11th November 2001, Volume 8, Issue 17















Interviewpic1.jpg (17779 bytes) I want to be a clean politician - Ranatunga

By Wilson Gnanadass

One time Mr. Cool of international cricket has now entered the back biting game of politics. Arjuna Ranatunga, one time Sri Lanka cricket captain will contest the forthcoming parliamentary elections under thePA ticket in Colombo district.

He says he wants to be a different type of politician, a honest one. Citing examples, he says during the good old days there were honest and decent politicians and that he wants to be like one of them. "Ever since I retired from the world of cricket, I have been wondering how I could give something back to my country. And when President Chandrika Kumaratunga invited me, I thought that was the best possible way to fulfil my aspiration. I truly want to play a clean, decent and a honest game in politics. The day I find it difficult to stomach it, I will resign. This, I have also told even President Kumaratunga," Arjuna told The Sunday Leader, in an interview.

Following are excerpts;

Q: Why have you decided to get into politics?

A: After my retirement from the cricket world, I was wondering what I should do in life. I represented my country for 18 years by way of playing cricket, of which for eight years I represented the country as a captain. After my retirement, I had the innermost urge to give my country something in return for the things I gained from my country. And the best channel I could send my contribution through, I thought was politics. And I grabbed the opportunity when President Kumaratunga invited me to join the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and to contest the forthcoming election. Now when someone talks of politics, it is also coupled with dirty games. But I want to be a clean politician. This is my ambition.

Q: Did you at any time think your fame in the world of cricket could help find more votes for the PA?

A: No. It has nothing to do with my popularity or fame. It is simply my intention to serve the people of this country. And I thought that I could do this through politics.

Q: Why are you contesting in Colombo and why not in Gampaha?

A: I personally feel I could muster adequate and substantial support in Colombo more than Gampaha. Another thing is, my father is also contesting in Gampaha and I thought of not contesting there. On the other hand, my life for well over 30 years has been spent in Colombo. I know Colombo more than Gampaha.

Q: Were you invited by the UNP to contest in Gampaha?

A: No. Of course there were invitations from almost all the political parties. But finally I chose to contest under the PA ticket.

Q: It is learnt that you refused to contest in Gampaha under the UNP ticket because one of your conditions that if you contest in Gampaha your father should step down, was not fulfilled. Is there any truth in it?

A: No. The reason why I agreed to contest in Colombo is that I have been in Colombo for quite a long time. I feel I could muster more support in this area than in Gampaha. In fact my parents never wanted any of us to get involved in politics. We were more into playing cricket and all my brothers have been in someway contributing to cricket. But my brother Prasanna had to get involved in politics just to help my father. My father did not even allow us to be present at his campaigns. But after my retirement I was just relaxing in the country. I was so disgusted with the officials attached to the cricket board that I never walked in to the board for almost eight months. Of course whenever help and other assistance were needed, I gave my support. But on the whole I got sick of the whole cricket system in the country. For instance, whenever there was a meeting or dinner and when I walked into such places, most of the cricketers rallied round me to talk to me. But some of the administrators from the board did not like it. This is how the administrators treated me after having given so much to the country. In fact Mr. Malalasekara wanted me to come and serve in the cricket committee. I could have gone but I never liked to be associated with the board much.

Q: Are you also retired hurt like Roshan Mahanama?

A: I was one time hurt. But I got over it. I fought my way through. Had I continued in cricket, I too would have been dumped like some others. But I retired at the correct time. In fact my retirement sent shockwaves through the board which never anticipated my retirement. It took nearly three days for me to decide on my retirement. I never consulted many people but took a bold decision.

Q: Coming back to politics, what have you got to offer your electorate?

A: I am new to politics. Just fourteen days old. And I may put it this way. Instead of telling myself what I could offer my supporters I tell myself that I want to be a clean and honest politician. I think this is deeply rooted in me. I want to be a different politician. By doing this, I think I can give a lot, not only to my supporters but to my whole country. I told the president when I met her, that if I am not allowed to do what I want to do, I would quit politics. I have learnt a lot from cricket. When I participated at the selection of cricketers for the matches, I was able to agree or to disagree. In fact, I think.

Interviewpic2jpg.jpg (15903 bytes) Warm hearts, cool heads - Moragoda

By Wilson Gnanadass

Milinda Moragoda, a member of the think tank in the United National Party (UNP) has different methods of facing the people at the forthcoming elections. His election advertisements, his election speeches and his general conduct are all distinctly different from others.

He says the UNP must try to convince not the heads but the hearts of the people, especially of the non-UNPers and those who are suspicious of the party. This, he says, is one way to muster more support for the party. He believes it is a real challenge for the UNP, despite the fact that the party has now been strengthened by the defectors and others who have come to support them overwhelmingly. "Just because we have a huge support, we cannot live on others' misery. We have to work hard. We cannot be complacent. I think our success or failure in this election will depend on our ability to convince especially the hearts of those who are not hardcore UNPers," he told The Sunday Leader in an interview.

Following are excerpts;

Q: What do you think are the chances of the UNP at the December 5, elections?

A: I think we must first of all appreciate the overall social and political climate in this country. I think people are fed up of politics. I also sense there is apathy on the part of the people with a feeling that both parties are the same after assuming power. You see, one of the biggest problems with these two parties is that the people really can't understand the difference between these two parties. But of course people think that the UNP can manage. But if you take the overall situation people are confused.

Nowadays, even the faces are the same. The faces they find in the PA are in the UNP. So, in that kind of a situation, I feel that the UNP has a challenge. The party has to win the confidence of the people who are non-UNPers. We generally tend to appeal to the hardcore UNPers. Of course we have to keep our cadres and our supporters with us. But if we are to form a government, we can't just be the largest party in parliament. But to do this we have to go to people who are suspicious of us and the government.

Therefore, the challenge that the UNP is faced with is to win the hearts and minds of the floating voters. I think our success or failure in this election will depend on our ability to convince those people.

Q: But you are left with just less than a month. Are you still trying to convince them?

A: It is not easy. It is a challenge. I think we can do it. In my view the UNP under Ranil Wickremesinghe has a vision of trying to break from the past. This is a break from the politics of opportunism, politics where the interests of the politicians were placed above the interests of the people. There is a tendency for our politicians to go behind the preference vote. This is where we place our interest above others.

Q: What has the UNP got to offer the people, different to what was offered by President Kumaratunga?

A: The UNP has one thing to offer. And that is hope. Hope based on a certain degree of pragmatism. There are no quick fixes and magic solutions to the problems of this country. What we require is commitment and dedication and we want to work together for the sake of the country. It is not that easy. For the past fifty years or so we have failed to create a culture where there is equal opportunity for all Sri Lankans.

The peace process is also equally complicated. If you look at the Middle East or Ireland peace processes, if you go one step forward, you may have to come three steps backwards. So what we have under Ranil Wickremesinghe is the ability to give leadership to that process. The result is not only in the hands of the politicians but the public as well.

Politicians in our country have prevailed since independence by capitalising on the differences in our society. We have opportunistically used the caste and race differences. Now this has to change. America and Singapore and some other countries all treated multi-ethnicity as a strength. But here it is different.

Q: You have been carrying out a different type of a campaign, minus posters and so on. How effective has that been so far?

A: Let me tell you this. I spent a year as a national list parliamentarian. And when the election was called I did not have the passion to get back to parliament. I felt that I have neither made a contribution to parliament nor to the country. For that matter, nor did I think anybody in parliament made any positive contribution to the nation. All it seemed to me was politics of opportunism. Politicians were more concerned about their own survival.

So firstly I thought I should run for office. Secondly I thought I should present my ideas to the people and see whether these ideas would resonate. If they did not resonate then I thought I was the wrong man for the job. Therefore I thought of starting a different type of campaigning.

To tell you the truth people are fed up of the kind of campaign that has been in practice in the past. I always said, "attack the message and not the messenger." It is the message that I was pushing. Then I told myself that if I am elected to parliament on that basis, I can stand for those values. That is my objective. This is what gave me the real passion to come into politics. This is the reason I sought to move this way and the response so far has been very good.

Q: Is the United National Front (UNF) led by the UNP anticipating a two thirds majority in this election?

A: The system does not favour big swings. I also think that our society is moving away from politics of bloc votes. We keep talking of bloc votes and that has been in our history. Today frankly I don't think a father or a mother can tell a child how to vote. So therefore just because we have this shift, the bloc votes come. We have to go after the hearts of the people. A UNP government under Ranil Wickremesinghe will change the society and the economy. And we mean it. We can do it.

