(July 23, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The LTTE front British Tamil Forum (BTA) which succeeded the activities of the former British Tamil Association run by Arunachalam Krishanthakumar alias Shanthan is playing hide and seek game to fool the Tamil people and the British government. On one side they fear of the Terrorism Act and on the other the free thinking democratic voices within the Tamils diaspora and they are taking cover to protect themselves from being exposed.
Series of recent events will confirm the pathetic mindset of the BTA. All their shenanigans started with their recent event of Pongu Thamil held in Roehampton in the South London on 12 July 2008. Though it was known that BTA was behind it, the publicity given in the LTTE media did not disclose BTA as organisers. Instead three individual’s names and their telephone numbers were given in the leaflets circulated. A special website ‘Pongu Thamil’ was set up for this purpose without being publicised in the BTF website.
Pongu Thamil event was the co-ordinated campaign work of the LTTE to promote its image following its declining popularity within the Diaspora Tamils and to uplift its image within the international community. All these started with Pongu Thamil celebration in the LTTE controlled Vanni where majority of the people under its dictates were forced to hero worship the dead Black Tigers (suicide cadres).
Following this LTTE’s international co-ordinator Veerakathy Manivannan alias Castro contacted his representatives in London, Canada and other European countries and asked them to organise Pongu Thamil events in support of their campaign in Vanni. BTF was fearful to put their name forward because of being eyed by the authorities in the UK.
The event went ahead as planned. It gave all the flavours of the LTTE. Pirabakaran’s pictures were carried by the hardcore LTTE men without any fear. Children were covered with LTTE flags and their faces were painted like tigers. The persons participating in the programmes were wearing the traditional LTTE costumes (in red and orange). Only thing that was not seen was the Tamil Eelam police of the LTTE competing with the Metropolitan Police present. However the LTTE’s gangster dance was as usual was reflecting the indifference shown to the suffering people in the north of Sri Lanka.
Even after the event, BTF did not claim ownership for Pongu Thamil event.
Following this a secret exhibition took place in the British parliament on 17 July 2008. This was an event purport to be organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) consisting some parliamentarians. The APPGT is a mere group of parliamentarians and they do not have a office to run its affairs. The APPGT functions as a pressure group in the parliament. Since its formation it has shown all the signs of only working with the BTF and have reflected extra ordinary resentment to engage with the wider Tamil views.
The pro-LTTE exhibition was planned, organised and conducted by the BTF using the APPGT name extensively. Even the cost of the event including catering, room charge and printing invitations and exhibition presentation cost were said to be met by the BTF. APPGT invitation failed to mention that it was organised in association with the BTF. It was subsequently confirmed that the exhibition was conducted by the BTF and the prominent LTTE activists present there were wearing the BTF badges.
When the secrecy of the event was broken, the BTF had no choice but to come out with their press release. Without any reservation they claimed responsibility for conducting the event. ‘This is one of many events that the British Tamils Forum has organised to mark the twenty fifth anniversary’ of anti Tamil violence in Sri Lanka. Considering this claim with the publicity given about the forthcoming vigil in front of the parliament organized by the BTF in the LTTE’s Deepam TV there is clear evidence that Pongu Thamil was organized by the this LTTE front.
The BTF activists state that Pongu Thamil event was held to remember the 3,000 Tamils died in the anti-Tamil pogrom in 1983 in Sri Lanka. They shy away from mentioning that it was an extension of the event of the LTTE to glorify the dead LTTE cadres. July ’83 violence is conveniently used to avoid falling foul to the UK Terrorism Law.
The BTF has claimed responsibility for organizing a candle light vigil said to be backed backed by the Tamil Catholic Chaplaincy on 23 July 2008 in front of the British parliament. The parliament is on recess for three months and most of the MP’s are away on holiday since beginning of the recess. The BTF statement claims ‘this is organised to mark respect and in remembrance of over 3,000 Tamils who were killed as part of the Sri Lankan State sponsored riots back in 1983’. One wonders why BTF has to organise two events to remember the July ’83 violence when as they claim had held one already under the LTTE brand name of Pongu Thamil.
It is quite clear that BTF was put under pressure for not holding a remembrance function for July 83 violence by some section of their activists. As the Pongu Thamil was an event to glorify the LTTE suicide cadres and the BTF was put under pressure to hold a separate function to remember the 1983 anti-Tamil violence. With the significant influence of the Catholic priests the vigil is organised to reflect the wishes of that group within the BTF.
- Sri Lanka Guardian