Myth about LTTE's resurgence
Last month, the US came out with a report that claimed that the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) International financial
network was active.
Global terrorism on the
In India, the Intelligence Bureau report referred to vulnerability
and threats from 'Islamist terror outfits, remnant cadres of LTTE and
Naxals' and had advised precautionary measures in reference to the
Mullaiperiyar dam. Quickly picking a cue, the Tamil Nadu Government made
this a big issue, and due to pressure from other political parties,
withdrew the allegations.
The State Department's assessment, through its 'Country Reports on
Terrorism for 2014,' acknowledges that the LTTE, which suffered military
defeat in May 2009 at the hands of the Sri Lankan Government led by
Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been 'largely inactive' since then. Yet, it adds,
"The LTTE's financial network of support continued to operate throughout
There were no such claims by the State Department since May 2009 and
most importantly in 2012, 2013 and 2014 when the US brought about three
continuous resolutions against Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes
committed during the last stages of the civil war which ended in May
The former Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa on many
occasions has spoken on how the LTTE has been completely wiped out.
The atrocities committed on civilians during the course of the wiping
out of the LTTE constituted gross violations of the Geneva Convention,
prompting Canada and a few other European countries to initiate action
against Sri Lanka as they urged the UNHRC to investigate War Crimes
committed during the course of civil war.
War crimes charges
In 2012, the US which joined the UNHRC and took the lead in bringing
the first of the three resolutions in Geneva. Domestic pressure from
Tamil Nadu prompted India to vote against traditional ally, Sri Lanka.
Many Tamils were apprehensive of the interest shown by the US in the
Sri Lankan affairs. They felt that the US was more interested in
neutralising the growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean region in
partnership with the draconian regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the
erstwhile President of Sri Lanka who did not toe the line of US, and was
closer to China and Pakistan, at the expense of India.
The Tamils sensed that the US was using War Crimes investigation as a
tool to check Mahinda Rajapaksa and to control him and his inclination
to China, used the three resolutions and the UNHRC as a threatening
tool. Now that the Rajapaksa regime is no more, the US wants to wean out
of the web it has created for Sri Lanka.
The US has been successful in influencing regime change and place
Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of the country. Now they are
not interested in the issues of accountability and inquiry into war
crimes. They did not pressurize the UNHRC to produce its report during
the March Session and the report is to be submitted in September.
The US may not press for another resolution on a friendly regime. The
ruse they are using is the nonexistent LTTE. The easiest way out is to
create a sensation and divert the issue. There are enough number of
people to write about the threat of the LTTE to the US, India and the
world at large.
A recent illustration of that is the article reproduced in Eurasia
Review on 28th June by N. Sathya Moorty, Director, Chennai Chapter of
the Observer Research Foundation titled 'Sri Lanka: US Report On LTTE A
Caution For India, Too.' The author wants the world to help Sri Lanka
overcome the nonexistent terrorism threat.
The author pulls in the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam(TGTE)
into this debate and projects them as a LTTE front organization which
the TGTE never claimed. After the end of the war, the UN urged the Sri
Lankan Government to address 'the legitimate concerns and aspirations of
the Tamil people.' This was echoed by the EU, US, India and other
Whatever the TGTE has done so far is not secretive, they have
democratically elected their Members from 12 countries, and does the
author seem to suggest that the TGTE is carrying out the unfinished
agenda of the LTTE in a clandestine manner in which the intelligence
agencies of the 12 countries have no idea? This is ridiculing the
intelligence of the intelligence agencies and questioning the democratic
space allowed to the legitimate aspirations of the people in these 12
The author further relates this problem to Tamil Nationalism in the
Indian state of Tamil Nadu and drags the name of Senthamilan Seeman who
had organised a massive rally in Trichy on May 24, attracting a crowd of
nearly 200,000 Tamil youth. This rally was organized in preparation for
democratically contesting the state elections in 2016.
In his speech, there was nothing against India except for reiterating
that India is a Union of States and the aspirations of the Tamils in
Tamil Nadu need to be respected.
Tamil nationalism did not emerge out of sympathy for the LTTE. The
concept of 'Tamil nationalism' was initiated at the end of the 19
Century mainly to protect the separate identity of the Tamil language.
When a false impression was created that the pan Indian culture was
Sanskrit, a section of educated Tamils asserted the point that Tamil
culture was distinct from Sanskrit culture and demanded its independent
Tamil nationalism re-emerged recently as their legitimate humane
issues have been completely sidelined by the Indian Government including
issues such as the killing of nearly 540 Tamil fishermen by the Sri
Lanka Navy, Cauvery water problem, the methane issue, Kudankulam nuclear
power plant, which the Tamils do not want on their soil.
One must also note that for nearly 50 years a Tamil has not ruled
Tamil Nadu as the Chief Minister with the exception of O.Paneerselvam,
who was a dummy of J.Jayalalithaa.
The issue of the Tamil struggle for the right to self-determination
in Sri Lanka must be understood from the prism of human rights not from
the point of state security. Very few remember that there was not a
single instance in history where the LTTE attacked US or Israeli
One must understand that the Tamil Diaspora does not have the backing
of even a single state on their demand for a separate state and
organisationally it is impossible for the Tamil Diaspora to seed another
civil war in the present circumstances. Hence the world need not fear
the re-emergence of the LTTE as 'Terror Group.'
The US should not go back on its promise to fulfill the legitimate
demands of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and it must pursue its lost interest
in pushing for an international inquiry into war crimes and crimes
against humanity during the course of the civil war.
Dr. Paul Newman holds a Doctorate of Philosophy on Internal
Displacement and Human Rights situation in Northern Sri Lanka from
Bangalore University. He was one of the four public speakers at the
Permanent People's Tribunal on War Crimes against Sri Lanka.
- Eurasia Review