COLOMBO, Feb. 8, Reuter: Indian troops appeared poised for a new offensive against diehard Tamil Tiger guerrillas in eastern Sri Lanka, residents said on Monday.


“The town is full of soldiers, There is tension everywhere,” said a Catholic Priest at Batticaloa who declined to be named.

Hundreds of Indian troops were airlifted to the district last week in what residents described as preparations for a new drive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eealm who are fighting for a separate homeland,

Residents said the number of Indian soldiers in Batticaloa had been raised to about 15,000 from 6,000 last December. “They are probably trying to squeeze the Tigers out,” the priest said.

But an Indian High Commission (Embassy) official denied reports of an offensive saying: “We are only reinforcing our strength in Batticaloa”.

Sri Lankan Nation Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali said on Monday the Indians had told him they would saturate the north and east with soldiers to rid the area of guerillas.

President Junius Jayewardene said in a British Broadcasting Corporation interview on Sunday night that the Tiger had lost their northern Jaffana stronghold to the Indians and were now holding out in the east.

“They will defeat by Indian troops before April”, he said.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 12, 1988