Sunday, May 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

LTTE asks troops to surrender

COLOMBO, May 20 (PTI, UNI, Reuters) — Seventeen LTTE rebels and 12 soldiers were killed in heavy fighting in the northern Jaffna peninsula even as the Sri Lankan Government today maintained that its troops continued to repulse attempts by well armed LTTE rebels to penetrate into army defences in vicinity of northern Jaffna town.

“The counterattack force went into action supported by heavy and medium artillery and caused many casualties among the terrorists,” a government release said here today adding that further reinforcements were being inducted into that area.

As a result of heavy fighting nine soldiers were killed and two officers and 17 others wounded. Troops also recovered 17 bodies of rebels with their military equipment, it said.

Also two officers and one soldier was killed and five other troops were wounded in an LTTE claymore mine attack on their vehicle at northern Vavuniya yesterday, it said.

The government, however, did not directly react to the LTTE claims from London that it continued to fire artillery shells at the Palaly airbase and Kankesanthurai harbour, which were the lifeline for food and weapons supplies.

A government spokesman said there was disruption of flight and ship services to the peninsula.

A pro-rebel website ( monitored in London yesterday posted a statement by the LTTE calling on Sri Lanka army soldiers to surrender “to avoid the continuing bloodbath’’.

It said if troops laid down their arms they “will be treated with dignity and honour” and handed over to the custody of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) within 24 hours.

“The call for surrender is being announced by loudspeakers at different battlefronts in the Jaffna theatre of war and also by Voice of Tigers Radio,” the statement said.

The LTTE also appealed to Tamil civilians “to move to safe areas from battle zones allocating specific locations in Valigamam west and Vadamarachi division of the peninsula”.

Reacting to the LTTE appeal, the Sri Lankan Government said the troops fighting the LTTE in Jaffna would not surrender nor were there any contingency plans to withdraw them from the war-torn peninsula.


India may take steps: PM

NEW DELHI, May 20 (PTI) —The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today said India was “ready’’ to take steps, if necessary, in Sri Lanka where the situation was “rapidly changing’’.

Asked about India’s stand on the developments in Sri Lanka, he told reporters “If we have to take any step, we are ready for it, if necessary.’’

“The situation is changing rapidly. We are keeping a close watch on the developments in the island nation,” the Prime Minister told reporters after inaugurating the Inter-State Council meeting here.

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