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Pro-LTTE party memo to Delhi skirts Rajiv killing

Neither Rajiv Gandhi nor his assassination by the LTTE in May 1991 was mentioned in the party's memo, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2006 18:24 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

The memorandum sent by the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 19, seeking a direct Indian involvement in the Sri Lankan Tamil question, had made only an indirect reference to the critical issue of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Neither Rajiv Gandhi nor his assassination (by the LTTE in May 1991) was mentioned though "deep and sincere" regrets were expressed in regard to "tragic aberrations" in the past.

The memorandum, submitted in the form of a letter, said: "We deeply and sincerely regret the tragic aberrations that have impinged on this relationship and are confident that there can be no recurrence of such events."

Significance of use of plural

According to political observers here, the avoidance of any direct mention of the assassination and the use of plurals like "aberrations" and "such events" indicate that the LTTE's proxies were also alluding to the killings done by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) which had fought the LTTE in the Tamil-speaking North-Eastern Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990.

The pro-LTTE lobby has for long been justifying the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by pointing out to the killing of hundreds of innocent Tamils by the IPKF.

The TNA's memorandum had, in a sense, equated Rajiv's assassination with the killings done by the IPKF during war.

Strategic importance of Sri Lankan Tamils

However, the pro-LTTE Tamils, including the TNA, would rather put the gory and unpleasant past behind, and reach out to India, hoping that India would reciprocate.

The argument the Tamils put forth is that, while successive Sri Lankan governments have consorted with India's strategic rivals or enemies in the region to New Delhi's discomfiture, the Sri Lankan Tamils, including the LTTE, have never done so.

Stating the case clearly, the TNA's memorandum said: " The Tamil people have never allied themselves with any country against the interests of India during the Indo-China War in 1962 and during the Indo-Pak War in 1971."

The relations between the Sri Lankan Tamils and India was a "historical" one, which could "never" be ruptured, the memorandum said.

"The Tamil people are unequivocally committed to making common cause with India in the furtherance of our mutual interests."

"We desire to maintain the closest contact with India and work with India to achieve this overall objective," it said.

Opportune moment

The TNA seems to have seized an opportune moment to strike the above mentioned note.

Reportedly, there is mounting concern in New Delhi about the "rising" influence of the Pakistani military and political Establishments in Sri Lanka.

Indian strategic thinkers like B Raman have been warning New Delhi about likely developments following the posting of a former Air Vice Marshal as Pakistan's High Commissioner in Colombo.

There is speculation in Indian think tanks about enhanced Pak-Lanka military ties and their implications for the security and stability of South India.

First Published: Sep 29, 2006 16:17 IST