Citing National Crisis, Sri Lanka
Blanks Out Freedom of the Press
May 17 Paris.
Mrs. Kumaratunga ordered the censorship measures -
unequaled in Sri Lanka's half-century of parliamentary
democracy except for a brief exception in 1998 - on May
3 after separatist Tamil rebels captured a major northern
army base in a stunning setback for the military.Some
papers have found creative ways to challenge the
ban and attack the rules as politically motivated. The
Sunday Leader last week submitted two nearly identical,
fictitious articles to Mr. Rubasinghe criticizing the war
effort. The first one, blaming the opposition party, was
allowed. The second, blaming Mrs. Kumaratunga, was
intervene in Sri
Lanka - An editorial
terrorism, India cannot
afford to be seen to be
weak against the LTTE.
The LTTE is rightly a
banned organisation in
India, in keeping with
our own campaign, we
have to ensure it is
eliminated if it persists
in its violent activities.
Here, we can take a leaf
from the Israel book —
for that country,
terrorism anywhere as a
threat to be crushed; if
India wishes to be seen
as a major voice in the
global fight against this
menace, it must stand up
and be counted
Chandrika firm on new devolution package
Hindustan Times, May 16.
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga told the all-party
conference here on Monday that she was determined to table in
Parliament by August the new Constitution embodying devolution of
power to the provinces. A Tamil leader told The Hindustan Times
after the meeting
that a former Presidential candidate, Mr Harishchandra, and the
leader of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, Mr Dinesh Gunawardene,
drew flak from the Tamil representatives when they described the
LTTE as "Tamil terrorists" who should be crushed. A TULF leader
said that even the
LTTE could not be dubbed as terrorists because, rightly
the Tamils believed that it was because of the LTTE that the
government was talking about a settlement of the Tamil question.
Why DMK had to distance itself from LTTE
Chennai, May 16.
THE MDMK and the PMK now stand completely isolated within the
NDA following Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi's categorical
remarks that he would not prefer the LTTE to preside over a Tamil
Eelam since it was not the ideal representative of Sri Lankan
By coming out openly in the state Assembly that the DMK had always
kept its distance from the LTTE and viewed it with trepidation
its penchant to bump of fellow Tamil leaders, Mr. Krunanidhi has
made his strongest statement against the Tigers.
India, Lanka try to talk through crisis
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, May 16.
t seems as if the two countries have embarked upon a novel
diplomatic course: talking through media interviews and
statements. On May 9, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New
Delhi, Mr Mangala Moonasinghe, reacted in an interview to Star TV
on Mr Singh's public offer on mediation. But he did not say
about a direct offer through normal diplomatic channels.
'India and Lanka discussing joint naval
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 16.
Sri Lanka and India are discussing the possibility of jointly patrolling
the seas around north and east Sri Lanka to prevent the LTTE from
bringing arms by sea, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman
Kadirgamar said here today. The Lankan Foreign minister said
that he would "outrightly reject" the
theory that India and the LTTE were in cahoots and that New Delhi
had told the Tigers that they could take the Jaffna peninsula,
the Palaly air base, whose capture would threaten India's shores.
Sri Lanka admits to receiving direct foreign
NDTV, May 16.
The Sri Lankan government has for the first time
admitted that it is receiving direct
assistance on the battlefront. Sri
Minister Laxman Kadirgamar today
Israeli military trainers and
supporting troops on the front
line to fight the LTTE.
Fears grow for
BBC, Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK.
Aid agencies in Sri Lanka say more
civilians are leaving the northern
town of Jaffna because of heavy
fighting between Sri Lankan
government troops and Tamil Tiger
rebels.The medical group
said in a
attacks in the
Jaffna area had
Start dialogue, E.U. tells Colombo, LTTE
Hindu, May 16.
In the first substantive international reaction to
the current crisis in Sri Lanka, the European Union has called on
Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to stop fighting and
start talking. The Government is carefully scrutinising the European
position on Sri
Lanka, but is unlikely to associate itself with the statement issued by
the E.U. presidency last night in Brussels.
Some Tigers may have sneaked into Jaffna
Hindu, May 16.
Despite stiff resistance by Government troops,
some cadres of the LTTE may have slipped into Jaffna town, further
restricting Colombo's military options.
According to highly-placed Government sources, some Tigers have
breached the Sri Lankan defence line in a few places around Jaffna in
the last couple of days, and could be present in small numbers inside
the town. Consequently, the presence of the LTTE in populated areas is
negatively affecting Sri Lanka's military options.
Fighting spreads to east of Jaffna
Hindu, May 16.
Breaking a ``somewhat steady'' situation which
prevailed on the northern military front for the past few days, the LTTE
today stepped up its offensive on the east of Jaffna in which at least 40
LTTE militants and six Sri Lankan soldiers were reportedly killed.
Strongly disagreeing with a questioner on whether India had prevailed
upon the Tigers to contain their Jaffna offensive, Mr. Kadirgamar said,
``I reject absolutely and totally that the Indian Government has anything
to do with the LTTE behind our back.'' The Minister also said, ``We
are totally convinced'' that India does not want a separate state in the
North and East of Sri Lanka.
TALKS OFFER GREETS TIGER
Sri Lanka observers in New Delhi said the
attack signalled a shift in the Tigers' strategy.
Instead of pushing forward further from near
Colombuthurai east on the outskirts of Jaffna,
as was on the cards for some time, the rebels
had unleashed an offensive on the
Tanankillappu sector by firing from Pooneryn
north, southeast of the city across the lagoon.
Pakistan voices sympathy for Sri
MSNBC, May 16.
Pakistan on Tuesday
voiced sympathy for Sri Lanka in
Colombo's fight against separatist Tamil
Tiger rebels and said there should be no
interference in the strife-torn country's
internal affairs. ''The government of Pakistan is concerned at the
intensification of rebel attacks on the forces of the government
of Sri Lanka in Jaffna peninsula and extends its sympathy to
the government and people of Sri Lanka in their struggle to
maintain the unity of their country,'' a Foreign Ministry
UNICEF says children being caught
in Sri Lanka war
MSNBC, May 16.
being caught up in the battle in Sri Lanka
both as victims and as combatants, the
head of the U.N. Children's Fund said
Tuesday. Bellamy said that despite commitments by the main rebel
group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, not to recruit
children under the age of 17, the practice appeared to be
continuing. She also expressed alarm at reports that government
forces were restricting the supply of vaccines and drugs to
children and families in rebel-held areas of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka increases defence
budget to fight Tamil Tigers
Ananova, Tuesday 16th May 2000.
The Sri Lankan government has increasing its defence
spending by $180 million to $880 million in its fight against
Tamil Tiger separatists.
Prabhakaran's mom fights paralysis in TN
Rediff.com, May 16, 2000.
Her son is holding an island nation to ransom, threatening to overrun one of
its most populous towns. But Parvathi Ammal, mother of the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, lies unaware of this in a
siddha hospital in Musiri near here.
Chandrika rejects ceasefire offer
Hindu, May 16.
Recovering from the initial shock
after the Army lost control of Elephant Pass last month, Sri
Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has now outright
rejected any ceasefire agreement with the LTTE.
But, she said, her Government was ready for talks with the
militant group provided LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran was
brought to the negotiating table.
Indian ban on LTTE no hurdle to mediation:
Hindu, May 16.
India's decision to renew the ban on
LTTE is not a "fatal impediment" to chances of New Delhi's
mediation in the ethnic conflict in northern Sri Lanka and it is
a "good time" for rebel tigers to come to the negotiating table,
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has said.
Briefing reporters here today about his India visit, Kadirgamar
said the Sri Lankan Government welcomed the Indian decision
to extend the ban on LTTE. "At the same time, the ban would
in no way prevent India from playing a role to end the Sri
LTTE claims decisive battle on for Jaffna
Indian Express, May 16.
The LTTE today claimed that the "decisive
battle" for Jaffna resumed with great intensity as its
heavily-armed combat formations opened up offensive
onslaught on two fronts last night in the coastal belt of the city
and in the Chavakachcheri sector, reports PTI.The Tiger
combat units have smashed through the defence lines of the
government troops resulting in heavy causalties to the army, it
Fresh LTTE attacks on
Jaffna Govt appeals for peace talks
Times of India, May 16.
Tamil rebels today launched a
fresh attack on the besieged Sri Lankan town of
Jaffna after a three-day lull even as the
government appealed to the LTTE to talk
S.Lanka tells rebel leader to step
back from brink
MSNBC, May 16.
Sri Lanka appealed on
Tuesday to the reclusive leader of the
Tamil Tiger rebels to spare his war-weary
people further suffering after 17 years of
fruitless battle for a separate homeland.
''Is it not time now to put aside the rationale that drove
you to war?'' Kadirgamar said, when asked at a news
conference what message he would like to send to Velupillai
Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
''Is it not time to say I have fought a good
to an end and seek a political solution?'' he added.
MSF worries over civilian casualties
in S.Lanka war
MSNBC, May 16.
organisation said on Tuesday that the
escalation in fighting in northern Sri
Lanka was putting civilian lives in danger
and making their medical care difficult. Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) said in a statement that
recent attacks in Jaffna peninsula and its vicinity had caused
civilian deaths, and the location of potential military targets
next to hospitals further endangered patients.
LTTE lose 400 frontline cadres following air raids
Deccan Herald, May 16.
With the LTTE losing nearly 400 frontline cadres following air force raids
in the embattled Jaffna peninsula, the
intensity of fighting has dropped drastically during the past four days.
Since fresh fighting broke out on May,
military sources said.Troops have inflicted heavy casualities on LTTE
cadres in Nagarkivil, Ampan, Kovilakandy and Cololbuthurai,
LTTE launches fresh attack on army positions in Jaffna
NDTV, May 16.
