The Lanka Academic

MAY 28, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 53

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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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Fresh fighting begins between Lankan troops and LTTE
NDTV, Monday, May 29. In Sri Lanka, fresh fighting between the Lankan troops and the LTTE has broken out in Jaffna. According to the government, the LTTE attacked military defence lines at Columbuthurai and Chavakachcheri yesterday. The government has also alleged that the Tamil Tiger rebels did not honour their own unilateral 12-hour ceasefire offer, which was to allow civilians trapped in battle zones in the northern Jaffna peninsula to escape to safety. The LTTE has however said that persistent artillery and aerial bombardment by the Sri Lankan army on Saturday made escape impossible for about 15,000 Tamil civilians trapped in the Chavakachcheri sector of Jaffna. They still remain at considerable risk. More...
Published: Sun May 28 23:16:18 EDT 2000

US Navy keeping watch on Lanka
File photo of P3C Orion
Rediff, May 28, 2000. Despite America's public stand that it would not interfere in Sri Lankan affairs, Indian intelligence agencies have reported movements of some American ships and at least one US aircraft in and around the island nation. The American aircraft was a P3C Orion, which probably took off from Diego Garcia, the Indian Ocean island where American forces have a task force, sources said. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:51:47 EDT 2000

Between Cocktails and Insurgency: An Unreal Port In a Distant Storm
Washington Post, Sunday, May 28, 2000. For 17 years, a rebel army known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has been fighting for the rights of Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority. Its goal is an independent homeland called Tamil Eelam, its creed is fanatical and its methods are terrifying--especially the practice of wiring teenage martyrs with body bombs that explode in public places.

In some ways, the silence is deceptive. Periodically, the capital has been rocked by Tiger suicide bomb blasts, including one that partially blinded Kumaratunga at a political rally in December. The next blast could come at any time, and everyone in Colombo knows it. There are army bunkers on every corner and endless traffic jams caused by security-related detours. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:44:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka battles blast Tiger truce, UN concern for civilians
Orientation-AFP, COLOMBO, May 28. Sri Lankan troops and Tamil rebels pounded each other with artillery despite a unilateral truce offer from the guerrillas, officials said Sunday, as a UN agency voiced concern for civilians caught in the battle zone.

The military accused the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelamof violating their own truce by attacking military defence lines at Columbuthurai and Chavakachcheri in the northern Jaffna peninsula throughout Saturday.

The spokesman said the guerrillas were under mounting pressure as the military poured new weapons into Jaffna. The army has deployed multi-barrelled rocket launchers it did not previously possess, he said.

In a statement issued late Saturday, the government accused the LTTE of trying to assume a "pseudo bravado" among civilians in the Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:08:26 EDT 2000

India's 'passive' role irks Sri Lankans
Hindu, COLOMBO, MAY 28. Despite the visit of the U.S. Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, Mr. Thomas Pickering, tomorrow, being high on Sri Lanka's agenda, the diplomatic spotlight remains firmly on India's perceived ``passive'' role in the island's military crisis.

The contradiction between India's stated position in favour of a united Sri Lanka, and its perceived ``passive'' role in the current military crisis, is coming under question here, with dubious motives being attributed to New Delhi's offer of humanitarian assistance. ``Should India keep mum when the existence of a democratically-elected Government is threatened by a terrorist group,'' asked a columnist in today's Sunday Times newspaper. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:05:55 EDT 2000

Jaffna remains quiet
Hindu, COLOMBO, MAY 28. A day after the unilateral 12-hour ceasefire of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Jaffna peninsula remained largely quiet, with only sporadic clashes reported in the Chavakachcheri area.

A statement issued by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) here said hundreds of civilians moved out of the Thenmarachchi division during Saturday's ceasefire. But contrary to the LTTE's wishes that they move south into the Vanni mainland controlled by it, most of the fleeing civilians seemed to have preferred to move into Government- controlled areas.

The UNHCR said 400 families had arrived at Mulli, and had moved towards Point Pedro. Another 60 families had arrived at Karaveddy. ``In both locations, the people arriving stated that other civilians were moving out of the area of hostilities,'' it said. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:04:19 EDT 2000

Lanka optimistic on eve of Pickering’s arrival
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 29. WITH ITS 30,000 troops managing to hold on to large territory in northern Jaffna, despite the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacks, the Sri Lankan Government is hopeful that peace moves would gather momentum during US Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering's visit to Colombo tomorrow.

Reflecting the Government's optimism in the face of the grim situation in the peninsula, the State-run Sunday Observer newspaper today reported that the peace moves, being sought from India and the US and initiated by Norway, was expected to gather pace with Pickering's visit to the island nation. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:01:21 EDT 2000

Ceasefire offer was LTTE’s ploy to trigger civilian exodus, says Lanka
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 28. THE SRI Lankan government did not respond to the LTTE’s offer of a 12-hour ceasefire in the Thenmarachchi division on Saturday because it was but a ploy to force civilians to move out for political and military reasons, the military spokesman, Brig Palitha Fernando, said here today.

At any rate, the LTTE itself did not observe what was purported to be a unilateral ceasefire. According to a release from government’s Special Media Information Centre today, there was sporadic artillery and mortar shelling by the LTTE in the Columbuthurai and Chavakacheri areas on Saturday and that the government troops had replied in kind.

Brig Fernando told The Hindustan Times that the LTTE had two interests in mind. One was to get a clear line of fire and the other was to trigger an exodus to the Wanni, an area in its control, so that it could trumpet the exodus as a grave humanitarian crisis and secure the sympathy of the international community. More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:59:18 EDT 2000

Conflict in Lanka goes `unreported'
Pioneer, May 29. All that was left of the Sri Lankan Sunday Times opinion-editorial page on the dire situation faced by the country's army on the northern Jaffna peninsula was one word: "censored".

President Chandrika Kumaratunga earlier this month invoked the public security ordinance -- a law last used under British colonial rule during World War II -- imposing censorship and suspending some civil liberties in response to a potential humiliating defeat by secessionist Tamil rebels.

The Sunday Times, a paper not identified with any of the leading political parties, submitted its article on the Jaffna campaign to the censor. It was returned with the following instruction: "This article, picture/map are censored and are not to be published." More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:55:13 EDT 2000

MDMK to organise Eelam Tamils protection rally
Pioneer, May 29. The Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK), a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the centre, will organise a "Eelam Tamils protection rally" here on June five.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko, an ardent supporter of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), would lead the rally from Valluvar Kottam to Panagal park, a party release said on Sunday. More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:52:24 EDT 2000

Fierce fighting in Sri Lanka
Pioneer, May 28. Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tigers traded artillery and mortar bomb fire in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, despite a unilateral truce offered by the rebels, the Government said on Sunday. More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:50:55 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka keeps up offensive despite Tiger truce
Yahoo-India Abroad, Colombo, May 28. The Sri Lankan government accused Tamil Tiger rebels of violating a truce announced unilaterally by the guerrillas as security forces in Jaffna geared up to face a fresh offensive.

Tiger rebels fired artillery and mortar shells at government defense posts in Colombuthurai and Chavakachcheri during the 12-hour cease-fire which the Tamil separatists had called, the government said in a statement.

Government troops reinforced with new military hardware continued to bomb rebel positions on Saturday, paying no heed to the truce announced by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) secretariat in London, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said. More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:47:44 EDT 2000

Lankan Tamils in Canada plan 'victory celebrations'
Yahoo-India Abroad, Toronto, May 28 . Tamils of Sri Lankan descent have announced plans for "victory celebrations" in three Canadian cities for the recent territorial gains made by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels against government troops in the island nation.

The celebrations, to be held in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, are being organized by the World Tamil Movement and the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT). The events are being advertised in local Tamil papers and on the groups' Web sites.

The advertisements in ethnic Tamil papers feature the Tamil Tiger flag and a photo inset of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. The Ottawa event is advertised as "a celebration to mark the unstoppable 'Unceasing Waves,'" as the current rebel offensive is codenamed.

Published: Sun May 28 18:46:28 EDT 2000

More Lankan refugees arrive in TN
ExpressIndia, Sunday, 28 May. RAMESWARAM: A fresh batch of 75 sri lankan refugees have arrived here and revenue officials had been requested to shift them to the Mandapam camp, according to a senior naval official at Uchipuli.

