Thursday, October 20, 2005

LTTE Intelligence deploys saboteurs countrywide by Norman Palihawadana and Gamini Perera

Twenty-two personnel of the LTTE intelligence service have moved out of the Wanni areas and had taken positions in various parts of the country, Army intelligence sources told The Island. Information is that the LTTE plans to explode bombs in various parts of the island during the Presidential election. Police stations have been advised to set-up special operational units to combat these strategies. In two bombs attacks by an LTTEer in Trincomalee, an Army officer and two soldiers were injured.

(The Island 08 Oct 2005 )

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chandrika holds secret talks with the LTTE to attack Karuna’s break-away group in the east

Colombo, 16 October, ( an exclusive interview with the Asian Tribune, V. Muralitharan nom de guerre Col Karuna, the leader of the break-away group in the east who has been a thorn in Prabakaran’s flesh, revealed that President Chandrika Kumaratunga has had secret talks with the LTTE apparatchiks in Paris and promised to help the LTTE to attack his forces in the east. He maintained that the Sri Lankan governments too, like Prabakaran, have been prolonging the war for their own survival.

Here is the full text of the interview:

Question : There is concern in all quarters about the escalating tension in the east. Why are your cadres engaged in this mini-war in the east?

Col. Karuna: We try to avoid the fratricidal wars in the beginning. That is why we sent our cadres back home and avoided attacking the Vanni Tigers earlier. But at present we are compelled to take up arms against the Vanni Tigers when Tiger Leader Prabakaran continued to kill our unarmed cadres who were sent back by us earlier to their homes. Many unarmed and innocent Tamil civilians have been the victims of Prabakaran’s vindictive politics. We were not left with any other choice, other than to involve in a self defence campaign and fight them.

Question : Norwegian go-betweens like Erik Solheim, SLMM and Gen. Furdohove repeat the accusation of the LTTE that your “para-military forces” are escalating tensions in the east. Have you made representations to the Norwegians about the situation in the east?

Col. Karuna: We have made it known to the Norwegian government repeatedly about the killing of our cadres and requested them to put to end the killing of our cadres. Unfortunately, Norway failed to pay heed to our repeated appeal. This has placed us in a delicate position to take up to arms to fight Prabakaran and his gangs and now the situation has worsened and we are involved in fighting Prabakaran and his men in north, east and south. Our fight-back campaigns have successfully confined them to their bunkers and camps in the east and the same situation will follow soon in the south and north. I can assure that there can be no turning back until we effectively contain the Vanni Tigers.

Even recently Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission representatives came and had discussions with our representatives in the east. This talk was held in the area under our control and they also talked with us in a peaceful environment in the area controlled by us. They even had meals with us before leaving. When they left we saw them leave the region under our control without any problems.

After the meeting with us the SLMM representatives showed their true colors as a partial monitoring group. They reported back that they met us to find out the existence of the para-military forces in the army control areas.

Question : Since the LTTE will not allow rival Tamil parties to participate does it mean that the prospects of peace are dwindling?

Col. Karuna: No Government will be able to negotiate for a peaceful settlement of the Tamil issues without our participation. We will not either accept or tolerate Prabakaran claiming himself as the sole representatives of Tamils in the country. We have told the SLMM representatives who met us that we have not accepted this ceasefire arrangement as it favors the ruthless fascist organization led by Prabakaran to kill his rivals.

Today the LTTE cadres are confined to their bases to safeguard their lives. Only a comprehensive peace solution can be reached which would remain sustainable. This is the pragmatic situation. To achieve this all the organizations, outfits and political parties representing the Tamils in the country must participate in the talks.

Question : Do you think that the Ceasefire Agreement can be activated to restore peace?

Col. Karuna: After the signing of the Ceasefire agreement in February 2002, Prabakaran has killed more than 600 Tamils belonging to his rival Tamil factions.

Furthermore, by killing Laksman Kadirgamar Prabakaran has made the international community knows very clearly that he is a worst terrorists and a criminal.

The international community offered Prabakaran the best opportunity to bring about a sustainable peace to Tamils in this country. He has not accepted any diplomatic initiative offered by the international community to solve any of the problems faced by the Tamils.

His sole objective has been to safeguard himself, collect money from various countries, levy taxes on the poor innocent Tamil community and driving them to desperation and importing shiploads of arms and ammunition to fight the next war. Next to collecting arms the biggest obsession of Prabakaran is to collect money. He doesn’t care how it is done as long as his coffers are filled.

Question : What is your reaction to the imposing of the travel ban by the EU on LTTE cadres?

Col. Karuna: We fully endorse the travel ban imposed by the European Union against the Vanni Tigers - a decision which was long overdue by the international community. They should have taken it when the Denmark Government clamored for the ban after the visit of V. Balakumar to Denmark and spoke about the suicide squad in the country and propagated threats and terror in the midst of peace loving people of Denmark.

I take this opportunity to appeal to Tony Blair; Prime Minister of United Kingdom who heads the European Union, that strong and firm action should be taken forthwith to proscribe the LTTE in the EU countries. The EU has to come up with a list of designated terrorists as adopted by United States of America and United Kingdom which includes Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

It is very disappointing and agonizing to note that EU initially failed to include the LTTE in the list of terrorist organizations under Norwegian pressure.I trust that EU will not succumb to further pressures of Norway in the future.

Further I urge that the UN international Criminal Court to declare Prabakaran as an international terrorist and a criminal responsible for the killings of thousands of unarmed human beings. It is time that Prabakaran was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. I trust that India would initiate action against Prabakaran with the ICC, as he is also a proclaimed offender wanted by the Indian courts for the brutal killing of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Question : The presidential elections are due next month. What kind of president do you think can bring a solution to the national crisis?

Col. Karuna: We consider the present Sri Lanka’s Presidential election schedule for polls on 17 November 2005 as an important event.

So many important factors are involved in this election. The two leading contenders are fighting in this election to win over the country’s executive Presidency.

We urgently need a strong and unwavering leader for Sri Lanka who would come forward to find a sustainable solution to the issues faced by the Tamils once and for all.

Furthermore, we need a Sri Lanka President who would come forward to implement favorable proposals for the maintenance of peace and stability in the north and east and who would put forward proposals for the economic and educational advancement of the north and east.

We need a Sri Lanka President who would put maximum pressure on Prabakaran and the LTTE and who could withstand the threat and intimidation posed by Prabakaran and not a meek leader who will bow down to the dictates of Prabakaran.

Question : Are you taking sides?

Col. Karuna: We are studying the Presidential election manifesto put out by the United National Party and we wait to analyze the manifesto of United People’s Freedom Alliance. Once we go through them and after going through the final exercises connected with our decision, after that we will openly announce our decision soon.

The earlier Ceasefire Agreement signed between Prabakaran and Ranil Wickremasinghe has proved to be very weak. The Ceasefire Agreement referred mainly to the cessation of hostilities in the country. It was not a blue print to arrive at any reasonable solutions to the Tamils of this country. It has been a very ineffective instrument regarding the restoration of peace. At best, it has opened opportunities for Prabakaran to consolidate his one-man regime and a license to kill his opponents.

Even after Ceasefire Agreement and the initial warnings by the EU and the imposition of the travel ban on the LTTE Prabakaran’s action indicate clearly that he is only interested in prolonging the war. His survival depends on prolonging the war. He can run his regime only on violence. He is fully aware that he has no place in a democratic organization.

His tactic has been to declare unilateral cessation of hostilities whenever he is weak. He will then exploit the cessation of hostilities period to consolidate his power and rearm by smuggling into the country loads and loads of arms and ammunitions.

It must also be mentioned that the Sri Lankans too follow the same pattern of Prabakaran. Successive Sri Lankan Governments had never showed any keen interest in solving the problems of the Tamils.

Successive Sri Lankan Governments were keen that Prabakaran should continue with the war to safeguard their power and position. Sri Lankan Government leaders are keen on keeping Prabakaran in power for them to remain in power. They want to strengthen the power of Prabakaran for them to capture power and remain in power.

One fine example was when the Indian Peace Keeping Forces was in the Country, the then President Premadasa took stern action to capture JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera and arranged his killing and determinedly put an end to JVP’s military might and forced them into the present democratic mainstream. But he had the opportunity to do same to the Prabakaran and LTTE. Instead of physically getting rid of Prabakaran, he gave money in billions and also gave arms and ammunition to fight the Indian Army and the rival Tamil groups and kept them going finally Premadasa dug his own grave by taking Prabakaran into his confidence.

Furthermore Sinhalese leaders thought if JVP is allowed to grow militararily, they might one day usurp power and become the rulers of the country. That is why they were forced to weaken the JVP and kill the leaders and forced the JVP to take up to the Democratic way of politics.

But as far as Prabakaran and LTTE were concerned Sinhala leaders are convinced that under no circumstances would Prabakaran be in a position to take over the Sri Lanka Government and proclaim himself as the ruler of Sri Lanka. That is why they support Prabakaran to continue with his hostility campaigns for them to remain in power.

Question : That is a strong indictment of the Sri Lankan governments. Do you have any evidence of the current Sri Lankan government collaborating with the LTTE?

Col. Karuna: Recently we learnt from our international intelligence sources that, when Sri Lanka President was recently in Paris participating in the annual UNESCO conference, two LTTE representatives met her and held secret talks with her. We further learnt that the Sri Lanka President has agreed to help the LTTE to get rid of us.

Even earlier When Prabakaran sent his troops from Vanni by ship to attack us it was the same Chandrika Kumaratunga who allowed them to enter the Vaharai by allowing the LTTE to move their cadres unhindered through the sea and passing through the Government control area.

At no given movement either Sri Lanka Government or Sri Lanka armed forces has ever helped us. Instead they have arrested many of our cadres on the instruction of the LTTE and put them in jail and helped them to kill our cadres while they were under detention in the Sri Lanka prisons.

We have never, unlike Prabakaran and his men begged the Sri Lanka Government to provide security for our men to travel anywhere or we have never begged the Sri Lanka President to provide helicopters to ferry our sick and injured to hospitals either in Colombo or to anywhere else.

Question: Do you see any useful effect coming out of the EU travel ban on the LTTE?

Col. Karuna: Even last week Vanni tigers had killed two principals of the two leading colleges in Jaffna. While we condemn such inhuman acts we urged that international community should interfere immediately to stop these killings. Even last week LTTE killed many rival Tamil groups members.

We lay the blame for the killings in the doors of Norway who as facilitators of the peace process opened the floodgates to water the killing fields of Prabakaran.

I appeal to Jens Stoltenberg, the new Prime Minister of Norway to give up supporting Prabakaran and the LTTE and be impartial if they wish to continue to remain as the peace facilitators in this country.

Post your comments

- Asian Tribune -

(Date : 2005-10-16)


Friday, October 14, 2005

LTTE's auxilliary force cadre shot dead in Batticaloa

A cadre of Liberation Tigers National Auxilliary Force, Mr. Rasalingam Pugalenthiran, was shot and killed Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. by a group of men wearing military uniforms, according to Batticaloa District Political Head of the LTTE, Mr. Ilanthairayan (Marshall). The gunmen had moved beyond the no-man zone and fired at Pugalenthiran, Ilanthirayan told TamilNet.

The cadre was on duty at the time of the incident, he added.

LTTE's Batticaloa political head further said that the gunmen withdrew to Mavadyvembu Sri Lanka Army base following the incident.

The incident took place at the Mayilavedduvan, 3 km west of Sithandy in Eravur.


Armed men, LTTE cadres clash in Vavunathivu

A group of men in military fatigues launched an ambush on an LTTE convoy in Vavunathivu, 5 kilometers west of Batticaloa Monday night. LTTE sources in the East said three of their cadres sustained injuries in the counterstrike. The clash took place at the entrance to the LTTE controlled area in Vavunathivu around 10:00 p.m. on Monday. Vavunathivu is located 5 km west of Batticaloa.

Around 15 heavily armed men moved beyond the no-man zone in Vavunathivu attempting to target an LTTE convoy moving along the border.

LTTE sources said that their cadres launched a counterstrike at the group which withdrew towards Vavunathivu SLA camp.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Army sources, denying their involvement, said that the ambush targeted LTTE's Special Commander Col. Bhanu.

Continous firing was heard for more than 10 minutes, according to civilians in the area.


LTTE effects changes in eastern leadership by V.S. Sambandan

COLOMBO, SEPT. 20. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has brought in top level changes in the two troubled eastern districts — Batticaloa and Amparai — by replacing its Special Commander, Ramesh, with the rebel group's head of heavy mortar division, Bhanu.

According to sources in eastern Sri Lanka, `Col.' Ramesh, who was named as the Special Commander after the rebellion by the former Special Commander, V. Muralitharan (`Col.' Karuna) earlier this year, handed over charge of the two eastern districts to `Col.' Bhanu, who is from northern Sri Lanka. `Col.' Ramesh is scheduled to leave for rebel-held Kilinochchi in northern Sri Lanka.

The LTTE has not made any official statement on the situation and could not be reached for comment. According to security sources in eastern Sri Lanka, there has been no official intimation but ``ground reports'' confirmed the change in the eastern leadership.

`Shrinking space'

While sources close to the LTTE say that a person from Jaffna was brought in ``at the request of some senior eastern functionaries,'' critics of the LTTE say that the latest appointment points to the ``shrinking space for accommodation'' by the Tigers to `Col.' Karuna's rebellion.

After `Col.' Karuna's revolt in March, he was expelled from the organisation. Ramesh, his unranked deputy who hails from the eastern districts, was named as the Special Commander and was subsequently promoted to the rank of a `Colonel,' in the rebel fighting force.

After holding out for just over a month, `Col.' Karuna left Batticaloa for Colombo when the LTTE launched its Good Friday operation to ``get rid'' of its former military commander.

Since then, ``unidentified gunmen'' killed several LTTE senior functionaries, including the Batticaloa town political leader, Senadhi. The Tigers blamed Karuna's supporters and armed groups backed by sections of the military intelligence for the killings. The latest in the string of killings of senior LTTE functionaries was the gunning down of the Amparai district political leader, Bawa, last month.

The Government, which initially denied any involvement, subsequently conceded that ``sections of the armed forces'' could have played a role, but maintained that there was nothing official about it.

`Internal affair'

In the absence of any official statement by the LTTE, which is considering the leadership change as ``an internal affair,'' there has been intense media speculation in Colombo. Some reports suggest that `Col.' Bhanu was appointed to neutralise the supporters of `Col.' Karuna, while others indicate that `Col.' Ramesh was ``ineffective'' and hence the change.

Security sources in eastern Sri Lanka said there was no independent confirmation of these media reports.

Effigies burnt

Meanwhile the anti-LTTE Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) today protested against the ``continued killing'' of its political activists and burnt effigies of the LTTE leader, V. Prabakaran, and its political wing leader, S.P. Tamilchelvan, and blamed the Tigers and the Norwegian facilitators for the killings. The immediate reason for the protests is Saturday's killing of one of its senior functionaries — Sivakumaran — by unidentified gunmen in the northwestern Puttalam district. Sivakumaran had moved a fundamental rights case against the recently concluded Parliamentary elections in the northeast.

``The LTTE is treating the ceasefire agreement as a license to kill everybody, so we burnt their effigies,'' an EPDP spokesperson said.

The demonstrators, who carried a coffin to the Norwegian Embassy, raised slogans condemning the facilitators and the Tigers.

``Norway stop the killings or leave the peace process,'' said a slogan, while another said ``peace talks and internecine killings — two sides of the same coin.''

The EPDP, which has been a vocal critic of the LTTE, has been a major victim of internecine killings, and its leader, Douglas Devananda, escaped from an aborted suicide bomb attack this July.


The taking of Elephant Pass - Volume 17 - Issue 10, May. 13 - 26, 2000

THE military balance in Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated Northern Province has undergone a drastic transformation after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) seized the vast military complex in the area around Elephant Pass, or Aanai Iravu as it is know n in Tamil. The Elephant Pass isthmus was of strategic importance as it linked the northern mainland known as Wanni with the Jaffna Peninsula. Both the Jaffna-Kandy road, the A-9 Highway, and the railway line to Jaffna run through Elephant Pass, and the narrow strip of land was in a sense the gateway to Jaffna.

The fall of Elephant Pass marked the first time in the history of the "Tamil Eelam war" that the area had come under the LTTE's control. The Dutch colonialists first built a small fortress in 1776, which was converted in modern times into a resthouse for tourists. After Independence a permanent garrison was set up there to check illicit immigration, smuggling and unlawful transport of timber. As the intensity of the ethnic conflict escalated, the strategic importance of Elephant Pass also increased. The small camp gradually expanded into a sprawling complex. At one time, the Elephant Pass base and the satellite camps covered an area about 23 km long and 8-10 km wide.

To celebrate the capture of Elephant Pass, the LTTE organised a flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 23. According to Tiger media outlets, hundreds of LTTE cadres and a large number of Tamil civilians who serve as members of an auxiliary forc e known as "Thunaippadai" watched as the crimson-and-gold LTTE flag was hoisted by 'Colonel' Bhanu. As Bhanu, 38, stepped back and saluted the flag, LTTE fighters fired ceremonially in the air, and seven artillery field guns fired three shells each. Ther eafter, Bhanu addressed the gathering.

In his speech, Bhanu said this was only the first step in "the war to liberate our homeland" and there would be "many more battles". The valour and sacrifices of the LTTE fighters, he said, had made it possible to realise the "dream of annihilating Aanai Iravu". The camp, established by the Dutch over 200 years ago, had for long remained "a symbol of alien domination" and divided the Tamil people of the peninsula from the mainland, Bhanu said, and added: "Now it is no more. After we transport all that n eeds to be removed from here we will raze this place to the ground except for a small structure to remind ourselves of this oppressive symbol... Our enemies will not be allowed to return and occupy this place in the future."

Paying tributes to the memory of "all our comrades who laid down their lives in this battle and the campaigns before," Bhanu said that the LTTE fighters had succeeded because of the "very intricate attack plan drawn by our national leader and commander-i n-chief (Velupillai Prabakaran), the smooth execution of the plan by his lieutenants and the courageous fighting done by the cadres." The victory, he said, was a sign of "more things to come". Sweets were then distributed.

What followed immediately afterwards was rich in symbolism, and marked a defining moment for the LTTE. Groups of hand-picked civilians and some Tiger cadres in uniform walked along the Elephant Pass causeway on the isthmus that links the Wanni area with the peninsula. One group walked northwards from the mainland to the peninsula, and another went southwards from the peninsula to the mainland. The significance of this "walk" was that for the first time in living memory there were no barriers or men in k haki to stop the people crossing to and from the peninsula. For the Tamil civilians, a symbol of oppression had been eradicated.

Ten years ago Bhanu had been in a similar situation. On September 26, 1990, the 350-year-old Fort in the heart of Jaffna town had fallen to the LTTE; triumphant Tiger cadres led by Bhanu raised the LTTE flag at the Fort. Bhanu, who hailed from Ariyalai, was then Jaffna district commander. He had earlier served as Mannar commander. However, when an operation led by him against an army outpost at Thachan Kadu failed, resulting in the death of many LTTE cadres, Prabakaran demoted him. Bhanu was sent to the Wanni area for a while, but a few years later his position was restored and he was entrusted with a crucial assignment.

Bhanu was ordered to raise an artillery unit for the LTTE, and this he did competently. Initially, the LTTE depended on artillery seized from the army after successful raids; later the LTTE procured artillery equipment on the black market and transported them by sea to Wanni. The LTTE allegedly recruited foreign mercenaries on a contract basis to teach them the finer points of artillery deployment. Today, the LTTE's artillery unit is named after former Jaffna commander Kittu, and is still commanded by B hanu.

Pleased with Bhanu's work, Prabakaran is believed to have directed him to establish an armoured unit. Again, in the initial stages the LTTE could use only a few armoured cars and tanks seized from the armed forces. It is also rumoured that a renegade Sin hala army officer imparted some rudimentary training to the Tigers on the use of armoured vehicles. Later vehicles were purchased in the international arms market and shipped to Wanni. The armoured unit, named after former Mannar commander Victor and com manded by Bhanu, is still in a fledgling state.

The artillery and armoured units played a crucial role in the fighting in the Wanni region. They were responsible for checking the advances of the armed forces. In recent times the style of LTTE fighting in positional warfare situations has undergone a d ramatic transformation. Owing to their artillery power and armoured vehicles, the Tigers can hold off the army from afar with the minimum number of casualties. The nature of the war is increasingly becoming conventional, with heavy reliance on stand-off weapons.

In the recent fighting around Elephant Pass, the LTTE's artillery and armoured units again played a big role and enabled the LTTE to seize control within a short period with relatively few losses. In fact, Bhanu was given the honour of raising the flag a s an acknowledgement of the contribution of the Kittu and Victor units. Interestingly, Prabakaran does not hoist the flag or pose before the LTTE's video cameras after a victory. He lets his deputies who fought on the battlefield take the credit. It is, however, stated that it is Prabakaran who plans and coordinates operations.

THE recent LTTE victory at Elephant Pass was the result of an elaborate but simple strategy drawn up by Prabakaran. It is said that Prabakaran analyses the LTTE's military defeats for mistakes and draws lessons from them for use in subsequent campaigns. In that respect, a failed attempt by the LTTE to capture the Elephant Pass camp in July-August 1991 must have yielded many lessons. That campaign was codenamed "Tharai, Kadal, Aahayam" (Land, Sea and Air) and lasted 53 days. The LTTE, by its own admissio n, lost 573 cadres; more than 1,500 others were injured. In terms of manpower and morale, these were crippling losses.

The Sri Lankan armed forces were able to beat back the LTTE that time owing to two factors. The first was the tenacity of the besieged troops led by a talented officer Sarath Fonseka and the grit with which they held on despite the overwhelming odds. The second was Operation Balavegaya, led by the late Generals Denzil Kobbekaduwe and Vijaya Wimalaratne. They established a beach-head at Vettilaikerny on the east coast and then fought their way through to the army personnel trapped inside the Elephant Pas s camp. Thereafter the camp was converted into a large base by absorbing almost all the buildings in the vicinity, including the salterns and the school. Satellite camps were established at Vettilaikerny, Kattaikadu and Pullaveli. Thus, a safe supply rou te by sea and land was ensured. After Operation SathJaya in 1996, Paranthan and Kilinochchi, to the south of Elephant Pass on the mainland, too were linked up with Elephant Pass. The Kilinochchi-Elephant Pass-Vettilaikerny base became a sprawling complex that housed an entire division and was considered impregnable.

Given these circumstances, Prabakaran resorted to a strategy to take Elephant Pass by gradually encircling and enfeebling the troops inside by cutting off supplies and strangulating the base. The idea was to avoid a frontal assault that would have led to the loss of many lives, since the armed forces had numerical and logistical superiority.

The LTTE strategy was made easier by the second phase of Operation Oyatha Alaigal (Unceasing Waves) in September 1998, in which Kilinochchi was taken. Thereafter the LTTE began to creep in on Paranthan, to the south of Elephant Pass on the mainland. In a series of short, swift campaigns that went unreported in the Colombo media, the camps at Karadipokku, Paranthan Junction, the Paranthan Chemical Corporation complex and finally at Umaialpuram, between Paranthan and Elephant Pass, were taken. Umaialpuram and Iyakachchi were the two points where the troops at Elephant Pass could get drinking water. (The water within the Elephant Pass base was too brackish for consumption.)

THE first stage of the LTTE campaign to take control of the peninsula was launched on December 11, 1999 (see "Tactical Shift", Frontline, January 7, 2000). The camps at Vettilaikerny and Kattaikadu on the east coast and Pullaveli to the north of E lephant Pass were taken in a land-sea joint campaign. An unsuccessful assault was conducted on the western flanks of Iyakachchi, but no direct attack was launched on the main base at Elephant Pass. The Iyakachchi camp, five km to the northwest of Elephan t Pass, is situated along a bend on the A-9 Highway. With the fall of Vettilaikerny, Kattaikadu and Pullaveli, the land-sea supply routes to Elephant Pass were cut off, and the only way through was along the A-9 Highway from Chavakachcheri. The LTTE cond ucted some limited operations that were aimed at stepping up the pressure on Iyakachchi without achieving any breakthrough.

Meanwhile, the 53rd Division of the Sri Lanka Army was brought in to relieve the pressure on the 54th Division deployed in the Elephant Pass sector; it was stationed at the Pachilaippalli and Vadamaratchy East Pradeshiya division camps. The 53rd Division was an elite force that had been trained by the United States and Pakistan.

The second stage of the LTTE campaign, a multi-pronged assault, unfolded on March 26, 2000 (see "Another offensive", Frontline, April 28). A joint operation led by Vasanthan of the Charles Anthony Infantry division and Veerendran of the Sea Tigers took control of the Chembiyanpattru-Maruthankerny-Thalaiady complex that housed the 3rd operational headquarters on the Vadamaratchy east coast. These were on the land strip between the Bay of Bengal and the Jaffna Lagoon. The army then vacated the camp s at Maamunai and Amban; the soldiers relocated to positions to the west of the lagoon.

Simultaneously, a squad from the LTTE "Siruthai" (Leopard) Commando brigade raided Pallai, the largest junction to the north of Iyakachchi on the A-9 Highway, and decommissioned at least 11 pieces of artillery. A contingent led by the LTTE's deputy milit ary chief Balraj then took a swathe of the Jaffna-Kandy road between Pallai and Eluthumattuvaal. These included the areas around Arasakerni, Ithavil, Indrapuram. Muhamaalai and Kovil Kadu. With this, the LTTE effectively cut off the main road link betwee n the Elephant Pass/Iyakachchi camps and Jaffna. On April 10, the armed forces recaptured a major portion of the road but failed to dislodge the Tigers completely.

There was, however, a circuitous route that helped maintain a road link. At Pallai, a road branched off westwards from the A-9 Highway towards Kilali via Puloppalai and then headed north towards Kachchai and Allippalai; from there it ran east towards Kod ikamam, at which point vehicles could get back onto the Jaffna-Kandy road again. However, this route came under intense pressure from the LTTE which fired artillery barrages at Kilali from Pooneryn across the lagoon.

Also on March 26, the LTTE's Kilinochchi commander Theepan led a team of men across the dried-up Chundikulam lagoon on the southeast of the peninsula and established positions in the Mullian and Vannankulam region. But the team ran into the Forward Defen ce Lines and was prevented from advancing towards Elephant Pass in the Vathirayan area.

The third and decisive stage of the LTTE campaign was played out around noon on Tuesday, April 18. A Leopard commando raid saw the LTTE take control of the Maruthankerny causeway, which enabled it to proceed westwards on the Maruthankerny-Puthukadu Junct ion road, which links the east coast and the A-9 Highway. The Puthukadu Junction is between Iyakachchi and Pallai. The LTTE proceeded along the southern areas of Muhavil, Soranpattru and Maasaar, after demolishing a 40-foot bund put up by the army as a d efence measure. The Tigers headed south on the A-9 Highway and reached the northern sector of the Iyakachchi camp. In effect, Elephant Pass and Iyakachchi were marooned.

Thereafter, the LTTE mounted a fierce attack on the Iyakachchi camp from Kovil Vayal and Sangathaar Vayal. As the fighting intensified, the Tiger cadres to the southeast of Elephant Pass broke through and began assailing the camp. The armoured and artill ery units led by Bhanu pounded the base and inched forward. The telecommunication tower in the Elephant Pass base was damaged; all telephone lines to the north were severed.

At a critical juncture the bulk of LTTE cadres led by Balraj abandoned the A-9 Highway and joined the fighting around Iyakachchi after setting up two "cut out" posts to the north of Pallai and south of Eluthumattuvaal to prevent an army advancement. Heav y fighting in and around Iyakachchi began on April 20. The Tigers positioned themselves to the south of the camp and cut it off from Elephant Pass.

Iyakachchi fell on April 21. The LTTE entered the camp and destroyed ammunition dumps and buildings. Thereafter, the theatre of war shifted to Elephant Pass. The LTTE advanced on Elephant Pass from the north, northeast and southeast. There was heavy exch ange of fire all through that long night, and even as the fighting was on, the army began to move out. By 11-30 a.m. on April 22, the large garrison at Elephant Pass "vacated" it. The LTTE marched in at 2-30 p.m. the same day. The flag was hoisted on Apr il 23.

AFTER the LTTE's stage-by-stage build-up against Elephant Pass, the abrupt capitulation by the security forces came as an anti-climax. Curiously, however, the LTTE, which had until then put out news at each successful stage of the campaign, did not annou nce the fall of Iyakachchi on April 21; it announced that news along with news of the fall of the Elephant Pass camp. This perhaps implies that after taking control of Iyakachchi, the LTTE was supremely confident that Elephant Pass would fall soon or had advance knowledge that the troops there would withdraw within hours of the Iyakachchi debacle.

The security forces vacated Elephant Pass only after they received orders to that effect from the defence establishment. Army commander Srilal Weerasooriya instructed Chief of Staff Lionel Balagalle to issue the order, which was sent by personal courier to Elephant Pass. Commanding Officer Brigadier Egodawela received it at 10 p.m. on April 21.

The retreating troops initially started moving out to Pallai, 14 km away, along the A-9 Highway, but when the LTTE thwarted them, they took to a disused rail track and a sandtrack to its west. From Pallai, the soldiers headed west for the relative safety of Kilali. But when Tiger mortars pounded this route, the army used another circuitous route - a dirt track going northwest from Elephant Pass to Kilali through Kurinchatheevu, Oorvanikanpattru and Thanmankerny. On this longer route, however, many soldi ers succumbed to heat and dehydration, apart from the unceasing LTTE shells.

Nevertheless a good number of the troops moved out from Elephant Pass, mostly on foot. Before leaving, they spiked some artillery pieces, but even so the LTTE seized some powerful guns, including 152-mm artillery guns, and a number of tanks and armoured cars, besides other arms and ammunition. A preliminary list released by the LTTE reveals a mind-boggling armoury. Elephant Pass was in many ways a military debacle for Colombo.

ALTHOUGH there were more than 15,000 troops in the Elephant Pass base and there are fewer than 5,000 LTTE cadres in the peninsula, the army was defeated because it was a demoralised force. Many factors had contributed to the lowering of troop morale. The frequent change of commanding officers was one factor, and the LTTE's repeated victories against the elite 53rd Division, the "Pride of the Army", were another. The haphazard manner in which the 53rd Division was plunged into combat caused many problems at the top. One dissenting commanding officer, Brig. Gamini Hettiaratchy, was transferred. Another officer, Gen. Sisira Wijeysinghe, went on sick leave. Brig. Sivali Wanigaseker was sent in as acting command.

The defence establishment's decision to move the troops out of the Elephant Pass base was, however, forced on it primarily by a shortage of drinking water. The camp was equipped with machinery for desalination of water, but it had broken down and not bee n repaired. The availability of potable water in Umaialpuram and Iyakachchi had perhaps lulled the forces into complacency. However, when Iyakachchi came under siege, the water crisis in the overcrowded base became unmanageable. Ironically, the Elephant Base base had ample quantities of canned food and dry rations; after taking over the camp, the LTTE distributed these to civilians in the Wanni area.

Defence Ministry sources estimate that over 1,000 LTTE cadres were killed in the three phases of fighting from December 11, 1999. The LTTE claims that only 303 of its cadres were killed, including 35 casualties in the battle for Elephant Pass. The Tigers further claim that over 1,000 soldiers were killed; the Army, however, says that only 80 of its men were killed and over 100 are missing in action. Subsequently the Tigers returned through the Red Cross the bodies of 126 soldiers, of which 28 were ident ified. Among the top Army officers who were killed were Brig. Percy Fernando, Col. Bhatiya Jayatilleke, Col. Neil Akmeemana and Lt. Col. Hewage Hewawasam. On the Tigers' side, the women's brigade chief, 'Lt. Col.' Lakshiya, was reported killed.

The Elephant Pass debacle shocked people across the country. Sri Lankan Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte, however, sought to put a brave face on the defeat. Addressing a ministerial function, he said that the "setback" at Elephant Pass ought to be seen as a "natural phenomenon in wars of this nature... We have to accept both victories and setbacks in the same manner."

In a televised address to the nation, President Chandrika Kumaratunga stated that her Government "has unequivocally decided to protractedly and relentlessly pursue with the military operations". Kumaratunga had made some abrupt changes in the defence str uctureure barely days before the fall of the Elephant Pass base, and established a National Security Council. Retired Chief of the Army Staff Rohan Daluwatte was placed in overall charge of the three Services. Gen. Janaka Perera was made Northern Provinc e Commander and General Sarath Fonseka the Jaffna Commander.

After a brief lull following the LTTE's taking of Elephant Pass, fighting erupted again. The LTTE called on all civilians from Pallai to Kodikamam, including Eluthumattuvaal and Mirusuvil, to relocate to safe areas. Thereafter, LTTE cadres moved along th e A-9 Highway and seized the camps at Pallai and Soranpattru north, which the armed forces abandoned after a brief show of resistance. The LTTE units then linked up on the A-9 Highway from the north of Pallai to the south of Eluthumattuvaal.

The Tigers then launched a two-track assault on Kilali. One column proceeded on the 18-km dirt track from Elephant Pass to Kilali along the coast. Another moved westwards from Pallai to Puloppalai and then on to Kilali. Both columns reached the Kilali ar ea, but as on May 5 they had not made further progress. A rumour, however, spread in Colombo, and a few newspapers carried reports, that Bhanu had been killed at Kilali. However, there has been no reliable confirmation of this.

The LTTE also opened another flank with an attack on Nagar Kovil on the Vadamaratchy east coast. The Tigers as well as the army were engaged in heavy exchange of fire in the Kilali, Nagar Kovil and Pallai-Eluthumattuvaal areas.

MEANWHILE, the armed forces have begun constructing massive defences along a diagonal line from Kilali on the west through Eluthumattuvaal to Nagar Kovil in the east. Further, several small camps like those at Varany, Mathagal, Chankanai, Vaddukkoddai, M ahiyapiddy, Navaly, Chulipuram and Kandarodai have been closed. Troops are being redeployed in the frontline areas. The army's immediate priority is to prevent the LTTE from advancing to Jaffna town or the Palali-Kankesanthurai tri-Services base complex.

There is intense speculation about how the LTTE will advance further. Will it head north on the A-9 Highway? Or will it proceed from Kilali to Chavakachcheri through Kachchai or Kodikamam? After reaching Chavakachcheri will it head for Jaffna or for Pala ly? Will it move north along the Vadamaratchi coast via Nagar Kovil and take control of Point Pedro, Velvettithurai and Thondamanaru? From Thondamanaru will it go for Palaly through Valalai or Jaffna through Atchuvely? Or will it move to Jaffna or Chavak achcheri from Ariyalai or Thanankilappu after bringing in the 1,000-plus reserves stationed under Karuna's command in the Pooneryn region on the mainland? All these questions trouble not only the army but also the civilians who do not want to be caught i n the line of fire. Given the intense artillery barrages, the civilians' plight is precarious.

The anticipated progress of the LTTE has also raised concerns about the future of around 35,000 troops in the peninsula. The fear is that the Tigers, with their rapid mobility and artillery firepower, could quickly take over the entire peninsula includin g Jaffna and Palaly and besiege the Palaly-Kankesanthurai complex. If that happens, there may not be time enough to evacuate troops from the peninsula. The Sea Tigers and the LTTE's anti-aircraft unit, which possess missiles, could restrict the troops' s ea and air movement. This would leave the troops marooned and defenceless. A "Dunkirk-like evacuation" may then become necessary and the possibility of securing India's assistance for this purpose is being explored.

There is however another view -that although the situation is quite bleak, the hysteria and panic about the necessity for a rescue operation are unfounded. Those who subscribe to this view believe that if troop morale is restored and adequate countermeas ures are taken, the LTTE juggernaut can be halted, and eventually pushed back. In any event, the belief is that there is no immediate cause for alarm about the fate of Palali. By May 6, Colombo appeared to be veering around to the position that the troop s were rallying gamely and that it would be possible to stop the LTTE's advance.

Whichever way the situation unfolds in the coming weeks, one thing is certain: while the guns around the gateway of Elephant Pass may have fallen silent after a long time, the Jaffna Peninsula will not see peace in the immediate future.


The two realities by JEHAN PERERA

With the fall of Elephant Pass and with Jaffna threatened, there has got to be a paradigm shift for an end to the war.

THE day the Sri Lanka Army lost its massive Elephant Pass military base in the Jaffna peninsula, a group of 30 Sinhalese journalists from the south met 60 Tamil journalists from different parts of the north-east.

This civic bridge-building exercise was in the eastern town of Batticaloa which was quiet and relaxed that fateful day. Young women were to be seen cycling within the town, even as dusk fell at 7 p.m. It was impossible to think that elsewhere in the nort h-east, there was carnage taking place.

While the brigade commander of Batticaloa has come in for praise from people for his effective handling of the situation, there are also some structural reasons for the positive environment in the town. One is that it has some 60 non-governmental organis ations, many of them foreign, who would invariably perform a restraining function on human rights abuses. Second is the fact that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) appears to be concentrating its forces at this time in the north. The fact that only handfuls of soldiers were manning the checkpoints, bunkers and mini-camps by the side of the road was a reminder of how tenuous and temporary Batticaloa's peace could be.

The first information about the fall of the Elephant Pass base came from the Tamil journalists who had been listening to the international radio broadcasts. Most people in Batticaloa listen to international radio to get information about what is happenin g on the war front. The Sri Lankan radio is neither trusted for its veracity on war reporting, nor does it have the latest news from the war front.

The Tamil journalists who broke the news to the Sinhalese media persons did so tentatively, undoubtedly sensitive to the high loss of life. But some of the younger Tamil journalists present could not hide their happiness at the news. They locked hands wi th one another. The Sinhalese journalists talked of the soldiers they knew at Elephant Pass.

The forced withdrawal of the Sri Lanka Army at Elephant Pass, the gateway to Jaffna, is a huge blow to the Government and its military-led strategy of finding a solution to the ethnic conflict. Whether the Government can, and should, continue to hold Jaf fna under the present circumstances is a question that will be answered very soon. But whether Jaffna is kept by or lost to the Government, the war will not end.

IT was only a little more than five years ago that the LTTE lost Jaffna after having held it for five years. At that time the wresting of Jaffna from LTTE control was viewed as a blow from which the LTTE could not recover. With the loss of the wealthiest and most densely populated part of the north-east, the LTTE's ability to raise resources and recruit personnel was believed to have been crippled.

Likewise, the series of military debacles suffered by the Sri Lanka Army in the past six months may be seen as the end stage of the Sri Lankan state's military resistance to Tamil separatism. But this is unlikely to be the case if the past is going to be any guide to the future. Unless there is a radical shift in thinking away from a primary reliance on military means of conflict resolution to that on a political solution, new forms of military escalation will be found and new theatres of war opened. Th ere has got to be a paradigm shift for an end to the war.

In this context, it is interesting to recall that when the Sri Lanka Army was approaching Jaffna in November 1995 and encircling it, there were some who called on the Government to cease its advance and to negotiate a political solution with the LTTE. Th ese calls were construed by sections of the media and general population to be the voices of traitors seeking to cheat the Government of a decisive victory over the LTTE.

A group of non-governmental organisations meeting at that time in the seaside resort of Bentota at their annual meeting that had been planned out much in advance were accused of conspiring to cheat the Government of victory and were set upon by Governmen t-backed thugs while the police kept away.

Shortly thereafter the Sri Lanka Army entered Jaffna and in Parliament the Government politicians leading the Sri Lanka military presented a scroll to the President announcing the capture of Jaffna, just like they might have thought a feudal prince would have done to a monarch in the ancient period.

Somewhat differently a few weeks ago when Tamil peace activists attempted to mobilise Tamil middle class persons to publicly support the Norwegian mediation effort, the response was lackadaisical. Perhaps scenting victory in the air, the preference was t o let the LTTE continue with its military action and bring about a military solution. By their similar responses, the Sinhalese and Tamils have shown themselves to be mirror images of each other.

THE loss of faith in political means of resolving the problem of conflicting interests, and the preference for military means to impose one's unilateral will upon the other, are features of Sri Lankan public life at this time.

It is important that the political leadership of the country should join together to restore faith in the political process. They need to undo the suspicion that even a catastrophe as enormous as that of the fall of Elephant Pass will be used by the poli ticians to further their electoral prospects in one way or the other.

For instance, there is an apprehension that the Government will use the present crisis to seek a postponement of the impending general elections with the support of a section of the Opposition. Instead of these backstage manoeuvres, there needs to be a d eepening and accelerating of the Government's dialogue with the United National Party (UNP) to find a non-military and democratic path out of the desperate situation.

With the fall of Elephant Pass and with Jaffna threatened, thousands of lives will be at stake in the coming weeks, and funeral homes will be dotting the country. At a time like this, there will be a temptation to angrily find scapegoats who conducted th e war in a corrupt manner and who weakened the morale of the soldiers through inept leadership. There will also be a temptation to go in for retaliation and military victory at any cost, human or otherwise.

Such sentiments are not unique to Sri Lanka. Just over a half century ago, they prevailed in Europe as well, on a vastly greater scale. But the scale of the destruction forced a paradigm shift in thinking that has served Europe well in the decades that h ave followed. Likewise in Sri Lanka, it would be more positive to recognise two realities and to work out a solution based on them.

The first of these realities is that the Sri Lanka Army cannot control the whole of the regions inhabited at one time predominantly by Tamils, although they may be able to control parts of it. It is evident that the Sri Lankan troops cannot muster the sa me degree of fervour and dedication that the LTTE cadres can, fighting in the vicinity of their villages and homes.

The second reality is that the LTTE cannot gain international recognition for a separate Tamil state and acquire the economic and diplomatic resources that flow from it. At best they can expand the de facto separate state they already have achieve d in the "uncleared" areas.

There are surely a variety of mutually beneficial solutions that can be negotiated within these limits. The alternative would be a further military escalation and more rivers of blood.

Tortured chief incumbent of the Sri Gayathree Kamakodi Peedam, airlifted to Colombo

Colombo, 12 October, ( The chief incumbent of the Sri Gayathree Kamakodi Peedam, Ven. Rajkumar Swamigal (34) was kidnapped by ten masked LTTE cadres using force on Friday (7-10-05) night with his vehicle and severely assaulted and thrown on the street thinking he was dead was subsequently admitted to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital has been airlifted to Colombo for further medical treatment.

Gayathiri Kamakodi Peedam, a Hindu Ashram (monastery) is located in Meesalai, about 19 km east of Jaffna town.

Tamil Tigers who forcefully entered the Ashram masked and fully armed threatened the priest on Friday night and demanded a sum of Rs. 15 lakhs (about US $ 14885) from the priest as ransom, saying that the Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry headed by Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) Minster Douglas Devananda had already granted him a sum of Rs. 18 lakhs (about US $ 17862) for renovation and construction work of the Ashram.

Ven. Rajkumar Swamigall residing at No 86, Palaly Road, Thirunelveli, Jaffna, however resisted and refused payment of ransom to the ten masked Tamil Tigers who stormed his abode.

