Lankan Tamil businessman floats “Sri Lanka BJP” aimed at socio-economic development of all

A Colombo-based Tamil hotelier of Indian Origin, Velusamy Muthuswamy, has announced the formation of a political party called Ilankai Bharatiya Janatha Katchi (IBJK) to further the socio-economic development of all Sri Lankans, especially the Tamils in the plantation areas and the war-torn Northern and Eastern provinces.

It will promote education, multiple language skills, sports and entrepreneurship, Muthuswamy said.

He made the announcement in Jaffna in Northern Sri Lanka on Saturday. Muthuswamy told the Jaffna media that that radio journalist M.Indrajith will be the party General Secretary and V.Dilan, a businessman, will be the Treasurer. The party would be known in English as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Party (SLBJP) and in Sinhala as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Paksaya (SLBJP).

Secular and Multi-ethnic

Releasing the party’s manifesto Muthuswamy said that the IBJP will be a trans-ethnic and trans-religious party and would be open to all ethnic and religious groups. It will work for the welfare of the downtrodden in all communities.

Cooperation Not Confrontation

Muthuswamy told this correspondent that the IBJK will not take a confrontational path to achieve its aims but will seek the help of the Sri Lankan government and foreign governments to fulfil it aims.

“Confrontation with the government has not yielded results in Sri Lanka. Cooperation is the only way forward. This was acknowledged even by R.Chanakayan, an MP belonging to the ITAK(Federal Party), in a recent interview,” he pointed out.

The IBJP’s aim will be to uplift educational standards among Indian Origin Tamils and the Tamils in the war-affected Northern and Eastern Provinces, he said.

“Educational standards are poor among the Indian Origin Tamils in the plantation areas and have fallen steeply in Jaffna. The Ilankai Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to seek and provide facilities to teach English and also Sinhala as these two languages are essential to get employment. I will also get businessmen to teach entrepreneurship.”

He pointed out that the Tamils are nowhere in Sri Lankan sports. “This is because there are no facilities for sports development in the areas they live in or the schools they go to. I consider sports a necessary appendage of education,” he said.

Family Background

It is his family background which has made him focus on education. “ I am 73. Three generations ago my family was in the plantations as workers. But I broke away from servitude by setting up a hotel (eatery) and a bar and followed these up with a travel agency. I utilized my earnings to educate my nine children, four of whom are now doctors. At the request of my educated children I closed the bar and kept the hotel. I opened a ticketing agency which has world-wide connections. I want other Tamils to follow my example,” the entrepreneur said.

Why Political Party?

Asked why form a political party to achieve non-political aims like education and sports, Muthuswamy said that governments and foreign missions will open their doors to his organization more readily if it is a political party with political potential.

He denied that the Ilankai Bharatiya Janatha Katchi has anything to do with the Indian BJP. “There is no link with India’s BJP so far. But I admire Mr.Modi. His schemes are progressive and he is achieving results.”

SLPP’s Bid and Deb’s Declaration

Some months back, the Chief Organizer of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Basil Rajapaksa, had told the media that he would like to organize the SLPP on the lines of the BJP in India and the Communist Party of China apparently to instil discipline and ideological consistency in the cadres of the SLPP to ensure political success. However, the SLPP has not established any link with either the BJP or the CPC.

Later, the Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb raised the hackles in Sri Lanka (and Nepal too) by saying that India’s Home Minister and BJP honcho Amit Shah had told him that the BJP would one day rule Sri Lanka and Nepal.

While Nepal formally protested, the Sri Lankan government did not react officially but it let it be known unofficially that there is no provision in Sri Lankan election law to register foreign political parties.

Subsequently, Tripura Chief Minister Deb put the lid on the controversy by saying that Amit Shah had made the remark only jokingly.

‘Tweaked’ UN resolution on Sri Lanka still falls short on accountability

An updated draft United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka was released this morning, showing some changes to the language of the text but still falling short on Tamil demands for an international accountability mechanism.

