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4 cops killed in Lanka blasts

The blasts occurred as Norwegian envoy arrived in Lanka to get the Govt and LTTE to stop the violence, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 11:09 IST

Four policemen were killed and four army soldiers were injured in two claymore mine blasts in North East Sri Lanka on Thursday, the Sri Lankan military spokesman said.

Four policemen were killed in the blast at Kathankudy in the eastern district of Batticaloa.

In the next blast at 9.45 am in Cheddikulam near Vavuniya, four soldiers were injured, one seriously, the spokesman added.

In the blast at the Koppay junction in Jaffna on Wednesday, a policeman was killed and three armymen were injured.

The blasts had occurred even as the Norwegian Peace Envoy, Jon Hanssen- Bauer, arrived in Sri Lanka to get the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to stop the violence and get back to talks.

The Norwegian Minister in charge of the peace process, Erik Solheim, is expected to join Bauer in Sri Lanka during the weekend.

Contrary to earlier expectations, only Bauer will be going to the LTTE's   political headquarters in Kilinochchi to have talks with the outfit's political wing chief, SP Tamilselvan.

LTTE sources said that Solheim was not expected in Kilinochchi.

Refugee flow from Trinco

Meanwhile, the flow of refugees from the Sri Lankan North East to India is believed to be causing concern in Tamil Nadu.

Reports from Tamil Nadu said that over 2,000 refugees had arrived in Rameswaram, Dhanushkodi and Mandapam in the past few weeks.

Informed sources in Chennai told Hindustan Times that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi, was "under pressure" from supporters of the Sri Lankan Tamils to act.

"He is said to be receiving hundreds of telegrams and petitions from Sri Lankan Tamils across the globe to act to stop the killing of Tamil civilians," the source said.

An informed source in Trincomalee said on Thursday, that in the past few days, at least 500 families had left government-controlled areas for areas controlled by the LTTE, or India.

It is believed that the LTTE is also encouraging people to migrate to areas controlled by it.

Asked why Tamils were leaving Trincomalee, when that town and its environs were relatively quiet, the source said: "There is always the possibility of artillery shelling and air attacks.

There is no faith in the security forces' commitment to protect Tamils in case of civil unrest.

And there are restrictions on fishing, which have denied the coastal people their main source of income. People fear that they may face a food problem soon."

"Fishermen are selling boats worth SLRs 2 or 3 lakh for SLRs 70,000, to go to Mannar and hire a boat to India."

"People believe that in India, at the very least, they will not be killed. And, as refugees, they will not starve."

"India is considered safer than LTTE-controlled areas because if war breaks out, the LTTE-controlled areas will definitely come under attack," the source said.