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Jain Commission Interim Report

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

Sections 6 to 10

6 Action Plan | 7 Follow-up of the 'Action Plan' | 8 DMK-LTTE Nexus-Events leading to the dismissal of DMK Government in Tamil Nadu | 9 Allegations raised by TNCC (I) - Memorandum of K Ramamoorthy | 10 Information regarding LTTE -ULFA links

Action Plan

65 By the beginning of December, 1990, there were signs of a perceptible change in the policy of the Central Government in dealing with the LTTE. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu met Shri Chandrashekhar on 3rd and 4th December, 1990. It appears that the LTTE activities and the action being taken by the State Government were discussed. In one of the meetings, the Minister of State (Home) was also present.

In order to effectively tackle the problem of militancy in the State of Tamil Nadu, a detailed 'Action Plan ' was drawn up. Discussions were held in order to work out the details of the scheme on 6th. and 7th. December, 1990, and on 10th December, 1990, the Home Secretary, Tamil Nadu, Shri R. Nagarajan, visited New Delhi and had discussions with the concerned Central Government officers on the 'Action Plan'. Speaking about the 'Action Plan', Shri Nagarajan submitted in his affidavit no. 85/93-JCI :-

"....... Pursuant to the meetings held by the Chief Minister with the Prime Minister Shri Chandrashekhar on 3rd and 4th December 1990 at New Delhi, the State Government drew up an ACTION PLAN ....to contain the activities of the Sri Lankan Tamil militants particularly LTTE. The Action Plan was drawn up after an elaborate discussion at Madras on 6.12.90 at high level meeting presided over by the then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. the draft Action Plan was placed for discussion on 7.12.90 at the State Level Coordination Committee meeting consisting of the high level Officials of the State Government in charge of Law & Order and also officials belonging to Navy, Coast Guard, Customs etc. .... "

The 'Action Plan' has been appended with the Affidavit of Shri R. Nagarajan (Annexure IX). The scheme, inter alia, envisages :-

1. OBJECTIVES :- To contain the militants and strengthen offshore and coastal patrolling; prevent further entry of refugees from Sri Lanka; monitor clandestine wireless operations of militants; prevent the smuggling of essential commodities; deport those Sri Lankans whose activities are prejudicial to the security of the State.

2.Regarding BAN ON ENTRY of refugees, it was envisaged that the Navy and Coast Guard would apprehend the refugees coming in and detain their boats;

3.Regarding SPECIAL CAMPS, it was envisaged that all militants belonging to various groups would be picked up and put in Special Camps groupwise. The militants in refugee camps would then be segregated and sent to the concerned Special Camps.

4.The wireless sets and vehicles of the Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups were planned to be confiscated during raids to pick up militants.

5.Action was contemplated against supporters and abettors of these Sri Lankan Tamil militants.

6. It was decided to request for 4 battalions of C.R.P.F. - two for offshore patrolling and two for guarding the Special Camps.

7.It was decided to curb the clandestine wireless operations by constant and effective monitoring.

8. All injured cadres under treatment in various hospitals were proposed to be shifted to Special Camps after discharge.

9.Detentions under the N.S.A. and deportations in suitable cases were proposed.

Follow up of the Action Plan

65.1 The 'Action Plan' was impressive on paper. It reflected the policies of the Central Government which had come to power recently and the Government of Tamil Nadu had worked out a detailed plan of containing the activities of the Sri Lankan militants in the State.

However, as the events have shown, sincere implementation of the 'Action Plan' appears to be lacking. While some operations were launched leading to the implementation of some radical measures such as the setting up of Special camps, certain crucial areas remained neglected. Movements of hard core LTTE cadres could not be checked. There is evidence to show that, during this period, some of the most vital wireless messages were passed between the LTTE operatives based in Tamil Nadu and Jaffna. These messages, which were decoded later, are directly related to the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

It is also seen that January, 1991 to May, 1991 was the period when the activities of the TNRT were at their peak and a large number of TNRT cadres trained in Jaffna had returned to Tamil Nadu and set up bases here. The failure of the State machinery to detect these important events during this crucial period raises questions regarding the efficacy of the exercise.

Action taken in pursuance of this scheme can be summarised as follows :-

i. Setting up of Special Camps :-

Special Camps were set up with the following strength at the locations given below :-

a. Vellore :- 649 LTTE cadres lodged in two camps;

b. Puzhal :- 1039 cadres of EPRLF, ENDLF, TELO & PLOTE lodged at 4 camps;

c. Pudukottai :- 201 TELO cadres lodged in 1 camp;

d. Salem :- 128 EPRLF, ENDLF & TELO cadres lodged in 3 camps;

e. Madras :- 8 cadres of TELO and EROS lodged in 2 camps.

Totally, 2025 cadres were detained and lodged in these Special Camps at the initial stage.

i i. Detentions under the NSA :-

In a report (Affidavit no. 85/93-JCI, Ann. XV), the break up of Sri Lankan Tamil militants detained under NSA has been given as follows :-







Total 31

iii. Special Operations :-

In order to implement the Action Plan, Special operations were carried out in the State on 14th and 18th December, 1990. In the operations conducted on 14th December, 1990, 77 LTTE cadres were picked up from Madras, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Salem and Thanjavur (West) and sent to Special camps at Vellore. About 5 vehicles used by LTTE cadres and some materials were seized.

However, there were no seizures of Wireless sets, arms or explosives during these operations against the LTTE.

During the second phase of Special operations, totally 38 LTTE militants, 16 EPRLF cadres, 15 TELO cadres, 4 ENDLF and 2 PLOTE militants were rounded up. 4 PLOTE cadres were detained under NSA.

iv. Incidents involving LTTE militants :- The crackdown on the LTTE had a predictable reaction from the LTTE.

Initially, the LTTE functionaries continued to liaise with the DMK leadership in the hope that some satisfactory arrangement could be arrived at; however, after Kasi Anandan was reportedly told by Shri Karunanidhi that under the circumstances, the DMK Government was unable to help the LTTE any further and was under threat of dismissal, Kasi Anandan made attempts to meet the Prime Minister Shri Chandrashekhar himself at New Delhi, but could not succeed.

In the meantime, the LTTE militants detained in Vellore at a Fort housing the Police Recruit School, started agitating. They turned violent on 13th January, 1990, attacked the police and attempted to break out. The police opened fire to control the rioting and arrested 162 militants. 31 out of these were subsequently detained under NSA.

The statewide police crackdown on the LTTE continued and several cases were registered in which LTTE cadres were arrested while trying to smuggle petrol, diesel etc. Some vehicles involved in transporting LTTE cadres were also seized. However, from the list of cases registered against the LTTE during this period, it is noticed that the cases involving seizures of arms, explosives, wireless sets etc. were negligible.

Political criticism regarding DMK-LTTE nexus: Events leading up to the dismissal of DMK government in Tamil Nadu

66 While, spurred into action due to the threat of an impending dismissal of their Government, the State Government had been in the process of making some efforts to bring about a semblance of control over the LTTE functionaries who were operating freely hitherto, the criticism from various quarters regarding DMK - LTTE nexus continued to mount.

What was the material available with regard to DMK LTTE nexus which led to such harsh criticism of the State Government culminating in dismissal of the popularly elected DMK Government in Tamil Nadu and imposition of President's Rule on 30th January, 1990.

The sequence of events of the DMK period as it emerges from the evidence available before the Commission in the form of I.B. and other Central Intelligence reports, State police records and depositions of various witnesses, paints the following picture :-

The DMK had been, after it came to power in Tamil Nadu, instrumental in providing a safe sanctuary to the LTTE and also in giving advice, active assistance, finance and providing security cover to its operations in Tamil Nadu, which were intended to facilitate the LTTE in fighting the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. It was noticed that even acts of defiance to law enforcement authority and other civilian officials, coercion, subversion and intimidation by LTTE have also been ignored or even condoned by the DMK.

At the bureaucratic level, it appears that the State Home Secretary had been in regular contact with LTTE, and, reports suggest, was advising them with the intention of facilitating easier movement of LTTE consignments.

On several occasions, it was reported that the Chief Minister himself had advised the LTTE to adopt a low profile sensing possible action by the Central Government.

There are also I.B. reports which suggest that Shri V. Gopalaswamy, who was also a Member of Parliamentary Consultative Committee on External Affairs, indicated to LTTE activists that while he had discussed with I.K.Gujral and George Fernandez the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, there appeared to be a an air of hostility towards the LTTE in the Committee. He, therefore, counselled them to tread cautiously. (Annexure M-63 (xx)

Reports during the period of July, 1990, also suggested that the key LTTE functionary, Kiruban had approached Shri V. Gopalaswamy and the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu for providing more landing points to bring in the injured. The Chief Minister, reportedly suggested a point from Mallipattinam preferably in coastal areas of Thondi as the possible choice for the purpose. Thus, it appears, changes in landing points along the coast were always effected in consultation with the DMK leaders.

