The Lanka Academic

 
JUNE 28, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 83

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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We killed Rajiv, confesses LTTE
indiatimes.com, Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:44:17 . NEW DELHI: Fifteen years after a LTTE suicide bomber killed Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur, the Tamil rebel outfit on Tuesday admitted its responsibility for the crime and delivered a public apology.

In an interview to a TV network on Tuesday, Anton Balasingham, LTTE ideologue and one of Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's confidants, executed a major shift of policy, describing the May 21, 1991, killing of Rajiv Gandhi as "a monumental historical tragedy".

"As far as that event is concerned...I would say it is a great tragedy... a monumental historical tragedy... which we deeply regret, and we call upon the government of India and people of India to be magnanimous to put the past behind... and to approach the ethnic question in a different perspective," Balasingham said.

Asked if the LTTE could promise that it would not commit such acts again, Balasingham added: "We have made pledges to the government of India that under no circumstance will we act against the interests of the government of India."

Thus far, the LTTE has denied that it was responsible for the killing of Rajiv Gandhi. Reacting to the LTTE admission, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said: "It's good that after so many years they (LTTE) have admitted to having killed Rajiv Gandhi.

For India, it was a national tragedy because Rajiv Gandhi was the most popular leader of his time. Now the question is of fixing responsibility for the crime."

In another interview, minister of state for external affairs Anand Sharma said it would be impossible to put the past behind, as Balasingham suggested, because India had "rule of law" and it could not be seen to be condoning the politics of violence by rehabilitating the LTTE.

The belated LTTE admission of guilt has less to do with genuine remorse than the compulsion to drive a wedge between India and Sri Lanka, say analysts who have followed the LTTE for years.

At this point, the Tigers' interest would lie in preventing the growing convergence between India and the Lankan government, particularly in the defence sector, which has ramped up Sri Lankan capability, especially against the LTTE.

Balasingham reminded everyone of the fact that India had initially trained the LTTE, asking it to return to a more active role.

The LTTE statement comes as the outfit finds itself with virtually no friends, especially after the European Union banned it last month. More... Discuss this story
Published: Tue Jun 27 16:47:02 EDT 2006


Tiger leader appologises for 1991 killing of Indian prime minister
Associated Press, Tue June 27, 2006 10:01 EDT . NEW DELHI (AP) _ A senior Tamil Tiger leader has apologized to India for the 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by a Tiger suicide bomber.

``I would say it is a great tragedy, a monumental historical tragedy for which we deeply regret and we call upon the Government of India and people of India to be magnanimous to put the past behind,'' said the Tigers' chief negotiator Anton Balasingham in an interview with India's NDTV news channel to be aired Tuesday. NDTV released some of the transcripts ahead of the broadcast.

The Tigers killed Gandhi to protest India's involvement, during Gandhi's tenure, in Sri Lanka's civil war. The Tigers have acknowledged their role in the attack in the past, but this is the strongest expression of regret yet from the rebels.

Balasingham's comments came as mounting violence in Sri Lanka threatens to torpedo a shaky 2002 cease-fire that ended a bloody civil war, which left some 65,000 people dead in the island nation.

But the context for the comment _ and whether it was part of a larger strategy to court Indian support _ was not immediately clear.

Balasingham said the Tigers, formally called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, had given India a commitment that it would not target its leaders again and would welcome a greater Indian involvement in the peace talks between the Tigers and the Sri Lankan government.

The Tigers have pledged not to work against India's interests, Balasingham told NDTV, saying India should be ``actively involved in the peace process.''

Gandhi, the son of slain Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was killed in an explosion triggered by a female Tamil Tiger who greeted him while he was campaigning for elections in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991

The Tigers were angered by Gandhi's decision to send Indian troops as peacekeepers to northern Sri Lanka in 1987 as part of an accord with the Sri Lankan government to broker peace.

