Demand for separate Tamil state ends with Prabhakaran's death

Demand for separate Tamil state ends with Prabhakaran's death

The 54-year-old guerrilla leader never settled for less than a Tamil Eelam, which remained a dream for him, his organisation and also for the Lankan Tamils.

The Tamils of the island always wanted a homeland for themselves, as they felt they were being marginalised and sidelined by the majority Sinhalese.

Experts on Sri Lankan affairs and media analysts say the LTTE's latest offer to rival Tamils organisations to join hands to work for the interests of the Tamil people is a good sign given the fact that the outfit has a considerable amount of support with the diaspora.

"The visuals on TV show that Prabhakaran has met a violent death and now the LTTE has issued a statement asking rival outfits to join hands. I think the LTTE is reconciled to a post-conflict and post-Prabhakaran era," senior journalist R Bhagwan Singh, who has extensively covered the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, said.

He felt the Tamil leaders would now accept a political solution which will meet the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people.

Prabhakaran championed the Sri Lankan Tamils cause by taking up the Eelam demand vigorously, but met a bitter end as his outfit shed the tag of being a liberation organisation and embraced the path of violence and later terrorism.
Prof V Suryanarayanan, a Chennai based expert on Sri Lankan affairs, wondered whether Rajapaksa will honour the promise he made to the Tamil community.

"He must have won the war against LTTE, but it is yet to be seen whether he can win the hearts and minds of Tamils. The real solution to the conflict comes only through substantial devolution of powers to Tamil-dominated areas," he said.
Singh feels India and other global powers should make sure that Rajapaksa fulfils his promise that the Tamils will be treated equally on par with the Sinhalese.

"I think Rajapaksa will honour his commitment because he is under intense international pressure to honour his promise," he said.
Singh suggests that the LTTE should also be included in the political solution for Tamils as there is a considerable amount of support among the Tamil civilians in the northern region.

Another expert on Sri Lankan affairs, who doesn't wanted to be named, said with Prabhakaran no more and the LTTE crushed, the Tamils in Sri Lanka are vulnerable to attacks from the majority communities in Sri Lanka.
He said the death of Prabhakaran has left a power vacuum in the Tamil leadership, which cannot be filled easily.
However, Prabhakaran's commitment to a Tamil Eelam can never be doubted, says D Siddjharthan, the founder of Peoples Liberation of Tamil Eelam.
"He even told the LTTE members that in case he (Prabhakaran) moved away from the desire to carve out a separate Tamil eelam, then he should not be spared and killed."

But, the LTTE supremo's critics say he missed all the opportunity he had to solve the crisis through peaceful means and that he believed that only an armed struggle could bring peace to Tamils.

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