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Jain Commission Interim Report

Threats to Rajiv Gandhi and his Security
Chapter I

Section 4

4 Threat perception from Sri Lankan Tamil militants and their Indian sympathisers as well as other hostile Lankan elements

Threat perception from Sri Lankan Tamil militants and their Indian sympathisers as well as other hostile Lankan elements

4 Shri. Rajiv Gandhi's efforts to arrive at a peaceful solution to the Sri Lankan ethnic problem, inter- alia, manifested themselves in a series of mutual negotiations attempted between the representatives of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamils through the good offices of the Government of India. Notable efforts in this direction were made during talks held at Thimpu (Bhutan) in 1985 and at SAARC summit held at Bangalore, in November 1986. Both these attempts failed largely due to inflexible stances of the parties involved.

The most important factor which contributed to the failure of these attempts was the obdurate stand of the LTTE who did not dilute their secessionist demands and the firm resolve of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi that the problem had to be resolved within the constitutional framework of Sri Lanka. This was interpreted by the LTTE as an act prejudicial to their interest. While the threat from Sri Lankan militants was more visible, the hostile attitude of a section of fanatic Sinhalese elements, particularly the Buddhist clergy of Sri Lanka and its supporters in Sri Lankan Government and Parliament was another factor which could not be ignored. Increasing animosity of some Sri Lankan politicians, who subsequently wielded power, to the Indo Sri Lankan Accord and their collusion in 1989 with the LTTE were factors having serious threat potential to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

4.1 As early as October, 1986, Intelligence Agencies were receiving information about the hostile attitude of some Sri Lankan Tamils against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Before his proposed visit to Australia, the R & AW reported on 14.10.86(Annexure T-7) that Sri Lankan Tamils in Canberra were planning to hold a demonstration during the visit of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. The R & AW perceived that such demonstrations also had the potential to pose a threat to his security.

4.2 On the local front, the hostile activities of Pro- LTTE Tamil chauvinist groups were equally a cause for concern. Intelligence Bureau reports (Annexure T-8)highlighted several instances of the use of explosive devices by pro-LTTE Tamil chauvinists in Tamil Nadu. On January 29, 1986 an explosion carried out by Tamil Nadu Liberation Army, damaged one of the parapet walls of a bridge on Thanjavur Tiruvaiyur road. The Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was scheduled to proceed by this route the very next day on January 31. Similarly, on the eve of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi's visit to Salem (April 29, 1987),(Annexure T-9) the Tamil Nadu Reorganising Committee (CPI- ML--CRC) displayed posters alleging that Rajiv Gandhi had betrayed the LTTE in the name of the peace talks.

4.3 India's Sri Lankan policy during the early 1987, and the events which preceded the Indo Sri Lankan Accord of July 1987, were not palatable to many. While the LTTE remained irreconcilable due to the insistence of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to find a solution to the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka within the constitutional framework of the island nation, thereby emphatically ruling out any possibility of supporting their demand for Eelam, many fanatic Sinhalese elements both inside as well as outside the Sri Lankan Government perceived the peace initiatives of India as hostile gestures against Sinhala nationalism.

Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had made overt gestures of help to the besieged Sri Lankan Tamils of Jaffna peninsula in June 1987 when the Sri Lankan Army's economic blockade had deprived the innocent citizens of even commodities of sustenance. On 4th June, 1987, in an airdrop organised by the Indian Air Force, food material was airdropped over the Jaffna peninsula. This gesture of the Indian Government had evoked sharp and strong reactions from a section of Sri Lankans. A report of the Intelligence Bureau dated 5th June, 1987, highlighted the perceived threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from such elements as follows :-

(DIB UO No 49/VS/87(3) dated June 5, 1987.- Digest 5/87.)(Annexure T-10)

4. "Serious danger to VIP security also arises from the developments in our immediate neighbourhood, particularly in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The threat potential of Sinhala elements trained and abetted by Israeli Intelligence (and other pro-western agencies) cannot be minimised. Certain elements among Sri Lanka Tamils, who feel unhappy about some aspects of Government of India's Policy, could also pose threat to the security of the Prime Minister and other VIPs."

4.4 The signing of the Indo Sri Lankan Accord on 29th July, 1987, at Colombo, created fresh threat perceptions for Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The incident at the Airport at Colombo on the eve of departure of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi for India after the Accord had been signed has already been dealt with earlier. Besides threats from fanatic Sinhala elements, LTTE's increasing animosity against India in the wake of developments which followed the Indo Sri Lankan Accord became an immediate concern for the Intelligence Agencies to reassess the threat perception of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. It was reported that V. Prabhakaran - the LTTE supremo - had accused Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, of betraying the LTTE. The tenor of statements made by various LTTE leaders was critical of the Accord and suspicious of India's intentions.

