Sunday, November 30, 2008


A New constitution- the need of the hour..........By K. Godage
The response I received to the call for a Constituent Assembly to draft a new Constitution is indeed huge. I set out my email address hoping for some feedback and the response has certainly surprised me. All who responded agreed that the present system which has only bred hate should be dumped. President Rajapaksa would do well to take account of this; he could go down in our history as the president who restored democracy to this country and more importantly took hate out of politics. He is indeed a person who can do this for it is in his nature to bring people together.

In view of the interest shown I decided to delve further into the subject to share the information I have gathered with the public.

It would be recalled that what was suggested in the article was that we examine the feasibility of adopting the Donoughmore principle and incorporating into the Constitution a modified form (in keeping with the changes that have occurred in our polity over the years and benefiting from the experience gained during the 16 years when the system was in operation) of the Executive Committee system which was the mainstay of the Donoughmore Constitution.

Some years ago, Rev. Fr. Oswald Firth and Richard Dias submitted a paper making a strong case for the adoption of the Executive Committee System. In it they stated, (and this should surprise many), that Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, having gained experience under both the Donoughmore and the Soulbury Constitutions and seen their weaknesses and strengths, stated in Parliament, "In countries where you cannot hope two parties to divide purely on political issues, there should be a modification of the system where all MPs regardless of their parties, have some share in executive work. Under the Donoughmore Constitution, backbenchers of all parties shared the executive work and you avoided the bitterness and sense of frustration that is liable o develop not only among the opposition but even among backbenchers of the government. There were defects in the executive system as it was worked in Ceylon but it has always been my view that it was a mistake to have scrapped it altogether".

The Paper also quotes Dr. Jane Russell who wrote her dissertation on the Donoughmore system; she had stated in this regard "Bandaranaike’s final judgment on the Donoughmore dispensation vindicated the Donoughmore Commissioners who had adduced, as one of the reasons for the system, that: "Politics in Ceylon are always involved in details of administration. The politician would lose touch with reality were he to overlook them. The Executive Committee system would therefore make a virtue of necessity and give free play to the peculiar genius of the Ceylonese people themselves".

Even Dr. Colvin R De Silva is reported to have spoken at length on the value of the Executive Committee system at a Seminar and stated that ``the Committee system brought the process of government into a close relationship with the people.’’ Dr. De Silva had also stated, at a Seminar, that ``had the system been carried over to the new stage of Constitutional changes keeping that form and basis, much of the problems of the minorities with regard to their participation in power at the center might have been, to some extent at least, assuaged and compensated for, even if it had not fulfilled their requirements completely".

The Firth/Dias Paper notes that the sum and substance of the presentations at the Seminar was that (a) governance, both legislative and executive became a collective, interlinked effort and the responsibility of ALL the legislators; (b) there was an effective curbing of any authoritarian tendencies of the respective ministers; (c) it enhanced the capacity to initiate a greater volume of legislation; (d) it facilitated a closer relationship with the people; and (e) it sensitized the legislators regarding the problems of the minority communities with greater acuteness.

Minister Dinesh Gunawardena was another strong advocate of the Executive Committee system. He has sought earnestly to go back to it, and before the 13th Amendment and the establishment of Provincial Councils he made a strong case to introduce the system at District Council level. It was an innovative suggestion along the right road to end confrontational politics but unfortunately it did not take off.

Minister (Professor) G.L. Peiris had also dealt with this subject exhaustively. He had identified no less than thirteen reasons which I shall set out anon, in favour of the adoption of a modified form of the Executive Committee system. In his opinion "in the setting of Sri Lanka’s present constitutional problems, the Donoughmore Constitution, so far as the wielding of executive power is concerned, had two particularly valuable features:

(a) In terms of the Donoughmore system, the legislature did not divest itself of executive power and surrender it to an extraneous body such as the cabinet. On the contrary the legislature by the expedience of converting itself into a variety of Executive Committees retained executive power in its own hands and used it effectively throughout the life of the legislature.

(b) In view of the excessive politicization which is undoubtedly a grave problem in Sri Lanka today, we would place particular emphasis on the scope which the Donoughmore Constitution allowed for persons with differing political ideologies and points of view, and certainly not belonging to one party, to make an active contribution to the formulation and implementation of executive policy."

(c) The lack of accountability and a lack of control over the executive is a major issue today in the country.

I wish now to set out the 13 reasons adduced by Professor Peiris in favour of the adoption of a modified form of the Executive Committee system,

"(1) The Donoughmore system enabled continuity and an intensity of involvement in executive policy on the part of the legislature, which is not realistically achievable under the cabinet system of government.

(2) These encouraged Members to state their preference with regard to the Executive Committee which they would belong to – for example, health, education or local government. Each Member would freely and deliberately choose, as the area for his contribution, a subject which he found congenial and in which he had special knowledge or experience.

(3) Every Member of Parliament, by virtue of his membership of an Executive Committee, acquired the right to exercise supervision over government departments falling within the purview of the Executive Committee to which he belonged. This enhanced his sense of responsibility and relevance.

(4) This regularity of involvement encouraged members of the legislature to secure a grasp of administrative details, which they would perceive, was certainly not expected of them by the assumption of the Cabinet system.

(5) The clear imputation of an executive as well as a legislative role to parliament and the explicit division between these two functions, fortified by the recognition of district procedures in respect of the discharge of these disparate functions, rendered parliamentary scrutiny of government much more meaningful and productive under the Donoughmore Constitution.

(6) The fact that parliament had a separate opportunity in executive sessions to address itself to matters of administrative detail, naturally gave it ample scope to focus upon broad issue of legislative policy in legislative session.

(7) The dual aspect of parliament’s supervisory role gave the legislature far greater leverage with regard to control of public finance – a function which goes to the very root of Parliamentary responsibility in the context of representative government.

(8) The smallness of the Executive Committee in which administrative business was transacted engendered a sense of intimacy which was conducive to greater frankness and candor. Posturing was seldom resorted to in this environment.

(9) The Executive Committee system, which was the basic feature of the Donoughmore Constitution, encouraged compromise and willingness to give and take. All points of view tended to be taken into account before a decision was made, and the attainment of consensus was, therefore, easier.

(10) The Executive Committee system lent itself to the establishment of viable consultative mechanisms consisting principally of sub- committee and joint committees. Where a project involved diverse aspects and ramifications, all the relevant Executive Committees had to be consulted and their responses had a bearing on the final decision which was arrived at.

(11) The modalities pertaining to the Executive Committee system gave free rein to the ventilation of grievances, this made it possible for tensions to be alleviated and redress sought, before problems assumed alarming proportions. In this way a useful safety valve was provided.

(12) The Executive Committee system had special usefulness in relation to ethnic religious and cultural diversity. In a small Committee the minority’s standpoint tended to receive greater consideration and, since every vote counted, a differing view was generally not brushed aside. Attitudes of confrontation were thus avoided.

(13) The system by its very nature could be expected to provide a significant impetus to the strengthening and development of a multi-party system which clearly would enrich public life in the setting of a multi racial and multi-cultural community"

This brings us to a related issue, I most sincerely wonder as to whether the 13th Amendment is the answer to the political, security, economic (including developmental), social and cultural problems of our small country. I have often heard it said that the Indian model of devolution is the answer; let us examine the difference in our situations and the validity of this model for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is 65,OOO sq kms in area, much smaller than just four of India’s 28 states and has a population of 19 million. Only Goa has less. The sheer size of a few Indian States, some of them bigger than most countries in the UN, serves to indicate that devolving power on the scale envisaged in the 13th Amendment to Provinces which are equal to the size of a few Panchyats is really not feasible or practical. For example, Tamil Nadu (incidentally ‘Nadu’ means ‘Desaya’ or land and Tamil Nadu means the land of the Tamil people) is 130,000 sq.kms and has a population of 62 million; Andhra Pradesh 275,000 sq kms, population 76 million; Gujarat 196,000 sq km, population:50 million; Karnataka 191,000 sq kms, population 53 million; Maharashtra 300,000 sq kms has a population of 96 million, West Bengal 85,000 sq km, has a population of 80 million; Orissa 155,000 sq kms has a population of 36 million.

Could one compare Sri Lanka, which is a mere 65,000 sq km and has a population of 19 million with any of these states which are bigger than most countries? The state of Kerala (39,000 sq km) is one of four states smaller in size than Lanka but even Kerala has twice our population; Devolving power on the scale set out in the Indian model makes sense in India considering the sheer size of the States but would it be the same for small Sri Lanka?

We need to explore other models which would, in the first instance, empower the minorities and make them feel that this is their country as much as it is of the Sinhalese; that they have a right to be involved in both decision making and in the execution of national policy. The answer lies not in centralization of power or in devolution, but in ensuring inclusivity so that all stake-holders can be pulled into a participatory governing process. We need on an urgent basis to deal with the sense of alienation felt by the minorities, alienation from the mainstream of national life, and ensure that there is no hegemony of the majority.

Our present Constitution is indeed a bahubootha Constitution in many respects and needs to be dumped, but we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. It must be conceded that there are certain features in it which contribute towards stability, which stability would have been absent had we had a parliamentary system and cabinet government minus an executive president. We could for instance have a President elected by Parliament who would be in charge of Defence. We need also to ensure most importantly transparency and accountability in government; we need to incorporate such provisions into any new constitution.

Power sharing should not only be at the center but also at the periphery. It was suggested by this writer that we introduce the system as a pilot project after the recent Provincial Council elections in the Eastern Province, where we could bring all three communities into the governance of the province. This would certainly have been a paradigm shift of the highest significance. The Executive Committee system should be imaginatively adopted to suit our needs.

