The Lanka Academic

VOL. 7, NO. 168


Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.

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Headline Summary
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Sri Lankan air force pounds Jaffna peninsula; 2 suspected Tamil rebels killed elsewhere
Associated Press, Thu September 21, 2006 09:29 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's air force pounded ethnic Tamil rebel positions on the northern Jaffna peninsula Thursday and two guerrillas died in other fighting, the military said, as hundreds of women marched in the capital for peace. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka - 's Tamil minority in the north and east, citing discrimination at the hands of the ethnic Sinhalese-dominated government.

Some 65,000 people died in the conflict before the government and rebels signed a cease-fire in 2002.

But in recent months fighting has escalated in the north and east, leaving hundreds of Sri Lankans dead and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

On Thursday, around 200 women rallied in Colombo to call for an immediate end to the violence, organizers said.

``We want the killings to stop and a resolution of the country's conflict through dialogue to bring peace,'' said Kumudini Samuel, one of the organizers of the group, Sri Lankan Women for Peace and Democracy.

Discuss this story
Published: Thu Sep 21 11:30:40 EDT 2006

Tamil MPs seek Indian help to end killings in Sri Lanka, Sep 21. New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) A group of Sri Lankan MPs supporting the Tamil Tigers Thursday pressed India to help end a wave of 'extra-judicial killings' of Tamils in their country and said international pledges to keep the island united should be linked to Colombo's readiness to share power with the minorities.The members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) made the appeal at a nearly hour-long meeting with National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, one day before they are to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for talks that would be seen as a subtle shift in India's Sri Lanka policy. More...
Published: Thu Sep 21 23:08:35 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Terrified residents fleeing Sri Lanka 's battered Jaffna Peninsula
Associated Press, Thu September 21, 2006 10:33 EDT . ANTHONY DEUTSCH - Associated Press Writer - JAFFNA, Sri Lanka - (AP) Artillery thundered into the night as hundreds of people waited in a darkened security zone for a ferry that would take them away from this island nation's isolated northern front. The Asian Human Rights Commission, in a report this month, said Sri Lanka - was headed for ``a period of terror'' with more than 400 ethnic Tamil youths having been reported missing since December, all from the Jaffna area.

The government, which denies any involvement, last week appointed a retired judge to look into the disappearances.

The only way to leave Jaffna now is by boat but those are rare and some people feel trapped.

On Wednesday morning, Sowmithan and seven friends were among about 800 people to leave on a navy ferry heading for the eastern port of Trincomalee, the third boat in recent weeks. Their families were to remain behind, along with 15,000 others on a waiting list.

Jaffna, which is mostly Tamil, has long been a key target of both sides in Sri Lanka - 's long-running dispute. Considered the cultural heartland of the Tamils, control of the peninsula and Jaffna city changed hands twice during the island's 19-year civil war, before falling to the government dominated by the majority Sinhalese in 1995.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been fighting the government since 1983 for a separate homeland in the north and east, citing decades of discrimination. They have created a de facto state in the land under their control.

The Tigers launched an assault on Jaffna in August, but the army pushed them back.

This week, journalists were allowed into the area for the first time since then, taken by military escort to the battlefield littered with decomposing bodies, burned-out vehicles and unexploded ammunition.

While the fighting is around 10 miles (15 miles) from Jaffna city, life for the estimated 500,000 people of Jaffna peninsula is a struggle.

A curfew bans movement for 12 hours every night, mobile phone service and many regular phone lines have been cut, the price of food has skyrocketed and residents are now forced to cook what they have over open fires.

People line up at government-regulated distribution centers for rice, bread, sugar and flour.

Bunkers and checkpoints have been erected at nearly every corner and at least 40,000 troops are stationed on the peninsula, military officials said.

``It has been terrible,'' said Samorajan, 60, who was escaping the troubles on the ferry with his extended family of 9, including 2 young children.

``There has been little food and the price of what there is very high. We will go to Colombo and stay there. There is no other solution,'' said Samorajan, pausing momentarily for the thud of artillery fire.

The military and Jaffna's political leaders are trying to reopen supply lines, and say the situation has improved in recent weeks because of a lull in fighting.

But it doesn't sound like a lull.

On any given day, the army fires 40-50 rounds of 130mm artillery shells at rebel positions. Casualties are reported daily on each side.

Pradeep Gama, 24, has fought with a Sri Lankan artillery unit for six years. He said he has lost four friends in the past six weeks.

On Tuesday night, he loaded shells into a cannon, aiming for a stretch of rebel-held territory around 20 kilometers (12 miles) away.

``The LTTE doesn't really want peace,'' he said, brushing off a coating of dust from the gun's tremendous kick. ``Attacks with the heavy weapons will bring them back to the negotiating table.''

More than a thousand combatants and at least 60 civilians have been killed since the latest fighting began in July, though a four-year-old cease-fire remains officially in place.

More than 65,000 people have been killed in Sri Lanka - 's civil war. Discuss this story
Published: Thu Sep 21 11:31:04 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Lanka most militarised in South Asia, Thursday September 21, 2006 - 11:33 EDT. The twenty-five year long military conflict between the Tamil insurgents and successive Sri Lankan governments has made Sri Lanka the most militarised country in South Asia... Back to the top

Sri Ravi Shankar meets LTTE, role for India discussed, 2006/9/21. New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Thursday met Tamil Tiger guerrillas in Sri Lanka's north and discussed an "active role" for India in the peace process, later describing his efforts as "a confidence building measure"... Back to the top

Sri Lanka urges Tigers to join peace process, Sep 21, 2006 3:26 AM BST138. UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa called on the separatist Tamil Tigers on Wednesday to give up violence and embrace democracy and the peace process, including international negotiations brokered by Norway... Back to the top

Bullets and billboards in Sri Lanka, Friday September 22, 2006. The fear of bomb attacks in Sri Lanka following an upsurge in violence has spawned extra security checks, making daily life more difficult... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Will Hold Talks Only With Tamil Tigers Rebel Leader, Sept. 20. Sri Lanka will hold any future peace talks only with Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the government said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka forecasts 2007 GDP growth at 8 pct
Reuters, Thursday September 21, 2006 - 12:23 EDT. COLOMBO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's finance ministry on Thursday forecast the island's economy will expand by 8.0 percent in 2007 and said it expected the budget deficit to fall to 5.0 percent of gross domestic product... Back to the top

Tamil Tigers accuse Sri Lanka of risking reporters lives, Sept 21. Tamil Tiger rebels yesterday accused Sri Lanka's military of placing local and foreign media personnel in the line of fire by taking them to a frontline where four soldiers were killed... Back to the top

Guru Ravi Shankar in Tamil Tigers area
com, Thursday, September 21st, 2006. Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Thursday visited Sri Lanka’s northern areas held by the Tamil Tigers, his office said, indicating he may be engaged in efforts aimed at promoting peace in the island... Back to the top

Tamil Tiger rebels kill dissident, another dead in northern fighting
Associated Press, Thu September 21, 2006 05:51 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Sri Lankan army killed a Tamil Tiger rebel in a gunbattle in the restive northern Jaffna Peninsula overnight, the military said Thursday, the same day that women's groups held a rally to call for an end to the violence... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s Jaffna adapts to siege, but food a worry, Thursday September 21, 2006 - 07:33 EDT. JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Heavily armed troops man razor wire checkpoints, a curfew is on and food and fuel are in short supply -- but life in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula is gradually adapting after weeks under siege... Back to the top

The Pakistani muscle behind Colombo
Asia Times, Thursday September 21, 2006 - 07:33 EDT. BANGALORE - Even as fighting between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rages in Sri Lanka, a war of words has broken out between India and Pakistan over issues related to the island's civil war... Back to the top

End bloodshed to restore Lanka business confidence: IMF-WB, Sept 20. Singapore, Sept 20: Sri Lanka has shown economic resilience but needs to end violence to restore much-needed business confidence, the World Bank and IMF said on Wednesday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan police shoot 14 Muslim civilians during protest, lawmaker says
Associated Press, Wed September 20, 2006 06:22 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Police opened fire on Muslim protesters in eastern Sri Lanka - on Wednesday, wounding 14 civilians, and a government soldier was killed in an overnight attack by suspected ethnic Tamil rebels in the north, officials said... Back to the top

Stock Exchange asks Sri Lanka’s BOI about Apollo’s undisclosed ..., 20 September 2006 17:39:32. Sept 20 (LBO) – The Colombo Stock Exchange said Wednesday that it was waiting for further clarifications from the Board of Investment, before it allowed trading of Lanka Hospital Corporation shares... Back to the top

Four soldiers killed while escorting journalists in Sri Lanka, Wednesday, September 20, 2006 . Colombo, Sept 20: Four soldiers were killed and 12 others injured when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels attacked a convoy carrying 25 journalists to a de facto front line in Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula yesterday... Back to the top

Lankan MPs seek Indian intervention to protest Tamil interests, Wed, September 20, 2006 - 15:51 EDT. India-Sri Lanka-MPs Five MPs of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) from Sri Lanka on Wednesday sought India's intervention to protect the interests of Tamils in the island nation, alleging that innocent people in the northeastern region were being targeted by the Sri Lankan forces... Back to the top

Advertisers take advantage of tighter Sri Lanka security
Yahoo News, Wed, September 20, 2006 - 17:30 EDT. COLOMBO (AFP) - The fear of bomb attacks in Sri Lanka following an upsurge in violence has spawned extra security checks, making daily life more difficult, but the hassle has also created unexpected marketing opportunities, according to advertising specialists... Back to the top

Singh will hear out pro-LTTE group, Tuesday, September 19. Members of Parliament from the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are in the capital to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and give him the terror outfits take on the situation in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Curfew in Sri Lanka Muslim town, four hurt in police fire, Wed, September 203, 2006 - 11:15 EDT. Colombo, Sept 20: Curfew was clamped on Wednesday in an eastern Sri Lankan town after a mob, protesting the massacre of 10 Muslim men, clashed with police personnel who opened fire wounding four civilians... Back to the top

LTTE will have to 'deeply regret' Gandhi killing: TNA, September 20, 2006. New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas will have to make the Indian people feel that they do "deeply regret" the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, the leader of a Sri Lankan Tamil party said here Wednesday... Back to the top

Rockets and rubble: Sri Lanka troops press campaign, Wednesday, Septempber 20, 2006 - 06:32 EDT. KANKASANTURAI, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Firing artillery shells toward Tamil Tiger positions as fighting flares despite peace talk pledges, Sri Lankan gunner Herath Rajaratne longs for the day he can return to his family and civilian life... Back to the top

LTTE’s Batticaloa base bombed, Web posted at: 9/20/2006 8:7:50. COLOMBO • Sri Lankan jets bombed suspected Tamil Tiger targets in the island’s east yesterday, officials said, while rebel mortars killed four soldiers escorting journalists in the embattled Jaffna peninsula... Back to the top

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