திங்கள், செப்டம்பர் 21, 2009

Keeping memories alive 20th anniversary of Rajani’s assassination

by Dayapala Thiranagama

Dr. Rajani Thiranagama
Head Dept of Anotomy, University of Jaffna

                      One night in 1983, soon after midnight Rajani woke me up and whispered to me that she had been asked to treat an injured boy from the Iyakkam (movement). For her, this was an act of compassion by a doctor towards her patient. For me it was a political act. I was frozen. I turned back and slept. I was caught up in the agony of belonging to the oppressor and the woman I dearly and unconditionally loved trying to ‘liberate’ her own community by undertaking her bit in the struggle. This whisper and the brief political argument that followed opened cracks in our relationship which grew wider and wider.
Rajani had an enormous influence on those around her. She was a mother of two young children, Narmada aged 11 years and Sharika aged 9 years respectively, at the time of her death. She was 35 years old. Rajani had begun to demonstrate an extraordinary courage and vision in her political activism defending human rights and took an uncompromising position whenever these rights were violated. The armed confrontation between the Tamil Tigers and the IPKF was at its peak at the time and no dissent was tolerated. She had had links with the LTTE and had treated injured Tamil militants before at the inception of Tamil tiger militancy. Then they were only a small band of armed men. Times had changed. Her assassins had been waiting for her on her way home after work at the Medical Faculty and she was gunned down near her home in Kokuvil, Jaffna on 21st September 1989 about 4.00pm.They came behind and called her by name. Then she was still sitting on the bike, turned back and looked at them. Eyewitnesses say that she tried to cover her forehead with her bare hands seeing the gunmen pointing the pistol at her head. They demonstrated extraordinary cruelty against a woman who had only her bare hands to cover her head against the bullets. Even after she fell on the ground they shot the back of her head with two bullets to make sure that she would not be alive to criticise them again. They showed no mercy towards the woman who had showed them such compassion and had treated them when they were injured. Her young daughters hearing the gun shots wondered who the victim would be this time.

The purpose of this account is to make some personal reflections and analysis on the life shattering individual experiences suffered by us as a young family in the unprecedented political upheavals for decades simply because we did not wish to be just observers. It also attempts to trace the political journey of two individuals with an intimate relationship in relation to the wider political process that engulfed the country.

First meeting

I met Rajani in September 1976 when the student unrest was rapidly spreading within Sri Lankan universities and there was a renewed militant student activity among the university students. An innocent student, Weerasuriya at Peradeniya had been gunned down by the police and the student militancy grew stronger in the face of such atrocities against the student movement... These were extraordinary times. The political unrest in the country had already begun to change our lives and our lives in turn were set to change the political course of the country, even in a small way, to a point of no return. I had just come out of prison for the second time after spending long years in prison in 1976. Rajani, a young Tamil woman with Christian religious background and radical political thinking had just started to influence the medics at the Colombo Medical Faculty with her thirst for justice and democracy against a repressive state apparatus that had a hallmark of historical discrimination and violence against Tamils. I had just become a university academic by this time. When we met and forged our relationship it was clear that our lives would never be the same again, for us, as well as our children who were yet to be born. We got married on 28 August 1977 in Colombo, without a ceremony, in the midst of anti- Tamil riots in Colombo. On the day we got married we stayed in Rathmalana with a Sinhalese friend of mine and her father loaded his shot gun and kept awake all night in order to protect us as a number of Tamil families had been attacked on the previous night in the neighbourhood. Our marriage brought together two ethnically, socially, politically and culturally diverse individuals into a relationship based on human understanding and deep love which appeared unshakable at the time. Once she wrote to me saying that her love for me was as deep as the ocean. With all these differences, one of the most interesting issues was how far our loving relationship with all its complexities would serve to protect our marriage during a politically divisive time when the two communities were at war and in which the Tamil minority was at the receiving end. Both Sinhalese and Tamil popular cultures had been at war with each other and the Sinhalese considered their culture was superior.

