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J. Singh asked: Is LTTE really finished from Sri Lanka and there is any chance for them to regroup?

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  • Gulbin Sultana replies: With the killing of Prabhakaran and most of the other key leaders, Sri Lankan armed forces eliminated the LTTE in May 2009. Kumaran Patmanathan was arrested in Thailand and brought back to Sri Lanka. He is in Government custody and was given the charge of looking after the developmental projects of the North-East. At the end of the war 12000 (according to some sources 11696) LTTE combatants were in Government custody. According to some estimates, 7000 were rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society. 4100 are yet to be reintegrated into the society as of April 2011. They are undergoing special training in 9 Rehabilitation Centres in the North.

    Chances of the LTTE regrouping are remote for the following reasons:

    Firstly, the Sri Lankan Government has taken strict military measures to prevent any kind of regrouping of the LTTE. It continues with the Emergency laws and Prevention of Terrorism Act. High Security Zones in the former war zones are also not yet dismantled. The ex-combatants who have already been reintegrated are being constantly monitored by the Government.

    Secondly, many of the ex-combatants who were forced to join the LTTE do not want to regroup again and are looking forward towards a normal life.

    However, the LTTE sympathizers are still there in foreign countries. They have formed a Trans-National Government of Tamil Eelam. But it is not a united force and at present in the absence of a charismatic leader is largely rudderless.

    Changes in the dynamics of global and regional security perception should also be taken into consideration while analyzing the possibility of re-emergence of the LTTE. Unlike the 1980s, it will not be possible for the LTTE to find a safe haven in the neighbouring countries.

    Thus, the possibilities of the LTTE regrouping in the near future appear remote. However, given the way the Sri Lankan Government is handling the Tamil issue, it seems it has not learnt from past mistakes. Its level of distrust towards the Tamils is still very much the same. So, it will not be surprising if there is a future uprising in Sri Lanka in the next few decades.