The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon

Sachi Sri Kantha
[17 May 2002]

The Tamil Sentiments and V.P.Singh’s Views

A Preliminary Note on Resumption of the Series. I resume the Pirabhakaran Phenomenon series, after a self-imposed suspension of three months. Though since inception, I had managed to contribute the first 33 parts on a weekly basis, due to pressing demand of time in a new work environment, I have to lax this pace a little, and I plan to continue the series at fortnightly intervals. I appreciate the understanding of the readers in this regard.


That the Rajiv Gandhi assassination in May 1991 placed Tamils (living in India, Eelam, Sri Lanka and elsewhere) in a state of shock and utter disbelief is not an exaggeration. As individuals vary in their physical dimensions and intellectual capacities, the reaction of Tamils to this tragic event also varied.

One could conveniently categorize the Tamil sentiments into three broad types: naive hearts, karma-believers and opportunistic tear-shedders cum hypocrites. I provide examples of these three types below.

  1. Naive Hearts – quite a segment of journalists in India and elsewhere.

  2. Karma Believers – quite a segment of Tamil population, who do not express their views openly for reasons of being tagged as politically incorrect.

  3. Opportunistic Tear-Shedders – quite a segment of politicians and political analysts in Tamil Nadu, anti-LTTE militant groups in Eelam.

Among these, Naive-Hearts and Opportunistic Tear-Shedders have been voluble and willingly prattle politically-correct sentiments. They also lead a symbiotic existence. Contrastingly, Karma Believers have been mostly silent, due to shyness in expressing their politically incorrect sentiments. I should state where I belonged.  I’m an unabashed karma-believer and in the past I had received some flak in the columns of Lanka Guardian journal for stating this position openly.

Views of a Naive-Heart Tamil and a Karma-Believer

First, I provide an example of a naïve heart editorial in entirety, presented in the Tamil Times of London. Then, I submit my critique for this editorial which, though forwarded for publication went unpublished.

An Act of  Unvarnished Terrorism

The tragic spectacle of 20 year old Rahul performing his traditional duty, witnessed by tens of thousands of weeping and wailing mourners including an imposing array of international heads of state and statesmen, of igniting the funeral pyre putting to rest his father, Rajiv Gandhi, one of India’s best known and charismatic leaders, demonstrated the sheer cruelty of the crime committed at Sriperumpudur in Tamil Nadu on 21 May. Seven years ago, Rajiv Gandhi found himself in similar circumstances presiding at the funeral of his mother, the much loved Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated in an act of gross betrayal by her own bodyguards to whom she had entrusted her safety. This time a gang of pathological murderous conspirators had goaded a woman sick in her head to convert herself into a human bomb to perform the diabolical deed. The news of the dastardly assassination of Rajiv Gandhi sent shock waves across the world and numbed the entire Indian nation. The people of Tamil Nadu were shamed by the fact that this act of unmitigated brutality was carried out in their midst.

The murder of Rajiv Gandhi constitutes an act of unvarnished terrorism. If non-Indian elements were involved in the conspiracy and the commission of this crime, then it graduates into the realm of international terrorism, and those who master-minded it must be deemed to be and dealt with as international terrorists. And those who provide post facto cover must be treated as accessories after the crime.

The cowardly character of the perpetrators of Rajiv’s muder is demonstrated by the fact that they have had no courage to claim responsibility for their own act. They know that they stand condemned before the world and wait in the hope that they would never be found. But when they goaded the woman bomber to wear the belt packed with lethal explosives around her waist, they knew that she also would explode into bits. Having thus helped to kill one of their own in an act of odious savagery, the perpetrators have disowned her in a display of characteristic disloyalty and ingratitude – for loyalty and gratitude are human values which such evil minds do not know or understand – and her unclaimed shattered remains lie embalmed in the corner of an Indian mortuary. Even her parents have not come forward to claim her remains.

The sophisticated nature of the technology used, the method employed and the precision with which the assassination was carried out provide evidence of a sordid plot conceived in secrecy and preparations made months in advance. The plotters struck when Rajiv engaged in a nationwide electoral campaign, an essential activity in a functioning democracy for a leader who wanted to be close to his people. Had he been concerned with his personal safety and surrounded himself with an impregnable security ring, he would be alive today. But he paid the supreme price for having chosen to go out among the people. The assassination of Rajiv dramatically illustrates the vulnerability of those who believe in open politics and democracy. It also demonstrates the utter contempt terrorists of the ilk who conspired to murder him have for open politics and democracy. It is manifestly clear that those who were responsible for his killing were frightened at the prospect of Rajiv returning to power through the electoral process and every indication at the time of his murder was that he would have become Prime Minister after the elections. By his murder they were desperately seeking to undermine the electoral process and subvert the democratic verdict of the people.

