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Impotent West rages at Lanka

Impotent West rages at Lanka

Author: Kanchan Gupta
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: June 7, 2009

In the early-1990s when gunbattles between terrorists and security forces were a commonplace occurrence in Jammu & Kashmir, a British newspaper ran a bizarre story. If memory serves me right, it was The Independent which, in a 'special' despatch, probably filed from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, reported how Indian Army jawans would drape themselves in white sheets and descend on remote villages after nightfall. Poor, terrified Kashmiris, convinced that they were being attacked by 'ghosts', would either die of shock or lose their mental equilibrium. I don't remember the exact details, but I think there was some mention of the less fortunate being shot dead in cold blood.

In those days the Anglo-American media merrily concocted grim stories of human rights violations by the Indian state, many of them fed by a certain Robin Raphel who had been appointed America's official busybody for South Asia by President Bill Clinton. The terrorists, separatists and assorted Islamists in the Valley hero-worshipped her while human rights organisations tripped over each other to produce gory reports which Ms Raphel would then cite to denigrate India. I recall receiving a glossy report published by Amnesty International on 'extrajudicial killings' in the Kashmir Valley by the Indian Army. The cover showed a distraught, dishevelled woman wailing over a grave and the caption said, "A Kashmiri widow grieves for her husband killed by the Indian Army" - or words to that effect. A friend in London alerted me that it was a con job; friends in the Government helped track down the origin of the cover photograph: It had been shot at the grave of a peer in south India, a visit to which is believed to cure lunatics of their lunacy. There was no e-mail those days, so a fax was sent to Amnesty International seeking its comment. There was no response. The Pioneer ran a story pointing out the inaccuracy and raising questions about the contents between the misleading covers. It was subsequently picked up by other newspapers and news services. Amnesty International put out a long statement, insisting that the cover was 'only illustrative' and the contents of the report were 'correct'. But nobody, barring the Anglo-American media, bothered to take note of it.

Years later there was the Chittisinghpora massacre in Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir on March 20, 2000. Dressed in Indian Army fatigues, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba terrorists killed 36 Sikhs. One of the killers, Mohammad Suhail Malik of Sialkot in Pakistan, told Barry Bearak of the New York Times that he was 'directed' by the LeT to carry out the massacre. Suhail Malik is a nephew of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the chief terrorist of LeT who now heads Jamaat-ud-Dawa'h and has just been rewarded by the Lahore High Court for masterminding last November's fidayeen attack on Mumbai. The overwhelming evidence about the LeT's involvement in the Chittisinghpora massacre was ignored by the Anglo-American media which insisted the killings were the handiwork of the Indian Army. This absurd claim was bolstered by fifth columnists amidst us, including a travel writer fascinated by something as banal as 'butter chicken' (I must shame-facedly admit that it was me who encouraged him to become a writer and gave him his first byline in the Pioneer), who wrote long essays and scathing articles denouncing India in the Anglo-American media while exonerating the LeT and its patrons in Pakistan.

These stories come to mind as I read horrifying accounts of how the Sri Lankan Army 'killed' 20,000 or more Tamil civilians in the concluding days of the war it waged against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, one of the most dreaded terrorist organisations in the world to which goes the credit of inventing the 'suicide belt' and popularising the 'human bomb' as a weapon of mass terror. Had it not been for the LTTE and its ruthless chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, jihad minus suicide bombers would have been less blood-curdlingly spectacular. Ever since its formation in 1976, the LTTE excelled in mindless slaughter and running a Pol Pot-like regime with the help of sophisticated arms and limitless funds. Prabhakaran ran every possible racket - from drug trafficking to human trafficking, from extortion to appropriation - to fund his terrorist enterprise. He deployed women to blow themselves up and kill high profile targets, including Rajiv Gandhi; he forcibly inducted children into his army to be used as cannon fodder. In the end, he got his just desserts. Tamils and Sinhalese are celebrating their liberation from the fear of man-eating Tigers.

The Americans have got nowhere with their three-trillion-dollar war on terror. The Sri Lankans have demonstrated that all it takes is conviction and determination to destroy terror root and branch. The mighty West looks impotent when compared to a tiny island nation which has won a spectacular victory. Is this why the Anglo-American media has unleashed a virulent campaign of calumny against Sri Lanka, accusing its Army of genocide? The Times of London has published a story alleging at least 20,000 civilians have been killed by the Sri Lankan Army. This is thrice the figure claimed by busybodies of the UN. There is a clamour among 'liberal' democracies in Europe that the Sri Lankan Government should be tried for 'war crimes'. The US is strangely silent. Colombo says no more than 3,000 to 5,000 civilians, who were used as a 'human shield' by Prabhakaran and his men, have been killed, nearly all of them in LTTE fire. Collateral damage is inevitable in the war on terror, or else Afghan civilians would not die during Nato operations and Pakistanis would not be killed in American drone attacks.

Here are some facts which perhaps explain the rush to shed tears for the LTTE and concoct outlandish stories about the Sri Lankan Army blasting its way through with heavy mortar in a densely-populated area. Over the decades Tamils from Sri Lanka with pronounced LTTE connections have been provided with 'political asylum' in countries like Britain, Canada and the US. The Tamil diaspora is now estimated to be 1.2 million strong. The Tamils are financially well-off and have access to politicians whom they fund. In the UK, Germany, Canada, the US and smaller European countries they command a sizeable vote-share (300,000 voters in Canada can swing results in several constituencies). With the LTTE gone, the rackets many of them ran on behalf of Prabhakaran will now be adversely affected. Hence their raucous protest and impressive rallies.

As for the sanctimonious Anglo-American media, any story that paints the former colonies in the bleakest of colours is worth publishing on the front page. The media-generated outrage would suggest that only Whites have the right to wage war on terror. Racism doesn't exist only in Australia.

- Blog on this issue at: kanchangupta.blogspot.com, Contact Writer at: kanchangupta@rocketmail.com

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