20 Reports

Sri Lanka plans referendum to split the east

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 September 1997, 12:01 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government's cabinet held a very crucial meeting yesterday (29 September) to map out a strategy for conducting a referendum in the island's eastern province. The proposed exercise came under fire from community leaders in the east who heard about the cabinet's discussions on the matter.
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Heavy going for SLA armour

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 September 1997, 12:00 GMT]
With the monsoon underway, heavy rain is affecting the fighting in the Vanni region. The rain is turning the terrain around Puliyankulam into a sea of mud, which is posing new difficulties for the hard pressed Sri Lankan forces there. The conditions are also said to be affecting the Tigers.
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Tamils suffer discrimination: Canadian court

[TamilNet, Monday, 29 September 1997, 12:03 GMT]
Whilst ruling on the case of Mr. Suresh Manickavasagam, the presiding Judge said that in his opinion the Tamil people suffered from discrimination. The Judge did not rule on the LTTE itself, saying he was not in a position to pass judgment on the conflict in Sri Lanka. During the case, the Judge had been presented with evidence of gross human rights violations by successive Sri Lankan governments against the Tamil people.
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Sri Lanka stretches the truth on Canadian ruling

[TamilNet, Monday, 29 September 1997, 12:01 GMT]
When a Canadian judge upheld a security certificate issued against Mr. Suresh Manickavasagam by the Canadian Immigration department on the basis that he was a member of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government claimed that the Canadian court has said that the LTTE was a 'terrorist' organization. However, the judge had made it clear that he was not passing judgement on that issue, but was merely saying that the Immigration department had 'reasonable grounds' to believe that Suresh was inadmissible into Canada.
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Canadian Tamils protest outside Parliament

[TamilNet, Sunday, 28 September 1997, 12:02 GMT]
Over 850 Canadian Tamils staged a symbolic fast in Ottawa on Friday, protesting against the planned deportation of Tamil community activist Mr. Manickavasagam Suresh. The demonstrators stood outside the Canadian Parliament, holding placards denouncing the planned deportation. The protest was organized by the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT).
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Tamil people flock to new LTTE courts

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 September 1997, 12:00 GMT]
Tamil people in the Amparai and Batticaloa districts have been flocking to make use of the LTTE's judicial system which is being extended in the east of the island. An LTTE courthouse which was recently established in Batticaloa district is proving so popular that many Tamil residents are even crossing over from Sri Lankan government controlled areas to file cases.
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Massacre in eastern Tamil village: 8 killed

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 September 1997, 12:05 GMT]
Muslim policemen and homeguards have run amok in a Tamil village, killing at least 8 civilians. The surviving residents of the "4th colony" village, Amparai district, have fled the area. The attack is believed to have been carried out in reprisal for the killing of two Muslim homeguards. The 4th Colony has been sealed off by members of the Special Task Force, a police commando unit, which controls the area where the massacre took place.
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Jaffna is afraid: former UN representative

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 September 1997, 12:04 GMT]
A former representative of Sri Lanka to the UN has recently completed a visit to Jaffna and the east of the island. Speaking anonymously to the Independent Broadcasting Corporation, a European Tamil language radio service, the official outlined some his observations and spoke of his concern for the Jaffna populace.
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Kadirgamar's divisive scheme stalls

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 September 1997, 12:03 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Foreign minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar was in London recently on another official visit. However, apart from his routine meetings with British officials, Mr. Kadirgamar had another objective to accomplish this time. According to a British periodical, the Tamil Guardian, Mr. Kadirgamar had been instructed to meet leaders of London's Tamil expatriate community and cultivate their support. However, things had apparently not gone according to plan.
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Suicide bomber threat sustains support for war

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 September 1997, 12:00 GMT]
The Colombo public have an abhorrent fear of suicide bomb attacks. The threat seems ever present, even though there have been no suicide attacks in the capital for nearly two years. Surprisingly, the spectre of the suicide bomber is being revived time and again by the Sri Lankan government itself. The fear generated by the official warnings is sustaining public support for the government's war in the Tamil homelands.
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Buddhist clergy performs in Chandrika's theatre

