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JAFFNA: With the presidential campaign of the ruling Peoples’ Alliance candidate, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse kicking off on Tuesday on anti LTTE lines, highly informed sources in Jaffna confirmed that the LTTE has commenced a massive recruitment drive in the Jaffna peninsula. Once the amphitheatre of war, the peninsula is at present under military control but with a large presence of LTTE political offices.

“The plan is to prepare the Tamils for a possible war. This is to be carried out at the Jaffna resurgence programme to be held on Sept 30. The people are being promised a declaration of Tamil Elam,” the source said. The Tigers have demanded that all teachers and school principals allow them to deliver speeches concerning civilian cooperation. The official LTTE Peace Secretariat website on Monday carried a forewarning of abandoning the peace process. The statement was attributed to a ‘Jaffna-based civilian organisation.’

“We cannot continue to deceive ourselves that we can achieve our self-determination through peace talks. The time is near for us to set up our own self-determination by gathering our support together,” a statement posted on the LTTE Peace Secretariat website said.

“Time is ripe for us to reach our goal. We can get there only by asking the international community to recognize our de facto-government functioning in our homeland,” the statement added.

The LTTE carried out its Tamil resurgence programmes, seen as mass scale recruitment drives and fuelling pro-war sentiments in all north east districts during the past several months.

“Every single house is being visited by Tiger cadres requesting participation and support for the Jaffna resurgence. In every nook and corner there is a LTTE campaign going on requesting the people to help declare Tamil Elam. Jaffna is undergoing its most tense days.

There is a clamour by moderate Tamils to leave the area for Colombo fearing an outbreak of war,” a frightened civilian in Jaffna said.

The LTTE in the recent months has publicly acknowledged that they were training civilians in armed combat ‘in case a war breaks out.’

The November 17 presidential polls are largely seen as a referendum on how to settle the Tamil ethnic question.