The timing could not have been more off the mark. When the nation was observing the sixth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, some political leaders in Tamil Nadu were celebrating the 60th birth anniversary of Velupillai Prabhakaran.
For those who cannot recall the name, Prabhakaran was the chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was responsible for the assassinations of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993. It was also behind the deaths of many more government officials and ordinary people caught in the crossfire of its war with the Sri Lankan government. Since 1992, the LTTE has been designated a terror organisation by India and this makes MDMK leader Vaiko’s support to the group and its leader almost treasonous.
Vaiko has often boasted about the rapport he shared with a terrorist like Prabhakaran. It is also not the first time he has openly expressed support to the LTTE and a separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. This chest-thumping, by the likes of Vaiko and other fringe leaders, can be dismissed as nothing else but an attempt to remain relevant in Tamil Nadu politics.
But his party is an ally of the ruling coalition at the Centre. To celebrate the birthday of a terrorist who assassinated a former prime minister is beyond the pale and should be condemned by all political parties. In fact, the BJP should review its ties with the MDMK. It may be in Vaiko’s interest to keep the Tamil Eelam issue on the boil, but the major political parties in the state have, by their silence, shown themselves to be somewhat spineless and prisoners of votebank politics.
Vaiko’s antics are anti-national and political parties should have called a spade a spade. Vaiko has every right to celebrate whatever he wants in his private space. But to make common cause with a terror organisation is unacceptable and the sooner he is told that the better. And in fact, the government of the day should act against this anti-national activity on his part.