By Arun Lakshman
Chennai, Feb 19 (IANS): Tamil Nationalist leader, Dr. Pazha Nedumaran on February 13 made a startling and shocking revelation at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu that the LTTE Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was alive and safe. Even though the Tamil Nationalist leader refused to divulge the details of the whereabouts of the former guerilla leader, who had sent shockwaves across the spines of Sri Lankan rulers, he said that Prabhakaran would resurface at the appropriate moment.
Adding to this, Pazha Nedumaran said that the geo-political situation was conducive to the emergence of Prabhakaran.
However other Tamil nationalist leaders from the state and politicians, Vaiko of the MDMK and Seeman of NTK) rebuffed the claims and refused to buy Nedumaran's statement.
The Sri Lankan Army also brushed aside the claims of Nedumaran and said that the army had all the DNA proof to establish that Prabhakaran was killed in May 18, 2009 during the military operation carried out by the Sri Lankan army.
Mainstream political parties like the ruling DMK, opposition AIADMK, BJP did not make any comments but the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President, K.S. Alagiri mocked the statement of Nedumaran and said that he would meet Prabhakaran if he was alive.
However, the central intelligence agencies and the global intelligence community have not put the revelation of a leader like Nedumaran under the carpet. Tamil Nadu state intelligence wing also constituted a special team under ADGP intelligence, Davidson and comprising senior officers like the DIG of Police, Senthilvelan, and Tamil Nadu 'Q' branch SP, Kannamal.
While political parties or Tamil nationalist movements have not supported the claims of Nedumaran, political observers are of the opinion that there is an undercurrent in Dravidian politics of Tamil Nadu over Nedumaran's statement.
Dr. G. Padmanabhan, Director, Socio Economic Development Foundation, a think tank based out of Madurai told IANS,"While Vaiko and Seeman brushed aside Nedumaran's claims and the Sri Lankan Army confirmed that Prabhakaran was killed, there is a belief among the Tamil nationalist movements, that there could be a possibility in the statement of Nedumaran. Tamil politics has always revolved around Tamil nationalism and a Greater Tamil Eelam has been a dream of those behind the Tamil Dravidian movement, there is a strong discussion in all spheres of Tamil Nadu on the statement of Nedumaran."
It is to be noted that after several years of being in dormancy, there has been a flurry of activities by former LTTE men in the last two years that includes the smuggling of contraband items like drugs, arms, and ammunition from Pakistan.
The arrest of a former LTTE senior intelligence operative, Sabesan alias Satkunam was arrested by Tamil Nadu Police in October 2021 after a huge cache of drugs and Five AK 47 assault rifles and ammunition were seized from a boat in the Arabian Sea off Vizhinjam coast. On questioning those in the boat, it was revealed that the shipment was for Sabesan and that it was headed toward Sri Lanka. The drugs were worth Rs 3,000 crore and Sabesan told the interrogators that it was for raising funds for the LTTE.
It may be noted that a 52-year-old woman, Mary Francisco, who was a Canadian national from Sri Lanka, was intercepted by the Chennai international airport authorities in January 2022. She was handed over to the 'Q' branch of Tamil Nadu Police on intelligence tip-offs that she was part of an international network of former LTTE cadres and sympathizers who were trying to retrieve dormant accounts in nationalised banks to raise funds for the movement.
The woman on interrogation revealed that the former LTTE operatives based out of Germany and Switzerland were targeting huge money lying dormant in bank accounts using fake identities. The woman also revealed that the specific target was to retrieve money lying dormant in an Indian Overseas Bank account in Mumbai and this was also for raising funds for the LTTE. This shows that there was some trigger for the LTTE sympathizers and cadres to raise funds and that could be the information that Prabhakaran was alive and kicking.
The statement of Nedumaran is seen by many in the former Tamil nationalist movements as a deliberate attempt to test the waters and how the international community would react to it. The intelligence agencies taking the statement seriously is an indicator that there could be some developments rather than what was seen in the open.
While these are early days of investigation, it has to be seen in the days to come as to how the revelation would take Tamil politics ahead, but it is certain that the Tamil nationalist movements have got a shot in the arm due to the revelations from Nedumaran.