Feature Article

Thileepan Remembrance in Jaffna underscores need for new emancipation strategies

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 September 2018, 08:24 GMT]
All Tamil parties and movements that orientate their politics on the national liberation of the nation of Eezham Tamils actively took part in an emotional event participated by hundreds of Eezham Tamils on Wednesday at Nalloor in Jaffna. Lt Col Thileepan (Rasaiah Parthipan) sacrificed his life through a 12-day fast-unto-death without food and water in 1987. He was the political head of the LTTE in Jaffna when New Delhi intervened with its military force after entering a State-to-State agreement with Colombo. Thileepan's sacrifice was a crucial historical event in the political emancipation of Eezham Tamils as it exposed the real agenda of the intervening power, which was calling the shots in the island during the times of the Cold War.

Tamil national parties and entities, including the TNA, which is on the brink of losing its credibility for its unconditional support to the oppressive the SL regime on the advice of Western and Indian powers, were almost locked in a shadow-war against each other in claiming ownership to the organising of the memorial event.

Thileepan Remembrance

Thileepan Remembrance
Thileepan Remembrance
The Indian intelligence was also trying to influence the modus operandi of marking such memorial events as legacy rituals. An informed source in Jaffna told TamilNet that the Indian Intelligence Establishment had identified five commemorative events which were to be deceptively managed through its agents: Mu'l'livaaykkaal Tamil Genocide Remembrance, Tamil Eelam Heroes Day Remembrance, Thileepan Remembrance, Annai Poopathi Remembrance and Maamanithar Taraki Sivaram Remembrance.

Since Thileepan's sacrifice came at a time when the LTTE was not banned as a terrorist organisation outside the island, and therefore the event could be allowed to proceed with specific ‘legal’ grounds, was the thinking prevailing in the intelligence circles, the source further said.

The SL military was particular in not having any military title or symbol affiliated with the Tamil armed struggle at Nalloor this year.

Such ‘management’ could also be projected as SL State tolerating and allowing Tamils to mark their memorial events, is also a position of the other collaborating foreign ‘Counter-Insurgency’ agencies.

However, it was the emotional participation of the people and the distance they maintain with those with vested interests, that shaped the success of the memorial event at Nalloor on Wednesday.

Thileepan Remembrance

Thileepan Remembrance
Thileepan's dry hunger strike lasted for 12 days, and the LTTE had put forward five simple demands which the Indian Establishment could have easily accomplished had there been a genuine political will on the part of New Delhi.

With a people, who awakened to the dangers posed by the intervening power, the LTTE was able to sustain the struggle and defeat the Indian military intervention.

India was the first foreign country to ban the LTTE as a terrorist organisation in 1992, a year after its former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in Tamil Nadu.

“LTTE's objective for a homeland for all Tamils disrupts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and thus appears to fall within the ambit of an unlawful activity,” was the official explanation listed as the first point in the proscription.

After the Indian experience, the LTTE evolved the armed struggle without the backing of any single State in the world and was successful in depending on the support and mobilisation of the Tamil diaspora, primarily constituted of exiled Eezham Tamils.

At the same time, a post-Cold War era strategic partnership started to evolve between the USA and India. The geo-strategic location of the conflict-ridden island in the Indian Ocean gained significance.

The USA, particularly its military wing at the Pentagon dealing with the geopolitical affairs and which was pre-occupied with armed conflicts in the Middle East, was re-writing its Counter-Insurgency (COIN) manual.

If an ‘insurgency’ was able to sustain itself without any direct or indirect backing of a State, that was the ultimate case study needed for the COIN experts.

The LTTE, which sustained a successful military struggle, without any outside State support and which has earned the hostility of the dominant state in the region, was perceived by the COIN researchers as model-case for their doctrine-related researches and experiments on the asymmetrical warfare.

The US military experts, gaining access to the war zone, were also providing military training and guidance to the SL military already in 1996.

The USA, which designated the LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, indirectly intervened through Norwegian brokered Ceasefire Agreement in 2001 and shortly upgraded its involvement to a formal level becoming the Tokyo Co-Chair.

The UK went on banning the LTTE in 2001. The EU followed suit in 2005, despite the advice against the move by the head of the Nordic Ceasefire observers at that time.

As a result, the SL State was able to sustain military and diplomatic support from more than 40 countries including those who were operating against each other. Israel, as well as Iran, India as well as Pakistan, USA as well as Russia and China, were all providing military assistance.

It was a joint campaign by the State actors against a people who were defending themselves against protracted genocide and who were demanding an internationally negotiated political solution through the exercise of their inalienable right of self-determination.

The State actors were perpetrating a dangerous experiment genocidal war on the nation of Eezham Tamils in 2009.

Almost ten years have elapsed. The nation of Eezham Tamils, bereft of a political solution, is left its own to conceive and advance a people-centric struggle.

At this juncture, the enlightenment caused by Thileepan's sacrifice stands as a unique paradigm-setter, commented the grassroots activists observing the current attempts of hijack and concealment of the memorial events of Eezham Tamils.

Thileepan Remembrance

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