Anil's Ghost: Ondaatje's new novel worth the wait
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
LA Times review by Jonathan Levi
Sri Lanka: what lies ahead? An Editorial...
Frontline, May 31.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that, after the major military
victories won in the mainland North and
then in the Jaffna Peninsula, the LTTE and its supremo
are prepared to negotiate a devolution package along
federal lines within Sri Lanka. Si nce it launched its
armed struggle for Tamil Eelam, there is no instance of the
LTTE talking substance relating to a political
settlement within the framework of Sri Lanka's unity and territorial
integrity. It has always been uncompromisingly
committed t o the secessionist goal through armed struggle and
terrorist methods. The ongoing tragedy of Sri Lanka is
that the LTTE's bloody quest for Eelam is a pipe-dream,
the attempt to suppress by military force the armed
struggle for Eelam has yet again been de monstrated to be a
pipe-dream, yet blood continues to be shed on an
Published: Tue May 30 22:47:01 EDT 2000
Assessing the military outlook - An interview with Lt.Gen. A.S. Kalkat
Frontline, May 13.
He says that the assumption that the Sri LankaArmy is "trapped" in the
Jaffna peninsula is incorrect
because it has almost 40,00 0 soldiers as against a
maximum possible number of 7,000 LTTE cadres. He adds:
"In fact, if the Sri Lanka Army decides to stand and
fight... the LTTE is trapped. However, considering the
performance of the Sri Lanka Army at Elephant Pass,
and the signals emanating from the battlefield until
censorship was imposed, it appears that the Army is
not able to perform as well as expected." Excerpts from
Published: Tue May 30 22:44:18 EDT 2000
A NATION ON THE BRINK
Frontline, May 31.
The indubitable reasoning behind Velupillai Prabakaran's siege over the
appears to be to emaciate the
Army totally. The big change from the past is that the
guerillas would capture the
Peninsula with the significant addition of the
Iyakachchi-E lephant Pass gateway
garrison, from which the earlier Jaffna
operations to push the LTTE into
the jungle tracts commenced. The offensive also marks a territorial
high-point of Tamil separatist militancy, which
has been on since the late 1970s.
Several incidents over the past decades, if seen
together, give a clear picture of
the slow but steady distancing of the northern Pen
insula from the mainland. If the
1984 bombing of the Yal Devi train to Jaffna set off
the serious disruption of transport services, the
stoppage of rail services since the 1990s has meant the loss of a
vital lifeline of a nation.
Published: Tue May 30 22:41:32 EDT 2000
The battle for Jaffna
Frontline, May 31.
The Sri Lankan government also unleashed a massive aerial bombardment
within and without the Peninsula.
The bombing was ostensibly aimed to prevent the LTTE
from inducting its cadres from the mainland into the
Peninsula. More important, it was also a "se
arch-and-destroy" mission against LTTE heavy artillery. In recent
times, the Tigers have used long-range artillery and
armoured cars extensively and successfully in combat. The
Air Force scoured the skies in search of these. The
objective was to destroy these before the LTTE could move
them and reach positions within firing range of the
Palaly-Kankesanthurai base. In spite of intensive
bombardment there have been no claims by Colombo of
targeting artillery or armoured cars. On the other hand,
there have been instances where the Israeli built Kfir
jets of the Air Force have been way off the mark as in the
case of the Pallikuda bombing near Pooneryn on the
mainland where five civilians were killed.
Published: Tue May 30 22:37:44 EDT 2000
Of arms and assistance
Frontline, May 31.
Sri Lankan diplomatic sources, however, confirm that not even a
single bullet has been received from India since
the onslaught on Jaffna started. They say that
Pakistan and China were among the first nations to step in. Israel
has also been supplying arm s, according to highly
placed sources, but reports about their quantity and level of
sophistication are apparently exaggerated. For
instance, reports about the deployment of eight Israeli Kfir fighter
planes on the warfront are not true, according to the
Sri Lankan sources. Until the third week of May, the jets
had not arrived in Sri Lanka. The Israelis believe in
a "cash and carry" policy, and Sri Lanka is facing a financial
crunch. Sri Lankan officials say that humanitarian or
military aid after the f all of Jaffna will be of no avail. If
Jaffna falls, the backlash against India will be
tremendous. Memories of Indian help to the separatists in the
1970s and the 1980s will be resurrected. Harkishan
Singh Surjeet, general secretary of the Communist Party of India
(Marxist), said that India's current
stand is detrimental to "our national interests and
allows our security to be jeopardised". He said that the U.S.
was using countries such as Israel as a front to
further its own agenda in the region. "It is high time the
government of India reasserted its firm position on
the Sri Lankan issue, steered clear of chauvinism and came
to the help of the Sri Lankan government in finding a
negotiate d and principled solution to the ethnic question."
Published: Tue May 30 22:34:32 EDT 2000
Passage to Mandapam
Frontline, May 31.
Vasanthan, 50, reached the camp early this year along with his wife, son
daughter. He had paid Sri Lankan Rs.50,000 to boatmen
to be ferried across to the
Indian shore from Talaimannar. For him and his family,
it was a great escape from
10 years and more of fear of death. Vasanthan, a
carpenter, said the family decided to leave Mannar when the militants
demanded that his son and
daughter join the struggle for Eelam. When the
"conscription order", which they had managed to evade for many
years, became almost a reality, the y took the hard
decision to leave. They mobilised all their resources and paid
for their travel across the sea.
Published: Tue May 30 22:29:12 EDT 2000
Waiting for refugees
Frontline, May 31.
Even as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam captured Elephant Pass on
April 22 signalling an intensified battle
for the Jaffna Peninsula, the State government
reportedly received intelligence information that some 3,000
Tamils were waiting on the shores of Sri Lanka to
cross over to India. It geared itself to accommodate new
arrivals at the Mandapam transit camp in
Ramanathapuram district. The district administration arranged to
repair existing shelters in the camp and construct new
ones in the event o f an influx. It was also planned to shift
1,200 of the about 8,000 refugees, who are now in the
camp to camps in other districts. The families that were
to be shifted were identified and intimated.
Published: Tue May 30 22:26:10 EDT 2000
Some questions in Tamil Nadu
Frontline, May 31.
On May 4, Karunanidhi told the State Assembly that "it is the unanimous
opinion of the people of Tamil Nadu
that India should neither send its troops nor supply
arms to help the Sri Lankan Government... India should not
lend itself to the massacre of Tam ils in Sri Lanka."
On May 12, he said: "We (the DMK) will be happy if they
(the LTTE) get Tamil Eelam, either through
negotiations or through armed conflict." He assured the House at
the same time that the State would not be allowed to
be used as a base by the LTTE. On May 13, he did a volte
face. He explained that he did not support the
establishment of an independent Eelam and that what he meant
was that he would be happy to see an end to the Sri
Lankan conflict and the creation of conditions in which
Tamils could live peacefu lly. Then on May 15, he
elaborated on how the DMK "distanced itself" from the
LTTE many years ago, and that just because the DMK had
at one time supported "Tamil Eelam" it should not
be construed that "we supported all the activities of
the LTTE". Accord ing to party sources, the DMK's support
to the LTTE could at best be "moral".
Published: Tue May 30 22:23:22 EDT 2000
The hostile witness
Frontline, May 31.
MARUMALARCHI Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) chief Vaiko figured as a
controversial witness in
the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case tried by the
Special Court. This is clear from the judgment which recorded
Vaiko's non-cooperation with the prosecution w hen it
came to providing evidence on the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He denied in court most of the
statements he reportedly made earlier when examined by
the Inspector of Police Ramesh (prosecution
witness-284) in the course of the invest igations into the
assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. He feigned ignorance
about having identified the book, Tamil National Question
and Indo-Sri Lankan Accord, or his article titled
'Prabakaran thought of suicide before the signing of the
Accord' in the book. The court declared him "hostile
to the prosecution."
Published: Tue May 30 22:20:09 EDT 2000
Lanka civil war: India sees no major breakthrough
Hindustan Times, May 30.
INDIA HAS assessed the latest civil war position in northern Sri
Lanka as one
heading towards a no-win situation for both sides. The Sri
Lankan Army (SLA) and LTTE, are expected to dig into their heels and
a seesaw battle for some time. As things start today, not
very much is expected to
happen on the ground by way of convincing breakthrough by
either side. The
initiative is still with the LTTE but with every passing
day this initiative is getting
blunted, sources said. The LTTE is not in a position to
carry out pitched battles in built up areas.
Therefore, it may try to avoid a blood bath in Jaffna. On
the other hand, the SLA is
steadily getting a grip on the situation. The President has
already ruled out
evacuation”, sources said.
Published: Tue May 30 21:51:57 EDT 2000
All eyes now on India’s move on Lanka
Hindustan Times, May 31.
f the Sri Lankan Army were to make thrusts, the LTTE/Tamil lobby would
hue and cry about civilian casualties, beginning to be
described as a “humanitarian
catastrophe”, and seek India’s intervention. But an
intervention at that juncture would
alienate the Sri Lankan Government. On the other hand, if
the LTTE were to make dangerous thrusts, there would be a
shrill chorus in the Sinhala south seeking urgent Indian
help. India itself would not
like the LTTE gaining an upper hand. Therefore, except in a
military stalemate, an
active Indian involvement seems inevitable. “In a week’s
time, India might have to
make some decisive move,” felt Mr Douglas Devananda, MP and
leader of the Eelam
Peoples’ Democratic Party.
Published: Tue May 30 21:51:57 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka fighting leaves 8,352 people homeless
Orientation-afp, May 30.
Fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels in
northern Sri Lanka has left 8,352
people homeless, but adequate supplies of food, water and medicine
were available, the government
here said Tuesday.Sri Lanka's top official in charge of
rehabilitating war-damaged areas, General Sarath Munasinghe,
said a total of 2,320 families consisting of 8,352 individuals had
registered with local authorities as
"displaced" by the fighting in the Jaffna peninsula as of a week
ago.The peninsula has a population of around 500,000.
Published: Tue May 30 20:55:26 EDT 2000
Transforming Sri Lanka
Financial TImes, May 30 2000.
Talk to any Sri Lankan businessman or policymaker
and sooner or later the subject will turn
to what the island could have been were it not for
the civil war, which has raged for the
past 17 years as Tamil rebels fight for an
independent homeland in the north and east of
the country. This war has not only killed more than
60,000 people, it has destroyed hopes that Sri Lanka
might become south Asia's answer to Hong Kong or
Singapore."Even if the war ends today, they will have a lot to fulfil
politically," says Nadeem Ul Haque,
the International Monetary Fund representative in
Colombo, who sees a bright future for Sri
Lanka as a "small and open economy". "We're a short
step away from that vision, but that
requires two things: peace and political will."
Published: Tue May 30 20:28:05 EDT 2000
PMK chief hopes Lanka crisis will end soon
Peace should prevail in Tamils living area in Sri Lanka
and that is our wish. India is closely watching the
developments in Lanka
and hence there is a good chance for solution,
declared Ramadoss, PMK
founder. People of all castes enjoy equal rights in
India but it was not so in Lanka.
``By observing a fast, we have expressed our feeling
towards Tamils,'' he
said and added that besides PMK, MDMK, Pudhiya
wasbacking our stand on Sri Lanka issue. If Tamil
Eelam was formed it
would be friendly towards India.
Published: Tue May 30 20:09:40 EDT 2000
BJP flays PMK, MDMK for pro-Eelam views
Newindpress, May 30.
CHENNAI: The BJP State unit is displeased with the
PMK and MDMK
voicing pro-Eelam views, stating that their
propaganda goes against
popular sentiment. ``The people of the State are
neither for a separate Tamil Eelam nor for
the LTTE. The MDMK and PMK are just trying hard to
sell their ideas
through `allies and fasts,'' Ganesan said on
Monday. When the major parties in the State _ DMK, AIADMK, TMC,
and the BJP _ reflected the public opinion, there
was no need to counter
pro-Eelam propaganda, Ganesan said.
Published: Tue May 30 20:06:46 EDT 2000
City police to monitor Lankans closely
City Police Commissioner P Kalimuthu on Monday issued
fresh orders to identify unregistered Sri Lankan
Tamils and initiate action
against them under the Passports Act. The City
police has also stepped up vigil against Sri Lankan Tamils
settled in different parts of the City in view of
the intensifying fight
between LTTE cadres and the army in the island
Published: Tue May 30 20:06:46 EDT 2000
Chandrika betraying army, international
Sri Lanka president Chandrika Kumaratunga, without
having the mind to accept defeat and seek a
political solution to the ethnic
conflict, is engaged in attempts to betray the army,
countrymen and the
international community, charged PMK founder S
never trusted India and it never had been a trusted
neighbour of India, he
added. Talking to mediapersons in Thailavaram, near
Tindivanam on Monday,
Ramadoss said the Lankan President did not have the
courage to accept
the ceasefire offered by the Tigers and was
indulging in acts of
cowardice by putting the Tamils in front to shield
Published: Tue May 30 20:01:33 EDT 2000
India urges Lanka to devolve power
The Statesman, May 30.
ndia has decided not to broker a ceasefire in Sri
Lanka, and has instead concentrated its efforts on
urging the Lankan President
to move rapidly towards devolution of power.The
government believes that Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga’s problems stem from
her government’s failure to devolve power. It has
advised the President to obtain a
clear political consensus on the issue, and said
that the devolution package
should meet the aspirations of all sections.
India, however, made it clear that it does not see
the LTTE as the sole
representative of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, and
that it remains committed to the
island nation’s territorial integrity and
Published: Tue May 30 19:51:54 EDT 2000
India works on Lankan devolution package
Indian Express, May 31.
India is working with Sri Lanka to evolve a devolution
package for the Tamil community on the island, secure in the knowledge
that the Tamils must find a ``place of honour'' within the territorial integrity
and unity of Sri Lanka.Even as the Sri Lankan armed forces fight back against the rampaging
LTTE guerrillas, New Delhi is said to be persuading Colombo to ``go
beyond the 1987 devolution package'' that was an integral part of the
Indo-Sri Lanka accord, and address the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils
Published: Tue May 30 19:06:02 EDT 2000
Tamil terror allies use
Toronto schools for
National Post, May 30.
schools are being
used by supporters of
the Tamil Tigers, one
of the world's most
fundraising drives and
featuring men in
carrying mock assault
rifles. The rallies are
"magnets for violence" because they attract ethnic
Tamil gangs, which the
RCMP has said are heavily involved in
financing the Tamil
Tigers. "We know that a lot of them are gang
members that are
involved in these things," a law enforcement
said.Yesterday in the House of Commons, Mr. Martin,
the Minister of
accusations from the Canadian Alliance that he was
terrorist supporters but responded that the FACT
dinner was a cultural
celebration and, at $60 a plate, it was "hardly
a major fundraising
Published: Tue May 30 18:57:18 EDT 2000
Congress defends IPKF operations
Times of India, May 30.
The Congress on Tuesday defended the
Rajiv Gandhi government's decision to send the Indian
Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka in 1987 and said the
government needed to take the initiative to end ethnic
conflict in the island nation.
Published: Tue May 30 18:37:16 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka poll rally blast: four arrested
Hindu, May 30.
Four suspects, who allegedly met some LTTE
leaders in connection with the Dec. 18 suicide bomb attack on
President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, have been remanded to
custody by the
Colombo Magistrate today. State radio said that the four,
believed to be the members of Opposition
United Nation Party (UNP) unit in eastern Batticaloa, have
been accused of
meeting LTTE leaders in connection with the suicide blast.
Published: Tue May 30 18:31:53 EDT 2000
Cong. flays Govt. policy on Sri Lanka
Hindu, May 30.
The Congress today assailed the Government for
its ``hands-off policy'' towards developments in Sri Lanka and
said that it
should respond to the situation as it evolves and should show
towards the Indo-Sri Lanka accord. Expressing concern over the
developments, party spokesman Anand Sharma
told reporters that the Government was giving an impression of
hands-off policy on the issue.
Published: Tue May 30 18:29:05 EDT 2000
Battle for Jaffna far from over
Hindu, MAY 30..
After over a month of intense fighting for the Jaffna peninsula,
there is a comparative lull with reports trickling in of only sporadic
clashes, but the battle is
by no means over yet. Analysts here are interpreting Monday's offensive
by the security forces at Chavakachcheri
and Sarisalai in Thenmarachchi division as an indication that there was
still some fight left in
the troops, and that the capture of Jaffna by the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam may not
be the imminent inevitability that it seemed two weeks ago.
Published: Tue May 30 18:26:12 EDT 2000
FEATURE-Sri Lankan war
seen through the looking
ABCNews, May 30.
The people now only have the government
version to go on. Rebel casualties are
overstated, army casualties understated.
Retreats are unreported, victories are
trumpeted. Sri Lankan journalists say the people are a
lot smarter than the government gives them
credit for and know Jaffna's fate hangs in
the balance despite the official bravura. The real giveaway about just how perilous
the situation is is the persistent talk that Sri
Lanka's final option is to ask India for
assistance in evacuating troops and
Published: Tue May 30 16:46:40 EDT 2000
PMK observes fast against Tamil's plight in
India-Today, May 30.
Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) workers
observed a state-wide fast on Tuesday, protesting against
the alleged genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka by the armed
forces. They also demanded that the United States and
European countries desist from extending help to the
island nation in the ongoing war against the LTTE.More than 100 party volunteers observed the fast, in
Published: Tue May 30 15:42:22 EDT 2000
LTTE does not find favour with Pickering
Daily Pioneer, May 30.
Addressing mediapersons at the end of his one-day official visit to the island
nation last night, Pickering sounded a warning to the rebels when he said,
"in the event the LTTE declares a unilateral independence, the international
community automatically becomes an arbitrator."Pickering admitted that he discussed with the Lankan President the possible
sale of superior military equipment by the US. However, he refused to give
details of puchases, saying "this could be detrimental to the military
operations." He also expressed us concern about problems faced by
civilians trapped in the embattled Jaffna.
Published: Tue May 30 15:33:58 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka says food supplies
adequate in Jaffna
MSNBC, May 30.
Sri Lanka said on
Tuesday supplies of food and medicine
for some half a million people on the
war-torn Jaffna peninsula were adequate.U.S. Under Secretary for State Thomas Pickering
voiced concern during a visit to Colombo on Monday that
there was a ''humanitarian crisis'' brewing in the north of
the country. But General Sarath Munasinghe, Commissioner
General of Essential Services, told the diplomats and aid
agencies there were three-months supply of essential food
items available on the peninsula, the foreign ministry said.
Published: Tue May 30 15:27:17 EDT 2000
120 rebels, 7 Lankan soldiers
killed in army offensive
Times of India, May 30.
At least 120 Tamil rebels and
seven soldiers were killed in a massive
offensive by the army against the Tigers in
northern Jaffna as the Sri Lankan government
on Tuesday asserted that its troops had halted
the LTTE's march to the embattled peninsula.In a significant remark, Sri Lankan foreign
minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said the army
had been able to stop the "rolling onslaught"
by the LTTE in Jaffna and the government
had fullest confidence in the army's ability to
hold its ground in the peninsula where heavy
fighting is raging.
Published: Tue May 30 15:20:59 EDT 2000
Fresh attacks by Lankan Army
Chennai Online, Colombo, May 30.
Bolstered by the visit of US Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering who said that his country had long
stood for the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and was opposed to the creation of a separate “Eelam” State, security forces in
Northern Jaffna have started a joint operation to flush out LTTE militants from the Peninsula.
Published: Tue May 30 14:28:42 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka landmine blast kills at least
CNN, May 30.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Reuters) -- At
least eight policemen were killed and 10
wounded in a landmine explosion in
northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, military
They said a truck carrying about 40
policemen was blown up close to the
town of Vavuniya, about 220 kilometers
(138 miles) northeast of Colombo.
Published: Tue May 30 14:00:00 EDT 2000
Under Secretary of State Thomas R. Pickering
on-the-record press discussion with journalists
The Lanka Academic, Colombo, 29 May 2000.
Mr. Dilip Ganguly, Associated Press
Colombo Bureau Chief: In what way the U.S.
can contribute in forcing both the parties, the
LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government, to come
to the table and talk? It's good to say that they
should talk, everyone is saying they should talk, Sri
Lanka says they're willing to talk. Which way are
you going to contribute in making the LTTE come
Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, U.S.
Under Secretary of State:
I think that one way is to make it
clear that we and others who assess the situation
do not see a military resolution to this conflict.
And I think that the long and sad and very difficult
and very damaging history of this conflict should,
in its own way, speak to them about the
non-feasibility of a military solution. I think,
secondly, letting them know that the international
community in our judgment as a whole does not
support another independent state is, I hope, at
least a message that will have some effect. We
believe that they should give up assassination and
terror. We believe that they should be part of a
negotiating process that the government has
offered. And I believe the government is anxious
to obviously resolve in its own mind what it is
prepared to do in its negotiating efforts to achieve
the result by trying to describe what an effective
autonomy might be.
Published: Tue May 30 13:50:18 EDT 2000
Lankan navy destroys LTTE boats carrying arms and
Indian Express, COLOMBO, MAY 29.
Amidst intense fighting in the Jaffna peninsula, the
Sri Lankan navy for the first time in six weeks of war destroyed LTTE
boats carrying arms and ammunition for Tamil rebels. Meanwhile, the
United States asked the guerrillas to halt their operation and join peace
talks with the government to reach a political solution to the ethnic
As the LTTE, in an attempt to boost the depleting numbers of its cadre,
began a massive conscription drive in the area under its control, visiting
US Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering held talks with the Sri
Lankan leadership and formally ruled out any support for Eelam, a
separate state for Tamils.
Published: Tue May 30 13:49:41 EDT 2000
Eight policemen killed today
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.20 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30.
Eight policemen were killed today when a claymore mine exploded under the
truck they were travelling in. The incident took place at around 8.55 a.m.
this morning, on the Vavuniya-Mannar road in Sri Lanka's North. Ten others
were injured in the explosion. The policemen were on their way to Vavuniya
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:16 EDT 2000
Civilian casualties mount in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.25 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today said that since
May 11, to Sunday May 28, twenty eight (28) civilians were admitted to the
Jaffna Teaching Hospital as a result of being hit by heavy shelling in the
battle areas of the North. Of this number 13 died of their injuries.
Thirty four (34) war wounded patients have been transferred to the Vavuniya
hospital from the Mallavi area in Chavakachcheri. The injured civilians
were moved by doctors of the Medicines sans Frontier working in Sri Lanka's
From May 14, to Sunday May 28, fifty two (52) war wounded persons were
admitted to Point Pedro hospital. Of this number one succumbed to injuries.
The ICRC together with Sri Lanka Red Cross teams, continue to monitor the
humanitarian needs of the population in the northern peninsula. The ICRC
have since the outbreak of hostilities between troops and the LTTE, given
non food relief assistance to 3,250 families (12,000 persons) in the West
Valikamam and Point Pedro area.
The families are housed at present in various welfare centres in the
northern peninsula. Harsha Gunawardana, Spokesman for the ICRC said that
this figure however is not the totality of the displaced in the peninsula.
He said it is difficult for the ICRC to assess the total number displaced,
since the organization does not have access to areas in which the battle
continues to rage.
While conducting some 15 mobile clinics also to help the displaced, the
ICRC have assisted some 241 families in the Vanni. The Vanni region in the
North of Sri Lanka comprises of Vavuniya, Mannar, Killinochchi and
The ICRC maintain that it would be no exaggeration to say that one of the
serious consequences of the armed conflict prevailing in the country, is
the enormous human suffering undergone by the internally displaced and
resident population of the Vanni region.
