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Home > India > News > Columnists > B Raman

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Why the LTTE hates Sonia Gandhi

February 04, 2009

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Angered by the reluctance of the international community, including the government of India, to exercise pressure on the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to observe a ceasefire to protect the 150,000 Sri Lankan Tamils caught up in the conflict zone in the Wanni area, pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam web sites have kept up their attacks on the government of India and the Congress party. These attacks are in the form of unsigned or pseudonymous articles and letters to web site editors.

The attacks on Congress President Sonia Gandhi [Images] tend to be vicious. The Congress is projected as the 'Sonia Congress' and the 'Dynasty Congress' and the government of India as the 'Sonia Establishment'. She has also been projected as not nationalistic. On February 3, criticism of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi [Images] appeared for the first time. Pro-LTTE elements abroad seem to be unhappy with him for not exercising pressure on the government of India to stop the fighting in the Wanni area.

While there is no evidence to show that these attacks are emanating from the LTTE [Images] leadership, the fact that they are being disseminated through pro-LTTE web sites would show a silent nod of approval of the LTTE leadership for these orchestrated criticisms. Keeping in view the dangers of a negative impact of such attacks on the minds of irrational elements in the Tamil community, it would be prudent to strengthen the security for Sonia Gandhi.

The LTTE leadership and those sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora supporting it are increasingly desperate and bitter over the reluctance of the international community to exercise pressure on the Sri Lankan government to suspend the military operations in Wanni. The LTTE's calculations that just as the international community exercised pressure on Israel to suspend its military operations in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza recently before Israel had achieved its military objectives, it would exercise pressure on the Rajapaksa government to suspend the military operations against the LTTE have proved wrong.

LTTE chief V Prabhakaran's cynical use of the civilians to intimidate the international community into intervening is one more disastrous blunder committed by him and has lost him even the little sympathy which he might have had in the past. He is apparently in such a state of illusion that he does not seem to realise that whereas almost the entire Islamic world supported the Hezbollah and Hamas and exercised pressure on Israel to discontinue its operations, the LTTE has no friends left in the international community except possibly the African National Congress of South Africa [Images].

He and his irrational supporters do not seem to realise that the world's attitude to terrorism changed after 9/11 and that India's attitude to terrorism became stronger after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai [Images]. How can India demand strong action against the jihadi terrorists by Pakistan and come in the way of strong action by the Sri Lankan government against LTTE's terrorism?

The anger of many of the Sri Lanka [Images]n Tamils should be a cause for concern. While India cannot but support --  or at least refrain from criticising -- the counter-terrorism operations of the Sri Lankan government, it should remove the impression widely prevalent in the Sri Lankan Tamil community that but for its military assistance the Sri Lankan Army could not have succeeded. Large sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil community in Sri Lanka as well as abroad have convinced themselves that India has been playing a double game -- making a pretense of supporting the human rights of the Tamils and, at the same time, quietly assisting the Rajapaksa government in crushing the Tamils.

In the absence of strong statements or denials from Delhi [Images], the Sri Lankan government and its officials such as Gothbaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary, who is the brother of the President, and Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, the army chief, have been mischievously creating an impression that whatever they are doing against the Tamils has the tacit support of India,

It is not advisable for India to be seen by large sections of the Sri Lankan Tamils as not only anti-LTTE -- rightly so -- but also as anti-Tamil. Indira Gandhi [Images] was the most popular Indian leader among the Sri Lankan Tamils. They felt that her heart genuinely beat for the rights and sufferings of the Sri Lankan Tamils. Large sections of the Tamil community are bitter that the present Congress leadership does not share her empathy for them.

How to have this impression corrected without giving an impression of encouraging terrorism? That is the question, which should engage the attention of the Indian political leadership and diplomats.


B Raman



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