Sri Lanka: The Untold Story, Chapter 42

by K T Rajasingham, ‘Asian Times,’ Singapore, 2002

VP Singh. Photo: PTI

Viswanath Pratab Singh, the new prime minister of India and leader of the five-party National Front coalition government, announced the withdrawal of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) from Sri Lanka, by March 31, 1990. This was his major foreign policy decision, largely to prove that everything the preceding premier, Rajiv Gandhi, had done in domestic and foreign policy was wrong.

Singh said, “In the first place, it was a mistake to have sent our troops to Sri Lanka. The whole affair started on a wrong note. We favor phased withdrawal of the IPKF. We want our boys back home the earliest.”

The victory of Singh was also considered a great victory for Ranasinghe Premadasa, the Sri Lankan president. V P Singh appointed Inder Kumar Gujral as Minister of External Affairs and Hari Kishore Singh as the Minister of State for External Affairs. The prime minister himself held the defense portfolio, and appointed Dr Raja Ramanna as Minister of State for Defense.

Ranjan Wijeratne, the Sri Lankan Minister for Foreign Affairs, was the first foreign dignitary to rush to New Delhi to meet the new Indian leadership, where he discussed the role played by the IPKF. V P Singh and I K Gujral expressed surprise, when the foreign minister reported that the IPKF was subverting Sri Lanka by arming and training an illegal army.

After this, the Indian premier requested M Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, to explore the possibility of solving the Sri Lankan conflict. Meanwhile, after meeting the new leaders in New Delhi, Wijeratne visited Madras and met M Karunanidhi. The Sri Lankan foreign minister requested him to use his influence to bring about peace between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other Tamil militant groups. Karunanidhi agreed.

As the IPKF would be withdrawing completely from Sri Lanka by March 31, 1990, Indian government leaders were keen on obtaining an assurance from all the Tamil groups in Sri Lanka that they would not fight among themselves. All those Tamil groups that had worked with India against the LTTE sensed very clearly that, the government of V P Singh was bent on betraying them, and Karunanidhi, who is considered a patron of the LTTE, would be highly impartial against them.

In the meantime, it was reported that Varatharajah Perumal, the Chief Minister of the North-East Provincial Government, rushed to New Delhi for a meeting with the new prime minister, as he was panicked by the election results. Perumal pleaded with the new Indian leaders not to withdraw the Indian Army from Sri Lanka. Singh, who was interested in adopting a good neighborly relationship with Sri Lanka and who declared himself non-interventionist, resolutely rejected the request. Perumal then hurried to Madras and requested Karunanidhi to help him protect his North East-Provincial government. Perumal urged Karunanidhi to mediate and work out a settlement acceptable to all parties. The Tamil Nadu chief minister told Perumal to negotiate with the LTTE and to enter into an agreement to hand over the administration to the LTTE.

Accordingly, the Tamil Nadu chief minister, in line with the mandate provided by the new Indian prime minister, contacted Anton Balasingham, the ideologue, who was leading a LTTE delegation in Colombo, to visit Madras, immediately. On December 15 and 16, 1989, Karunanidhi held discussions with Balasingham and Yogaratnam Yogi of the political wing of the LTTE. On December 17, at a press conference in Madras, Balasingham said that the LTTE would contest the North-East Provincial Council if polls were held in the near future. Balasingham said that the LTTE had registered its own political party in Sri Lanka. He added that his leader, Velupillai Prabakaran, was ready to stand in the election. He further said, “LTTE alone can provide safety and security to the Tamil people in the island and therefore, the question of laying down arms does not arise at this juncture.” He also said, “The 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka accord is already dead and the LTTE urges the withdrawal of the IPKF from the shores of Sri Lanka, as early as possible.” Balasingham categorically emphasized, “LTTE has not given up its goal of Eelam.”

According to Adele Balasingham in her The Will to Freedom, the LTTE version of the meeting of Anton Balasingham with Karunanidhi is as follows:

“Bala received an urgent telephone call from the hotel room [Hilton Hotel, Colombo] from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr. Karunanidhi – who Bala had known personally during our stay in Tamil Nadu – urging him to come to Chennai [Madras] as soon as possible. He did not disclose what the matter was, but only hinted that it was very urgent and important. Bala could not refuse the request from the powerful chief minister of Tamil Nadu and agreed to go. Having obtained permission from Mr Pirabakaran and Mr Premadasa, Bala, myself and Yogi flew to Chennai within a couple of days.

“In Chennai, we were accommodated at the Port Trust Guest House, amidst tight security. The chief minister and his nephew Mr Murasoli Maran, visited us three times during our stay. Mr Karunanidhi enquired whether or not the LTTE would share power with EPRLF, if the Northeastern Provincial Council was prepared to offer half the seats of the council, paving the way for equal participation of the Tigers in the Northeastern Provincial administration. Bala explained to the chief minister that the LTTE was prepared to face fresh elections and it should be the people of the Tamil Eelam who had to choose their representatives. He gave a detailed picture to Mr Karunanidhi about the brutal crimes committed against the Tamil people by the armed cadres of the EPRLF, in collusion with the Indian occupation army. Perumal’s administration, Bala argued, was despised by the Eelam Tamils for its misdeeds.

“EPRLF assumed power through fraudulent elections and functioned as a puppet regime of the IPKF. Because of the intolerable atrocities committed by the Indian Army and the EPRLF’s paramilitaries, the Tamils wanted the Tigers to assume power. If fresh elections were held in the Tamil homeland, Bala convinced the Tamil Nadu chief minister the LTTE would sweep to power. Mr Karunanidhi finally endorsed LTTE’s position and did not press for a joint administration. During the meeting, Bala also gave a detailed assessment of the situation in the Northeast. Mr Karunanidhi looked deeply perturbed. Apart from closed-door meetings with the chief minister, we also met several LTTE supporters and Tamil Nadu leaders such as Vaiko [Mr Gopalasmy] and Mr Veeramany. A press conference was held before we left Chennai at the end of our five-day visit.” – pages 252–253

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu chief minister met V P Singh and briefed him the discussions he had had with the LTTE delegation in Madras. The EROS member of parliament Edward Sebestainpillai proposed tripartite talks between India, Sri Lanka and Tamil groups. But the suggestion was not taken up.

The Jain Commission in its report, Chapter 18, expressed, “Reactions of the LTTE after Shri V P Singh became the prime minister of India”:

“50: The parleys between Shri M Karunanidhi and the LTTE under instructions from Shri V P Singh, it appears, encouraged the LTTE to operate in India freely as they perceived the new political dispensation to be totally sympathetic to them. The views of the LTTE can be discerned from the articles published in their propaganda organs. These propaganda journals were found to be openly being distributed in Tamil Nadu. The LTTE, in their propaganda articles, blamed the policies of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and condemned the role of R&AW [India’s Research and Analysis Wing] during the period Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister. The LTTE congratulated Shri V P Singh on his becoming the prime minister. The LTTE, it appears, perceived the prevailing political climate in India both at the Central level, as well as in Tamil Nadu to be conducive to them.

“The following report of the Intelligence Bureau dated March 7, 1990, when Shri V P Singh completed more than three months as the prime mMinister of India, speaks about the articles published in an LTTE propaganda journal captioned ‘Voice of Tigers’, dated January, 1990: 2: An article opined that with the emergence of the National Front government in India, under the leadership of V P Singh, a significant new and positive development has emerged in the relationship between the LTTE and the New Delhi administration. It stated that LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran had sent a congratulatory message to the new Indian prime minister and responding positively to LTTE’s conciliatory approach, the new Indian chief minister of Tamilnadu, the responsibility of talking to the LTTE to seek ways and means to restore peace and normalcy in Tamil Eelam. It also reported the four rounds of talks held by the LTTE delegates with the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during mid-December 1989, at Madras.

“The bulletin also carried the LTTE appeal to V P Singh to release Tamil political prisoners and LTTE cadres who are still in custody of IPKF and also the observance of Heroes day by LTTE in Amparai District … It also published a box column carrying a news item appeared in The Australian dated 04.01.1990 regarding the TNA and CVF. The editorial stated that ‘the defunct EPRLF’s Provincial Council, disintegration of the TNA and the emergence of the LTTE as the most dominant politico-military power in the North and Eastern Provinces signaled the final collapse of the disastrous policy enunciated by the former Rajiv government. The editorial condemned RAW for wrongly guiding the Indian administration.'”

