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Jain Commission Interim Report

Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement: Evolution and its Aftermath
Chapter II - Indian Peace Keeping Force

Sections 16 to 22

Elections - 16 General | 16.1 Provincial Council Elections | 17 Presidential Elections | 17.1 Parliamentary Elections | 18 North East Provincial Government (NEPG) | 18.1 Citizen's Volunteer Force (CVF) | 18.2 Arming and Employment | 18.3 Testimony of Lt.Gen A S Kalkat | 18.3.1 Constraints of IPKF | 18.3.2 Reservation for the IPKF Personnel | 18.3.3 Protection and Safety of the Population | 19 Attitude of the Sri Lankan Government | 19.1 Joint Communique | 19.2 -19.5 SLG -LTTE nexus | 20 Collapse of the NEPG

21 De-induction Phase Oct. `89 to Mar. `90 | 21.1 Premadasa on verge of declaring war against IPKF | 21.2 Views of Induction and de-induction of the IPKF | 21.3 Views of Shri J R Jayawardene | 21.4 Shri J N Dikshit on de-induction | 21.5 Shri P V Narasimha Rao on withdrawal | 22 Conclusion

Elections - General

16 The smooth conduct of the Provincial Council, Presidential and Parliamentary elections was one of the major achievements of the IPKF in the North Eastern Province. Despite non-participation by the LTTE and its stated threats to disrupt the election process, the IPKF was able to create the necessary security environment within the Province to enable polling to go through incident free.

Provincial Council Elections

16.1 Consequent to the decision for holding the Provincial Council elections having been taken, a 5-day ceasefire was declared by the IPKF from 15th September to 20th September, 1988 to afford an opportunity to the LTTE to join the democratic process. The ceasefire was declared due to immense pressure from the Tamil population in Jaffna who were confident that the LTTE would respond. In response to the public pressure, the ceasefire was also extended by another five days but the LTTE remained obdurate. A common slate was achieved in the Northern districts while polling was conducted in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai on 19th November, 1988. The overall polling percentage was 62.71 per cent and the EPRLF-ENDLF combine obtained a clear cut majority. The final partywise tally was as follows :

(a) EPRLF - 41

(b) ENDLF - 12

(c) SLMC - 17

(d) UNP - 1


------------ Total 71

Presidential Elections

17 The elections were held in both the Northern and Eastern Districts on 19th December, 1988 along with polling in the rest of Sri Lanka. Mr. Premadasa defeated Mrs. Bandarnaike by a narrow margin and was elected President. The voter turnout sector- wise was as follows :

1. Jaffna - 22%

2. Vavuniya - 19%

3. Trincomalee - 53% 4. Batticaloa - 60%

Parliamentary Elections

17.1 Polling was conducted on 15.2.1989 and the IPKF provided the necessary assistance and security. The polling percentages in the North East compared favourably with the rest of Sri Lanka due to the untiring efforts of the IPKF. The sector-wise polling percentages were :

(a) Jaffna - 46.4%

(b) Vavuniya - 32.16% (c) Trincomalee - 68.7%

(d) Batticaloa - 79.8%

North East Provincial Government (NEPG)

18 After the successful conclusion of the Provincial Council elections, Mr. Varadaraja Perumal was appointed as Chief Minister of the North Eastern Province and was sworn in by President Premadasa in Colombo. Subsequently, four other Ministers were also sworn in by the Governor General Lt. Gen. Nalin Seneviratna and the Government formally assumed office by end of November, 1989. The NEPG remained largely ineffective due to the lack of desire on the part of the Sri Lankan Govt. to devolve necessary powers to the Provincial Government which led to losing credibility with the local population. Another reason for the ineffectiveness of the NEPG was the lack of civilian advisers. The high-handedness of its political cadres and lack of application and a sense of commitment on the part of the NEPG also contributed to its downfall.

Citizen's Volunteer's Force (CVF)

18.1 The basic idea behind the raising of CVF was the provision of an armed force to ensure the safety and security of Sri Lankan Tamils in the absence of any law enforcing agency in the Jaffna Peninsula. After consultations and discussions between the Indian High Commission and the Sri Lankan Government, the Gazette Notification for raising of CVF was issued on 2nd November, 1988 by the Sri Lankan President under Section 52(i) of the Mobilisation of Supplementary Force Act No.40/95. The Citizens Volunteer Force Regulations, 1989 were made under Section 65, read with Section 64 of the Act and with Article 44(2) of the Constitution on January 18, 1989 which provides for the functions of the Force and the rank structure of the Force. It also lays down the eligibility conditions for recruitment to the Force. Its recruitment and functioning as such was not under the control of the IPKF.

Arming and Employment

18.2 The Sri Lankan Government provided S-84 rifles to the cadres which were far inferior to the AK.47 rifles which the LTTE wielded. The CVF had gradually managed to gain a certain amount of credibility and effectiveness with support from the IPKF. However, with the commencement of negotiations between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE in May 1989, the morale of the CVF cadres dropped and it gradually disintegrated till the de- induction of the IPKF. The process of disintegration was hastened by the raising of the Additional CVF which commenced in July 1989.

The Force was to be raised as an extension to the CVF in keeping with President Premadasa's commitment to Mr. Perumal that the sanctioned strength of the CVF will be enhanced to 7,000 cadres from 3,000 initially approved. The designation was later changed to Tamil National Volunteer Force (TNVF). Prior to de-induction of the IPKF, the designation was reverted to the original ACVF. The infighting amongst the various Tamil groups, lack of motivation of the ACVF cadres and the absence of good quality leadership hampered the effective employment of the ACVF. The resentment of the population against forced recruitment and the growing LTTE-SLG nexus were other impediments in the functioning of the ACVF. Once the confrontation with the LTTE ensued in areas vacated by the IPKF, the ACVF gradually disintegrated.