The updated draft resolution now calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to “collect” as well as “consolidate, analyse and preserve” evidence that could be used in future war crimes trials. However, it has failed to implement UN High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet’s recommendations which call on member states to consider asset freezes and travel bans on Sri Lankan officials credibly accused of human rights abuses and to consider “steps towards the referral of the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

The changes, made public this morning, include:

“Recognizes the importance of preserving and analysing evidence relating to violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in Sri Lanka with a view to advancing accountability, and decides to strengthen the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner to [collect], consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence and to develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross violations of human rights or serious violations of international humanitarian law, to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant judicial proceedings in Member States with competent jurisdiction”

Concerns over the “increased marginalisation of Tamil and Muslim minorities, surveillance and intimidation of civil society, restrictions on media freedom, and shrinking democratic space; restrictions on public memorialisation of victims of war including the destruction of a memorial”

“Also calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the effective and independent functioning of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Office on Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations to deliver their respective mandates as established”

“Further calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka, having due regard for the rule of law and human rights to protect civil society actors including human rights defenders to investigate any attacks and to ensure a safe and enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance, surveillance and insecurity and threat of reprisals.”

The updated resolution marks the first time that Sri Lanka’s marginalisation of Tamils and Muslims and restrictions on memorialisation are being recognised in the operative paragraphs of a UN resolution. Earlier this year authorities destroyed the Mullivaikkal monument that was constructed in Jaffna University to commemorate those killed by a Sri Lankan military offensive in 2009. As global outrage ensued, authorities reportedly allowed it to be rebuilt, but restrictions on memorial events have been repeatedly put in place by Sri Lankan authorities.

The surveillance of human rights defenders is also highlighted and comes as Tamil families of the disappeared come under increasing harassment from Sri Lankan security forces.

Responding to the updated draft, former Senior Lecturer in Law at University of Jaffna, Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan said that it has simply been “tweaked”.

“It still doesn’t do enough to alleviate our most fundamental concerns,” he continued. “The inclusion of ‘collect’ in OP6 makes it better but the usefulness of the mechanism will depend on a) what judicial processes it will be feeding into and b) how much funds OHCHR is allocated.”

“In the absence of any information regarding a wider judicial process, the whole thing is as good as it is on paper,” he added.

As the UNHRC meets this month, Tamils in the North-East and in the diaspora have undertaken hunger strikes and protests calling on the international community, particularly members of the Core Group on Sri Lanka, to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC.

Tamil activists and politicians have expressed their disappointment over the draft resolution for failing to hold Sri Lanka accountable for serious human rights abuses. Earlier this week, both the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) and the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) submitted letters to the UNHRC to highlight that the resolution fails to “even meet the basic expectations of the Tamil victims” in pursuing international accountability for war crimes committed by Sri Lanka.

In their letters, they highlighted that Core Group’s request to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, “stagnates accountability at the UNHRC in Geneva.”

The resolution which sets a deadline for March 2022 for “a written update to the Human Rights Council” and a “comprehensive report including further options for advancing accountability” later that year has been criticised for stalling accountability and justice for victim-survivors.

Addressing the UNHRC this week, Leeladevi Anandanadarajah, the Secretary of the North-East Relatives of the Missing Persons Association, criticised the undue praise of Sri Lanka’s domestic accountability mechanisms, particularly the Office for Missing Persons (OMP), which they have continuously rejected as it has repeatedly failed to address Tamil grievances.

Last week, the Core Group, the EU, Australia, and Switzerland alongside a number of other countries expressed concern over the worsening human rights situation in Sri Lanka as they responded to the UN High Commissioner’s report. Sri Lanka told the UNHRC that it “categorically rejects the conclusions and recommendations” of the UN High Commissioner’s report and called on member states to reject any resolution on Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka BJP has no links to India : Muththusami

The newly-formed Sri Lanka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not have any links to India’s BJP, its leader V. Muththusami said Saturday.

“If India is assisting us, we will inform the media about it,” Muththusami told reporters.

He said that the objective of the party would be to work with the government in developing the standards of education and sports of the Tamils.

