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Stuffed Tigers, conmen, ectopic pregnancy etc

Close on the heels of the miscarriage of Eelam in Sri Lanka, there has come the news of an ectopic pregnancy overseas. The LTTE rump has declared the formation of a 'government in exile' as a prelude to Eelam. Much hullabaloo is being made in some quarters about this pronouncement but it is nothing but a big ruse to prevent funds to the LTTE war-chest from drying up. Anyway, who is the lucky head of the 'government in exile'?

Anton Balasingham addressing the media in Kilinochchi in 2002 had the temerity to call Prabhakaran both the President and Prime Minister in the areas under LTTE control at that time. The reaction of Prabhakaran to that comment was an approving grin from ear to ear. It was because the LTTE already had 'a president and prime minister' that it prevented people under its jackboot from exercising their franchise at the 2005 presidential election. Prabhakaran knew allowing that election to be held in his territory would be tantamount to an indirect acceptance of the government's writ.

Last month the President and Prime Minister of Eelam lay dead in a mangrove swamp, having destroyed thousands of precious lives and his Eelam project.

However, Prabhakaran, in spite of his terrorism, was a capable man who became a cult figure and unifying factor for the advocates of separatism. He had intestinal fortitude to ask and fight for what he wanted. Never did he compromise his goal. He fought tooth and nail for Eelam for thirty years with strict orders for his cadres to kill him if he gave up Eelam. That was real leadership albeit for the wrong cause. Prabhakaran succeeded in setting up something that his allies chose to dub a de facto state. He claimed to have a government, an army, an air force, a navy, a police force, a public service, a judiciary and a landmass with a population under his control . But, his 'state' stood on a foundation of sand without legitimacy and sovereignty.

We are told that a notorious arms smuggler known as KP has become the self-appointed leader of the LTTE's 'government in exile'. Prabhakaran and KP were chalk and cheese, the former a battle-hardened combatant and the latter a crook. Jackals won't succeed where Tigers have failed!

KP is trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, having cobbled together a fissiparous alliance of some LTTE sympathisers to facilitate 'tax collection'.

The real LTTE died with Prabhakaran! For, the LTTE was Prabhakaran and Prabhakaran the LTTE. When he built the LTTE he programmed it to perish with him. That was why he made it a point to eliminate all the second level leaders. He also kept all the senior leaders with him until the end so that none of them would survive him to lead the movement. KP, who fell from grace, was lucky to be away. Else, Prabhakaran would have executed him.

KP's Tigers are stuffed ones! They may look ferociously tigrine but they cannot claw or bite. There is no reason why anyone should fear his Tigers or take his enterprise seriously. This does not mean we should be complacent and lower our guard. There may be some splinter groups of brainwashed LTTE cadres seeking to avenge their leader's death.

KP is reportedly in the good books of some western intelligence outfits like MI5 and has bigwigs in foreign governments and the UN in his pocket. But, no decent state will ever want to touch him with a barge pole because of his track record as a man wanted for gun running, drug trafficking and money laundering. He has sought to repair his image by biding farewell to arms but his past will continue to dog him.

The dilemma of LTTE backers is they cannot afford to have any other person as the leader because the LTTE's wealth is in KP's possession. He is in a position to bankrupt what remains of the LTTE overnight if an attempt is made to smoke him out. Prabhakaran used the gun to consolidate his power in the LTTE and KP is using money for that purpose.

It is only wishful thinking that LTTE sympathisers will be able to achieve Eelam by changing their strategy and winning back international support. Their biggest problem is India, which has realised the danger that the Greater Eelam Project poses to its territorial integrity and national security. That Sri Lanka's war which wiped the LTTE and aborted Eelam on its soil had India's blessings is only too well known.

What a US envoy––Thomas Pickering was his name––said in Colombo in 2000 comes to mind: Eelam is possible only on a 'planet of the dead'! Those who are still trying to establish Eelam are flogging a dead horse. However, KP and his cohorts might be able to trick Tamil expatriates into pouring more money into a bottomless pit.

One may recall a derisive comment an ardent LTTE backer made when a Sri Lankan court sentenced Prabhakaran to jail in absentia. He said the government could also hang Prabhakaran in absentia!

Similarly, the Eelam lobby may be told now that they have formed a 'government in exile', they could have the pleasure of reigning supreme in exile till hell freezes over.

Prabhakaran would turn somersaults in his grave if he saw the unfolding slapstick!

He wanted his followers to be terrorists and not clowns.

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