At a time Prabhakaran has had his chips, Tiger sympathisers are employing various methods to take him off the hook. Some of them are propagating the same old propaganda lie that the war is unwinnable and hoping and praying that the LTTE will make a miraculous comeback. It is clear that they are eagerly awaiting a chemical attack on the armed forces. Others are playing a more active role. They are using the plight of Tamil civilians the LTTE is holding in the war zone against their will as a bludgeon against the government. They are hoping for a huge increase in the collateral damage so as to bring international pressure to bear on the government and thwart its military campaign.
It is against this backdrop that Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony s recent statement expressing his concern about the security of Tamils in the Wanni should be viewed. Safety of civilians is, no doubt, of paramount importance. But, where has Minister Antony been all these years? He seems to have woken up like Rip Van Winkle. Never did he utter a word of concern about the predicament of civilians crushed under the LTTE s jack boot.
The LTTE has killed thousands of Tamils and forcibly conscripted thousands of Tamil children. The LTTE-held terrain has remained a hellhole for the past two and a half decades. But, there was not a whimper of protest from Minister Antony. Why?
Has Minister Antony forgotten that India must take the full responsibility for the suffering of not only Tamils but also all other communities in Sri Lanka due to terrorism. It was India that created Prabhakaran the way Dr. Edmund Forster, the psychiatrist and neurologist invented Hitler the monster. Prabhakaran has wiped out the democratic Tamil Political leadership save a handful and removed from our midst a large number of Tamil scholars and intellectuals. Names like Amirthalingam, Kadirgamar, Neelan, Rajni and Ketheeswaran come to mind.
Several prominent political leaders of other communities have also perished at the hands of the LTTE. Thousands of Sinhala and Muslim civilians have died in a countless number of massacres and bomb blasts over the years. The blame for each and every terror strike in this once peaceful country should be placed at the doorstep of India.
Isn t Minister Antony concerned about the safety of all Sri Lankans threatened by terrorism? He is reported to have said, at a seminar in New Delhi recently, that threats to international security came from the states avoiding international interdependence, especially as regards their neighbours and from the non-state actors like the LTTE and Taleban. He has left out several other sources of threats to global peace. A serious threat to international security also emanates from the countries that promote terrorism in other lands as part of their foreign policy.
It is such democratic rogue states that have created the LTTE and Al Queda/Taleban. Western corporations hell-bent on exploiting the world have also made a tremendous contribution to the deterioration of international security by causing the destabilisation of not just countries but regions like Africa.
The best example in this regard comes from the democratic Republic of Congo, where over four million people have so far died due to clashes among warlords over natural resources like coltan, the price of which is artificially kept low by the manufacturers of electronic equipment by sponsoring the Congolese Warlords, who, in return, supply cheap coltan.
The greatest threat to global security, as Minister Antony may be aware, comes not from sovereign states but elusive terrorist groups. For instance, India is a nuclear capable nation with an expanding arsenal of nukes. Other countries may be wary of confronting India but terrorists don t give two hoots about its nuclear capability or military might. They continue to unleash hell on India, as was seen in New Delhi the other day. How the LTTE blew Rajiv Gandhi to smithereens on Indian soil is also a case in point. That is the way with terrorism. It has humbled even the US-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, while being concerned about the security of civilians because of a war being waged to crush a ruthless terrorist outfit, Minister Antony should be vocal on the need to eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its manifestations. He should also admit that the Sri Lankan armed forces are conducting themselves in a much better way than the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). The Indian army deployed in Sri Lanka not only resorted to indiscriminate killings but also committed rape. Some retired Indian military personnel who were in charge of the IPKF operations have now taken moral high ground and are trying to teach the Sri Lankan military how to fight a war! Their track record stinks to high heavens.
Those who are expressing concern about the security of civilians in the Wanni have stopped short of calling for action against the LTTE, which is using people as a shield in Kilinochchi and Mulaitivu. The government has made arrangements to accommodate civilians to be evicted from the theatre of war, as it successfully did in the Eastern Province. If the LTTE lets go of civilians, the question of their security won t arise.
Therefore, it may be argued that anyone who laments about the plight of civilians without faulting the LTTE or pressuring it to release people in its clutches is, either wittingly or unwittingly, helping further the LTTE s cause.