Hard decision on Sri Lanka - Commentry by Admiral J G Nadkarni (retd)
India has time and again proclaimed its commi.
of Sri Lanka. That integrity cannot be preserved by
The time has come to put our money where our mouth is.
The time has
come to take what may be the hardest decision this
government is likely to
be faced with during its tenure. However unpalatable
that decision may be
to the general public, to the people of Tamil Nadu and
to the Armed Forces,
the hard decision is to help Sri Lanka militarily. By
helping Sri Lanka now,
we would have once and for all demonstrated our
determination to preserve
the territorial integrity of not only our neighbouring
states but of India itself.
Published: Sun May 21 21:32:06 EDT 2000
EU recommends ban on LTTE
Asian Age, May 21.
In a major boost to Sri Lanka’s diplomatic campaign against
the LTTE, the European Parliament this weekend adopted a
resolution recommending ban on the LTTE by member
states.Russia and China have “positively” responded to the
Lankan government’s request to veto any possible move by
Britain to raise the island’s ethnic conflict in the UN
Security Council.The resolution also condemned the Sri
for imposing emergency regulations to deal with the LTTE.
“Such measures were prejudicial to the democratic process
in the country,” it said.
Published: Sun May 21 20:06:00 EDT 2000
JAFFNA SCENTS RESPECT ON TIGER
It might be days or even weeks before the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are able to
recapture Jaffna. But there is
little doubt that whenever they do, the
majority of the Jaffna
population will welcome their re-entry,
if with a degree of
Published: Sun May 21 20:00:18 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan minister to meet Karunanidhi
The Statesman, May 21. —.
The Sri Lankan Deputy External Affairs Minister, Mr
Lakshman Kiriella, said today that he hoped to meet Mr M Karunanidhi in
Chennai tomorrow on his way back home. He refused to spell out the
his intended meeting with the Tamil Nadu chief minister.Most of his
countrymen were now regretting their opposition to the intervention
by the IPKF in the late eighties and early
nineties, he said.
Published: Sun May 21 19:50:38 EDT 2000
Norway team's visit raises hopes of ceasefire in Jaffna
Indian Express, May 21:.
Amid heavy fighting in the northern Jaffna peninsula, a
high-level Norwegian delegation arrives
here tomorrow in its bid to broker
peace talks between the Sri Lankan
Government and the LTTE.Latest reports said that fighting was taking
place at Chavackachcheri,
about 15 kms south east of Jaffna town,
and Colombothurai, one of the
southern suburbs of the town.
Published: Sun May 21 19:39:39 EDT 2000
UK dissuaded from seeking UN intervention in Sri
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 21.
BRITAIN IS being dissuaded from seeking the intervention of the UN
Council in the Sri Lankan crisis, diplomatic sources told The Hindustan
today. “The British have been told by other members of the Council
that it would
not be such a good idea,” a ranking diplomat said.Sri Lanka had taken
up the matter with other members of the Council. The Sunday
Times had quoted a foreign official as saying that Sri
Lanka would “go to the end of
the world” in its fight against UN intervention.
Published: Sun May 21 19:34:31 EDT 2000
Refugee influx resumes
Hindu, MAY 21..
With the LTTE reportedly advancing towards Jaffna,
Tamil refugees from various parts of Sri Lanka have started arriving
here. A fresh batch of 24
families consisting of 72 Sri Lankan Tamils, including 32 women and 14
children, landed in
Arichalmunai near Dhanuskodi from Pesalai on Sunday after a long gap of
Published: Sun May 21 19:26:51 EDT 2000
Conflicting claims on Chavakachcheri
Hindu, MAY 21..
Fierce battles continued in
the Jaffna peninsula with the Sri Lankan
Government today saying troops were engaging
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on
the ``outskirts'' of Chavakachcheri town over
which the separatist group claimed control on
Published: Sun May 21 19:23:19 EDT 2000
Dalai Lama offers to mediate
Hindu, MAY 21..
The Dalai Lama is willing to broker peace in Sri Lanka, a newspaper
said today. The Sunday Leader quoted the Tibetan spiritual leader as
saying in Berlin that he
was ready to lead negotiations to find a political solution to the Tamil
Published: Sun May 21 19:19:04 EDT 2000
'15 civilians killed in LTTE shelling'
The Sri Lankan Government today said 15 civilians
were killed and several wounded when artillery shells fired by
the LTTE hit a
home for the aged at Kaithady, a small town located south-east
of Jaffna town,
Published: Sun May 21 14:56:33 EDT 2000
Lanka to spend $ 150 millions more on weapons
The Sri Lankan Government would spend an
additional $ 150 millions to acquire latest weapons, over and
above the $ 730
millions allocated to the Defence Budget this year.