Published: Sun May 28 12:21:57 EDT 2000

Renewed fighting in Jaffna
BBC, Sunday, 28 May. Reports from Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula say there has been renewed fighting following Saturday's temporary unilateral ceasefire announced by the Tamil Tiger rebels. Artillery exchanges between government troops and the rebels have been reported. There have also been reports that the air force had been in action. More...
Published: Sun May 28 12:07:21 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's opposition stage "peace pilgrimage"
Orientation, May 28, Colombo. Sri Lanka's main opposition staged a mass religious service in a southern pilgrim town seeking divine intervention to restore peace in the embattled island, party officials said Sunday. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe led a motorcade of some 500 vehicles and arrived Saturday at Kataragama, 280 kilometres (175 miles) south of the capital to pray for an end to the seemingly unending Tamil separatist war. More...
Published: Sun May 28 12:04:17 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rebels ask for aid/Newspaper blacks out Rajapakse statement
CBS-UPI, May 28, 2000 03:05. The separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas are perhaps the only rebels in the world who are urging the international community to aid and abet their armed struggle against a legitimate government.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government Saturday ordered the local newspaper in Colombo to black out a statement by one of its senior minister made here. The Sri Lankan fisheries minister, Mahinda Rajapakse, had said that Sri Lankans do not trust the Norwegians as impartial mediators between the government and the LTTE.

Rajapakse said that the mistrust was based on the past experience of Sri Lankans. ``We know it because we have been ruled by Portuguese, the Dutch and the British in the past. We have had very bad experiences with western countries,'' Rajapakse told reporters.

The statement has embarrassed Colombo, which is pinning its hopes on the Norwegian initiative. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has thrown her weight behind the Norwegian efforts to bring the rebels to the negotiating table. She recently reiterated her offer for talks following the visit of Norway's deputy foreign minister Raymond Johanson. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:07:31 EDT 2000

Exclusive Aaj Tak Video report: Interview of CBK
India Today, May 27, 2000. [Watch] (in Hindi and in English)
Published: Sat May 27 22:54:18 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka peace moves gets US push
The Indian Express, Sunday, May 28, 2000. Norwegian-backed peace moves in Sri Lanka are expected to get a morale boost with the visit in Colombo on Monday of US Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, officials and diplomats said. Officials here noted there was increased cooperation between Colombo and Washington since the US designated Sri Lanka's separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a "foreign terrorist organisation." As fighting escalated in the Jaffna peninsula, Colombo sought military assistance from neighbouring India, but after New Delhi turned down the request Sri Lanka promptly established diplomatic ties with Israel on May 4. The US immediately welcomed Sri Lanka's snap decision to re-establish diplomatic ties with Israel after 30 years. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:22:27 EDT 2000

UNHCR says 2,000 flee Lanka war zone
The Indian Express, Sunday, May 28, 2000. Around 2,000 civilians fled the combat zone on Sri Lanka's war torn northern Jaffna peninsula during a lull in the fighting, but many more are still caught in the middle, the UNHRC in Colombo said today. he statement by the U.N. High Commissioner for refugees said its staff on Jaffna monitored yesterday's movement of civilians out of Thenmarachchi division, a few miles east of Jaffna town, into government controlled areas on the peninsula. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:18:21 EDT 2000

Lanka vows to oust Tigers out of Jaffna
The Indian Express, May 27, Colombo. Sri Lanka's military vowed on Saturday to defend Jaffna against a major Tamil rebel offensive as the guerrillas announced a unilateral truce to allow civilians to move out. Army General Jaanaka Perera said the military was pushing back the LTTE in the Jaffna peninsula and that the troop morale was high with the induction of new weapons and equipment. "The unceasing waves are now chasing the Tigers," Perera said over national radio referring to the rebel offensive code-named Unceasing Waves III aimed at retaking the Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:15:55 EDT 2000

Troops still strongly holding on to Jaffna
Government of Sri Lanka, 27 May 2000. In an interview last Thursday,Lakshman Kadirgarmar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, strongly stressed, "I can only speak on the stand the government will take and that it is fully committed to holding Jaffna and it has no intention of yielding Jaffna to the LTTE. The army will take all necessary measures towards this end." More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:13:19 EDT 2000