Speaking in Colombo, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman
Kadirgamar said that
there's been a gradual shift in the fighting in favour
of the army. "I would say that in the last 4 or
5 days, there is a discernible evidence of the
stiffening of resistance being offered by the
army to the LTTE in the peninsula. Correspondingly
there is an indication of the LTTE
standing off. Now if its doing that to regroup or plan
its moves I don't know, but it is my
impression that we are now at the turning corner in the
current situation," informed Mr.
Heavy fighting continues in northern Sri Lanka.(Exclusive)
Roy Denish in Colombo, 18.55, SLT Tuesday..
Sri Lankan government claimed that at least 45 persons including six
soldiers were killed in confrontations in northern Jaffna peninsula during
the past 24 hours. A government news release said that six soldiers
including an officer were killed at Thanankillapu sector.
The news release added that fresh fighting broke out when terrorists
simultaneously fired a barrage of artillery and mortars on troops and the
heavy fire was directed from north of Ponneryn, an area now under control
"Due to the concentrated artillery and mortar fire, the senior ground
commanders shifted the defences to prepared positions towards the northeast".
Elsewhere at Wanni separatist Tiger rebels in their clandestine radio, the
Voice Of Tigers requested the civilians not to enter the
army-controlled areas until May 19.
"There had been reports of heavy concentration of rebels in Wanni during
the past few days and it may be the reasons as to why the civilians have
been barred from entering the control areas", a military officer told this
Meanwhile reports reaching Colombo said that the Sri Lankan air force planes
were dropping leaflets ordering civilians in Mullitivu district to vacate the areas immediately.Mullitivu is the stronghold of Tiger rebels.
Norway envoy says high hopes for
Sri Lanka peace
MSNBC, May 16.
A Norwegian peace broker
for Sri Lanka said on Tuesday he was not
discouraged by a new offensive by Tamil
rebels but warned that peace was still far
Erik Solheim, who leads Oslo's peace
initiative to the war-torn country,
acknowledged that the Tamils' offensive
in the northern city of Jaffna had
worsened the situation.
''This is a long-term and difficult process with steps
forward and steps back. But we are hoping that there will be
always be two steps forward and one step back and not the
opposite,'' he said.
Tamil tiger chief masterminds terror
CBS, May 15.
Vellupillai Prabharakan, the brilliant,
reclusive mastermind of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, is virtually unknown
outside South Asia and is a personal mystery even in his own country. But
he leads one of the world's most formidable and successful
movements, which he has shaped in his own implacable image.
As his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eetam hammer away at the beleagured Sri
Lankan army troops cut off in the city of Jaffna, Prabharkan looks closer
than ever to achieve his lifelong dream of an independent Tamil ethnic state
carved out of Sri Lanka, the former British colony of Ceylon.
But many fear that his dream could become his own people's nightmare.
Sri Lanka to get 'technical experts' from Israel and ups defence
Israeli "technical experts" may help Sri Lanka's military operate new
weapons, Foreign Minister Lakshman
Kadirgamar said Tuesday as the two countries formalised their diplomatic
ties after 30 years.
Kadirgamar told reporters here that he did not expect Israelis to get
involved in any combat role in the
government's battle against Tamil Tiger rebels, but technical help could be
"But I must say that there will be no combat role for them."
UPDATE 1-Arms for war
derail S.Lanka's defence
ABC News, May 16.
Sri Lanka said on Tuesday that
emergency purchases of arms to
fight Tamil Tiger rebels in the
north of the country would lift
this year's defence budget to
$880 million from around $700
The defence budget for 2000 was set at 52.4
billion rupees ($701.6 million), or just less
than five percent of gross domestic product.
Gunmen kill lawmaker in northern Sri Lanka
Indian Express, May 16.
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a Tamil
lawmaker in Jaffna, the northern city besieged by thousands
of Tamil guerrillas preparing for a final assault, military
Santhanam Kandeepan, a member of the Jaffna city council,
was killed yesterday in Jaffna's Arasadi neighborhood in the
first political assassination since Tamil rebels intensified their
offensive last month to recapture their former capital.
The Colombo Crisis
Outlook, May 22.
Coming from the head of state, it was a
remark that spoke volumes about the acute threat Colombo is
When Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga met opposition
leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to brief him on the military
the Jaffna peninsula, she had to confess that "the
situation is critical".
Indeed, since April 21, when Tamil separatist rebels
strategically crucial Elephant Pass military complex-the
the peninsula-the island nation is facing an unprecedented
and political crisis.
Sri Lanka Talks Peace, Norway Says No Easy Road
Yahoo, May 16.
Sri Lanka has again called for
negotiations with Tamil Tiger rebels as Norway, which is
attempting to broker peace between the warring sides, cast
doubt over an early end to the ethnic war.