The reaction of pro LTTE Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates to these developments was found to be equally unfavourable. During November, 1987, the R & AW reports (Annexure T-11 and T- 12)identified certain Sri Lankan Tamils having links with LTTE who were talking of plans to assassinate Shri Rajiv Gandhi. It was also gathered that some hard core LTTE activists were contemplating revenge against IPKF operations in North - Eastern Sri Lanka. R & AW also got reports (Annexure T-14)that the LTTE was planning to take some dramatic action against targets in India or Indian targets abroad such as Indian missions etc.

Indian diplomatic Missions in Canberra and Singapore reported having received some threatening telephone calls including a hoax bomb threat. There were indications that some unidentified Sri Lankan Tamils in Oslo sympathetic to LTTE were trying to woo the support of Sikhs there by telling them that Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister was to be blamed for the recent developments in Sri Lanka and going to the extent of suggesting his assassination. It was further learnt that LTTE supporters were contemplating to make efforts to utilize the opportunity provided by the World Tamil Conference in Kuala Lumpur to canvass support for hatching a conspiracy to assassinate Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

4.5 Soon after the outbreak of hostilities between the IPKF and LTTE in October, 1987, several reports came in indicating that the Indo Sri Lanka Accord had provoked strong reactions and consternation among certain quarters. A threat perception report furnished by the Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) on 23rd November, 1987, gives a comprehensive picture of the prevailing situation in the context of threat to the security of the then Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Relevant excerpts from the report are reproduced below :-

"Ever since the signing of the Indo Sri Lanka Agreement on July 29, 1987, some Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups and particularly LTTE have been waging a campaign against the Agreement. While all the groups other than the LTTE seem to have reconciled themselves to the Agreement, the LTTE is continuing its campaign against it, both on the ground and in the propaganda front. The nature of this campaign against the Agreement is to some extent influenced by the increasing success of the IPKF in its operations against the LTTE in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

2. Recent reports indicate that some hard core LTTE activists are keen to take revenge for the IPKF action in the Northern and Eastern provinces. There were reports that the LTTE was planning to take some dramatic action against targets in India or Indian targets abroad such as Indian missions etc. Our Missions in Canberra and Singapore had also received some threatening telephone calls including a hoax bomb threat relating to events in Jaffna. Some unidentified Sri Lankan Tamils in Oslo sympathetic to LTTE have also come to notice for trying to establish contact with Sikhs there.

In a recent conversation with the Sikhs they reportedly sought to blame our Prime Minister for the recent developments and suggested the latter should be killed. More recently one Jayadevan, a Sri Lankan Tamil who normally resides in Hong Kong reportedly has come to notice for talking of plans to finish off the Prime Minister and a desire to make efforts to utilise the opportunity provided by the World Tamil Conference in Kuala Lumpur to canvass support for such a plan. in this connection it may be mentioned that one Jayadevan had come to notice for suspected links with drug smuggling activities of some LTTE activists. ...... "

4.5.1 The hostility of these elements gained fresh impetus when the President of Sri Lanka, J.R. Jayawardhane was invited as the Chief guest during the Republic Day celebrations of 26th January, 1988. It is seen that Tamil chauvinist elements, who vehemently protested this gesture, came out openly and rabidly against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. This was highlighted by the Intelligence Bureau in its threat assessment report dt. January 27, 1988, as follows :-

(DIB UO No 5/J1/88/33 dated 27.1.88- Tamil Nadu- Protest activities against Sri Lankan President's visit. )(Annexure T-13)

"Separate calls given by DMK and the DK-TNKC combine to observe January 25 as a protest day against the visit of the Sri Lankan President to India during the Republic Day celebrations... .... evoked ...response in 17 districts of Tamil Nadu. Over 45,000 DMK workers including 30000 in Madras city , 7000 in Coimbatore and 5000 in Tirunelveli put on black badges and hoisted black flags on house tops (including 1200 in Coimbatore and 600 in Madras city). The DMK MLAs put on black bands even while attending the Assembly session.

The DK -TNKC had a more militant programme of burning the effigy of the Sri Lankan President at various places. They succeeded in doing so .. The student groups under the aegis of Tamil Student Federation, All College Students Association and Sri Lankan Tamil Students Union ( all pro DMK) in Madras and Tanjore East also participated in the programme by taking out processions (500/1000) shouting provocative slogans like " Sikh shot Indira and Tamilian will shoot Rajiv", " If Eelam is not forthcoming, separate Tamil Nadu will be formed", " Don't make the hands which carry books to carry weapons", and "Down , down India's aggression". They also burnt the effigies of Sri Lankan President and the Prime Minister of India."

