Six Tamil Nadu Liberation Army (TNLA) members who tried to assassinate former Union minister P Chidambaram and Congress leader V Narayanasamy earlier this year by placing bombs near their residences were on Tuesday chargesheeted by National Investigation Agency (NIA) under various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The involvement of the outfit, called Tamilar Viduthai Padai in Tamil and having its roots in the Naxalite movement, was traced through pamphlets it had thrown claiming responsibility for placing the bombs. The pamphlets denounced the central government and “MNC-oriented economic policies”.
NIA sources said the group targeted Narayanasamy and Chidambaram for being symbols of central government power and such policies and was also opposed to the former’s support to Kudankulam nuclear plant.
The group placed its first bomb under a car in front of Narayanasamy’s residence in Puducherry in January. In February, it placed a similar bomb behind a Reliance store in Madurai. A third bomb was found in March placed near the residence of Chidambaram in Sivaganga. None of these bombs, however, exploded.
The bombs were a unique assembly of explosives with over 30 detonators and a fuse instead of a timer as is used by most terror groups. This had alerted local cops and the NIA about the emergence of a new group.
The group, which carried out explosions at various places in Tamil Nadu through the 1990s, went dormant in the 2000s with several of its members being arrested or killed in encounters. It resurfaced recently by efforts from two old members, identified as Thiruselvam alias Kumar and Kalailingam alias Kalai. The brothers revived the outfit by recruiting Thangaraj, Kaviyarasan, Karthik alias Aadhi and John Martin alias Ilanthanal. All the accused have been chargesheeted.
TNLA seeks an independent nation for the Tamil people, and first appeared in the 1980s, when the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) was sent to Sri Lanka. It had its roots in the Naxalite movement, and was headed by Thamizharasan, an engineering student from Ponparappi village. TNLA was involved in minor bomb blasts, murders and looting banks, which it used to fund its activities.
On September 1, 1987, the people of Ponparappi village lynched Thamizharasan and four of his associates when they attempted to rob a bank. After his death, the group is believed to have splintered into factions. TNLA was banned by the Tamil Nadu government, and later by the Centre in 2002.(TOI)