By Walter Jayawardhana

In an appeal which he named an eleventh hour one Tamil United Liberation Front President V. Ananda Sangaree appealed to V. Prabhakaran to surrender arms, give up the concept of separation and sit down for talks on the resolution of the Sri Lankan conflict.

In a cordial letter addressed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supremo by his pet name and addressing him as “My Dear Thamby” the elder Tamil leader Sangaree told Prabhakaran, “I have written a number of letters to you with good intentions but there had been no response for anyone of them either from you or from anybody else on your behalf. It is very unfortunate that without taking any of my advice or warnings seriously you and your cadre continue with your atrocious activities without realizing the immense harm and the damage you cause to the Tamil People whom you claim to be solely represented by you and to the poor innocent Sinhala village folks who mind their own business without coming into any confrontation with you and your cadre.”
Observers said the eleventh hour appeal by Sangaree is very appropriate as the two districts in which the Tiger Supremo wields, power Kilinochchi and Mulaithivu, are surrounded by the Sri Lankan armed forces from five sides and his military installations are heavily bombed by the fighter jets of the Sri Lankan Air force. Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Roshan Goonatillake said recently that according to his intelligence reports Prabhakaran is seriously injured and indisposed hiding in a bunker.

“Your last Heroes’ Day speech do not give the Tamil People any hope for a bright future but only forecasts a bleak future. At the rate the people are leaving the country Tamils in Sri Lanka will get reduced to an insignificant minority with hardly anyone to speak on their behalf. As a responsible citizen and an elderly Tamil of Sri Lanka I have a moral duty, however unpalatable it may appear to you, to point out the various flaws I observed in your speech which reflects your present day thinking as well. Most matters referred by you are false distorted and exaggerated. I assure you that this letter too is written with the hope of bringing you back to the correct track.

“Even at this eleventh hour I once again appeal to you to give-up your un-achievable demand for separation. Stop forth-with your un-civilized way of chopping people to death with their hands tied behind and targeting the Forces with clay more mines in which more victims happen to be civilians and the worst is some are children,” Sangaree further said.

He said there was a time the International Community took Prabhakaran seriously and made available many facilities for him and his cadre. “Now you are so fully exposed that they don’t believe your canards. You talk of Human Rights violations and abductions, in cleared areas. But the whole world knows that such things take place more in your areas. I hope you will not deny this? No one has any right to kill or torture another. I strongly condemn every killing whether it is by the Forces, Paramilitary as you say or even you,” he added.

Commenting about Prabhakaran’s mention of Budddhism, Ananda Sangaree further said, “You are the last person who can talk about Buddhism. The Buddhist philosophy emphasizes a life without desire, a life of love, compassion and justice. I too endorse the claim of the Sinhalese that with a few exceptions they had followed this path for well over two thousand years. There are people like you in the Sinhalese Community, as you find in various other groups also. These black sheep bring utter discredit to their own race and religion. We need not take note of them. We Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and other groups have enjoyed each other’s hospitality for generations. It is only in your imaginations that the Sinhalese remained immersed in the poison of racism.

There are a few who spit communal venom like you for personal gains. But they don’t claim that they are the sole representatives of the Sinhalese as you claim that you are the sole representative of the Tamil people. It is in doubt whether your own cadre accept you as the sole representative of the Tamils. Please keep your guns aside and open your Iron Curtain to allow free movement of the people. You will hardly find anyone left behind. Then you will realize how correct I am. It will take very many years to neutralize the poison of racism you have injected into the minds of our younger generation. Fortunately the younger generation of the Sinhalese is now free from the communal stigma. They live like children of the same parentage.”

“Your accusation that the Sinhalese are unleashing, unthinkable violence against the Tamils is ridiculous, unbelievable and unacceptable. You are trying to clean your hands soaked in blood, by such silly charges, when the whole world knows that more than half the Tamil population is living in the midst of the Sinhalese and Muslims in the South far away from their traditional homes, that too out of fear for you and to save their children from your conscription. Please be assured that contrary to what you say, during the long history of the Tamil struggle first through non-violence and later even through armed struggle, the right thinking Sinhalese who form the majority stood firmly committed to the high principles of justice fair play and equality. Please learn from the elders as to how the Tamils lived in peace with all the other communities for generation in the past, spread all over Sri Lanka.

“The Tamils of Sri Lanka were always proud of their culture and civilization. Brutal murders and tortures are some thing very foreign to them. You are the one who have introduced this new culture of brutality, shooting and hacking people to death. The Tamil people were not accustomed to brutality and terrorism. Some cruel murders had taken place during the few communal riots that had taken place in the past. Those killings were by some hoodlums. The Sinhala civilians had always been sympathetic and also saved the Tamils from their hoodlums. There are several instances in which your brutality exceeded all limits, to the extent of mercilessly killing many women and children. You did not spare even pregnant women and babies. Can you mention one such incident that had taken place in which the Sinhalese civilians had participated. If so I like to know when and where? But disgracefully there are several brutal incidents in which you and your cadre had been fully involved and put the blame on some unidentified persons. But the people know very well in which of the incidents your cadre were involved and in which incident some others are involved. I am not holding a brief to anybody.

What I maintain is that Sinhala civilians did not have any hand in any brutal killings of Tamils as claimed by you. If there are any exceptions they were during the communal riots that took place a few times between 1958 and 1983. The riots of 1983 and the mini riots confined to Trincomalee alone, were also due to the deliberate provocations you gave. The Tamil public servants, teachers, doctors, and such others had been killed by you in large numbers and not by the Sinhalese as claimed by you. Can you say that your hands are clean in this respect? You are the one who should take full responsibility for all such killings among the Tamils.”

“As accused by you, the Sinhalese never changed in spite of so much of destruction you caused to their property and the innumerable innocent lives of men, women and children they lost in bomb blasts, claymore mine attacks, suicide bomb attacks etc. They were deliberately planted by your cadre on your instructions to provoke a backlash in predominantly Sinhala populated areas. Every one knows that you are trying hard to provoke a backlash to have a repeated performance of July, 1983 in which every Tamil in the South got badly affected. You did it to cause discredit to the country and its people. The credit goes to the ordinary Sinhalese for saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tamil lives spread all over the South of the country. The hoodlums responsible for the backlash too have now become wiser and not falling into your trap, in spite of your repeated brutal killings of the Sinhalese almost every day.

“Please take it from me that the People and the International Community are not at all satisfied with your conduct. You are losing your creditability day by day. They do not approve your causing the death of several thousands of our people Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and people of other ethnic groups and the destruction of billions and billions worth of property. Over thirty thousand widows and thousands of orphans had been created.

Thousands had lost their eye sights and limbs. Over twenty thousand Tamil youths of both sexes and double that number of youths from the Sinhale and Muslim Communities had been sacrificed in the battle field, all of whom came from very poor Sinhalese Tamil and Muslim families. If only every one in this country has an atom of sympathy for these unfortunate youths and their parents, there won’t be any problem in this country to be solved by fighting a war. People say that you have taken them for a ride. The Sinhalese people also feel the same about some of their leaders. The average people want peace with equal treatment for all. They do not want preferential treatment for anybody. The Tamil People want you either to give up your demand for separation and negotiate with the Government or to leave them alone to manage their affairs.

“In your heroes’ day speech, which every one was anxiously waiting for, you have ungratefully condemned everyone who helped you to a very great extent. By doing so you had earned their wrath and displeasure. You are going to be isolated by everybody, resulting in your facing a very bitter future, with no salvation. No one is going to believe your boastings any more. I am aware that you, being in the bunkers all the time, are not in a position to know what is happening outside. Please come back to your senses and face realities before it is too late.

