LTTE Supremo survives when others on the hit list of the Sri Lankan Intelligence perish
By Satheesan Kumaaran

The leader of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been leading his organization with determination and courage as a well-organized and well-disciplined movement. This has been globally acknowledged by governments and military experts. Pirapaharan has lived to read his obituary issued by Indian and Sri Lankan governments four times since the LTTE became a powerful player in Sri Lanka. In the recent past, the Sri Lankan government issued two death notices - one in 2005 and the second, late 2007, when in fact he was not dead or injured in the aerial bombardment led by the Sri Lankan airforce. These fake reports are being used by the Sri Lankan government to up lift the morale of the Sri Lankan armed forces and to distract the masses from their dire economic woes.

Worries of International observers and Tamils
Tamils around the world including the 70 million Tamils in Tamil Nadu and Pudicherry, rushed to the newspaper stands to buy daily newspapers or weekly journals to read as to what had happened to their leader in Kilinochchi, in northern Sri Lanka, who has been constantly threatened by enemies, fearing that the death of Pirapaharan will bring an end to the three-decade-old military campaign of the Tamils demanding a separate Tamil state for the Tamils who live predominantly in the north and the east of Sri Lanka.

Karen Parker, a San Francisco-based attorney and founder of the U.S. Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, has told this writer that the Tamil-controlled parts of the island of Ceylon does not comprise a "de facto" State, but a "de jure" State. The Tamils have the legal right to it; the Tamils control it; the Tamils govern it. She argues that it would be a "de facto" State if the Tamils did not have the right to it, but nonetheless controlled it. Ms. Parker's comments clearly support the case that the "de jure" State would never allow its leader to be targeted easily by an enemy because Pirapaharan knows very well about the strengths and weaknesses of his enemies. Otherwise, he would not have been able to run his organization for more than 30 years as he has done. It must, however, be remembered that the earlier years were difficult times for him because he was building his organization from scratch into what is now a well-organized and well-disciplined organization with conventional armed forces in the land, sea and air in addition to the powerful "Black Tigers".

International observers rushed to find out what happened to the LTTE leader because if anything had happened to him they feared that the peace process would be jeopardized on the island. The fact is that the Diaspora Tamils and the Tamils in Sri Lanka and India took the death announcement issued by the government seriously.

Propaganda is a part of warfare to defeat the enemy morally, politically and militarily. This was true in the era of Hitler in Germany against the Jews, and others. Hitler actually believed his propaganda. With modern technology, propaganda machines have spread out. The world being a global village, if anything happens in a remote village, the story can be read 15,000 miles away. Thanks to modern technology. The million dollar question is: what does this, then, have to do with the story of Pirapaharan? The answer: these are lies fabricated by propagandists.

It was by a Tamil writer, claiming to be "Eela Tamilan" putting out this canard through his associated newspapers based in Sri Lanka and India. He runs a monthly English-language tabloid along with an online journal. Having said that it is not a crime to stay neutral when reporting the events that are relevant for the public, it is not clear why he rushed to issue the statement that would hurt the feelings of the Tamil public. Sri Lankan spy agencies used his writing skills to make the readers believe it. But, neither the LTTE nor the LTTE's internal sources gave importance to this story.

Then, the Sri Lankan defence ministry issued a statement confirming the report that the LTTE leader Pirapaharan was injured in an air strike by the air force on November 26, 2007. The ministry further stated, citing "reliable" intelligence sources that four Sri Lankan attack aircraft carried out a successful air strike on a bunker complex in Jayanthinagar, Kilinochchi around 5: 25-p.m. on November 26, 2007 targeting the LTTE leader.

But, this date contradicted with the Tamil writer's story which stated that the attack began at 12:25-p.m on November 28, 2007, and continued for 20 minutes, during which the LTTE leader was injured. Further, he said that the injury was minor and that Pirapaharan was undergoing treatment by medical specialists attached to the Thileepan medical unit. Immediately after the release of that story, the defence ministry confirmed that their air force also attacked the same target on November 28, 2007, and further revealed that the LTTE was planning to send the LTTE leader abroad for medical treatment. The statement also said that the ministry kept in touch with the Indian government so as to not to allow the LTTE leader to seek better treatment of his injuries in India, based on humanitarian grounds.

The pressmen who drafted the statement made a horrendous mistake because actually the LTTE is banned in India and the LTTE leader is wanted by the Indian government for his alleged involvement in the killing of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

Why would they send their leader abroad for medical treatment when the LTTE has efficient medical facilities in Tamil Eelam with medical doctors trained abroad? And, even if the LTTE leader needed medical treatment abroad, why would he go to India? Pirapaharan, it would be recalled, sent the late Anton Balasingham to England and Norway for treatment for his kidney ailment. The LTTE leader had sent his commanders abroad when they needed treatment, especially to Singapore and other countries that provided better medical facilities.

The Tamil writer wrote another paper quickly sparking off the debate as to who would succeed Pirapaharan as LTTE leader. He then suggested that Pottu Amman, leader of the LTTE's intelligence wing, or Ilanthiraiyan alias Yogaratnam (Yogi) would be suitable candidates for LTTE leadership. This statement was only to help increase the morale of the Sri Lankan armed forces. The Sri Lankan armed forces in the mid and lower echelons are apprehensive that under Mahinda Rajapaksa's government they would be caught up in the fighting that would result in heavy casualties.

