The Lanka Academic

MAY 14, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 39

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Indian navy on guard to stop Sri Lankan refugees
MSNBC, May14. The Indian Navy has stepped up its patrols along the country's southern coast across from Sri Lanka to prevent an anticipated flow of refugees from the war-torn island nation.

Gun-toting commandos stand on guard with whirring helicopters above them and naval boats cruise the Palk Straits near the coastal town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu state, just an 18-km (11-mile) boat ride from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. More..

Sri Lanka government tightens security in Colombo
NDTV, Monday, M. On the streets of Colombo the most common sight seems to be of military policemen. Around the clock, a force of nearly 40,000 security personnel guards the city, which the local people now call "Fortress Colombo".

As fighting in the north of the country escalates, Colombo's residents seem to have a cause for greater concern. The last thing they want is for the war to spill over again into the guarded peace in "Fortress Colombo". More..

Thousands of troops being sent to Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.05 a.m. SLT Monday May 15. The Sri Lanka Army today is sending thousands of troops to Jaffna where renewed attacks by the rebels to gain ground is being fought by Lankan troops. As planes pounded rebel bases, reinforcements in the way of ground troops are being sent to help boost soldiers already based at the military's forward defence lines.

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge meanwhile has reiterated that she will not allow for some half a million people in Jaffna to come under rebel rule.

Amnesty calls for Sri Lanka to protect civilians
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.30 a.m.SLT Monday May 15. Amnesty International (AI) today called upon the warring factions in the country's northern peninsula to respect some half a million civilians caught between Lankan troops and rebel forces. As heavy fighting continues to rage close to Jaffna, the international human rights watch asked that the lives of civilians and all wounded military personnel be respected. AI reiterated that Sri Lanka should make every endeavour to safeguard the rights of those caught in the war as in the past the country has been accused of being guilty of gross human rights violations, each time fighting between the LTTE and soldiers has escalated.

President summons all political parties
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.35 a.m. SLT Monday May 15. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge today summoned representatives of all political parties to discuss the present military situation in the country's northern peninsula. The President in her capacity as Commander for the Armed Forces is scheduled to brief Sri Lanka's political parties on what measures her government has adopted to meet the country's present military crisis. Her call comes two days after Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader, for the main opposition United National Party, requested the government to summon an emergency meeting to discuss the plight of soldiers and civilians in the north.

The military meanwhile reiterates that fierce rebel onslaughts have been repulsed. The government while admitting that fighting continues to rage in the area of Colombuthurai, said that troops fought back attempts by the LTTE to breach its defences. The rebels launched fresh attacks beginning Friday on the Elluthumaduval-Kilali road which is situated north of Elephant Pass.

Meanwhile additional reinforcements are being sent to the area. Major General Janaka Perera Thursday flew to Colombo to brief the President on the situation in the north.

may 15. The Sri Lankan government today accused the Tamil Tiger guerrillas of firing artillery and mortars into densely-populated areas of Jaffna after air force raids blocked their final assault to retake their former capital.

But three days after claiming that Jaffna was "as good as gone", the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to be at the doorstep of the city and failed to break through the defences mounted by the air force.

Neither Sinhalese nor Tamil commentators could come up with any convincing explanation for the continuing lull. More..

Has Karunanidhi lost his marbles????
15 May 2000. Karunanidhi cannot be unaware that the concept of Tamil Eelam is not limited to Sri Lanka; if he has any doubts on the subject he can ask the Tamil Tigers. They will want a slice of Tamil Nadu itself, probably the whole of it, to make Eelam viable. Or does he imagine that Pirabhakaran will be content to act as his Viceroy in northern Sri Lanka?

At one stroke, Karunanidhi has lent credibility to the charges that Sri Lanka has been making over the years that the Tigers have been supported from India with money and materials, given refuge, trained in special camps set up for the purpose, (against the advice of successive chiefs of army staff, I might add), all to make life more difficult for the Sri Lankan government. More..

Pilgrims to Rameswaram undeterred by fighting in Lanka
The Pioneer, May 15. The raging war across the sea in nearby Sri Lanka and the prospect of a huge influx of Tamil refugees fleeing the fighting in the island nation have not affected the flow of pilgrims to this temple town in Tamil Nadu.

The temple's sanctum sanctorum is believed to have been built by Parakrama Bahu, the King of Ceylon, in the 12th century A.D. More..

They died fighting someone else's war, only families remember them
Indian Express, May 15. I again request you not to worry about me. Nothing will happen to me. I am not the only one in this situation," wrote Major Dr Ashwani Kanva on October 31, three day before he was shot dead by LTTE snipers in Jaffna. More..

Sri Lankans feel India has stabbed them in the back
Hindustan Times, May 14. The vocal Sinhala majority opinion is that the Vajpayee government has stabbed Sri Lanka in the back, only to please its coalition partners from Tamil Nadu. The Sunday Time edit today dubs the latter as a pro-LTTE cabal and wonders why Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee could not extend his known antipathy towards cross border terrorism to Tamil Nadu's support for the LTTE in Sri Lanka. More..

Sri Lanka to swap POWs with Tamil Tigers
Hindu, May 14. President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she had asked the authorities to prepare a list of detainees believed to be members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who could be freed in a prisoner swap. More..

Sri Lanka against UN intervention
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 14. THE SRI Lankan government will not accept any UN intervention to help solve the ethnic conflict in the island, but might agree to mediation by India if New Delhi officially offered to do so.

On the controversial question of whether India was asked to help fight the LTTE, Mr Kadirgamar said the Sri Lankan government had conveyed such a request to the Indian government through the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Mr Shivshankar Menon. More..

Air force strikes rebel targets
The Hindu, May 14. With ``sporadic mortar and artillery fire'' by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) marking the fighting in Sri Lanka's northern region, the island's air force ``engaged identified'' rebel targets at positions east and south of Jaffna town. More..

Waiting for Delhi's word: Kadirgamar
The Hindu, May 15. As Sri Lankan soldiers continue to battle rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula, creating the setting for a possible Indian role in resolving the conflict, the Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, has said they would wait for an ``official intimation'' from the Government of India while continuing to keep the recently-commenced Norwegian initiative on board. More..

Air raids stall Tigers' Jaffna juggernaut
Times of India, May 14. A series of bombing raids by the Sri Lankan Air Force on Sunday slowed down the Tamil Tigers' march towards Jaffna, even as Colombo offered to exchange prisoners with the rebels, reports from Colombo said. More..

Sri Lanka needs Israeli military help to beat Tamil Tigers: minister
May 14. Sri Lanka has sought Israeli help to fight Tamil rebels who are threatening to retake their former stronghold of Jaffna, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said in remarks published Sunday. More.. l

Sri Lanka at war: worst of times, best of times
May 14. Sri Lanka is officially on a "war footing." News is censored. Public meetings are banned, but life in the capital is as lively as ever and the only tension appears to be among visiting foreign journalists. Restaurants in the capital were full on Saturday, like most weekends with tension only palpable among those diners seeking a table or a convenient parking spot. "Every time I smoke or drink, I feel like a patriot," Perera said. "We are used to the check points and seeing a lot of soldiers on the road, we don't mind that. It is a way of life." More..

Sri Lanka pours in troops to defend Jaffna amid aerial bombings
Sunday, May 14 7:41 PM SGT. Sri Lanka was pouring hundreds of soldiers to defend the northern town of Jaffna as aircraft pounded Tamil Tiger positions near the region, official sources here said Sunday.

"It is not just new weapons and ammunition that is being sent up north, but also troops reinforcements to ensure that the Tigers are resisted," a military official said. More.. l

Amnesty urges Tigers to spare injured soldiers
Times of India, Sunday 14 May 2000. Human rights group Amnesty International has urged Tamil Tiger rebels not to kill wounded soldiers or those who have given up arms, its officials said Sunday.

The human rights group said it was the responsibility of both the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE to adhere to international humanitarian laws related to war. More..

Tigers 'shell' Jaffna
BBC, Sunday 14. The Sri Lankan Government says Tamil Tiger rebels have fired artillery and mortar rounds at "densely populated locations in the Jaffna town area". "Security forces are taking all possible measures to protect the populace of the Jaffna town," the government said. More..

Shhhh! Sri Lanka government nips rumours amid war
MSNBC, May 14. The rumour mill always churns thick and fast in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, but a fierce offensive by Tamil Tiger rebels in the country's north and a censorship clampdown have put it into overdrive. More..

