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The Pirabakaran Phenomenon 13

The Pirabakaran Phenomenon 13

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Published by: karupanan on May 15, 2009
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The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon
Part 13
Sachi Sri Kantha[1 September 2001]
Pirabhakaran and Duraiappah
Pirabhakaran’s Return which shifted the Paradigm
Pirabhakaran’s return to Eelam from Tamil Nadu in January 1987 was alandmark event in recent South Asian history. It has parallels to MahatmaGandhi’s first landing in South Africa, from Rajkot in 1893. That was a paradigm-shifting journey, which the then imperial British rulers never  bothered to notice seriously. Why did a timid young barrister Gandhi (thenaged only 24), with a mediocre profile in his barrister job opted to travel toSouth Africa? In his autobiography, Gandhi states that even in hishomeland, he was insulted by the arrogance of British authorities.Similarly, why did Pirabhakaran (then aged 31) who had enjoyed the cozycomfort of MGR’s preferential patronage for more than 3 years, decided toreturn to Eelam? Of course, at an opportune time, Pirabhakaran himself willshare it with the Eelam Tamils, what was in his mind when the year 1986was fading into history. For now, I have gathered more than four or fiveinterpretations on why Pirabhakaran returned to Eelam. All the differentversions, offered by different analysts, may have elements of truth in them.Let me first provide the different versions which have appeared in print, andthen sift the kernels of truth.
(1) Indian Intelligence-wallah’s version:
“…It was not until January 1987, that Prabhakaran returned to Jaffnaalthough the local commanders had been pleading with him to visitthem at least once. Two unrelated reasons made Prabhakaran return.One was the genuine feeling for the suffering Tamils in the peninsulawhen the Sri Lankan Government introduced the ban on movement of fuel, and two, he did not want Kittu, who had attained fame in theearlier ‘Operation Short Shrift’ when the LTTE successfully pushed back the Sri Lankan forces into their camps in April 1986, toconsolidate his standing among the people of Jaffna.” [
 JainCommission Report 
, 1997, vol.5, chapter 16]
The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon Part 13http://www.sangam.org/PIRABAKARAN/Part13.htm1 of 1412/12/2008 5:42 PM
(2) Journalist Anita Pratap’s version
“Prabhakaran’s view was that Rajiv Gandhi was not having the true picture of the Tamil problems and, therefore, he was swayed by theofficers. A little before November 1986, I met Prabhakaran at Madras. Ialso met Prabhakaran in early December 1986, after he returned fromthe SAARC meeting [held in Bangalore]. I met him at Madras. He saidthat MGR was furious that he [Prabhakaran] did not sign the Accordwith Jayawardhene at Bangalore. MGR summoned Prabhakaran andgave him a tongue lashing. Prabhakaran gave his reasons for not doingthis. MGR said at that time, ‘If you are operating in Tamil Nadu, I haveallowed you to operate in Tamil Nadu. But you have to play by our rules’. But Prabhakaran said that ‘I can’t surrender my Cause’. Atwhich point, MGR apparently told him ‘You fight for it in your country’. Prabhakaran is a man of tremendous pride and he walked outof that meeting and has apparently never returned to Tamil Nadu”[
 Jain Commission Report 
, 1997, vol.5, chapter 22.]
(3) Prof.Kingsley M. de Silva’s version [akin to UNP’s version] 
“At the end of the Bangalore Conference it was announced that, ‘Apartfrom the subjects of finance, and administration which were notclarified with the TULF, the matters which require further clarificationand agreement [were]…fully set out in (a) working paper on (the)Bangalore discussions, dated 18 (November) 1986.’The LTTE alone adamantly refused to accept these proposals. TheIndian government showed its displeasure by imposing restrictions onSri Lankan Tamil activists operating from Indian Territory. This wasthe first time that such restrictions had been imposed. The initiatives of the Indian government in this regard were nullified by the Tamil Nadugovernment’s unconcealed reluctance to cooperate in these moves. Inaddition the Indian government sought to prevent the LTTE leader Prabhakaran then operating from Tamil Nadu from leaving India for Jaffna. These pressures succeeded until the end of 1986 by which timePrabhakaran and the LTTE ideologue Balasingham slipped across thePalk Straits to the Jaffna peninsula, to continue to fight from there.” [inthe article, ‘The prelude to the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, part 3.
