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Worries mount on LTTE threat to Sonia

Praveen Swami

No hard intelligence, but overall situation alarming

NEW DELHI: India’s intelligence services have become increasingly concerned about the prospect of an election-time attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on top political leaders, including Congress party chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Sources in the intelligence services have told The Hindu that while there is no substantive intelligence to indicate that assassinations or attacks have been ordered by the LTTE, the inflammatory language being used by the terrorist group’s supporter in India was a cause for concern.

In a speech delivered on Wednesday, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader V. Gopalswamy, also known as Vaiko, warned of large-scale secessionist violence if Sri Lankan forces killed LTTE chief V. Prabakaran.

He made a reference to the assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur, and India with a secessionist movement if it did not push for an end to Sri Lanka’s anti-LTTE campaign.

The MDMK polemic isn’t the sole cause for concern among the intelligence services. Facing annihilation in Sri Lanka, some analysts fear, the LTTE could unleash violence within India to coerce its political leadership and create conditions where it could set up safe havens in Tamil Nadu.

In recent weeks, the LTTE has succeeded in slowing down offensive Sri Lankan military operations by using the civilian population in the Mullaitivu region as human shields.

In a March 26 report, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes called for a “humanitarian pause” in operations — a demand Sri Lanka rejected, pointing out that it would give the LTTE time to regroup.

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