LTTE poses threat to Indian security: Govt
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, May 7, 2005
@ Hindustan Times
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas may be taking part in the Norway-backed peace process but they remain "one of the deadliest terrorist organisations in the world", the Indian Government says.
The Home Ministry's annual report for 2004-05 says that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) demand that its naval unit should be treated on a par with the Indian and Sri Lankan navies was a "threat to Indian security".
"The LTTE continues to be an extremely potent, most lethal and well organised terrorist force in Sri Lanka and has strong connections in Tamil Nadu and certain pockets of southern India," the report said in a brief but hard-hitting section on the Tamil Tigers.
"The organisation assiduously cultivates Tamil chauvinist elements who are inspired by the Tamil Eelam concept of a separate Tamil Nadu, i.e., secession from India.
"The LTTE, by carrying out several successful suicide killing missions in Sri Lanka and one in India, has emerged as one of the deadliest terrorist organisations in the world, which has sympthisers, supporters and agents on the Indian soil."
The report's reference was to the May 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally at Sriperumbudur near Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
The LTTE initially vehemently denied any involvement in the grotesque killing but in recent times has hinted that it would like New Delhi to adopt a forget-and-forgive attitude.
New Delhi outlawed the LTTE in 1992 and has renewed the ban every two years. The ban was last renewed in August 2004.
The home ministry report said: "Notwithstanding the current peace process, the LTTE is yet to give up violence as a means to achieve its goal of establishing a separate homeland for Tamils.
"Further, it is well known that the LTTE intelligence wing maintains an exhaustive data on personalities who are opposed to the outfit's ideology for engineering their assassination, if considered necessary.
"The LTTE continues to use Tamil Nadu as a base for carrying out smuggling of essential items like petrol, diesel besides drugs to Sri Lanka.
"The LTTE's insistence on recognition of Sea Tigers as a separate unit by the Sri Lankan Government poses yet another threat to Indian security."
The LTTE, whose leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was once based in India but who is now wanted in the country for the Gandhi assassination, controls large areas in Sri Lanka's Tamil-majority north and east.
With Norway's felicitation, it signed a ceasefire agreement with the Sri Lankan Government in February 2002. But killings, many blamed on the LTTE, continue in the island nation.
Indian officials have accused the Tigers of promoting a militant group in Tamil Nadu and forging links with Maoist guerrillas and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
The home ministry report also said that influx of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to Tamil Nadu was coming down and that no refugees arrived last year.
In 2000, 1,620 refugees took shelter in Tamil Nadu. The number came down to 505 in 2001, to 84 in 2002 and to just 13 the next year.
"With a view to preventing fresh mass influx of Sri Lankan refugees, several measures, including intensified coastal patrolling, collection and collation of advance intelligence and strengthening of naval detachments in Tamil Nadu have been undertaken.
"Largely because of these measures, the influx has come down substantially," the report said.
It said 52,729 Sri Lankan refugees were currently staying in 102 refugee camps in Tamil Nadu besides one camp in Orissa. Also, 17,172 refugees were living outside the camps on their own, after registering themselves with the police.