not given a reason for not resettling the families. "That is why we fear that the government would now try to systematically allow Sinhalese to settle in these areas. This is similar to what had happened in the east as well," he said. [ Full Report ]

  • Vatican denies state media report
  •    [ Sep 23, 2008 2:27:31 GMT ] [ BBC Sinhala ]

        Vatican has denied Sri Lanka state media reports in saying that it has commended the president for 'liberating' the sacred Madhu shrine in Mannar. In a statement, handed to journalists in Colombo by opposition parliamentarian Jayalath Jayawardene on 22 September, the Vatican has denied Cardinal Francis Arinze making such a comment. A state owned Daily news report published in the Sri Lankan defence ministry website quoted the visiting Vatican Cardinal Francis Arinsay as saying that "Catholics should be grateful to President for liberating Madhu". [ Full Report ]

  • Sri Lanka, relief officials discuss war aid
  •    [ Sep 13, 2008 3:19:03 GMT ] [ AP ]

        The government and international aid groups worked Friday to reach a deal to get emergency food aid to 160,000 civilians displaced by Sri Lanka's raging civil war in the wake of a ban on relief agencies in rebel-held areas. Aid workers were meeting top government officials Friday evening to find a way to continue sending desperately needed relief into the rebel areas, said Jeevan Thayagarajah, executive director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies, an umbrella group for relief groups. The talks were expected to take several days, he said. Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the talks were led by Basil Rajapaksa, a senior adviser to his brother, President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Basil Rajapaksa did not immediately return a call for comment. [ Full Report ]

  • Cairn to invest $110 million for exploration in Sri Lanka
  •    [ Sep 11, 2008 11:11:08 GMT ] [ Business Standard ]

        Cairn India’s subsidiary has got into an agreement with Board of Investment of Sri Lanka to invest $110 million for exploration of hydrocarbons.The subsidiary company Cairn Lanka will do the exploration in an offshore block (SL 2007-01-001) North West Sri Lanka and cover 3000 square kilometer in water depths of 200 metres to 1800 metres in the Mannar basin. The block was awarded to Cairn India in the recent Sri Lanka bid round, informed the company to Bombay Stock Exchange. [ Full Report ]

  • LTTE confronts SLA, recovers 7 bodies
  •    [ Sep 02, 2008 11:07:50 GMT ] [ TamilNet ]

        The Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) officials on Tuesday said their fighting formations confronted the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) that attempted to advance towards Naachchikkudaa, a fishing port in the Kariyaalai-Naakapaduvaan division of Ki'linochchi district, from Muzhangkaavil since Monday noon. Claiming that the SLA advancement was thwarted, the Tigers said they have located at least 7 bodies of SLA soldiers who were killed in action. [ Full Report ]

  • 5000 Tigers left for eradication — Army
  •    [ Aug 13, 2008 11:12:57 GMT ] [ Morning Leader ]

        With journalists barred from the conflict zone, it is impossible to tell if the Tigers have suffered losses or retreated to avoid confronting the army. But if the army is on the point of victory, the question is: at what price? Madhu, for example, has been recaptured, but the locals — mostly Tamil farmers — have all fled to India or rebel-held areas. Even if they do return, their homes are destroyed, the local economy is non-existent and the army’s heavy-handed tactics have fuelled resentment in the Tamil community...The European Union has gone further, threatening to withdraw the trade benefits that allow Sri Lanka to export garments to the EU duty-free. That could cost tens of thousands of jobs. [ Full Report ]

  • Visits To Madhu Shrine Frustrated After Marian Statue's Return
  •    [ Aug 13, 2008 10:56:57 GMT ] [ UCAN ]

        Devotees are being prevented from visiting the Our Lady of Madhu Shrine after its revered Marian statue was recently returned. An army roadblock on the road to the Madhu shrine is keeping them from reaching the place. The army is not allowing civilians to travel the last 50 kilometers to the shrine, so carloads of hopeful pilgrims, reportedly about 100 thus far, are being kept waiting at St. Joseph's Church in Medawachchiya village. "The public still are not allowed to go to the Madhu church. They are staying in our churchyard." His church is 190 kilometers northeast of Colombo. [ Full Report ]

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