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Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Dharmeratnam Sivaram (Taraki) > On Vadamarachchi & Anton Balasingham

Selected Writings by Dharmeratnam Sivaram (Taraki)

 

On Vadamarachchi & Anton Balasingham

6 May 1990, Sri Lanka Island


"The  RAW knew all the details of the Vadamarachchi operation and when it would begin. But they gave us false information. The Sri Lankan troops are going to launch a massive offensive on the Jaffna town, move your troops into that area, the RAW told us. We believed it and our troops in all the other parts of the peninsula were sent into Jaffna town. Therefore when the Sri Lankan government at­tacked Vadamarachchi we were defeated." This is what Dr Anton Balasingham has said at the meeting held in Nallur as reported by the Jaffna press.

I think this is the first time the Tigers have said that they were de­feated in that operation. Coming at this juncture when the LTTE is seriously working on broadbasing itself politically Balasingham's account of Vadamarachchi  is not I think in the best interests of his organization.

Doesn't the good  doctor after as­sociating for so many years with one of the world's best guerrilla leaders know that  there is no `defeat' as such but  only tactical withdrawal in guerrilla warfare.  Prabaharan was not called the man of the decade for nothing and to say that he was making crucial and  strategic military decisions based on RAW information or disinformation given by Indian police service officers is bad enough. (They are the people man the RAW and the IB). In addition experience in the `Adampan' operation in Mannar would have made the Tigers well aware of the diversion­ary  tactics used by the Sri Lanka forces which could well distract one away from the point of the main thrust. Either Balasingham is wrong or the Tigers had reason to go by RAW information. The one and only reason they could have taken such information for granted is that it correct on most previous occasions about the op­erational details of the Sri Lankan armed force.

There is another important point. Didn't the Tigers see that they were being given a dead rope when, as Balasingham says, the RAW had indi­cated Jaffna town as the point where the Sri Lankan armed forces were going to start their offensive? Logisti­cally it would have been next to im­possible to sustain a major thrust from Jaffna town. Even for the Vadamarachchi operation the Sri Lankan army was busy, quietly clearing the Palaly - Thondamannar coastal road for more than an year, so that the thrust out of Thondamannar and the subsequent spread into the Vadamarachchi region would have an extremely vital line of supply. Given the maximum fire power of the Tigers (mines and all) operations of such scale could present Sri Lankan troops with logistical prob­lems (amphibian and air).

Everyone knew with what diffi­culty the Jaffna fort camp used to se­cure its supplies. However, despite what the Tiger theoretician, who was mainly in Madras, Delhi or London at that time, says I do not think Praba­haran would have handled the situation in that manner. In the first place the Tigers had come to seriously doubt the wisdom of having `liberated zones' in the North and East towards the end of 1986. To their chagrin the information flow to the Sri Lankan army had increased sharply, during the period of peace they had secured by having confined the army to its camps in the peninsula.
 
The number of preci­sion bombings that the SLAF carried out was one clear indication of what 'peace' was doing to some people in Jaffna. The Tigers were considering the prospect of going back to guerrilla warfare in the peninsula. The people had not been exposed to the hardships under state terrorism. Only then would the people become truly patriotic.
 
 'Johnny' one of the LTTE leaders who was killed by the Indian army told me at a time when Jaffna was a `safe' place, that they would have to soon get back to landmines in the peninsula. Their objective was to launch attacks on camps such as the one carried out in Nelliady sometime after Operation Liberation, and do hit and run rather than hold an area.
 
One cannot dispute Balasingham's intention that RAW's aim was to undermine LTTE's position as the only protector of the Tamil people. The idea was not to promote other groups but to promote India's di­rect role in the war, for which Opera­tion Liberation provided an opportu­nity.
 
However, if what Balasingham has said is true then certain crucial re­visions have to be made in the modern military history of the Tamil people
 

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