The man who sold the Tamils:Karunanidhi,the IV Eelam War and the 2G Spectrum Scam

In 2008 the government of Sri Lanka launched the Wanni operation, a final offensive to eliminate the LTTE in their last stronghold in the Northern provinces. President Rajapaksa has been able to convince India of the necessity to get the rid of the LTTE. Of course it wasn’t too difficult to remind the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to the Congress Party led by his wife, Sonia Gandhi. But the intricacies of Indian politics were shielding the Tigers cause. In fact India was equally distant by a secession as well as by a complete elimination of Tamil nationalism. But Rajapaksa found convincing arguments (they are secrets, but we discover some facts that can shed light,at least on a couple of them. More about this in the incoming posts) and India sided with Colombo, providing military intelligence and political back up: in fact New Delhi protected Sri Lanka in front of the international community.

A displaced Tamil woman holds her baby at Manic farm in the northern Sri Lankan district of Vavuniya on May 7, 2009.
courtesy AFP PHOTO/PEDRO UGARTE/Getty Images

India didn’t confronted what happened in the Mullivaikal and in the rest of the No Fire Zone and the West basically left the case as a matter under the sphere of influence of New Delhi: it was a subcontinent affair. So the decision of eliminating the LTTE was taken and not much could have been done to change it. But of course the means to achieve that goal were many. Rajapaksa decided to go the hard way, with the intent of teaching the Tamils a lesson, to keep them in their place for the future. Of course this course of action could have been highly debatable. Especially if you consider Tamil Nadu. In the first place, what it is considered right in the far North and Hindi speaking New Delhi, not necessarily coincides with the sentiment of the South Dravidian Madras. 60 millions of Tamils on this side of the Strait have a very different opinion and feel much closer to their brethren on the island. Further on the ruling party in Tamil Nadu,DMK, was also a pivotal ally of the Congress in the national government. And the leader of DMK, Mr Karunanidhi was an open supporter of the LTTE and of the creation of an independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam. In the 1985 he established TESO (Tamil Eelam Supporters Organization) and recently he has been active in advocating again for the cause1.

Former Tamil Nadu Mr Matuvel Karunanidhi with Congress’ Party Leader Sonia Gandhi and India’s Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh
courtesy srilankanguardian.org

In the last stage of the IV Eelam War You would expect a vigorous campaign in defence of the Tamils and of their most elemental rights. He spent a political career fighting for the cause, even too much for his critics; his friendship with Prabhakaran was a source of controversies. He championed so much for his people and finally he had the opportunity to protect them. But nothing happened. India gave green light to the final assault and DMK remained quiet. Why?

 Well Karunanidhi is a controversial personality for two reason: one for his strenuous backing of the separatist group. The other is for nepotism. And in 2008 on the biggest scandals in the scandal infested Indian politics broke out: the 2G Spectrum scam. Essentially politicians sold at bargain prices frequencies to telecom operators in exchange of personal favours. The national audit commission (CAG), in charge of investigating about the case, calculated the damage for the country in the order of $ 30 billions2. The scandal was big and involved many politicians, civil servants and business. But two politicians in particular were at the center of the scandal: Mr A.Raja3 and Mrs M.K.Kanimozhi4.

M.K.Kanimozhi and her father, M:Karunanidhi

It is worthwile to say that both belong to the DMK and that Mrs M.K.Kanimozhi is also daughter of the Tamils’ rights guarantor, Mr Karunanidhi. It is speculated that the scandal weakened so much the DMK and its leader, that when in 2009 the worst of the IV Eelam War was happening, he didn’t have any chip to bargain for5.

The only evidences we have are these: that Karunanidhi’s family was involved in the scandal and that he was Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu during the last phase of the war. And that he remained quiet.

Recently he has been quite vocal in accusing the Sri Lankan government of war crimes. We couldn’t agree more with him, except that now he is talking as an activist, appealing to people in power. When himself was in power, he didn’t say a word. I couldn’t feel more distant from this.

M.K.Kanimozhi sought to revive the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) in August 2012.
Courtesy: R.Ragu / The Hindu

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