The Lanka Academic

MAY 19, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 44

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Anil's Ghost: Ondaatje's new novel worth the wait
ANNE-MARIE TOBIN, Associated Press. TORONTO (CP) -- Michael Ondaatje left Sri Lanka as a schoolboy and settled in Canada almost 40 years ago, but his new novel Anil's Ghost conveys an ache for the people of his troubled homeland. More...
LTTE says war can end if Sri Lankan soldiers surrender
NDTV. With the LTTE continuing with its claim of attacking the Palali airbase in Jaffna, it has now made its first offer for any solution to end the present conflict. The LTTE has appealed to thousands of the Sri Lankan soldiers trapped in Jaffna to surrender and if they do -- the violence can end.The call for surrender is being announced by loud speakers at different battlefronts in the Jaffna theatre of war and also by the Voice of Tigers radio. More.. 6
Published: Fri May 19 23:03:43 EDT 2000

Tamil Tiger rebels close in on airport
May 20. There is no land route available southwards and if the airport were disabled the only way in or out of the peninsula would be two ports, both vulnerable to assault by the rebels' seaborne division. The rebel tactics have included ramming naval vessels with boats packed with explosives. An aid worker returning to London from Jaffna town says people there are talking of when, not if, the peninsula falls. More.. l
Published: Fri May 19 22:59:21 EDT 2000

Meet on May 22 to finalise party stand on Sri Lankan issue
Indian Express, May19. The BJP President Kushabhau Thakre would meet top leaders of the Tamil Nadu unit at Chennai on May 22 to finalise the party's stand on the Sri Lankan issue,state BJP president Dr S P Kripanidhi said today, reports PTI. However, the state unit would fully endorse the stand taken by the Vajpayee government on the matter, he told reporters here. More..
Published: Fri May 19 22:18:31 EDT 2000

Arjun Singh's LTTE, RSS connections -- Dr Subramanian Swamy's book
JAL News. The nation must move on now to discover those in the 'higher places' in India on whom the LTTE had depended all these years for the vicious and sinister disinformation campaign to try and get off the hook," says Dr Swamy and adds: "These persons may not be conspirators in the murder, but they certainly are guilty of impending the investigation and attempting to confound the evidence."Dr Swamy says the disinformation campaign was deliberate to derail first the investigations and then the court trial and points out that "even after the trial court judgment found the LTTR guilty, the disinformation machine began spinning out a new line: LTTE plus who ? -- to mitigate the LTTE perfidy." The Supreme Court judgment devastated that attempt. More..
Published: Fri May 19 22:03:18 EDT 2000

Jaffna may slip out of army hands
Times of India, May20. Military officials reached by telephone said the port was not damaged, but said it was alarming that it was within the rebels' artillery range.Military experts said the fall of Jaffna was likely within the next week. Analysts say that the sharp fall in the morale of the Sri Lankan forces and the unplanned retreats taken by them, may hasten the fall of this northeastern, capital town. More..
Published: Fri May 19 20:50:55 EDT 2000

Tigers press attack to cut off army
The Age, May 20. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels claimed yesterday to have control over two strategic roads leading into Jaffna and were shelling the military's only airport in the region to cut off supplies for 40,000 troops defending the northern Jaffna peninsula. At least 102 soldiers have died in the past 24 hours, the Voice of Tigers radio, monitored in the northern Sri Lankan town of Vavuniya, said. But the Sri Lankan Government admitted to only 24 wounded. More..
Published: Fri May 19 20:46:17 EDT 2000

Sea route to Jaffna blocked, Tamil rebels say
Virtual NY, May 19. Separatist Tamil rebels said Friday they have blocked the sea route to Sri Lanka's embattled northern Jaffna peninsula and that they have shelled the sole government military airstrip in the region.According to reports, rebel shells exploded in the vicinity of the port and the sprawling Palaly military base. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said the Sri Lankan government canceled ships to the Kankesanthurai port in Jaffna due to security concerns. More..
Published: Fri May 19 20:42:15 EDT 2000

A journey on the spice trail
National Post, May 11. "Sri Lankan is the original curry," says Kumar. "It is red in colour because we make it with chili. The curries of China and South India are yellow because they use a lot of turmeric. "Sri Lankan curry is hot, you can feel it, but it is a deep heat; it won't burn you like hot pepper, so you can taste what you eat." More..
Published: Fri May 19 20:30:58 EDT 2000

Lanka govt denies LTTE claims on Kaithady
COLOMBO, May 19 (PTI). The Sri Lankan government today refuted the LTTE`s claims that it had captured Kaithady, a suburb of Jaffna town, two days ago and asserted that its defence flights carrying food and weapons supplies to troops continued to land at the peninsula`s only airbase at Palaly. The Israel-made Kfir fighter bombers, which fly in high altitude, continued to maintain vigil to locate LTTE artillery guns. The army at present has no idea from where the LTTE was firing the shells. There was also confusion whether the shells fired by the rebels were from artillery or mortars. The LTTE is believed to have one 122 mm artillery gun, captured from the army in one of the recent offensives. More..
Published: Fri May 19 19:42:03 EDT 2000

Press censorship debate hots up in Sri Lanka
The Asian Age, May19. As Sri Lanka's Supreme Court rejected an appeal against press censorship, an office vested with powers to curb the media served a "final warning" on perceived violations to a private television channel.Director of Information Ariya Rubasinghe, who acts as the competent authority, warned Nimal Perera, news editor of Teleshan Network Limited, that his latest warning, his third, would be final. He would be questioned by the police and subjected to legal action for any more violations, Perera was told. More..
Published: Fri May 19 19:36:37 EDT 2000

Tigers close in on Palali
The Pioneer, May20. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) creeping advance in the Jaffna peninsula seems aimed at keeping civilian casualties low and ultimately using the trapped Sri Lankan troops as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Colombo.According to sources in touch with the situation in north Sri Lanka, the fighting is likely to drag on for a while, as the LTTE has targetted Jaffna, Palali and Point Pedro - as its strategic objectives. The LTTE's gameplan is tempered by its desire not to trigger panic, or an exodus. More..
Published: Fri May 19 19:22:42 EDT 2000

1500 Army deserters re-join duty
Indian Express, May19. Sri Lankan army, which has declared yet another amnesty for its deserters to rejoin the ranks, today said over 1500 deserters have reported for their duties during the past few days, reports PTI. The response to the new amnesty is good, State radio, quoting army officials, said. More..
Published: Fri May 19 19:10:56 EDT 2000

Lanka expects psychological boost from Gill
Indian Express, Colombo, May 19. MOST SRI Lankans expect the coming of Indian "Super Cop" K.P.S. Gill to give the beleaguered government and people a "psychological boost". But, experts wonder if the experience of the man who stamped out terrorism in Punjab will be relevant in tackling the LTTE, which is a different ball game altogether. More..
Published: Fri May 19 18:40:30 EDT 2000

Grim situation confronts Jaffna
Indian Express, May19. With fighting between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE reaching the suburbs, a grim humanitarian situation confronted the Jaffna town with 75 per cent of its two lakh civilian population already fleeing to safer areas in the Peninsula, aid agencies said here today, reports PTI. More..
Published: Fri May 19 18:34:19 EDT 2000

LTTE 'human waves' repulsed: Colombo
Hindu, May19. In the latest phase LTTE's `Operation Unceasing Waves-III,' offensives by the Tigers at Sri Lankan defence positions at Kaithady were ``repulsed'', the Government Situation Report said. ``Terrorists in strength assaulted defensive positions of the security forces at Kaithady around noon. Troops fought back effectively to repulse many human waves of the LTTE.'' Quoting ``ground troops'', the Government said ``eight officers and 36 soldiers were wounded during the confrontation'' and that terrorists had suffered ``heavy casualties''. More..
Published: Fri May 19 18:34:13 EDT 2000

'Role will thrust itself on India'
Hindu, May 19. The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, feels that events may force India to play a role in the Sri Lankan conflict. ``It (India) is gearing itself up for assuming a role, one that might even be thrust upon it by events,'' he said in an interview to Outlook, excerpts of which were put out in a release by the weekly magazine. More..
Published: Fri May 19 18:24:58 EDT 2000

India, France discuss strife in Sri Lanka
Hindu, May 19. Keen on expanding strategic cooperation, India and France today discussed the situation in strife-torn Sri Lanka and identified common threats to maritime security in the Indian Ocean area. The exchange of views on Sri Lanka between the two sides assumes importance in the light of the France's prominence in the European Union (E.U.), one of the key players in resolving the Sri Lankan crisis. More..
Published: Fri May 19 18:22:08 EDT 2000

Human waves assault army lines, Sri Lanka rejects air base threat
May 19. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels Friday used human waves to launch an abortive attack against troops, the government here said amid reports that the main air base in the region was being shelled.Security forces repulsed repeated attempts by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels to breach military front lines at Kaithady in the Jaffna peninsula, the government said in a statement.It said eight officers and 35 soldiers were wounded in fighting since early Friday. The government said "terrorists suffered a large number of casualties" but did not say how many were killed or wounded. More..
Published: Fri May 19 18:06:51 EDT 2000

Renewed LTTE attack repulsed, govt sends in latest weaponry
India Today, May 19, 2000, Colombo. Sri Lankan troops effectively repulsed “waves” of the LTTE at Kaitdai in Ariyali sector on Friday morning even as four soldiers were killed and 65 injured in the fighting in Jaffna peninsula, a government spokesman said. More...
Published: Fri May 19 16:44:25 EDT 2000

Jaffna defences shored up
BBC, Friday, 19 May, 2000, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK. New weapons' systems have been sent to beleaguered Sri Lankan troops at an airbase in northern Jaffna. A spokesman for the Sri Lankan Government said the systems would be operational very soon, but gave no details More...
Published: Fri May 19 14:24:35 EDT 2000

Tamil rebels shell port, ask Sri Lankan soldiers to surrender
MSNBC, May 19. Tamil Tiger rebels shelled the outskirts of Jaffna's main port today, as the Sri Lankan air force bombed guerrilla artillery targeting the only military airport in the northern peninsula. Two artillery shells fell near the Kankesanturai seaport, three miles west of Palali air base, which has been hit by more than 10 shells the past two days. Targeting the port broadened the guerrilla offensive. More..
Published: Fri May 19 13:23:12 EDT 2000

Tamil Rebels Set To Take Jaffna
KRISHNAN GURUSWAMY, Associated Press Writer, 4:12 PM ET Thursday May 18. NEW DELHI, India (AP) - Tamil rebels said Thursday they had seized control of two strategic roads into Jaffna and were attacking the Sri Lankan military's only airport in the region to cut supplies to 40,000 troops defending the northern peninsula.

The clandestine Voice of Tigers Radio station said seven Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in the artillery attack on Palali airport, built by Britain when they ruled Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon.

