Calling out Tamil politicians : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel


Calling out Tamil politicians

Rajiv assassination getting recreated as Dravidian politico-cultural ritual

Calling out Tamil politicians

undesirable: Rajiv killers’ release is a sad denouement of a political drama. PTI

Rajesh Ramachandran

An unseemly picture of a Tamil Nadu politician trying to push something that looks like a laddoo into the mouth of Rajiv Gandhi assassin Nalini is doing the social media rounds. The politician, who belongs to the Dalit Panthers (Viduthalai Chiruthaigal) party founded by a Congress ally, and Nalini cannot hide their glee in the picture. Nalini, after all, spent 30 years in jail and has every reason to be gleeful. But why should a Tamil politician be happy about the premature release of the killers of a former PM of India? Glorification of violence against the ‘other’ is not the sole preserve of right-wing politicians. In fact, few would acknowledge the fact that the so-called left and progressive politicians are also responsible for mainstreaming violence, revenge and humiliation of the ‘other’. And there cannot be a better example than self-proclaimed, progressive ‘Dravidian’ politicians celebrating the release of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Why should Tamil politicians celebrate the premature release of the assassins of a former PM of India?

The joyous reception held out for the prematurely released convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case, involving the murder of her 14 relatives, was roundly condemned and the latent violence against humanity inherent in the act of honouring murderous rapists was dissected to analyse its loathsome political DNA. Also, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the remission order. But all that high-pitched liberal rhetoric did not stop the Rajiv killers getting similarly feted on their premature release. The release of Rajiv Gandhi’s murderers is a sad but inevitable denouement of a political drama where a meticulously planned political assassination is getting recreated as a Dravidian politico-cultural ritual to be hailed by activists and politicians alike.

Tamil politicians need to be called out for the deification of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his murderous co-conspirators. That the LTTE was nothing more than a killing machine that brought in death, misery, racial defeat and humiliation should be accepted by Tamil Nadu politicians. Prabhakaran’s defeat was preordained because he was a megalomaniac murderer and not a politician who cared for the wellbeing of his own people. No amount of Dravidian rhetoric can change the basic fact that Prabhakaran emerged on the Sri Lankan Tamil political scene killing his own people, decimating all possible alternative Tamil leaders and holding sway through fear. About 1,200 soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) were killed and 3,000 wounded by Prabhakaran’s army. It indeed was Prabhakaran’s army, whose FM channel belted the song ‘Vetri veera Prabhakara’ (hail thee, victorious Prabhakara) on a loop.

It is shocking to now look back and wonder how the West offered legitimacy to these murderers, with the Norwegians offering to broker peace between a sovereign nation and a killer who would turn his teenaged cadres into human bombs. One such human bomb took the lives of 16 people, including a former Indian PM. There were cops and politicians among them, but their deaths are being mocked by politicians who shove sweetmeats into the mouths of killers and co-conspirators. The first one to get released from jail was Perarivalan in May. The others got the benefit of the legal precedent set by Perarivalan’s release. And what was being touted in favour of Perarivalan was that he was only 19 and had merely bought a battery, and hence did not deserve to be in jail forever.

People younger than Perarivalan had fought for the LTTE against the IPKF and had killed our officers and men, hiding behind women and children. No professional army could have fought the LTTE without losing its men because professional armies are trained not to shoot at unarmed women and children. While covering the last Eelam war in Kilinochchi (Tigers’ capital), what struck one most was the presence of a creche next to the LTTE headquarters. What sort of a leadership would use babies as shields against the enemy? Those who eulogise Prabhakaran as some Tamil hero should not belittle Tamil heroes of the past and the present, and remember all those thousands of civilians who were held hostage to be kept as human shields in the last days of the final battle in 2009, which the Sri Lankan army won.

So, the argument that Perarivalan had only bought a set of 9-volt batteries, and should not be punished for life for a youthful mistake, is flawed. The battery that triggered the bomb is as important as any other part of the bomb that killed 16 people. They were all LTTE cadre, roped in to commit one of the biggest transnational assassinations in South Asia. Four of those who have been released are Sri Lankan citizens. Each one played an irreplaceable role in the conspiracy that was meticulously rehearsed before the final act. The planning and execution of the assassination were a grand success and those who now celebrate the release of the killers are actually reliving the success of the conspiracy and, of course, the conspirators.

Hidden behind the pro-life progressive arguments of rehabilitation and redemption of prematurely released killers is actually the politics of hatred against Rajiv’s decision to send the IPKF to Sri Lanka. It may or may not have been the best possible solution to help the Sri Lankan Tamils, but it was a bona fide decision taken in the best interests of the Tamil people. Sure, it did not suit the megalomaniacal ambitions of Prabhakaran, who wanted nothing short of a maximalist medieval kingdom to rule and kill at will. Sooner than later, Tamils must understand that Prabhakaran was not the solution but the problem, for whom people were only pawns and shields in his vainglorious pursuit of personal greatness. Tamil Nadu politicians are merely trying to encapsulate their politics of hatred (linguistic, caste and communal) into veneration for a man who took his people to death and racial defeat, stealing the dignity of their future generations.

Not just Rajiv’s memory or the martyrdom of 1,200 IPKF soldiers, but the cause of justice also demands a strict review of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Top News

Cyclone Remal claims 6 lives in West Bengal, 10 in Bangladesh; leaves trail of destruction

Cyclone Remal claims 6 lives in West Bengal, 10 in Bangladesh; leaves trail of destruction

Coastal regions bore the brunt of cyclone Remal’s fury, with...

2 doctors arrested for manipulating blood report of teen in Pune Porsche accident case: Report

Pune car crash: Juvenile’s blood sample thrown away, replaced on directions of doctor, say police

The juvenile's father had called the doctor and offered him ...

Karnataka sex scandal: Will appear before SIT on May 31, says Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna

Karnataka sex scandal: Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna apologises to parents; says will appear before SIT on May 31

In a video statement, Revanna says he has ‘faith in court an...

IRS officer arrested after live-in partner found dead inside posh Noida flat

IRS officer arrested after live-in partner found dead inside posh Noida flat

The woman's family filed a complaint with the police after w...


View All