LTTE backers have given India Hobson`s choice. They have told her in no uncertain terms that she should either rescue Prabhakaran and give the LTTE a new lease of life or risk her own territorial integrity.
Vaiko may not have a massive following as such in Tamil Nadu but his threat to India that Tamil Nadu would face a `river of blood` in case of Prabhakaran`s death at the hands of the Sri Lanka military has found resonance with the LTTE activists both in India and overseas. They threw down the gauntlet by desecrating Pundit Nehru`s statue in London the other day. (Nothing could be more ludicrous than the London Indian High Commission`s attempt to rule out vandalism. A spokesperson has said, `The bust got separated from the pedestal.` How come lifeless busts make voluntary moments?)
In 1991, Prabhakaran had Nehru`s grandson Rajiv Gandhi assassinated, having taken on the Indian military and killed over 1,400 IPKF soldiers. Eighteen years later, they broke the head of the Nehru statue. The world Eelam Movement`s message is loud and clear: It is ready to try to achieve its separatist goal even at the expense of India.
Three decades or so ago, India sought to save her skin by sacrificing Sri Lanka`s territorial integrity. She created the LTTE at Tamil Nadu politicians` behest in the hope that she would be able to shift the focus of the South Indian separatist movement to the other side of the Palk Strait. But, its strategy has manifestly boomeranged. The LTTE has over the past few years used Tamil Nadu as a base for its arms smuggling operations and it must be having arms caches and sleeper cells in that State ready to be used when the time is ripe. Vaiko is not the only Tamil Nadu extremist to have been trained by the LTTE in guerrilla warfare. There are said to be thousands more. And it will be a mistake for Vaiko s threats to be dismissed as empty rhetoric.
The Tamil Nadu intelligence agencies, it may be recalled, audaciously refused to cooperate with the IPKF engaged in operations against the LTTE in Sri Lanka as their sympathies were with Prabhakaran and his cause. At present, pro-LTTE lawyers are advocating sedition inside courts and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Opposition Leader J. Jayalalitha have publicly pledged support for Eelam. This is a worrisome proposition for India.
Worse, the West has changed its position on the LTTE and its fronts. Even those western nations notorious for their callous disregard for civilian casualties in battling their terrorists have suddenly woken up to the plight of the Vanni civilians and are all out to throw a lifeline to the LTTE on the pretext of helping the displaced people. Some of them are reported to have resumed communication with the LTTE through third party mediation in spite of having banned the outfit as a terrorist organisation on their soil!
Are they trying to create a formidble force hostile to the rising India the way they are using Taiwan against their b te noire, China? India is certainly in a position to face any external threats by virtue of being a nuclear capable nation but her Achilles heel is separatist terror.
Will Tamil Nadu secessionist movement and the LTTE stump which will survive decapitation here become putty in the hands of the wily West bent on debilitating India?