4.6 The IPKF operations in Sri Lanka triggered off unfavourable reactions in Tamil Nadu as well. Reports received by the Intelligence Bureau during this period indicated the anger and frustration of militant Sri Lankan Tamils and their Indian supporters at the Sri Lankan situation. Letters threatening the Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, learnt to have been written by Tamil sympathisers of the LTTE were regularly coming to notice.

4.6.1 The Intelligence Bureau summed up the situation prevailing at that time as follows:-

"Exploiting Tamil ethnic sentiment against the deployment of IPKF in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka, the LTTE also fomented hostile reaction against the Government of India and Shri. Rajiv Gandhi through the rabid pro- Tamil groups and political parties in Tamil Nadu such as the DMK, the DK and the Taminadu Kamaraj National Congress led by P. Nedumaran. Frontline DMK and TNKC leaders had unleashed vituperative invectives against Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, for his alleged failure to protect the Tamils in Sri Lanka. An effigy of Shri Rajiv Gandhi was also burnt by DMK workers at Palani on October 11, 1987.

A DMK leader S. Kandappan had threatened that there would be widespread bomb explosions throughout Tamil Nadu on Diwali Day in 1987, if IPKF operations did not cease by then. A procession taken out under the auspices of the Liberation Tigers Solidarity Organisation led by Ramakrishnan (DK) at Coimbatore on June 1,1988, raised slogans warning that any harm done to the LTTE leader, Prabhakaran, would lead to chaos in Tamilnadu and the Congress(I) leadership including Shri. Rajiv Gandhi would be attacked. The President of the Tamil Protection Federation, Tamil Mannan, held Shri Rajiv Gandhi personally responsible for the rape and murders perpetrated on Tamils in Sri Lanka by the IPKF".

(Affidavit no. 57/92-JCI)

4.7 During mid 1988, in Sri Lanka, IPKF operations directed at neutralising the LTTE threat took a new turn when it was widely reported in the press that the LTTE Supremo, V. Prabhakaran, alongwith other leaders had been surrounded by the Indian Army. These reports triggered off fresh protests in Tamil Nadu where pro- LTTE elements organised processions etc. Apart from Coimbatore, processions and demonstrations were also organised in Madras and elsewhere in the State. An explosion took place in the compound of S.P.Office, Coimbatore on June 17 on the eve of the visit of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to the town.

4.8 The Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) also perceived a substantial threat to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from the Sri Lankan Tamil militants based in Tamil Nadu during his proposed visit to Tamil Nadu. While conducting an enquiry into the source of a threatening letter received against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, the R&AW information revealed as follows :-

((p.14 and 15) , DO NO. 3/8/88-VS- dt. 3 Aug. 88. )(Annexure T-15)

"2. From the enquiries made by us so far, the following has been ascertained:


b) Elements belonging to Dravida Kazhagam and the DMK which are opposed to the Indo-Srilankan Accord could also be responsible for the letter. The PLOT had some links with the group led by Tamil Arasan which was responsible for the Ariyalur railway accident last year. Some cadres of this group were reported to have been trained by the PLOT and LTTE in Tanjore District in the past.

c) In the past there were reports that Uma Maheshwaran of the PLOT used to meet students residing in hostels in Tamil Nadu. The students of the Annamalai University in Chidambaran had also some sympathy for the PLOT and other Tamil militant groups in the past. Veeramani, who is the President of the D.K. was also a student of this University. Since the Prime Minister is going to stay in Chidambaram tomorrow night, this aspect has to be kept in view.

3. Thus from the enquiries made so far there is a possibility that either the ex-PLOT cadres or the DK and DMK elements opposed to the Indo- Srilankan Accord might have been responsible for the anonymous letter."

4.9 Continuing operations of the IPKF in Sri Lanka and the adverse publicity regarding these and the Sri Lankan Tamils refugees settled abroad in United States of America (USA) also were apparently holding a grudge against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), during May, 1988, before a proposed visit of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to USA, furnished an information indicating this. Relevant extracts are reproduced below :-

((p.13) CAB. UO NO. 3/5/88-VS-1811 to1812 dt. May 26, 1988.)(Annexure T-16)


".....it is learnt that apart from the Sikhs, the LTTE activists, numbering around 200, may also hold demonstration during our Prime Minister's visit to New York."