Ethnic differences

Our ethnic differences would have appeared unbridgeable at the very beginning, as I was a product of the 1956 Sinhalese Buddhist social mobility that had been created by my parents’ generation of people who were part of the Panchamaha Balavegaya. (Sanga, weda, guru govi, and kamkaru) and in turn the 1956 and its perpetuation. Its ideology had shaped our thinking and political outlook as young people who had very little to do with the Tamil community and understanding of their issues. The political issues Rajani tried to grapple with as a young medic had in fact become intractable due to the ideological and political outlook perpetuated by the 1956 social mobility amongst the Sinhalese youth, which discriminated against the minorities in Sri Lanka. This was a big advantage for the JVP to build their pro- Sinhalese political project in the late 60’s, throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Rajani was able to understand this political trend when she studied and worked in the Sinhalese areas and in Colombo. The JVP’s pro Sinhalese project showed that the Tamil democratic struggle had to be fought by the Tamil themselves as it did not accept the Tamils had specific democratic and political grievances to be resolved. It was this kind of political rejection in the Sinhalese South that drew people like Rajani to support militant organizations in the Tamil community.

Social class

Socially, we belonged to two different social classes. Rajani had a middle class upbringing in Jaffna. I was brought up in a poor peasant family in the South and the only life chance opened to me was education. As a young boy I had walk to my school miles and miles with my bare feet. My childhood poverty and deprivation and how I had to overcome these as a young boy was very distressing to Rajani to the extent that I never wanted to explain the full extent of my past to her beyond a certain point. It was a lottery that I managed to succeed in my education. Rajani had no issue whatsoever about my social class vis-à-vis her middleclass background. She defended me strongly within her own middle class family members and outside whenever it came to their attention that I had not been living up to their middle class norms.
We were also politically different and in reality these political differences played a divisive role in our marriage. I had near religious belief in the Marxist-Leninist/Maoist political agenda and Rajani wanted to apply the revolutionary success stories in other countries to Sri Lanka as pragmatic examples of social justice. It was also due to this pragmatism that Rajani became closer to the Tamil Tigers in her own political journey. In the same way this core ideological belief of pragmatism benefited her to turn her energy and emotions into human rights campaigning later in her political life when she left the Tamil Tigers.
When I met Rajani I had only just left prison I still had scars of torture all over my body and while in prison I had never expected to live again let alone have a relationship. Rajani showed extraordinary courage to accept me as I was with all the differences between us, with my own social and political past which was such a contradiction to her own middle class life and aspirations. She had to battle it over with her family. Rajani had accepted that I would one day leave her and go in order to fulfil my political responsibilities. It was also accepted we would not meet again once I left the family. My generation had undergone a tremendous change in their mind set and all our personal needs and aspirations had to be suppressed for political justice and the emancipation of the poor. We also had a very deep sense of family ties and gratitude and the need to provide for our parents who underwent untold sufferings to bring us up. This sentiment and obligations we had suppressed in the belief that social justice followed by the armed revolution would resolve this for ever. Rajani had been coming to terms with a life with our children without my presence and her expressed determination to look after them on her own. This idea was no longer sustainable when the demands upon us required us to sacrifice our expectations and throw away our perceived traditional roles. This is what exactly Rajani did. We thought at the time that even if we were not there our children would be looked after by others, particularly our comrades.