“We will engage in activities in the central region, the Northern and Eastern provinces and Colombo,” the SLBJP leader explained.

He said that plans to establish the party had been made six years ago.

No room for Tamil, Islamist extremism : President

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that he would not allow Tamil or Islamist extremism to raise its head under his rule.

Speaking in Weragala, the President insisted that the perpetrators of the 2019 April 21st attacks will be punished under the current government.

“It is our duty to punish them. We will do that,” Rajapaksa noted.

Citing the presidential commission’s report on the April 21st attacks, the President blamed the previous government for being incapable of preventing the bombings.

“Page 306 the report states, based on this evidence it is difficult for the commission to ascertain why the government including PM Ranil Wickremesinghe failed to take steps to quell Islamist extremism,” he observed.

The President also responded to accusations that he has failed in his presidency.

“I have not failed. For 20 years I went to war for this country and then served as the defence secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was then that we managed to end the 30-year long war,” Rajapaksa remarked.

SLPP rejects to give proposals to draft a new Constitution

Sr Lanka Podujana Peramuna has refused to submit it’s proposals to the Expert Committee appointed to draft a new Constitution.

SLPP’s stalwarts Prof. G.L. Peiris, Basil Rajapaksa and Sagara Kariyawasam have informed their party’s decision during a meeting with the members of experts committee chaired by legal luminary Romesh de Silva PC.

Both Basil Rajapaksa and G.L. Peiris have pointed out that it is not justifiable to draft a Constitution based on the proposals of the political parties, without taking into consideration the views of the public.

The committee is of the view that it not practical to obtain the views of the 22 million people of the country and therefore, the committee would obtain proposals of the political parties based on the theory of representative democracy.

However, SLPP has not agreed with the committee’s position and as a result, a confusion has taken place at the meeting.

Source: Srilanka Mirror

“I hold Rajapaksa responsible — as I made plain when I moved to sue Rajapaksa in Los Angeles for his role in my father’s murder.it is high time for the world to draw a red line at the killing of journalists and ensure that murderous autocrats pay a price” by Ahimsa Wickrematunge

(Ahimsa Wickrematunge, a writer and activist, is the daughter of murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge)

In 2007, my father, Lasantha Wickrematunge, one of Sri Lanka’s most fiercely independent journalists, exposed an arms deal involving then-Secretary of Defense Gotabaya Rajapaksa embezzling over $10 million in government funds.

Rajapaksa took him to court, alleging defamation. Shortly thereafter, my father’s printing press at the Sunday Leader, where he was editor in chief, was stormed by a masked gang in the middle of the night. Two of his staff were assaulted, and the press itself was set on fire.

On Jan. 8, 2009, weeks before my father could testify about the corrupt arms deal, military intelligence officers ambushed him as he drove to work. They murdered him, tearing my family apart, ripping a hole in my soul and petrifying journalists across Sri Lanka.

I hold Rajapaksa responsible — as I made plain when I moved to sue Rajapaksa in Los Angeles for his role in my father’s murder. His shocking November 2019 election as president of Sri Lanka has brought immeasurable pain to me and my family and damage to the fabric of Sri Lankan civil society. (When a BBC reporter questioned Rajapaksa about my father’s murder, he dodged the question, laughing dismissively.)

Last week, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet presented a report that offered a devastating verdict on human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. She recommended that the international community move to hold Sri Lanka accountable for its consistent failure to bring justice for the victims. In the next weeks, the U.N. Human Rights Council will be deliberating over a possible response.

When Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected Sri Lankan president in November 2005, he put his brother Gotabaya in charge of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense. Together, they oversaw some of the worst atrocity crimes in Sri Lanka and systematically targeted any journalist brave enough to speak out against them. Despite briefly losing office following his brother’s electoral defeat in 2015, this accused war criminal — Gotabaya Rajapaksa — is now back in power.

The coverup that followed my father’s death in 2009 was meticulous, as documented in my recent communication to the United Nations and by Human Rights Watch. The autopsy report contradicted the hospital’s findings on cause of death. Investigators were threatened. Evidence was falsified and planted. Two innocent civilians who were framed for the attack were later shot, their bodies incinerated. Another was arrested and died in custody.