In conclusion let us hope that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would invite Constitutional experts such as Drs Jayampathy Wickremaratne, Rohan Edirisnha, Lakshman Marasinghe, other intellectuals such as Drs B.S. Wijeweera, Godfrey Gunatileka, Ministers such as Dinesh Gunawardena, DEW Gunasekera, Drs. GL Peiris and Sarath Amunugama and Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe to prepare a concept paper to launch a Constitutional Assembly to craft a national constitution to end confrontational politics in this country and set us on the road to prosperity 60 years after we regained our Independence.



Surrender to save lives, say former LTTE cadres


The reality of the battlefront - that the LTTE is losing the ground as well as fighters - is not conveyed to the civilians. They are now forced to listen to the Voice of Tigers, which only says that ‘the Tigers retaliated to an offensive by the Sri Lankan security forces’. According to the girls, ‘Eelanadu’ the paper published by the LTTE is the other option for information. But they never report the fact that the army is in their final push to defeat the LTTE.

by Shanika SRIYANANDA reporting from

She walks in shivering fright. Her slender neck, which was once adorned with the small capsule stuffed with the deadly white powder, is now bare.

The very moment she realised the value of living, she threw it away. Getting ready to unfold her saga of lost childhood through an army translator, she still looks around suspiciously. She seems to be uncomfortable in the new outfit, which symbolises her transition to freedom from being a terrorist: she comes in tripping on her skirt which is too long for this small girl - one of the Prisoners of War (PoW).

The day her house was surrounded, Baskaran Subanjini, eldest of a family of four, had no option but to obey the orders to join the LTTE - the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world. They snatched her away while she was begging and crying and her mother was cursing. That was the end of her carefree life. The cadres pushed her mother and also the seven-year-old sister, who were trying to prevent them from taking Subanjini away.

The LTTE, which is facing a severe shortage of fighters has started to levy a human tax - recruiting a girl or a boy for combat training to fight against the army.

It was last October 10, the day the LTTE had taken her to the Puwadeni Training Base in Kilinochchi. Over 52 children, who were abducted under this ‘one member from one family to the LTTE’ policy, too were housed in the same training base.

Later they had been transported to the Kalaimagal Training base at Anandapuram in Puthukuduiruppu for a month long combat training where they were trained to handle T56 and grenades.

She did not belong to the studious lot in the class, but Subanjini too had dreams about her future! Especially to have a decent life where she could help her mother who is the sole breadwinner to feed four mouths since her father abandoned them. “My mother worked hard to earn a living. I want to make her life comfortable one day. But...,” she could not complete her thoughts as tears were streaming down.

Though the LTTE taught them how they would become heroines when dead after biting a cyanide to avoid becoming a POW, the persisting dream - to help her mother - influenced her to throw away the cyanide. Many young LTTE cadres including Subanjini saw the soldiers as devils as the LTTE had painted a wrong picture about soldiers... They thought that when they were taken into army custody, first they would be raped, tortured and then killed.

“The LTTE has created a devilish picture about the army soldiers among the children and they use schools to propagate this idea. So, according to what I have heard from my childhood, I never wanted to meet an army soldier and prayed that I would not meet any in my life. I hated them”, says Subanjini who was thoroughly brain washed by the LTTE but later understood the reality.

But in the very next moment contrary to her misconception she thanked the soldiers of the 57 division for saving her life. “If they really wanted to kill us they could have easily bombed the bunker or shot us. But they did not! They gave us water, the few drops which were left for them”, she recalls. The innocence of yet another teenager is emerging as Subanjini or ‘Tamilnadi’ her nom de guerrilla, talks freely while her fears are fading away. Next is soft spoken Rasalingam Karthika, a native of Udayanagar, Kilinochchi. Her eyes move around the hall in this highly secured Wanni Head Quarters of the Security Forces. Just to make her laugh, the translator says “Sirikki ... sirikki” (smile... smile).

‘Thirunidi’ that is her nom de guerrilla, tries to smile with me while looking up the ceiling to hide her tears.

Why did you join the LTTE?, I asked.

After a pin drop silence, she speaks. “I never wanted to join the LTTE but they abducted me. If I did not join the LTTE my two little brothers and sisters would die in hunger. The LTTE threatened to stop the food relief for my family”, 18-year-old Karthika cried.

She says the day the LTTE tried to separate her from the family she had pleaded with them not to take her away. But without leaving a breathing space, the LTTE snatched away the girl on last April 24 before she said bid-adieu to her parents. That was the last day that she saw her family.

She was given a full combat training - handling of weapons and bombs - at the Puwadeni Training base until she was suddenly trucked to a forward defence line where the heavy fighting was going on.

Explaining about the training procedure, she says, it is compulsory for all new recruits - a child of 14-years-old or an adult of 50-year-old first to undergo a training on how to make a hand grenade. “First it is how to make bombs, then it is how to handle weapons like T 56 and finally to the battle front”, she explains.

“What did you feel when you were in the FDL?”

“We were scared and remembered amma and appa. We wanted to run away and hide somewhere as we are too small to fight with the soldiers”, they say.

These girls, who had seen blood, flesh and body parts everywhere grew up in a world of terror from their birth, need to be rehabilitated.

They who saw their classmates, who were abducted while studying at school or playing hide and seek with them were coming in sealed coffins and also witnessed how the LTTE was expanding the fences of the cemetery to bury more of their friends, need to undergo pshyco-therapy treatment to return to normalcy.

“Were you given lectures?”

“Yes. The LTTE taught us about Sinhalese and how they had treated us. We were taught that the Sinhalese want to wipe out Tamils and that is why the LTTE has to wage this war.

The lecturers also told us that all of us were born to die for a cause and it is our duty to sacrifice our lives to have a separate land for Tamils”, Subanjini recalls.

Subanjini and Karthika and many of her friends who did not see a single Sinhalese in this decades long war, thought that the Sinhalese are blood-thirsty creatures.

Now they know miles away from the North, the Tamils and Sinhalese are living together sharing happiness and sorrow equally.

“If you are so scared, why did not you die by biting the cyanide or exploding the grenade like what your platoon leader did?”

“We want to live”, the eyes of these two teenagers were glistening with hope for a better future.

These girls saw the rise and the fall of the LTTE. They say that earlier, villagers had faith in the LTTE and it was an honour for them to have an LTTE cadre in their family. People thought that the LTTE’s sole objective was to end the sufferings of the Tamils.

But these girls will certainly unearth the reality - which had brought them nothing by the so-called sole representatives of Tamils other than death and destruction which pass on from generation to generation.

“The LTTE cannot get Eelam and it will find it difficult to raise its head again. Newly recruited cadres will abandon the LTTE. But those who are still fighting will remain with the outfit because their family members are living in LTTE controlled areas.

They are in fear that they will be punished or killed to take revenge. Only the middle aged experienced cadres will remain with the outfit until the end.”, Subanjini says, adding that the families, whom the LTTE is now using as a human shield, are also remaining in Mullaitivu because of their children, whom the LTTE had recruited forcibly are still fighting in the battle fronts. She says that these parents would not flee outside Mullaitivu leaving their children.

The reality of the battle front - that the LTTE is losing the ground as well as fighters - is not conveyed to the civilians. They are now forced to listen to the Voice of Tigers, which only says that ‘the Tigers retaliated to an offensive by the Sri Lankan security forces’. According to the girls, ‘Eelanadu’ the paper published by the LTTE is the other option for information. But they never report the fact that the army is in their final push to defeat the LTTE.

Grown-up amidst thunderous explosions of artillery and mortars from their birth until they were brought in as POWs, these girls yearn for a better future to patch up their lives.

Seeing and feeling that there is a world far better than the dream-land of their notorious master - Prabhakaran - the two teenagers want all of their colleagues and the young leaders to surrender to the army to save their lives.

“No need to be scared to the army. They are good and now we can prove that the impression the LTTE had given to us about these soldiers is wrong. They treated us nicely. They did not kill us or tortured us”, Subanjini and Karthika say.

Subanjini says that while their cadres were getting killed one by one, the platoon leaders were asked by their leaders to hold the ground. “They do not care about us.

They do not want us to live. A platoon leader who is a senior cadre will be assigned to lead a fresh group of cadres. She will not allow the new cadres to surrender”, she adds.

Recalling the nightmarish moment in the wee hours of that fateful day in which they have started a journey for freedom, these two former LTTE cadres say that they could not withdraw as the LTTE seniors wanted them to hold the bunker even while the soldiers had surrounded them from the four corners. But their leader ‘Maduwanthi’ who smelled that they were fighting a losing battle ends her life by exploding a grenade. “They do not care for us and want us to die. A leader operating from some kilo metres away from the front-line ordered us to bite the cyanide or blast the grenade to commit suicide. But we did not listen to him”, says Karthika.

“Have you seen Prabhakaran?”.

They look at each other and say “Ellai” (No). Let’s leave Prabhakaran who is believed to be living in an under ground bunker and comes out very rarely.

They have not seen any of the other prominent leaders in the LTTE. The girls say that the leaders command the battle from far away. “The platoon leaders told us that Prabhakaran will not allow the army to capture his areas and the LTTE will not lose this battle as Prabhakaran will do something to recapture the land”, Karthika says adding that it is impossible for the LTTE to fight with the army once their reserves - trained cadres and remaining weapons - are finished!