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 September 1997, 12:00 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy rejected the government's 'devolution proposals' last week. The Sinhalese people, who dominate Sri Lanka's government and armed forces, are mostly Buddhist, and the clergy wields considerable influence in Sri Lankan politics. The Buddhist clergy has consistently opposed any concessions to the Tamils on the island and their rejection of the proposals was widely expected. However, the Sri Lankan President has a place for the Buddhist clergy's stance within her strategy to win the war.
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Body count: an illusive index of 'progress'

[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 September 1997, 12:00 GMT]
"In a war without battle lines, perhaps the best overall index of progress is that of casualties". This view was delivered as part of the orientation given to newcomers to the US military's Saigon HQ at the height of the conflict in Vietnam. Despite several Sri Lankan offensives against the Tamil Tigers, the LTTE continues to vigorously resist the Sinhalese army in the Tamil homelands. In a bid to show 'progress' in its war, the Sri Lankans have developed a preoccupation with body counts.
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Tamil people mourn LTTE commander

[TamilNet, Monday, 15 September 1997, 12:00 GMT]
The Tamil people mourned the death of a senior LTTE officer in areas not controlled by the Sri Lankan army. Lt. Col. Pavarasan was killed on September 10th at Puliyankulum, where heavy fighting has been raging for the past few weeks. Two Sri Lankan divisions deployed to capture a road between Vavuniya and the Jaffna peninsula have been stalled at Puliyankulum amid stiff Tiger resistance.
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LTTE allays shipping fears

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 September 1997, 00:00 GMT]
On Thursday, the LTTE allayed international concern over its recent attack on a cargo ship. The Tigers said their destruction of the ship, the 'MV Cordiality', which had been hired by the Sri Lankan government, was intended to prevent the stripping of the Tamil people's mineral resources. The Tigers said that the attack should not be considered 'prejudicial to international trade or shipping'.
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Tigers maul SLA flank

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 September 1997, 00:00 GMT]
In heavy fighting Thursday morning, LTTE units defending Puliyankulum ambushed a Sri Lankan army column attempting to outflank the town's network of defences. Dozens of Sri Lankan troops have been killed in the savage fighting that occurred around midnight Wednesday.
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The Jaffna people's dilemma

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 September 1997, 00:00 GMT]
The city of Jaffna has had some foreign visitors recently. A team from Amnesty International and the United Nations special rapporteur on extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions spent a few days in the city separately. The human rights officials were intent on assessing local conditions for themselves. However, the brevity of their visits and the pervasive presence of their hosts, the Sri Lankan military, ensured that the picture presented to them was to the Sri Lankan government's liking.
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Tamil children raped

[TamilNet, Saturday, 06 September 1997, 05:18 GMT]
A six year old Tamil girl was reported to have been raped by several Sri Lankan soldiers in Jaffna. The child is said to have been seriously injured during the assault. This is the latest in a number of attacks on children that have been carried out by Sinhalese troops operating in Tamil areas, and fears are growing of a paedophile network within the Sri Lankan military.
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Troubled waters for Tamil fishermen

[TamilNet, Friday, 05 September 1997, 23:59 GMT]
A seemingly innocuous ban on fishing introduced in the Tamil areas by the predominantly Sinhalese Sri Lankan government over a decade ago has steadily destroyed the livelihood of the Tamil fishing community. Ostensibly introduced check the movement of Tamil fighters between the island and nearby India, the ban has had no impact on the growth of the Tamil Tigers, but has crippled the Tamil fishing industry. Many Tamils believe this was the Sri Lankan government's intended aim.
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Polio Truce - but will it hold this time?

[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 September 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The LTTE and the Sri Lankan government said today that they would observe a 4-day truce to enable the annual anti-polio immunization campaign to be carried out by UNICEF. This is the third year that the cease-fire has been declared. However last year, Sri Lankan troops launched sudden raids during the truce, killing Tamil fighters and civilians.
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Equality of Tamil a facade

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 September 1997, 11:10 GMT]
In early July a presidential directive was issued to the pre-dominantly Sinhalese Sri Lankan civil service to give equal status to the Tamil language. As the directive is widely perceived as a public relations exercise staged for the benefit of the international community, it has barely received any attention. From Colombo's jails to Jaffna's streets, the use of the Tamil language is being systematically stamped out in a bid to irrevocably assimilate the Tamil people under Sinhalese control.
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