The People had tolerated you for exactly twenty five years. Is there no end to their agony? Please don’t be guided by your supporters living abroad and some Tamil media that glorify you even for your actions that deserve condemnation. They are well settled with their wives and children abroad. Some of them have thoroughly exploited your name and made a lot of money. Many of them had deserted you with the wealth they have acquired in your name. Hence please don’t trust them any more. Most of their children do not know even one word of Tamil. It is the same with some who run the media in your name in foreign counties.

“Let me deal with your claim that you have withdrawn from the East as a part of your strategy. It is foolish on your part to say so and to expect that the others will believe it. The whole world knows that your back bone was broken with the defection of your Eastern Commander Karuna and also that it had a big impact on the North, which you are now holding with an uncertain future. It is foolish not to expect the Government forces to take the best advantage of the prevailing situation. Please take it for granted that the East is lost for ever and re-capturing same is only a day-dream. The local people in the East will not extend their support to you any more.

“They are happy that they had been liberated from your subjugation, in spite of the fact that they had virtually lost almost everything that belonged to them and that they have to start from the scrap. They are happy that they have now been freed and can move about freely to re-establish themselves. Most of the houses there are either destroyed fully or partly and whether it is due to your shelling or due to the shelling and bombing by the forces, it is you who should take the full blame for it. Because it were you who invited the army into the villages by attacking them from among the civilians, virtually using the civilians as human shields. You have irresponsibly sown land-mines all over, causing immense hardships for the civilians some of whom had lost their lives and limbs due to the land mines.

The People have tasted the bitterness of your so called freedom struggle, going on for quarter of a century. Before you meet with the same fate in the North also, please change your aggressive mood, tame your cadre and go to the people as a non-violent force, throwing away all your arms. The moment you stop fighting and give up your arms the Government will have no alternative but to stop fighting. If you have any sympathy for the young men in your cadre who are getting killed in large numbers every day, please call for a cease-fire unilaterally and save the lives of the children of the poor parents, most of whom had been recruited by you compulsorily.

Speaking about the Muslims Sangaree said, “I need not remind you what you did to the Muslims of the North. At short notice they were driven out of the North. They had to leave behind all their movable and immovable (propery) and were permitted to take only Rs. 500/=. They are still, after 17 years, languishing in over 150 refugee camps in the South. You have neither tendered any apology to them nor invited them to return to their respective homes. Having created a situation like this, how do you expect to convince the International Community of your innocence?”

“I am surprised at the baseless charges you have leveled against the International Community accusing them of involving in our ethnic issue, with selfish motives. You have also said that you understand their concerns to take forward their interests. This is one of your most ungrateful accusations against the International Community from whom you derived innumerable help. You have got from some of them financial assistance and many others in kind. The whole world knows how much assistance you got from them and to what extent you humiliated and embarrassed some of them. Can you spell out which country is interested in getting what from you and from this country? This clearly shows the world as to what extent you are frustrated.

“As far as I see every country is very seriously concerned about the sufferings of the people, inflicted on them by you and your cadre. The Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Malays, Burghers and people from other small ethnic groups without an exception are undergoing hardships. Every one is interested in bringing back peace and normalcy to our country. The Japanese special envoy was here the 15th time. They all know that yours is a ruthless organization that should be eradicated completely. Yet they keep on asking the Government of Sri Lanka to commence talks with you.

You are not unaware how some local leaders embarrass them by accusing them of supporting you. Even the Government had made such accusations against certain countries and NGOs. I too had found fault with some for favouring you. Don’t forget that you are just an individual and not the Head of a State for them to salute you. The International Community has a moral duty to liberate the people living under your subjugation. My charge against the International Community and the United Nations is that, in spite of my repeated requests for the liberation of the people in areas under your control, they have not taken any action. The International Community is not expecting compensation for the insults and humiliations they have suffered in your hands and in the hands of some local leaders. All what they want is peace and normalcy back in Sri Lanka. That is all.