1983 anti-Tamil riots

The 1983 anti- Tamil riots had an unprecedented influence on every Tamil’s conscience and their dignified existence became untenable: either you had to accept your unequal status and keep quiet or you had to fight for justice and democracy. For the Tamil community it seemed there was no way out.However, Rajani was still unclear about the political line to be taken in search of justice and democracy. My views were clear in this regard... I never wanted to join any political organisation which would not allow you to get out if you disagreed with them. Without that kind of internal democracy it becomes a very dangerous affair if they take up arms. Additionally, here was another issue which we did not pay adequate political attention to as youthful political minds: even nominal parliamentary democracies could withstand armed struggle and demonstrate flexibility in recreating political space defeating the resolve of armed combatants. In Sri Lanaka still the political space had not been closed. We were in a hurry and the political space for the democratic struggle had not been exhausted. The failure of the JVP armed struggle in 1971 and 1987-89 as well as Tamil Tigers’ recent military defeat has to be viewed in this context, despite its own organisational and structural weaknesses.
Rajani’s pragmatic mind and her compassion were drawn to the Tamil Tigers’ political project. Rajani left for England in 1983 on a commonwealth scholarship and by the beginning of 1984 Rajani had joined the Tamil Tigers in London. I visited Rajani in May 1984 in London. Following a very painful but comprehensive discussion it appeared that there was no space for the continuation of our marriage except our joint responsibility for our daughters. We decided to part and I went back to Colombo. Rajani had become a seemingly unwavering member of the Tamil Tigers’ military project. Once our relationship had appeared to be unshakable but there were no guarantees in a time of war that we could maintain it with such divergent political views. The deep human love that brought us together over our differences had vanished for forever ever. Rajani became very distressed but her political loyalty was placed above the loyalty that had existed in our relationship. We had decided to go our own ways as our political and personal differences were irreconcilable. Our differences had their own dynamics in a relationship that became dysfunctional.
After a couple of months of my return to Colombo, Rajani had resigned from the Tamil Tigers. She wrote a letter to me breaking the news and assured me that our relationship was still as strong as during our happiest times. Rajani acknowledged our separation in these words in all my trials and tribulations you stood by me in strong love but I was cruel to you…Rajani was always open and frank. For me still there was no guarantee that it could ever be the same again. On my part I had moved on. During this time the political suppression had become acute and I was keeping a low profile... Rajani would now be returning home to her beloved people and Jaffna, to resume her work in the University after completing her Phd.
Rajani arrived in Jaffna in 1986. She became the Head of the Anatomy Department. Rajani’s political transformation was becoming impressive. She was evolving as a human rights activist and her feminist outlook look brought a new political dimension to her politics and a pioneered a new kind of people’s political agenda in Jaffna. She became a tireless campaigner for freedom and democracy against the rule of the gun. She pioneered the formation of the University Teachers of Human Rights (UTHR J) with three other academics which drew anger and wrath from both IPKF and militant groups particularly the Tamil Tigers. Rajani and others recorded all the human rights violations from all sides in the conflict. She believed the human life was so precious that no human life should be eliminated for political reasons. She also supported and was actively involved in Purani, a refuge for destitute women. She became a remarkable mother, a tireless activist and respected academic in an environment that posed a great danger to every human being there at the time.
From time to time Rajani visited me with the children in Colombo in order to make sure that they did not miss their father. During this time she also began to write Broken Palmyra with some others in the UTHR this made her an obvious target of the Tamil tigers. When I read the manuscript I had no doubt what the outcome would be if it was published. I advised Rajani that she would have to lie low and that they would not spare her if she went ahead with its publication. She agreed but the UTHR (J) had to make the decision. By the time she was gunned down, it had not been even published. The Tamil Tigers knew that it was going to be published.
Rajani clearly understood the danger to her life if she continued campaigning but she did not wish to scale down her activities and stop what she felt she had to do. Such was her indomitable courage and determination during such difficult times in the history of Tamil militancy.
Rajani was buried in her family cemetery in Nallur on 25 September 1989. I walked with my two young daughters hand in hand, the most difficult, most painful and saddest of walks in my life. Along with her, the happy days of our family were buried and the family was never the same again without her presence. We have not been able to visit her grave for twenty long years. Each day her daughters passed without their mother, brought home to them their irreplaceable loss. They joined other children in Sri Lanka who lost their parents due to the war. The irony was that it was me, not Rajani who had expected to die in the struggle and she had accepted that her role would be to care for the children. But the total opposite happened. At the beginning of our relationship I never thought that I would end my political career for the responsibility of looking after my children. I thought that my involvement in Sri Lankan politics would result in my death. That did not happen. Instead Rajani gave her life for the human rights of the Tamil people and I had to be alive for the children. I looked after them until they were independent. But my tribute goes to Rajani. It was Rajani’s solid foundation she laid in their formative years that helped me to complete the task. This situation was not specific to my children or family. Such was the dramatic transformation of the political situation and its impact on individual members in the Tamil community within a short period of time of militant activity.
Before she was gunned down, in early September Rajani was in Colombo on her way back from England after a short trip and waited for me in Colombo before travelling back to Jaffna. But I could not make contact with her. She left Colombo in disappointment. Before leaving Rajani wrote a few lines on the back of the cover of the book she bought for me in London and left it for me. This was her last note to me.

