‘Canada fears Tamil backlash after LTTE defeat’

With its huge population of Sri Lankan Tamils, Canada fears that resentment over the defeat of the Tamil Tigers last year may lead to violent response by sections of the 300,00-strong community here, says a report.

Canadian security agencies are worried that the Tamil anger could lead to backlash like the Air India Kanishka bombing by Khalistanis in 1985 to avenge the army attack on the Golden Temple to flush out militants, says the report.

Titled ‘The Sri Lankan Diaspora After The LTTE’, the report by Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) says: ‘The Tigers’ humiliating defeat, the enormous death toll in the final months of the war and the internment of more than a quarter million Tamils (has) left the diaspora feeling powerless, betrayed by the West, demanding justice and, in some cases, wanting revenge.’

Despite the Tigers’ defeat in May last year, the report adds: ‘Most Tamils abroad remain profoundly committed to Tamil Eelam, the existence of a separate state in Sri Lanka.

‘While there are no signals yet that the rump LTTE is planning a terrorist act, it only takes a handful of committed cadre in the diaspora bent on violence to have a deadly impact.’

According to the report, security officials in Canada are concerned over the repetition of something like the Air India bombing in June 1985 that led to 329 deaths.

‘Canadian law enforcement officials have been concerned that, if left unchecked, LTTE activities could result in an event similar to the terrorist bombing of an Air India jet in 1985, which was planned and funded by Sikh separatists in Canada,’ it says.

The report quotes a Canadian security official as saying: ‘We can’t ignore what is happening in our Tamil community, particularly the fundraising for (Tamil) Tigers. Because of what we learnt from Canada’s connection with Khalistan, we’re compelled to look at issues concerning the Tamil Tigers here because we don’t want another Air India disaster.’

But since the defeat of the Tigers, the Canadian Tamil Congress has said it will fight for the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka through peaceful means.

Most of the 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils are concentrated in the Toronto area. (IANS)

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