The Lanka Academic

 
MAY 22, 2000 EST, USA
 
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VOL. 1, NO. 47
 

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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...
LA Times review by Jonathan Levi
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India may lift its self-imposed restrictions on dealing with Lankan crisis
NDTV, May23. With the LTTE closing in on Jaffna, India could lift its self-imposed restrictions on dealing with the Lankan crisis. The Cabinet Committee on Security met and reportedly took a decision yesterday to put Indian forces on high alert in case the Sri Lankan government asked for help to evacuate Sri Lankan soldiers, fighting Tamil tigers in the Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Mon May 22 23:30:38 EDT 2000

Spot Report
India Today. Raj Chengappa reporting from Colombo. [Listen]
Published: Mon May 22 23:05:54 EDT 2000

India Wary Of Big Role In Sri Lanka Civil Conflict
Washington Post, Monday , May 22, 2000. NEW DELHI –– The three-week-old military crisis in Sri Lanka is confronting India with a major foreign policy dilemma: whether to intervene in a conflict that cost India hundreds of lives and led to years of mistrust with its island neighbor the last time it got involved.Sri Lankan authorities, facing an unprecedented onslaught from separatist Tamil guerrillas in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, have been begging India for help--either military aid to quash the rebels or mediation to bring an end to the civil war that has killed 60,000 people since 1983. More..
Published: Mon May 22 20:22:28 EDT 2000

Norwegian Minister meets Lankan President
NDTV, May23. Mr. Robert Johansen met with President Kumaratunga but made it clear that any peace process would have to involve India. State-run newspaper Daily News quoted Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on Monday, saying that Sri Lanka had decided to explore diplomatic means to invite India to join the mediation process.With the clock ticking fast in Jaffna, Mr. Johansen rushed through his schedule of meetings in Colombo--first with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Laxman Kadirgamar and later President Kumaratunga. Behind the smiles and handshakes, there is serious concern over the future of the 40,000 Sri Lankan troops battling to prevent an LTTE takeover in Jaffna More..
Published: Mon May 22 20:15:58 EDT 2000

The Tigers Claw Back
Time Magazine, May29. Written off by the Sri Lankan army five years ago as a spent guerrilla force, the Tamil Tigers are close to pulling off their most stunning victory--the military conquest of the Jaffna peninsula. Opening fresh attacks almost daily against government troops positioned on roads around Jaffna City, they are stretching the Sri Lankan force to its limit and blocking all avenues for reinforcement. After months of meticulous planning, extra recruitment and training and the capture of long-range artillery, the Tigers, known formally as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (ltte), have shown a new side to their talent for war. More..
Published: Mon May 22 20:06:13 EDT 2000

Lanka evacuation mission
DeccanHerald, May23. According to the sources, the latest military and intelligence assessment, undertaken at the top level of the armed forces and intelligence agencies here this morning, was near-unanimous that the Lankan Army would not be able to hold on to its position in Jaffna town and around for more than a few days, not longer than a week. The assessment was conveyed to the CCS which met later in the day at the prime minister`s official residence. The meeting was attended, among others, by Defence Minister George Fernandes, the prime minister`s National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra and the three Service chiefs. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:52:44 EDT 2000

LTTE's political thrusts surprise Lankans
Hindustan Times, May23. Where the LTTE's influence over the European Union was evident was in the latter's singling out the Sri Lankan Government for criticism, while completely ignoring the doings of the LTTE. The European Union had conveniently ignored the fact that the LTTE launched the Wanni offensive and subsequently attacked Elephant Pass and Jaffna, even as the talks about talks were on through the Norwegian facilitator. The latest "declaration" rapped the Sri Lankan Government for clamping Press censorship and outlawing trade union action to meet the grave threat to the integrity of the country. But there was stony silence on the measure's raison d'etre - the war unleashed by the LTTE to dismember the country. The LTTE was able to get Mr Neranjan Devadithya, a former British Conservative MP of Sri Lankan origin, and now a nominated member of the European Parliament, to propose that the European Union Parliament call for United Nation's intervention in Sri Lanka. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:39:32 EDT 2000

Majority of Lankans say no to foreign intervention
Times of India, May22. "Finally, these problems are our own, between the Sinhalese and Tamils, which belong to one country. They are not the concern of foreign powers," asserts S Thavarajah, a member of Parliament from Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP). But clearly, as both the ongoing blood-bath in Jaffna and the moves by the Tigers to internationalize the issue show, the LTTE, does not quite agree. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:19:15 EDT 2000

India weighs plans to help evacuate Lanka troops
Times of India, May22. Amid reports that Sri Lankan troops have inflicted heavy casualties on the Tigers, contingency plans to help evacuate nearly 30,000 troops, should Jaffna fall, are understood to have figured at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security here on Monday. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who chaired the meeting and heard the assessment of the three services chiefs, later called on President K.R. Narayanan.So far, only the Indian Navy has acted, detaining about 10 vessels reportedly ferrying weapons and military equipment for LTTE. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:11:07 EDT 2000

Lanka cracks the whip on anti government weekly
Times of India, May22. ``This is just a message from the government. The thrust of the laws is to see that the military effort is not jeopardized. What we write is something both the LTTE and the army are aware of, since they are in the center of the war theatre. This is blatantly a political move," Lal Wickermatunge, managing editor of the group said. More..
Published: Mon May 22 19:03:49 EDT 2000

Gill's Colombo visit raises little hope
Hindu, MAY 22.. The arrival here of the former chief of the Punjab police, Mr. K. P. S. Gill, has generated some interest but little hope that he can substantively change the course of events in this strife-torn and demoralised country. He is believed to be already in the Sri Lankan capital. In keeping with his ``top secret'' pattern of activity, his whereabouts are known only to a handful of people. Even his arrival was cloaked in secrecy. More..
Published: Mon May 22 18:56:25 EDT 2000

Navy put on 72-hour alert
Hindu, MAY 22.. Apprehending a possible call for evacuating Sri Lankan soldiers stranded in Jaffna, the Indian Navy has been put on a 72-hour alert, highly-placed sources in the Government have said. According to the sources, the security establishment is visualising three possible scenarios. First, the Sri Lankan soldiers, under relentless pressure from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam may make a ``tactical retreat'' to the Palaly airbase, which can be defended far more easily than Jaffna town. However, there are few indications, now, that the Army is considering this option. More..
Published: Mon May 22 18:53:00 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka -- war without end, peace without hope! --An analysis
Rediff, May22. Indian support to the Tamil militants was good politics, both regionally as well as nationally. This brought the Indian State in direct confrontation with Sinhala nationalism. Being a militarily stronger power, India intervened in Sri Lanka in 1987, initially with the sole aim of saving the Tamils. That subsequently it ended up fighting the Tamils themselves can be only understood to be the result of the naivete of top Indian leaders, of the bungling of an egotist diplomat and the shrewdness of President Jayawardene. More..
Published: Mon May 22 16:33:43 EDT 2000

'The LTTE is a freedom movement' -An Interview with P Nedumaran
Rediff, May22. As convenor of the Tamil Eelam Supporters Co-ordination Committee, he had organised a pro-LTTE conference in Chidambaram early this month, but the meeting did not take place as Nedumaran and hundreds of associates were arrested for defying a ban and organising a meeting in support of the LTTE. It was only a temporary ban, he insisted, and was hopeful that the court would permit him to hold the meeting soon. More..
Published: Mon May 22 16:30:00 EDT 2000

PM consults Karunanidhi as Jaffna's position becomes precarious
May22. Analysts say that if Sri Lanka frantically seeks India's immediate help, the Vajpayee government can no longer duck its responsibility. "I expect an Indian intervention in Sri Lanka very soon. It could most possibly be the evacuation of the trapped Sri Lankan forces in Jaffna," K V Sathyanarayan, a Madras-based Lanka expert, told rediff.com.Som frontline ships like landing ship tanks, Kashin-class destroyers and minesweepers have already been positioned along the South Indian coastline. More..
Published: Mon May 22 16:27:19 EDT 2000

