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Sri Lanka Timeline - Year 2016

Date

Incidents

January 1

The Indian Housing Project, under which 46,000 houses are to be constructed or repaired in Sri Lanka's Northern and Eastern Provinces and 4,000 houses constructed in the Central and Uva Provinces, is nearing completion in Northern and Eastern Provinces.

TNA leader R. Sampanthan in his New Year message said "As a country, we have the enormous task of achieving a meaningful solution to the national question, beneficial development and lasting peace and reconciliation. It is through solidarity that we can build a prosperous country while acknowledging the ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and other unique features of each community."

January 3

President Maithripala Sirisena in an interview has promised to provide land to settle as many as 100,000 war victims displaced by the three-decade long war within six months.

MP Suresh Premachandran, an activist the TPC, said that TPC will propose a solution to the ethnic conflict in the North before the end of January. He said the proposal will be presented to the residents of the North and East for feedback.

President Maithripala Sirisena in an interview said that Government would not act in haste for setting up a special court on allegations of violations of human rights in the last stages of the civil war.

January 4

Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that 36 Sri Lankans have gone to Syria with some of them having joined the ISIS.

January 6

Ministry of Defense said that the security forces and intelligence agencies were on full alert on the possibility of any groups having links with the IS or emergence of IS in the country.

January 8

President Maithripala Sirisena pardoned former LTTE cadre Sivaraja Jenivan alias Mohommadu Sulthan Cader Mohideen who tried to assassinate him in 2006.

January 9

Army Commander Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva speaking to media in Kandy city of Kandy District said that there is no room for terrorism to raise its head once again in the country.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe presented in Parliament a resolution for the appointment of the Constitutional Assembly for formulating a new Constitution for Sri Lanka.

President Maithripala Sirisena while addressing the Parliament stressed that the country's Constitution needs to be changed to suit the present era for the development of the country.

January 10

Senior Minister and Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella at a media briefing said that the Government is looking towards compiling a Constitution with a basic structure that cannot be changed forever.

January 11

Minister Susil Premajayantha at a media conference at the SLFP office said that the nine-point amendment presented by them on the resolution to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly was accepted by the UNP and the resolution was likely to be passed in Parliament on January 12.

January 12

Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne briefing a media conference held at UNP headquarters at Sirikotha in Colombo said that all political parties can contribute to prepare new constitution.

January 14

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in an informal briefing to the General Assembly in New York highlighted Sri Lanka's smooth power transfer following the 2015 presidential elections as a triumph in 2015.

January 15

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe while addressing the Thai Pongal National Ceremony held in the Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna District said that the Government is in the process of creating a mechanism to implement the proposals in the UN resolution to establish true reconciliation in the country.

January 17

Intelligence agencies are on high alert on the possibility of local groups having links with the extremist group ISIS.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe making a statement on the proposed Constitution said that the new Constitution in the making will not change the unitary nature of the country and the country will not be divided as some have alleged.

CPRC appointed by Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe to seek public opinion on the proposed constitutional reforms will begin their first session in Colombo from January 18.

January 18

German national Yogendran G. (53) accused of raising funds from 2007-2009 for the LTTE in and around Hamburg City in northern Germany went on trial. Prosecutors in the Hamburg court said that the man raised more than 81,000 Euros for combat and terrorist activities including suicide attacks by the LTTE in its campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka.

President Maithripala Sirisena participating at the Thai Pongal ceremony held in the Hindu College in Kalutara District sought the contribution of religious leaders to the Government's program to build peace and brotherhood.

January 20

Cabinet at its weekly meeting approved amending the 1979 Code of Criminal Procedure Act to recognize the right of suspects arrested by the Police for legal counsel.

President Maithripala Sirisena at a special discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat instructed the relevant officials to complete the resettlement of 44,015 remaining IDPs in the Northern Province within six months.

January 21

President Maithripala Sirisena in a BBC interview said "Foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved in an investigation into allegations of war crimes. I believe in the judicial system and other relevant authorities in this regard. I will never agree to international involvement in this matter. We have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues."

January 24

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at an event at Puthukkudiyiruppu town in the Mullaitivu District promised to resolve unemployment issue in the North. He added that many local and foreign investors have come up with investment plans for the North to help resolve the burning issue of unemployment among the youth in the North.

January 25

HRW called on the Sri Lankan Government to fulfill its commitments to the UNHRC by ensuring that foreign judges and prosecutors play a significant role in the mandated accountability mechanism for wartime abuses.

GTF, the London-based Tamil Diaspora organization expressed deep concern over the comments made by the Sri Lankan President regarding International Involvement on Accountability Mechanism.

January 28

Cabinet spokesperson, Minister Rajitha Senaratne at the weekly media briefing in Colombo assured that the domestic mechanism to be instituted to investigate the alleged war crimes committed during the ethnic conflict will meet international standards.

HRW World Report 2016 said that although elections in Sri Lanka in January 2015 brought about momentous changes after nearly a decade of increasingly autocratic rule, the Government is yet to take significant measures to end the impunity for security force abuse, including Police use of torture.

January 29

UN Secretary?General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that Sri Lankan Government will abide by the commitment it made to the UNHRC when it co-sponsored the UN resolution.

January 30

President Maithripala Sirisena in an interview with the Al Jazeera news agency said that there were no allegations of war crimes at the UNHRC in Geneva, only allegations of human rights violations.

February 1

The Colombo Special High Court removed the arrest warrant issued on former LTTE leader Emil Kanthan after his lawyers informed the court that he is prepared to return to the island in two weeks and surrender to the Police.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while addressing the Commonwealth Parliamentarians' Association Regional Seminar for Members of Parliament in Colombo said that the Government will not deviate from the Geneva resolution on reconciliation and accountability in any way.

February 2

A German Court convicted Sri Lankan-born German national Yogendran G. (53) for raising funds in Germany from 2007-2009 for the LTTE. The Court found that the man raised more than 81,000 Euros for the LTTE.

February 4

Addressing the Nation on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of Independence Day at the Galle city of Galle District, President Maithripala Sirisena said that the biggest challenge faces today is to build harmony through a process of reconciliation bringing about co-existence and national understanding.

February 5

During the ninth India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, co-chaired by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Sri Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera, India has signed agreements in Colombo to build a hospital in Eastern Province and renovate schools in the Northern Province.

February 7

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who was touring Jaffna District, said that the charges leveled LTTE prisoners should be resolved through the court and it is a responsibility of the Sri Lankan Government.

Government has taken measures to appoint an 11-member Special Task Force to obtain public views on the Geneva proposals. Attorney-at-law and human rights activist Manouri Muttetuwegama has been appointed as the Chairman of the Sepcial Task Force and Executive Director of Center for Policy Alternatives, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the Secretary of the Special Task Force.

February 9

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe appointed Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to Parliament as a MP for a seat vacated by the death of an incumbent.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issuing a media statement in Colombo said "I, for my part, will do all in my power to help that come about, and will continue to offer the services of my Office to accompany Sri Lanka through this very difficult process."

February 10

14 ex-LTTE cadres, arrested on charges of criminal activities and later granted bail, refused to undergo a period of rehabilitation when the case was taken up by the Colombo Additional Magistrate.

HRW in a statement criticized the appointment of former Army Commander and Democratic Party leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as a MP.

UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence Pablo de Greiff said that Sri Lanka should not be hasty in trying to meet its commitments to the UNHRC in regard to issues of transitional justice.

TID informed Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court that it will take measures against former LTTE detainees who are refusing to undergo rehabilitation.

February 12

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe speaking to reporters said that that the Government was not averse to international participation in the accountability mechanisms.

ICRC, during a meeting with the officials from various Ministries' offered to work with the Government in assisting the families of the missing persons with a view to addressing their grievances and needs in a meaningful manner.

February 15

The mandate of the PCICMP headed by former High Court Judge Maxwell Paranagama had been extended by three more months with affect from February 15.

EU Foreign Affairs Council said that it will closely follow Sri Lanka's efforts in addressing human rights issues and in establishing a credible process of transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation.

February 17

Mullaitivu Magistrate M.S.M. Samzudeen ordered the Commander of the 58 Division of the Army to submit to the court before April 19 a list of LTTE surrenders' to the security forces during the final stage of the war in the Wattuwakkal area in Mullaitivu District.

February 18

Ramanathan Indrarajah, a councilor of NPC for the Vavuniya District was attacked by unidentified assailants while he was returning home by a motor bicycle after visiting the house of a 13-year-old girl, who had died recently in Vavuniya District.

February 20

According to a study of the World Bank, regions with highest rate of poverty in Sri Lanka are areas inhabited by Tamils. The regions come under the Districts of Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi in the Northern Province Batticaloa in the East Province Badulla District in Uva Province and Nuwara Eliya in Central Province.

February 22 Naval troops attached to SLNS Gajaba of the North Central Naval Command arrested two persons while transporting 500 sticks of gelignite weighing 50 kilograms in the Wahamalgollewa area of Madawachchiya District in the North Central Province.
February 23

16 Tamil prisoners detained under the PTA for allegedly having links with the LTTE have restarted hunger strike in Colombo demanding their early release as they have been held for a long time without being charged.

General Secretary of the TULF V. Anandasangaree urged President Maithripala Sirisena to grant an amnesty to the Tamil prisoners held under the PTA utilizing such a provision in the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.

February 24

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during the UNDP 50th Anniversary Ministerial meeting held at New York elaborated on the Government's post-conflict peace building mechanisms and the challenges in Sri Lanka's current peace building environment to the key donor countries.

Amnesty International in its 2015-2016 annual assessment of human rights around the world said that although new Government has brought constitutional reforms and promises of improved human rights protection many human rights challenges remain.

Former senior LTTE leader Emil Kanthan, wanted in connection with attempted murder of former Minister Douglas Devananda, was not present in a Colombo Court although his counsel undertook to facilitate his surrender before Courts at the previous hearing.

State Counsel Ms. Nayomi Wickremasekara who appeared for the Attorney General's Department informed a Colombo Court that she needs one week's time to seek the Attorney General's advice regarding warrant and red notice issued on former senior LTTE leader Emil Kanthan.

February 25

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera while delivering a speech at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC said that Sri Lanka is totally committed to implement the UN Resolution to address the accountability during the last phase of the war.

February 26

In a joint statement issued by the Sri Lanka and US after the first annual US-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue held in Washington, D.C., US has urged the Sri Lankan Government to return remaining lands to rightful owners swiftly.

February 27

In a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, the General Secretary of the TULF V. Anandasangaree urged the President to immediately release two fasting Tamil prisoners who were arrested under the PTA in 2009 and jailed since then, as their condition has become grave.

February 28

Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran sought India's intervention to set up a federal Government system in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

March 2

Sri Lanka became the 163rd State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention or Ottawa Convention at the First International Pledging Conference for the Implementation of the Convention held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The Law Commission Department submitted the amended Prevention of Terrorism Draft Bill with human rights safeguards to the three relevant Ministers.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his address at the meeting of the Governing Council of Community of Democracies in Geneva said that the Government was in the process of repealing the PTA and introducing a new counter-terrorism legislation that is in line with contemporary international practices.

March 4

The Government of Japan decided to provide a total sum of USD 1,238,003 as grant aid to two projects for humanitarian demining in Northern Sri Lanka under its Grant Assistance for GGP.

During a meeting between Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, Switzerland has affirmed its continued support to Sri Lanka for reconciliation and reforms and desire to strengthen bilateral relations.

VTA inaugurated its latest Vocational Training Center in Kaithady town of Jaffna District. The VTA Kaithady center is among 14 planned satellite centers that will support the Sri Lankan - German Training Institute (SLGTI).

March 6

Alarmed by the rising underworld activities in capital Colombo and other areas, President Maithripala Sirisena ordered the Police and security forces to take stern actions under a joint plan to control the underworld crimes which are raising their heads recently in the country.

March 7

TPA has proposed the setting up of a non-territorial council with legislative powers to fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil people living outside the North and the East Provinces.

March 8

Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan slammed the Government over continuing detention of people booked under the PTA even after it committing itself at the UNHRC in 2015 to review and repeal the law.

Norway's former special peace envoy Erik Solheim participating in a panel discussion on the newly-launched book 'To End a Civil War: Norway's Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka' said that this is the best opportunity to bring about a lasting solution to the country's ethnic question.

March 9

Parliament without a vote approved the proposal to change the Parliament to a CA which will consist of all MPs.

March 10

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein presenting his annual report to the 31st session of UNHRC in Geneva said that Sri Lanka must promptly investigate and adequately address past human rights violations to prevent any recurrence of conflicts.

Minister Sarath Fonseka, the war time commander of the Sri Lanka Army said in Parliament that an international probe should be conducted as stipulated in the Geneva resolution.

March 11

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that work on drafting the new Constitution would begin in May after the report of the PRCCR will be handed over in April.

March 12 President Maithripala Sirisena handed over 701 acres of land to 700 original land-owners during a ceremony held at Nadeshvar College in Jaffna District.
March 14

Government Information Department said that Government will commence the next phase of the resettlement of IDPs in the Eastern Province from Sampur on April 1.

March 15

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon addressing an event organized by the OHCHR on the UNHRC's 10th Anniversary said "The Council's work on Burundi, Guinea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Syria has helped the international community to respond to human rights emergencies and work towards accountability."

March 16

Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, appointed by the Prime Minister, opened online submissions in order to seek the views of stakeholders, experts and the general public on the design of the reconciliation mechanisms at www.scrm.gov.lk.

March 17

Former Army Commander and Minister of Regional Development Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka addressing a media briefing in Colombo requested President Maithripala Sirisena to release the LTTE cadre imprisoned in connection with the suicide bomb attack on him at the Army Headquarters in 2006.

March 18

President Maithripala Sirisena while addressing the inauguration of the National Law Conference in Colombo reaffirmed that there was no need for international judges for investigations into human rights violations allegedly committed by Government troops and the LTTE.

March 20

The former female political wing leader of LTTE, Subramaniam Sivathai compiling her experiences with the LTTE during the war into a book released in Kilinochchi District has offered a critical view on the terrorist organization and Tamil Society.

March 21

President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the 32nd Provincial Chief Minister's Conference in Hikkaduwa town in Galle District said that he supports devolution of power through the new Constitution to provinces within a united Sri Lanka to develop the country.

UN Secretary General's Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq reiterated the requirement of a credible investigation into the alleged human rights violations and war crimes committed by the LTTE and the Sri Lankan security forces.

March 23

Former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been summoned to appear in the Special High Court in Colombo to testify against LTTE suspects on May 3.

March 24

TNA during the Northern Provincial Council sessions expressed opposition to housing project the "reconciliation village" the North.

President Maithripala Sirisena will declare open a Village of Reconciliation at Sathwirugama, a housing project built by the Army at Kok-Eliya area in Vavuniya District on April 3.

Ex-President and National Unity and Reconciliation Office Chairperson Chandrika Kumaratunga said that discussing the circumstances that led to the violence that took place in the North as well as what took place during the war was essential if we are to move forward with the reconciliation process.

March 25

Navy handed over 177-acres of land previously occupied by a naval base in Sampur town of Trincomalee District to the legitimate owners.

House Leader Lakshman Kiriella said that Parliament will meet on April 5 for the first time as the CA to appoint committees to work on the Constitution-making process.

March 26

Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka travelled from the South to Jaffna with a delegation to show solidarity with the journalists of the North and build a bridge of goodwill and national reconciliation.

A study commissioned by the Colombo-based ICES said that there are no Islamist jihadist groups in Sri Lanka.

March 28

US Ambassador Atul Keshap speaking at a reception held on board the US Naval Ship USS Blue Ridge in Colombo Port on a goodwill mission on appreciated the vision of Sri Lankan people for peace, reconciliation, unity and democracy.

March 29

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe addressing a Seminar on Constitutionalism held for the Members of Parliament at the Water's Edge in Colombo said that the Government hopes to adopt the new Constitution before the 70th Anniversary celebrations of the Parliament in 2017.

March 30

Police recovered a haul of explosives and suicide kit from a residence within the Chavakachcheri Police area of Jaffna District. The recovery include suicide jacket, four claymore mines, three parcels containing around 12kg of TNT, 2 packets of 9mm ammo (100 bullets) and 2 battery packs used to detonate the claymore mines. The explosives are believed to have been hidden by the LTTE during the war period.

