The Lanka Academic

MAY 10, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 35

Jaffna Peninsula
Jaffna Peninsula
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An Interview
India Today. Listen to the Media Minister, Mr. Mangala Samaraweera and Mr. Iqbal Athas. (in Hindi and English)

US worried about restrictions in Sri Lanka
Times of India, May 11. State department spokesman Philip Reeker said yesterday, "it really remains vital that press freedoms be preserved to the greatest extent possible, consistent, obviously, with the need to protect the security of military operations."

"As with the issue of censorship, while we understand the seriousness of the crisis that Sri Lanka faces, we call on the government to avoid restrictions of civil liberties that could undermine the country's democratic institutions," he added. More..

In Sri Lanka, an Empty but Expensive Threat
Time Magazine, Wednesday, May. 10, 2000. The Sri Lankan army pays out a lifetime's salary to the families of its slain soldiers and right now that policy may be set to place new strains on the defense budget. Tamil Tiger rebel forces reportedly broke through government lines near the town of Jaffna Wednesday, two days after President Chandrika Kumaratunga rejected a rebel truce offer allowing her troops safe passage out of the beleaguered Jaffna peninsula, vowing instead to defend the territory to the last man. More..

Lift ban on LTTE, says PMK leader
The Asian Age. India should first lift the ban on the LTTE before starting any peace initiative in Sri Lanka, Dr S. Ramdoss, president of Pattali Makkal Katchi, one of the NDA constituents said on Wednesday.

Only India had the "moral right" to intervene in the ethnic conflict in Lanka and other countries such as the USA, Israel and Pakistan should not be allowed to enter the scene, Dr Ramdoss said. More..

Lankan Govt denies LTTE claim
The Herald Deccan, May 10. Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Rupavahini Television tonight that there was no truth in the claim made by the LTTE and said the Navatkuli bridge, which is just three km from the town on the Jaffna- Kandy A9 highway, ''is intact.`` More..

India to continue ban on LTTE
JAL News, May 10. The Vajpayee Government is reimposing ban for another two years on activities of the Sri Lanka-based Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in India that expires this Saturday even as at least four partners in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) -- Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, MDMK and PMK -- publicly call for lifting the ban.

LTTE'S PLEA TO PM: Even the LTTE has faxed a letter from its international headquarters in London, urging Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to "kindly lift the ban so that we can talk to you." More..

Arms arriving for Sri Lanka
The Hindu, May 10. Despite their military gains, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) may now encounter tougher resistance from the Sri Lankan troops who are now getting fresh arms supplies from abroad, highly-placed sources in the Government said. Key players who are involved in the transfer of arms are Pakistan, Israel, South Africa and North Korea. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard are planning a limited exercise near the coast. This exercise, in which a detachment of the naval aircraft is also likely to be involved, is expected to send a ``graduated message'' of ``operational readiness'' to the LTTE.Conversely, these manoeuvres are meant to boost the morale of the Sri lankan forces. More..

Battles on Jaffna doorstep
The Hindu, COLOMBO, MAY 10. Pitched battles raged on the doorstep of Jaffna town today, with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam denting Sri Lankan Army defences close to the town. Curfew was imposed in Jaffna, which is home to about five lakh civilians.

While the Tigers claimed to have taken control over sections of the Navatkuli bridge, sources in the Sri Lankan army refuted it this evening saying that while there were ``gaps in the Navatkuli-Ariyalai sector, the bridge is still with us''. More..

The Eelam factor - Editorial from HT
Hindustan Times, May 10. While Bal Thackeray's endorsement of the LTTE's cause can be ignored, it is not possible to overlook the sudden outpouring of sympathy for the "struggle" of the Sri Lankan Tamils by some allies of the Vajpayee government in Tamil Nadu.

As long as the LTTE was suffering reverses, these parties and individuals had maintained a low profile. More..

BJP opposes creation of separate homeland for Tamils in Lanka
The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, May 10. NOTWITHSTANDING THE stand of some of its allies, the BJP today said it is opposed to creation of Eelam -- a separate homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Instead, it fully supports the Vajpayee Government's stand for a settlement to the island's ethnic crisis within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. More..

Ferocious Tigers set to take Jaffna
The Hindustan Times, 01:30 IST | Thursday, May 11. The LTTE simultaneously launched major pre-dawn attacks on Ariyalai and Thanankilappu towns, located on the banks of a lagoon close to Jaffna, a government press release said, adding that troops held on to Thanan-kilappu, repulsing all attacks by the guerrillas. More..

