Killers as doves
On September 18, 1999, in Gonagala in the district of Ampara, villagers who were fast asleep were woken by the screams of their neighbours. It was a typical LTTE attack on a civilian target. In one fell swoop, over 60 Sinhala civilians including 17 women, 2 pregnant mothers and 14 children were hacked to death by the death squads of Prabhakaran. These villagers had been dragged out of their houses with children and mothers pleading for mercy before they were done to death in the most brutal manner.
Those who tried to flee were pursued and killed in the nearby jungles. Some of the victims hands had been tied behind before being cut to death. LTTE women cadres too were involved in the massacre.
The ICRC blamed the attack on the LTTE. The LTTE breathed fire at the ICRC saying that it had no right to do so.
This is only one of over hundred massacres committed by LTTE terrorists in the name of liberation over the last two decades.
These victims of Ampara were no party to the conflict. Like them, thousands of other civilians including children have so far died at the hands of terrorists during this period. This is in addition to thousands of Tamil children who have been made to die in battle for the macabre cause of Prabhakaran.
There are reports of Tamil children being rounded up and forcibly recruited to the LTTE. Parents are fleeing the East and most areas under LTTE control in the North unable to save their children from the Tigers. It was only the other day that in Vantharamoolai, the LTTE drove to suicide K. Sithamparam, father of three children (two sons and a daughter) by abducting his 18 year-old son, S. Kavi Shankar. Mr. Sithamparam, a hospital attendant, was a widower and the sole breadwinner of his family.
What revives our memories of these heinous crimes that the LTTE has committed against civilians, especially children, is a picture in the government controlled Daily News of Tuesday. In this picture, a smiling LTTE cadre poses holding a Tamil child.
Why are the LTTE cadres posing for news cameras holding children? These days, the terrorists are all smiles, very considerate towards civilians and courteous to journalists. What has brought about this sudden change in the LTTE?
Obviously, the Tigers are trying their best to get the maximum out of the peace process. They are using it to clear its sullied image. All what we see by way of LTTE activities before cameras, it should be recalled, are only part of the LTTE propaganda thrust aimed at re-building its image. It is not only news hounds who have fallen for these tricks. It was not so long ago that even a Bishop, having returned from a meeting with LTTE leaders in a jungle hideout, remarked that Prabhakaran was humane.
Image building is of great importance to the LTTE at this hour, given the bans that have been slapped on it overseas mostly because of its terrorism. It is now trying to project itself as a people friendly liberation outfit fighting a rougue state. Remember that the LTTE spokesman Tamil Chelvam has already used that term to describe Sri Lanka.
The Tigers are no longer referred to as terrorists by the state media. Government politicians are wary of uttering anything that might offend the LTTE. It looks as if the LTTE tricks had worked.
While holding children in public, the LTTE is preparing for the next phase of the so-called Eelam war. Reports are galore of the LTTE taking delivery of arms shipments and retraining its cadres. There is also reported to be a massive draw on urea in the east, widely used by the LTTE in manufacturing bombs. Generators are said to be selling like hot cakes in the east and they are said to end up in LTTE camps. The Tigers are on the prowl in the areas under its control abducting children. All this points to the grand preparations of the LTTE for war.
Give the devil its due, they say. Prabhakaran should not be denied the credit for doing all this under the veneer of a truce. He has made most of us forget the past.
A clever man Prabhakaran is!
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