Six years after my father’s killing, on Jan. 8, 2015, Sri Lankans voted out the Rajapaksa regime and elected a new government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, that pledged justice to the many victims of atrocities under the previous regime. Police investigators soon zeroed in on a military death squad, the Tripoli platoon, that had allegedly been controlled by then-Defense Secretary Rajapaksa.

But when detectives exposed Rajapaksa’s role, their investigations were stymied. As far as the Sri Lankan judiciary was concerned, he was invincible. Judges broke with centuries of precedent to issue orders preventing his arrest. When a court sought to question him over the killing of two human rights activists, a judge shut them down. When he was indicted for embezzlement, more judges stepped in to stop his trial going forward.

That was when I decided to turn to the U.S. courts. But Rajapaksa had already launched a new campaign for the presidency. His platform: rebuilding the intelligence service and exonerating intelligence officers accused of atrocities. I watched in horror 15 months ago as Sri Lankans elected the man accused of killing my father. His new status as president gave him immunity.

As president, Rajapaksa wasted no time ensuring that impunity would be the law of the land. He promoted judges who had kept him above the law. He pardoned a soldier convicted of war crimes for killing children. Detectives who investigated such atrocities fled or faced arrest. Shani Abeysekara, the FBI-trained police executive who ran Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department and led breakthroughs in several emblematic investigations, was locked up on bogus charges. In May, Rajapaksa handpicked the new head of the CID — a policeman who has been accused of covering up evidence of my father’s murder. All this as the international community continues to expect Sri Lanka to provide justice for victims.

Victims groups and the international community are well aware that Rajapaksa’s election has closed every door to human rights and accountability in Sri Lanka. The high commissioner for human rights and U.N. special rapporteurs warn that without strong international action by foreign governments and the Human Rights Council — including sanctions, travel bans and an independent international accountability mechanism — Sri Lankans face the alarming risk of seeing past human rights abuses repeated.

Foreseeing his own murder, my father wrote himself an obituary in which he lamented that murder had “become the primary tool” for controlling “the organs of liberty.” Twelve years later, with those very same organs on life support, it is high time for the world to draw a red line at the killing of journalists and ensure that murderous autocrats pay a price.

But today, as I watch the killers of heroes like Anna Politkovskaya, Jamal Khashoggi and my father rub shoulders on the world stage, it seems that killing a journalist is just another rite of passage for emerging autocrats.

Source:The Washington Post

The TNA the largest Tamil Party representing the Tamil People of the North and East of Sri Lanka appeasl to the member States of the UN HUman Roghts Council “on behalf of our people” to ensure the passage of the HRC 46/1 at the UNHRC in Geneva

(Text of a media release issued on March 5th 2021 stating the Response of the Tamil National Alliance to the statement of Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Human Rights Council)

Our attention has been drawn to the statement made by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena at the High-Level Segment on 23rd February 2021, and at the Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR Report on 24th February 2021 during the ongoing 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Hon Dinesh Gunawardena says that the government of Sri Lanka withdrew from its co-sponsorship of resolutions HRC 30/1 and HRC 40/1, adopted in October 2015 and March 2019 respectively.

The State co-sponsored the above resolutions and another resolution HRC 34/1 in March 2017, at the different times they were adopted by the council.

Once adopted, the passage of the resolution is complete and there can be no question of withdrawal on behalf of the State by a following Government.

The Hon. Foreign Minister has also “rejected” the High Commissioner’s Report.

Again, he seems to have overlooked the fact that it is the council that had mandated that the High Commissioner should present a comprehensive report at the 46th sessions. This report has been welcomed by many member States and others.

The Report does not exceed its mandate but has very correctly pointed out the failures of Sri Lanka viz-a-viz its international obligations and specific undertakings given to the UNHRC. Inquiring into the Human rights situation through due procedures is a legitimate function of the UN and does not amount to violation of Country’s Sovereignty or Territorial Integrity.

