Fading stars of the Tamil Nadu - LTTE axis
Recent Humanitarian Operations in Sri Lanka make big waves in the Tamilnadu India for support of LTTE. Does these protests can justify ? Here are the article shows the clear picture of the cituation in North from the past period.
Tamil Nadu continues to grab the attention in Sri Lanka, but with a striking reduction in the intensity of feeling, other than rising contempt for the opportunism of the DMK and Karunanidhi-led propaganda fest against Sri Lanka, for slippery but hopes of gains to have a say in the next coalition that will control India from New Delhi.
At the height of the well orchestrated protests last week that were intended to bring pressure on New Delhi and drive fear into Dr. Manmohan Singh about the stability of the ruling coalition, one saw the DMK mobs attack the offices of The Hindu, a newspaper that has consistently stood for the pragmatic stand of New Delhi against the terrorism of the LTTE. As President Mahinda Rajapaksa pointed out at a meeting with media heads and editors earlier this week, it was left to him to express the regret of Sri Lankans for that act of violence against the right of dissent when he spoke to the publisher of The Hindu last week; because, rather unashamedly, no organisation in Sri Lanka that claims to stand for Freedom of Expression had thought it fit or necessary to protest or condemn that attack.
If the target of the pro-LTTE, and therefore pro-terror mobs in Tamil Nadu last week was the right of dissent and Freedom of Expression, diplomacy was the target this week. On Thursday the office of the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai came under attack, with one employee injured and some damage to property. The Chennai Police is reported to have acted fast to disperse the mob and prevent any further damage which indicated the Indian establishment remains above the mob action and thuggery that Karunanidhi, the DMK and their allies are ready to unleash, in what is said to be in against the "humanitarian tragedy" faced by the Tamils in the North of Sri Lanka.
The violence in Chennai was certainly not on such a large-scale as the attack by terrorists on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, in late July this year, which was referred to by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his address to the SAARC( South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ) Summit in Colombo, where he condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Yet, even the throwing of a single stone at any diplomatic mission in India, does not do much credit to India's image abroad. Although New Delhi does not condone such attacks, it only shows the machinations of the forces of racist and religious sectarianism that are increasingly positioning themselves against democracy and secularism that are at the core of the Indian Constitutional structure.
It is the epitome of irony that these ill-informed or deliberately misinformed reactions to what is supposedly happening in Sri Lanka should be taking place in South India, at a time when India took her place among the elite nations that are into space age technology last Wednesday; with the successful launch of Chandrayaan - 1, India's first space probe outside the Earth's orbit and heading for a sophisticated study of the Moon. It is easy to dismiss this as exemplifying the diversity of Indian society and the extremes of wealthy and poverty that lives side by side in the vast sub-continent that is our closest neighbor. Yet, the daily occurring instances of violence directed against Christians, Muslims, Non-Maharastrians, Dalits and the entire range of minorities or imagined "alien" forces that one sees in India today, points to a considerable threat to the stability of Indian society and polity. It tends to weaken India's moral rights to tell its neighbors how best they should behave with regard to their own minorities. Unless arrested firmly and very soon, neither the economic prowess of India nor its advances in science may be able to withstand the internal divisions in the country, as the world begins to question its right to be considered a genuine voice of tolerance and understanding that is at the very heart of South Asian culture and civilization.
If Karunanidhi sought to play a star role in his fading years last week, to the backdrop of a wholly unreal humanitarian crisis said to be enacted in the North of Sri Lanka, involving the Tamils civilians there, he and his supporting cast were soon overshadowed by other stars on a stage that was highly charged with political drama, on both sides of the Palk Strait. The statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the media about "India's concerns" regarding the situation of civilians caught in the midst of military operations in the North of Sri Lanka and the insistence on a political solution to Sri Lanka's crucial problem as well as India's stated opposition to a military solution, was the new act in the unfolding drama.
There were many who read the most serious dangers to Sri Lanka, and the success of its ongoing military operations against the terrorism of the LTTE, in these comments. They did so with easy recollections of India's airdrop of "parippu" or the "dhal offensive" which brought to an end what many believed would have been the successful completion of the military's Vadamaarachchi campaign against the LTTE in 1987. Yet, careful analysis showed that the Prime Minister of India would not make use of a response to a journalist's question at a media briefing on a totally unrelated issue, to give any such dire warning to Sri Lanka. With that comment to the media, Dr. Manmohan Singh had grabbed the limelight from the Karunanidhi and DMK players. It was a deft move.
