• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Forces on alert to stop Tamils from commemorating LTTE members who died in conflict

LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran cited violent incidents of the 1958 anti-Tamil pogrom during his childhood that led him to militancy. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

The security forces have been placed on high alert in the northern and eastern regions to counter attempts to commemorate Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) members killed in the conflict for a Tamil homeland, ahead of the 15th anniversary of the war’s end. Events to honour the LTTE are planned despite prohibitions and heightened surveillance.

Security forces have been arranged to stop the commemoration of the LTTE members who were killed in the conflict for a separate homeland for minority Tamils, a security force was deployed ahead of the anniversary of the long-drawn battle’s end.

The battle started in 1983 and was ended by the nation’s military killing the leaders of the LTTE in 2009. Although the military decided against deploying troops, a special task force of the military and the police would keep a close eye on the possible LTTE commemorations from Wednesday to May 20.

As per the sources of security forces, the pro-LTTE literature was seen circulating at several commemorative events and there were attempts for the revival of the LTTE, which is under proscription internationally including neighbouring country India.

The police have strictly announced that anyone seen trying to commemorate the LTTE would be arrested. However, Tamil political and rights groups say the events planned are to commemorate their kith and kin, who died in the long-drawn-out conflict since the mid-1970s.

In Mullaitivu, the site of the final battle, the main commemorative event is set to take place at Vellamullivaikkal beachfront. In Tamil-dominated Jaffna, university and civil groups initiated ‘Mullivaikkal week’ on May 11, featuring blood donation campaigns in memory of those who perished. Porridge was distributed to recall the meager rations civilians received while trapped during the fierce battles between the LTTE and government forces in Mullaitivu.

Police reported the arrest of four individuals, including three women, in Sampur for defying a court order that bans LTTE commemorations. The LTTE had operated a parallel administration in parts of the northern and eastern regions until May 2009. The armed conflict concluded on May 19, 2009, when LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran’s body was discovered in the Mullaivaikkal lagoon.

Historical inter-ethnic imbalances between the Sinhalese and Tamil populations are alleged to have created the backdrop for the emergence of the LTTE.

Post-independence Sri Lankan governments sought to curtail the increased representation of Tamils in government positions, leading to ethnic discrimination and divisive policies, such as the “Sinhala Only Act” and anti-Tamil riots. These measures fostered resentment and separatist ideologies among many Tamil leaders.

By the 1970s, the initially non-violent political struggle for an independent Tamil state evolved into a violent secessionist insurgency spearheaded by the LTTE.

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