Persons at "high-level" help LTTE: Swamy
Hindu, May 22.. In a book released today, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy says there is a network of persons at "high-level" in India who have been functioning as facilitators for the LTTE. The network must be exposed in the "national interest." Addressing a press conference Swamy alleged that two Union Ministers and two alliance partners of the NDA Government had links with the LTTE. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:28:07 EDT 2000

Norwegian envoys, Sri Lankan leaders talk peace
CNN, May 22. Norwegian envoys and Sri Lankan officials Monday began discussing ways of ending Sri Lanka's 17-year civil war that has claimed more than 62,000 lives. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:25:33 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka likely to seek Indian mediation
Hindu, May 22.. Amid heavy fighting in Jaffna, the Sri Lankan Government today said it had decided to explore ``diplomatic means'' to invite India to join the mediation process toward a negotiated solution of the current crisis, even as the visiting Norwegian delegation began preliminary discussions with leaders of the country. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:18:34 EDT 2000

From Our Correspondent: Censor's Curtain Around Embattled Jaffna
CNN-Asiaweek, May 22. "If Jaffna City suddenly falls to the Tigers, it will be a huge shock to Sri Lankans" For the past month the Sri Lanka Army and the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been locked in battle for Jaffna, the cultural and civilisational capital of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The battle has plunged the country into its worst crisis since Independence 50 years ago, as the rebels fight to recapture the city which they claim as a capital for an independent homeland. Colombo's Army has not capitulated quickly, but has been pushed back incrementally ever closer toward the city. Hundreds of soldiers and rebels have been killed and injured -- but the biggest casualty of all has been the inability for both Sri Lankans and observers around the world to get an accurate picture of what is happening on the battlefield. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:06:13 EDT 2000

Gill arrives in Sri Lanka
Hindu, May 22. India's super cop K P S Gill arrived. Sri Lanka's Government on fighting Tamil Tiger secessionists. Gill will meet with Government officials and academics in his personal capacity, a Foreign Ministry official said on conditions of anonymity. More..
Published: Mon May 22 15:03:43 EDT 2000

Sigiri paintings hit by fungus
Orientation-afp, May22. Frescoes of bare-breasted maidens at a fifth century rock fortress in central Sri Lanka are threatened by a fungus and a lack of money to protect them, officials said Monday.The world heritage site of Sigiriya does not have enough money to adequately protect the 18 maidens left, out of some 500 originally painted inside the rock fortress, the Lankadeepa newspaper said Monday. More..
Published: Mon May 22 14:28:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Escalating Conflict Won't Hurt '00 GDP-Ctrl Bk
Yahoo-dow jones, May22. While an escalating internal conflict in Sri Lanka will raise inflation and interest rates in the current fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2000, the country's gross domestic product will likely stay on target, the head of the nation's central bank said Monday. "The escalation in fighting is certainly going to have an impact on the economy," said Amarananda Jayawardena, Sri Lanka's central bank governor in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires. However, he added, "I don't expect overall growth to get affected because of the war." More..
Published: Mon May 22 14:16:42 EDT 2000

Ferocious fighting kills 150 in Sri Lanka amid Oslo peace bid
Yahoo-afp, May22. Sri Lankan troops shot dead at least 150 Tamil Tiger rebels in intense face-to-face battles as a Norwegian peace mission got underway in the capital Monday, the government said.Western diplomatic sources in Sri Lanka said the losses were the worst suffered by the LTTE in their latest campaign, aimed at retaking the northern peninsula of Jaffna."In face-to-face fighting the government troops have the advantage and that is what is being seen now," a western diplomat said, adding that the guerrillas' ability to use artillery would be limited as fighting moved into built-up areas. More..
Published: Mon May 22 14:00:08 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace mission arrives in Sri Lanka
The Norway Post, 22 May 2000. A Norwegian team arrived in Colombo Monday, to continue the work of finding a solution to the 17 year old civil war in Sri Lanka. Undersecretary of State, Raymond Johansen, and special envoy Erik Solheim from the Foreign Office, were scheduled to meet with President Chandrika Chumaratunga and the country's foreign minister. More...
Published: Mon May 22 12:00:23 EDT 2000

