Naxal Menace : Is LTTE training Maoists?
Bastar, July 9
The LTTE is “dead” in Sri Lanka. But some surviving Tamil Tigers are suspected to be in lush green jungles and hills of Bastar region to hide and train Maoists. The Chhattisgarh police are verifying sketchy intelligence reports from red rebels-held territory in the inhospitable terrain of Bastar about the presence of some LTTE men and women.
The LTTE waged a civil war in Sri Lanka, which was one of the longest running armed conflicts in Asia.The LTTE’s stronghold region was similar to Bastar’s jungles, where security forces are finding it difficult to penetrate. If there is some truth in the LTTE cadres’ presence here, they will be at home in dense jungles of bamboo, sal, teak, sheesam and high hills and streams.
The way the Naxals have carried out well-planned military style operations in the recent past, the question that is being debated by security experts is: who are their trainers? Besides doing self-training, Maoists are known for taking help of ex-Army men and foreign mercenaries.
The irony is that LTTE cadres, including Prabhakaran, were trained by the Indian Army in Chakrata (Uttarakhand) and elsewhere in the seventies. The same Army later fought against the LTTE as ‘Indian Peace Keeping Force’. This had later led to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
When this correspondent met local tribals and police officers in Bastar town, they said they have heard of some dark foreigners training new Naxal recruits in jungle warfare. The LTTE fighters were known as the best in jungle warfare, which is why they could control huge territory and survive fighting the Sri Lankan army for four decades.
Over telephone, a top police officer from Raipur said, “Some LTTE members might have established their links with their old Naxal allies after their defeat in Sri Lanka last year. We are aware that the LTTE experts used to visit Bastar to give Naxal cadres training in laying land mines. The LTTE, during its golden era, also used to supply arms and ammunition to the Maoists.”
A senior Naxal leader, Ramu, who surrendered in Maharashtra recently, had told interrogators that a warfare expert from Philippines had visited and stayed in a Maoist camp in Abujmar in south Bastar in 2001 for about a month to train cadres. This disclosure had indicated the global reach of the Maoists. “Also, two LTTE men had come twice for the same purpose,” Ramu had confessed.