People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) (Sri Lanka)

Country: Sri Lanka
Details of Formation: The PLOTE was a former insurgent Tamil party that fought with the government against the Tamil Tigers. It was founded in 1980 and became a progovernment armed group in 1990.
Details of Termination: The group surrendered arms in a ceasefire agreement in March 2002. PLOTE continues as political party and is described as 'mainstream' in subsequent documents. There is little evidence of subsequent armed activity, though claims were made by Tamil Tigers (see PGMD pieces of evidence from 2005 and 2006).
Purpose: The group predominantly fought the LTTE and was used by the government to identify LTTE members and supporters. Before becoming pro-government the PGM’s own goal was the establishment of an independent Tamil state and spreading a socialist ideology.
Organisation: Though the group worked with the government forces it did not receive funding from the government. Manikkadasan was the group’s leader while it was pro-government, until he was assassinated in 1999.
Weapons and Training: The group was armed by the government. Prior to becoming pro-government, the group was supposed to receive weapons sent through India and many members were trained there. There is no information whether the Sri Lankan government also provided training.
Size: Sources state that there were 2,000 members in Sri Lanka in 1985, which decreased to 1,500 in 2009.
Reason for Membership: The group had a Marxist-Leninist ideology, commitment to which may have been an incentive to join. Members may also have profited financially from extortion, smuggling and drug trafficking.
Treatment of Civilians: The group was accused of kidnapping, abduction, extortion and human rights violations. Civilians were killed in fights against the LTTE and there were rumours of torture. Furthermore, the group ran an illegal detention centre. These factors created a climate of fear and intimidation among civilians.
Other Information: Before becoming pro-government the group was overpowered by the LTTE. The group had connections to armed groups in other countries, such as Palestine, El Salvador, and South Africa. It was involved in some operations abroad, e.g. in a coup against the government of the Maldives, which the Indian government prevented, and collected ransom/”taxes” from businessmen. There were some casualties reported after the military wing of the group was disbanded, committed by the LTTE. The Indian government supported the group before it became connected to the Sri Lankan government.
References: New York Times. December 18, 1988. “Coup Attempt in Maldives Laid to Tamil Force.”

Stanford. “People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam. Mapping Militant Organizations.”