By Meera Srinivasan
Sri Lanka on May 15 said it will “duly investigate” information flagged by Indian intelligence agencies — that ex-LTTE were “regrouping to launch attacks” in the island — and “strengthen security”, a day after authorities denied the claim reported in The Hindu.
On May 13 The Hindu, citing Indian intelligence sources, reported that “some erstwhile cadre” had entered Tamil Nadu to “plan and execute” attacks in Sri Lanka that is in the grips of a crippling economic crisis and political uncertainty. The attacks were being timed with the ‘Mullivaikkal anniversary’, sources had indicated.
They were referring to the civil war anniversary marked by Sri Lanka’s Tamils on May 18 every year, to remember the tens of thousands of Tamil civilians who were in killed during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war in May 2009, when Sri Lankan forces crushed the LTTE.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence on May 14 denied the claims, calling the report “baseless”. “We have received no intelligence warning of such a security threat,” the Ministry spokesman had told The Hindu.
The Hindu report did not mention that India had warned Sri Lanka about the security threat. The report highlighted Indian intelligence inputs and advisory shared internally, acting on which Tamil Nadu had stepped up coastal surveillance.
On May 15, the Ministry said in a statement that upon inquiry, “the Indian intelligence services have informed Sri Lanka that the information has been given as general information and further informed that the investigations will be carried out in this regard and action will be taken to inform Sri Lanka about it.”
Meanwhile, over the last few days several Tamils, including families of forcibly disappeared persons, have been gathering at Mullivaikkal, located in the north-eastern tip of the island, and known for the mass killings of civilians, to observe “remembrance week”. Locals pointed to heightened military presence. War-affected Tamils have repeatedly raised concern over being denied their right to memorialise and commemorate their loved ones who died during the war.
Last year, authorities bulldozed a memorial for war victims placed inside the University of Jaffna. In another instance ahead of the war anniversary last year, a memorial plaque, and some monuments erected earlier, were found vandalised.