Testimony of Lt Gen A S Kalkat

18.3 Lt. Gen. A.S. Kalkat appeared before the Commission as CW-22. He was Gen. Officer Commanding of the I.P.K.F. According to Gen. Kalkat, the IPKF was close to restoring normalcy. He gave an interview to Prabhu Chawla of 'India Today' which appeared in its issue dated 15th September, 1988. In that interview, on being questioned regarding Alampil Operation, he said that one unit of the IPKF came across this camp with about 150-200 tigers. It was part of the operation to disarm the militants. The operations were a success.

More troops were placed to isolate this area since it was of importance to the Tigers. With this Alampil Operation, the Tigers were disintegrated and the IPKF had begun the cohesiveness of their military force. He further said that the IPKF had come to a situation as normal but in some areas there was struggle in the East. People wanted schools and colleges to open. Shops and banks were functioning and mail delivered. IPKF provided security to banking transactions; public places have been rebuilt by the IPKF engineers. People came to the IPKF for assistance.

Operations were carried out to create normalcy. On elections, Gen. Kalkat said that IPKF will ensure that there is no coercion, no threat in the conduct of polls and it will provide full security. IPKF was there only as a catalyst in the political process. Those people with arms and who would have invaded IPKF were few in number. Gen. Kalkat deposed that during the ten months or so, IPKF achieved a situation in which militants were no more capable of operating as an effective force in both the North and the East".

Constraints of the IPKF

18.3.1 On the question of IPKF having taken long time in achieving its target and loss of manpower, Gen. Kalkat said "in this fight there were certain constraints. The IPKF was dealing with over 20 lakh civilians and an enemy who is not clearly identifiable and the aim of the IPKF was to disarm the militants and avoid any civil casualties and damage to the civil property as well. These considerations always imposed limitations on the use of combat power. It also implies that certain kinds of warfare fire power cannot be put to use at all and a fair amount of casualties on the IPKF side are due to mining and terrorism. The militants had been fighting in these areas for the last six years. They knew every inch of the land, whereas for the IPKF it was entirely a new terrain.

Reservation for the IPKF personnel

18.3.2 On reservations for the IPKF personnel, Gen. Kalkat said that it is not true that a section of the IPKF was not convinced about the task itself. No section of the IPKF had any reservation whatsoever about the role they are performing as a disciplined force. IPKF was fully aware of the importance of the task assigned to it and each member of the IPKF was fully alive to the fact as to how much was at stake for the country. Gen. Kalkat even denied that military options were dictated by political expediencies. He said that at no stage, IPKF ever altered or changed its action plan due to political expediency. IPKF had always been given full freedom in handling the militancy.

Protection and safety of the population

18.3.3 On the question of protection and safety of the population, he deposed "the operations were already on when he took over the command. Any one who carried a weapon unauthorisedly was to be disarmed. Sri Lankan Army force were to remain in those areas where there was Sinhala population. They were to look after the Sinhala people in that area. They were not permitted to operate outside those areas. It did not preclude IPKF's responsibility of protecting the Sinhalese. Therefore he had to make sure that Sinhalese are protected from attacks from any other community. It was by and large the LTTE who were attacking the Tamil population. IPKF had to protect the Tamil population from the militant groups of Tamil community and from the Sri Lankan force or any other people endangering them. Sri Lankan Army was not to return from the North Eastern Province but they were confined to their own areas, in parks and areas where they have functional things like airfield in Palaly and Trincomalee where the Sri Lankan Air Force was manning.

Attitude of the Sri Lanka government

19 President Premadasa had always been anti-Agreement and anti-IPKF in his stance. However, overtly there was a discernable sobering in his attitude prior to and immediately after assuming the Presidency. This changed stance did not last long and immediately after the Sri Lankan Govt. and the LTTE re-established contacts, Premadasa demanded the withdrawal of the IPKF. He went to the extent of declaring publically that the IPKF should de- induct completely by 29th July, 1989 failing which the Sri Lankan Security Force would be ordered to take appropriate action. Mr. Premadasa effectively utilized his Foreign Minister Ranjan Wijeratne as his mouthpiece and the anti-Indian rhetoric of the Sri Lankan Government became increasingly strident as the deadline drew closer.

Joint Communique

19.1 The increasing tension was de-escalated after hectic negotiations and parleys. India and Sri Lanka signed a Joint Communique on 18th September, 1989 and in accordance with this communique, India agreed to suspend offensive operations against the LTTE with effect from 0600 hrs on 20th September, 1989. Other salient features of the Communique were the formation of an all-party Peace Committee and the setting up of an Observer Group and the Security Coordination Group for overseeing the ceasefire and working out the de-induction. The unwieldy Peace Committee remained a non-starter from the very outset and after a couple of meetings, became defunct.

SLG-LTTE nexus

19.2 Even when the IPKF operations were going on, Mr. Premadasa started entering into negotiations with the LTTE. By the end of April, 1989, it was reported that two LTTE leaders Anton Balasingham and Lawrence Thilakar would be reaching Colombo for talks with the Sri Lankan Government primarily concentrating on certain demands as pre-conditions for discussion, namely, immediate withdrawal of the IPKF and the dissolution of the North Eastern Provincial Council. The LTTE briefed its representatives who were to hold talks with the Sri Lankan Government in Colombo, to confine the discussions to the exit of the IPKF and setting up of an International Inquiry Commission. It was stressed that this is only a preliminary discussion and further talks would be continued only after the LTTE delegation reports to Prabhakaran after the preliminary discussion.

The Colombo meeting was also expected to be utilized to explain the LTTE stand to assess the Sri Lankan Government's attitude and to expose the alleged Indian atrocities. Mr. Anton Balasingham is reported to have conveyed the views/suggestions to the LTTE leadership on the strategy to be adopted at the talks. It should be stressed that the presence of the Indian Army has resulted in unprecedented violence in the North East and no political solution is possible so long as the Indian Army is occupying the North East. Efforts at the talks should be to convince Mr. Premadasa. He is also interested in the dissolution of the Provincial Council and he would require LTTE's unqualified support if he has to break the Agreement and send back the Indian troops. LTTE can ask for an interim Citizens' Council without administrative control of the Sinhalas in which the LTTE men will take care of all security needs of the Tamils.

Holding of direct talks by the LTTE with the Sri Lankan Government was a severe blow to the Indian Government and the Agreement. When the talks were going on, Indian Foreign Secretary visited Colombo. His visit was reported to impress on the Sri Lankan Government not to go outside the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement, not to dismiss the North Eastern Provincial Council and not to remove the EPRLF Government from power. During the talks, LTTE is reported to have stressed the withdrawal of the IPKF and that there is no support of people to the EPRLF Government.

Talks were held outside Colombo, near Kandy. The LTTE delegation was also taken to Dalada Maligawa, the temple of the sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. At the talks, the LTTE also stressed the sufferings of the Tamils of North East due to the IPKF's ban on fishing, restriction on farming, indiscriminate search operations and arrests, torture of innocent civilians by the IPKF and EPRLF cadres and harrassment by the CVF, inadequacy of rehabilitation measures and mismanagement of funds earmarked for it, collapse of education system adversely affecting the youth of Jaffna.

The LTTE delegation also proposed steps that IPKF should be sent back as soon as possible, CVF should be disbanded and NEPC should be dissolved and replaced by an interim administration, and also suggested that consequent on withdrawal of the IPKF and disbanding of the CVF, LTTE would man the police stations and maintain order and the Sri Lankan Army could stay in the North East but will be confined to the barracks.

Mr. Premadasa was also favouring the withdrawal of the IPKF which may take about six months and he may also consider the dissolution of the North Eastern Provincial Council in view of the fact that there was no contest in the North. Mr. Premadasa gave a call for withdrawal of the IPKF. On such a call, LTTE issued a statement on June 4, 1989 with the caption "There would be solution for Tamil problem only when the Indian Army goes out". The LTTE welcomed President Premadasa's move for IPKF's withdrawal before July end. The statement alleged that the IPKF did nothing to bring about peace in the North East and instead converted the area into battlefield and also committed several atrocities. The LTTE insinuated that only the "henchmen" of the Government of India and the NEPG were against the withdrawal of the IPKF as they were afraid of losing their power and posts.

While referring to the signature campaign launched by the EPRLF and the ENDLF against the IPKF withdrawal, the LTTE alleged that this was being done at gun point and urged the Tamils to stand by the LTTE at this "critical juncture". On the return of the Sri Lankan delegation, President Premadasa was briefed and he informed the LTTE representatives in Colombo that India has made many conditions in the talks with the Sri Lankan delegation but he is going to reject them and he will insist on the withdrawal of the IPKF before end of October, 1989. In the event of India rejecting the demand, the IPKF will be declared as an 'Occupation Army' and in case the IPKF does not withdraw, he would declare that the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE would take over the responsibility of the people of North East and after the withdrawal of the IPKF, LTTE will be given the responsibility of the law and order.

Minister A.C.S Hameed who was a Member of the Sri Lankan delegation, met the LTTE representatives in Colombo and explained in detail their talks with the Indian Government and he asked for the views of the LTTE on the formation of a Peace Committee. The LTTE representatives expressed that no proposal would be accepted which would strengthen the North Eastern Provincial Council and the LTTE would also not accept association of India in the ceasefire monitoring committee or, for that matter, any issue connected with the Tamils, and they agreed for the talks on the firm belief, that the President was also opposed to any Indian interference.

President Premadasa, before sending his Personal Adviser to Delhi on 15.8.1989, had decided on a tough stand of getting the IPKF out before October, if not to declare it an Occupation Army. But after the talks at Delhi by his Personal Adviser, no rigid stand was taken and Hameed tried his best to convince the LTTE to join the Peace Committee and accept representation on the Ceasefire Committee. In the on-going talks, the Sri Lankan Government informed the LTTE that it has asked the Government of India to withdraw its troops at the rate of 3000 per week and to complete the withdrawal by December, 1989.

Increased relation between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE was discerned ever since the commencement of third round of talks in September, 1989. Initially, both the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE concentrated on securing an agreement from India on the withdrawal of the IPKF and India agreed that the IPKF would leave Sri Lanka in a phased manner by December 31, 1989 but both the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE saw in the security set-up being organised by the Chief Minister, N.E.P.C. a major irritant and obstacle. Threats were extended to the CVF volunteers to desert and a major attack was launched on two CVF camps in Amparai district on 5.11.1989 causing the death of nearly 30 cadres of the pro-Agreement groups. There were many reports of large quantities of arms and ammunition having been handed over by the Sri Lankan Army to the LTTE :

(i) 300 M-16 rifles and 30,000 rounds to match it were handed over to the LTTE in October. In Pollonaruwa it handed over to LTTE ammunition for AK-47 and grenades.

On another occasion, in an unspecified area between Vavuniya and Mannar, it handed over 400 small arms to LTTE, probably without the knowledge of IGP and military commander.

(ii) Besides arms and ammunition, the LTTE seems to be enjoying unfettered use of helicopters of SLG for the transport of arms and movement of LTTE cadres. After the raid at Amparai district on 5.11.1989, the helicopters of Sri Lankan security forces were used for picking up the cadres to be regrouped in Jaffna district and for air-lifting the injured LTTE cadres in the November 5 operations to Colombo for treatment in hospitals. Pottuman, Jaffna incharge of the LTTE travelled in Sri Lankan helicopters.

(iii) Sri Lankan forces are believed to have stood by and offered support fire at the time of LTTE raids on Thumbiluvil, Tirukkovil camps of TELO and EPRLF on November 5, 1989.

19.3 The Sri Lankan Government appointed a Commission headed by the Supreme Court Judge, Justice T.D. Bandarnayke for probing the killing of Lt. Gen. Danzil Kobbekaduwa and several other top brass of the Army and Navy in a landmine explosion at Arali Point, Kaytes Island of Jaffna in 1992.

19.3.1 Lt. V. Priyalal Jagath Vishwakumara gave evidence before the Commission that Sri Lankan Army handed over about 2000 T-56 rifles and 50,000 grenades to 75 members of the LTTE in the jungles of Mullaittivu to fight the IPKF. These arms and ammunition were delivered by two trucks driven by himself one after another. The third truck load of explosives was also handed over to the LTTE. He said the arms were to be handed over to the LTTE Members Yogi, Captain Justice and three others, according to what a 'superior' officer told him. He explained that when he was at the Welloya Camp in 1988, officers there had heard, there had been secret discussions between the LTTE and President Premadasa. Information had reached the officers to the effect that the then Government had wanted to send IPKF out of Jaffna Peninsula and further to arm the LTTE to achieve this.

The 'superior' officer came at the scene in a jeep at the end of the delivery of the arms and told him that three weeks later another consignment of arms and ammunition was to be given to the LTTE members. Till then he was told to supply food to the LTTE. `Captain Justice' of the LTTE gave money to buy meat and other food stuffs for LTTE cadres. Lt. Vishwakumara said that although he hated the whole issue at heart, he was forced to go through the project out of fear. `Captain Justice' of the LTTE also told him that the LTTE got arms from Kankesanthurai and Vavuniya too.

Capt. Justice also told that President Premadasa and the LTTE were good friends and they will continue to be so. He further said that General Kobberkaduwa was an obstruction for the well being of the LTTE and also an obstruction to the friendship between the LTTE and President Premadasa. Lt. Vishwakumara also said that the LTTE members had even used the helicopters of the Armed Forces while there had been a dearth of helicopters to carry injured soldiers. `Capt. Justice and Yogi had travelled to Colombo in helicopter probably to meet President Premadasa. Lt. Vishwakumara also deposed before the Commission that the LTTE cadres who met President Premadasa had received six parcels, one parcel had bundles of Rs.500 notes. After three weeks, a second consignment was handed over to the LTTE. He added that the arms were handed over to the LTTE in June-July, 1989. This statement was reported by the Agencies on Saturday, 23rd March, 1996.

19.3.2 President Premadasa who himself was assassinated by a suicide bomber of the LTTE in 1993 had made presence of the IPKF an issue in the elections.

19.3.3 That Commission also examined former Presidential Secretary Mr. K.H.J. Wijedasa. He said that the slain President Ranesingha Premadasa supplied arms to the Tamil separatists in 1989 and 1990 because India did not pull out its Peace Keeping Force despite his direction. He was extremely concerned about the delay in the departure of the IPKF stationed in the North and East.

While testifying, he said that on June 27, 1989, Mr Premadasa had told him that the then North Eastern Province Chief Minister Varadaraja Perumal had formed the T.N.A. and senior IPKF officers were training its cadres. The then Defence Secretary Sepala Attugula asked him to canvass against the decision to provide arms to the LTTE and to convince Mr. Premadasa to change his mind. When he asked the reasons for his decision to arm the LTTE, Premadasa said that there was a major threat to the nation as Mr. Varadaraja Perumal was building TNA which was armed and trained by the IPKF.

He recalled that Mr. Premadasa was overjoyed when he heard about the LTTE's acceptance of his offer for a dialogue in early 1989. Although the President was at his Ambanpola Estate (180 Km. north of Colombo), when the first LTTE representative came, he asked him to send him straightaway. The first man was a very junior one but he had lengthy discussion with him and even had dinner with him.

Subsequently, senior LTTE delegation headed by theoretician Anton Balasingham came to Colombo for talks with an official delegation headed by the witness (namely Mr. K.H.J. Wijedasa) and comprised of three other Secretaries, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Cabinet Secretary. He explained that the LTTE wanted the Government to dissolve the NEPC and allow the LTTE cadres to take over the territory after the departure of the IPKF. The LTTE also mentioned about the threat to peace from the T.N.A. They did not talk about any political issues. He also said that departing troops left a huge quantity of arms with the T.N.A. LTTE not only defeated the TNA but also captured most of its arms.

19.3.4 The report further states that analysts say that this helped the LTTE which was crippled by the Indian troops to become a powerful organisation once again and Shri Premadasa has to be blamed for it.

"Three months after the departure of the IPKF, the Government and the LTTE truce broke down and the LTTE attacked police stations and Army camps and took control over a substantial part of the North East" Shri Wijedasa said. This statement was reported by Suggeswara Senadhira for India Abroad News Service.

19.3.5 In a 32 page statement before the Sri Lankan Parliament on August 7, 1996, the Deputy Defence Minister General Aniruddha Ratwatte, inter alia, charged the United National Party (UNP) with delivering arms and Rs. 75 millions to the Tigers in 1989. He stated

"I have evidence of the moneys paid to the LTTE by your (UNP) Government. These are payment vouchers issued by the Ministry of Finance in the personal name of R. Paskaralingam who was the Secretary to the Treasury. There are 15 receipts issued from September 27 to June 8, 1990, during the period your Government was dialoguing with the LTTE. The receipts are for sums of money amounting to Rs. 5 millions each and totalling Rs. 75 millions."

(The Hindu Dated 8th. August, 1996)

19.4 Shri J.N. Dixit deposed, "Mr. Premadasa kept on making public statements against the Agreement. By implication, it may be against the Rajiv Gandhi Government. Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali who continued as Minister for National Security tried to sabotage the Agreement by various means which included the incident of his trying to bring those 12 LTTE cadres to prison in Colombo against his own President's order".

Shri J.N. Dixit further deposed "between 1987 and 1989, we had several reports of his trying to contact the LTTE leadership telling them that he will support the activities of the LTTE against the IPKF and India. There were verbal reports to me from Tamil groups that small quantities of arms are also being given to the LTTE". Premadasa became the President in January 1989. Anti-India posture was adopted by Premadasa and some of his Ministers to play up to the feelings of Sinhalese chauvinism for political gains. Jayawardene did not contest the Presidential election in 1989.

During the talks between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government, there was deliberate absence of a reference in specific terms to 'Tamil Eelam'. LTTE refused to hand over to the Sri Lankan Government, despite its request, weapons seized by it from the Tamil National Volunteer Force and the EROS.

19.5 The nexus between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE started deteriorating when the Sri Lankan Government decided to talk to the EPRLF and the LTTE did not participate in the All Party Conference held at Colombo on 19th May. The LTTE started speeding up the preparation for their eventual confrontation with the Sri Lankan Government. The situation became tense at Dharmapuram, their headquarters. Prabhakaran who was in Velvettithurai and had met Balakumar on 19th May, 1990, returned to Dharmapuram. LTTE withdrew its top leadership from Colombo. The LTTE leadership, in the meantime, discussed about making a direct approach to Delhi but decided not to do so as this, in their view, would offend the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

The nexus achieved its goal of evacuation of IPKF and the marginalisation of the NEPC and ultimately the LTTE gained a foothold on the evacuated areas resulting into confrontation with the Sri Lankan Government.

The collapse of the NEPG

20 The NEPG virtually remained a `lame duck' throughout the period of its existence on account of the tardy devolution of powers by the SLG. In the absence of any worthwhile executive powers, the Government was unable to carry out its day to day functions and survived only due to support from the IPKF. It was however unable to gain any credibility with the population. Despite best efforts of the Government of India, Indian High Commission and the IPKF, the SLG continued to drag its feet and remained reluctant to devolve essential powers to the NEPG.

The situation worsened when the decision to de-induct the IPKF was announced. In a remarkably well established pattern, the LTTE aided actively by the Sri Lankan Security Force and the SLC confronted and over-ran the CVF and other armed cadres of the NEPG as and when areas were vacated by the IPKF as part of the de-induction process. SLG-LTTE nexus and the departure of the IPKF sounded the death knell of the NEPG. Commencing with Amparai, the LTTE gained virtual control of all areas gradually vacated by the IPKF. Finally, the cadres who supported the NEPG and their families (a total of 1620 persons) had to be evacuated as refugees to India by the IPKF.

Deinduction phase Oct '89-Mar'90

21 The initial decision to de-induct the IPKF was taken on successful culmination of the election process and two brigades were accordingly de- inducted between April to June, 1989. However, the belligerent stance adopted by President Premadasa consequent to the resumption of the SLG-LTTE dialogue, left no option other than ordering a freeze of de-induction to protect the IPKF's interests. Subsequently, after signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Communique on 18th September, 1989, the de-induction commenced. The outline plan for de-induction of the IPKF area-wise was as follows :

(a) Amparai and Batticaloa Sectors by 30th Nov., 1989;

(b) Mannar and Mullaitivu Sectors by 31 Dec., 1989;

(c) Killinochchi and Vavuniya Sectors by 31 Jan., 1990;

(d) Jaffna and Trincomalee Sectors by 31st March, 1990.

The de-induction was completed in three broad phases and the final elements of the IPKF were de- inducted on 24th March, 1990.

Premadasa on verge of declaring war against IPKF

21.1 There is another report dated 18th September, 1996 published in the Indian Express dated 19th September, 1996 by the Indian Express News Service, to the effect that Author J. Ranasinghe, the then Minister of State for Broadcasting claimed timely intervention by him and IPKF Commander, General A.S. Kalkat and behind the scene efforts by the then High Commissioner Lakhan Lal Mehrotra, the then First Secretary Gurjit Singh prevented the declaration of war by the late Sri Lankan President Premadasa when he was on the verge of declaring war on the Indian Peace Keeping Force stationed in the North and East of Sri Lanka for refusing to accept his dateline for departure by July 29, 1989.

Premadasa was furious when India refused to add a clause to the declaration of troop withdrawal stating that Sri Lankan President was the Supreme Commander of the IPKF. Ranasinghe said that Premadasa had decided to call for the IPKF withdrawal at a public rally rather than through the diplomatic channel because he feared that India would refuse to call troops unless there was international pressure. Premadasa was against IPKF deployment from the beginning and refused to support the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement of 1987. He even stated in his election manifesto that foreign troops would be sent away if he was elected President.

He conveyed Premadasa's message to the First Secretary Shri Gurjit Singh on July 30, 1989 that the President would declare war on the IPKF on the following day. Ranasinghe said that Gurjit Singh and Gen. Kalkat explained that the troops could not be withdrawn in a matter of days and they wanted more time. Finally the announcement was made that troops would be withdrawn in phases and it would be completed by March, 1990. Ranasinghe admitted that IPKF had done a service by pushing the LTTE into the jungles. But Premadasa believed the LTTE and thought he could work out a political solution. The talks between Premadasa and the LTTE broke down and eventually he was killed by an LTTE suicide bomber.

Views on Induction and deinduction of the IPKF

Different views have been expressed on the induction and de-induction of the IPKF.