The humanitarian organization asserts that constant military operations and
ever shifting front lines have compelled the majority of people to move
several times in recent years. (eg. Operations Riviresa 1, 2, 3 (95-96),
Sath Jaya 1, 2, 3 (96), Edibala (97), Jaya Sikuru (98), Rivibala (98),
Unceasing Waves 3 (99 -00).
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:17 EDT 2000
LTTE alleged to have transported 200 children from Jaffna for conscription
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.30 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30.
The Special Media Information Centre said yesterday that the LTTE used the
unilateral 12 hour ceasefire on Saturday May 27, to transport 200 children
from the areas of Kaithady, Thananankillapu and Ariyalai to the Vanni in
order to undergo training to help the Tigers in their battle for Jaffna.
The government also says that the rebels ordered some 2000 families in the
Jaffna peninsula to vacate their homes. The reason, the State claims, is
Meanwhile the government maintains that as a result these families are
undergoing severe hardship as they have taken refuge in Kovils while some
are under trees in sections of the northern peninsula.
As the civilian situation seems to worsen in Jaffna, both the United
Nations for High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and Thomas Pickering, US
Under Secretary expressed serious concern over the plight of thousands of
civilians in the northern peninsula who they say are caught between the
fire of government troops and the LTTE.
Pickering, while on an official visit to Colombo yesterday, told a news
conference that it was evident, urgent measures should be adopted to avoid
a human catastrophe in Sri Lanka's North.
Answering questions posed by journalists yesterday, Pickering ruled out any
international support for a separate state in Sri Lanka affirming that,
"Eelam - a separate state, can only exist in the 'Planet of the Dead.' "
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:17 EDT 2000
Tamil political parties not happy with PA, UNP, dialogue
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.35 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30.
Representatives of Tamil and Muslim political parties who met with
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday had said they are
not happy with certain agreements reached between the PA and UNP on matters
of constitutional reform.
The President is reported to have promised that she would express their
concerns to both the PA and UNP delegations who have been jointly debating
devolution proposals, aimed at bringing about a political resolution to the
The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) has meanwhile voiced displeasure
at the joint discussions between the PA and UNP saying that both parties
have attempted to dilute the proposed constitutional reforms and have not
lent serious consideration to aspects of the peace package that will affect
the minority communities in Sri Lanka.
The TULF, PLOTE, EROS, EPDP and SLMC were some of the parties represented
at the discussion.
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:17 EDT 2000
Lankan troops mount offensive
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.40 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30.
Armed forces troops are reported to have launched a counter offensive
against the LTTE yesterday in the general area of Chavakachcheri and Ariyalai.
The Government maintains that a number of enemy strong points have been
damaged causing considerable losses to the rebels. Backed by armour and
heavy artillery, the military claim to have repulsed several attempts by
the Tigers to ferry more men and materials to Ariyalai and Thananankillapu
using the Jaffna lagoon from the Vanni mainland.
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:17 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan government: Rebels using child
CBS-UPI, May 29.
The Sri Lankan government
Monday accused the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas of conscripting
school children to fight the army in the country's northern Jaffna
peninsula.The LTTE has instructed people living in the areas it controls to give up
all vocations and join their ranks until Eelam - their proposed Tamil
homeland -- is achieved, the government said. LTTE leaders have asked
school children to join the armed offensive, it added.
Published: Tue May 30 10:25:43 EDT 2000
Tamil Tigers suffer
BBC, May 30.
The Sri Lankan military says it has inflicted
heavy losses on Tamil Tiger rebels in the
northern Jaffna peninsula.
One report quoting defence officials said
more than 100 rebels had been killed during
the latest army offensive. The Sri Lankan army says its
advanced towards Chavakachcheri, east of
Jaffna town where there have been intense
clashes between the two sides.
Published: Tue May 30 10:14:58 EDT 2000
War costs for Sri Lanka
BBC, May 30.
The beach at Mount Lavinia hotel just south of
Colombo boasts a wide expanse of sand and
fringe of palm trees. It is also completely deserted.
It is usually low season at this time of year -
but fighting in the north means this year has
been particularly badly hit. Markets in Colombo are still
bustling, There is little sign of any economic strain
among ordinary people.
Published: Tue May 30 10:11:02 EDT 2000
India, Lanka to settle fishermen issue
India and Sri Lanka Monday agreed to find an “agreeable solution” to the common issue of
fishermen crossing territorial waters inadvertently.
Agriculture Minister Nitish Kumar and Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Mahindra Rajapakse,
who called on the former, agreed to simplify procedures for dealing with fishermen who are caught by the other side for
Published: Tue May 30 10:03:15 EDT 2000
116 LTTE rebels killed, says Army
Hindu, 30 May.
The Sri Lankan Army today claimed
that 116 Tamil Tigers and seven soldiers were killed in its
latest offensive operations against the rebels in northern
Jaffna peninsula even as two policemen were killed and 23
injured in LTTE landmine blast near northern Vavuniya.He said monitored LTTE wireless radio transmissions so far
admitted the death of 116 rebels while the Army has
recovered 14 bodies.
Published: Tue May 30 09:57:38 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka fighting kills over 100 as US
official urges peace talks
Orientation -afp, 30 May.
The latest round of fighting in northern Sri Lanka has left over 100 people dead,
officials said Tuesday as a top US official left here with an appeal to Tamil
separatists to enter peace talks.Even as Pickering was meeting with Sri Lankan leaders on Monday, heavy
hand-to-hand fighting raged in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of here as
the military launched a "search and destroy" mission, a military spokesman said.He said at least 100 Tigers were killed in operations carried out with the support of
helicopter gun ships in the towns of Sarasalai, Chavakachcheri and Ariyalai, all on
the Jaffna peninsula."We are using new weapons and they are having an effect on the battlefield," the
military spokesman said, but declined to give further details.
Published: Tue May 30 09:46:39 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka claims Tamil truce a ruse to
conscript child soldiers
Orientation -afp, 30 May.
The Sri Lankan government claimed Tuesday that a recent 12-hour truce declared
by rebel Tamil Tigers was a ruse which allowed them time to conscript and ship
child soldiers for military training."It has now been confirmed that the LTTE had declared the unilateral ceasefire in
order to transport over 200 school children conscripted from Kaithady, Tanakillappu
and Ariyalai areas in the Jaffna Peninsula," it said.
Published: Tue May 30 09:44:25 EDT 2000
'Whoever wins this war, the poor
people stand to lose'
A mother of a missing soldier said: “My son went to
defend the country but in the end we could not even see
a fragment of his body. When an entire camp is running
away, leaving even the cannon, will they stop to pick
up a wounded or dead?” Her son, 33, a lance corporal
in the 9th Infantry brigade, was reported missing on
April 27 following the Sri Lankan army retreat from
Elephant Pass.“The UNP [opposition United National
Party] as well
as the PA are responsible for this war. Whoever wins
this war, the poor people stand to lose.
Published: Tue May 30 08:55:13 EDT 2000
US and EU push India to intervene in Sri Lanka
WSWS, May 26.
Amid continued fierce fighting in Sri Lanka between government troops
and the separatist Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), hectic discussions have been underway in
New Delhi and Colombo
over how to establish a ceasefire and bring the two sides into
negotiations. Both the US and the
European Union are pressing the Indian government headed by Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to
intervene more directly into the conflict following a series of LTTE
victories on the northern Jaffna
Published: Tue May 30 08:51:37 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka Tamil Civil War Escalates
Tamil Tiger rebels killed 15
police officers and soldiers while wounding 49 in two
attacks today. Government troops retaliated by killing 18
rebels in the northern battle zone, a top government
spokesman said.There was no claim of responsibility for
the mine explosion that occurred as
a truck carrying policemen left Vavuniya, said a local police officer.
policemen died immediately. Of 23 admitted to the local hospital,
died there, said a nurse reached by telephone.
Published: Tue May 30 08:48:49 EDT 2000
Lankan Tamils in Canada plan 'victory celebrations'
India-Abroad, May 28.