``Our fighters are closing in and we will take the decisive action to take Jaffna soon,'' the station said in the broadcast, monitored in the northern town of Vavuniya.

If the air base falls, the 40,000 government troops and support staff will be trapped with nowhere to go in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, which the Tamils want as part of a homeland.

Earlier Thursday, the Voice of Tigers radio said at least 102 soldiers were killed in the past 24 hours. The government has said only 24 were wounded.

Details of damage or casualties were not immediately known, and journalists were barred from the battle areas. But sources close to the rebels said one shell fell on a military hospital.

Military officials confirmed the attack on the air base, but declined to give details.

Earlier, the rebels said they had captured the strategic Kaithady air base, two miles east of Jaffna, which the rebels controlled from 1990-1995, when they lost it after a 50-day war.

``Kaithady garrison town, with its heavily fortified military bases, fell to the fighting formations of the Liberation Tigers after 12 hours of ferocious combat,'' the rebels said on their Web site.

There was no independent confirmation of the report.

The rebels also claimed they had won control of two roads leading into Jaffna, but the government denied it had lost control of the roads.

However, it said security forces had withdrawn their defenses from yet another area near Jaffna, at Ariyalai about three miles southeast of the city.

The rapid rebel advance to encircle Jaffna prompted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to express concern for the safety of the city's 500,000 residents.

``The military situation has put civilians at great risk and has already caused casualties among the people of Jaffna,'' High Commissioner Sadako Ogata said in a statement from Geneva.

``I am appealing to all parties to ensure that civilians are protected from the escalating hostilities. They must be allowed to move to areas considered safe,'' she said.

The Indian Navy has rescued scores of Sri Lankans who fled the fighting in boats across the narrow Palk Strait that separates Sri Lanka from southern India.

The UNHCR said in a statement that about 400 Sri Lankan refugees had arrived in India since the fighting intensified in Jaffna last month. India already has some 100,000 refugees from Sri Lanka.

The minority Tamils claim they face discrimination from the Sinhalese majority, which controls the government and the military. The rebels are trying to establish a homeland in the north and east for the country's 3.2 million minority Tamils. The 17-year war has killed more than 62,000 people.
Published: Fri May 19 12:16:52 EDT 2000

Lankan Govt. seeks Opposition leader's apology
May 19. Demanding an apology from the United National Party (UNP) leader for telling the BBC that the LTTE have entered the town, even when it was well protected by troops, Media Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, in a statement said Wickramasinghe's remarks were aimed at demoralising the soldiers who were fighting hard to beat back the LTTE offensive in the Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Fri May 19 11:12:58 EDT 2000

Norwegian deputy foreign minister to visit Sri Lanka
MSNBC, May 19. Norway, attempting to broker a peace accord in Sri Lanka, is sending senior officials to Colombo next week for discussions on the escalation in fighting in the country's north, the Norwegian embassy in Colombo said on Friday. The statement said the Norwegian team would meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the main opposition United National party, during the three-day visit. More..
Published: Fri May 19 10:56:22 EDT 2000

The Battle for Jaffna
India-Abroad. Sri Lanka's military has faced its worst setbacks in the last month since the battle for a separate Tamil homeland began in 1983. Beleagured troops are engaged in heavy, savage fighting with the LTTE about 30 km from Jaffna, which was wrested from rebel control in 1996. For most of the 1980s, the army was confined to Jaffna Fort, so if the town of 50,000 falls, it could be argued this is no more than back to square one. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:54:01 EDT 2000

The Anti View: Don't Betray the Sri Lankan Tamil - A commentry by PANRUTTI S. RAMACHANDRAN
India-Abroad. To those who say that the LTTE's recapture of Jaffna will be a boost to the secessionist elements in Tamil Nadu I say this is utterly stupid. The LTTE had controlled Jaffna earlier too. Furthermore to enthuse 6 Crore Tamils in Tamil Nadu to separate from the Indian Union -- to raise this bogey is a covert operation by anti-Tamil forces, out to exploit the situation. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:49:10 EDT 2000

I Don't Understand- A commentry by Cho Ramaswamy
India-Abroad. But the Government has made one thing very clear: the creation of Eelam, will be against the interests of India. In the same breadth it has expressed its determination not to do anything to prevent an Eelam being born. Then does the Government plan to ensure the continuance of an undivided Sri Lanka which it cherishes? I don't understand. Perhaps the Government is thinking of the holding of mass prayers across the country, for the prevention of the division of the neighbouring island nation. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:46:10 EDT 2000

Lanka seeks Gill's services to combat terrorism
India-Today, May17. The Sri Lankan government has invited former Punjab police chief, K. P. S. Gill to advise it on anti-terrorist measures, particularly in Colombo.While Gill, credited with crushing terrorism in Punjab, declined to divulge the exact nature of the new assignment, Colombo is believed to have sought his assistance in strengthening security measures for VVIPs in Colombo, where the separatist Tamil outfit had successfully carried out several assassinations and suicide attacks in the past. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:42:32 EDT 2000

Chennai Tamils, even journalists, flock to the Net for war updates
May19. Saravanan talks authoritatively on 'Operation Unceasing Waves III', the LTTE's code name for the operation to wrest Jaffna from the Sri Lanka. It gives him a kick to know that the LTTE is closing in on Jaffna, much before the rest of the world will know about it. "I need not wait for the morning papers to tell me this. By the time I get them, the ground has changed and they look dated," says Saravanan. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:37:55 EDT 2000

Ramadoss against military aid to Sri Lanka
India-Today, May19. High-ranking Canadian diplomats in New Delhi and Islamabad on Thursday met MDMK chief, Vaiko for about 75 minutes during which the Sri Lankan crisis was discussed.'I am convinced that the diplomats went away with better appreciation of the cause for which the Tamils are fighting,'' Vaiko said. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:34:08 EDT 2000

Ramadoss against military aid to Sri Lanka
India-Today, May19. S. Ramadoss, founder of the Pattali Makkal Katchi, a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, urged the Union Government on Thursday to turn down any request for military assistance from Sri Lanka. In a statement, he said the visit of Sri Lankan Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen Rohana De'Silve Daluvatte to India when a fierce battle was going on in Sri Lanka, was intriguing. The purpose of his visit required an explanation, he added. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:31:28 EDT 2000

12 arrested in connection with plot to assassinate Lanka ministers
India-Today, May19. Sri Lankan police have recovered 120 kilograms of explosives and arrested 12 suspected Tamil Tiger rebels allegedly linked to an assassination plot, the state-run daily news reported on Friday."The 12 LTTE suspects now under police custody have revealed that they were assigned to assassinate several cabinet ministers, Tamil politicians and senior police officers." More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:29:08 EDT 2000

Tamil Rebels Ask Sri Lanka Govt Soldiers To Surrender
Yahoo-AP, May 19. Tamil Tiger rebels Friday asked government soldiers defending the northern city of Jaffna to surrender even as the Sri Lankan air force bombed suspected guerrilla artillery positions outside the city. The call over their clandestine Voice of Tigers Radio came a week after the government rejected a rebel cease-fire offer to allow the withdrawal of nearly 40,000 soldiers defending Jaffna, the former capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. More.. l
Published: Fri May 19 08:25:30 EDT 2000

Tamil Tiger Rebels 'Ethnically Cleanse' Parts of Sri Lanka
LA Times, May 19. As Tamil separatists sweep toward victory on the battlefield, they are beginning to cleanse their land of the people who were once their neighbors. The Tigers are bombing schools, wrecking Buddhist temples and shooting civilians in a campaign to force thousands of ethnic Sinhalese from their homes."They want us to leave, but we have nowhere to go," said Kadirathage Ran Keranhamy, a Sinhalese rice farmer whose 21-year-old son was kidnapped Saturday by Tiger guerrillas. "We are brothers. Why are they doing this to us?" More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:22:30 EDT 2000

Head of LTTE's radio service dead: Sri Lankan officials
India Today, May19. The head of the LTTE's clandestine radio "Voice of Tigers" has succumbed to injuries suffered during the recent bombing of the rebel communication tower at north-west Poonneryn, Sri Lankan official media claimed on Friday.ayneshan Sundhakaran reportedly died at Mallavi hospital in the LTTE controlled northern Vanni on Thrursday. However, the LTTE has not confirmed his death. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:19:20 EDT 2000

Jaffna defences shored up
BBC, Friday, 19 May, 2000, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK. New weapons' systems have been sent to beleaguered Sri Lankan troops at an airbase in northern Jaffna.Truckloads of pro-government reinforcements were seen heading for the area, near a town called Mile 91. More.. m
Published: Fri May 19 08:15:39 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Air Force intensifies bombing on LTTE positions
NDTV, May19. The Sri Lankan Air Force intensified bombing on suspected Tamil Tiger artillery positions today to prevent guerrilla attacks on the Palali airbase in the northern Jaffna Peninsula.The Sri Lankan government has also denied reports that it has lost control of the roads, but admitted that its security forces had shifted their defences to another area in the vicinity of Jaffna. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:11:04 EDT 2000

Karunanidhi meets PM to discuss developments in Sri Lanka
NDTV. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr. M Karunanidhi today met with Prime Minster Atal Behari Vajpayee and reportedly discussed Sri Lankan developments with him but no details of the meeting have been made available. More.. 2
Published: Fri May 19 08:09:30 EDT 2000

Tamil Rebels Mount Fresh Attacks in Jaffna
Yahoo, May19. Tamil Tiger rebels mounted fresh attacks on the army in northern Jaffna on Friday as Sri Lanka said it had rushed in new weapons to its beleaguered troops.A government statement in Colombo said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels had launched a huge attack on the ''defensive positions'' of the army at Kaithadi early on Friday. More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:06:51 EDT 2000

S.Lanka Sends Weapons to Jaffna, Hunts for Rebels
Yahoo, May19. The Sri Lankan government on Friday delivered new weapons to beleaguered troops in northern Jaffna and continued searching for Tamil Tiger infiltrators after shells were fired at the only air base on the peninsula.The statement from the Special Media Information Centre did not detail the new weapons systems, but said they would ``become operational very shortly.'' More..
Published: Fri May 19 08:04:42 EDT 2000

Malaysian Sri Lankans Urge Govt to Start Peace Talks
Yahoo, Friday, May 19 5:18 PM SGT. The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress (MCC) has urged the government to initiate peace talks to end the escalating war in the northern and northeastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Its president, Dr M Thuraiappah, said it was about time that the government, with its vast experience in guiding democracy and peace among its people, showed the way on how people could live in peace.Thuraiappah also said that third parties, who are aiding the war machinery on both sides, should stop doing so immediately and the Sri Lankan government should call for an immediate cease-fire for the sake of lives and property. More.. l
Published: Fri May 19 07:57:15 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka war proving more costly than ever
Yahoo, May 19. Sri Lanka unveiled its budget this year banking on peace, but three months later Tiger rebels have turned the tables on government troops and busted the balance sheet. Three days after the budget was present by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, treasury chief P. B. Jayasundara explained the document was designed to push a Norwegian-backed peace bid.Jayasundara had said the government's allocation of 706 million US dollars for defence this year was comparable to the amount spent in 1999, and no new military initiatives were expected. More.. l
Published: Fri May 19 07:55:03 EDT 2000

Jaffna Bishop asks Lankan President to heed Tiger call
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.20 p.m. SLT Friday May 19. Thomas Saundaranayagam, Bishop for Jaffna, in a statement issued today, has asked for President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge to heed a rebel offer for a ceasefire and stop the ongoing offensive in the northern peninsula.

Bishop Saundaranayagam has reiterated that the government should begin a dialogue to find a political end to the escalating crisis and thus save thousands of lives presently endangered by the fire of both, Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.
Published: Fri May 19 05:47:39 EDT 2000

Passenger ship to Jaffna cancelled
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3.30 p.m. SLT Friday May 19. Tamil news services today reported that a passenger ship which was to leave this morning for Jaffna with some 350 on board was stopped from doing so due to the prevailing security situation in the north.

The ship was prevented from leaving as it was scheduled to berth at Jaffna's northern Kankasenthurai Harbour (KKS) located within the Palaly base complex.

The LTTE have claimed since Wednesday to have fired heavy artillery into the military base at Palaly and destroyed its main communication tower and hit the air strip. 8 soldiers are reported to have been killed as a result. Military spokesman, Brigadier Palitha Fernando however told Lacnet today that rebel fire fell within the "general area of Palaly but did not hit the mlitary base."

The last passenger ship to Jaffna sailed on April 1 this year. Several thousand civilians are reported to be waiting passage from Sri Lanka's Eastern port Trincomalee to Jaffna's northern harbour at Kankasanthurai.
Published: Fri May 19 05:47:39 EDT 2000

Army denies LTTE claim of hitting Palaly military base
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.40 a.m. SLT Friday May 19 . Brigadier Palitha Fernando, Spokesman, for The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) today denied claims by the Tigers last evening which said the rebels had hit the main communications tower and air strip at Palaly's military base. Palaly is the biggest armed forces base in the North next to the garrison which fell at Elephant Pass.

Brigadier Fernando reiterated that the LTTE had fired some mortars into the general area of Palaly yesterday, but insisted, "none fell within the military complex."

The Voice of Tigers in a radio broadcast last evening however said, the LTTE had fired heavy artillery which hit the main communications tower at the Palaly military base killing two policeman on duty while artillery fire also hit the forces northern air strip.

Independent sources asserted that Sri Lanka Airforce flights into Palaly were suspended for a brief period of time as a result.
Published: Fri May 19 02:09:36 EDT 2000

LTTE claims to have overrun military base at Kaithaday
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.50 a.m. SLT Friday May 19. The Tigers, Wednesday evening (May 17), claimed to have overrun a strategic military base at Kaithday, in Sri Lanka's embattled North. The rebel statement released from its London office said, over one hundred Sri Lankan troops have been killed and several hundreds injured when heavily armed commando units of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stormed into the defence lines and overran the military complex at Kaithady late evening.

Brigadier Palitha Fernando, Military Spokesman refuted this claim saying there was no big military base at Kaithaday, "only some troop deployments." The Brigadier said that as a result of the fighting in this area 8 Officers and 36 soldiers were wounded. "None were killed" he added.

The LTTE meanwhile stated, "Strategically important Kaithady garrison town with its heavily fortified military bases fell to the fighting formations of the Liberation Tigers after 12 hours of ferocious combat. Situated about 5 kilometres at the entrance of the Jaffna city, Kaithady formed the buffer zone with crucial supply routes to the government troops based in Jaffna city and Palaly airport. The A9 highway linking Navatkuli bridge and the main Kopay Road that cuts through Kaithady, have been brought under the control of the LTTE."

Brigadier Fernando said there is no truth to this claim of the rebels that the Navatkuli bridge is now under Tiger control.

Meanwhile fighting is reported to continue in the outskirts of Jaffna's coastal areas. The LTTE has also denied accusations by the government which say the rebels have been pounding artillery and mortar shells on heavily populated areas.
Published: Fri May 19 02:09:36 EDT 2000

The Hardest of Options - A Commentry
Outlook. The absurdity of this position has not struck either Atal Behari Vajpayee or Jaswant Singh. If India will not help Sri Lanka and if Sri Lanka does not get any help from outside, why should the LTTE, which is on the verge of a victory in Jaffna anyway, agree to negotiate a peace which falls short of the Eelam for which it has fought for the last 20 years? It also does not seem to have struck New Delhi that the position it has taken implicitly favours the LTTE, an organisation even the US has branded as terrorist; that planned and carried out the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and whose leaders have arrest warrants out for them in India. Lastly, while New Delhi's desire to be accepted as the regional power is not new, it does not seem to have crossed Singh's mind that power can't be divorced from responsibility. If it ignores Sri Lanka's call for help in a cause just and vital to India's own interest, it will forfeit all claim to regional power status. More..
Published: Fri May 19 00:01:40 EDT 2000