I was given an hour to interview them and I had to rush back from Vavuniya Security Forces Headquarters to Anuradhapura Airport to fly to Colombo. I ask the last question: what do you feel now and what do you think about your future?

Karthika, soft spoken ‘black beauty’, answered first: “I do not have any problem here but I am worried about my family. I am scared that the LTTE will take my two small brothers and the sister. I do not want them to die”, she cannot conclude her answer as she starts crying again.

Subanjini, still having small scars of the grenade explosion, that blew the platoon leader, on her face, answered next: “I am ok, but I am too worried about my sisters and brothers. Four of the dead female cadres are from my village and when the LTTE hand over the bodies to the families my mother will come to know that something has happened to me. I know she will be very upset”, Subanjini, who was talkative throughout and resembled a strong personality, too starts weeping.

She has a hope: to see her ‘amma’. “I know that I cannot go there to see her. But if she knows I am here she will somehow come to see me. I just want her to know that I am alive and safe”, she murmurs.

Time is running out and it is also time to say good bye to my two teenage friends, who saw Sinhalese as blood-thirsty enemies, a few days ago! We shake hands and feel the warmth of humanity and friendship. An unrealistic dream has divided the two friendly communities, bringing destruction and animosity.

Back at the Anuradhapura Airport, the Y-12 aircraft is ready to take off.

Five soldiers, in their twenties, whose legs blown off by the deadly Jonny mines still want to witness an end to the terror to justify the sacrifice they have made. They will soon be admitted to the Army Hospital, Colombo for emergency treatment.

“We suffered a lot from birth upto the present. We have bitter experiences. And our future lies with the government now”. I remember the last few words uttered by Subanjini and Karthika before saying goodbye to me. It appears that desperation is fading away and hopes for life are emerging.

Saturday, November 29, 2008



The nineteenth “Great heroes day” (GHD) was observed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Thursday November 27. In recent times the most important event for the LTTE has been its annual ‘Maaveerar Naal’ or “Maaveerar Thinam”held each year.

Various observances are held in Sri Lanka and abroad to commemorate the Tiger cadres who have died for the Tamil cause. ‘Puligalin Thaagam Thamil Eelath Thaayagam’ (Thirst of the Tigers is for a Tamil Eelam homeland) is the motto of the LTTE.

An important feature of the GHD has been the ceremony where LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran pays homage to the fallen cadres. The centrepiece of this ceremony is his address to the Tamil people in his capacity as the self-styled national leader of the Tamil Eelam nation.

This year’s GHD address by Prabhakaran came at a time when the LTTE was suffering setback after setback on the military front. It was only last year that Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa predicted that the 2007 Great Heroes Day would be the last one for the tiger chief.

Prabhakaran however is still alive and what is more lived to deliver another GHD address. Given the series of military reversals undergone by the LTTE in recent times many expected or wanted the Tiger supremo to throw the towel in.

A number of articles and even editorials appeared in the Sri Lankan media ridiculing and mocking Prabhakaran and the LTTE for its perceived poor track record in military matters.

There is a widespread belief in the country and abroad that the LTTE is militarily weak and therefore is on the verge of being defeated conclusively by the armed forces. With the Rajapaksa regime utilising its military successes to consolidate itself in power a massive propaganda campaign is on to project an image that the Tigers are on the decline. If recent military developments are the sole criteria to assess the strength or weakness of the LTTE there was some justification at least for this opinion to gain ground.

This impression has led to an atmosphere of triumphalism in the country amidst many sections of the majority community. Those who disagree or dissent are unfairly depicted as traitors or Tiger agents.

There were quite a few who expect Prabhakaran to call it quits or face extinction. A few actually advised him to surrender arms and enter the negotiating process.

It was against this backdrop that Prabhakaran’s annual GHD address was delivered last Thursday. If anyone thought of Prabhakaran as a battered, bleeding boxer, reeling on the ropes, gasping for breath, they were mistaken.

The Tiger chief was defiant as ever. Maintaining tremendous serenity amid severe strain, the beleaguered LTTE chief read out his prepared speech in customary style.

Though different analysts tend to draw different conclusions from the address, to this writer, the most significant aspect of the LTTE leader’s speech was his avowed declaration to continue fighting against overwhelming odds.

Here are some relevant excerpts from the translated version in English:

“Today, the Sinhala state has, as never before, placed its trust on its military strength, on military modalities and on a military solution. As a result, the war has gathered intensity and momentum. In truth, this is not a war against the LTTE as the Sinhala state professes. This is a war against the Tamils; against the Tamil nation. In short; a genocidal war.”

“With various countries of the world buttressing the genocidal war on the people of Tamil Eelam, we are waging a defensive war for the freedom of our people.”

“We have faced forces much mightier than ours. We have had direct confrontations even against superior powers, stronger than us.”

“We have withstood wave after wave of our enemy attacks. When compared to these happenings of the past, today’s challenges are neither novel nor huge. We will face these challenges with the united strength of our people.”

“No great changes have taken place in the Sinhala political panorama. Politics there has developed into the form of a demonic war.”

“When it comes to the Tamil national question, the Sinhala nation is adopting only one policy. It is obviously a policy of suppression. Even the tinge of hope our people had that the Sinhala nation will abandon its path of violence and offer justice, has now evaporated. Our people are not ready to trust the Sinhala nation again and get cheated.”

“It is true Tamil Eelam is a small nation on the globe. However it is a nation with great potential. It is a nation with a characteristic individuality. It has a distinctive language, cultural heritage and history. As the freedom movement of the people of Tamil Eelam we will never, ever allow Sinhala occupation or Sinhala domination of our homeland.”

“Whatever challenges confront us, whatever contingencies we encounter, whatever forces stand on our path, we will still continue with our struggle for the freedom of the Tamil people. On the path shown by history, on the command of the circumstances of today, we will continue with our struggle till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed.”

This writer does not agree with most views expressed by Prabhakaran both in his speech. The thrust of his address is all about laying the blame on everyone else but the LTTE and himself. Always the “others” are at fault.

Recent history demonstrates very clearly that the LTTE had not utilised the opportunity that arose for exploring a solution on federal lines through negotiations. But the Tiger supremo is silent on why the tigers agreed in Oslo to “explore” and then performed a political somersault.

It is certainly true that Sri Lankan Tamil people are suffering greatly under this government. But it was the LTTE that facilitated the election of Mahinda Rajapaksa by enforcing a boycott of the presidential elections in areas controlled by it then.

Also Prabhakaran in his GHD address of 2005 called the new president a “pragmatic” man and stated that Rajapaksa would be given time to resolve the problem Yet within days the Tigers began launching attacks through its “acolytes” called “Makkal padai” or “peoples force”.

Then came provocative acts like the suicide bomber attack on Army commander Sarath Fonseka, the blocking of water at Maavilaaru, synchronised attacks on Muhamaalai, Muthur and Mandaitheevu, the artillery barrage on Trincomalee harbour from Sampoor etc.

It was in this atmosphere that the current military campaign was launched by the Rajapakse regime. It has been rather ruthless with little concern for the plight of ordinary civilians.

Despite expressing concern for the Tamil predicament there has been little concrete action by the International community to alleviate it. This is not because the IC is against the Tamils. This unjustified apathy is due to its pronounced antipathy towards the LTTE.

Excerpting certain paragraphs while disagreeing with the essence of arguments expressed in those is merely to draw attention to the actual mindset of the Tiger leader. There is a tendency to be lulled into a false consciousness by believing one’s own propaganda that the LTTE is on the edge of a dangerous precipice.

Several analysts and commentators have portrayed Prabhakaran’s speech in a negative light as having been stated from a position of weakness. This may give a “feel good feeling” to many.

It would however be a grave blunder if one were to write off Prabhakaran’s speech as the ranting and raving of a cornered tiger.

As this writer has consistently stated in the past “the Tigers may be down but they are certainly not out”.

Prabhakaran’s utterances about continuing to fight against “Sinhalam” (Sinhale) or the “Sinhala state” should not be dismissed as sheer bravado. Rhetoric it may be, disconnected with reality it may be, but nevertheless Prabhakaran means every word of it.

Those who saw visual images of Prabhakaran reading out his speech in Tamil were struck by one thing. Though propaganda in sections of the media stated that the LTTE leader was under severe pressure, the impression gained when seeing him was quite the opposite.

Those of us who have been regularly following his annual addresses were struck by a remarkable change in his demeanour and tone. He seemed relaxed and supremely confident. Serene amidst strain. Prabhakaran looked and sounded like a man in firm control of his destiny. He seemed to mean every word he said.

In this context one recalls an anecdote of 21 years vintage. This was during the time when Indian officials in New Delhi were trying to pressurise Prabhakaran into accepting the proposed Indo – Lanka accord.

At one point former Indian envoy Jyotindra Nath Dixit in typical “hectoring” mode warned Prabhakaran that he would have to fight the Indian army if he did not accept the accord. To which the LTTE leader replied, “I don’t want to but I will fight the Indian army if I have to.”

Dixit then retorted, “Do you know the strength of the Indian army?” Prabhakaran replied “350,000? 400,000?” Then Dixit said “Add another cipher”. Once again Prabhakaran said that he did not want to fight the Indian army but was prepared to do so if necessary.

Later the LTTE went through the charade of agreeing and adhering to the Indo - Lanka accord. New Delhi’s South block thought that Prabhakaran had submitted meekly to the overwhelming might of India and devoured humble “kanji” (porridge).

When Dixit began relating the above – mentioned exchange of words on the diplomatic cocktail circuit most people had a hearty laugh. The “puli” (Tiger) had become an “eli” (mouse) with India, the joke went.