Balasingham continued to attack the Provincial Council administration of Varatharajah Perumal as illegal and undemocratic. The LTTE demanded that the EPRLF provincial administration be dismissed and the TNA be disbanded. The war in the North and East has almost come to an end. The Indian army had ceased its campaign and the withdrawal process was accelerated to catch up with the schedule, set for the end of March 1990.

On January 20, 1990, Madhivadani, the wife of Tiger supremo Prabakaran, flew into Katunayake airport from Singapore. She was accompanied by Anton Balasingham and his wife Adele, who had left for Singapore two weeks prior to Madhivadani’s arrival. According to reports, she returned to Colombo after being six years in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was further said that she frequently visited Prabakaran when he was in Madras, but it was added that it was Prabakaran who decided to keep his wife as a refugee in a European country and it would be safer for her to be far away from the theater of war. She traveled on a Sri Lankan passport, issued by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Sweden. She was accompanied by her daughter – Dwaraka (two and a half years) and son – Charles Anthony (five years). Madhivadani and her children were kept overnight at an Aviation Authority bungalow and on the following day flown by a Sri Lankan air force helicopter to Nettikulam jungle in the Vanni area for a reunion of the Prabakaran family.

Madhivadhani was accompanied by Kumaran, the head of the LTTE’s international committee, who handled the procurement of arms for the LTTE. K Pathmanababha, alias KP, alias T S Kumaran, a Prabakaran confidant, headed the shadowy international financial wing of the LTTE. The reclusive KP, is the head of the international arms procurement for the LTTE. His arrival in Sri Lanka, along with Madhivadhani foreboded a forthcoming international operation, in the near future.

“The V P Singh-I K Gujral orientation towards Sri Lanka was formal and woodenly correct. The main elements of the policy were: India had been wrong in getting involved in the ethnic crisis of Sri Lanka; the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement conceived by Rajiv Gandhi and Jayewardene was an ill-prepared effort, which resulted in misunderstanding between India and Sri Lanka; sending the IPKF to Sri Lanka was interference in the country’s internal affairs; this situation has been remedied by India completely withdrawing from Sri Lankan affairs and withdrawal of the IPKF. The Sri Lankan government should deal with its Tamil problem as an internal affair in which India would not take any interest. The continuation of the internal conflict in Sri Lanka or support for the LTTE from Tamil Nadu are matters which will be dealt with through normal diplomatic channels.” Assignment Colombo by J N Dixit, page 294

On January 30, 1990, Dr K H V Padmanabhan, senior additional director of the Intelligence Bureau, Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, circulated a top-secret report on the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue – the impact on Tamil Nadu.

“With the deadline set for the de-induction of the IPKF by March 31, 1990, and little prospect of agreement among the Eelam groups over the issue of laying down the arms causing apprehensions of civil disorder. The rate of refugee influx into Tamil Nadu has been steadily on the rise with 179 arrivals from the island in October 1989, 250 in November and 1,057 in December. 477 refugee families consisting of 834 members mostly from Talaimannar and Jaffna areas have reached Tamil Nadu this year, so far. Official figures confirm the presence of 1,007 Sri Lankan Tamil families consisting of 2,314 members at Mandapam refugee camp (Ramnad District). There is reason for further concern with reports that another 4,000 Tamil families have been converging at the northern port of Kankesanthurai [Sri Lanka], on their way to Tamil Nadu.

“2. While no large scale movement of non-LTTE cadres from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu has been noticed, small groups of EPRLF, ENDLF and TELO fleeing from attacks of LTTE, have landed in Tamil Nadu, during January 1990. Some ENDLF cadres [88] had got themselves registered also at Mandapam refugee camp. Some of the groups like ENDLF have transferred their weapons to Tamil Nadu for future use against their adversaries. On January 20, one such arms cache with 88 AK-47 assault rifles, 64 9mm pistols, 40 LMGs and large quantities of ammunition and other spares were unearthed in the coastal area of Ramanathapuram district under P S Uchipuli. Again, on January 25, the night, the Rameswaram police (Pamban P S) had effected some more recovery of ammunition. Earlier, on January 23, the Tamil Nadu CID recovered a highly sophisticated powerful Japanese-made transreceiver set with automatic tuner antenna, from a private house hired by ENDLF cadres, in Tangachimadam [Ramanad District].

“3. Meanwhile, the LTTE has been taking full advantage of the sympathetic attitude of the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu. A noticeable spurt in LTTE activities is seen coinciding with the initiative taken by the chief mMinister of Tamil Nadu, in resolving the ethnic issue and holding parleys with the LTTE leadership [A Balasingham and Yogi]. Suggestions that all Tamil groups including LTTE should lay down arms and sit together for talks to reach a consensus have not been reportedly relished by the LTTE leaders. Meanwhile, the LTTE militant wing has stepped up its clandestine activities in the state. The LTTE is now maintaining tri-weekly illicit boat traffic between Valvetitturai [Jaffna district of Sri Lanka] and Mallipattanam [Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu]. The traffic involves transport of medicine, foodstuffs, arms/ammunition. Besides, wounded persons are also brought to Tamil Nadu from time to time for treatment. The group has also re-established its transit camp at Chinnamanai [Thanjavur district] which was dismantled in October 1987, in the wake of hostilities between the IPKF and LTTE in Sri Lanka.

“4. The local DMK leaders in the coastal regions of Thanjavur have also been collaborating with the LTTE in its illegal traffic in the hinterland. There is also a move on the part of the LTTE to open a regular office for its political wing, the People’s Liberation Front for Eelam Tamils (PFLT). In Tamil Nadu with the blessings of its patron V Gopalaswamy, MP (DMK), and the chief minister. While the state police are under constraints to act firmly against the LTTE’s illegal activities, the customs personnel in the state are a demoralized lot after the abduction of a customs patrol in December last and their subsequent release at the intervention of the DMK higher ups with the LTTE. The LTTE have revived its unit for the manufacture of rocket-propelled grenades at Coimbatore and called for 2,000 such grenades a week ago reportedly for use against the IPKF engaged in de-induction. The presence of the fabrication unit came to notice in August 1989, when the police raided a workshop at Coimbatore manufacturing components for RPG and arrested four local collaborators including a prominent DMK leader.

“5. In the ongoing parleys with the Tamil Nadu chief minister, the representatives of the non-LTTE groups have felt unhappy at his pro-LTTE instance and have approached other parties like the TNCC-I, AIADMK and others to urge the government of India to convene a meeting of all Eelam groups. Speaking at Madras on January 24, Rajiv Gandhi insinuated that Karunanidhi, while professing to be champion of Tamil rights, had abandoned Tamil interests in Sri Lanka. He welcomed the idea of all party meeting to decide the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. Sgd: Dr K V H Padmanabhan – Sr Additional Director.”

Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, Varatharajah Perumal witnessed with alarm the ongoing developments. Once RAW stopped arms supplies to the TNA, it was the beginning of doom of the TNA. Hundreds of TNA and CVF cadres had started deserting since September 1989, as they were routed in fights with the LTTE and the Sri Lankan security forces, separately and jointly. The LTTE mounted renewed attacks on the remaining TNA and CVF cadres in the Northeast, often cutting off all escape routes. Many TNA members were caught and butchered, and many summarily executed. Hundreds of TNA cadres surrendered to the LTTE. Many threw away their weapons and removed their uniforms and ran for their lives.

The chief minister of the North-East Provincial government was reduced to being a silent spectator, as the LTTE took control of areas vacated by the IPKF. The LTTE opened up offices in all the recaptured areas and held public rallies and vowed that they would continue with their fight for their Eelam. Meanwhile, Varatharajah Perumal adamantly refused to dissolve the NEP government, as appealed by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, and also by the Sri Lankan Minister Ranjan Wijeratne. “Indian army engineers dismantled a 100-meter-long dish antenna tower constructed behind Trincomalee’s Seven Island Hotel, which was an important RAW base. The tower had been erected without Colombo’s permission to beam Indian television programs in the northeast from January 15. After the Congress party’s defeat, RAW men took back all the equipment, leaving behind the tower’s concrete foundation as a grim reminder of Gandhi’s grandiose plan.” Tigers of Lanka: From Boys to Guerrillas by M R Narayan Swamy – page 311

Earlier, the PLOT, TELO and ENDLF have begun to grill Pathmanabah, the secretary general of the EPRLF, about the massive financial and material assistance provided by the Indian government. Pathmanabah directed them to contact the NEPG Chief Minister Varatharajah Perumal for all those details. The chief minister said that he was only answerable to the Indian government on those issues. Leaders of the other Tamil militant groups walked out in protest. All of a sudden, on the very next day Pathmanabah, announced that, the Tamil National Congress (TNC) which was formed jointly by EPRLF, ENDLF, TELO and PLOTE to coordinate actions for security, was being disbanded. Crestfallen, Varatharajah Perumalany traveled to India on January and met the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi. He told Karunanidhi, “It was the duty and responsibility of the Indian government at this stage to guarantee the future security of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and ensure the devolution of powers. The Indian government’s responsibility does not end with sending the IPKF to Sri Lanka and saving Sri Lanka’s integrity.” After the meeting, Perumal at press conference told, “We have full confidence that Mr Karunanidhi would act like an elder brother of the Tamils and would render justice.”

He added, “EPRLF had sacrificed over 600 of its leading members for the establishment of this provincial government. We gradually institutionalized the provincial government in the midst of all obstacles placed by the Sri Lankan government, the inhuman and violent opposition of the LTTE and the adverse propaganda of the EROS. We wish to point out some sinister motives of the Sri Lankan government of the UNP, which has often been talking out-of-turn, about the North-East Provincial Council.”

He reached New Delhi to appeal to V P Singh not to jettison the North East Provincial government. Unfortunately, Singh and his government had little time for Perumal, or even for the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement. The NEP government became almost non-existent, roughly since December 1989, when the Indian High Commission in Colombo withdrew its political and moral support for the North-East chief minister. As New Delhi had already decided to wash its hands of the EPRLF-led North-East Provincial government the much sought after meeting with V P Singh never materialized. Perumal met External Affairs Ministry officials and requested that the IPKF should stay in Sri Lanka, but they dismissed the request as it was an internal problem of Sri Lanka and it had to be resolved in Sri Lanka.

Indian External Affairs Minister I K Gujaral met Perumal. The Indian minister said firmly that Indian troops would be back in India before the revised deadline of March 31, 1990. The chief minister pleaded that that LTTE’s seizure of the Northeastern region would spell danger for India. Gujaral listened patiently and said, “See peace is returning there. When we pull out, it will all be peaceful.” Perumal was aghast and said, “Sir, if you ask a small child, that child would say that the fighting would again resume in the northeast once the IPKF leaves the shores of Sri Lanka.” Gujaral asked Varatharaja Perumal, “What do you want me to do?”

The chief minister was astonished at the question. He said, “Sir, I am a foreigner. I have told you the situation, the problems. How can I say Sir, what you should do?” Gujaral smiled at the reply and clasped the chief minister’s hand and said, “You are a friend of India. We will never betray you.”

Meanwhile, in February 1990, the Tamil Nadu chief minister, who had already had the first round of talks with Ranjan Wijeratne, Varatharaja Perumal, Anton Balasingham and Yogaratnam Yogi, announced that, he was going to work out a package deal for peace in the North-East and transfer of powers to the people. Anton Balasingham and Yogaratnam Yogi of the LTTE, met Karunanidhi followed by V Balakumar, the general secretary of the EROS and the representatives of TELO, ENDLF, PLOTE and EPRLF.

The EPRLF delegation consisted of Abbo Yousuf and Shanthan and they met Karunanidhi in Madras. Karunanidhi asked Abbo Yousuf, discourteously “Avan Enge? [Where is he?] referring to Perumal. Abbo Yousuf said that he represented the North East chief minister. Karunanidhi approached the issue with his usual lack of diplomacy and lashed out at Perumal. He made a character assassination by stating, “Someone who once used to beg in Madras.” He further demanded that Perumal should be reached on the telephone.

The North-East chief minister was equally insistent that Karunanidhi should speak with his emissaries. He said over the telephone from Trincomalee, “I am the chief minister of Sri Lanka’s North-Eastern Provincial government and I can only be summoned by the president of Sri Lanka and not by the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.” When this message was conveyed to Karunanidhi, he raged with anger and told the EPRLF delegates to dissolve the NEPG. Abbo Yousuf told Karunanidhi that it could not be done. Karunanidhi told that he was appealing as leader of the World Tamils. Immediately the two EPRLF delegates told Karunanidhi that they did not want to be humiliated any further by the Tamil Nadu chief minister and stood up to leave. The livid and irascible Karunanidhi warned that he would not allow Perumal get political asylum in India. In the meantime, Murosoli Maran, the nephew of Karunanidhi, who was also minister in the V P Singh’s cabinet, and who was seated next to Karunanidhi, told him sarcastically, “We will pack him off to the Andaman Islands.”

It was a known secret that Karunanidhi’s sympathy lay with the LTTE, and he requested the members of the North-East Provincial Council to resign from it and conduct elections with the participation of the People’s Front of Liberation Tigers (PFLT), the political party of the LTTE. It became clear that the Tamil Nadu chief minister and his party leaders and supporters had ganged up with the LTTE and opposed the pro-IPKF Tamil groups, such as TELO, PLOTE, ENDLF and EPRLF.

Also, the vindictive Chief Minister Karunanidhi ordered a crackdown against pro-Indian Tamil militants in Tamil Nadu. As stated in the confidential report of the Senior Additional Director of the IB, Dr K V H Pathmanabhan, consequent to the order to crack down on all anti-LTTE Tamil militants, Tamil Nadu police seized a powerful radio transmitter with a 75 kilometer range from a house at Thangachi Madam in Rameswaram, which was occupied by a Tamil militant group favored by the RAW. When referring to RAW operations in Sri Lanka, the irritated Karunanidhi said, “Though the government in the center has changed, the attitude of the government officials remained unchanged.”

On India’s Republic day, January 26, 1990, the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, L L Mehrotra, referred to the IPKF as follows, “Having discharged its responsibility with considerable sacrifice over a period of two years, the IPKF recommenced de-inductions in the context of Joint Communique of July 28 and September 18, 1989 and subsequent discussions between our governments in December 1989 and January 1990, in New Delhi. The IPKF does so at time when all Tamil militant groups have entered the political mainstream or have undertaken to do so, when all efforts are being made to bring about a ceasefire among them. The process of de-induction is proposed to be completed by March 31, 1990, as stated by the external affairs minister, in the Indian parliament, recently.”

As the date of the withdrawal of the Indian armed forces came nearer, the relationship with the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE outwardly seemed strengthened. Premadasa’s government provided all the logistical facilities needed to the LTTE leadership. The peace talks between the LTTE and the government continued. The talks were confined to private sessions with Premadasa. As the LTTE had already committed itself to participate in the provincial elections, the issues that were discussed at the private sessions with the president were the repeal of the sixth amendment to the constitution and the dissolution of the Provincial government controlled by Varatharajah Perumal. It was said that these two issues had became a bone of contention between the LTTE and Premadasa’s regime.

The sixth amendment to the 1978 constitution was introduced by J R Jayewardene in the aftermath of the 1983 holocaust to placate the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinist extremists. According to this draconian law anyone who advocated or encouraged separation and called for a separate state of Tamil Eelam would be liable for serious punishment, including the loss of civil rights and forfeiture of the properties of those who advocates secessionist politics.

Tigers categorically made it known to A S Hameed, the leader of the government delegation, as well as to the Sri Lankan president, that the LTTE under no circumstances would swear allegiance to the unitary state of Sri Lanka and the sixth amendment to the constitution was very oppressive and stifled the political choice and free expression of an individual. They made it clear that the LTTE was firmly committed to the principle of self-determination, legally a birthright to which Tamils were entitled to.

