India should not to make the mistake of riding on clay horses!
By V. Thangavelu
According to press reports Douglas Devananda, Secretary General of the EPDP is currently camping in New Delhi. His unholy mission is to meet politicians of the ruling as well as the opposition parties and plead for the active intervention of India in the current peace talks between the GoSL. and the LTTE. IANS news agency says, “Devananda met National Security Advisor Brijesh Mishra today to ask India to play a more direct role in finding a solution to the Tamil problem.” (IANS-June 29,2003)
In an interview to the BBC Thamil service today (July 01, 2003) Douglas Devananda said India’s active involvement in the peace process is a must because of its close proximity to Sri Lanka and its status as a regional super power. He also spoke about destabilization of India because of the conflict, but did not elaborate.
Douglas Devananda has been more explicit in what he means by “destabilization” on other occasions. An interim council for the Northeast dominated by LTTE will ignite the flames of nationalism now dormant in Thamil Nadu. Thamil Nadu will then declare UDF severing ties from the North Indian dominated Indian Union. So India should realise the danger posed by LTTE, which can be eliminated only by Indian intervention.
This is the type of fear mongering that the mandarins of the South Block as well as the RAW like to hear so that they in turn could feed the politicians about the bogey of an “independent Thamil Nadu.” In fact they have gone several steps further. According to their fanciful theory Prabhakaran after creating an independent state of Thamil Eelam will take the next logical step of creating a “Greater Thamil Nadu” by joining Thamil Nadu proper.
This largely explains why the foreign policy perspectives of India vis-à-vis the LTTE remains unchanged despite a change of government at the centre. It also explains why the BJP government turned a blind eye to the arrest and incarceration of Vaiko, leader of MDMK, a reliable ally of the ruling National Democratic Alliance! Vaiko was arrested under POTA by Ms. Jayalalithaa, an Ayankaar woman who migrated to Thamil Nadu to make a living by acting in films. Today she has made no secret about her hatred of Thamil Nationalism.
All those who voiced moral support to the LTTE are behind bars because of a maverick chief minister who unashamedly uses Anna’s name to install an anti- Thamil, anti-people and anti-democratic regime in Thamil Nadu. Not surprisingly Ms. Jayalalithaa is ideologically very close to the BJP, especially L.K.Advani, BJP ideologue and Deputy Prime Minister of India. Even the Thamil Nadu based BJP has not cared to conceal its admiration for Ms. Jayalalithaa.
The theory that an independent Thamil Eelam will have a domino effect in Thamil Nadu by fanning flames of separation leading to an independent Thamil Nadu is preposterous. It is a ridiculous and far-fetched theory, which has no basis at all.
The Thamils of Thamil Eelam and Thamil Nadu speak the same language and share a common culture, but not common history. Historically and geographically the Thamils of Thamil Eelam have a distinct existence of their own spanning several centuries. Under no circumstances will they like to lose that separate distinctiveness. So all this talk about “Greater Thamil Nadu” is hogwash calculated to discredit the liberation struggle of the Thamil people.
Douglas Devananda’s Delhi visit has other sinister objectives. He wants to exploit India’s animosity towards LTTE to his own advantage. What better opportunity than now when RAW’s hold on TULF is fast slipping and pro-Indian outfits like the EPLRF (V) is fast reduced to a rump.
For Douglas Devananda to endear himself to his Indian masters, he has to portray himself as a democrat and raise the bogey of LTTE as a “fascist” organization. Douglas Devananda knows well that whatever he says will be sweet music to the ears of Indian politicians and officials! But what restrains India to bite the bait is probably “the fear of repeating the 1987 experience all over again.”
Let us now examine the “democratic” credentials of Douglas Devananda. Many are unaware of the fact that Douglas Devananda is a fugitive from justice. In 1986 at Choolaimedu in Chennai, Douglas Devananda, military commander of the EPLRF, had an altercation with a group of youths close to his house. When the altercation turned nasty Douglas ran into his house, grabbed an AK-47 rifle and fired at the youths from the top floor at close range. The bullets hit one Aiyaavu, a Dalit graduate killing him on the spot.
There was widespread revulsion, anger and condemnation of the ghastly and cold-blooded murder in broad daylight. Douglas was arrested and kept in prison. Later the court let him out on bail, but he gave the slip to the authorities and surfaced in Colombo. A well-known columnist described his arrival in Colombo thus “ He was wearing rubber slippers and had only a knapsack carrying some clothes and documents. His political fortunes were at low ebb. The offer to help the government was born through desperation. The bold gamble worked and then bloomed successfully after war broke out with the tigers. Devananda was criticised severely then for betraying the Tamil cause and openly collaborating with the enemy.” (The Sunday Leader – November 22, 2001)
Thus Douglas Devananda cleverly exploited the war between the LTTE and the Sinhala governments and literally manna started falling from heaven. Both Premadasa and Chandrika rewarded him for betraying the struggle and playing the role of a mercenary by handing over the islands off Jaffna peninsula to him. From that time onwards there was no looking back. It is the typical story of rags to riches. Douglas Devananda whose cadres are on the payroll of the army is collecting close to 70 lakhs per month!
