Prabhakaran’s death evokes mixed feelings, security tightened in ChennaiMay 18th, 2009 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, May 18 (IANS) Relief and frank disbelief - as news came in that Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran had actually been killed, some in this Tamil Nadu capital said it was long in coming and others simply refused to believe it was true.
Unwilling to take chances, the establishment tightened security all over the state and especially in Chennai, where the issue of Tamil Eelam, or a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka, has always been an emotive one.
Security was particularly stepped up around the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in the heart of the city, making it difficult for people who lived and worked in the area.
“No chances are being taken as this could prove to be an emotional issue amongst a small section of society. Armed pickets have been posted at all vulnerable areas,” a police official told IANS.
And while police went on alert, the reactions to the death of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief in Sri Lanka’s Mullaitivu area varied widely.
“If the news is true, the last hope of Tamils in Sri Lanka who once ruled that island nation, long before the Sinhalese, is lost forever. Whatever may have been his shortcomings, he will always be hero to us,” said K.N.P. Dasarathan, a business executive.
Added a Sri Lankan Tamil student: “Knowing Thambi (brother), the news is probably untrue as there are little chances of his being killed by the enemy. However, if the story is true… he has become a martyr.”
But for businessman N. Suresh, it was a matter of human life and the toll that the LTTE had extracted.
“If one looks at human life, the deaths in Sri Lanka sadden me whether it is Prabhakaran or anybody else. Prabhakaran extended the elastic bit too long and lost. He should have entered into a dialogue with the Sri Lankan government early.
“It should also be remembered that the LTTE killed other groups and leaders fighting for the Tamil rights cause.”
Added homemaker R. Vasantha: “Terrorism has no space in a civil society. Whether it is Prabhakaran or Veerappan, both have to be eliminated.”
Political analyst Cho Ramaswamy welcomed the development. “Sri Lanka is now rid of a problem and it is a great relief…
“The LTTE has eliminated many Tamil leaders though there are some remaining alive. In Tamil Nadu, some fringe groups may indulge in violence and there may some self immolations. The state police can easily quell that as there is no support for them from the people,” he said.
The pro-LTTE political parties were unavailable for comment.
Both Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa had endorsed a separate homeland for Sri Lankan Tamils during the last days of the election campaign.
The decades long conflict for a separate Tamil homeland left nearly 90,000 people dead in the island nation, separated from India by a narrow stretch of sea.