Coat Of Arms Of Tamil Eelam
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil: தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகள், Tamiḻīḻa viṭutalaip pulikaḷ; commonly known as the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers) was a separatist militant organization that was based in northern Sri Lanka. Founded in May 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran, it waged a violent secessionist and nationalist campaign to create an independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people. This campaign evolved into the Sri Lankan Civil War, which ran from 1983 until 2009, when the LTTE was defeated by the Sri Lankan Military.
At the height of its power, the LTTE possessed a well-developed militia and carried out many high-profile attacks, including the assassinations of several high-ranking Sri Lankan and Indian politicians. The LTTE was the only separatist militant organization to assassinate two world leaders: Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993 and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. Civilian massacres, suicide bombings and acts of ethnic cleansing were integral parts of its pursuit to create a monoethnic Tamil Eelam in response to the nation-wide atrocities against the Tamil population. The LTTE pioneered the use of suicide belts, and used light aircraft in some of its attacks. As a result of its tactics, it is currently proscribed as a terrorist organization by 32 countries, but has extensive support amongst the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Europe and North America, and amongst some Tamils in India. However, Human Rights Organizations such as University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) alleges that the LTTE has killed at least 8000 fellow Tamils considered to be traitors to its cause. LTTE founder Velupillai Prabhakaran headed the organization from its inception until his death in 2009.
Over the course of the conflict, the Tamil Tigers frequently exchanged control of territory in north-east Sri Lanka with the Sri Lankan military, with the two sides engaging in fierce military confrontations. It was involved in four unsuccessful rounds of peace talks with the Sri Lankan government over the course of the conflict. The LTTE was in control of 76% of the landmass in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka at its peak in 2000. At the start of the final round of peace talks in 2002, the Tamil Tigers, with control of 15,000 km2 area, ran a virtual mini-state. After the breakdown of the peace process in 2006, the Sri Lankan military launched a major offensive against the Tigers, defeating the LTTE militarily and bringing the entire country under its control. Victory over the Tigers was declared by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 16 May 2009, and the LTTE admitted defeat on 17 May 2009. Prabhakaran was killed by government forces on 19 May 2009. Selvarasa Pathmanathan succeeded Prabhakaran as leader of the LTTE, but he was arrested in Malaysia and handed over to the Sri Lankan government in August 2009. Significant number of LTTE survivors are currently provided assylum by the government of Norway.
Read more about Coat Of Arms Of Tamil Eelam: Divisions, Global Network, Links To Other Designated Terrorist Organizations, Proscription As A Terrorist Group, Assassinations, Suicide Bombings, Human Rights Violations, Other Criminal Activities
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