In a desperate attempt to secure a pause in the fighting in the Vanni area of Northern Sri Lanka in order to be able to regroup, the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been emulating the tactics of human shields or human buffers used by the Hizbollah in the Lebanon in2006 and by the Hamas in Gaza recently to slow down the Israeli military strikes.
2. While refusing to let the civilians in the areas still controlled by it to move to the safe zones proclaimed by the Sri Lankan Governmentunder the pretext that the civilians cannot be forced to move against their will unless there is an internationally-guaranteed ceasefire, it hasactivated the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the West and Australia to demonstrate in large numbers in the streets to highlight the plight ofthe civilians. It has mobilised the support of foreign human rights organisations on this issue. Impressive demonstrations were held by largenumbers of Sri Lankan Tamils in different Western cities on January 31,2009.
3. At the same time, pro-LTTE web sites have been highlighting the protests launched by some political parties and by some sections ofstudents and lawyers in Tamil Nadu against the alleged violations of the human rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils and their calls for Indianintervention in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils. They have been trying to project as if the protest campaign in Tamil Nadu has beengathering momentum.
4. Some of the pro-LTTE web sites in the Tamil language have been carrying inflammatory articles projecting India as the villain forallegedly providing military assistance to Sri Lanka in its counter-terrorism campaign against the LTTE. They indirectly admit that duringthe last two years the LTTE has suffered a series of set-backs and attribute these set-backs to the assistance allegedly given by India tothe Sri Lankan Army.
5. One such article calls upon the members of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora abroad to hold continuous demonstrations outside Indian diplomaticmissions in protest against India's role in Sri Lanka. The pro-LTTE web sites have been directing their criticism against the Government of India as well as the Congress (I), which is projected as the "Sonia Congress". Some of the criticism is personally directed at Mrs.SoniaGandhi.
6. They have been accusing the Congress (I) of taking vengeance on the Sri Lankan Tamil community for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhiin 1991. (1-2-2009)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )