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New Delhi demands "Pottu Amman"

by a Special Correspondent From Colombo

(July 11, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) India has begun to poke its nose into the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, once again, since the failure it faced following its military intervention in the 90's.

India has been keen through out on interfering in the affairs of Sri Lanka and ensuring its geographical and political interests.

Whether it was in the late 80's or whether it is now, the foremost objective of the Indian diplomacy has not been to ensure and preserve peace in Sri Lanka or in the Indian region. In contrast, it has been pre-occupied with looking after and securing its vested interests.

The high power delegation of New Delhi that visited Sri Lanka recently has succeeded in dissuading Sri Lanka from signing any agreement with China for oil exploration in Mannar and, in fact, secured this right for India as the imminent consequence of its visit.

This delegation held discussions with TNA Parliamentary group leader R.Sampanthan for one hour and fifteen minutes, at which, it is reported, that there had been heated exchange of words.

Facing three senior bureaucrats of India, single handedly, put across to them, without mincing his words, the frustration, the anxieties and the disappointment of the Lankan Tamil people over India’s omissions, even earning the fury of these India’s heavy weights. In fact, India’s Defence Secretary, M.K.Narayanan engaged in cross talks with Sampanthan.

At one stage, Narayanan confronted Samapanthan in the following words: "Having assassinated a revered leader of our country (Rajiv), you expect us to simply ignore it and do justice to the Lankan Tamils. It is meaningless. Someone must be punished for the assassination, as an act of atonement. Then and then only can India interfere on your behalf." Narayanan attempted to silence Samanthan that way.

Narayan went further and said "Leave alone LTTE leader Prabaharan, should not you hand over at least Pottu Amman, who designed and made orders for assassination, to be punished? Is your side prepared for it?"

A startled Sampanthan avoided a direct response, and the Indian delegation knew very well that there was little that he could do. But their expectation was whether he could convey it to the LTTE leadership and bring their response. Sampanthan, it appears, did not follow it up and there is no information that he conveyed it to the LTTE.

But, sources confirm, that India is keen to know the LTTE’s response to their request through Sampanthan. It is clear that one of the objectives of the India delegation was to convey this message to the LTTE.

Rajiv Ghanthy arrived in Sri Lanka and signed the Indo-Lanka Accord while LTTE leader Pribaharan, LTTE idelogue Balasingam and LTTE political wing leader Thileepan were still being held at Ashok Hotel in New Delhi.

Prior to his visit to Sri Lanka, Rajiv Ghanthy held direct talks with Prabaharan and Balasingham at PM’s official residence from mid- night until 2am, the day before signing the Accord in July, 1987.

On that occasion, there were two others with them- one was Tamil Nadu minister Pandurutty Ramachandran, the other was M.K.Narayanan, who was then the Director, India’s Intelligence Wing, who is now Defence Advisor and who had a heated exchange of words with Sampanthan demanding Pottu Amman to be handed over to India for atonement.

This gentleman Narayanan is well aware of an unwritten gentleman’s agreement arrived at between Rajiv and Prabaharan. But, Rajiv Ghanthy failed to honour his pledge within a few days. That was why, Thileepan had to perform Sathyagraha, fast unto death and sacrificed his life demanding that the pledge be honoured.

It was in such a back drop, that war broke out and ended up in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

M.K.Narayan, who is quite well aware of all these developments, has made a request to hand over Pottu Amman at a time when the present government of India is faced with a political crisis.

But it is quite obvious that Tamil leadership will not attach any significance to this request. It is learnt that Narayanan later regretted the tone of his argument with Sampanthan, a senior leader, at a time when his people are subjected to serious sufferings and atrocities.

It is also learnt that Narayan requested the Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad to meet Sampanthan and calm him, console him and in the end Alok Prasad obliged.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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