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Tigers intensify attacks on Kilaly
Tigers intensify attacks on Kilaly

Terrorists on Sunday mounted mortar and artillery strikes on the navy’s Kilaly detachment , military officials said yesterday.

(Censored)

However, navy headquarters yesterday afternoon confirmed regular artillery and mortar attacks on the detachment but said that there had been no withdrwal from the area.

The sources said that government security forces positions along the Kandy- Jaffna road [A9] beyond Pallai were under heavy attacks and civilians were fleeing areas threatened by the LTTE advance.

Kilaly had been used extensively by Sea Tigers for boat movements to and from the Jaffna peninsula before troops regained the area during operation Riviresa that brought the peninsula under the government control.

Military sources said that attacks on Kilaly intensified soon after troops abandoned Pallai and surrounding areas Sunday afternoon. Initial reports said that 14 soldiers and one officer were killed and over 200 were wounded during the battle which forced the army out of Pallai, situated 15 kms off Elephant Pass on the Kandy - Jaffna road. However, the Pallai death toll rose yesterday as the army accepted bodies of 42 officers and men killed during Sunday’s battle.

The LTTE on Monday offered to return these bodies through the ICRC. ICRC spokesman Harasha Gunawardene yesterday said that bodies were handed over to ICRC at Akkarayan in the Wanni and transported to Vavuniya.


Midweek Politics
Fall out from Jaffna

by Prasad Gunewardene
May Day celebrations in the City of Colombo were on a low key on Monday sans the traditional heat and fury. The tragic news of the fall of another strategic camp in the North, Pallai, marked the May Day. Veteran Trade Unionist,PA Minister Alavi Moulana who had organised forty-two May Day rallies of the SLFP in Colombo expressed much concern about the situation in the North. "How could we celebrate May Day when the nation is in peril," Moulana said. He missed organising the forty-third May Day but was at Temple Trees discussing the military situation at conferences chaired by President Kumaratunga.

President Kumaratunga who heard about the fall of Pallai in the late hours of Sunday, summoned a meeting of her senior ministers early on Monday to discuss the situation. She, with her ministers, discussed the agenda for her meeting with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and his delegation for talks last evening. The President was in constant touch with the defence top brass till late hours on Monday. PA sources said that a National Defence Council was on the cards at yesterday’s meeting with the UNP which would include the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The situation in the North appears to be deteriorating day-by-day with the LTTE using superior fire power against the government troops. The army continues to use its terms like ‘tactical withdrawals’ and ‘delayed defence lines’ whenever camps fall into the hands of the enemy. While the government places the number of troop casualties at low figures, the ICRC announces that the LTTE was handing over dead bodies of soldiers and the ICRC number contradicts the official figures of the government.

On the political scene, the UNP is prepared to help the government to overcome the crisis forgetting all differences. UNP Chairman Karu Jayasuriya has said that the UNP would work together with the government as it was the need of the hour to protect the nation. Mr.Jayasuriya’s statement has received a good response from the government quarters.Several ministers who were at Monday’s meeting with the President were reported to have told the President that it was time both parties buried differences and stopped attacks on each other which would help to crush the enemy in a united effort. A very senior minister present at this meeting had pointed out that the government must stop talking of what happened during the Premadasa days as such attacks were not appropriate at this time of crisis.

President Kumaratunga summoned a meeting of the Security Council yesterday morning to review the situation in the North which was attended by the three service chiefs at Temple Trees and Deputy Defence Minister Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte. Authoritative sources said the meeting was summoned to discuss plans for the week on the situation in the North. Yesterday the President chaired a series of meetings to discuss the Northern situation after the Security Council meeting. She was to meet the UNP in the evening followed by the Tamil parties. An emergency cabinet meeting was also summoned late in the evening to discuss the same subject.

Meanwhile, the Maha Sangha who was opposed to foreign troops on our soil during the Jayewardene regime and who urged President Premadasa to send the Indian troops away have now called for Indian troop assistance to crush the LTTE. The Maha Sangha met the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon this week to appeal for Indian assistance to crush the LTTE. When President J. R. Jayewardene invited the IPKF here, the SLFP too protested against that decision of the UNP government and held demonstrations in the city. The JVP too was a party which advocated the theory to send the IPKF away.