Him, who lives out of the paradox of deep tenderness and love –with the strive of Bakunin’s characterization of ‘a revolutionary has no interest of his own, no cause of his own…no habits, no belongings he does not even have a name’ If in this era of cataclysm and overwhelming terror – when no victories are won or end seen - if it is only reverence that this woman can pay to him who carries fire in his heart and burning determination in his spirit let it be only that

Rajani 1989.

After Rajani wrote this, she went to Jaffna. Then I received a message on 22nd September which I never wanted to hear. Her death brought the demise of my political career. Rajani’s death also made our relationship brief but our memories have become life long with rich life experiences.
The commencement of Rajani’s political journey with the Tamil Tigers brings to the fore questions about why people join certain militant organizations where dissent will not be tolerated and where criticism might lead to death. I had discussed this issue with Rajani over and over again. The elimination of ‘traitors’ was a common practice in Sri Lanka in both JVP and Tamil militant organizations. Both the JVP and LTTE killed their political adversaries and these killings showed no mercy and some of them demonstrated unimaginable brutality.
Any responsible political organization must explain to the people why they had to resort to such brutal eliminations of their critics. The JVP has failed to do it so far and it’s unlikely that they would do it after so many years have passed since their gruesome murders were carried out... They have not ruled out that they would not do it again. They eliminated those Sinhalese who advocated granting the rights of the Tamil people under the 13th amendment during 1987-89. Both the JVP and Tamil Tigers should take this issue seriously as it is a demonstration of their democratic credentials. If they choose to eliminate their political dissent without dealing with them in a democratic manner now, there will never be room for democratic freedom in the future even if they were to succeed in installing their dictatorships over the masses of people. Rajani’s death and her political legacy shows that ordinary human beings, when faced with acute degradation of human freedom under the rule of the gun will never be silent and their political reaction will be more powerful than the gun. I salute Rajani for being one of such heroic women.Rajani was asked not to return to Jaffna in 1977 from England by the family and friends in the midst of a very destructive war during a time many professionals were leaving Jaffna, but she felt very strongly to get back to serve her community. Rajani refused to listen to the same advice just before her death on her return to Jaffna.
Rajani’s assassination had weakened the Tamil democratic movement. Those who are responsible for her death should accept their political mistake if the Tamil democracy is to become a mature, responsible and viable political force in the coming years. This is because her assassination was symbolic of the political indecency, dictatorial and anti-human nature of Tamil militancy that went off track, leaving a huge political vacuum in the Tamil community.
Even though Rajani was assassinated the political ideas she fought for will never be vanquished. The pro- people political ideas she developed and analysed in Broken Palmyra provides a very powerful critique of Tamil militancy which in the name of Tamil liberation was becoming a ruthless military apparatus and using people cynically to build a dictatorship.
The Tamil democratic struggle needs peoples structures in every sphere of life that would guarantee their rights and freedom and these structures should be strengthened against corrupt politicians and the rule of the gun...

