The Lanka Academic

JUNE 11, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 67

Jaffna Peninsula
Jaffna Peninsula
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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India only aspires, doesn't act like a regional heavyweight - Commentry
Rediff, June 8. Luckily, the Lankan war has not resulted in an outflow of refugees from that island to India, though there is a trickle. The government is caught in a cleft: worried about its political allies and Tamilian sentiments on one side, and about opposing terrorism globally on the other side. A security affairs expert put the case in perspective. "Being a great power means having the ability to overcome your domestic opposition and other problems to act in accordance with your national interests. In Lanka, we simply cannot act since we are being pulled in different directions, and if we can't do anything in our backyard, we are not even a regional power," he lamented. In our backyard, Norway is far more active in trying to secure peace while New Delhi twiddles its thumb. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 20:00:50 EDT 2000

India values Lanka unity: Jaswant
Rediff, June 11. India is understood to have conveyed its ''position and perception'' on the Sri Lankan crisis and stressed the need for an early political settlement to the ethnic problem without affecting the unity and territorial integrity of the island nations. Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, who arrived in Colombo Sunday afternoon on a two-day official visit, conveyed New Delhi's stand at a dinner meeting, hosted by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. At his meeting with Kumaratunga, Jaswant is believed to have reassured Lanka on New Delhi's stand that India values the unity and territorial integrity of its neighbour. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:54:16 EDT 2000

Tiger 'victory rally' in Toronto canceled
India-abroad, June 11. A Sri Lankan Tamil community organisation's grand plans to hold a massive event to celebrate the military successes of separatist Tamil guerrillas in their native island nation came to naught when the amphitheater it had hired decided against hosting the rally.The World Tamil Movement (WTM) was greatly disappointed when the Molson Amphitheater here, following a threatening call it received and subsequent consultations with the police, canceled the rally at the last minute, leaving the community high and dry. The organizers were expecting at least 20,000 people to pack the amphitheater yesterday and hoped to raise about Cnd$100,000 at the event. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:49:11 EDT 2000

US journalist body flays censorship
AsianAge, June 11. A journalist’ body in the US has expressed concern over continuance of censorship regulations on Sri Lanka’s local media and urged President Chandrika Kumaratunga to lift “all censorship regulations immediately.”“CPJ finds it alarming that Sri Lankan residents now have less access to news and information about the civil war than people living outside the country,” the committee said in a statement.Conveying its concerns to Ms Kumaratunga in a letter, the CPJ said, “as an organisation of journalists dedicated to the defence of press freedom around the world.(PTI) More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:42:57 EDT 2000

‘India should not meddle in Lanka issue’
AsianAge, June 11. Notwithstanding battle of wits among NDA constituents over government’s refusal to intervene in Sri Lanka, experts say India should not meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. “It is an internal affair of Sri Lanka and let them handle their business,” says Bhabani Sengupta, former external affairs advisor to then Prime Minister I.K. Gujral.“My strong opinion is that India should not think of any military intervention,” Mr Sengupta told PTI.However, there are some who say that the decision not to intervene to resolve the ethnic strife could contribute to the unravelling of India’s position as a regional power.“It is very disappointing that the Vajpayee government is not discharging its national obligation. Indian ocean is very much our concern. We cannot be sitting ducks leaving it to others to play,” says former external affairs minister and senior congress leader K. Natwar Singh. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:40:10 EDT 2000

Red alert: More attacks feared in Lanka
Asian Age, June 11. Sri Lankan police have declared a red alert in the city warning about the presence of 25 more LTTE human bombs ready to launch attacks, in the wake of the recent suicide bomb attack here which killed a senior minister and 24 others.Local media reports quoting police officials said here on Sunday that despite frequent crackdown by police on the LTTE hideouts in the city, a well co-ordinated network of the rebel bombers continued tister’s office in Colombo, the police had said that over a dozen suicide bombers had sneaked into the city.One police official even said that they had the identity and photographs of the bombers. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:37:02 EDT 2000

'Special' treatment to TULF irks other Tamil parties
Hindu, June 11. Former Tamil militant groups now in mainstream Sri Lankan politics are in a sulk about their meeting tomorrow with the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh. Representatives of the four groups - Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), People's Liberation Organisation of Tamils (PLOT), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Organisation (EPRLF) - are scheduled to meet the minister jointly. ``Of the Tamil parties, we have the largest number of MPs in Parliament, yet we do not get a separate meeting. But the TULF, which has stopped attending meetings on constitutional reforms, gets to see the Minister alone,'' fumed Dr. Vigneswaran, an EPDP representative. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:24:06 EDT 2000

