In an interview with the Thamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) in London, Col. Karuna blasted LTTE leader Prabhakaran as a ruthless person whose only concern is his own glory. Col. Karuna accuses Prabhakaran as a traitor who is now begging for the Interim Administration from the Sri Lankan government. He said that Prabhakaran’s people are killing not only fighters but also innocent civilians as well in Batticaloa. Karuna said he is committed to the democratic process and re-affirms that he will form the political party soon. He claims that he is still in Sri Lanka and accuses vanni LTTE leadership are the ones who are working with the Sri Lankan army. He pointed out that the newly appointed military leader Banu travels in armed forces helicopters, with the SLA protection. He also discusses the death of his elder brother Reggie. In the TBC broadcast last week, Mr. Ramaraj spoke to Col. Karuna. Text of the interview follows:
Ramaraj: There are reports of several attacks in the eastern province. Last week, we heard that Reggie, your brother and a long time LTTE fighter, had been killed. How true are these reports?
Karuna: That is true. A stooge of Prabhakaran killed my brother. I wouldn't say that is a new thing. Because hundreds of LTTE fighters were killed by Prabhakaran. He will continue these killings of follow fighters. So, I have to feel sorry and sad for all those fighters killed by Prabhakaran, not just for the single person Reggie. But I want to say one thing. Reggie died fighting against the dictatorship of Prabhakaran, against the oppression of Prabhakaran. So, I am in fact proud of my brother. They carried out big propaganda. They spread rumours and misled people to believe that we ran away from our people, we went aboard, and so on. This incident shows that we are with our people. We always will be with our people. So, I don’t want our people to get frustrated or shocked by the killing Reggie or any of our fighters. We were forced to fight against the dictators and fascists of Prabhakaran. So we have to fight with vigor and strength. So I ask our people to come together and fight the evil forces of Prabhakaran. I ask the Tamil youths to join together and put a stop to the murders and heinous crimes committed by Prabhakaran.
I am sure Prabhakaran cannot get anything positive for our people. Because he is only concerned about his legacy. He declared himself as the `EBgreat leader’, the `EBnational leader’ and wants to crown himself as the greatest leader ever. How can a mad person who had killed thousands of his own people be the national leader? How can this person be a great leader? So, now there is a need for the people of north and east to think about this. He had killed several political leaders, intellectuals who were among us. He had killed people like Amirthalingam, several intellectuals, educators, and community leaders. Prabhakaran killed hundreds of such people. How can he be the leader of Tamils? So, I am sure people will be thinking about these, and when they come to realize all this, they will have no other choice but to reject Prabhakaran. His dancing with terrorism will not liberate our people.
When Amirthalingam and other TULF leaders were killed by the LTTE, these leaders were asking for separate state. The LTTE reasoned out that these leaders were going to give-up on Tamil Eelam. What is happening today? Prabhakaran is begging for the interim administration. He is telling `EBGive us the interim administration’. That is the pathetic status of our liberation struggle now. Prabhakaran has become the biggest traitors of all for the Tamils. He said, `ECI will get separate state, I will get Thamil Eelam`EE, and now he gave up all that, and asking for `EBInterim Administration’. It has come to that pathetic state. In this process to hang on to his power, no matter what he gets for the Tamil people, Prabhakaran will continue to kill more people. He is going to kill several others. So, we need to fight with him strongly.
Ramraj: We heard that you are working with the Sri Lankan army, especially in the eastern province. What is your opinion on this?
Karuna: I say that Prabhakaran does this false propaganda. He is the person who can do such a thing (working with the army). He had done that in the past. When the LTTE was fighting the Indian army, Prabhakaran got weapons from the Sri Lankan forces. His people went to Weli-Oya jungles and got arms from the Sri Lankan forces. At that time, I pointed out to him that this sort of thing is not good. We would be looked upon as traitors. But he said that is a strategy, it is diplomacy. He is such a traitor. We donneed to work with the army. There is no need for us to do so. Because our goal is to liberate our people, to give voice to our people. We want to expose the crimes and atrocities committed by Prabhakaran to the public as well as to his own fighters. His actions are still kept in dark. His movements and his life are kept very secretive. I know how he is living a luxury life in the wanni jungles. How can such a person be a leader of the Tamil people? He never comes out in public. He never meets any ordinary people. He is hiding all the time. How can a person who wants to live a secret life, and never meets public, be a leader of the people?