The Hon. Minister makes several incredulous assertions. An example of this is, his attempt to connect the co- sponsorship of HRC 30/1 and the Easter Sunday bombings of 2019. He does not however explain what Sri Lanka has done to account for the tens of thousands of civilians who were subjected to enforced disappearances during the armed conflict, and particularly those who surrendered to the armed forces towards the end of the armed conflict in the presence of eye witnesses.

Sri Lanka has not conducted any investigations to ascertain the truth and dispense Justice. Anything done to ascertain the truth has been through the investigations highlighted in the POE Report of March 2011, or the OISL Report of September 2015. No steps have been taken to dispense justice even on the basis of the said investigations.

Sri Lanka also made a specific commitment to enact a new constitution with the consent of all the different Peoples who are citizens of the country, as the best guarantee of non-recurrence. The Parliament was converted into a constitutional assembly by a unanimous resolution by Parliament in March 2016. Important consensus was reached with regard to power sharing arrangements, among other matters. However, the present regime seems determined to travel in the opposite direction. The Hon. minister’s statement does not refer to a commitment to address the core issue – the sharing of powers of governance and is clearly indicative of a reversal to and recurrence of the earlier situation and gross violations.

It is in this background that the core group of countries led by the United Kingdom had presented resolution HRC 46/1 to be adopted at the current sessions. The Tamil National Alliance is the largest Tamil Party that represents the Tamil People of the North and East of Sri Lanka. We appeal to the member States of UNHRC, on behalf of our people, to ensure the passage of the HRC 46/1.

Sri Lanka attempts to obfuscate the issue by referring to the L.T.T.E. For over 30 years since independence, Tamils who made legitimate demands were subjected to state terror, around half the Tamil population left the country. The L.T.T.E appeared only after that and would have never appeared if commitments made to democratic Tamil leaders were observed. In any event the L.T.T.E. is not a factor that needs to be reckoned with.

It must also be pointed out that gross violations of human rights in Sri Lanka occurred also in 1971, 1988/89 when tens of thousands of youth from the Southern parts of the country were subjected to ruthless violence amounting to gross violations of human rights and humanitarian laws but most unfortunately such occurrences were not investigated at all. Necessary actions must be taken to prevent such events.

The main aspirations of the victims are truth, justice, accountability, and reconciliation through the resolution of the main issues and nonrecurrence.

R. Sampanthan, MP
Leader, Tamil National Alliance and
Parliamentary Group Leader of ITAK

Sgd. Mavai S. Senathirajah
Leader, ITAK

Sgd. Selvam Adaikalanathan, MP
Leader, TELO

Sgd. D. Sidharthan, MP
Leader, PLOTE

6th March 2021

UN Human Rights Council 46: UK statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief

The UK’s International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, delivered this statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

Thank you, Madam President,

We remain deeply concerned about the scale of abuses and violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief: no one should suffer because of their conscience.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for his work over the past five years, and look forward to engaging with him on his report on combatting anti-Muslim hatred, as well as on Christian persecution and other forms of discrimination.

The United Kingdom is home to many thriving religions and beliefs. We reject all forms of intolerance and hate. Internationally, we are concerned by the societal impacts of the pandemic including rising hate speech, misinformation and conspiracy theories which target minority faith communities in different countries.

We are also concerned about actions of governments such as Sri Lanka, where the government’s mandatory cremation policy for those deceased due to Covid-19 has impacted Muslim and Christian minorities in particular. We hope this practice will soon cease and we are ready to provide technical support and evidence to counter misinformation.

This year, we will continue to assess the pandemic’s impact on human rights.

What steps can we, the international community, take to ensure it does not fuel further global intolerance towards religious and belief minorities?

Thank you.

Published 4 March 2021

Archaeology: latest ploy for grabbing Tamil lands in north Sri Lanka

War affected Tamils in Mullaitivu are facing an existential threat as fertile lands and rich fishing resources are allegedly being grabbed under the pretext of archaeological excavations by right wing Buddhists.