4.10 The Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) perceived an ever increasing threat on the international front in view of the ongoing efforts of the LTTE and other hostile militant organisations to get together on a common platform against India in general and the Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, in particular. This concern is reflected in a threat assessment furnished by R&AW in the context of the visit of the Prime Minister to Federal Republic of Germany. Relevant extracts are reproduced below :-

(UO NOTE NO.3/8/87-VS-1212 TO 1221 DATED 15.04.1988)(Annexure T-17)


"5. LTTE's animosity towards our government in implementing the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord is well known...... In early 1988, Sikh youths in Southall U.K. had approached local LTTE activists for supply of arms to Sikh extremists in India. It is however learnt that no progress was made in this meeting. The LTTE activists in FRG had come to notice for collecting donations and distributing anti- India propaganda leaflets. About 1,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in FRG had held a demonstration in front of our Mission in Bonn on July 31, 1987 protesting against the IPKF action in Sri Lanka. One German Lady Ms.Angela Hesse, who is based in Hamburg has come to notice for being occasionally utilised by Eelam Tamil Solidarity Group of West Berlin for propaganda purposes. Another individual Ramjit Loohbihler of Grobenzeil, FRG had convened a meeting of all Sri Lankan Tamil, Sinhala Groups in FRG on February 6, 1988. In the meeting, he highlighted the need for a formation of a Sri Lankan's Organisation representing both Tamils and Sinhalese which would concentrate only on cultural activities. This did not evoke any enthusiasm among the Tamils....."

4.11 Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, in July - August, 1988, was proposing to visit Sri Lanka. The presence of IPKF in Sri Lanka evoking strong reactions among a section of society and the post Accord atmosphere were the main causes of concern as far as his security considerations went. The Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) comprehensively summarised the threat perception as follows :-

(UO NOTE NO.3/5/88-VS-DATED 21.07.1988)(Annexure T-18)

"The plans for the security of our Prime Minister during his forthcoming visit to Sri Lanka would have to take into consideration the likely threats to his security from elements in Sri Lanka as well as from extremist organisations in India. The elements in Sri Lanka which could pose a threat to his security could be broadly divided into the following categories.

(a) The extremist Sinhala elements and in particular the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

(b) The Buddhist clergy.

(c) The Muslim segment of the local population.

(d) The Tamil extremist elements and in particular, the LTTE

(e) Those sections of the local population, administration, security forces and intelligence agencies which have not been happy with the Indo-Sri Lanka accord of July 1987 and which nourish anti-India feelings.

(f) The Sri Lankan Armed Forces.


Tamil Extremist Elements

6. It is believed that sizeable sections of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka have been unhappy with the operations of the IPKF in the Northern and Eastern provinces. According to one report, a number of Tamil militants belonging to the LTTE are believed to have taken refuge in Colombo to escape capture by the IPKF and their number could be as high as 700. The LTTE propaganda about sufferings of the Tamil civilian population as a consequence of the operations of the IPKF and the general unhappiness of the LTTE and its supporters over the way the military capability of the LTTE has been sought to be neutralized in pursuance of the Indo Sri Lanka accord might induce some of the Tamil militants to give expression to their unhappiness and anger against India through acts of violence directed against our Prime Minister during his stay in Sri Lanka."


4.12 The IPKF, in Sri Lanka to a large extent, succeeded in containing the LTTE and, by 1989 beginning, the LTTE came under heavy pressure. During this period, there were rumours that LTTE Chief V. Prabhakaran, had been injured / killed. This evoked a fresh hostile outburst from LTTE and pro LTTE elements in India which was a fresh threat perception to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. As per a contemporaneous report of the Intelligence Bureau :-

(DIB UO No 49/VS/89(3)-1610 dtd 22.08.1989. Digest 6/89.)(Annexure T-19)

2. "There has been a definite aggravation in the threat from LTTE elements and their supporters in view of the recent developments in Indo-Sri Lanka relations. The rumours of Prabhakaran's death had led to the pro-LTTE Tamil emotions becoming highly agitated and threats were given out that if anything happened to Prabhakaran, the Prime Minister will be harmed."

4.13 In view of the ongoing hostilities between the IPKF and the LTTE in Sri Lanka during 1988 -1989, LTTE activities anywhere in the world aimed at resource / arms mobilisation were correctly perceived to be hostile to India. Available information indicates that these activities were going on with renewed vigour all over the world. The Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) perceived these activities in Malaysia as a threat to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi on his proposed visit to Malaysia. The report furnished in this context gives a glimpse of efforts being made by the LTTE all over the world to mobilise support and resources. Relevant excerpts from the report are reproduced below :-

(p.154)(DO No. 3/12/88-VS-629 to 631 dt. March 17, 1989.)(Annexure T-20)


2. "The main threat to our Prime Minister during his visit to Malaysia to attend the Summit Meeting would be from the Sikh extremists and pro-LTTE elements in the local Tamil population.(Annexure T-23)


11. About 40,000 Sri Lankan Tamils live in Malaysia. A majority of them are pro-LTTE and have been critical of the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement. The supporters of the LTTE in Malaysia have been engaged in clandestine fund collection for the LTTE in Sri Lanka. According to one estimate, they had collected Malaysian Dollars 500,000 in October- November 1988. The Kandaswami Temple in Kuala Lumpur has been one of the important centres for fund collection on behalf of the LTTE. Dr. S. Sivaratnam, a former MP, reportedly plays an active role in the local Tamil community in this regard. An organisation called the Jaffanese Cooperative Society, which has its Hqrs in Kuala Lumpur, has also been active in propagating the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils and the collection of funds. There have been unconfirmed reports of an increase in the availability of AK-47 rifles in the Betong area of Malaysia. These weapons are probably smuggled into Malaysia from the Thai border areas. In the past, there were also unconfirmed reports of clandestine visits to Malaysia by Tamil militants from Sri Lanka."