The Indian troops ended up fighting with the Tigers and withdrew from the island nation in 1990. Discuss this story
Published: Tue Jun 27 10:42:40 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
·
Is LTTE’s ‘Rajiv Apology’ a wolf in lamb’s clothing?  - dnaindia.com
·
LTTE apology aimed to reconnect with India  - ndtv.com

LTTE finds support in fringe Indian groups
ndtv.com, Tuesday, June 27, 2006. Any journey to trace the support for the LTTE in Tamil Nadu has to begin with former Congressman P Nedumaran who heads the Tamil National Front and has once been arrested under TADA.

''We are organising rallies all over Tamil Nadu in support of Eelam. LTTE is the only hope for Sri Lankan Tamils," said Nedumaran.

The potent appeal of Prabakaran and his Tigers was used for political gains by fringe parties.

Leaders like Vaiko and Dr Ramadoss of the PMK grew in political stature because of their pro-Eelam stance. More...
Published: Tue Jun 27 15:42:56 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
·
LTTE extends hand of friendship to Karunanidhi  - hindustantimes.com

Sri Lanka names veteran officer to replace slain general
Associated Press, Tue June 27, 2006 22:31 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka has named a veteran officer with experience fighting Tamil Tiger guerrillas to replace the nation's third-highest-ranking general, who was killed this week in a suspected rebel suicide attack, officials said Wednesday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Rebels Blamed for Killing of Army General
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, June 27th, 2006. By SHIMALI SENANAYAKE COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, June 26, NYT European cease-fire monitors said Monday that the assassination of the third-ranking officer in the Sri Lankan Army in what appeared to be a suicide bombing bore the hallmarks of the Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

India, Sri Lanka need to destroy LTTE's air, navy
Rediff, June 27. Many successful acts of suicide terrorism by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, including the assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 and Sri Lankan President R Premadasa in May 1993 were made possible by weak physical security and poor access control by the security agencies of the State responsible for their protection... Back to the top

Norway pledges to continue mediation in Sri Lanka despite ...
people.com.cn, June 27, 2006. Norway will continue its mediation efforts in Sri Lanka despite increased violence in that country and uncertainty about the role of Nordic peace observers, Norway's special envoy said on Tuesday... Back to the top

UN Special Representative to send adviser to Sri Lanka to look at ...
un.org, 27 June 2006. Warning that the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are continuing to “recruit and use child soldiers” in Sri Lanka and highlighting allegations of “grave violations” against children by all parties in the conflict, the United Nations Special Representative for Children affected by armed conflict said today she was appointing a Special Adviser to undertake a fact-finding mission to the island... Back to the top

Fresh violence hit Sri Lanka , 4 Tamil rebels dead, capital under security cover
Associated Press, Tue June 27, 2006 00:59 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Renegade Tamil militants killed at least four members of the Tamil Tiger rebel group in eastern Sri Lanka - on Tuesday, police said, a day after one of the country's top generals was assassinated... Back to the top

DPI to hold rally to protest `military aid to Sri Lanka
hindu.com, June 27, 2006. A protest rally would be held in Tamil Nadu on 8 July to condemn India's reported military aid to Sri Lankan Government "which amounted to abetting killing of Sri Lankan Tamils", DPI General Secretary Thol Thirumavalavan today said... Back to the top

S Lankan nominee for UN extols multilateralism
dailytimes.com.pk, 27 june. UNITED NATIONS: Jayantha Dhanapala, Sri Lanka’s candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as UN secretary general, on Friday made a vibrant plea for multilateralism as embodied by the world body and for consensus on contentious UN reforms... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: Protect Witnesses in Trincomalee Killings
alertnet.org, 27 Jun 2006 17:17:34 GMT. (New York, June 28, 2006) ? The Sri Lankan government must ensure the safety of witnesses in the case of five Tamil youths summarily executed in January allegedly by state security forces, Human Rights Watch said today... Back to the top

Pushing for peace in Sri Lanka
thestar.com, 27 june. OTTAWA—Canada has done the right thing by banning the Tamil Tigers and must follow up by making sure there is no more fundraising, a former Sri Lankan peace negotiator said yesterday... Back to the top

Norway to continue mediation efforts in Lanka despite violence
irna.ir, 27 june. Norway has said it will continue its mediation efforts in Sri Lanka despite the increase in violence in the country, the latest being the assassination of a top army general... Back to the top

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