To commemorate Rajani’s life and her contribution to human rights a commemoration meeting will be held on 25th September 2009 at 6.00pm at BMICH in Colombo by the Rajani Thiranagama Commemoration Committee.

Courtesy: http://transcurrents.com

ஞாயிறு, செப்டம்பர் 20, 2009

Opinion: Tissainayagam, Richard de Zoysa and Professor Rajiva Wijesinha

(Published : Sunday Leader, 20 September 2009. Altered version.)

By Charles Sarvan

The ‘reaction’ cited below was published by you last week ("My intention was to stop the killing of youth", September 13, 2009). It followed your reproduction of the statement made by Mr. Tissainayagam in that court which handed down a sentence of twenty years hard labour on him. I quote verbatim:

REACTION – Sinhala bloggers
“In 1989, Tissainayagam translated some documents on the human rights violations of the regime for (now President) Mahinda Rajapakse, a key human rights activist of the day to be taken to Geneva. He was a hero then, but now a villain. Is this because then he was fighting for rights of the Sinhalese and now for Tamil rights?”

The question that concludes the above caught my attention. As I have written elsewhere, the whites who joined the struggle against apartheid in South Africa did not do so because they were “for” the blacks, but because they were against discrimination, and the brutality (and resulting human suffering and tragedy) which accompany the imposition and maintenance of injustice. White Americans from the North who supported Martin Luther King’s campaign were insulted (“Nigger lovers”), beaten and, in certain cases, murdered. Some of the most trenchant accounts I have read of Palestinian suffering are by individuals of Jewish origin.
One can identify three kinds of protest. The first would be if I were to suffer injustice as a member of a group; protest and work towards dismantling that injustice. A second kind of protest would be if I took an interest, for example, in the plight of the (to me) distant peoples of the Amazon rain-forest. It would be disinterested, since there is no hope of gain for me in expressing concern and indignation. (Increasingly, “disinterest” tends to be confused with “uninterested”.) The third and the most challenging is to speak truth to power when that power is wielded by one’s own group and, what is more, when injustice and force work to the advantage of one’s own group and, therefore, it can be argued, to oneself. The examples I have cited from South Africa, the USA and Israel arguably come within this third, and heightest, category.
To return to the question, “Is this because then he was fighting for rights of the Sinhalese and now for Tamil rights?”, the sickness of ethnic division (call it primitive “tribalism”, if you will) has gained such a hold in the Island that one now speaks of Sinhalese rights and Tamil rights, rather than of (fundamental, universal) human rights: human-rights recognise our common humanity, regardless of language, religion, sex or skin-colour. Writing about the late Adrian Wijemanne, I pointed out that his was a principled, essentially decent and caring, stance. Transcending narrow tribalism, he did not “fight for the Tamils” but for equality, justice and inclusion. If the Sinhalese had been oppressed, herded and corralled in prison camps, he would have been among the first to espouse their cause.
The position adopted by such individuals calls for rare courage and inner strength because they are execrated and abused as “traitors”; experience physical terror, even pay the final price of death. (The “cost” is borne also by those most close and dear to them.) At times of inhumanity, such individuals, their character and conduct, affirm our humanity, restore confidence, hold out some hope, give courage.
On the other hand, to go with the majority, to use unethically one’s intelligence and “cleverness” with language, has its rewards: public admiration and applause; media attention; appointment and promotion; entry into the higher circles of power (and the privilege and social status that that brings); invitations and deference. It is an intoxicating, addictive, cocktail that must make one feel successful, powerful - and smugly conceited. But it is a gaining of the “world” at the loss of what is best in us as human beings.
And yet, at moments of silent, honest, introspection, some of those who have “sold out” must look in the mirror of the past, see their earlier self and pause - however briefly, uncomfortably and hurriedly. As a poet wrote (albeit in another context) good is the life ending faithfully – faithful to the values, principles and ideals one believed in and cherished. Many souls, as noble as they were modest, both Sinhalese and Tamil, have refused to be intimidated, declined to compromise, disdained dangled prizes and rewards, and paid the price. And this brings me (not without a sense of irony) to Rajiva Wijesinghe. It was he who, several years ago, drew my attention to one such individual: Richard de Zoysa, political activist and poet. I conclude with extracts from my resulting review.
[Richard de Zoysa] was well known: a human rights activist, a fearless critic of political immorality and cruelty. As an actor (on stage and screen) and as a journalist and broadcaster, he reached many. In a time of unreason, of “racial” and political hatred and violence, he upheld the values of justice, decency and humanity. He was brutally murdered in February 1990, not having quite reached the age of thirty¬-two. His mother's attempts, despite State obstruction, to bring his killers to justice, excited national admiration and pity.
Sri Lanka is not without such individuals and, therefore (despite the present combination of suave falsehoods and appalling cruelty) not without hope of ethical and political redemption and renewal. When that awakening happens, many now wallowing in power and pride will be seen quite differently.

The Editor of the Sunday Island added the following. It must be noted that Mr Rajapakse’s protest comes within the first of the three categories discussed, namely, fighting for one’s own group.

“Totalitarian leader was once a young idealist fighting for human rights” - Excerpt

“The year was 1989. A violent youth insurrection that had terrorised the Sri Lankan populace was being brutally quelled by the state establishment. Bodies were burned on rubber tyres and the charred remains were left on every street corner. Hundreds of corpses were polluting the major rivers of the island’s south-west. Disappearances, arbitrary detention and revenge killings were the order of the day. With a government at the zenith of its power determined to crush the insurgency through force, leaving a trail of innocent victims in its wake, a young Sri Lankan opposition parliamentarian from the rural south decided to take a stand against the country’s deteriorating human rights situation and the state terror being unleashed upon his fellow citizens.
“Travelling to Switzerland without a penny in his pocket and on an air ticket purchased for him by a friend, the young politician entered the building of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) in Geneva and parked himself in the lobby. Over several days, he waylaid every delegation passing through those halls, using each opportunity to tell members of the world community about the tragedy that was unfolding in Sri Lanka. So eager and relentless was the young man that he was finally given a special meeting at the UNCHR to present his case. Back in Sri Lanka he organised anti-government campaigns and founded organisations that looked into disappearances. He was, if anything, the face of the agitation campaign against the regime of the day, the street fighter determined to secure the rights of the oppressed and release them from the brutal grip of state terror.
“That man is now Sri Lanka’s fifth Executive President, elected to office in 2005. And so, beyond the signature moustache and the shawl he still wears around his neck, there is no resemblance between the starry-eyed Mahinda Rajapakse from Hambantota, fighting for the rights of his citizens in Geneva, and the corpulent, shrewd politician occupying the premier seat of power in Sri Lanka today. If we were to set aside the remarkable victory against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for just a moment, the other most significant legacy of Rajapakse’s presidency is the veritable death of the free Sri Lankan media.”

— Special Correspondent, The Independent

courtesy: The Sunday Leader,Sunday Sep.20,2009; Vol.:16 & No.11

ஞாயிறு, செப்டம்பர் 13, 2009

My intention was to stop the killing of youth

"I always agitated against violence, fought for justice and for the oppressed" — Tissainayagam.

Full text of Tissainayagam’s statement to the Court:
I wish to commence this statement with a brief introduction about my home.

My father was a government servant for 40 years. He served at the Department of Information and retired as its Director. Later he worked in the Prime Minister’s office as an Assistant Secretary and was the speech writer to the Prime Minister. I grew up in an environment of mixed ethnic groups in Colombo. In school too my friends were from all the different ethnic communities of our country.

My first language is very much English and although I can speak Tamil, I am not very fluent in Tamil. After my high school I entered Peradeniya University and studied in English. There too all my friends were from different ethnic backgrounds.

