The wife of a top LTTE leader in a sensational deposition to the court today has said that her husband was in constant touch with Indian Member of Parliament, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi via satellite telephone and surrendered to the Sri Lankan army based on the Indian assurance during the final days of the war.
She has said that the surrendering of the LTTE leaders to the Sri Lankan army took place under the facilitation of the international community, particularly India.
Ananthi, the wife of former LTTE’s political commissar for the Eastern Trincomalee district Sinnathurai Sasitharan alias Ezhilan, giving an eye-witness account at a Habeas corpus case, told the Mullaitivu District Court today that she was with her husband when he spoke to Indian MP Kanimozhi.
Kanimozhi, who is the daughter of the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi is a Member of Parliament, representing Tamil Nadu in the Rajya Sabha – the upper house of India’s Parliament.
“My husband surrendered to the Sri Lankan army based on the assurances given by Indian MP Kanimozhi on behalf of the then incumbent Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi,” Ananthi has said in her witness statement to the court.
Her lawyer K.S Ratnavel said that Ananthi, being an eye-witness of the surrender, was holding the Sri Lankan government and its armed forces accountable for the disappearance of her husband and several others.
“She particularly said that the surrender had taken place with the facilitation of the international community, especially India. Her witness was on the basis that she was an eye-witness to this arrangement” the leading human rights lawyer said.
Sri Lankan army has been credibly accused of killing hundreds of LTTE leaders, including its political wing head P. Nadesan and head of Peace Secretariat S.Pulidevan when they surrendered with white flags on the final day of the war on May 18, 2009.
Several international players including Norwegian peace envoy Eric Solheim and UN Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar were reportedly involved in negotiating this surrender with the government of Sri Lanka.
“When my husband contacted Kanimozhi, she told them to drop their weapons and surrender to the army. She said that the negotiations were in progress on securing the release of those who were getting ready to surrender. She firmly told him to surrender reassuring that they were working on getting them released after surrendering,” said Mrs Ananthi Elilan, who is also a member of the Northern Provincial Council member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
She said six years have whistle passed but both Mr. Karunanidhi and his daughter Kanimozhi are maintaining a stoic silence about the surrender fiasco while the families of those who surrendered to the Sri Lankan army are going through untold agonies without knowing the whereabouts of their loved ones.
“We want them to break their prolonged silence. My husband contacted her (Kanimozhi) via a satellite phone when we were sitting under a tarpaulin tent by the shores of Mullivaikkal. I was standing next to my husband. The head of LTTE bank, Disco was also there. My husband told me the details of the discussion he had with Kanimozhi and said that they were going to surrender. I clearly understood the message that there was an Indian involvement in the surrender,” Ananthi has told the BBC, adding that this particular telephone conversation took place on May 16, 2009 around 8 pm.
She said her husband along with his assistants came into the army-controlled area on May 17 around 2 pm and began walking in single file through a barbed wire route until they reached a Palmyrah grove, located behind the Mullaitivu District Secretariat.
“The area was protected by barbed wires and we spent the night there. The following morning around 8 am, Catholic Priest Father Francis Joseph came there and called out my husband’s name – ‘Elizhan come forward to surrender’. I noticed Father Francis Joseph had a name list in his hand. When my husband walked up to him, I and my three children followed him.
“The army personnel present there were not just soldiers, but high-ranking officers. They had stars in their insignia. I saw one officer, who was standing next to Father Francis Joseph called my husband’s name and patted him on his shoulder,” she said.
Ananthi, being a survivor of the war has been voicing for the disappeared people and the war widows. After being elected to the maiden Northern Provincial Council in September 2013, she has been assisting the Chief Minister on the rehabilitation of war victims.
She said she has been constantly followed, monitored, intimidated and harassed by the military intelligence personnel.
According to UN initial estimates, over 40,000 people had been killed during the final months of the war, but Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph testifying before one of the local commission of inquiry said that 146,679 people have been missing between October 2008 and May 2009. He said this was based on the records of the Government Agents of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.(Colombo Mirror)