Kadirgamar flays Govt. censorship
The Hindu, May 14. A senior Sri Lankan Minister has slammed Government censorship as `counter-productive' and called for its immediate removal. ``Speaking for myself, I would like to see the end for censorship without delay,'' he said. More..

Colombo seeks Red Cross intervention
The Hindu, Colombo, May 14. The Sri Lankan Army has requested the International Red Cross Committee to advise the advancing Tamil rebels against shelling civilian localities in the besieged town of Jaffna. More..

Sri Lanka's Jaffna Under Fire, But Rebels Stalled
Yahoo-Reuters, Sunday May 14 8:57 AM ET. Sri Lankan air force raids and heavy rebel casualties stalled a push by Tamil Tiger rebels to recapture their former stronghold of Jaffna town, military officials said on Sunday.

A government statement issued in Colombo said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were firing artillery and mortars at densely populated locations of Jaffna town, the cultural capital of their would-be homeland. More..

Vaiko reiterates demand on arms for LTTE
The Hindu, Sunday May 14. Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) General Secretary Vaiko has reiterated his demand that the Indian Government should give arms supply to the LTTE, if the Sri Lankan Government continues to get arms from foreign countries to fight the Tamil militants. More..

Tigers' assault on Jaffna halted: Lankan Army
Times of India, May 14. A slew of bombing raids by Sri Lankan warplanes has halted the advance of Tamil Tiger rebels toward their former capital Jaffna, the Air Force said Sunday. More..

Lanka mulling $800m arms purchase: Report
Times of India, Sunday May 14. Sri Lanka may have to pay $800 million in new arms and ammunition to fight Tamil rebels threatening to retake their former stronghold of Jaffna, the foreign minister was quoted as saying Sunday. Kadirgamar denied reports that New Delhi had played a role in Sri Lanka reestablishing diplomatic relations with Israel, severed in 1970.

"That's pie in the sky. There was no such axis," he said. "As a sovereign state we don't require the help or permission of any other state to establish relations with another state." More..

Ban on LTTE extended by two years: Advani
Times of India, Sunday 14 May 2000. The Centre has extended the ban on the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam by two years, Union Home Minister LK Advani announced here on Sunday. The ban was extended on the basis of documents that suggested that the concept of Eelam, a separate homeland for Tamils, being pursued by LTTE could become a threat to India too.

"The ban on LTTE was to expire on Sunday and the government has extended it for another two years", Advani told reporters here. More..

500,000 under siege as Tamil Tigers encircle Jaffna
May14. Troops with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, fighting for an independent state for minority Tamils since 1983, entered their cultural capital and met little resistance from government soldiers. Sources in Colombo, the capital, said perhaps as few as 200 Tigers moved into the city after crossing the shallow lagoon that separates the Jaffna peninsula from the rest of the island.

"We have reliable reports that the Tigers are inside Jaffna," a Western diplomat who requested anonymity said on Friday. "But this is nowhere near over." More..

President under siege, says Sri Lanka opposition
The Straits Times, May 14. The government, which has grown increasingly sensitive on the state of affairs in the north, has warned citizens against "rumour mongering" and arrested three people. The result is a population which is confused and cynical, and despite the censorship -- or because of it -- believes the Sri Lankan military is losing in the north. More..

War efforts lead to further drain on Sri Lankan economy
NDTV, May 14. The Sri Lankan government says that it urgently needs Rs. 12 billion to fund its war effort. According to the government, the war is costing Sri Lanka Rs. 50 billion a year that is over five per cent of the country's GDP. The last 17 years of conflict have severely drained the Sri Lankan economy and the government has had to take some tough decisions. Already the cumulative cost of battle has forced a 10 per cent hike in liquor and tobacco prices as well as a one percent increase in the national defence levy. The country's tax payers now have to pay 6.5 per cent of their income to support the war effort. Despite this being the second such hike in three years, few are complaining. More..

India assumes 'readiness posture' as fighting rages in Jaffna
Deccan Herald, May 13. India`s national interest in Sri Lanka lies in three areas. Ensuring no extra-regional power gains foothold in Sri Lanka. Ensuring the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka. Finally, to see there is no contradiction in India`s stand on international terrorism. More..

Battling the wind gods Wild winds and daredevil fishermen mark our route to Sri Lanka
Ottawa Citizen. GALLE, Sri Lanka - Finally released from the clutches of the Nicobarian police force, we scurried on our way to Sri Lanka without feeling any of the normal feelings of apprehension that come with undertaking a long ocean passage. More..

Regrets only - Editorial
Ottawa Citizen. Canadian politicians, in a blatant search for votes here at home, hide behind the cloak of multiculturalism when challenged for lending their moral support to an association their own security agency has identified as supporting -- whether directly or indirectly -- the very terrorists fighting the democratically elected government of another Commonwealth country.

Shame on them. More..

S.Lankan troops hold on to ''deserted'' Jaffna
MSNBC, May 13. Sri Lankan troops repulsed attacks by Tamil Tigers on the outskirts of Jaffna city on Saturday, but the rebels said they were holding key approaches to the cultural capital of their would-be homeland. The government said life was normal in the capital of the war-scarred northern Jaffna peninsula, and aid agencies said there was no evidence of a mass exodus. ''Civilians were moving when the curfew was lifted this morning, but it's difficult to say how many and where they were going,'' the head of mission of a medical aid group said by phone from Colombo. ''But we are not seeing a mass exodus.'' More..

The Telegraph May 14. There is a sudden lull in Jaffna with the Tigers unable to break through the Lankan army's defences on the outskirts of the town.

According to defence commentator Taraki, the LTTE does appear to have been checkmated for the moment, thanks to relentless strafing by the Israeli-built Kfir fighter bombers.

"They seem to be helpless against the carpet-bombing of their positions by the deadly Kfirs. Possibly they will try to break out of their bunkers during a lull. Strafing cannot go on endlessly, they would be hoping," he said. More..

Grim battle on, Colombo denies reports of exodus
The Hindu, May 14. Barring attempts by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to breach Sri Lankan defence lines near Jaffna town, it was a day of relative low-intensity warfare in the island's northern peninsula, as the latest rebel offensive to retake Jaffna entered the fourth day. More..

Allow vital drugs to enter Jaffna, WHO appeals to warring parties
Hindustan Times, May 13. THE WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has appealed to the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers to allow medical supplies to enter the conflict zone. More..

Tipnis briefs Cabinet on Lanka
Times Of India, May 14. The Cabinet Committee on Security on Saturday heard a first-hand military assessment of the fast-developing situation in Sri Lanka from the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis. The possibility of involvement by extra-regional forces in response to the Sri Lankan SOS has been a major preoccupation with Indian policy makers. This was a factor that weighed heavily in 1987 when the Indian Peace Keeping Force went into action. More..

India extends ban on LTTE
Times Of India, May 14. As Sri Lanka's civil war rages, neighboring India has extended a ban on the Tamil Tiger rebels blamed for the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. But India's refusal to step into the battleground has earned it bitter criticism in Sri Lanka. More..

Sinhala parties oppose devolution of powers
Times Of India, May 14. The ruling People's Alliance (PA) and the main opposition United National Party (UNP) arrived at a consensus that although certain powers should be devolved to regional units, key areas should be retained by the central government. More..

War-scarred refugees bide their time in TN camp
Times of India, May 14. MANDAPAM, Tamil Nadu: A four-hour journey from Tarapuram to Mannar town, which involved a trek through jungles echoing with shell fire; a long, secret hunt for an agent who could ferry him across the shores and then a six-hour nightlong ride in a boat, with biscuits for dinner. All with fear in his heart and a small family -- wife and a 3-year-old son -- in tow. That's how 37-year-old M. Sukku made his crossing and touched the Indian shores on May 9. More..

Lankan Tamils differ on nature of help sought from India
Times of India, Sunday 14 May 2000. Tamil parties remain divided on the extent of support they should be seeking. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) which met the Indian High Commissioner, Shiv Shankar Menon in Colombo on Friday, pitched for three main demands: Security for the local Tamil population Jaffna, medicine and food supply, and protection for civilians in the eventuality of a withdrawal by the Sri Lankan army.

The Eelam People's Democratic Party, led by Douglous Devanand, has been more demanding, seeking humanitarian, military intervention in Jaffna on the lines of Tanzania's intervention in Uganda and Vietnam's move into Cambodia, both of which were upheld by the United Nations. "The lives of civilians are in danger, the only way to help the situation is by intervening militarily," Dr Wigneswara, spokesperson for EPDP, said. More..