Q: Has the defection of a formidable group from the PA created any impact in the UNP. Or else has it in fact affected the image of the party?

A: This has shown the fact that the PA itself is in disarray. That senior members have lost confidence in the PA. I think this has led to the deterioration of the PA. But again we can't live on others' misery. We have to show an alternative. Talking of the defection, I think this has given morale to our cadres. It has given us a sense that we can do it. For seven years our cadres suffered. And the defection gave us morale. But what do we do with this morale. I think we cannot be complacent.

Q: The UNP has been linked with the LTTE by the government. Firstly are you aware, being a close confidante of Ranil Wickremesinghe, of such a link and secondly has this campaign led by the government against the UNP affected the party?

A: There is no connection between the UNP and the LTTE. The issue that one sees is that as a strategy I think the PA has come up with this allegation before every election. This is a political tactic and a part of political opportunism we try to engage in this country.

Before the presidential election this allegation was made and before the parliamentary election also this allegation was made. So in between elections the government makes every effort to initiate a dialogue with the LTTE, and just before the election the government puts the blame on the UNP. The president in an interview even said she is willing to give the north-east to the LTTE for ten years.

I think it is irresponsible politics. But what does it produce. Nothing. I think the society and history will judge the PA on this. I also don't think that this will affect the image of the party because the people are far more intelligent than what we think.

Q: What is the UNP's policy on the ethnic crisis?

A: Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP have always stood consistently for a negotiated settlement. I think he is the only politician in the country to face an election on that basis. And some say at a political cost. The other factor is that one has to be realistic when one approaches negotiations.

Every government has had an opportunity to begin talks with the LTTE. So it is quite possible that we too will get that opportunity. So if we get that opportunity, it is important that we go with a warm heart but with a cool head. The warm heart must be an open heart to negotiate if we have the opportunity, to see whether we could find a just and equitable solution. The cool head applies this way.

In 1994 when we left office the defence budget was in the range of US$ 350 million dollars a year. Today it is well over a billion dollars. Now it shows militarily we cannot claim any successes. This is because of politicisation of the military. For instance the NIB is used to spy on opposition members and the media and some others who are opposed to the government. It is not used for the purpose it is created.

Similarly it is a war that should be fought through special forces and not through conventional military. So the cool head is that we have to restructure the military. If we are spending a million dollars, we have to find out how it is being used. So it is a two track formula. The warm heart where we must sincerely go for a negotiated settlement. We must be sincere in our attempts and not hypocritical.

If you look at the history of our ethnic conflicts in 1977, we had an opportunity through the district development councils. If these were properly implemented we could have solved the problems.

Then in 1987, again we had an opportunity. Here the provincial councils were not implemented properly. I hope we will have another opportunity to solve the crisis. But if we are not sincere, nothing is going to work out.

Q: The economy under the PA regime is in shambles. What plans has the UNP got to revive it and how soon do you think it could be done?

A: In 1979 President J. R. Jayawardene invited Lee Kwan Yu to Sri Lanka and when he was leaving President Jayawardene, he said that the Sri Lankan democracy was a periodic auction on non-existence resources. And that is what is happening now.

We have to look at the reality. In 50 years we have ruined our economy. In the UNP period it was little better because it has by instinct a better economic sense of management. The fact is, an economy that had a per capita income close to South Korea and Taiwan in the 50s and 60s, is today is the lowest in Asia. Of course the north- east conflict has contributed, but the fact is that we do not know to live according to our means. Therefore I think the UNP's strategy is to first give a new vision to the economy.

Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that Sri Lanka should be made the gateway into the Indian sub continent. If you look at Singapore and Hong Kong, they grew almost gateways into these regions into China. China and India will be the fastest growing economies in the world probably in the new century. So that is our vision. Take Dubai which has become the gateway into India because of our problems in the country. So we have to take that position.

Secondly, we have to restructure the economy to make it look even more competitive. Because this year we will have 0 percent growth, while India is going at 5.6 per cent.

Pakistan with all its problems is growing well over 3 percent. In the South East region we have hit the bottom. So 0 percent growth is literally a contraction in the economy. And we must bring investor confidence. Even before talking about the foreign investors, we must think of the local investors. So that is a management issue which we will begin soon. You see they all are not glamorous as we may think.