Is Eelam Inevitable? A commentry By Lasantha Wickrematunga
Outlook. With a general election due in just five months, this situation could not have been worse timed for Kumaratunga. With characteristic impetuosity, under the guise of putting the country on a war footing, she imposed stringent media censorship and draconian regulations to prevent political activity and criticism of her or her government. There is little doubt in the public mind, however, that the regulations are focused entirely at propping up her failing popularity and hiding the bitter truth from the Sri Lankan people. More..
Published: Thu May 18 23:50:12 EDT 2000

'Eelam won't harm India' A London-based LTTE spokesman speaks to Outlook
Outlook. Even as it gains militarily, the LTTE isn't willing to spell out its post-military agenda. While refusing to give a formal interview, a senior LTTE functionary in London spoke to Outlook about India's role:"The battle has reached a crucial stage. The Norwegian intervention has brought hope. This has also helped lend credibility to the LTTE. We're hoping India will recognise the legitimacy of our struggle. More..
Published: Thu May 18 23:50:07 EDT 2000

Arms yes, men no A cagey Islamabad is only prepared to go thus far
Outlook. It's certainly not the best way for two states to come together, but for decades Pakistan and Sri Lanka seem to have worked on the "your enemy is my enemy" principle. But despite this rather strange confluence of interests and Pakistan's highlighting of the anti-India sentiments prevailing on the emerald island, recent events in Sri Lanka have evoked little public interest.Many observers here see the present threat to Colombo as being the result of continued Indian assistance to the LTTE. Says former defence secretary, Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood, "This assistance is the backbone of the LTTE. But Colombo's mismanagement has also played a role in the rebel gains." More..
Published: Thu May 18 23:50:03 EDT 2000

Sanctuary Denied The compulsion of being a part of the NDA forces the pro-Eelam DMK to turn back refugees
Outlook, May 22, 2000. Contingencies of national politics have conspired to force the DMK, a Dravidian party, to take a position that contradicts and completely undermines its long-held and much-cherished pro-Eelam stance. "The DMK is now seen by Tamil groups as a pro-Delhi party which has reneged on its commitment to Eelam. More..
Published: Thu May 18 23:49:57 EDT 2000

Tamil gangs on rise: RCMP Blamed for 40 shootings
National Post, May18. The police brief says an estimated 155,000 Sri Lankan Tamils live in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and "as these communities have grown, Tamil criminal elements have also taken root."Tamil criminal groups are involved in ... extortion, home invasion, thefts, sales of contraband cigarettes, the importation and trafficking of brown heroin, trafficking of other drugs, arms trafficking, fraud, production and sale of counterfeit passports, illegal migrant smuggling and attempted murders, bank and casino frauds and money laundering. More..
Published: Thu May 18 23:49:49 EDT 2000

Page One News LTTE enters Jaffna town, Lanka defence chief returns after secret India mission
The Statesman, May19. Small LTTE groups have entered some Jaffna suburbs, the Sri Lankan government admitted late tonight. But troops had repulsed the major wave of Tigers trying to break into the town, it said. Four soldiers died in the dawn assault. A government press release said a small group had managed to infiltrate into populated areas of Valikamam East on Jaffna's fringe. "Troops began a search operation ... during the early hours ... This operation is in progress ... Four soldiers were killed and 21 wounded." More..
Published: Thu May 18 22:13:57 EDT 2000

Shelled airport between Tigers and prey
The Telegraph, May19. Tamil Tiger guerrillas claimed to have taken control over two strategic roads leading into Jaffna and are pounding the Pallali airbase to cut off supplies for 40,000 soldiers defending the peninsula. The Sri Lankan government denied the claim. With the battle for Jaffna intensifying by the day, the United States has decided to send its under-secretary of state for political affairs, Thomas Pickering, to Colombo. The decision comes close on the heels of an American willingness to mediate in the ethnic conflict. More..
Published: Thu May 18 22:01:57 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka in search and destroy drive as Tigers shell Jaffna air base
Yahoo, LONDON, May 18. Sri Lankan troops mounted a search and destroy mission against separatist Tamil rebels who shelled a strategically important air base for a second straight day Thursday, diplomatic sources said.Government forces in the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka launched the seach operation against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelamin the Jaffna peninsula located in the north of the country, sources said.In a statement issued in the capital Colombo, the government said a "small group of terrorists" had infiltrated the suburban Jaffna areas of Walikamam East, where there was heavy fighting. More..
Published: Thu May 18 21:34:55 EDT 2000

India Abroad. The battle for Jaffna has reached a decisive stage with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launching a high-intensity offensive against the Sri Lankan army. Emboldened by its recent victories, especially the capture of the crucial Elephant Pass, the LTTE has decided not to seek political negotiations until the capture of Jaffna. The guerrilla group knows pretty well that if it wants to negotiate from a position of strength, it needs to have Jaffna in its kitty. The morale of the Sri Lankan army is at an all-time low, as its five-year long 'war for peace' strategy failed to achieve any strategic advantage. More..
Published: Thu May 18 18:42:48 EDT 2000

Jaffna: Testing time for New Delhi
May19. If the Sri Lankan forces manage to push back the advancing LTTE cadres, well and good. The Government of India will gain breathing time. Still, its responsibilities and obligations as, first, the big neighbour of Sri Lanka, second, as the decision-maker for the Tamils of Tamil Nadu, and third, as a regional power in this part of the world, will not have ceased. More..
Published: Thu May 18 18:32:31 EDT 2000

Navy gears itself for Jaffna fallout
DeccanHerald, May19. Even as Southern Naval Command prepares itself for all contingencies that might arise due to the ongoing fight in Sri Lanka, a ''quiet`` visit of the Sri Lankan Chief of Defence Staff Gen Rohan De Silva Daluvatte to India has sparked off intense speculation. Sources suggest that Gen Daluvatte is in India ''shopping`` for several items on the wish list of Sri Lankan armed forces including communication equipment.Minesweepers, landing tank ships and Kashin class destroyers have been positioned around the east coast near Chennai. Contingency plans include using LSTs for establishing beachheads for ground troops or for evacuating people trapped along the coast. More....
Published: Thu May 18 18:23:29 EDT 2000

Lankan chief of defence on secret visit to India
Asian Age, May19. While no official version was available about the purpose of the general’s visit, which included a quick hop to Bangalore, Cochin and Thiruvanathapuram, the media was led to believe that he was on a pilgrimage with his family to seek the blessings of Satya Sai Baba at Whitefield near Bangalore —- which is hard to believe considering the crisis in Sri Lanka due to its civil war with the LTTE. More..
Published: Thu May 18 18:16:42 EDT 2000

Tamil refugee-free week declared
Hindu, May19. with the setting up of the forward observation post, the boatmen, ferrying the refugees, started dropping them on the sixth island in Sri Lankan territorial waters. This created problems as Indian Navy and Coast Guard personnel could not cross the international border. When this was reported to the higher- ups, the Navy was given permission to open fire at fleeing boatmen. This brought the refugee arrival to a halt. As the LTTE is advancing towards Jaffna, the Tamils who helped the Sri Lankan Army have also started moving towards Thalaimannar to move into the Indian territory, according to highly placed sources. More..
Published: Thu May 18 18:10:29 EDT 2000

We are willing to talk: Kadirgamar
Hindu, May19. We are prepared to start talks even tomorrow morning if the LTTE is willing to do so. We have said that and we do not go back on the stand at all,'' the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar told Aaj Tak in Colombo. More..
Published: Thu May 18 18:07:45 EDT 2000

Jaffna precariously poised
Hindu, May18. The Sri Lankan forces may soon find the pressure on Jaffna town unbearable, highly-placed sources in the Government said today. According to these sources, some LTTE cadres have already entered Jaffna in the last few days and a major assault on the town may not be far away. In fact, defending Jaffna may become untenable beyond ``a couple of days'', according to a source.India, on its part, is ready with contingency plans. Indian ships are set to evacuate trapped Sri Lankan soldiers or Tamil refugees in case of an LTTE thrust into Jaffna. Meanwhile, the combined Navy and Coast Guard surveillance exercise, code- named `Tasha', gathered further momentum with another Coast Guard ship joining the vigil around Tuticorin. More..
Published: Thu May 18 18:05:31 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka resists incursions
Hindu, may 18. With the rebels maintaining a multi-pronged attack on key Army positions in Jaffna, simultaneous fighting is being reported from several theatres of war. At stake in the north are the Jaffna town, the Palaly base complex, Point Pedro and Kankesanthurai. The Palaly airfield is considered the ultimate target as control over it would seriously impair troop and supply movement to the peninsula. More..
Published: Thu May 18 18:01:22 EDT 2000

India keeping a close watch on Sri Lanka, says Naidu
Chennai, May 18. THE BJP general secretary Venkaiah Naidu today said India was keeping a close watch on the ground realities in Sri Lanka. None of the allies in the NDA government at the Centre, especially from Tamil Nadu, are dissatisfied with the government's decision not to extend military support to the island nation, he said, adding that the allies would not do something to force the Centre to intervene in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, senior Canadian officials today met MDMK chief Vaiko to discuss the Sri Lankan crisis, particularly to understand the situation from the standpoint of the Tamils. More..
Published: Thu May 18 17:49:46 EDT 2000

Censorship makes scribes read between lines
may 19. The government's lines on "strategic repositioning", "effective relocation" and "change of line of attack", may well, imply, that the Tigers have had their day of triumph in the heavy exchange of mortar in the northern peninsula. More..
Published: Thu May 18 17:41:48 EDT 2000

Tight security in Sri Lanka
BBC, Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK. Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK Tight security in Sri Lanka

Security has been tightened after the blast Security has been tightened across Sri Lanka following Wednesday's bomb attack in the town of Batticaloa, which killed 23 people and injured 75. A curfew has been declared in Batticaloa and all reports of the bombing have been censored. The government said that it had censored the news in order to prevent a backlash from the majority Sinhala community. More..
Published: Thu May 18 17:26:26 EDT 2000

Ethnic crisis in Lanka: EU statements objectionable
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 18. Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told reporters here on Tuesday that he found some of the recent statements emanating from the EU "quaint and fanciful, and not being grounded in facts, objectionable." Indian officials privately wonder what the EU is up to, especially intrigued the timing of the latest statement released in Brussels on Monday. "It is weird," an official, who did not want to be named, said.The Indians as well as the Sri Lankans have noticed that the latest statement does not mention the LTTE, while there has been no compunction about mentioning the Sri Lankan government and rapping it for imposing restrictions on Press freedom and civil liberties as part of the war effort. More..
Published: Thu May 18 14:25:47 EDT 2000

