A daydream and a nightmare

It was only the other day that LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran vowed to defend his self-declared capital Kilinochchi at any cost and boasted that if President Mahinda Rajapaksa thought of taking it back he was only daydreaming. Today, that township is as good as captured with the troops poised on three fronts at its outskirts to move in as the downpour ceases. Weather gods willing, the government may be able to upstage the LTTE's heroes' day celebrations with yet another stunning victory in the Vanni.

Prabhakaran is, true to form, putting on a brave face but Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's frantic efforts to have a ceasefire declared in this country belie his composure and sangfroid. That he is in over his head goes without saying.

Karunanidhi is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a view to invoking the latter's intervention to ram a truce down Sri Lanka's throat, though the main Opposition in Tamil Nadu has dissociated itself from his Save-the-Tigers mission. Once before Karunanidhi threatened to scuttle the Congress-led coalition government, unless it intervened to take the Tigers off the hook. He failed to have his way. This time around, he is fighting shy of issuing such threats. He seems to be wary of sticking his ageing neck out too much.

If Karunanidhi and others are so concerned about the plight of the Vanni civilians, before asking for a truce, they must pressure Prabhakaran to release civilians he is forcibly keeping in the uncleared areas as a human shield and to desist from using children as cannon fodder. Has Karunanidhi, who is weeping buckets for civilians, ever protested against the forcible conscription of child combatants or asked Prabhakaran to stop crimes against civilians?

Political compulsions of the Manmohan Singh government need to be appreciated but the question is whether it would ever entertain a delegation of Indian Muslim leaders protesting against the US-led military operations that have affected their brethren in Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan. The US is too big to meddle with, eh?

India has a history of bullying its small neighbours and rubbing its 'regional power' status on them once in a way. It is this weakness of India that Karunanidhi is trying to exploit to help his Tiger friends out and keep the Eelam project afloat. Rajiv Gandhi walked into that trap twenty years ago and paid for the costly blunder with his dear life. He would spin in his grave if knew that a government led by his party was communicating with his killers through their proxies! If Prime Minister Singh did Karunanidhi's bidding by any chance and intervened to save Sri Lanka's terrorists once again, the largest democracy in the world would find itself in the exalted company of the rogue states sponsoring terrorism.

Meanwhile, Prabhakaran and his partners in crime have no alternative but to hope and pray that India will repeat its blunders, egged on by their Tamil Nadu allies.

What a comedown!

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