Indian Guru preaches peace to LTTE leaders
Clearly, both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE wanted to see if Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would be able to break the current deadlock in the peace process, reports PK Balachandran.Updated: Sep 22, 2006 04:22 IST
The Indian spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, met the LTTE leadership in Kilinochchi on Thursday, and "preached the importance of peace", according to Keheliya Rambukwella, the Sri Lankan Defence Spokesman.
Asked whether the Indian guru met the elusive LTTE Supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Sri Lankan spokesman said, "I do not know whom he met. All I know is that he met the LTTE hierarchy and preached the importance of peace."
"The idea of making the LTTE come for talks was good. So we gave whatever facilities the organizers asked for," Rambukwella told Hindustan Times.
Sri Sri Ravi Shanker, accompanied by the head of the Colombo branch of his foundation, had flown to Kilinochchi and back by a Sri Lankan military helicopter.
This could not have happened without the active consent and cooperation of the LTTE.
Clearly, both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE wanted to see if Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would be able to break the current deadlock in the peace process.
However, significantly, even as Ravi Shankar was in Kilinochchi, Sri Lankan Air Force had taken on LTTE targets in the Nagarkovil and Palai regions of Northern Jaffna.
The Indian guru runs the Art of Living Foundation from Bangalore, and has followers among the Tamils and Sinhalas of Sri Lanka.
Some months ago, he had visited Jaffna, and many people attending a public meeting addressed by him there, had petitioned him to intervene in the Sri Lankan conflict and bring about peace in the island.
He had agreed to do that.
Tamil MPs to meet Indian PM on Friday
Meanwhile, in a parallel development in New Delhi, a five member delegation of MPs from the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are to meet the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday.
The delegation led by R Sampanthan, has already met the Minister of State for External Affairs, E Ahamed, and the National Security Advisor, MK Narayanan, and explained to them the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
They urged the Indian top brass to link the maintenance of the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka with adequate progress in power sharing with the Tamil minority.
The Indian leaders had told them that India was committed to maintaining the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka while seeking a just solution for the Tamil problem.
First Published: Sep 22, 2006 04:22 IST