Although post-dated letters of resignation were handed into party leaders by the DMK and its supporters in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha (in a reversal of the letters of resignation that JR Jayewardene demanded and got from all but one of his MPs and Ministers in his heyday) there were signs that the stellar role in India over the drama of Sri Lankan Tamils had shifted from Chennai to New Delhi, from Karunanidhi to Manmohan Singh.
There was another star to follow soon, and that was from Colombo. The media was naturally eager to know what President Mahinda Rajapaksa had told in the telephone call that he initiated last Saturday. The message from Colombo sought not just to allay the "fears and concerns" that New Delhi had expressed, following the pressure from a coalition partner in Tamil Nadu. The focus of the message was that the military operation in the North of Sri Lanka was meant to disarm the LTTE to eradicate its terrorism, and thereby establish peace and stability in the South Asia region. President Rajapaksa was playing his role both as the Head of the Sri Lankan State and the current Chair of SAARC.(South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)
His message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deserves repetition here, as it not only lays down Sri Lanka's position, but also shows our own understanding of the situation faced by New Delhi. This is the text of the statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Colombo, which placed on record what President Rajapaksa said, and correctly reflected the tone of the conversation, initiated from Colombo.
"President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a telephone discussion today (18 October 2008) with Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, during which he briefed the Indian leader on the current situation in the North, where the Security Forces are engaged in an operation to disarm the LTTE and restore democracy, peace and stability to the region.
President Rajapaksa reiterated that the security forces are under strict instructions to avoid causing any civilian casualties, during this operation. He also informed Dr. Singh that Sri Lanka is mindful and appreciative of the concerns of India regarding the situation in the North, and aware of the context in which these matters have been raised.
Consequent to this discussion, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has invited the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Pranab Mukherjee to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka at an early date.
Both leaders agreed to maintain a dialogue at a high political level, in keeping with the longstanding and excellent bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka."
This will show that neither the Jeremiads about the situation of the Tamil civilians in the North that emanated from India with much stage management by the LTTE and DMK, nor the Cassandra prophesies about the imminent threat to Sri Lanka from India, based on the spin by the forces seeking to make political capital through the plight of the LTTE today, had any basis in fact.
In case the message was not clear enough to anyone, the very text Tuesday President Rajapaksa brought sufficient clarity to bear on Colombo's position when he met local media at Temple Trees. Covering considerable ground in what he said, the President made it clear that he was committed to the military operations against the LTTE, as much as he was determined to free the Tamils of the North from its clutches and ensure their democratic rights, as well as ease any temporary hardships they may undergo due to the ongoing operations. Here are some excerpts from what he said:
"Our primary responsibility as a Government is to look after all our citizens. I carry out this responsibility to the fullest especially with regard to the people who are temporarily displaced in the North, due to the ongoing military operations to defeat terrorism. There is a wrong impression created in Tamil Nadu that this not been done. This is furthest from the correct position. All these are our citizens and we take every measures to look after and provide for them."
"We continue to supply food even to the LTTE because our responsibility is to the civilians, the farmers and the rural producers of the region who are trapped by the LTTE," he said.
"The friendly relations between Sri Lanka and India remain very strong. India had always helped us when necessary and supported us in international fora". He was aware of the political pressures in India at the moment, especially considering the reality of coalition politics and the diverse interests that surface in such situations.
There was no reference by the India PM to the stopping of military operations against the terrorism of the LTTE. He (the President) had made it very clear that the operations were against the LTTE.
The operations will have to be continued on behalf of the people. He had made this clear to India and the international community. He did not believe in the duplicitous language of diplomacy, but was very frank in what he said. The international community had not expressed any opposition to the defeat of terrorism and those who sought to break up this country.
A new voice
President Rajapaksa's meeting with the media also saw the presence of the TVMP leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan MP (Karuna Amman). It was an opportune moment for him to speak of his 22-year relationship with the LTTE, recalling his own training in India with other militant groups after 1983. He had met Indian leaders together with Prabhakaran, where they explained that they are not supportive of separation but supported devolution of power to regions. He had discussed this with IPKF too. It was Prabhakaran who broke the understanding with India, resuming war and not stopping at that proceeded to kill Rajiv Gandhi in India.
