Canada’s Rathika, MP Or Terrorist?
By Camelia Nathaniel
A young Canadian politician is under investigation for her links to separatist politicians, criminals and terrorists in India and Sri Lanka. Arriving as a tourist, Rathika Sitsabaiesan met with separatist politicians, criminals and terrorists in Tamil Nadu and northern Sri Lanka. Rathika met with LTTE patrons in Tamil Nadu who supported Velupillai Prabhakaran’s three decade long campaign of terror.
Since the defeat of the LTTE, to revive violence in Sri Lanka, the LTTE remnant leaders in the West are linking with Tamil Nadu separatist leaders. Rathika visited Tamil Nadu to meet the LTTE patrons there. Due to a Canadian and US travel ban, these separatist leaders can no longer visit the West. There are some restrictions on leaders of LTTE fronts travelling to India as well. For supporting the revival of the LTTE, Global Tamil Forum (GTF) President Fr. S.J. Emmanuel was deported from Chennai, India on October 11, 2011. Both GTF and its Canadian wing, the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), are designated as terrorist entities. Fr. Emmanuel is the ideological mentor of Rathika and David Poopalapillai, the National spokesperson of CTC, is her patron.
Traditionally, Tamil Nadu has been a safe haven for the LTTE to conduct the unlawful killings, maiming and injuring of civilians and security forces personnelin Sri Lanka. The LTTE covertly supported the secessionist movement in Tamil Nadu providing funds, training, arms,ammunitionand explosives. Realizing the threat to India, especially to Tamil Nadu, the Indian government has renewed the proscription of the LTTE. However, to legitimize the LTTE, the separatist leaders in Tamil Nadu seek its delisting.
Tamil Nadu politicians are the epitome of the political-criminal-terrorism nexus. Tamil Nadu separatist leaders receive donations from LTTE branches and fronts not only to aggressively agitate and voice opinions in Tamil Nadu against Sri Lanka, but also to provide a safe haven for the regrouping of the LTTE. With Seeman on skype, RaghavanParamsothi, Conservative candidate for Scarborough South-West in 2011 did a fundraising live show for Naam Thamilar on TVI, the LTTE-owned television station.
A new Democratic parliamentarian Rathika has been featured with Tamil Nadu’s corrupt and extremist leaders who receive LTTE funds raised through bank, credit card and cheque fraud, drug trafficking, human smuggling and other forms of criminal enterprise.
(1) PazhaNedumaran supported LTTE’s brutal campaign of terror and met with Prabhakaran both in Sri Lanka and India.In Tamil Nadu, Nedumaran provided his farm for the LTTE to conduct training. Nedumaran formed ‘Save 26 Tamils Committee’, with 80 LTTE and LTTE support organisations to fight for the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India. After he took the case of the 13 Indian Tamils and 13 Sri Lankan Tamils sentenced to death by the Poonamalle TADA Special Court to the Supreme Court, they released 19 of the 26, and reduced the death sentence of three to life sentence.
In 1993, when the Indian Navy intercepted the LTTE arms ship, SathasivamKrishnakumar, the head of the LTTE international secretariatwho was on board, committed suicide. Nedumaran took up the case of the 9 sailors arrested by India to the Supreme Court and helped their acquittal.
Founder of Ulaka Tamil Peravai(World Tamil Confederation), Nedumaran is also the President of Tamils National Movement & Tamil Eelam Liberation Supporters Co-ordination Committee. Funded by the LTTE, he continues to support LTTE’s revival in Sri Lanka.
Despite Nedumaran’sarrest under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) by India, he supports the return of terrorism to Sri Lanka. In April 2012, he said that his book ‘Pirapaharan – TamizharEzhuchchiyinVadivam’ (Pirapaharan – The Embodiment of Tamils’ Struggle) is a guide to the revival of the ‘armed struggle.’
