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Prabha cannot win Lanka war: Karuna

Prabhakaran's former right-hand man says LTTE has lost internal strength to carry on, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2007 14:04 IST

Former LTTE commander, Karuna, has said that the LTTE led by Velupillai Prabhakaran cannot win the war in Sri Lanka even if God helps him.

In an interview to the Sinhala language TV channel Derana on Thursday, Karuna said Prabhakaran's outfit, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was losing internal strength and outside support and had got isolated from the world, which had dubbed it a terrorist organisation.

Military Participation Ratio

According to Karuna, who now heads the rival Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP), a group's military strength is measured in terms of the Military Participation Ratio (MPR).

"In the LTTE's case, the MPR is not increasing but is decreasing. So Prabhakaran cannot win the war, even if God helps him," he said.

"Prabhakaran's LTTE is sliding down from the hill top. It was at the topwhen it was facing the Sri Lankan Army during Operation Jayasukurui (in the late 1990s). But today, it has lost the East and would loose the North too, before long."

Holed up in a bunker most of the time, Prabhakaran must be under "great mental strain", Karuna said.

Asked to comment on the LTTE's claim to be the "sole representative" of the Sri Lankan Tamils, Karuna said: "Six years ago, may be it was. Today, it is not even a representative, let alone being the sole representative."

Norway asked to review its representatives

In a scathing attack on the Norwegian peace broker Erik Solheim, Karuna said that Solheim had been pro-LTTE consistently.

"He has not been neutral. I will not blame the Norwegian government, but it is time it re-examined the role of its representatives in the Sri Lankan peace process," Karuna said.

"I had participated in six rounds of peace talks and had visited Oslo also. I had found that Solheim was trying to hand over the government of the North East to Prabhakaran and give money to him. Money was given to Balasingham," Karuna alleged.

He further said that if the administrative structures which were set up in the North-East after the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in February 2002 had worked, a lot of money would have gone into the hands of Prabhakaran and "more ships with arms would have come."

Denies recruiting children Accused by the United Nations and the donor countries for abducting children and training them to be soldiers in his military wing, Karuna asserted: "We do not recruit children. Nor will we ever do it."

He said that he had offered to prove to UNICEF that he had no child soldiers.

"We do not need to recruit children as we do not have a large fighting force. We have a small number purely for self defence," he explained.

Karuna claimed that he had opposed child recruitment when he was in the LTTE and that he had left the LTTE because Prabhakaran was recruiting children.

Will not become another Prabhakaran

Expounding his political agenda, Karuna said that Sri Lankansneed not fear that he might eventually turn out to be another Prabhakaran, bent on dividing the country on ethnic lines by force.

He said he was committed to keeping Sri Lanka united and that he attached no importance to labels like "federal" and "unitary".

What was important for him was equal opportunity for equitable development.

"If the minorities and people living in the outlying regions get the same rights and opportunities to develop as the majority community and the Colombo region, nobody will demand separation."

"TMVP is demanding economic development and greater educational opportunities for the peoples of the North and East. These are reasonable demands which no leader of the majority community will oppose," he said.

Faith in Rajapaksa

Expressing faith in President Mahinda Rajapaksa's "Mahinda Chinthana" Karuna said that he was convinced that Rajapaksa had a plan for the development of the Tamil-speaking North East.

First Published: Jan 26, 2007 13:41 IST