US embassy cable - 87MADRAS3155

N. RAM: LTTE CRUSHED, MAHATHAYA DEAD?

Identifier: 87MADRAS3155
Wikileaks: View 87MADRAS3155 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Chennai
Created: 1987-11-02 11:35:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL CE INF
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O P 021135Z NOV 87
FM AMCONSUL MADRAS
TO AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY COLOMBO IMMEDIATE
INFO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7541
AMCONSUL BOMBAY
AMCONSUL CALCUTTA
C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRAS 3155 
 
E. O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PREL, CE, INF 
SUBJECT: N. RAM: LTTE CRUSHED, MAHATHAYA DEAD? 
 
1. (C) ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  "THE HINDU" ASSOCIATE EDITOR N. RAM JUST RETURNED 
FROM A VISIT TO COLOMBO, WHERE HE INTERVIEWED JAYAWARDENE 
AND SPOKE TO MEMBERS OF IPKF, JOURANLISTS AND OTHERS.  HE 
OFFERED THESE THOUGHTS TO CG AND POLECON OFF AT LUNCH 
NOVEMBER 2.: 
 
3. ACCORDING TO JAYAWARDENE AND IPKF SOURCES, THE LTTE 
HAS BEEN CRUSHED AND IS ON THE RUN.  BASED ON LTTE 
INTERCEPTS, RAM IS ALMOST SURE THAT MAHATHAYA (THE LTTE 
NO. 2) WAS KILLED IN THE ASSULT ON CHAVAKACHERI.  INTERCEPTS 
SAID THAT SOMEONE AT THE VERY TOP, BUT NOT PRABHAKARAN, 
WAS KILLED.  RAM BELIEVES THAT THIS COULD ONLY DESCRIBE 
MAHATHAYA.  LOCAL PRESS HAS REPORTED UNCONFIRMED RUMORS 
OF HIS DEATH.  LTTE'S YOGI HAD TOLD RAM EARLIER THAT 
MAHATHAYA WAS LTTE'S CANDIDATE FOR CHIEF MINISTER OF THE 
NORTHERN AND EASTERN PROVINCE.  RAM SAID THAT THE INDIAN 
MILITARY ALSO FOUND HIM TO BE SOMEONE WITH WHOM THEY COULD 
DEAL.  HIS DEATH, UNLIKE PRABHAKARNA'S, WOULD BE A BLOW 
TO A FUTURE NEGOTIATIONS PROCESS. 
 
4.  PRABHAKARAN WAS "CERTAINLY" BEEN WOUNDED IN A 
SEPARATE INCIDENT, PROBABLY WHEN INDIAN PARATROOPERS 
LANDED NEAR HIS HEADWUARTERS.  RAM ALSO FINDS IT VERY 
CURIOUS THAT PRABHAKARAN'S NAME HAS NOT BEEN USED AT 
ALL BY THE LTTE RECENTLY -"HE'S COMPLETELY OUT OF SIGHT." 
 
5.  RAM ESTIMATES THAT 1,000 LTTE FIGHTERS HAVE BEEN 
KILLED, INCLUDING 700 IN THE ASSAULT ON CHAVAKACHERI ALONE. 
 
6.  RAM'S BASIC VIEW OF RECENT EVENTS IN JAFFNA IS MORE 
POSITIVE (FROM AN INDIAN PERSPECTIVE) THAN WE HAVE HEARD 
FROM ANY OTHER KNOWLEDGABLE SOUCE HERE.  IT MUST BE 
CONSIDERED SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE OF HIS RECENT TRIP TO 
COLOMBO AND HIS EARLIER PRE-AGREEMENT CONCERN FOR THE LTTE. 
SUBSTANTIAL CROSS CURRENTS IN TAMIL ELITE OPINION PREVENT 
US FROM DISCERNING ANY "LINE" DOMINANT HERE.  NO ONE HAS 
MUCH REAL SYMPATHY FOR THE LTTE; KARUNANIDI AND THE DMK 
SUPPORT THEM FOR OPPORTUNISTIC REASONS, AND EVEN MGR'S 
RETURN (BEING COVERED SEPTEL) HAS NOT YET CLARIFIED AIADMK 
THINKING ON THE SUBJECT. 
 
7.  ONE THING RAM WAS CLEAR ON: THE GOI WILL NOT BE 
EASILY LED INTO ANY KIND OF COMPROMISE.  GURKHA TROOPS ARE 
SURROUNDING THE NALLUR TEMPLE NEAR JAFFNA, AND THERE 
WILL BE NO STAND-DOWN, SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS, OR 
CEASE FIRE UNTIL THE LTTE LOUDLY AND PUBLICLY AGREES TO 
START HANDING OVER ARMS AND ABIDE BY THE JULY 29 AGREEMENT. 
RAM CONFIRMED THE EARLIER REPORTED "NECKLACE KILLINGS" 
OF FIVE INDIAN SOLDIERS AND THE BRUNING TO DEATH OF 13 
OTHERS.  HE HASTENED TO ADD THAT NONE OF THIS HAS BEEN 
CONFIRMED TO THE PRESS BECUASE THE GOI WANTED TO KEEP 
EMOTIONS DOWN.  BUT THE ARMY KNOWS, AND IT IS PRETTY 
BLOODY-MINDED RIGHT NOW.  PRABHAKARAN OR ANY OTHER 
LEADERSHIP FIGURE WOULD HAVE TO "WAVE A VERY WHITE 
FLAG" TO SURVIVE HIS/THEIR OWN SURRENDER. 
 
 
STEMPEL 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04