Vowing to fight on, Prabhakaran asks India to lift ban (Lead)

November 27th, 2008 - 10:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Nov 27 (IANS) Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran urged India Thursday to lift the ban on his group even as he pledged to continue his war against Sri Lanka “till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed”.Sending an olive branch to India, the first country to outlaw the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Prabhakaran said his outfit never viewed India as an enemy.

Making his annual speech, Prabhakaran, who turned 54 Wednesday, said the Tamil people hoped that “the Indian superpower will take a positive stand on our national question.

“I would cordially request them to raise their voice firmly in favour of our struggle for a Tamil Eelam state, and to take appropriate and positive measures to remove the ban which remains an impediment to an amicable relationship between India and our movement,” he said.

The LTTE was banned in India in 1992, a year after a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber assassinated former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally near Chennai. Prabhakaran and his intelligence wing head, Pottu Amman, are wanted in India for the killing.

Prabhakaran expressed his “love and gratitude at this juncture to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu and the leaders of India for the voice of support and love they have extended (to the Tamil people).

“Not withstanding the dividing sea, Tamil Nadu, with its perfect understanding of our plight, has taken heart to rise on behalf of our people at this hour of need.

“This timely intervention has gratified the people of Tamil Eelam and our freedom movement and given us a sense of relief.”

Claiming that the LTTE did not “contravene the national interest, geo-political interest or economic interest of any outside country”, Prabhakaran said that the LTTE had “always wished to maintain cordiality with the international community as well as neighbouring India” and expressed his readiness to build a constructive relationship with them.

“Cordially I invite those countries that have banned us, to understand the deep aspirations and friendly overtures of our people, to remove their ban on us and to recognise our just struggle,” he said.

Referring to protests in Tamil Nadu in support of a ceasefire in Sri Lanka, he said: “There are great changes taking place in India and dormant voices in support of our struggle are re-emerging aloud again.

“There are also indications of our struggle becoming accepted there. The positive change in environment gives us courage to seek renewal of our relationship with the Indian superpower,” he said.

Describing the earlier approach and interventions of India as “injurious to the people of Tamil Eelam, as well as to their struggle”, he blamed the then Sri Lankan government of having “conspired to bring enmity” between the LTTE and the earlier Indian administration.

“It was because we were firmly committed to our conviction and freedom for our people that friction erupted between our movement and India. However, at no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. They have great expectations that the Indian superpower will take a positive stand on our national question.”

Prabhakaran’s remarks assume added significance as government troops make a “multi-pronged” advance towards the LTTE stronghold of Kilinochchi town, located 350 km north of Colombo.

The Sri Lankan military, which captured the entire eastern province from the rebels last year, said Wednesday that the troops were operating on the outskirts of Kilinochchi and that the fall of the rebel’s political hub was imminent.

Even minutes before Prabhakaran opened his speech, Sri Lankan jets Thursday evening targeted “two radio communication centers” at Paranthan, lying to the north of Kilinochchi. Similar air raids last year flattened the building complex of the rebel’s radio in Kilinochchi.

Admitting that the LTTE is “confronted with an intense war as never before”, the rebel chief said “an arrogant Sinhala nation stands adamant and is determined to occupy and conquer the historic (Tamil) lands.

“All human suffering springs from unbridled desire. With its greed for land, Sinhalam has entered a militaristic path of destruction. It has sought to build the support of the world to confront us. It is living in a dreamland of military victory,” Prabhakaran said.

“Whatever challenges confront us, whatever contingencies we encounter, whatever forces stand on our path, we will still continue with our struggle for the freedom of the Tamil people… We will continue with our struggle till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed.”

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