Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stupid Killers

The LTTE in brief

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly
known as the Tamil Tigers, is a militant organization that has
been waging a violent secessionist campaign against the Sri
Lankan government since the 1970s in order to create a
separate Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka.
-Founded in 1975, the LTTE attracted many supporters
amongst disenchanted Tamil youth, who were dissatisfied with policies followed by successive Sri Lankan governments towards solving various concerns of the country’s Tamil community.

LTTE and other Tamil militant groups

Initially the LTTE operated in cooperation with other Tamil militant groups but later broke away from them and hunted them down. The reasons for the LTTE's internecine attacks on other Tamil groups are much debated. Among other reasons, it has also been suggested that they believed the struggle would only be effective if the other groups, who were much more willing to compromise on a settlement to the conflict, were not operational. The effect of the attacks was that the LTTE consolidated the position as the main military group fighting for the cause of Tamil Eelam , with no credible rivals.


The LTTE is organized into two main divisions namely, a military wing1 and a subordinate political wing. A central governing body oversees both of those divisions, which is headed by the LTTE founder and supreme leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

LTTE & politics

The LTTE also has a political wing, but despite the ceasefire it has not tried to formally create a political party. Instead, in the 2004 parliamentary elections, it openly supported the Tamil National Alliance, which won over 90% of votes in the electoral district of Jaffna, in the Northern Province, although just 47% the total population cast their votes. The LTTE's commitment to multi-party democracy has also been questioned. In an interview in 1986, Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the LTTE, said that a future state of Tamil Eelam would be a one-party state rather than a multi-party democracy, because that would help it develop faster.

Child soldiers

The LTTE's use of children as front-line troops was proved when 25front-line troops between the ages of 13 and 17 surrendered en masse to the Sri Lankan Forces. Amid international pressure, LTTE announced in July 2003 that it would stop conscripting child soldiers, but both UNICEF and Human Rights Watch have accused it of reneging on its promises, and of conscripting Tamil children orphaned by the tsunami.
Civilians have also complained that the LTTE is continuing to abduct children, including some in their early teens, for use as soldiers. Moreover UNICEF states that the LTTE has recruited 315 child soldiers between April and December 2006. According to UNICEF, the LTTE is known to be the world’s worst perpetrator of child soldier recruitment and has recruited, since 2001, a total number of 5,794 child soldiers.

The LTTE has a large number of female recruits.
Female members are believed to make up between 20
to 30 percent of the LTTE's fighting cadre. An
estimated 4000 women cadres have been killed since
1987, including over a hundred in 'Black Tiger' suicide
squads. The assassination of Indian Prime Minister
Rajeev Gandhi, the attempt on President Chandrika
Kumaratunga and the 2006 attempt on the Sri Lanka
Army commander are notable instances where female LTTE cadres launched suicide attacks.

Attacks on civilians

The LTTE has attacked non-military targets including
commuter trains and buses, farming villages, temples
and mosques resulting in large numbers of civilian deaths. Some of the major attacks resulting in dozens of civilian deaths include the Kebithigollewa massacre, the Gonagala massacre (54 dead), the Anuradhapura ssacre (146 dead), the Dehiwala train bombing (56 dead), the
Palliyagodella massacre (166 dead) and the bombing of Sri Lanka's Central Bank (102 dead). The LTTE claims that its attacks on purely civilian targets are collateral damage. Even after the signing of the Ceasefire agreement
in 2002, the LTTE has continued to carry out
attacks against civilians. They murdered 6
Sinhalese farmers on 23rd April 2006 and killed a further 13 laborers on 29th May.
In one of the deadliest attacks against civilians, a claymore
antipersonnel mine attack by the LTTE on 15th
June 2006 on a bus carrying 140 civilians killed 68 people including 15 children, and injured 60 others. On 14th August 2006, a convoy carrying the Pakistani High Commissioner Bashir Wali
Mohamed, was attacked by another LTTE Claymore type directional mine concealed within a rickshaw, killing seven people and injuring seventeen. The high commissioner escaped unharmed.

Assassinations committed by the LTTE

The LTTE has long been accused of carrying assassinations of political rivals and
opponents. These include:
* Alfred Duraiappah, mayor of Jaffna (1975)
* Rajeev Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (1991)
* Ranjan Wijeratne, Sri Lankan cabinet minister and former general (1991)
* Ranasinghe Premadasa, President of Sri Lanka (1993)
* Gamini Dissanayake, Sri Lankan presidential candidate (1994)
* Lakshman Kadirgamar, Sri Lankan foreign minister, lawyer and
international humanitarian (2005)
* Major Gen. Parami Kulatunga, third-highest ranking officer in the Sri Lankan Army(2006)
* Nadaraja Raviraj, Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian (2006)
* Chandrika Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka (failed attempt-2006)
* Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lanka army chief of staff
(failed attempt- 2006)
* Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Secretary of the Sri Lanka defense ministry
(failed attempt- 2006)

Indian courts have issued international warrants to arrest both Velupillai
Prabhakaran and its intelligence chief Pottu Amman in connection with the killing of
Rajeev Gandhi. The LTTE at first denied any involvement, but later issued a statement in
June 2006 acknowledging it and calling the event a "monumental tragedy." The LTTE's alleged victims have included unarmed Tamil politicians and civilian moderates who sought a peaceful solution to the Sri Lankan crisis. A few among them are:

* Appapillai Amirthalingam, leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF- 1989)
* Vettivelu Yogeswaran, TULF politician (1989)
* Sarojini Yogeswaran, mayor of Jaffna (1998)
* Pon Sivapalan, mayor of Jaffna (1998)
* Neelan Thiruchelvam, academic and TULF politician (1999)
* Kethesh Loganathan, political activist and second chief of Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat (2006)
* Selliah Parameswaran Kurukkal a Hindu priest (2007)

Suicide bombing

The LTTE has frequently used suicide bombers as a tactic. They pioneered the use of
concealed suicide bomb vests, which are now used by many other organizations
worldwide. The tactic of deploying suicide bombers was used to assassinate Rajeev
Gandhi, who was killed in 1991 using a prototype suicide vest, and Ranasinghe
Premadasa, assassinated in 1993.
-According to Jane's Information Group, between 1980 and 2000 LTTE had carried out a
total of 168 suicide attacks on civilians and military targets. The number of suicide
attacks easily exceeded the combined total of Hezbollah and Hamas suicide attacks
conducted out during the same period.