Police recovered another stocks of explosives and weapons at a location in Mannar District. Small bombs and a RPG launcher were discovered from an abandoned well. The explosives are believed to have been hidden by the LTTE during the war period.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera addressing a meeting of the collective of the families of missing persons in Akkaraipattu in Ampara District said that the Government will ratify the United Nations Convention on Enforced Disappearances when the Parliament endorses it within the next few months.

March 31

Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that the discovery of haul of arms at two locations in the North will not adversely affect the demilitarization of former war zones.

April 2

Commissioner for Missing persons Maxwell Paranagama while replying to questions by the media at the conclusion of the inquiries of the Commission held at Vavuniya District said that EPDP, PLOTE and EPRLF were answerable for missing persons during LTTE war.

Pathmanabha led-ERPLF decided to drop the words "Eelam" and "Liberation" from its name in Jaffna District. Sources said that the name change had become necessary in view of the radically changed scenario following the 2009 military defeat of LTTE.

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in an interview at his residence in Colombo blaming the Government for adopting a dominating, domineering and hegemonic attitude towards the Northern Province, reiterated his call for a federal structure.

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged to build a country devoid of extremism and terrorism for the younger generation.

April 5

Parliament appointed members to committees at the first sitting of CA. Seven Deputy Chairmen were elected to preside over the CA meetings in the absence of the Chairman. A Steering Committee consisting of 21 members were appointed and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was unanimously appointed as the Chairman of the Steering Committee.

Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake told the Parliament that the Government has taken measures not to allow any room to form extremist Muslim organizations in the country.

Northern Province Health Minister Dr. P. Sathyalingam said that Police reports and health records show that the use of drugs in North is rapidly rising. Deaths of relatives, disappearances and missing, hopelessness, family problems and economic difficulties are the main reasons for people to resort to drugs, the Provincial Health Minister said.

April 6

Chairman of Northern Province Council Secretariat Kandiya Sivagnanam speaking at an occasion in Jaffna District said that LTTE will never raise its head again in the North without its slain leader V. Prabhakaran.

April 7

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking to a delegation of German South Asia Parliamentary Group at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo said that Sri Lanka is totally committed to safeguarding national security as well as regional security.

April 8

NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran presenting a Resolution on the Constitutional Reforms to the NPC has proposed to set up two States in the country, one by merging the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the other by merging the seven other Provinces.

April 10

Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D. M Swaminathan in a statement said that NPC has become a "no action - talk only" scenario depriving the legitimate basic needs of the Tamil Community.

April 11

TNA members of the NPC launched a protest demanding to halt the transfer of lands to SFs in Jaffna District. The protesters claimed that the military is attempting to take over land in Jaffna, Manippai and Kulawadi and demanded to halt ongoing land surveys.

April 12

Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that the SFs will not take back the lands in the North as some groups have alleged.

April 14

The 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices published by the U.S. Department of State said that widespread impunity continued in 2015 for the crimes committed during the armed conflict and other crimes committed following the end of the conflict.

April 16

Opposition Leader and TNA leader R. Sampanthan while participating in a discussion in Jaffna District expressed hope that the proposed new Constitution would allow the merger of North and East and a federal rule to distribute power to provinces within a unitary state.

April 17

PRCCR chaired by Lal Wijenayake proposed to set up 10 Sub-Committees consisting of Member of Parliaments to deliberate on specific areas relating to the new Constitution.

April 19

Police arrested Stanly Kennedy (29), a former cadre of LTTE wanted in connection with four murders in Galle District. Police recovered a foreign manufactured 9 mm pistol and a magazine with eight ammunitions.

Opposition Leader and TNA leader R. Sampanthan raised serious concerns about the Government's housing project for war-torn North and East with regard to irregularities in the tender process, the cost of the houses and the durability of the pre-fabricated houses as well as the environmental unsuitability of the proposed steel houses.

April 20

National Organizer of JHU Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that the true intention of the NPC was to pave the way for a Tamil State under the guise of a Federal State.

CPA in a report "Dynamics of Sinhala Buddhist Ethno-Nationalism in Post-War Sri Lanka" said that seven years after the end of the war Sri Lanka continues to remain a deeply divided society.

April 22

General Secretary of SLFP Minister Duminda Dissanayake at a media briefing held at the SLFP headquarters warned that stern action would be taken after the May Day rally against those who breach party discipline.

April 23

President Maithripala Sirisena said that the SLFP should be restructured as a clean political party and that there would be many obstacles during the said restructuring process.

Joint Opposition said that it would commence its May Day procession from Shalika Grounds in Narahenpita as planned despite the cancellation of the reservation of the Ground.

NPC passed a Bill with a majority vote to establish the Northern and Eastern Provinces into one federal ruling system.

April 24

Opposition parties said that the Government must act on a bill passed by TNA-controlled NPC calling for a merger of the North and East into one Tamil speaking federal unit.

Former Batticaloa LTTE leader Ram was arrested by the TID in Batticaloa District. Police said the former LTTE member, who was rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, is been questioned by the TID.

April 25

NPC Chairperson C.V.K. Sivagnanam said that the demand for federalism should not be misinterpreted as separatism.

HRW while commending the Government of Sri Lanka on its efforts to build trust among communities urged Government to publicly state plans for implementation of UN resolution.

April 26

TID arrested a former LTTE leader in Jaffna District. The suspect had been identified as Sivamoorthi Kanapathipillai alias Nagulan who had been a 'commander' of the Charles Anthony Brigade, an elite brigade of the LTTE during its heyday.

April 27

President Maithripala Sirisena at a meeting with newspaper editors and media heads said that the Government is setting up an accountability mechanism for alleged war crimes and human rights violations during the final phase of the war.

TNA called for a probe on the alleged illegal occupation of civilian lands by the military in the Northern Province.

Malaysian authorities deported a Sri Lankan national for allegedly having links to the terror group IS. The 42-year-old Sri Lankan was arrested on April 22 for issuing death threats against the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister via Facebook.

April 28

Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that former LTTE leaders were arrested in relation to discovery of a stock of explosives and a suicide jacket in the North.

NPC proposed a separate administrative unit called 'Upcountry Regional Council' for Tamils living in the central part of the country.

Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga speaking at an event held in Kandy District said that the Joint Opposition is attempting to destroy the SLFP.

Media Secretary of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Nimal Bopage notified the media that it was unlawful and unethical to use the term "Joint Opposition" to describe a certain number of parliamentarians from the Government, working with other opposition parliamentarians.

April 29

Northern Province CM C.V. Wignewaran said that the recent resolution adopted to propose a federal system was not aimed at dividing the country but to unite it.

Two UN Special Rapporteurs, Monica Pnto and Juan E Mendez, arrived in Sri Lanka on the invitation of the Government. Both will visit the island from April 29 to May 7, 2016.

May 1

SC issued notice for Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran and three others to appear in the Court over a petition filed against a resolution passed by the NPC on April 28 calling for a federal solution and merger of the North and East.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne while speaking at the May Day rally organized by National Movement for Democracy at Hyde Park ground in Colombo said that the current Government will not collapse despite attempts by the Mahinda Rajapaksa faction to bring it down.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa while speaking at the May Day rally of the Joint Opposition at Kirulapone Lalith Athulathmudali Stadium said that they are never ready to stop the struggle they have launched against the government as the government is the common enemy.

May 2

TID of Police arrested another rehabilitated leader of the LTTE in Kaththankudi of Batticaloa District on suspicion of regrouping.

May 3

Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan called on the Government to take all steps necessary to investigate the killings of journalists and bring the perpetrators of those crimes to justice.

May 4

Veerasingham Anandasangaree, the leader of the TULF held discussions with other Tamil political leaders to form the new political alliance due to TNA not addressing the needs of the people.

May 5

President Maithripala Sirisena launched national program to enlighten the school children on the national reconciliation process.

May 7

UN HR Expert Juan E. Mendez said that torture still continues in Sri Lanka. He heard between 16,000 and 22,000 people had gone missing during the conflict and its immediate aftermath.

May 8

Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan called on the Tamil Diaspora to take part in the development of North and East. He said the Tamil Diaspora can invest in development activities, open factories and contribute to employment opportunities for the youth.

May 10

Two UN experts, who visited Sri Lanka on a week-long mission urged the Government to establish democratic institutions in line with international human rights standards.

May 12 State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene at a media briefing in Colombo said that this year giving priority to reconciliation efforts will mark the end of the LTTE war with a cultural show instead of a military parade.
May 18

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at the national ceremony to commemorate war heroes, held at the War Hero Monument in the Parliament premises in Colombo said that the Government is committed to strengthen the national reconciliation in order to prevent another war.

