DMK helped LTTE assassinate Rajiv Gandhi.

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Munnetra Kazhagam, DMK Leader

 

India’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party (DMK) and its leader Karunanidhi who is the chief minister of Tamil Nadu came in for strong criticism in the interim report of a retired judge who probed the circumstances leading to the killing in 1991 by an LTTE female suicide bomber. Indian officials blamed the killing on Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger terrorists, who the judge said had received support in the past from the DMK.

In 1976, Gandhi's federal government dismissed Karunanidhi's government, which was accused of corruption. A year later, MGR won local elections and sent Karunanidhi into political wilderness until MGR's death in 1987.

After a year of direct rule by the federal government, the DMK party regained power in Tamil Nadu in 1989. Two years later the federal government dismissed Karunanidhi for a second time, accusing him of not doing enough to crack down on the Tamil Tigers in his state.

Further, the Commission said, the LTTE was getting its supplies, including arms, ammunition, explosives, fuel and other essential items from Tamil Nadu to continue its fight against the IPKF that too with the support of the DMK Government, State Administration and connivance of the law enforcement agencies.

The report said that soon after the DMK Government took over the reins of power in Tamil Nadu, "the LTTE slowly began to consolidate itself in the State and their clandestine activities, heretofore dormant, became more and more pronounced. All the activities of the LTTE at this stage towards resource mobilisation, propaganda and treatment of their wounded cadres, had taken an anti-national dimension.''

The Commission noted the visit of the then DMK MP, Mr. V. Gopalaswamy, MP (DMK) to Northern Sri Lanka and his reported meeting with Prabhakaran between February 8, 1989, and March 3, 1989.

"This visit by Mr. V. Gopalaswamy, and the manner in which this entire episode was dealt with by the DMK party sent clear signals to the pro-LTTE anti-IPKF elements in the State as well as LTTE itself that the newly-elected Government would not resort to any drastic action against such elements; on the other hand, the impression that the entire episode created was that pro-LTTE gestures, even if they were illegal, would be tolerated by the Government.''

The Commission's report said the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was keen that "some satisfactory solution be arrived at with the LTTE so that the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord could be implemented in letter and spirit. He discussed this concern with Mr. Karunanidhi and sought his assistance.'' After Mr. V. P. Singh became the Prime Minister on December 2, 1989, it was spelt out that if no solution came, India would no longer give any military or monetary help to any of the groups, nor allow its mainland to be used for militant activities. "The LTTE remained adamant during their parleys with Mr. Karunanidhi, and continued to demand the formation of Eelam,'' the report noted.

The interim report said that credible reports existed of "active connivance of some DMK leaders with the LTTE. The LTTE was in continuous interaction with Mr. Karunanidhi, primarily to ensure that their activities continue unhindered even after the Padmanabha killing.'' The ATR "noted'' the observation of the Commission that there was a nexus between the LTTE and the ULFA and their combined endeavours in Tamil Nadu had also been confirmed.

The Commission's report ponders over questions of aid to the LTTE in the killing of Rajiv Gandhi. "Were there other forces behind the LTTE involved in the conspiracy for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi? These are questions requiring a deep and anxious probe,'' the report said referring to conspiratorial aspects which were yet to be dealt with by the one-man probe panel.

Soon after the DMK Government took over the reins of power in Tamil Nadu, the LTTE slowly began to consolidate itself in the State. During 1990, a growing nexus between the LTTE and DMK and its repercussions on the local law enforcement machinery were discernible. The assassination of EPRLF leader K. Padmanabha and others at Madras on 19th June 1990 was a shocking reminder of the impunity with which the LTTE could operate in India.

The case assumes significance due to the fact that striking similarities were found in the Padmanabha assassination and the case relating to the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. It can, therefore, be safely concluded that the growing connivance of the DMK Government with the LTTE having been brought to the knowledge of the National Front Government, effective steps were not taken by the Central government to check it, whatever may be the reasons.

From the evaluation of the material, the conclusion is irresistible that there was tacit support to the LTTE by Shri M. Karunanidhi and his Government and law enforcement agencies.

The charges, put together as long quotations from the report, include: that the DMK provided a safe sanctuary for the LTTE cadres and activists, it gave advice, active assistance, finance and security cover to LTTE operations, and that the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi would not have been possible the way it happened without the nexus between the LTTE and the DMK, a nexus which started a chain of events which led to the survival and growth of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu long after the Government of India's attitude had changed towards the LTTE and hostilities had broken out between the Indian Peace Keeping Force and the LTTE in Sri Lanka, and finally that the DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, had "himself been instrumental in ensuring that things went smoothly for LTTE'' and that the cadres of the LTTE had little fear of the security agencies in India "thanks to the patronage of the DMK Government''.


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