Eastern elections end of the road for LTTE in the East
Eastís embrace of democracy a thorn in the side of
The events unfolding in the country in every sphere are giving a hard
time for the LTTE. For the first time in the history they are facing the
most complex and difficult circumstances in the three decade long
history of the conflict compelled to face simultaneously the military
thrust, political battle and the international pressure while fighting
an inside war within the Wanni territory to keep Tamil civilians under
It is obvious that the LTTE is facing a crisis this time as it has
lost their most prestigious men within the past two years. LTTE
theoretician Anton Balasingham who faced a natural death after prolonged
illness and also the death of its political wing leader S.P.
Thamilselvan in an air raid has affected it severely.
Troops in action in Welioya battle front
The number of military leaders they have lost is innumerable at the
hands of the Security Forces leading to a severe impact on the battle
front. They have been severely affected due to the destruction of the
fleet of ships they were operating to smuggle arms.
So it has to struggle within the LTTE machinery to reorganise
themselves and face emerging challenges without seeing any successes in
all their endeavours.
It is obvious that the LTTE no longer can deny their military defeats
commencing from the fall of the Eastern province and the subsequent
defeats they are now facing in the Wanni battlefront. Even though they
were dispelled from the East they had a ray of hope at least in their
strategies to take the East under their fold.
But they are now on the verge of losing their last hope with the
Governmentís decision to conduct Provincial Council elections in the
Eastern province. The successful completion of the elections for nine
local bodies in the Batticaloa district gave a strong foundation for the
Government to go ahead with its decision.
It is obvious that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran cannot make
his mind and enter the path of democracy though he wishes to do it due
to his personality problems. He has even prevented the Tiger-proxy Tamil
National Alliance from contesting the PC polls in the East.
The Tamil National Alliance cannot deny the fact that it had taken
the decision to boycott the elections due to the pressure from Tiger
But the very reason for their decision to boycott the elections was
obvious. The Tiger leader does not want to see the LTTE defeated twice
in the Eastern province once militarily and next politically. They
cannot of course tolerate such defeats within a democratic process.
Their sole intention of the LTTE is to tell the international
community that Tamil people are not within the democratic process in the
Eastern province. But that wish was badly rejected by the Tamil
community in the Batticaloa district with their enthusiastic
participation at the Local Polls held in Batticaloa.
So Tiger proxies or any other political party representing and
endorsing the view of the LTTE no longer maintains the idea that the
people in the East would reject the democratic process. Contrary to
this, people in the East have embraced the democratic path with their
strong desire to distance themselves from the violence from which they
suffered for more than two and a half decades.
With this positive trend among the Tamil community the Tiger leader
has to launch a major battle to turn the tide against the LTTE and keep
the Tamil community under his fold. So he will activate all his
machinery both political and terrorist to make the Provincial Council
elections for the Eastern province a non-event.
However, the Provincial Council elections in the East are now turning
into another historic milestone in the North-East conflict with all
major political parties entering the fray forming new alliances with the
political parties representing the minority political parties.
With these developments the LTTE would be confronted with another
setback with their inability to prevent another humiliating defeat as
things are smoothly running to conduct the Provincial Council elections
in the East with the successful completion of filing nominations by
As the LTTE is facing this political challenge in the East with
people strongly backing the democratic process, the people entrapped in
the Wanni seem to be turning uneasy with many of them trying their best
to flee the Wanni seeking refuge in the cleared areas.
The majority of the people are well aware of the fact that their
lives will not be safe at the hands of the LTTE in Wanni. Sources from
Wanni indicate that people are organising themselves to protest against
the LTTE against the forcible child recruitment with many of the
villagers setting up sentries to prevent Tiger cadres entering their
villages to forcibly take their children.
Since unarmed Tiger cadres are entering villages in the night to take
away their children to train them as armed cadres, a trend is reportedly
developing among the public in the Wanni to capture these cadres and
assault them publicly.
So the Tiger cadres are scared to enter the villages even in the
night fearing that they will be assaulted by the people there.
According to people fleeing the Wanni the civilians have been able to
protect many of their young children from the LTTE by hiding them in
jungles. Even when they were Ďarrestedí by the LTTE they have been able
to escape as the LTTE is running short of manpower to keep these
forcibly recruited children under arrest.
Two families from Mullaitivu managed to escape the Tiger grip this
week too with 26 people surrendering to the Navy after arriving in
Kallarawa and Nilaweli in boats on Tuesday morning.
According to these civilians they had escaped Mullaitivu to protect
three of their children from the LTTE who had managed to escape the
Tiger arrest following their conscription.
That was the second batch of civilians who had chosen this sea path
to escape the LTTE and surrender to the Security Forces. So this trend
is expected to develop in the coming weeks too as a huge opposition to
the LTTE rule is now developing in the Wanni.
So the Tiger outfit will have to face the bitter reality both locally
and internationally as they are fast losing the support of their own
community. That was why the LTTE is trying their best to cover up ground
reality by making unsuccessful efforts to hoodwink the international
community that they are willing to enter peace negotiations.
Above all these factors the LTTE has been totally disturbed by the
military thrust on them by the Security Forces in the Wanni. As very
explicitly explained in this column last week the ground troops are
achieving this progress amidst bad weather conditions prevailing in all
three battlefronts in the Wanni.
With the increased military thrust on the Wanni battle front the LTTE
is now concentrating more on the two coastal battle fronts one in Mannar
and the other in Weli Oya as they are scared of losing their supply
routes from the sea.
The LTTE trenches captured in Mannar front Pictures by Rukmal
The LTTE is focusing on the Mannar front as they deploy more cadres
who had passed out from their military training to this front.
According to military sources in Mannar the LTTE has deployed a new
batch of Tiger cadres who passed out recently from their training bases
in Kilinochchi to the Mannar battle front this week.
However, they have been severely beaten up at the hands of the
Security Forces this week with the capture of Kalliadachchan in Mannar
sector in the early hours of Wednesday by the troops attached to the 58
Ground troops confirmed that more than 40 Tiger cadres have been
killed during this battle though initially it was reported that only 12
cadres were killed during the confrontation.
It is obvious that the LTTE focusing more attention towards these two
fronts fearing that they will lose their supplies if they lose this
Mannar coastal belt and the Mullaitivu coastal belt.
The attempts made by the LTTE to disturb the Navy movements in
Mullaitivu seas were a classic example to indicate that they have been
severely disturbed by the ground troops operations. Now it has been
clear that the LTTE had used suicide cadres to carry out their attack on
the Dvora Fast Attack craft.
So the sea area in the Mullaitivu sector will be turned into a highly
sensitive area for Navy movements if they do not find any method to
detect this new device used by the LTTE launch suicide attacks. Doubts
are still there whether the LTTE had used water scooters for this
Undeterred by all these ups and downs the ground troops are now
heading towards completing their task in the Wanni battle front. It has
been divulged that the LTTE has lost over 4,000 cadres in the Wanni
battlefront so far.
But many of the cadres killed in this battlefront have been replaced
with their newly recruited cadres and Makkal Padai cadres as their
recruitment drive had continued despite constraints they were facing in
Apart from the cadres killed in the Wanni battlefront it has been
estimated that nearly 800 cadres have been killed due to air raids in
the Wanni sector and another 300 cadres in sea battles.
On the part of the Security Forces nearly 700 Security Forces
personnel have been killed in the battles commencing from the Mavil Aru
battle and another 4,100 have sustained injuries.
Out of the 4,100 who had sustained injuries 2,050 have returned to
the battlefront and out of the other 50 per cent casualties many can be
deployed for minor duties out of the operational areas apart from the
permanently disabled soldiers.
Since the commencement of the Mavil Aru battle the Army has been
successful in its recruitment drive by recruiting 50,000 personnel to
the Army increasing its strength to 167,000 as of now.
With the capture of areas in the Wanni the Army will have to recruit
more youth to the Army to hold these areas without allowing the LTTE to
So the recruitment drive will go on further this year too until it
reaches the maximum requirement to hold the ground with the decisive
battles are on the offing in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi posing more and
more challenges to the LTTE as they are fast losing support from the
same community they claim to represent.
Forces determined not to fire a single shot in Madhu
What will transpire in Madhu in the next few days ? Will this sacred
area would turn into a battlefront or will Security Forces be able to
free it from the Tiger grip without firing a single shot is the main
question having in the minds of all those who concerns about Madhu these
As reiterated in this column the troops operating in Madhu have no
intention to fight the LTTE at all. If they do not care about these
facts they would have easily taken the area a few months back. Even at
the last moment at a time they have reached the edge of the No Fire Zone
their determination is not to fire a single bullet within the Madhu
The troops attached to the 57 Division under the command of Major
General Jagath Dias is now heading towards the task of securing the
Madhu area amidst malicious attempts by the LTTE to tarnish the image of
The troops have clear evidence to prove that the LTTE was using that
Madhu No Fire Zone to direct mortar fire towards the advancing troops.
They were in possession of satellite pictures to show how LTTE dragged
their artillery guns to the No Fire Zone to direct fire at the troops
expecting retaliatory fire towards the Madhu Church.
But ground troops were intelligent enough to avoid such a situation
all the time although many troops engaged in operations were injured due
to mortar fire directed at them from Madhu. The troops are now in
control of entire Periyapandivirichchan and Sinnapandivirichchan
villages located in the South of Madhu.
It was under these circumstances the LTTE fired mortars into the
Madhu Church premises on Tuesday morning to evening. It was a clear sign
that the LTTE no longer can hold this ground and they need to tarnish
the image of the Security Forces before they capture the Madhu area.
It was in this backdrop Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph wants this place
to be free from battles. He led hundreds of people in Mannar to urge the
LTTE and Security Forces to leave Madhu area from the conflict and
handed over a letter to the Mannar GA to be handed over to the
Government after conducting religious observances at the St. Sebastianís
Church which was destroyed by LTTE artillery fire.
It was amusing to note why this Bishop who observed deep silence when
the Church in Mannar came under attack is raising such a big noise at a
time troops are about to take control of the area with a clear
determination of not firing single bullet.
But troops are geared to overcome all these challenges in their
determination to capture the area in the coming weeks.