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Chronology Of Ltte Terror - Part 8

From the Daily News Archives:

LTTE killing spree


When the euphoria of victory dies down, and together with it the media hype ceases, when the guns do not rattle and boom anymore, and the sky, the land and the sea become calm and serene, when tranquillity reigns through it is natural to live in the present moment and forget the past.

But one cannot live in the present without a past. Nor can one envision the future discarding the experience of the preceding events. Hence the Daily News is serialising the Chronicle of LTTE Terror taken from our own archives which would remind our readers how it all began.

An awareness of the chronology of terror would help us prevent the recurrence of such terror and frustrate any attempts by misguided elements to repeat history to suit their evil designs.

It was not simple terror. Nor was terror sporadic. It was all pre-planned, pre-determined, well-calculated terror. The victims were innocent people. Though it is too many innumerate we would like to recall the major episodes in the Chronology of Terror.

More and more families became distraught with the LTTE kiling innocent civilians

The year 1987 was to mark a new trend in the violence of the country with the arrival of the Indian Peace Keeping Force of several thousand Jawans, on the hypothesis that it could prevent the Tamil terrorist groups mainly the LTTE would voluntarily surrender their arms, agree to contest elections to elect a Provincial Council for a merged northeastern province.

The entire exercise of devolution of power to a newly created province merged on the demand of the racist politicians and terrorist groups was doomed for failure from the day one.

How President J.R.Jayewardene agreed to the proposal of devolution leapfrogged upon the people of his country was one of the ironies of the times and clearly proved the political naïvette of a government that was already divided over the devolution method and the presence of the IPKF.

When the people of Jaffna cheered the surrender of arms to the IPKF by terrorist groups the euphoria of peace keeping or peace returning to the north and east however did not last too long. For it was soon known that the terrorist groups did not hand over all their weapons but had retained sufficient stocks to be used later.

Therefore when one of the terrorist groups the EPRLF led by Varatharajah Perumal agreed to contest the election and join the democratic mainstream of politics the others especially the LTTE led by Prabhakaran opted not to join the bandwagon and decided that the IPKF called the kinsfolk on arrival by the Tamil civilians of the north or east were not kinsfolk but a military force that had to go on the offensive especially against the LTTE that became hostile.

On October 7, 1987 the LTTE committed a number of acts of violence against civilians killing the General Manager of the Kankesnturai Cement Factory General Manager MrJayamanne and engineer by profession and his deputy Mramini Gajanayake an accountant by profession when they were on a routine check of the cement plant. These two executives were not involved in any political activity nor were they hostile to the LTTE but while the IPKF was trying to keep peace in the north the two both unarmed were killed in cold blood.

Next the LTTE went on to abduct TV station employees of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, A.M.R.W. Attanayake and engineer, Gamini Jayantha a technician, Nilantha a lighting assistant and Karunapala the driver of the SLRC vehicle and all efforts of the IPKF to trace the four men failed as the LTTE had blocked all the roads.

The LTTE followed it up by killing eight soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army who had been taken prisoner by the terrorists.

This incident brought condemnation of India, According to reports on the same day 17 LTTE cadres including some leaders who had arrived at Velvattiturai coast aboard a trawler fitted with radar and machine guns and were arrested by the SriLanka Navy among them the Jaffna Leader Kumarappa and Pulendran the Trincomalee leader.

They were to be flown to Colombo for questioning when they had swallowed cyanide capsules smuggled into them in their detention and 12 of them had died but five survived.

The killing of eight soldiers by the LTTE the terrorists claimed was in reprisal for the arrest of the 17 LTTE cadres who arrived in a trawler fitted with arms and radar but that did not explain any rationale as the soldiers were unarmed prisoners of the LTTE and the 17 LTTE men on the trawler had carried arms giving the lie to the claim they were on a fishing mission.

The IPKF, it was being proved was not keeping peace nor did it have any peace at the time but had to go on the offensive as the LTTE was now turning its gun sights on it.

Though the Congress leaders of India both Indira and Rajiv as well as South Indian leaders like M. G. Ramachandran had helped the LTTE immensely once the terrorist group became strong enough to wage war against the army as well as all other Tiger terrorist groups Prabhakaran in a volte face becoming hostile to India when India sought to work for a political solution instead of helping the terrorists to carve out a part of the country to form a separate state.

It was in this backdrop the terrorist violence escalated even after 1987 and by the time two years had lapsed after the IPKF had arrived in the country the LTTE who by then had decimated all other Tamil terrorist groups was the main fighting force, the tigers.

Varadaraja Perumal the Chief Minister elected in the very first Provincial Council of the country the northeastern PC was dubbed a traitor by the LTTE the council did not work as it should as the devolution of power unit though Jayewardene’s 1978 constitution had gone to be amended 13 times in less than that number of years to devolve power.

Yet it was very clear that the LTTE did not want any devolution nor any mode of democratic governance as its head and its mentors were not democrats but bloodthirsty terrorists who would not settle for any political solution.