According to Adele Balasingham, “The two issues raised by the LTTE had brought the talks to an impasse, but neither of the party was inclined to take a confrontationist course. The relationship between the LTTE and Premadasa’s administration was warm and friendly. Mr Hameed ensured that nothing happened between the protagonists that would endanger the newly formed relationship that had been built up with patience and indefatigable effort.” The Will to Freedom – page 254

Bradman Weerakoon, in his Premadasa of Sri Lanka: A Political Biography writes, “Premadasa felt he understood Prabakaran’s motivations and his determination to achieve something for his people, albeit by terror and violent means. He believed that talking to him face to face would have convinced Prabakaran of his sincerity in solving the ethnic problem with justice to all. He felt that the personal chemistry which build trust would manifest itself at such a meeting. He regretted that this had not happened, especially after the breakdown in relations which occurred in June 1990.

“Premadasa’s determination and persistent efforts to get the IPKF to withdraw in 1989 and the final de-induction of the troops in March 1990 convinced the LTTE of Premadasa’s concern to safeguard the integrity and sovereignty of the country. On the question of ‘the separate state’ itself, the attitude of the LTTE during the talks had been that their striving for that objective would be dependent on the performance and sincerity shown by the government in moving forward with political measures which had been discussed. These centered round the repeal of the sixth amendment to the constitution (which decreed that all MPs should take an oath to safeguard the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka and eschew the promotion of separatism) and the dissolution of the North-East Provincial Council (NEPC) so that the LTTE could contest and become representative of the people of the North-East. The LTTE held that the EPRLF had only been able to obtain a majority of seats in the NEPC because the elections had been conducted while the IPKF was in control of the North and East.” – pages 68-69

Meanwhile, the LTTE political wing – the People Front of Liberation Tigers (PFLT) – began to extend its party structure in the Eastern province. The inaugural conference of the PFLT was held at Vaharai in the Batticaloa district between February 24 and March 1, 1990. Anton Balasingham, Mahataya, Yogratnam Yogi, Paramu Murthy and host of other Tiger leaders traveled to Batticaloa, in Sri Lankan Air Force helicopter, provided by Ranasinghe Premadasa, the Sri Lankan president. Also, numerous senior LTTE leaders, men and women from other parts of the country were flown to the conference by the Air Force helicopter, where they assembled at the Vaharai Guest House. The conference lasted for nearly one week. The party organizers from throughout the North-East formerly ratified the PFLT constitution and the manifesto. Nearly 15,000 people participated in this conference where it was agreed to mobilize people’s political participation in the PLFT and also to set up party branches in all villages and up to district levels in all the provinces.

The conference resolved:

  • The undemocratically installed and inactive North-East Provincial Council to be dissolved and fresh elections be held.
  • Urged for the repeal of the sixth amendment to the 1978 constitution.
  • The conference urged to uphold the unity of Muslims and Tamils to fight to win their rights, protect their homeland and improve their economic conditions.
  • To put an end to the Sinhala colonization in the North and East of the country.
  • The conference adopted that the Sri Lanka security forces should not be involved in the maintenance of law and order in the North and Eastern provinces.
  • Political rights should be granted to the Tamils of the Indian origin who reside permanently in the hill country region.The conference called for the immediate lifting of the emergency regulations that were in force in the North and Eastern provinces. Furthermore, the conference also resolved to abolish social injustices and discrimination based on the caste system and also on the issue of emancipation of women by taking action to halt the exploitation, suffering and humiliation that women are subjected to as a result of the practice and existence of the dowry system among Tamils.Immediately after the conference, Mahataya, the deputy leader of the LTTE, along with Anton Balasingham and Yogaratnam Yogi left for Colombo and met Premadasa for the second time. Mahataya placed three demands at this meeting:
  • All patrolling by the Sri Lankan army in the Eastern province must cease immediately.
  • All army camps situated near the schools and places of worship in Tamil areas should be either closed down or relocated elsewhere.
  • The security camps in the North and East should not exceed one or two per districts.On March 8, LTTE leaders gathered at the Webber stadium, Batticaloa, and took a common open pledge to oppose the sixth amendment. On March 9, Mahataya left for Colombo and met with Premadasa, who, assisted by A C S Hameed, General Sepala Attygale, General Cyril Ranatunge, discussed issues relating to the security situation and repealing the sixth amendment, with the LTTE delegation. Mahataya insisted on confining the Sri Lankan soldiers to their barracks. Hameed agreed with the suggestion that the LTTE would be responsible for the maintenance of law and order during the interim period until elections were held to the Provincial Council. Furthermore, it was agreed that in case the Sri Lankan troops were to move out of the camps, then they would do so only with the concurrence of the LTTE. It was also agreed that the LTTE would have the authority to recruit 7,000 personnel from among their cadres for the provincial police force after the Provincial Council elections.Meanwhile, the EPRLF felt that the Sri Lankan government had hoodwinked it as well as the North-East Provincial government. EPRLF said that the Sri Lankan government promised autonomy to the Tamils, “which will be in no way less than the powers enjoyed by the states of India”. They claimed that their belief in this assurance formed the basis for them giving up their demand for Eelam – a separate state for the Tamils, and also to accept the Indo-Sri Lankan accord. They further added that the 13th amendment of the constitution, which was amended for the purpose of setting up the provincial government, fell far short of the aspirations of the Tamils. In this context, the point of view of the EPRLF was “the government of Sri Lanka had armed a guerrilla force to destabilize the provincial government, a legally constituted and a duly elected body. If we took a hard line that, was because the government in Colombo resorted to adventurism of subverting its constitution politically, by not implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution and by arming the LTTE”.Stung by sporadic verbal outbursts of Perumal and the EPRLF, on February 8 Ranjan Wijeratne, at a post-cabinet press briefing, said that Varatharajah Perumal had left the country and returned without informing the government. The Sri Lankan minister was referring to the visit of the chief minister to India for talks as early as January 8, and his return to the island on February 7. Wijeratne said, “Explanation would be called from the chief minister as to how he left the country and returned back to the country. If no convincing reply was forthcoming from him, action will be taken against him under the normal laws of the country. We will ask the immigration and the customs officials to find out how Mr Perumal left the country and arrived without going through the normal foreign travel procedures of the country.”He added, “The North East Provincial Council Government’s chief minister had not sought permission to leave the country, but in reality and according to the law, as a chief minister, he should have obtained the government’s permission before leaving the country. We don’t know whether the North East Provincial government’s chief minister brought gold, drugs, illegal arms or currency. For this reason, he should have been searched on his arrival. He should have gone though the laws of the country.” He further added that, “Varatharajah Perumal got into an IPKF plane and flew off to India. Therefore, our officers didn’t have the opportunity of checking him. This is why we want the IPKF out of the country. Mr Perumal should understand that.”By February 23, 1990 the last IPKF contingent had left from the Vadamaradchi region and from Jaffna. This brought the uninterrupted political and military activities of the LTTE to the forefront. They intensified and consolidated their positions in Vavuniya, Mullaithievu, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee, Amparai and Batticaloa. Mahataya, the deputy leader of the LTTE and the head of the PFLT, in an interview said, “The Tigers view that the Indian government has no further role to play in Sri Lanka politically and militarily.” He also said that India’s 1987 food drop, over the Northern province, was an interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.