Tamils of Sri Lankan descent have
announced plans for "victory celebrations" in
cities for the recent territorial gains made by
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels against
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
Tamils (FACT)."It may be repulsive and
obscene, but it's not illegal," a law
enforcement official has been quoted in media
saying about the proposed celebrations.FACT
organized its Tamil New year dinner at an exclusive
hotel here with Canadian Finance Minister Paul
Published: Tue May 30 08:47:01 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka landmine blast kills at least eight
Reuters, SLT Tuesday May 30.
COLOMBO, May 30 (Reuters) - At least eight policemen were killed and 10 wounded in a landmine explosion in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, military officials said.
They said a truck carrying about 40 policemen was blown up close to the town of Vavuniya, about 220 km (138 miles) northeast of Colombo.
Initial reports said seven civilians were also wounded in the blast, which police blamed on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.
Published: Tue May 30 05:11:10 EDT 2000
Lankan soldiers kill 116 LTTE rebels
India Today, 04:46 GMT Tuesday May 30.
Colombo, May 30: The Sri Lankan army on Tuesday claimed that
116 Tamil Tigers and seven soldiers were killed in its latest offensive operations against the rebels in northern Jaffna peninsula. Two policemen were also killed and 23 injured in LTTE land mine blast near northern Vavuniya.
Published: Tue May 30 03:37:06 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan army claims Jaffna success
BBC News, 04:46 GMT Tuesday May 30.
The Sri Lankan military says there's been an escalation in its conflict with Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the north of the country.
A military spokesman says there was close-quarter fighting overnight in three towns in an area straddling the Jaffna peninsula's main highway.
The spokesman said a-hundred rebels were killed.
Published: Tue May 30 03:32:29 EDT 2000
Five policemen killed, 20 wounded in Claymore mine attack in Sri Lanka
ABC News, 02:53:00 GMT Tuesday May 30.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP), A Claymore mine exploded in Vavuniya on Tuesday, killing five policemen and wounding 20 others, according to a police officer and a hospital nurse.
The mine exploded as a truck carrying a group of policemen left the northern town, said a police officer in Vavuniya.
Published: Tue May 30 03:27:11 EDT 2000
US rejects Tamil state in Sri Lanka, warns India as fresh fighting flares
Orientation, 07:53 GMT Tuesday May 30.
COLOMBO, May 29 (AFP) - The United States Monday rejected Tamil demands to partition Sri Lanka and warned that separation in the island could have serious long-term implications for neighbouring India.
US Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering, told reporters after talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga the US would not recognise an "Eelam", a separate state demanded by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka's northeast.
Published: Tue May 30 03:15:51 EDT 2000
Who Speaks for
Time, June 5.
Sporting an honorific normally
accorded to parliamentarians
and judges, "The Hon."
Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader
the world's most successful
terrorist group, has emerged from the seclusion of
the Sri Lankan jungle and onto the
Internet.But what about those Sri Lankan Tamils at
and in exile who aren't convinced
that a Tiger
victory would usher in a new era of
democracy and freedom? Prabhakaran,
stop at nothing to further his
cause. He has
ruthlessly ordered the death of
anyone who has
opposed him or his view of an
a homeland for Sri Lanka's estimated
Tamils. By eliminating all
has become the sole remaining symbol
pride, and his Tigers the only
protector of Tamil
Published: Mon May 29 23:34:46 EDT 2000
Tiger, Tiger, burning
The-Week, June 4.
The question, as Colombo has made it out, is the
survival of one third of the Sri Lankan army.
Fighting near Jaffna they have simply run out of
guns and bullets. Can India give a few? What
Colombo is asking for is firepower. What India
has offered, "if the request comes", is free
transport with packed lunch. To use the classical
adage, Chandrika Kumaratunga asked for guns;
Vajpayee is offering butter. Perhaps out of its
own desperation, Colombo has once again
cornered India into a no-win strategic situation.
From the public statements of Lankan leaders,
including President Kumaratunga, it is apparent
that she has asked for any one of three things.
*One, an armed Indian intervention which she knew
India would refuse, given the IPKF experience.
*Two, material support (arms and ammunition) which she
was not sure of.
*Three, India's persuasive power over LTTE to bring it
to the negotiations table before Jaffna falls.
Published: Mon May 29 22:44:41 EDT 2000
Their man in India
Vaiko, leader of the MDMK, has a sat-cellular phone.
He will not
give you its number; he uses it only to speak to the
LTTE offices in
London, Paris and Geneva and to Anton Balasingham and
leaders of the outfit in Europe. Needless to say, he
contacts in that organisation.Unofficially he was
designated to liaise with the Tigers. Even the
intelligence agencies assist him in doing this job.
Such is his reach
that he arranged a dialogue between an Indian attache
in a European country and an LTTE leader based
Published: Mon May 29 22:41:40 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka cries out to
India as its cornered
army faces annihilation
by the Tamil Tigers
Public opinion in Sri Lanka is laden with shock,
anxiety. Shock, that the Tamil rebels have
humiliated a large
army equipped with expensive weapons.
Sri Lanka's generals and political leaders have
Anxiety, as to where the situation is leading.Much has
changed since 1989, when President Ranasinghe
Premadasa provided the rebels with weapons and
money to fight the Indian Peace Keeping Force invited
to Sri Lanka by his predecessor. No longer do
Buddhist monks and mobs of young men demonstrate in
Colombo demanding that the Indians be thrown out.
Instead, the Lankans are hoping that India will
intervene again. This time, to save their army.
Published: Mon May 29 22:39:04 EDT 2000
Waiting for Eelam
The-Week, June 4.
There is a big smile on the face of P. Nedumaran, convenor of the Tamil Desiya Katchi (Tamil Nationalist
Party) and perhaps the most ardent supporter of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. Nedumaran's office in
Chennai is dominated by a large photograph of him with the LTTE supremo. These days Nedumaran is convinced that the tide has finally turned in favour of the Tamil Tigers. "The LTTE
is regaining its own land, the Jaffna peninsula. It is only a matter of time before the Sinhala army loses the
battle," he says.
Published: Mon May 29 21:52:25 EDT 2000
RJD says no to humanitarian aid to Lankan govt
The Rashtriya Janata Dal's (RJD) Tamil Nadu unit
on Monday opposed the extension of humanitarian assistance to Sri
Lanka and said that the Centre's approach should be 'supportive' of
the ‘freedom struggle’ for a Tamil Eelam.RJD state president K. Jagaveerapandian claimed that since the time
of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the country's policy had been
in support of the Tamils' freedom struggle in Sri Lanka.
Published: Mon May 29 21:16:33 EDT 2000
India's will in Jaffna
India Today, May30.
The limited tactical victories enjoyed by Indian
commanders during the IPKF deployment showed that
firepower was the only fitting answer to LTTE. Indeed,
firepower is the best way to offset the lack of intelligence.
Indian intelligence on the LTTE has not improved much
since the IPKF days. By using heavy artillery against Sri
Lankan troops, the LTTE has provided the opening for the
use of heavy artillery against its troops.
What about another Indian peacekeeping force? The
lessons of Kosovo and Kargil say that India's intervention
must come from a distance as it must be heavy. The Indian
Air Force and Navy, for instance, might provide fire cover
for a Sri Lankan Army counterattack on the LTTE. India
might even consider leasing field artillery to Sri Lanka. New
Delhi might ask some specialist "advising" units to deploy.
But if all this fails, bring in the attack helicopters and fight
the battle. There might not be another opportunity like
this-not just for ending a two decade civil war, but for the
fear it will strike in the hearts of foreign mercenaries in the
hills of Kashmir.
Published: Mon May 29 21:14:52 EDT 2000
The Last War Unto Peace?
