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SL Tamils see India as their fatherland

LTTE ideologue Anton Balasingham said this in an interview to a Chennai-based weekly, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2006 15:57 IST

The Tamils of Sri Lanka consider "Tamil Eelam" in the North East of their island, as their "motherland", and India as their "fatherland", says the LTTE's ideologue and chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham.

In an interview to the popular Chennai-based weekly Ananda Vikatan, which has been widely reproduced here, Balasingham said that the Sri Lankan Tamils had "always looked upon India as their fatherland."

"We expect good relations to develop between India and the LTTE. I feel that such a situation will arise in the near future," Balasingham said.

Regarding the LTTE's armed conflict with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in 1987-90, Balasingham said that the LTTE had to fight the Indians not because it wanted to, but because it had no option.

India, he said, was thwarting the LTTE's movement to establish an independent Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.

India was apprehensive that an independent Tamil Eelam at its southern doorstep, might trigger secessionist movements in India itself, he said.

However, if one were to look at the relations between the LTTE and the Indian government, ignoring the IPKF episode, the LTTE had never intended to alienate India, Balasingham said.

"This is because the Sri Lankan Tamils, who look at Tamil Eelam as their motherland, have always looked at India as their fatherland," he said.

Further on the deep relations between the Eelam Tamils and India, Balasingham said: "Even before the Liberation Tigers were formed, India had shown interest in the Eelam Tamils. This is because even though we are in Eelam, ethnically we are Indians. Our ancient history begins in India."

"After the 1983 riots and its fallout in Tamil Nadu, India began to interfere in the Tamil question directly."

"India gave the LTTE and other militant groups arms and military training and brought us up. "

"This is a historical truth. We had never denied this."

"India recognised us as a liberation movement and made us participate in the talks with the Sri Lankan government in Thimpu (in Bhutan in 1985)."

"After this, for several reasons, some contradictions arose between the LTTE and the Indian government. A gap came into existence."

"But if one takes an over all view, from then till now, India has taken a sympathetic attitude towards the Eelam Tamils."

"This situation should continue. Our wish is that India will realize our legitimate aspirations," Balasingham said.

Canada to ban LTTE?

Meanwhile, there is great joy in South Sri Lanka on hearing that the Canadians may have decided to ban the LTTE.

Sri Lankan newspapers on Sunday reproduced a report in Canada's "National Post" which said that the Canadian cabinet had apparently decided to add LTTE to the country's list of banned organizations.

Canada has a large Sri Lankan Tamil expatriate and refugee population, and the LTTE is known to be a factor in their life.

Canadian Tamils are believed to be liberally contributing to the LTTE's war chest, some willingly, some under duress.

The LTTE is already banned in the US, UK and India.