    J N Dixit, who was the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and later the Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, agreed with the criticism that the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement did not fulfill the objectives, and the IPKF withdrawal without completion of its task was a foreign policy failure. He added:

  • The V P Singh Government, which succeeded Rajiv Gandhi, transmuted this lack of political will into operational decisions which reversed Indian policies towards Sri Lanka, resulting in the failure of the agreement.
  • The agreement failed because Rajiv Gandhi took the decision on the basis of predications and advice conveyed to him by his advisers, which in retrospect were inaccurate and over optimistic. He can be blamed for the decision to sign the agreement, but not for the collective judgment of the Indian establishment.
  • The agreement failed because there was no cohesion in operational aspects of the Indian policies and harmonious coordination between different agencies of the government of India, dealing with Sri Lankan crisis.Rajiv Gandhi could be partially blamed for the contradiction which characterized Indian policies. Though he had to instruct the armed forces to confront the LTTE, once they reverted to terrorism there was perhaps an emotional and psychological inhibition on his part to take drastic action against the LTTE. He had an innate sympathy for the legitimate rights and aspirations of Tamils. It is perhaps because of this mind-set that he permitted representative of our [Indian] intelligence agencies to continue negotiations with the LTTE even as the Indians forces were engaged in military operations against them. The consequence was that the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government took advantage of this two-track policy and its contradictions, and thereby reduced the efficacy of the IPKF operations.In February 1990, the National Front government led by V P Singh told the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Lakha, Lal Mehrotra, to convey to Varatharajah Perumal an official recommendation seeking the dissolution of the North-Eastern Provincial government. Lal Mehrotra, perhaps not wanting to face the chief minister, passed the responsibility of conveying the message to his deputy, S Jai Shankar, the First Secretary who along with a colleague, flew to Trincomalee, on February 28, to meet Perumal.The chief minister was shocked and flabbergasted, when he heard the Indian government’s recommendation from the diplomats of the Indian embassy, for the dissolution of his government. He maintained very firmly that, the request should not be entertained. He politely but firmly told Jai Shankar that, his was an elected government and India had no business to request the winding up of an elected government. He, however, added that, it was a decision which could be taken only by the EPRLF leadership and he suggested that, the diplomats could meet Pathmanabah, who would be in Trincomalee that evening.Later, Pathmanabah and Varatharajah Perumal had a long closed-door consultation. It was decided that, there would be no dissolution of the Provincial government. They also decided that, it was high time to teach a lesson to New Delhi. They also decided that, the Provincial Council would ultimately declare a Unilateral Declaration Independence of Tamil Eelam. When the two diplomats met the chief minister in the evening, he reiterated that the provincial government would not be dissolved. In the evening, Perumal hosted a farewell party to the departing IPKF officers. By midnight, when the party was almost over, and as most guests had left, the chief minister said that the North-Eastern provincial government controlled by the EPRLF would ultimately declare unilaterally Eelam on the next morning. When the news reached the Indian diplomats, they were panicky and contacted the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo in the wee hours and informed him of the latest developments. The High Commissioner instructed the Indian diplomats to take the IPKF helicopter in the early morning and leave Trincomalee.The next day, March 1, 1990, the North-East Provincial Council met and moved a five-page resolution converting the North-Eastern Provincial Council into a constituent state assembly for the purpose of drafting a constitution for the Eelam Democratic Republic, which would take effect on March 1, 1990, if the Sri Lankan government failed to implement a charter of 19 demands to be submitted by the EPRLF on February 25.

    On this day the central committee of the EPRLF issued a 19-point charter forwarding “the conditions that had to be satisfied for the Eelam Tamils to exercise their right of self–determination, within a united Sri Lanka. The demands were:

  • Powers should be devolved in all subjects on the North-East provincial government, not to be less than the powers enjoyed by the Indian states. The relationship in administration and finance between the central government and the North–East provincial government should not be less than the relationship between Indian central government and the state governments.
  • It should be assumed that the North-EastpProvince will not be bifurcated at any stage and in any way and it will continue to be one province.
  • All state land within the North-East province shall be vested in the North-East provincial government. All land development, land alienation of state land and colonization of state land shall vest in the North-East government, without leaving room for misinterpretation.
  • Although the demand that all Sinhala colonization, which took place after the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam pact of 1957 – is unlawful and that, it should be disbanded is reasonable, but for the reason that the relationship between the various communities should be safeguarded, we propose the following on the Sinhala colonization:
  • All Sinhala colonization deliberately carried out by the United National Party government after 1977, should be disbanded and the Sinhalese should be settled in their original province or in any other Sinhala province.
  • In order to find a political solution in respect of Sinhala colonization done prior to 1977, the delimitation and demarcation of the new boundaries of North-East Province should be done with the consent and unanimous decision of all the Tamil political parties. Sinhala villages in the North-East province adjoining to the Sinhala province could be linked with the Sinhala province. At the same time, for the substitution of it, the same extent of fertile forest land from the Sinhala province shall be linked with the North-East province. The re-adjustment and the demarcation of boundaries of the North-East province should not disturb the contiguity of the province or affect the safe transfer within the province. The boundaries of North-East province, such as from Pt Pedro [Point Pedro] to Kumbukkam Aru and from Muhathuvara Aru to Trincomalee, should not be changed for any reasons.
  • Today the Sri Lankan state security forces is only a Sinhalese force. Out of the 32,000 personnel in the police force, only 740 are Tamil speaking. Out of 64,000 in the three armed forces, only about 600 are Tamil speaking. To change this situation and for the state forces to change qualitatively into a national force in a country inhabited by many nationalities, the Sri Lankan Sinhala state forces should change into a national state force, and personnel from the Tamil speaking community should be enrolled to the police force in a way which would maintain national ethnic ratio. This was accepted by the Sri Lankan government at the Security Coordinating Committee meeting, and to be implemented within three years time. They have also placed their signatures in acceptance. Within the first three months 25 percent to be enrolled before the end of 1990 and the remaining to be enrolled to the state forces before the end of 1992 and by January 1993, the Sri Lankan armed forces will become a national force. This form will apply to the national police force as well.
  • Earlier, the Sri Lankan government accepted at the Security Coordination Committee meeting that the provincial government will have 9,500 police personnel in the province, in a way the ethnic ratio is brought out. Fifty percent had to be recruited within the first three months. Before the end of 1990, the provincial police system should function in full.
  • Bases to the three forces can only function in the following places in the North-East province:
    (a) Palai Army Camp;
    (b) Karainagar Naval Base;
    (c) Thalladi Army Camp;
    (d) Vavuniya Josop Camp;
    (e) Trincomalee Naval Base;
    (f) Trincomalee Air Force Base;
    (g) Amparai Kondaivedduvan Army Camp.
  • All the other bases, other than mentioned, should be dismantled. There can be no interference by the forces in the civil administration without the permission of the provincial government. Any person who is not registered as a resident of the North-East province will not have the right to vote in the North-East province.
  • As the Sinhalese constitute 73 percent of the national population, it is common occurrence in the political history of Sri Lanka to deprive the Tamil speaking people of their political and economical rights by making use of the ethnic majority representation in parliament. As such, it is necessary to establish a second chamber to the parliament, with equal representation for nationalities to safeguard the political, economic, cultural, religious and security rights. This chamber should be established in such a way that it could prevent communal legislation.
  • The army should be removed from Fort Frederick in Trincomalee where the Konesar Temple is situated. This area should be declared as a sacred area for Hindus and it should be brought under the administration of the North-East provincial government.
  • Administration of all places of worship in the North-East province should come under the administration of the North-East provincial government.
  • Foreign countries and international agencies have agreed to donate $550 million for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the North-East. The Sri Lankan government has to add 20 percent of this amount, the total amount for rehabilitation and reconstruction will be 25,000 million rupees in Sri Lankan currency. This amount should be credited to the North-East provincial government. Our past experience has been that the Sri Lankan government has created conditions by which we could not make use of these funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction in the proper way and further more, these funds have been diverted to Sinhala provinces. As such, aids and grants for rehabilitation and reconstruction should be left to the authority of the North-East provincial government.
  • The Tamils living in the upcountry have continued to face oppression and suppression by the Sri Lankan Government and the Sinhala racial forces over the past 40 years. Over 5 lakhs of them have been repatriated to India. Those remaining are living with no definite and clear hopes of their future. They have been made political orphans amidst economic exploitation, discrimination, Sinhalese colonization and violent aggression, by the Sinhalese racists. In order to change this situation, a new province and a provincial government should be created in the upcountry, where the upcountry Tamils will be in a majority. In the event of such Provincial Council being created for the upcountry Tamils, the Tamils would extend their cooperation for the creation of a Provincial Council, where the Muslims will be in the majority, by linking areas such as Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu and Sammanthurai. A Tamil council in the upcountry and a Muslim Council in the North-East should have at least the minimum rights in possession of lands, economic rights, basic political rights, cultural and religious rights, education, employment and social services. These councils should also have the right to safeguard these rights.
  • The provincial government should have the powers to negotiate with foreign countries or foreign agencies regarding investments, grants and aids. In the event of the negotiations concluding with successful decisions and if they are not contrary to the overall foreign and economic policy of the Sri Lankan government, legal and administrative arrangements should be made for those aids, grants and investments to reach the North-East provincial government, unhindered.
  • The provincial government should have legal rights not less than the rights enjoyed by the private sector in the establishment and maintenance of economic institutions.
  • The provincial government should have legislative and executive powers as far as residual matters of the constitution are concerned.
  • Mossad, South African, British Army Intelligence Services and international agencies such as KMS and SAS stationed and operating in Sri Lanka, should be expelled from Sri Lanka, immediately. The special task force should be sent out of North-East province. They should never be allowed to come into the North-East province, at any time.
  • The Prevention of Terrorism Act, which is presently operative in Sri Lanka, should be fully done away with. The emergency regulations should be repealed and all persons arrested under emergency regulations should be tried under normal criminal laws of the country.The move of the declaration Eelam by the EPRLF sent shock waves through India and the rest of Sri Lanka. It was a real embarrassment to New Delhi that the announcement came from a Tamil group widely seen as pro-India.Meanwhile the lone UNP member in the council, M Majid, came out of the Provincial Council Assembly hall and ran to the administrative office to telephone President Premadasa in Colombo. He conveyed the dramatic development in the meeting. The president asked Majid what he had been doing when the resolution was being introduced and subsequently passed. He said, “I walked out before it being passed.” Premadasa just said, “Good”.The hasty move by the EPRLF and Varatharajah Perumal with the Unilateral Declaration of Independence for a separate state of Tamil Eelam presented an opportunity for the Sri Lankan government to dissolve the North-East provincial government. Bradman Weerakoon, in his book Premadasa of Sri Lanka: A Political Biography, wrote, “All political parties in parliament, except the EPRLF condemned Varatharajah Perumal’s move. Under the Provincial Council Law of 1987 one of the safeguards to guarantee some autonomy to the Provincial Council had been that the government could not dissolve a Provincial Council by executive fiat. Varatharajah Perumal’s UDI provided the opportunity for the government to bring in amending legislation which enabled the government to dissolve, ‘where more than one half of the total membership of a Provincial Council, expressly repudiated or manifestly disavowed obedience to the constitution.'” – pages 69-70On March 10, 1990, Varatharajah Perumal left Trincomalee with his wife and three daughters, first for Mauritius in an aircraft charted by RAW. From Mauritius he was taken to India and put up at Haveli in Madhya Pradesh. In September 1992, the Indian government shifted him to Ajmer, Rajasthan, where he would be able to arrange educational facilities for his daughters.M R Naran Swamy, wrote in his Tigers of Lanka: From Boys to Guerrilla: “Perumal remained in Mauritius for some three months. He was later moved to Lakshwadeep island. Perumal and his family were shifted to Chanderi fort in the Madhya Pradesh, in August 1990, two months after LTTE assassinated Pathmanabah and 12 EPRLF members in Madras. Perumal was moved to Ajmer, in Rajasthan, in September 1992. He has not appeared in public since he left Trincomalee although he has traveled to New Delhi a few times. In August 1993, he said in an interview to me (The Pioneer, September 14) that he would return to Sri Lanka if Colombo started a political process to solve Tamil grievances.” – page 317

