The Lanka Academic

MAY 20, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 45

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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...
Return of the Tigers
India-Today, May22. The inside story of how the LTTE, after it lost Jaffna in 1995, regrouped to take on the might of the Sri Lankan Army and why its dramatic resurgence worries both India and the world. It may already be too late. Kumaratunga and her Government are much to blame for allowing the LTTE not only to regroup but to return with such ferocity that the current battle may prove to be the most decisive of the on-going ethnic war that has seen over 20,000 dead in the past two decades. More..
Published: Sat May 20 23:06:52 EDT 2000

Norwegian team to arrive Lanka on May 22
The Pioneer, May21. As fighting between security forces and the LTTE continued, a Norwegian delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen is to arrive in Sri Lanka on May 22 in an attempt towards bringing the warring parties to the negotiating table.US under secretary of state Thomas Pickering is also expected in the island next week in connection with the peace process but no specific dates have been given. More..
Published: Sat May 20 22:14:16 EDT 2000

Tigers attack Jaffna harbour
BBC, Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK. Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have shelled the main harbour at Jaffna, a vital supply route for beleaguered government forces.

But while rebels reported that an intense bombardment was under way, defence officials said only a few mortar rounds had been fired towards the harbour at Kankesanthurai, on the northern edge of the Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Sat May 20 20:33:41 EDT 2000

Analysis: India's Sri Lanka dilemma
BBC, Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 19:23 GMT 20:23 UK. There is much speculation here that the United States is keen for India to play a more active role, with perhaps Israel being asked to shore up Sri Lankan forces in Jaffna. India is in contact with both these countries to discuss developments. More..
Published: Sat May 20 18:51:36 EDT 2000

The Statesman, May21. Details and arrangements regarding Indian assistance to Sri Lankan troops trapped in Jaffna Peninsula have been worked out, the Sri Lankan Deputy External Affairs Minister Lakshman Kiriella said More..
Published: Sat May 20 17:00:57 EDT 2000

India agrees to help, says Sri Lanka
Deccan Chronicle, May21. India has agreed to help the beleaguered Sri Lankan government to overcome the present crisis in the war with the LTTE, according to Sri Lankan deputy Foreign Minister Lakshman Kariella. "It has been worked out," Kariella said, while recalling that his senior colleague Lakshman Kadirgamar during his recent visit to India had discussed the need for assistance with the Indian leaders. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:53:06 EDT 2000

Lankan troops inflict heavy casualties on LTTE
Daily Pioneer, may20. ri Lankan troops, supported by artillery, inflicted heavy casualties on the LTTE after intense fighting in Tanankilappu sector some 20 km from Jaffna town, on Saturday morning.Three armymen, including two officers were killed when terrorists activated a claymore mine.In war-torn Jaffna, the "human waves" of Tamil Tigers attempted to penetrate the troops defences at several places. Troops were deployed in time to thwart these attempts, a situation report released by the Government said on Saturday. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:40:41 EDT 2000

Tamils demand Indian intervention
Times of India, May20. ``India's domestic pressures are their own concern. India has a moral responsibility to do something in the present situation,'' asserts PLOTE leader, D Siddharthan."There's no doubt that Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the Tigers. But in its own interest today, India will have to either talk to the Tigers or tackle them," adds Suresh Premachandran of the breakaway faction of the EPRLF. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:36:27 EDT 2000

India ready to help as Jaffna bloodbath continues
Times Of India, May20. India is keeping a close watch on the battle for Jaffna where fierce fighting for control of the provincial capital continues. Anxiety is mounting in New Delhi as there is a very real danger of the Tigers gaining the upper hand. What happens if they do succeed? More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:33:14 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan refugees settle down to new life in Orissa
Times of India, May20. While the world's attention is focussed on the raging war between the trigger-happy LTTE and Sri Lankan government forces in Jaffna, a large number of the island's Tamil refugees seem to have put the issue of Eelam behind them and settle down in the hilly terrain of Malkangiri in Orissa.No matter what the end result of the present conflict, they seem to have embraced this arid and Naxalite-infested pocket in Orissa as their new homeland and have no intentions of returning to their motherland. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:29:54 EDT 2000

Plot to kill Lankan leaders unearthed
HindustanTimes, Colombo, May 20. SRI LANKAN police have unearthed a plot to assassinate several senior Cabinet ministers, politicians and some police officers in Colombo with the arrest of a priest of a temple yesterday. Investigations have revealed that the wife of the priest of the Kathiresan Kovil had been allegedly storing explosives and suicide kits for the use by LTTE hit squads in Colombo. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:24:31 EDT 2000

LTTE on a major psychological offensive
Hindustan Times, May20. ALONGSIDE POWERFUL thrusts against Sri Lankan army positions east of Jaffna town, and the shelling of Palaly and Kankesanthurai, the LTTE is on a major psychological offensive against the minds of the 27,000 government troops defending Jaffna. An offer of ceasefire and safe passage was followed by a sugar coated ultimatum which tantalisingly offered the carrots of life and safe passage out of the war zone even as it brandished the stick of annihilation in case the ultimatum was disregarded. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:22:14 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Rebels Say Troops Flee As Town Falls
May20. Sri Lankan rebels said on Saturday that government troops had fled in chaos from a strategic town at the heart of the Jaffna peninsula battlefield after 12 hours of heavy fighting. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said in a statement from its office in London that columns of heavily armed commandos backed by artillery and mortar fire had launched a multi-pronged attack on Chavakachcheri at dawn. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:16:28 EDT 2000

Chandrika willing to talk with LTTE
Hindu, May20. Even as the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, said she was ready for talks with the LTTE provided the militant outfit laid down arms and eschew violence, the army commander in Jaffna said the troops were determined to fight the LTTE and would not vacate the town. The President, addressing a convention of youth at her residence here on Saturday, exhorted the youth to help the Government in its efforts to fight terrorism. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:09:47 EDT 2000

We'll fight to the finish, says Sri Lankan General
The Hindu, May20. The overall commander of the security forces in northern Sri Lanka said today his troops in the embattled Jaffna peninsula were determined to fight it out ``to the last man''. Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera told a private TV channel troops there was no question of withdrawing soldiers from the peninsula and that they would never allow the LTTE to recapture Jaffna. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:07:13 EDT 2000

India ready for 'role' in Sri Lanka: PM
Hindu, May20. The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee's remarks here today that India was ``ready'' to take any step ``if necessary'', reflects the sense here that the Government that can no longer duck its responsibilities in Sri Lanka. With the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) reportedly gaining ground in the offensive against Jaffna, an Indian decision to intervene, in some form, in Sri Lanka may be imminent. More..
Published: Sat May 20 16:03:04 EDT 2000

Tamil Tiger Rebels 'Ethnically Cleanse' Parts of Sri Lanka
LA Times. KALAYANAPURA, Sri Lanka--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 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have won a series of victories against Sri Lankan forces in recent weeks, are stepping up attacks against ethnic Sinhalese civilians living in the region that the rebels claim as their homeland. More...
Published: Sat May 20 14:23:35 EDT 2000

Taming the Tiger
Far Eastern Economic Review, May18. Kumaratunga has responded to the crisis by redirecting all development spending toward the war effort, extending harsh censorship laws to the foreign media and allowing the army to seize property.But Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the opposition United National Party, disagrees with the measures. "Most of the censorship and other regulations are for Kumaratunga's domestic political agenda," he told the Review in an interview on May 7. At the top of that agenda is ensuring that the president's power is not undermined by a defeat in parliamentary elections that must be held by October. More..
Published: Sat May 20 13:34:12 EDT 2000

'Most of us do not feel that this war is our war'
World Socialist Web, May20. The following report was compiled from interviews with wounded troops in Colombo hospitals. There are about 200 soldiers in the National Hospital, the country's main hospital, who have been wounded in the current battles in the north. Thousands of injured army men have filled several main hospitals in the different parts of the country, including the war-ravaged northern province. Every day new soldiers are being admitted to the National Hospital, among them soldiers wounded during the Elephant Pass fighting nearly a month ago. More..
Published: Sat May 20 13:25:03 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Army Battles to Keep Supply Routes Open
May20. Military sources who asked not to be identified told Reuters by phone that all ships had been pulled out of Kankesanthurai. They said two flights made it to Palaly on Friday, but continued shelling may have made the air base inaccessible since then.In a rare live interview from the peninsula which was broadcast over the local Independent Television Network, operations commander Major General Janaka Perera said the army would not give up the city it wrested from the LTTE in 1995.``The LTTE has not entered Jaffna and we will never allow them to take Jaffna city,'' he said. More..
Published: Sat May 20 13:15:25 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka shuts down newspaper for censorship violation
Yahoo, May20. Sri Lankan authorities Saturday shut down the main Tamil-language newspaper in the northern Jaffna peninsula after accusing it of supporting Tamil Tiger rebels and violating strict censorship rules.The Uthayan newspaper was shut down late Friday and there was no paper distributed Saturday,officials said adding that it was the first newspaper to be closed after the imposition of tight censorship on May 3."This newspaper has been continuously publishing reports, violating the prevailing censorship regulations," the chief censor and government spokesman Ariya Rubasinghe said. More..
Published: Sat May 20 13:10:32 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka battles escalate as army rejects surrender call
COLOMBO, May 20. Ferocious battles gripped Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna Saturday as the military rejected rebel calls for a surrender amid heavy casualties on both sides.A top army general, Jaanaka Perera went on national television Saturday to reject a call by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to surrender within a week."We will not leave Jaffna," Major General Jaanaka Perera said on the ITN television network from the northern peninsula of Jaffna. "We will push the Tigers out." More..
Published: Sat May 20 12:58:21 EDT 2000

LTTE claim to have captured Chavakacheri
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.35 p.m. SLT Saturday May 20. The LTTE today issued a press release form its London office claiming to have captured Chavakacheri, which lies about 15 kilometeres out of Jaffna as the crow flies. The LTTE for the last three days have been keeping up a concentrated attack on Chavakacheri, Palaly and Kankasanthurai.

In its statement the Tigers say "The Sri Lankan army suffered another serious military debacle in the war for the liberation of Jaffna peninsula as Chavakachcheri town, the capital of Thenmarachchi division, fell to the armed forces of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)."

The rebels say the town came under its control this evening after 12 hours of heavy fighting. The LTTE claim that "columns of heavily armed commandos of the Tamil Tigers supported by artillery and mortar fire launched a multi-pronged attack on the Chavakachcheri town in the early hours of the morning today. Intense fighting continued through the day."

Chavakacheri town, the rebels say, fell at around 6 p.m. SLT this evening.

The Tigers meanwhile claim that in the heavy fighting yesterday and last night, the LTTE overran military bases at Maduvil, Nunavil and Sarasalai junction.

The military was not available for comment.
Published: Sat May 20 11:51:03 EDT 2000

Tigers attack Jaffna harbour
BBC, May20. Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have shelled the main harbour at Jaffna, a vital supply route for beleaguered government forces. But while rebels reported that an intense bombardment was under way, defence officials said only a few mortar rounds had been fired towards the harbour at Kankesanthurai, on the northern edge of the Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Sat May 20 11:35:41 EDT 2000

Jaffna newspaper offices sealed
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9 p.m. SLT Saturday May 20. The Government last night sealed the offices of Jaffna's leading newspaper the 'Uthayan.' According to the State the 'Uthayan' was breaching the present censorship imposed under the Public Ordinance Act, Section 41. Military officials are reported to have closed down the editorial and publishing offices of the 'Uthayan' around 7.30 p.m. last night. The newspaper is the first to be closed down by the government since the Public Ordinance Act, under Emergency Regulations came into effect three weeks ago. The newspaper at the time of closure has some 100 employees in its service.

The editor of the 'Uthayan' newspaper was warned by military officials last week of having breached the present censorship and was reprimanded for publishing two stories. One, which stated the Sri Lankan President had broken into tears when meeting with the Indian Air Force Chief who paid a visit to Sri Lanka this month, and another story which gave names of five civilians including two children killed by bombs dropped by Sri Lanka Airforce Kifir jets at Pooneryn in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula.
Published: Sat May 20 11:29:07 EDT 2000

Indian PM says he is ready to mediate Sri Lanka's crisis
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 p.m. SLT Saturday May 20. Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister for India, today said he is ready to mediate a resolution to Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic war. India earlier said it would mediate between Sri Lanka's two warring factions only if asked to do so by both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government. The Indian PM has ruled out any military assistance to Lanka's war torn north but insisted India is willing to provide "humanitarian aid," and bring about a negotiated settlement to the 18 year conflict.

A three member Norwegian delegation due in Sri Lanka on Monday May 22, is scheduled to visit India soon after meeting with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Published: Sat May 20 11:29:07 EDT 2000

Military intervention in Sri Lanka ruled out
Hindu, May20. Defence Minister George Fernandes today said that no one could "compel" India into playing a role in resolving the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka and asserted that there was "no question" of New Delhi intervening militarily. "I don't see who can compel us," Fernandes said while commenting on the remarks of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, who said events in Jaffna peninsula might force India to play a role. More..
Published: Sat May 20 11:25:54 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Minister visits Chennai
Hindu, May20. Close to the heels of the visit of a Sri Lankan Army General to Chennai and Bangalore a couple of days ago, Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister for External Affairs, Lakshman Kiriella, arrived here today from Colombo and left immediately for Bangalore.

Approached by a private TV media crew at the airport, the Minister said he was going to Bangalore to deliver an address at a function organised by the Sathya Sai Foundation there, and ruled out any official purpose for his visit. More..
Published: Sat May 20 11:21:53 EDT 2000

No troops withdrawal, asserts Chandrika
Hindu, May20. Amid calls by the LTTE asking over 30,000 Government troops in northern Jaffna to lay down their arms and surrender, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has asserted that she would not withdraw the troops even if the Tamil rebels attempted to kill her again. More..
Published: Sat May 20 11:19:15 EDT 2000

India's PM says watching Sri Lanka situation-
MSNBC. India is keeping a close watch on fighting between government troops and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka and is ready to take any necessary steps, Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted the country's prime minister as saying. More..
Published: Sat May 20 11:12:59 EDT 2000

Tamil Rebels Seek Big Prize in War
May20. Hungry for victory, columns of Tamil rebels are knocking at the gates of an ancient city guarded by 40,000 tired and dispirited Sri Lankan soldiers.``What is surprising is how a large force of Sri Lankan troops, nearly twice the number required to defend and hold Jaffna, have fared'' against the rebels, said retired Gen. Amarjit Singh Kalkat, who led a 50,000-strong Indian peacekeeping force in Sri Lanka that fought the Tamil Tigers in the late 1980s. ``Probably the only problem is that the army's morale has collapsed,'' Kalkat told The Associated Press. ``There's poor leadership, lack of training and lack of motivation.'' More..
Published: Sat May 20 11:05:03 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Denies Claims by Tamil Tiger Rebels
May20. Sri Lanka denied claims on Saturday by Tamil Tiger rebels that artillery shelling had crippled crucial supply routes for some 30,000 troops on the war-scarred Jaffna peninsula.

The government's Special Media Information Center said in a statement released in Colombo that the air force and navy ''continue to maintain a regular supply of all essentials to Jaffna through the Palaly Air base and KKS Harbour.''

Published: Sat May 20 11:01:36 EDT 2000

India ready for any eventuality in Lanka: PM
Times Of India, May20. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said on Saturday that India was ``ready'' to take steps, if necessary, in Sri Lanka where the situation was ``rapidly changing''. Defence minister George Fernandes on the other hand, while addressing a conference on South Asian Human Development here, said that no one could "compel" India to play a role in resolving the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka and asserted that there was "no question" of New Delhi intervening militarily. More..
Published: Sat May 20 10:55:16 EDT 2000

Lankan soldiers repulse fresh rebel push
Times of India, May19. Sri Lankan soldiers repulsed a rebel attack close to northern Jaffna city, said a government official on Saturday as rebels claimed they disrupted the military's main supply points in continued artillery attacks.

The fighting left 17 guerrillas and nine soldiers dead and 19 soldiers wounded. More..
Published: Sat May 20 10:52:25 EDT 2000

Special Parliamentary group to tour Europe
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.10 p.m. SLT Saturday May 20. A special group of Sri Lankan Parliamentarians is to tour Europe next week in order to convince European Governments to ban the Tamil Tigers, waging a bloody battle at Sri Lanka's northern front.

The group will consist of Members of Parliament from both the Peoples Alliance and the United National Party.

A spokesman for the group asserted that the time is opportune for such a tour and will help unite all politicians from different divides to come together as the nation faces its present crisis.
Published: Sat May 20 02:13:27 EDT 2000

LTTE asks Lankan soldiers in Jaffna to surrender
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.15 a.m. SLT Saturday May 20. In a press release issued from its London office Friday evening, the Tigers asked all soldiers in Jaffna's embattled war zone to surrender, promising to hand over troops to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) within 24 hours of them laying down arms.

