Krishnakumar - Kittu
- the Struggle was his Life
Interview with Melbourne CR3 Radio,
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam]
Q. What is the role of expatriate Tamils in relation to the
A. Wherever we may live
in the world, we are Tamils... In Tamil Eelam, our brothers and sisters
are suffering great hardship. They are being killed every day because they
are standing up for that which is right. That which we should do first is
that we should let them know "we are with you, we support your struggle,
your struggle is our struggle". Five lakhs of our people living outside
Tamil Eelam, should be moved to say: "We will support you, we will give our
hand, we will give our voice." It is that which we expect from expatriate
Joay Mahesh of Melbourne CR3 Radio interviewed Sathasivam
Krishnakumar in June 1991:
Q. Mr. Krishnakumar, despite your denials, allegations continue
to be made by the Sri Lankan and Indian authorities concerning LTTE involvement
in the Rajiv
Gandhi assassination. Would you care to comment?
A.In so far as the Liberation Tigers are concerned, I wish to
state categorically that there is no connection what so ever between the
assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and the LTTE. I have already stated this from
London and Anton Balasingham has also made a categorical and clear denial
from Jaffna. May I say that it would appear to any impartial observer that
even before the investigation commenced it was decided that it was the LTTE
which was responsible. Everything was looked at from that perspective. It is
also a fact that this allegation was used as a weapon in the Indian election
campaign, in support of the Congress party as well as its allies in Tamil
Nadu. Some Indian newspapers are now saying that all this may have been a
tactic to prevent a destabilising situation arising within India if it
should appear that the assassination was carried out by forces within India.
It is wholly wrong to attribute blame to the LTTE without any concrete and
acceptable evidence. There is no evidence to show that any of the persons
who have been arrested were members of the LTTE. It may be that those who
are continuing to make these allegations do so with the intention of rousing
the people of Tamil Nadu against the LTTE.
Q. Has all this been a set back for the Tamil Eelam Liberation
struggle and for the LTTE?
I do not believe that this will directly harm our struggle.
However we are concerned about the plight of about 200,000 of our people who
have been living in Tamil Nadu as refugees. We have noted that in a recent
interview, Ms.Jayalaitha Jayaram has declared that she will secure the
future of these refugees and protect them.
Q. When Ms.Jayalaltha Jayaram assumes office as the new Chief Minister, do you
believe that the struggle will receive the same support that it had received
from the late Puratchi Thalavar, M.G.R. in the past?
A. It will be necessary to wait and see the direction which
Indian politics will take. One factor is that the Central government has
become weak. Again there are no indications as to how long it will last. We
shall wait and see.
Q. The recent attack on the army headquarters in Colombo has
been attributed to the LTTE by the Premadasa government. Do you have any
A. Many newspaper correspondents have asked us whether we were
responsible for this attack. We were also asked whether we condemn the
In so far as we are concerned, the attack in Colombo was directed against a
clear military target - the joint headquarters of the Sri Lankan army, navy
and airforce - and therefore it is not an action that we condemn. It is
a matter for regret that civilians have also been killed as a consequence of
the bomb blast. However, it was this headquarters which was used for
planning the daily genocidal onslaught on the Tamil people. Thousands of
Tamils have been killed on the basis of orders given from and decisions made
at this headquarters. Again, it was from this headquarters that orders were
given and plans made for the attacks in the South - attacks which led to the
'disappearance' of around 60,000 Sinhala people during the past two years.
Q. During the past one year, a harsh war has been waged by the
Government in the North-East. In this war although the LTTE has won significant
victories, it is a matter of pain and sadness that many Tamil civilians have
suffered deaths and great hardship. Are the objectives of the LTTE in accord
with the feelings of the Tamil people?
A. Definitely, the Tigers have ranged themselves with the
people. The LTTE is taking the struggle forward with them. The full support
of the people continues to be with the LTTE. It is sometimes asked: how has
the LTTE taken this struggle forward, how has it made these tremendous
sacrifices? Our only reply is that whatever success we have achieved
is because of the support of our people and the strength of our leadership.
Ours is a strong, capable and determined leadership. It
is a leadership which has won the confidence of the people. The people know
that it is a leadership which will not deceive them, which will not sell
them out. The people believe that this leadership will not betray them as
some of the leaders of the past, and that it will secure the fulfilment of
It is because of this, that our youth and our people have
given solid support and strengthened our struggle. It is true that
criticisms have been made that as a result of this struggle, many civilians
have died and much hardship has been caused. But we must examine this
closely. In the name of communal disturbances, the Tamils have been killed
1983 alone, before the commencement of this stage of the armed struggle,
7000 Tamils were killed. In the
1977 disturbances, 8000 Tamils were killed. In between these two
periods, 5000 Tamils were killed. In sum we have lost 19,000 Tamil lives
between 1977 and 1983. Since 1983, we have not lost the same number of
lives. The statistics support the view that the struggle has protected our
We must understand that this struggle arose from the people
and the support the people give, is directly proportional to the commitment
of the LTTE to the struggle. Where any party has given up the demand for
Tamil Eelam, the people have not hesitated to throw them out. So that which
ever way we may look at it, the LTTE cannot give up the demand for Tamil
Eelam. The Liberation Tigers have the duty to take the demand forward in a
determined fashion. We have to honour the confidence that the people have
placed in us.
Q. Though the Sri Lankan Government has sought a military
solution, are you ready for a political solution and if so what are the
conditions that you have placed?