Government holding on to key bridge.
15:14 EST. According to wire service reports The Sri Lanka government troops are still defending the Navatkuli bridge with casualties mounting on both sides.-- Editor

Sri Lankan crisis intensifies as LTTE launches fresh attacks
NDTV, May 10. If the LTTE had taken Kilali and moved ahead, they would have been able to strike the Palali airbase in the north with artillery fire. Instead, the Tamil Tigers seem to have opened a new front today by diverting their attacks south-east on either side of the lagoon. More..

Sri Lanka rebels advance to outskirts of Jaffna
CNN, May 10 1452 GMT. Tamil rebels launched a series of pre-dawn attacks on government troops on Wednesday, and pushed to within 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) of Jaffna. Sources told CNN that the rebels had attacked by land and sea, and that they had seized part of the main highway and sections of Ariyalai town. The fighting began at 3 a.m. More..

48 hour curfew in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9 p.m. SLT Wednesday may 10. A forty eight hour curfew has been imposed in Jaffna today by the security forces as fierce fighting continues between Lankan troops and Tiger rebels at Ariyalai, Navatkuli and Thanankillapu on the main Kandy - Jaffna A9 highway.

Norwegian team heads for India
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Foreign news agencies today said that a Norwegian team is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi tomorrow to discuss with India a possible joint effort to help resolve Sri Lanka's present conflict. Reports state that India will also consult with officials from the United States to help bring about a negotiated settlement to Sri Lanka's bloody war. News agencies Tuesday quoted India's External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh as saying that India will help Sri Lanka mediate a negotiated solution only if invited to do so by both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

British MP's call for a halt on Sri Lanka's draconian law
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Six British Parliamentarians today presented a resolution in the House of Commons calling for Sri Lanka to ease on legislation effected recently under emergency regulations, which imposed a strict media censorship and banned all public meetings in the Island.

Tigers breach Jaffna defence, renew ceasefire offer
Times of India, Wednesday 10 May 2000. Tamil Tiger rebels have "breached a few gaps in the army defences at Ariyalai", about 10 km southeast of Jaffna, Sri Lankan Information Director Ariya Rubasinghe said in a fax statement. The rebels also renewed the temporary ceasefire offer to avoid ``a bloodbath'' around the city of 500,000 people. More..

Rebels Make Advances in Sri Lanka
Yahoo-AP, Wednesday May 10 9:11 AM ET. Human waves of Tamil Tiger rebels attacked Sri Lankan army positions in fierce fighting today along three fronts outside the northern city of Jaffna, both sides reported.

Reports of the fighting were delayed in Sri Lanka, where the government has used wartime powers to impose censorship on news reports and prohibit news organizations from gathering information in some cases. More..

Sri Lanka rebels launch fresh assault Tigers breach army defenses in Jaffna
MSNBC, May 10. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday breached the army's defenses in some places in the northern Jaffna peninsula after launching a huge pre-dawn attack on the military, a government statement said. More..

Tax on cigarettes, liquor to fund Army campaign
The Times of India, May 10. The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday raised cigarette and liquor prices by 5-10 per cent to raise funds to finance the battle against the LTTE. More..

China against outside intervention in Lanka
Times of India, May 10. Expressing concern over the battle in Jaffna between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said China was of the view that Sri Lankans should handle the situation themselves. More..

Lankan monks bury past, seek Indian help
May 10. Sorbitha was in no mood to talk, insisting he spoke only to the local media. However, he clarified that he was never opposed to India. "The Buddha was born there, so we can never be anti-Indian. Our friendship with India is not something recent, but goes back to over a 1,000 years.'' More..

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers breach Jaffna defences
Yahoo-AFP, Wednesday, May 10 3:40 PM SGT. The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) broke through military lines at Ariyalai, just five kilometers (three miles) from the strategically important Jaffna town. More.. l

Heavy fighting 10 kilo meters south of Jaffna Town
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1430 Sri Lanka Time Breaking news. The Tamil rebels have launched a major attack on army positions in Ariyalai/Tanakilappu sector just 10 kilo meters south of Jaffna Town. A media release by the newly formed Special media Information Centre said " terrorists in large numbers launched a major attack on the troops manning defences at Ariyalai and Tanakillappu salterns". Rebels were firing heavy volumes of artillery and mortar fire. The communique said the troops fought back effectively repulsing a number of human waves of the attackers. The communique admitted that the rebels had breached a few gaps in the army defences in Ariyalai. " At present intense fighting continues in Ariyalai sector" the communique said. The army claims that the rebels had suffered heavy casualties admitting that the troops have also suffered casualties " due to intense fighting". No casualty figures were available and the rebels have not issued any information on the fighting in this sector.

