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LTTE domination in the United Kingdom

LONDON DRAMA: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) established its foothold in London following the July 1983 riots in Sri Lanka. The primary mover, to establish the first LTTE office in Selborne Gardens in Hendon in Northwest London, was Balasegaram.

He transformed his three bedroomed house into a fully-fledged office while heavily compromising his family life for the cause of the LTTE. He became a victim of jealousy and greed and a mini-coup was conducted by R. Kuhachandran known as Periya (Big) Kugan to oust him from his position on a petty charge mismanagement in 1986.

The LTTE office too moved to Camden and then to Tavistock Place in Central London. Balasegaram became a victim of the LTTE and his heavy involvement with the LTTE made him a living memory any human should not deserve in a western world.

The LTTE progressively established its overall control over the Tamil population. When the LTTE became a dominant force other Eelam groups like EROS, PLOTE, TELO and EPRLF could not face the challenge posed by the LTTE. The anti-LTTE leadership in London remained a silent irritant as they could not evolve practical strategies to confront the Tigers.

The LTTE's approach towards the people in the early years was very friendly and was acceptable. There was no intimidation or coercion in their approach. They took any amount given by the people and allowed them to get involved in political activities independently. Having established its absolute control over the Tamil people, the LTTE progressively adopted coercive tactics to get large sums of money from them. Competition between countries made the LTTE leadership dictatorial.

High value of the Sterling Pound was favourable to the UK leadership as they came top most in the international fund raising efforts. It manifested into a machinery of its own and fund raising Tigers were given targets and this went to the extent of demanding from the people to provide money by re-mortgaging their properties and from their credit cards. People were forced to pay Sterling Pound 1,000 to 100,000.

Tamil retail shops became the major source for raising large sums of money and some of them even have provided Sterling Pounds 100,000 recently. The LTTE also enlisted the professionals and section of the medical doctors became a major source of fund providers. The greed of the LTTE went beyond all reach and people started to resent to their demands. Not opening or slamming the doors became recent phenomenon.

In order to confront the revolt by the people, the LTTE went out of the way to get details about the relatives of the people in Sri Lanka to intimidate them to pay large sums of money. Specially formulated four page forms were introduced to extract personal details on the visits. This approach made the people fearful and they had no choice but to part with the sums demanded.

Shop owners were the worst victims as they remained exposed to extensive abuse by the LTTE. The LTTE used violent methods by using gangster groups to threaten the owners. The fast food and restaurateurs faced the brunt of the LTTE violence.

Tamil gangsters were sent to these places and they took control of the floor, they ate and drank as much and left the place damaging the furniture and without paying for their consumption. A restaurant in Wembley closed down was bought by a pro-LTTE businessman from Southall. A restaurant in Walthamstow too faced LTTE hostilities and reached near collapse.

The LTTE fund raisers used intimidating tactics. In East London some gangster groups were controlled by the LTTE. These gangsters roam the streets of East Ham and Ilford in large numbers and Tamil businesses too knew their connections with the LTTE. These groups were used as bargaining points by the LTTE fundraisers and almost all the shops in Eastham parted with the sums demanded, fearing attacks by the LTTE gangsters.

The LTTE does not allow anyone to campaign independently on Tamil issues. The LTTE's present head A. Chrishanthakumar's alias A C Shanthan's regime is a totalitarian regime since his appointment in 1992 following the departure of his predecessor Kittu.

He does not tolerate any independent organisations. Blackmail and coercion are his expertise. Many active Tamil democratic voices have succumbed to his pressures and have found sanctuary in political wilderness.

The prominent and early victim of the LTTE suppression was the independent Expatriate Tamil Association which also called itself the Parliamentary Campaign Group. This group was very sympathetic towards the LTTE, but refused to be dictated. They faced the wrath of Shanthan and eventually gave up and disappeared from campaign work.

The other pro-active Tamil group sympathetic towards the LTTE was the International Tamil Foundation. This group was founded by the late C.J.T. Thamotheram.

As a pro-active group, they held regular discussion forums, meetings and carried out political lobbying. They too were pressurised by the LTTE's Shanthan to amalgamate their activities with the LTTE's International Federation of Tamils. When this was not complied, he demanded them to change the name that confuses with their International Federation of Tamils.

The LTTE leadership tirelessly worked to take-over and wind up many democratic organisations. The Independent Tamil Information Centre (TIC) faced the wrath of the LTTE. Its founder leader Kandasamy was killed in the late 1980's in the uncleared area for the stand he took to stay independent.

The Tamil Times which reflected independence throughout its existence was systematically targeted and pressurised to abandon publication. But the paper is still going on despite the LTTE onslaught.

The pro-LTTE 'Tamil Guardian' was founded in 1986 by R Jayadevan and former Rupavahini head N. Vasantharajah and it was forcibly taken over by the LTTE in 1998. A sustained campaign was carried against the paper and the managers. The campaign included non-payment of charges for the large quantity of newspapers purchased and campaign to sabotage the publication.

The independent newspaper fell into the hands of the LTTE unable to face the pressure put on it by LTTE's Shanthan.

The LTTE wanted to poke its finger into every pie and intimidated anyone campaigning independently. It is common for the LTTE leadership to brand independent thinkers and operatives as thieves, womanisers and alcoholics in public way to marginalise them.

The first medium wave Tamil radio broadcast was formed by Dr. R. Nithyananthan, who successfully negotiated air time with the community radio station Sunrise Radio.

Efforts were made by the LTTE to sabotage and takeover the broadcasting operation. Then Thracious started the International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) in 1997. This satellite radio station was systematically targeted and Tharcious was scandalised as an anti-national. With the determined effort by using threats and intimidation, IBC was forcefully taken-over by the LTTE.

With the proscription of the LTTE in the UK in 2001 under the Terrorism Act, the LTTE's activities became more aggressive.

In order to circumvent the proscription, the LTTE decided to forcefully take over successful Tamil organisations. It found the Hindu temple as major source of influence. It started its campaign with Eelapatheeswarar Allayam based in Wembley, Middlesex in May 2002. LTTE fundraisers and diehard activists invaded the temple on May 2, 2002 to forcefully bring it under their control. With the strong intervention of the police, the LTTE failed in its efforts.

Having made several failed attempts to take-over the temple, finally the LTTE held two of the temple trustees R Jayadevan and A K vivekananthan as captives when they visited Vanni in January 2005. While holding Jayadevan they attempted to transfer the temple to their trusted man in London Nagendram Seevaratnam. This effort was thwarted with the Court ruling that occupation by Seevaratnam was illegal.

If the LTTE had succeeded in the takeover of Eelapatheeswarar Aalayam, all other 20 odd temples would have fallen prey for the LTTE.

Whilst Eelapatheeswarar Aalayam episode was going on, the LTTE also infiltrated the London Tamil Association (LTA) founded and managed by Dr. R. Nithiyananthan. This organisation managed a Sunday Tamil school and an elderly people care centre. Once again, the LTTE's Nagendram Seevaratnam known as Emdon Seevaratnam masterminded the takeover.

When Dr. Nithyananthan went to Vanni in early 2005, the LTTE ordered him to transfer the LTA to Emdon Seevaratnam. Following the utter disaster with the Eelapatheeswarar Aalayam take-over effort and the pressure mounted by the members of LTA, Emdon Seevaratnan had to soon find his exit from the organisation.

The sordid story of LTTE aggression on persons holding to independent socio-democratic values is limitless. Numerous individuals have been systematically marginalised by the LTTE leadership in the UK. All these are done to maintain the LTTE operatives luxury lifestyles and extend their unsocial and corrupt practices on the Tamil civilian population.

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