Angered by the reluctance of the international community, including the Government of India, to exercise pressure on the Government ofMahinda Rajapaksa to observe a ceasefire to protect the 150,000 Sri Lankan Tamils caught up in the conflict zone in the Wanni area,pro-LTTE web sites have kept up their attacks on the Government of India and the Congress (I). These attacks are in the form of unsigned orpseudonymous articles and letters to the web site editors.
2. The attacks on Mrs.Sonia Gandhi tend to be vicious. The Congress (I) is projected as the "Sonia Congress" and the "Dynasty Congress "and the Government of India as the "Sonia Establishment". She has also been projected as not nationalistic. On February 3,2009, criticismsof Shri M.Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, appeared for the first time. Pro-LTTE elements abroad seem to be unhappy with himfor not exercising pressure on the Government of India to stop the fighting in the Wanni area.
3. While there is no evidence to show that these attacks are emanating from the LTTE leadership, the fact that they are being disseminatedthrough pro-LTTE web sites would show a silent nod of approval of the LTTE leadership for these orchestrated criticisms. Keeping in viewthe dangers of a negative impact of such attacks on the minds of irrational elements in the Tamil community, it would be prudent tostrengthen the security for Mrs.Sonia Gandhi.
4.The LTTE leadership and those sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora supporting it are increasingly desperate and bitter over thereluctance of the international community to exercise pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to suspend the military operations in theWanni area. The LTTE's calculations that just as the international community exercised pressure on Israel to suspend its military operationsin the Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza recently before Israel had achieved its military objectives, it would exercise pressure on the RajapaksaGovernment to suspend the military operations against the LTTE have proved wrong.
5. Prabakaran's cynical use of the civilians to intimidate the international community into intervening is one more diastrous blundercommitted by him and has lost him even the little sympathy which he might have had in the past. He is apparently in such a state of illusionthat he does not seem to realise that whereas almost the entire Islamic world supported the Hezbollah and Hamas and exercised pressureon Israel to discontinue its operations, the LTTE has no friends left in the international community except possibly the African NationalCongress (ANC) of South Africa.
6. He and his irrational supporters do not seem to realise that the world's attitude to terrorism changed after 9/11 and that India's attitudeto terrorism became stronger after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai. How can India demand strong action against the jihadi terroristsby Pakistan and come in the way of strong action by the Sri Lankan Government against the LTTE's terrorism?
7. The anger of many of the Sri Lankan Tamils should be a cause for concern. While India cannot but support ---or at least refrain fromcriticising---- the counter-terrorism operations of the Sri Lankan Government,it should remove the impression widely prevalent in the SriLankan Tamil community that but for its military assistance the Sri Lankan Army could not have succeeded. Large sections of the SriLankan Tamil community in Sri Lanka itself as well as abroad have convinced themselves that the Govt. of India has been playing a doublegame-----making a pretense of supporting the human rights of the Tamils and, at the same time, quietly assisting the Rajapaksa Governmentin crushing the Tamils.
8. In the absence of strong statements or denials from Delhi, the Sri Lankan Government and its officials such as Gothbaya Rajapaksa, theDefence Secretary, who is the brother of the President, and Lt.Gen.Sarath Fonseka, the Army chief, have been mischievously creating animpression that whatever they are doing against the Tamils has the tacit support of the Govt. of India,
9. It is not advisable for the Govt. of India to be seen by large sections of the Sri Lankan Tamils as not only anti-LTTE--- rightl;y so--- but also as anti-Tamil. Indira Gandhi was the most popular Indian leader among the Sri Lankan Tamils. They felt that her heart genuinely bled for therights and sufferings of the Sri Lankan Tamils. Large sections of the Tamil community are bitter that the present Congress (I) leadership does not share her empathy for them.
10. How to have this impression corrected without giving an impression of encouraging terrorism? That is the question, which should engage the attention of the Indian political leadership and diplomats. (3-2-09)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )