Sri Lanka: Comments India and the ECJ judgement

| by Col R Hariharan

[Here are answers to e-mail questions raised by a legal analyst on the recent ECJ judgement annulment of the inclusion of the LTTE in EU terrorist organisations list.]

( October 22, 2014, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) General Court of the European Union PRESS RELEASE No 138/14 Luxembourg, 16 October 2014 Judgment in Joined Cases T-208/11 and T-508/11 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) v Council

The Court annuls, on procedural grounds, the Council measures maintaining the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on the European list of terrorist organisations. However, the effects of the annulled measures are maintained temporarily in order to ensure the effectiveness of any possible future freezing of funds.

The Tamil Diaspora is quite large here in the West but do you think that if the LTTE ban was removed in India, it would pose a threat to our national security in India? A step towards this was done in Europe by removing the sanctions on the group by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) just few days ago.

Fortunately, the ECJ does not advise Indian government on its policy. It does not matter to European Union if they nurture one more terrorist organisation as they have given refuge to scores of them historically in the past. These included Chechen terrorists, Jihadi supporters, and Tamil terrorists till they posed no threat to EU members.

But India has been fighting extremism, insurgency, terrorism and a number of armed separatist and anti-state armed movements for over five decades. Any threat posed by the LTTE remnants to India's national security would be minuscule. The ban on LTTE was not imposed based on its capability to pose a threat to national security but based on its long history of extremism and terrorism and waging war on a friendly neighbour using India as a source of assistance.

The ban on the organisation which had engineered the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi and scores of others who had sought refuge in India is unlikely to be removed in the near future for two reasons.

At least three instances of LTTE remnants attempting to revive the organisation using Tamil Nadu as a base to recruit/train potential cadres for induction into Sri Lanka have come light. Secondly, the threat of Jihadi terrorism using Sri Lanka as a launch pad has become real after the apprehension of a few agents belonging to Sri Lanka. And Tamil Nadu has been targeted by Jihadi elements in the recent past. The unearthing of links of Bangladesh JMB Islamic extremists in West Bengal have raised questions about their possible linkages in Tamil Nadu.

The LTTE has in the past used other extremist organisations like Maoists in India to further its aim. So it would not be beyond the realm of probability for Jihadi elements and LTTE using each other to further their interests in India and Sri Lanka.

No security agency would agree to take that risk of lifting the ban on LTTE at present.

Do you think the LTTE remainders have learned to embrace India since IPKF days?

This question is not understood. Who wants LTTE to "embrace" India?

Since the IPKF days, LTTE assassins murdered Rajiv Gandhi and 14 leaders and cadres of EPRLF in India. Even after being wiped out in Sri Lanka LTTE remnants have not "learned" to carry out a realistic assessment on their leadership and organisational failure in the last Eelam War. The LTTE remnants are still carrying out a black campaign against India for LTTE's failure to win a war they "embraced" when they were offered a chance for peace with an honourable agreement; not only that even now India is blamed for all that is going wrong for Tamils in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

I doubt whether anyone in India including Kalaignar Karunanidhi and Ms Jayalalithaa who support Tamil Eelam referendum want the LTTE anywhere near them. For that matter even among Tamil Diaspora many do not want LTTE to come near them, let alone its "embrace".

I don't see any chance of a "Tamil Eelam" without Indian support but of course I agree that the people who committed the atrocities in the last days of the war should be punished.

Are you asking me to comment on this? If anyone still expects India to support "Tamil Eelam" they should revisit India's record against the creation of Tamil Eelam as an independent entity. Support for united Sri Lanka is an article of faith in India's Sri Lanka policy. It is also commitment India made in the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement 1987. Every Indian prime minister has reiterated this commitment to Sri Lanka.

I agree with you that all those committed atrocities in the Eelam war (why last days only?) should be punished. But that should include the LTTE including remnants who have sought refuge abroad.

​(Col R Hariharan, a former MI officer, served as the head of intelligence with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (1987-90). E-mail: Blog: