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Will there be a Violent Resurgence of the LTTE soon? - Diaspora Factor

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Will there be a Violent Resurgence of the LTTE soon?
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Diaspora Factor

What is troubling however is the  Diaspora factor. 

Even though the LTTE received the death blow in Sri Lanka its overseas structures were not affected. Its branches, fronts, businesses and media organs functioned as usual. Despite internal squabbling the Tiger and pro-Tiger sections of the Tamil Diaspora continue to espouse the Tamil Eelam cause and fly the Tiger flag wherever possible.

In a deceptive move the claim is made that the Tiger flag is not that of the LTTE but that of Tamil Eelam. Misrepresentations are made to sections of the mainstream media abroad and a new generation of non – Tamil speaking  Tamil youths that the roaring Tiger is the Tamil national flag.

The LTTE  and pro-LTTE elements abroad have lost considerable power and clout after the  military defeat of the LTTE in 2009.Internal dissension and factionalism has caused much damage to the movement. A  striking example of this is the pronounced antipathy displayed by the one –time Tiger media flagship “Tamilnet” towards the Transnational  Tamil Eelam Government of  its self – styled Prime Minister  Visuvanathan  Rudrakumaran

Gone are the days when the LTTE could mobilize thousands of flag waving demonstrators at short notice in important Western cities. A  large number of  Tiger media organs  have ceased to operate. Fund raising has  not completely dried up but has certainly dwindled. Many “benami’s holding or managing property and enterprises  owned by the LTTE have begun “appropriating” them or selling them and running off with the money.

Hilarious too is the overnight transformation of many “educated” Tiger supporters with high academic and professional qualifications. These people who justified every action of the LTTE including the assassination of  those with different opinion  have now become  champions of human rights. They shamelessly align themselves with reputed human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group and talk of human rights

Another  feline species that has emerged  abroad after the decline of the LTTE in Sri Lanka are the  “Internet warriors”. A whole range of websites and e-mail groups have been formed. The websites publish mostly fabrications and outright lies about the situation in Sri Lanka.The e-mail warriors continue to exchange fiery missives among themselves hoping and yearning for the collapse of the Rajapaksa regime and resurrection of the LTTE.

Amusing as these antics are the prospects of a LTTE resurgence and resumption of violence  are not dismissed lightly by Western Law enforcement agencies. These agencies are concerned that there is some method in the Diaspora madness and that the spectre of a resurgent LTTE fomenting violence again cannot be ruled out.


These agencies opine that a resumption of Tiger violence cannot achieve any worthwhile  objective and  would be ruthlessly crushed by the Sri Lankan state. Nevertheless the possibility of such resumption is not ruled out. There is also concern about the potential impact of such an abortive impact on the current  climate of  normalization.
Western law –enforcement agency concerns about a Tiger revival are shared by their counterparts in India too.  A top level delegation of security and intelligence officials was in Sri Lanka some weeks ago  for talks with Sri Lankan officials. A key issue discussed was about the possibilities of LTTE re-grouping and eruption of violence.

The Indian delegation also conducted a lengthy interview with Selvarasah Pathmanathan alias KP in Colombo. The former chief arms procurer of the LTTE now in the custody of Sri Lanka was asked a lot of questions about the possibility of a Tiger resurgence and the role of the pro-Tiger Diaspora. India seems quite concerned about Indian soil being used for such an attempt. Sri Lankan officials were present during this interview with KP. 

Currently legal proceedings are on about the extension of the proscription on the LTTE by India. The ban has been in force since 1992 and is periodically extended every two years. This time the pro-LTTE lobby is putting up a spirited fight in courts against the ban extension. The Central and Tamil Nadu state governments are firmly arguing for an extension as they entertain legitimate fears of a potential LTTE re-grouping and resurgence in India.

There is however an important difference between Western nations and India over the possibility of a LTTE resurgence.

Western nations too are for a united, undivided Sri Lanka but would be tolerant of Tamil Eelam advocacy on their soil by Tamil Diaspora members as long as such activity remains democratic and non – violent. The Transnational Tamil Eelam Govt for example has held two open conventions in Philadelphia and New York even though the LTTE is proscribed in the USA as a foreign terrorist organization.

In the case of India it is different. Given bitter experience of the past it is highly unlikely that any tolerance would be shown to the LTTE or its sympathisers . If any loophole is provided the anti-state adherents and lunatic fringe separatists of Tamil Nadu would exploit it to rally their fortunes. Besides the past stupidity of the LTTE in training and providing arms to Manipur extremists is something India cannot overlook or condone. Thus even democratic, non– violent espousal of Tamil Eelam is not likely to be allowed beyond a certain limit in India.

It is a moot point as to whether concerns and suspicion shared by some western nations and India about a possible LTTE resurgence and consequent violence are valid or not in the current situation. How potent is  the LTTE  within the global Tamil Diaspora and what are the chances of the Tigers unleashing violence again in Sri Lanka?

The Tiger and pro-Tiger structures abroad can be broadly classified into two categories. One is the group consisting of organizations that are either  front organizations or those sympathetic  to the LTTE. Since the LTTE is banned in most western countries and the LTTE itself has been demolished in Sri Lanka these organizations do not openly support the LTTE now. Some even try to distance themselves from the Tigers overtly while retaining covert loyalty.


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