“The Tigers’ history, their theoretical vacuum, lack of political creativity, intolerance and fanatical dedication will be the ultimate cause of their own break up. The legendary Tigers will go to their demise with their legends smeared with the blood and tears of victims of their own misdoings,’’ Rajani Thiranagama, a founding member of the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), wrote these words in her book Broken Palmyra 21 years ago.
She was allegedly shot dead by the LTTE soon after.
These somewhat prophetic lines were quoted in a latest report by UTHR (J) to set the tone.
The report courted controversy by alleging that LTTE chief V Prabhakaran was tortured before being killed that and his family was shot dead before his eyes. LTTE leaders who attempted to surrender — as agreed with the army and the government — were riddled with machine gun bullets.
The report raised questions about the whereabouts of the thousands injured in shelling.
But it in no way spared the LTTE for what it did to the displaced Tamil refugees. There were several mentions of LTTE cadres shooting at refugees attempting to escape and their being held as one large human shied.
The very fact that one of its founding members was suspected to have been killed by the LTTE means that UTHR (J) could never be blind to its misdeeds; the quote in the first paragraph says enough.
The government predictably came out with guns blazing against the report.
“It appears that this report is also as other human rights reports based on false rumours, Tamil website, hearsay evidence and so on and not credible but made up to demean the government and the forces. So from whatever source these so called human rights reports are introduced,’’ the defence ministry said.
On the issue of mass graves, the ministry said: “does the UTHR (Jaffna) expects the army to call the Funeral Services to perform the last rites for fighters who got killed in the war against the government?’’
Leaving aside the claims of Prabhakaran’s death — the real events might never be unearthed without an enquiry — the report is only biased towards improving the condition of the civilians who lost everything under the LTTE and now stare at an empty future.