He said that one could understand the Tamil people of Tamil Nadu being supportive of the Tamil people here, but this should not be support for the LTTE. If they do so they will soon face different problems in Tamil Nadu through the LTTE. He asserted that Prabhakaran was not for any political solution.
President Rajapaksa had already begun implementing the 13th Amendment which was proposed by India. The East had been liberated from terror and the need there was for development. With his experience in the Wanni, he was aware that the people in the North too wanted freedom and development as in the East. In seeking development we should win the hearts and minds of the Sinhalese and other communities. If we ask for police powers now it could lead to suspicion, he said.
Muralitharan added that the military operations in the Wanni could not be stopped immediately. With his own experience in fighting it was his understanding that India could not bring an immediate stop to the fighting in Cargil in the Kashmir dispute. He said that if the Tamil Nadu Government and political parties there wish to support the Tamil people, they could do so by sending aid to them through the Sri Lankan Government, he added. In contrast to those in Tamil Nadu who were making pretence of concern for the plight of the Tamils in the North of Sri Lanka, Karuna Amman's comments brought into sharp focus the reality of liberation from the LTTE's reign of terror that was holding the people - Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese in its thrall in the East. It was an important pointer to what the Tamils could reasonably expect from what appears to be the inevitable defeat of the LTTE in the North, too.
The cause of those shedding crocodile tears for the Tamils if Sri Lanka across the Palk Strait was not helped by their manipulator or idol in the Wanni, Velupillai Prabhakaran, whose Sea Tiger suicide craft attempted to sink or destroy two merchant vessels that were carrying food and other essentials to the North from Trincomalee last Wednesday. The Sri Lanka Navy scored another success when it repulsed the attack, ensured the safety of the vessels and their cargo, and also captured one of the tiger suicide craft. This was as clear a message to India and the rest of the world as to who is seeking to create a humanitarian crisis in the North, where no such crisis exists today.
This week marks the 18th anniversary of the forcible eviction of the Muslims from Jaffna by the LTTE. It was a gross act of ethnic cleansing; about which most of the world that makes much noise about Human Rights violations in Sri Lanka maintains a conspicuous silence. It is all the more strange that even in India, where Muslims make up 13.4 per cent of its 1.13 billion population, giving India the third largest Muslim population in the world, there is hardly any stirring about the plight of the Muslims of Sri Lanka, under the jackboot of the LTTE. It is also strange that when Muslims and Islam comes under heavy attack from the West, be they new Crusaders as bin-Laden would call them or those greedy for the oil wealth of the Middle East, there is hardly any opposition heard by the vast bulk of Indian Muslims about the plight of their fellow religionists abroad. It could be the minority status of Muslims in India that causes such apparent complacency. Yet, it calls to question the validity of the Tamil Nadu protests and violence against what is easily a cooked up story about the plight of the Tamils in the North of Sri Lanka and attempts by some in New Delhi to play to the Chennai gallery.
Commenting on the progress of the military operations in the North, at President Rajapaksa's meeting with the media last Tuesday, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary, Ministry of Defence said the operations were going well, in keeping with the overall strategy of the military, with advances and necessary adjustments, and that the much talked of monsoon affects both the military and the LTTE.
Just now there is the report that the blood brother of Karunanidhi - Vaiko, the MDMK General Secretary, who happens to be with Jayalalitha, but is the most vociferous supporter of the LTTE, has been arrested for saying he will support an armed struggle in Tamil Nadu in support of Sri Lankan Tamils. The wheels of the Indian establishment are turning slowly but surely against the LTTE, and not all the efforts of its agents, paid or otherwise in Tamil Nadu, seem to be able to prevent that process.
It is time to ponder on the reality that in his violent and brutal terror campaign of over three decades, Prabhakaran has committed monumental blunders, such as the killing of Rajiv Gandhi and the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Jaffna. But spurning President Mahinda Rajapaksa's repeated offers of negotiation, which he made in a spirit of good faith, will turn out to be Prabhakaran's ultimate folly. It is now increasingly evident that Prabhakaran has badly miscalculated and misjudged Mahinda Rajapaksa's sincerity for weakness.
History will record that underestimating President Rajapaksa proved to be Prabhakaran's undoing.
Courtesy: Daily News