Solheim på Sri Lanka
Aftenposten. Statssekretær Raymond Johansen og spesialrådgiver Erik Solheim i Utenriksdepartementet kom mandag til Colombo for å drøfte den militære situasjon i konflikten i Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Mon May 22 11:58:17 EDT 2000

Close quarter fighting kills 70 in Sri Lanka amid Oslo peace bid
COLOMBO, May 22. At least 70 Tamil Tiger guerrillas were killed in intense close quarter fighting with government forces as a Norwegian peace mission got underway in the capital Monday, officials here said. Government troops shot dead over 70 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during a clash at Sarasali in the Thenmarachchi sector of Jaffna in overnight fighting, officials said. More..
Published: Mon May 22 11:40:50 EDT 2000

India could evacuate Sri Lankan troops if Jaffna falls
May22. India is ready to evacuate thousands of beleaguered Sri Lankan troops if Jaffna falls to Tamil rebels, but only if both sides announce a ceasefire, senior military sources said here Monday. "Any evacuation will have to happen only under a no-fire condition," a top naval source told AFP, as Indian military planners estimated the fall of the northern Jaffna peninsula to advancing Tamil separatists could happem within 15 days. More...
Published: Mon May 22 11:32:49 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka resists rebel drive as Oslo peace bid gets underway
May 22. Sri Lankan troops resisted a major rebel offensive in the Jaffna peninsula Monday as a Norwegian peace mission arrived here for talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga, officials said. The air force and artillery were used to neutralise positions of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Tanankillapu in the Jaffna peninsula, the government said in a statement. More..
Published: Mon May 22 11:23:38 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka troops kill 70 Tigers in fresh attack
May22. At least 70 Tamil Tiger guerrillas were killed Monday in a face-to-face battle with government troops in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna, officials here said. Officials said government forces shot dead the 70 members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during a clash in the Thenmarachchi sector of Jaffna, officials said. They said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been told that the army will return the bodies of 50 Tigers. More..
Published: Mon May 22 11:05:44 EDT 2000

Major battle at Sarasalai in Sri Lanka's North
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.50 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. The military today said a major confrontation between Lankan troops and the rebels broke out in West Sarasalai. The battle which began last night and continued today, Brigadier Palitha Fernando, military spokesman said, killed 168 Tigers. He said the military have recovered 68 bodies which will be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Brigadier Fernando asserted that Lankan armed forces did not suffer heavy casualties. Harsha Gunawardene, spokesman for the ICRC in Colombo said the military had been in touch with the humanitarian organization to hand over 50 bodies of rebel cadre killed in today's battle. The ICRC, he said, are making the necessary logistical arrangements to hand over the bodies to the LTTE. The LTTE meanwhile in a radio broadcast over the Voice of Tigers claim that military positions in Madduvil Panrithalaichchi Amman Kovil, Kankampuliyadi junction, Madduvil Sivan Kovilady, Sarasalai and Madduvil junction were overrun according to the radio.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

ICRC Ship Prevented from Leaving Trincomalee
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. A ship for seriously ill civilians in Sri Lanka's war torn Northern Peninsula run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) could not leave Eastern Trincomalee today as neither the government nor the LTTE could give any firm security guarantees. The ship usually ferries very sick patients from the Jaffna Teaching Hospital to Trincomalee after which they are brought via land to a Colombo hospital. This evening however the humanitarian aids ship did not leave Trincomalee for Kankasanthurai Harbour (KKS) as both warring factions refused to give any guarantee for the protection of its seriously ill passengers. Harsha Gunawardena, spokesman for the ICRC in Colombo told Lacnet, " the ICRC is very concerned, as this is purely a humanitarian service for patients suffering with cancer and other serious illnesses." Meanwhile the LTTE said over its radio broadcast yesterday that it has moved its field guns closer to the government armed forces biggest military base complex at Palaly and Kankasanthurai Harbour (KKS).
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

15 killed at Home for the Aged in Sri Lanka's North
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.05 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. The government today said 15 persons at a Home for the Aged in Kaithaday were killed as a result of heavy artillery being shelled by the LTTE. 31 others are reported wounded at the home which lies east of Jaffna town. The LTTE meanwhile maintain that it is the Sri Lanka Army who stand accused for the killing, adding that government troops have kept up a steady barrage of mortar and heavy artillery fire on Kaithday since the Tigers overran military deployments at this town on May 17.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

LTTE claim to be gaining ground
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.05 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. Tamil news services reported that the LTTE yesterday said fighting continues in the Thenamarachi area while the Tigers claim to have taken control of 13 kilometeres of the A9 highway with government troops being in control of only 6 kilometeres. Chavakacheri which lies 15 kilometeres out of Jaffna city fell to the rebels Saturday May 20.

Brigadier Palitha Fernando, military spokesman today denied the Tigers are in control of 13 kilometeres of the A9 highway.

Brigadier Fernando also refuted claims by the rebels last week which alleged they had offered for troops in the North to surrender in order to avoid a bloodbath. The LTTE also claimed that in the event soldiers took the rebels up on their offer they would be safely handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) within 24 hours of a laying down of arms.

Brigadier Fernando said the military was not aware of such an offer being made by the Tigers and in the event it is brought to the armed forces notice there is no way the military will agree to a surrender. "We will fight to hold Jaffna," he said.

Meanwhile the rebels are reported to be making repeated calls over its clandestine radio asking civilians in the Thenamarachi division to move out or construct bunkers to protect themselves from heavy artillery fire by both the Tigers and Government troops.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000


Civilians killed as heavy fighting continues between Lankan troops and the LTTE
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.05 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. The Voice of Tigers radio yesterday said that four civilians were killed and eight were wounded due to heavy shelling in the Madduvil sector.

Tamil news services reported that the radio said that another four civilians were killed at Kallikaadu in Kaithady this morning when artillery was fired on the village.

There is no independent confirmation of this report.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000


Norwegian delegation meets President, Opposition Leader
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.10 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. A three member Norwegian delegation which arrived in Sri Lanka today met with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe to discuss possible peace initiatives that will end Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic war.
Published: Mon May 22 10:01:49 EDT 2000

Arjun Singh has links with LTTE: Swamy
Times of India, May22. Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy on Monday alleged that senior Congress leader Arjun Singh had links with the LTTE, which, he said, maintains a ''working relationship'' with Pakistan's ISI. He also alleged that two allies of the BJP in the NDA government -- MDMK and PMK -- and Union ministers George Fernandes and Ram Jethmalani are ''sympathisers'' of the LTTE. More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:59:03 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace team meets Lankan officials
Hindu, May22. As soldiers and rebels fought for control of Sri Lanka's northern city of Jaffna, a Norwegian peace delegation began talks with Sri Lankan officials today in an effort to broker a peace agreement.Norway, home of the Nobel Peace Prize, has frequently used backdoor diplomacy to resolve some of the world's most difficult conflicts, including between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) that led to a 1993 peace accord. More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:45:02 EDT 2000

Fresh push for Sri Lanka peace
BBC, Monday, 22 May, 2000, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK. A Norwegian peace mission is visiting Sri Lanka as government forces and Tamil Tigers rebels continue to battle for control of the northern Jaffna peninsula. The delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen, is spending three days in the capital, Colombo, to try to arrange talks between the government and the Tigers. More...
Published: Mon May 22 09:44:02 EDT 2000

Norwegian Delegation in Sri Lanka
May22. The Sri Lankan air force attacked Tamil rebel positions today even as a Norwegian delegation met Sri Lanka's foreign minister in an effort to broker a peace agreement.Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen held discussions with Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar hours after arriving in the Sri Lankan capital for a three-day visit.A government statement on the latest fighting for control of northern Jaffna Peninsula said the rebels suffered heavy casualties in air force bombings and multiple rocket attacks. More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:34:31 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace brokers begin talks in Sri Lanka
MSNBC, May22. Norwegian peace brokers began talks with Sri Lankan leaders on Monday as fighting raged between troops and separatist rebels on the northern Jaffna peninsula. The Daily Mirror said 15,000 Indian troops had been moved to Trivandrum in the southern state of Kerala, and quoted residents in neighbouring Tamil Nadu as saying that there had been nightly movement of aircraft in the Colombo-Trivandrum air corridor. A Reuters correspondent in Trivandrum said there had been no reports of a troop build-up or any unusual flight movements. More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:28:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka shuts second newspaper under censor laws
MSNBC, May22. Sri Lanka on Monday banned the printing and publication of The Sunday Leader newspaper for violating the government's censorship laws, the state radio said. The state radio quoted the government censor as saying that group publications had printed stories on the war in a way that ''would have benefited the enemy.'' More..
Published: Mon May 22 09:26:34 EDT 2000

