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Prabhakaran was hoping for 'a BJP or

a Third Front win'

Monday, June 15, 2009 09:53:42 AM, PTI


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New Delhi: Velupillai Prabhakaran was waiting for the results of Indian elections to plan his next strategy in the 30-year-old civil war in Sri Lanka and was apparently hoping that either the NDA or the Third Front would come to power in New Delhi, but the Army there had different plans.

It has now emerged that the 54-year-old slain guerrilla leader was waiting till May 16, the day results of Lok Sabha elections were known, to decide on his and the outfit's future, but it was too late as the Sri Lankan Army had by then cut off all the escape routes.

"Till May 16, he (Prabhakaran) was hoping that someone will interfere and stop the Army from entering the final 'No Fire Zone' where he was held up," Sri Lankan Army sources said.

On May 16 afternoon, the LTTE announced that it would allow all civilians trapped in the area held by them to leave to safety, apparently after knowing that the Congress, which it believed was hostile to him and the outfit, was set to return to power.

Sources in the Tamil political circles in Sri Lanka said the LTTE was hoping that there would be a popular upsurge for it in Tamil Nadu, where the general elections were fought on the Eelam plank, and that the Third Front or the NDA could come to power.

"This (election results) might have upset Prabhakaran and other leaders of the outfit, but they did not have time to think or plan anything. They were boxed by the Army by that time," the sources said.

The LTTE chief would have thought that the Third Front and the NDA would not be so hostile as the Congress was, they said, adding that once the people started leaving the war zone, Sri Lankan Army swiftly rescued the civilians and took them to safe zones.

AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, who was part of the Third Front, expressed support to the Sri Lankan Tamils cause and had even promised to send the Indian Army to carve out a Tamil Eelam from Sri Lanka if a government of her choice came to power in New Delhi.

On May 16 afternoon, LTTE's International Relations head Selvarasa Pathmanathan issued a statement in which the outfit virtually accepted defeat and asked the "global community to save the people of Wanni."

They said Prabhakaran did not expect that the Sri Lankan forces would encircle him and his aides "so soon".

The Army also got a tip off from the LTTE Sea Tigers chief Soosai's wife, who was taken into custody while trying to flee the island, that Prabhakaran and the top brass were still inside the war zone.

"This emboldened the Army which went all out against the Tigers and virtually encircled them in a 2 sq. km area in the Wanni region on May 16. That gave no chance for any of the Tiger leaders to escape," the sources said.

Once the Army was sure that there were no more civilians in the area on the intervening night of May 16-17, troops confidently went into the jungles for a final offensive against the top LTTE leadership.

"The civilian rescue mission paved the way for the security forces to clear the last LTTE remnants. Three divisions of Army entered the last area of the LTTE and began their offensive," the sources said.

Only after the final operation began, the LTTE conceded defeat, saying they have decided to "silence their guns."

"This battle has reached its bitter end. It is our people who are dying now from bombs, shells, illness and hunger. We cannot permit any more harm to befall them. We remain with once choice — to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have decided to silence our guns," the statement had said.

In the wee hours of May 18, the decades-old conflict that claimed more than 70,000 lives reached its end with the death of almost 600 LTTE men, including Prabhakaran, his son Charles Antony, Soosai, Pottu Amman and other leaders thus bringing down curtains on the Asia's longest civil war.





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