Robert Blake of the US Dept of N. Sathiyamoorthy *courtesy of Eurasia Review and South Asia Monitor where the title is “US Report On LTTE A Caution For India, Too”
The American acknowledgement and confirmation of the continued existence of LTTE’s global network of sympathisers and finances should be a cause for concern as much for neighbouring India as much for Sri Lanka. In ways, it should also be a source of concern and embarrassment for Western nations, including the US. “The LTTE used its international contacts and the large Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funding, and other needed supplies,” the 2014 annual report of the US State Department’s Counter-terrorism Bureau said. Whoever rules from Colombo – and administers Jaffna – and whatever the domestic political conditions and electoral compulsions, Sri Lanka cannot be silent after the US has referred to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) procuring weapons.
If ‘2+2’ can only be ‘4’, then weapons procurment indicates the continued existence of the LTTE despite the hopes and assurances to the contrary, both within and outside Sri Lanka. The US report itself says in plain language that the LTTE is still around. What Sri Lanka is going to do about it, and how the world is going to help Sri Lanka in the matter is however a matter of distress and dispute at the same time.
Sri Lanka is already in election mode. Rather, it never dismounted from the presidential poll mode, and jumped onto the parliamentary electoral mode without pause. Viz Sri Lanka, the international community is more keen on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) probe report and vote than taking an adequate note of the existing/emerging LTTE threat. In both cases, political expediency take precedence over reality checks.
LTTE ‘front organisations’ operate mostly out of Western alliance nations of the US than possibly even on the Sri Lankan soil just now. The US itself cannot escape the burden of continuing to host the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), the post-war ‘virtual government’ of LTTE supporters/sympathisers and other ‘Tamil nationalists’ in the Sri Lankan diaspora. Germany, as is known, hosted the ‘third parliament’ of the TGTE recently, to be followed by Dubai next. Less said about some of the Nordic nations and their continued hosting of known LTTE elements from the war years, the better.
Target and base at the same time
It will be uncharitable to conclude that the new American report has anything to do with the ‘regime change’ in Sri Lanka. Yet, there is no escaping the possibility of the Sri Lankan Tamil community, both inside Sri Lanka and the diaspora hosting nations, coming under greater electoral pressure than possibly street pressure or political pressure, if the UNHRC were not to meet their specific demands and expectations that is also at times individualistic in nature. Yet, there is no apprehension just now of any or all of them becoming LTTE targets in the foreseeable future.
It is here that neighbouring India stands out. It is as much a target of LTTE propagandaists, from within and the diaspora, as it is still sought out as a base for known political operations, which could transcend legal limits, if left unchecked or ethnic emotions were to run high. Political and academic sympathisers of the ‘larger’ (?) ‘Tamil cause’ are known to be travelling overseas at regular intervals, and at times repeatedly, to participate in seminars and conferences, possibly with no cost to them. Whoever pays for their travel, etc, the Indian nation pays overall and in very many ways.
The ‘Rajiv Gandhi assassination’ probe and the ‘Eelam War IV’ in particular showed the existence of a vast LTTE network, spread across the Indian nation, from Delhi to Bengaluru to Mumbai. Post-war, the pan-Tamil propaganda has hardened the sentiments of a select section in Tamil Nadu more than even when Prabhakaran had died. It keeps cropping up every time there is a UNHRC hearing, not even when every time the Tamils and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) win a cause or election in Sri Lanka.
Recently, the Tamil Nadu police launched a case against actor-politician Seeman, founder of the ‘Naam Tamizhar Katchi’ (second edition), for making pro-LTTE and anti-national speech in Tiruchi. The state government is also believed have influenced local organisers from putting up a small statute/idol look-alike of LTTE’s Prabhakaran in a village temple for war heroes and the like from the past. It has made a reappearance with minor changes, to claim that it was not a statue of Prabhakaran.
All this is not to leave out the need for the Centre re-visiting the definition of the terms ‘terrorism’, ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorist support’, in the context of the Supreme Court’s loose interpretation in the ‘Rajiv Gandhi assassination case’ and later the ‘Vaiko detention case’. It will have application, not just for LTTE propagandists and Tamil Nadu, but also all across the board and across the country as a whole.
*N Sathiya Moorthy is Director, Chennai Chapter of the Observer Research Foundation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Blake of the US Dept of State in discussion with Tamil diaspora representatives at some point before 2012 at the office of Assistant Secretary of State for South and central Asia in the State Dept in Washington.. To Blake’s left one sees Fr. SJ Emmanuel (Germany now) and Suren Surendiran (UK) of the GTF — precise date yet to be ascertained
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