We should seek SAARC assistance says Sobitha Thera

by Himangi Jayasundere
The Jathika Sangha Sabha and the National Joint Committee yesterday requested the government to seek military assistance from the SAARC countries to crush the ongoing LTTE offensive in the Jaffna peninsular . President of the National Joint Committee, Makuluwawe Sobitha Thera speaking at a press conference at Abayaramaya pointed that one of the components in the SAARC charter was that the SAARC countries would unite to fight against terrorism. "It’s a case of implementing this" he said. He pointed out that Sri Lanka could request assistance particularly from India with which it has a long, established relationship and seek help in obtaining coastal protection, military advice, military training and aircraft. In 1972 when the JVP insurrection erupted, the Prime Minister requested assistance from Russia and China he said, pointing out that it was not something new.

He further said that there was an urgent need to set the entire country on a war footing and de-politicise the war. He suggested that for this purpose a special council should be set up headed by retired military officials who will provide military planning and advice. "Every moment we delay there is going to be more destruction" Sobitha Thera said pointing out that it was already too late. Speaking of his meeting with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo last week, with whom he discussed the issue of obtaining assistance, he said that the Indian High Commissioner had responded that it would consider such a request if the Sri Lankan government makes one. He denied allegations that he had requested for the Indian Peace Keeping Force to solve the problem.

The thera further said that the military was not getting the support it required from the people. "In any other country the situation would have been different" he said. The people must also be ready to make sacrifices in order to save the country he said.

"Some have labelled us as anti-Tamils and Nationalists but it is not only we who want peace, the Tamil people also want an end to the war" he said pointing out that Tamil political parties such as the EPRLF and TELO have also shown priority towards this cause.

Secretary of the National Joint Committee, Piyasena Dissanayake said that Norway has been supporting the LTTE for a long time. "It would be far better to get assistance from India than Norway" he said. He further said that in 1983 when 13 policemen were killed there was huge an uproar, but following the Elephant pass debacle where many more have lost their lives the people remain silent.

Dr.S.B.Hettiaratchi of the National Joint Committee said that it was appalling that neither the government nor the opposition seem to fully understand the danger the country is facing. "A Tamil state is waving its hand at us" he said. Quoting history and the Chola invasions he said that there was a likelihood of the country being run over by Tamil terrorists who will assassinate and imprison its leaders.

The Jathika Sangha Sabha will conduct religious rites for soldiers who died in the recent Elephant Pass debacle and all other war heroes who have lost their lives in the conflict, on May 5 at the Vihara Maha Devi Park.


Indian HC’s New Delhi departure not linked to Sangha meeting

Indian High Commissioner Shivshankar Menon’s recent discussions with Sri Lanka’s National Sangha Council [NSC] was nothing more than a routine meeting, High Commission spokesman said yesterday.

"Ven. Sobitha Thera and several other leading Buddhist monks met the High Commissioner last Saturday," he said saying that the meeting was arranged on a request made by the NSC. The spokesman said that during the meeting, Ven. Sobitha and other monks expressed their views of many issues including the current situation in the Jaffna peninsula.

"They made a series of suggestions," he said adding that the High Commissioner explained India’s desire to see a permanent solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem without dividing the country.

He said that there was no truth in speculation that High Commissioner departure to New Delhi last Sunday was any way linked with the previous day’s meeting.


‘LTTE maintains high level of violence’
Anti-US terrorism shifts from ME to S. Asia, says US

In 1999 the locus of terrorism directed against the United States continued to shift from the Middle East to South Asia according to the South Asia Overview of the state Department’s "Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999" report.

The report says: United States made repeated requests to Islamabad to end support for elements harboring and training terrorists in Afghanistan and urged the Government of Pakistan to close certain Pakistani religious schools that serve as conduits for terrorism. Credible reports also continued to indicate official Pakistani support for Kashmiri militant groups, such as the Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), that engaged in terrorism.

