The Lanka Academic

 
JUNE 10, 2000 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 1, NO. 66
 

Jaffna Peninsula
Jaffna Peninsula
SRI LANKA: THE BATTLE FOR JAFFNA
June 01, 2000
South Asia Monitor. The 1995 proposals called for greater devolution of power within a structure closely resembling the present Sri Lankan provincial arrangement. A loose confederal structure, with some kind of explicit recognition of the Tamils as a collective group within it and with stronger guarantees of their inclusion in power at the national level, might be more successful. More...
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Czechs And Balances
Outlook India. Some see the Tamil Nadu CM's flip-flops as unseemly but his supporters say he's added a historical context

JUne 11

Strangely, both the Sri Lankan government and the pro-Eelam parties of Tamil Nadu seem to agree that Karunanidhi has once again become the rallying point for the Tamils. According to a spokesperson of the Sri Lankan foreign office, despite many flip-flops, Karunanidhi has managed to achieve what he wanted to achieve. "He has created a situation where the Sri Lankan government can no longer take India's help for granted. To that extent, we have become vulnerable," he says. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 21:10:50 EDT 2000


Dishonouring a Word - A commentry by Prem Shankar Jha
Outlook India, June 10. It is the Vajpayee government, not Chennai, that has let them down in their hour of crisis. It has let down not only Sri Lanka but also India, for it has reneged on the Rajiv Gandhi-Jayawardene accord of 1987. That accord committed India to preserving the unity of Sri Lanka within a federal framework that would give equal rights to all Sri Lankan citizens and a measure of self-government to the Tamils of the north and east. This obliged India not only to prevent Colombo from imposing a purely military solution to the Tamil problem within a unitary state (something that it had already done), but to prevent the ltte from vivisecting Sri Lanka by force of arms. That is the commitment that India is now refusing to honour.Even a child can see what all this adds up to: India will do nothing at all in Sri Lanka without the ltte's prior consent - the consent of a party that has repeatedly invaded India to commit murder, that has assassinated a former Indian head of government on Indian soil and for whose leader there is a warrant of arrest waiting to be executed. Thus has a party that revels in being described as nationalist brought shame to India. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 21:06:58 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka truce for sake of injured elephant
CBS/UPI, June 10. While the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas and the Sri Lanka government haggle over a ceasefire in the northern Jaffna peninsula that would allow civilians to flee, they have agreed in the east of the country to hold their fire for the sake of an injured elephant. A pro-rebel Web site, Tamil Net, said Saturday that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have agreed to allow government veterinarians to enter the rebel-controlled Sangamam forest to attend to the pachyderm that was wounded during a recent battle between government forces and the Tigers. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 20:54:11 EDT 2000

Cold comfort for Sri Lankan cricket
IOL, June 10. Sri Lanka's cricket board, smothered by litigation and racked by corruption scandals, will elect a new administration on Sunday. But there is no sign the vote will end a crippling battle for control of the sport whose prestige and wealth has increased markedly since Sri Lanka's World Cup win in 1996. On Friday, two courts dismissed last-ditch challenges to the candidacy of former board president Thilanga Sumathipala, the front-runner in this year's race. "It's all about money and poltics," said one former cricket administrator who declined to be identified. "Politicians have moved into every level of the game, including the regional cricket associations which ultimately elect the committee," he added. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 20:45:30 EDT 2000

Dias asks govt to intervene in Sri Lankan cricket crisis
Dawn, June 10. A former Sri Lankan cricket vice-captain Roy Dias has called upon the government to take "serious note of the current crisis in the administration of cricket in the country, and take remedial steps before it is too late, because our players, about to start a Test series against Pakistan, are demoralised. "Urgent steps are needed, before the game itself descends to depths from which it may never recover," he told newsmen here on Friday. The three Test series against Pakistan will begin next week and would be followed by a three-nation tournament involving Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 20:39:29 EDT 2000

TMC pledges support for Centre on Lanka crisis
AsianAge, june 10. Tamil Maanila Congress president G.K. Moopanar on Saturday said the TMC would support the centre in its sincere efforts to amicably resolve the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka. He was responding to a question on the visit of external affairs minister Jaswant Singh to Sri Lanka at an informal chat with newspersons. He said the TMC’s stand on the Sri Lankan issue reflected the popular mood in the state. Hence, unlike the Marumalarchi DMK and the Pattali Makkal Katchi the TMC need not organise rallies and fasts on this issue, he added. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 20:28:54 EDT 2000

Faint echo of the Tigers' roar? -Commentry
Hindu, June 11. True, the MDMK distanced itself from the LTTE in the years immediately after the Rajiv assassination, but this, as Mr. Vaiko himself concedes now, was part of a strategy. ``They never lost touch with me, and I never lost touch with them,'' he says. When the MDMK broke away from the DMK, it took a greater chunk of the youth in the party. A pro-militancy line appealed to those who left the DMK to join the MDMK. The ``no-to-LTTE'' stance was intended to shake away the ``pro-terrorism'' tag which alienated large sections of the voters from his nascent party. Now, after having established the MDMK as a key and acceptable political player in the State through electoral alliances, Mr. Vaiko is once again true to his political constituency. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 20:18:28 EDT 2000

Scepticism in Lanka over Jaswant visit
Times of India, June 11. Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh's two-day visit to Sri Lanka, beginning Sunday, has been greeted with a mix of scepticism and surprise by political leaders here."Why has he suddenly decided to come here? We are very suspicious about this because of the manner in which India has been changing its stance. I don't think it is for the good of the country. The less visits we have from these countries, the better it is for us," said Tilak Karunaratne, leader of Singhala Urumuya, an extremist Sinhalese outfit that has been opposing talks with the LTTE. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 20:12:02 EDT 2000