Subsequently those ten Tamil Tiger cadres who entered the Swamigal abode forced him out, took him awayt with his van (NPGL 5588), tortured him, broke his limbs and left him for dead on a small street in the Inuvil area.

The people of the area on the following day, Saturday 08 Octobe early in the morning found the Swamigal on the street lying unconscious and arranged to take him to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital for treatment.

It was also reported subsequently Tamil Tigers had set fire to his Ashram and belongings causing heavy damages.

As his condition grew worse, he was airlifted to a Colombo hospital late night on Sunday (09) on medical advice.

Also on Friday morning the LTTE killed the Columbuthurai Temple administrator and that same night kidnapped the Gaythree Peeda Swamigal and tortured him.

Post your comments

- Asian Tribune –

Date : 2005-10-12

Who are the worse terrorists?

<>I can recall the massacre of Tamils in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983. I lived through the first three of them and left the country and the misery in 1972, writes S. Makenthiran of Canada in response to the criticism by Asoka Weerasinghe also of Canada.

When the Sinhalese mobs were going about freely attacking Tamils in 1983, a rumor went round that the Tamil Tiger cadres had appeared in Colombo. The Sinhalese veerayas and chandiyas were in total panic and were fleeing in all directions as far as Kalutara and Avisawela underlines Makenthiran.

In a letter written to Asian Tribune he further wrote, “Some ran into Tamil houses for safety. It was obvious that these Sinhalese thugs were a bunch of cowards who will boldly attack if Tamils are passive, but flee when challenged. There is a saying in Tamil that a fellow who keeps knocking when one keeps bending down is a fool, and a fellow who keeps bending down when one keeps knocking is also a fool.

The full text of the letter written by Makenthiran to Asian Tribune is given below :

The Editor
Asian Tribune

Comments on indictment of Sri Lanka Government

You have done a great service by publishing letters on the above subject giving different views. Readers will be able to get the facts from your columns. Please publish this letter so that the readers can form an opinion as to who is the better of the two parties to terror.

Asoka Weerasinghe has only confirmed my assertion that those trying to comment on the numerous Sinhalese atrocities and war crimes listed by me are not disproving them. They are only trying to prove that Sinhalese no doubt are guilty of the war crimes and terrorism, but they are not as bad as the Tigers. Abusing the Tigers does not exonerate Sinhalese from war crimes and terrorism.

I will not like Asoka Weerasinghe say dishonestly that all what he says is concocted fairy tales. The truth of the matter is that from 1948 to 1983, the Sinhalese and the Sri Lanka government committed atrocities and genocide against the unarmed Tamil civilians and reveled in it. Tamils could not resist as they were unarmed. After 1983, the Tamil youth armed themselves to protect their people and gave it back bellyful to the Sinhalese. From then on both sides suffered and both sided killed each other. Asoka Weerasinghe and Sinhalese Buddhist extremists are surprised that the docile Tamils are now hitting back and hitting hard. Do they expect the Tamils to suffer for ever without defending themselves?

During the 1983 anti-Tamil riots by the Sinhala thugs, one sobering lesson was learnt by both Sinhalese and Tamils. Till 1983 Tamils were always at the receiving end and the Sinhalese behaved like bold fighters as long as Tamils were passive. It was the general impression among the Sinhalese, that Tamils as a race are passive and cowardly. So much so that Tamils were despised as second class people by the Sinhalese and were refered to as ‘para Damalo’. However, the Tamil Tigers carried out some daring attacks against the army and police and the Sinhalese began to fear and respect them. The young Tamils are a new breed of angry and fearless youth.

I can recall the massacre of Tamils in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983. I lived through the first three of them and left the country and the misery in 1972.

When the Sinhalese mobs were going about freely attacking Tamils in 1983, a rumor went round that the Tamil Tiger cadres had appeared in Colombo. The Sinhalese veerayas and chandiyas were in total panic and were fleeing in all directions as far as Kalutara and Avisawela.

Some ran into Tamil houses for safety. It was obvious that these Sinhalese thugs were a bunch of cowards who will boldly attack if Tamils are passive, but flee when challenged. There is a saying in Tamil that a fellow who keeps knocking when one keeps bending down is a fool, and a fellow who keeps bending down when one keeps knocking is also a fool.

This is what was happening during the time of the older generation of Tamils. When 13 soldiers were killed in 1983, Sinhalese ran riot against unarmed Tamils. After 1983, Tamils Tigers are said to have counter attacked and killed about 20,000 Sinhalese armed forces, but no anti-Tamil riots has taken place.

How can a ‘good Sinhalese Buddhist’ like Asoka Weerasinghe write that Tamils ought to thank the Sinhalese for massacring the Tamils in 1983, because the Tamils were able to go into foreign lands? Would he thank those who killed Sinhalese because the dead went to heaven sooner? You cannot have different standards for Tamils and Sinhalese.

How would Asoka Weerasinghe in the safety of Canada react if his family were killed, mutilated, burnt alive, his women raped, houses burnt and left in refugee camps. It is a disgrace to the great King Asoka whose name he bears.

Weerasinghe asks why Tamils did not go to India. India took in 500,000 Upcountry Tamils sent out by Srimavo government and 200,000 Northeast Tamils who fled there after the 1983 massacre. Is that not enough. Applying the same argument, why cannot the Sinhalese go to Bangladesh from where Vijaya came. Why cannot the Sinhalese Budhists go to Burma where there are plenty of Budhists and let Tamils live in peace in Ceylon. Tamils can also ask why Asoka Weerasinghe and Iris de Silva are in Canada, and what right do they have to ask the Tamils to go elsewhere?

If it is accepted that Tamils are economic refugees, then it is a proof that Tamils are leaving because they are being economically strangled in the country of their birth. What is the need for us to come and live in the Canadian winter if we were allowed to live in peace in our own warm country? I never wanted to leave Ceylon till things became unbearable.

There was a Sinhalese friend of ours, an ardent nationalist, in Botswana with us. A few days after I arrived in Canada I was shocked to see him on the road. When I asked him what he was doing here, he sheepishly replied that he came as a refugee because of the Sinhalese JVP terrorists. He said “What a small world”. I thought “what a strange world”. I will not mention names to avoid embarrassment.

I quite agree that Tamils and Sinhalese can be friends as individuals and do help each other. One of my Sinhalese friend and accountancy batch mates, Frederick Mahasinghe arrived in Malawi after I had left that country. He had arrived alone without his family and was enquiring about me. I was sad to hear that he suddenly died there, but the entire Tamil community there gave him a decent well attended funeral. We are human beings.

Dollar and Kent farm killings mentioned by Weerasinghe was case of tit for tat. It is in the Tamil heartland and was originally owned and occupied by Tamils. The Sinhalese killed and drove away the Tamils and planted Sinhalese convicts. The Tamils retaliated by attacking and killing the convicts. It is chain reaction. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Some Buddhist priests have no doubt been killed in the civil war. However, they are no saints. There are many criminals and racists among them inciting violence. During the 1983 massacre of Tamils, a Buddhist priest was asked on the radio whether it was not a sin to kill. The pious Buddhists said it is a sin to kill, but killing Tamils is alright.

It is also agreed that some Muslims unfortunately have suffered in the war. It has also to be pointed out that the Sri Lankan government used the divide and rule policy, by recruiting home guards from the Muslims and using them to kill and oppress Tamils.

The all Sinhala army and police were alien to the Tamils and were behaving in the Northeast like an army of occupation. In Jaffna they were treating the Tamils, as if they were a conquered people. In July 1983 came a rude shock. A group of Tamil Tigers ambushed and killed 13 soldiers at Thinnavely. The army was going for the Tigers, but the hunters got hunted. It was a fair game, but the Sinhalese masters would have none of it. They wanted to teach the Tamils an objective lesson and organized a well conceived plan of ethnic cleansing by massacring Tamil civilians and destroyed 90 % of their property.

Many young Tamil women with infants were in detention without trial and the kids growing up in jails for no fault of theirs. The army killings has made thousands of Tamil children orphans, but the Colombo media are shedding crocodile tears alleging that LTTE are using child soldiers. Whether these allegations are true or not, it is not possible to say. However, it is extremely baffling that child soldiers can destroy a well armed Sri Lankan armed forces of 150,000, and smash all the way through the jungles of Vanni, from Nedunkerny to Manalaru, Omanthai, Mannar, Poonahari, Elephant Pass, Palai, Chavakachcheri and hammer at the gates of Jaffna within a few days during operation ‘Unceasing Waves 3' by the LTTE. Since there is a ceasefire for the last four years whom are the child soldiers fighting anyway now.

Appeal for urgent action

Every time there are anti-Tamil riots, the Sinhalese mobs indulge in an orgy of violence and rape of Tamil women. The army and police force, almost all Sinhalese, are hostile to Tamils. The police force of 60,000 has only a few hundred Tamils. In the army there are hardly any Tamils. Sinhalese and Muslim home guards and Tamil militant groups armed and paid by the government are guilty of further atrocities.

All nations and organizations that are interested and promoting peace in Sri Lanka should take serious note of past happenings. The Sinhalese government, police and army cannot be trusted to protect the Tamil civilians. A change of government in the South dominated by racists like JVP, JHU, Sinhala Urumaya or the Budhist clergy or even PA can be more dangerous for the Tamils. Any political solution therefore has to be designed to permanently safeguard the Tamils against Sinhalese state and mob terrorism. If the country is to remain undivided, the Tamils homeland and rights should be recognized and proper autonomy granted within a federal set up. For the protection of the Tamils, they should have their own police, judiciary and army in the Northeast, and sufficient Tamils should be recruited to the police and army by the central government to serve in the Sinhalese provinces according to the ethnic composition. The Sinhalese armed forces should immediately vacate the Tamil homeland and withdraw from Jaffna. Tricomalee, Batticaloa, Vavuniya and Mannar.

S. Makenthiran

- Asian Tribune -

Date : 2005-10-11

(A Letter That appeared in

Two leading college principals brutally killed by LTTE gunmen in Jaffna.

Colombo, 13 October, ( Two leading college principals from Jaffna were brutally shot and killed in succession within the last two days by the pistol group of the Tamil rebel outfit, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Fratricidal killings continue unabatedly and those who open their mouth against the Tamil Tigers are virtually living in mortal fear of being killed as rule of the jungle prevails.

The Principal of Kopay Christian College, Kopay, Nadarajah .Sivakadadcham (59) was first to be shot and killed on Tuesday.

This was followed by the killing of Kanpathy Rajadurai (58), the Principal of the Jaffna’s leading educational institution – Jaffna Central College.

Sivakadacham was at his home at Manipay Road, Kopay North, and Kopay with his eight year child and wife, when the two Tiger pistol men stormed his house and shot him at close range.

The principal fell dead on the spot inside his home after pistol men struck him in front of his child and wife.

Preliminary investigations confirmed that Sivakdadcham, Principal of Kopay Christian College was throughout opposed to LTTE's practice of child conscription.

On Wednesday afternoon around 3.45 PM, Rajadurai, Principal of Jaffna Central College was on his way to attend a cultural festival held at the Weerasingham hall and while he was reaching the entrance of the hall, gunman fired three shots at him.

According to reports, gunmen alleged to be from the LTTE shot and fatally wounded Rajadurai. He was shot in front of his students, when he was on his way to attend a religious function. The assassin fired several shots at Rajadurai and fled the scene. Eyewitnesses said there were at least four gunmen at the scene, but only one fired the shots.

Rajadurai was critically wounded and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Jaffna Hospital. Later he succumbed to his injuries after he was admitted in the hospital.

Rajadurai was alleged to be a member of the Eelam People Democratic Party led by Tamil Minister Douglas Devananda MP.

Reports revel that Rajadurai had received death threats from LTTE in the past.

Recently, according to reports, a letter was sent to him by Ellalan Army, the an auxiliary force of the LTTE and it was published in the, an LTTE web-site operated from Norway. In May this year, published a warning to Rajadurai that he would face dire consequences, without any further warnings, if he continued to ignore the edicts of the LTTE.

Jaffna which is under the control of the Sri Lanka Government and it is feared that Sri Lanka Government has failed to maintain law and order and safeguard the citizens from the ruthless attacks of the Tamil Tigers.

- Asian Tribune -

Date : 2005-10-13

What happened to Colonel Bhanu?

Colombo, 11 October, ( The fate of Colonel Bhanu (43yrs), LTTE’s Special Commander for Amparai - Batticaloa district is unclear as four inmates in the pick-up he was supposed to be traveling were killed and seven others critically injured in an ambush by the Tamil National Force on Monday evening at 9.45 PM at Vavunathievu in the Batticalao district.

According to the spokesman of the Tamil National Force, they ambushed and attacked the pick-up vehicle which was supposed to be carrying Colonel Bhanu, who was on his way to the uncleared area controlled by the Liberation Tigers.

There LTTE cadres were in front and behind the pick-up as usual providing security to Colonel Bhanu, who was supposed to be in the vehicle, TNF spokesman added.

The Tamil National Force (TNF) — a para-military group under the joint command of the leader of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), V. Muralitharan (`Colonel Karuna) and the Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front (ENDLF), today claimed responsibility for the killing of a high value target belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the East.

TNF spokesman said that 4 LTTE cadres inside the pick up died on the spot and seven others were seriously injured and taken to the hospital.

Details of the attack are still sketchy and awaiting for further report.

- Asian Tribune

Date : 2005-10-11

You are from a 'privileged minority' and I from the 'wrong majority’

Date : 2005-10-13

“Right now, it is the Tamils who are mainly getting killed by the Tamil Tigers. It is easy for me to say, "Good, go after your bloody Tamils and keep killing your own people.", but I will not. I am saddened by the whole brutal skullduggery and terrorism by the Tamil Tigers, who target the Tamils, their own flesh and blood. That is sick, ” Asoka Weerasinghe from Canada writes.

He underlines in a letter written to “Asian Tribune” that the Jaffna man and woman are now begun to realize that this is not what they bargained for in the Eelam campaign

The Editor
Asian Tribune


When Makenthiran tries to classify opposing Tamil terrorists and the armed forces as good guys and bad guys, then he begins to loose it and it becomes a mugs shell game. A wanton war forced by the Tamil Tigers with no rules and little pity is turning the Sri Lankan world, bit by bit, into a free fire-zone.

Makenthiran thinks that " the Tamil Tigers carried out some daring attacks against the army and police and the Sinhalese began to fear and respect them.

The young Tamils are a new breed of angry and fearless youth." No kidding!

Isn't Makenthiran angry at these youth who have started killing his own people, extorted cash and jewellery, kidnapped Tsunami orphaned Tamil children and trained them as cyanide-necklace suicide bombers, and shot and killed Tamils if they do not agree with their demands.

Right now, it is the Tamils who are mainly getting killed by the Tamil Tigers. It is easy for me to say, "Good, go after your bloody Tamils and keep killing your own people.", but I will not. I am saddened by the whole brutal skullduggery and terrorism by the Tamil Tigers, who target the Tamils, their own flesh and blood. That is sick. The Jaffna man and woman are now begun to realize that this is not what they bargained for in the Eelam campaign.

It is a pity that Makenthiran decided to leave Ceylon in 1972, after the first three ethnic riots in which Tamils, according to him got the brunt of it. Who knows, in retro, if he had stayed back he could have been one of the many Tamil millionaires in Colombo, living in harmony with the Sinhalese and owning a house in Wellawatte, a posh suburb in the capital Colombo, where 85 per cent of the land is owned by the Tamils.

The question is, can I as a Sinhalese own one-square-inch of land in the Jaffna peninsula? No way hozey! That is where the Thesvalamai Law kicks in. So for Makenthiran who is sobbing that he as a minority Tamil has been discriminated by the majority Sinhalese and yet, can buy one-square-inch of land anywhere in the island - north to south, and east to west, but I as a Sinhalese is barred to buy even one-square-inch of land in the northern Jaffna peninsula. What is going on? That is a reality check for all your readers, especially the non-Sri Lankans. They can be judge and jury on the Tamil complaints.

The majority Sinhalese have discriminated the minority Tamils he complaints. What nonsense! It is interesting for your reading panel of judges and jurists to figure this one out, and ask the simple question, what the heck are these Tamils weeping about?

It is interesting to note that colonial favoritism towards the Tamils carried on to the post-independence years. Schools in the Jaffna (North) Educational district, which the Tamils claim to be their 'homeland’, were well supported and qualitatively superior in comparison with the situation elsewhere in the island. Even in 1981, 33 years after independence, and two years prior to the 1983 riots, the Jaffna Educational District had 555 Government Schools for a student population of 207,524, whereas the capital Colombo in the west had 251 such schools for 231,690 students. In 1981, the Sri Lankan Tamils enjoyed a literacy rate of 88.3%, compared to 86.5% for the majority Sinhalese. Makenthiran, what the heck are you weeping about? Makenthiran cut it out and wean yourself out of your unconvincing complaints.

The privileged position of the Jaffna Educational District schools was evident from school facilities and amenities such as approved science laboratories. They were available in 41% of Jaffna schools compared to the all island average of 19.6%. With these statistics, the minority Tamils who complain about discrimination by the Sinhalese should hang their heads in shame. One wonders why the heck these Tamils are fighting for. Are they insane? Give me a break Makenthiran. Now you know why I call you Tamils who came to Canada after the 1983 incident as a bunch of 'economic refugees' and not 'convention refugees', when you were indeed the 'privileged minority' and I from the 'wrong majority’.

It is amazing that Makenthiran says that the Dollar and Kent Farm massacres by the Tamil Tigers were tit -for-tat retaliation. Ouch! That hurts!! This is what 28 year old D.H.Somapala, who survived the attack on Dollar Farm in November 30th, 1984, said.

"At about 5.30 a.m. on the morning of Friday 30th November 1984, about 100 terrorists, some of them dressed in army uniforms and others wearing ordinary shorts and longs and shirts and a few of them even wearing sarongs and banians, circled our entire farm from various sides and began firing at us and also throwing bombs at some of the huts in which we were living. A few of us were able to escape by running into the jungle and I was one of those who survived. When inside the jungle I hid myself and tried to see what was happening.

Within a few minutes the terrorists rounded up all the civilians who wee unable to escape and herded them into one circle. Thereupon they threatened them with their sub-machine guns and asked them to lie down and while some of the terrorists held guns at the heads of the civilians who had laid down, other terrorists quickly began to tie the hands and legs of each civilian. Then they started jumping on the bodies on the ground and kicking them with their feet. Some terrorists even urinated on these live bodies on the ground. When all the civilians’ legs and hands were tied, the terrorists made them stay on the ground with their faces downwards, next to each other. Once this was done, at one given signal they kept guns at the head of each of the civilians who lay on the ground with their legs and hands tied and shot them through their heads and necks. When I saw them commence firing I fled and could see nothing more".'privileged minority' and I from the 'wrong majority’ If Makenthiran's unholy reasoning for this brutal killing was a tit-for-tat response by the Tamil Tigers, then don't whine with your arms stretched out to the world seeking pity about the killings of Tamils by the armed forces, as if the Tamils are the victims. The armed forces will shoot in defence and to bring law and order in this unsavory and unnecessary war.

Makenthiran questions why the Sinhalese did not go to Bangladesh or to Buddhist Burma after the 1983 riots. That is simple. The Sinhalese did not believe that they were persecuted or in danger from the minority Tamils, thus wanting to sneak out of the country and land themselves in foreign lands claiming to be refugees like the Tamils. And the only common denominator between the Burmese and the Sinhalese is that both groups are Buddhists compared to the Sri Lankan Tamils and Tamil Nadu Tamils. The Sri Lankan Tamils are immigrants from Tamil Nadu, both groups have a common culture, both speak the same language, eat the same spicy foods, and go down on their knees in front of the same idols Ganesh and Paththini, and the Sri Lankan Tamils consider India as their 'Mother India.' And the only commonality between the Bangladeshis and the Sinhalese from Sri Lanka is that both countries now play Test cricket, and nothing else.

Makenthiran complaints under his breath about the Indian Tamils being sent back to India. Here are the facts. The British planters imported cheap and amenable indentured labor from Southern India to work in coffee and tea plantations. With the emergence of popular politics in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) after the First World War, a controversy developed as to whether these people were bona fide Ceylonese, or whether they were mere birds of passage looking towards India as their motherland.

Before Independence, all residents of Ceylon, India and Pakistan were British subjects. Citizenship of these states after Independence adopted a new status determined by new laws enacted for the purpose.

It was acknowledged that each country had the right and duty to prescribe the qualifications for citizenship after Independence. The Indians in Ceylon had only a limited franchise even under the British rule.

After Independence in 1948, the Ceylon (Citizenship) Act of 1949, and the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act of 1949 were enacted. It was against this scenario that the then Prime Ministers D.S. Senanayake of Ceylon and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru of India met to solve the citizenship problems of these Indian indentured laborers. And during the latter years, India did acknowledge that these Indian indentured laborers were indeed Indian and penned the agreement to have them back and languish in their favored, rightful Motherland - India. There was no discrimination. So what's the complaint?

Makenthiran's complaint that the police and army have very few Tamils is a mischievous observation. If the Tamil are refusing to join the police force, then I will not blame them, as the Tamil Tigers have a habit of bumping them off.

The first killings of Tamil policemen happened in the 70s. Police Constable Karunanidi was executed by the Tamil Tigers at Maviddhapuram on Valentines Day in February 1977. On May 18th 1977 two constables bearing the name Shanmuganathan were shot dead at Innuvil by Tiger terrorists who approached them on bicycles. On April 7th, 1978, Inspector Bastianpillai, and Sub-Inspector Perampalam were gunned down near Murunkan. Do I blame the Tamils not wanting to recruit themselves into the Government Police Force in droves? I understand their predicament.

