fall and fallout of Karuna
For the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, acclaimed by friend
and foe as a great military strategist, the timing of his surgical
operation to remove an unhealthy growth within his system needed
who knew, knew that he would move swiftly, and decisively, to eliminate
a mutiny. He just bided his time till the General Elections were
over, planning his exercises and manoeuvres for his battle-starved
what was more, he knew that the new Government in Colombo, elected
on April 2 was in premature if not permanent 'nonagathe' (a period
not to engage in work according to National New Year custom).
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces was in Nuwara-Eliya. The
Government and its Armed Forces were caught flat-footed like a rabbit
caught to the headlights. They remained passive spectators as Prabhakaran's
loyal cadres ran circles round the Ceasefire, the Armed Forces.
then circled the renegade Karuna and made him run for his life -
to the safe heaven of the 'south'. Uptodate, the Government of Sri
Lanka has no comment to make on all these happenings in the East
of this island-nation ; not even about the internally displaced
thousands nor about the hundreds of cadres who now seem to have
entered the capital of Colombo seeking refuge.
full picture has yet to crystallize detailing the authentic reasons
for Karuna's sudden challenge. And yet, there need be no tears shed
for the ruthless Karuna, though some hailed him as a courageous
man to have had the spunk to challenge his equally ruthless leader.
had blood on his hands and the elimination of 600 policemen who
were asked to surrender by the Government of President R. Premadasa
when the 1991 peace talks were aborted arguably is the high-water
mark of his ruthlessness.
Government in Colombo was naturally caught in a web. Should it have
backed Karuna and ensured the split of the LTTE, but earn the wrath
of Prabhakaran and de-rail the peace process. That was the complex
to that, there was the lure of a possible five pro-Karuna TNA MPs
supporting a hard-pressed minority Government in Colombo. Its all
water under the bridge now. Prabhakaran has secured control of his
breakaway Batticaloa camps. All Karuna's men and all Karuna's 120
mm artillery guns may have de-camped or been destroyed, but he remains
about all Karuna's child-soldiers? UNICEF has opened their eyes
as a can of worms has been opened. Not that these are new revelations,
but the fact that one in at least six LTTE fighting cadres serving
Karuna, Prabhakaran and the pro-Eelam diaspora funding them - is
a child. And now it is officially revealed that some of them have
been recruited while world players and NGO chiefs have been paying
regular obeisance to these same leaders, journeying to their jungle
headquarters to be feasted on lobsters, and have their pictures
taken with a real rebel leader for their family albums.
Prabhakaran's military take-over of the Batticaloa LTTE camps in
less than three days is an object lesson in warfare for our own
Armed Forces - there is a legitimate fear that the new political
leadership in the country would be found wanting in dealing with
future situations of such a nature.