That is why he is a spreading rumours like that about me to the public, accusing us as working with the army. If their rumours were true, then Sri Lankan army personnel would have also died with my brother. He fought against Prabhakaran’s henchmen alone and died. I am proud of my brother, and hundreds other who fought against this fascist Prabhakaran. His propaganda is truly a reflection of his pathetic state. But I think the people are intelligent, and they will realize in time what a phoney he is. Soon there will be an end for all this crimes by Prabhakaran. I am saying this because he is very weak now. His weakness is out now. He will not be able to stand for long. People are realizing his weaknesses. But I also urge people not to fall for the false propaganda of Prabhakaran.
Ramraj: When you withdrew on April 9th, hundreds of fighters were with you, what is their status now? Are there any chances that they be able to join you in the future?
Karuna: I have told this several times. We do not like unnecessary loss of lives. We do not want to see our fighters killed in internal fights and loose their lives without any purpose. I highly value every fighter’s life. That is the very reason I withdrew without putting up a fight, and asked my fighters to go home. But when the time comes, when it becomes necessary, these fighters will be ready to join us. Both my brother, and me have been fighting for the last 20 years for the Thamil people. We are committed to our people. Reggie had been in the north most of the time. He fought in the battlefields in the wanni. He sacrificed his life for the wanni people. He married a woman from the north. Prabhakaran had killed such a person who spent most of his life in the north, and fought for those people. So, Prabhakaran is not concerned about people either in the east or in the north. The last 25 years or so, every decision was made by Prabhakaran alone, and no one dared to question his dictatorship. But his actions are all selfish actions. Only purpose for his decisions and actions are glorifying his name and image. That is why our struggle is paying a heavy price now. If the Tamils believe Prabhakaran, then no Tamil will be left at the end, and the future is going to be really dark. That is how pathetic the situation is now. Lots of Tamils have fled to other countries because of fear from Prabhakaran. All the educated people, intellectuals, talented people, they are all gone abroad. When I look at this situation, I can see Cambodia. The Cambodian rebels did the same thing. They did not leave a single intellectual. They killed them all. That is the situation Prabhakaran is creating here now. So, if Tamil people continue to support Prabhakaran blindly, the same situation is going to come here. So, there is a need, there is a true need for the Tamils to reject Prabhakaran’s leadership. Prabhakaran will face the uprising of the Tamils if he continues his foolish atrocities like this.
Ramraj: Recently, you have lost several important persons. Will this be a setback for you, militarily?
Karuna: I am not worried about the set back for me. But I am deeply disturbed by the actions of Prabhakaran’s henchmen where they go and kill these Tamil youths at their homes. This is inexcusable. Not only the fighters, but also they are killing innocent civilians, accusing them of being our supporters. They had killed several people like this. We know those who support Vanni LTTE, and we can go and kill these people too anytime we like. But we haven’t done it, and are not going to do it. We don’t want to commit those low level acts. I can give you an example. Prabhakaran is torturing and killing the family members of several of our fighters. Recently, when they went looking for a youth at his house, they couldn't find him. So, Prabhakaran’s henchmen killed the mother and the sister. These are elderly women. But Prabhakaran’s own parents are living without any trouble. Those who oppose Prabhakaran are fighting against him and his henchmen. They are not going after his family members. They will not do it, because they can differentiate between right and wrong. They fight for justice. Only an animal like Prabhakaran can do such a cruel thing. Killing that mother was a cruel thing.
I don’t think people will accept these serial murders for a long time. They will rise against these atrocities. Sometimes back, there was an incident in Colombo, you all might know of. Some of the youths were sent to Colombo by me for safety reasons. They were waiting to find some alternatives to get on with their normal lives. Some of them were looking to go abroad. They were given sleeping pills by a cowardly traitor, and were shot to death in their sleep. Prabhakaran who claims that he is fighting courageously does this type of cowardly acts. Killing people in their sleep. This is his courage! He is such a coward. This incident showed how low he stoops. A real, courageous man would not do such a thing. Soon, there will be an end for all this. Because Prabhakaran cannot go on like this, and stand for a long time. He will get more and more enemies. He is getting weaker and weaker. By his actions, he is really giving strength to us, and to his enemies.