The new weapons were being acquired to reinforce its embattled troops to halt
the on-going offensive by the LTTE to recapture the northern
Published: Sun May 21 14:47:06 EDT 2000
Troops in Jaffna facing defeat by Tamil
Tigers on two fronts
Independent News, May21.
It was supposed to happen overnight. One news story after another in
the world's media over the past fortnight
has predicted the imminent
seizure of Jaffna city by the Tamil Tigers.
But while the city is still in
the hands of the Sri Lankan Army, the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) are steadily putting control of the
rest of the Jaffna peninsula
beyond the reach of the Colombo government.
Published: Sun May 21 12:42:04 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka says discussions are on with India on assistance
As fighting rages in Sri Lanka, the country's Deputy Foreign
Minister has said that
discussions have been on between the
Indian and Sri Lankan
governments on the question of India
Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, government troops are locked in fierce fighting
with Tamil Tiger
rebels on the outskirts of Chavakachcheri, a small
but strategic town near the embattled
Jaffna city. The government has refuted the LTTE's
claims on Saturday evening of having
captured Chavakachcheri, saying that its troops
have been engaged in a fierce battle with
Tamil rebels on the outskirts of the town since
Published: Sun May 21 12:36:12 EDT 2000
India pays homage to Rajiv Gandhi
President K R Narayanan and
Vice-President Krishan Kant paid floral
tributes to the former Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi at `Virbhoomi' here on his ninth
death anniversary today.
Published: Sun May 21 12:30:00 EDT 2000
"I have no doubt that India will act"- Interview with Lakshman Kadirgamar
I don't think we should expect the impossible from India. In Sri Lanka
there's a mood
in favour of India coming in, doing something. 'Don't lie low, forget the
IPKF, start all
over again' and so on-all that's easily said. But it's a highly complex
India. Don't forget it's a democracy, they'll have to debate about it in
Then, bear in mind the armed forces' bitter memories of IPKF. Add to it
Nadu factor, which has its own dynamics.
Published: Sun May 21 11:57:41 EDT 2000
The Diplomat's pendulum - Commentry
Not intervening in Sri Lanka's civil war has been hailed as one of the more
post-Cold war foreign policy decisions of the Indian government. But the
the Indian position stops right there. How and at what stage does India
help mediate a negotiated settlement as it has offered to? And more
how does New Delhi's hands-off policy benefit India?
Published: Sun May 21 11:53:54 EDT 2000
A mythical land
Greater Eelam is an invented danger, a political impossibility
It's after a gap of 14 years that the question of Greater Eelam is being
debated in the corridors of New Delhi. The proponents of this theory
believe that the
fates of Tamils on either side of the Palk Strait are inextricably linked
and a vivisection
of Sri Lanka would lead to the vivisection of India. The two Tamil lands
merge to form a larger Tamil homeland called "Greater Eelam".
Published: Sun May 21 11:49:22 EDT 2000
Metamorphosis of belief.From ideology to politics of expediency, the DMK has
changed colours. Its stand on Sri Lanka is just an instance.
his visit to New Delhi, he changed tack and said that he "would not like
the Centre's hands in taking appropriate steps to resolve the crisis in
Then, a couple of days later, in a press conference held to mark the
completion of four years of DMK rule, he said that "he would be happy if the
Tamils in Sri Lanka get Eelam". On May 15, in the state legislative
assembly, he once again changed his tune: "The DMK has distanced itself
from the LTTE long ago."
Published: Sun May 21 11:45:23 EDT 2000
Black Tigers are the deadly weapons of Sri Lanka's rebels
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels are outnumbered by more than 10-to-one in
their bloody campaign for a northern homeland, but they make
up for it with a powerful weapon: suicide bombers.The suicide bombers of
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Black Tigers, attracted
international attention nine years ago
when they were blamed for the assassination of Indian premier Rajiv
Gandhi.A woman suicide bomber on December 18 detonated explosives carried
in her purse at a meeting attended by President Chandrika
Kumaratunga at the grounds of the Colombo town hall.
Published: Sun May 21 11:31:29 EDT 2000
Hand-to-hand fighting in Sri Lanka ahead of Oslo peace mission
Yahoo-AFP, COLOMBO, May 21.
Ferocious hand-to-hand fighting raged in northern Sri Lanka Sunday as Tamil
rebels launched multi-pronged assaults ahead of a peace
mission by Norway's deputy foreign minister, official sources said.Sri
Lankan military authorities said at least eight soldiers were killed and
another 47 wounded in the latest fighting in the Jaffna peninsula
where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were also pounding army
positions.The LTTE in a statement from their office in London claimed to
have captured the key town of Chavakachceri after a 12-hour battle
Published: Sun May 21 11:27:50 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan churches to pray for peace.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, Sunday 18.54.
With heavy war raging in northern Jaffna peninsula, the cathloic churches
throughout Sri Lanka are making preparation to pray for peace.
Archbishop of Sri Lanka Nicholas Marcus Fernando today sent a circular to
all churches in Sri Lanka to hold a "prayer for peace" next Sunday, May 28.
The bishop also urged all churches to hold a blood-donation ceremony and
donate the next Sunday mass offerings to the soldiers lying in state
hospitals with injuries.
"The 17 years fighting has left 60,000 people dead and the need has come to
all those warring factions to return to the negotiating table to talk peace
instead of fighting", the bishop's statement read.
The call came hard on the heels after separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) claimed that its combatants had captured Chavakachcheri, the
second largest govermnment-troops-controlled town in northern Jaffna
In a statement issued last night from its London office, the LTTE claimed
that troops at Chavbakachcher unable to sustain the power and fury of Tiger
assault fled in disarray and the town collapsed after 12 hours of intense
With no signs that both parties will sit at the round table, the Indian
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said in the capital city of India that
his government was ready to act on Sri Lankan ongoing civil war with Tamil
Tiger rebels "if necessary"
Meanwhile, South Indian coastal guard units increased patrolling
the Palk Straits, the thin waters that divide India and Sri
Lanka over speculations that large numbers of civilians fearing for the
lives in cross-fires were making arrangements to flle to India.
Published: Sun May 21 11:25:15 EDT 2000
Press censorship in Sri Lanka to be
Times of India.
Sri Lankan deputy minister for external
affairs Lakshman Kiriella said on Sunday that press
censorship in the island nation, where security forces are
engaged in a battle with the LTTE, would be lifted soon.
Speaking to reporters at Whitefield on the outskirts of
Bangalore at the ashram of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Kiriella said
he was personally against imposition of press censorship and
that it would be lifted soon.
Published: Sun May 21 11:08:28 EDT 2000
British firm sues Sri Lankan govt
Times of India, May21.
A British defence company has accused the Sri
Lankan government of deliberately endangering the lives of
its soldiers by leaving thousands of bullet-proof vests
gathering dust in warehouses, media reports said here on
Sunday. Company officials, according to the newspaper
Anuruddha Ratwatte, the president's uncle and deputy
defence minister, who is in charge of day-to-day running of
the war and who has been accused by Sri Lankan
newspapers of mismanaging and misappropriating much of
the 50 million pound defence budget.Ratwatte's nephew
represents a rival equipment supplier, the
Published: Sun May 21 11:04:54 EDT 2000
Chandrika flays politicians for
branding Tamils as terrorists
Times of India, COLOMBO: May21.
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga
has criticised some of the Sinhalese politicians for branding
all Sri Lankan Tamils as terrorists and supporters of the
LTTE. In her interaction with the leaders of various
on May 15, the extracts of which were carried this weekend
by the official media here, she made a clear distinction
between the aspirations of the Tamils and LTTE terrorism.
Published: Sun May 21 11:00:22 EDT 2000
Govt. denies fall of key town near Jaffna
The Sri Lankan Government today said its troops were
engaged in a close quarter battle on the outskirts of
Chavakachcheri, a small but
strategic town near embattled Jaffna city in which two LTTE
leaders and nine
army soldiers were killed. Denying rebels' claims, the statement
said two LTTE's area military leaders,
Murali and Vasanthan, were killed in the battle.
Published: Sun May 21 10:55:04 EDT 2000
Tamil Rebels Take Strategic Town
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels said Sunday
they have captured a strategic government-held town
in the northern
peninsula amid an offensive to retake their former
capital of Jaffna.
The fighting around Jaffna precedes the arrival of a Norwegian peace
delegation Monday in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo,
that will seek
ways to halt the battle between the rebels and 40,000 government troops
Published: Sun May 21 10:50:41 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka paper evades government censors
Yahoo, COLOMBO, May 21.
A Sri Lankan newspaper evaded strict government censors Sunday by
publishing a "fantasy war" report stating "Palaly was not under
attack", which nonetheless highlighted the "grave military crisis" on the
island.The pro-opposition Sunday Leader carried a banner headline saying
"Palaly not under attack" in a deft move to evade government
censors and report the heavy fighting between government troops and Tamil
"Heavy fighting was not raging in Jaffna peninsula and Tigers were not
pounding the Palaly air base with heavy artillery for the fourth
consecutive day," the Sunday Leader said.The newspaper had a comprehensive
account of the fighting but qualified every sentence by saying it had "not"
Published: Sun May 21 10:48:19 EDT 2000
UN has to help restore normalcy in Sri Lanka:
Zee News, May21.