I joined the Sunday Times in 1987 after university and later have worked as a journalist in a few English language national newspapers. I joined Marga in 1989, pioneered discussions and engaged in research on how to solve the national issue peacefully.

While I was at Marga and later also, I helped OPFMD (Organisation of Parents and Family Members of the Disappeared :

* I helped the families of the disappeared persons from the south due to insurrection by collecting information and translating them into English to send to organisations such as Amnesty International and the UN.

* Vasudeva Nanayakkara and HE Mahinda Rajapakse gave it political leadership and took the documents to Geneva.

* Was always worried for the safety of the civilians.

* Intention was to stop the killing of youth, whoever they were.

Although I told all this when questioned at the TID, they never wrote these things down, and even when Razik dictated for me to write down he left all this out.

I spoke up for the employees and as a consequence my services were terminated. I filed an application in the Labour Tribunal and was awarded compensation. Although Marga appealed to the High Court, it was dismissed.

1994 to 1995 – I worked on a project for UNICEF through an organization called The Medium. Went to the east and did a documentary on children left parentless due to the conflict due to activities of the LTTE, JVP, EPRLF, IPKF, state created violence and other paramilitary groups.

This was also left out of all my statements.

Disappearance Commission – 1994 to 96: I helped them in various ways, collected info, translated them into English, helped to coordinate with families. This was also left out of all my statements.

Knowledge of Tamil: I am not fluent in Tamil, my work has always been in English. I can speak Tamil, but am not fluent. For the first time after I left school I was made to write in Tamil when Razik forced me to take down what he dictated. This is what is now claimed to be my confession. I never wrote it on my own and I stand by the evidence I gave at the voir dire.

I was also scared of my eye condition since I have had surgery for retinal detachment. If it recurred, I would go blind fully. Therefore even when I protested as the factual inaccuracies what is said to be my confession, I wrote it since Razik threatened me and also told me that I would be released soon if I cooperated. He said that they had to send it to the Supreme Court.

Charge under the PTA: It is unfair and illegal to charge me under the PTA for acts said to have been committed during the operation of the Ceasefire Agreement when the government had given an undertaking to relax the operation of PTA and allowed the free movement of the people from north and south into both LTTE and government controlled areas.

I travelled to the north and east during the CFA, as a journalist, collected information about life there to include in my writings, interviewed people from a vast spectrum such as political leaders, religious leaders, scholars, the displaced people, activists, NGO, LTTE leaders. I personally know that many other journalists also travelled to the north and east during this time for the same purpose. I have also spoken on the telephone many times with persons who lived in those places to obtain information.

"I was and am still an advocate against terrorism. I have criticised terrorism in whatever form. I never advocated violence, my objective was to generate non violent means of resolving the conflict, my research, writings and work was towards achieving this."— Tissainayagam.

A person called Baba never offered me any money I never received money from him or the LTTE. North Eastern Monthly was run on a commercial basis. It was sold at bookshops like Vijitha Yapa and Makeen Bookshop. There were subscribers too. The Account Number in which to deposit the subscription money was printed in the North Eastern Monthly from January 2007. Therefore the Account Number was available to anyone who bought the magazine.

I was and am still an advocate against terrorism. I have criticised terrorism in whatever form. I never advocated violence, my objective was to generate non violent means of resolving the conflict, my research, writings and work was towards achieving this.

OPFMD was at one stage involved in securing the release of soldiers and policemen captured by the LTTE. They made contact with the LTTE for this purpose and travelled to the Wanni also. In order to arrange these trips, I have often spoken on the phone in Tamil. I could manage with their contact persons. This was also left out of all my statements.

I am a non violent person and always agitated against violence and for justice for the oppressed. By writing the two articles referred to in the indictment, I never intended to cause violence or communal disharmony and no such thing ever occurred as a result of those articles. This is all I have to say.