Ban precludes Indian role - Balasingham

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 July 2000, 12:09 GMT]
While asserting that India has an active role to play in Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers' theoretician and chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham told the Deccan Herald newspaper that New Delhi cannot play that role so long as the LTTE remains a banned organization in India. "We recognise India's predominance in the region and we look forward to the time when it will lift the ban on our organization," he told the paper in an interview published Thursday, adding that the LTTE was seeking new relationship with India as a friendly ally.

Mr. Balasingham said that the LTTE did not pose a threat to Indian interests.

"What we feel is our struggle will not undermine India's geo- political interests. We have already formally said we will never do anything that will be prejudicial to India's interests or interfere in its internal politics," he said.

"There is apprehension in India that the Tamils' struggle for a separate Eelam will have repercussions in Tamil Nadu. I think it is an over-exaggerated fear," he told the Deccan Herald.

"India is a federal state and there is no oppression of Tamils like we are facing in Sri Lanka. There is no demand for separation in Tamil Nadu. Our struggle is entirely different," he added.

"We don't want to create any kind of pseudo- nationalist parties in Tamil Nadu," he said further.

Mr. Balasingham was critical of the Indian media for ignoring the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

"The monumental tragedy of the Tamil people, how they are facing up to genocidal oppression by the Sinhala State is not portrayed," he said. "So many atrocities are being committed. But the Indian media is completely ignoring them."

"Presently, India is supporting the government of Sri Lanka and there is no link between the Tamils of Eelam and the Tamils of India. But India cannot play an active role so long as we remain a banned organization," Mr. Balasingham said.

The LTTE has been a banned organization in India since it was blamed for the 1991 assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

"We recognise India's predominance in the region and we look forward to the time when it will lift the ban on our organization," Mr. Balasingham said. "We need India, we need the support of the Indian people."

"Both sides may have made mistakes in the past. We want to forget them and enter into a new relationship with India. We feel we are a friendly ally of India," he said.

 

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