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Activities of Anton Balasingham, the LTTE ideologue were also noticed in Malaysia in 1989, when Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was proposing to visit the country in order to participate in the Commonwealth Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

It was reported that Anton Balasingham, who was then leading the delegation of the LTTE in the talks with the Sri Lankan Government, was going to Colombo from London after which, he was planning to go to Kuala Lumpur for organising propaganda and fund collection activities for the LTTE. His visit to Kuala Lumpur coincided with the forthcoming Commonwealth Summit. His presence in Kuala Lumpur was perceived as an enhancement to the threat to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from Tamil extremist elements. (Annexure T-24)

During the same time, through an unconfirmed report, it was learnt that Prabhakaran, leader of the LTTE, had visited Singapore to explore the possibility of purchasing arms and ammunition through some of his contacts there. (Annexure T-22)

4.14 A threat assessment prepared in May, 1989(Annexure T-21) when the Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was proposing to visit Paris, brought to light the hostile attitude and increasing level of activity of the LTTE in Europe in general and France in particular. It was reported that most of the 20000 Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates residing in France were sympathisers of Tamil militant groups, like the LTTE, EPRLF, PLOT and TELO. They made sizeable contributions to the funds of the LTTE. After London, Paris is believed to be the most important centre in West Europe for the propaganda and other activities of the LTTE. Activities of the LTTE were coordinated through a front organisation called the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC), with an estimated membership of 4000.

Anton Balasingham, the LTTE leader, had visited Paris from London in the second week of November 1988. Following this, there was an intensification in the fund collection drive of the LTTE. There were also reports that the pro- LTTE elements in France played an active role in the procurement of arms and ammunition for the LTTE in the underground arms market in France and other countries of West Europe and in having them smuggled into Sri Lanka. A French Company called "Armaments Gentinne Rennette", located at 39, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 75008 Paris, was suspected to have been selling arms and ammunition to the LTTE.(Annexure T-24)

The attitude of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees settled in France was, by and large, anti-India. In June 1988, a group of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in France, had attempted to enter the Embassy of India in Paris to protest against the Government of India's policy with regard to the Sri Lankan Tamils.

4.15 In Tamil Nadu, the DMK Government came to power in January 1989. Soon after, the LTTE began expanding their bases in the State. The upswing in the LTTE activities during the DMK regime in Tamil Nadu led to :

* Establishment of at least 40 landing points all along the Tamilnadu coast;

* Maintenance of an elaborate clandestine communication network in Tamil Nadu;

* Establishment of active LTTE cadres in about 26 posts and proliferation of LTTE elements all over Tamil Nadu;

* Establishment of underground factories manufacturing arms and explosive devices.

4.16 Threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from the Sri Lankan Tamil militants and their Indian supporters increased as the IPKF in Sri Lanka continued its task of rooting out the LTTE menace and ensuring free and fair polls in North Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka in December 1989. The Intelligence Bureau reports of this period ( Annexure 25)indicate a concern for the growing activities of the Tamil militants and their Indian supporters in Tamil Nadu. According to these reports, the renegation of the Indo Sri Lankan Accord, by the LTTE kept alive the anti-Centre and anti-PM stance among its supporters and other Tamil Chauvinist elements. Even after the ejection of known cadres, the LTTE continued its activities in Tamil Nadu, and almost the entire Eastern Coast- line from Kanyakumari to Mahabalipuram, as also the Ramanathapuram and Thanjavur districts teemed with suspected LTTE bases. LTTE activists were found reportedly encouraging its sympathisers in Tamil Nadu to manufacture weapons for use in Sri Lanka.

R &AW, in their reports in July 1989(Annexure T-26) pointed out that LTTE was making use of the services of some private lathe and foundry owners of Tamil Nadu to fabricate parts needed for manufacturing and assembling RPG shells, grenades, LMGs etc.

4.17 As the demand for de-induction of the IPKF gained ground, and a blueprint was chalked out for a phased de-induction of the IPKF from Sri Lanka, the need for an increased vigil on hostile Sri Lankan Tamil elements was emphasised by the Intelligence Bureau :-

"The threat from Tamil militants, especially the LTTE cadres and their supporters to the security of the PM has recently been aggravated in view of the delicate Indo-Sri Lanka situation on the issue of withdrawal of IPKF. Steps will have hence to be taken by the security agencies in Tamil Nadu and other South Indian States, particularly in areas having sizeable Tamil population, to activate their sources and contacts to be cognizant of the plans and activities of these elements in order to ensure adequate precautions."

4.18 After the defeat of Congress (I) in the centre, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi ceased to be the Prime Minister. Threats to him from the LTTE and its supporters remained undiminished. As a matter of fact, threat perception of the intelligence Bureau soon after he demitted charge assessed that threats to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had actually increased after he demitted office. The following threat assessment sent to IB HQs by its subsidiary unit in Madras pinpointed these threats :-

(Telex message sent by Madras office of IB to IB Hqrs Delhi - File No 29/VS/89(1) Page No 30. on the " THREAT ASSESSMENT SHRI. RAJIV GANDHI, EX- PM 0n 12.12.89.) (Annexure S-17)





In another threat assessment during the same period, it was acknowledged by the Intelligence Bureau in a report dated 6th April 1990, (Annexure S-64) that

"There is some information that some militant elements of the LTTE might resort to do physical harm to the former Prime Minister of India, Shri Rajiv Gandhi and these elements seem emboldened in their hostile attitude towards the former Prime Minister, especially after the defeat of the Congress-I Government at the Centre. "

4.19 It is surprising that with the vast reservoir of intelligence indicating LTTE's growing animus against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, a sensational act of terrorism by LTTE on 19th June 1990 in Madras was not perceived as a threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi's life.

In Madras, at about 1815 hrs. on 19th June 1990, a six member LTTE hit squad, armed with AK-47 rifles and hand grenades, stormed into the apartment of K. Padmanabha, the General Secretary of EPRLF, and shot him dead alongwith 14 others. In the shootout and lobbing of grenades, which occurred in broad daylight in the crowded area of Kodambakkam, 13 Sri Lankan Tamils and 2 Indians lost their lives, while 22 others were injured. This hit squad, while escaping, traversed the 350 kms National Highway from Madras to Trichy, hijacking a private Maruti van en-route and left the Indian shores through an LTTE boat two days later from the LTTE infested coast of Vedaranyam in Thanjavur district. No investigation worth its name was conducted by the state police in this case.

The Intelligence Bureau had, during the initial stages itself, confirmed the hand of LTTE behind the assassination. Contemporaneous reports of the Intelligence Agency inter-alia, indicated that the suspected offenders had already made good their escape from the Indian soil to the Northern parts of Sri Lanka from Pillayar Thidal off Vedaranyam Coast (Thanjavur district).

The Intelligence Bureau had reported that the targeting of victims (ensuring presence of senior leaders at the time of offence), timing of the crime (waiting for the return of EPRLF leader Padmanabha to Madras) and the finesse seen in the commando type of assault (the assassinations were completed in a brief time span of 10 to 12 minutes) indicated that only a fully trained and armed group such as the LTTE would have carried out the operation. The improvised grenade ( which had 800 gms of TNT) left behind by the assailants at the scene and another handgrenade found on the roadside were fairly high power explosives which would have blown off the entire premises if they had exploded. According to the forensic experts, these were not of indigenous make and made probably in the USA for use by mercenary and insurgent groups.

The get-away of the assassins had been carefully planned fully utilising the slackness of the police. The car-borne assailants had threatened police constables near Vandalur on the Grand South Trunk Road leading to Trichy hours after the offence and had later in the night changed cars by forcibly seizing a Maruti van near Villupuram. Road blocks had not been erected by the police on this crucial Highway. On June 21, afternoon, the assailants had abandoned the Maruti van at Pillayar Thidal and left by boats. The clandestine boat movement, a frequent occurrence in this area, was also within the knowledge of the authorities.

Intelligence also confirmed that a suicide squad of the LTTE, the Black Tigers with about 35 dare devil LTTE activists had been entrusted with the task of eliminating prominent "enemy" targets. The assassination of Amirthalingam, Yogeswaran and Sam Thambimuthu, all leaders of the TULF, at different periods in the last few months after LTTE had commenced negotiation with the Sri Lankan Government had taken place at the instance of his squads of " Black Tigers". Movement of units of the "Black Tigers" to Tamil Nadu prior to the June 19 offence had taken place. Even local LTTE activists were not kept informed of the movements of "Black Tigers".

LTTE activists based in Tamil Nadu (not arrested by the Police) had ensured the assailants who were their 'men' had a safe passage to Northern Sri Lanka.

Even after the offence, fully active LTTE cadres based in Tamil Nadu had not been picked up for interrogation.

4.20 After the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, a re- investigation conducted by the state police revealed that six key accused in both the cases were common, the rifle used to kill Padmanabha was the same which was seized from the body of one of the key common accused Sivarasan @ Raghuvaran in August 1991 and the pellets found in both the cases were similar.

It is further indicated that this important LTTE hit man Sivarasan @ Raghuvaran, though he had been identified as Padmanabha's killer, had been freely moving about not only in Tamil Nadu but also between Jaffna and the Indian coast of Vedaranyam making elaborate preparations for the assassination.

4.21 In this context, an apparently innocuous bit of information passed on by the Intelligence Bureau to the Tamil Nadu Police prior to the assassination assumes great significance. As per the affidavit (No. 57/92-JCI),filed by the Intelligence Bureau :-

"In April 1991, `Raghuvaran', a member of the Black Tigers of LTTE (who was involved in the massacre of EPRLF cadres in Madras on June 19, 1990) had been reported to have been sighted at Anna Nagar, a suburb of Madras city. The Madras City police were alerted and all efforts made to locate and arrest him but to no avail.(The said Raghuvaran is now learnt to be identical with Sivarasan, a prime accused in Shri Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.) (Para 4.xv )

4.22 The cavalier attitude of the concerned in tracking down Raghuvaran is starkly brought out by a video cassette recorded by a young videographer, Manivannan of a public meeting addressed by Shri. VP Singh on the night of May 7th 1991 at Nandanam, Madras. Sivarasan @ Raghuvaran has been inadvertently recorded sitting in the front row amongst the audience in the public meeting. What he was practicing at the public meeting along with other conspirators including the 'human bomb' was a 'Dry Run' of the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

Sivarasan @ Raghuvaran was finally tracked down on August 19th 1991 at Konanakunte, Bangalore, three months after he had succeeded in his assignment of assassinating Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Had "Raghuvaran" been tracked down, would it have changed the course of history ? It is a moot question.

4.23 Events in Tamil Nadu over several months prior to the assassination indicating a demonstrable deterioration in the law and order situation had become a serious cause of apprehension. Another cause for concern was perceived to be the freedom with which anti-national and secessionist elements were able to function which could disturb the democratic polity in this part of the country. It was also perceived that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were operating as an independent force outside the ambit of the country's laws, and had carved out certain sanctuaries in parts of Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Tiruchirapally districts. There existed at least 40 well-established LTTE landing points and most of these areas were not being policed effectively. The LTTE was able to exercise unbridled influence in the area.

The reports of the Intelligence Bureau of this period also recognized that the activities of the LTTE could have a long term fall-out due to the following reasons :-

-- the presence of a fairly well-established clandestine communication network of the LTTE, using both HF and VHF facilities.

-- Tamil Nadu had become a major conduit, transit and staging point or for arms, ammunition and explosives for use of LTTE militants in Sri Lanka. Some of the arms and ammunition had also found their way into underground channels within India.

-- An LTTE run underground arms industry was running within Tamil Nadu manufacturing 'Arul-89' grenades and 'Pasilan-2000' (RPG shells);

-- LTTE elements had built up an extensive network of contacts among political and economic segments of society in Tamil Nadu, using methods like bribery, corruption, influence peddling, as also coercion.

-- The permissive atmosphere prevailing in the State had also given encouragement to militants and secessionist forces, both within the State and elsewhere in the country. There was evidence that organisations like the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the Tamil Nationalist Movement (TNM), the Tamil Manawar Peravai (TMP), the Marxist Periyarist Communist Party and rationalist groups were making common cause with the LTTE and stoking the fires of fissiparous and secessionist attitudes.

-- Quite a few members of the TNM had reportedly participated in a PWG convention in 1990. The growing relationship between Tamil separatist groups and left wing extremist factions like the PWG had also helped the latter to establish a beachhead with the LTTE.

(DIB UO.NO.I(14)/90(11)-130 DATED 25.06.1990 (Annexure T-27) ;DIB LETER NO.4/DIB/DIS/2/91-93 (Annexure T-28)

4.24 By 1990, several indications of LTTE's hostile attitude towards Rajiv Gandhi had surfaced. A threatening letter in Tamil, purportedly written by the LTTE to the then President TN Congress (I) V.K. Ramamoorthy stated that it was well within the capacity of the LTTE to do away with the Congress (I) chief, Rajiv Gandhi, also even from their own location in Sri Lanka. A report of the Intelligence Bureau, submitted during December 1990, significantly stated