The report deals with situations in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The following is the assessment of Sri Lanka’s situation:

In Sri Lanka the government continued its protracted conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Referring to Sri Lanka in its report South Asia Overview of the US State Department says the separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which the United States has designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization, maintained a high level of violence in 1999, conducting numerous attacks on government, police, civilian, and military targets. President Chandrika Kumaratunga narrowly escaped an LTTE assassination attempt in December. The group’s suicide bombers assassinated moderate Tamil politician Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam in July and killed 34 bystanders at election rallies in December. LTTE gunmen murdered a Tamil Member of Parliament from Jaffna representing the Eelam People’s Democratic Party and the leader of a Tamil military unit supporting the Sri Lankan Army.

LTTE activity against the Sri Lankan Government centered on the continuing war in the north. The Sri Lankan military’s offensive to open and secure a ground supply route through LTTE-held territory suffered a major defeat when the LTTE fought a series of intense battles in early November and regained control of nearly all land the government had captured in the past two years. The battles resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides.

There were no confirmed cases of LTTE or other terrorist groups targeting US citizens or businesses in Sri Lanka in 1999. Nonetheless, the Sri Lankan Government was quick to co-operate with US requests to enhance security for US personnel and facilities and co-operated fully with US officials investigating possible violations of US law by international terrorist organizations. Battlefield requirements forced Sri Lankan security forces to cancel their participation in a senior crisis management seminar under the Department of State’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program in 1999.


UNP to hand over medical equipment to army hospital

Army Commander Lt. General Srilal Weerasooriya yesterday asked the UNP to hand over a consignment of medical equipment worth Rs. one million to the military hospital, a party spokesman said. Last Saturday the government blocked the hand over of the same consignment to the hospital claiming that all items should be handed over to the Temple Trees.

The spokesman said that the army chief has asked the UNP to hand over the consignment at the hospital today morning.

Though the equipment was originally to be handed over to the officials of the Military Hospital at 10.00 a.m. a senior army officer had telephoned and said that they had received orders from above not to receive this consignment of medical equipment and also to desist from welcoming any politicians to the hospital.

If the UNP agrees, it could donate the equipment to the Presidential Secretariat, the army officer had told the UNP.

The UNP, which has severely criticised the sudden move by the government, said that they would never consider handing over the equipment to any other place, but the Military Hospital.


No moral right to increase MPs’ and Ministers’ salaries

From Cyril Wimalasurendre
KANDY:
While thousands of youth are sacrifising their lives in a bid to save the integrity of their motherland and while the working class is denied of a minute salary increase in the wake of the rising cost of living there is no moral right for the Members of Parliament and the Ministers to increase their salaries, said the Vice President of the United General Employees Union (UGEU) and former Central Provincial Council Member Raja Uswetakeiyawa addressing the only May Day rally in Kandy on Monday.

The rally organised by the United General Employees Union was held at George E. de Silva Park. It was preceded by a procession along streets of Kandy.

The working class has been agitating for quite some time for a reasonable salary increase to enable them to meet the ever increasing cost of living. This demand has not been met by the state. We urge the government to pay a minimum of Rs. 5000 per month to the workers, Mr. Uswetakeiyawa said.

He said the working class never wanted war because those of the working class never clashed on communal grounds. There was peace and friendship in the working class. So they detest war. The employees of factories are in constant fear of losing their jobs. The capitalists both local and foreign are encouraged by the government to open factories under the BOI and they are granted all types of incentives. In a year or two these industrialists will close their projects and leave. The poor young men and women will be out of employment.

There is the danger of closing of certain factories in Kandy area. The authorities should move in and take necessary precautious, he said.

Ven. Mahagalkadawela Pungnasara Thera said the war has been a burden on the workers of the country more than on any other group. The war must end. We urge the government, the Opposition and the leadership of the LTTE to come to the negotiating table to bring about a halt to this turmoil and restore peace in the country. Those who make money out of the war do not wish to see an end to it.

Messrs. Ranjith Wijesinghe Secretary, UGEU, K. D. Tilakaratne, K. P. Sivam, G. Sivakura and Ms. Anula Samarakoon also addressed the meeting.