SL government allocates US dollars five million to promote tourism.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, Monday 17.45.. Sri Lankan government involved in bitter fighting with separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in northern Jaffna peninsula has allocated US $ five million to promote tourism.

The funds were given to Tourist Board of Sri Lanka to launch an aggressive marketing campaign aiming at the arrival of 533,000 tourists this year. During the first three months of this year, the arrival of tourists marginally fell by 0.2 percent compared to last year's figures.

The figures fell after separatist Tamil Tigers exploded a series of bombs during rush-hour traffic at Rajagiriya two months ago which claimed the lives of over 22 persons. Just after the explosions, two passenger vessels MB Victoria and MB Oriana carrying 2,750 passengers pulled-out, cutting short of their stay in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, Colombo city hotels are preparing to scrape the dregs of the diminishing tourist arrival. The hotels were targeting the visiting foreign journalists in Sri Lanka to cover the ongoing northern battle between government troops and LTTE cadres. Some of the hotels were offering special packages to visiting journalists.

Government sources said that during the past three weeks at least 150 journalists from all over the world had arrived to cover the latest battles.
Published: Mon May 22 09:19:14 EDT 2000


Sunday Leader Offices Sealed
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.20 p.m. SLT Monday May 22. The newspaper offices of 'The Sunday Leader' was sealed with effect from today. The State today ordered the closure of the newspaper seen to be largely anti-government in its reportage. This is the second newspaper to be sealed since the State introduced draconian laws under Emergency Regulations three weeks ago.

The 'Uthayan' newspaper in Jaffna was sealed last week for not adhering to censorship rules. The Sunday Leader since the censorship was introduced has for the last two weeks shown the Censor, Mr. Ariya Rubesinghe to be acting in a foolish manner. The paper also stated in this article that the present censorship introduced by the government was not to protect national security but to safeguard the government before a parliamentary election is held.

In a second lead story published yesterday the newspaper reported a more or less accurate description of the war this last week, written however in the negative. The report had not been submitted to the Censor.
Published: Mon May 22 08:40:26 EDT 2000


Lanka has no answer to Tiger surprises
Times of India, May22. Recently acquired Pakistani multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs) put into use by the Sri Lankan army a couple of days back have not managed to dull the twin-pronged attack by Tamil Tigers in the peninsula. Despite denials by the Ministry of Information, army insiders say that rapid artillery and mortar shelling by the rebels had not only crippled the government's air base at Palaly and sea port at Kankensenthurai (KKS) but also lost the crucial business township of Chavakecheri, located about 30 km from Jaffna. More..
Published: Mon May 22 00:21:22 EDT 2000

LTTE claims control over strategic town of Chavakachcheri
NDTV, May 22. The LTTE claims to have taken a strategic town from government forces in the northern peninsula in their relentless march to regain Jaffna.Chavakachcheri, home to 10,000 people, is about 10 kilometers east of Jaffna. If the rebel claim is true, they now are in control of the entire eastern flank of the peninsula. Military officials admit that with the rebels threatening the area's only airport and harbour, it will be very difficult for the military to maintain supplies for its 40,000 troops. More..
Published: Mon May 22 00:08:51 EDT 2000

Hard decision on Sri Lanka - Commentry by Admiral J G Nadkarni (retd)
May18 Rediff India has time and again proclaimed its commitment to the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. That integrity cannot be preserved by simple proclamations. 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. More..
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 Lankan government for imposing emergency regulations to deal with the LTTE. “Such measures were prejudicial to the democratic process in the country,” it said. More..
Published: Sun May 21 20:06:00 EDT 2000