As I said earlier, Makenthiran's indictment against Sri Lanka has no honest substance to be based on. Forget it Makenthiran. You seem to be intelligent, so don't let emotions get hold of you and reduce yourself to be an irrational and a silly person!. Asoka Weerasinghe

- Asian Tribune -

(A Letter that appeared on

CBI to seek Interpol help for extradition of LTTE chief

Decision on Tehelka tapes soon: U.S. Misra

MADURAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation will take up the extradition of the prime suspects in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and Mumbai serial blasts through Interpol, according to U. S. Misra, its director.

In an interview to The Hindu here on Tuesday, Mr. Misra, who is also the vice-president of Interpol, said: "Extradition is not an exclusive domain of the CBI. Extradition treaty and legal assistance arrangements have to be looked into. The delay lies there."

On the delay in apprehending LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran, his associate Pottu Amman, Dawood Ibrahim and Memon brothers, he said the issue would also be taken up at the executive body meeting of Interpol in February. The United Nations had declared 158 suspects as global terrorists, including Dawood Ibrahim. "Until and unless these criminals are handed over, investigation is not complete. The Special Investigation Team led by the former CBI Director, D.R. Kaarthikeyan, did wonderful work in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case."

Defence deals

The CBI, he said, was examining the Tehelka tapes in the defence deals. "The tapes have been sent for examination to the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory. We will take a decision soon."

On the Kargil war-related complaints, the Defence Ministry had sent the report of the CAG to the agency. While registering four cases, the investigating officials had initiated preliminary enquiry into two deals. "Of the 47 complaints, we have referred some back to the Ministry, recommending departmental action. On the charges in the Denel defence deal, we have completed local verification. A letter rogatory is being sent to South Africa to enable a team's visit for further investigation."

Asked how senior officials against whom cases were registered on charges of corruption during recent raids escaped the surveillance of vigilance officials within their organisations, Mr. Misra said tackling corruption was the primary duty of any head of department.

"Unfortunately many Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) are not working properly in most of the public sector undertakings and Government departments. If they function well, corruption will definitely go down. This is because a person can be easily thrown out through disciplinary proceedings than dragging him to the court for 20 long years."

The CVOs/HODs were empowered to initiate departmental action against corrupt officials. "Usually somebody in the rank of Deputy Secretary or Joint Secretary is made in charge of vigilance and there is no appointment of regular senior officials for these posts. The CVOs need more autonomy to carry on with their job independently."

The CBI Director expressed serious concern over the huge pendency of cases in courts. Senior officials in the CBI were made accountable for delay in investigation or filing charge sheets.

"But about the court and trial, it is in a very bad position. Cases are taking a long time. There are so many factors contributing to this delay. It is not the cases of CBI alone. The number of cases pending trial in different courts in the country is mind-boggling."

Volkswagen deal

On the Volkswagen deal, he said there was information that Helmuth Schuster, former Head of Volkswagen (India), was in Germany.

"We will be writing to the German authorities seeking his extradition".

Mr. Misra said there was a shortage of investigation officers.

The Centre was seriously considering a proposal to provide special pay and housing facilities to attract officials on deputation.

© Copyright 2000 - 2005 The Hindu


US marines arrive in Lanka as toll crosses 30,000 - Monday, January 3 2005 20:31 Hrs (IST) - World Time

Colombo: An advance contingent of United States Marines flew into Sri Lanka today (Jan 3, 2005) as tsunami death toll mounted to over 30,000 and relief workers struggled to contain the spread of disease in refugee camps.

Two aircraft brought 42 US Marines to join 12 others who arrived over the weekend to prepare the ground for up to 1,500 personnel expected to follow in the next few days.

Spotlight: Tidal Waves hit South Asia
Britain stepped up its emergency aid in the wake of last week's tsunami deluge by deploying a frigate, HMS Chatham, which anchored off Sri Lanka's coast to help prepare for a military deployment, a High Commission spokesman said.

"They will try to assess the needs and see how best British military assets can be deployed for the relief operation in Sri Lanka," the British spokesman said.

Already some 1,000 Indian military personnel are involved in search and rescue and medical missions in worst hit areas of Galle in the south and Trincomalee in northeast.

How you can help Tsunami Victims
With the debris being cleared and more bodies unearthed, casualties rose to 30,196 while the number of displaced also increased to 861,016. The number of missing people had fallen to 3,792 from a figure of 5,744.

Some 30 nations were involved in the mammoth relief operations after the island's worst ever natural calamity with many sending medical teams.

French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy arrived in Colombo today with a cargo of medical supplies, including six tons of antibiotics and anti-diarrhoea treatment donated by Sanofi-Aventis, the French pharmaceuticals giant.

The French Minister was expected to travel to the south of the island where roads were being cleared of wreckage, officials said.

Relief workers said they feared the spread of disease in overcrowded centres for the displaced and much of their work was focused on providing sanitation and safe drinking water.

The eastern district of Ampara began to see urgently-needed supplies and foreign medical teams coming through after heavy rains and flash floods over the weekend prevented aid convoys reaching the refugees.

In north-eastern Trincomalee district, people made homeless by the giant wave surges in remote areas held by the Tamil Tigers were only just beginning to get supplies and sanitary conditions were appalling, eyewitnesses said. At the Patalipuram school where 209 families were sheltered, there was only one toilet.

Local officials charged that for the first few days after the tragedy, Tiger rebels had refused 20 trucks loaded with supplies sent by private donors to enter their territory.

In the worst-hit Ampara and Batticaloa districts, a Tiger military wing leader known as Colonel Bhanu commended Government forces for helping stricken Tamils procure relief.

"I must say that the (police) Special Task Force (STF) has been helpful to civilians in the Ampara district," Bhanu told the pro-rebel Tamilnet website. "They rescued several people hit by the Tsunami and helped retrieve bodies."

"Their work has been commendable in that region. We are able to solve problems in dealing with the crisis at a local level. The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and the STF are able to discuss and coordinate several issues in order to facilitate assistance to the people. We try to resolve problems at the local level in the interests of the people," Bhanu said.



Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Mahakongaskadawa Untold Story - Reminder to LTTE

It was 9th October 1988.

Night was falling. My Kiri Amma (grand mother) retuned through paddy field directing a herd of cattle back home. She had vaguely seen some strange boys in dark suits sitting by the pathway, in unusual places. She was old, eyesight was poor. If not, that wouldn't have been the last time she returned home. There were 13 homes in our village. Many were poor farmers. There was one home with a TV. As it was Sunday, we all gathered there to watch the tele drama. Seneviratne mama was cleaver; he said "we all should not stay here for long". He came to the road & found some strangers positioning around the place we gathered. Having nothing for his defense, he shouted. That was a call for others to flee. We heard gun fire, it was for Senevi mama. He laid down his life and saved some lives, because tigers had to start shooing before they circled the village completely.

Though we tried to run away, tigers were around us. My chuti nangi was 4 yrs then, she did not eat without listening to a story. My brother was writing something in his school book. Suddenly tigers hit the front door. It was not made up of strong wood, so my father kept pushing from inside preventing force opening. When that failed, tigers fired several shots at my father thru the door, he fell still trying to keep it closed. They dashed inside, kicked my father's body away and chopped the head away. My mother held 3 of us firmly, trying in vain to cover us with her hands. When a tiger aimed his gun at us, she pleaded to leave the children. He went back and came with another lady tiger. She had a sword. She grabbed my chuti nangi away from my mother's lap and cut her neck off. Then my brother because he tried to say something. Then my mother. When tiger girl hit my mother's neck with the sword, I fainted. Whole night long, I cried trying to wake up my mother. She jerked few times, and became silent. Her blood was warm, same warmth 3 children cherished until this day.

Whole night, I heard gun fires and my relatives crying. With each gun shot, their voices dwindled. I heard Renuka nenda crying next door, pleading them to kill her. Later I learnt why she pleased that way. A tiger man beheaded her mother, father, 3 brothers and only sister and brought all 6 heads to the road. They shot at the house opposite mine, then dashed in. There they killed Nawaratne mama's mother (my kiri amma), his elder bother, nanda and two daughters.

Following morning, many people came to see this wonder, one big person (a politician) even came in a helicopter. Bodies were collected by Army men and prepared for last rights but they could not reach the village cemetery because, tiger men were still waiting in ambush. There was another fire fight too. Then a bulldozer came and cut a mass grave and all bodies were laid in it and closed. Those killed on this day were,

1. K.R Amarasinghe Karunaratne

2. Punchiralage Somawathi

3. Saman Ravidralal Amarasinghe

4. Kumudu Nalanee Amarasinghe

5. A.Hethuhami

6. Nimal Karunartne

7. Mallika Damaynthi Karunaratne

8. Nadeeka Sandamalee Munasinghe

9. Pradeepa Sandamalee Munasinghe

10. Pulinguralage Chandradasa

11. Kapuruhamige Dhanapala

12. Sumudu Seneviratne

13. Murugathage Tikiribada

14. Jayantha Jayasiri Ranasinghe

15. Tikiri Bandage Siriyalatha

16. Piyadasage Nandaseeli

17. Gunasekarae Nimalwanshe

18. Piyasenage Wijesena

19. Nimal Wanshage Sriyani Surangika Nomalwanshe

20. Nimal Wanshage Priyanthe Nimalwanshe

21. R.D.A.Chadradasa

22. Malhami Punchibandage Kumarashinghe

23. Podi Appuhamige Seethawathi

24. Kumarasinghage Sisira Kumarasinghe

25. Kumarasinghage Samantha Kumarasinghe

26. Kumarasinghage Malkanthi Kumarasinghe

27. Mudalihamige Piyasena

28. Herathamige Tikirihami

29. Piyasenage Piyanka

30. Piyasenage Sunethra Nandani

31. Piyasenage Milinawathi

32. Piyasenage Nuwan Kumara

33. Piyasenage Rohana Sisira Kumara

34. Niluka Thilakasiri

35. Kumarasinghage Gamini Upathissa Kumarasinghe

36. Manthihamige Piyasena

37. Mudalihamige kalyanawathi

38. P.Sriyani Kusumalatha

39. P.Ramani Niranjala

40. P.Manori Priyanga

41. Mudalihamige Rangiethana

42. Wickramadasage Ranjana Jayakodi

43. Kandappurale Bedderalage Malhami

44. Siral Mohottalage Bebi Ethani.

Tamil Tigers killed by rival group in eastern Sri Lanka

At least four Tamil Tigers were killed and five others were injured in an attack believed to have carried out by the renegade faction of Tigers, police said Tuesday.

The attack took place around 11:00 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) Monday night at Vavunathivu in the eastern Batticaloa district in an area controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.

The succesful ambush was the work of the group led by Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna, who broke away from the LTTE in March 2003, police said.

Police added that among those killed were a senior local member of the LTTE.

Meanwhile the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), a rival LTTE organization, blamed the Tigers for the killing of one of its electoral organizers for the Presidential election to be held on Nov. 17.

The EPDP's Pottuvil town organizer was gunned down by the LTTE's pistol gang at around 5:30 p.m. local time (1130 GMT) on Monday.

The police said This was the first election related murder since the nominations were closed for the Nov. 17 poll last Friday.

Source: Xinhua

Monday, October 10, 2005

LTTE may be neutral in Lankan Presidential election by P.K. Balachandran

Current indications are that the LTTE will remain neutral in the November 17 Sri Lankan Presidential election. But it may allow the Tamils of the North and the East to vote for whosoever they like, or even boycott the election if they so wish.

This decision seems likely despite the importance of the election for the settlement of the long standing Tamil question. The election is expected to reveal the political mood in Sinhala-dominated South Sri Lanka vis-à-vis the Tamil problem, the country's "national" question.

"The information we have is that the LTTE would like to use the election to test the mood in the Sinhala South, without making the Tamil vote a significant factor in the outcome. It'll be like a referendum in the Sinhala South on the ethnic question," said a top aide of one of the principal candidates.

However, Tamilselvan has made it clear through press interviews that the LTTE will not stop the Tamils from voting. "They can vote freely," he told Sudar Oli and Thinakkural dailies last week.

Perhaps the LTTE is aware that a call for boycott may be construed as being politically incorrect by the international community, which is currently testing the democratic credentials of this organisation.

Reasons for neutrality

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) candidate, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has taken the initiative to make the ethnic question the key issue. To the Tamil and Sinhala voter, he is clearly fighting to uphold Sinhala Buddhist interests vis-à-vis the Tamil demand for autonomy/separation. This has forced his principal rival, Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party (UNP), to back out of his earlier pro-Tamil stand, and play the Sinhala Buddhist card instead, albeit in a less strident way.

According to Tamilselvan, both the principal candidates are bending over backwards to pander to the Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian sentiment. Neither has any plan to address the long standing demands of the Tamil minority and resolve the national question. Neither the UNP nor the SLFP has any thing worthwhile to offer to the Tamils as far as their political demands are concerned.

The SLFP's candidate is committed to finding a solution within a 'unitary' constitution, thanks to his alliance with the Sinhala nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). And the UNP's candidate is afraid of saying that he is for a 'federal' constitution, which is the least, the LTTE and the Tamils expect from the Sri Lankan Establishment.

Indeed, Rajapaksa has said that he will start direct talks with the LTTE leader Prabhakaran, as soon as he becomes President. But the LTTE finds the idea laughable, as Rajapaksa may just be wanting an open ended discussion without any sense of direction.

As for Wickremesinghe, his manifesto says that a solution will be found on the basis of the Oslo and Tokyo Declarations, but he deliberately avoids mentioning that these had called for a "federal"
solution. In his manifesto, the accent is on finding a political consensus between the UNP and SLFP on the ethnic issue and then finding a solution "within a united Sri Lanka" without giving in to "separatism".

The process chalked out by Wickremesinghe is going to be a long and contentious one given the confrontationist politics of Sri Lanka. The LTTE's patience is going to wear thin.

The LTTE is aware that it was Wickremesinghe who had brought in the international community into the conflict. It feels that the international community, headed by the US, is a millstone around its neck. The UNP leader makes no secret of the fact that he had brought in the international community to put pressure on the LTTE to stop assassinations and other violent acts. He had cleverly used the post-9/11 sentiment in the US and the West to sew up an "International Safety Net" for Sri Lanka.

The LTTE views with deep suspicion Wickremesinghe's attempts to get India on board as a Co-Chair of the international effort to aid the peace process. The LTTE fears that India might be coaxed or enticed into sending the army again. A two and a half year war had to be fought between 1987 and 1990, to get the Indian army out.

Only recently, the LTTE got a taste of the "International Safety Net" when the European Union (EU) clamped a ban on member states receiving delegations of the LTTE "until further notice". The EU was reacting to the assassination of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgarmar, allegedly by the LTTE, and the continued recruitment of children to its combat units.

The most alarming thing about the EU statement was the threat that if the LTTE did not reform, it could be banned by the EU. An EU ban will be quite terrible for the LTTE because hundreds of thousands of Tamils are in the EU countries, supporting the LTTE materially, politically and morally. In the case of an international organisation like the LTTE, international pressure can have a telling effect.

The LTTE has sought a review of the EU travel ban saying that such a step will only strengthen the hands of the Sinhala extremists who will now be even more determined not to yield to the just demands of the Tamils. The other plea is that the travel ban will prevent the LTTE from interacting with the international community whose help is needed to solve the Tamil question. But the EU is in no mood to relent, though later in October, it is sending a team to Sri Lanka to study the situation first hand.

In this context, the LTTE must be regretting that it signed the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) and the MOU with the Wickremesinghe government in 2002. It may also be wondering what Wickremesinghe will do if he came back to power as the powerful Executive President of Sri Lanka. Will he not make the "International Safety Net" stronger and more effective? If he did, it would be bad for the LTTE.

Wickremesinghe's current lurch towards the Sinhala Buddhist constituency has made the line differentiating him from Rajapaksa quite thin.

"Under these circumstances it does not matter who becomes President, whether it is Rama or Ravana," said a Tamil from Jaffna, agreeing with Tamilselvan.

Ranil not all black

However, Wickremesinghe is not all black, even from the LTTE's limited point of view. The LTTE knows that the CFA and MOU signed in February 2002 helped it escape from the consequences of 9/11. In the aftermath of 9/11, the US and the world led by it, could have taken an uncompromising stand against it and sided fully with the Sri Lankan State.

The CFA and MOU helped the LTTE gain political access to areas in the North East and other parts of Sri Lanka to which it did not have legitimate access earlier. LTTE delegations travelled across Europe and presented the organisation's and the Tamils' case to key officials in these countries. The LTTE secured a good image abroad, unlike other terrorist groups in the world.

The peace process also prevented the Sri Lankan government from supporting the LTTE dissident Col Karuna in the crucial early days of the latter's revolt in March-April 2004. Subsequently, the government under Kumaratunga and Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaksa did help Karuna, but only clandestinely. If Wickremesinghe comes to power, it is likely that the government will stop encouraging Karuna.

Wickremesinghe tended to yield in a lot matters, though he was unyielding on core issues. During his stewardship of the government, he had been very tolerant of the LTTE's provocations and transgressions, though he never gave in on essentials like the continuance of the High Security Zones. His policy was to coax and entice the LTTE into participating in the institutions of the Sri Lankan state and the international community, and abjuring armed rebellion as a consequence.

Wickremesinghe allowed unarmed LTTE cadres to enter the cleared areas and do political work, without insisting that the LTTE, in turn, allow rival Tamil groups to do political work in areas controlled by it. He did not bar the LTTE from collecting taxes and customs duties and running its own courts, police and armed forces. "All this is alright so long as they don't shoot," Wickremesinghe once said.

Since Wickremesinghe's decision was based on the ground reality in the North East, even the successor government of Rajapaksa continued his policies in these matters.

The greatest advantage accruing to the LTTE from the peace process has been that it has transformed itself from being a rebel group confined to small areas in the North and the East, into a force with sway over the entire North East. It is able to hold huge rallies called Pongu Tamil or "Tamil Awakening rallies", commandeer everybody and everything for these rallies, and even get the top most local Tamil government officials to participate in them and endorse resolutions calling for the recognition of the Tamils' right to "self determination."

The LTTE has also got through the peace process initiated by the Wickremesinghe government, access to international development aid to do social and economic welfare projects. As a de facto ruler in some parts of the country, it has acquired the responsibility to attend to the civic, social and economic needs of the people living there. The LTTE knows that it cannot always be a military organization, forever asking the people it controls to forego development and stability in favour of a struggle for liberation.

But the LTTE wants to do development work without losing its ardour for the cause of Tamils' liberation. This is why it did not go to the Tokyo Donors Conference in June 2003 where it knew that parameters for a final solution would be prescribed. In this context, the LTTE has been viewing Japan's "cheque book diplomacy" with deep suspicion.

The LTTE, therefore, views Wickremesinghe both favourably and unfavourably. He can be useful, though extreme caution is called for.

LTTE's view of Rajapaksa

The LTTE's view of Rajapaksa, on the other hand, is relatively uncomplicated. To the LTTE he is a quintessential Sinhala chauvinist, who will not give an inch to the Tamils. While Rajapaksa himself is neither a war monger nor an extremist, nor even a man of action, his allies, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) are very radical. Under the influence of these two organisations, he might take a tough line on the LTTE's political demands and react strongly to any transgressions of the CFA and MOU. He also might maintain or step up the alleged clandestine state support given to the dissident LTTE leader, Karuna.

However, to the LTTE, this is not necessarily a bad thing, because it helps it justify a return to war, and terrorist strikes - techniques it is very good at. Rajapaksa's policies may help it justify the armed liberation struggle to the international community, which also has not been happy with successive Sri Lankan governments' for their lack of commitment to solving the Tamil question through reasonable devolution proposals.

Tamils want to vote Ranil

Ideally, the LTTE would like to be neutral as between Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa. But it is also aware that the Tamil people may like to vote in an election in which their issue is the principal issue, and that most of them are praying for Wickremesinghe's victory. They want peace, a government which will accommodate the LTTE, and which will not criticise the international community. For the common man in this region, these are the ingredients of a sound peace process

Most Tamils also have a history of supporting the UNP and most see Ranil Wickremesinghe as being pro-minority, pro-Tamil and more accommodative towards the LTTE.

Since Rajapaksa has aligned himself with the radical Sinhala nationalist parties like the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), it is very unlikely that the Tamils of the North East will vote for the SLFP candidate. If he had not aligned with these parties, they might have voted for him, as he would have been seen as a new candidate with no past of handling the Tamil question. But the alliance has cost him valuable Tamil support.

Therefore, if forced to make a choice between the Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe, the LTTE may support the latter.

Consequences of boycott

If the LTTE decides not to canvass or facilitate the election process in areas under its direct control, a substantial number of Tamils may not be able to vote at all. This is because the voters in the LTTE-controlled areas will have to be transported to polling booths in the cleared or government controlled areas. The absence of transport and other facilities will deprive Wickremesinghe of a large number of valuable votes in a contest, which is expected to be neck to neck.

However, sources say that some talks are on to get the Tamil National Alliance to support the UNP, even if only informally. But the LTTE, which decides for the TNA, is unlikely to make up its mind soon. It is expected to keep the UNP on tenterhooks till the last minute. If it finally decides to ask the TNA to back the UNP, it will be a shot in the arm for Wickremesinghe, who will then get hundreds of thousands of votes, which will be denied to Rajapaksa. In a close contest, which the November 17 election is likely to be, these votes may help carry Wickremesinghe to the Sri Lankan Presidency.

(P.K. Balachandran is Special Correspondent of Hindustan Times in Sri Lanka)