"The latest trend in the thinking of the LTTE leadership is to solicit urgently the help of the Government of India to ward off the pressure imposed on them by the Sri Lankan Government. LTTE emissary, Kasi Anandan, is making efforts to meet the Prime Minister of India through S.C. Sinha, leader Congress (S)...LTTE is hopeful that the Government of India would overlook the hostile postures of the LTTE towards IPKF and the then Rajiv Gandhi Government and open negotiations with them. LTTE is further hopeful that its friends in Delhi would even help to change Rajiv Gandhi's attitude towards the LTTE." (IB note no. 15267 dt. 7.12.90.)(Annexure T-29)

4.25 Kasi Anandan, the LTTE emissary met Rajiv Gandhi on 5th March 1991 at 10, Janpath, New Delhi. Soon after, on 15th March 1991, another LTTE emissary, Arjun Sittampalam, based at London, met Rajiv Gandhi at New Delhi. Apparently, the Intelligence agencies did not attach much significance to these unpublicised meetings as their threat perception reports of the relevant period are silent on these meetings. Retrospectively, these meetings assumed great significance as they were perceived as a smoke screen deliberately created by the LTTE to lull Shri. Rajiv Gandhi into complacency.

4.26 The LTTE threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi further accentuated when President's Rule was imposed in Tamil Nadu during January 1991 after the Centre dismissed the DMK Government on charges of its failure to maintain law and order in the state in view of increased LTTE activity in Tamil Nadu. A crackdown on LTTE activists heralded the beginning of the President's Rule in Tamil Nadu. The serious setback the LTTE received owing to the crackdown led to their increasing resentment against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Although the decision for the dismissal of the DMK Government and crackdown on the LTTE in Tamil Nadu was the decision of the Central Government headed by Chandrashekhar, nevertheless, the popular perception appears to be that this decision was precipitated by Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. According to Shri. K.N. Thakur, former Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau, who deposed before the Commission :-

"Shri. Rajiv Gandhi faced enhanced threat from terrorists including Tamil militants on account of President's Rule in Tamil Nadu and dismissal of DMK government and action following thereafter."

The thinking of the LTTE on the political developments in Tamil Nadu is clearly reflected in the Intelligence reports of the IB furnished in February, 1991, soon after the dismissal of the DMK Government in Tamil Nadu. The reports indicated that the London based LTTE leader Kittu was learnt to have suggested to Prabhakaran a line of approach with regard to the dismissal of the DMK government in Tamil Nadu. According to it, LTTE should not dabble in Tamil Nadu politics or take sides; the DMK leader Karunanidhi had no option other than supporting the LTTE in future; Jayalalitha (AIADMK) would also change her tune in favour of LTTE once elections were over; However, the Cong-I headed by Rajiv Gandhi would strive to take revenge and go all out against the LTTE if it came to power at the Centre. Kittu foresaw the possibility of a liberation struggle gradually building up in Tamil Nadu as a result of denial of rights to the Tamils here in a fashion akin to Sri Lanka.

(computer/fax msg no.133/91 dated 02.02.1991 TTT/Crash)(Annexure T-30)

4.27 In early April, 1991, the Intelligence Bureau, reassessed the threat perception of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi (Annexure S-95 ) and reiterated that the crackdown in Tamil Nadu after the imposition of President's rule had increased the resentment of the LTTE and their local supporters against the Central Government. This had enhanced the threat to the security of the Prime Minister as also Shri Rajiv Gandhi from them. The Intelligence Bureau further pointed out in April 1991, that "The LTTE has threatened to cause harm to Shri Rajiv Gandhi alleging that he along with certain other Indian leaders were stumbling blocks to the achievement of the Eelam."

4.28 The threat perception reports of the intelligence agencies for the period immediately preceding the assassination categorically indicate the extremely high level of threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from the most dreaded, desperate and determined terrorist organisation like the LTTE. The LTTE's suicide squads and the cyanide culture was unique, and to meet this concrete and continuing threat to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, extraordinary security measures were required. The LTTE had demonstrated its capability of operating with impunity in India when Padmanabha of EPRLF and his associates were brutally assassinated in an unprecedented massacre in the heart of Madras in June 1990.

What is even more shocking is the fact that the killers were not apprehended and allowed to escape. At least six of the killers of Padmanabha continued operating in India and were found involved in the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The dismissal of the DMK Government in January 1991 and the developments which followed further accentuated the threat to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from LTTE. With the beginning of the election campaign, with a reduced security cover, Rajiv Gandhi became most vulnerable to attacks.

The intelligence agencies, tragically failed to pinpoint the specific preparations being made by the potential assassins who were LTTE operatives and had been freely moving about in the state of Tamil Nadu making preparations for the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. It was this combination of non -implementation of the threat perceptions into security arrangements and the single minded determination of the most dreaded killers of LTTE which finally led to the ghastly assassination.



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