Eelam politics: empty rhetoric and perceived threats - I
by B R Haran on 11 Apr 2009 0 Comment

Four significant statements were made on Wednesday 8 April 2009, in connection with the LTTE and Sri Lankan Tamils. First, Pattali Makkal Katchi leader Dr Ramadoss said, “The Chief Minister has failed in stopping war and ensuring ceasefire in Sri Lanka. He has failed the Sri Lankan Tamils and he must apologise to the people for that. He has been writing letters and sending telegrams to the central government, but this issue cannot be resolved by such meaningless actions. Karunanidhi stands totally exposed”. 

Second, Viduthalai Chiruththaikal Katchi leader Tirumavalavan, while releasing the names of candidates and the party manifesto, said, “We will raise the Sri Lankan Tamils issue in Parliament. We will participate in the rally being organized by the DMK in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils in Chennai on 9 April 2009, and we will conduct demonstrations on 10 April in all district headquarters condemning the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan Army on the Tamils. Sonia Gandhi is the last hope for the Island Tamils and being the leader of the UPA she has the moral responsibility to save them. I appeal to her to interfere immediately for bringing ceasefire in the Island nation.” Tirumavalavan, who was vociferous in attacking Congress and Sonia Gandhi before being roped into the DMK-led alliance by Karunanidhi for the parliament elections, shifted his stand after allegedly expressing regrets to the TNCC. But during Wednesday’s press conference he said his party would not campaign ‘for’ Congress despite being part of the same alliance, though it would refrain from campaigning ‘against.’ 

Third, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president Vaiko, expressing everlasting support for LTTE and its chief Prabhakaran, addressing a meeting of the Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement said, “The LTTE and its leader Prabhakaran cannot be defeated in the war. Prabhakaran has a permanent place in the hearts of the Tamils world over and the self respect of the Tamils manifested in the self immolation of twelve persons. The sea between India and Sri Lanka cannot permanently prevent the Tamil youth visiting that country with arms. If the Argentine-born Che Guevara could fight for Cuba, why not the Tamil youths fight for Tamil Eelam? After all, they have an umbilical cord relationship!” The meeting was attended by PMK leader Dr Ramadoss, CPI leaders D. Pandian and R. Nallakannu, Tamil Nationalist Movement leader P. Nedumaran, and Vaiko. The latter warned the Centre, “The mind of the seven crore Tamils had become a volcano. It is a long time since they had forgotten the Sriperumbudur incident of Rajiv’s assassination. If any harm is done to Prabhakaran, Tamil Nadu will witness a bloodbath and a river of blood will flow in the state. There will not be any guarantee for India’s unity and India will not be one country if the war is not stopped!”

Fourth, the Union Home Ministry issued an alert to all states over LTTE ‘threats’ to Sonia Gandhi and her family after ‘reports’ from intelligence services.



It is necessary to understand the background of the above statements. On 5 April, the Sri Lankan Army captured “Puthukudiyiruppu,” the last bastion of the LTTE, along with a huge cache of weapons, arms, and ammunition. LTTE had lost almost all top commanders, with the exception of Pottu Amman, Prabhakaran and his son, Charles Anthony; its area of operation is now reduced to 20 sq. kms., which fall under the No Fire Zone (NFZ).

Prabhakaran has reputedly become physically and even mentally incapacitated, and reports suggest that Pottu Amman has taken control of the outfit, while Charles attends to his ailing father. Unfortunately, 200,000 civilian Tamils have also been trapped in the NFZ along with the LTTE cadres who are waging a losing war with the Sri Lankan Army.

As the countdown for the end of the LTTE has started, the pro-LTTE parties are attempting to make it an electoral issue, whipping up passions of the people of Tamil Nadu through emotional and rhetorical speeches.

Rabble-rousing in Tamil Nadu

Vaiko had additional pressure in the form of AIADMK, as his party’s seat sharing with AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa had not been finalized till the time of his attending the meeting in support of Sri Lankan Tamils. Meanwhile, the DMK had been poaching upon most of his present MPs and MLAs, leaving him with non-entities.