Yet it was Prabhakaran who had the last laugh,. Belatedly India realised that the tiger chief was dead serious when he said that he was prepared to fight India.

Likewise it may seem amusing to hear Prabhakaran declaring his intent to continue fighting at a time when the Sri Lankan military juggernaut is relentlessly rolling forward. But it would be a monumental error to misjudge or underestimate the man as many have done in the past.

There are two sayings in Tamil about the tiger. One is “puli pathunguvathu paaivathatku” (the Tiger crouches only to pounce). The other is “puli pasithaalum Pullai Thinnaathu” (Even if hungry Tigers don’t eat grass).

These sayings about four – legged felines are applicable in politico – military terms to the two – legged Tigers also.

Currently two DVD/Video cassettes are being circulated among the Sri Lankan Diaspora in the west. One is a 32 minute cassette portraying the hardship and suffering undergone by internally displaced civilians in the Wanni. It is emotionally moving to see their tragic plight. There is an open appeal to Tamil Nadu Tamils.

While these cassettes are openly distributed the other 21 minute cassette is clandestinely shown to selected activists and die- hard supporters. Several LTTE leaders and commanders appear in this film emphasising that they are ready and strong to prolong the fight. There are scenes of cadres being trained.

The LTTE bigwigs keep on appealing to “pulam peyarntha uravugal” (our relatives gone abroad) not to be deceived by Government propaganda that the LTTE is weak. They reiterate that they are waiting for the right time to strike.

They also keep “requesting” that Diaspora Tamils should continue to support them without faltering until their goal is achieved.

Both these cassettes illustrate the dual approach adopted by the LTTE. On the one hand the humanitarian predicament is focused on to make an emotional appeal while on the other; military strength is projected to retain support of hawkish elements.

This duality can be discerned in Prabhakaran’s GHD speech also where he states that the LTTE is prepared for peace but goes on to assert that the tigers will not give up the fight. There is a deliberately instilled sense of ambiguity here.

A noteworthy aspect of this year’s GHD observances was the military situation and weather.

With the armed forces on the ascendant and Tiger-controlled territory shrinking rapidly, the climate was not conducive for widespread functions. Torrential rains aggravated the situation further.

In such an environment there was a nagging doubt as to whether GHD ceremonies could be conducted anywhere let alone being done in grand fashion.

Yet the LTTE did manage to demonstrate through those ceremonies that they were “down but not out”.

None of the ceremonies were conducted openly or on a lavish scale. Prabhakaran himself participated at the main function held in an undisclosed location.

He commenced his 25 minute address at 5. 40pm. A minute of silence was observed at 6.06 pm. The sacrificial flame was lit by him at 6.07 pm.

Similar ceremonies were organized simultaneously at different venues.

Pride of place was given to functions in the Eastern Province from which the LTTE was ousted last year. GHD ceremonies indicated that the tigers had re-established a viable presence in jungle areas of the Batticaloa – Amparai districts.

In Amparai district eastern special commander “Col” Ram lit the flame at a ceremony in Lahugala jungles in Pottuvil electoral district. Amparai district military commander Nahulan lit the flame in another function held in the Kanjikudichchaaru jungles.

In Batticaloa district the district military commander Umaram lit the flame in Tharavaikulam in the Thoppigala/Kudumbimalai region; Maavadimummaari military chief Kalaimaruthan lit the flame at Thaandiaddy. The political commissar for Maavadimummaari zone lit the flame there. In the Vaaharai region, Aandaankulam military chief Pushpan lit the flame at Aandaankulam. Likewise the Karadiyanaaru military leader lit the flame there.

In the LTTE controlled regions of Wanni the following Tiger leaders lit the sacrificial flames in different locations. Despite Kilinochchi town being besieged by the armed forces LTTE’s northern front commander “Col” Theeban lit the flame in Kanagapuram Great Heroes cemetery;

“Col” Sornam (some reports said he was injured or dead) lit the flame at Mulliyavalai GH cemetery while Keerthi did so at Viswamadhu. “Col” Jeyam did so at Oddusuddan while sea Tiger special commander Soosai paid homage at sea to all sea – Tigers who perished at sea. The woman sea – Tiger special commander Poorani and deputy sea-Tiger commander Vinayagam lit the flames in Alambil and Uduthurai respectively.

LTTE finance chief Thamilkumaran, “Sencholai” orphanage co-ordinator Sudarmahal, Charles Anthony division special commander Vimal, and Military college chief instructor Aathavan, lit the flames in Puthukkudiyiruppu,Vattakkachchi,Kandawalai and Udayarkaddu GH cemeteries respectively.

There are also special memorial monuments for cadres from Batticaloa – Amparai districts, Imran – Pandian infantry brigade and “Kutty Sri” mortar units. The flames in these places were lit by Jeyanthan brigade chief Bhavaan,Kilinochchi district military chief Velavan and Kuttysri unit chief Kalaichelvan respectively.

By staging these ceremonies in spite of a very hostile environment the LTTE has proved a point. The Tigers have shown that despite the strong challenge posed by the armed forces it is a case of “business as usual” for them in key spheres.

The Great Heroes day events are given top priority in the LTTE scheme of things.

There exists in the martial tradition of the Tamils a concept known as ‘Nadugal Valipaadu,’ which literally means worshipping the planted stone.

Until the influence of Aryan-Brahminism pervaded the Dravidian people, the custom in South India had been that of burying their dead. Tombstones were erected at the graves of great heroes fallen in battle. These were honoured regularly through special panegyrical rituals.

The classical Tamil literature of the Sangham era is replete with references to this ‘Nadugal Valipaadu’ concept.

Poetic works like “pattinappaalai”,”Malaipaduhadaam”,”aingurunooru”, “ahanaanooru”, “puranaanooru” and “Tholgappiyam” refer to this phenomenon.

The aftermath of the Hindu renaissance period saw Brahminism becoming dominant and altering a way of life drastically.

The decline of Tamil dynasties along with the advent of Moghul, Nayakkar and European colonialism saw the martial tradition among Tamils becoming debilitated.

The custom of paying homage to heroes fallen in battle became non-existent in an environment where war was virtually unknown for generations.

In modern times the LTTE has revived and developed to a great extent the Tamil tradition of paying homage to its fallen heroes just as it re-introduced a martial Tamil culture through war.

When the first Great Heroes Day was observed in 1989, there were only 1,343 martyrs. The tally in 2000 was 16,591. In 2005 the figure was 17,903; this year up to October 30, 1974 tigers comprising 1398 males and 576 females were killed. This excludes about 3,000 conscripts who had not been made “full” members and therefore denied great hero status.

The grand total from November 27 1982 to October 30 2008 is 22, 114 Tiger great heroes killed. This comprises 17,305 males and 4,809 females.

As the ethnic conflict continues, the casualty rates also increase. What this means is that more and more Tamil families are suffering the losses of their loved ones and becoming grief stricken.

A qualitative change in recent times has been increased conscription by the LTTE. The emotional reaction of family members towards their kith and kin forcibly taken by the LTTE and sacrificed on the altar of war would be different to those who joined voluntarily.

Denying great hero status to some of those raw conscripts who get killed can only add insult to injury.

Given the current flow of events and the manner, mode and message of Prabhakaran’s GHD address there can be little doubt that we are going to see more and more war.

The Rajapaksa regime though unpopular on many fronts is sustained in power mainly through its pro – war policy. In such a situation one can expect an escalation and intensification of war in the future.

Not only will the LTTE resist fiercely but also may launch its long – awaited counter – strike.

Which way the goddess of war would bestow her blessings or curses is uncertain. But the only certainty is that the Tamil –populated regions will see an increase in death, displacement and destruction in the days to come. Tamil suffering will continue.

D.B.S. Jeyaraj can be reached



Ceasefire or all out war?
by Kumar Rupesinghe

The battles in the Vanni war theatre are now being pursued relentlessly by both parties and there has been heavy casualties reported from both sides. These battles are being fought despite heavy rains. The government would like to hoist the Sri Lankan flag in Killinochi and proclaim to the world that the headquarters of the LTTE has been taken. The LTTE leader has proclaimed in an Indian newspaper that Killinochi will never fall. The government was unable to capture Killinochi as proclaimed on the day of Prabahakaran's speech. Interested parties are watching anxiously as to whether the LTTE can withstand the assault on a beleaguered town empty of its people. So it seems that for both parties much is at stake and both are prepared to inflict heavy casualties on the other.

The effects of the war are terrible. There are large numbers of (between 200,000 to 300,000) who are displaced. Many do not have a place to live and live under trees. Food supplies are irregular. Children are deprived of their education. Images of the human suffering does not reach the people in the South. The media rarely provides pictures of the pain, despair and suffering of a large numbers of people. Instead they are fed with hourly sound bites of the war. Civilians are once again caught up in the internecine war. The government would like to encourage a mass exodus of people from LTTE controlled areas to government held areas such as Vavunia. But there is only a trickle of people making their way into government held areas. People are naturally reluctant to leave. Some may be forcibly held by the LTTE but this factor alone cannot account for the reluctance to leave by such a large number of people. Most probably they fear what awaits them. Many of the families have their children enlisted by the LTTE, or they have kith and kin involved in the fighting. Recruitment to the LTTE has been intensified. Some may feel that it is better to die rather than face persecution from the military. Stories abound of the camps that are located in Vavuniya and the travails that refugees have to go through. Civilians thus are helpless and caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. As I have repeatedly argued "war" is not merely about winning territory but about winning the hearts of minds people. Here, the government has dismally failed.

The sufferings of the people in the Vanni are instantly communicated to the world by the by the LTTE. Tamil Nadu, Delhi, and other cities such as Toronto, London, New York, Melbourne as a propaganda ploy by the LTTE. Tamil Nadu has risen with one single voice and has called for a ceasefire. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu intends to leave with a representative group of people to New Delhi to meet the Indian Prime Minister.

Call for a Ceasefire.

A call for a Ceasefire came from the most unlikely quarters. "There is no other alternative but to go for a ceasefire if India continues to pressurize Sri Lanka" says media spokesman for Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe speaking to a private TV channel recently. This statement by a responsible member of the JHU caused an uproar in Parliament forcing their Minister, Champika Ranawake, to categorically state that the JHU had not called for a Ceasefire. But maybe the cat is now out of the bag and as they say there is no smoke without fire. Colombo is agog with speculation as to the veracity of the statement by the media spokesman for the JHU. Was this an inspired leak to test the tide and public opinion? Is Indian pressure on the Sri Lankan state biting? Only time will tell.

The role of India.

The extent of mass mobilization of all the South Indian political parties has taken the world by surprise. There is now once again a resurgence Tamil nationalism with some Hindu parties preparing for armed struggle. The mass demonstrations, fasts, pickets and one day hartals are now an everyday occurrence in South India. In South India there has been unanimity of purpose and resolve by all political parties to demand a ceasefire. The government of Sri Lanka never expected this massive show of strength and agitation from India. Protests were not restricted to South India but to other states, and even in Delhi where there were large demonstrations by students. Secular parties such as the Communist party are now leading the agitation. The BJP has gone one step further and promises to resolve the Tamil National question in Sri Lank within 6 months if it comes to power. They say that a solution should be nothing less than a Federal solution. The frenzy of support for a Ceasefire can be explained by many factors. The most important is that there will be general elections in India scheduled for March/April of next year. Each political party is positioning itself and Sri Lanka will become a campaign issue during the elections. In this skirmish the Communist parties which shared power with the Congress party and subsequently left the Congress alliance as a result of the Indian government's deal with the USA has seized the Sri Lankan Tamil Question as a major campaign issue. The BJP is also waiting in the wings. It is also getting deeply embroiled in the Sri Lankan conflict. There has been a resurgence of Muslim extremism in India as demonstrated by the attacks in Mumbai which killed so many.

The LTTE on the other hand continues to send lurid pictures of human suffering through its communication channels and they have extensively used these channels to portray images of "genocide" against the Tamils. Although this argument is not convincing for the Sri Lankan government does send food to the affected regions, the power of the images are convincing. Further it is also a fact the LTTE cells have been patiently working in South India to form alliances with strategic sectors of Tamil Nadu, particularly the media and the film industry. Over five films sympathetic to the LTTE has been shown to mass audiences in India produced and directed by leading film directors in the past few years. Sri Lanka's humanitarian crisis has now captured the imagination of the South Indian populace and the Sri Lankan government is helpless and its beleaguered High Commission in Delhi and its Councilor office in Chennai is unable to handle this tidal wave of support. There is therefore a conjuncture of events which coincide to make Sri Lanka's Tamil national question an issue in the coming months. It is not going to go away or disappear from the radar screen.

Call for negotiations.

In the recent past there have been demands made in India by spokespersons of the Indian National Congress that the government should begin discussions with the Tamil National Alliance(TNA). It is argued by those in India that the TNA as the representatives in Parliament should be brought into a dialogue as to the contours of a political solution. There is speculation as to whether the TNA should be invited for the Interim Administration as a first step towards a power sharing arrangement. The TNA on the other hand continues to lobby Tamil Nadu to pressure the government. There is no likelihood of negotiations in the immediate future and by January there could be a possibility of a cessation of hostilities.

The government on the other hand is also facing multiple crises. The second wave of the recession is now hitting Sri Lanka with export commodity prices such as tea, rubber and coconut crashing. It will also affect the export of our minor crops. The foolhardy hedging of our oil prices has been a disaster and the government is facing the humiliation of significant losses on its dollar accounts. The future of our textile industry is at stake. The tea small holder industry is severely affected. The cost of living is rising and inflation cannot be controlled. It is in this light that the government is considering elections, and mulling the question whether it should be a few more Provincial Councils or a general election. In the light of this dilemma the government has to act and act fast. Further delays, will only make matters worse.

Whether there will be a Ceasefire will be determined by the military realities on the ground, coupled with pressures put up by India. Agreeing to a Ceasefire is difficult for the government which has put all its stakes on a military victory. But it may be that both sides may want some respite from a grueling war.



Kilinochchi’s re-take is coming! by Shanie

Government spokespersons have once again claimed that the military is poised to enter Kilinochchi at any moment now. These spokespersons have also contested reports that there is a humanitarian crisis involving the internally displaced in the Vanni. Former President J R Jayewardene once famously declared that as Executive President he had the power to do anything except to make a man a woman. The present day spokespersons will no doubt be able to present a case, if it suits their propaganda, why a man is indeed a woman. The claims of these propagandists and apologists are only matched by the disinformation of the apologists for the LTTE among the Tamil diaspora. Both enjoy the same credibility.

In conventional operations, the ragtag fighting cadres of the LTTE are no equal to the Sri Lankan security forces, with their vastly superior training and arms and the co-ordinated air, sea and ground thrusts. There is no doubt that in due course, they will capture territory now controlled by the LTTE – which means they will re-take Kilinochchi very soon. But we must remember that this is not the first time that Kilinochchi is being taken from LTTE control. The IPKF reclaimed the area and Government re-took control after the withdrawal of the IPKF from the North. The LTTE again re-established control after the Elephant Pass debacle in the mid-nineties.

But what follows after re-taking Kilinochchi? The civilian population has now moved to the east of the Jaffna-Kandy (or A9) road. Extending the war to that part of the Kilinochchi/Mullaitivu districts is going to cause a further disruption and loss of civilian lives. Even if the war were to be halted after the re-taking of Kilinochchi, holding on to the western sector now under Army control will not be easy since the LTTE will switch to guerrilla warfare. This will be a repetition of the East where the civilians are now experiencing a free-for-all among a plethora of armed groups, including the LTTE. In previous occasions, the security forces were viewed by the civilian population as an army of occupation by the civilians. This impression was not altogether fair by the security forces as they had only to perform a military duty in difficult circumstances. It was the political leadership that should have, both by words and political action, made a more determined effort to win over the civilian population.

A Political Initiative

This then is the task before President Rajapaksa. When he came into power three years ago, he enjoyed, as did his predecessor Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the goodwill and hope of many civilians among the minorities. But all that seems to have evaporated so quickly. They seem to see him now as going along, for whatever reason, with the Sinhala supremacist agenda. Key members of his Government are on record as saying that our country belongs to the majority community. President Rajapaksa has not disassociated himself from these statements.

In 1985, following the collapse of the Thimpu talks, a ‘left’ alliance of the LSSP, CP and SLMP headed by Vijaya Kumaratunga, leader of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party, issued a joint statement, where they stated: "Our three parties are of the firm opinion that a negotiated settlement would be more easy to achieve if the government and its spokespersons as well as the Tamil and other organisations and the extremists conduct themselves in the perspective of the highest interests of all the people of Sri Lanka and not primarily or solely as the representatives of any particular community in Sri Lanka.

"It is also essential that the government comes forward with new proposals which take account of the desire of the Tamil (and Muslim) people to be ensured conditions which will protect them against violence to their persons and property, discrimination, injustice and affronts to their self-respect."

President Rajapaksa has shown little urgency in proposing a political package to satisfy the political grievances of the minorities. His repeated statements that a political settlement will be considered only after the defeat of the LTTE have sounded ominous. Adding further fears to the minorities are statements attributed to parties of his government that the defeat of the LTTE is ‘the political solution’. When he appointed the APC, the APRC and the Experts Panel, many believed he was genuine in trying to find a consensus political package, even though he did not invite the TNA, the elected representatives of the Northern and Eastern Tamils, to the all-Party groupings, the only parliamentary party so left out. When the Experts Panel produced a report that did not conform to the Sinhala nationalist agenda, it was rejected. The APRC has been dragging its feet and obviously cannot come up with proposals that conform to the same agenda. Otherwise, their report will also, like the Experts’ Panel report, end up in the back-burner.

Building Trust

A pre-requisite for a political settlement is the building of trust with the minorities. It is here that this Government has totally failed. There was a feeling among the minorities, even among those politically opposed to them, that Presidents Premadasa and Kumaratunga wanted a political settlement that was just and fair by all communities. This unfortunately has not been the case in respect of the present Government. Trust-building is not only with the minorities. The people of all communities must be prepared, the right mood created for the acceptance of a political package that is just and fair by all. Every community must be prepared to make some sacrifice, must be willing to make some compromise on their grievances in the cause of lasting peace and unity.