Jaswant on fire-fighting mission to Lanka
Times of India, June 11. Contrary signals from India have confused and irritated the Sri Lankan government, though no one close to President Chandrika Kumaratunga is willing to publicly say so. Foreign minister Jaswant Singh's visit to Colombo on Sunday is basically to reassure the President and her team that New Delhi remains committed to durable peace in the island.Singh's visit will help reinforce India's commitment to the unity of Sri Lanka and its wish to assist in finding a political solution to the ethnic problem. It is also about time India sends out the right message as there is a feeling in the island that New Delhi's behaviour is like the proverbial dog in the manger: India does not want any other country to interfere in what it considers its backyard, yet so far it has done very little by way of cobbling together a solution to the ethnic conflict. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 20:05:15 EDT 2000

Karunanidhi’s views on Lanka obsolete: Panja
HT, June 10. SRI LANKAN President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her Cabinet should tackle the aspirations of Sri Lankan Tamils without any interference from third parties. And India does not support any idea propagating the division of the country into two parts as suggested by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Kumar Panja said here yesterday. “India strongly condemns the killing of Sri Lankan Industries Minister and 22 other innocent people by the LTTE. But we believe that the only way to solve this problem is by granting local autonomy to certain parts of Sri Lanka or creation of new states without disturbing the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. This will definitely put an end to the LTTE crisis,” Mr Panja told The Hindustan Times. “Karunanidhi’s suggestion of dividing the nation to bring about peace in Sri Lanka is a theory of the last millennium. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 19:55:28 EDT 2000

Jaswant to help revive Lanka peace process
Deccan Herald, June 11. Informed sources said Mr Singh will also discuss with the Lankan leadership the contents of President Kumaratungas devolution package and the progress on her consultations with that countrys political leaders on this package.On two occasions in May, the Indian leaders were briefed here about these issues by Sri Lankas Norwegian facilitator Erik Solheim. This will be the first time since the latest intensification of conflict in late April that India will directly engage the Lankan leadership in high political level consultations.The sources said a decision on Mr Singhs visit was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security on Thursday which was also attended by senior DMK Minister Murasoli Maran. Incidentally, Mr Singhs visit comes at a time when, according to reports from Colombo, the LTTE has approached to International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for facilitating a cease-fire in Jaffna Peninsula. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 19:47:03 EDT 2000

RAW asked to penetrate LTTE inner circles
DeccanHerald, June 11. It has been asked to establish contact with the LTTE to put, as one intelligence source said ''maximum pressure" on them to accept what is offered by the Sri Lankan government. But it is unable to penetrate the inner circle of the tightly controlled cadres of the LTTE. Consider the facts. RAW handpicked and trained all LTTE cadres. It has today as additional secretary, a senior officer, who initially was involved in the training of LTTE and other Tamil forces in Tamil Nadu, Dehradun and other places. There are a host of retired RAW officers who have handled the Sri Lankan desk and whose expertise is available.In the last few weeks RAW has given accurate intelligence on the state of the battlefield. In May, RAW received information about Maj Gen Janaka Pereira, Overall Force Commander, Jaffna peninsula, who had said that the army should withdraw from the peninsula. This was rejected by President Kumaratunga.It has also established contact with the LTTE in London in order to work as a possible lever if negotiations with the Sri Lankan government were to start. Senior officials were in London at the end of May, making contact with Anton Balasingham. This was going on when External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh was briefing British officials about the Lankan situation, say intelligence sources. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 19:42:28 EDT 2000

Jaswant to lay stress on cessation of hostilities
Hindu, June 11. Mr. Singh will reassure Colombo of India's commitment to the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka and discuss proposals to meet the political aspirations of the Tamil minority. He is travelling to Colombo at the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government, and will review the current situation with the President, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, and the Foreign Minister, Mr. Laxman Kadirgamar. In his delicate diplomatic mission, Mr. Singh is expected to emphasise New Delhi's strong interest in the restoration of peace and stability and a renewal of harmonious relations between the majority and minority communities. He will also stress the importance of the LTTE abjuring terrorism. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 19:29:57 EDT 2000

TRC demands ban on PMK and MDMK
Hindu, June 10. The Tamizhaga Rajiv Congress (TRC), a constituent of the ruling NDA at the Centre, today demanded a ban on two other constituents, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), for `extending support' to the outlawed LTTE. In a resolution adopted at the party's executive, the TRC said the act of any political party in extending open support to a banned organisation in the country should be construed as `illegal', and the party should be banned. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 19:20:19 EDT 2000

Slain Sri Lanka Minister Eulogized
AP, Saturday June 10 12:10 PM ET. President Chandrika Kumaratunga eulogized her slain minister of industrial development Saturday, as government jets and artillery bombarded the rebels believed responsible for his slaying. ``He was a man of the rarest caliber,'' President Chandrika Kumaratunga said in a message read out by Tourism Minister Dharmasiri Senanayake during the funeral. ``I shall deeply miss his support.'' More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 18:24:45 EDT 2000

Tamil fest cancelled
Toronto Sun, June 10. A Tamil cultural festival planned for today at the lakeside Molson Amphitheatre has been cancelled. A member of the Tamil group organizing the event said Molson officials were prompted to scratch the event after receiving complaints from Sri Lankans."They're saying they are getting too many pressures from the Sri Lankan embassy or something," Sen Nadarajah of World Tamil Movement of Ontario said. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 12:48:00 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rejects cease-fire offer
CBS/UPI, June 10. The Sri Lankan government Saturday rejected an appeal by the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas for a temporary cease-fire on humanitarian grounds in the war-torn northern Jaffna peninsula. The state-run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said that the government has described the rebels' offer as a move to satisfy their ``petty desires''. The Sri Lankan armed forces have accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of coercing civilians living in the rebel-held territory of the northern Jaffna peninsula to join the LTTE's combat units. The government troops claimed that the Tigers were imparting weapons training to hundreds of able-bodied men and women in areas they control More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 12:34:18 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's Petition - A Commentry
Himal Magazine, June 9. It cannot of course be denied that developments in Sri Lanka would have their impact on Tamil Nadu. The emergence of Tamil Eelam would certainly arouse Tamil pride in the state. This, in turn, would fuel some amount of Tamil chauvinism. When the courts vetoed the state government’s efforts to make Tamil the sole medium of instruction in Tamil Nadu, Tamil scholars lamented openly that while "Eelam Tamils were on the verge of establishing a state, Tamil Nadu Tamils could not even get their children educated in Tamil". More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 11:49:12 EDT 2000

