Whether the action is one of a tiger or mouse is left for the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha to decide. But New Delhi acted with continued courage and determination in banning the LTTE for another two years.
The decision came almost in sync with Jayalalitha’s call for the Indian government to act like a tiger and not a mouse against little Sri Lanka. It is evident whatever Jayalalitha thinks New Delhi is of the view that the LTTE or Tamil Tigers, who continue their false championing of the Tamils of Sri Lanka and campaign against it with abundant foreign resources, remain a major threat to India too.
In announcing the extension of the ban, first brought in the aftermath of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the Indian government states the LTTE continues to adopt a strong anti-India posture and pose a grave threat to the security of its citizens.
The Home Ministry notification of the extended ban said the activities of LTTE are detrimental to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and there is a continuing strong need to control all such separatist activities by all possible means.
"LTTE continues to adopt a strong anti-India posture as also continues to pose a grave threat to the security of Indian nationals, it is necessary to declare LTTE as an 'unlawful association' with immediate effect," the Home Ministry notification issued by joint secretary Dharmendra Sharma said.
India’s action against the LTTE earlier this week was a clear move against separatism, which has been the terrorism based policy of the LTTE from the time of its inception, in the 1970s, and showed awareness of how it was fostering separatism in India eve now, just as its support base abroad, falsely claiming to be a 'Tamil Diaspora' continue to further the cause of separatism in Sri Lanka, with the support of Western organizations and politicians who see in them a convenient voting bloc under conditions of uncertain democratic politics, especially in Europe.
The Indian move against separatism went further when the Home Minister P. Chidambaram informed the DravidaMunnetraKazhagam (DMK) leader, supporter of the LTTE and a revived activist for separatism in Sri Lanka, of the UPA government’s displeasure over the demand for a separate state of Eelam being included in the planned conference of Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) in Chennai on August 12. Karunanidhi whose DMK is a member of the ruling UPA coalition in New Delhi had to eat humble pie when he told reporters after the meeting with Chidambaram that "It's different to have an opinion on a separate Eelam, but we don't intend to put it up as a topic for discussion at the conference and create any confusion," as reported in the Times of India.
The reality of the LTTE’s Eelam demand savagely carried forward by VelupillaiPrabhakaran, and still supported by pro-LTTE Tamils abroad, mainly in the West, was aptly described by the well known Indian journalist Venkataramanan Krishnamurthy in the Hindu last Thursday (19), who said: “VelupillaiPrabhakaran has left behind only a legacy of ruin and devastation for his Tamil community, and it is left to the few surviving Tamil moderate politicians to pick up the shards of a nearly abandoned devolution discourse and work towards limited self-rule in the Tamil majority area.”
"For parties in Tamil Nadu, 'Tamil Eelam' has been a useful tool for rabble-rousing while in the Opposition, and an instrument of competitive identity politics that can goad the ruling party to take an even more strident stand.
In office, the parties have administrative compulsions to crack down on 'separatist' tendencies, book those indulging in 'anti-national' rhetoric and frame or invoke draconian laws to keep fringe elements under check," the veteran journalist said.
Referring to Karunanidhi’s revived support for the Eelam slogan, the writer said: “Veteran Tamil Nadu politician M. Karunanidhi has announced the revival of the Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation, a forum he had floated in the mid-1980s to drum up support for the creation of a separate Tamil nation in Sri Lanka. In 1986, it was a broad-based political platform that attracted leaders from different parts of India and there was widespread support for the cause. A quarter century on, the most striking feature of the attempt to revive it is its incongruity in the current political context.
“The Tamil Eelam project was never really on, as neither India nor the world at large was ever interested in dividing Sri Lanka. Further, neither the domestic situation in Sri Lanka nor the global or regional context contains any objective condition for the establishment of a separate state. Having eliminated rivals to emerge the sole proponent of the cause, and having let the power of arms overshadow its political content, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) effectively destroyed the movement for separation through its ultimate defeat. VelupillaiPrabhakaran has left behind only a legacy of ruin and devastation for his Tamil community, and it is left to the few surviving Tamil moderate politicians to pick up the shards of a nearly abandoned devolution discourse and work towards limited self-rule in the Tamil majority areas.”