Very few countries in the third world remain committed to the ideals of democracy and democratic processes and India is an illustrious example. Indian democracy has been resilient enough to withstand many challenges and such tragedies in the past. One hopes that India and its people will emerge from their recent traumatic experience and continue to thrive as a vibrant democracy by defeating the dark divisive and evil forces who are seeking to subvert democracy and destabilize their country.”

[Tamil Times (London) editorial, June 15, 1991, p.3]

That this editorial was a knee-jerk reaction of a naive heart is amply visible, since it glossed over the imperfections of durbar democracy and dark-spots of Rajiv rule in India, between 1984 and 1989. Thus, I submitted a critique.

My Critique to the above-editorial

“Regarding your editorial on the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi (Tamil Times, June 91), I wish to make the following comments. You are correct in condemning the brutal manner in which Rajiv lost his life. But to eulogize him beyond limits shows that you have temporarily suffered from a fatal attack of naiveté.

Though you imply that Rajiv Gandhi believed in ‘open politics and democracy’ and as a consequence met his tragic death, his five year record as the prime minister of India (between 1984 and 1989) shows that he did not come out clean in his adherence to democratic principles. As Barbara Crossette, the New York Times correspondent, who was with Rajiv on that fateful day of May 21st correctly noted in her analysis of Rajiv’s legacy, he ‘in 1987 tampered with the Kashmir state politics for the short term advantage of the Congress Party. A rigged election in 1987 drove flocks of young people into the arms of separatism in Kashmir’ (New York Times Weekly, May 27, 1991). Rajiv was similarly instrumental in the rigging of Northern-Eastern provincial council elections of Sri Lanka which was held under the supervision of the IPKF army.

You also admonish the plotters of Rajiv’s crime for disowning the woman bomber’s body, and imply it as a ‘display of characteristic disloyalty and ingratitude’. I can accept this admonishment. However, how will you explain Rajiv’s ‘display of characteristic disloyalty and ingratitude’ to the Tamils of Sri Lanka, for engaging the IPKF army in the Eelam territory in a preventable war with the LTTE, which led to the death of more than 5,000 Tamil civilians. Didn’t Rajiv betray the trust, these 5,000-odd Tamils had in him? Also, the way Rajiv manipulated to bring out the dismissal of the duly elected Tamil Nadu government of DMK early this year, also proved that he was no flag-holder for democracy. His motives for extending support for the Chandrasekhar faction of the Janata Dal to form a puppet government and then pulling the strings at a whimsical moment to deny this support also is a mockery of democracy. Thus, your assessment that democratic process in India has flourished since 1947 is a hollow one.

In the article referred above, Barbara Crossette has poignantly noted that, the so-called democracy in India for the past four decades has been, ‘essentially one-party, one-family rule… (with) only five brief periods when someone outside the Nehru family ran India. The dynasty has left a political culture shaped to its own requirements…What Indians call the Congress culture has also meant corruption and criminality in politics. Both lowly clerks and members of parliament are bought and sold with the help of money from industrial houses seeking privileges and immunities. Public confidence in the democratic system is absent…’

I will believe what Barbara Crossette has written than what you have tried to portray as Rajiv’s contribution to India.” [Complete text of the letter dated July 20, 1991, submitted by Sachi Sri Kantha to the Tamil Times]

Though, the Tamil Times failed to publish this letter, another of my letter sent on the same theme to the Asahi Evening News in Tokyo appeared in print. It was carried under the caption ‘Democracy in India, West Differ’ for which the caption writer of this newspaper was responsible. The full text is as follows:

“Many politicians of Western nations, such as British Prime Minister John Major and French Premier Edith Cresson, have a simplistic notion about democracy in India (May 22, 1991). If one is willing to accept that a person perched on a 20-meter totem pole is actually 21.5 meters tall, then I will buy the view that democracy has thrived in post-independent India.

