5 Reports

SL military claims village-level sweeping powers over civil officers in Vanni

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 April 2020, 22:09 GMT]
The occupying SL Army, a predominantly Sinhala force, has brought more than two hundred Village (GS/GN) Officers and village-level Samurdhi Development officers, most of them Tamils, under its control citing instructions from SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to monitor the delivery of relief measures caused by the COVID-19 lockdown. The SL Army, which convened a meeting on Wednesday, instructed the village-level civil officials to accompany the soldiers on a house-to-house control operation. The public officials are severely disrupted from carrying out their work according to their priorities as they are being forced to accompany the soldiers in their surveillance-style control of civil affairs in Vanni, a group of GS officers told TamilNet.
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Colombo uses COVID-19 situation to militarise civil administration in North

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 April 2020, 20:19 GMT]
The Community Based Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations involved in assisting the people, who have lost their livelihood due to the long-lasting curfew imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, are complaining about military restrictions hampering their work in Jaffna. The occupying SL military has beefed up its checkpoints on the main highways that connect peninsular Jaffna with the Vanni mainland and the rest of the island. The SL soldiers operating the Elephant Pass (EPS) and Poonakari (Pooneryn) checkpoints are refusing to accept the documents provided to the organisations even though the SL Police has sanctioned such permits at the request of Village (GS) and Divisional Secretaries in the public sector.
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84,000 families face livelihood hardships due to curfew restrictions in Jaffna district

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 April 2020, 22:46 GMT]
Although the SL President announced that Samurdhi beneficiaries and Samurdhi cardholders would receive an interest-free advance of Rs 10,000 ($50) per family, the progress is at snail's pace in Jaffna and the Northern province, officials at the District Secretariat in Jaffna said. People below the island-wide poverty line are entitled to the Samurdhi beneficiary programmes. Currently, there are 72,000 families registered under the Samurdhi programme in Jaffna district. Around 12,000 more applications are pending for approval, sources at the District Secretariat said.
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GMOA criticises Colombo’s Health Ministry for inadequate COVID-19 testing capacity

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 April 2020, 22:08 GMT]
The SL Health Ministry of the unitary state system of Colombo, which is primarily responsible for the provision of comprehensive health services in the public sector has claimed that it was possible to conduct COVID-19 testing for 750 to 1,000 persons daily. However, the examination is underperformed in the population, according to the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA). The public sector medical institutions are conducting 250 tests or even less than that, according to Dr Samantha Ananda, the spokesperson of the GMOA.
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Prospects for South Asia crises management look dim: US expert on China

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 April 2020, 22:11 GMT]
China and India, with regional hegemonic ambitions, are increasingly at loggerheads with each other and the distrust and hostility between them run deep, especially after the Trump Administration streamlined its US Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS). On the surface, the diplomatic relationship between the two countries may look like as if they were seeking formal rapprochement with each other. However, the trajectory of the bilateral relationship is full of “distrust and hedging,” observes Yun Sun, who is China Program Director of Stimson Center, a prominent US think-tank based in Washington DC. “In light of the prevailing great-power competition between Beijing and Washington, however, crisis management in South Asia is probably another case of collateral damage,” she observes in a recent commentary piece, titled “China’s Strategic Assessment of India”.
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