Though Douglas Devananda is crying hoarse about “democracy” his records shows he and his outfit are “fascists” who carried out cold-blooded killings!
On October 19, 2000 Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, Jaffna correspondent of the BBC Tamil and Sinhala Service, was killed. The killing took place during curfew hours in a high security zone in the heart of Jaffna town. There was an army check post just a few metres close to Nimalarajan house. Devananda and /or his cadres were the prime suspects in the murder. Later the police arrested and charged Visvan alias Visu and Murali alias David Michael Collins and Napoleon all belonging to the EPDP with murder. But the Vavuniya High Court released them on bail after furnishing a bond of Rs. 100,000 on 11 September 2002. Since then the case is in a state of limbo, police showing scant or no interest in prosecuting the case.
Mr. Nimalrajan was very critical of widespread vote rigging by the EPDP during the general elections held in 2000 in Jaffna. Douglas Devananda has complained to the army chief Lionel Balagalla that Nimalarajan is a LTTE supporter.
On November 09, 1999 Nadarajah Atputharajah alias Ramesh, editor of Thina Murasu, the semi-official organ of the EPDP was gunned down in Colombo during broad daylight. He was travelling in his jeep and persons in another vehicle, which followed him, opened fire and killed him. The assassins are still at large. It is widely believed that Devananda was behind the shooting. Not surprisingly Devananda did not attend Ramesh funeral though the latter was a fellow EPDP M.P. The motive for the murder was Ramesh’s perceived support for the LTTE through the columns of Thina Murasu.
On December 29, 1999 Mrs.Sarathambal Saravanabavananthakurukal, 29, of Punkudutivu, was gang-raped and murdered by Navy personnel. Her body was found the following day under the bushes near Kannaki Amman Temple close to her home. The perpetrators of this ghastly crime were never arrested or brought to justice though Punkudutivu was a fiefdom of the EPDP at the relevant time. Obviously the EPDP was an accomplice to this murder.
On June 8, 1995 around 9.00 pm four members of the EPDP went to the house of A. Nicholas, AGA, Delft. They told Mrs. Nicholas that they are taking her husband for questioning and will be soon back. But around 1.00 am the EPDP cadres brought back the dead body of Nicholas claiming he had committed suicide. To date there is no inquiry or arrest of the EDPD goons who murdered him.
On November 28, 2001 an EPDP gang armed with T56 assault rifles, swords and knives attacked a group of TNA candidates and supporters who went to Naaranthanai for election canvassing. Two persons were killed. The Police arrested parliamentarian N. Mathanarajan, EPDP Kayts organizer Sebastiampillai Ramesh and Napoleon all top rung leaders of EPDP on charge of murder. Napoleon absconded but later surrendered to the court on a warrant. The wheels of justice are grinding slowly in court.
Therefore, how the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo chose to give a visa to Douglas Devananda, a fugitive from justice, is a mystery. The High Commissioner in all fairness owes an explanation to the Thamil people.
Right through out EPDP’s stock in trade was murder, kidnapping, extortion, bank robberies, smuggling etc. In fact one time Douglas Devananda earned the dubious distinction of being dubbed as “pillaipidikaaran” (kidnapper)!
Therefore the tall claim that Douglas Devananda and his outfit are ‘democrats’ engaged in political activities in Northeast under gun of the Army and Police is not borne out by cold facts. Such claim smacks of hypocrisy, opportunism and even criminality. Mercenaries on the payroll of the army cannot lay claim to political party status. They are what they are- Quislings and fifth columnists!
In terms of Section 1.8 of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) “Tamil paramilitary groups shall be disarmed by the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) by D-day +30 at the latest. The GOSL shall offer to integrate individuals in these units under the command and disciplinary structure of the GOSL armed forces for service away from the Northern and Eastern Province.
“But D.B.S Jeyaraj, the Devil’s advocate defends the para-military groups thus “Soon the non-Tiger groups engaging in politics were compelled to hand over arms to the authorities. They were thus unprotected and helpless. Many expected these groups to quit the northeast physically after this. To their credit, these organisations remained bravely. After all, the northeast was their homeland and not the exclusive preserve of the Tigers. To the Tigers, this situation was intolerable.
“DBS Jeyaraj uncanny propensity to indulge in self-delusion, flight of fancy, hallucination and paranoia have now assumed gigantic proportions!
So if the EPDP choose to stay in Northeast then it should not be heard to complain about its cadres being targeted by unidentified persons. They perhaps are simply settling old scores.
Everyone understands the geo-political interests of India. But then the Indian government should not commit the mistake of riding on clay horses to cross the river! Nor repose confidence on bogus ‘democrats’ who have slavishly sold their souls and soiled their hands with the blood of innocent people. More importantly, India should see through the veil of deceit and not make the mistake of repeating history. The decimation of TNA raised by the IPKF and RAW through forced conscription to fight the LTTE is a lesson India should never ignore or forget.