ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Calcutta Diary

There are still a few leftover codes of civilisation which capitalistfeudal systems cannot forsake. The LTTE may have won the war, but those trapped in the Elephant Pass include some of India's close friends from the hoary Madras Cricket Club days; for their sake, the terms of the eelam, so goes the whisper, deserve to be suitably modulated. This is contemptible nonsense, just as most of the other assumptions underlying globalisation are.

The fall of the Elephant Pass is to all accounts the most outstanding victory chalked up by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ever since the hostilities began in 1983. The history of this war has been full of ups and downs. It was as late as in 1995 that government regiments succeeded in ejecting the Liberation Tigers from the Jaffna Peninsula after heavy house-by-house, street-by-street, fighting. It has not taken the LTTE even a full five years though to regain the lost territory. What is of even greater significance, the most recent development has demoralised as much the government troops as the core of the administration itself. That the LTTE has in the process gained in maturity is confirmed by the degree of restraint that has marked its pronouncements following the capture of the Elephant Pass. There is little of bravado in the communiques it has been issuing. Going by the record, the supremo of the Liberation Tigers, Velupillai Prabhakaran, is exhibiting a degree of poise in his approach to the Sri Lanka government that is truly astounding. As far as the regime is concerned, the game, it is being widely acknowledged, is all but over, it is palpably difficult, if not altogether impossible, for the Colombo government to regain the initiative in the civil war. Fifteen to twenty five thousand government troops are at the moment trapped in the Elephant Pass; the Liberation Tigers have the option of moving for the final kill. Instead, they have communicated to the world a gesture of extraordinary generosity; the government troops have been offered free, unhampered passage and the LTTE is reportedly ready to consider a request for a general ceasefire. The government has actually been invited by the LTTE to sit for detailed talks so that the imbroglio the island country is involved in could be satisfactorily resolved. The federal regime cannot immediately accept the offer of across-the-table talks because of possible adverse implications for the nation at all levels; the significance of the offer is nonetheless not to be missed.

One thing is therefore clear, or ought to be clear. The Liberation Tigers have fought for their eelam. The central regime tried hard to deny the Tamils the eelam they had been battling for. The LTTE kept learning lessons. Particularly during the last phase of the war, it had concentrated on realising, as early as possible, the objective of full political freedom. There was a time in the past – a period in the middle 1990s – for instance when the LTTE could have been persuaded to accept a devolutionary package consisting of a number of radical shifts in policies and measures affecting federal-provincial relations. Because of egocentric goings-on in Colombo, the endeavour to reach an honourable, peaceful settlement however came to nought and the Liberation Tigers had to return to the hills and marshes. The Sri Lanka regime may feel revulsion at the techniques the LTTE has increasingly adopted of late, including the activation of the suicide squads. But Prabhakaran’s friends and advisers can fall back on the adage that nothing succeeds like success, the suicide squads have proved their effectiveness without a shadow of doubt in furthering the LTTE goal.

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