May 25

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera in a statement in Parliament said that Government will set up a new Office of Missing Persons to help families of missing persons across Sri Lanka to discover the fate of their missing family members.

May 27

Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Prime Minister extended its deadline for the public to make submissions to June 24.

HRW said "At the UNHRC in Geneva last year, the government agreed to hold nationwide public consultations on all transitional justice mechanisms. However, on May 24, Sri Lanka's cabinet approved the new Office of Missing Persons without talking with the families who have long waited for justice."

May 28

HRCSL issued directives to be followed by designated officials arresting persons under the PTA to ensure the fundamental rights of persons arrested or detained are respected and protected, and such persons are treated humanely.

May 30

President Maithripala Sirisena during a special meeting held at the President's Office on the resettlement of displaced people in North and East advised the relevant officials to finish the process of identifying lands for the resettlement of the displaced people in the North by June 3.

June 1

Two LTTE suspects were arrested over the seizure of several caps bearing the LTTE logo in Vavuniya District. The arrestees are Mahadevan and Devadasan.

National Peace Council in a press release said that credibility of transitional justice mechanisms is essential and has called for a credible mechanism to probe the fate of the 20,000 persons who went missing during the ethnic conflict.

June 2

US Country Report on Terrorism said that Sri Lanka's focus on LTTE resurgence diverted attention from emerging threats such as reports of Sri joining the ISIL.

June 6 Two British officials Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Simon McDonald and Permanent Under-Secretary at the UK Department for International Development Mark Lowcock hold discussion with PM Ranil Wickremesighe and the Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan on reconciliation and human rights in Colombo.
June 7 Cabinet of Ministers approved a draft legislation enabling the issuance of Certificates of Absence for the thousands of people missing in the war.
June 8

Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran appealed to Tamil school students to learn Sinhalese so that they do not lose job opportunities both in Sinhalese-speaking South and the Tamil-speaking North.

2016 Global Peace Index released said that Sri Lanka has become more peaceful and ranked higher as the country saw strong gains in both internal and external peace.

June 10

The High Commission of India signed agreements to award work to four agencies to implement the housing project in the Central and Uva Provinces. The project envisages construction of 4000 houses through an innovative community-driven model involving the EWHCS and beneficiaries.

Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran during a meeting with the British High Commissioner in Colombo James Dauris said that he is slowly losing confidence in the Government as he is yet to receive a response from the Government to the proposals he presented including a proposal to endorse a federal system for the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

June 12

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at a special event in the Vavuniya District said that the Government is ready to hear the voice of the people and protect the rights of people living in the Northern Province.

ITJP in a survey undertaken found that many former cadres of LTTE, now on exile in Europe, are willing to participate in the proposed transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka on alleged violations of human rights during the final phase of the civil war, if their safety and anonymity are guaranteed.

President Maithripala Sirisena in an exclusive interview in Colombo reiterated his stance that there will be no foreign judges in the domestic mechanism which is to be established to probe the alleged war crimes and human right violations during the three-decade long conflict with LTTE.

June 13

HRW urged Sri Lankan Government to abide by the directives issued by the HRCSL on arrests and detention under the PTA and take measures to revoke the draconian Act.

June 14

ICRC in a report said "We support vulnerable households in the north and east of the country to start a small business of their choice through our Micro Economic Initiatives program, which is carried out in line with the Sri Lankan government''s community empowerment program."

June 17

Air Force personnel uncovered a buried stock of LTTE weapons from the Palamppidi area of Madu in Mannar District. The weapons were buried in a bunker LTTE maintained during the war and the area is now overgrown with forest.

HRCSL released its proposals on constitutional reforms to the public. The Commission presented its proposals on constitutional reform to the Prime Minister, the Speaker and the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform.

June 19

President Maithripala Sirisena issued new directives to the Police and SF personnel to follow when arresting and detaining persons under the PTA not to physically harass, torture or humiliate suspects in a disrespectful manner.

June 21

Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran responding to reporters in Jaffna District said that TNA strongly opposes domestic mechanism to probe the war crime allegations.

Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando said that Government has decided to set up Office of Missing Persons which will take over the functions of the Commission on Missing Persons.

June 22

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne at the Cabinet briefing at the Government Information Department rejected the allegations that Army used cluster bombs during the final phases of the LTTE war.

In an open letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussain, signed by FORUM-ASIA, Franciscans International, HRW, ICJ, IMADR and the ISHR, urged the UN rights chief to clearly identify in his oral report to the ongoing HRC session the areas, where there is no progress made in the implementation of the UN resolution on Sri Lanka adopted in October 2015.

London-based Tamil Diaspora group GTF in a press release urged International Community to exert pressure on Sri Lanka to ensure full implementation of UNHRC resolution.

June 24

Minister of National Dialogue Mano Ganesan said that over 400 Tamils will be joining the Police after the completion of training in August to be posted in North and East.

June 25

Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, a global non-partisan movement, urged the Army to release the records of the people surrendered to the security forces at the end of the LTTE war in 2009.

HRCSL welcomed the directives issued by President Maithripala Sirisena on June 19 to the Police and security forces to follow when arresting and detaining persons suspected of terrorism related offences.

June 26

Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi speaking at a ceremony to release a land area in Jaffna District said that all the lands in the North held by Security Forces except the strategically important ones will be returned.

Verité Research, a Colombo-based research organization said that Tamil press has lost faith in the UNHRC commitment to rendering justice.

June 27

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that steps taken by Sri Lanka encouraging but transformative process will take time.

June 28

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in an annual report said that Sri Lanka must rein in its military forces, prosecute war crimes committed during the long civil war with LTTE rebels and win the confidence of the Tamil minority.

June 29

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein presented an oral on Sri Lanka to the ongoing 32nd session of the UNHRC in Geneva. The High Commissioner said he is concerned that the Government has not moved fast enough with tangible measures.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera delivering a statement to the ongoing 32 nd Session of the UNHRC in Geneva said that Sri Lanka since January 2015 has taken 'giant leaps' to achieve reconciliation although they may seem like 'baby steps' for some.

Norway in a statement to the 32nd session of UNHRC in Geneva called on the Sri Lankan Government to adhere to the UN resolution and include international judges and lawyers in the recommended judicial mechanism to investigate the allegations of war crimes.

June 30

President Maithripala Sirisena joined the public march organized by the HRCSL launching its Anti-Torture Campaign to eradicate torture, especially under police custody.

July 1

TNA issuing a statement on the oral update of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council on the implementation of the Resolution on Sri Lanka said that justice for crimes committed in the past by both the military forces and the LTTE is a necessary precondition to achieve meaningful reconciliation.

July 4

Former interpreter for the LTTE George Master who surrendered to the Army on April 22, 2009, during the final stage of the war was released from the magisterial inquiry.

July 6

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that Government is planning to finalize the judicial mechanisms to probe war abuses by 2017.

PCICMP Chairman Justice Maxwell Paranagama said the compilation of the final interim report has been commenced and it would be handed over to the President on July 15.

July 7

Joint Opposition appointed a shadow cabinet of 50 Ministers, led by ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs.

54 journalists visiting at the invitation of Southern journalists on a reconciliation tour met with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Parliamentary Complex and expressed their gratitude to the President and the Prime Minister to the peaceful environment prevailing in the North.

July 8

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at a ceremony at the Panadura town in Kalutara District reiterated that he will not allow any foreign court, judge or organization interfere into the internal administration and judiciary in the country in future as well.

July 10

Commander Security Force Jaffna - SF (J) Major General Mahesh Senanayake said that there has not been any reduction in the number of camps or the troops and the Army Camps are maintained in the required locations for the safety of the public.

Northern Province has stressed federalism as a solution to devolve power in Sri Lanka. The view of the Northern Province was presented to the 21-member Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly which comprises representatives from various parties with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the chairperson.

July 12

UN asked Sri Lanka to follow its agreements with the international community to ensure accountability for the human rights abuses during the decades-long armed conflict.

July 13

A TNA delegation consisting of party and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, MP M.A. Sumanthiran and few other senior leaders met with the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal and US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski in Colombo. During the meeting, the delegation expressed concerns over release of Tamil political prisoners and lands in the conflict-affected North still occupied by the Sri Lankan military.

July 16 Six Sinhala students were injured when a group of Tamil students opposed a traditional Kandyan dance presented by the Sinhala students to welcome the freshmen to the campus escalated into a physical assault at the University of Jaffna in the Northern Province.
July 17 TNA appealed to all students of the Jaffna University not to permit any recurrence of clashes or similar incidents that will hinder genuine reconciliation amongst communities in the country.
July 19 A team of Ministers visited the restive campus of the Jaffna University to assess the situation following a clash between two groups of students on July 16.
July 20

Switzerland's AG indicted 13 LTTE supporters for providing financial support via a sophisticated microcredit system reportedly raising around $15.2 million.

President Maithripala Sirisena said that all educational institutions, including universities and vocational training centers should act as reconciliation centers and reconciliation should be included as a subject in the school curriculum.

Governor of Northern Province Reginald Cooray said that the recent clash between two groups of students at the University of Jaffna has stirred up both North and South and some extremist groups are attempting to inflame situation instead of calming it.

July 21

Cabinet approved SLR 971 million to immediately resettle the families of the IDP. At present, 971 families reside in 31 welfare centers, out of which 641 families are individuals without land.

July 22

Sri Lanka invited the Diaspora groups, including Tamils, to make submissions for advancing the task of reconciliation following the country's three-decade-long civil war that ended in 2009.

July 23

A high-level delegation of defence officials including the Secretary of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi and Commander of Army Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva visited and evaluated the status quo of the Army-released civilian lands in Jaffna and the progress of the ongoing house construction projects of the Army for accelerated resettlement of the displaced persons.

July 26

ICRC in a 34-page report released asked Sri Lanka to clarify the fate and whereabouts of 16,000 missing persons including over 5,100 SF personnel missing in Action.

August 7

CM of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran addressing the Tamil Peoples' Council in Jaffna District said that accountability for the war crimes committed in the last phase of LTTE war must be established before the Government formulates a new constitution.

Wigneswaran also urged re-merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces as they were the cultural homelands of the Tamils.

August 8

Muslim civil society in Eastern Province stressed that North and East should not be merged when devolving power to the provinces under a new constitution.

August 9

NPC unanimously adopted a proposal to inquire into reports of suspicious deaths of ex-LTTE cadres who had undergone rehabilitation.

August 10

Co-Cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne at the weekly Cabinet press briefing said that the Government will launch an investigation into the allegation that the rehabilitated LTTE cadres are mysteriously dying due to being poisoned while they were under Government custody undergoing rehabilitation.

August 11

Parliament passed the OMP Bill with amendments. The passage of the bill allows the Government to set up an OMP to help several thousands of families of missing persons across Sri Lanka to discover the fate of their loved ones and the circumstances under which they went missing.

August 13

President Maithripala Sirisena said that the Government's move to set up the OMP is to ascertain the fate of the thousands of civilians and SFs members went missing during the war.

August 14

PCICMP handed over its report to the Presidential Secretariat. Since its establishment on August 15, 2013, the Commission had received 16,213 complaints from civilians and another 5,000 complaints from relatives of missing security forces personnel. During its term in office, they toured eight Districts in the North and South and investigated statements from several officials, of which, 6400 were chosen to be reviewed. 19,000 statements were recorded from civilians. While 4800 cases were deemed false, 5400 entries were regarding missing members of the security forces.

Northern Province Health Minister Dr. P. Sathiyalingam said that Health Ministry commenced medicals ascertain whether there is a truth to the allegation that the Government has poisoned the rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres during the government's rehabilitation program conducted at the army camps.

August 16

The Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Prime Minister on January 26, 2016, has released an Interim Report OMP Bill and Issues Concerning the Missing, the Disappeared and the Surrendered.

August 17

People staged a protest demanding an OMP in the Northern Province. Residents of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts staged the protest saying that setting up the OMP in Colombo will not be any benefit to the people in the North and demanded the Government to set up the OMP in Kilinochchi or Mullaitivu.

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene dismissed the Tamil politicians' allegations of poisoning ex-LTTE while undergoing rehabilitation at Government camps.

August 18

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe explaining the importance of establishing the OMP said that OMP's purpose is to seek the truth not retribution.

August 19

An official of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said that the IDPs currently living in the welfare camps will be resettled in permanent houses soon.

August 21

Ministry of Defense dismissed a report published on the Sunday Divaina newspaper that the Government has decided to withdraw 64 army camps stationed in the Eastern Province. It said that there were 162 army camps in the East at the beginning of 2016 and it has been decided to reduce the number to 98 by 31 August. The report added that 30 camps have already been removed.

TNA Provincial Councillor M. K. Shivajilingam said that US Embassy in Colombo had rejected Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran's request to conduct medical checks to verify whether ex-LTTE carders in custody were allegedly injected with a poisonous drug.

August 22

Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran appointed a five member medical committee to assist in an investigation into the alleged deaths and illnesses of ex-LTTE cadres during and since their time in rehabilitation.

HRCSL in a statement said that public awareness campaign needed urgently to dispel misinformation about OMP. The statement said that a concerted effort is required to create understanding and a sense of ownership amongst the public in this regard.

August 24

An ex-LTTE cadre who was undergoing treatment at the Jaffna Prison Hospital while being remanded at the Jaffna Prison has escaped from hospital. The accused is identified as Rasaiya Anandarasa.

Government is planning to strengthen the SCRM which is tasked with the design and implementation of reconciliation mechanisms. The Secretariat is vested with the task of planning and implementing the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.

August 25

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responding to a question by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the Government is ready to accommodate any missed amendments to the OMP Act.

Sri Lanka Human Rights Organization organized a peace walk from the North to the deep South of the island with the aim to build reconciliation among the divided ethnic communities of Sri Lankans.

August 26

A team of TNA parliamentarians led by Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss matters pertaining to the people in the North and East.

During the meeting Sampanthan had drawn the attention of the Prime Minister towards unauthorized constructions and resettlement taking place in the North and East. The Parliamentary Oversight Committee of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry said that the Government has decided to grant bank loans at concessionary rates to ex-LTTE cadres for self-employment purposes.

Sources said that the Government has fast-tracked the process of drafting the new Constitution. With this in view, the Steering Committee which is drafting the constitutional proposals has decided to hold meeting on consecutive days so as to complete its task as early as possible.

SCRM got cabinet nod for its operations. The SCRM is vested with the task of planning and implementing the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. It also coordinates and facilitates policy making and implementing agencies.

CERD committee member and country rapporteur for Sri Lanka Jose Francisco Cali Tzay said that the Tamil population continued to suffer discrimination, including through lack of access to public services in their own language.

August 28

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera while addressing a gathering in Point Pedro in the Northern Province said that the new draft Constitution could be presented in Parliament by mid-November.

August 30

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera in a startling revelation said that the leaders of LTTE paid money to a defence official of the previous Government to obtain safe passage out of the country.

August 31

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne at the weekly Cabinet news briefing said that international community are no longer insisting on credible domestic inquiry with the participation of foreign judges.

September 1

Intelligence Bureau and CISF officials arrested a Sri Lankan national identified as Suthan Suppiah suspected of having links to LTTE in Maharashtra, India.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at a youth event in Galle city on "Reconciliation and Coexistence: the Role of Youth" urged the Sri Lankan youth to appreciate diversity and lead the way towards reconciliation.

September 2

President Maithripala Sirisena at a meeting with newspaper editors and media heads pledged to resolve land in issues in the Northern Province within three months.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he sees a very different picture of Sri Lanka today from what he saw during his earlier visit to the island.

September 3

President Maithripala Sirisena assured to provide the necessary resources to build a modernized, quality Police Service in the country.

September 4

Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Malaysia Ibrahim Ansar was assaulted by a group of protestors allegedly linked to the LTTE after he refused to divulge the details of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is on a visit to Malaysia, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

September 5

Several organizations and the parents and relatives of Tamil political prisoners staged a demonstration in the Killinochchi town of Killinotschchi District calling upon the Government to free Tamil political prisoners.

September 7

Jaffna Security Forces commander Mahesh Senanayake said that resettlement of over 3,000 people displaced in the northern Jaffna will be completed by mid next year.

September 8

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responding to a question in Parliament said that the Government is hoping to increase the percentage of Tamils in the SFs.

September 9

Northern Provincial Health Ministry organized complete medical examinations for the rehabilitated and released former members of LTTE in response to the allegations that they have been poisoned during rehabilitation.

India deported Sudhan Subbiah (37), a Sri Lankan national having links with LTTE.

President Maithripala Sirisena participating in a ceremony held at the Jaffna Central College in Jaffna District promised to take swift measures to develop conflict affected North.

September 13

The Mandapam Station (Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu) of the Indian Coast Guard arrested a Sri Lankan Tamil, suspected to be a militant of LTTE identified as A. Arul Jayarathinam alias Rajan.

September 15

UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances making opening remarks at the 33rd session of the UNHRC in Geneva commended Sri Lanka's increasing openness to international engagement as positive and encouraging step.

September 17

Ministry of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that a special committee has been appointed to monitor the activities and the formation of the proposed OMP.

September 18

Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the Government is now in the process of drafting a national human rights action plan for the period 2017-2021.

September 20

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his final address as the UN Chief said that the post-war healing efforts in Sri Lanka had improved.

September 22

Top EU lawyer Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston recommended removing the LTTE from the EU''s list of terrorist organizations because procedural mistakes invalidated the decision to include them in the list.

Steering Committee appointed by the CA during its 27th meeting discussed electoral reforms and devolution. The Steering Committee will endeavor to submit the Interim Report to the CA by November 2016.

September 24

Thousands of Tamils staged a mass protest in Jaffna District demanding solutions to their issues. The march led by Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran was organized by the Tamil Makkal National Front.

September 25

Referring to the Tamil protest march and rally held in Jaffna District led by the Chief Minister of Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran, State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene said that the Government will not yield to extremism in the North.

September 29

Minister of City Planning & Water Supply Rauf Hakeem addressing a gathering at a function at Katugasthota in Kandy said that the new Constitution will not divide the country.

September 30

Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva condemned the conduct of Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.

Secretary to the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, V. Sivagnanasothy in a statement said that Army will release 454.2 acres of lands to the people in Jaffna District.

October 1

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while meeting New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key at Government House in Auckland said that the counter-terrorism law will replace PTA.

October 2

An ex- LTTE cadre who had allegedly attacked residents of a war heroes housing scheme in Kokeliya area of Vavuniya District was arrested by the Police.

October 3

Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneshwaran said that a conspiracy is being hatched up to assassinate me and put the blame on the LTTE.

October 5

TNA General Secretary Mavai Senathirajah in a letter to the Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan asked to arrange full security for Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran after alleged death threats.

October 7

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the demand by the Northern Province CM C. V. Wigneswaran for a federal solution to Tamil ethnic issue in the new Constitution is irrelevant since it is the Parliament that makes a Constitution.

October 9

TNA's spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran said that the proposed new law to replace the PTA may be worse than the current law with most of the controversial provisions being retained.

October 10

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that all political parties and leaders of all religious faiths have no issue in giving priority to protect Buddhism in the country.

Jayampathi Wickramaratne, who is a member of the Steering Committee on Constitutional Reforms, said that the Steering Committee on Constitutional Reforms would submit a report to the CA in two weeks outlining the progress in the Constitution-making process.

October 11

Government appointed a committee chaired by the Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake to draft the new counter terrorism law to replace PTA.

TNA spokesman M.A Sumanthiran rejected the Prime Minister's claim that the party has agreed to give Buddhism the foremost place in the new Constitution.

October 17

ONUR together with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs organized a program to provide relief to the war-affected women in Northern Sri Lanka.

October 18

Former Army Lieutenant, who was convicted for the death of a LTTE suspect when he was attempting to escape military custody in 1998, paid SLR 2 million to the victim's family as compensation.

October 19

UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Rita Izsak Ndiaye said that minority members should be enlisted to the security forces on the basis of population.

October 20

UN Special Rapporteur on Minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, who concluded a 10-day mission to Sri Lanka recommended Government to establish an Independent Commission on Minorities under the Constitution with a clear mandate, powers, resources and autonomy.

HRCSL called on the President to give leadership in calling for and the Prime Minister and all members of the CA to ensure the incorporation of Economic, Social and Cultural rights in the future Constitutional chapter on rights as fully protected rights.

October 22

London-based GTF welcomed the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye's statement urging the Government to take immediate measures to set up a dedicated minority rights mechanism to bring lasting peace and reconciliation among all communities.

October 22

Prime Minster Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing a religious event at Gangodawila in Nugegoda District said that Sri Lanka needs a new Constitution since the war, which prevailed for the past 30 years in the country has ended and changes suitable for the post-war era need to be made for the country to go forward, reports Colombo Page. He added that formulating a new Constitution cannot be done alone and it needs the support from each and every one.

October 23

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has refused to hoist the LTTE's flag at a function organized by the pro-LTTE organization TCC at Harrow in London. Tamil Coordinating Committee is a proscribed organization in Sri Lanka. However, the Chief Minister attended the function and delivered an address. Speaking at the event, Wigneswaran stressed the need for the Tamils to unite by shedding political differences and eschewing one-upmanship. He appealed to the Tamils to shed arrogance and the practice of opposing anything that is suggested as an alternative to one's way of thinking.

October 25

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya addressing the 135th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva said that the Government is dedicated to strengthen the human rights of all and strengthening the rule of law by putting in place necessary legislations and institutional mechanisms, such as establishing independent statutory Bodies or commissions.

October 30

Sri Lanka Police arrested two suspected members of the 'Aava' sword gang in Jaffna in Northern Province. The Jaffna Police said two people suspected to be the members of sword carrying 'Aava' gang were arrested while they were traveling on a motorcycle along a by-road in Jaffna. Two swords in their possession were also recovered, the Police said. The Jaffna Police are on alert after two police detectives were attacked last week with swords in Chunnakam by sword wielding masked individuals on motorcycles. The 'Aava' gang claimed responsibility to the assault on two policemen saying that they attacked the policemen to avenge the death of two Jaffna University students on October 21.

Reports that a terror gang, believed to be backed by the LTTE and inspired by South Indian films, is reportedly operating in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated Northern District of Jaffna, prompting Police to launch a crackdown. Acts of violence have recently increased in Jaffna suburbs such as Manipay, Kopay and Chunnakam by the sword-wielding Aava Group, Police sources said. It is believed this group was being backed by some politicians and former members of the LTTE. The group is also said to draw inspiration from South Indian films. The group has been accused of murder, plunder of property and assault of people and people fear it due to its attacks which have caused serious injuries to the victims that include two state intelligence operatives.

October 31

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena handed over 100 houses newly constructed by the military to IDPs in Jaffna in Northern Province and released another 454 acres of land that was seized by the military in war time to the original owners. President Sirisena vested with the public the Kankasanthurai, Keeramalai, Nallinakkapuram village, consisting of 100 houses, which is constructed under the first phase of the project to resettle 971 families in 31 welfare centers in Jaffna.

Speaking of the deaths of the two students of the Jaffna University, the President expressed sorrow and said their deaths are a hurdle in Sri Lanka’s path to reconciliation and such incidents should not take in any part of the country.

The HRCSL said that based on the statistics at the Commission's disposal, the Commission recognizes torture to be of routine nature that is practiced all over the country, mainly in relation to police detentions. In a report submitted to the UN CAT for the review of the 5th Periodic Report of Sri Lanka, the HRCSL said the complaints received by the Commission illustrate that torture is routinely used in all parts of the country regardless of the nature of the suspected offence for which the person is arrested.

While the number of complaints of torture has been declining in the last three years from 600 complaints in 2013, the Commission has received 420 complaints in 2015 and 208 so far this year. The HRCSL said the prevailing culture of impunity where those accused of torture is concerned is also a contributing factor to the routine use of torture as a means of interrogation and investigation.

November 2

Cabinet spokesman, Health Minister Rajitha Harischandra Senaratne said the underworld gang "Aava" active in the North was a creation of former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and certain top military officers. He said though there may be some rationale to use them against the LTTE during the war, in the peace time they are only a bunch of criminals and thugs who should be apprehended at once and brought before the law.

The Minister Senaratne said it was obvious that the same officials who fed and bred them were once again active and instructed the terror group to create troubles and disrupt peace in the North for their political advantage. “For a moment you can justify the action taken by former Defense Secretary and military officers to form this underworld group because the LTTE was also an illegal terror group. But why it is active in the peace time? What they expect by creating a fear psychosis among the civilians in the North?” he questioned and added all members of the Aava group were Tamils.

