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