Some of the Sinhala nationalists in Parliament openly give vent to their supremacist agenda. One such figure in a newspaper article claims that no other state in the world provides food to enemy forces as does Sri Lanka. He was obviously referring to the " food convoys being sent to the (Tamil) people in the Vanni. To him, the Tamil people are the enemy. He probably thinks that the Tamil civilians should be starved into submission. Izeth Hussein is right when he says that even though these parties by themselves have little electoral strength, their propaganda can affect the psyche of the ordinary Sinhala people. Similarly, even if the LTTE cannot hope to win an election, their propaganda will have an effect on the psyche of the ordinary Tamil people. Pirapaharan has engaged in the rhetoric that we have been used to in his annual ‘Great Heroes Day’ speech. He repeats that the only alternative is a separate state for the Tamil people. We believe that the vast majority of the Tamil people reject the idea of separation. We also believe that the LTTE, or for that matter any of the other armed groups, do not have any electoral strength and will be unable to win a free and fair election. But the extremists, on both sides of the ethnic divide, mutually support each other to create an ‘anti-other’ mood among the respective communities, knowing full well that they lack electoral support to win any seats in Parliament on their own strength.

Ethnic Cleansing

The LTTE supremo who in his Heroes Day speech waxes eloquently about the discrimination and injustice being faced by the Tamils, has no word to say about the expulsion of the Muslims from the North. These displaced Muslims observed the eighteenth anniversary of their expulsion with a rally at the Negombo Town Hall two weeks ago. They have placed certain very reasonable demands when the time is ripe for re-settlement. But in the meantime, they remain a forgotten community, living under appalling conditions in IDP Camps mainly in the Puttalam District.

The manner in which the Muslims have been treated by the LTTE is a foretaste of how minorities will be treated, if ever there is LTTE rule. They will be no different from their soul brothers in the south.


Friday, November 28, 2008


LTTE and Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by Dr Geeta Madhavan
(The South Asia Analysis Group)
(The views expressed are author’s own.)

"It (India) must stop all military assistance given to Sri Lanka, remove the ban on our movement and recognise our struggle. I like to point out that our movement and our people are true friends of India." – B. Nadesan – LTTE political head in emailed interview to a magazine – Times of India 22 Nov. 2008

Almost everyone remembers the night of 21st May 1991 when the erstwhile Prime Minister Mr Rajiv Gandhi and leader of the Congress party was assassinated in a meticulously planned and well co ordinated violent act by a LTTE female suicide bomber as he went to address an election meeting in Sriperumbudur in the outskirts of the city of Madras. It did not matter whether one was a Congress party supporter or not, party affiliations were not relevant; what was pertinent was that a heinous and violent act was perpetrated by a foreign terrorist group on Indian territory. The citizens of India woke up next morning to the fact that a vile and horrible act had been committed against the nation itself. Analysts and experts woke up to the fact that international terrorism had arrived in India. The country had been grappling with militancy within its territory for quite some time and had developed a concerted and long term strategy to deal with it. What it did not expect was that a terrorist organisation would from across the borders act directly to shatter the Indian national unity and add a new dimension to terrorism against India.

India was drawn into the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka due to ethnic ties, strategic interests and geopolitical considerations. When the separatist Tamil movement started in Sri Lanka there were various organisations representing several groups espousing the aspirations of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The moderate voices intermingled with the more militant voices in demanding rights for the marginalised Tamils who had suffered under successive repressive policies of the Sri Lankan governments. It is now well documented that there was support and sympathy for these movements in India especially in the state of Tamil Nadu where it was seen as protecting the interests of the Tamil brethren across the waters. Almost all the groups had well established bases in Tamil Nadu during that period. Subsequently, however, the most militant and the deadliest of them all, the LTTE systematically obliterated the leaders and key persons of the other outfits and the demand for a Tamil Eelam nation for the Tamils translated into a demand for a Prabhakaran-led Eelam. Relentlessly and with single mindedness the LTTE has pursued its dream of establishing a separate Tamil nation under its control on the island.

India became actively involved since the 1980s in the conflict in Sri Lanka and sought to create an atmosphere where the opposing factions could negotiate a peaceful settlement to the conflict. In 1985, the LTTE which had been part of the Eelam National Liberation Front along with the TELO, EROS and EPRLF participated in June 1985, in the talks sponsored by India held in Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan. Initiated by India, the leaders of the Tamil militant movements who were engaged in an armed struggle for the establishment of a separate Tamil Eelam state agreed to a cease-fire to create a congenial atmosphere for the talks. The LTTE, which was willing to settle for nothing less than an independent Eelam, was a reluctant participant. The LTTE sought to emerge as the sole repository of the Tamil aspirations and was wary of the possibility of the other groups of agreeing for something less than an independent Eelam. It was unwilling to share the power to control the destiny of the Tamils with the other Tamil outfits or fragment the sympathy and logistic support of the Tamil diaspora. Consequently, during 1985-86 the LTTE launched attacks on the other groups justifying its actions by calling them traitors to the cause of the Tamils. The LTTE efficiently eliminated opposition from other groups, growing stronger by killing the leaders and prominent members of those groups. Later, unwilling to accept India’s exhortation to enter into an agreement with the Sri Lankan government to find a permanent solution to the conflict, the LTTE leader Prabhakaran left India to establish himself in Jaffna.

The Indo Sri Lankan Accord signed in 1987 between India and Sri Lanka by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India and President J.R. Jayewardene of Sri Lanka, and under its mandate, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was sent to Sri Lanka with the intention of restoring peace to the island torn by the war between the militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists and the Sri Lankan military forces. The military contingent , like peace keeping forces worldwide , was not sent in as a combat force - its mission specifically being to "guarantee and enforce cessation of hostilities" much in the spirit of the United Nations peace keeping forces sent to help countries all over the world torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace. As reluctant participants to the Accord, the LTTE was against Indian military intervention and abhorred the clause by which it was required to surrender weapons. Under the Accord although a large quantity of arms were surrendered by the LTTE, it was suspected that larger quantities were still being held. Over a period of time in internecine battles within Sri Lanka with rival militants the LTTE killed members of the other groups and emerged as a stronger organisation.

The IPKF by several turn of events in September and October 1987, became embroiled in direct confrontation with the LTTE .Consequently, the LTTE launched into vituperative attacks on the IPKF and in its publication A Nation Betrayed alleged that by the Indo Sri Lankan Accord, India had completely negated Tamil hopes to serve its own geopolitical interests. It also set up effective propaganda against the IPKF alleging human rights violations. The IPKF operation resulted in the death of more than a thousand Indian soldiers and public opinion in India favoured withdrawal of the IPKF. The newly elected President of Sri Lanka R. Premadasa was against the presence of the IPKF in Sri Lanka and in April 1989 demanded the withdrawal of the IPKF within the timeframe of three months. The newly elected Indian Prime Minister Mr. V.P. Singh reviewed the Sri Lankan policies of Rajiv Gandhi and stating it a failure, ordered the withdrawal of the IPKF from Sri Lanka. With the change of governments in India and in Sri Lanka, the final withdrawal of IPKF took place in March 1990.

The LTTE exulted in the removal of the IPKF and eliminated Amirthalingam in 1989 when he expressed in an interview in July 1989 that that the IPKF should remain to ensure the safety and security of Tamils. After the withdrawal of the IPKF, LTTE became the sole power in the north-east of Sri Lanka – a triumphant step towards the establishment of Tamil Eelam. It was therefore, with trepidation that the LTTE watched the unfolding election scene in India in 1991. It was apparent that Rajiv Gandhi supported a solution to the conflict maintaining the unity and integrity of the Sri Lanka which was completely unacceptable to the LTTE’s single minded ambition for the establishment of a separate nation of Eelam. In the assumption that it was close to achieving its goal of independent Eelam and exulting in its control of the territory where it acted as the sole power, it viewed the return of Rajiv Gandhi to power in India as a severe impediment of its grandiose plans. Therefore, to prevent his return to power he had to be dealt with in a manner best known to the LTTE – by assassinating him. The LTTE pathological hatred for Rajiv Gandhi and his policies towards Sri Lanka involved the formulation of the plan, the movement into India of the LTTE personnel instructed to accomplish the act, the recruitment of local sympathisers, the elaborate preparation of the master plan, the intense and constant study of local congenial conditions, the monitoring of movements of the target and the final execution. Detailed examination of the events makes a chilling study of the capabilities of a ruthless terrorist organisation.

The tacit admission to the assassination finally came from the statement of Mr Balasingham in 2006 when in an interview he stated

" As far as that event is concerned, I would say it is a great tragedy, a monumental historical tragedy for which we deeply regret and we call upon the government of India and people of India to be magnanimous to put the past behind," .

On March 19, 2008 Priyanka [daughter of the late Rajiv Gandhi] met Nalini, one of the conspirators of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination in Vellore jail. Nalini is lodged in Vellore jail after her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by a plea for clemency for the sake of the convict’s daughter by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Priyanka went on record accepting that she had met the killer of her father and stating that it was a personal meeting and clarified it further : "I do not believe in anger, hatred and violence and I refuse to allow these things to overpower my life," . Her action as an individual to come to terms with the personal tragedy does not in any manner dilute the grim truth that the nation was avenged only when the death sentences were handed down to the perpetrators of the assassination. The country had to bear the ignominy of being the victim of a terrorist organisation whose ideology it had understood, sympathised and supported. The sheer audacity of LTTE, with total disregard to the stability of the political and social structure of India and with the sole purpose of furthering its own delusion, to defiantly subject the nation to shame is unjustifiable. Despite Balasingham’s self serving appeal to Indians,(statement quoted above ), it is undeniable that the LTTE had carried out an act of aggression against the Indian nation.

The LTTE has encouraged elements in Tamil Nadu, where there is a deep sympathy for the humanitarian crisis in the island, to twist it into a support rally for the LTTE. It had, by the suicide bombing sought to manipulate the Indian political scene and in its propensity of self preservation wanted to manoeuvre the political destiny of India. It was not just the death of a prominent citizen of India – the violent act chose to cause permanent damage to the democratic system of India which allows the citizens to choose their representatives and their government. It also demonstrates the contempt the LTTE holds for the Indian nation and its people. The LTTE sought to impose upon the Indians a different choice by eliminating the person who it did not desire to return to power.

