Tigers thank TN political parties
Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have expressed their gratitude to various political parties in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu which have staged number of demonstrations against the Sri Lankan government’s ongoing military offensive.
In a statement issued via e-mail, the head of LTTE's political wing B Nadesan says: “War efforts of Sinhalese government to annihilate the Ealam Tamils have been scaled up to the unprecedented level. At this point various protest meeting held by the Tamil Nadu political leaders for the support of our people has given encouragement to our people".
In the past few weeks various political parties in Tamil Nadu including the ruling DMK which is a critical ally to the central government have held number of protest meetings against Sri Lankan government action in the Wanni region.
Accusing Sri Lanka authorities of killing large number of innocent civilians in the military action, the parties had demanded Indian intervention to stop the war in Sri Lanka.
Rajiv Gandhi assassination
People in the southern Indian state and the Sri Lankan Tamils speak the same language and in eighties there was even a wide spread sympathy for the struggle of Sri Lankan Tamils.
But the support had eroded considerably after the ill fated Indian military intervention and the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by Tamil Tigers that led to the banning of the LTTE in India.
Ever since, most Indian political parties refrained from openly supporting the LTTE.
Its leader Pirabhakaran and intelligence wing chief Pottu Amman are the most wanted fugitives by the Indian government.
Recently the spate of killing of Indian fishermen by the alleged firing by the Sri Lankan Navy resulted in a number of anti-Sri Lankan demonstrations.
The main opposition party of Tamil Nadu, AIADMK, which has maintained an anti-LTTE stand for a long time has softened its stand regarding the Sri lankan tamil issue.
Tamil parties are taking up Sri Lankan issue to win votes in the up coming parliamentary election due to be help next year, according to some analysts.
But for the LTTE these protests have come at a time when it is struggling to hold on to the territories which it controls. This unexpected support makes it happy.
"Sinhalese government was under the impression that we will never get any help from Tamil Nadu. At this time Tamil Nadu leaders and people have expressed their anger against the Sri Lankan government,” says B Nadesan.
“The moral support by the Tamil Nadu leaders should translate into political action is the desire of the Ealam Tamils," B Nadesan urged. But he has not elaborated on this "political action".
The statement added: "Countries hostile to India are among the countries which provides support to the Sri Lankan government in its war efforts."
Although India's central government has avoided getting directly involved in the Sri Lankan affairs it has given arms and training to the Sri Lankan government forces.
During the LTTE's attack on the Vavuniya military base two Indian technicians were injured.
India's National Security Adviser M K Narayanan had stated India will provide only "defensive weapon systems to Lanka".
India’s ‘grave concern’
Tamil Nadu political parties however would like to see a complete end to all kind of military support to Sri Lankan government.
How far these protests will influence India's Sri Lankan policy is an open question.
But on Monday, when the state's ruling party DMK held a massive meeting against the war in Sri Lanka, India summoned the Sri Lankan deputy High commissioner in Delhi and expressed its "grave concern and unhappiness at the growing casualties of unarmed Tamil civilians as a result of military action".
The Sri Lankan foreign secretary Pallitha Kohona, rejected accusations by the Tamil Nadu political parties.
Dr. Kohona told BBC Tamil service that the Sri Lankan government is not conducting a war against Tamils but against a terrorist organisation holding territory illegally in the country's north.
He also accused the Tigers of using civilians as human shield.