LTTE asked to end suicide politics, killings


New Delhi : A Sri Lankan Tamil activist group has urged Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran to renounce the “politics of suicide and political killings” to get on to the path of a negotiated end to the ethnic conflict.

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In a trenchant criticism of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (SLDF) has accused the Tigers of heaping misery on the island’s Tamil community.

“The LTTE leader has to publicly renounce the movement’s politics of suicide and political killings as a first and important step in establishing its serious intent towards a negotiated political solution,” said SLDF, which groups Tamil activists who seek a peaceful and negotiated end to the ethnic conflict.

“We have not witnessed another national liberation movement which was wedded to a similar cult of suicide and violence as that of the LTTE, and which could transform itself to join the democratic process to arrive at a negotiated settlement, such as in East Timor or in Northern Ireland,” the statement said.

“The choice for the LTTE is clear: it either transforms itself by abandoning the secessionist cry and its cult of suicide and works towards a negotiated settlement by joining the democratic process; or faces eventual rejection by the Tamil community, and isolation by the international community.”

The SLDF was particularly harsh on Prabhakaran.

Referring to his annual speech Nov 27 vowing to continue the war for a Tamil state, it said this “confirms him to be one of the individuals most responsible for the failure of peace negotiations and for the repeated return to a war of attrition”.

It said while “some may find it tempting to see the LTTE in a more sympathetic light”, the Tigers were “neither capable of, nor interested in, securing them a solution…

“The SLDF rejects outright the LTTE’s call to war and is dismayed that the LTTE is on the downward spiral of further destruction and suffering for the whole country and the Tamil people in particular.”

SLDF added: “Over the last two decades, Prabhakaran has been a consistent obstacle to both local and international efforts to find a political solution, beginning with the Indian efforts in the mid-80s to the most recent effort by the Norwegians.

“Prabhakaran … has, more than any other individual actor, consistently wrecked every effort at peace making, and has done so with complete disregard for the welfare of those whom he claims to represent.”

In the same breath, the SLDF hit out at the Sri Lankan state too, accusing it of consistently letting down and violating the rights of the Tamil people and other minorities.

“In the face of the resurgence of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism over the last two years, coupled with a militarist mindset at the highest levels of the government, the years ahead are going to be long and arduous as Sri Lanka slips into another cycle of protracted conflict,” it said.

“The choice for the Sri Lankan state and its leadership is stark: failure to settle the ethnic conflict swiftly in an acceptable manner to the minorities will plunge the whole country into chaos and anarchy.

“The political leadership has to recognise that there will never be a military solution to the ethnic conflict. It has to accept that the minorities have grievances (that) have to be addressed in a just and democratic manner, through a transparent and inclusive process.

“Unless the state abandons its campaign of terror against Tamil civilians and makes sincere attempts to bring about a political solution, it cannot win the confidence of the minority communities.”