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LTTE a true friend of India: Rebel leader

November 21, 2008 16:30 IST

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Asking India to withdraw all its military assistance to Sri Lankan forces against Tamil rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has said the outfit was a 'true' friend of New Delhi [Images], which must revoke the ban on it.

'It (India) must stop all military assistance given to Sri Lanka [Images], remove the ban on our movement and recognise our struggle. I like to point out that our movement and our people are true friends of India,' LTTE [Images] political head B Nadesan said in an e-mailed interview to the India based The Week magazine from an undisclosed location.

Asserting that the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran was in 'excellent' health, he said the outfit was in favour of a ceasefire and peace talks, but claimed that Sri Lankan government was keen on a military solution.

'Our leader is in excellent health and is leading the current war. The comments (that he will not live long) are an expression of the hatred for the Tamil people and our movement,' he said in the interview.

'The (Sri Lankan) government and military chiefs insist on a military solution while we have been saying that a solution can be reached only through ceasefire and peace talks,' Nadesan said.

'If the Sri Lankan government continues to believe that an ethnic issue in a country can be solved by a military solution alone, it will only lead to the oppressed ethnic people achieving their aspirations with help from other countries,' he said.

Nadesan said whenever the Tamils in Northern Sri Lanka had faced 'miseries' at the hands of Sri Lankan military, 'the people of Tamil Nadu have expressed their support, beyond their political differences'.

To another query, he said the Sri Lankan government and military chiefs have openly claimed that the Indian government has been giving them military assistance.

'The Indian government is silent over this comment. This is indeed an issue that saddens the Tamils, people in Tamil Nadu, and Tamils all over the world.'

On Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka's recent comments in an interview to an overseas paper, that Island country was a Sinhala majority nation, Nadesan said: 'This shows that he is an irresponsible and immature military chief. I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people.'

In reply to the offensive on the Northern areas by the security forces, Nadesan said: 'Our homeland has been subjected to a severe economic blockade for many years. The current military action has displaced Tamils and many are living in forests. The (Sri Lankan) government is intent on brutally oppressing a group of people who are waging a struggle for their rights. Sadly, the media does not bring this out. I view this as a great human tragedy of the 21st century.'

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