‘Red alert’ in Jaffna as usual

images (5)By Manekshaw
Security Forces in the Northern Province are put on ‘red alert’ in the month of November since the LTTE was routed in Mullivaikkal in 2009, to prevent any form of commemo-ration to remember the dead cadres.
When the LTTE was active, the commemorative events were held in the areas controlled by the outfit, in memory of the cadres who were killed in action. 

A year ago the Security Forces thwarted the attempt by the Jaffna University students who were preparing for a commemorative event in memory of dead LTTE cadres. Some of the student leaders were also taken into custody for questioning by the police sleuths.

As usual for the past five years, security has been tightened around the Jaffna University premises. It has been done this year as well to ensure no untoward incident taking place in sympathy of the now defunct LTTE.
During the terror regime of the Tamil militancy, right from the beginning of the early 80s several militant outfits sprouted in the Northern Province with their own theoreticians. The foremost among them was Dr. Anton Balasingam, who had been a onetime journalist at the Colombo based Tamil daily Virakesarai and later served as a press officer at the British High Commission.
Dr. Anton Balasingam joined the LTTE in Tamil Nadu and remained a pillar of strength to the outfit, justifying its militant activities in whatever form and taking part in the political negotiations until he was diagnosed with a terminal illness when the LTTE was gradually fading away with the deaths of several of its key figures such as the organization’s political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan.

N. Vithyatharan launches his book En Eluththayutham
N. Vithyatharan, former editor of the Jaffna based Tamil daily Uthayan launched his book in Tamil titled En Eluththayutham (My Pen – My Weapon) and was released at a distinguish gathering at Saraswathy Hall, Bambalapitiya on last Sunday, 9 November. The book is the first of its kind to be brought out by a Jaffna based journalist, who most of the time had the best of opportunities to interact with several prominent individuals including the LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran his theoretician Dr. Anton Balasingham and several top ranking LTTE big wigs when the Northern and the Eastern Provinces caught up in the ruthless terrorist war.

Vithyatharan had also covered the political events involving the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Leader A. Amirthalingam during the period of signing the Indo-Lanka Accord in 1987.
As the editor of the Uthayan newspaper, Vithyatharan covered the ‘inter-continental’ peace process facilitated by Norway.
During the peace process facilitated by Norway, Vithyatharan had covered extensively the political developments closely interacting with the government and the LTTE delegations.

Dr. Anton Balasingham was in tears
In his En Eluththayutham Vithyatharan had come out with several exclusive details highlighting the rise and fall of the LTTE.
Vithyatharan has made a startling revelation in his book saying that Dr. Anton Balasingam was removed by the LTTE leader Prabhakaran for being supportive of a negotiated political settlement.
The LTTE chieftain being arrogant and inflexible towards the peace process, Dr. Balasingham was in tears and had told Vithyatharan in his later stages in London that the organization had gone out of his hands with Prabhakaran not listening to whatever the advice given by him in reaching a durable political solution to the Tamil question. The former Uthayan editor in his book has said that Dr. Anton Balasingham was all out to bring out a political solution joining hands with India and other countries, which had engaged in the peace process facilitated by Norway.

The late LTTE theoretician always favoured a federal system with greater devolution of powers to the North and the East and the international community also supported Balasingham’s stance towards a political solution based on extensive devolution of powers.
According to Vithyatharan, while he was talking to Dr. Anton Balasingham at his residence in London, the former theoretician who was thoroughly disappointed over the LTTE leader’s arrogance and single mindedness is supposed to have told him that instead of talking on the futile peace, to have discussion on the plans for his funeral as his days were numbered.
In the presence of his Australian-born wife Adele Balasingham he had told Vithyatharan that his coffin should be taken in a horse drawn carriage to the cemetery.

Being a journalist, who had covered most of the important political developments, with several exclusive interviews, during his 30-year career in journalism, the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) was suspicious over Vithyatharan’s contribution and he was even taken into custody, while he was attending a funeral at Mount Lavinia in 2009.

Vithyatharan was released after he was grilled for three months taking into consideration that he is a journo of a different calibre who always lived up to the famous Chinese proverb ‘that unless you boldly walk into a tiger den you cannot bring out the cubs’.
During his school days VIthyatharan was an excellent sportsman who had been a goal keeper during the football season and a wicket keeper during the cricket season at the prestigious Jaffna Hindu College, which had produced the country’s first Tamil Chief Justice S. Sharvananda and also the US-based Physicist
S. Sivananthan who had invented a special night vision light system to the American Navy ‘SEALS’ in their successful operation in gunning down Osama Bin Laden.

So the book En Eluththayutham (My Pen – My Weapon ) is more an auto biography of a journalist who had served in a newspaper, which had paid a heavy price with the untimely deaths of 10 media personnel for being ‘the newspaper’, during the darker days, in the Peninsula.

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