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Jain Commission Interim Report

Growth of Sri Lankan Tamil Militancy in Tamil Nadu
Chapter II - Phase III (1989 -May 1991)

Sections 1 to 10

1. Growth of Sri Lankan Tamil Militancy in Tamil Nadu - Phase III (1989 - May l991) | 2. DMK comes to power in Tamil Nadu - January 1989 | 3. Activities of Sri Lankan Tamil Militants in Tamil Nadu - January 1989| 4. Visit of DMK MP V Gopalaswamy to North Sri Lanka | 5. Activities of Sri Lankan Tamil militants in Tamil Nadu - December 1989 | 6. Further attempts at peace process | 7. Futher activities of Sri Lankan militants | 8. Intimidation of police officials by Sri Lankan militants | 9. Arms manufacturing factory at Coimbatore | 10. LTTE activities outside Tamil Nadu

Growth of Sri Lankan Tamil Militancy in Tamil Nadu
Phase III (1989 - May l991)

40 Undoubtedly, the year 1989 heralded the beginning of a period during which activities of the Sri Lankan Tamil militants grew at an alarming pace both in In.dia as well as Sri Lanka. In both the countries, due to several changing political factors, climate became conducive for the Sri Lankan militants to operate with impunity. This period also saw some major policy changes in Sri Lanka with regard to the issue of tackling Sri Lankan Tamil militancy.

In Sri Lanka, the Presidential Elections had been held on l9th December, 1988 and Shri Premadasa had been elected defeating Mrs. Bandarnaike. He was sworn in as President of Sri Lanka on 2nd. January, 1989. His taking over as President of Sri Lanka had a far reaching impact on the growth of Sri Lankan Tamil milit:ancy as his approach towards this issue marked a major departure from the policies of his predecessor. This has been dealt with in a separate chapter.

40.1 India's Sri Lanka Policy, by nowt had achieved some measure of success in its objectives of the resto:ration of Indo-Sxi Lanka relation9 to their traditional levels of cordiality; striving for the safety and security of Tamils in Sri Lanka; promoting lasting peace amongst all sections of the populations in that country; and the expeditious deinduction of the IPKF from Sri Lanka.

By the beginning of 1989, the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement appeared well on the way to being implemented. A Provincial Council had been oet up in the North-Eastern Province, an elected Tamil Government was in position in Trincomalee, and the security situation in the North-Eastern Province was satisfactory. It was, therefore, felt that a phased withdrawal of the IPKF could start.

Unfortunately, this process was disrupted and delayed after Shri Premadasa became the President of Sri Lanka due to certain unilateral actions by the Sri Lankan Government. However, the misunderstandings were removed and the process resumed once again after the signing of a joint communique on 18th September 1989.

The importance attached by the Government to IndoSri Lanka relations was reflected by the fact that the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister was the first foreign dignitary to visit India after the installation of the new Government - from 6th to 8th December, 1989.

While the implementation of the Indo Sri Lankan Accord was in progress in Sri Lanka, in India, political developments in Tamil Nadu brought about a revival of Sri Lankan militant activities.

DMK Comes to Power in Tamil Nadu--January 1989

On 27th. January, 1989, after the Assembly elections held in Tamil Nadu, the DMK Government headed by Shri M. Karunanidhi was sworn in.

Soon after his assuming charge, the Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups, whose ranks were in disarray after the deportation of LTTE cadres and crackdown on their activities in Tamil Nadu, regrouped and sought to strengthen their ties with the ruling party in order to pick up their activities in Tamil Nadu.

40.2 Soon after Shri M. Karunanidhi was sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, it is learnt that both the LTTE supremo V.Prabhakaran and the NEPC Chief Minister Shri.Varadaraja Perumal sent their messages of felicitations to him. An intelligence report of this period describes the event as follows (Annexure M-10) :

"It is learnt that messages of fecilitations have been sent by LTTE leader Prabhakaran, and the Chief Minister of North-Eastern Province, Varatharaja Perumal to M.Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, following DMK victory in the state elections.

Prabhakaran has expressed the view that 8 Crore Tamils all over the world, who have no country of their own, are elated over the election of the DMK in Tamil Nadu and has hoped that Karunanidhi would look after their welfare. He has also expressed the belief that Karunanidhi would continue to support the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle.

Varadaraja Perumal has expressed the hope that the relationship between the Governments of the North Eastern Province and Tamil Nadu as well as their people would improve. A similar message of fecilitation was sent by Ranjan Padmanabha, Secretary .General of EPRLF."

Cabinet Sectt.(R&AW) UO Nol/17/89-SLM-43 -591 dated 31.1.89

Activities of Sri Lankan Tamil Militants in Tamil Nadu January l989

40.3 Evidence available before the Commission indicates that soon after the DMK Government took over the reins of power in Tamil Nadu, the LTTE slowly began to consolidate itself in the State and their clandestine activities heretofore dormant, became more and more pronounced as months went by.

The following contemporaneous intelligence reports give an indication of the proliferation of the act:ivities of Sri Lankan Tamil militants during this period. The report indicates that the LTTE had found it easier to operate in Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu than from Sri Lanka itself. The report Annexure M-L1) states :

"According to EPRLF leadership, the LTTE plans to kill civilians in the North and the East before the forthcoming General elections, particularly in Myliddi (Jaffna) which is an EPRLF stronghold, in order to prevent them from voting in the elections. They believe that the LTTE would send groups of its cadres for this purpose from Vedaranyam (Tamil Nadu) to Myliddi by sea." ( Cabinet Sectt.(R&AW) UO No 1/19/89- SLM-42-578 dated 31.1.89.)

During this period, there are clear indications of the revival of the propaganda activities of the LTTE as well, from Tamil Nadu. It was reported by the Intelligence Agencies that (Annexure M-12) :

"It is reliably learnt that 500 copies of the party political programme and literature on socialism will be despatched to Jaffna from India shortly*" (Cabinet Sectt (R&AW) UO No 1/17/89-8LM -69 -955 dated 10.02.89.)

Visit of DMK M.P. V. Gopalaswamy to North Sri Lanka

41 An unprecedented event occurred soon after D.M.K. came to power in Tamil Nadu. Shri V. Gopalaswamy, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, of D.M.K. made a 24 Days clandestine visit to Northern Sri Lanka and reportedly met V. Prabhakaran, the LTTE Supremo. He left India for Sri Lanka on 8th. February, 1989, and was in Northern Sri Lanka till 3rd. March, 1989.

The visit has been described in details by Shri V. Gopalaswamy himself in his affidavit no. 121/93-JCI filed before the Commission. Shri V. Gopalaswamy has submitted :

(Para 2)

"The exact date of my visit to Sri Lanka is 8th. February, 1989....I visited the Northern province of Sri Lanka."

"The Tamils of Sri Lanka have been subjected to oppression and suffering by the racial policy of the Sri Lankan Government for many years and since 1983 they had to undergo unbearable hardships and agony due to the genocide committed by the racist Sri Lankan Government. After the Indo Sri Lanka Accord of July, 1987, due to unexpected sudden developments, confrontation started between the IPKF and the LTTE; which aggravated the misery of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. I wished hostilities between the IPKF and the LTTE should end and both should find out ways and means to solve the problem through talks and negotiations.

For the above purpose I wanted to meet the LTTE 1eader Mr. Prabhakaran in person and persuade him to come forward for negotiations with the Indian Government I decided to visit the Northern part of Sri Lanka and meet Mr. Prabhakaran.

Therefore I undertook a trip to Sri Lanka. I took this decision on my own and did not inform about my trip to anybody, even my family members and the President of the D.M.K. and the then Chief Minister Dr. Kalaignar Karunanidhi. I stayed in Sri Lanka till 3rd. March, 1989.

I met the LTTE leader Mr. Prabhakaran in Sri Lanka. I expressed my wish that he should come forward for talks and negotiations with the Indian Government, which would lead to cessation of hostilities. Mr. Prabhakaran told me that IPKF was intensifying the attacks on the LTTE more and more even though he was prepared for talks. He said unless the IPKF declares ceasefire there was no possibility for cessation of hostilities. He expressed his helplessness for my request. Under these circumstances the purpose of my visit was not achieved.

My visit .to Sri Lanka was videocassetted by the LTTE...

Shri V. Gopalswamy has asserted that he had gone to Sri Lanka without prior information of the Chief Minister and D.M.K. leader Shri M. Karunanidhi. During his deposition before the Commission, Shri Karunanidhi confirmed this. On this issue, he stated :

Deposition of Shri M.Karunanidhi dt. 17-1-97

(Page: 1-13)

"I know that Mr. Gopalsami when he was in DMK went and met Prabhakaran in Jaffna. I am not aware that Mr Gopalsami spoke to the press that he had delivered a letter to Prabhakaran written by me. I have not read any news to that effect also. It is true that I spoke in the Assembly that I had no prior knowledge as to Gopalsami going to Jaffna. I came to know this only later when he returned back. After he went away, a letter was sent by him to me through messenger within four or five days after he went to Jaffna. About one and half months later he returned. The witness then stated that he had come to know of Sh.Gopal-sami's visit to Jaffna after he had left Indian shores and before his return. I do not have that letter.

Shri V. Gopalaswamy did not write in this letter as to whom he is going to meet in Jaffna. He simply wrote that he is going to Jaffna...."

Deposition of Shri K. Karunanidhi dt. 21.2.97

"I am not aware, till he had gone and returned from Jaffna, that he has gone there to meet Prabhakaran. It was written in that letter that Gopalsami has mentioned that he is going to meet Prabhakaran in Vavuniya. Even after reading that letter I did not conclude that he had gone to meet Prabhakaran because I thought it may not be possible for him to meet Prabhakaran. It is seen from his reply that he has gone to Jaffna on his own, not as a representative of the Party. After he came back from Jaffna he told me that.he had met Prabhakaran and lot of pictures about meeting Prabhakaran. He did not give any details of their talks. However I condemned his going on his own, since I did not like his going there.

The witness was shown clipping of Murasoli dated 4.3.1989, marked Exh.629. It also appeared in the Hindu dated 4.3.1989 marked Exh.630. I have talked to the Press after Gopalsami had gone to Jaffna. It is possible that I might have said to the Press that the letter was received by me on 4th February 1989. When a Reporter questioned me whether it amounted to indiscipline of the Party, for that I had replied that for the Tamil Eelam problem, it is not against the policy of the DMK on the Sri Lankan issue, with reference to Gopalsami's attitude, but it is not in keeping with our approach to the problem.

When a reporter asked me whether steps are being taken through the aegis of Central Govt and the IPKF for the safe return of Mr Gopalsami, I said on account of the unbounded affection I have for Gopalsami, I am interested in his safe arrival back to Madras. Not only me, Mr Rajiv Gandhi had also stated so in Parliament. Gopalsami had stated several such things in his explanatory letter to get away from disciplinary action the Party may have initiated against him.

After the return of Shri V. Gopalsami from Sri Lanka, apparently, the matter was taken up by Shri M. Karunanidhi with him, who reprimanded him for undertaking the clandestine trip; however, no action was taken against him except asking him to give an apology to the Adminlstrative Council of the DMK party. According to Shri Karunanidhi, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, was also aware that Shri Karunanidhi had reprimanded Shri V. Gopalaswami. Speaking about this, Shri Karunanidhi deposed before the Commission on 17th. January as follows :

After the return of Shri Gopalsami from Sri Lanka, he came to Fort St. George and met me at my office. I strongly reprimanded him for his conduct. He apologised to me and, thereafter, he met the Press at the Party hqrs without my knowledge. I am producing a clipping of Indian Express dt. 7th March 1989, which carried the news item of my reprimanding Gopalsami, marked as Ex.620. The same news appeared in the Hindu of the same date marked Ex.621."

I had reprimanded Gopalsami for his Jaffna visit. Gopalsami apologised for his conduct The apology was given to the Administrative Council ... Mr Gopalsami was elected to the Rajya Sabha on the DMK ticket thrice. When he went to Jaffna he was a sitting Member of the Rajya Sabha. He was an active Parliamentarian. Mr Gopalsami was let off with an apology because the Administrative Council member decided to accept his apology. I even met Prime Minister Rajiv and sought his acceptance of my apology for the conduct of Gopalsami in going to Jaffna. Mr Rajiv Gandhi also stated that I should not worry about it since Rajiv Gandhi himself has seen the statement given by me reprimanding Gopalsami."

A video cassette of this visit was prepared by the LTTE and used for propaganda. The video cassette is captioned "24 DAYS IN THE WAR FIELD". This propaganda cassette of the LTTE gives out a very different picture of the purpose of the visit than what has been described by Shri V. Gopalaswami in his affidavit before the Commission.

The cassette gives an impression that this visit of an M.P. from the DMK to meet V. Prabhakaran, evidently had a tremendous psychological impact on the LTTE and their sympathisers in India. The visit was described by the LTTE in the propaganda video cassette as "a memorable chapter in Tamil Eelam Liberation history. Whenever we remember his visit here, our flag will fly high forever."

From the video cassette, it becomes obvious that Shri V. Gopalaswamy had gone to Sri Lanka by boat under the charge of, and escorted by, the LTTE. The cassette mentions that the 'sea tigers' of the LTTE brought him to Northern Sri Lanka in the midst of bombing and shelling by the Indian and Sri Lankan Army. After he landed in Sri Lanka, he was placed under the protection of the 'forest tigers' of the LTTE

Throughout the video cassette, during the speech made by V. Gopalaswamy, in the presence of V.Prabhakaran, there does not appear to be any appeal from his side to persuade the LTTE to enter into negotiations with the Indian Army. On the other hand, the speech of V. Gopalaswamy was full of encouragement for the LTTE and he compared the LTTE-IPKF conflict to the biblical figures of David and Goliath. Shri V. Gopalaswami, while addressing V.Prabhakaran, also expressed the hope that next time he visited Northern Sri Lanka, it would have become Tamil Eelam'.

Another significant fact which is seen in the video cassette is the assertion of Shri V. Gopalaswamy to V Prabhakaran and other LTTE cadres that he had brought the good wishes of the Tamil Nadu Chief Ministerr Shri Karunanidhi.

This video cassette, reportedly, was circulated in Tamil Nadu and viewed by the public. During the period, there was also extensive media coverage in Tamil Nadu of the visit of V. Gopalaswamy to Sri Lanka. The visit, obviously, gave out a clear message that the sympathies of the ruling party firmly lay with the LTTE and against the IPKF.

Shri M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, during his deposition before the Commission, on 17th. January, 1997, acknowledged that the Video Tape which had recorded the meeting between V. Gopalaswamy and Prabhakaran and other LTTE leaders and the discussions they had, was shown all over Tamil Nadu. He however, condemned this act. He stated :

"I belatedly came to know of it. There was no news about it being exhibited in public or in Cinema houses,hence the question of taking any official action did not arise. I even condemned Gopalsami's visit to Sri L,anka, hence I definitely felt that exhibition of such video tapes is a condemnable act."

This visit by Shri V. Gopalsami, and the manner in which this entire episode was dealt with by the DMK party, appears to have sent clear slgnals to the pro LTTE anti-IPKF elements in the State as well as LTTE itself that the newly elected Government would not resort to any drastic action against such elements; on the other hand, the impression the entire episode created was that pro LTTE gestures, even if they were illegal, would be tolerated by the Government.

Activities of Sri Lankan Tamil Militants in Tamil Nadu--February-December 1989

42 The law and order position at the commencement of this period i.e. 1989 has been summarised by the Intelligence Bureau in their assessment dated 26th. June, 1989. The assessment (Annexure M-13) points out.

The Sri Lankan Tamil issue had ceased to be an emotive issue in Tamil Nadu after the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement in July, 1987 but the LTTE, after reneging on commitments made at the time of the signing of the Accord, has consistently tried to create a constituency for itself. With the demise of M.G.Ramachandran and following the assumption of power by the DMK in Tamil Nadu in January, 198 9, the LTTE established connections with the new leadership. A major effort was directerd to gain their confidence so as to revive activities in Tamil Nadu, disrupted to a considerable extent during the preceding one year of President's rule result of this, there has been a considerable apart in the act.ivities of the LTTE during the past six months. Tamil Nadu has, in a sense, become a clandestine rear base for the LTTE.

(DID UO NO.I(14)/89(11)2703 DATED JUN 26, 1989)

Further Attempts at Peace Process

42.1 While the LTTE planned a revival of their activities from Tamil Nadu with the coming to power of DMK, at the national level, it appears that it was contemplated that a fresh peace.proposal could be worked out with the LTTE through the new Chief Minister Shri M. Karunanidhi. The Government of India had become apprehensive regarding the success Of the Indo Sri Lankan Accord after Premadasa became the President of Sri Lanka as, it may be recalled he had unequivocally opposed the ISLA and boycotted the ceremony as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Under these circumstances, it appears that the Government of India was anxious about the future of the Accord, and, in order to arrive at a solution, attempted to once again draw the LTTE into negotiations.

On this aspect, Shri M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, in his deposition before the Commission on 22.11.96 stated :

I became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 27th January 1989. To make a courtesy call on the P.M., I came to Delhi on 9-2-1989. That meeting did not go just a courtesy call but Rajiv Gandhi discussed with me as to what should be done about the Sri Lankan problem. He told me that if I can talk to the militants and appease them, P.M. is prepared to send a Parliamentary Delegation to Sri Lanka to pursue the peace process. Though I had come for a day for a courtesy call I was asked by the Prime Minister to stay on for two more days. Shri Rajiv Gandhi sent Minister to State for External Affairs Sh.Natwar Singh and officers of the MEA to me to discuss the problem. I was always of the view I have always sailed along with the policy of the Centre considering the National interest. Concerning these meetings there was a Press News in the Indian Express dated 16.3.1989. This press clipping is marked as Ex.554. This was the second meeting with Shri Rajiv Gandhi, and it was reported that myself and Rajiv Gandhi were on the same wave-length on the Sri Lankan issue.