JAFFNA SCENTS RESPECT ON TIGER TRAIL
Telegraph. 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 apprehension. More..
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 purpose of 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. More..
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. More..
Published: Sun May 21 19:39:39 EDT 2000

UK dissuaded from seeking UN intervention in Sri Lanka
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 21. BRITAIN IS being dissuaded from seeking the intervention of the UN Security Council in the Sri Lankan crisis, diplomatic sources told The Hindustan Times here 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. More..
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 12 days. More..
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 Saturday. More..
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 homeland issue. More..
Published: Sun May 21 19:19:04 EDT 2000

'15 civilians killed in LTTE shelling'
Hindu, may21. 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, yesterday. More..
Published: Sun May 21 14:56:33 EDT 2000

Lanka to spend $ 150 millions more on weapons
Hindu, May21. 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 Jaffna peninsula. More..
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. More..
Published: Sun May 21 12:42:04 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka says discussions are on with India on assistance
NDTV, May21. 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 providing assistance. 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 Saturday. More..
Published: Sun May 21 12:36:12 EDT 2000

India pays homage to Rajiv Gandhi
Hindu, May21. Indian 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. More..
Published: Sun May 21 12:30:00 EDT 2000

"I have no doubt that India will act"- Interview with Lakshman Kadirgamar
Outlook, May29. 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 problem for India. Don't forget it's a democracy, they'll have to debate about it in Parliament. Then, bear in mind the armed forces' bitter memories of IPKF. Add to it the Tamil Nadu factor, which has its own dynamics. More..
Published: Sun May 21 11:57:41 EDT 2000

The Diplomat's pendulum - Commentry
Outlook, May21. Not intervening in Sri Lanka's civil war has been hailed as one of the more mature post-Cold war foreign policy decisions of the Indian government. But the clarity of the Indian position stops right there. How and at what stage does India plan to help mediate a negotiated settlement as it has offered to? And more importantly, how does New Delhi's hands-off policy benefit India? More..
Published: Sun May 21 11:53:54 EDT 2000

A mythical land Greater Eelam is an invented danger, a political impossibility
Outlook, May29. It's after a gap of 14 years that the question of Greater Eelam is being again fiercely 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 would then merge to form a larger Tamil homeland called "Greater Eelam". More..
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.
Outlook, May29. Following his visit to New Delhi, he changed tack and said that he "would not like to tie the Centre's hands in taking appropriate steps to resolve the crisis in Lanka". 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." More..
Published: Sun May 21 11:45:23 EDT 2000

Black Tigers are the deadly weapons of Sri Lanka's rebels
Yahoo, May21. 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. More..
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 Saturday. More..
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 peninsula.

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 fighting.

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 lifted soon
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. More..
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 report, blame 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 report said. More..
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 political parties 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. More..
Published: Sun May 21 11:00:22 EDT 2000

Govt. denies fall of key town near Jaffna
Hindu, May21. 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. More..
Published: Sun May 21 10:55:04 EDT 2000

Tamil Rebels Take Strategic Town
Yahoo, May21. 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 defending Jaffna. More..
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 Tiger rebels. "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" happened. More..
Published: Sun May 21 10:48:19 EDT 2000

UN has to help restore normalcy in Sri Lanka: Jethmalani
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 company affairs 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 UN.

Asked if India should play a more active role in the situation, the minister said, “…not the kind of active role that we had taken in the past, in an apparent reference to the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in which more than 1100 armymen were killed.” More..
Published: Sun May 21 02:00:07 EDT 2000


Leaders pay tribute to Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary
Zee TV, May21. President K R Narayanan, Vice President Krishna Kant and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday led the nation in paying fond tributes to late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on the occasion of his ninth death anniversary. More..
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 that there was "no question" of a military intervention, the Prime Minister 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. More..
Published: Sun May 21 01:46:27 EDT 2000

Indian, Sri Lankan officials meet
Hindu, May21. 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. More..
Published: Sun May 21 00:16:58 EDT 2000


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