Sunday, October 26, 2008

KILINOCHCHI: A STALINGRAD IN THE MAKING?

B.RAMAN

In pursuance of my article titled "Kilinochchi: The Spectre of Stalingrad", I have been in receipt of many messages---- some complimentingme for drawing attention to the Battle of Stalingrad and others pointing out previous references to it by some LTTE cadres. I do not claimany credit for originality. For some months now, there have been reports from West Europe claiming that pro-LTTE elements in the SriLankan Tamil diaspora have been buying up all the books on the Battle of Stalingrad available in the local bookshops. This reminded one ofa pre-1994 report from the British and others that pro-LTTE Tamils in their countries were spending a lot of money buying up books on flyingand aircraft maintenance and that Flying Clubs in the UK and Switzerland had reported that some Sri Lankan Tamils were learning flying. Inrecent months, some persons , who have been following the fighting in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka closely, have been referring toKilinochchi as a "Stalingrad in the Making".Rediff.com, the well-known Indian news web site, had also referred to the Stalingrad precedent ina report on the reactions in Tamil Nadu. The question is not whether Kilinochchi would turn out to be a Stalingrad-in-the-making. Mostprobably not. The question is how the LTTE's mind works and how it tries to draw lessons from history. It is surprising that the Sri Lankanauthorities, despite their having an inflated Deputy High Commission in Chennai---- which one fears meets the intelligence requirements ofSri Lanka as well as Pakistan---were not aware of the perceptions in Tamil Nadu. (26-10-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies,Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

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