The Sunday Leader

LTTE Hand In Hand With Mauritius

Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Chandra Ramgoolam’s decision to stay away from this month’s Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka follows intense lobbying by supporters of the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. In its heyday, the LTTE was able to garner the support of the Tamil community in Mauritius into advocating and supporting the campaign for nationhood in the North of Sri Lanka that eventually resulted in Ramgoolam taking the audacious step to boycott CHOGM in Colombo.

Tamils in Mauritius make up 9% of its population that analysts say is second only to the India-Canada lobby come election time when the pressure can be mounted on governments.

Votes in Tamil Nadu and Greater Toronto are known to determine the outcome of elections in the two countries and the population in Mauritius is 75% Indian origin including descendants of Tamils who were shipped in by the British to work on the plantations.
Mauritius hosted a meeting called the International Tamil Diaspora Solidarity Conference from November 8 to 10, 2013 under the auspices of Perimpanayagam Sivaparan (alias Nediyawan), who is said to be the head of the LTTE International Secretariat in Oslo, Norway.

Dr Rohan Gunaratne, Selvarasa Pathmanathan
, Dr Subramanian Swamy
and Karunatillake Amunugama

Sivaparan enlisted activists and supporters from an LTTE Front comprising academics, human rights campaigners and a few Members of Parliament from 12 countries that also included a long standing supporter of the Tigers, Penang Deputy Chief Minister Professor P Ramasamy, who delivered the opening address.

Mauritius Tamils

The Mauritius Tamil Temple Federation and Nediyawan’s international front, the International Council of Eelam Tamils (ICET) organized the Conference in which the President of the Mauritius Tamil Temple Federation Menon Murdy played a major role.
It followed the first conference in Geneva titled “International Conference on Tamil Rights” where prominent LTTE activists participated.

Nediyawan has an international network that funds ICET that was set up in August 2012 and is said to consist of remnants of the LTTE.
The Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils (NCET), National Council of Canadian Tamils, Danish Tamils Forum, Dutch Tamil Forum, Maison du Tamil Eelam – France, Tamil Cultural Organisation – Belgium, National Council of New Zealand Tamils, Italy Council of Eelam Tamils, Country Council of Eelam Tamils, German and Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils make up the Movement.

Mauritius Foreign Minister Arvin Boolell who met with a delegation that included top LTTE activists was told that, in the best interest of Tamils in Sri Lanka, it was important that Mauritius stayed away from CHOGM. They also unveiled a monument in memory of slain LTTE leader Prabhakaran.

A few LTTE activists wanted to hoist the Tiger flag and unveil a portrait of Prabhakaran at Hotel Calodyne Sur Mer in Grand-Beau, Mauritius, but were advised it was too premature. Nediyawan’s group set up an International Working Group and a Tamil Solidarity Network and complimented Ramgoolam for his decision to boycott the Colombo meeting.

Experts claim it is likely that the LTTE will set up a major Operations Centre in Mauritius as a large number of Tamils in Mauritius are Eelam supporters.

Hence, there is concern that the LTTE may, in fact, be gradually organising itself once again which could have an impact on the peaceful atmosphere being enjoyed at present in Sri Lanka.

The Sunday Leader contacted a number of personnel well versed with the issue of terrorism and the LTTE, in particular, on how they perceive the latest developments regarding the LTTE.

Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya

Although we successfully defeated the LTTE terrorists in Sri Lanka, the separatist sentiments are still dormant in the minds of many. The LTTE rump organizations such as GTF, BTF, TGTE, etc are openly lobbying for a separate state that they call Eelam. They are very active in North America, Europe, and several other prominent countries in the world. It is obvious that these elements use their collective vote base to sway opinions of even key politicians in some powerful countries. So much so, even in some powerful European countries where LTTE is banned as a terrorist outfit, the LTTE rump has been able to hold key meetings and rallies very openly without any interruption. In some cases, such events have been held in key government facilities, making it difficult to understand what the proscription of the organization means to those countries.

Apart from that, in South India, and several other smaller countries where large Tamil populations are present, the LTTE rump has considerable influence, as we have seen in the recent past, particularly during the period leading to the successfully concluded CHOGM summit in Colombo. The possibility of these organizations, with the considerable wealth that they enjoy through Diaspora financial contributions, having greater influence in some small states, would pose serious concerns to our national security interests. We are aware of the possibility of these organizations attempting to reignite the conflict, and appropriate measures to mitigate possible threats are being implemented. Anyone who closely interacts with the population in the North understands that the last thing they need is another armed conflict. They want peace to prevail which is an essential condition for a normal way of life. Obviously, it is only a small section of the Tamil Diaspora and the people who are under their influence that voice sentiments of separatism.

Selvarasa Pathmanathan (alias ‘KP’), former Head of the Procurement Arm, LTTE 

Mauritius is a country with very high Indian influence. Also, Eelam activists have had a free run in that country since 1980s (Mauritius Govt. invited Uma Maheswaran of PLOTE on an official visit in 1984). It is possible that some LTTE activists are engaging in some LTTE activities there. I heard that some TNA politicians, including MP Sumanthiran, went to Mauritius on November 8 for the recent conference that was held in Mauritius. However, it is my feeling that, as parties that were responsible for the war, we have a responsibility to build the first stage for people to rebuild their lives. I, for one, feel guilty in my heart for the suffering I had caused my own people by being involved in terrorism.

The people here have suffered enough due to the war and now they are smiling and there is happiness and relief. The main factor is that our children are once again able to go to school; isn’t this enough? War never gives out roses, only blood and pain. It is a known fact that certain issues do exist. There are some hardcore parties which are collecting money for their own comfort and are angry with the government since they lost the war, but this resentment will ease with time.
There are others who are hardcore LTTE supporters who will always carry that anger since they were defeated. There are also some who are using this situation, especially those who have applied for refugee status in other countries, and they don’t want peace here as then they will have to return. However, there are also reasonable people, who are willing to help their villages and their schools, willing to assist the country rebuild. These things will heal in time and time is of vital importance. But some percentage will always carry that animosity.

Dr Subramanian Swamy, Indian academician, politician, activist, economist

Perhaps, since the three day ‘International Tamil Diaspora Solidarity Conference’ in Mauritius by Nediyawan faction of the LTTE was camouflaged, the Mauritius government may not have known of its intentions. Still, democratic minded persons should get together and delegate responsibility to seek an international ban compliance from all countries with a Tamil Diaspora.I think we in India were concerned about South Africa. To get Mauritius to ban LTTE as a terrorist organisation is not hard; Canada, Australia, UK are the hard cases. In India, very few openly identify themselves as LTTE anymore since we will arrest them at the airport before they leave. Regrouping is not a serious possibility, but since LTTE’s narcotics sale loot is still there, some people and parties join in their cause.

Foreign Ministry Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama

I would say that these sorts of events organised by these various LTTE factions are considered a threat to Sri Lanka, because these events that they organise to damage the government efforts toward national reconcillation could create a division among the international community. Nevertheless, we have asked the Sri Lankan high commission in Pretoria for a report on the matter and also on the reported events that seemed to have taken place. Once we receive the report we will be able to decide on the course of action that needs to be taken.

The LTTE has been banned as a terrorist organization by 30 countries, including the United States, Canada, India  and the 27 member nations of the European Union.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, during a speech made on Future Challenges to National Security in Sri Lanka, said that LTTE sympathizers abroad are still struggling to achieve the LTTE’s separatist ideology in the country.
According to the Defence Secretary, the rump of the LTTE’s global establishment is still active, and there are ex-LTTE cadres, pro-LTTE activists and LTTE sympathisers still operating in various guises through various groups in many countries around the world.
After the demise of Prabhakaran, the LTTE’s former Head of Procurement Kumaran Pathmanadan, better known as KP, took control over the LTTE’s international network. However, a breakaway faction emerged almost immediately, led by Nediyawan, who was a follower of Manivannan (alias Castro), the former head of the LTTE’s international network. The key reason for the emergence of a breakaway faction was that, while KP’s group declared they would continue their struggle for a separate state through democratic means, Nediyawan’s group felt that objective could only be achieved by following the violent ideology preached by Prabhakaran.
Following the arrest of KP in August 2009, Rudrakumaran took over the leadership of his organisation and worked towards establishing a ‘Government in Exile’. This group now fashions itself as The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam. Its primary objective is to lobby Foreign Governments for the establishment of a separate state in the North and East of Sri Lanka. The so-called ‘Transnational Government’ has more than twenty so-called ‘Ministers’ and an advisory committee comprising prominent pro LTTE activists.

Another prominent LTTE-linked group is the British Tamils Forum (BTF), an umbrella organisation established in the United Kingdom with the aim of mustering support from the immigrant Tamil community and local politicians for the division of Sri Lanka. One of the primary objectives of this group has been to influence the thinking of the British Government in favour of the LTTE’s interests.

Evolving from the BTF is the Global Tamils Forum (GTF), which emerged in February 2010. The head of the GTF is the so-called Father Emmanuel, a Priest who was once hailed by Prabhakaran as “a freedom fighter who has given leadership to a movement committed to setting up the homeland to Tamil Eelam”. Father Emmanuel has been engaged in a propaganda campaign against Sri Lanka for many years, targeting Tamil expatriates, Foreign Governments and International Organisations. Under his guidance, the GTF has successfully won over a number of politicians from various political parties in European countries as well as the United States, Australia, Canada, and India to support the separatist cause. In addition, the GTF and the BTF have courted officials within international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union and various non-governmental organisations to obtain their support.

Meanwhile, Nediyawan’s group, known as The Tamil Eelam People’s Assembly or the Tamil National Council, has been working with other international groups to promote the separatist cause in many parts of the world. Nediyawan’s group has control over most of the assets of the LTTE’s international organisation.

The following statistics about the demographic spread of the Tamil diaspora is not exact. Some figures are long outdated, but are still included here for illustration of the extent of the Tamil people’s world presence:

Britain (with 350,000 or more Tamil people), the USA (with well over 140,000), Canada (with over 300,000) and Australia (with over 30,000) are only some of the developed countries where the Tamil diaspora is well settled, having migrated voluntarily from their homelands: Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. (It is estimated that there are more than 300,000 Tamils from Sri Lanka which comprises voluntary migrants, as well as asylum seekers.)

It is estimated that, as base habitation, India has almost 72,138,000 and Sri Lanka 5,000,000 Tamils. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, south of the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean have over 40,000 Tamils – the second largest ethnic group. In these islands, there are over 6,000 Tamil children attending 33 Tamil schools.

In the early colonial era, Indonesia had 50,000 Tamils. Tamils were taken there by the Dutch colonial masters in the 1830s to build up Dutch plantations. The Tamil people were used for hard labour and, as the conditions were not favorable, many returned to their homeland in the 1940s. A concentration of somewhere between 2000 and 10,000 Tamils remained in the region of Northern Sumatra. Most of these were Hindus, but there were Christians and Muslims, as well.

Singapore has about 200,000 Tamils, who constitute the third main cultural group in that country. Malaysia has a Tamil population 1,800,000 strong. Burma had a Tamil population of 200,000 at one time, but since the end of the Second World War the number has been reduced. Vietnam has a small minority of about 3,000 Tamils, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City. Cambodia has 1,000 Tamils, China 5,000 and Thailand 10,000. Mauritius has a Tamil population of 115,000, the larger bulk from the southern state of Tamil Nadu who arrived there from 1727 to work in the sugar cane plantations. Seychelles, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, has a Tamil history of about 230 years. A shipload of migrants landed here in 1770, composed of diverse ethnicity. There are now about 4,000 Tamils working in trading, as well as in professions. In South Africa, Tamil migration started from 1860, first for indentured labour. Now, there are more than 250,000 Tamils spread over many cities, the concentration being in Natal and Durban. Denmark has around 7,000 Tamils, Fiji has around 110,000, France around 100,000, Germany around 50,000, Switzerland approximately 40,000, Italy around 25,000, Netherlands around 20,000, and Norway around 10,000.

 

‘It is likely Mauritius leaders succumbed to LTTE pressure’ Dr. Rohan Gunaratne

Mauritius political leaders want to stay in power and they need Tamil votes. The LTTE has successfully lobbied the Mauritius leaders and radicalized the Tamil community according to the former Vice President A V Chettiyar. Foreign governments must remain vigilant not to allow al Qaeda, Taliban, mujahidin e Khalq, IRA dissident factions, and LTTE remnants to regroup on their soil. Terrorists established the Global Tamil Forum in the UK, the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam in the US, and the Head quarters Group of Vinayagam in France.

In addition to influencing the Government of the Mauritius, the LTTE penetrated existing Tamil political, social, cultural and religious organizations on Mauritius soil. Although the LTTE was dismantled in Sri Lanka, the group’s international support network survived. Today, the LTTE remnants operate globally through front, cover and sympathetic organizations. With host countries, the Sri Lanka should build joint task forces to monitor and assist Mauritus to prosecute both LTTE activists and local supporters.

Mauritius leaders should have never permitted LTTE fronts to host a conference on its soil. Mauritus is an incredibly beautiful country and it risks ruining its reputation by permitting those who supported including funded and glorified terrorism to fly into the Mauritius. Sri Lankan government has listed the fronts and are investigating those who flew into the Mauritius. It was poor judgement on the part of the Mauritius to permit its soil for an event that promotes hatred and not reconciliation. If the leaders in Mauritius or any other country is genuinely interested in the rights of the Tamils, it must take an objective and a dispassionate look at the Sri Lankan conflict. Until July 1983, the LTTE killed Tamils, most Tamil politicians and Tamil policemen.

The LTTE assassinated about 200 Tamil politicians including the TULF leaders who initially entertained and discreetly supported militancy. Today, Sri Lanka has ended the fighting, demined and resettled 283,000 IDPs, rehabilitated and released 11600 LTTE cadres and developed the north and east.

It is very likely Mauritius leaders succumbed to LTTE pressure due to Tamil votes. This is the pattern observed in Canada, UK and India. About 9-10 percent of the population in Mauritius is Tamil. Tamil nationalism is used as a political weapon by both Mauritius Tamil and LTTE leaders. As the Mauritius population has been ethnicized, Tamil nationalism is attractive and seductive. In case of Canada, UK and India both government and political opposition are wooing LTTE fronts that have electorally organized the Tamil constituencies.

The Tamils overseas are living in a propaganda bubble! Due to LTTE propaganda and failure of Sri Lankan government to counter the propaganda in Tamil, the politicized segments of Tamil coethnics and radicalized segments of Tamil diaspora support the LTTE. In reality most Tamils do not support LTTE but the remnant LTTE structures have created this impression in the host countries by its sustained lobbying of local and national politicians. The LTTE fronts continue to lobby Canadian, British, Indian and Mauritius leaders!

In Rose-hill plaza, Mauritius, the monument unveiled is to memoralize the LTTE leadership including Prabhakaran. The LTTE almost succeeded when the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillai travelled to Mulathivu. However, the UN staff with local knowledge informed Navi Pillay that placing flowers in Mullivikkal, Mulathivu will send the wrong message. She did not. The Indian government dismantled the monument built by LTTE supporters in Tamil Nadu.

Terrorism is a common global threat and still growing. One day Mauritius too could suffer from terrorism. The Tamils in Mauritus could be communalized. No country should permit the operation of foreign terrorist groups under the guise of human rights, humanitarian, social, cultural and other groups. No country should entertain foreign terrorists to establish themselves on their soil and operate through front, cover, and sympathetic organizations. Imagine Mauritus hosting a conference of al Qaeda, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Babar Khalsa International or IRA remnants at a time when the world is suffering from terrorism and ideological extremism? Imagine British banks and financial institutions hosting the accounts of the two dozen African terrorist groups? Imagine Canadian web providers hosting Indian terrorist websites? Governments must be responsible: they must be careful whom they let into their country and also their banks and financial institutions are not abused and webspace misused by groups that are bent to revive violence in another country.

11 Comments for “LTTE Hand In Hand With Mauritius”

  1. alisten-Sydney

    Gunarate is a terrosit. Looking for a post in Srilanka. Not a gentlement

  2. Malin

    The GoSL should find out whether any moneys go to Mauritius LTTE rump from Australia. It was Tamil coordinating Committee (TCC)who cyphoned funds from Australia to Malaysia TCC thro dubious means. I will not be surprised that Australian Tamil Congress (Ex-TRO) has found this new developments in Mauritius to cyphon LTTE funds raised in Australia.
    Dangerous man to be watched is MP Sumanthiran who takes apart in all pro-LTTE anti Sri Lankan conferences in USA (TGTE) UK(BTF & GTF) and now in Mauritius while being an MP.

  3. Max

    The Tamils don’t integrate well in these developed countries, so, in time they would be asking for Eelam in these countries.

  4. Realistic

    The government and it’s agencies put so much of efforts in raising the challenges pause by LTTE but, there appears no clear plan of action to counter such issues. Our measures to counter these threats are unproductive by being critical of those who support LTTE. Very survival of LTTE and it’s proxies remains in the hand of Sri Lankan government. If these pressing issues are remidised as appropriate, neither LTTE or it’s supports would survive.

    LTTE being a such a small organization supported by relatively small community has reached major platform of politics of great nations while, Sri Lanka as a nation of 20 million people struggle to counter challenges putforward by these small organizations. If LTTE gets support from leading countries of the world, Sri Lanka as a legitimate nation would receive greater support all countries, if and when government would engage in colobrative politics with the world.

    After all our efforts for peaceful living needs support from rest of the world.

  5. didee

    Firstly, Sri Lanka has to Be mindful about emerging LTTE forces in different countries. secondly, GOSL has to strengthen the capabilities of our armed forces and strengthen their numbers and provide sophisticated weaponry. Thirdly, GOSL has to resettle the Singhalese and Muslims in the North and Eastern provinces with a coherent strategy.

  6. Jack Smith

    Interesting that so many human beings are unaware that we are all relatives and do not seek a peaceful existence. This is a level of awareness lower than most animals and insects, hard to figure out why.

    Poverty is not a crime, but poverty in the heart certainly is.

  7. DMR Gunawardene

    LTTE is now much stronger than before. They are now in China as well.

  8. Naren

    So they in Mauritus, UK, US, India ….!
    Get a life. Every day no Christmas.. one day lessons will be learned.

  9. This article is irrelevant to Mauritius. Most of the article are about tamils in other countries but nothing to do with Mauritius. Mind your own business like building in Sri Lanka rather than advising Mauritian how to manage their People and their culture. You do not know about the Mauritian Cultures … DR Rohan G.get your facts straight; your assumptions do not make facts right…Know the country and the culture before you make judgements…

  10. sukirichuti

    The Government of Sri Lanka should ensure that the legitimate demands of the Tamil community are met. Now that the Northern Provincial Council has been established, the Central Government must ensure that powers set out in the 13th Amendment are given to them if not all at least restricted powers without trying to dictate terms to the elected representatives of the Northern Provincial Council. By doing so the Sri Lankan Government could show the international community that the 13th Amendment is being implemented and thereby seek the support of the international community to gradually discourage the so called LTTE rumps in foreign countries from organizing anti Sri Lanka campaigns of this nature. The Sri Lanka Government’s attempts to fight with the international community without giving some legitimate demands of the minority community as stipulated in the Constitution as it stands will be futile. This a layman’s view.

  11. sukirichuti

    Didee are you trying to encourage the GOSL to start another civil war? Why are you advocating settlement of Sinhalese and Muslims in the North & East? If you want to settle Sinhalese and Muslims in the North & East, then you should settle Tamils in the South. The TNA has been objecting to this policy of the Government right throughout and once again the country is going to be in turmoil because of this communal policies.

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