Minister Senaratne dismissed the suggestion that this underworld group was a creation of the Tamil Diaspora and said Aava was active in the North during the war and the armed forces were aware of that and added he could even reveal the name of the Brigadier who acted as the god father of the ‘Aava group’ during the war. The Defense Ministry has given clear instructions to the police and intelligence services to apprehend them as early as possible and take legal action against them, he said.

Sri Lanka sacked its spy chief amid suspicions that a notorious sword-wielding gang, ‘Aava Group’ operating in the northern Jaffna peninsula was being backed by a section of the military, creating unrest in the Tamil-dominated area. The Defence Ministry announced the removal of head of military intelligence Suresh Sallay and replaced him with Brigadier Vijendra Gunatillake.

November 5

Sri Lanka Police arrested as many as six suspected members of the 'Aava Gang', who are terrorizing the people in the North, in Jaffna in Northern Province, Police sources said. The Terrorism Investigation Division of Sri Lanka Police arrested two brothers suspected to be members of the gang at Uduvil in Jaffna in the night, while four others were arrested earlier in the day, report said.

State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene said that, Sri Lanka's SFs and Police have the necessary strength to restrain any armed group and no external party will be allowed to take the law in to their hands. He added that after the end of the three decade long war the Government has taken strict measures to beef up security in the country. He rejected the allegations made by some elements that the Government has political and military connection with the Aava group in the North.

Another group of 20 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees lived in camps in Tamil Nadu in India will be arriving Sri Lanka on November 15, 2016 under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation program. According to the Secretary to Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs V. Sivagnanasothy, the group consisting of 20 persons from 10 families is scheduled to arrive in Colombo on a SriLankan Airlines flight from Chennai. Of the 20 refugee returnees, 10 are males and 10 are females. These refugee returnees will get back to Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Mannar and Trincomalee, according to the official.

November 6

The people in the south do not have to fear another unrest in the North, the opposition leader R. Sampanthan assured. Such a fear of unrest can be seen among the people of the South preventing them coming to the North but it should not be so, the leader of main Tamil party, TNA, added. The Opposition Leader said the TNA is not a party attempting to split the country and therefore, so no one should have a fear about his party.

No one should entertain any fears about the TNA because it is not a party striving to divide the country, said TNA and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan in Jaffna. He was addressing a meeting held to mark the launching of a newspaper named Kalai Kadeer started by Nadeshapillai Vidyadaran of the unregistered Tamil National Liberation Front comprising former LTTE members.

November 7

Sri Lanka's Police chief, IGP, Pujith Jayasundera, stated combating terrorism is not an easy task and cooperation of law enforcement agencies under different jurisdictions is essential. "Although Sri Lanka is now free from conventional terrorism, we are very much mindful of the threat of its citizens joining foreign terrorist organizations. It was recently revealed that a Sri Lankan national was killed in Syria in the year 2015," IGP Jayasundera said.

November 8

Three youths, arrested on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities in the Northern Province and being members of a criminal gang called the 'AAVA Gangsters', were ordered to be remanded till November 16, by Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris. The suspects were arrested by TID under the provisions of PTA. The TID alleged that the suspects had connived with ex-LTTE cadres to commit criminal activities in the Northern Province. The three youths were among six persons, suspected to be members of 'Aava Gangsters', arrested by Jaffna Police. Four of them were arrested on November 5, while another two were arrested on November 6. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that we have reached consensus to a great extent on power devolution. "Within the UNP too there are members who have come from Provincial and Local Government. And both the main parties have members who have served as chief ministers. Their views were also taken into account. We have also discussed the issue with the TNA and together we have looked into the shortcomings of Local Government and where power should and shouldn't be dissolved," explained the PM. President Maithripala Sirisena warning the public that various organizations are engaged in movements to create turmoil and instability in the country said the public should be aware of these elements. The President said that various conspiracies are being launched in the country to create disunity among Sinhala and Muslim people and tension in the public.

November 9

Three youths who were arrested on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities in the Northern Province after being members of a criminal gang called 'Aava group', were ordered to be remanded until November 16 by Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Artigala. On November 8, three other youths of the 'Aava group' were remanded until November 16 by the court. All these six youths were arrested by Jaffna Police. Four of them were arrested on November 5, while another two were arrested on November 6. The TID alleged that the suspects had connived with the ex-LTTE cadres to commit criminal activities in the Northern Province. The Sri Lankan cabinet has approved a proposal to allocate 88 million rupees (592,906 U.S. dollars) to purchase more lands in the former war-torn north, to settle hundreds of families displaced by the civil conflict. Cabinet spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said that steps have been taken to resettle 462 families in the north, and as there are less state lands in Jaffna, it was proposed that private lands to the extent of 20 perches for each family is purchased. He said that 971 families still lived in welfare centres in the Jaffna District and 682 families of them did not own any lands.

November 11

A Sri Lankan court remanded four more persons, suspected of being members of the 'AAVA gang' that is terrorizing the North, in Jaffna in Northern Province. Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Attygalle remanded the four youth until November 16, after they were produced before the Colombo Magistrate's Court. State Minister of Defense, Ruwan Wijewardene, last week said that the SFs and the Police in the North have already identified the members of the 'AAVA gang' and will soon arrest the suspects. President Maithripala Sirisena, in an interview stated that solving problems of Tamils is my obligation. He said, "A vast majority - about 90 per cent of the people - in the north voted for me. They have confidence in me that I will solve their problems. So it is not only my responsibility, but also my obligation to solve their problems." He also said, "The new programme for national reconciliation is being implemented. It is a major initiative for reconciliation among Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Malay, Burgher and other communities to ensure coexistence and harmony. It is essential to strengthen reconciliation in order to prevent occurrence of another war in the country." Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Mahinda Amaraweera stated that the Government will focus its attention on certain extremist groups trying to propagate racism among the communities in order to disrupt the reconciliation process. "The government will not act in a biased manner in favour of any particular ethnic group when taking decisions. Some extremists from the Sinhala and Muslim communities are trying to trigger ethnic clashes. Therefore, everyone should be vigilant against such manipulations," Minister Amaraweera said. "The government shall arrest any saboteurs and those spreading religious extremism via Social Media, Minister Amaraweera added. "Everyone should be vigilant and understanding in such situations. If, by any chance, any injustice occurs to any ethnic group, no one should seek solutions through violence but discussions," he said.

The CA will meet at 9 am on November 19, Parliamentary sources said. This will be the third sitting of CA. The last meeting of CA was held on May 5 to appoint the sub-committees and the first sitting was held on April 5. Sources said the Steering Committee which met on November 11 decided to convene CA to table the six Sub-Committee reports. The Steering Committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe discussed the electoral system, power sharing and the Executive at length. The six sub-committees on "Fundamental Rights, Judiciary, Finance, Public Service, Law and Order, Centre-Periphery" handed over their reports to the Steering Committee in August. The Steering Committee also decided to discuss these reports on November 16 and 17. During these discussions, the Steering Committee was expected to come to an agreement whether to present Sub-Committee reports separately or to present them along with the interim report of Steering Committee. Parliament unanimously adopted the 'Resolution for the Appointment of the Constitutional Assembly' on March 9, for the purpose of drafting a new Constitution. All 225 MPs are members of CA.

November 15

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said that 38 members of the 'Aava gang' have been arrested so far. The founder of the group, Kumares Rakkinan Vinothan alias Aava is in remand custody at present. Investigations against six are underway while legal action has been taken against the rest. "Some have been released on bail while some were fined on conviction. Some are still in remand custody," he said. He said that there are 62 members in the group. Police are looking for the rest of the members including eight top leaders of the 'Aava group' in Jaffna. The group is currently led by a new leader. The minister said this group so far had not engaged in terrorist activities but in taking ransom, looting, threatening and assaulting people and university students in areas like Jaffna, Kopay, Manipay, Chunnakam, Chavakachcheri and several other areas in the Northern Province. It has also committed crimes on contract and also acted to fulfill the needs of the criminals of a grave nature they met in remand custody after coming out of custody. The minister said this group had been formed after a conflict between two peer groups at a ceremony held at the Kanneiamman Kovil in Induveil in 2011. A group of youths got together under Aava to take revenge from their rivals. However, they were later engaged in many crimes using motorcycles and swords, he said. "The members are well to do as they are seemed to be funded by their relatives living overseas," Minister Ratnayaka said adding that every one of them owned modern motorcycles. The first sword of the group believed to be Brazilian had been brought to Sri Lanka from South India. The Aava group members have taken it to blacksmiths to make similar swords for them," he said. The minister said it is also revealed that they had attacked a blacksmith who refused to make the swords.

