The Lanka Academic

 
MAY 30, 2000 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 1, NO. 55
 

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May 29, 2000, Colombo
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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...
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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 appalling scale. More..
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 the interview: More..
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 Peninsula 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. More..
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. More..
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." More..
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 and 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. More..
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. More..
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". More..
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." More..
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 fight 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. More..
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 raise a 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. More..
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. More..
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." More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:28:05 EDT 2000

PMK chief hopes Lanka crisis will end soon
Newindexpress, May30. 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 Tamilagam wasbacking our stand on Sri Lanka issue. If Tamil Eelam was formed it would be friendly towards India. More..
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, Congress and the BJP _ reflected the public opinion, there was no need to counter pro-Eelam propaganda, Ganesan said. More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:06:46 EDT 2000

City police to monitor Lankans closely
Newindpress, May30. 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 nation. More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:06:46 EDT 2000

Chandrika betraying army, international community: PMK
Newindpress, May30. 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 Ramadoss.Sri Lanka 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 her. More..
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 sovereignty. More..
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 there. More...
Published: Tue May 30 19:06:02 EDT 2000

Tamil terror allies use Toronto schools for fundraisers
National Post, May 30. Canadian public schools are being used by supporters of the Tamil Tigers, one of the world's most ruthless terrorist organizations, for fundraising drives and militaristic after-school rallies featuring men in camouflage uniforms 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 official said.Yesterday in the House of Commons, Mr. Martin, the Minister of Finance, faced accusations from the Canadian Alliance that he was consorting with terrorist supporters but responded that the FACT dinner was a cultural celebration and, at $60 a plate, it was "hardly a major fundraising event." More..
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. More...
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 Sri Lankan 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. More..
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 ``sensitivity'' 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 adopting a hands-off policy on the issue. More..
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. More..
Published: Tue May 30 18:26:12 EDT 2000

FEATURE-Sri Lankan war seen through the looking glass
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 civilians. More...
Published: Tue May 30 16:46:40 EDT 2000

PMK observes fast against Tamil's plight in Lanka
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 Madurai. More...
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. More...
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. More...
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. More...
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. More...
Published: Tue May 30 14:28:42 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka landmine blast kills at least eight
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 officials said.

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. More...
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 to talk?

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. More...
Published: Tue May 30 13:50:18 EDT 2000


Lankan navy destroys LTTE boats carrying arms and ammunition
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 conflict.

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. More...
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 town.
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 battle zones.

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 Mullaitivu districts.

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 unknown.

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 present conflict.

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 soldiers
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. More...
Published: Tue May 30 10:25:43 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers suffer 'heavy losses'
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 troops had advanced towards Chavakachcheri, east of Jaffna town where there have been intense clashes between the two sides. More..
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. More..
Published: Tue May 30 10:11:02 EDT 2000

India, Lanka to settle fishermen issue
ChennaiOnline, May29. 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 trespassing. More...
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. More...
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. More...
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. More...
Published: Tue May 30 09:44:25 EDT 2000

'Whoever wins this war, the poor people stand to lose'
WSWS, May27. 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. More..
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 peninsula. More..
Published: Tue May 30 08:51:37 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Tamil Civil War Escalates
Yahoo-ap, May30. 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. Two policemen died immediately. Of 23 admitted to the local hospital, another six died there, said a nurse reached by telephone. More..
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 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)."It may be repulsive and obscene, but it's not illegal," a law enforcement official has been quoted in media reports as saying about the proposed celebrations.FACT organized its Tamil New year dinner at an exclusive hotel here with Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin as chief guest. More..
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. More...
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. More...
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. More...
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. More...
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. More...
Published: Tue May 30 03:15:51 EDT 2000


Who Speaks for Peace?
Time, June 5. Sporting an honorific normally accorded to parliamentarians and judges, "The Hon." Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of 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 home and in exile who aren't convinced that a Tiger victory would usher in a new era of racial harmony, democracy and freedom? Prabhakaran, 46, will stop at nothing to further his cause. He has ruthlessly ordered the death of anyone who has opposed him or his view of an independent Eelam: a homeland for Sri Lanka's estimated 2.4 million Tamils. By eliminating all opposition, Prabhakaran has become the sole remaining symbol of Tamil pride, and his Tigers the only protector of Tamil rights. More..
Published: Mon May 29 23:34:46 EDT 2000

