By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
A separate Tamil Eelam or regrouping of LTTE is hard to achieve even though the Tamil Diaspora raises slogans and in Tamil Nadu, political parties use the Eelam issue as a vote catching device, said Former Indian Peacekeeping Forces (IPKF) Intelligence Corps Head, Colonel Ramani Hariharan (79), yesterday.
In an exclusive interview, the former intelligence chief said that the overseas remnants do not have a dynamic leader who can energize and lead them in a revival of LTTE. “After all Prabhakaran took two decades to build an all powerful organiszation. So, the attempts to gain a foothold in Sri Lanka for reviving the LTTE have been feeble,” he said.
He also added that the LTTE remnants are on the look out to exploit local grievances to gain a foothold for the revival of LTTE in Sri Lanka.
The biggest stumbling block for Sri Lanka’s progress is neither Tamil Nadu nor India, but its lack of confidence in its ability to resolve the post war issues.
“Despite this unhappy atmosphere, I doubt whether any Sri Lankan Tamil seriously believes Tamil Eelam is achievable. “He went on to explain that without the support from an external power or agency, in the current global anti-terrorism scenario, no extremist movement can be exported unless the local people are motivated to go through the ordeal. “I think Tamil people are too weary of war to entertain such notion. They have lost too much for too long,” the ex Military Intelligence Chief said. “I don’t think anyone seriously believes in a separate Tamil Eelam anymore though they may raise slogans. In Tamil Nadu, political parties are using the Eelam issue as a vote catching device. And I don’t know how many people really vote on the basis of this issue. All the fringe parties who are vociferous on Eelam have repeatedly failed to make good in elections.”
The former IPKF Intelligence Wing Chief, who got involved with SriLanka only when IPKF Force moved into the island, when JRJ asked for it, further claimed that President Ranasinghe Premadasa came to power and got ‘chummy’ with the LTTE to send the Indian troops back to India. He added, that move gave a lease of life to Prabhakaran, who was in desperate straits and Sri Lanka paid the price for this act of brinkmanship by prolonging LTTE’s life by another two decades.
On the post war scenario, he said, “Sri Lanka Government has not shown adequate sensitivity to the grievances of people traumatized by war. It has failed to create a sense of security and trust in the government among them. It has not allowed the process of reconciliation to take place even after five years after war. So the population is not a happy one, though the infrastructure is in place.”
Commenting on the present government, Hariharan said, “Personally, I think Sri Lanka should seriously set its house in order, revamp its corroded system of governance. There is no point in saying these things exist in India also. Yes; but we are talking about Sri Lanka’s problems; not India’s.”
“If the Rajapaksa Government does not work on the twin failures, that is, to start a meaningful reconciliation process with Tamils; absence of a transparent process to investigate alleged human rights violations and war crimes, and that environment does not change, Tamil Nadu political parties will use it to political advantage.”
He said these failures have created a climate of suspicion among the people about the intentions of the Rajapaksa Government.
“I think the biggest stumbling block for Sri Lanka’s progress is neither Tamil Nadu nor India, but its lack of confidence in its ability to resolve the post war issues. This has impeded the optimal use of the hard won peace after eliminating the LTTE finally,” he added