State media reported in Colombo on Tuesday that President
Chandrika Kumaratunga told a meeting of all political parties that her
was prepared to negotiate peace with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
But she reiterated that the government would not withdraw its troops from the
country's north and east, where the LTTE has been fighting for a separate
homeland for minority Tamils since 1983.
Fresh fighting erupted in Sri Lanka's
northern Jaffna peninsula after a lull of three days when
Tiger rebels launched an attack on army positions at
Tanankillappu, just east of Jaffna town, the government said
It said in a statement that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
attack on Monday and fired a barrage of artillery and mortar fire at the
Sri Lanka, India wait for mediation offer to be made official
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 16.
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, told journalists today
that India has made no official intimation of seeking to mediate Sri
Lanka's present conflict. The Minister maintained that speculation so far
was on the basis of media reports which claimed Indian Premier Atal Behari
Vajpayee and India's External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh, had offered
to mediate Sri Lanka's conflict if invited to do so by both, the Sri Lankan
government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.
Fresh fighting in Sri Lanka's north
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 16.
Fresh fighting broke out today at Tanakillapu in the northern peninsula.
The government media information centre confirmed that hundreds of rebels
launched fierce attacks on the military forcing troops to relocate forward
defence lines closer to Jaffna's north east.
Lankan foreign minister says no link between India and LTTE
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.30 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 16.
Lakshman Kadirgamar, Foreign Minister for Sri Lanka at a press conference
today with local and foreign media said there is no link between India and
the Tamil Tigers fighting for a separate state in northern Sri Lanka. The
Minister asserted that India did not want to see a divided Sri Lanka and
have urged both parties to the conflict to seek a negotiated settlement.
Kadirgamar meanwhile re-affirmed government claims in the last 36 hours,
which states that heavy fighting in the north has abated, with the LTTE
suffering heavy loss of cadre. The Minister confirmed that international
assistance has been gained in order to purchase arms for Lankan troops but
declined to define the type of arms being received by the government.
Minister Kadirgamar reiterated that the government is committed to finding
a political solution to Sri Lanka's present crisis, but maintained the LTTE
is not interested in a negotiated settlement.
Diplomatic deal sealed with Israel
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.35 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 16.
Sri Lanka officially signed a diplomatic pact with Israel yesterday. The
deal was sealed by Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United Nations, John De
President speaks with 27 political parties
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 16.
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday met with
representatives of 27 political parties. At the discussion she briefed the
members on her government's strategy to meet the increased military threat
by the LTTE and vowed that her administration would not commence peace
talks with the rebels unless they call a halt to all violence. She
asserted that the government would not withdraw troops from the northern
peninsula and that armed reinforcements as well as personnel have been sent
to soldiers deployed in the conflict areas. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
(JVP) annoyed at being kept waiting by the President for a near two hours
left the meeting fifteen minutes before she arrived. The meeting was
scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. but only got off the ground two hours later
due to the President arriving late.
The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) objected to a suggestion that all
political parties should unite to defeat the LTTE. The President however
welcomed this proposal put forward by the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and the
Sinhala Mahasammata Bhoomiputra party.
Justice minister sets out peace strategy
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.15 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 16.
Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs at a
briefing with members of the diplomatic community which included
representatives of multilateral financial institutions, the United Nations
and Heads of Missions of donor countries last Thursday set out in detail
the Government's thinking with regard to the evolving political and
In order to meet additional expenditure of Rs. 12 billion for the armed
conflict, a restructuring of priorities with regard to the economy and
foreign relations is necessary, he said. Non-essential capital expenditure
would not be incurred. A sense of balance had to be achieved with regard to
safeguarding human rights in the context of extraordinary measures under
emergency regulations essential for national security. Prof. Peiris also
said that while the government would prosecute the war that was thrust upon
them, it was also committed to the fundamental values underpinning the
devolution process, strengthening civil society and empowerment of the
The government, he said, was also conscious of the need to extenuate the
adverse effects of political polarization and to this end the talks with
the United National Party (UNP) would continue with an expanded ambit.
The Minister stressed that an integrated strategy was needed with regard to
the peace process - the military strategy, the process of discussions with
political parties and the role of other nations in the capacity of
facilitator to help negotiate talks with the LTTE.
EPDP member shot in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.20 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 16.
A member of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) was shot dead
outside the Jaffna Hindu Ladies College yesterday allegedly by the LTTE's
pistol gang. The body has been handed over to the Jaffna Teachers College,
while police conduct investigations. The deceased was a member of the
Valikamam South Pradeshiya Sabha.
MSF cautions State on aerial bombing
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.35 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 16.
Foreign wire services yesterday said Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF),
Holland, a humanitarian agency working in the country's north, has
cautioned the government on aerial bombardment which the organizations
claims could pose a serious hazard to the civilian population in the area.
MSF says it will issue a statement calling on all warring sides in the
north to respect the safety of the civilian population. This call is
issued in the wake of claims by pro LTTE news services that five civilians
including two children were killed and 10 injured at Pooneryn last Friday,
May 12, when Israeli built Kifir jets bombed a fishing village in the area.
Media censorship imposed in Sri Lanka for security reasons
NDTV, Tuesday, May 16 (Colombo):.
Media Minister, Ms. Mangala Samaravira says the
government fears that
exaggerated media reports could lead to a repeat of the
that shook Sri Lanka in late July 1983. According to
Ms. Samaravira, "It is
in that context that we decided to impose the
censorship regulations very
strictly, because we found that certain newspapers were
casualty figures and they were carrying word for word
Official intimation required before India can mediate: Kumaratunga
NDTV, May 16.
At the all-party meeting called to discuss the ongoing
conflict between the LTTE and the Sri
Lankan army in
Jaffna, the Sri Lankan President, Ms.
Kumaratunga said that she would take a
the offer made by India to mediate
government and the LTTE only after
EU asks Sri Lanka to lift curbs on
MSNBC, May 15.
The European Union on
Monday urged the government of Sri
Lanka, locked in a bitter war with Tamil
guerrillas, to lift restrictions imposed
earlier this month on civil liberties and
freedom of the press.
The Sri Lankan government imposed tough public
security regulations on May 4, putting both local and foreign
media under a blanket censorship. It has also banned live
broadcasts of all television and radio programmes.
The laws, which also ban public meetings, trade union
action and criticism of the president and allow the government
to seize property and vehicles, were introduced as the country
was put on a war footing to battle a guerrilla offensive.
Sri Lanka, Israel restore diplomatic
MSNBC, May 15.
Sri Lanka and Israel
on Monday restored diplomatic relations,
broken off by Sri Lanka in 1970 and again
The restoration, announced earlier
this month, was formalised in a joint
communique signed by Israeli Foreign
Minister David Levy, now visiting New
York, and Sri Lanka's United Nations
ambassador, John de Saram.
Diplomatic sources said the two countries were not
expected to open embassies but that Sri Lanka's ambassador
in Jordan would also be accredited to Israel, while Israel's
ambassador to India would be accredited to Sri Lanka.
Tamils Wait and Worry
Washington Post, May 15.
In a sparse, dollar-a-night rooming house in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo
last week, a dozen Tamil refugees waited anxiously for word from their
families stranded in the northern city
of Jaffna. Fighting between Tamil rebels and army troops has been
escalating near the city for days, but all
telephone lines have been cut and virtually all news blacked out by the
"I have four daughters back home in Jaffna, and I am dead scared for them,"
said Arul Seeli, 56, who was
interviewed Friday in Colombo. "I sent my other children abroad to save
them from all this. I talked to them
on the phone from Germany this morning, but they were afraid to tell me
what they've heard, because they
don't want to frighten me even more."
Vaiko denies seeking arms for LTTE
Pioneer, May 15.
Mr Vaiko said at the public forum all he said was since Sri Lanka was
being provided with arms and ammunitions from 30 countries, as a
supporter of the LTTE's cause for the Tamils rights: "I am
tempted to seek
the support from the Government." But I have never demanded
that "Indian Government should supply arms to LTTE. I am
Government's policy and respect their decision of
territorial unity and
integrity in Sri Lanka.
The Straits Times.
The conflict between the Sri Lankan
military and Tamil Tigers fails to find
its echo in Colombo, where people are
not bothered which side will triumph
In Colombo, it seems that most of the
people The Straits Times spoke to actually
do not really care anymore.
At the Galle Face Green, an open plot of
land facing the Indian Ocean, the young
and the not so young converge every
evening for a game of cricket or just to
enjoy the breeze the ocean brings.
To them, life goes on.
Civilians killed in
BBC, Monday, 15 May, 2000, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK.
Aid agencies in Sri Lanka say that
mortar fire has killed four civilians in
the northern town of Jaffna.
The government blamed the rebel
Tamil Tigers for the shelling but there
has been no independent
confirmation of this.
The shells, which
were fired into the
Gurunagar area in
the south-east of
the town, injured
Facing reality - An Editorial from Sunday Times
Sunday Times, May 14.
For all his pious talk of eliminating cross border terrorism vis-a–vis Kashmir,
Indian premier Atal Behari Vajpayee has been unable to respond to the
this country today, which trace back to a brand of cross border terrorism
spawned by India several years back. All the raucous tub thumping
jingoism aside, Vajpayee is today surrounded by a cabal of political forces
comprising those such as George Fernandez, his Defence Minister, who was, if
not still is, a known supporter of Velupillai Prabhakaran's LTTE, and
Jaffna editor threatened for publishing reports without censorship clearance
JAL News, May 15.
The Sri Lanka army in Jaffna reprimanded and warned senior Jaffna
journalist C.N Vithyatharan on
Sunday for publishing in his paper published from Jaffna a story about the
Sri Lankan President breaking
into tears during her meeting with Indian Air Force chief A.Y Tipnis last week.
The Sri Lanka Air Force on Friday claimed that it had bombed the LTTE's
supply point to the peninsula
at the Sangupiddy jetty on Friday, 12 May.
The Uthayan paper, however, said in its columns on Sunday that the SLAF had
bombed Pallikudah, a
coastal hamlet in the Pooneryn sector, and published the list of civilians
who were killed in the Kfir
bombing on Friday.
Chandrika calls all-party
Times of India, May 16.
Quick repartee and a candid
manner seemed to work in President
Chandrika Kumaratunge's favor as she sailed
through contentious issues during an all-party
meeting convened by her to discuss the war
TULF leader, V.Anandsangari told TOINS,
``Once again, her resolve to solve the
problem through constitutional means was
very clear.'' The UNP, is also scheduled to
meet other smaller parties separately to
discuss the war scenario.
Lanka intensifies attacks on
Times Of India, May 15.
Backed by air cover, Sri
Lankan troops on Monday continuously
bombarded LTTE positions and reported a
"drastic drop" in the intensity of the rebels'
attacks on the embattled town of Jaffna even
as 15 guerrillas and three security personnel
were killed in the fighting.
The escalation in fighting at Nagerkovil,
which was located on the East coast of
Jaffna, has added a new dimension as it was
still not clear whether the LTTE was
attempting to shift its fighting units to open a
new front to enter the peninsula, analysts
Monks Become New Line of Offense Against
LA Times, May 16.
As the Sri Lankan army reels
before an onslaught of rebel
fighters, the people urging it to
fight harder are the men in the
Sri Lanka's Buddhist clergy, long an influential force in
national politics, are stepping
forward to rally the nation in
its darkest hour. The string of
defeats suffered by the army
at the hands of separatist rebels,
which has stunned and
demoralized this island nation, has
also drawn the monks
out of their temples to try to hold
the country together.
Leftists protest presidential delay in Sri Lanka crisis meet
Yahoo-AFP, Monday, May 15 9:26 PM SGT.
Sri Lanka's main Marxist group Monday walked out of an all-party crisis
meeting accusing President Chandrika
Kumaratunga of holding up politicians for nearly two hours.
The People's Liberation Front (JVP) said that after waiting nearly two
hours for Kumaratunga, they decided to
table their proposals for ending the country's drawn out Tamil separatist
conflict and walk away.
"The government did not even have the decency to explain or apologise
for the president's delay at a meeting
that was supposed to be of high national importance and urgency," the JVP
general secretary Tilvin Silva said.
Sri Lanka rushes hundreds of commandos to Jaffna
Yahoo, May 16.
The war in northern Sri Lanka has taken a new twist with the government
rushing hundreds of highly trained
anti-terrorist commandos to Jaffna.
The aim is to 'flush out' Tamil Tiger rebels, who may have 'infiltrated'
the besieged city and the army fears they
may be there for purposes of sabotage.
Lanka fighting poised for unexpected turns
Hindu, May 16.
With the Tigers gaining on three sectors - the Nagar Kovil, Kilali and at
Ariyalai, east of Jaffna town - the options are now wide open for the rebels
to move in several directions towards the northern Palaly airbase, which is
still seen as a vital rebel target. A move along the fifth direction -
from Ariyalai - could sever military supply lines to Jaffna.
India to tread cautiously
Hindu, May 15.
As the Government endures the competing
pressures on its policy towards the Sri Lankan crisis, there is a strong
determination here that India should not rush into the conflict with ill-
conceived military or diplomatic initiatives.
The Government has already declared that preserving the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, securing the legitimate aspirations
Tamil people within a united Sri Lankan nation, and avoiding a military
intervention are the principal objectives of India. It has also
a solution to the civil war will have to be found by the Sinhala and Tamil
Chandrika buoyant after air strikes
Hindu, May 16.
Politics overtook warfare in Sri Lanka today as the
nation's leaders - the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, and the
Opposition Leader, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, - held separate all-party
confabulations on the unfolding military scenario in the northern peninsula.
Skimpy details of the offensive reaching here indicated continued offensive
between the Tigers and the Government troops on the fringes of Jaffna
town. Ground troops, backed by the limited air attacks by the Air Force,
have, for the moment, checked rebel advances, which have not seen any
major shift in the territorial balance during the past few days.
Sharp differences among Sri Lankan political parties on Jaffna crisis
NDTV, May 15.
Sharp differences have emerged among Sri Lanka's political parties
on Kuamaratunga government's handling
of the crisis on the island.
The opposition United National Party
(UNP) has attacked the
government for what it calls an
internationalization of the conflict.
Unanimous domestic support could be a difficult objective, especially since the
opposition UNP is now engaged in a political
counter-offensive. Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremasinghe spent the afternoon trying to convince
leaders who had met the President
not to support the government's efforts, which he says
are leading Sri Lanka to ruin.
Six killed, 18 hurt in LTTE firing: Govt.
