Fight for separate state will be continued: Prabhakaran

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Colombo, Nov 27 (UNI) Reclusive leader of the Tamil Tiger guerillas, Velupillai Prabhakaran in his annual speech today said his organisation would continue its struggle for a separate state in Sri Lanka.

''As the freedom movement of the people of Tamil Eelam we will never, ever allow Sinhala occupation or Sinhala domination of our homeland. Whatever challenges confront us, whatever contingencies we encounter, whatever forces stand on our path, we will still continue with our struggle for the freedom of the Tamil people,'' the rebel leader said in his speech from an unknown location in the northern Wanni region.

''On the path shown by history, on the command of the circumstances of today, we will continue with our struggle till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed,'' Prabhakaran said.

Appealing the powerful Tamil diaspora living in many parts of the world, he requested them ''to strengthen the hands of our freedom movement and continue to extend their contributions and help.'' In his annual Heroes' Day speech Prabhakaran said the LTTE has ''never stood in the way of the national, geopolitical, or economic welfare'' of any other country and added that the profound aspirations of the Tamil people too are not harmful to the welfare of any country or its people.

He said though the LTTE adopted the armed struggle, it has always wished to solve the Tamil national problem through peaceful means and has ''never been against adopting peaceful means or hesitated to take part in the peace talks.'' Prabhakaran also appealed to the countries that have banned the LTTE to remove this ban and support his struggle against the Sri Lankan state for the past three decades.

Making a specific appeal to India, he termed the developments in relation to Sri Lanka's ethnic crisis in the recent past as 'great changes,' expressing hopes that 'the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question.' ''The dormant voices in support of our struggle are re-emerging aloud again. There are also indications of our struggle becoming accepted there. The positive change in environment gives us courage to seek renewal of our relationship with the Indian super power,'' he said.

''Not withstanding the dividing sea, Tamil Nadu, with its perfect understanding of our plight, has taken heart to rise on behalf of our people at this hour of need. This timely intervention has gratified the people of Tamil Eelam and our freedom movement and given us a sense of relief,'' he said.

''I wish to express my love and gratitude at this juncture to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu and the leaders of India for the voice of support and love they have extended. I would cordially request them to raise their voice firmly in favour of our struggle for a Tamil Eelam state, and to take appropriate and positive measures to remove the ban which remains an impediment to an amicable relationship between India and our movement,'' he appealed.

Prabhakaran has made this appeal as the government troops were poised to capture the LTTE's one-time 'political capital' town of Kilinochchi.

UNI XC PD RN2158

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