Heritage of Sinhala people threatened by multinational companies say Wimal Weerawansa

by Chittaranjan de Silva
The JVP politburo member Wimal Weerawansa on Monday evening said that the heritage of the Sinhalese is not threatened as they believe, by the Tamils or Muslims, but by capitalists and multinational companies, which are being promoted by the Sri Lankan government. Addressing the party’s May Day rally at the BRC grounds, Weerawansa accused the government of destroying the entire country.

The JVP supporters dressed in red, marched carrying banners and slogans to the BRC grounds, denouncing capitalism, as their leaders cheered them on.

Speaking to a large gathering, which the organisers said was around 20,000, Weerawansa stressed that people of all communities should be able to identify their real enemy.

He asked the people, is it the Tamil or the Muslim who is threatening your heritage at Eppawela.

The people roared in unison to answer: "It is the capitalist American company".

"It is not only the phosphate deposits that the government is trying to sell to the Americans, it is the age old civilisation which surrounds the area in which the deposits are situated, which the Sinhalese are proud of," Weerawansa said.

Similarly, multinational companies have taken over the Telecom and Gas sectors. Medicinal plants which the ancients believe were grown by King Buddhadasa in an ancient forest in Bibile is being sold to multinational companies with the approval of the Health Ministry, he charged.

The tanks built by the ancient kings in Rajarata are to be sold to a multinational company. With these tanks, the ancient civilisation, which was built around these tanks would also be sold, he said.

Weerawansa questioned: "Is it the oppressed Tamils or Muslims who have brought these companies and are posing a threat to the heritage of the Sinhalese, which most people are trying to protect."

The Sinhalese would not want to be in the position the Tamils are today.

Be realistic and think he urged the people.

The North-East, even if it is separated by the LTTE, would only be a small strip of land, rich in resources and the sea surrounding it, which is also teeming with aquatic resources. Even if the country is divided, then the Tamils would be restricted only to the North.

But if that could be avoided, then the Tamils also could be a part of the entire country.

He urged the communities to unite to fight the common enemy, which is capitalism and the multinational companies, rather than fight each other.

Multinational companies have torn into the cultures of all communities in the country and is pillaging the heritage of the countrymen, Sinhalese ,Tamil and Muslim Weerawansa charged.

Yet, the Sinhalese are fighting the Tamils and not these multinational companies, Weerawansa added.

He further said that multinational companies through the guise of globalisation and privatisation are impoverishing the poor nations and making slaves out of the poor. Weerawansa said that it is capitalism which has divided nations and instigated them to fight each other and the Sinhalese Tamil conflict is no exemption.

Before the country is turned to another Kosovo, he urged the people in all communities to unite and make peace with each other.

There are two options, either make "peace’’ or long for the death to come, he said.

He expressed grave doubts on the success of peace talks the President is holding with UNP leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe.

Weerawansa said that capitalists who are to blame for this crisis cannot solve this problem.

He said that it is the socialists, with its concept of equality, that can solve it.

The government is bankrupt to such an extent that it is borrowing money from local banks to pay the salaries of government servants. And if it does not dance to the tune of the World Bank it will not receive aid from it. According to Weerawansa, this has made the government a tool of the capitalists, who are strangling the poor nations of the world.

He said that the JVP is today at the fore front in the protests against the capitalist systems in the world and the party membership could be proud of this.

Several members of the ‘Communism For The Future Organisation’ in Japan also spoke.


Plans to transfer excess teachers

Galapitawala Divaine Corr:
Arrangements are being made to transfer excess teachers in Kegalle District to schools in Embilipitiya, Balangoda, Nivithigala and Ratnapura.

Zonal Education Office Kegalle disclosed that there were 73 teachers in excess in Kegalle Zone and 455 teachers in Mawanella zone respectively. It is mandatery to have equal numbers in every zone to get World Bank Aid for the implementation of new educational reforms.

Education officials also said the prevailing vacancies are for teachers qualified in Science, Maths, English, Sports, Art, Dancing Music and Technology. "We have to give serious thought to this fact in selecting teachers for transfers," they said.