The other thing which Mr.Wickremesinghe has brought in is something called the Youth Services Co. Today young people are unemployed. As a result our basic social discipline is collapsing. We will take them and train them to be suitable for employment.

Q: Already pre-election violence has raised its ugly head giving all the indications that the election is going to be marred with violence. How is the UNP going to counter this?

A: I say win the hearts of the people and the rest will follow. On the other hand, we as a party are encouraging the public servants to be impartial.

I think all these institutions have lost their pride and dignity because of politics. So what we should do is to give incentive to the public servants and policemen to do their duties properly. In return what we promise if we come into office, is that their dignity will be restored.

Q: Will a UNP government move a no confidence motion against President Kumaratunga?

A: I think if the UNP has a clear majority, the party must go to the president and tell her, "Look, we have a majority and this is our programme. Please work with us."

You see, we can't spend another six months trying to throw her out. Then people will get sick of us as well. So this should be our first approach. But if she is unreasonable, and if she appears to be uncompromising, then alternatives will have to be looked at. But I think the first option is a good option.

Interviewpic3.jpg (18985 bytes) "Prabhakaran singled me out - it was a mutual kind of thing"

By J. S. Tissainayagam

The Island of Blood by Anita Pratap, is the author's account of reporting various hotspots in South Asia. Pratap's account of visiting Jaffna when it was occupied by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF),is a personalised and dramatic narrative of the obstacles and trials

faced by a war correspondent in quest of a story in the war-torn city under occupation.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What have you tried to accomplish in your book and into what genre will you classify it?

A: It is seen through the eyes of the reporter who is present in the book. What I have done is to give a very personalised account of what it is like to be in strange situations in war zones, meeting an array of characters who are all extraordinary. This is a depiction of reality to a group of people who might never have the opportunity to see this.

Q: Don't you think that the inclusion of passages that come across as self-praise and where others have said complimentary things about you sound egoistic and thereby take away from the book?

A: You know a book is very subjective and if you feel that, you are entitled to your perspective. The same passages that you dislike would be the passages that other people like. There could be certain passages which you find are self-flattering or whatever. I would take that as you say, even without even trying to defend myself.

On the other hand, there are people who say 'my god, what all you have gone through.' None of these conversations have been cooked up. There is no invention either in the characters or in the descriptions -- there have been no embellishments, no exaggerations. In my dialogue with Ranjan Wijeratne, he said, 'you are a great woman.' Right through from the early eighties there has been this public description of me as being tough and brave.

But even as I say that, on the other hand, there are aspects of me which are not necessarily flattering, showing my vulnerability, which detract from the image of being a great person. I take my work seriously, I do not take myself seriously. So I am happy when people say you are a very brave woman. So it does not hurt me in the least when you say you are flattering yourself , because aspects of it are definitely true. Yes, it true that I have quoted Ranjan Wijeratne and Prabhakaran saying 'you are a brave person.' These are persons who have seen me at close quarters, who have a personal vision of me who have said that. By and large that is what a lot of people say.

Q: Your writing shows a marked orientation to equating blackness to ugliness.

A: Blackness with ugliness? No, I do not think so at all!

Q: Can I finish? Equating darkness / blackness with ugliness when you describe your encounter with an Indian army officer, the mud, slush and insects on the way to Jaffna, and the carnage in Colombo seems to have a touch of orientalism and written for a western audience ...

A: That was not the darkness alone, it was the fact that my hair was completely over-shampooed and was like a haystack and the fact that my skin was charred and dry and my clothes and feet were dirty. I do not think it is true at all and it is complete misrepresentation.

On the other hand there was a detailed description of what Colombo was like. It was because I had an eye-witness vision of that. It is very easy for armchair critics to sit in their air-conditioned rooms and say you are doing this or doing that, but they have not seen what the horror of it is like because they have not faced it one-to-one, right on the street. So these are labels put on by people who have the convenience of sitting in their armchairs. If you had actually witnessed these things you would put these kinds of labels. If there is any label to be put it is human versus anti-human.

As to the thing about the insects, I am a typical ordinary person, I do not like creepy-crawlies. I am an urban person. I have lived in cities. It is a very urban experience. If you were living in a rural area you would not be too bothered with a thing like that, but I am an urban, city-bed person and I am not used to creepy-crawlies all over my hair and skin. So I was trying to convey the sense of disgust and complete revulsion. It is not something that most reporters would do to get a story, so it is an alien experience for most reporters.

