“Jaffna Suicide Rate Increased After End Of War” by Asian Miror

“Daya Somasundaram, Professor of Psychiatry at Jaffna University said that suicide rate in Jaffna has gone up in the aftermath of the three decade long civil war in Sri Lanka.”

via: http://www.asianmirror.lk/news/item/2812-jaffna-suicide-rate-increased-after-end-of-war

“Statement on the violence directed the meeting held at the Centre for Society and Religion” by Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey

Statement by Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, on the violence directed the meeting held at the Centre for Society and Religion recently, during a meeting with the families of the disappeared.



source: Groundviews

“Indians in Singapore, 1819 -1945: Diaspora in the Colonial Port City”, a book by Dr Rajesh Rai


Singapore is home to Indian ethnic groups and Indian individuals have long made indelible marks on the nation. Indian Independence Day, celebrated annually on August 15th, commemorates India’s independence from Great Britain in 1947. “Indians in Singapore, 1819 -1945: Diaspora in the Colonial Port City”, a book by Dr Rajesh Rai (Assistant Professor, FASS South Asian Studies Programme), explores the Indian diaspora in colonial Singapore and reveals how this immigrant community affected and was affected by Singapore’s evolution.

Abstract: Indians in Singapore, 1819 -1945 is the first comprehensive study of the Indian diaspora in colonial Singapore. Drawing on administrative archives, intelligence reports, observer accounts, newspapers, oral testimonies, and community-based records, the book provides a meticulous historical account of the formation of the diaspora in the colonial port-city, and its socio-political, religious and cultural development from the advent of British colonial rule to the end of the Japanese occupation. Indians in Singapore examines how the conditions of living as a minority in a multi-ethnic port-city; changes in colonial ideologies, administration and economy; developments in information-communication technologies; and transnational religious and socio-political currents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, shaped Indian identity formations. What emerges is a fascinating account of how these Indian emigrants, by virtue of their unique vantage point in a frontier settlement that transformed into a metropolis of global significance, negotiated their position vis-à-vis the powers at hand and external processes in motion. In doing so, it reveals the distinct and complex nature of the historical journey of Indian migrants in the urban landscape of the colonial port-city – an aspect of diaspora studies that has received little attention in erstwhile scholarship.

Check out the links for more about the book!




“She gives us the confidence to do better”, Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne

15-year-old Fatheema Sulaika has lofty plans for her future. Study hard, become a psychologist, do her bit for mankind and hope that her example inspires oppressed women the world over. Needless to say, encountering such vibrant ambition down one of Slave Island’s drearier streets was rather unexpected.

See her story at http://bit.ly/VfavkO

These are the stories, homes, neighborhoods and lives of people the Ministry of Defence lumps together as slum and shanty dwellers.

“Prioritising Truth in Post-War Sri Lanka” by Bhavani Fonseka

Statements by families were emotional with several breaking down before the COI. During their submissions, they were reliving, yet again, the trauma of losing a loved one and the few minutes provided to them hardly do justice to what they have endeavoured. In addition, the questions posed to the families so far lack empathy in the context of deep trauma. Furthermore, statements made by some of the commissioners to the families insinuate the disappeared and/or the families themselves were at fault. This raises the question whether the COI and the Government’s version of truth telling is more damaging than helpful to the families with little evidence to show there is genuine concern to hear grievances of affected communities. And it raises the larger question whether the official narrative has already taken shape with no space for any other.

via: http://groundviews.org/2014/08/12/prioritising-truth-in-post-war-sri-lanka/

“If they relocated me, I’d be dead against it”, Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne

Our effort is to see a slums and shanties free Colombo in year 2020 says the Ministry of Defence.

To be clear about the terms used, a slum is a squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people or a house or building unfit for human habitation. A shanty is a small, crudely built shack.

A search on defence.lk for ‘slum’ yields 59 results to date, whereas ‘shanty’ brings up 39 results. Not a single of the nearly 100 stories on the site looks at the enforced relocation of those in areas like Slave Island and Java Lane, an inherently violent and traumatic process, from the perspectives of actual inhabitants.

Here’s one.

At 27 years old, Sugeeth Kumar is part of a generation of Slave Island’s young entrepreneurs. Tiring of the long hours his previous job at Pizza Hut required, he decided that if he must work so hard, he would do it on his own time and for his own business: vending prawn vadai – a popular Tamil fried food – out of a cart at the Galle Face Green Promenade.

See his story at http://www.movingimages.asia/2011/04/“if-they-relocated-me-i’d-be-dead-against-it”/

Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne, as part of Walkabout: Slave Island. Watch the trailer to this series below, and visit the Moving Images website for more stunning content on Sri Lanka.

“People like us will somehow make a living”, Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne

Our effort is to see a slums and shanties free Colombo in year 2020 says the Ministry of Defence. In doing so, the MoD violently erases those like Nazaruddin.

Nazaruddin speaks with pride about all he has achieved today but assures us that is difficult work, driven forward only by an instinct for survival. “You can’t survive in this place if you can’t make a living” he tells us with all the conviction of first-hand experience. Yet, he is prouder still of his community and his generation – the ones who didn’t have the good fortune of a good education and the opportunities that came with it. Cut from the same tough cloth, they are a people, he says, who will do whatever it takes to ensure their families never have to miss a single meal.

See http://www.movingimages.asia/2011/04/“people-like-us-will-somehow-make-a-living”/
Produced by Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne, as part of Walkabout: Slave Island. Watch the trailer to this series below, and visit the Moving Images website for more stunning content on Sri Lanka.

Also read http://groundviews.org/2014/08/08/slums-shanties-or-stories/

“Is Sri Lanka sinking in to an abyss of racism and apartheid?” by Riza Yehiya

More than twelve centuries of peaceful cohabitation between Buddhists and Muslims in Sri Lanka has made both communities interdependent. Therefore safety and security of the one lies in the safety and the security of the other mutually.

via: http://groundviews.org/2014/08/11/is-sri-lanka-sinking-in-to-an-abyss-of-racism-and-apartheid/

“U.N. Human Rights chief says access not a must for Sri Lanka war crimes probe” by Nita Bhalla

“It is important to understand that this investigation was set up for the benefit of all Sri Lankans, as an avenue to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation,” she said.
“It is in this context that the Human Rights Council-mandated investigation should be viewed, rather than being seen as a confrontation.”

via: https://in.news.yahoo.com/u-n-human-rights-chief-says-access-not-120813441.html

“Bishop of Mannar’s letter to Presidential Commission on Missing Persons” by Groundviews

As Ms. Navaneetham Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted in her report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014, the problem in Sri Lanka is one of lack of political will to end impunity. Despite knowing this acutely for many years now, I personally appeared before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and gave evidence. The Government has not acted seriously on any of the issues on which the Tamil people including myself gave evidence. Given this experience I find it impossible to draw myself to appear before your commission

via: http://groundviews.org/2014/08/11/bishop-of-mannars-letter-to-presidential-commission-on-missing-persons/

“Nigeria, Boko Haram and the ‘Sri Lankan Model’ of Counter-Insurgency” by Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice

“How do you end an armed insurgency?

In 2009, this question was answered by the Rajapaksa regime with a display of overwhelming brute force against LTTE-held areas in the North East of the country. Driven by an unwavering commitment to the total elimination of the enemy at any cost, an open disregard for international opinion, and a strong emphasis on the control of information from the battlefield, the ‘Sri Lankan Model’ of counter-insurgency as it is now known, has been a decisive factor in shaping Sri Lanka’s recent trajectory. Though drawing to a close the decades long civil war with the LTTE, its role in the commission of war crimes on a mass scale has also precipitated a new era in Sri Lanka’s history, marked by ongoing human rights abuses, impunity, authoritarianism, international isolation and a deeply unstable political settlement.”

via: http://blog.srilankacampaign.org/2014/07/nigeria-boko-haram-and-sri-lankan-model.html

“Sri Lanka deports members of Ahmadi community” by Al Jazeera

Sri Lanka has deported more than 80 Pakistani asylum seekers. Most of them are members of the persecuted Ahmadi community – a group that believes there was a prophet after the Prophet Muhammad, something sacrilegious to Muslims and illegal in Pakistan.

via: http://www.aljazeera.com/video/asia/2014/08/sri-lanka-deports-members-ahmadi-community-201481116572662203.html

“Hidden from view, Sri Lanka is trampling over the rights of its Tamil population” by Edward Mortimer

It may have gone unnoticed by the rest of the world, but within Sri Lanka the message has been received clearly and chillingly: while a fuss may be made about a well-connected Sinhalese activist, the government can do what it likes to the Tamil population in the north and no one will lift a finger.

via: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/hidden-from-view-sri-lanka-is-trampling-over-the-rights-of-its-tamil-population-9662359.html

“Verifying user generated content online: Rough guides in Tamil, Sinhala and English” by Groundviews

The poor mainstream media coverage of the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama in June 2014 was a vacuum filled, in large-part, by content published in real-time and for weeks after the violence on the web and online social media fora.

This volume, variety and velocity of perspectives and content, while in the main insightful and bearing witness to inconvenient truths, nevertheless featured partially correct or downright false information, paraded as fact and shared widely.

Amnesty International‘s Citizen Evidence Lab was launched in early July, and intends to support human rights researchers and advocates to better take advantage of the new digital data-streams emanating from conflict zones and other human rights hot spots. It is an online space to share best practices, techniques and tools for authenticating user-generated content for human rights defense.

Given how timely and useful information on this blog was for journalists and citizens connected to online media in Sri Lanka, GroundviewsVikalpa andMaatram are pleased to release, with the permission of Amnesty, Tamil and Sinhala translations of key content published to date. Topics and content relevant to Sri Lanka’s domestic context, as and when published on the site, will be translated into Tamil and Sinhala.

Access the content via http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=746409e6de7b1c2a97474620a&id=92cd9551f9

“A blow-by-blow commentary of the mob attack on families of disappeared” by Khana

On the 4th of August a private sharing of experiences session organized by civil society inside the Centre for Society and Religion [CSR] is disrupted by an organized gang led by what appeared to be a group of Buddhist monks.”

via: http://groundviews.org/2014/08/07/a-blow-by-blow-commentary-of-the-mob-attack-on-families-of-disappeared/