LTTE’s current status and activities
by R Hariharan on 17 Dec 2016 0 Comment
[This an extract of answers by e-mail to questions raised by a European NGO.]


Q: Have there been any recent incidences of human rights abuses perpetrated by the LTTE? (Such as for example extra-judicial and targetted killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced recruitment or abuses of deserters, or forced displacement)


A: No; not in Sri Lanka. However, Tamil political trends indicate a tendency to perpetuate the glory of its leader Prabhakaran, particularly among the student community. It has found some political traction also.


If this trend gains political strength, it could attract released former LTTE cadres (around 10,000) in the Northern Province, who are not gainfully employed, and kin of cadres and leaders who were killed. That could result in extortion, illegal tax levies, targetted killing of informers etc. among the evils you had stated.


But I do not visualize it to happen in the near term (5 years) as Tamil polity is more pragmatic now and a leader of the calibre of Prabhakaran has not yet emerged (I doubt whether it would ever happen). Moreover, at present the government and Tamil leaders are working together to rationalise the ethnic reconciliation process and its progress could be a disincentive for the return of extremism.


Q: Does the LTTE still have the capacity to carry out such activities?


A: No. The pro-LTTE Diaspora elements made a few efforts to infiltrate a few LTTE cadres into Sri Lanka, but have been crushed by Sri Lanka and India. A few of years ago, they had used Tamil Nadu as the launching pad for triggering LTTE activity in Sri Lanka. However, Tamil Nadu police have managed to dismantle cells indulging in such efforts.


Another reason is the LTTE influence among Tamil Diaspora, particularly in Canada and the European Union has weakened; this should not be confused with the Tamil Diaspora’s large-scale support for the demand for autonomy or international investigation into war crimes and other human rights aberrations. 


The LTTE’s control over a large number of Diaspora organizations has changed. However, the LTTE still has financial and business assets created in the past, particularly in the EU. These could become a source of funding such efforts in the future if the environment in Sri Lanka is conducive for separatism. This was how the LTTE grew into a powerful organization.   


Q: Are paramilitary groups/paramilitary wing of some parties in Sri Lanka still active and/or influential?


A: With the exit of Mahinda Rajapaksa from power, paramilitary wings have lost much of their influence and relevance to pressurise people. Moreover, Military Intelligence which had enjoyed a lot of patronage during the previous regime to use the paramilitary as a coercive instrument of power outside the pale of law is at present under a lot of pressure from the government. The government is unraveling the illegal activities of the past in which the MI along with the police are suspected to have been involved.


Q: If so, do you have any information as to where they are active and what kind of activities they are involved in?


A: I fear I will not be able to answer this question as I am not privy to any secret information. I am an analyst and my information comes from public domain the world over and conversations with people known for their expertise on Sri Lanka affairs across the world. 



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