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'Killing Rajiv was a mistake'

world Updated: Dec 16, 2010 00:16 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Assassinating former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was a mistake and it turned India against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a former Tamil Tiger leader turned government minister has said.

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, popularly known Colonel Karuna, told the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) — a government-appointed panel looking into the civil war — that initially the rebel outfit had influence in India and even claimed to have been trained there.

But the situation changed drastically. According to newspaper reports, Karuna said: "It was a big mistake on the part of the LTTE to have assassinated Rajiv Gandhi."

Karuna, who is now the deputy minister for resettlement, said the situation changed when in 1991 Rajiv Gandhi was killed, adding that India then turned against the Tigers and banned it.

Interestingly, Karuna also claimed former Lankan President Premadasa gave the LTTE money and firearms when the terrorist group was weak, the Daily Mirror reported.