Hindu, May 15.
The Sri Lankan Government said today
that six civilians have been killed and 18 others wounded when
LTTE rebels today fired artillery shells at Gurunagar, one of the
suburbs of Jaffna town.
It said that the civilian casualties took place when the LTTE fired
artillery shells into Gurunagar from the rebel controlled areas in
Pooneryn, situated across the Jaffna lagoon.
Norway minister sees no quick end
to Sri Lanka war
MSNBC, May 15.
Minister Thorbjoern Jagland on Monday
said he saw no quick solution to the ethnic
war in Sri Lanka, where Oslo is trying to
Norway has offered to host talks between the government
of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and has appointed Erik Solheim as an
envoy to try and find a way to end the 17-year war.
UNP claim on fall of Jaffna denied
The Tribune, May 14.
The official television, in its news broadcast tonight first aired a brief
interview of Mr
Wickramasinghe to BBC followed by comments from
Media Minister Managgala
Samaraweera, who accused the UNP leader of
"committing treason" by making false
Colombo conundrum -Oped
Daily Pioneer, May 15.
There is no ambiguity regarding the fact that any break-up of Sri Lanka
would be detrimental to the interests of India. New Delhi
asserted its commitment to the unity, integrity and
sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
On several occasions in the past, the LTTE has used a
ceasefire or a talk
offer only to regroup and gain an advantage. But it is for
people and the Sri Lankan government to realise that a
lasting solution to
the ethnic problem has to come from within the country.
Sri Lankan economy likely to take a plunge.
Roy Denish in Colombo, 16.24, SLT Monday..
Amidst reports that government troops and separatist Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were gearing for a massive showdown in northern Jaffna
peninsula, the country's economy is most likely to bear the brunt in
Last Thursday, Parliament approved an additional 12 billon for defence
expenditure. This increased the defence spending to 64 billion from last
year's spending of 54 billion. That's not at all: The government' s all
time borrowings increased to Rs 20 billion.
Economists say that increase in the defence spending is likely to create
pressure on interest rates and inflation. There were also speculations that
Sri Lankan currency rupee is likely to depreciate against dollar.
Chief censor agitated.
Roy Denish in Colombo, 16.30 SLT, Monday..
A tabloid newspaper editor furious over government's blanket censorship
sent a copy of a news story of a brothel-house being raided to the chief of
the censor board. But the man with the pen sent the copy back hastily
replying "these are not copies that should be sent to the censor board".
That's was not all: The chief, the director of government's information
ministry later lodged a complaint with his minister who pacified him saying
this "they are only testing your patience". The war has a funny side too.
Government says intensity of fighting has dropped.
Roy Denish in Colombo, 16.35, SLT Monday..
Government of Sri Lanka in a news release said that intensity of fighting
in northern Jaffna peninsula dropped drastically during the past 72 hours.
"Terrorists appear to be in a state of disarray presumably due to large
number of casualties they suffered during the earlier confrontations", the
release from government's special media information center said.
Meanwhile during a confrontation in eastern Trincomalee two police
constables were killed and five others wounded when Tiger rebels carried
out a raid on a police checkpoint.
S.Lanka's aerial bombing a danger
MSNBC, May 15.
A humanitarian agency
said on Monday it was deeply concerned
that civilians could become the victims of
the Sri Lankan air force's plan to step up
the pace of aerial attacks on Tamil Tiger
Sri Lankan court upholds censorship
of war reports
MSNBC, May 15.
Sri Lanka's Supreme
Court on Monday dismissed a legal
challenge to censorship of media reports
on the war raging with Tamil Tiger rebels
in the north of the country, the
Sri Lankan government meets
MSNBC, May 15.
Sri Lankan President
Chandrika Kumaratunga began an
all-party meeting on Monday to discuss
the war in the northern Jaffna peninsula
after the government said it had blunted
an offensive by Tamil Tiger rebels.
Kumaratunga briefs political parties about Jaffna crisis
NDTV, May 15.
The Sri Lankan President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, met the
leaders of all political parties to
brief them about the situation in
Jaffna and the steps taken by the
government to protect civilians in
the war zone. Her People's Alliance
government has criticized
Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremasinghe's statement that the LTTE
had entered Jaffna.
Lankan forces intensifies attacks on LTTE
Indian Express, May 15.
Sri Lankan troops, backed by Airforce cover,
today relentlessly bombarded LTTE positions and reported
"drastic drop" in the intensity of rebels' attacks on the
embattled Jaffna town even as 15 guerrillas and three security
personnel were killed in the fighting.
India ignored early warnings on Sri Lankan crisis
Hindu, May 15.
Mr. Prabhakaran has never once said he will settle for less than Eelam and has
at least once annually, on the LTTE's `Martyrs Day' in November, reiterated
his commitment to an independent Tamil nation. What he was waiting for
between 1990 to 1995, and will be prepared to wait for again, is for world
opinion to turn in his favour, or at least, for the international
learn to live with him at the head of an independent Eelam.
