Home » Features » Organizations » Liberation Tigers for Tamil Ealam

Liberation Tigers for Tamil Ealam

About Liberation Tigers for Tamil Ealam (LTTE)

LTTE (also popular as Tamil Tigers) is a militant / terrorist group that fought for a independent Tamil state comprising the Tamil state in the North and the Eastern part of Sri Lanka. Eelam stands for 'seperate state'. Velupillai Prabhakaran is its founder chief. LTTE is the group that is behind masterminding the killing of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Formation of LTTE

Prabhakran originally formed LTTE as Tamil New Tigers (TNT). The organization changed its name to LTTE in May 5, 1976. LTTE gained strength over the years. The group aims at the formation of an independent Tamil state for ethinic Tamils who face discrimination at the hands of Sri Lankan Governments. Due to their violent action, the LTTE is marked as a terrorist outfit by at least 32 countries.

The outfit is reported to be using illegal methods to raise money, acquire weapons and technology, and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka. The LTTE began its armed conflict against the Sri Lankan government in 1983, and utilizes a guerrilla strategy that often includes acts of terrorism. With an army of several thousand combatants, the LTTE had, until the last several months, controlled most of the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka. Over the past 17 years, the LTTE has conducted over 200 suicide bombings, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of victims, and carried out numerous political assassinations, including the May 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi; the 1993 assassination of the President of Sri Lanka, Ranasinghe Premadasa; the July 1999 assassination of Neelan Thiruchelvam, a member of the Sri Lankan parliament; the June 2000 assassination of C.V. Goonaratne, the Sri Lankan Industry Minister; the August 2006 assassination of the Sri Lankan government's peace secretariat, Ketheshwaran Loganathan; the January 2008 assassination of Sri Lankan Minister for Nation Building, D.M. Dassanayake; and the April 2008 assassination of Sri Lankan Highways Minister, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. Beginning in 2002, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government operated under a tenuous cease-fire agreement, but that agreement ended, and between April 2006 and May 2009, tens of thousands of people were killed in the escalating conflict. In May 2009, after 25 years of armed conflict, the current LTTE leadership was defeated by the Sri Lankan military, resulting in the death of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and several other senior LTTE officials.

The LTTE relies on sympathetic Tamil expatriates residing in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and several other countries to raise and launder money and smuggle arms, explosives, equipment, and technology into LTTE-controlled territory. To coordinate these activities, the LTTE established "branches" in at least 12 countries, including the United States. Defendant Kandasamy was the director of the American branch of the LTTE, which operated through charitable front organizations, including the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization ("TRO"). As the director of the American branch, Kandasamy oversaw and directed the LTTE's various activities in the United States, including raising millions of dollars for the LTTE and laundering it through the TRO. Defendant Vijayshanthar Patpanathan assisted Kandasamy and others in these fundraising and money laundering activities.

Sri Lanka military strikes 2008-09

In November 08, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on his visit to India said that there will be no ceasefire with LTTE, Rajapakse and that they will take care of Tamils living in the region.

The Red Cross is the only humanitarian organization given access to the region during the severe battle period.

On February 2, 2009, at least nine people were feared dead and several injured when mortar shells landed on the building of a hospital in the rebel-controlled town of Puthukkudiyiruppu in the Mullaitivu district. Sri Lankan Tamil refugees staged a hunger strike in Coimbatore demanding an intervention by the Indian Govenment on the issue of the military offensive being carried out on the hideouts of the rebels in Sri Lanka. During the monthm, Expressing Indias concern over the loss of lives in embattled Sri Lanka, the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram urged Colombo to suspend its resumed hostilities and also asked the LTTE to lay down arms and come to the negotiating table while.

On May 15, Rajapakse said that the War with LTTE will end in 48 hours and as said, the Sri Lankan army made immense progress during the period.

On May 17, 2009, the Sri Lankan Government announced having zeroed down to a 400x600 meter area where the remaining tigers are fighting from. Earlier, the Military has announced having recovered about 150 bodies of the militants, one of which could be that of Prabhakaran. Few hours later, the Sri Lankan army claimed Prabhakaran is dead. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has returned back to Colombo after a trip to Jordan on hearing about militarys victory over the LTTE and that of top two LTTE leaders being killed.

Media reports say Mr Pathmanathan has said that the Tamil Tigers are reported to have admitted their 'bitter defeat', enter into a cease fire and surrender before the Army. A military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara in a phone interview to a major global Businesswire did not confirm about his death and about the body capture but said Prabhakaran's status is 'unknown' and that he might be still hiding in Mullaitivu district. The LTTE acknowledge the death of Prabhakaran on May 24, 2009.

