Politics

Lest we forget the LTTE

by K. Godage

The LTTE denies as usual any involvement in the suicide attack in Colombo in which four Sri Lankan Police officers were killed. Thamichelvan, head of the LTTE’s political division said that the LTTE had absolutely no connection with the suicide bombing in Colombo. The LTTE has never ever admitted any assassinations by their suicide bombers before but the whole world knows that suicide bombers are the trademark of none other than the LTTE but the suckers in our midst accept the disclaimers of the LTTE to avoid incurring the wrath of the Tigers. Perhaps they fear that they too would be assassinated.

This has been our tragedy. The murderous LTTE has got away with more murders than Hitler. The TULF leader Appapillai Amirthalingam and Yogeswaran were shot and killed by them. Even when one of the assailants was shot and killed by Mr. Amirthalingam’s bodyguards and was identified as a Tiger, the LTTE leadership denied the fact. In the same manner the LTTE has denied this attack on Devananda. Police investigations say the accomplice Sathya Leela, who was with the suicide-bomber, has confessed that she was compelled by the LTTE to accompany Jeyarani on her mission to kill Douglas Devananda as she had access to the minister’s office. The other thing that confirms that it is certainly the work of the LTTE is the silence they maintained when the SLMM and the BBC Tamil Service tried to get in touch with them as soon as the incident happened.

BBC’s Colombo correspondent Francis Harrison had reported a wall of silence from the Tiger - despite having telephone contact with the outside world – seems to confirm their responsibility for the attack, which bears all the hallmarks of their organization.

Yes the LTTE has never admitted to any of their crimes. Let us remind ourselves of their record by citing a few of the horrific atrocities they have committed over the years:

1) August 2, 1984 — Madras Airport bombs – intended for two Air Lanka planes — 30 dead over a hundred injured.

2) November 30, ’84 - Kent and Dollar Farm massacres, 68 men women and children shot and knifed to death.

3) December 1, ’84 - Nayaru and Kokilai – 43 immigrant fishermen shot and brutalized.

4) December 3, ’84 - Twelwe Sinhalese workers at the KKS cement factory shot dead.

5) May 14, ’85 — 160 civilians shot dead as they worshipped at the sacred Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura.

6) May 31 and June 11 - two slaughters at Dehiwatte where 57 men women and children were killed.

7) June 1986 – the massacre of the TELO when over 150 of their cadres were killed including Sri Sabaratnam, its leader.

8) April 4 and 5, 1987 – second massacre of rival Tamil militant groups; over 100 dead.

9) April 17. 1987 - The Aluth Oya massacre — 127 Sinhalese men women and children separated from other passengers from three buses and gunned down.

10) April 21, 1987 Bomb at Pettah bus stand – over 110 dead and a further 280 injured.

11) June 2, ’87 –30 Buddhist monks and 4 civilians were shot dead and a further 15 monks were seriously injured.

12) November 9, ’87 – The Maradana bomb – 23 killed and over one hundred injured.

13) August 3, 1990 — Jumma and Hussiania – Mosques in Kathankudy — killed 103 men, women and children and injured seriously a further 70 as they were at prayer.

14) August 11, 1990 — the massacre of Muslims at Eravur where 116 were killed and a further 20 injured.

15) October 15, 1992 — the massacre of 171 Muslims at Agbopura, Palliyagodella and Ahmedpura

16) January 31, 1996 — the Central Bank bomb; caused the deaths of 86 civilians and injured 1,338.

17) July 24, 1996 — the Dehiwela bomb – killed 63 passengers and injured 366.

18) Jan. 25, 1998 — the Dalada Maligawa bomb

19) March 5, 1998 – second bomb at Maradana – 36 died and 257 were injured.

Assassinations

There were 292 incidents of killing of civilians and of them only 19 instances have been cited above. In addition to the above we should also recall the destruction of the AVRO Aircraft on 7th September 1978; the attack on the Kolonnawa Petroleum installations on 20th October 1995 and the attack on the Katunayake Airport on 3rd May 1986. These were among 226 attacks on economic targets. Last but not least let us recall the assassinations of President Premadasa, Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi, Ministers Ranjan Wijeratne, Lalith Athulathmudali, Gamini Dissanayake, CV Goonaratne and the attempted assassination of President Kumaratunge.

Prabhakaran has with impunity changed the political map not only of this country but also of India through assassinations but the representatives of old democracies don’t shun the man; they cultivate him and some are perceived as even supporting him and his cause.

