COLOMBO, June 25, Reuter: Military officials have imposed a news blackout on a major offensive by Indian troops which entered its fourth day on Wednesday.

About 6,000 Indian troops are believed to be taking part in the assault on Tamil rebels in the jungles of northeastern Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan military officials, normally kept informed about Indian activities, said the Indians were being unusually quiet about “Operation Checkmate”.

It is the second major offensive this year by Indian troops trying to enforce a peace pact designed to end a Tamil separatist rebellion.

In the Eastern town of Batticaloa, Indian soldiers shot dead two Tamil rebel leaders in an ambush, police said.

They identified the men as the Batticaloa head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam guerrilla group and his deputy.

In Eravur, 16 km north of Batticaloa, Indian troops fired into the air to disperse about 2,000 people marching on military headquarters.

The marchers were trying to Present a petition demanding a ceasefire between Indian troop: and the rebels.

There was pandemonium when the soldiers opened fire but no injuries were reported, resident: said.

They said soldiers arrested four members of the Eelam revolutionary organization of students, Tiger ally, which organized the march.

India has about 52,000 soldiers. In northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 1, 1988