33 killed in Jaffna; LTTE for cease-fire
Indian Express, June 10. As many as 25 Sri Lankan soldiers and eight civilians were killed in an army offensive to re-capture lost areas in northern Jaffna Peninsula, even as LTTE today appealed to international humanitarian agencies to work out a cease-fire to evacuate civilians.An officer and 24 soldiers were killed and 49 wounded when troops conducted a limited operation near Sarasalai, southeast of Jaffna town to destroy an LTTE 'strong point', an official release said here. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 11:38:58 EDT 2000

Tamil rally cancelled over threatening call 'Interest of public safety'
National Post, June 10. A rally in Toronto to celebrate recent military advances in Sri Lanka by the Tamil Tigers was cancelled yesterday after the owners of the amphitheatre where it was to be held received threats. The World Tamil Movement was to have held a rally tonight at the Molson Amphitheatre, but the company that manages the downtown venue abruptly cancelled the event yesterday "in the interest of public safety." Ferg Devins, director of corporate affairs for Molson Canada, said his company received a threatening telephone call about the Tamil rally. "We received a call this afternoon that raised a public safety concern," he said. "The matter was referred to the police." Spokesmen for the World Tamil Movement were not available for comment yesterday.A similar rally to be held in Ottawa last weekend was also cancelled, after the operators of the community centre learned of the organizers links to the Tamil terrorist group. In the House of Commons on Thursday, Lloyd Axworthy, Canada's Foreign Minister, said that he had "no tolerance" for groups raising money here for violent ends and would ensure that such practices were criminalized. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 11:32:55 EDT 2000

Jaswant Singh meets PM on eve of Colombo visit
Hindu, June 10. External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh is leaving for Sri Lanka tomorrow on a two-day visit mainly aimed at reinforcing India's position that it favoured a negotiated political settlement to the ethnic strife within the framework of that country's territorial integrity. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 11:22:06 EDT 2000

Gooneratne laid to rest
Hindu, June 10. Amid tight security, the bodies of Industrial Development Minister C V Gooneratne and his wife Shyama Gooneratne killed in a suicide bomb attack on Wednesday, were laid to rest today. Thousands of mourners, including ministers and political party leaders, attended the funeral at the people's park in Dehiwala despite heavy rains. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 11:17:22 EDT 2000

Slain Sri Lankan minister cremated amid tight security
AFP, June 10. Sri Lanka's slain Industry Minister C. V. Gooneratne and his wife were cremated in Colombo on Saturday amid tight security following fears of more Tamil rebel attacks. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 11:05:36 EDT 2000

Indian Minister to Hold Talks in Sri Lanka
Reuters, Saturday June 10 10:16 AM ET. Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh will travel to Sri Lanka on Sunday to hold talks with government leaders, whose forces are locked in a long battle with Tamil Tiger separatists, a spokesman said.``This is a high-level political engagement that will cover the entire range of the India-Sri Lanka relationship,'' spokesman Raminder Singh Jassal told reporters. India believed in a negotiated political solution to Sri Lanka's 17-year-old ethnic conflict. ``The first step toward this is cessation of hostilities and abjuring of terrorist violence,'' the spokesman said. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 10:56:28 EDT 2000

Ban The Child Soldier
Asiaweek, June 9. In Sri Lanka, boys and girls in their early teens are routinely and often forcibly drafted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 08:50:49 EDT 2000

Chandrika discusses draft of new Constitution with opposition
Broadcastindia.com/Agencies/Doordarshan, June 10. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga resumed talks with the opposition United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to finalise the draft of a new Constitution providing regional autonomy to the Tamil dominated north and eastern provinces. More... [Watch]
Published: Sat Jun 10 08:41:14 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Tigers urge temporary truce as fresh fighting kills 27
AFP, June 10. Tamil Tiger rebels on Saturday called for a temporary truce in Sri Lanka, as fresh fighting killed 27 people and the country was placed on red alert for the funeral of an assassinated senior minister. There was no immediate reaction from the government, which placed its police and troops on maximum alert amid fears of violence during Saturday's funeral in Colombo of Industry Minister C.V. Gooneratne. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 08:37:43 EDT 2000

Thousands pay homage to slain Sri Lankan minister
Reuters, June 10. Thousands of mourners paid homage on Saturday to a senior Sri Lankan cabinet minister and his wife who were among 23 people killed by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber in the capital earlier this week. Army commandos circulated among parliamentarians, religious dignitaries and municipal councillors who joined the Gunaratnes' family in the procession. Hundreds of police sealed off the route, along which fluttered white mourning flags. Sri Lanka's giant neighbour India and former colonial power Britain also condemned the attack, saying such acts of terrorism had no place in a democratic society. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 08:33:00 EDT 2000

Indian Foreign Minister to Visit Sri Lanka
Xinhua, Saturday, June 10, 2000 2:27 AM EST. Indian Minister of External Affairs Shri Jaswant Singh will arrive here for an official visit, a news release issued by the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said Saturday. The release said S.J. Singh is scheduled to arrive here on an official visit at the invitation of the Sri Lankan government from June 11 to 12. During his visit, the minister will call on Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and also hold discussion with Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on the situation of the country. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 08:28:23 EDT 2000

