The guns are silent
The President sharing Kiribath with the soldiers
The first call I made when I saw the pictures on TV was to Neelan
Neelan was our sounding board whenever we landed in Colombo,
soft-spoken, camera-shy, this Tamilian in the Sri Lankan capital always
had a way of making himself heard.
When he came up with a plan for devolution for Tamil-majority areas,
he was mocked by many Sinhalas, and was sent a death warrant by
On July 29, 1999, Neelan, peace petitioner and human rights activist
was killed in the most horrific way, as his car stopped at a traffic
light on his way to work, a suicide bomber came up to his window and
What many who confuse the LTTE with 'Sri Lankan Tamils' seem to
consistently forget is that Prabhakaran killed more Tamils than Sri
Lankan forces and the IPKF are accused of doing. Not to mention more
than 2,000 Indian soldiers.
From the early 80s he systematically co-opted or assassinated every
Tamil leader who advocated talks, non-violence or elections in the North
and the East. He is the only terrorist worldwide who has been given so
many chances to come for talks, even though he only used every ceasefire
he got to rebuild and regroup his forces.
He killed Premadasa when his emissaries were in dialogue with the Sri
Lankan Government, attacked Chandrika when she was talking through
Norwegian mediators - and killed Rajiv Gandhi after giving express
assurances in Bhutan the LTTE wouldn't target our former Prime Minister.
Betrayal became stock-in-trade for him-which is why the Sri Lankan
Government's most effective offensive against him only came when it
disregarded all calls for a ceasefire, despite the massive human cost.
The Sri Lankan army also benefited from two specific things, the
Indian Navy's vigil of our coastline that closed Prabhakaran's exit
routes, and US and Canada's vigil of its banks that closed Prabhakaran's
One may always wonder why Prabhakaran kept all his leadership in one
place at the end, or why he was wearing his ID and recognisable Tiger
camouflage stripes when he died.
Vinaashkaale Vipreet Buddhi, I guess. (Loosely translated to: When
the doom is inevitable, one loses the sense of logic and reason).
While it isn't sub-continental to rejoice over anyone's death, the
truth is that no lasting solution to the conflict was ever possible in
The Indian Government has a real role here, to build bridges both
literally and figuratively and help in the reconstruction particularly
educational infrastructure of the North and the East.
The other task-helping more than 90,000 refugees living in camps in
Rameswaram return home to their schools and their jobs and their
A chance for an entire community to rebuild its identity of
knowledge, hardwork and civilization, that for decades has been subsumed
by one man's most diabolical invention, the suicide bomb.