State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena said that there is no military backing for the 'Aava group' in Jaffna, but investigations are on to finds out whether those who left the Army have joined it. The state minister said one of the three persons arrested for their alleged involvement with 'Aava' was an Army deserter. "It is clear that the Aava group is a motorcycle gang operating in the North. The group is harassing the people and involved in extortion. The Army does not want to maintain such a group. However, the statement of Minister Rajitha Senaratne is also not wrong as former Army personnel who left the Army had worked with this group. We are now investigating to find out whether those who left the army have been working with this group," he said.

The Sri Lankan Government has said that its work on the draft counter terrorism legislation to replace the current PTA is progressing with the technical assistance of UN agencies. Presenting Sri Lanka's 5th Periodic Report submitted to the 59th Session of the CAT under the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Sri Lanka said the technical assistance has been obtained to ensure the draft legislation adheres to the international norms and standards.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed that 'freedom' was the 'oxygen' we all survived on in order to enjoy the democracy we live in. He stressed that 'racism' has always led to 'freedom' being taken away and asked that we step up to stop extremist Buddhists, Muslims and Tamils from spreading such hatred. He also explained that it was only a small minority who were trying to spread racism and hatred and that they did not represent the views of all.

Leader of the Opposition and leader of the TNA R Sampanthan said that the new Constitution should be enacted with the confidence of the maximum possible people in the country and the maximum number of political parties. The Opposition Leader said for the first time the President and the PM from two different political parties have come together to frame a new constitution. The new Constitution will be approved in the parliament by a two third majority and it has to be approved by the people at a referendum. The new Constitution will be enacted through the support of the two major political parties in the country and it will be done in a transparent manner Sampanthan said adding that all contents will be discussed in parliament and in the public domain. "Everybody will have an opportunity to express their views, to plead their views and everything will be transparent," he said.

November 16

The Sri Lanka Police arrested the Secretary of the hardcore Muslim organization SLTJ, Abdul Razik. Maligawatte Police reportedly arrested Razik on charges of inciting religious disharmony by speaking against other religions in an offensive manner during a protest campaign held in Maligawatte on November 3. SLTJ recently protested against the Sri Lankan government's decision to amend the controversial Muslim Personal Law in order to comply with international conventions on women and children rights. SLTJ charged that the government is changing the law accepting the conditions set by the European Union to grant the GSP facility back. He was later ordered to be remanded till November 29 by Colombo Additional Magistrate Chandana Kalansuriya for allegedly making derogatory remarks on Buddhism and hurting the sentiments of the Sinhala-Buddhist community in the country. Apart from this case, six members of SLTJ are being prosecuted at the Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court for making derogatory remarks on Buddha and hurting the sentiments of the Sinhala-Buddhist community in the country.

11 suspects, including several students sitting for the GCE Advanced Level examinations arrested on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities in the Northern Province after being members of a criminal gang 'Aava group' were ordered to be further remanded till November 30 by Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Artigala. The arrested suspects were residents of Jaffna Peninsula. The TID conducting investigations into the activities of 'Aava group' informed Court that the group was receiving funds from Tamil Diaspora organisations operating overseas. The TID further told Court that the Aava group is operating with the aim of discrediting the image of government with the assistance of Tamil Diaspora organisations operating overseas. Filing a further report in this regard, the TID informed Court the Aava group was operating under the leadership of ex-LTTE cadre named Sanna and they were conducting investigation to arrest him.

Co-Cabinet spokesperson Minister Gayantha Karunathilake addressing the weekly Cabinet briefing at the Parliamentary Complex said cabinet this week had discussed attempts being made by extremist groups to spread racial hatred in the country in a bid to destabilise the government. The President, PM and Cabinet were keeping an eye on these developments and were taking action to nip them in the bud, he added. He further added that in such an environment, these forces posed not only a security threat but also a threat to the reconciliation process and that the SFs too were on alert with regard to these conspiracies. Minister Karunathilake asked that the media and people report incidents in a sensitive manner in order to not further inflame ethnic tensions in the country.

President Maithripala Sirisena said the use of given freedom and democracy, to achieve narrow political gain or to spread racism and religious differences, is an obstacle to the future development of the country.

November 17

Leader of opposition in Parliament R. Sampanthan of the TNA said in Parliament that the government needs to work with the elected representatives of the people in the North and Eat. He said it should formulate a comprehensive programme of work for the North and East. For the first time in the history of this country, the political parties substantially representing the Tamil people, particularly the North and the East of the country will be a party to the constitution making process," Sampanthan added. "This would enable the realization of the future vision for this country which was enunciated in the budget speech of the Finance Minister," he said.

November 18

Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapakshe told parliament that 32 well-educated Sri Lankan Muslims of four families have joined the Islamic State in Syria. Citing reports by some unnamed foreign intelligence agencies, the Minister said those who have joined the IS and left the island are well-educated, individuals of well-respected families. "All these (Muslims) are not from ordinary families. These people are from the families which are considered as well-educated and elite," said Rajapakshe. He also said the government was aware of some foreigners coming to Sri Lanka on tourist visas to spread Islamic extremism in the guise of delivering religious seminars at Muslim schools. "There is a greater fear among the public about ISIS... If somebody tries to spread extremism in this country, we will not allow for that from today. The law of this country is no different to Buddhist monks or ordinary people." Explaining that some social media sites are inciting racial and religious disharmony, the Minister said the government will not hesitate to take strict action against those who abuse the freedom. He further told the Parliament, "Though the PTA is not in operation at the moment, it seems that the situations developing in the country would pave the way to enact it again".

Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapakshe told parliament that some groups were attempting to disrupt the country by labeling the 'Aava group' in Jaffna, as a LTTE group. The 'Aava group' in Jaffna is just a criminal group and such groups are common to all ethnic groups in the country.

November 19

Third sitting of the Constitutional Assembly was held at 9.00 am in Parliament, and it was presided over by Karu Jayasuriya as the Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly. The First Interim Report of the Steering Committee was presented to the Constitutional Assembly by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Chairman of the Steering Committee.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe assured the country's legislature that the new Constitution will be drafted in consultation with all political parties and people will have the opportunity to approve it.

MCSL strongly objected to the statement made by the Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe in Parliament regarding the Muslim community. Issuing a statement, MCSL president N M Ameen said Minister's statement implies that 32 Muslims have joined the IS recently.

November 20

President Maithripala Sirisena gave instructions to the law enforcement agencies and security services to arrest those who incite racism and religious extremism in the country and take legal action against them.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the role of the Police in working for national unity, and harmony and implementing the law very toughly against extremists.

Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne said the sword-wielding 'Aava group' in Jaffna was created by some to steal the votes of the Northern people during the 2015 elections.

November 21

Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapakshe said there was no intention to incite racism behind his recent statement that several Sri Lankans have gone to Syria to join the IS.

November 22

Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran said the gangsters who call themselves the 'Aava' group operating in the North is 'politically-motivated and army-assisted'.

November 23

Co-Cabinet spokesman Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne contradicting the recent claim made by Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapakshe in Parliament said there are no Sri Lankans connected to the ISIS.

November 24

Highways State Minister Dilan Perera, addressing the media at the SLFP headquarters in Colombo said that SLFP wants new Constitution modelled on 1972 one.

November 25

Co-Existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan referring to the arrest of youth in Jaffna District said that arrests will no longer be made under the PTA.

ONUR in a statement issued expressed concern over the rise of hate speech in the recent past. ONUR Chairperson, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said "Hate filled expressions and actions by groups with vested interests, resulting in demeaning, denigrating and inciting violence against fellow citizens of various ethnic, religious backgrounds has no place in Sri Lankan society."

November 26

The 62nd birth anniversary of slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was celebrated at the Jaffna University in Jaffna District. Hundreds of Jaffna University students, academic and non-academic staff gathered at the Kailasapathy Auditorium of the varsity to celebrate the birth anniversary by cutting cakes.

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.

 

 

 

 

 
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