It is the United Nation`s duty to help restore normalcy in strife-torn
Sri Lanka, Union Minister for law, justice and
Ram Jethmalani said on Friday. Describing it as a
very ticklish exercise, Jethmalani Said, “Surely,
we (India) can`t be a party to the break up of any
member of the
Asked if India should play a more active role in the
minister said, “…not the kind of active role that we
had taken in
the past, in an apparent reference to the Indian
Force (IPKF) in which more than 1100 armymen were
Published: Sun May 21 02:00:07 EDT 2000
Leaders pay tribute to Rajiv Gandhi on his
Zee TV, May21.
President K R Narayanan, Vice President Krishna Kant and
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday led the
paying fond tributes to late Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi on the
occasion of his ninth death anniversary.
Published: Sun May 21 01:56:21 EDT 2000
India ready with help, says Lanka
The Statesman, May21.
New Delhi, despite the defence minister clarifying that India
could not be "compelled" to resolve the crisis, and
was "no question" of a military intervention, the
announced that Delhi was "ready" to take some steps.
Fifteen thousand Indian troops have been moved to
Thiruvananthapuram, and residents of Tamil Nadu's
Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts say there has been
nightly movement of aircraft along the
Thiruvananathapuram-Colombo air corridor.
Published: Sun May 21 01:46:27 EDT 2000
Indian, Sri Lankan officials meet
Senior Indian and Sri Lankan military officials
had a key two-day brainstorming exercise in Bangalore even as Sri Lanka's
Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kiriella, was in Karnataka's
capital today. According to sources, the Sri Lankans sought the meeting
as they were
finding it difficult to interpret the surveillance data on LTTE strongholds,
such as radar images which India was passing on to them.
Published: Sun May 21 00:16:58 EDT 2000
Return of the Tigers
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.
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
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
Published: Sat May 20 22:14:16 EDT 2000
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.
Published: Sat May 20 18:51:36 EDT 2000
LANKAN MINISTER HINTS OF
HELP FROM INDIA
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
Published: Sat May 20 17:00:57 EDT 2000
India agrees to help, says Sri
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
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
time to thwart these attempts, a situation report released
Government said on Saturday.
Published: Sat May 20 16:40:41 EDT 2000
Tamils demand Indian
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
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
Published: Sat May 20 16:36:27 EDT 2000
India ready to help as Jaffna
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?
Published: Sat May 20 16:33:14 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan refugees settle down to new life in
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.
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.
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
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
passage out of the war zone even as it brandished the stick of
annihilation in case the ultimatum was disregarded.
Published: Sat May 20 16:22:14 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan Rebels Say Troops Flee As Town
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.
Published: Sat May 20 16:16:28 EDT 2000
Chandrika willing to talk with LTTE
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
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.
Published: Sat May 20 16:07:13 EDT 2000
India ready for 'role' in Sri Lanka: PM
The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee's remarks here today that
India was ``ready'' to take any step ``if necessary'', reflects the sense
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.
Published: Sat May 20 16:03:04 EDT 2000
Tamil Tiger Rebels 'Ethnically Cleanse' Parts of
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.
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
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
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.
Published: Sat May 20 13:25:03 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan Army Battles to Keep Supply
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.
Published: Sat May 20 13:15:25 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka shuts down newspaper for censorship violation
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.
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."
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
The military was not available for comment.
Published: Sat May 20 11:51:03 EDT 2000
Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have
shelled the main harbour at Jaffna, a
vital supply route for beleaguered
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
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
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
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
commenting on the remarks of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister
Lakshman Kadirgamar, who said events in Jaffna peninsula
might force India to play a role.
Published: Sat May 20 11:25:54 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan Minister visits Chennai
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
Published: Sat May 20 11:21:53 EDT 2000
No troops withdrawal, asserts Chandrika
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.
Published: Sat May 20 11:19:15 EDT 2000
India's PM says watching Sri Lanka
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.
Published: Sat May 20 11:12:59 EDT 2000
Tamil Rebels Seek Big Prize in War
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
``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.''
Published: Sat May 20 11:05:03 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka Denies Claims by Tamil Tiger
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
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.
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.
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)
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
planning to sell weapons to Sri Lanka, has further
stand. R Umanath, CPI (M) Politburo member said, "All
requested by the Sri Lankan government including sale
of weapons must
be agreed too, must be responded to."
Published: Sat May 20 01:01:14 EDT 2000
Shiv Sena reaffirms support to Tamils in Sri
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
Published: Sat May 20 00:46:14 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka rebels say Jaffna airbase,
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.
Published: Sat May 20 00:40:53 EDT 2000