Ramraj: Recently the LTTE leadership announced several changes in the military leadership in the eastern province. Banu had replaced special commander Ramesh. What do you think the reason for all this?
Karuna: This is not a secret. It is an open issue. This is the reason I disagreed with Prabhakaran in the first place. He is a person who discriminate people. You can’t say he favours Jaffna people. He considers only people from Velvettithurai are trustworthy. He always promotes people from this area. So, a person who discriminate people from other regions, how can be a leader of all? He has declared himself as the national leader. When the problem of this discrimination emerged, several of those with me did not understand it. This person, Ramesh was next to me in Batticaloa. When the problem first started, we explained it to him in detail. We told him that Prabhakaran discriminates our fighters and our people, and he treats us very low. We told Ramesh that there are other people in the Wanni leadership whom we can expect any reasonable justice. But Ramesh and some others did not listen to us. They might have thought that, after Karuna we could get the posts and come to leadership positions in the east. These thoughts made them to be traitors. But probably now, Ramesh can realize what he has done. The people of Batticaloa, Amparai know what kind of person Prabhakaran is. Prabhakaran has nominated a person of his own qualities, - a murderer, and a terrorist to the leadership of Batticaloa. This is the same Banu who came to Kathiraveli and killed hundreds of our fighters. He is the one who killed even those who surrendered. He is the one who sexually assaulted and humiliated our female fighters. He is from Ariyalai and doesn’t know anything about Batticaloa or its people. Prabhakaran is not concerned about the welfare, or liberation of the Batticaloa people. His only aim is to see how can he bring the Batticaloa people under his control, and how can he get this people to accept him as the leader again. I can give you an example. Take the journalist Sivaram. Sivaram is the one who spread regional passions in Batticaloa in the east. He campaigned against the Jaffna people in Batticaloa. He was against accepting any staff member from Jaffna working at the Batticaloa University. Now, Sivaram is bought by Prabhakaran, and now he had turned himself into one of the biggest supporter of Prabhakaran justifying all his crimes. Sivaram was in another liberation movement, and left that movement because of his differences of opinion with the leadership of that organization. Now, we are in the same situation like him. But Sivaram, being a traitor, is not speaking against Prabhakaran. Why couldn't Prabhakaran find someone from Batticaloa or the east to the leadership positions? Isn’t there any capable person from the east? Or, all these years why couldn't Prabhakaran train such a person from the east for leadership? He will never do it, because he does not want to. This Banu dropped out of school with grade eight, and is as ruthless as Prabhakaran himself. By this appointment, I hope that the people in the east will realize how Prabhakaran wants to treat the Tamil people in the east.
Ramraj: There are propaganda reports claiming that you are not in Sri Lanka and had sought refuge in a foreign country. What do you like to say about that?
Karuna: They were telling the same thing about me and my brother Reggie. I am aware of such propaganda by Prabhakaran. I think he is afraid of us, and since we are with the people, that he feels threatened. I am in the motherland. I am a freedom fighter and when the time comes I will inform my people about my whereabouts. For about 20 years, I fought for my people. I lived with my people. But now, the direction of our struggle took a slight turn. Because we came to realize that we cannot get freedom with someone who only consider his glory, a selfish dictator. So, now we really see a future. The Tamil people will have a future. Since coming out the movement, and after discussing with various leaders and intellectuals, I came realize how we were all brainwashed to believe Prabhakaran, that he is a great leader. Now only I realize that stupid mistake, the mistake of believing Prabhakaran’s greatness. Today, we need to fight to put a stop for this killing spree by Prabhakaran’s henchmen. We can’t tolerate this any more. We need to get liberated from this slavery to Prabhakaran. So, we call upon the people to realize this. We will explain out programs and projects in due course. But we do not want people to join us now. We are aware of that Prabhakaran is killing innocent people whom he says are supporting us. Prabhakaran killed people who had given us food. So we don’t want to be the cause for any unnecessary loss of lives at this point. So we want the public to wait for our announcements that we will make when the time comes.
Ramraj: When we last spoke, you mentioned that you would establish a political party. What is the status of that now?
Karuna: Yes, we sure are making progress there to form a democratic political party. This will be the voice of our people. We are committed to that process. We will soon register this party. We are also exploring to establish functional branches abroad as well. I want to re-affirm our commitments to this process. I thank you for the opportunity given to speak to our people.(http://www.island.lk/2004/10/06/features10.html)