Photos of Tamil Nadu politicians found in LTTE camps


Colombo/New Delhi : Sri Lankan troops inching into Tamil Tiger territory have found photographs and videos showing politicians from Tamil Nadu in the company of guerrilla leaders, it was announced Monday.

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The defence ministry said soldiers combing abandoned bases of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) made the startling discovery, some of them showing at least one leading Indian Tamil politician in a cheerful mood with LTTE boss Velupillai Prabhakaran.

These included MDMK leader Vaiko, a long-time MP and a vocal supporter of the LTTE, as well as P. Nedumaran, who has known Prabhakaran since the early 1980s when the LTTE chief was a largely unknown figure.

The ministry said that soldiers from the 58 Division made the discovery when they captured an LTTE satellite communication centre to the west of Puthukkudiyiruppu, “exposing an abominable conspiracy against Sri Lankan citizens”.

Puthukkudiyiruppu is the last township held by the Tigers in the north. The military said it was advancing from various directions amid heavy LTTE resistance.

“The soldiers have found several recent photographs and video footage in a building earlier occupied by the LTTE terrorists, showing certain south Indian politicians in LTTE camps in Wanni,” the ministry said.

“Vaiko had been photographed in LTTE uniform, firing pistols with Prabhakaran, delivering brain-washing lectures to the LTTE terrorists, and having discussions with Prabhakaran,” it said.

It claimed that there were a number of photographs “showing some (of the) politicians championing tribalism, actively participating in terrorist activities in Wanni”, the northern region where the troops are now locked in heavy fighting with the LTTE.

The ministry website also released a couple of photographs of a relatively younger looking Prabhakaran and Vaiko in military fatigues talking at an unknown location.

Both Nedumaran and Vaiko made clandestine visits to LTTE territory in Sri Lanka in the 1980s to meet Prabhakaran.

Vaiko spent about a month in LTTE zone in 1989, when Indian troops were battling the Tigers in Sri Lankan northeast. Nedumaran made a similar trip to the island in 1985, again spending about a month there.

Both Vaiko and Nedumaran have been in the forefront of recent street protests in Tamil Nadu against the Indian government’s apparent support to Colombo in its war against the LTTE.

Nearly 200 people, including Vaiko, were arrested and remanded to judicial custody Saturday in Tamil Nadu for showing black flags to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and burning his photographs.