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An intra-diaspora war over Prabhakaran

world Updated: Jun 24, 2009 00:12 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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So what if the LTTE is military wiped out of Sri Lanka? It had control over 15,000 square kilometres of land at one point. Now only torn down sign boards remain by the road side to remind those passing by of the days of LTTE-rule.

But now the new talk is of forming a “transnational government’’ (TNG); the territory is gone but the emotional terrain is still fertile to the keep the dream of Eelam blinking.

TamilNet, which loathes being called a pro-LTTE website, defined a TNG as a government comprising representation from the diaspora, in this case the Tamil diaspora spread across various countries in Europe and Southeast Asia and countries like Canada.

The website explained that a TNG was distinct from a government-in-exile, as the former comprised representation from across the diaspora, while the latter was aimed at taking control of a specific territory.

The announcement of forming a provisional TNG came from the Tamil Tigers’ global boss, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, who said it was necessary to the “struggle”, adding people wanted such a homeland and self-rule.

But another announcement soon after revealed that the main element and moving force behind a TNG, the diaspora, may not be so steadfastly united as it was under LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran.

Ironically, the fissures became evident on the issue of Prabhakaran’s death.

The “department of Intelligence of the LTTE’’ confirmed that Prabhakaran had “attained martyrdom.’’

The statement was signed by a certain “K Arivazhakan, head, external affairs wing, department of intelligence.’’

Pathmanathan himself had confirmed Prabhakaran’s death within days of army chief Sarath Fonseka announcing it.

Then, the diaspora had promptly come out with a denial, maintaining that Prabhakaran was alive and would emerge at an opportune moment.

The Tamil diaspora continues to believe that Prabhakaran is alive. Those who follow the LTTE-supporting diaspora abroad say that a deep rift has been created between those Tigers, like Pathmanathan, who have admitted Prabhakaran’s death and those who do not believe so.

Noted columnist DBS Jeyaraj points out an important fallout regarding the division of opinions within the diaspora about Prabhakran’s death.

“A whole month has passed since the demise of both the LTTE and its leader but the astonishing reality is that not even one public meeting has been held abroad so far to commemorate Prabhakaran or other members of the LTTE,’’ Jeyaraj wrote.

According to Jeyaraj’s analysis, an intra-diaspora war is raging between Pathmanathan and those — including the Norway-based TamilNet editor — who want ensure that the “myth’’ of Prabhakaran being alive continues.

For a fledgling and diaspora-driven transnational government that is certainly not good news.