The Sunday Leader

The White Tiger In London

By Camelia Nathaniel

Who is the White Tiger sitting in London living with the proceeds of the LTTE’s ill gotten gains? That is none other than Adele Balasingham who recruited child soldiers, as young as nine; mentored them to kill, maim, disfigure and injure; and, garlanded them with cyanide capsules upon completing the terrorist training. In addition to serving as an advisor to the women’s wing that conducted suicide attacks including the assassination of two world leaders, Adele, a prolific terrorist propagandist, engaged in a series of illegal activities including travelling in arms carriers transporting weapons from North Korea. Today, Adele lives comfortably in London.

Like Adele, there are over 10,000 former leaders and members from various Sri Lankan terror outfits living in the UK. The bulk of them belong to militant groups that fled from the LTTE when the terrorist organization brutally hunted and killed leaders and members of rival groups. However, according to Sri Lankan, British and other security services, there are at least 3000 known LTTE cadres including directing figures such as Adele Balasingham living in the UK. Adele’s husband Anton Stanislaus Balasingham (March 4, 1938 – December 14, 2006), a naturalized British citizen, was the most influential advisor to LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Called the theoretician and ideologue of the LTTE, Balasingham and his wife influenced, assisted and guided the group from the very beginning.  Balasingham spent time with the LTTE leadership working in India in the 1980s and Sri Lanka in the 1990s, and was the de facto LTTE UK chief from 1999 until his death in December 2004.

The evidence against Adele is overwhelming. Although LTTE propagandists and apologists attempt to project Adele’s tasks as political and humanitarian, they were clearly militant and terrorist.  Suicide Killers, a documentary produced by BBC in 1991 shows Adele in Tiger striped uniform carrying an AK 47 and wearing a Cyanide capsule around her neck. With pride, Adele tied the cyanide capsules around the necks of innocent children and young women. Although Australia trained Adele as a nurse to heal, she indoctrinated and trained kidnapped children to kill.


Turning point

Born in Warragul, Victoria, Australia on January 30, 1950, Adele Ann Wilby qualified as a professional nurse, worked in Gippsland, Melbourne until she migrated to the UK. Adele’s life changed when she met with Anton Stanislaus Balasingham, a Marxist who had worked as a journalist in Colombo and translator at the British High Commission in Sri Lanka. In the UK, Balasingham was a Master’s student working on the psychology of Marxism and teaching assistant at the East Bank Polytechnic.  Anton Balasingham’s first wife was a beautiful and kind-hearted Tamil lady who was suffering from renal failure. Within the UK LTTE, those who hated the Balasinghams spun an unkind rumour. Anton Balasingham had fallen in love with the nurse tending to Mrs Balasingham and jointly planned and disconnected the life support system that kept Mrs Balasingham alive.  It was far from the truth. Deeply affected by the death of his much loved wife, an Anton Balasingham in tears flew from London to Colombo with an urn holding Mrs Balasingham’s ashes.

After Adele married Anton Balasingham in Brixton, London on September 1, 1978, Balasingham read for his doctorate under Professor John Taylor but he never completed it. Initially with Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students, Balasingham was recruited by N.S. Krishnan, the LTTE Western European representative. The London based Krishnan specifically wished to resolve the infighting between Uma Maheswaran, the LTTE chairman and Velupillai Prabhakaran, the LTTE military commander. Instead of resolving the dispute Balalsingham’s intervention exacerbated the dispute. The Balasinghams lived in Thiruvanmiyoor and later at Adaiyar in India before moving to northern Sri Lanka.

The Indian authorities never trusted the Balasinghams and at one point deported them.  The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was of the firm opinion that Balasingham worked for a western intelligence service and wanted to destabilize India.
For three decades, Adele’s contribution was to strengthen LTTE’s killing capacity by recruiting children and youth. More aggressive than Balasingham, Adele was trained by Prabhakaran himself to fire weapons.  What the LTTE engaged in discretely, Adele tried to legitimize it by doing it openly.

With her team, Adele went from school to school recruiting children and camp to camp providing guidance. Among a dozen videos containing testimonies of LTTE child soldiers is “Adel Aunty and her baby brigade”
Recruiting child soldiers

Among the schools from which the LTTE recruited was Patrima school where 543 students were indoctrinated by LTTE propagandists including Adele. They were taken to the Skandapuram camp and trained by Adele and those working with her. Children, as young as 10, were trained in handling weapons and bombs. Adele was at the graduation with Tamilchelvam and Vidusha, LTTE male and female leaders. At the Anbu base children as young as 12 were trained and sent to fight. The children who fled were captured and jailed. Tamil children who fled from the LTTE or freed by the Sri Lankan security forces implicated Adele in recruitment, indoctrination, training, and direction.

The students at Kanishta vidyalaya were taken by the LTTE to Lima 06 Camp in Kanahapuram, Vallipunam. According to multiple testimonies, Adele worked with Vidusha, Durga and Selvi. They also witnessed Adele in a directing role, for example, instructing Vidusha. Escapees were arrested assaulted and tortured and some died and others became mentally ill and imprisoned. The children speak of how the LTTE harmed them and parents speak of how they forced their children into marriage ensuring pregnancy to prevent recruitment.

Adele introduced the word “attempted genocide” to the LTTE vocabulary. As in every conflict where terrorists hide behind civilians and attack provoking retaliatory fire, there were civilian deaths and injuries in operations by IPKF and Sri Lankan security forces. Also, there were isolated atrocities to avenge fellow soldiers who were killed and injured. However, unlike the LTTE, neither IPKF nor Sri Lankan security forces conducted premeditated and deliberate civilian killings.