India may want LTTE on board
Hindu, June 11. According to highly-placed Government sources, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in its last meeting reiterated that the LTTE's participation was necessary for any lasting negotiated deal in Sri Lanka. While endorsing LTTE's participation, India, at the same time, is clear that Tamil secession in Sri Lanka is non-negotiable. Policy-makers, while endorsing Sri Lanka's ``unity and territorial integrity'', have veered to the view that a lasting solution would depend on two factors. The Sri Lankan Government will have to accommodate the maximum autonomy for the Tamil population. On its part, the LTTE has to concede that realising its maximalist goal of a Tamil Eelam is impossible. In the negotiations towards autonomy, which might begin subsequently, a devolution package based on the Thimpu negotiations of 1985 and talks which immediately followed this meeting could become the reference point. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:20:37 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka hopeful as Jaswant arrives
Hindu, June 11. The Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Jaswant Singh, arrived here this afternoon amid anticipation that after a decade of disengagement, India was once again preparing to take the initiative in finding a solution to Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic conflict. The President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, and Mr. Singh held a one-to-one meeting this evening at Temple Trees, the President's official home. The meeting lasted 45 minutes. No aides were present, and details of the meeting were not immediately available. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:15:41 EDT 2000

M. Karunanidhi: Tiger under wraps
Hindustan Times, June 11. Karunanidhi’s Sri Lankan Tamil march skidded to a halt on two counts — his government’s dismissal in 1991 for hobnobbing with the LTTE and the subsequent indictment of the DMK and its chief by the Jain Commission in the aftermath of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination by the Tigers. This led to the fall of the United Front government in 1997 in New Delhi. Curbing his Tamilian instinct, Karunanidhi mothballed the Sri Lankan issue even while distancing himself from the LTTE. Ever since he was voted back in 1996, Karunanidhi has reserved his comments on Sri Lanka, silently toeing the official Delhi line. Till lesser politicians of the state like Vaiko and Ramadoss, and even a new Dalit leader, Krishnaswamy, became leading advocates of the Tamil cause in Lanka. These leaders had no compunction in backing the LTTE with their organisations reportedly funded by Tiger money in their early days. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:09:09 EDT 2000

Tamil Eelam group wants India to lift ban on LTTE
Hindustan Times, June 11. he TELO leader felt that it was time India and the Indians set aside emotions and the various omissions and commissions of the LTTE and looked at the grim reality in Sri Lanka. Millions of Tamils and Sinhalas were suffering because of the continuing war, and India could not just look on passively, he said. But spokesmen of the other Tamil parties said that TELO stood isolated on this issue. The leader of PLOTE, Mr.D. Siddharthan, and the Senior Vice President of the TULF, Mr.V. Anandasangaree, said that it was not possible for India to lift the ban on the LTTE given the fact that only last month New Delhi had reimposed the ban giving very elaborate security reasons. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 19:00:36 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Sets Curfew After Bombing
AP, Sunday June 11 2:30 PM ET. The government set a curfew Sunday in neighborhoods near the site of a suicide-bomb assassination to prevent revenge attacks on minority Tamils suspected in the attack. Troops killed 11 Tamil Tigers in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, where the rebels have been fighting to establish a homeland for minority Tamils, the government said. Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, who arrived Sunday for discussions on the military and political situation, met with Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, and then informally with President Chandrika Kumaratunga. They allowed photographs, but no questions from the media. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 17:56:20 EDT 2000

Thilanga Sumathipala elected uncontested to Presidency of Sri Lankan Board.
Crickinfo, June 11. Thilanga Sumathipala was re-elected President for the third successive year at the AGM for the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) today. In a dramatic twist to a controversial period in Sri Lanka cricket board politics Sumathipala was elected uncontested after his three contestants suddenly withdrew from the election. His main rival, Jayantha Dharmadasa is claiming that Thilanga Sumithapala was an illegal candidate. Dharmadasa also declared that he would be taking legal steps. The exact nature of this legal plan is as of yet not clear. The Minister of Sports, Mr SB Dissanayake, finally called for the postponed election after a directive from the Attorney General, and had refused to delay it further despite numerous objections and an alleged request by the Interim Committee to extend their period in office. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 13:28:20 EDT 2000

Jaswant Singh in Colombo
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 p.m. SLT Sunday June 11. Foreign Ministry sources said today that Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, this evening held a one to one discussion with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar which lasted for one hour at Temple Trees, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge's official residence. The Indian Minister thereafter had a brief meeting with the President before adjourning for dinner.