US offers to mediate in Lanka conflict
Times of India, Sunday 14 May 2000. The US has joined the growing number of nations offering to mediate in the raging conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), if requested by both sides.

The US administration has designted the LTTE as a "terrorist organisation," while India is expected to announce extension of the ban on the guerrilla outfit tomorrow. More..

The war destroying Sri Lanka
BBC, Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK. Major Krishantha keeps his prize souvenir from a battle at Pallai military base in a locker by his hospital bed. It is a large jagged piece of shrapnel which slammed through his stomach as mortars rained down on the advancing troops. Like all the soldiers in the hospital ward, fretting in their pyjamas, he cannot wait to get back to the front line. But by the time his injury heals, no one knows where that will be. More..

Authorities Briefly lift Jaffna Curfew
May 13. NEW DELHI, India (AP) - As hundreds of people fled northward to escape a feared assault from Tamil rebels, the Sri Lankan military briefly lifted a curfew in northern Jaffna town Saturday to help nearly 500,000 residents stock food and other necessities.

In Colombo, the capital of this small island nation off India's southern coast, President Chandrika Kumaratunga called a Monday meeting of leaders of all political parties to discuss the latest fighting in the north, state-run radio said. More..

President Kumaratunga to hold all-party meet on war situation
May 13. Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga has called a meeting of all major political parties on Monday to discuss the war situation in northern Jaffna. This is the first time that an all party meeting has been called after the government lost some key bases, including Elephant Pass, late last month.

There is also the problem posed by extreme right-wing Sinhala groups who are opposed to any move towards federalism. Mr. Gamini Weerakoon, editor of The Island remarked, "Tell me about fringe groups -- these are formed by very respected people, who feel that the interests of the Sinhalese are being sacrificed by the majority parties for a political solution." More..

Pakistan denies sending arms to Sri Lanka
ABC News. 05/13/2000 10:29:00 ET Pakistan on Saturday denied Indian media reports that it was sending arms to Sri Lanka to help the Colombo government fight separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas. More..

Sri Lanka arrests 3 suspected of rumour mongering
ABC News. 05/13/2000 01:53:00 ET Three people were arrested in Sri Lanka suspected of spreading rumours in support of the Tamil Tiger rebels fighting government troops, the state-run Daily News said on Saturday. More..

Chandrika calls all-party meet
India Times, May 13. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga will apprise the political leaders of the situation in Jaffna peninsula following the assault mounted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the soldiers. More..

Indian Army monitoring Lanka developments
Times of India, May 13. The Indian Army is closely monitoring the developments in Sri Lanka, including matters relating to supply of arms by countries like Pakistan to the island nation, Army Chief General VP Malik said on Saturday. More..

Sri Lankan Govt denies civilian exodus; army repulses fresh attacks
The Express. Sri Lankan Government today denied report of mass exodus of civilian people from northern Jaffna town and said its troops repulsed 'desperate' attacks by the LTTE rebels at the Columbuthurai and other areas in Jaffna Peninsula and northern Vanni in which three soldiers and 11 Tamil Tigers were killed, reports PTI. More..

US in touch with Sri Lanka, India
The Hindu, May 13. The United States is in close touch with Sri Lanka as well as India and Norway to help achieve a political solution to the crisis gripping the island nation, sources in the State Department said. More..

T.N. CM clarifies stand on Eelam demand
Hindu, May 13. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today sought to clarify his stand on a separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, saying his statement that he would be happy if Eelam was achieved did not mean that he would raise his voice in support of the LTTE's separatist demand. More..

Battle For Jaffna Flares
Saturday May 13 6:34 AM ET. Sri Lankan residents fled Jaffna as Tamil guerrillas swooped at dawn on a military defense line today in their final push toward their former capital, officials and aid workers said.

``Troops repulsed this attack causing terrorists to withdraw with their casualties,'' Rubasinghe said in a fax to The Associated Press. He also said army snipers killed seven rebels today between nine and 15 miles east of Jaffna.

Rubasinghe claimed that life was normal in Jaffna despite the battles. ``Residents are not showing any sign of panic and continue their day to day activities,'' he said. More..

The Sri Lankan Crisis and India's Dilemma - Editorial Article
Frontline, May 13. The Sri Lankan state faces a crisi s of credibility, with its control over its whole northern territory - both the mainland North and the densely populated Jaffna Peninsula, which it took from the LTTE in 1995 - in grave jeopardy. More..

