Prabhakaran won’t allow amicable solution - Devananda
Holding talks with the Tigers’ shadowy leader would be a blunder and
there will be no peace unless he is killed, Sri Lankan
militant-turned-minister Douglas Devananda has warned.
Social Services and Welfare Minister Devananda, who is vehemently
opposed to the Tigers, says he has escaped more than a dozen
The last was on November 28, when a female bomber officials say was
sent by Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran made her way into his
ministry in central Colombo.
Devananda was watching closed-circuit TV footage of visitors in the
ministry’s offices and hallways when the woman blew herself up, killing
one of his aides.
“Prabhakaran ... is anti-human,” Devananda told Sri Lanka’s Foreign
Correspondent’s Association late on Thursday, after showing journalists
a recording of the attack. “You have to compare (him) with Pol Pot or
Hitler ... He has to die.”
“As long as Prabhakaran is alive, he won’t allow anyone to solve the
problem (conflict) amicably,” he added. “If the President goes again for
talks, it’s a blunder.”
Prabhakaran is infamous for his use of suicide attackers as part of
his campaign to create a separate state in the island’s North and East.
Devananda himself took up arms against the state with other militant
groups in the late 1970s and 1980s. He remains at the top of the Tigers’
President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the door is open to peace talks with
the Tigers, but his Government has also vowed to wipe out the Devananda
heads the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP). He wants to be the
future chief minister for North and East Sri Lanka.
“I have the right to be the chief minister of the North and East,”
He also wants the Government and other political parties to
decentralise power to provincial councils, rather than wait for divided
parties to try to reach an elusive consensus on devolution.
“The Tamil people have grievances. They should be dealt with with a
political package,” he said.
Devananda, who adopted the alias Douglas because it was his karate
teacher’s name, laughs as he recalls a series of attempts on his life.
He was once forced to dive into the Palk Strait separating Sri Lanka
from India in 1996 to escape a Tiger attack and spent the whole night in
The minister, who founded the militant Eelam People’s Revolutionary
Front (EPRLF), which later morphed into his political party, has no
regrets about his own violent past.
He says killings he was responsible for were in self-defence. He also
jokes about his former militancy and rivalry with the Tigers in the
1980s, when they were both fighting the state — and often each other.
“If the LTTE killed anyone from my organisation, I balanced that when
I was in EPRLF,” he laughed.
Ironically, it is precisely through agreeing to peace talks that
Prabhakaran could torpedo his foe Devananda.
“If tomorrow Prabhakaran comes genuinely for negotiations, I will
give up politics and go, because I don’t want to be an obstacle,” he
said. “But the reality is Prabhakaran won’t come, and I won’t go.”