“LTTE is duty-bound to face Sri Lankan Army”
CHENNAI: Human suffering and miseries being witnessed in the war in Sri Lanka should not be used as a pretext to call for a ceasefire since they are part of the LTTE’s strategies, said Arular Arudpragasam, chairman of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisers (EROS) and Eelavar Democratic Front (EDF).
“The LTTE is duty-bound to face the Sri Lankan Army. The war cannot be stopped without fulfilling the objectives that actually led to it,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
The London-based Mr. Arudpragasam, now in Chennai, said LTTE leader Prabakaran had agreed to a ceasefire under pressure from India, particularly from Tamil Nadu.
“Let him tell the Tamil community that he cannot continue the war. Then we can think about other strategies,” he added.
Mr. Arudpragasam placed three demands, including “recognition and establishment of the statehood of Tamil people within the framework of a united Sri Lanka established over the North-East territory which Tamils claim as their homeland.”
Assuring the due share of Tamil people in the Central government and granting of full compensation to them so that they could restart their life were the other demands.
“LTTE should disband itself”
Stating that the world had become tired of the LTTE, he called upon the organisation to disband itself and transform itself into a democratic force. “EROS calls upon the LTTE to pave way for the functioning of the EDF in Vanni,” he added.
Colombo: Dual Tamil Tiger air raids on Sri Lanka’s capital and a northern military base show the guerrillas are not out of the fight despite the government’s confidence it is close to ending the 25-year-old civil war.
Analysts said the raids by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) ramshackle air wing followed a familiar pattern of giving the rebels a morale boost when they appeared under pressure in the northern war zone.
The military has been steadily advancing into Tiger-held territory in northern Sri Lanka with the aim of ending one of Asia’s oldest insurgencies.
The military on Wednesday said troops had captured the Jayapuram area after heavy clashes. The Tigers are fighting to create a separate homeland for Sri Lankan Tamils, many of whom complain of marginalisation by successive governments led by the Sinhalese majority since independence from Britain in 1948.
“When the Tigers are under pressure militarily up north, they try to divert attention to southern or central parts and hit where the government is weak,” Eurasia Group analyst Maria Kuusisto said.
“They understand that these are going to be psychologically and strategically good targets to attack.” The rebel raid at the Kelanitissa power station in Colombo late on Tuesday started a fire and killed one person who died of a heart attack and wounded two, hospital officials said. The military said an attack on the Thalladi army camp an hour earlier wounded three people.
Primitive planes, as a plane appeared on radar heading south to Colombo, authorities shut off the lights and scrambled jets then anti-aircraft fire streaked the sky off the capital’s shoreline.
The pro-rebel web site http://www.TamilNet.com on Wednesday said the Kelanitissa raid killed a turbine operator and knocked out two turbines and two air coolers, citing unidentified sources.
The government earlier had said only two coolers were hit. TamilNet also said the attack at Thalladi, in Mannar district near the war zone about 250 km (155 miles) north of Colombo, caused heavy damage. The military said it barely caused any.
Colombo-based defence analyst Iqbal Athas said the latest strike by the Tamileelam Air Force, or “Air Tigers”, showed the resilience of what is widely regarded as one of the world’s most ruthless and effective guerrilla groups. “However primitive, their air ability remains.
They have been able to demonstrate nine times that they can carry out a sortie and get away, and on all of those occasions the air force has not been able to neutralize them,” Athas said. The air force has been embarassed and frustrated by its inability to stop the propeller-drive two-seater planes despite vastly superior supersonic jets and radar.
The military has said it believes the Tigers’ air wing, which debuted in March 2007 with a bombing run on the military air base inside Colombo’s international airport, consists of three Czech-made Zlin-143 aircraft.
The last raid was in September, when the military said it had shot down one of the planes after it attacked a military base in Vavuniya, near the frontlines. The Tigers denied that and no evidence has ever been made public by either side.
Political leaders of Tamil Nadu, including Chief Minister Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, condemned Monday Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka for his derogatory comments on Tamil Nadu leaders in an interview to a Sri Lankan state-owned newspaper on Sunday. Vaiko, the General Secretary of the MDMK has announced a protest in front of the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai on December 10 demanding unconditional apology from the Sri Lankan Commander-in-Chief Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Army Chief Sarath Fonseka to the latter’s astonishing remarks in the Sunday Observer newspaper.
“If Sri Lanka fails to extend apology, the Indian Central government should expel the Sri Lankan High Commissioner from India,” Mr. Vaiko has demanded.
The Sri Lankan army chief had labeled Tamil Nadu leaders who were seeking a ceasefire in Sri Lanka as ‘political jokers’ and accused them of being ‘corrupt’.
Fonseka’s comments follow an all party delegation to New Delhi headed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi seeking a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.
Fonseka had expressed confidence that the Indian government “is not interested in a ceasefire in Sri Lanka” as it has listed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation and added that the Indian Government would never influence Sri Lanka to restore the ceasefire with the LTTE and it would not listen to the “political jokers” of Tamil Nadu whose “survival depends on the LTTE”.
When asked by the newspaper reporter about allegations of Sri Lankan security forces’ disregard for civilian casualties, Fonseka replied: “These allegations are made only by the corrupt politicians in Tamil Nadu who have been bribed by the LTTE. Though they are very much aware that the civilians are not getting killed in any of these military operations they try to utter some words on behalf of the LTTE as their survival depends on the LTTE.”
“This is the time for them to realise the truth. And they should also realise their attempts to save the LTTE would not be successful as the LTTE is on the brink of extinction. Most importantly, they should realise that LTTE is an internal problem of Sri Lanka and need to honour the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.”
Warning that the LTTE’s separate state ideology is a “threat” to India, the Sri Lankan Army chief said: “If you consider the overall thing, the LTTE’s separate state ideology is a threat to India, because this ideology will spread in Tamil Nadu too. It is now proved by Tamil Nadu by staging protests against the Indian government and seeking help to take the side of the LTTE”.
This is not the first time for the SLA commander to come up with such remarks. In an interview to Canada’s National Post in September this year, Sarath Fonseka had said he “strongly believed that Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese,” and that the other communities “must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things.”
The SLA commander or his C-in-C failed to extend a public apology despite his comments had drawn protest from many political quarters.