With no historical or cultural context, Adele’s influence on the LTTE military and political leadership was harmful. Combined with the other deadly two persons, Prabhakaran, driven by the Dravidar Kazhagam ideology, and Balasingham by the Marxist ideology, Adele pieced together the ideas from various movements to nourish the LTTE, thereby completing the trio of destruction.

After the expulsion of Kittu, despite his role in the Gandhi murder, the LTTE UK continued to function. Eight years after, the British government came to the rescue of the Balasinghams. In 1999, when the LTTE wanted Balasingham flown out to get treated for kidney disease, the Sri Lankan government urged the LTTE not to recruit children, not to kill civilians, and not to engage in suicide attacks. The British government not only issued Balasingham with a new passport but also its Foreign and Commonwealth Office facilitated the Australian government to issue a new passport to Adele. Until then Australia refused the couple’s entry to Australia. In addition to being on an Immigration Department watch list under Australia’s Foreign Incursions Act, which prohibits citizens from fighting in foreign wars, Adele was liable for prosecution.

After the death of Balasingham, Adele lives in a large double-storey home in a quiet street in New Malden, a middle-class residential suburb in southwest London. A war criminal, Adele committed crimes against humanity. Hence should Adele not be charged, arrested, tried and sentenced?

How help came

The former Tamil Guardian editor Rajasingham Jayadevan, recalling his brief acquaintance with the late Anton Balasingam, revealed that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, “were very helpful and requested the Australian High Commission to help. The Australian High Commission was very magnanimous and a new passport was issued to Adele within 24 hours.”

By systematically penetrating the British political parties, the LTTE had access to parliamentarians such as Barry Gardiner and Simon Hughes and through them to Foreign Ministers such as Derek Fatchet and Prime Minister David Cameron.

To quote Jayadevan: “When the LTTE failed with the Sri Lankan government to secure passage to an ailing Balasingham to London for treatment, LTTE International Secretariat in Paris head Veerakathi Manoharan asked LTTE activist Elizabeth Packiyadevi Mann to renew Anton Balasingam’s British passport. Miss Mann a member of the Liberal Democratic Party approached her Member of Parliament Simon Hughes for assistance,” Jayadevan added:  “Mr Hughes had apparently told her that coming to him will be a futile exercise as being an opposition member of parliament he will not be succeeding in his efforts. However, he was willing to write to the Foreign Secretary. He strongly advised her to approach a Labour Party MP.”

As Rajasingham Jayadevan was close to the Labour Party, LTTE spokesman in the UK Anton Ramachandran alias Anton Rajah alias Ramasar informed him in 1999 that Balasingham was dying in the Wanni and needed to travel overseas for treatment. However, Anton Ramachandran said Colombo imposed conditions on the LTTE to “stop engaging in suicide bombings, shooting down planes and recruiting children for their war efforts” and added “that LTTE is not prepared to compromise on any of these demands.”

Believing LTTE leadership’s assurance to engage in peace talks with the help of the British government if passage to Balasingham is organized, Rajasingham Jayadevan wrote: “I called my local MP, who is my good friend Barry Gardiner (whom I call Barry) at his home and fully briefed him about the request and told him that it will be an historical opportunity to bring peace in Sri Lanka.

Barry too was very convinced and pleased that an offer is coming from the LTTE.” Jayadevan added, “At the end of the meeting Barry told me that he will contact me the next day. He also asked me to confirm in writing what was put forward by the LTTE.

In my letter I gave an assurance to the Foreign Office that the approach by the LTTE is genuine and to strengthen my appeal, I assured them that I am prepared to put my properties as collateral security in case if any mishap takes place in the process. My letter to the Foreign Office was copied to Balasingam. I was overjoyed when Barry called me about 11.00 a.m. the next day and told me that he had spoken to Foreign Minister  Derek Fatchett and that he had approved the issue of passport to Anton Balasingam. “Nonetheless, upon Balasingham’s relocation, he avoided meeting with the British foreign office. When contacted,  “Balasingam asked me to buy some time as he was not ready to meet them.

He asked me to tell them that he is still recovering. I passed the message to the Foreign Office despite knowing Anton Balasingam was fit and proper to meet. I was once again contacted by the Foreign Office a few weeks later but the same excuse was forthcoming from Anton Balasingham. I found it difficult to tell lies again and again but held my breath anticipating there will be an opening one day.” Upon relocation to the UK, the Balasinghams did not seriously pursue peace.

4 Comments for “The White Tiger In London”

  1. k.soysa

    The first person who should be dragged before the ICJ and every conceivable judicial commission is this woman; I have seen pictures of her putting the suicide pill. hung on a string round the necks of young girls and boys, somewhat like a mother putting necklaces round her loved child!

  2. alisten-Sydney

    Dear Mr Write,
    During cease filre how many times Srilanakna Army escorted from
    colombo, how Rajapaksa had negotations before elections. Big discovery .
    Srilankans expect lot from news papers not like thise ltte stories and earn money. People like should be banned from writing.First take Karuna and KP before writing something if you are bloddy honest.

  3. Raj

    how about the brown tigers- KP, Karuna, Pillian etc roaming freely in SL with govt backing

  4. sukirichuti

    Why not you give go before the UN Investigation and apprehend Adele if you have substantial and corroborative evidence.

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