To the chagrin of naive Westerners, I wish to state that the parliamentary democracy system never set roots in the continents of Asia and Africa. In countries with multi-ethnic and multi-religious populations, the system of parliamentary democracy has long been aborted in preference to the durbar system of kings (and queens) with a support cast of ministers, though they pretended to act within the boundaries of the parliamentary code of ethics. This has been true for India, a well as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Prime Minister Major’s comments about democracy in India, after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, shows his ignorance of the past and contemporary history of India. True, India has held general elections at frequent intervals. But does that trumpet the triumph of democracy? In the year Rajiv Gandhi was born, his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru (then a freedom fighter against British imperialism) wrote a book called The Discovery of India. In it, the first prime minister of India wrote,

“…General election does not always lead to the success of the better man. Sensitive persons, and those who were not prepared to adopt rough-and-ready methods to push themselves forward, were at a disadvantage and preferred to avoid these contests. Was democracy then to be a close preserve of those possessing thick skins and loud voices and accommodating consciences?”

We should also note that, while democracy is now associated proudly with the United States, as Richard Shenkman wrote in his book Legend, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History (1988):

“so controversial was the word ‘democrat’ that it does not appear in any of the famous documents associated with the birth of the United States – not in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution or any of the state constitutions.”

Eulogies notwithstanding, Rajiv Gandhi did practice what his grandfather had feared. For historical record, one should be reminded that Rajiv Gandhi, during his term as prime minister, did endorse violent election-rigging in Kashmir (1987) as well as in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka (1988).

The eulogy of President George Bush to Rajiv Gandhi also sounds hollow and hypocritical. The politician who was chiefly responsible for the loss of more than 100,000 lives in Iraq early this year, now shed some tears for the ‘tragedy’ and condemns the ‘violence’. Holy cow.” [Asahi Evening News, Tokyo, Jun3 6, 1991, p.8]

Apart from the criticism reported by Barbara Crossette, then covering India for the New York Times, my opinion on Rajiv’s period as prime minister of India, has been substantiated by knowledgeable Mark Tully, the then resident BBC correspondent, who was fluent in Hindi. In his book No Full Stops in India, published following the death of Rajiv Gandhi, Tully had observed,

“…His [Rajiv’s] political apprenticeship lasted only three years. Then, on 31 October 1984, his mother was assassinated and he found himself prime minister of India.

The goodwill with which he started his premiership was demonstrated by the record majority he won in the general election two months later. But that was not goodwill he had won for himself. He had gained it because of sympathy for his mother and because he had played on Indian’s fear that their country might breakup – a fear he had aroused by exploiting hostility towards Sikhs after the assassination of his mother by two of her Sikh bodyguards. Five years later, a humiliating electoral defeat showed that Rajiv Gandhi had dissipated his stock of goodwill.

Its constitution commits India to socialism, secularism and democracy. All three had come under unparalleled pressure by the time Rajiv Gandhi stepped down as prime minister…” [Book: No Full Stops in India, Viking, 1991, pp.330-336]

It should be noted that in this appraisal of Rajiv’s performance as the prime minister, Mark Tully had not mentioned a word about the foray and fumbling entanglement of Rajiv with J.R.Jayewardene’s war with Tamil Tigers.   

Opportunistic Tear-shedders

Among those belonging to this category, current Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha and her on-again off-again political pal Subramanian Swamy stand out. In a brief 1999 profile entitled ‘Government-Wrecker’ on her political antics, journalist A.S.Panneerselvan wrote about Jayalalitha as follows,

“…She became chief minister by riding the sympathy wave generated by Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in Tamil Nadu in 1991. The following year, she snapped her ties with Congress saying: ‘Rajiv Gandhi’s killing has nothing to do with my political ascendancy. I was voted to power because I am the most popular leader in the state’. However in 1996, just before the national elections, she rushed to Congress leaders with a begging bowl and managed to secure an alliance.” [Asiaweek magazine, Hongkong, May 7, 1999].

In supreme egoist Subramanian Swamy’s dictionary of politics, words such as consistency, friendship, and loyalty (as understood by other polite humans) are absent.  The Asiaweek magazine of Jan.15, 1988 carried a cover story on Sonia Gandhi. In it, Swamy was quoted as follows:

“When she [Sonia] returns from abroad she carries not less than sixteen bags and those sail through customs without being checked. India is not the Philippines but within the constraints of the situation, she is a blossoming Imelda to Rajiv’s Marcos.”

That was in 1988, when Swamy ridiculed Rajiv and Sonia as India’s ‘Marcos and Imelda’, when Rajiv was the Prime Minister of India. Then, in a recent interview (April 4, 2002) to Tara Shankar Sahay, he has opined as follows:

Question: “You were said to be a friend of the late Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi.”