Fierce clashes in Jaffna
BBC, Saturday, 10 June, 2000, 11:59 GMT. Government and rebel forces in Sri Lanka say there has been a fresh outbreak of heavy fighting in the northern Jaffna peninsula. In the capital, Colombo, security was tight as the authorities prepared for the funeral of cabinet minister CV Gooneratne, who died in a suicide bomb attack on Wednesday. More... [Listen]
Published: Sat Jun 10 08:23:16 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka on full alert for minister's funeral
Channel NewsAsia, Saturday, June 10 4:00 PM SGT. Sri Lanka was on full alert Saturday amid fears of more Tamil rebel suicide attacks, even as the country geared up for the cremation of its assassinated industry minister later in the day. Army soldiers and policemen armed with assault rifles have been deployed along the funeral route in the capital Colombo. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 07:30:16 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Army, Rebels Clash
AP, Saturday June 10 5:52 AM ET . Government jets and artillery bombarded rebel bunkers amid heavy fighting as the freshly supplied military kept up attacks in Sri Lanka's 17-year-old civil war, both sides said today. In Jaffna Peninsula, the government said 25 soldiers were killed and 50 wounded in Friday's fighting. No rebel casualty toll was given, but military spokesman Brig. Palitha Fernando said large numbers of dead militants were seen in a line of bunkers the army destroyed east of Jaffna city. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 07:17:38 EDT 2000

Troops destroy terrorist bunker in Chavakachcheri
SL Government, 09 June 2000. Troops attacked and destroyed a terrorist bunker in Chavakachcheri, Jaffna around 9.30 a.m, yesterday, the Special Media Information Centre, reports. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 02:43:41 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rebels urge temporary truce in Jaffna
abc news, 10 June 2000. COLOMBO, June 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who are fighting government troops in the northern Jaffna peninsula, fear mounting civilian casualties and have urged two key international aid groups to help broker a temporary ceasefire. In a statement from their London office seen by Reuters on Saturday, the LTTE called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help arrange the truce in Thenmarachchi division, where fierce battles erupted on Friday. Military officials said on Friday that fierce battles had erupted near the key town of Koddikamam in Thenmarachchi division when the LTTE launched a dawn attack, but that troops had beaten back the rebel assault. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 02:37:19 EDT 2000

Fresh fighting in Jaffna, 8 killed
The Assam Tribune, COLOMBO, June 9 . Six LTTE rebels and two Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and 12 troops injured in different confrontations in northern Jaffna as fighting between the two resumed on a small scale after a brief lull, says PTI.Yesterday’s incidents took place after a four day lull in fighting. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 02:25:05 EDT 2000

Lanka police on prowl, detain 60
The Pioneer, Saturday, June 10, 2000. Several students from Moratuwa University were detained on Thursday, along with 15 men and women taken from their homes in a dawn raid on the neighborhoods around the bomb site in a suburb of the capital. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 02:21:09 EDT 2000

Govt committed blunder by withdrawing IPKF: J N Dixit
The Indian Express, Saturday, June 10, 2000. Former Foreign Secretary J N Dixit today said the government had committed a "blunder" by withdrawing the Indian Peace-keeping Force (IPKF) from Sri Lanka as it would have completed its task within the next six months."It was just a matter of six months more. We should have insisted (then Sri Lankan) President Premadasa that it was not an overnight treaty to be put off that simply and that the settlement of the crisis there was important not only for Sri Lanka but also crucial for India as well," he said in an interview on the "Opinion Today" programme. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 02:17:40 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rounds up bomb suspects
BBC, Saturday, 10 June, 2000, . Sri Lankan police are reported to have detained 60 people for questioning in connection with a suicide bombing which killed 23 people in the capital, Colombo. An unnamed police official told the Associated Press that some of the recent arrests were made on the basis of information extracted under interrogation from four suspects who were arrested immediately after the bombing. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 02:08:43 EDT 2000

Chandrika flayed on arms issue
The Asian Age, Colombo, June 9 . “The battle of Elephant Pass was not lost in the Salterns surrounding the area but on the banks of the Beira Lake where the government treasury is,” Mr Wickremesinghe said speaking on the debate for the extension of emergency in Parliament on Thursday.The Opposition leader said that Elephant Pass was lost due to the callousness of government officials and the Army should not be blamed for it. “If Elephant Pass was defended it would have created a crisis within the LTTE and given the government a morale boost.”(UNI) More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 02:03:16 EDT 2000

New fighting on Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula
CNN, June 10, 2000. Fierce fighting between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels erupted near a key town in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula on Friday, military officials said. The military said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) had launched a dawn attack on military defenses around the town of Koddikamam, but troops had beaten back the rebel assault. In an interview with CNN, U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, who has urged a negotiated solution to resolving the Sri Lanka conflict, predicted a "humanitarian disaster" if the war continues. More...
Published: Sat Jun 10 01:58:12 EDT 2000

Rebels appeal for cease-fire in Sri Lanka
CBS/UPI, June 10. Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers Friday appealed to the international agencies to broker a cease- fire in the peninsula after six civilians were killed and many more injured in strafing by the Sri Lankan Air Force. A statement issued by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from their London-based International Secretariat said that they have appealed to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross to arrange for a temporary cease-fire to allow civilians trapped in the battle zone to safer areas. ``The LTTE has made this appeal to these non-governmental humanitarian organizations following large-scale civilian casualties sustained in the fighting zone of Thenmarachchi as a consequence of indiscriminate barrage of artillery shelling, multibarrel rocket fire and heavy aerial bombardment by Israeli made Kifir combat aircrafts,'' the rebel statement said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 22:30:10 EDT 2000