On June 9, 2009, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, defendants Karunakaran Kandasamy, Pratheepan Thavaraja, Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy, and Vijayshanthar Patpanathan pled guilty to, among other crimes, conspiring to provide material support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The guilty plea proceedings were held before Chief United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie. Kandasamy and Pratheepan face a 20-year maximum statutory sentence. Vinayagamoorthy and Patpanathan face a 15-year maximum statutory sentence.

In a column on TamilNet on June 15, 2009, the LTTE said it is considering a novel 'transnational government' to work for a separate Tamil Eelam. The post read that 'only the diaspora and the transnational government could uphold the freedom of aspiration and freedom of expression'.

Other information on LTTE

  • In October 09, hundreds of Tamils and pro-LTTE supporters staged a demonstration in Chennai demanding the Indian government to initiate steps to immediately send back Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner Vadivel Krishnamoorthy.

Liberation Tigers for Tamil Ealam in News

Supreme Court reiterates no death penalty for Rajiv killers
Bench of Supreme Court refuses to review its verdict commuting death sentence of Rajiv killers to life sentence, says no merit in Centre's plea

Woman claims Rajiv Gandhi's death certificate
Woman from Hyderabad claims to be wife of Rajiv Gandhi, obtains his death certificate

Recollections of a Communicator: When India lost Rajiv Gandhi (Article)
Twenty one years ago today the country lost Rajiv Gandhi, the youngest person to have occupied the office of Prime Minister. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Tamil militant suicide bomber at Siriperambudur in Tamil Nadu where he had gone to address an election meeting.

CPI demands ouster of Sri Lankan envoy
Outraged by the accusations made by Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to India, Prasad Kariyawasam, on pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) groups lobbying with Tamil Nadu lawmakers, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja on Thursday demanded his ouster from the country.

Indian MPs not blamed by Sri Lanka, says envoy
Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam on Thursday said that the Sri Lankan government was investigating the role of factions lobbying for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the step had nothing to do with Indian parliamentarians.

Sri Lanka north 'not just for Tamils', says nation's Defence Secretary
Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said it is not correct to view the north of the country, over which a separatist war was fought, as a predominantly Tamil area.

Display of LTTE flag at May Day rally sparks outrage in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's main opposition group has come under fire from government supporters for allegedly displaying a flag associated with the banned Tamil Tiger militants at a May Day rally.

Vaiko terms ban on LTTE as illegal
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) chief Vaiko has termed the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as illegal.

Human Rights Watch says UN rights council vote on Lanka is a strong message for justice
The United Nations Human Rights Council's adoption of a resolution on Sri Lanka demonstrates strong international support for accountability for abuses committed in Sri Lanka's armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said.

Sri Lanka seeks to block UN resolution demanding probe into alleged war crimes
Sri Lanka is reportedly working to block a UN resolution demanding the country to fully investigate who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians during military operations against ethnic rebels.

LTTE recruited young children in fight against Sri Lankan army, claims official
Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels recruited children as young as 14 years to take part in final defences against government forces, a former senior official has revealed.

Rajapaksa slams Perth Tamil community's 'war crimes' allegations
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has slammed Tamil protestors in Perth over continuing allegations of war crimes during the end of the civil war in 2009, saying that the "eradication of terrorism" was the basis of Sri Lanka's prosperity.

Oz Tamils demand Rajapaksa's arrest in Perth over Sri Lankan war crimes
Tamil protestors in Perth, Australia, have demanded that visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be arrested and charged with war crimes over atrocities in his country that eventually led to the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.

Oz police examining Sri Lankan "war crimes" dossier
Australian police are reportedly examining a so-called "war crimes" dossier of information that claims to confirm that Sri Lankan forces bombed and shelled civilians during the country's civil war.

Indian origin billionaire investor Rajaratnam accused of netting $72mln illegally
Billionaire Indian American hedge fund boss Raj Rajaratnam made over 70 million dollars through illegal trades, a US prosecutor has claimed.

Torture charity calls on UK to halt deportation flight to Sri Lanka
Britain is being urged to halt plans to deport a planeload of Tamils to Sri Lanka today amid fears they will be at risk of being detained and tortured on arrival.

Sri Lanka angered over UN's move on war crimes report
The Sri Lankan government has denounced the call to submit a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council that accused troops of killing thousands of civilians in the final stages of the war.

UN under pressure to re-examine Sri Lankan war human rights violations
The United Nations Human Rights Council is facing growing pressure to re-examine alleged violations of human rights which allegedly took place during the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).

Amnesty finds flaw with Sri Lanka's investigation into war crimes
Amnesty International, the human rights advocacy group, has come up with a report which says that Sri Lanka's own investigations into the final stages of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is deeply flawed.

Will SAARC leaders remember operation cactus next week? (RECOLLECTIONS OF A COMMUNICATOR)
The leaders of the eight SAARC nations who are gathering in Addu Atol, Maldives next week-from 10 to 11 November- have their theme "Building Bridges", which aims at improving communication and cooperation in the region.

Comment on this story