Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No Double Standards: India shouldn't be soft on LTTE sympathesizers

It's high time that we stop maintaining double standards with regards to terrorism. When we take serious offense in Pakistan's reluctance to act against the people who have been alleged to plot terror attacks in India, we should also ensure that we come down heavily on people who sympathize with any acts of terrorism elsewhere in the world. It's no secret thatVaiko not only sympathizes with LTTE movement, but also supports the same and speaks vocally to create public support in its favor. In his official site he has declared that "Tamil Eelam has to be the final solution". Also in an interview few years back he had mentioned, "I have met him(Prabhakaran) countless times. He has come to my house and had food with me on many occasions.... I was then with him in the thick jungles and bunkers in Jaffna when the IPKF and Lankan forces attacked the LTTE. I was with Prabhakaran when the war was raging. I was his friend, his companion.They were the best days of life. They were wonderful days". If we get incensed with Pakistan government's open indulgence to someone like Maulana Masood Azhar or Dawood Ibrahim won't the Sri Lankan's also feel the same about Indian's handling of Vaiko? Like Pakistan, we'd also arrested Vaiko twice but never taken any action - something that might happen to Maulana Azhar now that he has been kept under house arrest under intense Indian and international pressure to act against him. Also we've Karunanidhi writing a poem in praise of LTTE's chief of political wing S PTamilselvan, who was killed in November last year. He wrote, "A face always smiling; a heart that broke down all opposition; a youthful man with a heart as strong as the Himalayas; a commander who developed at thefoot steps of Balasingham, the old lion; a noble youth who considered hislife manure for his liberation struggle; one who was like life to us, like a brother to us, oh, Selva, he who etched his fame on every Tamil heart, and every Tamil home, where have you gone?". How would we react if some eminent politician from Pakistan writes similar things about the nineterrorists killed in the Bombay carnage? Isn't it double standards? The people of Sri Lanka is thinking in the same way as we're thinking about Pakistan, whom we hold responsible for all our terror attacks. The anger of Sri Lankans is quite visible in many blog sites frequented by Sri Lankan world wide. With reference to Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Sri Lanka one of the comments in a blog site is, "Basil Rajapakse should go to India and try to defuse the tensions between Pakistan and India.... They are now trying to flex their muscles in the region.....". Another comment says,"Karunanidhi, why don't you come yourself and get the real account fromthe neutral Tamils not the terrorists or their supporter. We will give youthe list of Tamil leaders who were murdered by your friend Prabhakaran from Durayappa to Kadirgamar".
India Government should take a strong stand against such instances ofindulgences and public sympathy towards LTTE. Otherwise it doesn't haveany moral ground to confront Pakistan.

Useful Links:

  1. Vaiko's interview - he has mentioned of his support for Prabhakaran and LTTE
  2. Vaiko's web-site - has detailed backgrounds and history of LTTE movement
  3. Comments by Sri Lankans - about India's handling of LTTE related issues
  4. Official Website of Peace Secretariat of LTTE
  5. Account of LTTE terrorism


Sudipto Das said...

by Uday


Circa 1981 - I visit my college mate, a Sri Lankan Tamil, 30 years plus old, (yeah, he lost his "years" learning to handle guns and make bombs in Jaffna) at Loyola College hostel, Chennai. On his wall, he has this cloth flag saying "Long Live Tamil Eelam" - the map is hand drawn in red (was that symbolic those days?) and shows what the Tamils want - Jaffna peninsula, Trincomalee in the east of the Emerald Isle AND
the entire Tamil Nadu state in India !!

Circa 1983 - I am in my PG education at Madras and in my classmate/friends's house in Nungambkam - a popular place for a few of us to hang out to drink cheap rum and smoke pot an listen to rock music. I met this stunning Sri Lankan Tamil beauty, just
about our ages then. Long and short of it she told us deadpan she was from Jaffna and had just arrived by boat to India just with her clothes on her back. None of her family of 3 generations, survived the massacre in that year in Jaffna. Then was "born" V Prabhakaran and the rest is history !

Central and southern parts of TN harbour a lot of Tamils from there and I am not surprised that the SL Army Chief said that Vaiko and Nedumaran are on the LTTE's
"payroll". Its an open secret since 20-25 years back that political parties are patronised by the LTTE whose late Anton Balasingham had tremendous organising capabilites and was also listened to by diplomats and missions in the western world
and East Asian countries. In one of your earlier mails, you said it - the LTTE has "air, land and sea capabilities" - they also have financial muscle !