Q: In the book you refer to the asexual behaviour of the LTTE cadres, their sense of fearlessness and their commitment to Prabhakaran. Are trying to say that they have been brainwashed and unable to function like normal people?

A: No, I think it is discipline. I have also talked later about an indoctrination that Tiger cadres go through (and) how they are shown this video of atrocities by the Sri Lankan soldiers on Tamils, to create a sense of hatred towards the Sri Lankan army. But they would not look at a woman as a sex object; they are consistently polite and calm. I think it is the strict discipline that has been instilled very deeply into them. And when I asked Prabhakaran about this, he identified the core secret of the success of the LTTE organisation.

Q: You portray yourself as a 'liberated' woman, combining a high-flying career while bringing up your child as a single parent. But then you also show Prabhakaran's wife as meek and submissive. Doesn't her meekness, or submissiveness provoke any comment from you?

A: No, it doesn't. I think it is none of my business. I have no right to impose my values on others. Just as I would not like others to insist I should be meek and submissive because that is the way they lead their lives, I would not impose my liberated values on to others. I am never judgmental as far as other people are concerned. And that is one reason possibly why I am a good reporter.

It is my job to give you the reality as it is, not exaggerating or embellishing and not being judgmental about it. This clear distinction of roles is what has given me access to all the protagonists in a particular conflict. So I take pride in the fact that I have equal access to Prabhakaran and Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Indian prime minister and Nawaz Sharif. All of them know what they say to me is exactly as I will convey it. You maintain that respect very carefully and that is how I have maintained my credibility over a 20-year period.

Q: How were you first introduced to Prabhakaran?

A: We are talking about the early eighties, where he was one among the five militant groups. So Prabhakaran was one among the many players. I was able to identify early on he was the one who was to play the crucial role, because the LTTE was a much superior organisation in terms of its commitment to its cause. It was a very sophisticated, long-term, highly disciplined organisation. And I knew he was the guy to watch out for.

I have explained in the book why Prabhakaran singled me out -- it was a mutual kind of thing. Prabhakaran knows I have never presented him in a different light than what he is. I have criticised him (and) I would be the first to say I have not seen Pra-bhakaran capable of tolerating dissent among his own organisation and the Tamil community. I have at various points described him as a megalomaniac or ruthless, but he knows I have said that on the basis of some of his actions, but I am not blind to certain good qualities in the man, which also I have highlighted equally.

Q: Just a while ago you said you were not judgmental. But you call Prabhakaran a 'megalomaniac.'

A: No. The megalomaniac thing was there in two/ three of articles in which I gave my opinion. I am very careful about my reporting. In my reporting I would not use adjectives like this. The one I mentioned was after the IPKF went. Prabhakaran had full control of Jaffna and you had big portraits of him in every corner you could think of. Why would anyone want to do that unless he wanted to project himself as a great leader? That is something that you would see in someone like Napoleon. It is king-sized ego, power and dominance. Perhaps it is because of this big ego that he has achieved all that he has. That is why Prabhakaran has done all this and Napoleon has a unique place in history.

Q: You have mentioned that Prabhakaran is superstitious. Has he ever told you that he is superstitious?

A: He has not told me this himself, but a very close confidante of his told me. I am not going to mention his name obviously and you should respect that. But I won't be surprised just to disprove me Prabhakaran stages a strike on the 26th.

M. G. Ramachandran, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu hated it when the press said something about him and his whole intention was to disprove -- to prove they were wrong. And I have sensed a lot of similarities between Prabhakaran and Ramachandran.

Q: What you have been saying is that your reportage is unembellished and factual. When you accompany Joseph Pararajasingham's son to safety (through a checkpoint in Batticaloa), there is this long dialogue with an STF officer. Is that verbatim?

A: It is not a recorded thing at all. It is not as if the STF guy had a tape recorder. But it lasted a long time. We were going through it again and again and again. I could have written a whole book on how he went on. I mentioned how he went on about blood-thirsty Prabhakaran. It is a faithful reproduction of what transpired.

Q: The book's high-point is your meeting Prabhakaran. But the man you portray is one you met 10 years ago...