LTTE claims to take strategic bridge as heavy fighting continues on the A9
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 5.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday, May 10. Tamil Tiger rebels in a press release issued from their office in London today claimed to have taken the strategic Navatkuli bridge which is just 3 kilometeres off Jaffna town. This follows a press release issued by the Ministry of Defence today which admitted that Tiger rebels have broken through Sri Lanka Army defences at Ariyalai.

The Tigers, in their statement say that commando units of the LTTE "in a dramatic offensive push took control of a section of the strategic Navatkuli bridge barely 3 kilometres from Jaffna town today and cut-off the A9 highway in that sector."

The rebels claim that fierce fighting erupted close to the vicinity of Jaffna town when "the combat formations of the Tamil Tigers launched a massive offensive assault on three fronts in the early hours of the morning today." The LTTE claims that Sri Lankan military bases at Thanankilappu, Ariyalai and Navatkuli came under intense fire as the Tigers opened up heavy artillery and mortar bombardment.

The LTTE say that the offensive, code named "Unceasing Waves 3" resumed today after the Government rejected an offer from the rebels for a ceasefire. The LTTE two days ago, offered to hold their fire until soldiers were withdrawn from the peninsula. The government rejected the offer reiterating that Lankan troops would stay and fight until the last man to hold Jaffna.

Indian politicos ask India to say no to Lankan refugees
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.00 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 10 . Indian politicians today asked the Indian Central Government to send back Sri Lankan refugees to the Island. The call came amidst news reports in India, that the central government was tightening security on its Southern Coast to prevent Lankan refugees from entering Tamil Nadu since fresh fighting broke our between Tamil Tigers rebels and Lankan troops in the Islands northern peninsula. India, already holds some 100,000 Lankan refugees who have been seeking asylum, since the Sri Lankan conflict escalated in 1983.

Kofi Anan calls for Sri Lanka to Negotiate
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.30 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Kofi Anan, Secretary General of the United Nations yesterday called for negotiations in Sri Lanka in order to avoid heavy civilian casualties as the country stepped up its military battle against the LTTE in the northern peninsula. Kofi Anan has requested the Sri Lankan Government to use Norway as a facilitator in order to initiate peace talks with rebel forces in the country's north. The UN Chief's call came on the heels of Sri Lanka's Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte reiterating in Parliament yesterday that Lankan troops would fight to the last man to hold Jaffna.

"Our soldiers will fight to the last man. We will recapture Elephant Pass," the tought talking General Ratwatte told Parliament when he opened the debate on the motion for the extension of emergency.

Giving casualty figures, the General said that 358 troops including 21 officers were killed while 2,368 including 128 officers were wounded during the Elephant Pass and Pallai battles. A total of 349 troops including three officers were missing in action.

The extension of the emergency was approved with 118 voting for and seven against. The UNP abstained from voting while the TULF, the UPF and the Progressive Front voted against.

Heavy fighting again in Kilali
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.40 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Tamil media reports quoting the Voice of Tigers yesterday said fighting has resumed in Kilali between the Tiger rebels and government troops. The reports claim that fighting began at 5.30 a.m. Tuesday and is continuing.

Meanwhile a government press release issued yesterday said, "during the early hours of the morning today terrorists in large numbers launched two consecutive attacks on the troops manning defences north of Pallai."

"Troops fought back valiantly replusing both assualta of the terrorists. Terrorists were compelled to withdraw southwards with their casualties."

"The first assualt lasted for approximately thrity minutes while the second assault was repulsed within about fifteen minutes."

"Troops continue to dominate areas ahead of the Forward Defence localities and improve the defences."

Deputy Defence Minister asks for 100 youth from each MP
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.50 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. Anurudha Ratwatte, Deputy Defence Minister in Parliament yesterday asked each Member of Parliament to provide 100 youth to help strengthen the security forces for the present war effort.

Winding up yesterday's emergency debate Minister Ratwatte said "I only ask each member to provide 100 youth to the security forces," in view of both the opposition and government members calling for united support for the war.

German Paedophile nabbed at Colombo suburb
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11 a.m. SLT Wednesday May 10. A German national living in Sri Lanka for a decade was arrested Monday at Mount Lavinia in the company of a 16 year old local boy who later confessed that both he and the foreigner were guilty of immoral activity. The German was arrested by police who caught him in the act with a local boy and took in a number of video's which contained visuals of 101 Lankan youth in various stages of pornography.

Premila Divakara, Head of the Police Children and Women's Department told Lacnet that the foreigner had been evading arrest for a long period of time by masquerading as a social worker for locals living in and around the area.

Ms. Divakara said a statement given to police by the local youth "is damning." She reiterated that the German national will be held in remand till the 22nd of this month before being produced for trial. In the event he is deported he will stand trial in Germany on the new laws that are now in effect to counter child abuse in Sri Lanka.

UN plea for Sri Lankan civilians
BBC, 9 May, 2000, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK. The United Nations has urged both sides in the Sri Lankan conflict to safeguard civilians, as the government vowed to defend the Jaffna peninsula to the last man.

But UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that thousands of people were at risk from renewed fighting in the peninsula, on Sri Lanka's northern tip. More..

Bones and Ashes
The Washington Post, April 30. In his first novel since the justly celebrated The English Patient, poet and novelist Michael Ondaatje returns to his native Sri Lanka, the country he left more than three decades ago for Canada. Anil's Ghost is set at a tragic moment in the history of this beautiful island--the cusp of the 1980s-'90s, when civil war is ravaging a land where, it was once said, "every prospect pleases/ and only Man is vile." More.. Purchase Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje and other books at

India to intervene only if asked by Chandrika, LTTE
The Hindustan Times, May 10. The political ramifications of the Vajpayee Government's lending of a commitment to Colombo on "humanitarian assistance" policy, though kept under check for the time being, threatens to spill over once the Sri Lankan Air Force intensifies its bombings on civilians to cover the Army's fight-back. More..

Eelam no threat to India: Vaiko
The Hindustan Times, May 10. MDMK CHIEF Vaiko today said Eelam -- a separate homeland for the Sri Lanka Tamils -- was inevitable, but fears in India of a repercussion in Tamil Nadu on its creation were unfounded. More..

Lankan army's poor performance puzzles analysts
Times of India, May 10. Every soldier realises that his life may go in vain, because when the final political settlement comes Prabhakaran will be the winner. We, the Sinhalas, will not be allowed to go the northern province, though a time may come when the LTTE men can freely roam Colombo,'' Upali Dissanayke, an office worker, said. Most Sinhalas feel that way. More..

Jaffna Tamils caught between devil and deep sea
May 10. According to social organisations here aiding the Tamil refugees and from the information trickling in through the refugees who have landed and through relatives of the refugees, food and other civil supply are fast depleting in the area. The capture of the Elephant Pass by the militants has cut the source of water supply for these people. More..

Report: Sri Lanka Receives Arms
Tuesday May 9 4:05 PM ET. Ambassador Mangala Moonasinghe's comments were the first official confirmation that Sri Lanka had received arms since rebels overran the strategic Elephant Pass causeway two weeks ago and headed toward their former stronghold of Jaffna. The fighting has been the fiercest in years. More..

Chandrika says no to anti-Tamil politics
Hindustan Times. SRI LANKAN President Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga has vowed not to allow the LTTE to re-take Jaffna, even as she made it clear to the Sinhala extremist groups that she would not endorse their anti-Tamil 'communal politics', in return for their support to her war effort. More..

30 countries pledge support to Lanka
More than thirty countries have pledged support to Sri Lanka in its battle against the LTTE separatists, the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Lakshman Kiriella, has told the state owned "Daily News."

In New York, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative in the UN, Mr John de Saram, and the Israeli envoy, were finalising the logistics of establishing diplomatic relations, "Daily News" reported.

India monitoring Jaffna situation
Hindustan Times, May 9. ALTHOUGH INDIA has ruled out intervention in Sri Lanka, its armed forces are closely monitoring the military situation in Jaffna through stepped up surveillance and increased inter-service coordination.

Air Chief Tipnis met Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumara-tunga yesterday. He also met Deputy Defence Minister General Anurudha Ratwatte and Army Chief General Srilal Weerasunga. More..

Norwegian team coming
The Hindu, May 10. A Norwegian delegation led by Mr. Erik Solheim, principal interlocutor between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE over the last few months, is arriving here on Thursday for interaction with the Government. More..

Colombo to go ahead with war
The Hindu, May 10, 2000. ``We will fight to the last man,'' the Deputy Defence Minister, Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte, told Parliament, which deliberated on the situation after the Elephant Pass military debacle of April 21. ``In a war situation, there may be temporary setbacks. That does not mean that the war is lost altogether. We will not be defeated. We are determined to recoup all our resources in order to achieve success at the end,'' he said. More..

Ground set for bitter battle in Lanka
May 9. Now that the Sri Lankan government has rejected the LTTE's `humiliating' call for withdrawal of troops from the Jaffna peninsula, another bout of bloodletting seems imminent. The timing, however, is uncertain. It could be now or later, depending on the time both sides need to recoup losses and figure out new strategies. More..

LTTE seen buying time with ceasefire offer
May 9. COLOMBO: The rebel Tigers may not be in as strong a position as the recent military victories suggest. Monday's offer of a ceasefire, analysts here say, shows that the LTTE needs time to prepare for the final assault. More..

Tension in Tamil Nadu mounts as refugees stream in from Sri Lanka
May 9. There's tension along the Tamil Nadu coastline as security forces expect more and more Tamil refugees to come in from Sri Lanka. More..

Sri Lanka willing to accept Indian mediation in LTTE conflict
May 9. Sri Lanka today said that its army has begun to beat back the LTTE, but that it would accept a ceasefire based on existing ground positions. ndia has it's own domestic compulsions as to how it should handle the situation and I feel as the High Commissioner to India that I should co-operate with India on this issue. The IPKF had come once and we're sorry that they had to leave because of the stupidity of one of our previous governments," remarked Mr. Moonesinghe. More..

Sri Lanka says war against Tigers showing results
The Indian Express, May 9. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga said her drastic measures to place the country on a "war footing" has prevented a Tamil rebel advance on the northern peninsula of Jaffna. More..

No change in India's stand on Lanka: PM
The Statesman, May 9. There is no shift in India's policy on Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister told Opposition leaders today that New Delhi respected Sri Lanka's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and that it would not send troops to help the Lankan government. More..

Navy on alert
The Statesman, May 9. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have intensified vigil in the Palk Strait, fearing a refugee influx from Jaffna. A high alert has been sounded at all coastal checkposts in the south and patrolling has been intensified along the coastal villages. More..

India's stand on Sri Lankan crisis welcomed
May 9. Former Prime Minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, whose Government had ordered Indian troops out of the country in 1990, said under the present political and military conditions Indian mediation was the best way to work out a political settlement to end the conflict. More..

Deputy Defence Minister pledges to fight for Jaffna
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo. 1835 Sri Lanka Time 09.05.00

Deputy Minister of defence Anurudha Ratwatta admitting that the fall of Elephant Pass was major military setback told parliament today that the government would use all its resources to defend Jaffna. Speaking at debate to extend the state of emergency in the country the Minister said 337 soldiers and 21 officers were killed in the battle in fighting in Jaffna peninsula since March 27th while 346 soldiers and 03 officers were missing in action. 2240 soldiers and 128 officers were injured.

The Minister said the draconian regulation introduced last week which bans any kind of protests and imposed heavy handed censorship on the media the Minister said that the regulation were not aimed at repressing the people. The Opposition members criticised the government for imposing the regulations saying they were aimed at establishing a dictatorship in the Country. Opposition speakers said most of the regulations were not connected with the security situation and were not necessary to fight the war.

Fresh fighting break out in Jaffna Peninsula after three day lull
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo. 18.45 Sri Lanka Time 09.05.00

Fresh fighting has broken out in Northern Sri Lanka this morning after a three day lull in the fighting.A communique issued by the newly formed Special Media Information Centre said that the rebels launched two attacks on troops manning defaces north Pallai using small arms,machine guns ,RPGs and mortars. "The first assault lasted approximately 30 minutes while the second attack was repulsed within about fifteen minutes" the communique said without giving casualty figures.

Opposition leader welcomes India's offer to mediate a peaceful settlement to the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo. 1850 Sri Lanka Times 09.05.00

Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe last night welcomed a statement by the Indian Foreign Minister that his government was ready to negotiate a immediate ceasefire and a lasting solutions to Sri lanka's ethnic crisis if the Sri lankan government and the LTTE invited them to do so. The Opposition leader said the move is a welcome one."There is no military solution to this problem. We have been saying that for sometime" Mr.Wickramasinghe told a press conference last night. He said it was not possible for the government to accept the LTTE offer of a ceasefire to withdraw troops from Jaffna. " The government should have made counter proposals to de escalate the fighting and have a ceasefire before peace talks' Mr.Wickramsinghe said.


Lanka troops hit back at Tigers
Times of India, Sri Lanka said on Tuesday its. troops had repulsed two attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels on the Army's defence lines in the northern Jaffna peninsula. More..

Peril from Sri Lanka
Outlook, May 9. I first learned what those could be in March 1991, and my mentor was none other than the Sri Lankan plantation Tamil leader, the late Thondaman. "Eelam is inevitable," he told me. "It can't be stopped." I thought he was referring to Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, but he soon disabused me. "Eelam will consist of a single nation made up of the north and northeast of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu". More..

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