Login    Forum    Search    FAQ

Board index » General Topics » Sri Lanka Latest News




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Prabhakaran: One man who keeps Sri Lanka burning
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:08 pm 
Prabhakaran: One man who keeps Sri Lanka burning

He is accused of heaping misery on the Tamils, abducting Tamil boys and girls from poor families for his army, keeping prisoners in bunkers, mowing down rivals without mercy, and carrying out killings, assassinations, bombings and suicide attacks at will. He is Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Image

@ IANS/ 25NOV2006

New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran will turn 52 Sunday, presiding over a de facto state in the Indian Ocean island and still steering a cause for which he fled from his home over 30 years ago.

In the three blood-soaked decades gone by, the once catapult wielding boy has leapfrogged from being the head of a small militant group of the early 1980s to one presiding over the world's deadliest insurgent outfit.

The father of three evokes awe and admiration as well as fear and hatred.

He is wanted by India and Interpol for the 1991 assassination of former Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi, an epoch-making event that raised his profile dramatically in a world that was yet to encounter Al Qaeda.

Many countries today consider his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a terrorist group. Yet thousands swear by him and are willing to die for him, some by blowing up themselves in the most horrific manner.

Since 1989, his birthday has come to be observed as 'Hero's Week', in memory of the some 19,000 LTTE cadres who have died fighting since 1982, when the first of Prabhakaran's colleague died - on his lap in India's Tamil Nadu state.

Sri Lanka watchers in India differ in their assessment of Prabhakaran's persona but are near unanimous on one thing: The LTTE boss has not given up the fight to secure an independent Tamil state and is most unlikely to, come what may.

'He is the most important man for war and peace in Sri Lanka,' said P. Nedumaran, a Tamil Nadu politician at whose house Prabhakaran stayed for months in 1982 and the latter's most loyal backer in India.

Nedumaran, speaking on telephone from Chennai, replied in the affirmative when asked if Prabhakaran remained wedded to the cause of Tamil Eelam, an independent state the LTTE wants carved out of Sri Lanka's north and east.

Former Indian major general Ashok Mehta, who in the late 1980s fought the LTTE in Sri Lanka's northeast, agrees: 'He is central to everything, more so because his confidant Anton Balasingham is out of the loop now.'

The London-based Balasingham, who helps Prabhakaran prepare the annual policy speech the LTTE chief delivers annually Nov 27, is seriously ill, stricken with cancer.

Calling him 'central to all decision-making in LTTE', Mehta told IANS: 'I don't foresee any softening of Prabhakaran's strategic objective of Tamil Eelam though tactically he will play around that objective.'

Kuldip Nayar, a doyen among Indian journalists who recently visited Sri Lanka and urged India to lift the ban on LTTE, said Prabhakaran 'was very important to both peace and war. There is no doubt about it.

'But his ideas of peace and war do not tally with the democratic view. He is basically a very dictatorial and authoritarian person. That has affected Tigers also,' Nayar said, speaking on telephone from near Calicut in Kerala.

Sri Lankan officials and Tamils opposed to him speak more harshly of Prabhakaran, the youngest of four children of a middle class family who dropped out of school to pursue Tamil militancy.

He is accused of heaping misery on the Tamils, abducting Tamil boys and girls from poor families for his army, keeping prisoners in bunkers, mowing down rivals without mercy, and carrying out killings, assassinations, bombings and suicide attacks at will.

After quitting his home in 1973, Prabhakaran shot dead Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duriappah in 1975. The LTTE was formed in 1976. An LTTE ambush that killed 13 soldiers in 1983 and sparked an anti-Tamil violence truly gave birth to Tamil separatism that has so far claimed over 65,000 lives.

When Indian troops landed in Sri Lanka in 1987, Prabhakaran took them on and waged a guerrilla war until 1990, when the Tigers took over much of the island's northeast. By the mid-90s he had decimated all his rivals.

With the man refusing to give up, the LTTE came to control a large swathe of territory in the northeast. Sri Lanka was left with no option but to ask Norway to broker peace.

There is no sign, both Indian and Sri Lankan sources admit, that Prabhakaran has changed although the challenges he now faces have multiplied.

Backed stoutly by the US, Sri Lanka is determined to cut Prabhakaran to size. Helping Colombo is Prabhakaran's estranged confidant Karuna, whose men have made life tough for LTTE in the island's east.

A dramatic spurt in violence this year has left some 2,500 people dead and displaced 200,000, mainly Tamils and Muslims. Norway is fed up. Thousands of Tamils have fled to India, which is under pressure to do something to bring peace to Sri Lanka.

An Indian official who has dealt with LTTE said Prabhakaran would keep fighting until he broke up Sri Lanka.

'Prabhakaran has exhibited in no uncertain terms that he has the will to fight,' the source said. 'He is fighting for his people, nothing is more important to him than that. The Tigers can never live with the Sinhalese. He will never give up.'


© 2006 Indo-Asian News Service


Top 
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 

Board index » General Topics » Sri Lanka Latest News


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron