US embassy cable - 87NEWDELHI23722

INDIAN FRICTION WITH LTTE GROWS

Identifier: 87NEWDELHI23722
Wikileaks: View 87NEWDELHI23722 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy New Delhi
Created: 1987-09-25 11:40:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL IN CE PINS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 251140Z SEP 87
FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1517
AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 
INFO AMCONSUL MADRAS PRIORITY 
C O N F I D E N T I A L NEW DELHI 23722 
 
C O R R E C T E D  C O P Y - TEXT 
 
E.O. 12356: 9/25/88 
TAGS: PREL, IN, CE, PINS 
SUBJ: INDIAN FRICTION WITH LTTE GROWS 
 
REF: COLOMBO 6523 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY. ON SEPTEMBER 24 THE INDIAN MINISTRY OF 
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS ISSUED ANOTHER WARNING TO THE LTTE 
THAT IT WILL RESPOND MORE FORCEFULLY IF THE TAMIL 
MILITANT ORGANIZATION DOES NOT STOP HAMPERING THE 
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SRI LANKA PEACE ACCORD.  THE MEA 
SPOKESMAN BLAMED THE LTTE FOR INSTIGATING AND 
ENGINEERING A VIOLENT CONFRONTATION SEPTEMBER 23 
BETWEEN SRI LANKAN CIVILIANS AND ELEMENTS OF THE 
INDIAN PEACE KEEPING FORCE (IPKF).  THE GROWING THREAT 
OF SUCH CLASHES BETWEEN SRI LANKANS AND INDIAN TROOPS 
APPARENTLY LIES BEHIND THE DECISION TO SEND SEVERAL 
BATTALIONS OF INDIAN POLICE INTO THE NORTHERN AND 
EASTERN PROVINCES OF SRI LANKA (REFTEL).  THERE IS 
GROWING SUPPORT FOR THE PROPOSITION THAT IF THE LTTE 
CONTINUES ITS PROVOCATIONS, THE INDIAN FORCES SHOULD 
MOVE MORE DECISIVELY AGAINST IT.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U) THE MEA SPOKESMAN EXPLAINED THAT A CROWD OF 900 
TO 1000 PEOPLE--MAINLY LTTE SUPPORTERS WITH WOMEN AND 
CHILDREN IN THE VANGUARD--COLLECTED IN FRONT OF THE 
IPKF CAMP IN MANNAR, OSTENSIBLY WANTING TO PRESENT A 
PETITION TO THE LOCAL INDIAN MILITARY COMMANDER. 
WHILE ARRANGEMENTS WERE BEING MADE FOR RECEIVING THE 
PETITION, THE LTTE SUPPORTERS REPORTEDLY STARTED 
THROWING STRONES, SHOUTING SLOGANS, AND PUSHING THE 
CROWD INTO THE CAMP.  THE IPKF FIRED FIVE ROUNDS.  TWO 
PERSONS REPORTEDLY WERE WOUNDED BY THE FIRING AND 17 
INJURED N THE RESULTING STAMPEDE.  ACCORDING TO THE 
LTTE, ONE OF THE PERSONS WOUNDED BY GUNFIRE 
SUBSEQUENTLY DIED.  ACCORDING TO THE MEA SPOKESMAN, 
THE USE OF INNOCENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN AS A COVER FOR 
THE VIOLENT DEMONSTRATION WAS "REPREHENSIBLE AND 
COWARDLY."  HE WARNED THEAT INDIAN TROOPS WOULD BE 
"COMPELLED TO RESPOND WITH EVEN STRONGER MEASURES IF 
VIOLENCE IS DELIBERATELY PROVOKED BY THE LTTE." 
 
3. (U) ACCORDING TO MAJOR INDIAN NEWSPAPERS ON 
SEPTEMBER 25, BOTH THE INDIAN AND SRI LANKAN 
GOVERNMENTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT GROWING IPKF-CIVILIAN 
TENSIONS IN THE NORTH AND AGREED THAT THE DEPLOYMENT 
OF THE INDIAN PARALIMITARY RESERVE POLICE FORCE 
(REFTEL) IS NECESSARY FOR CROWD-CONTROL DUTIES.  "IT 
WAS FELT BY BOTH COUNTRIES THAT FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF 
INDIA THE ARMY MUST NOT BE USED REGULARLY TO PREVENT 
ETHNIC OR OTHER RIOTS EXCEPT IN EXTREME EMERGENCIES 
AND FOR VERY SHORT PERIODS.  IT IS ALSO FELT THAT THE 
PRESENCE OF THE ARMY SOMETIMES ACTS AS AN IRRITANT TO 
GROUPS WHICH HAVE BEEN ENGAGED IN WARFARE FOR QUITE 
SOME TIME. . . .  IT IS LIKELY THAT THE CRPF UNITS 
WILL BE EQUIPPED WITH TEARGAS SHELLS, RUBBER BULLETS, 
AND OTHER EQUIPMENT TO COUNTER SUCH VIOLENT 
DEMONSTRATIONS BY MOBS. . . . THESE FORCES CAN ALSO BE 
USED FOR PATROLLING AREAS FROM WHERE REPORTS OF 
COLONIZATION BY SINHALAS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED." 
 
4. (C) COMMENT.  SUCCESSIVE GOI WARNINGS TO THE LTTE 
HAVE BEEN GIVEN HIGH EMPHASIS IN THE INDIAN MEDIA. 
THERE APPEARS TO BE A GROWING SENTIMENT AMONG INFORMED 
INDIANS--WHICH IS BEGINNING TO BE EXPRESSED IN 
NEWSPAPER COMMENTARIES--THAT THE IPKF MUST MOVE 
DECISIVELY AND FAST TO PREVENT THE INDO-SRI LANKA 
ACCORD FROM GOING "THE WAY OF THE PUNJAB ACCORD." 
THERE IS CONCERN THAT THE GOOD WILL WHICH THE GOI WON 
AMONG TAMILS BY ITS AIR-DROP IN JUNE IS BEING ERODED 
BY LTTE PROPOGANDA ALLEGING THAT THE IPKF IS ACTING AS 
AN ALLY OF THE COLOMBO GOVERNMENT.  "THE SITUATION CAN 
BE SAVED AND THE ATMOSPHERE CREATED FOR MODERATE 
LEADERS TO COME INTO THE OPEN," THE TIMES OF INDIA 
STATES, "ONLY IF THE INDIAN TROOPS MOVE QUICKLY AND 
DISARM THE LTTE COMPLETELY." 
 
 
DEAN 

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