Swamy: “I was a very good friend of Rajiv Gandhi and I had affection for Sonia as his wife. But then I found that in every action of hers, she was doing what Rajiv would never have liked. For instance, take Rajiv Gandhi’s killer, (insert by the copywriter: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader Vellupillai) Prabhakaran. Sonia has never once got up in Parliament to ask what happened to her husband’s killers or allowed any Congress MP to get up and ask what happened to Prabhakaran. Why has the government not caught Prabhakaran?”

Swamy’s “affection” (whatever that means to him) for Sonia soured following his perception that she had been, to use the words of journalist Sachidananda Murthy, “soft towards the LTTE, especially as she wrote to President K.R.Narayanan seeking commutation of the sentence on Nalini in the Rajiv assassination case.” [The Week magazine, April 29, 2001]

That Swamy was a crass opportunist and a pathological liar is an open secret in India. To quote Murthy again,

“Two years ago [in 1999] Subramanian Swamy was an admirer and personal friend of Sonia Gandhi. When he wrote a book on the conspiracies behind the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, Swamy presented the first copy to Sonia. He told her of his friendship with Rajiv and how Rajiv preferred Swamy to become prime minister in 1990 instead of Chandra Shekhar. He was the one who brought Sonia close to AIADMK supreme Jayalalitha in the summer of 1999 at a tea party that brought down the Vajpayee government. But Swamy was soon angry with both ladies because they did not support him in the Lok Sabha elections later than year.” [ibid].

Rajiv Gandhi as a karma-believer

I wish to briefly speculate where did Rajiv Gandhi himself stood with respect to his assassination. I’m of the opinion, based solely on his 1984 confession made to his wife Sonia before being elevated as the prime minister, that though being born to a non-Hindu father (Feroze Gandhi) and a nominally Hindu mother (Indira Nehru), Rajiv himself had subscribed, at least partially, to the theory of karma. His entry into politics and then prime ministership was forced on him by the premature deaths of his younger brother Sanjay in 1980 and his mother Indira in 1984. Proof of Rajiv’s fatalism, or should one say a cryptic belief in karma, is presented by his wife Sonia Gandhi, in her coffee-table book entitled Rajiv (1992). In it, Sonia has recalled Rajiv’s reaction to her plea for rejecting the primeministership which was forced on to him by the sycophants of the Congress Party following Indira’s assassination. According to Sonia,

“I begged him not to let them do this. I pleaded with him, with others around him, too. He would be killed as well. He held my hands, hugged me, tried to soothe my desperation. He had no choice, he said; he would be killed anyway.” [from the review of the book by Hasar Suroor, The Hindu International Edition, Sept.5, 1992, p.7; italics added for emphasis.]

What tickles me is that the Rajiv assassination trial provided so many dubious testimonies of bigwigs and small fries in Indian politics and law enforcement circles, implicating LTTE. The learned judges also had compulsively nit-picked on the validity and probability of these testimonies. But, they had conveniently bypassed Rajiv’s premonition of his assassination and his confession to his wife. Reliability of this premonition is hardly in doubt, unless one suspects (like Subramanian Swamy for instance) that Sonia Gandhi made up such a comment to boost the sales for her book. One should also note that Rajiv Gandhi had made his premonition in 1984, long before he became entangled in the trap laid by the patronizing J.R.Jayewardene and the pundits who manned the Indian foreign policy desk. In sum, I could infer that Rajiv Gandhi himself, following the tragic deaths of Sanjay and his mother, had come to believe in his karma.

V.P.Singh’s Views on the Assassination

V.P.Singh is not a Tamil. But he is the one who succeeded Rajiv Gandhi as the Prime Minister of India. He held the prime minister rank from December 2, 1989 to November 10, 1990 – a vital period during which Rajiv Gandhi was in the Opposition and had repeatedly visited Tamil Nadu without any recorded threat for his life from LTTE, even though LTTE was engaged in war with the Indian army, until March 1990. Thus, the views of V.P.Singh deserve merit and recognition, in multiple contexts. First, he is privy to information on the links Rajiv Gandhi wanted to forge with Pirabhakaran via Karunanidhi in 1989, when Indian army was engaged in fighting LTTE in Eelam. Secondly, with persuasive logic and nuance, V.P.Singh alludes that Rajiv himself has to take a major share of blame for his tragic death, which by not-so illogical extrapolation, can be interpreted as abetted suicide. [see below, Singh’s answer to the question of ‘negligence or complicity’.] Thirdly, V.P.Singh’s information falsifies quite a number of assumptions made by the prosecution team in the Rajiv assassination trial, relating to the purported motive of Pirabhakaran.