(2) V.GopalsamyaliasVaiko, supported the LTTE his entire life and still advocates the return of the LTTE. Photos of Vaiko in LTTE uniform visiting Prabhakaran in the Wanni jungles were recovered by the Sri Lankan military. Vaiko was arrested several times on terrorism related charges.The first member of Parliament and chief of a registered political party in India to be detained under the POTA, Vaiko spent 18 months in prison. Having partnered with BJP, the MarumalarchiDravidaMunnetraKazhagam founded by Vaiko said in its manifesto of March 2014 that they will lift the ban on the LTTE.
(3) SenthamilanSeemanalias Sebastian Simon supported the LTTE. In addition to meeting with Prabhakaran, he conducted training in filmmaking for LTTE cadres in the Wanni. To avenge Prabhakaran’s death, Seeman created ‘NaamThamizharIyakkam’ in May 2009 renamed ‘NaamThamizharKatchi’ (WeTamil Movement) in May 2010. Its twin agenda is to free ‘Tamils’ motherland’ called ‘Tamil Eelam’ from Sri Lanka and only Tamils should rule Tamil Nadu. He was imprisoned twice by the Tamil Nadu government, once for five months in Vellore prison for embracing the Tiger symbol, supporting LTTE and for saying Prabhakaran was the Tamils’ leader.
Although Seeman promised to marry the widow of LTTE leader Muthukumaru Soundarakrishnanalias Lt.Col Anbumanialias Alex, he abandoned her for Kayalvizhi, daughter of a Tamil Nadu politician.To address the LTTE Heroes Day glorifying the dead terrorists especially the suicide bombers, Seeman entered Canada on a visa issued by the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi in November 2009.
It was his second visit to Canada to give a boost to the LTTE support base after having suffered a huge defeat in their homeland. When amidst Tiger flags, Seeman exhorted Canadian Tamil youth to take up arms on Prabhakaran’s birthday celebrations, he was arrested, handcuffed, and deported by the Canadian Border Security Agency and Peel Police.
In a media interview with Times of India, Seeman regretted that freedom of speech was denied to him “in a liberal country where civil rights and freedom of expression were of paramount importance.” Unwilling to give up, Seeman strategized re-infiltration of Canadian Tamil society opening a LTTE Canada funded NaamThamizhar branch in Toronto. Although Seeman was denied entry to Canada, LTTE activists in Canada such as RaghavanParamsothyalias Gavin Skype interviewed Seeman on TVI in 2010 to raise money for LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu.
As Chief Coordinator of the organisation, Seeman organized a 9-day ‘ThamizharEzhuchiVaaram’ (Tamil resurgence week) culminating in LTTE heroes day celebrations on November 27, 2011.Together with CTC and other LTTE fronts in Canada, Seeman appeared at the 22nd UNHRC sessions in Geneva in March 2013 masquerading as a ‘human rights activist.’
(4)TholThirumavalavan supported the LTTE. A staunch critic of Hindu nationalism and, in particular, Hindutva, Thirumavalavan is President of the ViduthalaiChiruthaigalKatchi (Liberation Panthers Party), a political party in the state of Tamil Nadu in India.
Since Thirumavalvan met with Prabhakaran, he has constantly campaigned against New Delhi for lifting the ban on the LTTE. Carrying pocket size photos of Prabhakaran, his activists recite: “Tamils need a separate country in this world and that is Eelam.” In February 2011, Thirumavalavan was deported from Sri Lanka to India when he attempted to enter Sri Lanka to attend the funeral of the terrorist leader’s mother ParvathyPillai.
A master of propaganda, Thirumavalvan authored ‘EelamEnralPuligal, PuligalEnralEelam’ (Eelam means Tigers, Tigers means Eelam). Kumudam Reporter, a Tamil weekly magazine dated 09 November, 2008, reported Thirumavalavan saying, “…AIDMK Chief Jayalalitha has an anti-LTTE & anti-Eelam Tamil view.
She is unable to tolerate Prabhakaran’s rise as a world leader. She says that she opposes LTTE by putting in front ‘Rajiv’s murder’ matter… I cannot change my pro-LTTE mentality at any point of time. In fact, I only grumble that I am unable to take up arms and fight for the LTTE and hence absolutely I do not have any fear of getting arrested for supporting the LTTE….”