Lankans disillusioned by
Times of India, May15.
The Sunday Times, a prominent week-end
newspaper carried a scathing editorial on what it
considers Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's
inability to respond to cross border terrorism,
which his country spawned several years back.
The editorial ends on a bitter note: "The fact is
that India has changed to our detriment. The
sooner we square with that reality, the better it is
for all of us".
Karunanidhi lashes out at
Times of India, May 15.
Denying that the DMK was supporting the
Tamil Tigers, Tamil Nadu chief minister and
DMK president M Karunanidhi asserted in the
state assembly that the DMK had "distanced"
itself from the LTTE after it murdered important
leaders of the Tamil Eelam movement, A
Amirthalingam (TULF), Sri Sabarathinam
(TELO), K Padmanabha (EPRLF) and
Umamaheswaran of the PLOTE.
Senior Tamil journalist warned by military
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.45 p.m. SLT Monday May 15 .
Tamil news services Sunday said the Sri Lanka army in Jaffna has warned a
senior Jaffna journalist Mr.C.N Vithyatharan for publishing in his
newspaper, Uthayan, a story about Sri Lanka Airforce jets bombing Pooneryn
Friday, and killing five civilians including two children. The Jaffna
media man has also been reprimanded for allowing a story saying that Sri
Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge broke into tears when
meeting with Indian Air Force chief A.Y Tipnis last week.
Supreme Court says o.k. to censorship
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2 p.m SLT Monday May 15 .
The Supreme Court ruled today that the present military censorship imposed
by the government is not a violation of Fundamental Rights. The decision
was made by a three bench judge, on a petition filed by Sunila Abeysekera
on behalf of a large number of representative Non Governmental Organizations.
Fighting in Jaffna has dropped says CA
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.05 p.m. SLT Monday May 15.
The special media information centre of the government said today that the
intensity of fighting in the northern peninsula has dropped today in view
of the Tamil Tigers being in disarray. The Competent Authority said that
15 Tigers and 5 soldiers were killed in confrontations at Colombuthurai.
President summons trade unions
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.10 pm. SLT Monday May 15.
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge will meet representatives of
all government and other trade union bodies tomorrow May 16, in order to
brief unionists on the country's present military situation.
Tamil Nadu gives the nod to renewal of LTTE ban
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.15 p.m. SLT Monday May 15.
Tamil Nadu politicians today said they will not oppose a renewal of a ban
on the LTTE effected yesterday by India's Central Government. Political
analysts have been quoted as saying that this move will strengthen the hand
of India's premier Atal Behari Vajpayee in dealing with Sri Lanka's present
ICRC says they have not been consulted
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.20 p.m. SLT Monday May 15.
Harsha Gunawardena, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red
Cross in Colombo said today that the organization has not been asked by the
government to intervene with Tiger rebels to stop firing heavy artillery
into Jaffna town. The ICRC countered a claim by the government yesterday
which said it had sought the assistance of the human rights organization to
stop the Tigers from harming a large number of civilians caught in rebel
LTTE claims to prepare for final thrust on Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.30 a.m. SLT Monday May 15.
The combat units of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Friday
claimed to be consolidating their newly secured positions along the coastal
belt of the Jaffna city preparing for the final assault on the heart of the
In a press release issued from the Tiger's international secretariat in
London they said, "Strategically important city outskirts of Ariyalai,
Manianthodam, Columbuthurai, sections of Passaiyur, Pungankulam,
Nedunkulam, have already fallen to the Tigers making the city centre
vulnerable to LTTE assault."
"Heavily armed Tamil Tiger troop formations who have moved in large numbers
from LTTE bases in Vanni into the Jaffna theatre of war are gearing up for
the decisive battle."
The Tiger press statement further claimed that despite a curfew imposed by
the military in Jaffna, civilians are moving out of the battle zones into
The LTTE also alleged that "Israeli built Kifir fighter-bombers have
launched blind and indiscriminate bombing on civilian areas in the Jaffna
peninsula and in Poonagarin. Five civilians, including two children, were
killed and ten seriously injured when Israeli combat aircrafts bombed a
fishing village at Pallikuda in the Poonagarin area around 5.30p.m. Friday
May 12, 2000."
The statement by the Tigers is followed by the government today moving in
thousands of ground troops to help armed forces bases in Jaffna. The
government also claims that planes have been successful in holding back
rebel advances towards Jaffna.
Indian navy increases surveillance on Sri Lanka
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Monday May 15.
Indian naval vessels today increased their surveillance on Sri Lanka's
Northern coastline introducing markers between Talaimannar in Sri Lanka's
North and Danushkoti in India's Southern waters. The move has been
initiated to prevent Indian fishermen from straying into Sri Lankan waters.
India, further maintains that its Navy will not allow any rebel cadres
from Sri Lanka to infiltrate into Southern India using this sea route.