People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam
People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam
தமிழீழ மக்கள் விடுதலைக் கழகம்
|Split from||Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam|
|Headquarters||16 Haig Road, Bambalapiya, Colombo 4|
The People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) is a former Tamil militant group that had become a pro-government paramilitary group and political party. PLOTE's political wing is known as the Democratic People's Liberation Front.
PLOTE was founded in 1980 by an ex-surveyor Uma Maheswaran alias Mukundan, who became its general secretary. He was the chairman of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers or LTTE) from 1977–1980. He was trained in Lebanon and later in Syria under the Palestinian nationalist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. After a bitter rivalry with Velupillai Prabhakaran, Uma Maheswaran left the LTTE in 1980 and formed PLOTE.
PLOTE was active in cultivating international connections: it established links with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) under George Habash, the Tunisian Communist Party, the Democratic and Social Movement communist party of Algeria, the Turkish Organisation for Solidarity with Palestine, the African National Congress, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front of El Salvador, the Sandinistas of Nicaragua, and the ruling Mauritian Militant Movement in Mauritius and Communist Party in Cuba. These links were later picked up by the LTTE.
Coup in Maldives
In late 1988, a coup to overthrow the Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's government in Maldives with the help of mercenaries from PLOTE was foiled by India.
The People's Liberation Organization was reported to have been offered at least $1 million - some estimates run as high as $10 million. Officials said they were not certain whether money was the only reward the guerrillas were to get for their part in the coup. There have been suggestions that the PLOTE may have been promised one of the small Maldivian islands as a base, possibly for Arms shipments. In a recent interview, Vetrichelvan PLOTE's former representative in New Delhi claims it was Athulathmudali, then Sri Lankan Prime Minister, who instigated PLOTE into such a venture on a promise of some islands.
LTTE vs PLOTE
On May 19, 1982, a shootout occurred at about 9:45 p.m. at Pondy Bazaar, Mambalam, Madras between LTTE and PLOTE members. V. Prabhakaran and Raghavan (alias Sivakumar) of the LTTE, armed with revolvers, opened fire on Jotheeswaran and Mukundan (alias Uma Maheswaran) of the PLOTE. In the mid-1970s, both Prabhakaran and Uma Maheswaran were members of the LTTE. During the gunfire, Jotheeswaran sustained bullet injuries both in his right and left thighs. Mukundan was also shot at but escaped unhurt. The accused V. Prabhakaran and Sivakumar were arrested and remanded. Both of them were proclaimed offenders of the Sri Lankan government with a reward on their head of Rs. 5 lakhs each.
On May 25, 1982, Uma Maheswaran was arrested near Gummidipoondi railway station. At the time of arrest, he opened fire with his revolver and another case was registered against him under the Indian Arms Act.
In the meantime, on May 23, 1982 Sivaneswaran (alias Niranjan), an accomplice of Mukundan, was also arrested at Saidapet, Madras and an unlicensed revolver seized from him. All these accused remained in custody until August 5, 1982 when they were released by the orders of the court on conditional bail. The LTTE cadres including their leader V.Pirabhakaran had taken up residence at Mylapore Madras, while the leaders and members of the PLOTE had been staying at Saidapet, Madras.
Demise of the organisation
PLOTE lost its strength and momentum gradually due to continual conflicts with the LTTE. On July 16, 1989, Uma Maheswaran was assassinated in Colombo. A PLOTE splinter group claimed responsibility, though many still suspect Indian intelligence agency (RAW) involvement.
Currently it is functioning under the leadership of D. Siddarthan and is a pro-government minor political party that is alleged to cooperate with the Sri Lankan military against LTTE sympathizers. The group reportedly has around 1,500 permanent cadres in the north and east.
Some former members of the group also function along with the Sri Lankan Army as a para-military group in military activities against the LTTE. They have also been accused of murders against political opponents. A prominent former PLOTE and later paramilitary leader Manika Dasan was killed by the LTTE in a claymore bomb attack in the town of Vavuniya.
Another paramilitary leader from the Batticlao region, Plote Mohan, was killed by LTTE assassins in Colombo in 2004.
- "Paramilitary Politics, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting http://pulitzercenter.typepad.com/untold_stories/2009/04/sri-lanka-paramilitaries-.html