To seek to destroy the integrity of the Indian nation is unpardonable but to imagine that the nation will forgive the perpetrators of the act is to scoff at the national conscience.

(Dr. Geeta Madhavan is an analyst working in areas related to international security and Terrorism. She can be reached at:


1.What is your opinion about the "serious assasination attempt" by a "Sinhala soldier" during the GOSL/President's official parade ceremony in 1987?Why Indian politicians/media/ security analysts never talk about that even once?
That Sinhala soldier was not punished by GOSL/GOI!Why?(He started a political party and treated like a "hero" by Sinhala people)Do you think GOI will request extradition and punish him properly in India?

2.RG assasination case was prosecuted and 25 people were given capital punishment and then some were pardoned and others were in prison for more than 17 yrs.Main 3 people who were involved were killed.But why Indian politicians/media/analysts/ bureaucrats/embassies, still punishing by various means,the innocent SL-Tamils who have nothing to do with RG assasination?

3.IPKF/Some diplomats/Congress politicians were responsible for 10000 killings of SL-Tamils/Rapes/destruction of properties/arrests/Torture during 1987-90.Why nobody punished by GOI or UN? Why nobody talk about this when they talk about RG murder?
There was a story about "Thanu" who was one of many raped by IPKF,so she took revenge on behalf of all Tamil women who were raped by IPKF.What is your opinion?

4.While MG murderer was a North Indian Hindu; IG murderer was a Sikh/own body guard
they were punished but not the whole Hindu or Sikh community! Why the whole Tamil community was witch-hunted for this? Why not the Sinhala Govt/community? for attack on RG? GOSL members were pardoned and given red carpet welcome in Delhi always!Why this discrimination?

5.SL-Tamil innocent people/IDPs/Refugees(100000) and TN-innocent fishermen(600 were killed/tortured...1948-08) by GOSL/SLA/SLN/SLAF.Why GOI never take any action to punish them or demand compensation?
But when some N.Indian tourists were attacked by Nynazis in Germany Congress Govt/FM
urgently condemn it! demanded protection/punishment! Why he didn't do the same with Tamils?

6.CHINA/PAK/SL/BD/NEPAL act as enemies time to time!Betray India always!!work together to destablise India, India is facing serious threats in near future(ex.Mumbai attack) according to various newsreports! But SL-Tamils are true friends and loyalists to India due to religious/linqvistic/historical/cultural/ geographical ties! Do you think they can help India as well as India protect them from complete destruction by GOSL?If India neglect again and again then what will India do If SL-Tamils(TN too because neighbouring states stop river water supply/Central Govt do nothing about this) join any country(ex.China) who support/care about them to survive as people?

7.Congress party leaders were involved in Bofors Scandal/Iraq-oil for food pro-scandel/MPs-Bribery Scandals/Spektrum scandals according to newsreports!They were not punished!They do nothing to improve 836 million Indians living under 20,-rs/day! But wasting money on "Chadrayan" "Afganistan" "Big Atom defence"What is your opinion about that?

8. LTTE decision makings were done by few people? Why GOI punish all Tamils by various methods? Ex.Indian Embassies charge extra fee from all SL.Tamils?WHY?

9.GOSL never respected INDO-LANKA PACT as they did before with SL-Tamil leaders!Why India never pressed to implement it? If GOSL cancelled the pact simply, why can't GOI cancelled "KATCHATIVU" pact and handover KT back to TN, who are the legitimate owner of KT and that was handover by IG without consent of TNG! Will GOI do that?
10.Will India take necessary steps urgently to stop the destruction of innocent Tamil lives/Properties/Livelihood/homeland? or It will just watch the destruction?

Please be kind enough to answer this for the sake of justice and truth!Thank You!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We wish to stop the war - Prabhakaran

The leader of the LTTE, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, in his annual Heroes’ Day statement issued today said that the LTTE wants to stop the war and seek a peaceful resolution to the national question of the Tamil people.

Full text of the Speech:

My beloved people of Tamil Eelam,

Today is Maveerar Naal – our Great Heroes Day.

On this day of purity we remember and honour our dearly beloved heroes whose supreme sacrifice for the liberation of our motherland continues to fills all our hearts.

It is for us a commemoration day of reverence when we pay homage to our brave and valiant heroes who have transformed our land from one that was for many years subjugated by foreign rule into a defiant land refusing to submit to the will of the alien oppressor.

This is our national day on which we engrave tenderly in our hearts the memory of our great heroes who died and whose sacred aspiration was the redemption of our land so that our people may live in freedom and with self-respect.

Our heroes loved this land deeply. From the moment they fixed their eyes on the redemption of our motherland to the moment they closed their eyes permanently, the sacrifices they made have no parallel in the history of the world. No country but ours had at any time encountered such wonderful dedication as expressed in the actions of our valiant heroes.

It was on this land that our heroes were born. They grew up here and lived here. It was on this land that their footsteps have their imprints. The air they breathed is mingled with this land. From time immemorial, from generation to generation the Tamil people lived on this land. It was this land which our heroes loved deeply. Our heroes died for this land and are at rest in its bosom. The land where they are embedded, belongs to us. It is our own land. But an arrogant Sinhala nation stands adamant and is determined to occupy and conquer this historic land.

All human suffering springs from unbridled desire. Unless one extricates oneself from the clutch of greed, one will not free himself from the fetters of sorrow. With its greed for land, Sinhalam has entered a militaristic path of destruction. It has sought to build the support of the world to confront us. It is living in a dreamland of military victory. It is a dream from which it will awake. That is certain.

My beloved people!

The land of Tamil Eelam is confronted with an intense war as never before. Rearing its head in different parts of Wanni, the war is gathering momentum. As the Sinhala state is committed to a military solution, the war is becoming intense and widespread. The underlying intent of the Sinhala state is to wipe out the national life and resources of the Tamils and subjugate the Tamil nation under alien Sinhala military despotism. With this in view, it is executing its war plan at full gallop. Pooling together all its military resources and arsenal, and with all its national wealth to buttress it, the racist Sinhala state has waged a fierce war on our land. Our freedom fighters, have dedicated themselves to unbending resistance against this war of aggression launched by the racist Sinhala state. With various countries of the world buttressing the genocidal war on the people of Tamil Eelam, we are waging a defensive war for the freedom of our people.

Today, our movement has embarked on a historic journey, hazardous and strenuous. In this historic venture, we have encountered numerous turns, twists and confrontations. We have faced forces much mightier than ours. We have had direct confrontations even against superior powers, stronger than us. We have withstood wave after wave of our enemy attacks. Standing alone, we have blasted networks of innumerable intrigues, interwoven with betrayal and sabotage. We stood like a mountain and faced all dangers that loomed like storms. When compared to these happenings of the past, today's challenges are neither novel nor huge. We will face these challenges with the united strength of our people.

This land which the Sinhala state is trying to occupy and enslave, has never belonged to it. This land is ours. Ancient Tamil civilisation stood long and firm on this land. Our ancestors lived and belonged here. Our ancient kings built kingdoms and dynasties and ruled from here. On this land where the roots of our nation have sunk deep, we wish to live in peace and with dignity and make decisions on our lives without the intervention of foreign rulers.

From the day that British colonialism was replaced with Sinhala oppression, we have been struggling for our just rights - peacefully at first and with weapons thereafter. The political struggle for our right to self-determination has extended over the last sixty years. During this period our struggle has gone through different shapes, developments and advanced to maturity. In the beginning, it was a peaceful and democratic struggle by our people for justice. The racist Sinhala state resorted to armed and animal like violence to suppress the peaceful struggle of the Tamil people for their political rights. It was when state oppression breached all norms and our people faced naked terrorism that our movement for freedom was born as a natural outcome in history. We were compelled to take up arms in order to protect our people from the armed terrorism of the racist Sinhala state. The armed violent path was not our choice. It was forced upon us by history.

Even though the armed struggle was thrust on us by inevitable needs, yet we wish to stop the war and seek a peaceful resolution to the national question of our people. Our freedom movement is always ready for it. We are not opposed to a peaceful resolution. We have never hesitated to participate in peace talks. From Thimpu to Geneva, under diametrically varied historical circumstances, we have adopted peaceful methods and participated in talks in order to win the political rights of our people.

Although we acted honestly and whole heartedly, to find a peaceful resolution to the national question, all talks were futile. The intransigence of the Sinhala state, its dishonest approach and its faith in military solution were the cause for failure of the talks. Even at a time when we had produced spectacular achievements in battle fields and broken the back-bone of the Sinhala armed forces, we participated in the peace negotiations facilitated by Norway. Bringing the war to an end, we participated with honesty and diligence in the peace negotiations which protracted for six years.

We continued to exercise patience at the military rampages and provocations by the armed forces. It is not that we trusted the racist Sinhala state to respect our people's fair claims and advance justice, but it was to expose the hypocrisy of the Sinhala state and at the same time to impress upon the international community our commitment to peace, that we participated in the negotiations.

During the peace talks convened in different capitals of the world, there were no attempts to resolve the day-to-day needs of the Tamil people or to negotiate a resolution to the underlying national question. Sri Lanka made use of the opportunity of the peace talks to attempt to weaken the LTTE and hoodwink the Tamil nation and the international community. Using the talks as a masquerade, the Sinhala state made preparations to wage a major war on the Tamil nation. Making use of the cease-fire and the peace environment, the Sinhala state resuscitated its devastated economy and rebuilt its military might that was in shambles. It concentrated on heavy recruitment, refurbishing its arsenal, strengthening the armed forces and conducting military exercises. While the Tamil nation was engaged in peace-building, the Sinhala nation dedicated itself to preparations for war.

Meanwhile, some countries which identified themselves as so-called Peace Sponsors, rushed into activities which impaired negotiations. They denigrated our freedom movement as a terrorist organisation. They put us on their black list and ostracized us as unwanted and untouchable. Our people living in many lands were intimidated into submission by oppressive limitations imposed on them to prevent their political activities supporting our freedom struggle. Humanitarian activities pursued by our law-abiding people in many countries, well within the purview of the law of the land, have been belittled and curtailed. These activities were aimed at providing humanitarian aid to helpless victims of genocidal attacks by the Sinhala Sri Lanka state in Tamil areas. However, these humanitarian activities were branded as criminal activities in those countries. Representatives of the Tamil people, along with community leaders were arrested, jailed and insulted. The explicit bias shown by the activities of these countries affected the talks, in its balance and in its consideration of our status as an equal partner. This further aggravated the racist attitude of the Sinhala state. Sinhala chauvinism was encouraged to raise its head with impunity and inevitably push the Sinhala state further on its war path.

The Sinhala state shut tight the gates to peace and waged its war again on the Tamil nation. The cease-fire agreement facilitated by the international community was abrogated unilaterally by Sinhala Sri Lanka. Strangely no voice of protest was registered by any peace sponsor. Not even as a formality. Nor was any concern expressed. In contrast, some countries from the international community are providing an abundant supply of war materials, military training and expert advice, all for free. This has encouraged the Sinhala state to aggravate its genocidal war against the Tamils with a terrorist audacity .

Today, the Sinhala state has, as never before, placed its trust on its military strength, on military modalities and on a military solution. Its desire to impose its military despotism over the Tamil homeland and order a stringent military rule over the Tamils, has increased. As a result, the war has gathered intensity and momentum. In truth, this is not a war against the LTTE as the Sinhala state professes. This is a war against the Tamils; against the Tamil nation. In short, a genocidal war.

This war has affected Tamil civilians more than any body else. By turning the heat of war on our people and by burdening them with immeasurable sufferings, the Sinhala state is aspiring to turn our people against the LTTE. By closing the trunk-line roads, embargoing food and medicine and by suffocating people in tight military encirclements, the government has unleashed barrages of bombardments and shelling. Having lost their private lands and the serene life on them, our people have been reduced to destitution and live as wandering refugees. They have been forced to carry the cross of eternal suffering from birth to death. Struggling with disease and misery, malnutrition, ageing and untimely death, our people are steeped in suffering. With the solitary purpose of breaking the unbending will of our people, the Sinhala state has unleashed waves of oppression on them and subjected them to grievous injustice. A huge economic war has been declared on our people, their economic life shattered and their day-to-day living impaired. In Tamil areas under military control, hundreds of people disappear or killed, every month. In Sinhala areas, disappearance and killing of Tamils have become a normal routine.

Tamil areas under military occupation are encountering an accelerated agenda of genocide, today. Death, destruction, army atrocities and open prison-life in one's own land, are the unendurable suffering our people have to suffer, as an order of the day. Arrest, imprisonment, torture, rape, murder, disappearance and clandestine burial in unknown graves form a vicious circle in which the lives of our people is enmeshed. Yet, our people have not lost hope. No measure, however punitive, can withhold their will to resist. Their yearning for freedom remains strong. No aerial bombardment can wipe out their determination to attain their freedom. Our people are used to carrying the cross of suffering. They are used to facing destruction and loss, daily in life. This suffering has further tempered their will to be steadfast in their aspiration. With such impetus, the urge for freedom has gathered momentum as never before.

Facing a great confrontation for such a long period, we have sacrificed so much and fought for so long, for nothing else, but for our people to live in freedom; live with dignity and live in peace. We are conducting this struggle with the unrelenting support of the Tamil people, the world over. Besides, our struggle does not contravene the national interest, geo-political interest or economic interest of any outside country. The inherent aspirations of our people do not in any way hamper the national interests of any country or people. At the same time, it may be noted that during the long history of our struggle, we have not conducted any act of aggression against any member state of the international community.

Our freedom movement, as well as our people, have always wished to maintain cordiality with the international community as well as neighbouring India. With this in view, we wish to create a viable environment and enhance friendship. We wish to express our goodwill and are looking forward to the opportunity to build a constructive relationship. Cordially I invite those countries that have banned us, to understand the deep aspirations and friendly overtures of our people, to remove their ban on us and to recognise our just struggle.

Today, there are great changes taking place in India. The dormant voices in support of our struggle are re-emerging aloud again. There are also indications of our struggle becoming accepted there. The positive change in environment gives us courage to seek renewal of our relationship with the Indian super power. The earlier approach and interventions of India were injurious to the people of Tamil Eelam, as well as to their struggle. The racist Sinhala state, with its intrigues, conspired to bring enmity between our freedom movement and the earlier Indian administration. The conflict arising out of this environment aggravated into a major war.

It was because we were firmly committed to our conviction and freedom for our people, that friction erupted between our movement and India. However, at no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. Our people always consider India as our friend. They have great expectations that the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question.

Not withstanding the dividing sea, Tamil Nadu, with its perfect understanding of our plight, has taken heart to rise on behalf of our people at this hour of need. This timely intervention has gratified the people of Tamil Eelam and our freedom movement and given us a sense of relief. I wish to express my love and gratitude at this juncture to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu and the leaders of India for the voice of support and love they have extended. I would cordially request them to raise their voice firmly in favour of our struggle for a Tamil Eelam state, and to take appropriate and positive measures to remove the ban which remains an impediment to an amicable relationship between India and our movement.

My beloved people!

No great changes have taken place in the Sinhala political panorama. Politics there has developed into the form of a demonic war. In a country that worships the Buddha who preached love and kindness, racist hatred and war-mongering vie with one another. We can listen only to the throbs on war-drums. No sane voice is being raised either to abandon war or to seek peaceful resolution to the conflict. In Sinhalam, from politicians to spiritual leaders, from journalists to ordinary people, their voice is raised only in support of the war.

The Tamil Eelam nation does not want war. It does not favour violence. It is the Sinhala nation that waged war on our nation which had earlier adopted the path of ahimsa and asked for justice through peaceful means. When the SAARC leaders of our region met in Colombo, we expressed our goodwill and declared suspension of hostility. On the contrary, it was the Sinhala nation that rejected our overture, ridiculed us and continued with the offensive. It is the Sinhala nation that has laid down unacceptable and insulting conditions. It is the Sinhala nation that is continuing with the war.

The Sinhala nation is conducting a major war of genocide against us in our land, the news about which is denied to the outside world. Successive Sinhala regimes have hoodwinked the international community with a series of deceptions. Commencing with the round table conference, the list of deceit has now stretched to include the All Party conference of late. During this period the international community remains cheated. The Tamil national question was also left to drag on with no positive resolution offered. Meanwhile, the Sinhala nation has used its armed forces to set the Tamil land, ablaze. It has wiped out peaceful life on Tamil land, making Tamils destitute, displaced and wandering. Sinhalam has refused to offer the basic rights of the Tamils, split the Tamil land into two, installed anti-Tamil armed groups in the seat of administration while conducting a tyrannical military rule. It is now continuing with the war, offering to submit its plan to offer a solution only after the LTTE is defeated. Does Sinhala nation want to offer a solution only after the Tamils are suppressed and killed? Does it want to wipe out the true representatives of the Tamils and their bargaining power before offering a solution? The Sinhala nation is refusing to acknowledge the historic homeland of the Tamils. In such a situation, how will it offer a just solution to our people?

When it comes to the Tamil national question, the Sinhala nation is adopting only one policy. It is obviously a policy of suppression. Even the tinge of hope our people had that the Sinhala nation will abandon its path of violence and offer justice, has now evaporated. No political transformation has taken place during the last sixty years in the Sinhala nation. Therefore, hoping it will happen in the future is futile. Our people are not ready to trust Sinhala nation again and get cheated.

It is true Tamil Eelam is a small nation on the globe. However it is a nation with great potential. It is a nation with a characteristic individuality. It has a distinctive language, cultural heritage and history. Sinhalam seeks with its military might to destroy all these. It seeks to destroy Tamil sovereignty and replace it with Sinhala sovereignty. As the freedom movement of the people of Tamil Eelam we will never, ever allow Sinhala occupation or Sinhala domination of our homeland.

Whatever challenges confront us, whatever contingencies we encounter, whatever forces stand on our path, we will still continue with our struggle for the freedom of the Tamil people. On the path shown by history, on the command of the circumstances of today, we will continue with our struggle till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed,

At this historic juncture, I would request Tamils, in whatever part of the world that they may live in to raise their voices, firmly and with determination, in support of the freedom struggle of their brothers and sisters in Tamil Eelam. I would request them from my heart to strengthen the hands of our freedom movement and continue to extend their contributions and help. I would also take this opportunity to express my affection and my praise to our Tamil youth living outside our homeland for the prominent and committed role they play in actively contributing towards the liberation of our nation.

Let us all make a firm and determined resolution to follow fully the path of our heroes, who, in pursuit of our aspiration for justice and freedom, sacrificed themselves and have become a part of the history of our land and our people.