Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

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  • Maitrayee Guha asked: Is there any distinction between Indian Tamils and Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka? Does the government there have different policies for them?

    Gulbin Sultana replies: The Tamil community in Sri Lanka is divided into two distinct categories: Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian/upcountry Tamils. Sri Lankan Tamils comprise 11.14 per cent and Indian Tamils 4.12 per cent of the total population.

    Sri Lanka: Would a Domestic Judicial Mechanism Deliver Justice to the Tamils?

    Sri Lanka: Would a Domestic Judicial Mechanism Deliver Justice to the Tamils?

    International oversight in the form of a panel of judges and the UNHRC mechanism in general are likely to help address the apprehensions of the Tamils about a domestic investigation mechanism.

    October 06, 2015

    Addressing Violent Extremism: Lessons from Sri Lanka

    In the years since the hostilities in Sri Lanka ended in 2009, the understandable international focus on the evidence of war crimes by both sides has diverted attention from certain other questions that emerge from the 26-year conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government. Here I briefly explore three general questions that have arisen not only in Sri Lanka but also in many other modern conflicts, including those characterised by what is variously called asymmetric warfare, violent extremism or terrorism.

    July 2014

    The ‘Ethnic Question’ in India–Sri Lanka Relations in the Post-LTTE Phase

    The ‘ethnic question’ in Sri Lanka, even after the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), evokes a sense of suspense, uncertainty and even a possible conflict of interest in the otherwise robust and multifaceted relationship between India and Sri Lanka. The article adopts a multi-agent model derived from the positional analysis and identifies three principal agents in Indo-Sri Lanka relations—the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), the Government of India (GoI) and Tamil Nadu.

    January 2013

    Major Lessons from Operation Pawan for Future Regional Stability Operations

    The Indian intervention in Sri Lanka throws up five major lessons for future regional stability operations. Firstly, it is imperative to define the mission unambiguously and establish a clear mandate. Secondly, there is need for a robust military contingency planning process as well as discussions at various levels within the system to refine plans and provide an adequate force to meet possible eventualities. Thirdly, clear command and control needs to be established at the outset and the appropriate field formation must be designated as the headquarters.

    July 2012

    Project Tiger: Reintegration of the Surrendered LTTE Cadres

    If adequate attention is not given to reintegrating former LTTE militants, there are chances that they may resort to criminal or militant activities for their livelihood.

    July 21, 2011

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

    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.

    Neeraj Kapoor asked: Is there any solution possible for naxalism as what has happened in Sri Lanka with LTTE?

    Nihar Nayak replies: To begin with, it is essential to identify the basic differences and similarities between the two movements. The first and foremost difference is the LTTE was fighting for a sovereign and separate State. It was an ethnic conflict. On the other hand, the Naxalite/Maoists/LWE in India is fighting for equality, social justice and dignity of marginalized people, tribal rights and good governance. Second, while the LTTE was identified as a terrorist organization, this is not the case with Maoists. They have very limited trans-boundary activities. However, there are incidents of Maoists targeting civilians. These occasional incidents can not be compared with the LTTE. The Maoist movement has been thriving because of their nexus with political leaders. That was not the case with LTTE. Finally, in terms of lethality, till date, the Maoists use firearms looted from police and other security agencies. On the other hand, LTTE has been one of the dreaded organisations in the world with military might -Army/Navy and Air force and it was fighting and operating like a Rogue state. LTTE was responsible for killing of top political leaders, including former PM of India, Rajiv Gandhi.

    However, they have some basic similarities like political goal, indoctrination and training programmes, guerilla tactics, mobilization of front organizations, formation of military wings, etc.

    Considering these basic differences between these organisations/movements, only military or police action is not a viable solution to the Maoist problem. Military action could suppress the movement. However, that may not bring a permanent solution to the problem. Earlier, on two occasions (1970s and 2002-03 in Andhra Pradesh), police actions were taken against the Maoists. Interestingly, the movement revived with more vigour. There are also strong possibilities of collateral damage if military action is taken against the Maoists. Adopting the LTTE or Sri Lankan model against the Maoists in India is not advisable. Rather, this problem can be tackled through both development and police action (only in high conflict zones) depending on the local situation. There is also a need of strong political will to resolve the menace by taking appropriate action against the nexus between Maoists and some political leaders.

    An appraisal of Norway’s Role in Sri Lanka

    Karuna’s revelation that Norway provided funds for the LTTE to purchase lethal weapons has revived the focus on that country’s role in the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict.

    February 03, 2011

    Bhopal is also about security

    Spilling of gas from a chemical factory can happen either because of accidental release or sabotage. In this era of terrorism such threats need to be reviewed on a much broader canvas.

    June 21, 2010