Intelligence reports of the period also suggest that after the outbreak of clashes between LTTE and Sri Lankan Armed Forces in June 1990, the LTTE men increased their activities with the overt and covert support of the authorities in Tamil Nadu.

It was reported that Shri M. Karunanidhi himself was instrumental in ensuring that things went smoothly for the LTTE. At one stage, when paucity of finance was affecting the LTTE, Shri Karunanidhi is reported to have suggested floating of a fake organisation called "Relief Association for Sri Lankan Tamils" with Kasi Anandan and Natesan, LTTE activists, as office-bearers to facilitate diversion of the Government funds in the name of relief. (Annexure M-63(xxiii)

A significant instance of blatant support to the LTTE was the release of Kiruban and four others on bail and the subsequent re-arrest of only three others barring Kiruban and another activist who continue to remain unaffected.

Defiance of law and scant regard or fear for security agencies existed among the LTTE activists, thanks to the patronage of DMK Government. This phenomenon was experienced at its worst during the Pattinamkatha shootout and was highlighted in an incident on July 25, 1990 when the Police intercepted a Maruti Van carrying five LTTE cadres at Erandampulikadu (Thanjavur District). The activists initially resisted the search of the van. But, later when a search was carried out, two 9mm pistons, 28 rounds of ammunition and 3 magazines, besides a walkie-talkie set were seized. When asked to proceed to the Police Station, the militants resisted and claimed that the movement had been cleared at the highest level (DMK leadership). They even warned the Assistant Commandant, TSP, who effectively organised the arrest, of dire consequences and threatened to consume cyanide capsules. They also suggested that they would kill 50 Police people before consuming poison. They had to be handled with great care and remanded to custody notwithstanding the concerted efforts by some prominent DMK leaders to get them released. The arrest contributed to the wrath of Prabhakaran, who sent messages to Shri Karunanidhi threatening to withdraw all LTTE cadres from Tamil Nadu if those arrested were not released immediately. In view of their suspected involvement in the EPRLF killings in Madras on June 19, they were brought to Madras for test identification parade and as they chose to defy such an attempt, the security agencies had to turn a blind eye, though for the sake of documentation a parade was recorded. Subsequently they were let off on bail on August 13 on the condition that they would report to the Investigation Officer everyday and sign the register. It may be mentioned that in connection with the incident on July 25, 1990 at Erandampulikadu (Thanjavur District) for the LTTE militants, Advocate Shanmugasundaram and Viswanathan (both DMK) volunteered for bailing them out.

In another instance, after the raid on the Thillainagar hideout of LTTE on November 30, 1990, it is reported that advocate Madhuranayagam (DMK) and Adaikalam (pro DMK) arranged for bail when Kiruban and others were implicated in the EPRLF killings and produced before the Magistrate in Madras. The PA to the Handloom and Urban Development Minister Thangavelu stood surety. Consequent on Police taking action on two of the accused for their jumping bail, PA had to face the problem and Departmental proceedings had also been initiated against him. The attitude of the LTTE cadres, supported by the DMK leadership, witnessed the flouting of the bail conditions. In fact, V.Gopalaswamy DMK leader even tried to keep them at his residence and he asked the Police Officer to come and obtain the necessary signature. The Police, as a face saving exercise, took to custody only three leaving Kiruban and Dorai, the most active members, to remain at large and at liberty to carry on their task.

The crackdown on the Sri Lankan militants in the wake of the changed stance of the Central Government, therefore, predictably, had little actual impact on the ground situation.

66.1 This perception dominated the criticism of the opposition parties to DMK who, in a concerted manner, set about demanding the dismissal of the DMK led Government.

One important development in this regard occurred when Shri P. Chidambaram, MP, wrote a detailed letter on 28th December, 1990, (Annexure M-114) to the Prime Minister of India, inter alia, alleging that :-

"...... I have just returned from a four day tour of my constituency which included a visit to key coastal villages in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu. These villages are Mullimunai, Karangadu, Soliakkudi, M.R. Pattinam and Pudupattinam. Activity of Tamil militants, presumably LTTE, has been reported from these villages during the last six months. .....

"I gathered valuable information from my talks with local political leaders as well as the villagers......

(3) Key villages have been virtually isolated, leaving the coast practically free for unhindered landing and use by the militants.

(5) The so called surveillance by the State police is hopelessly inadequate and, in my view, a mere pretense to satisfy the Central Government.