Duped by FACT
National Post, June 9. For 17 years, a quarrel has raged in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing. The country is Sri Lanka, and the people are the Sinhalese and the Tamils. Nevertheless, Canada is involved in this conflict -- like it or not. Aside from its assassination and maiming of Sri Lankan and Indian politicians, the LTTE has murdered hundreds of civilians in suicide attacks, extorted money from the very Tamils it claims to represent, and is responsible for the deaths of roughly 60,000 people in its campaign for an ethnically cleansed, independent Tamil state. In no sense can the Sri Lankan crisis be compared to a morally neutral "civil war": This is a gang of mass-murderers attempting to overturn the democratically elected, peaceful government of a Commonwealth nation. Canada's role in the matter is that LTTE fundraising -- some $22-millions' worth -- is tolerated here. The money is then diverted abroad to buy weapons. As documented by the National Post, through the agency of the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT), which has been identified by numerous security bureaus as a front organization for the LTTE.Judging by the behaviour of Paul Martin, the Finance Minister, and other politicians who attended a FACT fundraising dinner last month, we were right to be skeptical. Mr. Martin went so far as to describe those who criticized his attendance as "anti-Canadian." The minister is confusing Canada's tradition of tolerance with a relativistic and naive attitude that somehow it is anti-Canadian to criticize a terrorist group.Mr. Martin has made excuses long enough. It is time he, and the other ministers and politicians who went to the dinner, admitted that they were duped by FACT and that they will henceforth strive to live up to Mr. Axworthy's commitments. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 22:11:22 EDT 2000

A deceptive calm
Frontline, June 10. THE curtain, by no means the final one, seemed to have come down on the theatre of conflict in northern Sri Lanka around the end of May. After weeks of intensive fighting, a comparative calm had enveloped Jaffna Peninsula by June 2. The sporadic clashes between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had become somewhat low-key in comparison with the full-scale fighting that occurred earlier. The primary cause for this temporary lull was the absence of any noteworthy military manoeuvres by the LTTE. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 21:54:45 EDT 2000

The Sri Lankan standoff
Frontline, June 10. In Colombo, the earlier mood of a government under siege relaxed palpably as the Tigers lost some military momentum in the Jaffna Peninsula. The one event that really boosted government morale, at least in the capital, was the visit of Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering of the United States, who brought from Washington a powerful message of support for the Sri Lankan government. In what has been one of the most powerful statements against the creation of an independent Tamil Eelam, Pickering said it would be "a dead planet" without recognition by the international community.Although the U.S. stand on the LTTE and an independent Eelam has been known for some years, Pickering's utterances in Colombo were widely welcomed and interpreted as the emphatic last word on Velupillai Prabakaran's political aspirations.The recognition of India's pre-eminence in the region that rankled Colombo. Some commentators were of the view that if India wished to be the South Asian superpower, then it should act like one, and not drag its feet when its own security and that of a friendly neighbour were threatened by a group that it branded as "terrorist". They criticised the "servile" attitude of the Chandrika Kumaratunga government vis-a-vis India. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 21:44:44 EDT 2000

Opposition flays Lankan govt for ill-equipping forces
India Today, June 9. Sri Lanka's main Opposition, United National Party (UNP) has accused the government of not providing troops with modern weapons to effectively combat the LTTE in northern Jaffna. The party claimed it has resulted in the fall of key garrisons and loss of territory to the rebels.Lashing out at the government for withholding funds for weapons purchases, UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said in Parliament on Thursday: "The battle for Elephant Pass was not lost in the slatterns surrounding the area but on the banks of Beira Lake in Colombo, where the government treasury is." "The government has money to subsidise the construction of a terminal building for Shellgas. But has no money to buy weapons." More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 21:19:58 EDT 2000

SRI LANKA BISHOPS SLAM TOTAL DISREGARD FOR LIFE, HUMAN RIGHTS
EWTN News, June 9. The Sri Lankan bishops' conference has issued a message strongly condemning the killing of Government Minister C.V. Gunaratne, one of the country's most prominent lay Catholics, by a suspected LTTE suicide bomber. The bishops remembered the efforts of Gunaratne to forge bonds among different racial and religious groups in the country. "His concern for the just rights of the minorities, his concern for the welfare of the poor, and his particular interest in looking into the just grievances of the Christian community make us particularly respect him as a man who made no secret of his religious convictions and we appreciate the services he rendered to the Christian community," they said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 20:59:28 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka mourns
Hindu, JUne 9. As Sri Lanka mourned the killings of the Industrial Development Minister, Mr. C.V. Gooneratne, his wife and 20 others by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber, investigators claimed a breakthrough in the case after scores of arrests from around the site of the attack. Of those who were picked up for questioning in connection with the attack, five persons were handed over to the Terrorist Investigation Department for further enquiries. A few Tamil students were being held at a police station near the site of the attack, while the rest have been released. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 20:46:03 EDT 2000

PA, UNP discuss control of land use
Hindu, June 9. The contentious issue of control of land use was the main issue of discussion when the ruling People's Alliance and the Opposition United National Party (UNP) met this afternoon for consultations on the government's proposed Constitutional reforms. A joint communique issued by both sides said, without going into specific details, that ``agreement was reached on several matters'' relating to the land provisions. It said a sub- committee on the land provisions would tackle the remaining matters, and that dates for more meetings between the two sides were fixed. The UNP's position on the issue is that control over land should continue to be vested with the Centre, while the proposals are for handing it over to the regions. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 20:44:05 EDT 2000

Colombo security needs a thorough overhaul: Expert
HT, June 9 . IF COLOMBO is to be a safe city for tourism and foreign investment, its security system has to undergo an overhaul, according to a Lankan detective now retired. "Sniffers and snipers should supplement the existing security system, which though large and elaborate, is not effective," the expert told The Hindustan Times. Yes, Colombo is bristling with army and police checkpoints, sandbagged bunkers manned by men and women carrying T-56 rifles and sometimes even RPGs. But these have not prevented the LTTE from smuggling in explosives like RDX and C4 in huge quantities. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 20:39:43 EDT 2000

Chandrika, Opp discuss peace plan
Times of India, June 10. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga held crucial talks Friday with the Opposition on a controversial peace plan, even as heavy fighting raged in the island's north and the Colombo police detained more than 60 people for questioning after Wednesday's suicide bombing. Kumaratunga had discussions with the main Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on her radical power-sharing plan, aimed at ending decades of ethnic bloodshed, the Colombo-based officials said. "They were discussing the very crucial area of who will control land under a devolved system of administration," a source close to the talks said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 20:31:26 EDT 2000

Jaswant Singh to visit Sri Lanka tomorrow
Hindu, JUNE 9. . In a significant development, the Minister of External Affairs, Mr Jaswant Singh, is scheduled to arrive here on an official visit on Sunday to hold discussions with the Sri Lankan President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, on the crisis in the island. With New Delhi reiterating its commitment to a united Sri Lanka, Mr. Singh's visit is expected to allay apprehensions here about statements made by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and the BJP's partner at the Centre, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, that he favoured a Czechoslovakian-style solution to the ethnic conflict. Mr. Singh is expected to stress the urgency for a speedy political solution to the aspirations of the Tamil minority of Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 20:20:31 EDT 2000

Turning the Tables on the Tigers
GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE UPDATE, 7 June 2000. Taking Jaffna is critical for both the government and the rebels, but the chances for a Tiger victory are decreasing. After sweeping through the northern third of Sri Lanka in five months, the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have lost their momentum. Sophisticated combined-arms tactics have given way to isolated shelling and small skirmishes. Government troops still hold the city of Jaffna, and have been able to receive supplies by air and sea.A massive arms purchasing spree by Sri Lanka is the most likely explanation for this shift on the battlefield. Specifically, multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs) and Israeli-made Kfir aircraft have given government troops parity on land and superiority in the air. The addition of MBRLs equalizes the situation on the ground – previously only the LTTE had the launchers, which allowed it to strike at government troops from a distance.If an outside power – such as India, China, the United States or their proxies – ever wanted to gain a foothold in Sri Lanka, now is the time to act. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 20:18:04 EDT 2000

Axworthy to stanch terror funds flow Government on the defensive in wake of Tigers' deadly bomb
National Post, June 9. The government moved swiftly yesterday to repair the political damage caused by Wednesday's deadly suicide bombing in Sri Lanka, announcing that it would amend the Criminal Code if necessary to stop terrorist fundraising in Canada. Ottawa had helped draft, and has signed, a United Nations agreement outlawing terrorist fundraising, and added: "There may have to be amendments in order to provide for the requirements of that legislation, and that's what the government is working on now." "The government of Canada and the people of Canada deplore yesterday's act of terrorism, which claimed 21 lives in Sri Lanka," Mr. MacAulay told the House. "The government strongly condemns terrorism and any group that uses violence to forward their goals." Paul Martin, the Finance Minister, did not respond to questions about his participation in a May 6 dinner hosted by a group that has been widely identified as a fundraising front for the Tigers. Mr. Martin earlier accused critics of being "anti-Canadian." Jim Abbot, the Alliance solicitor-general critic, said although Canada had signed the U.N. agreement outlawing terrorist financing, the practice continues. "In spite of the piece of paper that the minister was talking about, these organizations continue to collect money. They tell us it's over $20-million a year," he said. CSIS and the RCMP say the Tamil Tigers have an extensive fundraising network in Canada that raises money through rallies, crime and front organizations to finance the purchase of weapons. Tigers supporters are planning a rally at Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre this weekend. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 15:24:47 EDT 2000

If dollars pay for terror
Globe & Mail, June 9. Thousands of Tamil Canadians are planning to come together Saturday to celebrate, among other things, a recent string of victories by militant Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka. There might even be some quiet gloating over an extraordinary score on Wednesday in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, where a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber killed 23 people, including a cabinet minister, at a War Heroes Day ceremony.That Canadians can cheer the murder of innocent civilians is often seen as an important element of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Whether they should be allowed to finance such murders, and other terrorist activities, is a different question that could soon test the Canadian government's moral resolve.The Sri Lankan government has pleaded with Ottawa to do something about this, saying it is nothing less than the abetting of terrorism and a direct violation of the new International Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which Canada helped draft and then signed in February.The U.S. State Department lists FACT as a terrorist organization, which is a belief shared by a succession of Canadian high commissioners to Colombo who have urged Ottawa to shut down FACT, only to be refused by both Conservative and Liberal ministers. Finance Minister Paul Martin, whose prime-ministerial ambitions are well known, went so far last month as to attend a FACT fundraising dinner in Toronto, along with International Co-operation Minister Maria Minna. Small wonder. There are close to 200,000 Tamils in Canada, most of them living and voting in Liberal ridings in the Toronto area. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 14:49:55 EDT 2000

Fierce fighting erupts in Jaffna
Hindu, June 9. Fierce battles between Government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels erupted near a key town in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula on Friday, military officials said. They said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had launched a dawm attack on military defences around the town of Koddikamam but troops had beaten back the rebel assault. "We repulsed the attack and chased them away," one senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said by phone. He gave no further details. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 12:55:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan troops encounter heavy resistance.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT.22: 18 Friday.. Just 48 hours after Sri Lankan government dedicated Wednesday for war fallen heroes', separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched heavy attacks on troops defence positions on Friday. But the soldiers aided by air cover counter attacked and inched to capture one and half Kilometers rebel-held stretch in northern Jaffna peninsula.

In the fighting both sides suffered heavy casualties, military sources said.

The fresh fighting erupted when Tamil Tiger rebels attempted to advance deep into government controlled territory from Chavakachcheri. But government troops equipped with state-of-art weapons fought pitched battles forcing the Tiger rebels to flee.

The fleeing prompted the battle commanders to order a limited operation against the rebels and push them to eastern coastal lines of northern Jaffna peninsula. But the rebels reinforced with additional cadres prevented the soldiers punching corridors by either killing or wounding a large number of soldiers belonging to a company, military officials added.

At the time of writing heavy battles were raging, with Sri Lankan air force fighter planes strafing LTTE targets north of A9 highway that is dubbed as highway of death. Fresh fighting came just 48 hours after government dedicated the day for fallen war heroes'.

And the fighting also followed after the assassination of minister for industries Clement Victor Gunaratnae by a LTTE suicide cadre. He was killed along with 22 others in a LTTE suicide attack just out side of the commercial city of Sri Lanka.

Military officials said the fighting was centered around Kodikamam, a big town located between Jaffna and Elephant Pass. The fighting also prompted the senior military officials in Colombo to convene an urgent meeting to review the security situation.

Tamil Tigers rebels, branded and banned as a terrorist organisation by the government of United States of America is fighting to create an independent homeland for minority Tamils.
Published: Fri Jun 9 12:44:15 EDT 2000


Sri Lanka's protracted war-Editorial
Dawn , June 9. Yet another Sri Lankan politician, along with 21 civilians, has been killed by a Tamil suicide bomber in a Colombo suburb during a parade commemorating the country's first War Heroes Day. With this latest bombing , chances of peace or even a temporary truce in the near future seem remote. The LTTE is also averse to any kind of dialogue with the government, and showed its contempt for Norway's efforts at brokering peace talks by bombing its embassy in Colombo. With the Tamils hell-bent upon securing their goal of a separate homeland in the north and northeast, and the government's resolve to thwart these aspirations, no respite from the conflict appears in sight. There is also the Indian stance to be considered. While the Vajpayee government does not support the Tamil demand for a separate state, India has supported LTTE guerillas in the past. More recently, the Tamil Nadu chief minister, K.M. Karunanidhi, has added fuel to the fire by proposing the division of Sri Lanka along ethnic lines. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 10:35:50 EDT 2000

CPI moots all-party meet on Sri Lanka
Hindu, June 9. The CPI today said India cannot remain a neutral spectator to the Sri Lankan crisis but has to play a political and diplomatic role for a peaceful solution of the ethnic problem and suggested that the Vajpayee Government convene an all-party meeting for consultations on the issue. Criticising the position of BJP's allies, DMK and MDMK, suggesting division of the island nation on the Czech type model, CPI national secretary D Raja said Sri Lanka cannot be compared to Czechoslovakia. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 10:29:34 EDT 2000

Gibbs out of Sri Lanka tour after confession
Hindu, June 9. South African opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs was today ruled out of next month's Sri Lanka tour after admitting he had accepted a bribe to under-perform in a one-day international in India. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 10:26:41 EDT 2000

Suicide bomber's aides arrested
India Abroad, June 9. Suicide bomber's aides arrested June 09, 2000 14:00 Hrs (IST)

Colombo: Three people, including a woman, were arrested on Thursday in connection with the LTTE suicide bomb attack here in which a senior minister and 23 others were killed. Police also established the identity of the suicide bomber, media reports said here on Friday.two businessmen and a woman were arrested on the basis of a letter recovered from the suicide bombers' clothes.

Incriminating evidence, suggesting that the three had provided a safe house for the suicide bomber or bombers along with transportation to carry out the attack, was obtained, the report said. A van purportedly used by the suicide bomber to reach the spot was also seized. Police have identified the suicide bomber as one 'Ruben' from the evidence they managed to collect so far, the report said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 10:24:49 EDT 2000


Bombers blast Lanka campaign hopes
India Abroad, June 9. Sri Lankan politicians will have to scale down public appearances and campaigning for parliamentary elections due later this year, as fears grow that they may be easy targets for Black Tiger suicide attacks, officials said. Members of the ruling People's Alliance (PA) were told to cut down on traveling and curtail outdoor activities after Wednesday's assassination of Industries Minister C.V. Gunaratne by a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber, police officials said.Newspapers quoted police as saying that Inspector Mangala Jayasinghe, who was in charge of the minister's security, had repeatedly warned Gunaratne against the walkabout as there were fears that the LTTE would carry out some attack as a show of defiance on that particular day. Jayasinghe was among the seven policemen who died in the explosion. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 10:20:58 EDT 2000

Government troops repulse rebel onslaught in northern Sri Lanka.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT.19: 36 Friday.. Heavy fighting flared-up in northern Jaffna peninsula after three weeks of lull between government troops and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with both warring factions suffering heavy casualties, military officials and independent sources said.

The fighting escalated after Tamil Tiger rebels attempted a push deep into the peninsula from Chavakachcheri. But government troops anticipating the push counter attacked with heavy artillery and armoury forcing the rebels to retreat.

Military officials said the Tamil Tiger rebels were falling backwards with heavy casualties. However they refused to divulge the casualties of government troops. But independent sources said hat both sides suffered heavy casualties and heavy fighting was continuing.
Published: Fri Jun 9 09:17:50 EDT 2000


Bangkok denies submarine is Tigers'
Straitstimes, June 9. A Thai foreign ministry spokesman denied on Wednesday that a half-built miniature submarine discovered in a shipyard in southern Thailand was destined for the Tamil Tigers separatist group in Sri Lanka. The denial was in response to a report in Wednesday's Bangkok Post newspaper quoting a Thai intelligence official saying the 5-metre long vessel was meant to be used for sabotage missions by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerillas.A Thai partner in the shipyard told the Phuket Gazette that the vessel was brought in its unfinished state from Bangkok to the shipyard about five years ago and had been sitting there unattended since. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 09:02:49 EDT 2000

Lankan Parliament further extends state of emergency
Broadcastindia.com/Doordarshan, June 9, 2000. Lankan Parliament has extended the nationwide state of emergency for one more month. Parliament was adjourned early under fears of more assassination bids following the killing of Industry Minister in a suicide bomb blast which about 25 people were killed and 57 injured. Several suspects who had been arrested following the bomb blasts were released yesterday after their identities were established. Meanwhile fresh fighting between LTTE and government troops claimed 13 more lives. More... [Watch]
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:56:47 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers kil two soldiers in fresh fighting
AFP, June 9 2000 13:01 IST. At least two government soldiers were killed and another 12 wounded in a clsh with Tamil Tiger guerrillas in Sri Lanka's northern peninsula of Jaffna, the government said Friday. The clash was triggered Thursday when troops confronted a group of fighters from the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) near Columbuthurai, the government's Special Media Information Centre said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:46:31 EDT 2000

Sri Lankans mourn dead minister
BBC, Friday, 9 June, 2000, 11:04 GMT. arge numbers of people in the Sri Lankan capital are paying their respects to the cabinet minister who was assassinated by a suicide bomber on Wednesday. The coffin containing CV Gooneratne's body, together with that of his wife, who died last night of her injuries in the blast, was put on display for public viewing ahead of the state funeral on Saturday. Queues were already growing outside the municipal offices in the Colombo suburb Mr Gooneratne represented politically and where he died, as the two coffins were brought in for what will be a day and night of public viewing. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:40:26 EDT 2000

Sexual abuse of Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka is rife, says report
123India, June 9. Sexual abuse of Tamil men in Sri Lankan jails is rampant, including rape, electric shocks to the genitals and forced sex acts with prison guards, according to a study published in Saturday's issue of The Lancet, the British medical weekly. The study was compiled by the London-based Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, which assessed medico-legal reports by 17 doctors investigating allegations by 184 Tamil men. Thirty-eight of them complained of sexual abuse, including severe forms of torture, by prison guards, it said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:39:40 EDT 2000

Heavy fighting breaks out at Kodikamam
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.35 p.m. SLT Friday June 9. After a week in which there was a lull in battle between government troops and the LTTE, fresh fighting broke out this morning in the Kodikamam area in the Jaffna peninsula.
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:38:29 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka peace plan enters crucial stage amid fighting
AFP, Friday, June 9 6:48 PM SGT . Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga held crucial talks Friday with the opposition on a controversial peace plan as heavy fighting raged in the island's north, officials said. Kumaratunga had discussions with the main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on her radical power-sharing plan, aimed at ending decades of ethnic bloodshed, the Colombo-based officials said. "They were discussing the very crucial area of who will control land under a devolved system of administration," a source close to the talks said. "They agreed to have another meeting on Monday." More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:32:34 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Economy To Hurt More After Tax, Tariff Hikes
Dow Jones, Friday, June 9 6:57 PM SGT . Sri Lankan economists are downgrading their growth estimates for this year following recent increases in taxes and tariffs which will saddle businesses with higher costs. Although the central bank has maintained its 5.5% growth forecast, saying it is too early to revise the figure, a survey conducted by Dow Jones Newswires this week showed economists have cut their growth forecast for this year to an average 4.6%, down from an average 5.0% prediction at the beginning of the year. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:30:58 EDT 2000

Recalling IPKF was a blunder: JN Dixit
Times of India, June 9. NEW DELHI: Former foreign secretary J N Dixit has said it was a 'blunder' on the part of the government in 1990 to call back the IPKF from Sri Lanka as the problems would have been solved if the Indian Army had been given a few more months.'It was a blunder, because it was a proper treaty between India and Sri Lanka, and the most important point is that our Army had completed more than three-fourths of the task'', Dixit said.He said it was true that the LTTE got support from Tamil Nadu, even from state government officials and institutions. Support was provided in the form of materials and hospitality and it was a big triangle which even involved smuggling and narcotics, he said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:26:24 EDT 2000

`No change in PMK, MDMK stand on Lanka'
Times of India, June 9. PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss said on Friday that there was no change in the PMK and MDMK's perception that the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka could be ended only by the creation of a separate "Eelam" (Tamil state). In an informal chat with reporters here, Ramadoss said though the PMK firmly believed that only a separate homeland for Tamils would provide a permanent solution to the Sri Lankan problem, its views could not be thrust on the ruling National Democratic Alliance which consisted of 22 constituents. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 08:23:50 EDT 2000

Assassin of Sri Lankan government minister identified.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT. 17.19. Friday.. Sri Lankan police investigating into last Wednesday's suicide attack on a government minister and 22 others have identified the killer, a spokesman for the police headquarters said.

Police named him as Ruban, a native of northern Wanni. In the Wednesday's attack the minister for Industries was killed along with 22 others during a peace rally in the suburbs of Colombo. The assassination sent shock waves through the defence circles, which immediately detailed troops and policemen on to the streets of Colombo to check vehicles and civilians entering or leaving the city.

Aftermath of the assassination, police raided Mortuwa university and apprehended 58 under graduates for questioning. Many of them were released subsequently as no evidence was found that they were involved in the attack.

The killings prompted human rights activists in Colombo to call for a negotiated settlement for the ongoing 18 years of bloody war that has claimed the lives of over 75,000 people.

Against the backdrop, the lull in the war theatre continued except for minor skirmishes between government troops and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in northern Jaffna peninsula.

"It's definitely a calm before a major storm, both sides waiting one of them to make a move", a Colombo based diplomat told The Lacnet. On Thursday, the opposition leader Ranil Wickrmasinghe lambasted ruling-PA government for handling the war in a callous manner and questioned the government ministers of funds received to the fight the war.
Published: Fri Jun 9 07:22:39 EDT 2000


Indian church bombings rekindle Christian fears
ABC News, 03:58 GMT Friday June 08. NEW DELHI, June 9 (Reuters) - A series of bomb attacks on churches in India and the murder of a Catholic priest have re-ignited fears of a fresh campaign against Christians by Hindu militants, church leaders said on Friday. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 04:16:02 EDT 2000

Tamil Eelam is not the answer to Lanka crisis: Vajpayee
India Express, Friday June 08. Reiterating that the creation of a separate Tamil Eelam is not the answer to the present crisis in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has said the solution as to be found by the Lankan government within its geographical boundaries. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 04:12:29 EDT 2000

Troops slowly advancing deep in to the LTTE
SL Government, SLT Friday June 09. The government declared yesterday that troops are advancing slowly despite LTTE resistance, turning back the terrorists' 'Unceasing Waves'. Deputy Defence Minister Anurduddha Ratwatte urged the Parliament yesterday to extend the State of Emergency to enable the security forces to fight against the terrorists successfully. More...
Published: Fri Jun 9 04:04:27 EDT 2000


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