With Norway and the US getting involved, diplomatic activity to find a
negotiated political settlement to the Lankan crisis has picked up. But
despite the hectic activities in Oslo, Colombo and New Delhi, analysts
believe the negotiations will not take off until the rebel military offensive in
the Jaffna peninsula ends. And obviously, the outcome of the battle would
have a major bearing on the peace talks.On the talks front, the ltte seems to be indicating that it's serious about
reaching a peaceful settlement. "The ltte is supposed to have told the
Norwegians that they are realists and understand that a separate state is
not achievable and that they could settle for less," says senior government
Published: Mon May 29 21:07:43 EDT 2000
The Best Guerrilla of All
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.When I saw him in
flesh-and-blood for the first time, I was speechless with disappointment. He'd
walked into the room but I had not recognised him, hypnotised as I was by the
video in which he looked handsome and six feet tall. The man who walked in
was short, stocky and looked like a petty Tamil businessman. I assumed it
must be a Tiger supporter and just gave him a cursory nod.Several moments later, a soft voice said in Tamil: "Naan thaan Prabhakaran."
Literally translated, "I am only Prabhakaran." He'd figured I had failed to
recognise him. I looked at him disbelievingly, saying to myself, "Yeah, and naan
thaan Cleopatra." The man was smiling, almost apologetically.And I figured why Prabhakaran was silent in the video. Macho man had an
effeminate voice that would have undermined the action hero image. I struggled
to mask my disbelief and disappointment
Published: Mon May 29 21:01:01 EDT 2000
US Navy keeping watch on Lanka
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. At least one long-range maritime aircraft of the United States Navy was
detected flying over the Jaffna region on Friday. Sources said it "was
probably on a reconnaissance mission".
Published: Mon May 29 20:52:14 EDT 2000
Sea change in stand on Lanka
The political agenda in Tamil Nadu is witnessing a sea change as main
Dravidian parties which fought for Tamil rights are learning to live with
compulsions of a coalition government at the Centre and concern for the
rightful cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka.Led by Dravida Munnetra Kazagham president and Chief Minister M
Karunanidhi, political parties in the state are exchanging long-held ideologies
for coalition politics and Tamil nationalism for practical necessity.What is more, the Dravidian politicians now insist that a
separate Eelam for Tamils is not the only solution to end the ethnic conflict.
Published: Mon May 29 20:45:03 EDT 2000
The forgotten uprising
The year was 1971. Late one evening, an Indian naval ship apparently
radioed Colombo harbour. "Am having engine trouble. Request permission
to put in at the harbour." The port authorities readily agreed. Immediately another message came in: "Have sister ship with me as well.
Request permission for that too to put in." The port authorities, once again,
agreed. After all, they had no reason not to.
Lankan government started to panic. Mrs Bandaranaike finally got on the
phone and called up her good friend Mrs Gandhi in Delhi, requesting her to
send military assistance. Back came the reply from Delhi: "By a strange coincidence, there happen to
be two shiploads of Gurkhas sitting in Colombo harbour right now. They are
at your disposal to put down the disturbances." Very clearly, it was no coincidence. Indian Intelligence had got wind of the
Trotskyite uprising long before the Sri Lankans themselves did and India
took pre-emptive measures by sending in the Gurkhas to stand by, in case
Published: Mon May 29 20:42:35 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka aborts rebel suicide mission amid US
The Sri Lankan navy sank a Tamil rebel suicide boat during sporadic fighting as US Undersecretary
for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering arrived for talks here Monday.The government said the navy destroyed a Tamil Tiger supply craft as well as another packed with
explosives before it could ram a navy gunboat off the coast of Mullaitivu."Both LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) boats were destroyed together with the occupants due
to naval gun fire," the government said adding five more rebel boats were also attacked.
Published: Mon May 29 20:33:41 EDT 2000
US opposes Sri Lanka censorship
A top US official Monday called for "unfettered" press freedom in Sri Lanka where the government
has slapped a tight censorship following a deteriorating military crisis in the island's north.US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering said that the Sri Lankan
government must ensure that civil liberties are not curtailed "even in times of difficulties in the
battlefield." Pickering said during Monday's talks he urged Sri Lankan leaders to press ahead with a bipartisan
approach to the country's drawn out Tamil separatist conflict.
Published: Mon May 29 20:30:31 EDT 2000
US rules out Tamil state
BBC, Monday, 29 May, 2000, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK.
The Tigers are fighting to retake Jaffna
A senior US State Department official, Thomas
Pickering, has ruled out a separate state as
demanded by Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka.
Speaking at the end of a brief visit to Sri
Lanka, Mr Pickering said: "I don't believe there
is any international support that I can find for
a new separate state of Eelam here in this
Published: Mon May 29 20:22:50 EDT 2000
LTTE forcing kids, elderly into war
The Statesman, May30.
Colombo today charged the LTTE with forcing
schoolchildren and the elderly to pick up guns against the army, as the Lankan
navy sunk two rebel supply boats and damaged five in heavy fighting in northern
Jaffna.“The LTTE, in an attempt to boost the depleting numbers of its cadre, has begun
a massive conscription drive in the area under its control,” an official release here
said.“LTTE’s area leaders are summoning civilians to village schools and asking
everyone over 45 years to undergo short military training with immediate effect.”
The men and women were then being deployed to man rebel defences in the
Vanni region, it said.
Published: Mon May 29 20:18:54 EDT 2000
US against Eelam, favours political settlement
DECCAN HERALD, May30.
Visiting US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas R Pickering today conveyed to President
Chandrika Kumaratunga his country`s ''firm opposition`` to the carving out of a separate state of Eelam and
favoured a negotiated political settlement to the ethnic strife that safeguarded Sri Lanka`s integrity and
sovereignty, the State radio reported.
Mr Pickering, who arrived here on a day`s visit after talks in New Delhi with Indian officials on the ethnic
conflict, met the president this evening after discussions with Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and
Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickeremasinghe.
Published: Mon May 29 20:15:23 EDT 2000
Civilians dying in Jaffna: UNHCR
The DailyPioneer, May30.
UN workers have come across hundreds of families carrying their wounded out of the
northern war zone, where they say civilians are being killed, the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees said on Monday. In a statement issued in Colombo, the UNHCR said
its field staff members were
coming across hundreds of families fleeing the war theater with their wounded. "In interviews with
UNHCR staff members, these persons indicated they were fleeing
hostilities. There were injured among them," the statement said.
Published: Mon May 29 20:11:06 EDT 2000
Lanka battle spills into the sea
Times Of India, May29.
Sri Lanka's war spread to the sea for the first
time in six weeks, with the navy destroying rebel boats
ferrying arms and ammunition to the guerrillas in the
the government said Monday. The navy intercepted and fired
at seven speeding boats of
the Sea Tigers, the naval unit of the Tamil Tiger
destroying two vessels and damaging the rest, government
spokeswoman Kusum Rodrigo said in a statement.
Published: Mon May 29 19:57:51 EDT 2000
No US role in Lanka: Pickering
Times Of India, May29.
The US Under Secretary of State, Thomas
Pickering on Monday, said that the issue of military aid
the form of arms donations or technical advise did not
in his talks with representatives from the Sri Lankan
government.While dismissing the presence of US warships in
Lankan waters as "totally false," Pickering added that the
Sri Lankan government did broach the issue of purchasing
military equipment from the arms manufacturers in the US.
Published: Mon May 29 19:57:52 EDT 2000
Pressing for freedom in Sri Lanka - Opinion.
Hindustan Times, May28.
Chandrika Kumaratunga is desperate to muzzle criticism of her government
run up to general elections, writes Lasantha Wickrematunge
It is one thing to protect the people against a repressive government;
it is quite
another to protect an increasingly insecure government
against itself.Very soon, Chandrika Kumaratunge proved herself to be her
She brought in blanket military censorship laws. The
presidential campaign in 1999
was conducted under this stringent military censorship in
full force; thereby
shutting out any information on the performance of
commander-in-chief and defence minister with regard to the
Published: Mon May 29 19:50:37 EDT 2000
Pickering wrests concessions from Sri Lanka
Hindustan Times, May 29.