After the LTTE killed 1,555 Indian peacekeepers in Sri Lanka and assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, the Indian government has kept a sharp eye on LTTE resurgence in Tamil Nadu. After the defeat of the LTTE, Tamil Nadu has re-emerged as a support base of the LTTE. With funding from Canada, the largest financial support base of the LTTE, Tamil Nadu witnessed the emergence of propaganda cells, training opportunities, and sporadic attacks on the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission, the Buddhist temple, and pilgrims including Buddhist monks. These Tamil Nadu leaders, corrupt and extremist, shape Tamil expatriate perceptions. With no counter propaganda platform in Tamil, the Sri Lankan government has failed to counter the lies they are spreading.
Even more seriously, the recently disrupted LTTE network in Sri Lanka was blessed by leaders and hosted by supporters and members of the Tamil Nadu separatist groups. Tamil Nadu Q Branch arrested a dozen LTTE cadres hosted by Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Iyakkam and other groups including a cell manufacturing IEDs. Hence Rathika’s visit from Canada to meet with the most notorious Tamil Nadu separatist leaders generated significant concern among the state and central government security and intelligence services.
With family origins in Mathanai, Jaffna, Rathika arrived in Canada when she was five years. The youngest of four sisters, Rathika’s early views were shaped by the permissive LTTE environment in Mississauga, west of Toronto.
The LTTE propaganda was so pervasive that it penetrated and influenced the lives of many Canadian Sri Lankans to think racially as Tamils. Indoctrinated from a very young age, Rathika performed a Sea Tiger dance. In addition to piracy, Sea Tigers, including its suicide wing attacked commercial and Navy ships. Rathika’s dance teacher NirothiniPararajasingam from Scarborough Toronto is a common face at LTTE propaganda and fundraising events.
With a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Carleton University and a Master in Industrial Relations from Queen’s University, Rathika worked for the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the University of Toronto Students’ Union. Rathika was unable to secure a suitable job. After a failed marriage, Rathika joined a trade union-type party, NDP. At an NDP event, Rathika delivered a speech where David Poopalapillai of the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) was present. Close to the LTTE chief in Canada, Manickavasagam Suresh, Poopalapillai, is described by a LTTE leader in Canada as an‘LTTE stalwart.’
Hailing from Batticaloa, Suresh, Poopalapillai originated from a family of terrorist leaders. After serving in the high security Boosa prison for his involvement in terrorism, Poopalapillai relocated to Germany and then to Canada. After infiltrating the CTC, Poopalapillai advanced LTTE interests through CTC.
The LTTE flag appeared in her facebook account, a message that she was an LTTE supporter.NDP member Sam Sivadasan from CTC proposed to NDP that Rathika run for the Rouge River riding. A real estate broker, Sam Sivadasan is also host of Velichcham, a TVI show. Rathika, 29, was elected as the first Canadian MP of Tamil heritage in the Federal Elections of 2011.She was elected in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River with 18,856 votes and an overall 40.5% support.
Celebrating her election, Piragal Thiru, a CTC director said to the Globe and Mail’s Karim Bardeesy that they thought Rathika was an ideal candidate and said if they had a voice, it would be different.
The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), with the support of Rathika managed to gain access to Parliament Hill and influence a group of Canadian parliamentarians.
They screened ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ on June 14, 2011 where an LTTE cadre Tamil Vany masquerade as an independent commentator mischaracterizing the events in the final phase of the conflict.
In addition to Rathika, two CTC office bearers Juanita Nathan and David Poopalapillai give a distorted picture of the developments in Sri Lanka.
The CTC also organized a sequelat the Parliamentary Press Gallery on April 24th, 2012, where they screen ‘War Crimes Unpunished’.
Rathika played an important role in New Democrat efforts to persuade the Conservative government to boycott a meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Sri Lanka in November2013.
