We hadn't seen the leader of the Tamil Tigers, Prabhakaran, since 1989 when we watched him at a Jaffna football field addressing a large crowd euphoric about impending peace. The Indian Peace-keeping Force had just arrived, and we remember Prabhakaran being a small man dwarfed by his swarthy bodyguards, giving a speech in a squeaky voice. One of the world's most ruthless militant leaders was not the most charismatic.

As it turned out, Prabhakaran soon turned his claymore mines on the IPKF, causing such heavy casualties and forcing the Indian Army to retreat ignominously. But Prabhakaran was a man harbouring long-term grudges, and it wasn't over for him. By 1993 he had sent a Tigress suicide bomber to kill Rajiv Gandhi, the architect of the IPKF.

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Himal Southasian