India differentiates between Tamil rights and terrorism

India has extended the ban on the LTTE by another two years. It has done so on a recommendation of the state government of Tamil Nadu. With the renewal of the ban in India the LTTE campaign to gain legitimacy suffers another setback. More so, as the call for it has come from Tamil Nadu, which is home to 62 million Tamils and the nursery of LTTE terrorism.

What the Tamil Nadu government has shown by leading the battle from the front against the LTTE, which claims to champion the Tamil cause is that Tamil rights are different from the LTTE terror. The message is loud and clear.

In Sri Lanka the terror cronies and their NGO allies vilify those who make that distinction. To them anyone who objects to debanning the LTTE or is critical of the government trying to appease the LTTE is a ‘warmongering racist’ opposed to Tamil rights. They must be asked whether the government of Tamil Nadu is also run by a group of ‘warmongering racists’ denying Tamils their rights. For, in addition to renewal of the ban, the Tamil Nadu government is also agitating for the extradition of Prabhakaran.

That the LTTE had gone all out to avoid the extension of the ban was obvious. The past few months saw the LTTE genuflecting before India The LTTE repeatedly asked India to ‘forget and forgive’ its past sins including that of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and killing over about 1, 500 IPKF troops. (Prabhakaran pretended at his recent media conference that he had already ‘forgotten’ them.) Balasingham was on his knees pleading with India to allow him to operate from India for negotiations with the Sri Lankan government - so as to involve India in the peace process. But India saw through the Tiger wiles.

By extending the ban India has done what it must. It knows that any kind of leniency on the LTTE is to invite trouble as it would strengthen the hands of the outfits advocating separatism in Tamil Nadu.

The danger the terror project of the LTTE poses to the territorial integrity and/or the national security of India is the main reason for the extension of the ban according to a report in the Hindu (May 15) based on the official government statement. The report says: Sympathy for the Tamil Eelam concept still remained and forces were still at work to further the cause of a "separate Tamil Nadu", through secession from India and for this they drew inspiration and sustenance from the LTTE.

In view of the sensitivity of the matter and keeping in view that the LTTE had systematically infiltrated into Tamil Nadu, the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government felt that circumstances existed which rendered it necessary to declare the LTTE as unlawful.

The statement according to Reuters also says that some small political groups in Tamil Nadu, with the support of the LTTE, continue to advocate a larger, independent Tamil nation that included Tamil areas of Sri Lanka and India.

This shows the ramifications of LTTE terrorism and the precautions India is taking despite having the fourth largest army at its disposal.

It is ironical that the extension of the ban in India has come at a time the Sri Lankan government is considering the desproscription of the LTTE to bring it to the negotiating table. India has renewed the ban even after the LTTE has asked for forgiveness and indicated its willingness to desist from any action detrimental to India’s interests.

In Sri Lanka, the LTTE has neither apologised for its crimes nor given an undertaking that it would not repeat them in the future. With Sri Lankans across the political spectrum conceding the sagacity of New Delhi on most matters, New Delhi’s decision to reimpose the ban should be food for thought.

Your comments to the Editor