A: I won't say that (meeting Prabhakaran is the highpoint), that is what you say. No, I met him four years ago. There are published interviews in the mid-nineties. What I said was that I had not seen him after Erik Solheim met in the Wanni in November 2000. Solheim says Prabhakaran has said he is willing to settle for something less than Eelam. But up until the last time I met him, I had never sensed any dilution of his commitment to the cause. But if Prabhakaran said that, it is a significant step.

Q: You have tried to portray him as someone who has 100 percent commitment to Eelam, whereas there have been instances where he has said he is willing to compromise...

A: That is only now, in the last one year he has said that to Solheim. That is why I believe that the April attack by the army and resumption of war was a big setback. The establishment here should have really capitalised on that. But instead what has happened is a breakdown again. And now Prabhakaran will turn and say 'I was willing to step down, but what is the point? The Sinhalese government will never ever really settle this problem, they will always go back on their word, basically because they are not interested in giving Tamils their rights.'

I met somebody who said that during the ceasefire Prabhakaran had got two shiploads of arms. That is before April. So this was the same time-buying ploy that he has been using for the last decade. There were times in the past where I openly said he was regrouping. In 1994, when Chandrika came to power there was a tremendous sense of excitement that she was the Great New Hope and everyone felt she was going to deliver peace. Then I go and meet Prabhakaran and he says before you know it all this euphoria will come to an end and Chandrika will be caught up in her own internal problems and nothing much is going to come out of it.

One of the reasons why I said Prabhakaran was a extraordinary person is that he had such tremendous foresight. He was able to see things. He has not misled, he has never spoken with a forked tongue. He has said exactly like what things have happened. Much of the trouble is that people have not chosen to listen to what he has said. Up to that point I do not think he plays these funny games and is untrustworthy. He is misunderstood. Therefore, unless I meet him now I cannot say whether he has climbed down from Eelam.

Q: You have tried to show how the PA and UNP have succeeded in mishandling the national question over and over again. Is it a question of the political parties themselves, or is there a reluctance on the part of the ruling establishment to bring about permanent peace?

A: Chandrika at one point definitely had this intention, as much as Premadasa did. So there have been times when individual politicians have actually tried to go beyond and sort out this problem. Up until the eighties you could say consistently that it was the Sinhala side that went back on its promises, but in the nineties you had several instances when it seemed to be that Prabhakaran went back on his promises.

There has to be an ability among leaders to have a larger vision and outlook beyond the next election. The citizenry and civic society also have to assert themselves and rise up and hold leaders accountable. We kow-tow to politicians because we do not want to alienate them as they will be able to help us in some way and it is the country that suffers as a result.

Q: What is India's current position towards the LTTE and Eelam -- especially with both the present and former governments failing to resolve the problem either militarily or politically?

A: India tried to bring a solution and failed. It was like a slap on India's face. By and large India does not want to get involved ever again in this because India carries a lot of hurt, anger and wounded pride over this whole issue. India is not likely to get involved in this situation ever again -- basically a hands-off policy. If Sri Lanka needs any external help that is fine, provided as long as it is a neutral, unthreatening and non-colonial power like Norway. No one is threatened by Norway and they are neutral. India might be a little more wary if it was China that was brought in to intervene, or Pakistan, or even America. India still sees South Asia as its region and part of its neighbourhood and would like to be consulted. India would be upset if it was being ignored by any of the mediators or even the Sri Lankans.

India has a particularly negative attitude to the LTTE because of two reasons. One, because the IPKF venture failed so badly and in the Indian establishment there is a deep-rooted feeling that the LTTE betrayed the Indians. And also Rajiv Gandhi's death was a traumatic experience for most Indians. So the Tigers were seen as very dangerous and lethal and do not arouse strong and positive reactions in India.

As far as Eelam is concerned, I think Prabhakaran was bang-on when he said you have to fight India eventually because India would not allow the creation of a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka because that would have direct repercussion in Tamil Nadu. One of the oldest secessionist movements in India began in 1952. So India would be concerned and would frown upon a separate state because it would immediately give impetus to secessionist tendencies in Tamil Nadu.

But one thing that has happened of very late that I have picked up is that there is growing concern in India and in Tamil Nadu about some kind of a linkage developing in Tamil Nadu between LTTE, the Naxalites and Weerappan. This combination has aroused a certain degree of concern. Sri Lanka has this problem to battle with and let them do it and if it spills on to our shores we have to take very firm action.




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