A govt.-announced ceasefire in Sri Lanka
CBS-PTI, May 28, 2000 07:42. The Sri Lankan government Sunday announced a cease-fire with separatist Tamil Tigers, a full day after the rebels called a 12-hour hiatus in fighting to allow civilians to leave an area south of Jaffna. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:03:02 EDT 2000

UNCHR says Sri Lanka ignored ceasefire notice
CBS-PTI, May 28, 2000 08:29. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Sunday the Sri Lankan government ignored a unilateral ceasefire notification issued by the separatist Tamil Tigers to allow civilians to leave an area south of Jaffna. Sri Lankan officials said they had not been informed of the 12-hour hiatus in fighting, a statement disputed by the UNHCR, which said it notified the ministry of defense as well as the Joint Operations Headquarters in Colombo. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:00:38 EDT 2000

U.S. envoy to arrive in Sri Lanka
CBS-PTI, May 28, 2000 04:19. The U.S. undersecretary of state, Thomas Pickering, is scheduled to arrive in Colombo Monday to hold discussions with Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and other senior government officials. A statement issued by the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said that the U.S. official would meet the foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and other officials of the ministry during his day-long visit. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:59:14 EDT 2000

70 stranded Lankan refugees rescued
Chennai Online, Chennai, May 28. About 70 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees were left stranded after they were dropped at the fifth island off Rameswaram last night. According to reports received at the police headquarters here, a boatman carrying them from the strife-torn Tamil areas in the Jaffna Peninsula, dropped them at the island fearing attack by the Sri Lankan navy. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:56:19 EDT 2000

LTTE hits continue despite truce call
Chennai Online, Colombo, May 28. The LTTE continued its attack on security forces with artillery and mortar at Colombuthurai and Chavakachcheri in Jaffna, though the Tigers had announced a unilateral ceasefire Saturday. A government spokesman said the LTTE attack continued throughout the day. Troops also engaged the suspected terrorist positions with artillery and mortar fire. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:53:57 EDT 2000

Ashoka stupa found in Orissa
Rediff, May 27, 2000. An Ashoka stupa has been discovered atop the Langudi hill, an ancient Buddhist site in coastal Orissa, along with an inscription referring to the great Mauryan emperor Ashoka. Archaeologists have described the discovery as unique as no inscription in the name of Emperor Ashoka or stupa has ever been discovered at any Buddhist site in the state. Ashoka has been credited with the construction of 84,000 stupas. Pradhan said at least 10 terracota seals were discovered, but these were yet to be deciphered. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:51:03 EDT 2000

U.S. backs Norway's initiative
The Hindu, Islamabad, May 27. The United States today extended support to the peace initiatives taken by Norway, and supported by India, for a settlement of the continuing crisis in Sri Lanka. Mr. Pickering, who is scheduled to visit the troubled island- nation, said: ``I look forward to going to Sri Lanka after the week-end to have an opportunity to bring myself up to date on what's happening in that very troubled situation.'' More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:47:06 EDT 2000

Situation in Jaffna an “indirect threat” to India: former COAS
India Today, New Delhi, May 27. Former Army chief Gen Shankar Roychoudhury has said the situation in Jaffna did have a long-term “indirect threat” to India and that any military intervention by New Delhi should have the backing of Tamil parties and groups back home. He agreed with former foreign secretary J.N. Dixit's assertion that “Sri Lanka (IPKF operation) was not India's Vietnam”. “IPKF could not finish the task as parties in Tamil Nadu were not taken into confidence,” Gen Roychoudhury said. Dixit had described New Delhi's policy on the present situation in Jaffna peninsula as ambiguous. (UNI) More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:41:54 EDT 2000

PWG warns government not to help Sri Lanka against LTTE
The Pioneer, New Delhi, Sunday, May 28, 2000. In a rare show of solidarity with Tamil Tiger guerrillas, the Maoist People's War Group (PWG) has warned the Indian government against helping the Sri Lankan government in the battle raging for control of Jaffna. The PWG, which is active in states such as Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, has been linked by intelligence reports to guerilla organisations such as the LTTE, which reportedly not only supplies arms to it but also imparts training to its cadres in detonating land mines and in other modes of warfare. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:30:12 EDT 2000

We want India to broker peace: Rajapaksa
The Pioneer, New Delhi, Sunday, May 28, 2000. Sri Lanka on Saturday expressed doubt over the Norwegian initiative to broker peace in the ethnic strife-torn country and said India must play a role in bringing Tamil rebels to the negotiating table. "Sri Lankan people might not trust them (Norwegians) as an impartial peace broker," the country's Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is here to participate in the inaguration of a post graduate diploma launched by an NGO, said. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:26:58 EDT 2000

Civilians unmoved by Sri Lanka ceasefire
BBC, Sunday, 28 May. Reports from northern Sri Lanka say that few civilians appear to have taken advantage of a ceasefire announced by Tamil Tiger guerrillas so they could leave combat areas.

Aid workers said the area near Jaffna city appeared quiet yesterday Saturday, and there was no sign that many people had left. More..
Published: Sun May 28 03:23:25 EDT 2000

Unilateral ceasefire by LTTE has little impact
NDTV, Sunday, May 28 (Colombo). The 12-hour unilateral ceasefire by the LTTE yesterday, which was meant to enable civilians to leave the frontline battle zones in northern Jaffna, had a limited impact. The Sri Lankan army did not participate in the ceasefire saying that it had no information about one being observed and called the LTTE gesture "fraudulent". More..
Published: Sun May 28 03:13:23 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka denies rebel claim of ceasefire shelling
MSNBC, LONDON, May 28. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels said on Sunday army shelling stopped the evacuation of civilians from the war zone in Jaffna during a ceasefire, but the military dismissed the report as lies.

''The evacuation of an estimated 15,000 civilians from the embattled Chavakachcheri sector failed Saturday, as heavy shelling by the Sri Lankan army prevented them moving to designated points where the UNHCR officials were waiting,'' the LTTE said in a statement released in London.

The government dismissed the LTTE statement as propaganda aimed at unnerving the people on Jaffna and lowering morale in its forces. More..
Published: Sun May 28 03:08:08 EDT 2000

India signs MOU with MIT
Deccan Herald, New Delhi, May 27 (PTI). In a major initiative, India today signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the world`s premier research body - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)- to jointly set up research centres called media labs. ''India today signed an MOU with MIT for setting up media labs, which will give state-of-the-art Research & Development (R&D) facilities,``official sources said here. As per the MOU, two centres of excellence - one at the MIT in USA and the other in India- would be established soon, they said adding the modalities were yet to be worked out. The IT ministry had set up a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) advisory committee in January this year to provide critical technical inputs to keep India abreast with global developments and this collaboration with MIT was being seen as the next major policy initiative, they added. More...
Published: Sat May 27 21:15:31 EDT 2000

PM discusses Lanka with Services chiefs
India Times, Sunday 28 May 2000. NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Vajpayee on Saturday held at a meeting with the three Services chiefs when the fast-developing situation in Sri Lanka was understood to have been discussed. An overall Indian strategy has been put in place and ``it will unfold as per the developments,'' said a senior government source. There was no official word on the meeting attended by Army chief Gen. V P Malik, Navy chief Admiral Sushil Kumar and Air chief marshal A Y Tipnis. Defence minister George Fernandes was not present. More...
Published: Sat May 27 20:35:46 EDT 2000

Army will stay put in Jaffna, says Colombo
The Straits Times, MAY 28, 2000. Sri Lanka's military yesterday vowed to defend the northern peninsula of Jaffna against a major Tamil rebel offensive as the guerillas announced a unilateral truce to allow civilians to move out. Army General Jaanaka Perera said the military was pushing back the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Jaffna peninsula and that the troops' morale was higher with the induction of new weapons and equipment. "The unceasing waves are now chasing the Tigers,'' Gen Perera said over national radio referring to the rebel offensive, code-named Unceasing Waves III, aimed at retaking Jaffna. More...
Published: Sat May 27 19:58:04 EDT 2000

Some powerful countries are helping LTTE: Lankan minister
Deccan Herald, DEHRADUN (UP), May 27. Some powerful countries were helping the LTTE in its fight against Sri Lankan forces in Jaffna penunsula, Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Rajapaksa said here today.

