By Shamindra Ferdinando
One year after the conclusion of war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government and the LTTE rump have reached an agreement, thereby giving the SLFP-led ruling coalition an unprecedented political advantage.
Well informed sources said this would boost on-going rehabilitation efforts and pave the way for the Tamil Diaspora to invest in Sri Lanka, particularly in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
Responding to a query by The Island, an authoritative military official said that Kumaran Padmanathan alias ‘KP’, who spearheaded the LTTE’s overseas procurement network for over two decades had pledged his support to the move. Emphasising the importance of a workable arrangement between the government and the LTTE rump, the official said that this was a major victory for the government.
The official said that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had spearheaded the surprise move. He said that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) could work with the government and the LTTE rump to serve the Tamil speaking people. According to him, both the government and what remained of the LTTE could benefit from reaching an agreement, now that the LTTE had no conventional military capability.
Intelligence sources told The Island that a deal between the government and KP had caused a major rift among the LTTE rump, with an influential section throwing its weight behind ‘KP’.
Had they believed a rapid reorganisation was possible in a post-war era, a marriage between the government and a section of the LTTE rump would deal a severe blow to them, sources said.
Once they had realised that eelam would never be a reality, those who had directed the LTTE military machine from abroad reached out to the government, sources said. The extradition of ‘KP’ from a South East Asian country to Sri Lanka last year had helped Sri Lanka to deal with the LTTE rump from a position of strength.
Sources pointed out that successive governments had accommodated members of Tamil terrorists groups, including the LTTE and facilitated their entry to mainstream politics.
Addressing a meeting chaired by Defence Secretary Rajapaksa recently at the Defence Ministry, ‘KP" told a group of visiting LTTE supporters how he had come to realise the futility of continuing an armed struggle. KP said: "When I was seized abroad and brought to Colombo and then taken to meet the Defence Secretary at his residence, I thought it was the end of the story. But a Buddha statue at the entrance to the bungalow calmed me and I felt that there was still an opportunity to change. Although I was shivering when I was taken there, gradually the situation improved."
KP is widely believed to be responsible for helping Sri Lankan intelligence services to tackle LTTE operatives in two countries and locate LTTE ships once used to smuggle in arms and ammunition to Sri Lanka.
TULF leader V. Anandasangaree yesterday told The Island that a marriage of convenience between the government and the LTTE rump should not be at the expense of Tamil moderates, who backed the government’s war against the LTTE.
An irate political veteran accused the government of conveniently forgetting his role, both here and abroad was and now acting as if he did no longer exist. "It is nothing but a shame that I have been discarded, and the likes of Kumaran Padmanathan, who had caused death and destruction receive special treatment."
Responding to a query, Anandasangaree said that the government media had denied him coverage since the conclusion of war. "I am being isolated and given step motherly treatment by a government, which used me cleverly against the LTTE," Anandasangaree said.
According to him, the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora had changed its approach a few months after the army wiped out the LTTE on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon in May last year. He revealed that during a confab in Austria late last year, a proposal was made to give the TNA control of overseas funding for development and rehabilitation efforts in a post-LTTE era. - courtesy: The Island -