|Senior Sea Tiger reported dead in 2009 is new chief of LTTE|
Writing in these columns last week about the state of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) overseas network I noted that “the Tiger and pro-Tiger structures abroad can be broadly classified into two categories” .
The first category is the group consisting of organizations that are either fronts or sympathetic to the LTTE. This category about which I wrote extensively last week ,consists of organizations such as the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) headed by New York lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, Global Tamil Forum(GTF) umbrella group under Germany based Catholic clergyman Fr.SJ Emmanuel and the network consisting of LTTE branches/fronts controlled by Perinbanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan living in Norway.
What I want to focus on this week is the second category of LTTE structures which is basically non-transparent and less accountable. This category is far more dangerous because of its secretive style of functioning and radical aims. It is in a sense the “real LTTE” within the Tamil Diaspora milieu. Furthermore it has acquired a leader in the form of a senior Tiger “Colonel” who was reported as being killed in February during the fighting .
Before elaborating further on this “resurrected” Tiger leader and the re-grouping of the “real LTTE” under him I would like to emphasise some salient points about the three main groupings comprising the first category of LTTE or pro-LTTE structures abroad.
TGTE - GTF
This category despite its relationship to the LTTE functions openly in various parts of the world. The TGTE and GTF activities are generally visible and transparent and even subscribe to a modicum of accountability in certain respects.
The TGTE which held two public conventions in Philadelphia and New York has a transparent administrative structure consisting of a 135 member assembly, Speaker, deputy speaker, Prime minister, three deputy premiers, seven cabinet ministers and ten deputy ministers. A second chamber of representatives will also be formed very soon. It is very likely that the TGTE would setup a permanent office in New York very soon within close proximity to the United Nations. The TGTE has formulated an impressive program including that of rendering assistance to the affected Tamil people of North –eastern Sri Lanka. With all identified members of the TGTE being blacklisted and the Sri Lankan government having registered its opposition to the TGTE it remains to be seen as to how the organization hopes to implement its agenda. The TGTE is also under heavy pressure from the Nediyavan controlled faction.
The GTF umbrella network president is former Vicar-General of the Jaffna Catholic diocese Fr. SJ Emmanuel. The GTF functions openly to a reasonable extent. Though comprising fourteen different organizations the livewire of the GTF is the British Tamil Forum (BTF). Thanks to the efforts of the BTF the GTF has been able to set up a secretariat in London.
In what was perhaps a remarkable achievement the GTF has enlisted the services of former British Labour Party Parliamentarian Joan Ryan to be in charge of the GTF secretariat in London. Ryan will have two young researchers to assist her on a daily and weekly basis. The GTF is in the process of setting up a full –fledged staff including public relations and press officers.
The GTF through its constituent members has engaged in dialogue with government ministers, legislators, high level administrators and media personnel of several western nations. The GTF claims that it is trying to help exert international pressure on theColombo government to evolve an acceptable political solution while cooperating with international efforts to hold the Rajapaksa regime accountable for alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.
The network led be Nediyavan or Nediyon is somewhat different to the TGTE and GTF in the sense that it primarily consists of LTTE branches and front organizations. With the LTTE being proscribed as a foreign terrorist organization in most western nations many of the identified Tiger branches became dormant or transformed themselves into new entities. New fronts were also established.
The LTTE cabal headed by Nediyavan is guided by the self –styled “Mathiyurainjar” (Political adviser) Jeyachandran Gopinath alias Jeya Annai the Editor of LTTE website “Tamilnet”. Nediyavan’s group is firmly opposed to the TGTE led by Rudrakumaran and also all loyalists of former LTTE stalwart Selvarasah Pathmanathan alias KP. There is however some affinity between GTF President Fr. Emmanuel and Nediyavan with the former being regarded as the ideological godfather of the latter.
In a bid to counter the country –based chapters of Rudrakumaran’s TGTE the Nediyavan group also established a network of “elected” organizations in different countries among the Tamil Diaspora. These organizations were called either “Makkal’ Peravai” or “Thesiyap Peravai” (peoples or National Assemblies) in each country. These organizations held a series of referendums in different countries among the Tamil Diaspora to re-iterate support for the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Vadukkoddai resolution which formally raised the demand for Tamil Eelam on May 14th 1976.
There has been in recent times strong moves within the GTF and the Nediyavan network to forge greater unity in a bid to isolate the TGTE faction led by Rudrakumaran. Unity talks between Fr. Emmanuel and Nediyavan’s representatives were scheduled to be held in Norway on Friday November 12th. “Tamilnet” Editorial board members based in Norway are the accredited facilitators of these talks.