Sri Lanka evacuates Tamils
Colombo, Sri Lanka — The Sri Lankan government evacuated 1,300 Tamil refugees Sunday from the capital of Colombo to Sri Lanka's northern port of Jaffna, which is dominated by Tamils. This is the second such evacuation during the current wave of ethnic violence between majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils. Last week's evacuation involved some 450 Tamil refugees, reports Monitor contributor Mary Anne Weaver.
President Junius Jayewardene has proposed legislation banning any group advocating a separate state on the island, reports Reuters. Such a law would effectively outlaw the main Tamil party, the Tamil United Liberation Front, which holds 17 of 168 seats in Parliament. The ban proposal is to be presented to the Parliament Thursday. The Sri Lankan government has already banned three Marxist parties, charging that the recent violence is part of a ''foreign plot'' to overthrow the government.
Security forces arrested more than 150 prominent leftists Sunday and extended an island-wide curfew until early today. Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi met with a prominent Indian Tamil leader in New Delhi amid growing public pressure on her to intervene in the rioting. India's southern Tamil Nadu state has strong ethnic and cultural links with northern Sri Lanka.