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Lift ban, LTTE chief calls upon India

Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran vowed to continue his war against Sri Lanka “till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed” and urged India to lift the ban on his group, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

world Updated: Nov 27, 2008 22:17 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on Thursday vowed to continue his war against Sri Lanka “till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed” and urged India to lift the ban on his group.

Making his annual ‘heroes’ day speech’ from an undisclosed location, the elusive rebel leader, who turned 54 on Wednesday, also said that his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) never saw India as an enemy.

He also had words of praise the state of Tamil Nadu and its leaders for supporting the “cause of eelam.”

“It was because we were firmly committed to our conviction and freedom for our people, that friction erupted between our movement and India. However, at no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. Our people always consider India as our friend. They have great expectations that the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question,” he said.

He remained unrelenting when speaking about the ruling Sinhala-majority government and the LTTE’s aim of establishing a Tamil nation.

The speech, which was mailed across the world to journalists, members of the Tamil diaspora and sympathisers in more than a dozen languages, indicated that even if their numbers were dwindling — as per the claims of the government — the ethnic conflict has far from reached a final stage.

His speech came moments after government jets, for a second year running, destroyed a rebel radio station broadcasting his address.

In his 2007 speech, Prabhakaran had accused India of not supporting his outfit’s cause.