''Some powerful countries which want to get foothold in the region are helping the Tamil rebels in its fight against us,`` Mr Rajpaksa told PTI.

He, however, did not divulge the names of such countries saying ''I would not be able to pinpoint those countries but definitely some powerful countries are there. Otherwise they (LTTE) would not have been able to sustain their offensive against a full- fledged army.`` More..
Published: Sat May 27 18:13:52 EDT 2000

Cricket: Asia Cup Tournament Dark clouds of doubt hover over Dhaka
Deccan Herald, DHAKA, May 27. Even as cricket itself further came under a cloud after the startling revelations made by former Indian all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar in Delhi this evening, the Asia Cup cricket tournament, set to begin on the morrow, came under a more conventional cloud cover here, with rains threatening to rob the event off not just a prompt start but many a match itself.

Cricket has been quite low key, with the practice of both hosts Bangladesh and defending champions Sri Lankans -- both of whom are to clash in the opener tomorrow -- being severely curtailed.

''The rains have certainly hampered our practice,`` admitted Sri Lankan skipper Sanath Jayasuriya. The Lankans haven`t had any cricket since their historic Test and one-day series wins over Pakistan in Pakistan in January-February earlier this year and so they certainly could have done with more practice here. More..
Published: Sat May 27 18:13:53 EDT 2000

215 Lankan refugees settled in new camp
Deccan Herald, COIMBATORE, May 27 . As many as 215 families, who came as refugees from Sri Lanka recently, have been brought and settled at a new camp at Malayandipattinam, near Kottur, about 45 kms from here. More..
Published: Sat May 27 18:13:53 EDT 2000

Lankan army not informed of LTTE ‘cease-fire’
India Express, 27th May. The Sri Lankan Army has not been informed about the 12-hour ''unilateral cease fire'' declared by the LTTE which began at 1000 hrs (local time) on Saturday to facilitate the evacuation of civilians to safer areas from the battle zones of Jaffna Peninsula.

A senior military official, when contacted for the reaction to the LTTE's offer, said: ''I can't comment on an LTTE statement, which appeared on Internet. Definitely, they (LTTE) have not informed the army. Even if they are willing to hold a cease-fire, there are certain procedures. They army has to be informed. Then we will have to discuss about the offer.'' More..
Published: Sat May 27 18:00:49 EDT 2000

India finds itself in a tight spot
Hindustani Times, Colombo May 27. AN INCREASING number of Sri Lankans now feel that it is India and not Lanka or the LTTE, which is in a tight spot on the Sri Lankan issue. While the Lankan government and the LTTE are clear about their objectives and the way to reach them, the Indians, apparently, are not.

Analysts feel that if such indecisiveness continues, India could eventually find itself eased out of the arena altogether with imponderable consequences for its own security and position as the regional power. More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:53:48 EDT 2000

Norwegian peace moves likely to flounder in Sri Lanka: Lankan minister
Yahoo-AFP, NEW DELHI, May 27 . A Sri Lankan government minister said Saturday that a Norwegian effort to restore peace in the war-torn island was likely to be bogged down by mistrust and suspicion, the Press Trust of India said.

Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Mahinda Rajapaksa, told reporters in the northern hill resort of Dehradun that Sri Lankans were unlikely to accept the Norwegians as impartial peacemakers More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:47:59 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rejects rebel truce offer
Yahoo-AFP, COLOMBO, May 27. Sri Lanka on Saturday rejected a truce offered by Tamil Tiger guerrillas and vowed to defend the northern peninsula of Jaffna against a major rebel offensive.

The government accused the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of a propaganda war in the face of heavy counter attacks by government forces in Jaffna. More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:42:45 EDT 2000

Jaffna ceasefire ends
BBC, Saturday, 27 May, 2000, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK. Back the army: Sri Lanka wants more people to join up A ceasefire called by the Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka to allow civilians to flee the war zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula is over. A military spokesman confirmed that there was a lull in fighting after the rebels' unilateral 12-hour truce began at 1000 local time (0400 GMT) on Saturday. More...
Published: Sat May 27 17:39:13 EDT 2000

Recognition doesn't always follow a successful rebellion
CBS-UPI, NEW DELHI, India, May 26 . The Tamil Eelam will likely mirror Somaliland, the only country in the world that does not enjoy diplomatic recognition from any other government, if the ruthless Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and his band of teenaged foot soldiers capture Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula.

