Former female LTTE political wing leader’s book on war offers critical view on LTTE and Tamil Societ

Monday, 21 March 2016 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The former female political wing leader of the terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Subramaniam Sivathai alias Thamalini compiling her experiences with the LTTE during the war into a book has offered a critical view on the terrorist organisation and Tamil Society.

Thamalini’s book ‘In the Shadow of a Sharp Sword,’ written in Tamil, was released recently in Kilinochchi.

According to the University of Jaffna Linguistics Department Senior Lecturer Saminathan Wimal, the book presents a critical review on the terrorist organisation and Tamil Society.

Saminathan Wimal, who translated Thamalini’s book into Sinhala, told BBC that the book points out the need for the Tamil Society to critically view the activities of the LTTE and explains the hardships experienced by the fighters like her who went to the battlefield for the liberation of Tamil people.

The academic said the former LTTE leader through her book invites the readers to engage in a self-criticism of the organisation, she herself assisted, instead of telling her experiences in the battlefield to the world.

He said the female LTTE leader has criticised the terrorist organisation for solely relying on arms after its initial growth.

“Especially, lost opportunities for peace by abandoning the peace talks and going against the expectations of the people by an organisation created to fight for equality and fairness for the Tamil society have been criticised in her book,” the academic said.

Thamalini has questioned the LTTE’s actions during the last phase of the war such as holding the Tamil people as human shields without allowing them to leave and forcibly recruiting people to their ranks to fight.

However, according to a report in the New Indian Express the book has become controversial with some Tamils saying that Thamalini’s criticism of the militant outfit weakens the Tamils’ case at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) while another section of the view that the book will help get at the truth, which is what the Tamils want to know.

The Tamil nationalist lobby says that by alleging that atrocities were committed by the Tamil Tigers too, the book weakens the Tamil case that it was the Sri Lankan armed forces which had committed all the war crimes.

They allege that Thamilini, who was arrested by the Sri Lankan security forces after the war in May 2009 and imprisoned until her release in 2013 after rehabilitation, had played into the hands of the international community which has been saying that both the armed forces and the Tigers committed war crimes.

Tamil Activist Thyagarajah Nirosh told Express that Thamilini might have written the book under duress while she was detained. He also suspects that new material might have been inserted to suit the Lankan government’s interest, after her death due to cancer in October 2015.

However, a moderate Tamil leader has said that the argument that war crimes were committed only by the Lankan armed forces will not hold water in the international arena because all UN reports, including the one released last September, have listed violations by both sides.

The book release event in Kilinochchi attracted 250 persons, half of them former Tamil Tiger cadres, said the late Thamilini’s husband, Jeyakumar Mahadevan. No Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader was in attendance.