THE US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs,
Mr.Thomas Pickering, today
held out the promise of US support for the maintenance of
Sri Lanka's unity and
integrity. But at the same time he got an assurance from
the Sri Lankan government that the
process of political negotiations to solve the ethnic
question would start soon and
that the recent curbs on civil liberties and Press freedom
which the government had
imposed would be lifted.The US government, he said, would
however give humanitarian assistance if
requested to do so. And in this the NGOs would be co-opted.
He said that the
story about US warships moving closer to Sri Lanka was
Published: Mon May 29 19:43:31 EDT 2000
Aravinda makes merry
Hindustan Times, Dhaka, May 29.
Aravinda de Silva took his new role of opener to heart, and that was bad
the Bangladeshi bowlers. The veteran clubbed the home side
to submission with a tremendous knock of 96
as Sri Lanka, chasing Bangladesh's 175 for six, coasted to
178 for one to gain full
points in the opening match of the Asia Cup at the
Bangabandhu National Stadium
Published: Mon May 29 19:43:31 EDT 2000
Tamil Tigers poised to maul Sri
BATTLE FOR JAFFNA
Globe and Mail, May27.
Heroine, diplomat, warmonger, fool.
In more than five years in office, Sri Lanka's
and cunning President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the
Sorbonne-educated daughter of two prime ministers,
has been painted many shades, but perhaps none as
dark as the defeated image she now bears.
Having promised to crush the world's most feared
guerrilla group, the Tamil Tigers -- and having
her country deep into debt to do it -- Ms.
finds herself on the verge of defeat and as
she was in December when a Tiger suicide bomber
came close to killing her.
Published: Mon May 29 19:36:01 EDT 2000
Dividing Sri Lanka would mean
rivers of blood
Golbe and Mail, May29.
The recent military successes recorded by Tamil
separatist rebels in Sri Lanka may give the
that they are on the verge of realizing their dream
independent Tamil homeland. That impression is
The quest for a Tamil homeland is a futile,
self-destructive struggle waged by a ruthless
group in pursuit of an unattainable goal.
Published: Mon May 29 19:30:44 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan Navy destroys LTTE boats
Hindu, May 29.
Amidst intense fighting in Jaffna
peninsula in which the Sri Lankan Navy, for the first time in
weeks of war today, destroyed LTTE boats carrying arms and
ammunitions for the Tamil rebels, the United States asked the
guerrillas to halt its operation and join peace talks with the
Government to reach a political solution to the ethnic conflict.
Published: Mon May 29 19:25:59 EDT 2000
U.S. concern over fate of Jaffna civilians
Hindu, MAY 29..
United States Under-Secretary
of State for Political Affairs, Mr.
Thomas Pickering, on Monday
reiterated his country's
opposition to an independent
Tamil Eelam and voiced the
concern of the international
community about the fate of
around 4.5 lakh civilians trapped
in the embattled Jaffna peninsula.Accusing the LTTE of attempting to
``induct more cadres and supplies'' to
the peninsula during the ceasefire, the Government said in a statement
troops had thwarted these attempts using tanks and mortars.
Meanwhile, the LTTE, which had said its declaration of a ``unilateral''
ceasefire was to enable civilians to move out of the Themarachchi
Jaffna peninsula, the present theatre of operations, accused the
of not respecting the truce, and of preventing the movement of people
shelling the area.
Published: Mon May 29 19:23:06 EDT 2000
Editorial: Time To Tame The Tigers The world must pressure the to talk peace in Sri Lanka
AsiaWeek, June 2.
Sometimes the means invalidates the ends. Consider the Tamil Tigers' 17-year fight for an independent state in Sri Lanka. Yes, it deserves the attention of international peacemakers, who have been scrambling to head off an impending bloody battle for Jaffna town, the former Tiger stronghold lost to Colombo's forces in 1995. Last week the Asian Human Rights Commission called on the U.N. and the E.U. to intervene. But when one recalls the ruthless lengths to which the Tigers are willing to go in pursuit of their goal, the prospect of them taking control of an independent country, complete with diplomatically immune embassies around the world, seems nothing short of nightmarish.
Published: Mon May 29 15:03:53 EDT 2000
U.S. official in Sri Lanka, talks to focus on conflict
CNN, May 29, 2000.
In a trip that some expected would boost the morale of
Sri Lankan troops battling insurgents, U.S.
Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering arrived in
Sri Lanka on Monday.
The United States, which included the LTTE on its 1997
list of terrorist organizations, opposes a separate
Tamil state in Sri Lanka, and says a military solution
to the fighting is not the answer.
Officials reported only sporadic fighting since
Friday, when the rebels had set a deadline for
government troops to withdraw from the Jaffna
peninsula or face a "bloodbath." The soldiers stayed
and the government called the threat a ruse.
Published: Mon May 29 13:04:32 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka restrict Bangladesh to 175-6 in Asia Cup opener
Orientation-AFP, DHAKA, May 29.
Defending champions Sri Lanka kept hosts Bangladesh down to 175-6 from 50 overs in the opening match of the four-nation Asia Cup limited-overs tournament here on Monday.
Bangladesh, hoping to earn Test status next month, struggled for runs against the tight Sri Lankan bowling after being sent to bat in overcast conditions.
Published: Mon May 29 12:42:58 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan fighting spreads to the sea
CBS-UPI, COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, May 29.
The Sri Lankan government said Monday that the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas suffered a serious setback when the navy foiled their suicide mission, sinking two rebel boats in the north.
A statement issued by the Special Media Information Centee said the fast attack crafts of the Sri Lankan navy confronted a fleet of rebel boats off the Nagarkovil coast in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The rebels were bringing reinforcements in one boat, while the other one was a suicide craft loaded with explosives.
Published: Mon May 29 12:35:33 EDT 2000
US urges warring factions to return to table.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 7.20pm Monday..
United States government urged ruling People's Alliance government and
separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to return to the
negotiating table as there were no signs of military solution to the
US under state secretary for political affairs Thomas Pickering in the
commercial city of Sri Lanka told a news conference that both parties
should have entered into negotiating table eight years ago and the talks
should begin immediately.
"I want the talks to begin right-away", he said.
"We will not support an independent state being created nor we would
support a separate state" he said when questioned whether the US will
recognize if LTTE succeeds in creating an independent homeland for minority
Adding, he said that US government was very concerned over the reports of
heavy fighting that raging in northern Jaffna peninsula. "The government
and the LTTE should enter into direct negotiations immediately", he stressed.
"We and India fully support the initiatives taken by the Norwegian
government to bring an end to this conflict". Pickering who is in Sri Lanka
following the visit by US president Bill Clinton's South Asian visit in
March this year said.
Asked whether the US government was in direct touch with LTTE, he answered
in negative and stated that US government will use its good offices to send
a message to the LTTE leadership to return to the negoatiating table.
Pickering also dismissed media reports that US naval ships were moving
towards Sri Lankan territorial waters and said the reports were totally
"incorrect". The under secretary is on a short visit after meeting the
Indian and Pakistan leaders. "We are seriously concerned over reports of
civilians being caught in the crossfire and about reports that there was
severe shortage for necessary commodity items". Pickering said.
"We are closely watching the situation, but under no circumstances we will
provide any military assistance", Pickering said. He said during his
discussions with president Chandrika Kumaratunge there were indications
that government of Sri Lanka was purchasing military hardware from US arms
manufacturers but no request was made for military assistance.
He added that India would not provide any military assistance but was ready
to provide humanitarian assistance if need arises. He further added that
several bilateral topics were discussed with Sri Lankan political leaders
that included the leader of the opposition, Ranil Wickrmasinghe.
Published: Mon May 29 10:01:11 EDT 2000
LTTE enlisting all civilians above 45 years
India Today, May 29, 2000.
The Sri Lankan government on Monday charged
the LTTE with conscripting all school children along with men and
women above 45 years of age in northern Vanni region, even as the
fighting intensified in northern Jaffna with Navy destroying two supply
boats and damaging five others.
LTTE's area leaders were summoning the civilians to village schools
and asking every one over 45 years to undergo short military training
with immediate effect, it said.
Published: Mon May 29 11:43:30 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka aborts rebel suicide mission amid US visit
Orientation, May 29, Colombo.
The Sri Lankan navy sank a Tamil rebel suicide boat during sporadic fighting as US Undersecretary
for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering arrived for talks here Monday.
The government said the navy destroyed a Tamil Tiger supply craft as well as another packed with
explosives before it could ram a navy gunboat off the coast of Mullaitivu.
"Both LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) boats were destroyed together with the occupants
due to naval gun fire," the government said adding five more rebel boats were also attacked.
Published: Mon May 29 11:35:31 EDT 2000
US push for Jaffna talks
BBC, Monday, 29 May, 2000, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK.
Washington has said it
government and the
rebels and is backing
Norwegian and Indian
efforts to end the
Published: Mon May 29 11:25:09 EDT 2000
Pickering rules out US military assistance to Lanka
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.10 p.m. SLT Monday May 29.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering today
ruled out any military assistance to Sri Lanka. At a press conference held
at the Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe's residence, Pickering said
urgent humanitarian assistance was needed for Sri Lanka's war torn North,
but when asked if he had arrived in Colombo with any proposal to help Sri
Lanka end her crisis he answered in the negative.
Pickering refuted speculation that US warships may have been directed to
keep a discreet vigilance on Sri Lanka's northern coastline thus helping
boost troop morale in Sri Lanka's embattled war zone.
Published: Mon May 29 08:24:36 EDT 2000
Cricket-Sri Lanka win toss and put Bangladesh in to bat
Reuters, Monday May 29.
DHAKA, May 29 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka won the toss and put Bangladesh in to bat in the opening match of the Asia Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Monday.The game, originally scheduled for Sunday, was put back a day because of rain.
Published: Mon May 29 08:21:37 EDT 2000
U.S. worried over human catastrophe in Sri Lanka
Reuters, SLT Monday May 29.
COLOMBO, May 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering said on Monday Washington was concerned about a potential humanitarian catastrophe in Sri Lanka's north where government troops and Tamil rebels are locked in fierce battles.
Published: Mon May 29 08:16:09 EDT 2000
US under secretary in Colombo
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.10 p.m. SLT Monday May 29.
Thomas Pickering, United States, Under Secretary of State for Political
Affairs arrived in Colombo today after holding talks with the Indian
Government and a Norwegian delegation in New Delhi.
Indian news reports state that the talks also centered on the war situation
in Sri Lanka. The Hindustan Times reported last week that the conflict in
Sri Lanka figured prominently in discussions between Indian Foreign
Secretary Lalit Mansingh, Pickering and the Norwegian Ambassador Raymond
US diplomats in Colombo have remained tight-lipped over Pickering's visit
to Colombo today saying, they are unable to make any immediate comments on
the under secretary's visit.
India meanwhile continues to reiterate that it has offered humanitarian
assistance to Sri Lanka though no official request for help has yet come
Both Pickering and Lalit Mansingh have emphatically stated that the US and
India will not support a separate state carved out by the LTTE, which both
countries have banned as a terrorist organization.
Published: Mon May 29 08:09:04 EDT 2000
Fisheries Minister says India should mediate Sri Lankan crisis
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.12 p.m. SLT Monday May 29 .
Mahinda Rajapakse, Minister for Fisheries in Sri Lanka has said that India
is better suited than Pakistan to broker a peaceful resolution to Sri
Lanka's conflict. While on a visit to India, the Minister has reiterated
that India is the most likely nation, with the ability to bring the LTTE to
the negotiating table.
He has further added that Pakistan should be wary of the dreaded guerilla
outfit fighting for a separate state in northern Sri Lanka, as the Tigers
next target could be Pakistan.
Published: Mon May 29 08:09:04 EDT 2000
No response from military to LTTE ceasefire on Saturday
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.15 p.m. SLT Monday May 29.
There was no response from the government on the LTTE's call for a 12 hour
ceasefire on Saturday May 27, in order to help Jaffna's civilian population
move out of the war stricken area.
Speaking to Lacnet, Brigadier Palitha Fernando, said the military were
"unaware of a ceasefire initiated by the LTTE." He added that as far as
the military are concerned there was no cessation of hostilities.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in a statement
issued yesterday said, that there had been no response from the State to
the human rights organization requesting that "military actions be
suspended for the period of the LTTE declared cease-fire" on May 27
Saturday, "in the interest of the civilians, who may be moving
during that time."
Meanwhile the LTTE in a press release also said that the Sri Lankan
government had not cooperated to help the UNHCR evacuate some 15,000
civilians from the Chavakacheri area where heavy fighting continues to rage
between the military and the Tigers.
Published: Mon May 29 08:09:04 EDT 2000
Batticaloa tense after Tigers step up attacks
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, The Sri Lanka Army Saturday May 27, conducted.
and arrested some 25 persons in eastern Batticaloa. The arrests come in
the wake of renewed attacks by the LTTE on armed force bases situated in
In what appears to be an attempt by the Tigers to divert the military's
attention from the northern front, the LTTE in the last two weeks have
launched sporadic attacks on troop bases in Batticaloa. The attacks by the
rebels also killed six members of one family and injured two, as they
continued to fire heavy artillery and mortars into the Kathankudy and
Kallady areas of the eastern town.
Published: Mon May 29 08:09:04 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka's Tamil War Spills to Sea
By DILIP GANGULY,Associated Press Writer, SLT Monday May 29.
COLOMBO,05/29/00,Sri Lanka (AP) -- Sri Lanka's war spilled into the sea for thefirst time in six weeks, with the navy destroying rebel boats ferrying arms and ammunition to the guerrillas in the north, the government said today.
Published: Mon May 29 08:08:31 EDT 2000
Pickering holds discussion with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 11.30am Monday.
United States under secretary for political affairs Thomas Pickering on a
short visit to Sri Lanka held discussions with Foreign minister Lakshman
Kadiragamar at his residence just a few hours ago.
The discussions centered on the ongoing fighting between government troops
and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). A spokesman for the
foreign ministry said Pickering will meet president Chandrika Kumratunge
late afternoon today before addressing a news conference at the residence
of Peter Clausen, the director of the United States information service
The news conference is scheduled at local time 6.00pm.
Pickering's visit comes hard on the heels after reports that elements of US
naval ships were moving towards the territorial waters of Sri Lanka to give
moral support to government troops fighting the LTTE in Jaffna peninsula.
Published: Mon May 29 02:17:54 EDT 2000
The rain washed Asia Cup Cricket tournament is expected to begin in
All India Radio, May 29,2000,1030hrs. (IST).
The postponed opening match of the seventh Asia Cup Cricket Tournament between hosts
Bangladesh and defending champions Sri Lanka is to be played in Dhaka today.
Published: Mon May 29 04:06:33 EDT 2000
US-Sri Lanka talks
BBC, May 29.
The American Under-Secretary of State, Thomas Pickering, has arrived in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, to discuss ways of ending the government's long-running conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.
He is due to meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who last week said she would support a ceasefire if the rebels froze their present positions and began peace talks.
Published: Mon May 29 01:51:58 EDT 2000
17-year war for eelam comes to A head
The Asian Age,
May 29, 2000
Although the war between the Sri Lankan troops and the
separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has been raging
since last 17 years, the prospect of a separate Tamil state
has never been more real than it is now.
Published: Mon May 29 01:44:03 EDT 2000
U.S. official's Sri Lanka trip
seen lifting morale
ABC-Reuters, May/29/2000 00:56:00 ET.
Under Secretary of State for Political
Affairs Thomas Pickering arrived in
Colombo on Monday on a one-day visit
that is likely to help lift the bruised
morale of the Sri Lankan government
battling Tamil Tiger rebels.
Pickering, the third highest ranking official
in the U.S. State Department, was scheduled to meet
President Chandrika Kumaratunga and other political
leaders in the capital during his short visit that comes as
part of a South Asian tour.
His visit is being seen as affirmation of the U.S. stance to
oppose the creation of a separate Tamil state in Sri
Lanka, as demanded by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) rebels.
Published: Mon May 29 01:35:16 EDT 2000