Also of importance is that the Sri Lankan government is facing strife from foreign governments and NGOs for the gross violations of human rights against minorities with the morale of the Sri Lankan armed forces having declined drastically following the successful attacks of the LTTE on Anuradharapura air base that destroyed a large fleet of fighting aircraft and choppers. The Sri Lankan government celebrated victory immediately after that with the killing of LTTE's political wing leader Brig. S. P. Thamilselvan. Then, they wanted to spread the word of what happened to the LTTE leader himself to show the world and, more particularly, the Sinhala south, that the government was totally capable of taking the life of the LTTE leader, thereby eliminating the Tamil Tigers. But, it is unfortunate that some Tamils' attitude does not assist in any way the particular community they belong to.

Following continuous phone calls from Reuters and the BBC, the LTTE media spokesperson stated, "Our leader is like a sun. Can anybody even think of extinguishing him? Do you think we will ever keep our leader in such a place where he is vulnerable to attacks....He is leading us from the front. He is not injured." He further said, "Our leader is eating well and he is doing well."

The LTTE itself officially denied the story that the LTTE leader was injured, and the story was verified with well-informed sources from the LTTE top hierarchy. The story of Pirapaharan's injury was nothing but a fabrication and a deliberate misinformation.

Only survivor
LTTE leader Pirapaharan must be one of the few leaders to have survived many death threats issued by the powerful Indian and the Sri Lankan governments in the fight against the LTTE. India has had sweet and sour relations with the LTTE ever since the LTTE began its military campaign. India was once a staunch financier, trainer and supplier of weapons to the LTTE, but that changed after the death of Indira Gandhi and M.G. Ramachandran. The political events in India brought the relations back to square one. The relationship between the LTTE and India was once that of enmity, but that position has been changing over the time. Now, things are changing in India. When India as fighting the LTTE, they issued several false statements that they had killed Pirapaharan.

The arch-enemy of the LTTE is the Sri Lankan government, which for the most part, treated the LTTE as an enemy except for few years under President Premadasa in the late 90s when Indian armed forces were in Tamil dominated north and east. The Sri Lankan government issued a statement in early 2005 that they had received an intelligence report that the tsunami waves of December 26, 2004 took Pirapaharan into the Indian Ocean along with thousands of LTTE cadres. This story was considered confirmed when many Tamils crowded Colombo to buy coffins to bury the dead bodies of the people who had died in the tsunami.

It took months for the Sri Lankan government to realise that the LTTE leader had not been hurt or killed in the tsunami. This is definite confirmation of the fact that Tamil Eelam is a "de jure" State under the leadership of LTTE leader Pirapaharan.

It was pathetic to read a story carried out by the Sri Lankan government owned daily newspaper that the Sri Lankan air force killed 116 of Pirapaharan's 200 bodyguards when they raided his bunker complex while the LTTE leader merely injured. An interesting twist in the last days of 2007 that the Sri Lankan defence secretary, Gotabhyaya Rajapaksa, and the army commander have issued separate statements that they would see the dead body of the LTTE leader Pirapaharan in 2008. They did not, however, mention how they planned to take the life of LTTE leader.

Killing of Tamil parliamentarians on the rise
On the other hand, the Sri Lankan armed forces are taking the lives of Tamil leaders and other Tamils one by one, especially the elected parliamentarians, journalists, scholars and businessmen. Their only crime being that they stand up for justice and prevention of human rights abuses. In addition, the armed forces are also targeting innocent Tamils not only in Colombo and its suburbs, but also in the northern Jaffna peninsula on a daily basis, which is under the control of the Sri Lankan armed forces with the presence of paramilitary-cum-political party, EPDP, and other paramilitary groups.

The main opposition United National Party parliamentarian, the late Thiyagarajah Maheswaran, killed most recently, elected from Colombo revealed that six murders take place in Jaffna each day, all of them done by EPDP. He also revealed that EPDP in Colombo send batches of killers to Jaffna each month. After a month, the killers would return to Colombo and a second batch of killers is sent out for the next month. The EPDP leadership naturally does not want the locals to identify the killers.

The UNP parliamentarian Maheswaran had paid a visit to a temple in Kochchikkadai in Colombo on Tuesday morning, after revealing all this information, and further stating that he would provide more details in the parliament on January 8, 2008. Killers entered the Hindu temple when Maheswaran was paying homage on New Year's Day and shot and killed him. It is not clear how an elected representative was shot and killed in broad daylight in the heart of Sri Lanka's capital.

As a commentator and student of politics, this writer is waiting to see what happens in 2008. Will this violence come to an end or continue in the year 2008 with no hope for the Tamils who are the victims of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka? Finding a peaceful settlement to the ethnic issue is mandatory, but it is up to the Sri Lankan government to decide how it is going to handle the affairs of Eelam Tamils. Let us await the outcome with hope and optimism.

Source: The Tamil Mirror (December 2007 issue)

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