    The Indian Government provided the former chief minister of North-East provincial government high-level security, usually reserved for important politicians and leaders of India. His perks included a palatial bungalow, a dozen-odd domestic staff, including a liaison officer, cooks and servants and two vehicles. The central government of India also gave him a substantial amount for personal expenditure and overheads, such as fuel and maintenance of vehicles.

    Pathmanabah and 275 of his supporters and sympathizers also flew to India in an Indian Air Force transport aircraft. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi refused to let two chartered ships carrying 1,355 pro-Indian Tamils, including women and children, to dock at Madras. Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa ordered that a fitting farewell ceremony be accorded to those Indian soldiers who had fallen in battle in Sri Lanka. On March 24, 1990, one week before schedule, the last of the Indian soldiers was ready to leave. It was a moving farewell on the docks of Trincomalee. Ranjan Wijeratne, the Deputy Minister of Defense, rose to the occasion with some well chosen words and the Indian soldiers waved their goodbyes, as the last ship started moving from the Sri Lankan coast.

    On March 24, 1990, Ranjan Wijeratne and the defense chiefs of Sri Lanka reported in writing to the president of Sri Lanka about the departure of the Indian armed forces:

    His Excellency R Premadasa,
    President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
    Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Minister of Defense
    Your Excellency,
    I, Ranjan Wijeratne, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Defense, have the honor to report that members of the Indian armed services inducted into Sri Lanka from time to time, pursuant to a request made by His Excellency the President J R Jayewardene, in terms of section 2:161C1 of the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement, signed at Colombo on the twenty-ninth day of July nineteen hundred and eighty seven, between His Excellency J R Jayewardene, the then president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the then prime minister of India and the annexure thereto, for the purpose of assisting the government of Sri Lanka in the restoration of peace and normalcy in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, have concluded their phased de-induction, which commenced in pursuance to Your Excellency’s direction in December nineteen hundred and eighty eight.

    The last contingent of the said Indian armed services departed from the Trincomalee Pier at ten hundred hours on the twenty-fourth day of March nineteen hundred and ninety and I am honored to report that no member of the said Indian armed services now remains within the territorial limits of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

    Present with me at the Trincomalee Pier to witness the departure of the said Indian armed services were His Excellency L L Mehrotra, the High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka, General Sepala Attyagalle, General S C Ranatunge, Secretary to the Ministry of Defense, the Service Commanders, General A S Kalkat and high ranking officers of the Sri Lankan and Indian armed services.
    (Sgd) Ranjan Wijeratne, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense and the Minister of State for Defense.

    As regards the activities of KP and the requirement of apprehending him and interrogating him, the following extracts of the Progress Reports of the SIT/CBI give a detailed reasoning in SIT Folder No 345/XV Part II

    Central Bureau of Investigation special investigation team (SIT Folder No 345/XV Part II) Madras

    Subject: Dharmaligam Shanmugam Kumaran alias Kumaran Padmanabha alias Selvaraja Padmanabha alias KP alias “Kaludai” alias Kutti alias Padmanabha

    “Investigations conducted so far have disclosed that Kumaran Padmanabha has been the chief procurer of arms and ammunitions, telecommunication equipments, explosives and other electronic equipments for the LTTE. He has also been instrumental in funding the purchases of these materials through gold and drug smuggling. K P’s area of operation is the international market, mainly the Far East, ie, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Burma; Europe; France, Switzerland, Belgium, Greece and UK; America-Panama and the Caribbean-St Vincent.

    In fact, the wing of the LTTE which arranges funds and supplies has been named by them as the “K P Department”. In the case, K P becomes relevant to trace the sources of procurement of explosives used for the assassination, arms (AK47 and 9mm pistol) carried by the accused and the wireless equipment used by them.

    2. Available personal details
    2.1 K P was born on 6.4.1955 at Myliyddy near Kankesanthurai, Jaffna. He was residing at No 130, KKS Road, Jaffna. He is said to be related to Prabhakaran. His original name is Dharmaligam. He graduated in arts from Jaffna University. He is not married.

    2.2 K P is in possession of one Sri Lankan and two Indian passports. He holds a Sri Lankan passport No J-803500 and Sri Lankan Identity Card No 550971231-V. He holds two Indian Passports – No E 432432 in the name of Dharmalingam Shanmugham Kumaran. This passport was issued from London on 9.8.89. The other Indian passport used by him is in the name of Selvaraja Padmanabhan. The number of this passport is E-277582.

    3. Activities 
    It is reported that in 1981 K P robbed the Peoples Bank in Tirunelveli (Jaffna). K P has been active in India since 1983, during 1983 he was arrested for smuggling gold worth Rs 40 lakhs from Singapore to Bombay, in collusion with Vakil Kandasamy. He was then operating in the name of Kutti alias Padmanabhan. He was again arrested for smuggling in 1984. From 1983 onwards, K P has been operating from Madras in close association with Raghu alias Gudnappa, approached Capt Piraisoodi alias Capt David, a merchant navy captain and floated a company at Singapore called “Arasu Maritime Pvt Ltd, Singapore: Money for starting the company , ie US$25,000 which was the paid-up capital, was provided by K P. In October 1984, a ship the M V Cholan, was purchased. This ship originally belonged to a Chinese company and was registered at Panama. This ship was operating between Singapore, Penang, Sri Lanka, Vizag and Nagapattinam carrying outboard speed boat engines, communication equipments and, in all probabilities, armaments. During the period 1986-88 a new shipping company was floated in Singapore called “Plymouth Shipping Company” in partnership with Capt Vijaykumar. This ship also was used exclusively for the supplies of the LTTE.

    3.1 In 1989 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, K P floated a company “Vikram Holdings Pvt Ltd” in partnership with three Malaysians of Sri Lankan origin. Capt Piraisoodi was also one of the directors of the company. During the same period, KP opened another company – “Point Pedro Shipping”- registered at Panama. This company was operating two ships “Sun Bird” and “Elicia”. The financing was done by K P. “Sun Bird”, flying the flag of Cyprus, was caught in Penang in December 1990, along with boat engines, communication equipments, etc, with the case pending in Malaysia. Another ship called the “Golden Bird” is also financed by K P and is reportedly highly active. “Sun Bird ” and “Elicia” were extensively used for transporting arms and explosives from European countries. Both the ships fly the flag of Honduras.

    3.2 During November 1990 it was learnt that the London office of the LTTE had organized a shipment of weapons through Kumaran. However, the shipment could not come due to the Gulf War. Some other ships which have been under the control of KP are “Amazon” and “Nifly”.

    3.3 Two close associates of K P in India were Eason Singapore and Kumar. Eason was arrested in 1991, January, by local police and is presently lodged at Vellore jail. Vakil Kandaswamy was another close associate of KP who had been used by K P for smuggling gold from Singapore and arranging LTTE members in going abroad on forged travel papers.

    3.4 During November 1990, Eason and Kandaswamy had spoken to K P over the telephone from Adayar STD booth. K P was at that time reported to be at Kuala Lumpur. During the conversation with Kandaswamy, K P had indicated that LTTE was going to launch a major operation in India to harm the Indian leadership.

    3.5 During Nov-Dec ’90, K P was in Cyprus. He was in touch with Kumar who was staying at 28th Lodge, Room No 5, Sarangoon Singapore, along with Kader. Telephone calls made from this lodge to Cyprus during the period can be checked to ascertain the Cyprus address of K P. A consignment of arms was loaded on the ship “Golden Bird” by K P. Kader was called by K P from Singapore and he joined him at Cyprus. He was put aboard the “Golden Bird” by K P. The “Golden Bird” reached the Bay of Bengal in Feb ’91 and the armed cargo was unloaded and sent to Jaffna in four installments, during March 1991. “Golden Bird” belongs to a company “Henseatic” registered with Orient Shipping in Germany. During this period, the other LTTE ship “Elicia” was also in the Bay of Bengal. Kader has since been apprehended by the Indian Navy along with nine others from the vessel “Tong Nova” and is now in the custody of the Q Branch of Tamil Nadu Police.

    3.6 It is also learnt that in June ’91 K P visited Singapore and went to the Thai-Cambodia border in the third week of July, where he negotiated purchases of arms and ammunitions from the KPNLF for the LTTE. He is believed to have proceeded to Australia/New Zealand.

    3.7 During January 1991, K P contacted Captain Piraisoodi from Bangkok (Thailand) and spoke to him about transportation of consignments.

    3.8 During May 1991, K P was reported to be in India. On 26-5-91, ie, five days after the assassination [Rajiv Gandhi], K P reportedly left for Bangkok from Bombay. His present whereabouts are not known.

    3.9 K P being the sole procurer, transporter and supplier of arms, explosives and communication equipments for the LTTE, appears to be the prime suspect in this case who would have supplied the explosives used for the assassination, the AK47 and 9mm pistol used by Sivarasan and the wireless sets used by Sivarasan, Kanthan, Dixon and others. So far no evidence has come to suggest any alternative method of procurement and supply.

    3.10 During the period 1984-85 while K P was in India, there is evidence of large-scale purchases of highly sophisticated weapons by him. During the searches made at the house of Radhakrishnan alias Radha at Chingelput, some files captioned “K P-Deal List” were seized. These files indicate bulk purchases of gun boats, recoilless rifles, 106mm, torpedoes, RPG antit-ank and anti-personnel mines, Israeli grenades, 7362mm NATO rifles, ammunition, plastic explosives, sub-machine guns, night vision devices and related equipment. The documents also indicate procurement of G3, N16, M60 rifles, Czech pistols 9mm and large quantities of mortar and explosive substances. The documents disclose the price at which these arms are available in British Pound Sterling and also contain certain unsigned requirements apparently sent to the arms dealers for procurement of these weapons.

    3.11 The above details would necessarily imply management of huge finances for floating of companies, purchase of ships, arms etc. However, there is no direct evidence to indicate sources of finance, except for some isolated incidents of gold smuggling, which by themselves, appear inadequate to finance the above requirements.

    3.12 In this context, information furnished by the Criminal Investigation Department of Sri Lankan Police is relevant. This information relates to the links between drug trafficking and the Tamil terrorist organization.

    3.13 The report, inter alia, states that during the period 1984-86 a large percentage of Sri Lankans arrested in West Germany, Italy, France and Spain for drug smuggling were found to be Sri Lankan Tamils. The average percentage of the Sri Lankan Tamils out of the total Sri Lankans arrested during this period was 84 percent. Almost all the Tamils arrested were found traveling on forged passports. During interrogation, they admitted that they were indulging in drug-trafficking on behalf of Tamil terrorists in order to derive funds for purchase of arms.

    3.14 During the period 1989-90, the Sri Lankan Tamil drug traffickers arrested abroad were largely found to be operating from India. Recently a Sri Lankan Tamil, Vamadevan alias Capt Kumar has been arrested by the Bombay Police for possession of heroin (we have to get Capt Kumar thoroughly interrogated regarding his LTTE connections).

    3.15 During 1989-90, as many as 13 Sri Lankan Tamils were arrested for drug smuggling by the Police Narcotics Bureau of Sri Lanka. They were found to be having definite LTTE links (we may ask the Sri Lankan government to provide us details of their interrogation). The Sri Lankan CID has come to the conclusion that large sums of money diverted from the sale of heroin by the drug-running syndicates of the LTTE are re-routed to south India from where the money is disseminated abroad for purchase of armaments. They have also concluded that these syndicates procure their narcotics from India.

    4 Countries from where operations took place
    4.1 In Madras, the K P department was functioning from the LTTE office, during 1983-84. Smuggling was arranged from here and funds from Sri Lankans abroad were also collected at Madras. Associates of K P at Madras were (1) Raghu alias Gundapa, (2) Eason Singaraya, (3) Kumar, (4) Vakil Kandaswamy, and (5) Ranjith (Accountant).

    4.2 Kandaswamy is reported to own a house at Regharpura Karol Bagh, New Delhi, which was used by KP as a safe house. However, during interrogation, Kandaswamy stated one Lawrence was earlier staying in Regharpura, Karol Bagh. He died subsequently. K P’s contacts in New Delhi were the former immigration officer of Delhi Airport, Jagdish Yadav, who is said to be presently working in the traffic police, Delhi. He has a house at E17, Shankar Road, Karol Bagh, New Delhi. Yadav is also reported to be the owner of “Flying Travels” near Navrang Hotel, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi. K P during 1986 used to stay at Navrang Hotel, Pahar Ganj. K P’s other contacts in New Delhi were Virendra Yadav, brother of Jagdish Yadav, owner of “Cozy Travels”, Ground Floor, Aeroflot Building, New Delhi. His other contacts were V D Gupta and Dahaiya immigration officers. Dahaiya is said to be SHO, Greater Kailash. Other travel agencies used by KP were “VK Travels”, near Imperial Cinema, Pahar Ganj, owned by V K Aggarwal and “Hind Travels”, Karol Bagh owed by Arun Marwah.

