ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Pyrrhic Victory

The LTTE might be on the cusp of defeat, but no viable solution to the ethnic conflict is in the offing.

Not very long ago, commentators on the Sri Lankan conflict were hinting that the latest set of sieges by the army were doomed to be interminable as it was assumed that there was no way that the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could be defeated militarily in the harsh terrain of the Vanni in north-east Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan army might have belied those expectations by managing to take Kilinocchi, the administrative headquarters of the LTTE, but the costs at which the government has achieved this beg the question whether the victory is indeed what the latter claims it to be.

The LTTE, now cornered in a few square kilometres of the Mullaitivu forests, has vowed to continue the fight. Even as the Sri Lankan army entered Kilinocchi, it found the town deserted, pointing to the fear and distrust of the Sri Lankan government that the much traumatised people of the Vanni harbour. The government has of course promised to proffer a political solution to the conflict once the LT TE is completely vanquished. The displaced Tamils in the Vanni have been used as cannon fodder, subjected as they were to forced recruitment and conscription by the LT TE. And yet, they have betrayed no trust towards the “invaders” from the south. Such is the predicament of the Tamils caught in the humanitarian catastrophe that is the civil war in the north of Sri Lanka.

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