LTTE Chief Prabhakaran Killed..

May 19, 2009

Depending on whether the Sinhala majority reacts to its military victory with magnanimity or triumphalism, Tamils may grow hopeful of a political solution to the decades-old ethnic conflict or feel physically vulnerable and politically marginalised. thumb.cms

The immediate concern is not the fear of ethnic violence or unrest of the sort that shook the region in 1983, but the approach of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. “I fear Rajapaksa may be keen to broaden his Sinhala support base rather than providing a constitutional solution,” says V Suryanarayan, South Asia expert. Blog: No tears for Prabhakaran The meeting came as state television and defence officials announced that Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and the entire rebel leadership had been killed on Monday by government troops. Sri Lanka’s state television station announced on Monday that Tamil Tiger rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has been killed, and the army commander said the last pockets of rebel resistance have been cleared from the north. Prabhakaran’s death would spell the end of a more than three-decade quest by the rebel leader for a separate state for minority Tamils across northern and eastern Sri Lanka. Rupavahini television, the state broadcaster, broke into its regular programming Monday afternoon to announce Prabakharan’s death. They gave no details of how he was killed. The government information department also sent a text message to cell phones across the country announcing Prabhakaran was killed along with his top deputies, who were known as Soosai and Pottu Amman. Sri Lanka’s army chief, Lt. Gen. Sareth Fonseka, told television his troops routed the last rebels from the northern war zone Monday morning and were working to identify Prabhakaran’s body from among the dead. Blog: Memories of Jaffna He noted that despite the election of a Tamil-led regime in the Eastern Province, there was no headway in devolving powers to it. He said any solution that the government might come up with would just be one put together by “the victor over the vanquished”. A key obstacle in the post-conflict scenario is the absence of a strong, credible figure or political alliance to represent the Tamils. Without the cooperation of the moderate Tamil section, it would be difficult for the Sri Lankan government to regain the confidence of the Tamil people. The only hope is that moderates, liberals and intellectuals among Tamils may regain the voice that has been stifled for years because of the LTTE’s intolerance of dissenting views on one side and violent opposition to federal alternatives from the Sinhala right. Moderate Sinhalese opinion in Sri Lanka is that India may be in a better position to lean on Colombo to offer a political solution now than when the LTTE factor weighed on the issue. “Now that the LTTE is not part of the equation, India can seek justice for Tamils more vocally,” said a Colombo resident.

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