The Tiger statement issued soon after the Bishop of Jaffna, Thomas Saundaranayagam made a similar appeal for the government to heed a rebel call for a ceasefire, says, "As a genuine endeavour to avoid the continuing bloodbath and to bring an end to the escalating violence and war, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has made a fervent appeal today to thousands of Sri Lankan soldiers entrapped in the Jaffna peninsula to lay down arms and surrender. The LTTE has pledged that those who lay down arms will be treated with dignity and honour and handed over to the protection of the International Committee of the Red Cross within 24 hours."

The call for surrender according to the rebels is being announced by loud speakers at different battlefronts in the northern theatre of war and also by the Voice of Tigers radio. The LTTE have given a week for Lankan soldiers to lay down arms and surrender.

The government however is on record as stating that it will "fight to the last man in order to hold Jaffna."

Meanwhile the rebel statement further says that it is also making consistent appeals to the Tamil civilian masses to move to safe areas from battle zones allocating specific locations in Valigamam West and Vadamarachi division of the Jaffna peninsula.
Published: Sat May 20 01:44:41 EDT 2000

Heavy fighting directed at Chavakacheri
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.25 am SLT Saturday May 20. While the government yesterday suspended all civilian sea and air transport to and from Jaffna, heavy fighting continued to rage in the area of Palaly and Kankasanthurai (KKS) Harbour. The LTTE yesterday claimed to have taken " military bases at Kaithady, advanced further deep into Chavakachcheri sector last night, bringing vast tracts of territory under their control."

The Tigers claim that areas of Madduvil and Sarasali have fallen to the LTTE. Heavy fighting the rebels say is still raging at the strategically crucial Sarasali junction.

The LTTE meanwhile allege they have been appealing to the Tamil civilians in the Chavakachcheri sector to move to areas of safety.
Published: Sat May 20 01:44:41 EDT 2000

Top level Norwegian delegation due in Sri Lanka next week
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.30 a.m. SLT Saturday May 20. Norway, which is acting as a facilitator for proposed talks between the government and the LTTE said yesterday that a top level three member delegation will visit Colombo next week for discussions.

The delegation will be led by the new Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Raymond Johansen. He will be accompanied by Special Advisor, Mr. Evik Solheim and Executive Officer Ms. Kjersti Tromsdal.

Scheduled to arrive on Monday May 22, the delegation will meet with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The discussions are expected to cover the present war situation, examine whether there is any possibility of starting talks with the LTTE as earlier envisaged and what role India could play in such talks.
Published: Sat May 20 01:44:41 EDT 2000

Parliament meets minus the press and hansard
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.35 a.m. SLT Saturday May 20. Weekly sittings of Parliament will be held minus the media and Hansard reporters. The government is responding to a request by the United National Party to hold weekly sessions in order that the opposition may be briefed on the progress of the war. The government Chief Whip W. J. M. Lokubandara is reported to be yet working out the modalities of these sessions but has agreed with the State to exclude all media personnel including Hansard reporters.
Published: Sat May 20 01:44:41 EDT 2000

India must sell weapons to Sri Lanka: CPI (M)
NDTV, May20. In a stand contrary to the other regional parties in Tamil Nadu, who have been advocating no support to the Sri Lankan government in terms of arms or ammunition, the CPI (M) said that India should go ahead and allow commercial sale of weaponry. Reports of China and Pakistan planning to sell weapons to Sri Lanka, has further strengthened this stand. R Umanath, CPI (M) Politburo member said, "All other help requested by the Sri Lankan government including sale of weapons must be agreed too, must be responded to." More..
Published: Sat May 20 01:01:14 EDT 2000

Shiv Sena reaffirms support to Tamils in Sri Lanka
May19. Shiv Sena today reaffirmed its support to the cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka with senior leader and Union Heavy Industries Minister Manohar Joshi reiterating his party's stand on the issue.

"Tamils in Sri Lanka are our brothers, we have to look after them. This is our party's (Shiv Sena) stand," Joshi told reporters here. More..
Published: Sat May 20 00:46:14 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rebels say Jaffna airbase, port crippled
MSNBC, May20. Tamil Tiger rebels said artillery shelling had crippled the government's air base and sea port in Jaffna, sealing off crucial supply routes for some 30,000 troops penned in on the war-scarred northern peninsula. More..
Published: Sat May 20 00:40:53 EDT 2000

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

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