The predicament of civilians in the clutches of the LTTE has naturally caused grave concern to one and all.
Those who champion the cause of the war-affected civilians fall into two categories. While the vast majority of them are genuinely desirous of helping those hapless people, others are terror backers in disguise using civilians' plight to have the war stopped and the LTTE given a new lease of life.
The TNA here and the DMK in Tamil Nadu have suddenly realised that war affects civilians! Never did they give a tinker's damn about how people were suffering under the LTTE's jackboot with their children snatched away as cannon fodder and their democratic rights violently suppressed. Nor have those terror sympathisers ever uttered a word in protest against the LTTE's crimes such as bombing of civilian targets like buses, trains and offices. It was only when they realised the LTTE could not win the war which it had resumed in 2006 and was about to be annihilated that they began to weep for civilians. However, to date, they have not urged the LTTE to release the civilians it is forcibly keeping in remaining pockets of resistance as a human shield.
India has rightly condemned the LTTE as Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was on a brief visit here on Tuesday and Wednesday, said expressing concern about civilians in the war zone. But, unfortunately, the Tigers have managed to make a cat's paw of the Central Government of India with the help of their Tamil Nadu allies in a position to pressure New Delhi politically. Minister Mukherjee would not have rushed here but for Karunanidhi's veiled threats to pull out from the Congress-led government.
It behoves India and other members of the international community to take cognisance of the fact that what is unfolding in the North of Sri Lanka is nothing but a hostage drama similar to the Mumbai terrorist siege. In Mumbai terrorists held hundreds of hostages at gunpoint inside buildings and fired from behind them and here terrorists are holding thousands of people as a human shield in an open prison. India was left with no alternative but to neutralise the terrorist threat militarily. That is the only antidote to terrorism wherever it may manifest itself in whatever form.
The civilised world ought to battle terrorism in such a way that terrorists masquerading as liberation fighters will get the message that they cannot hijack people's grievances and abuse them to disport themselves in ethno-religious bloodletting and, when trapped, try to escape by taking civilians hostage.
But for India's intervention, the LTTE would have been wiped out way back in 1987 and all the civilians deaths that occurred during the past 22 years could have been avoided. India's humanitarian concerns and opposition to terrorism need to be appreciated but it should have no qualms about going the whole hog and helping this country finish off terrorism once and for all at least now.
India is duty bound to help slay the monster it created–the LTTE. Now is the time!