V.P.Singh’s provocative views were presented in the Frontline magazine [Nov.29-Dec.12, 1997], as a “two-hour long interview” given by him to Sukumar Muralidharan and N.Ram. And the Frontline magazine and its editor N.Ram are not friendly to Pirabhakaran or LTTE by any yardstick. Because of its relevance, first I reproduce it in length and then make my inferences.

Question: What is your first reaction to the findings of the Jain Commission?

V.P.Singh: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating. During my tenure as Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was safe, despite the fact that he visited Tamil Nadu eight times during my tenure and 11 times during Karunanidhi’s. Now if the Prime Minister was unmindful and the LTTE was there in force, could Rajiv have been safe? It only shows that extra care was taken. This is my final explanation. Now something happened seven months after I demitted office and when I had no authority. How can you fix responsibility when I was not in authority?”

Question: But did the decisions taken in your tenure have a bearing on the subsequent course of events?

V.P.Singh: “You cannot put things that way. That brings up several other questions. Did the decisions of Rajiv Gandhi not have a bearing on us? Let me tell you of one case, of the SPG withdrawal, where we followed Rajiv’s law. There is no order of withdrawal under my signature. If there is, then it is an order of Rajiv Gandhi’s expressed in the form of the SPG Act.”

Question: You did not sign that order?

 V.P.Singh: “Rajiv Gandhi made that Act, not me. There is no order of withdrawal, because legally a thing that has lapsed is simply not there – it cannot be withdrawn. Physically we may have assigned the SPG there, but then there was no legal basis for it. But if Rajiv’s law was at fault, as the Congressmen now say, then they had occasion to amend it when they had a friendly government – not only friendly, but a dependent government – in office. But Chandra Sekhar has said that this matter was never brought up by the Congress Party during his tenure.

And it is not as if Rajiv never used to speak about his security. He has issued press statements about his security. I have pointed out that this claim by Congressmen – that he never used to talk about his security – is belied by the facts. A further lapse, perhaps even the ultimate crime, is that the deadliest of the LTTE cadre, the human bomb Dhanu, was taken to Rajiv by the Congress. The photograph of her body, and that of the Congress lady worker who took her to Rajiv lying side by side, is evidence of this.”

Question: There are some suspicions that she may have been staying on the premises owned by a former Congress MP.

V.P.Singh: “She (Dhanu) had connections in the Congress – there is no doubt about that. She could not have come from Sri Lanka and just caught hold of one lady worker and got in to the Rajiv Gandhi meeting. So the Congress is guilty on all counts. The security ring was tight, because there were nine policemen killed along with Rajiv. But Dhanu was called by Rajiv himself. (Former Union Home Minister) S.B.Chavan has mentioned this somewhere. Even if you put the Army on guard, if access control is breached by your own men, or by the protectee himself – how can you blame the security people? Rajiv was killed by a proximate assassin and proximity cannot be achieved without insider help, and here insider help was given by the Congress. And if the protectee himself – who is the highest level of insider – fails to cooperate, then we cannot really blame the security agencies.”

Question: Are you making a charge of negligence or complicity?

V.P.Singh: “All I am saying is that somewhere in these matters, the responsibilities of the protectee have to be fixed. No security cover can work without the cooperation of the protectee. When the assassination took place, there was President’s rule in the State. A Governor appointed by the Congress was in power and a Congress-supported government was in place at the Centre. Whatever the Congress may say, assassinations have not taken place in States controlled by other parties. They have always occurred in Congress-controlled States and they always insist on making a big political issue out of it…”

Question: Let us come to the other point made by the Jain Commission, on the LTTE’s activities in Tamil Nadu during your regime at the Centre and Karunanidhi’s in the State.

V.P.Singh: “I would like to place certain facts before you. In March 1989, Rajiv contacted Karunanidhi and said that he wanted to meet Prabhakaran. But Karunanidhi did not act on it because the Congress was getting closer to Jayalalitha. And he said that if they are getting closer, then they will use this against me, I will be in a quandary. In May perhaps, or June, Rajiv sent for Murasoli Maran from Chennai. He told Maran to convey to Prabhakaran that if he distances himself from Premadasa, he would see to it that matters are settled on favourable terms for him – which means that he was virtually promising Eelam. [Note: italics added by Sri Kantha for emphasis.]  Now this was Rajiv’s personal initiative and was totally against Government of India policy.

