They seek him here,
they seek him there,
[those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
That damned elusive Pimpernel.]
Someone used the first two lines of this famous verse somewhere some time ago to describe the so-called elusive international arms dealer and ace racketeer of the LTTE Selvarajah Pathmanathan alias KP. But, today, KP is very much here in Colombo spilling the beans in captivity! As the man who ran the LTTE`s arms and narcotics smuggling operations, KP must be having really interesting stuff to reveal to his interrogators.
Diasporic Tigers` hopes of making a comeback have been dashed once again.
Prabhakaran, it is said, fondly dubbed KP `donkey` because of the burden the latter carried for the LTTE as its chief arms procurer. Towards the end of Prabhakaran, KP also became the LTTE`s de facto international spokesman with access to even UN bigwigs and leaders of several western governments, though it was claimed in some quarters that he had fallen out of grace and Prabhakaran was out for his blood.
A quick learner, KP cleverly changed the LTTE`s strategy after Prabhakaran`s demise. He sought to give the LTTE a face-lift by claiming it had renounced violence to achieve its goal. Thus, he tried to prevent an international crackdown on his vulnerable arms and drug smuggling network and have bans lifted in the West so that the LTTE could rebuild itself overseas and make a comeback in Sri Lanka someday.
KP, on the pretext of conducting a non-violent campaign for Eelam, wanted to prove himself the worthy leader by achieving targets that Prabhakaran had failed to. There is evidence that he has been planning political assassinations by using surviving LTTE killers and hired guns in the underworld. (This may have prompted the government to launch a crackdown on the nether world of crime full of trained killers willing to make their services available to anyone for a fee.) He knew the government would be lulled into a false sense of complacency with the passage of time and its guard lowered accordingly.
Although there has been resistance from the LTTE old guard to KP`s leadership as well as his style of running the organisation, had he succeeded in carrying out a high profile retaliatory attack with or without the LTTE`s trademark, he would have been able to silence his critics and rally sympathisers for the cause in a bigger way. But, he also made a terrible miscalculation like Prabhakaran he underestimated the government`s ability to strike and overrated himself.
It behoves the government leaders to deny the LTTE rump an opportunity to spoil the country`s victory over terrorism.
Sri Lanka has once again made a huge contribution to global democracy. Within less than three months of the elimination of the LTTE`s military muscle, she has dealt a decapitating blow to the outfit`s smuggling wing known as the KP Department responsible for gun running and drug distribution throughout the world. Ironically, her latest achievement has come at a time big powers that are all out to give her a bad name because she did not heed their requests to spare the LTTE leadership are showing signs of opting for appeasement by way of dealing with their terrorists. Now that little Lanka has, by decapitating the LTTE`s smuggling wing, demonstrated to the world that terrorism could be effectively neutralized militarily, her critics in the international community, affected by terrorism, ought to emulate her.
The message that Sri Lanka has sent to the LTTE with KP`s capture is loud and clear: In achieving their separatist goal, Tigers have the same chance as a cat in hell!