Mr. Singh is scheduled to meet for official discussions with President Chandrika Kumaratunge tomorrow (Monday) at 10 a.m. He will in the afternoon meet with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and other Tamil political party leaders.

The real reason for Mr.Jaswant Singh's arrival in Colombo has been clouded in secrecy. Indian newspaper reports have speculated that the high level meeting in Colombo may possibly carry a proposal to initiate a ceasefire between Lankan troops and the LTTE waging a bloody war in Sri Lanka's far North. Further speculation has suggested that the Indian Minister may carry a message from India's Central government on the possibilities of power sharing within a unitary framework in Sri Lanka.
Published: Sun Jun 11 12:27:31 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Airforce to get new fighter planes
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.20 p.m. SLT Sunday June 11. Defence Ministry sources revealed today that the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) in two weeks will receive four new MIG - 27's and four Kfir Jets with a capacity to carry 1000 kilogram bombs. The present air fleet has the capacity to carry only upto 500 kilograms of explosives. The planes will be flown in battle for the SLAF by mercenary pilots.
Published: Sun Jun 11 12:27:31 EDT 2000

Rebels reportedly hamper Sri Lanka military supply routes
UPI, June 11, 2000 03:35. Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas blocked supply routes to the Jaffna peninsula by shelling the air force base and the sea port in the region. The Sunday Times reported, in a heavily censored report, that rebels fired on the air base at Palaly and also rendered the Kankesanthurai port useless for government troops. The report said that the government stopped flying fixed-wing aircraft to Palaly, which once also served civilians flights. Only helicopters were allowed to fly to the base, located adjacent to the government's largest military garrison on the peninsula. The government reportedly discontinued flights of fixed-wing aircraft to the peninsula fearing that rebels could shell the base or use missiles to shoot down planes. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 11:53:39 EDT 2000

Indian foreign minister in Sri Lanka for crisis talks
AFP, Sunday, June 11 8:38 PM SGT. India's Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh arrived here Sunday for conciliatory talks amid embarrassing calls at home to partition Sri Lanka to end the island's ethnic conflict, diplomats said. Indian foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal told reporters in New Delhi Saturday the visit was "part of a high-level political engagement" between the two countries. "The purpose of the visit is to further buttress the existing appreciation and understanding between India and Sri Lanka. The Indian foreign minister in his meetings will discuss all aspects of bilateral relations," Jassal said. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 11:47:19 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka troops kill 11 Tigers amid truce offer
AFP, Sunday, June 11 5:37 PM SGT. Sri Lankan troops attacked rebel bunkers in the northern peninsula of Jaffna killing nine guerrillas, the government said Sunday. The attack came as the separatists offered a temporary truce in the embattled region. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 11:44:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka overhauls VIP security amid suicide bombing fears
AFP, Sunday, June 11 2:29 PM SGT . Sri Lanka was set for a security shake up amid fears that at least 25 Tamil Tiger suicide bombers have infiltrated the capital, police said Sunday. "There is bound to be a shake up in VIP security after such a lapse," a senior police officer said, adding that the minister had been warned he was a potential target for the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). "We can't ask politicians to cut down on their activities because by nature they want to be closer to the people," a senior official who declined to be named said. "It is up to the police to ensure he his given adequate protection." More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 11:42:55 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka crisis needs resolution, refugees a problem in India: minister
AFP, Sunday, June 11 1:52 PM SGT. Sri Lanka's lingering and bloody civil war must be resolved politically, an Indian federal minister said Sunday, stressing that a huge influx of Tamil refugees was a severe problem for India. Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoli Maran from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu told the Hindustan Times daily that lasting peace in the neighbouring war-torn Sri Lankan island could only be reached through a political settlement, preferably within Sri Lankan itself, but did not rule out any foreign involvement. "There has to be a political solution," he said. "The opposition and the ruling party there may come together in Lanka but we do not know what the Buddhist clergy is thinking." More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 11:40:49 EDT 2000

Indian minister visits Sri Lanka
BBC News, 08:29 GMT Sunday June 11. Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh arrives in Sri Lanka on Sunday for talks with government and opposition leaders aimed at finding a political solution to the country's long-running civil war.