 Lanka Guardian
, May 15, 1993, pp.18-20]
(4) P.Nedumaran’s [one of Pirabhakaran’s confidants] version
“On January 3 [1987], Prabhakaran had a farewell meeting with Nedumaran, the only Indian who was privy to the LTTE supremo’sdeparture plans… he dismissed the others and confided to Nedumaranthat he was leaving for ever because he feared for his life in India. ‘(If we remained here), we will not be able to take independent decisionsfor our people’s welfare’, Prabhakaran said. ‘There is a plan to haveme killed in Madras or New Delhi. The danger will remain as long as I
The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon Part 13http://www.sangam.org/PIRABAKARAN/Part13.htm2 of 1412/12/2008 5:42 PM
remain here. Our struggle will intensify if I return to Eelam.” [in Narayan Swamy’s book,
Tigers of Lanka
, 2
ed, 1996, p.223]
(5) J.N.Dixit’s [India’s top honcho in Colombo during 1986-89] version:
“By the end of 1986, Prabhakaran was disillusioned with his Indianconnection. The pressure generated on the LTTE after the BangaloreSAARC Summit made him decide that he must shift his base to SriLanka for a long struggle. His judgement has been proved correct withthe passage of time.” [in his book,
 Assignment Colombo
, 1998, p.81]Among the five versions presented above, we can leave out one of theself-serving Indian Intelligence-wallah’s reasons, that Pirabhakaran returnedto Eelam because he feared the ascendancy of his colleague Kittu. The other reason provided by the Indian Intelligence-wallah corroborates well with theversions of others. Then, it is interesting to compare the versions of AnitaPratap and Kingsley de Silva, since both are contradictory. According toAnita Pratap, MGR pushed Pirabhakaran to leave Tamil Nadu. But Prof. deSilva has mentioned that the “Indian government sought to prevent theLTTE leader Prabhakaran from leaving India for Jaffna”, and he also statesthat the Tamil Nadu government [to be understood as, MGR] nullified theinitiatives of the Indian government.When one studies the farewell message of Pirabhakaran delivered to Nedumaran that “he [Pirabhakaran] was leaving forever because
he feared  for his life in India
”, with that of Prof. de Silva’s version that
 India wanted to keep Pirabhakaran in India
and that of Anita Pratap’s version that
MGR pushed Pirabhakaran to leave Tamil Nadu
, one can infer circumstantiallythat the Indian Intelligence-wallahs might have planned to assassinatePirabhakaran. MGR’s parental-type of admonition, based nonetheless onaffection, to Pirabhakaran to leave Tamil Nadu has to be understood as a premonitory warning against the duplicitous mind-set of India’s intelligencewallahs. Even J.N.Dixit’s diplomatic version is an admission on the failureof India’s intelligence-wallahs to keep Pirabhakaran within their handlingrange, and he compliments Pirabhakaran’s intuition with the statement, “His[Pirabhakaran’s] judgement has been proved correct with the passage of time.”
Pirabhakaran and Duraiappah: a Patriot and a Loyalist
Pirabhakaran’s return to Jaffna in January 1987 completed a rite of passage;he had transformed himself from a fugitive (since mid 1975) to a full-fledgedleader. This (if one may call, tortuous and torturous) route to leadershipdoes exist, as demonstrated by the careers of Mao Ze Dong, MenachemBegin and Fidel Castro. Even Pirabhakaran’s boyhood idol Subhas ChandraBose had taken this route to claim a place in the pantheons of India’s
The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon Part 13http://www.sangam.org/PIRABAKARAN/Part13.htm3 of 1412/12/2008 5:42 PM

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