An elderly Tamil landowner who was clearing his land-in the Thannimurippu District Secretary division-which was abandoned during the war time was stopped from doing so and tilling his ‘own land’ by a team of archaeological department officials led by a Buddhist monk.

Also, two local Tamil journalists covering the ongoing land grabbing and other issues affecting the Tamils were threatened by the forest officials when they went there for newsgathering.

‘No private land’

The forest officials who forcefully stopped the landowner K. Peranantham from clearing his fields were caught on camera by these journalists retaliated immediately attempting to stop them from carrying out their duty, and demanded to see their media identity cards. Pictures also show the media identity card of the one of the journalists being inspected by those officials.

“We were on the road leading to the land filming the incident and the forest officials wanted to check our identity cards-which they are not entitled to” one of the journalists told JDS. The journalists told the forest officials they cannot be stopped from reporting what’s happening in their region.

Locals allege the police and the forest department officials were acting under instructions of the Buddhist monk.

Eyewitness told JDS that the monk accompanied by officials told the land owner in an intimidating way that he cannot enter his land and the 500 acres of land in Kurunthurmalai area is archaeologically historic and a sacred – ‘nobody has got any private land here’ and ‘none could enter the area and do any clearing operation’.

The landowner apart from being banned from entering his land has also been summoned to the local police station.

The fertile land with fruit bearing trees including mango, jackfruit and coconut is close to the Arumugathankulam – a water body in the Thannimurippu DS division-which was also occupied by the Sri Lanka military recently.

Subsequently they stopped local Tamil fishermen engaging in sustainable fishing for generations using hook and bait, while allowing non residents to do so using banned nets, seriously affecting the livelihood of the Tamils.

“If the military can fish in this tank using nets, why can’t we living in the same village do the same?” locals question.

Make-shift Buddhist temple

Recently under the guise of archaeology and Buddhist culture, Tamils worshipping in the Athi Aiyanar temple Kovil in Kurunthurmalai for hundreds of years were stopped from entering the area saying it’s a place of ‘Buddhist importance’ and further exploration is needed.

A local military camp has also been set up along with a make-shift Buddha Vihara at the Kurunthurmalai foothills. Tamil lawmakers too were earlier barred from visiting the place but were allowed subsequently while the journalists travelling with them were stopped.

Sri Lankan state minister for National Heritage Vidura Wickramanayaka recently visited the Kurunthurmalai area to inaugurate the archaeological exploration and prayed at the vihara put up by the army there.

War affected Tamils in the north fear of forced Sinhala colonisation plans taken forward under the guise of archaeological exploration.

Source:JDS

India says Sri Lanka claims on WCT deal factually incorrect

The Sri Lankan Government’s claim that a proposal on the Colombo Port West Container Terminal (WCT) has been approved by the Indian High Commission is ‘factually incorrect’, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday, the IANS news service reported.

Colombo on Tuesday approved a joint venture with the Adani group to build and operate Colombo Port’s WCT for 35 years. The Sri Lankan Government press release stated that the cabinet-appointed negotiation committee had requested the Indian high commission and Japanese embassy to nominate investors for the WCT project.

“The proposal presented by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ Consortium) has been approved by the Indian High Commission,” Sri Lanka’s Government Information Department said in an official communique.

During a weekly briefing today, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Sri Lankan Government has engaged directly with investors on this project.

“Our High Commission in Colombo has conveyed to Sri Lanka Government that their media release in so far as the reference to approval of High Commission was concerned, is factually incorrect,” Srivastava said.

“We understand that the Government of Sri Lanka has engaged directly with investors on this project,” he added.

The new joint venture was approved by the Sri Lankan Government weeks after it unilaterally cancelled Indian and Japanese participation in the development of the East Container Terminal at Colombo.

India and Sri Lanka signed a memorandum of understanding for “co-operation on economic projects” in 2019. The development and operation of the container terminal was one of the projects in the MoU and it was a joint venture.

Succumbing to strong opposition from trade unions across the country, Sri Lanka has unilaterally pulled out of the 2019 agreement with India and Japan for developing the strategic East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port.