    4.3 (i) Captain Piraisoody, (ii) Mr Rajendran, Prof of mathematics, Singapore University, (related to K P and V Prabhakaran), (iii) Devendran, (iv) Arasa Rathnam, (v) Mohammed Rial (gold smugglers between Singapore and Madras) are his associates. Shipping and Finance companies of K P operate from here. It is suspected that he may be purchasing explosives (hand grenades), etc from here as well.

    4.4 KP deals with the following agencies for procurement of equipments at Singapore:
    Inter Nave Agencies Pvt, Ltd 30-04, International Plaza, Anson Road Singapore. Blazer Electronics Company, Sim Lim Tower, Ground Floor, Rochore Road, Singapore (K P purchased telecommunication equipment and boat engines through a smuggler, Charles Fernando, from this shop in Nov-Dec ’90).

    4.5 (i) Longanathan, (ii) Dhanapalan and (iii) Karunanidhi (partners of Nikram Holdings, Kuala Lumpur) are his known associates. Malaysia is an important smuggling base of K P.

    4.6 KP’s address at Malaysia – Tingkat 3, Block C8, Jalam/ Taman Tunku, Bukit, Tunku, Kuala Lumpur. He is also the director of “Vikram Holdings” Lot 592, 5th Floor, PO Box 469, Wisman Central, Jalam, Ampong, 50450, Kuala Lumpur.


    4.7 (i) S Mohan, c/o V Easwara & Co Ltd, PO Box No 894, Park Nong PO, Bangkok, is a close friend of K P, with whom K P stays while at Thailand.

    4.8 He was also managing “Aarasu Maritime Pvt Ltd, 0904, LKN Building, 135 Cecil Street, Bangkok.


    4.9 K P is known to have extensively used the French port of Marseilles for transportation of arms through his various ships. He is reportedly in close association with an arms smuggler and international drug runner, Patrick Condier – a retired French army officer.


    4.10 This country is used mainly for transfer of money through bank accounts and fund raising.


    4.11 The port of Antwerp is used both for purchase of arms as well as their transportation.

    Panama, Honduras and St Vincent 

    4.12 Due to their liberal registration procedure, these countries have been used for registration of companies and ships by K P.

    4.13 K P is also known to be operating from Hong Kong. He may be in touch with Mrs Shanmugaraja, c/o Kolpitiya. Hong Kong (telephone No. 01-397801-21).

    United Kingdom 

    4.14 Apart from Kittu, K P’s contact in the UK is Kamalasingam alias Singam alias Kamla, who is a British national at c/o 44, 40th Lane, Wembley, Middlesex, HA 99, HA UK. He is a telecommunication engineer.

    4.15 According to Capt Piraisoodi, K P is in close touch with one Dinesh who is based somewhere in Greece. His telephone No 30-1-418925 (Res) and 4-220226.

    5. Incidentally, as per intelligence reports, it was mentioned that K P would be dispatching another consignment of arms and ammunition through “Golden Bird” which will be taken by boats from the high seas in the Indian Ocean to Jaffna. The seizure of the speed boat “Tong Nova” along with 10 crew members, including Capt Balan, off the Indian coast shows that K P is still active in this area. A detailed interrogation of Capt Balan and others is being done and relevant details about K P shall be elicited from them.

    Comments of Sh R V Raju, DIG on the note on K P prepared by Sh Amit Verma, SP. The note on K P is fairly detailed. His extensive activities in arms procuring for the LTTE movement in Sri Lanka have been traced. Now his role in our case is to be examined.

    2. The note gives that it is K P who procures arms for the LTTE. He is, thus, the source of most of the arms and telecommunication equipment. The AK-47, pistols, grenades and wireless sets used in our case could have been procured by KP for LTTE. However, the only possible evidence connecting K P with our case till date is Vakil Kandaswamy’s statement quoting the phone conversation in which K P refers to the action planned against the Indian leadership.

    3. K P no doubt is one of the most important members of the LTTE, performing perhaps the most vital role he would certainly have played the role in the decision making on the assassination, as he would have to take all possible steps to avoid any adverse effect of the crime on his activities, ie, purchase and supply of arms etc, just like Trichy Santhan instructed Suresh Master for shifting the injured LTTE cadres much before the assassination. We, as yet, have neither any evidence nor even information, of any decision, having been taken by the LTTE.

    4. Another possibility is that LTTE may have obtained military equipment from some third party as a result of the assassination. In this case too K P is likely to have been deeply involved.

    5. K P therefore requires to be interrogated thoroughly. All possible evidence against him needs to be collected. This could be done as follows:

    All particulars about him to be collected from Indian/Sri Lankan passports.
    Particulars of arrest of KP and Vakil Kandaswamy for smuggling gold in Bombay in 1983 to be collected from Bombay Police through Bombay Branch.
    Raghu alias Gundappa to be interrogated to get all possible particulars about K P, his friends, relatives etc.
    Kader in “Q” branch custody to be interrogated for (a) K P’s knowledge of the assassination. (b) Shipment of arms connected with assassination.
    Vamadevan alias Cap Kumar arrested by Bombay Police for drug trafficking to be interrogated by sending an IO to see possible connection with K P.
    Pointers to trace source of sale of weapons, explosives and communication equipment used in our case to be sent to explore their connection with K P.
    Accused like Santhan could be further examined to see if he had knowledge of K P’s involvement in the decision making or connection with the arms used in our case.
    (R V Raju – DIG: SIT: Madras – 21.11.91)

    Comment of DIG Sh Srikumar on the note of S H Amit Verma on KP. The note given by S H Amit Verma before we went to Sri Lanka is placed on files (S/7 to 10/c). As a result of our discussions with the various agencies, the facts gathered from Sri Lankan agencies are placed on file. The photographs of M V Sunbird video record of M V Sunbird as well as KP’s two apartments in Kuala Lumpur, the assets and liabilities statement and details of 22 a/cs of KP have been obtained from NIB. These are also placed on file (The video cassette is with Sh Manoharan). The facts gathered conclusively establish the pre-eminence of K P as the chief procurer of arms and handler of funds for LTTE.

    2. On the basis of pointers raised by SP (AV) and DIG (RVR) the role of KP in the assassination case needs to be looked into closely to ascertain whether:
    Belt bomb was procured through him.
    AK 47 9mm pistols seized from Sivarasan was seized from him.
    Wireless sets used for communication between 91 and 95 stations were purchased by him.
    The money spent by Sivarasan for the assassination is accounted for in K P’s account.
    Whether ack-ack guns, SAM 8 missiles or other heavy armament purchase were effected by K P immediately after assassination through funds channalised with his accounts at that time.
    What was he doing in India at the time of assassination and why he hurriedly left India.

    In order to pursue investigations to get an answer to the above points, we would naturally have to collect as much information as possible about K P and his movements and associates. In addition to the previous cases where he or his associates have been arrested earlier, viz:

    1983 – Smuggling gold from Singapore to Bombay – arrested at Bombay; 1984 – gold smuggling, Madras; Dec ’90 – Sun Bird seizure at Penang; Jan/Feb ’91 – Easen & Kandaswamy’s arrest; Aug ’91 – Radha’s house search; Oct ’91 – Kandaswamy’s arrest; Nov ’91 – Tong Nova arrests.

    4. We should also further interrogate Cap Pirasoodi and the 10 arrested sailors from Tong Nova as well as Vakil Kandaswamy.

    5. During our visit to Sri Lanka, a source talked of a meeting with K P and an American agent at Paris within a fortnight of the assassination. It was divulged that K P was given $3 million dollars with which he made arms purchases from Southern Lebanon. In the light of this information, questioning of K P becomes imperative if further insight into a greater conspiracy has to be had. At present he is said to be moving in Australia/New Zealand. RAW may be requested to specially mount an operation to watch his movements and take action to nab him if he comes to India again. We could also take up a separate case for use of false passport against him.
    (R Srikumar) DIG: SIT, 23.11.’91

Next: Aftermath of the Indian withdrawal

Posted .

Filed under History.

Comments are disabled on this page.