“India is the country from where we all came and therefore it has some interest in us and hence has a major role to play. India is a large country with the second largest in population. Being separated by a strait of only 22 miles, it has a moral duty to rush to the aid of Sri Lanka in times of distress. It had proved it on a number of occasions such as floods cyclone, Tsunami and even insurrection. Rightly or wrongly the Indian Government intervened and negotiated a settlement to the ethnic problem. India’s intervention was at the request of the Tamil leadership and the accord was singed by India on behalf of the Tamils to facilitate easy implementation. India was asked to do so by the TULF which won all Tamil majority seats in the North and the East, except one seat which the TULF lost by only about 500 votes.

This election was not like the one conducted by you in 2004. If you had not shown your ruthlessness, the people would have been living peacefully in this country, with the implementation of the accord in 1989. Today the country would have progressed, over taking all the other Asian countries and would have been a leading nation. You should be held responsible for the present state of affairs. It is you who acted as Para-military force of the Government at that time for a consideration of lorry loads of money, arms and ammunitions and disrupted the implementation of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord. Now after eradicating a large number of ex-members of various Tamil groups who had returned to the democratic stream, you now ridiculously accuse them as Para-military force of the Government, completely forgetting what you did in 1989.

You are the one who first garlanded and received the IPKF and later fought it as Para-military of the Sri Lankan Government at that time and killed over 1200 IPKF soldiers and also created about 1000 widows of Indian Jawans. There were some unpleasant incidents in which you compelled the IPKF to get involved in. They came to keep peace in Sri Lanka and not to fight. Please don’t forget that the IPKF was not comprised of Gandhians. They were also human beings and their tolerance too had its limitations. You must take full responsibility for any atrocities you deliberately got them involved in.

“Your cadre cut the heads of Sikh soldiers and hung them in public places by their hair. Your cadre attacked the soldiers and cowardly ran into the hospital resulting in the soldiers firing at the doctors indiscriminately without knowing their identity. Your women cadre fired at the soldiers when they were descending by parachute. This is the type of provocation your cadre deliberately gave the IPKF to discredit them. The leaders of Tamil Nadu, who are engaged in false propaganda, should be told that it is true that a few hundred people were killed in Jaffna but certainly not seven thousand as claimed by them.

“Why don’t you tell the world that it was the IPKF that rounded you up at least thrice and allowed you to escape only to help to find a solution with your participation. You showed your gratitude to India by reducing the ex Prime Minister of India Hon. Rajiv Gandhi to pulp. How long do you think it will take for India to get at you, if it determines to catch you? How long will it take for Sri Lanka to catch you if India wants your extradition? Both the Governments had taken a lenient view of this matter, for the only reason that both Governments do not want to disrupt the Peace Process by arresting you. Are you not aware that the Tamil Nadu assembly has requested the Central Government for your extradition from Sri Lanka?

“You are not the Prabhakaran of the nineteen eighties. You are now a matured person who should be in a position to understand and assess the situation. Please take my advice and give up your demand for separation. Agree for a reasonable solution based on the Indian Model for which the International Community will give you full backing. Surprisingly you will find a large section of the people of Sri Lanka also supporting you.

“A ray of hope now appears on the horizon to pull this country out of this muddle. The Government is seriously considering to find a solution to the country’s problem but due to the difficulties in finding a 2/3rd majority and going for a referendum to amend the constitution, is proposing to implement the 13th Amendment to the constitution while the deliberations of the APRC will continue till a final solution is arrived at.

“I do not suggest that this will meet the aspirations and the grievances of the Tamil speaking minorities. Your giving up the demand for separation will certainly bring a lot of changes in the thinking of every one and will also create a favourable atmosphere to find a reasonable and acceptable solution. I want you to stop fighting and save the lives of several innocent people on both sides. Please agree to accept the Interim Administration and bring peace to our country and our people. If you decide to accept the Interim Administration or even opt for an election, I will go all out to put you and your cadre in responsible position.

“Every one including your cadre are all yearning for peace. Please understand that I am agreeable to meet you and discus matters. Kindly do not treat me as an enemy. If you give up arms and also your demand for separation I assure you that the country will be prepared to pardon you. Then all can sit down and workout a reasonable solution.

“Please let me have your response,” he concluded.

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