As we had already seen amateur political maneuvers by both Jayewardene had created the background and the excuse for the birth of the Tamil terrorists groups and his successor R. Premadasa who was even less qualified or competent went as far as to supply arms and ammunition, vehicles, cement and funds for the LTTE on the trumped up excuse that the LTTE should be strengthened to fight the IPKF that he simply called short of an invading army!

It was a surprise to everyone when President Premadasa announced while attending a function at Chitta Vivekaramaya temple Battaramulla that he was asking India to take back the IPKF but not a great surprise to analysts who had known that Premadasa had befriended the LTTE though he was to pay for it with his life much later.

By that time the IPKF had lost more than 1200 men killed in jungles while more than 3000 were maimed. But more importantly the LTTE was nearly defeated when Premadasa asked the IPKF to leave the country.

Yet neither Jayewardene, nor Premadasa were conscious that they were playing for time – and perhaps money – with the volatile situation in the country while hundreds of civilians were being killed by the terrorists. It was in that background that one had to review the political upheavals and the blunders that made thousands of people of all the ethnic groups pay with their lives.

The judgment of history may be slow but history will one day condemn not only the bloodthirsty Prabhakaran who perished killing his own people to the last moment without swallowing the cyanide capsule that his young cadres were asked to swallow if captured.

That judgment will name him a coward but also condemn all those political and other knaves who had allowed the LTTE to grow when they could have nipped it in the bud.

Soldier hostages, Lanka Cement chiefs, police, brutally killed for mass suicide by LTTE cadres :

Murderous revenge by Tigers in Jaffna

Eight soldiers held prisoner in Jaffna by the LTTE for the past several months were brutally murdered and their bodies dumped near the Jaffna bus stand early yesterday morning, in an apparent reaction to the cyanide suicides of a dozen LTTE cadres the previous day.

In what observers regarded as a clear attempt by the tigers to sabotage the peace accord also went on a killing spree, murdering two policemen at Velvattiturai and burning their bodies and also brutally murdering two senior officials of Lanka Cement, the Cement Corporation’s subsidiary at Kankasanthurai.

This was followed up by an attack yesterday morning on a road block at Vavuniya, when a policeman was killed.

Military sources said the previous evening an army vehicle driving from Point Pedro to Velvettiturai had been fired up and four soldiers were physically injured. They had been flown to Sri Jayawardenapura for emergency treatment.

The soldiers the LTTE murdered had been taken prisoners at the Pannai causeway on March 23 and during the attack on the Jaffna telecommunication building on June 6 negotiations had been on to obtain their release via a prisoner’s swap.

The Lanka Cement officials, Mr. N D J S Jayamanna (50), the Company’s General Manager, and Mr. Gamini Gajanayaka (30), the Deputy General Manager had been gunned down at the Kankasanthurai factory, as they routinely inspected the production facility. Mr. Jayamanna was a mechanical engineer, who had served the Cement Corporation at its Puttalam factory, as its Works Manager before moving to Lanka Cement at Kankasanthurai. His deputy Mr. Gajanayaka was a qualified accountant.

The seventeen tigers arrested last Saturday by the Sri Lanka Navy of the Velvattiturai coast aboard a radar equipped trawler fitted with a machine gun were taken to Pallali bay where they had been in custody according to Police. A Colombo dateline AFP reports said that they had been allowed visitors.

Authoritative official sources said that the 17, including Kumar Appa, the LTTE’s Jaffna Commander and Pulendran, the Trincomalee leader were to be flown to Colombo when they had followed the cyanide capsules which had apparently been smuggled to them. Twelve died in the mass suicide while five survived.

These sources said the authorities in Colombo had been pressing that these men be quickly flown down and an aircraft had been set for them. But the LTTE had been pushing the IPKF to hold them in Jaffna and release them. They had claimed they were unarmed and on a fishing expedition.

Indian Peace Keeping Force could not stop LTTE terror against civilians. (Pic. courtesy: Blood splattered path of the LTTE)

Twelve of those who swallowed the cyanide died, while five lives were saved. In New Delhi, India said she “deeply regretted the incident” while discussions were on to secure their release.

The Indian spokesman said that Delhi also regretted that Colombo government’s decision to fly them from Jaffna to Colombo while these discussions were proceeding.

The LTTE said in Madras that the 17 arrested had written to Prabakaran saying they were prepared for self-annihilation saying they were prepared for self-annihilation in the eventuality of their being transported to Colombo.

Meanwhile, according to unconfirmed reports reaching Colombo last night, a Jaffna resident had said that the bodies of the two Lanka Cement officials had been handed over to the General Hospital, Jaffna and that this was conveyed to the Army camp at Jaffna Fort. In Jaffna the Tigers were reported to be preparing to launch a satyagraha campaign. They are reported to have threatened the public to join their campaign at gunpoint.

Armed terrorists were also reported to be going about in vans, tractors and buses. They exploded bombs to frighten those who were not joining their satyagraha campaign.

TOMORROW - Tigers kill 22 IPKF 15 civilians

Yesterday: Arantalawa butchery like never before


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