Shri J.N. Dixit deposed, "Shri M. Karunanidhi was critical of the IPKF and supportive of the LTTE when he was the Chief Minister. Shri V.P. Singh's reaction to respond by withdrawing the IPKF. His view was even without completing its task, the IPKF should be withdrawn. He said that he deduce it from the chain of events and his policy decision. After Shri V.P. Singh came into power,the decisions taken appear to confirm the assessment that Shri M. Karunanidhi and Shri V.P. Singh thought alike on IPKF".

Shri Karunanidhi made his statement in his deposition on 23.11.1996. He deposed, "my views in the matter are that the peace keeping force to Sri Lanka was for making peace and not for any other purpose. I did not give any press release opposing induction of the IPKF. I believe that the IPKF was sent as a peace force. I did not oppose the very idea of sending the IPKF".

On the induction of the IPKF in Sri Lanka, Shri V.P. Singh deposed "I was not in the Government at the time of induction of the IPKF in Sri Lanka. I demitted Office in April, 1987". He further said, "about some elements in the DMK being unhappy about the induction of IPKF and on the activities of the IPKF, I am aware some were unhappy and such unhappiness was not only limited to some elements of DMK alone but shared by other political elements. I think his (Karunanidhi's) reservations were political on the ground that perhaps it was not proper to induct IPKF. Janta Dal, as such, also held that view that induction of IPKF was not very wise. My personal opinion regarding induction of IPKF was that it was not well thought out decision in terms that there were no adequate preparations regarding collection of ground information, logistical needs, ability of the opponent, the necessary resources which we could command, all these strategic considerations were not gone into in detail and finally we ended up in confronting the Tamil population as well as the Sri Lankan Government. The objectives failed, not only in achieving the objectives and also in results, that is to say, diplomatic objective or military results".

How far the above statement of Shri V.P. Singh is correct? His views are not in conformity with the statement given by Lt. Gen. A.S. Kalkat. It cannot be denied that the goal of Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement was not achieved; but failure in the achievement of the goal whether can be attributed to wrong induction of the IPKF.

Shri J.N. Dixit has expressed his views. By the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement, it was expected that the LTTE as well as the Sri Lankan Government would continue to faithfully implement the Agreement. But they colluded to destroy the Agreement.

The circumstances in which the IPKF was inducted also cannot be lost sight of. When once President Jayawardene committed himself to the concessions for devolution, the Agreement had to be signed without loss of time and a request was immediately made for sending the IPKF. That request was acceded to being a stipulation in the Agreement. The Agreement brought happiness in the beginning but things took a different turn after some time. So, under the circumstances, it cannot be said that induction of IPKF was an unwarranted step in the given situation.

Shri V.P. Singh has also deposed about his views on withdrawal of the IPKF. He deposed that the order for withdrawal of the IPKF from Sri Lanka was made by Shri Rajiv Gandhi and out of eight districts, withdrawal had taken place in six districts during Rajiv Gandhi's time.

About his concerns for withdrawal, Shri V.P. Singh said :

i. to keep the word of the Government of India as committed by Shri Rajiv Gandhi;

ii. in our security strategy, any military commitment in Southern zone would have meant new military commitment and over-stretching our defence resources;

iii. militant problem had broken out in J&K and also in Punjab situation was very delicate;

iv. national concern was to secure the country from any military adventure from the West.

v. The Army committed in Sri Lanka was needed on this side. Therefore, it was necessary to withdraw the IPKF by preponing the date.

Shri V.P. Singh said that he got the goodwill of Sri Lanka and also strengthened the defence of the country in the Western sector and other places. He deposed that during his tenure as Prime Minister, after the de-induction, President Premadasa sent a communication of appreciation of the Sri Lankan Government to the Government of India. This is also indicative of the fact that the Government of India had nothing to do with the LTTE; otherwise President Premadasa would not have sent his appreciation; he would have sent complaints.

At the time of de-induction, Shri V.P. Singh further said "Mr. Karunanidhi also contacted Mr. Mehrotra, High Commissioner in Colombo to open a dialogue with Prabhakaran via Premadasa so that at the tail-end of the de-induction, attacks are not made on the Indian Army. Premadasa did contact Prabhakaran and conveyed to the High Commission that he has obtained the assurance of Prabhakaran that LTTE will not attack the Indian Army because we made it very clear to Premadasa that if the India Army is attacked, we will not withdraw in dishonour. Then we will have to make further military commitments. This was my stern warning. It paid off in the sense that except for one minor incident, Indian Army came out not only safely but honourably. This was the positive result of contact by Mr. Karunanidhi".

There was a phased de-induction of the IPKF as the Indian Government of the day had taken a decision in the light of its policy. Irrespective of the consequence on the island, IPKF had to be withdrawan in view of the stand taken by the Sri Lankan Government headed by Mr. Premadasa.

Although before the Commission, different views have been expressed by Shri J.N. Dixit and Shri S.C. Chandrahasan, Shri Chandrahasan has said that it was an unfortunate decision and Shri J.N. Dixit has said that withdrawal of the IPKF was a mistake.

The Government of India was not at all interested at any time for its prolonged stay in Sri Lanka. But it also did not want to bring IPKF back without fulfilment of its commitment and without achieving its objectives of restoration of peace and normalcy.

The IPKF could not remain in Sri Lanka against the wishes of the Sri Lankan Government and the Indian Government had no option. Mr. Premadasa should have respected the bilateral Agreement under which on the request of President Jayawardene, the IPKF was sent and it was at the behest of the President that it started its operations. Sri Lankan Government headed by Mr. Premadasa on the other hand started proxy war by arming and funding the LTTE. Mr. Premadasa had given unilateral ultimatum for de-induction of the IPKF. As a result of de- induction of the IPKF, the fears and apprehensions came out to be true and the areas which stood evacuated from the holds of the LTTE again fell back into its hands. The rival militant groups were completely decimated and the LTTE established its sole authority over the areas evacuated by the IPKF.

When the IPKF reached Madras shores, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Mr. M. Karunanidhi did not receive the last contingent. Mr. Karunanidhi, in his statement, deposed :

"My view in the matter is peace keeping force to Sri Lanka for making peace and not for any other purpose. I did not give any Press release opposing induction of the IPKF. I believe that IPKF was sent as a peace force. I did not oppose it to the very idea of sending the IPKF. When IPKF ceased to keep peace and when they themselves went to the battle ground, I started opposing the IPKF. Due to conflicts between Sinhala and Tamil forces and due to violations of Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement, the IPKF identified itself with Sri Lankan Army and launched attacks not only on the militants but also on innocent Sri Lankan Tamil civilians. I did not go and receive the IPKF.

Normally, a victorious cricket team is received and not a losing team. Since the IPKF failed in its mission in keeping peace, on their return, I did not go to receive the IPKF. It is not my intention to denigrade the Indian Army and compare it with a cricket team. In fact when there was an Exhibition organised in Tanjavur by the LTTE supporters, where the Indian Army was denigraded, I banned the Exhibition". That news is reported in The Hindu on 7th June, 1990, marked Exhibit 566. Shri Karunanidhi was asked the reason as to why he did not go to receive the IPKF, was it because that Rajiv Gandhi sent the IPKF to Sri Lanka, was it that there was no advance study before sending the IPKF or was it for the reason that the IPKF committed atrocities against the Tamils?

The answer of Shri Karunanidhi was:

"I did not go and receive the IPKF because a force which was sent to keep peace in Sri Lanka created chaos and confusion there. I also believe that the proper course for sending the IPKF was not adopted and in Sri Lanka the IPKF did not do what it was intended to do. I do not remember whether Shri V.P. Singh, the then Prime Minister, terms my action of not receiving the IPKF as an unfair action.

The news item in the Indian Express of 14th May 1990 is the opinion of Shri V.P. Singh and I have nothing to say about that. Shri V.P. Singh's statement is "Describing Karunanidhi's attack on the IPKF as "Unfair". Mr. V.P. Singh said the previous Government has made a political mistake in sending the IPKF to go to Sri Lanka. But it must be remembered that the armed forces were only carrying out the assignment given to them by the political authorities. It is therefore unfair to run down the Army".

"I never questioned the intentions of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, but I only criticised the way the Agreement was signed. Prabhakaran was never made to commit by signing of the document. If he had made to commit perhaps the objective of the Agreement could have been achieved. My statement should be understood in that spirit. I read from the neswpapers that the Indian Government held talks with all the Sri Lankan militant groups prior to the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement."

If Sri Lankan Agreement would have been implemented, it would have satisfied both the parties. If the Agreement had satisfied both parties, it might have succeeded.

Shri Rajiv Gandhi had an occasion to express his views on de-induction of IPKF, in the interview he gave to Mr. Vir Sanghvi in 'Sunday' dated 12-18 August 1990. On page 53 under the caption 'Sri Lanka', his interview reads : "Ques. On Sri Lanka, you were planning to withdraw the IPKF by 31 December 1989. The new government withdrew it by 31st March, 1990. But you appear to disapprove: what is the difference between what you wanted to do and what they did do?

Ans. I had very long talks with the Sri Lankan government when it came to India in September (1989) last year. I think it was the longest that any delegation had remained in another country. They were here for three weeks and I spent something like ten hours or 12 hours talking with them and I was able to convince them that it was not just a question of withdrawal. It was a question of what happens after withdrawal and how to give stability.

I met the Sri Lankan delegation that came to India - this was a few weeks ago, and one of the members had also been there at those talks. And he told me that everything I said was coming right today.

So we were not just talking in the air. We had linked the withdrawal of the IPKF to two things: devolution-economic and political devolution to the North Eastern unit, and the security of the Tamils.

We had in fact worked out formulas on how devolution was to be, or who was to define devolution. Because I said, "I cannot define it". It has to be worked out there. Who is going to define "Security"? And I said, "neither can I and neither can you define that. It is the Tamils who have to say, yes we are secure".

But this Government didn't follow up on that. In fact, there was an agreement on 18th September or something like that - a joint communique which lays down the whole thing. This Government gave up all that and that is why we are back to square one. And here I would like to point out that the IPKF in Sri Lanka was not fighting for the Tamils against the Sinhalas. It was not fighting for the Sinhala against the Tamils. It was fighting for the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka. It was fighting for a certain stability in our region without other people interfering in our area. And the definition of that stability was a joint definition by Mr. Jayawardene and myself. It was not something that India had unilaterally laid down.

The problem that is going to come up with the line that this Government is taking, with the capitulation this Government has one is that all that is going to be lost. Today I find they are saying, "We will never send Indian troops anywhere" or something like that. That is ridiculous.

If a friendly country needs help, what will we do? Maldives asked for help. Were we supposed to say no and let the United States send people to the Maldives? Because, in effect, this is what it means. If it wasn't the United States, it would be somebody else.

This Government is totally abrogating its responsibility in the region, and to our friends, it is creating a vacuum the others will fill". From the aforesaid interview it would appear that Sri Lankan delegation had met Rajiv Gandhi in September 1989 and he had discussions with the delegation about 10 hours or 12 hours during its stay of 3 weeks.

According to him it was not a smooth question of withdrawal, it was a question of what happens after withdrawal and how to give stability. When another delegation came just few weeks before the interview, one of the members of the delegation was also there, in the earlier talks and he had told Shri Rajiv Gandhi that everything he said was coming right. Shri Rajiv Gandhi expressed that the Government had linked withdrawal of IPKF to two things. Devolution-economic and political devolution to the North Eastern unit and the security of the Tamils.