The two-day visit comes just days after a row erupted over a suggestion by a key ethnic Tamil ally of the Indian coalition government that Sri Lanka should end the war by splitting in two along the lines of the Czech and Slovak republics. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 04:45:53 EDT 2000

Rain prevents play on first day of the tour
Crickinfo, 10 June 2000 . The torrential rains that have drenched Colombo in the last few days have prevented any play on the first day of Pakistan’s tour. The gloomy whether was however unable to dampen the spirits of the Pakistan players who were in a jovial mood today. Perhaps still elated after their triumph in Dhaka they arrived early in the morning, disappeared for some indoor practice before returning for a spot lunch and a gentle sing song. The Sri Lanka selection committee has recently been joined by Dav Whatmore after the resignation last week of Sidath Wetimuny and Asantha De Mel. He will join former opening batsmen and wicket-keeper, Brendon Kuruppu and T.H. Kehelgamuwa in the selection committee. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 01:27:36 EDT 2000

Lankans pin much hope on Jaswant Singh’s visit
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, June 10 . THE VISIT of Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh here on Sunday at the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government, will be taking place at one of the most critical junctures in Sri Lankan history. A Sri Lankan diplomat told The Hindustan Times that both Sri Lanka and India were "desperate" about finding a solution to the ethnic crisis which assumed dangerous proportions after the LTTE threatened to take over Jaffna. And now, after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's statement that "divorce" or separation of Tamil Eelam could be an option, the crisis has assumed a new and perhaps a more dangerous dimension. There was already some intelligence sharing and naval cooperation, but Sri Lanka might ask for the strengthening of such cooperation, the diplomat said. He indicated that the issue of joint patrolling of the seas between the two countries would be raised by the Sri Lankan side More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 01:00:10 EDT 2000

Jaswant dashing to Colombo with PM's 5-point brief
JAL News, 10 June. External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh flies to Colombo Sunday afternoon, carrying a 5-point brief from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for personally conveying to Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga to allay all apprehensions about India's stand in the current ethnic Tamil turmoil the island nation is facing.

These points are:

- India respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka;

- India also respects the rights of the ethnic Tamil minority in Sri Lanka and favours devolution of powers to restore normalcy in the areas witnessing the Army-LTTE clashes for the past one month;

- India will not intervene in the Sri Lanka crisis and there is absolutely no question of any attempt, covert or otherwise, by India to liberate the northeastern areas of the island nation;

- India rejects and disapproves any Czech-type division of Sri Lanka; and

- India reserves its right to decide on continuation of training to some 2,500 personnel of the Sri Lankan army and para-military forces in various Indian military and para-military organisations which has been put on hold since past one month. (Almost 2400 of the 2500 personnel sent for training in the last batch were Sinhalese while Tamils numbered less than 100, sources said.) More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 00:44:53 EDT 2000

My formula was for Lanka, not NDA: Karunanidhi
NewIndPress, June 10. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday made it clear that the forumla suggested by him to resolve the Sri Lankan crisis was in fact addressed to the Sri Lankan Government and not meant to be imposed on the NDA. ``I had said that if one of the three solutions _ a quasi-federal set-up or a confederal set-up or a Czechslovakia model _ is accepted, it will not pose any threat to South Asia, or India, or Tamil Nadu.'' It was made only as asuggestion and he would not insist that the NDA Government adopt it. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 00:32:22 EDT 2000

Jaswant visit to calm Sri Lanka's nerves
NewIndPress, June 10. In an effort to calm Sri Lanka's nerves over some recent statements, especially by DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi who advocated division of Sri Lanka, and reiterate India's official position on the country's unity and territorial integrity, Minister for External Affairs Jaswant Singh is flying to Colombo tomorrow.`I am going as a friend of Sri Lanka, as a friend of peace,'' Singh said here on Saturday. He added that after the recent assassination of Sri Lankan leader C V Gooneratne by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), he wanted to personally convey New Delhi's concern to a nation under siege.Gooneratne's assassination has, however, strengthened the view in Delhi that the LTTE's vision of Eelam cannot be allowed to come to pass. More...
Published: Sun Jun 11 00:28:36 EDT 2000

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, 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

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