LTTE Eastern Chief says Karuna faction no threat
By Asif Fuard in Kokkadicholai
The LTTE's new Political Wing Leader for the Batticaloa and Ampara
district said that international recognition was given to the LTTE
when world leaders condemned the killing of its Eastern leader Kaushalyan.
months after taking over as the political wing leader for the two
districts, Illanthirayan said this recognition was detested by the
chauvinist elements, but it was a reality.
from an interview with Illanthirayan:
Q. What is your role?
A. Whatever Kauushalyan did I am doing. I have been given
the responsibility to serve the people of Batticaloa and Ampara
to the best of my abilities and make sure there is peace and development
in the area.
What are your main objectives?
A. Mainly development while there are political goals also.
The goals have been given to us by our people.
What is the present status of the LTTE in Batticaloa and Ampara?
A. Since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002, we are
educating the people from time to time about the peace process within
our homeland. Even though the peace talks are stalled, we have been
taking the opportunity to motivate the people politically.We also
take the opportunity to get involved in several development programmes.
What is the threat from the Karuna faction?
A. Batticaloa and Ampara districts are not Karuna's strongholds.
There have been several incidents allegedly involving the Karuna
faction. We believe the Karuna faction is assisted by Army intelligence
units. The situation of the Karuna faction is the same as earlier
factions such as the Razik group and the Plote Mohan group.
Kaushalyan's killing had shocked many people especially the Tamils
in the Batticaloa and Ampara district. Even the UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan condemned it. How has it affected the people?
A. Everyone in the Batticaloa and Ampara district misses
Kaushalyan as he had served his people well by developing the war-torn
region. His killing not only shocked his followers but also the
international community. Condemnation of Kaushalyan's killing is
a form of international recognition that is detested by the chauvinist
Kaushalyan was killed in the Government-held area of Welikanda.
The army says he did not ask for protection. Why?
A. When there were several incidents at Vakarai that is
predominantly occupied by the LTTE forces, the LTTE Batticaloa and
Ampara district military wing leader Colonel Banu wanted to go there
and inspect the situation. To go to Vakarai he had to pass Valachchenai,
which is a Government controlled area. Through the Peace Secretariat
he had requested for an army escort to travel to Vakarai. The request
was first delayed by ten days and eventually the request was turned
down. This shows how far we can depend on Army escorts for our duties.
The Army has also accused the LTTE of bringing weapons into Government-controlled
A. In most instances, it was a conspiracy by soldiers manning
checkpoints. We do not have to carry weapons when there is no war.
There are reports of tension between the STF and the LTTE in the
A. We extend a friendly hand towards the Government forces
but it is often turned down. STF forces attacked one of our female
cadres while she was engaged in post-tsunami relief work. Our Ampara
Political Officer Kuilinban, and ten others were attacked recently
by Government forces. In this manner the STF is harassing civilians
for no reason. This is an unfortunate situation.
When Kaushalyan was alive he built a good relationship with the
Muslim community in the area. What is the position now between the
LTTE and the Muslims?
A. Yes, we still have close links with the Muslim community.
They come frequently here and get involved in various business activities.
They also own lands and cultivate rice and various other things.
The Muslims and the LTTE are living peacefully. We also have regular
meetings with various Muslim representatives.
Why was there no LTTE representative present at the Batticaloa High
Courts to give evidence before the Presidential Commission probing
the killing of Kaushalyan?
A. There was a Presidential Commission on the Sathurukondan
massacre in Batticaloa. It went nowhere. Now the accused are the
Sri Lanka Government forces that are under the command of the President
herself. When the accused and the inquirer are of the same command
how can one expect justice?