Besides foreign assistance and subservience of political leaders who failed to stand up to terrorism, a key factor that stood the LTTE in good stead was the pathetic inefficiency of State intelligence services, which found themselves spying on political opponents of governments in power rather than terrorists.
President Ranasinghe Premadasa`s assassin had been living at Sucharitha, the president`s official residence for a long time before striking with deadly accuracy on May 1, 1993. A female suicide bomber who made an attempt on Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka`s life on April 25, 2006 had been a frequent visitor to the military hospital inside the heavily guarded Army Headquarters. She had been able to gain unrestricted access there and how she had become so influential as to enter the facility without being frisked is still a mystery. Worse, her identity has not yet been established! Was she a Martian?
What saved President Chandrika Kumaratunga from a human bomb in 1999 was an armour plated presidential car as well as her stars. Her intelligence officers obviously had been in the dark. Luckily for her, there was no second blast. Else, she would have become a sitting duck with the PSD personnel in total disarray. In 2009, a suicide bomber assisted by a colonel, would have been able to target President Mahinda Rajapaksa, some other government leaders and the defence bigwigs at the Deyata Kirula exhibition but for professionalism of the police personnel guarding the BMICH they thwarted an attempt by the rogue army officer, accompanied by the bomber, to gain access to restricted areas at the venue. This failed assassination bid came to light months later when a key LTTE leader was arrested in Colombo. A police officer in the pay of the LTTE had been spying on President Rajapaksa, from a checkpoint near Temple Trees!
Now, we learn that Velupillai Prabhakaran`s mother has left the country without informing the authorities concerned. She and her late husband were taken into custody from an IDP camp after the war last year. Following her husband`s death, she was allowed to go to the North, accompanied by TNA MP and independent presidential candidate M. K. Sivajilingam to attend the funeral. She never returned. Instead, she left for Malaysia on March 06.
Prabhakaran`s parents, offspring, siblings or relatives who were not involved in the LTTE were not responsible for his terrorism. So, we believe, an issue as such should not be made of his mother`s `passage` to Malaysia. But, her exit is a sad reflection on the Sri Lankan intelligence services which have apparently been lulled into a false sense of complacency in the post-war period. If she could go overseas through the BIA without rousing anyone`s suspicion in spite of her identity being known to one and all, that any LTTE cadre wanted for terrorist activity is capable of leaving the country in a similar manner goes without saying.
Never mind Prabhakaran`s mother`s departure. How were she and her husband taken into custody? After the war, President Rajapaksa asked the defence top brass at a Security Council meeting whether they had any information about Prabhakaran`s parents. The then Army Commander Lt. Gen. Fonseka maintained that they had fled to India by boat.
A guffawing President corrected his army chief and said Prabhakaran`s mother and father were very much in Sri Lanka. He named the IDP centre where they were staying and gave a description of the couple. How the President had received that information is not known.
So, one need not be surprised that the intelligence services had no inkling of Prabhakaran`s mother s departure on March 06. They may be busy `doing political work`.