On March 8, 1989, Sh.Natwar Singh spoke in the Parliament. The Prime Minister Mr Rajiv Gandhi and the T.N.Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi will have further discussions to explore possibilities of ending violence and restoring peace in Sri Lanka. This news appeared in Indian Express dated 9th March 1989 marked as Exh.555. Rajiv Gandhi also spoke in the same way in meetings at Tiruchi and Coimbatore on 5.11.1989 which appeared on 6.11.1989 in Indian Express. This speech was made on the eve of Parliamentary elections. Politically there was no understanding between the DMK and Congress Party at that time.

Rajiv Gandhi expressed thanks to the DMK Govt and C.M. Karunanidhi for offering their cooperation during the last several months in finding a solution to Srl Lankan Tamil problem. At Coimbatore he said he again patted the DMK Govt at a public meeting for extending fullest cooperation in the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, but was sore that the DMK joined hands with the Opposition parties. This is marked as Ex.552."

It appears that Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi was keen that some satisfactory solution be arrived at with the LTTE so that the Indo Sri Lankan Accord could be implemented in letter and spirit, This concern of Shri Rajiv Gandhi is reflected in his discussions with Shri Karunanidhi. As per Shri Karunanidhi :

Deposition of M. Karunanidhi dt. 17-1-97

Sh.Rajiv Gandhi primarily wanted to know how the unification of the militant groups can be achieved. When I met him once along with Mr Murasoli Maran, I had suggested that the EPRLF holds about 70 Council seats in Jaffna and they are prepared to forego every council seat, except four or five in favour of LTTE. Even Sh. Rajiv Gandhi was shocked on knowing this and suggested that either me or two Members of Parliament nominated by me can go to Sri Lanka and bring about the unification of the militant groups. Later on the LTTE turned the offer by stating that we do not want the Council seats as a matter of right but we will contest elections and win. NEPC Elections were about to be held. IPKF was gradually being withdrawn. LTTE boycotted the NEPC elections."

Attempts at involving Shri Karunanidhi in the peace initiatives with the LTTE have been described in details by the then political Advisor to Shri Karunanidhi, Shri Guhan. In his deposition before the Commission, he stated :

The Chief Minister Mr Karunanidhi took over on 27th January 1989. He made his first visit to Delhi on February 9th and 10th 1989 to attend the CM's conference on Centre-State financial issues. I accompanied the Chief Minister on this visit. In Delhi he had two meetings with Prime Minister Sh.Rajiv Gandhi. He was also briefed by Mr Natwar Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs. The Chief Minister informed me that the Prime Minister desired to keep him fully briefed about Indo-Sri Lanka matters and looked forward to his assistance and advice.

Nothing more concrete was discussed.in this meeting. The next visit of the Chief Minister to Delhi was for the Annual Plan discussions on 15th and 16th February 1989. I accompanied him on this visit also. The Chief Minister had two further. meetings with the Prime Minister at this time. In his intervention in the Tamil Nadu Leg. Assembly on 23rd August 1990 the C.M. himself has summarised what transpired in these discussions and I shall quote "Certain most of the seats in the North-Eastern Prov.Council should be given to LTTE and some seats to organisations such as EPRLF, the EROS and the TELO Rajiv Gandhi also stated that I could myself go to Colombo and discuss this issue, or if not, a delegation of Members of Parliament could go to Colombo. He also promised. to make necessary arrangements for the trip and for meeting the LTTE representatives".

Speaking about the imperatives of the foreign policy of India and national interest which were involved in these attempts, Shri V.P. Singh, former Prime Minister of India, deposed before the Commission on 4th. October, 1996, as follows :

"The integrity of Sri Lanka is in our national interest. At the same time, the aspirations of the Tamil people should be fulfilled to the extent of autonomous regions within the sovereignty and integrity of Sri Lanka. In pursuit of this goal, Rajiv Gandhi in February, 1989, contacted Karunanidhi and asked him to contact various Tamil groups in Sri Lanka to come to a peaceful settlement amongst themselves. ...Mr. Murosoli Maran was in my cabinet. He told me about the meeting between Rajiv Gandhi and him at the airport. Mr. Maran was asked to establish contact with Mr. Prabhakaran.....Shri Raiiv Gandhi asked Mr. Maran to convey to Prabhakaran not to come close to Sri Lankan Government and assured that the solution shall be on the terms of Shri Prabhakaran. Diplomacy demanded flexibility and Shri Rajiv Gandhi used that flexibility."

However, it appears that the matter could not be pursued further. The reasons for this have been narrated by Shri Guhan during his deposition before the Commission as follows:-

"In the next two months, namely, March and April 1989 these indications were not followed up by P.M. Rajiv Gandhi or the Govt of India. In Sri Lanka the Sri Lankan Govt had begun to demand the withdrawal of the IPKF. It was clear that both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Govt had developed a common interest in the withdrawal of the IPKF and that they were drawing close to each other. In May 1989, P.M. Rajiv Gandhi passed through Madras Airport on his way to Delhi. At this time Mr Maran met him at the Airpot. However no action could be taken by Mr Karunanidhi or Mr Maran because by that time news had come that the LTTE had formally entered into direct negotiations with the Sri Lankan Government"

Another attempt at holding talks with the LTTE took place in December, 1989, after Shri V.P. Singh became the Prime Minister. These discussions have been dealt with later in this chapter.

Further Activities of the Sri Lankan Militants

It appears that the LTTE activities in the State of Tamil Nadu assumed proportions serious enough for the Central Government to sit up and take notice of the developments. On 22nd. May, 1989, Shri KC Pant, Defence Minister wrote a letter (Annexure M-14) to Shri M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu expressing his concern about the LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu. He stated:-

'We have received reports that during the past few months there has been a marked increase in LTTE traffic between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. The traffic is alleged to mainly involve despatch of arms, ammunition and explosives from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka and utilisation of smugglers' boats for evacuation of wounded militants. It has been reported that the radio sets and other effects, seized from LTTE militants in Tamil Nadu in October 1988, have since been restored to them.

I would request you kindly to issue instructions to the concerned authorities for taking effective measures and strong action against smugglers colluding with the LTTE, and to increase police vigilance in coastal areas, particularly in Wagapattinam, Vedaranyam and Pudukottai, where heavy LTTE activities have been noticed in the recent- past."

43.1 Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri M. Karunanidhi replied to the Union Defence Minister Shri K.C. Pant on 3rd. July, 1989. In his reply (Annexure M15), he did not deny any of the allegations but, inter alia, pointed out that :-

For the last six months, the Army authorities brought to the notice of this Government 25 cases, in which they claimed to have received information about L.T.T.E. activities in Tamil Nadu. All these cases have been promptly investigated ....

The tenor of the letter suggests that, on their own initiative, not much was being attempted by the State Government; however, whenever, the Central Government brought specific instances to the notice of the State Government, necessary action was reported to be taken by the State law enforcing authorities.

42.2 This impression further gains strength from the response of the State Government to the reports indicating an increased level of LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu conveyed regularly by the Centre to the State authorities.

Intimidation of Police Officials by Sri Lankan Militants

43.3 In the meantime, a shocking instance of the high handedness with which the Sri Lankan Tamil militants were carrying out their activities in Tamil Nadu came to light. An incident of intimidation of police officers by the LTTE militants typifies this trend. The incident has been described as follows (Annexure M-16):

"It is reported that on 25.06.89 at 0030 hrs when the SI of Police Keevalur PS and party were conducting vehicle check on ThanjavurNagapattinam highway at Adiyakkamangalam village in Keevalur PS limits they noticed one green colour Maruthi jeep coming towards them. They attempted to stop it. The occupants of the jeep did not obey to their signal and opened 10 to 15 rounds of fire in the air and fled away. However, the Sub-Inspector and party chased the jeep but could not catch them. Hence the SI alerted the Koradacherry PS through VHF from Thiruvarur PS and about the incident asked them to intercept the vehicle.

2. On receiving the information the Inspector of Police, Law and order, crime and SI of Police, Law and order and party Koradacherry PS parked a police vehicle across the road near Koradacherry on Nagapattinam -Thanjavur road and intercepted three vehicles ( bearing registration Nos TSF 9342 -Green colour Maruti Car, TSJ 6232 white colour Maruti car and Green colour Gypsy jeep KDF 4307 However the occupants in the vehicles threatened the police party with automatic weapons and sped away after opening fire from their moving vehicles. Immediately Needamangalam PS and all other police stations bordering the district were alerted.

It is suspected that the occupants of the vehicles who are about 10 in numbers seem to be Sri Lankan Tamil militants.

In this connection cases in Keevalur PS cr.No 258/89 u/s 147,148, 506 (ii) IPC and 25(1) of Indian Arms Act and in Koradacherry PS Cr No 262/89 u/s 147,148, 506 (ii) r/w ZS(1) (A) of Indian Arms Act were registered ."

The incident, by itself, was a shocking assertion of the fact that the Sri Lankan Tamil militants had become bold enough to challenge the official law enforcing machinery in the State.

The apathetic response of the State Police to such a grave incident further reflects that there did not appear to be any will in the State Administration to tackle the problem of militancy. In this case, no group was identified, no individuals were located, no arrests were made, and no follow up action appears to have been taken to deter such blatant law breakers from operating in the State with such impunity. This incident appears to have gone almost unnoticed and there is no evidence of any steps taken to curb the recurrence of such crimes. The inaction of the State law enforcement machinery and the apathy of the State bureaucracy in following up the progress of investigations is indicative of the political trend of the period during which activities of Sri Lankan Tamil militants appear to have been largely overlooked.

At the level of the Central Government, this trend appears to have cause of considerable apprehension as is evident from the correspondence between the Central Government and the State Government during this period.

On June 7th., 1989, The Union Home Secretary, Government of India, wrote to the Chief Secretary, Tamil Nadu expressing concern about the increasing LTTE activities in the State. (Annexure M-17) The letter of the Union Home Secretary specified that

2. "We have received reports which indicate that, of late, there has been a marked increase in LTTE traffic between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. The traffic mainly involves despatch of arms, ammunition and explosives from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka and utilisation of smugglers boats for evacuation of wounded brought to our notice that radio sets and other effects militants. It has seized from LTTE in Tamil Nadu in October, 1988 have since been restored to the militants.

3. We have also received reports which indicate that an organised effort is being made in Tamil Nadu to provide assistance to LTTE by way of arms and explosives, and a safe sanctuary to its injured cadres.

Some specific information with regard to LTTE activities was furnished in the letter. The State Government was informed that :

3. The following instances have come to our notice:

i) One Subburaj from the LTTE cadre, who was earlier looking after the injured LTTE personnel at Madurai, returned from Sri Lanka to Madurai in April,1989 and met one Kanthan, an LTTE drop out. Subsequently Subburaj, accompanied by one David, left .Madras for Madurai on the morning of 9th May,1989, in a van carrying 5 boxes of gelatine sticks. The consignment was then to be carried onwards to Rameswaram by Kanthan for onward smuggling into Sri Lanka.

ii) The LTTE has reopened its office in Tamil Nadu with communication facilities to Sri Lanka under the supervision of one Soosai a senior LTTE functionary, who was at one time the military leader of Jaffna area and had undertaken numerous violent activities against the IPKF.

The policy of the Central Government of that time has been reiterated in the last para of this letter which conveys an unequivocal message. It has been conveyed :

4. "You will appreciate that any support to the LTTE from Tamil Nadu will be prejudicial to our national interests and calls for strict measures to curb LTTE activities in the State."

The response of the State Government after having received the above information is reflected in the letter of the SP, CID, (Q branch) to the Govt of Tamil Nadu on 8.8.89.(Annexure M-18) It has been stated in the reply that no information could be collected regarding the evacuation of injured cadres through sea from Sri Lanka through smugglers' boats; It was also mentioned that no radio sets or any other communication equipment was seized during October 1988 and that there was a seizure of radio sets and communication equipments on 11.10.1987 at five places in Ramanathapuram (2) Vedaranyam, Thiruvanmayur, Madras and Sethubhavachathiram and those were not handed over to LTTE cadres and were handed over to the concerned jurisdictional courts.

It was further mentioned in the said letter that

" it is to be stated that still there are certain groups of people and organisations which support LTTE. Political parties like DK, the left extremists, the Tamil Chauvinists and the TNKC party headed by Sri P.Nedumaran are supporting the LTTE openly. In a recently held Second International Tamil Conference at London on 29th and 30.4.89 sponsored by the LTTE, prominent Indian leaders like K.P.Unnikrishnan , MP ( Congress -M), P.Upendra, MP Telugu Desam, A.P.Venkateswaran former Foreign Secretary of India, ,K.Veeramani , General Secretary Dravidar Kazhagam participated and espoused the cause of the LTTE. However no evidence came to light there being directly connected with providing arms and explosive assistance to the LTTE in Tamil Nadu.'

With regard to Subburaj, the CID informed that the cadre was caught with material and later managed to escape and they are keeping watch to apprehend him. As regards Kanthan, it was stated that he was facing trial in two cases and enquiries did not reveal any links with the Subburaj in arms smuggling It was also mentioned that they did not find any LTTE senior functionary by name Soosai in Tamil Nadu.

At para 2 (xi) of the reply, it has been stated that :

" After the departure of LTTE cadres under Kittu @ Krishna Kumar from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka, no LTTE office with communication facilities came to our notice anywhere in Tamil Nadu.

43.4 It appears that the LTTE, during this period became apprehensive of a crackdown on their activities. This is indicated in a report of the Intelligence Bureau dated 27th. July, 1989, about the presence of LTTE activists in the State and about their plans to leave Tamil Nadu expecting a crack-down by the Government. The report pointed out:-

There is some apprehension in LTTE circles that there might be a crack-down soon on the LTTE cadres in Tamil Nadu as early as January 1989. The following intelligence report bears testimony for that. The LTTE High Command has, therefore, advised the LTTE leaders in Madras to send back as many cadres as possible from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka. The remaining cadres have been asked to go underground as a precautionary measure. In accordance with these instructions, about a dozen LTTE activists, located at Madras and Salem, are likely to leave for Sri Lanka on the night of July 27. Some ammunition and other items are likely to be transhipped with them. Two LTTE boats are expected to arrive on July 29 and some items, including rifle grenades which the LTTE activists were trying to procure on priority basis, are expected to be sent to Sri Lanka in these boats."

(DIB UO NO I (14) /89 (11) -3551-60 DATED JULY 27, 1989)

43.5 However, as the months passed,the LTTE, it appears became more and more confident and expanded their bases in India.

43.6 The concern of the Central Government about increasing activities of the LTTE in the state is reflected by the repeated correspondence between the Central Government and the State Government of the time. It is noticed that all specific instances of LTTE activities which came in the knowledge of the Central Government were brought to the notice of the State Government. On 4th July , 1989, the Additional Secretary , Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri V K Jain, wrote a letter to Chief Secretary , Tamil Nadu , quoting specific instances of LTTE activities and reiterating the concern of the Central Government regarding increase in LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu. The letter, (Annexure M-20) inter alia , states:

We have received information that the LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu continue unabated and there is a marked increase in LTTE traffic between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka......

2. Available information further indicates that a large number of smugglers operating in Tanjavur District have links with the LTTE. It is also learnt that one Palani, a known smuggler. brought three injured LTTE cares from Muthupettai on 2.1.89 and took them in a taxi to Trichy. There are reports that the three injured LTTE cadres namely Beeman Jeevan. Ravi and Ranjit were getting treatment in the general hospital in Madras A large number of persons allegedly involved in smuggling activities and having links with LTTE seems to be operating in Tanjavur district.

(Annexure F(a) of affidavit of C.8. TN)

Action taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu on the above information is seen in their reply to the above letter on 6th November, 1989. (Annexure M-21) It would be seen from this reply that no action in concrete terms was taken by the State authorities. They have reported that the smuggler Palani is absconding and, also, the three injured LTTE cadres were untraceable. The State authorities, while acknowledging the LTTE activities, have emphasised that the Central agencies such as the Customs and the Coast Guard should be more vigilant.

This approach of the State Government gives an impression that from the very beginning, their approach towards tackling the problem was lackadaisical Some action was taken only when specific information was furnished to them from the Centre; the action taken itself appears to be half hearted. This, perhaps, was one of the reasons which encouraged the LTTE to openly and brazenly use the Indian soil for their anti national activities in the months to come.

43.7 A serious incident of large scale manufacturing of arms components and Rocket propelled Grenades in Coimbatore came to light during this period. This information also. did not initially emanate from the State, but was conveyed to Tamil Nadu by the Ministry of Home Affairs. It was on the specific information provided by the Central Government that the State law enforcing machinery and the Intelligence agencies became aware of such a blatant, large scale anti national activity in the heart of Tamil Nadu.

43 Arms Manufacturing Factory at Coimbatore

43.8 On 31st. May, 1989, the Ministry of Home Affairs appraised the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, the presence of an arms manufacturing factory of LTTE operating near Coimbatore. The letter is excerpted below (Annexure M-22):


(DO letter of Shri.V.K.Jain, Additional Secretary, MHA, GOI No i.11034/34/88-IS DI(B) dated 31.7.89 to Shri.MM Ratendran, Chief Secretary to the Government. of Tamil Nadu)

"We have received information that the LTTE is using the services of some private lathe and foundry owners of Tamil Nadu to fabricate parts/ sections needed for manufacturing and assembling RPG shells, hand grenades, AK-47 bullet shells and LMGs. These parts, it appears, are fabricated and assembled in and around Coimbatore before they are transported to Sri Lanka via Mahabalipuram.

2 "One Kilian @ Kiliannan who is incharge of the Coimbatore unit of the LTTE had taken delivery of 1750 firing pins in this last week of May from two or three private lathe owners of Coimbatore. An order for fabrication of more than l000 cones for RPG shells has been placed with one Ravi, another lathe owner of Kanapathy. Certain fabricated parts of RPG shells are taken to Saravanapatty where they are assembled. It is understood that the LTTE has placed orders for the manufacture of 5000 RPG shells in Coimbatore on 11 th June and the finished products were to be sent for anodising to a premises in Dr.Radhakrishnan Road, in Coimbatore. The LTTE has also placed orders on 9th June for the manufacture of hand grenades with some private lathe owners of Peelamedu and also for the manufacture of 100 LMGs. The various components for the LMGs appear to be fabricated in different places like Kanapathy, Pothanur, Aruvanpalayam in the Coimbatore areas.

A contemporaneous report of a Central Intelligence Agency has described the LTTE nexus in the above activity in details as follows (Annexure T-26):

(Cab . S - ctt . (RAW) U0 No 1/17/89-SLM -255-3952 dated 01.07.89.)

2. "The following are some specific instances which indicate LTTE's involvement in the above deals:

i) One Kilian ( a.ka.a. Killiannan) in charge of the Coimbatore unit of the LTTE had recently approached some private lathe owners, including one 'Soman' of Kanapathy (a Coimbatore suburb) through his contacts Aruchami and Radhakrishnan in the DK., for the fabrication of AK-47 bullet bells, firing pins for RPG shells and aluminum covers for RPG shells.

ii) 1750 firing pins for RPG shells which were fabricated by two or three private lather owners of Coimbatore were taken by Kilian in the last week of May, 1989.

iii) An order for fabrication of more than 1000 cones for RPG shells has been placed with one Ravi, another lathe owner of Kanapathy;

iv) Certain fabricated parts of RPG shells are taken to Saravanpatty ( 11 Kms from Coimbatore on the Satyamangalam Road) where they are assembled;

v) The LTTE has placed orders for the manufacture of 5000 RPG shells in Coimbatore on June 11, and the finished products were to be sent for anodising to a premises on Dr. Radhakrishnan Road in Coimbatore ( the filling of explosives assembly of RPGs is suspected to be done at Killan's residence )

vi) on June 9, the LTTE placed orders for the manufacture of hand grenades with some private owners of Peelamedu , located about l0 kms. outside Coimbatore;

vii) Orders have also been for the manufacture of l00 LMGs. The various components for the LMGs are fabricated in different places like Kanapathy, Pothanur, Aruvanpalayam in Coimbatore areas."

This very specific information furnished by the Central Government resulted in action against the manufacturing activities. The State Police raided the premises, seized the items being manufactured and arrested the accused. The result of action taken by the law enforcing agencies has been reflected in the letter of State CID 'Q' branch letter (No Cl No 3154/X/89/C dated 14.08.83) to the Government of Tamil Nadu. (Affidavit no. 214/940 JCI, Annexure C(b)) The letter states :

" On information that Rocket Propelled Grenade shell components are manufactured and fabricated in Private work shops in Coimbatore without licence and supplied to the Sri Lankan Tamil militants, the Q branch CID staff, Coimbatore raided VP Engineering works, South Street, Avarampalayam in Peelamedu PS limits Coimbatore, on 12.8.89 and arrested (l)Aruchamy (38) s/o Venkatachamy, T.K.Naga, Coimbatore, Proprietor of VP Engineering Works ( Venkatachamy Ponnammal Engineering works), 2) Ravichandran,(29)S/o Arumugam Pillai, Kalingan Naickan Palayam, Coimbatore, 3) Muruganandam (18) s/o Kannan, Saibaba Koil Street, Coimbatore and (4) Krishnan @ Kutty (21) S/o Devaraj, 1/16 , Ramasamy Lay-out, South Street, Avarampalayam, Coimbatore. the following materials were seized:

i) Finished threaded Aluminum parts of Rocket Propelled Grenade Shells - 108

ii) Unfinished parts of rocket propelled Grenade shells - 541.

iii) Partly threaded RPG shells - 323

iv) Finished threaded Aluminum cones for RPG shells - 43

v) Unfinished Aluminum cones for RPG shells-10

vi) MS pipes bit for RPG shell- 1

vii) PVC Plastic propeller for RPG shell-l

viii) Detonator container pieces for RPG shells -l

ix) AK 47 rifle barrel portions-3

x) AX 47 rifle parts of barrel-2

xi) 2 lathe machines utilised for the manufacture of the above materials.

In this regard, a case in Peelamedu PS Cr.No 500/89 U/s 120 B, SPC , 25(1) Indian Arms Act r/w 7(1)(a) Criminal Law Amendment Act was registered.The accused were remanded on 13.08.89 and the case is under investigation.

In another report, the 'Q' Branch, CID furnished further details of these activities as revealed during investigations. The 'Q' Branch informed the State Govt of Tamil Nadu (vide letter dated 18.8.89) that :

3) A lathe work shop by name VP Engineering works ( Venkatachamy Ponnammal Engg. W4rk8 )at 78/7 South Street, Avarampalayam, Peelamedu PS limits was located. It is owned by one Aruchamy who is the District Secretary of the dissident group ( Ramakrishnan Group) of DK. Discreet enquries Lankan Tamils used in the recent past.

6 Excepting VP Engineering works no other private lathe work shop has so far come to any adverse notice for acceptance of the order for manufacturing of RPG shells in Coimbatore As regards information that LTTE has placed orders for the manufacture of hand grenades with some private lathe owners enquiries are being made and every effort is taken to unearth the workshop and apprehend the manufacturer if any.

Enquiries were made regarding Soman,a private lathe owner at Ganapathy. There is no information about him at Ganapathy. But the brother of the fourth accused Krishnan @ Kutty of Avarampalayam by name Soman is a lathe owner. A search is being made in order to apprehend him. He will be questioned in detail after apprehension. enquires are also made about a private lathe owner Ravi with whom Killianan is reported to have placed orders for 1000 pieces of part of an LMG.

There is no information about him so far but inquiries continue. There is also no information about Rillianan an LTTE cadre. Ravichandran, the employee of VP Engineering works was questioned about Ravi and Killianan but he has no knowledge about them. Regarding visit of Killianan to Bangalore, Bangalore police have been informed to verify and pass on any useful information to the Q branch CID Tamil Nadu. Enquiries were made about motor cycle Yamaha TAR 8451 and ascertain that it was registered on 7.4.89 at the office of the ETO, Coimbatore in the name of one Ravi S/o Sundaram , 18, Lakshmi Mills Colony, Papanayakanpalayam, Coimbatore-37.

