Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

‘A Ceasefire Is Needed To End The Genocide By Sri Lanka’s Army’

by PC Vinoj Kumar, Tehelka, April 11, 2009

I want to tell the international community and India that they should focus on fulfilling the political aspirations of the Tamil people by recognising their struggle for self-determination and a homeland, instead of wasting time, effort and lives while waiting for a post-LTTE scenario, which is never going to come.

Even as the Sri Lankan army claims it is close to wiping out the LTTE, the rebel group’s political head, B Nadesan, rejects the assertion that the Tigers are about to be made extinct. In an exclusive interview with PC VINOJ KUMAR, he reiterates the LTTE’S commitment to continue waging a bloody war to secure a separate homeland for the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

Many observers have already started talking about a post-LTTE, post- Prabakaran scenario in Sri Lanka.
Let me make one thing very clear here: There will not be a post-LTTE scenario. Look around the world, and you will see the desire for freedom and dignity in the hearts and minds of all Tamils. The LTTE is seen as the way to achieve the political aspirations of the Tamil people. We have achieved this status by spearheading Tamils’ quest for self-determination over the past 35 years without compromising our responsibilities as their freedom fighters.

Nadesan 2008On the military aspect, in a war, setbacks and advancements are unavoidable. What matters most is what we achieve in the end. I want to tell the international community and India that they should focus on fulfilling the political aspirations of the Tamil people by recognising their struggle for self-determination and a homeland, instead of wasting time, effort and lives while waiting for a post-LTTE scenario, which is never going to come.

What is your reaction to reports that Prabakaran’s son, Charles Antony, has been injured in the fighting?
This is false propaganda from the Sri Lankan government. He is not injured.

Where is Prabakaran? Is he in the battle zone or in a safe place?
He is here with our people, leading our freedom struggle as our national leader, and guiding the war as our Commander-in- Chief.

What are the chances he will flee the country?
Zero percent.

What is Prabakaran’s reaction to reports that the Sri Lankan army is trying to capture him alive?
He laughs [at such reports].

How does Prabakaran react to the Sri Lankan government’s charge that he is a coward who does not lead from the front?
Again, he laughs. Let me point out that this is being said by a government that is anticipating the capitulation of the Tamil people because of the embargo on food, medicine and essentials that they have enforced against Tamil areas over the past two-and-a-half decades. They still continue to use food as weapon.

Does Prabakaran still believe he can achieve Eelam?
If he didn’t, he would have given up long ago.

Are Indian soldiers on the battleground fighting the LTTE along side the Sri Lankan army?
I can say that a very high level of military cooperation exists between the Sri Lankan and Indian governments.

What is your response to allegations that the LTTE is using civilians as human shields?
The Tamil people are aware of the repeated aggression against them by the Sri Lankan state under various guises. Calling the people here “trapped” or “human shield” is inappropriate, as they do not want to go into the hands of the aggressor state. Sri Lanka should give a safe passage to independent humanitarian officials to come here and find out the will of the people.

You have repeatedly announced that you are ready for a ceasefire. Is this a sign of weakness?
We insist on a ceasefire because Sri Lanka keeps accelerating its genocidal war [against the Tamils]. A ceasefire is needed to address the humanitarian crisis and for people to get essential relief supplies right where they live.

What is your appeal to the international community?
Innocent children, mothers and elders are being massacred by the Sri Lankan armed forces everyday. Therefore, there is an urgent need to push the Sri Lankan government towards a ceasefire. We urge the international community not to go along with Sri Lanka’s uprooting of Tamils, being carried out in the guise of “fighting terrorism”. We appeal to the international community to halt this war immediately and facilitate a negotiation for a permanent political settlement based on the Tamils’ right to self-determination.