U.S. authorities in New York arrested an alleged senior representative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, a Sri Lankan terrorist group. Karunakaran Kandasamy is charged with providing financial assistance and other support for the Tamil Tigers.
“Kandasamy hasn’t merely supported the Tamil Tigers’ cause, he orchestrated U.S. support,” said Mark Mershon, an official of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We can no sooner allow terrorists to raise funds here than we would allow them to carry out acts of terrorism over here,” he said.
Kandasamy is accused of leading the American branch of the Tamil Tigers and operating a front organization called the World Tamil Coordinating Committee. The complaint filed against Kandasamy alleges that he raised funds in the United States to carry out terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.
Organized in 1976, the Tamil Tigers use terrorist tactics, including suicide bombs, in an effort to achieve an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka. Fighting between the Tigers and Sri Lankan government forces has killed more than sixty-thousand people and displaced about one million others.
The Tamil Tigers’ so-called “Black Tiger” units have carried out hundreds of suicide attacks. Their attacks include the 1991 murder of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the murder in 1993 of Sri Lanka’s president, Ranasinghe Premadasa.
In 2002, the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government signed a cease-fire agreement. Neither side has officially withdrawn from the agreement. However, there have been more than four-thousand conflict-related deaths in the past fifteen months.
U.S. Attorney Mauskopf said, “As alleged in the complaint, [filed against Kandasamy], for years the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has covertly operated within the United States drawing on America’s financial resources and technological advances to further its war of terror in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.” The U.S., she said, refuses “to allow this to continue.”