When verified, this address found to be false. This motor cycle was registered Asai malar agencies and the said Ravi is reported to have shown the pass book of Catholic Syrian Bank of Singanallur branch bearing A/c 110/89 for getting the vehicle registered. For opening the account in the bank one P. Soundararajan of Gopalakrishna Mills of Coimbatore-6 was shown as introducer and when Soundararajan was traced and questioned he denied having introduced anybody to the bank. He is still being questioned in this regard."

The above incident brings out the fact that LTTE had, by the middle of 1989, infiltrated effectively in the State of Tamil Nadu, had built a complex and well knit infrastructure with the assistance of local chauvinist elements and were actively engaged in dangerous, anti national activities.

It is seen that in this entire incident, which appears to have wide ramifications, and which, due to its serious nature, called for extensive investigations in order to unearth the nexus between the LTTE and the local chauvinist support groups, very routine action has been taken by the Police. Only four accused - all locals could be a single LTTE cadre - who were the masterminds behind this operation - was located or arrested. The Central Government had furnished to the State authorities specific names of key LTTE operatives who were behind this endeavour. Inspite of specific details available, the State enforcement machinery did not trace them or arrest them.

Such perfunctory action had its own ramifications. It is seen that later, during January, 1990, again it was reported by the IPKF that manufacturing and smuggling of Arul 89 rifle grenades was going on inCoimbatore. However, this time, the police did not even detect a single case. Later, after the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991, the State Police again found the same factory being run by the same accused and manufacturing hand grenades etc. The accused were arrested and the manufactured contrabands were seized. Details of this case have been dealt with later.

There are other instances of very specific information passed by the Central Agencies to the State authorities, on which no action, whatsoever, was taken. One example of this is seen from the information passed on by the IPKF to the State Police in letter dated 21.7.89 addressed to DIG CID ( Intelligence) Madras , by the Headquarters, ATNKK and G area.(Annexure M-23) It was informed in this letter that :

"It has been reported from reliable sources that a group of 15 LTTE cadres who are staying in a godown near High Court building in Madras since 04. July 89 left for Cochin by bus on 06 Jul 89 in the morning. From their conversation it was ascertained that they are to assemble at Wellington Island ( Cochin) to receive a shipment. This material was to be unloaded from a ship and then transported to Rameshwaram.

Selvanaike alias Dalip is the leader of this group and he has reportedly come from Mutur (Trincomalee district in Sri Lanka). This group has also been using telephone No 421385 in Madras. This telephone belongs to Mr.Kandan, an LTTE supporter in Madras.

The above information was verified by the Q branch CID who replied that the information contained in the aforesaid letter on verification was found to be not correct and that the telephone mentioned in the letter actually belonged to Dr.G.S.Kanda belonging to TELO which is opposed to LTTE. The same was communicated to the defence authorities by the State Government on 11.8.89. (Annexure M-24)

As regards the arms shipment and other details, no serious investigation appears to have been undertaken by the State authorities.

43.9 It appears that this negligence on the part of the state Administration further emboldened the LTTE whose cadres began to openly indulge in several nefarious activities in the State.

LTTE Activities Outside Tamil Nadu

43.l0 Available evidence indicates that during this period, the LTTE had also spread its clandestine network outside Tamil Nadu in India. It appears that as early as 1989, the LTTE had been spreading its tentacles in the country keeping Tamil Nadu asa rear base for its operations.

The following intelligence report of the period (Annexure M-25) gives an indication of the LTTE presence in India outside Tamil Nadu :

" LTTES cadres/sympathisers/supporters in Delhi

ii) K. Pathmanabha @ K P.

'LTTE fund raiser. In collusion with Vakil, he smuggled gold worth Rs. 40 lakhs from Singapore to Bombay in 1983 and again in 1984. He owns a house in Delhi at Ragharpura, Karol Bagh which is frequented by Sri Lankan Tamils. He has a room in his name at Navrang Hotel, but stays with the watchman of the Hotel or with patrons in New Delhi Railway Station, wearing a lungi. He is fluent in Hindi and Punjabi and is fully aware of LTTE activities in Delhi.

iii) Tiger

A close associate of Vakil and is fund raiser of LTTE in Delhi. He was caught in 1986 for cheating in Madras and jumped bail. He is in contact with V.K. Travels' ( of V.K. Aggarwal), Paharganj and hind Travels' (of Arun Marwah) in Karol Bagh.

iv) Tamil-Arasan

A teacher in Tamil school, Mandir Marg, New Delhi residing at 11 MPs Quarters Annexe, North Avenue, New Delhi. Reportedly sells LTTE publications from his house. Recently he has agreed to sell PLOT publications also About 50-60 D.K. sympathisers reportedly meet at his house on first Sunday of every month. During November, 1988, he was approached by D.K. sympathisers to arrange a house in Delhi for 2 LTTE cadres, who would do propaganda work.

The names of the LTTE cadres, whose whereabouts are not known, but presumably staying in India are also given below:

a) Pottu o Pottuman

b) Raghu @ Mandaikennan

c) Baby @ Subramanian (now in Bombay)

(The link between LTTE and Tamil activist groups.)

d) Kasinanandan

e) Kovai Mahesan in Madurai, Editor of Veeravengai'

f) Satyamurthy @ Sati - earlier in London

g) R.P. @ K. Padmanabhan - main funds raiser, financier and drug smuggler, close to Sinna Jyothi, LTTE supporters and smugglers based in India.

(Cabinet Sectt (R&AW) UO No 15/2/89-SLM -296 45S0 dated 22.08.89.)

A glimpse of the LTTE activities in Karnataka State during the period is seen from the deposition of Shri S.I. Jaffer Ali, then DIG, CID, Tamil Nadu. During his deposition before the Commission on 10th March, 1997, he stated :

(Page 2) "In 1989, when DMK came to power, I was appointed as DIG (Intelligence)... On12.5.1989, I sent a message to DIG (Intelligence) Karnataka about one Kulasekharan alias Natesan who was operating in Ulsoor in Bangalore and reported that he was purchasing war materials. .,... The message is marked Exhibit TN/66."



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