A. We must look at this carefully. We have at no time rejected
any attempts to seek a political solution or a peaceful settlement. We are
aware of a
40 year record of being deceived by successive Sinhala governments.
Though the late leader Thanthai Chelvanayagam entered into several
agreements, we have seen that on each occasion, these agreements have been
torn up. We cannot forget that past. Our past experiences should teach us.
We must examine that historical experience properly and in
It was due to the failure of these negotiating processes that the armed
struggle was born. Even so, when President Premadasa requested that we
should seek a peaceful settlement, we afforded an opportunity in January
this year by declaring a unilateral cease-fire for 29 days. But the Sri
Lanka government did not respond. It rejected the offer for unconditional
talks by imposing several pre conditions to the negotiating process.
We are even today prepared to commence talks without pre
conditions. Talks cannot be taken forward if preconditions are imposed. We
need open talks. But Sri Lanka requires us to put down our arms. I say by
arms what are you describing? If it is the AK47, then that is no problem.
But what we mean by arms is not simply that but also
the arms that hold those arms, and the aspirations that are in the hearts of
our people - these are also arms so far as we are concerned.
To us arms is that mechanism which can protect our people.
At a time when our people are without protection, we cannot
drop our arms and then go in search of a peaceful settlement. People should
not misconstrue that we are lovers of weapons. We have made our fighters
understand several times that we are not lovers of violence. We are freedom
fighters. It was because our people were oppressed, it was because our
people were being destroyed, that we took up arms in defence of our people.
We are very clear about this.
However, we have repeatedly told Sri Lanka that we are ready
for unconditional talks. Recently on the first anniversary of the resumption
of hostilities - June 10 - we called for unconditional talks. But Sri Lanka
continues to seek a military solution by carrying our aerial bombardments of
civilians, by imposing an economic blockade. In this situation, we have been
compelled , we have been pushed to continue our armed struggle.
Q. Given the
previous deceitful record of the Sri Lanka government can you trust them and
engage in talks again?
A. Talks is one matter. Settlement is another matter. Because
we go for talks it does not follow that we will accept anything and
everything. But, there is nothing wrong in trying to reach a settlement. If
by a settlement, peace can be achieved for our people, we are prepared and
ready to participate in that effort. We are not persons who say: we have
taken to arms, we shall continue to fight, we like to fight. We can go for
But, ofcourse, we should carefully examine the terms of any
proposed settlement. It is our wish that the talks should be conducted in a
such a way that they will fulfil the aspirations of our people. We have
proposed that the talks should be unconditional. At the same time we have
our views as to the direction which the talks should take.
This is a national question.
The struggle that is going on in Tamil Eelam is not terrorism. Sri Lanka
keeps saying that it is taking action against terrorism, that LTTE is a
terrorist organisation, that its actions are terrorist. It has failed to
recognise that this is a national liberation struggle. Sri Lanka needs to
recognise that the Tamils are a nation, that
we have the right of self determination. On this basis it will be
possible to resolve the conflict. The Sri Lankan constitution is a unitary
constitution. The conflict between two peoples cannot be resolved
within a unitary constitution. At the same time, if we recognise
that in Sri Lanka there are two nations,
then we can talk about how these two nations may live. I repeat this not
a terrorist question.
Q. It is not only the Sri Lankan government, but there are some
expatriate Tamils who also take the view that LTTE is a terrorist organisation
and that they are responsible for the war that is going on in Sri Lanka. What is
expatriate Tamils who have left their homelands for more than 20 years may find
it difficult to understand the nature of the struggle in Tamil Eelam. They may
not fully understand the feelings of an oppressed people. They may believe that
any armed struggle is terrorism. But if they study our history, they will
understand that the Tamil people have been pushed into this struggle.
The demand for Tamil Eelam was the demand of Thanthai Chelvanayagam. Today,
we cannot leave this struggle at a half way stage.
We need guarantees for the protection of our people. We
cannot trust the Sri Lankan government to carry out this duty. Neither can
we take seriously those who suggest that we should.
Nor can we
depend on India for our protection. In this situation we must secure in
our own hands our protection. Whilst President Premadasa talks peace he
continues with his military efforts. If we look at the past we can see why.
Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism has been institutionalised in Sri Lanka and
today it has become more powerful than the politicians themselves.
Indeed even if the Sinhala politicians seek to settle the
conflict, Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism may try to prevent such a settlement.
This is the political reality that those who are aware of the Sri Lankan
situation are well aware of. This is the result of the grievous error
committed by Sinhala politicians. In
1956 for the
first time this 'communalism' was openly put forward for electoral gain.
This Sinhala chauvinism which was nurtured by Sinhala politicians for their
has grown into a
Frankenstein monster which now has the power to destroy and make
politicians. This we understand very well. [note by
tamilnation.org: see also
From ethnic outbidding to ethnic conflict: the institutional bases for Sri
Lanka's separatist war - Neil Devotta, January 2005]
What is the role of expatriate Tamils in relation to the struggle?
A. Wherever we
may live in the world, we are Tamils... In Tamil Eelam, our brothers and
sisters are suffering great hardship. They are being killed every day
because they are standing up for that which is right. That which we should
do first is that we should let them know "we are with you, we support your
struggle, your struggle is our struggle". Five lakhs of our people living
outside Tamil Eelam, should be moved to say: "We will support you, we will
give our hand, we will give our voice." It is that which we expect from
expatriate Eelam Tamils.