(6) Movement and activity of militants continues in an uninterrupted manner. Militants were sighted in these villages as recently as on 20th December and 22-23 December. The police maintains contact with militants but does not arrest them. On one occasion, the District Collector who was scheduled to visit one of these villages returned on being told that militants were camping in that village.

(7) Militants move around in four vehicles, of which at least 2 do not have registration plates. Numerous villagers have sighted these vehicles. They have also noticed loading of cans and barrels on boats berthed in these villages.

(8) The credibility of the district administration is very low. In particular, there are serious complaints against the District Collector who is acting at the behest of the DMK party.

There is a general sense of fear and trepidation among the local people. No one is willing to speak freely or openly but information can be gathered through private and confidential discussions.

Recently the State Government made an elaborate exercise of arresting "militants". However, it is public knowledge that no real militant, particularly no one belonging to the LTTE, has been arrested. Most activists who have been arrested belong to the other groups like PLOT, TELO, EPRLF, ENDLF etc. Three days ago the State Government "arrested" over 500 young men who were staying in the refuge camps in Mandapam for the last several months. None of them is a militant but just young refugees. The people are shocked at this blatant exercise in deception.

The credibility and the credentials of the DMK government in the matter of dealing with militants, particularly those belonging to the LTTE, is extremely suspect. The Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the DGP were hand-in-glove with the DMK in the massive cover up that was done during the last 2 years. I have already made a public demand that the least the State Government should do is to replace these 3 officers so that a new team can be entrusted with the task of management of law and order. The Chief Minister has publicly turned down the suggestion. So long as these 3 officers are in charge, I have no doubt in my mind that nothing will be done and no instruction or directive of the Centre will not implemented."

On the serious allegations raised by Shri P. Chidambaram in his letter to the Prime Minister, the Intelligence Bureau submitted its own detailed information and comments to the Ministry of Home Affairs on 20th January, 1991. (Annexure M-115) The report confirmed the findings of Shri P. Chidambaram and, inter alia, stated that :-

"It is a fact that LTTE smuggles gold and electronic items for sale into Tamil Nadu and takes back essential items like fuel, medicines, grains, pulses etc. It is also known that LTTE operates along the coastal belt falling in Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram districts. These LTTE operations conducted through clandestine sailings have also been bringing in injured cadres for medical treatment at various private clinics in Tamil Nadu.

As alleged in the letter, in Ramanathapuram district, coastal points at M.R. Pattinam, Soliakkudi, Thondi, Mullimunai and Karangadu have witnessed LTTE movements occasionally.... Around mid December 1990, the Tamil Nadu security agencies launched an action aimed at segregating members of various Tamil militant groups resident in the various refugee camps in the State. In the course of these operations a total of 1572 Sri Lankan Tamils were picked up and lodged at different places in the State. It is a fact that not many among the arrested are LTTE activists and of the 629 persons picked up for pro-LTTE affiliation, only 8/10 appear to be active cadres, while the remaining are possible sympathisers. A fairly large complement (207) are family members also. Members belonging to other militant groups including family members of EPRLF (583), TELO (208) and ENDLF (128) have also been picked up and lodged at different places.

With specific reference to the deteriorating ground situation expressed in the letter from P. Chidambaram MP .......

..... While in the earlier phases, the village visit by officials was not very regular, in the recent past State Government officials have been undertaking frequent visits to these villages after complaints of LTTE activities in an around these places.

.. Fishermen who had generally been provided 100 litres have nowadays been getting only 80 litres, mainly due to non availability of diesel. This is partly due to the LTTE's attempts to corner large quantities of diesel in connivance with the fishermen.

.... Till the end of November 1990 the only check post located at Thondi was ineffective. Police patrolling which has since been intensified along the coast with creation of more check posts has also failed to have the desired effect in arresting LTTE movements.

... LTTE cadres have come to notice visiting Soliakkudi and M.R. Pattinam in December 1990, to transport goods required for the LTTE in the North-Eastern part of Sri Lanka. Notwithstanding Police presence in the areas, the activities have continued.

..... The LTTE is known to use 3 Maruti Gypsies and one Toyota Van in this area. These vehicles are suspected to carry fake numbers on most occasions.

..... A degree of police negligence due to inadequate fire power in comparison to LTTE and poor morale is present. Specific instances of connivance have not been noticed. .....Lack of credibility of the top officials is true. Very recently the State Government has replaced the State Chief Secretary and posted an Additional DG Police to look after law and order. however the political will to sternly arrest LTTE activists is still not apparent."

The Intelligence Bureau report not only corroborates what Shri P. Chidambaram discovered during the tour of his own constituency but further strengthens it. Shri Chidambaram's observations have been made on the basis of his own field enquiries and, therefore, command credibility.

Allegations raised by TNCC(I)--memorandum of K Ramamoorthy

66.2 Soon after Shri Chidambaram's letter, the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (I) submitted a detailed memorandum signed by Shri K. Ramamoorthy on 2nd. January, 1991, demanding dismissal of the DMK Government and setting up of a Commission of Inquiry to probe into the allegations about anti national activities of the DMK Government, deteriorating law and order situation in Tamil Nadu, corruption charges against Shri Karunanidhi and other functionaries of DMK and association of DMK with LTTE. 

The memorandum (Ex. 565), devotes a large portion to the LTTE activities in the state and the nexus of DMK with LTTE. 

It is alleged that the DMK Government was abetting LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu keeping Central agencies in the dark. Shri Karunanidhi was in full knowledge of the LTTE activities in the State although he kept denying it publicly.

The State Police, it is alleged was covering up the LTTE activities, and the DMK Government, during the period when Shri V.P. Singh was the Prime Minister, restrained their field staff from taking action against the LTTE. 

The DMK Government was shifting responsibility of its failure in controlling the activities of the LTTE, to the Central Government agencies such as Customs, Coast Guard and the Navy. The Tamil Nadu Police did not provide protection to the Customs officials. 

During the DMK period, the nexus between the LTTE and smugglers became very pronounced. 

LTTE was allowed to massacre EPRLF cadres in Madras, including Padmanabha. No action was taken against them by the DMK Government. 

Citing several instances of smuggling, kidnapping of fishermen, shooting of Policeman etc. it was alleged that Shri Karunanidhi was providing protection to LTTE. 

Shri V.P. Singh, on May 11, 1990, had denied the allegation of Shri Karunanidhi that RAW was creating a wedge between the Centre and the State.

There were reports of LTTE training camps in the State. Arms manufacturing was going on in Coimbatore and secessionism was being preached in the State by certain parties. 

Shri K. Ramamoorthy, during his deposition before the Commission, confirmed having made the above allegations and stated that information furnished by him was based on press reports and other sources, which was corroborated by the statement of Shri R. Nagarajan u/s 164 (5) Cr.P.C. He further stated that the Prime Minister Shri Chandrashekhar had also made statements on the same lines.

Information regarding LTTE-ULFA links

66.3 Reports regarding LTTE's links with ULFA and the bases created by ULFA in Tamil Nadu were being received from April, 1990, onwards. Annexure M -63( xxiii)) The reports emanating from intelligence agencies in Tamil Nadu also found independent corroboration from informations gathered during Army operations in Assam.

Details of LTTE ULFA links have already been discussed in the chapter dealing with Threat Perceptions and are not required to be repeated here.

The Tamil Nadu Government, when informed by the Central Government about this development, conducted its own study in January, 1991, and reached the conclusion that the State Police Intelligence wing of Assam and the Central Intelligence Wing operating from Guwahati were not having any specific information about six training camps for ULFA in Tamil Nadu, any specific meeting between ULFA and LTTE in Tamil Nadu and procurement of arms by ULFA in Tamil Nadu.

Surprisingly, the study conducted by the 'Q' branch, CID, which has been enclosed as Annexure XVIII in the affidavit of Shri R. Nagarajan, shows that it is a result of material collected by the TN CID officers from their counterparts in Assam. No field enquiries appear to have been conducted by the 'Q' Branch, CID, in Tamil Nadu during this study, in order to obtain further details about the alleged nexus. The study is apparently an attempt to play down the ULFA LTTE nexus and to state that sufficient information does not exist to prove the nexus.

It appears that the information available with the Central Intelligence Agencies as well as the Army Intelligence authorities was more specific and the evidence gathered by these two agencies independently gets corroborated.

Another independent corroboration of this fact comes from a report of RAW dated 1st. February, 1991 (Annexure M-116), which states that :-

".... ULFA has been in touch with the LTTE to procure arms.. In pursuance to this, a delegation of the ULFA was known to be in Tamil Nadu in the third week of January, '91 to negotiate the terms and conditions of the proposed deal. ......

3. During the past months also, ULFA procured some weapons from the LTTE for which the payment has been made either in gold or narcotics....."

Thus, it is seen that specific nexus between the LTTE and ULFA and their combined endeavors in Tamil Nadu have been confirmed independently by three different agencies - the I.B., R&AW and Army Intelligence. In view of this, the impression that the Tamil Nadu Government was attempting to play down this nexus gains further strength.



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