Days after the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence threatened to “rehabilitate” Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Member Ananthi Sasitharan to prevent her from propagating “separatist sentiments”, it has now announced that it was contemplating a probe of the nexus between the LTTE and the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Island newspaper reported in its lead story today.
The newspaper that frequently publishes proclamations by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa or “a senior official in the Defence Establishment” on its front page, said that the focus of the investigation would be on the close relationship between the LTTE and the TNA since late 2001, “when the political grouping recognised the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people.”
The Island’s Shamindra Ferdinando reported a “MoD official” as saying “we intend to investigate senior TNA members including those in Parliament and the Northern PC. The investigation is aimed at ascertaining how the TNA influenced the LTTE strategy leading to war in mid 2006.”
“The MoD acknowledged that there hadn’t been a comprehensive investigation into the TNA-LTTE nexus though some military officers felt an inquiry was a necessity. Responding to a query, the MoD said that except for last presidential polls in January 2010 when the TNA backed former army commander General Sarath Fonseka, the alliance had worked closely with the LTTE at the general elections in 2001 and 2004,” the newspaper reported.
Earlier the same reporter quoted Defence Ministry official last week threatening to “rehabilitate” Sasitharan, a TNA Councillor who obtained the second highest number of preferential votes in the September provincial poll. In that story, Ferdinando said the following: “Asked whether the government was planning to hunt for those who had managed to avoid rehabilitation, the official said perhaps Ananthi wouldn’t have adopted such a hostile stance towards the government and the military if she had undergone rehabilitation.”
Sasitharan got in the crosshairs of the Ministry of Defence after she briefed Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp in charge of the Office of Global Criminal Justice during his recently concluded visit to Sri Lanka.
The TNA accepted the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil people during a time that the failure to do so would have meant brutal assassinations of the entire Tamil moderate leadership. The only Tamil leaders to refuse to do so were the EPDP’s Douglas Devananda who had thrown in his lot in with the Rajapaksa administration and was permitted to carry arms and Anandasangaree who lived in a bunker in Colombo. Both Devananda and Sangaree were virtual prisoners in their own homes. Devananda escaped assassination at the hands of the LTTE at least seven times, the EPDP claims.
Conversely LTTE leaders and senior rebel leaders who served as commanders and weapons procurer are now part and parcel of the -Rajapaksa Administration. Vignayamurthi Muralidharan was the Tigers Eastern Province Commander and functioned as the rebels’ main military operations commander during the 2000 siege of Elephant Pass and other major combat missions, is now a Rajapaksa cabinet minister and Vice President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
Kumaran Pathmanathan who was extracted from Kuala Lumpur by a special operations team was the LTTE’s Chief Weapons Procurer and effectively LTTE leader following Prabhakaran’s death in 2009. Pathmanathan runs a Government operated orphanage in Kilinochchi and lives free under the patronage of the Defence Secretary.