LTTE set to take Jaffna, Army's supply line under fire
Times Of India, May 18. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels Thursday said they had control over two strategic roads leading into Jaffna and were pounding the military's only airport in the region to cut off supplies for 40,000 troops defending the northern Jaffna peninsula.The clandestine Voice of Tigers Radio said seven Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in the attack on Palali airport where between six to 10 artillery shells were fired. "The fighting formation of the Liberation Tigers attacked the Palali airport with artillery today killing seven Sinhalese soldiers," said the broadcast monitored in the northern town of Vavuniya, according to residents reached by telephone. More..
Published: Thu May 18 14:10:49 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Govt. debunks LTTE claim
Hindu, May 18. The Sri Lankan Government has debunked the LTTE claim that fierce onslaught by its cadres forced government troops to abandon a military complex at Kaithadi in Ariyali sector, saying that the Army has no major base in the area and that only defence lines have been re-adjusted. Military sources in Colombo said there is no major military base at Kaithadi as claimed by the LTTE yesterday. Kaithadi lies five-kms from the entry point to Jaffna. In the face of this denial comes another claim by the rebels that they fired six artillery shells today at Palay air base. More..
Published: Thu May 18 14:00:46 EDT 2000

Rebels strafe Palaly airport, Army Garrison
Hindu, May 18. Tamil rebels pounded a strategically important Palaly airport and nearby Army Garrison in Jaffna peninsula for a second straight day today, though the Sri Lankan Government said that troops continued to push back LTTE guerrillas.Reports reaching here from the fighting zone said the rebels carried out the long-range attacks either with an 81-mm mortar bomb or a 122-mm artillery gun. More..
Published: Thu May 18 13:52:15 EDT 2000

S.Lanka takes steps to avert ''backlash'' after bomb
May 18. Sri Lanka said on Thursday it feared an ''ethnic backlash'' against the Tamil minority after a bomb blast that killed 22 people, and called on the country to protect them from extremists of the majority Sinhala community. The Special Media Information Centre said in a statement that the government was calling on all citizens to protect innocent Tamils after Wednesday's blast near a Buddhist temple. It blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for the ''brutal attack'' and said it appeared to have been timed to cause ethnic disharmony. More..
Published: Thu May 18 11:18:24 EDT 2000

Ghosts and spirits are everywhere - A book review
Irish Times, May 18. Novelist Michael Ondaatje has been haunted all his life: by his father's alcoholism, his Sri Lankan roots, and childhood dreams. Now his new work - appropriately titled Anil's Ghost - cannot escape the spectre of its famous predecessor, The English Patient.Michael Ondaatje, who missed his father's funeral but wrote about it anyway: The coffin was too small, 'so they had to build a new one in the house', which they then couldn't get out, 'so they had to break the doors down' - a suitably black farce. More..
Published: Thu May 18 09:54:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Buddhist festival blast toll reaches 29
Yahoo, Thursday, May 18 4:21 PM SGT. The powerful bomb blast that ripped through a Buddhist feast in eastern Sri Lanka killed 29 people and wounded 80, doctors said Thursday. The explosion occurred near a temple in Batticaloa on Wednesday where people were witnessing an illuminated coloured structure to mark the Buddhist feast of Wesak, the holiest day in the Buddhist calendar, officials said. Almost all the victims were members of the minority Tamil community who were witnessing the Buddhist structure which is generally associated with the majority Sinhalese community. More..
Published: Thu May 18 09:17:32 EDT 2000

More rebel shells hit Sri Lanka Jaffna's airbase
MSNBC, May 18. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels on Thursday fired at least six shells at an air base which provides a lifeline for tens of thousands of troops in the war-torn Jaffna peninsula, officials said by phone. They said details were not immediately available, but initial reports suggested some people may have died in the artillery attack. More..
Published: Thu May 18 09:14:38 EDT 2000

Tamil rebels claim capture of strategic Sri Lankan military base
MSNBC, May 18. Tamil Tiger rebels said today they had captured a strategic military base outside Jaffna city, threatening the main supply route for government troops defending the northern peninsula. ''The strategically important Kaithady garrison town with its heavily fortified military bases fell to the fighting formations of the Liberation Tigers after 12 hours of ferocious combat,'' the rebels said in a statement posted on their Web site. More..
Published: Thu May 18 09:13:27 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan general on secret trip to India-paper
MSNBC, May 18. Sri Lanka's chief of defence staff is on a secret visit to India that may include asking New Delhi for logistical support for troops fighting Tamil Tiger rebels, the Indian Express newspaper said on Thursday. The newspaper quoted defence experts in the Indian navy's southern command as saying Daluwatte could be trying to get logistical support for troops trapped on the Jaffna peninsula. ''All possibilities minus a direct involvement by India might be discussed,'' the paper quoted defence experts as saying. More..
Published: Thu May 18 09:11:33 EDT 2000

Army says it repulsed fresh rebel attack in Jaffna Peninsula
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 17.15 Sri Lanka Time 18.05.2000. The Media unit said today that the Army had repulsed fresh attacks by tamil rebels. )7 soldiers have been injured in the last 24 hours of fighting the communique which was issued this morning said.
Published: Thu May 18 08:46:16 EDT 2000

Rebels fire artillery at Palali

Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 17.18 Sri Lanka Time 18.05.2000. Tamil rebels have fired seven rounds of artillery at the Palali air force base killing 08 soldiers and wounding 28 others senior military officials in palali said. The officers said it was the second attack on palali in 24 hours. Last night the rebels fired three artillery shells at Wasavilan adjacent to the Palali base.
Published: Thu May 18 08:46:16 EDT 2000

What Sri Lanka Crisis??
Published: Thu May 18 00:56:36 EDT 2000

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