“State intelligence services have received information that around 150 terrorists who underwent a special arms training at three secret camps in Tamil Nadu, have returned to Sri Lanka and are hiding in the North and the East to carryout a destabilisation campaign,” The Island newspaper reported on Monday, quoting Sri Lankan state intelligence. “Their target was to sabotage and disrupt the on-going reconciliation process by creating in those areas, police sources said. Their activities came to light when three LTTE cadres taken into custody after an Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) member was hacked to death in Trincomalee were interrogated,” the newspaper added.
The suspects had confessed that they had fled to India after LTTE’s defeat, and “followed military courses in secret locations in Tamil Nadu before returning to Sri Lanka, disguised as fishermen to conduct clandestine operations…The intelligence services suspect that they may have been behind several killings reported from the North and the East.”
Indian High Commission denial
In a statement issued a shortwhile ago, the Indian High Commission in Colombo dismissed suggestions that there were LTTE-training camps in Tamil Nadu. “The suggestion contained in the news item regarding the training of terrorists at three secret camps in Tamil Nadu, India is entirely erroneous and baseless. Relevant agencies of the two countries have ongoing cooperation and no such information has been brought to the notice of the Government of India,” a release from the High Commission said.
Another newspaper, The Daily Mirror, said on Monday that “investigations are underway to ascertain if the three suspects arrested in connection with the recent killing of an EPDP member in Kuchchaveli, were former LTTE members.”
Earlier this year, it was The Island that claimed that Sri Lankan President did not discuss the implementation of the 13th Amendment plus with Indian Foreign Minister S.M.Krishna, when the two met in Colombo in January this year. At an interaction with the country’s editors at Temple Trees on January 30, 2012, Mr. Rajapaksa “denied that he ever told India [this],” the newspaper reported on January 31.
The fishermen angle
The Island story claiming that the ‘terrorists’ had sneaked into the country disguised as fishermen is ominous for Tamil Nadu fishermen, who routinely crossover the International Maritime Boundary Line for fishing.
The Island’s India-heavy stories on page 1 on Monday, is a reflection of the official mood in Sri Lanka. The lead is titled ‘UN demands repeal of India Armed Forces Act’ and details last week’s story on what the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions told the press in New Delhi. Another story, on the top of the page, is about the ownership of the land of the Trincomalee oil farm. The Farm was part-leased out to the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation.
R. K. Radhakrishnan