A strategic failure - A Feature Article
Frontline, May 13. The failure of the Sri Lankan security and intelligence establishment to evolve a strategy to infiltrate the LTTE and disrupt its ideological, training, research and operational infrastructure has led to the unbridled growth of the separatist organisation. More..

Against assistance - Feature Article
Frontline, May 13. INDIA should not send troops or arms to the Jaffna peninsula to help the beleaguered soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army - this was the unanimous response of political parties in Tamil Nadu to initial reports that New Delhi was considering Colombo's request for military assistance after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) overran major army camps and was poised for an assault on Jaffna. More...

India's policy dilemma
Frontline, May 13. IN the first week of May, with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) advancing towards Jaffna and the Sri Lankan government sending an SOS to New Delhi, India's foreign policy functionaries were caught in a dilemma.More..

Thousands Flee Jaffna Fearing Sri Lanka Rebel Move
Yahoo-Reuters, Saturday May 13 1:38 AM ET. Thousands of civilians have fled Sri Lanka's Jaffna as Tamil Tiger rebels prepare for a ``final assault'' on the heart of the northern city, cultural capital of minority Tamils. More..

The two realities
Frontline, May13. With the fall of Elephant Pass and with Jaffna threatened, there has got to be a paradigm shift for an end to the war. More..

Dangerous portents
Frontline, May 13. India has only limited options in Sri Lanka, but it can work as an impartial mediator to bring about peace. Only that would serve India's interest best. More..

The taking of Elephant Pass
Frontline, May 13. For the first time in the history of the 'Tamil Eelam war', the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has seized control of Elephant Pass, the gateway to the Jaffna Peninsula. A graphic account of the Tigers' strategy and its successful implementation. More..

ADVANTAGE LTTE - Feature Article
Frontline. The military gains made by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in recent weeks have taken it within striking distance of Jaffna. As a beleaguered Sri Lankan government resolves to fight on and appeals for help from "friendly countries", India f aces a serious policy dilemma. More..

Global child sacrifice in modern mould
Daily Pioneer. When the Sri Lankan Army counted the bodies, there were 49 dead. All were child fighters of the LTTE contingent - 32 of them girls between 11 and 15.

The Lankan soldiers have often described how they are forced to confront LTTE battallions of women, teenage girls and boys, sometime as young as even 10. But, even the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) is not blameless. There are reports of underage soldiers in paramilitary forces like the Lankan Home Guards. More..

Daily Press Briefing
US Dept. of State, Friday, May 12, 2000. QUESTION: Any update on the continuous violence in Sri Lanka? More...  

Sri Lankan Tamils reel under constant surveillance
NDTV. According to Mangala Samaraweeka, Media Minister of Sri Lanka, "Unfortunately when there is a war going on and when the terrorist organisation, the leader and those who bring bombs to Colombo, are Tamil, we have for the safety of the people and ourselves, and the city of Colombo, harass them but then rather than complain only to the government they must also raise their voices and tell Prabhakaran that enough is enough. Stop all this nonsense." More..

Cabinet Meeting to discuss Sri Lanka
NDTV. May 13 The union cabinet will be meeting later today amidst the backdrop of the crisis in Sri Lanka. It's likely that the Lankan issue will dominate the meeting with some of the BJP's Tamil allies having openly called for a lifting on the ban on the LTTE.

Jaffna: A thorn in the flesh
Outlook India. Jaffna: A thorn in the flesh India is worried about Islamabad's presence in its backyard and the situation has the potential to drag India deeper into a conflict which is something that it would like to avoid. But analysts say that if Jaffna peninsula is taken over by the LTTE then India will have no choice but to send its forces to beef up the Sri Lankan army. More..

Thousands flee as Sri Lanka battles enter Jaffna
Saturday, May 13 12:37 AM SGT. Residents were on the run in northern Sri Lanka Friday as fighting between government troops and Tamil rebels entered the key town of Jaffna, aid officials said.

Tamil civilians were seen carrying their belongings and fleeing further north from the town of Jaffna, the officials from humanitarian operations in the island said.

"People are leaving Jaffna in large numbers," one said quoting reports from the area. "The residents were taking advantage of the lifting of a curfew there today." More..

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