Has the LTTE ever claimed responsibility for any of these crimes against humanity? NO NEVER. But the saddest aspect of our tragedy is that successive governments have failed quite often to condemn these outrageous and horrendous atrocities and have in some instances even sought to exculpate the LTTE – so much for our naive politicians. But the LTTE leader himself spills the beans in his Hero’s Day speeches when he praises his Black Tigers. They also celebrate Black Tiger Day.

Many western governments and Japan have been asking the government to negotiate on the basis of the ISGA — claiming that it is only a bargaining position and that the LTTE, which has never-ever compromised on anything (I challenge anyone to cite one instance where the LTTE has compromised) would be more than willing to compromise and come within the ‘frame’ agreed to at Oslo - namely a "federal structure within a united Sri Lanka". Why cannot these countries and India not ask the LTTE to come within the what they agreed to at Oslo — why are they putting pressure only on the GOSL which has no mandate to negotiate on the basis of the ISGA. They are democracies — they must understand that — they cannot have one yardstick for themselves and another for us.

Let me for the benefit of those who are asking us to negotiate on the basis of the ISGA quote Prabhakaran himself and LTTE spokesmen on their objective: "If I don’t deliver Eelam, you should kill me" — Prabhakaran

"Tamil Eelam when established will not be a democracy. Democracy is unacceptable to us" – Prabhakaran.

"It is either Eelam secured at the point of a gun or nothing. No table talk resolutions will satisfy us" - LTTE spokesman.

"Once Eelam is set up Prabhakaran’s goal is to be its first ruler. It was towards this end that the LTTE removed all other groups from its path. After TELO was decimated, Prabhakaran stated that the offensive against TELO was the only way to establish a unified approach to the struggle" — ASIDE

The LTTE has been described as the most ruthless and cruel terrorist organization in the world; far more ruthless than the Israeli IRGUN, the Hamas, the Tupamaros, the Sandero Luminosa of Peru, the NPA of the Philippines, the IRA or the Red Brigades — or any of the present terror groups. The few instances from the record of the LTTE cited above speaks for itself. The LTTE also used poison gas in an attack on a police post in Batticoloa and killed nine security personnel in July 1995.

It has been a calculated policy to bring this country and its people down to their knees through acts of naked terror. We have indeed survived. Let us not now capitulate by agreeing to the ISGA.

The Tamil people have also suffered and suffered more than the Sinhalese. They have a right to live as equal citizens in this country which is as much theirs as it is of the Sinhalese. They must be able to live in dignity, in security and decide on their destiny to the furthest possible extent compatible with the security of the all other communities that inhabit this land of ours. They seek justice which has indeed been denied them. The LTTE’s ISGA however will not secure for the Tamil people these rights. Human rights and democracy must be secured for the Tamil people — they cannot be sacrificed to a fascist dictatorship. Let us also here recall the partition of India and the horrendous consequences that followed.

India MUST intervene now. Her first intervention was on behalf of the Tamil people – that obligation to secure for the Tamil people their rights remain. They also have an obligation by the rest of this country. It was India that created a North-East (something they have — our East was always a part of the Kandyan kingdom) they must now help ensure that the Muslims and the Sinhalese living in the Eastern Province are not ruled against their wishes.

There is a consensus among the people in the south that India should assume her legitimate role (India need only to consult the peoples representatives of the three major parties in the south to verify this) and help the southern political parties to arrive at a consensus position on a power-sharing formula. India owes it particularly to the Tamil people of this country to end the stupid game of political football that has been played with this issue from 1958 by the two major parties in the south. India cannot shirk her responsibility by claiming that her role would be misinterpreted.

Southern consensus

The ground situation in this country is deteriorating. India has repeatedly stated that the cornerstones of the peace process should be the unity sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka; that any interim arrangement specifically should be a part of the final solution and that any solution must be acceptable to all communities that inhabit this land and reflecting a southern consensus. India has also repeatedly stated that there cannot be two armies, two navies, no areas of the Indian ocean can be the special preserve of the LTTE or any third party.

What does this all amount to but a total rejection of the ISGA? Why in heavens name is India not prepared to state her position unequivocally and put the talks and the peace process on the right track? She could also assist not only through wider, deeper economic cooperation but also by entering into a Defence Agreement which gives her rights to Trincomalee and Palaly. Any Defence Cooperation Agreement which is limited to training and procurement would not have any political or security impact and at the end of the day may not be worth the paper it is written on. I’ve heard it said that the political will may not be there in Delhi. Then let us create it. What may I ask is the purpose of the Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and the President visiting there unless they are able to get India to help resolve this cancerous conflict?

India for its part must realize that a highly militarized entity a few miles from India (which has her own separatist insurgencies) could be absolutely inimical to her interests and also that there is no point whatsoever in making statements pledging her commitment to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of this country unless she is prepared to put her money where the mouth is.


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