Canada should develop a comprehensive code of conduct for its existing and aspiring political leaders.
Although attempts to establish a code of conduct for members of parliament and senators began in 1973 with the government’s green paper on “Members of Parliament and Conflict of Interest”, Ottawa has failed to prevent its leaders actively and tacitly empowering terrorist and extremist groups.
For example, Rathika’s visit was organized by a LTTE front ‘NaamThamizharKatchi’ whose leader Seeman was deported from Canada. In addition to meeting with Seeman, Rathika expressed public support for him and his organization at a media conference in Toronto, Canada.
When LTTE fronts CTC and NCCT were proscribed under UNHCR 1373, Rathika lobbied her own party to issue a statement on April 14, 2014 stating “The recent decision by the Sri Lankan government to ban numerous international civil society organizations is unacceptable and must be immediately reversed,” said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre). Is Rathika presenting terrorist supporters as human rights activists? In addition to tweeting: “Paul Dewar and I have written to Hon. John Braid to respond to the Sri Lanka government’s attack on civil society”, Rathika wrote on April 28, 2014: “The ban will prevent these Canadian organizations from supporting and communicating with other organizations in Sri Lanka, disrupting and impeding the important work of human rights defenders on the ground.
The ban may also hinder the ability of these Canadian groups to fundraise and partner with other organizations in Canada. As the ban also identifies specific individuals including Canadians, we are concerned about the impact it may have on the privacy and freedom of Canadian citizens.” Rathika’s reference is to CTC, NCCT, and TGTE where its officials engaged in terrorist propaganda, financing and arms procurement.
Most mainstream Tamils are disappointed with Rathika. With her track record of canvassing for terrorists and terrorist supporters, it is unlikely that her constituents will vote for her again.
Having only contributed to furthering the LTTE ideology of hatred, senior Tamils question what rights and values Rathika has to speak about human rights. “Has Rathika ever spoken about the human rights violated by Prabhakaran, the LTTE, and its fronts she is misrepresenting and representing today?” asked a Tamil community leader.
Due to constituency and electoral pressure, Canadian political parties and leaders may not have acted in the best interest of Canada. A Wikileak revealed the truth that “Canada banned the LTTE but not the Tiger fronts.” http://www.nation.lk/edition/news-features/item/28386-why-it-was-necessary-for-sri-lanka-to-ban-ltte-fronts.html
It is ironic but true that a nominee of CTC, a terrorist front, is a serving parliamentarian in Canada. It is also true that Rathika cannot now dismount the Tiger. Is the Tiger controlling her? Very likely considering the series of high profile LTTE events she has attended and intensity of activities she has engaged at the request of the LTTE. In addition to attending the LTTE commemoration of the dead, glorifying terrorists on November 27, 2013, where she was photographed praying for the terrorists, Rathika travelled to Tamil Nadu and met with LTTE’s most notorious Tamil Nadu supporters. On Canadian soil, Rathika supported TGTE, NCCT and CTC and since designation on March 20, 2014 campaign at the highest level of the Canadian government to delist the terrorist fronts.
Misrepresenting the terrorist fronts as a part of the ‘international civil society’, Rathika wrote to Canada’s foreign minister John Braid: “Canada must take concerted actions to pressure the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately reverse its assault on international civil society.”
Is Rathika also obstructing investigation of both terrorist entities and persons located in Canada? Is Rathika compromising Canadian security by protecting LTTE leaders and their fronts in Canada? Should Braid refer Rathika to Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, to read the Canadian law mandating severe penalties for persons and organizations that deal in the property or finances of a listed entity?
Furthermore, is it not a crime to knowingly participate in, or contribute to, any activity of a listed entity for the purpose of enhancing the ability of the entity to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity? Do Rathika’s actions meet the legal threshold set out in the Criminal Code of Canada to launch an investigation? Are there reasonable grounds to believe that Rathika Sitsabaiesan knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist support activity or is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with, terrorist entities and persons?
Wake up, Canada!