While Vaiko and his MDMK have been driven to oblivion in Tamil Nadu, Prabhakaran and the LTTE have been driven into a corner in Sri Lanka at almost the same time! The emotional but abominable speech of Vaiko only reflects his desperation and frustration. Ironically, the man who could not prevent his own MPs and MLAs from fleeing, spoke of seven crore Tamils in the state, as if they are all his followers!

On Thursday 9 April, Vaiko accepted the four seats offered by Ms. Jayalalithaa (he sought six) as he didn’t have any option. Thought he has been in alliance with her since the 2006 assembly elections, he was the last to finalise seat sharing, while the latest ally PMK finalized the deal first by getting what it wanted. This reflects the present status of Vaiko and his party in Tamil Nadu!

At Thursday’s press conference, Vaiko didn’t show even an iota of remorse for his treacherous rhetoric and persisted with this pro-LTTE stand. Asserting that a separate Tamil nation is the only solution, he said he had warned New Delhi of a future disintegration of India; he claimed he had warned in 1990 about the imminent disintegration of the USSR. Regarding his alliance with Jayalalithaa, who is anti-LTTE, he said the alliance was only an electoral understanding and partners need not have the same ideologies. It is pertinent that Jayalalithaa has of late made a slight shift in her stand on Eelam, terming the LTTE as “fighters” instead of “terrorists”. 

Will Election Commission take note?

It is surprising that neither the State nor the Centre has taken any action against Vaiko for this blatant anti-national and violent speech. As Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa had arrested Vaiko under POTA; he is now on bail. Now, he deserves to be arrested under the National Security Act! Why both governments are silent is a million dollar question. Will at least the Election Commission take note?

If Karunanidhi and Sonia Gandhi fear they would make a hero out of Vaiko and lose costly votes if they arrest him, they are totally wrong. They are unaware that Vaiko and his MDMK have become politically insignificant; there is need for stern action against separatists like him as the people have no sympathy for the LTTE.   

Realising that the LTTE has no electoral dividend, Chief Minister Karunanidhi has changed his tune on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, doing mere lip service. As reports of the speeches of opposition leaders and their efforts to reap electoral benefits on this issue poured in, he allegedly got in touch with the Centre and news of the “LTTE threat” to Sonia Gandhi and her family immediately came out of the blue in the form of ‘intelligence reports’ from the Home Ministry.

One wonders if LTTE is really in a position to issue such threats, being in the last battle for its own survival! Nadesan, leader of LTTE’s political wing, stoutly denied his organization had issued a threat to the Gandhi family; indeed, it is viewed as a deft move by Karunanidhi to nullify opposition efforts to make Sri Lankan Tamils an electoral issue. The possibility that VCK leader Tirumavalavan’s appeal to Sonia Gandhi could have been scripted by Karunanidhi himself cannot be ruled out! The experienced politician has tamed the panther (Chiruththai) and made it toe his line!    

Civilians as human shields

Latest report from Sri Lanka suggests that Pottu Amman has appointed surviving commander Velavan as chief of war-field operations. Pottu Amman has reputedly asked the remaining LTTE cadres to utilize the ‘captivity’ of civilian Tamils to the hilt and even liquidate those who try to flee the LTTE-controlled area. He reportedly ordered the cadres to shoot and kill civilians trying to leave the NFZ. The Sri Lankan government had claimed that LTTE has been using civilians as shields.   

Though Sri Lankan President Rajapakse assured the world community and India that Colombo would take care of the ‘trapped’ civilian Tamils, they are in acute danger as they are under the control of the physically disturbed and mentally deranged LTTE. Colombo has a huge responsibility towards these hapless innocents and must live up to its commitments.

The way the Lankan Army is advancing in the battlefield, it is likely the LTTE may not survive till the completion of the election process in India. The next Indian government has a huge responsibility to ensure peace in the island nation along with fundamental rights and equal and respectable treatment for Sri Lankan Tamils in a democratic federal form of governance.

As for Vaiko, he may yet prove to be the bane of the AIADMK-led front. Ms. Jayalalithaa is bound to lose a considerable chunk of votes by keeping him as an ally along with other pro-LTTE parties like PMK and CPI. 

The author is a senior journalist; he lives in Chennai

LTTE’s bastions crumble

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