Prabhakaran dreamt of Greater Eelam with Tamil Nadu to create a new Tamil kingdom to rival the Chola kings, says KP

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, August 12: LTTE founder Velupillai Prabhakaran had often dreamt of achieving Greater Eelam with Sri Lanka’s NorthEast and India’s Tamil Nadu state to create a new Tamil kingdom that would rival the Chola kings, according to Selvarasa Pathmanathan or "KP."

KP, Prabhakaran’s one-time righthand man now under house arrest in Colombo, claimed in an interview published in The Sunday Guardian weekly here today that the LTTE supremo had put aside everything at a young age to focus on Eelam, a separate country for Tamils living in Sri Lanka’s NorthEast to be carved out of the Indian Ocean island-nation..

"He saw himself as the successor to the Chola kings, and wanted to create a new Tamil kingdom that would rival theirs in greatness," KP said.

He explained: "To Prabhakaran, winning control over the north and parts of west and east coasts of Sri Lanka would just be the beginning. The intention was to use the territory to ‘prepare’ the Tamil Nadu people to revolt against Delhi the way he had against Colombo."

KP claimed that some Tamil Nadu politicians encouraged this dream by saying that they too favoured the extension of Eelam to India.

Asked to identify the Tamil Nadu politicians who egged Prabhakaran on to go for Greater Eelam, KP said" "I won’t reveal their names. All I can say is that Prabhakaran was in regular touch with (DMK Chief Muthuvel) Karunanidhi, Nedumaran, Vaiko and Ramadoss. All four encouraged him in various ways.

(The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling dynasties in southern India, from third century BC to the 13th century AD. They ruled a large area beyond today’s Tamil Nadu state at the height of their power from the later half of the ninth century till the beginning of the 13th century. Under Rajaraja Chola I and his son Rajendra Chola I, the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-east Asia.

(During the period 1010–1200, the Chola territories stretched from the islands of the Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh. Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, annexed parts of what is now Sri Lanka and occupied the islands of the Maldives. Rajendra Chola sent a victorious expedition to North India that touched the river Ganges and defeated the Pala ruler of Pataliputra, Mahipala. He also successfully invaded kingdoms of the Malay Archipelago. What was once the Chola Empire today forms parts that are scattered across southern India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore).

Asked why Prabhakaran wanted India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi killed, KP said he was convinced that Gandhi wanted him to be killed. "He was worried that the Congress (Party) may win the 1991 polls and that Rajiv would send in the IPKF (Indian Peace-Keeping Force) to Sri Lanka, this time to finish him off. So, he decided to get Rajiv first."

He said a Tamil Nadu politician told Prabhakaran that Gandhi was angry with him for refusing to give up the demand for Eelam. So, some five months before the May 1991 election, Prabhakaran had decided to have Gandhi eliminated.

Gandhi was assassinated by Dhanu, an LTTE woman suicide-bomber, at an election rally in Sriperumbudur near Chennai in May 1991.

KP said many of those with Prabhakaran, including Pottu Amman, were convinced that it was all over when Killinochchi fell in January 2008. But none dared to tell him because they knew he could have them eliminated if they told him anything he did not like to hear.

Prabhakaran had a lot of faith in the Europeans, especially Norway’s then Foreign Minister Eric Solheim. KP said Solheim thought Prabhakaran was a great warrior, who could always run circles around the Sri Lankan Army.

The Europeans and the UN wanted the Sri Lankan government to agree to a No Fire Zone, where LTTE cadres could move about in safety. This was agreed to at first. But the agreement broke down when the LTTE continued to fire on Sri Lankan soldiers from within the zone.

"Norway ensured that the UN worked towards bringing Prabhakaran as well as other LTTE leaders and their families to safety in Eritrea. However, in 2008, nothing worked. The Sri Lankan Army continued its offensive until the end,’ KP recalled.

KP also claimed that, when cornered by the Sri Lankan armed forces, Prabhakaran had made at least two attempts to escape. "On 13 May (2009), he decided to escape into a nearby jungle and from there, try and sail away to safety in a small craft. Two days later, he and a few bodyguards and associates tried to escape from their bunker. However, the Sri Lankan Army pickets were too numerous, and they could not break through," he said.

Prabhakaran and some of his close associates were killed by the Sri Lankan troops on 18 May 2009, thus bringing to an end the 30-year bloody war.

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