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Sunday, 24 February 2013





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Terrorist-criminal-political nexus in Tamil Nadu growing – Prof. Rohan Gunaratna

International counter terrorism expert based in Singapore, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna warns that there is a well concerted campaign in Tamil Nadu, launched by the LTTE, to make Tamil people rise up against Sri Lanka and this is a development that Sri Lanka should be concerned about.

In an interview with the Sunday Observer he said, “The terrorist-criminal-political nexus (in Tamil Nadu) is growing....” and went on to caution the Government that the LTTE misinformation and disinformation campaign was sure to spill over from Tamil Nadu to other south Indian States unless the Government took immediate steps to counter their malicious moves.

He claimed that the LTTE support base which was lying low after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was once again being effectively revived by the LTTE.

The excerpts of the interview:

Q:Following a leaked confidential Indian government document it came to light a few days ago how the LTTE orchestrated a campaign of appeals, including from the EU to delay the hanging of the Rajiv Gandhi killers. Media reported that Rashtrapati Bhavan was bombarded with clemency pleas originating from France, Germany, Denmark, South Africa, UK and from its own MPs. In fact the campaign has been successful todate. Isn’t this a good eye opener for the international community?

A: The LTTE political network in India is deep. The terrorist-criminal-political nexus is growing as some Tamil Nadu politicians are susceptible to LTTE funding, business (film industry) and fanaticism. After the Rajiv Gandhi assassination by the LTTE, once again its supporters, Vijayakanth, Gopalasamy, Karunanidhi, Nedumaran and Seeman are re-emerging.

The LTTE orchestrated the attack on the Sri Lankan pilgrims and also the protests when President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited India. The LTTE misinformation and disinformation will spread from Tamil Nadu to other south Indian States unless the Sri Lankan Government takes immediate steps to counter that.

With the LTTE politicising Indian Tamils to hate Sri Lanka the Ministry of Information in Colombo should counter the propaganda in Tamil Nadu in their own language. The Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo should invite Tamil Nadu politicians including Jayalalitha to visit Sri Lanka’s north.

Q:Sri Lanka is bracing for a tough time at the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, with a US sponsored procedural-resolution and an adverse report by High Commissioner Navi Pillai ready to be tabled. Your comments?

A:Geneva is not an exercise in Human Rights. It is an exercise in politics. Sri Lanka is a resilient nation that has withstood such challenges. Amidst international pressure generated by LTTE lobbying, Sri Lanka defeated one of the most ruthless groups.

Thereafter amidst pressure to withdraw, its security forces, Sri Lanka maintained its presence to ensure the continued stability of the North and the East. The US led European coalitions could neither defeat terror nor restore stability either in Iraq or Afghanistan. Today, both countries are suffering and they even threaten their neighbours. In contrast Sri Lanka is building a vibrant infrastructure and restoring livelihood.

In comparison to countries facing similar situations, Sri Lanka performed exceptionally well as its focus was to advance national interests and neither be deterred by threats nor influenced by regional or superpower politics.

Q:What is your take on the strength of LTTE propaganda and their support base in Geneva?

A:The LTTE that waged terror died with Prabhakaran but the support network that enabled violence re-branded itself as champions of human rights. The LTTE overseas network has begun to degrade with the majority of Tamils considering LTTE dissent leaders a waste of time and resources.

However the failure of the Government to engage the West created opportunities for a reinvented LTTE to access human rights lobby groups in foreign Governments, at the UN and in NGOs. Today in three-piece suits, LTTE ideologues, propagandists and activists discuss human rights issues.

The latest trend is for the LTTE to reach out to West-funded, anti-Sri Lankan government NGOs, human rights activists, journalists and co-opt them for Geneva.

LTTE fronts and sympathetic groups fund the LTTE proxy, the TNA. Canadian and British politicians driven by LTTE orchestrated votes and funds issue pro LTTE statements. This is a serious threat for Sri Lanka to fight its case and convince the international community.

Q: What is the way forward for Sri Lanka in your opinion?

A:First the government should continue to build a harmonious relationship between Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims and secondly re-engage the West. Sri Lankans tend to withdraw when the mind of the other is poisoned. Then the tendency of Colombo is to disengage foreign governments when the foreign governments are influenced by misinformation and disinformation.

The strategy should be to engage and address issues that can be resolved. As Sri Lanka is misperceived as an ally of China, Colombo should inform the West and India, that the relationship with China is economic and not military. Otherwise, Sri Lanka will be trapped in a new ‘cold war’. Sri Lanka should be mindful of the changing geostrategic and geopolitical realities and not antagonise India.


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