Tigers' defeat imminent - MP Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan
The Government's political will and military planning will defeat the
Tigers, a legislator who fought with the guerrillas for more than two
Ex-Tiger commander Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan last month
metamorphosed from ruthless guerrilla into parliamentarian.
Now, he appears in local newspapers and magazines, bedecked in sharp
suits flashing a wide grin, insisting that he be called Murali, his name
during his schoolboy days.
In an interview with Reuters at a safe house in the capital Colombo
surrounded by elite army commandos, Muralitharan said his former
comrades and erstwhile mentor, LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, are
close to defeat.
"He has no future," Muralitharan, also known as Colonel Karuna, told
Reuters in an interview. "He has a totalitarian policy. He never changed
from that policy. He thinks like a duke, like a king. He never accepted
any other idea."
From 1983 until 2004, Muralitharan was one of Prabhakaran's closest
deputies. For most of that time he led 6,000 fighters in the LTTE's
Eastern command - among the most battle-hardened and effective in the
But he split with Prabhakaran in 2004 and took his fighters to the
government side, establishing the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP)
party and putting himself at the top of the Tigers' hit list.
LTTE policy demands death for defectors and the government is taking
no chances with his safety.
Muralitharan believes the key to the Army's battlefield successes
this time has been the power granted to the military.
"All plans were made by political leaders at the time. The army had
no influence," he said. "Now our president gave a lot of power to them,
at the same time Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had a very good
Rajapaksa is a career military officer and had faced the LTTE in
combat, with the present army commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka,
fighting on his flank.
"That plan is being implemented very well by Sarath Fonseka," he
"That's why they are getting better at the battlefront now. They have
captured a lot of areas. At any minute they will capture Kilinochchi."
That is the LTTE's defacto capital and a strategic and symbolic
target for the government, which threw out a 2002 ceasefire in January
and declared it would destroy the Tigers once and for all. Muralitharan,
most analysts say, has been one of the chief reasons for the military's
progress, since his fighters helped the army swiftly seize huge
Tiger-held areas in the East in 2007. Since then, the army has
recaptured much of the North. President Rajapaksa has pledged a similar
devolution plan for the North, once the LTTE is defeated.
Muralitharan insists he does not advise the military: "Particularly
because they don't need my advice."
But his deep strategic knowledge is amply evident.
From memory, he quickly sketched a map of the war zone and its roads
on a reporter's note pad, and explained how the army would sweep the
Tigers out of Kilinochchi and corner them at the Eastern port of
Mullaitivu. He declined to predict a time frame.
"Nobody can set any deadline for the war," he said.