Tuesday, October 18, 2005

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

Colombo, 16 October, (Asiantribune.com):In 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.

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- Asian Tribune -

(Date : 2005-10-16)