Having said that, one profound advice I had from my ex-boss in BPL way back in 1990 was "check the background, Uday. Nothing is wright or wrong. Everything has a
history". I was young and trying to "recommend" a new appraisal system to that company then ! We all did that in our careers, didn't we ?

My point is, tackling the Tamils' in SL issue from India's point of view requires going back in history, some of it very recent. So Pranabda has a tough job but he is the best man for it. In my opinion he is a person who is a victim of history - he could have been and maybe deserves to be PM, but he is needed as a MEA more !
Something like Mukesh in Synopsys India - the Bheesmapita and yet he has to be the Knakapillai (finance guy) there. Wah wah Wah !!

Bottomline - try espousing your viewpoint in TN state to a hard core Tamil and you will be lynched. I lived and studied 10 years in TN during the turbukent late 70's and half of 80's and I know how deep the feeling for the Tamils in SL runs. *** And
our Seelan is from "central" TN if I recall right !! But Seelan is an honourable man !! He also hand wrestles as a pastime, we know. Wanna try talking to him f2f on this ? I bet he''s tell you, Et tu Sudipto ? OR the Tamil not-so-equivalent "Wohatha dai

Sudipto Das said...


very well written and very valid points. Yes, I accept all your points. But what-so-ever, terrorism has never been a solution for freedom ever in
modern history, even it's against state sponsored atrocities or
discrimination amd India and South Africa are the brightest examples of this. Any terrorism, be it Naxal movement or the present Islamic Jihad, has a valid reason somewhere burried in it. LTTE movement is no different. But use of terrorism for any cause can't be justified by anything. I'm
equally against people like Savarkar, Udham Singh, or the Swadeshis from Bengal or Punjab or Maharsatra who went on a killing spree in the name of freeing India from the clutches of British rule. Basically there's not much difference between the armed Swadeshi movement and LTTE movement. Both are equally condemnable. If you have to get attention you have to get someone like gandhi or nelson Mandela. Do you think the problem in South
Africa would have been solved had it not got the kind of attention it got internationally due to Mandela? same with Gandhi. Irrespective of his
several controversial stands, still without him India won't have got the right kind of international attention which started putting pressure on
UK. Also take the brighest example from Vietnam. The entire country
started non-cooperating with the Americans. I'm sure the sucide bombings of the Vietnamis were not the main reason for America's defeat. US was too powerful to contain any acts pf terrorism. But it's impossible to fight with a country where 100% people are non-operating. It's totally a wrong
notion that Vietnam won because of their terrorism. Why do you think LTTE movement doesn't get the right attention internationally where as each head of country defies Chinese warnings and meet Dalai Lama? Do you want to say the discrimination and atrocities against Tibetans is less than
that of the Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka. Dalai Lama is much
intelligent than Prabhakaran in creating such a public awareness about the plight of Tibetans. Now see how much development Chinese governemt has done in Tibet. Now even Dalai Lama is speaking less of free Tibet or because the plight of the Tibetans have reduced considerably over the
years due to continuous international scrutiny. Do you ever think that Sarkozy would bother to even talk to Prabhakaran. But he did meet Dalai
Lama. Both Dalai Lama and Prabhakaran are fighting for the same cause. But see who has made more impact. Unless you get international sympathy and
attention you can't end the problems in Sri Lanka or Tibet.
So I stick to my point that what-so-ever be the reason or background, terrorism is not the solution. BTW, there are many sites which will show how much atrocities and innocent
killings the LTTE have done. You may check some of the Sri Lankan sites. So LTTE is also a similar menace as is the Sri Lankan Government.


Sudipto Das said...

by Uday

I am not questioning that terrorism must be stamped out. LTTE is also causing atrocties on innocents, I agree. It is often said in history, that the means need not justify the end. Only Gandhi thought otherwise and proved it. So even a Genghis
Khan gets his due place in history. In that case, our own Emperor Ashoka was the greatest. The Kalinga battle being a watershed, I feel. Btw, how many of us feel proud of the 4 headed lion that is our country's national symbol? Think about it
everytime you see a currency note or coin in your hand.

Circa 1991 - In my days in manufacturing I hired a retired soldier as Security Officer at a factory in Hosur and he used to tell us incidents about the IPKF (Rajiv Gandhi's toxic lesson at learning Tamil nationalist sentiment and chauvinism which
resulted in his death and our very own Jayanti Natarajan is closely linked to that incident) One thing he told us was how Indian jawans used to raid the Tamil populace
in Jaffna and rape the Tamil womenfolk there only because their menfolk including teens were part of LTTE and at war with SL and IPKF; the LTTE got to know who did
the atrocity and their snipers on coconut trees would fatally pick out the particular offender when he would do a patrol march, single file, the next day. But enough of that. Shoot, today, I have a lurking fear of going to Garuda Mall to pick up something that's only available there - how do I explain that to my 11 year old
daughter who is also intelligent enough to tell me that TV news nowadays sucks since "they only show terrorism and the all that stuff ! " She and all of our kids would prefer Hannah Montana, Pogo, CN, etc after a tough day at school and after homework
completion at home, any day. Innocence is the biggest casualty of terrorism, like war.

The Dalai Lama is so "intelligent" that he pitched his fight to get back Tibet in Hollywood ! They even made a movie on him and I will not be surprised if he got a
"cut" from the proceeds of that blockbuster at least in the Western world. He has developed an image of a child in a man's body and of late has flip flopped on his
stand on Tibet unlike Mandela or Gandhi. Sarkozy visiting him has nothing to with Sarkozy's intelligence. The Chinese must be stopped or thwarted by the Western
"imperialist powers" - now I am sounding like a pseudo naxal from Kerala :-) - the threat is China and the West cares 2 hoots about DL or Tibet. Personally, I am not
impressed with what DL does. Why does the DL not have such a presence in the rest of the world? Even in Japan? I steadfastly refuse to join the network sites and mails from friends on anything to do with the DL. Latest is even his flock is restive at Dharmasala and the other 33 sites the Tibetans have settled in India. One is somewhere in/near Coorg.

The Vietnam war was also about American intervention abroad post WWII - the US was so scared of the rampaging spread of communism - China, N. Korea, Laos, Cambodia,
Vietnam, etc - that they used force also to curtail it. This was the McCarthy doctrine. (I have also read some theories the US used PL 480 in the '50's and early
60's so effectively against India, thanks to the CIA which "read" about India's potential to be a threat to their imperialist designs. PL (public legislation) 480 was simply put, an attempt at denying food aid to countries suspected of having communist leanings. The Indian Green Revolution was egg in the face for the yanks and this PL died a natural death) The US political class realised that body bags
does not bring them votes and made a tectonic shift in foreign policy to assuage domestic needs. That got repeated in Iraq and now the President-elect - what a crazy
country; they elect a prez and he has to wait to take over ! In India, only the High Command delays appointments of CM's - says that he will focus the war on terror in Afghanistan using Paki soldiers to do that. Again, the idea is laudable but the
means are suspect as it is always with the US and their foreign policy that gets dictated by domestic compulsions. We too, are like the US, and will not risk a war because our self serving politicians will get wiped out from the public stage. So an
"intervention" in SL is ruled out even if Vaiko spews venom and calls them small country etc and curses MMS and his govt. It may interest you to know that this guy
split the DMK who were then the most vocal supporters of the LTTE and even participated in the planning of Rajiv Gandhi's fatal and sad demise; if I recall
rightly there is also a SC indictment on the party - I may be wrong.

I think MMS (fellow surd - wah wah) is doing the right thing. Curtail the dogs of war and focus and build up on what he started in 1991 - become a superpower using
economics. Then if we want to dictate the world so be it. But policing the world has a price as the US realises now.

Btw, what international attention did Gandhi get to pressurise the Empire? I was always taught (when I was letching Tamil beauties) that his greatness lay in "a
pinch of salt to destroy an empire". My subsequent readings on Gandhi are numerous also and yet I am no total peacenik :-) Mandela is just a pale shadow; evem now I
don't get it why an important road is named after him, what did he contribute to India ? And DL? It is better known as the Duckworth-Lewis method that decides the
fate of a cricket match rationalising the rudiments of nature - maths in sports? We
are so obsessed with results ? Thought for the day ! Even Dhoni from Jharkhand studies it and strategises his victories. He surely may not know that DL also means Dalai Lama - he'd rather perform in the game and collect his cool crores which you and me and all Synopsoids present and past, can only do using the Mukesh method - add the zeroes in the salary column in Excel spreadsheet, but don't save the file.
Sigh ! :-(

Sudipto Das said...

yes, Chenghis Khan also gets a place in the history, which generally remembers famous and infamous people. Do you know who was the architect of Taj Mahal. But you know Hitler, right? So getting a place in history
doesn't mean that someone did something good!!

Yes, Ashoka's mention is very much apt. He is both famous and infamous. My take on Ashoka is that he was a very shrewd politician, very much like
Gandhi. He knew that fighting is costly and not worth the pain taken. After all all we wanted is to increase his control over greater land so that he could earn more revenue. Very interestingly his empire got much bigger only after he attained the role of Dharmashoka after the kalinga
war, which had bled him financially - nothing to be emotional about it!!
Statistically his is the biggest Empire in this subcontinent and one of the biggest in the world, even bigger than Alexander's. He was the first person in the world who discovered that non violence is much efficient than violence in politics.

Now about DL. Well I feel without him you and I won't have even discussed Tibet. Whatever pressure the West is putting on China is just because of whatever contacts DL has in the West. Don't you believe that's true? He is
also a very shrewd person. He knows it's now pointless to talk about Tibetan autonomy, because China is string enough to be dictated terms by the West. But then China has put enough money to improve the infrastructure of Tibet and I hear the economy of Tibetans have also improved. That's all you want, right? Freedom, autonomy etc has no meaning if they can't feed you, right? DL has seen that and I feel that's why he is logical in putting the 'freedom' and 'autonomy' stuff in the back

same with Nelson Mandela. Do you think the white regime in SF would have ended without the public sympathy that he garnered during his 25 years of imprisonment?

Lastly, about Gandhi. I don't read about Gandhi from Indian writers. I
always read Americans and English writers. I don't know if you've read Fischer's book on Gandhi - that's a very impartial assessment of Gandhi's personna and impact. Yes, he did put hell lot of pressure on Churchill and other people across the world. UK would have anyway left India after the
WWII, because they were totally screwed up financially, but the awareness about India that Gandhi created 50-60 years back has helped a lot to create India's image in the West.

So the bottom line is that you can't ever win fighting against a state. You have to create awareness about your plight across the world and that's the best you can get.

And yes, the best way for India is to become more powerful financially so that no one would dare to dictate terms to India. Also the best way to stop terrorism is to improve the economic conditions of the people
affected. Iäm sure Lashkar-e-Toiba couldn't have got people to die just for 1 lakh Pakistani rupees had the conditions in most part of Pakistan been much better. So not only we have to improve our conditions, we've to also make sure that our neighbors are also going up the economic ladder....

Ramesh Srivats said...

Karunanidhi for PM!!!!

Deepa Subbaraman said...

Hi Sudipto, Nice Blog and very well written.
One thing to bear in mind is that people like Karunanidhi only support/oppose any issue depending on the possible Vote Bank. Right from his Atheism, anti-Hindusim, to pro Sri Lankan Tamilians are all an eye wash.

Cheers and Keep posting.

Sudipto Das said...

By Mukesh.

The IPKF was a disaster right from the word go (no it was not an invasion, we were ‘invited’ by the concerned parties). The forces were fighting with one hand tied behind their backs with instructions not to harm civilians. [my class mate was there. He was in Short Service Commission, vehicle maintenance (whatever they call it technically in the army) and hence brought up the rear of the convoys. Watching vehicles blown up by land mines was part of the job They had no way of distinguishing between the LTTE fighters (for want of a better word), sympathizers and normal citizens. During search and seize operations, that sweet little old lady may just be a suicide bomber with a bomb tied to her body !

Yes there were automatic weapons and if a soldier on a beach hallucinated about a boat landing, he would start shooting, setting of a chain reaction from his platoon, only to discover at the end of the firing that there was not even a dog around ! And than the IPKF staff had to do its banking transactions in Chennai where they were given the treatment by the locals. Left them wondering whose war it was and what peace they were trying to keep !!

This is no apology for the war crimes. But than these crimes happen in civilian life also, starting from the beaches in Goa to the construction/garment industry and moving higher up. And there are no snipers here who will get the criminal !