NSUB programme held

Sirisoma Susewhewa Wadduwa Correspondent
The North-South Unit Bridge Programme, designed to promote peace between youth of Jaffna and Kalutara District, was held recently in the Horana Divisional Secretary’s division, organized by the National Youth Services Council and National Integration Programme Unit.

This was held under the supervision of Sunil Abeywardena Horana Divisional Secretary.

Fifty youths, both girls and boys, from Jaffna came to Horana and joined the youth of Horana area and spent time together exchanging pleasantries and promoting national understanding thereby contributing to the North South Unity Bridge Programme.


MP complains to Speaker of a breach of privilege

Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake has complained to Speaker K. B. Ratnayake of a breach of privilege allegedly committed by the Director of Information, Ariya Rubesinghe.

Karunanayake in a letter addressed to the Speaker states:

"I write to complain of a serious breach of privilege committed by a senior public servant, namely Mr. Ariya Rubesinghe, the Director of Information.

A few days ago several Members of Parliament including myself stated that the actions of Mr. Rubesinghe were strongly suggestive of his collaboration with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and announced our intention of moving a motion in Parliament for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to inquire into the actions and conduct of Mr. Rubesinghe, more particularly whether he was guilty of treason by jeopardising the lives our soldiers currently engaged in a war against the terrorist LTTE, or whether he was guilty of any other offences.

Then on Friday, 28th April, 2000 I together with several other Members of Parliament gave notice of our intention to move the said motion in Parliament.

We find now that Mr. Rubesinghe has in a Press release issued through the Department of Information threatened to take action against us. I attach herewith a copy of the Press release referred to above.

I am sure that you will agree that this is a grave breach of our privileges as Members of Parliament.

In these circumstances, I request you to inquire into my complaint and take such action, as you deem appropriate in the circumstances.

I also seek an opportunity to raise this matter in the House at the earliest opportunity.

The other Members of Parliament who are also affected will address you separately on this matter."


Claymore blast wounds six soldiers

By Dinasena Rathugamage
Vavuniya - A claymore mine blast near Iranairuppukulam on Monday afternoon wounded six soldiers, an armed forces spokesman said. He said that the ill-fated vehicle was on its way to Iranairuppukulam from Poovarasankulam.

Later, troops conducted a cordon and search operation in the area but failed to make any arrests.

Meanwhile terrorists on Monday put up posters at Mannar, Pesalai and Thalaimannar urging the security forces to vacate the area immediately or face a massive attack similar to the one that devastated the strategic Elephant Pass base, security officials said.

However, these posters were removed by security and police.

A special police team from Colombo on Monday arrested four terrorist suspects including two women during a raid. Police said that the suspects were taken in for questioning on information provided by a terrorist suspect arrested in the Vavuniya police division area some time ago.


SDA has no proper order in their work — vice chairman

Induruwa Divaina corr.
Southern Development Authority, boasts of its performances. But it is clear that there is no proper order in what they do. They provided financial help to those who do not possess even an inch of land but not to those who really need them. Said the Vice Chairman, Bentota Pradeshiya Sabha, Sarath Ananda when the sabha met recently with the Deputy Minister of Livestock Development and Estate Infrastructure in the chair.

Vice Chairman Sarath Ananda further said when boxes for bee-keeping were distributed, two or three boxes were given to one person. It is disgusting to talk about the work done by the authority.

Deputy Minister Noel Kariyawasam pointed out a meeting was held recently at Temple Trees presided over by the President, to review the progress made by the Southern Development Authority. A video tape with several activities done by them were shown there. But the MPs in the area said that these things had not been done in their electorates. The Southern Development Authority has only a schedule of work which has to be implemented.

Secretary Bentota Pradeshiya Sabha T. A. Gunadasa said the residents have complained that the company which undertook telephone wiring cut branches of trees haphazardly.

Pradeshiya Sabha Member J. P. Siriwardena said telephone posts have been installed obstructing highways.

Deputy Minister Noel Kariyawasam said residents blame us for not putting a second layer of tar on Hipanwatta road. We should attend to this soon. We requested for houses of those who wish to rare cattle but it has not been forwarded yet.