The situation was like this: twice in that year – he is very much the Prime Minister at the time – he affirms that he wants to have the friendship and confidence of Prabhakaran. Could he have imagined that while he was greeting Prabhakaran with open arms, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu would shower the LTTE with bullets? If this is the mind of the Prime Minister, then administratively how do you expect the Chief Minister to react?

Another point is that the Nag tribunal, which banned the LTTE, [Note by Sri Kantha: i.e., in 1992] said that since early 1989 the situation in the State of Tamil Nadu became ominous. Who was Prime Minister then? Rajiv was there for eleven months of 1989. Why did he not do something to stop these ominous events? Now no State government has the power to seal the sea coasts; only the Centre has that power. There is nothing on record to suggest that he ever did any such thing during that period.

The question also arises: When the LTTE was in battle with the IPKF, why did they not ban it? Unless there was something going on behind the backs of the soldiers, behind the back of the Government of India. Then you should also note that the order issued during Rajiv’s time against the LTTE was of search and seizure of weapons and wireless sets – arrests was prescribed only when resistance was encountered. There was not even the political will to arrest the LTTE when your men were fighting them. Why was Kittu freely moving about in Chennai all through those months of IPKF hostilities against the LTTE? And now they say that the State Government did not act. All these matters were placed before Justice Jain, who has ignored them in his report. This is most unfair, since as a judge he must consider all the depositions.”

Question: If you are saying that Justice Jain was less than fair, are you suggesting that he was working to a predetermined agenda?

V.P.Singh: “Jain has just paraphrased the Congress affidavit and returned it duly signed! The affidavit that was filed six years back by (Congress counsel) R.N.Mittal has been signed and released to the public as a commission report.

Question: The Jain thesis seems to be that until 1986 we armed and trained the LTTE cadre, but this did not amount to supporting anti-national activities. But after hostilities broke out with the Indian Army, the LTTE became a hostile force and should have been unequivocally opposed.

V.P.Singh: “In which case the point arises, why were they not arrested – or banned? Why were large numbers of their cadre sent back to Sri Lanka? And why was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu being pressed for contacts with the LTTE, with nobody in the government, except for certain bureaucrats, knowing about it. The IPKF went with a mandate to maintain peace. Not only did they have to fight, they also became victims of duplicity. Premadasa finally gave an ultimatum to the IPKF to return, and we got the impression that he had negotiated with Prabhakaran also. So we became targets of both – Premadasa and the Tamils. These are the events leading to the Rajiv assassination…

I have also pointed out – and this is part of the DMK deposition also – that there are several newspaper reports from that time quoting speeches made by Jayalalitha, in which she said that the LTTE is fighting a just war. Rajiv often sat through such meetings and he never once said that the LTTE is an anti-national force. What would the people understand from this? And then we say that the Government of Tamil Nadu is at fault?”

My Inferences on V.P.Singh’s Views

Lest one think that V.P.Singh is a partisan to either Pirabhakaran’s or LTTE’s interests, he also has stated in the same interview to Muralidharan and Ram, “If ever there was a time when we did not negotiate with the LTTE, that was during my tenure. We knew that even after the IPKF was withdrawn, there would be a fight between the EPRLF and the LTTE and between the Sri Lankan army and all the rest, and that there would be an influx of refugees into our soil.” Thus, V.P.Singh’s observations on Rajiv assassination gains some credibility.

Unlike Subramanian Swamy or Jayalalitha or J.N.Dixit who had unabashedly asserted that Pirabhakaran “killed” Rajiv Gandhi, V.P.Singh has not linked Pirabhakaran to Rajiv’s death. Rather, he has stressed the neglected fact that no one has bothered to look into the “responsibilities of the protectee [i.e., Rajiv]” and asserted that “No security cover can work without the cooperation of the protectee.”

One of the questionable assumptions in the Rajiv assassination trial in ascribing the motive for the crime was that Pirabhakaran harbored a hatred for Rajiv Gandhi since he was placed under restriction before the announcement of Jayewardene-Gandhi Accord in 1987, and this led to Rajiv’s assassination in 1991. If that is so, as V.P.Singh pointed out, how come Rajiv was not attacked during the tenure of V.P.Singh’s period [between Dec.2, 1989 and Nov.10, 1990] and that he was able to visit Tamil Nadu eleven times between Dec.1989 and January 1991 until the State was placed under President’s rule?

In his interview, V.P.Singh also exposed the selfish mentality of Karunanidhi in March 1989, who was most keen on saving his skin rather than helping Rajiv to “meet” Pirabhakaran. [Continued.]