With regard to defining security, his view was that the Tamils have to say that they are secure. He also expressed that "IPKF in Sri Lanka was not fighting the Tamils against the Sinhalese nor it was fighting Sinhalese against the Tamils. Fighting for the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka and was fighting for a certain stability in the region without other people interfering in this area. And the definition of that stability was a joint definition by Mr. Jayawardene and myself. It was not something that India had unilaterally laid down".

The IPKF was sent under the political decision taken by the Government at the Centre, following the political decision of signing a bilateral Agreement between Sri Lanka and India. The Indian Army performed to its best under the orders of the Indian Government. Every Indian national should be proud of the Army's role which it performed after great sacrifices without going into the question of correctness or incorrectness of any political decision, as deposed by Shri V.P. Singh.

The IPKF had to be withdrawn after the stand of the Sri Lankan Government was made known to India.

Views of Shri J R Jayawardane

21.3 In a report published in the Times of India dated 27.11.1993, (Annexure-A 17) President Jayawardene expressed his mind defending the IPKF's role. He expressed :

"Rajiv had none of the inhibitions of his mother. He was public school educated and open about things - very much like me. He liked me because I spoke my mind. What I had to say, I said. So he got to like me very much. Mrs. Thatcher once told me that Rajiv had told her that no leader had conceded as much to the Tamils as Jayawardene. That is why he signed the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement with me. How could anybody go any further? And all the terrorist groups accepted the Agreement. Only one man - Prabhakaran broke it".

When he was questioned as to whether he worries about the criticism that he received on account of the IPKF, he said becoming visibly irritated "those who oppose the IPKF are being absurd. If I had not invited them, we would all have been six feet underground. If you want to have dialogue, you have to first be alive. When you lose a political battle, you become leader of the opposition, when you lose a military battle, you are six feet underground. I remember the Minister for National Security, the late Ranjan Wijeratne telling me, why is Premadasa sending the IPKF away? We were days short of complete victory over the terrorists. The Indian Army would have wiped them out forever if they had been allowed to stay on".

Views of Shri J N Dixit on deinduction

21.4 Shri J.N. Dixit deposed on the withdrawal of the IPKF. He said, "One day before Premadasa assumed charge of Presidentship, he called me and told me that IPKF should be withdrawn. I told him that the withdrawal of IPKF cannot be on the basis of his unilateral demand., He will have to discuss the matter with Shri Rajiv Gandhi. After that, he did not mention this matter to me. I conveyed the message to the Government of India. Premadasa did not talk personally to Shri Rajiv Gandhi as far as I know till April, 1989". "There were two stands of thinking shared by Tamil population in Sri Lanka

after October, 1987 - one that it is unfortunate that the IPKF has been compelled to operate against the LTTE, the second stand was under no circumstances should IPKF leave Sri Lanka till the situation was stabilised because the Sri Lankans were afraid that both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Security Forces would unleash violence against them. IPKF was the only safeguarding factor. This continued not only till the withdrawal of IPKF but even thereafter".

Views of Shri P V Narsimha Rao on withdrawal

21.5 "In Parliament, one or two MPs belonging to a particular party were speaking about IPKF committing atrocities in Sri Lanka. But the general feeling in India in Parliament as well as in the public was that the IPKF was doing a fine job under very very trying circumstances.

The change in Government in Sri Lanka and Mr. Premadasa becoming the President had its own repercussions on the activities of the IPKF, and on our attitudes, that is the attitude of the Government of India also. It was well known that Mr. Premadasa was against the induction of IPKF from the very beginning. He was Prime Minister at that time. When he became the President himself, one can easily imagine his attitude to the continuance of the IPKF activities in Sri Lanka. I recall that he wanted the IPKF to leave Sri Lanka.

The withdrawal of the IPKF was the subject matter of discussion. In one or two meetings, I also discussed this matter with two of the Ministers of Sri Lanka. By that time I have come back to the External Affairs. But the final discussion, very long discussion took place between Ministers and Shri Rajivji. At that meeting I was not present. Then came the Elections in India, and if I remember right, one of the items in the mainfesto of Shri V.P. Singh's party was to recall forthwith. That is how after the change of the Government here, the IPKF was withdrawn. A decision for withdrawal of the IPKF was taken during Rajivji's tenure as Prime Minister. There is a link reaction. It was on account of Rajiv Gandhi that IPKF was sent to Sri Lanka and LTTE was opposed to the IPKF and so to Rajivji, after the LTTE fell out and opposed the IPKF".


22 There may be political compulsions for Shri Premadasa for giving such a unilateral ultimatum, but in unholy alliance the LTTE was a stab in the back of the Indo Sri Lanka Accord. Ironically he too was eliminated by LTTE. If Shri Premadasa would have allowed the IPKF to achieve its objectives and goals for which it was sent, that is, to establish a stable civil administration and bring about normalcy and peace to the North Eastern Provinces, history of Sri Lanka and India, perhaps would have been different. Shri Premadasa would have seen in his own life time, peace in the North and Eastern Provinces and India too would not have lost its charismatic Leader.

The apprehensions and fears of Shri Premadasa or of some other quarters in Sri Lanka cannot be said to be well founded that the Indian Army sent as peace keeping force would continue to stay in Sri Lanka. There could be no basis for such doubts. It is significant to know that the process of withdrawal had already taken place. There was evacuation of IPKF from many districts. How India could have acted contrary to the stipulations in the Agreement? IPKF was sent at the request of the President of Sri Lanka and would have only remained in Sri Lankan territory under the Agreement till its tasks performed and normalcy returned by disarming of militants including the LTTE. Democratic Government with effective governance would have come in power.



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