They are still active, but they are no longer officially recognized as a terrorist organization because they dont have a base and their leader is dead. They are a national separatist group in Sri Lanka whose ideology can be traced to Marxism, Leninism, and nationalism. The Tamil Tigers are a terrorist group that has been fighting the Sri Lanka government for independence. They are also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE. The armed conflict between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government is one of the longest ones in Asia.
The LTTEs first attack was on a military troop transport that killed thirteen soldiers. This sparked riots against the Tamil people, which in turn, caused many youths to join insurgent groups against the Sri Lankan government. The LTTE at one point had a navy and an air force. They also had a special unit called the Black Tigers, which was a suicide unit based solely on suicide attacks. The navy has sunk 30 Sri Lankan ships, including 29 small inshore vessels and one freighter. The air force tigers had at least four aircraft, but all of them are destroyed either from suicide missions or being shot down.
The Black Tigers have carried out between 100 to 200 missions with over 330 members being killed. The Tamil Tigers believe in Marxism. They want a socialist and classless society with equality for everyone, but Muslims and Sinhalese people. In fact, the LTTE has committed several massacres against Muslims and Sinhalese people. Their most notable attack on Muslims is the Kattankudy mosque massacre which occurred on August 4 1990. LTTE soldiers raided four mosques during prayer and killed 147 Muslim men and boys. It appears the Tamil Tigers want a Marxist society, but only for the Tamil people.
Several times in the LTTEs history they have evicted Muslims and Sinhalese from their land and either killed them or forced them to leave. Since 1985, the LTTE has forcibly occupied 35,000 acres of Muslim-owned land. This is what the Tamil Tigers believe Marxism is; equality for one group and not the others. Just as the LTTE believe in Marxism they also believe in a similar ideology called Leninism. The main concept the LTTE believe in from Leninism is that a nation has a right to secession and statehood (Towards Liberation 64).
Lenin once said, From their daily experience the masses know perfectly well the value of geographical and economic ties and the advantages of a big market and a big state. They will, therefore, resort to secession only when national oppression and national friction make joint life absolutely intolerable and hinder any and all economic intercourse. In that case, the interests of capitalist development and of the freedom of the class struggle will be best served by secession (Towards Liberation 70). Lenin said this in his essay The Right of Nations of Self-Determination and the Tamil Tigers included it in one of their press releases.
The Tamils believe that they should be able to secede from Sri Lanka and make their own independent state. They feel that their population is large enough to have their own state. They also believe that they will have the economic stability to function as a nation. The Tamils wish to create a state in north and east Sri Lanka, but the Sri Lanka government wont allow them to. One reason they wont allow them to create a state is that region is to rich in resources to give up. In addition to Marxism and Leninism, the LTTE also believe in nationalism.
This is probably their strongest belief, where most of their roots as a terrorist organization come from, and what they are fighting for. To be specific, the LTTE believes in a specific type of nationalism called Tamil nationalism. Tamil nationalism is the concept that the Tamil people have a right to create an independent and self-governing state, specifically in North and East Sri Lanka. (See map on last page) As you can see from this map, the majority of the people living in the area the Tamil people want to make a state are Tamil. There is one district where ninety-five percent of people living there are Tamil.
That means ninety-five percent of people living in that district want to break away from Sri Lanka. The area shown on blue in the map is roughly the area that the LTTE controls. The majority of the people in those districts, excluding the thirty-four percent and eighteen percent districts, support the LTTE. The concept of Tamil nationalism began in the 18th century under British control when Tamil Hindus tried to counter Protestant missionary activity. Later in the 20th century, the Tamils realized they were a minority ethnic group and began to believe they should have their own country.
At first, the Tamils tried to get equal representation in the government along with other minorities, but it never happened. Since this did not work, Tamil terrorist groups, like the LTTE, formed. The insurgent groups formed to fight for Tamil nationalism. All in all, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are a national separatist group based in Sri Lanka. Their ideology has roots in Marxism, Leninism, and nationalism. The Tamil Tigers have been recognized by 32 countries as a terrorist organization. They believe in the Marxist idea of a classless society, the Leninist idea of a nations right to secede, and nationalism.