The chief of the formidable Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam set a noon GMT Friday deadline for the Sri Lankan government troops to surrender their weapons. Prabhakaran asked some 37,000 Sri Lankan soldiers to give up their weapons and, within 24 hours, the solders would be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Sri Lankan government rejected a similar offer made by the LTTE a week ago. This time the government did not bother to respond to the announcement. Instead, it armed its troops with more sophisticated weapons and claimed that the soldiers stalled the rebels' advance toward Jaffna. More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:39:01 EDT 2000

The Best Guerrilla of All
Outlook India, June 05. The myth was bigger than the man. That was in the early '80s, when I met ltte leader Velupillai Prabhakaran for the very first time. I still remember that first meeting so vividly. It was a sunny morning in a Tiger safehouse in Chennai, facing the Bay of Bengal. Prabhakaran was meeting a journalist for the very first time in his life. For me, it was a big scoop but I had to cool my heels for two hours before I finally met the elusive guerrilla leader.

"Prabhakaran is the most determined and ruthless man I have met. And his foresight is amazing. He sees today what his opponents do years later." More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:33:07 EDT 2000

Lankan army dismisses LTTE's offer for unilateral ceasefire
Deccan Herald, COLOMBO, May 27 (UN. The Sri Lankan army today dismissed the LTTE`s order for 'surrender` and the offer of unilateral ceasefire to facilitate the safe evacuation of civilians as 'fraudulent` and vowed to continue its fight to preserve the territorial integrity of the nation. Reacting to the LTTE`s latest 'dictum`, a government statement said the LTTE was spreading

a 'canard` which has no response from the soldiers or civilians in Jaffna. More...
Published: Sat May 27 13:55:53 EDT 2000

Lull in Sri Lankan fighting gives civilians chance
Deccan Herald, LONDON, May 27 (REUTE. A ceasefire called by Tamil Tiger rebels appeared to have taken effect today with the Sri Lankan military saying the northern battle zone was silent. ''There is a lull in the fighting at the moment. Everything is quiet,`` Sri Lankan army spokesman Palitha Fernando told Reuters.

Published: Sat May 27 13:55:53 EDT 2000

Lankan troops sink 2 LTTE barges
India Abroad, May 27, 2000, 16:12 Hrs. Colombo: Two LTTE barges loaded with supplies sailing the Kilaly lagoon in Jaffna sank as they were hit by the main battle tank of the Sri Lankan army, while troops repulsed with artillery an attack by Tiger

guerillas in Colombuthurai on Friday. Five guerillas were killed in isolated clashes elsewhere, a situation report issued by the government's information department on Saturday

morning said. It did not mention the unilateral ceasefire offered by

the LTTE for 12 hours on Saturday. More...
Published: Sat May 27 13:53:01 EDT 2000

Jaffna civilians ordered to dig bunkers.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 14.35 Saturday.. Separatist Liberation of Tamil Eelam involved in bloody battles with Sri Lankan government forces to liberate the peninsula from the clutches of the government ordered Tamil civilians in the region to dig-bunkers to save themselves from being killed in crossfires.

The Tamil Tigers, described as one of the ruthless terrorist organization in the world on Saturday morning ordered the civilians either to leave the battle-scarred areas or dig bunkers to save themselves.

Orders went out; just an hour after the LTTE clandestine radio, the Voice of Tigers (VOT) in its news bulletin gave government troops in northern Jaffna peninsula just 12 hours to pack-off or face consequences.

Tamil Tigers first ordered the troops to withdraw by Friday, but extended the deadline as troops provided with newly purchased standoff weapons dug new bunker lines to prevent any onslaught by Tiger rebels, now on the doorstep of Jaffna peninsula.

A military official said here that troops were determined to hold on to Jaffna and under no circumstances would withdraw. In support of military official's statement, the Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar in an interview with a weekly English newspaper The Weekend Express said, "army will take all necessary steps to see an end to terrorism in Jaffna peninsula".

Kadiragamar, told the newspaper further that although, the troops suffered setbacks, and they were determined to hit back at the LTTE.

"One cannot at this point of time be actually sure of the reasons for the setbacks the army has suffered, but notwithstanding these setbacks, the army is determined to acquit itself in the battles that lie ahead", the minister told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the government said here that in the ongoing battles that commenced on April 27, at least 750 LTTE cadres have been killed and over 1,000 wounded. The army estimates that at least 400 soldiers had been killed in the ongoing fighting.
Published: Sat May 27 11:20:06 EDT 2000

India can help: Lanka minister
Rediff, May 27, 2000. India can bring the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to the negotiating table, Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries Mahinda Rajapaksa said in Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh.

"I hope India will co-operate with us. Most people of Sri Lanka feel that India can settle this problem forever by bringing the LTTE to the table," Rajapaska, who is in Uttar Pradesh for the inauguration of a post-graduate diploma course in human rights at the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, open for SAARC countries, told reporters last evening More...
Published: Sat May 27 11:02:37 EDT 2000

Army declines to honour LTTE ceasefire; 7 killed
Express India, Saturday, May 27, 2000. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan army has declined to honour the 12-hour unilateral cease-fire announced by the LTTE to evacuate civilians from northern Jaffna saying it has not received any official intimation from rebels.

Army spokesman Brig Palitha Fernando said the troops would continue their fight to liberate certain areas in Jaffna occupied by the LTTE, irrespective of the unilateral cease-fire declared by them. More...
Published: Sat May 27 10:56:44 EDT 2000

LTTE declares truce, President offers key post to Prabhakaran
Asiagateway-Deccan Chronicle, London, May 26. The LTTE on Friday night declared a 12-hour ceasefire for 12 hours from 10 am on Saturday to enable the civilians to move to safer places raising fear of intensified assault against government troops in Jaffna peninsula. Reports from Sri Lanka’s war-zone quoting clandestine rebels’ radio said the Tigers have declared unilateral ceasefire and have asked the people to leave the area between 10 am and 10 pm and that the International Red Cross has been informed accordingly.

However, there was no independent confirmation of the ceasefire. Reports from Colombo said the Sri Lankan Army stepped up ground attacks on various rebel positions, killing 13 Tamil guerrillas as the LTTE deadline asking the besieged 30,000 troops to withdraw from Jaffna expired at 6 pm on Friday. More..
Published: Sat May 27 04:06:09 EDT 2000

S. Lanka Appeals to Conserve Electricity
Asiagateway-Xinhua, COLOMBO, May 26. The Sri Lanka's national Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Friday appealed to the public to conserve power in their daily activities as there is a possibility of a power crisis in the country, a senior officer here said.

Since hydro reservoir levels of the country continue to deteriorate, there is a possibility of a power crisis arising as a consequence and remedial measures should be immediately taken to conserve electricity in order to overcome the situation, Arijun Deraniyagala, Chairman of CEB, said at a press conference organized by the Ministry of Irrigation and Power. More..
Published: Sat May 27 04:02:47 EDT 2000

The Forgotten Left behind from years of civil strife in Sri Lanka
Asiaweek, JUNE 2, 2000. Sri Lanka's president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, issued a Churchillian call on national television as rebel troops closed in on Jaffna: "People of Sri Lanka in their entirety are today facing a most decisive moment in their history." The Indian navy mobilized for possible duty evacuating government troops and civilians from Jaffna. But it was all distant thunder to the thousands of Tamil refugees in the dozen or so camps scattered around the northern city of Vavuniya. More..
Published: Sat May 27 03:50:42 EDT 2000

Tigers begin ceasefire
BBC, Saturday, 27 May, 2000, 04:37 GMT 05:37 UK. Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have started a 12-hour ceasefire to allow civilians to flee the war zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The ceasefire announcement, to run from 1000 local time (0400GMT) on Saturday, came after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed for the safety of civilians - numbering nearly 500,000 on the peninsula - and for humanitarian workers to have safe passage.. More...
Published: Sat May 27 01:27:01 EDT 2000

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