Referring to Karunanidhi’s quick change acts on the Eelam Project, V Krishnamurthy states: “Mr. Karunanidhi has, over the years, oscillated from advocating Sri Lanka’s division to advising Tamil groups and parties to go in for a negotiated settlement.
A truthful summary of his stand over the last 30 years will be an unbroken record of flip-flops.
His latest U-turn is the ease with which he dropped the core principle of TESO - the concept of 'Tamil Eelam' - from the agenda for the first conference of the revived forum to be held on August 12. All it needed was a visit from the Union Home Minister for the DMK patriarch to jump from strident advocacy to confounding ambivalence - a domain he is quite comfortable in. “Tamil Eelam remains my dream, but this is not the time to stress on it much or organise agitations,” he rationalised.
The target was Krishnamurthy’s criticism was not only Karunanidhi. He had taken up Jayalalitha, too. As he said it: There is little wisdom in accusing just one leader of contradictions. His (Karunanidhi’s) arch-rival Jayalalitha, too, has pitched for 'Eelam,' a recent highlight being her election promise ahead of the 2009 general election that the government she supported would send troops to Sri Lanka to carve out 'Tamil Eelam.'
Indian foreign policy appeared to go in favour of the Tamil minority initially, then gave a semblance of neutrality at the time of the Indo-Sri Lankan accord of 1987 by striking a path-breaking blow for both the country’s unity and the Tamil aspirations for provincial self-rule; in more recent times, preserving Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity became an obsessive objective, and India was drawn into - largely in a moral sense, and to a lesser extent, materially, too - into the government’s military project to destroy the LTTE. On the Eelam concept itself, the writer states: “What makes TESO a mockery of the predicament of the Tamils in Sri Lanka is the fact that they are more worried about their security and survival than resurrecting the separatist demand. In fact long before the LTTE was vanquished, there was all-round realisation that Tamil Eelam was not a viable project. Any separatist rhetoric abroad now is bound to have adverse repercussions on Tamils living in Sri Lanka.”
That the Indian concerns about pro-LTTE activists is not different to that of Sri Lanka was made clear in the India Home Ministry statement extending the ban on the LTTE: "The Diaspora continue to spread through articles in the Internet portals, anti-India feeling amongst the Sri Lankan Tamils by holding the top Indian political leaders and bureaucrats responsible for the defeat of the LTTE," it said.
"Such propaganda through Internet, which remains continued, is likely to impact VVIP security adversely in India,” and the activities of the LTTE remnant cadres, dropouts, sympathisers, supporters who have been traced out recently in Tamil Nadu suggest that the cadres sent to Tamil Nadu would ultimately be utilised by the LTTE for unlawful activities.
“The activities of pro-LTTE organisations and individuals have come to notice of the government that despite of the ban in force, attempts have been made by these forces to extend their support to the LTTE.
“The LTTE leaders, operatives and supporters have been inimically opposed to India's policy on their organisation and action of the state machinery in curbing their activities," it said.
The Home Ministry also said the LTTE's objective for a separate homeland (Tamil Eelam) for all Tamils threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and amounts to cession from the Union and thus falls within the ambit of unlawful activities.” “The LTTE, even after its military defeat in May 2009 in Sri Lanka, has not abandoned the concept of ‘Eelam’ and has been clandestinely working towards the ‘Eelam’ cause by undertaking fund raising and propaganda activities in Europe.
“The remnant LTTE leaders or cadres have also initiated efforts to regroup the scattered activities and resurrect the outfit locally and internationally,” it said. This assessment by New Delhi is worth careful study by those who now call themselves moderate Tamil political leaders, and try hard to make the world, and especially India, forget how they were the unashamed lackeys and proxies of the LTTE.
Although they now talk of the democratic rights of the Tamil people, they were at the forefront of those who helped VelupillaiPrabhakaran and the LTTE to deprive the Tamils of the democratic rights, especially of the franchise; and were Tiger flag waving stooges of terror, who were elected to Parliament only with the nod of the LTTE and its armed threats to free elections.
The TNA and others around it must re-think the political realities in the post-LTTE and 'Eelam Lost' era, and consider how democracy is to be nurtured in the North of this country, after what they did to destroy it.