The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 197


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Pranab to visit Sri Lanka as pressure mounts
TOI, October 21. NEW DELHI: Under pressure from Tamil Nadu, as well as the international community looking for leadership from India, the government will send exte rnal affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee to Sri Lanka to make an assessment of the ongoing conflict in the island nation.

Even as Tamil film stars showed up in Rameshwaram to show solidarity with the displaced Tamils, India has been burning up the phone lines with the Mahinda Rajapakse government in pushing for a political settlement, while stopping short of asking for a ceasefire.

The invitation to Mukherjee was made by his counterpart Rohitha Bogollogama after Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse rang up PM Manmohan Singh to brief him on the military operation. MEA sources said the minister's visit was "under consideration, and dates had not been finalized yet". Meanwhile, Sri Lankan foreign secretary Palitha Kohona was quoted as saying that a high-level delegation of MPs was coming to India to brief the government. The Lankan military operations have entered a critical phase, with the army claiming it had breached the last defences of the LTTE in Kilinochchi, which could confine the LTTE to Mullaitivu. More...Discuss this story
Published: Sun Oct 19 21:38:03 EDT 2008

LTTE seeking help of Indian leaders to escape defeat:Gotabhaya, Sunday, Oct 19, 2008. Colombo (PTI): Claiming that the LTTE was on the verge of "defeat" after suffering huge casualties at the hands of Sri Lankan security forces, the government has said that the Tamil tigers are making desperate efforts to rope in Indian leaders to stop the ongoing offensives against them.

"It is very clear that the LTTE is at a decisive stage. And no one can stop them getting defeated. So, they are trying their maximum to get Tamil Nadu (leaders) to pressurise the Indian government to pressurise the Sri Lankan government," Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, powerful Defence Secretary and brother of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said.

"That is what the LTTE want and that is why this sudden pressure is coming. The (Sri Lankan) Government expects this situation as we know there is no other way for the LTTE. Anyway, the LTTE More...Discuss this story
Published: Sun Oct 19 08:19:05 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka pledges to protect civilians in fighting
Associated Press, Sat October 18, 2008 13:39 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's president tried to assure India on Saturday that the military campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels was trying to minimize civilian casualties, amid protests by ethnic Tamils in India who say their people in the neighboring island are being targeted. Sri Lanka - 's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama also invited India's Extrenal Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for a visit, the statement said.

The discussion between the two leaders took place amid increasing resentment over Sri Lanka - 's military campaign, in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, home to some 55 million Tamils who have ancestral links with the Tamils in Sri Lanka - .

According to the United Nations and other humanitarian groups, about 220,000 people have been displaced, as government soldiers push into rebel-held territory seizing rebel bases and large chunks of land.

The government last month expelled aid workers from the rebel-held region but has allowed U.N. food convoys.

Sri Lanka - says the rebels are facing defeat in their 25-year campaign for a separate state for minority Tamils as the government troops inch closer to the insurgents' nerve center Kilinochchi.

Meanwhile the rebels put up stiff resistance Saturday on two fronts against troops trying to advance into Kilinochchi causing casualties on both sides, a military statement said. It did not provide details.

Air force helicopters also bombed one of those resistance points, the military said.

On Friday two soldiers and two Tamil rebels were killed in latest violence in the north and in a popular wildlife park in the southeast, the military said.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said troops recovered the bodies of two guerrillas after several clashes Friday near Kilinochchi. One soldier was killed and four others were wounded in those clashes, he said.

Separately, one soldier died when army units attacked a group of rebels inside the Yala wildlife park in the island's southeast, Nanayakkara said.

India has generally been reluctant to become directly involved in Sri Lanka - 's internal affairs after a disastrous military intervention in the 1980s that led to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber in 1991.

But Tamils living in India's Tamil Nadu are concerned about the future of Sri Lanka - 's Tamils. In addition, India's prominence in the region, along with its large Tamil population, means that it plays a powerful diplomatic role in Sri Lanka - .

Sri Lanka - 's civil war, largely concentrated in the ethnic Tamil-majority north and east, has killed more than 70,000 people.

Rebel spokesmen could not be contacted for comment on the military reports because most communication lines to guerrilla-held regions have been severed.Discuss this story
Published: Sat Oct 18 14:19:23 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka military says 19 rebel bunkers captured
Associated Press, Sun October 19, 2008 14:01 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's military said Sunday that government forces had attacked the Tamil separatists' last line of defense near the rebels' administrative capital and captured 19 rebel bunkers... Back to the top

Troops smash 'last major defence' near rebel 'capital': Lanka
Press Trust of India, Sunday, Oct 19, 2008. Colombo, Oct 19 (PTI) Sri Lankan troops pierced through the "last major defence" of the LTTE in the south of its stronghold of Kilinochchi, capturing 19 heavily fortified rebel bunkers despite "poisonous gas attacks" on them, the military said today... Back to the top

Mukherjee likely to visit Sri Lanka to discuss Tamil issue, october 18. Colombo, Oct 18 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to undertake a visit here shortly to discuss the situation arising out of the military offensive in LTTE-held north, sources said today... Back to the top

Sri Lanka army told to avoid civilian casualties
Associated Press, Sun October 19, 2008 04:20 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's military said Sunday that government forces captured 14 Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers in intense fighting in the north that killed ``many'' combatants... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Destroys `Last Major Rebel Fortification (Update1), Oct 19 05:28. By Jay Shankar Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan soldiers overran the ``last major'' Tamil Tiger fortification in the rebel headquarters district of Kilinochchi in a battle that killed ``several'' soldiers, the defense ministry said. The military offensive in the South Asian country's Northern Province took place yesterday, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement posted on its Web site... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: Ruling and opposition parties come together in Tamils ..., October 18. Colombo (PTI): Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) on Saturday threw its weight behind the Rajapaksa government on the Tamil issue, saying "no one else had the right to interfere in the internal affairs of the country... Back to the top

India, Lanka agree to maintain dialogue at political level, October 18, . Colombo (PTI): Sri Lanka on Saturday said President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to maintain a dialogue of high political level... Back to the top

Food aid reaches Sri Lanka north, Sat oct 18, 2008. A UN food convoy has reached rebel-held northern Sri Lanka where some 200,000 people have been displaced by fighting... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : 2 soldiers, 2 rebels killed in fighting
Associated Press, Sat October 18, 2008 04:03 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two soldiers and two Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in clashes in northern Sri Lanka - and in a popular wildlife park in the southeast, the military said Saturday... Back to the top

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