Causes that LTTE was banned.
By: Lingesh Kumar Paneer Selvam
Editor: Mathuumitha G.Ragawan
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) would be categorised under an illegal group of terrorism by the United Nations due to some circumstances that were presented in their respective ideological differences of humanity since they feel that one human has no rights to take another human’s life away. Society wouldn’t accept any group that spreads characteristics of inhumane practices. Despite these questionable actions by the LTTE, there are a few ideologies that were still within the boundaries that can be seen which soon lead to their followers which believed in the cause.
LTTE was one of the many groups that came into existence to fight for Tamil rights. Velupillai Prabhakaran founded the group and by the late 1980s was the dominant Tamil militant group in Sri Lanka. Formed in 1975, with its base in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka, the group vowed to create a separate state called Tamil Eelam. It aimed to secure an independent state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east in response to successive Sri Lankan government's state policies. Anyhow, that was widely considered discriminative towards the minority Sri Lankan Tamils and the oppressive actions including anti-Tamil pogroms in 1956 and 1958, carried out by the majority Sinhalese. The LTTE's primary goal was to attain an independent state for Sri Lankan Tamils, known as "Tamil Eelam", in the Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka, where most Sri Lankan Tamils reside. The majority of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese Buddhists; a 2001 census revealed that 82% of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese, 9.4% are Tamil, and 7.9% are Sri Lankan Moor.
After Sri Lanka became independent from the British in 1948, most Sinhalese practised discrimination towards the Tamils, as they favoured by the British during colonial rule. For example, in 1972, the Sinhalese declared Buddhism as Sri Lanka's national religion and made the Sinhala language spoken by most Sri Lankans, the official language. After 1948, the Tamils also became the targets of numerous riots that swept through the island nation. Believing that the Sinhalese authorities instigated these riots, Tamils began calling for an independent state and for an organisation to protect their rights. Prabhakaran, the group's leader, stressed that "a struggle for Eelam is a demand of the Tamil people", not only of the LTTE. Although separatist ideology has dominated the LTTE's characterisation, Prabhakaran stated in a 2002 press conference that the LTTE's desired self-determination entailed autonomy and self-rule, not necessarily statehood cessation from the rest of Sri Lanka. Since the 1980s, the LTTE has been agitating for a homeland for ethnic Tamils, who feel persecuted by Sri Lanka's ethnic majority, the Sinhala.
Tamil nationalism was the primary basis of its ideology. The LTTE was influenced by Indian freedom fighters such as Subhas Chandra Bose. The organisation denied being a separatist movement and saw itself as fighting for self-determination and restoration of sovereignty in what is recognised as its homeland. Although most Tigers were Hindus, the LTTE was an avowedly secular organisation; religion did not play any significant part in its ideology. Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran criticised what he saw as the oppressive features of traditional Hindu Tamil society, such as the caste system and gender inequality. The LTTE presented itself as a revolutionary movement seeking widespread change within Tamil society, not just independence from the Sri Lankan state. Therefore, its ideology called for the removal of caste discrimination and support for women's liberation. Prabhakaran described his political philosophy as "revolutionary socialism", intending to create an "egalitarian society". When asked about the LTTE's economic policy, Velupillai Prabhakaran said an "open market economy."
The LTTE was primarily supported by the Tamil diaspora overseas; although in the 1980s, the LTTE received supplies and training from the Indian Intelligence services. The LTTE was suspected of having links with several Islamist groups, such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Philippines and the Taliban in Afghanistan; however, these links were restricted to arms transfers and others commercial activities. The LTTE also earned a portion of their annual $200-300 million revenue from taxation and extortion in LTTE-controlled areas in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. The LTTE is recognised for carrying out some high-profile assassinations, including Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa's assassination in 1993 and the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. The LTTE consisted of a highly developed military wing and a secondary political wing. The military wing had a naval group, an airborne unit, an intelligence wing, and even a specialised suicide terrorist unit. The group was also notorious for its use of women and children in combat.
After many failed negotiations, the Sri Lankan government declared an all-out offensive against the LTTE in 2006. By May 2009, government forces had defeated the LTTE and killed Prabhakaran. An estimated 70,000 people were killed during the conflict between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government with some 6,000 LTTE members were rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. Meanwhile, The first country to ban the LTTE was its brief one-time ally, India. The Indian change of policy came gradually, starting with the IPKF-LTTE conflict, and culminating with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The European Union banned LTTE as a terrorist organisation on 17 May 2006. In a statement, the European Parliament said that the LTTE did not represent all Tamils and called on it to "allow for political pluralism and alternate democratic voices in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka".
Their efforts did not pay off in a nutshell due to many internal hardships and outside political influences of Sri Lankans. LTTE's long term visions and aims were derailed due to the circumstances they faced which eventually killed their ideology of peace and freedom. The United States Department of State states that its reason for banning LTTE as a proscribed terrorist group is based on allegations that LTTE does not respect human rights and that it does not adhere to the standards of conduct expected of a resistance movement or what might be called "freedom fighters". The FBI has described the LTTE as "amongst the most dangerous and deadly extremist outfits in the world". Other countries have also proscribed LTTE under the same rationale. Numerous countries and international organisations have accused the LTTE of attacking civilians and recruiting children. Due to all this circumstances, most of the justice organizations categorised LTTE under the terrorism act for violating humanity rights.