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
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. More
Published: Mon May 29 22:44:41 EDT 2000


Their man in India
The Week. Jun4

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 other top leaders of the outfit in Europe. Needless to say, he has intimate 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 there. More..
Published: Mon May 29 22:41:40 EDT 2000


Help! Sri Lanka cries out to India as its cornered army faces annihilation by the Tamil Tigers
June 4. Public opinion in Sri Lanka is laden with shock, resignation and anxiety. Shock, that the Tamil rebels have humiliated a large army equipped with expensive weapons. Resignation, that Sri Lanka's generals and political leaders have bungled again. 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. More..
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. More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:52:25 EDT 2000

RJD says no to humanitarian aid to Lankan govt
India-Today, May30. 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. More...
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. More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:14:52 EDT 2000


The Last War Unto Peace?
Outlook, June5. 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 source. More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:07:43 EDT 2000

The Best Guerrilla of All
Outlook, June5. 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 More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:01:01 EDT 2000

US Navy keeping watch on Lanka
Rediff, May28. 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". More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:52:14 EDT 2000

Sea change in stand on Lanka
Rediff, May30. 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. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:45:03 EDT 2000

The forgotten uprising
Rediff, May30. 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. The Sri 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 of need. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:42:35 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka aborts rebel suicide mission amid US visit
Orientation-afp, May29. 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. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:33:41 EDT 2000

US opposes Sri Lanka censorship
Orientation-afp, May29. 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. More...
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 island." More...
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. More...
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. More...
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. More...
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 north, the government said Monday. The navy intercepted and fired at seven speeding boats of the Sea Tigers, the naval unit of the Tamil Tiger guerrillas, destroying two vessels and damaging the rest, government spokeswoman Kusum Rodrigo said in a statement. More..
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 in the form of arms donations or technical advise did not figure in his talks with representatives from the Sri Lankan government.While dismissing the presence of US warships in Sri 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. More..
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 in the 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 mother’s daughter. 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 Kumaratunga as commander-in-chief and defence minister with regard to the war. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:50:37 EDT 2000

Pickering wrests concessions from Sri Lanka Government
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 totally false. More..
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 news for 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 tonight. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:43:31 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers poised to maul Sri Lankan troops BATTLE FOR JAFFNA
Globe and Mail, May27. Heroine, diplomat, warmonger, fool.

In more than five years in office, Sri Lanka's charming 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 driven her country deep into debt to do it -- Ms. Kumaratunga finds herself on the verge of defeat and as helpless as she was in December when a Tiger suicide bomber came close to killing her. More..
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 impression that they are on the verge of realizing their dream of an independent Tamil homeland. That impression is false. The quest for a Tamil homeland is a futile, self-destructive struggle waged by a ruthless terrorist group in pursuit of an unattainable goal. More..
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 six 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.

More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:25:59 EDT 2000


U.S. concern over fate of Jaffna civilians
Hindu, MAY 29.. The 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 its 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 division of Jaffna peninsula, the present theatre of operations, accused the Government of not respecting the truce, and of preventing the movement of people by shelling the area. More..
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. More...
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. More..
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. More...
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. More...
Published: Mon May 29 12:35:33 EDT 2000


US urges warring factions to return to table.
Mr. Pickering in Colombo
(BBC photo)
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 ongoing conflict. 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 Tamils.

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. More...
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. More...
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 favours dialogue between the government and the rebels and is backing Norwegian and Indian efforts to end the fighting. [Listen]
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. More...
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. More...
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 Johansen.

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 from Colombo.

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 Batticaloa.

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. More...
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 (USIS). 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 Dhaka.
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. More...
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. More...
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. More...
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. U.S. 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. More...
Published: Mon May 29 01:35:16 EDT 2000


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