Thursday, December 8, 2011

Velupillai Prabhakaran

Thiruvenkadam Velupillai Prabhakaran (Tamil: வேலுப்பிள்ளை பிரபாகரன், Sinhala: තිරුවෙන්කදම් වේළුපිල්ලෛ ප්රභාකරන්) (November 26, 1954 – May 18, 2009) was the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers), a militant organization that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. For over 25 years, the LTTE waged a violent secessionist campaign in Sri Lanka that led to it being designated a terrorist organization by 32 countries. Prabhakaran was wanted by Interpol for terrorism, murder, organized crime and terrorism conspiracy. He also had arrest warrants against him in Sri Lanka and India.

Founded in 1976, the LTTE rocketed to prominence in 1983 after they ambushed a Sri Lanka Army convoy outside Jaffna, resulting in the deaths of 13 soldiers. This ambush, along with the subsequent rioting which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Tamil civilians, is generally considered the start of the Sri Lankan Civil War. After years of fighting, including the unsuccessful intervention of the Indian Army, the conflict was halted after international mediation in 2001. By then, the Tamil Tigers controlled large swaths of land in the north and east of the country, running virtually a mini-state with Prabhakran serving as its unquestioned leader. Peace talks eventually broke down, and the Sri Lanka Army launched a military campaign to defeat the Tamil Tigers in 2006. Prabhakaran was killed in fighting with the Army on May 18, 2009. His death brought an immediate end to the Civil War.

Early life
Velupillai Prabhakaran was born in the northern coastal town of Velvettithurai on November 26, 1954, to Thiruvenkadam Velupillai and Vallipuram Parvathy. Thiruvenkadam Velupillai was the District land Officer in the Ceylon Government Angered by what he saw as discrimination against Tamil people by successive Sri Lankan governments, he joined the student group TIP during the standardization debates. In 1972 Prabhakaran founded the Tamil New Tigers (TNT) which was a successor to many earlier organizations that protested against the post-colonial political direction of the country, in which the minority Sri Lankan Tamils were pitted against the majority Sinhalese people.

In 1975, after becoming heavily involved in the Tamil movement, he carried out the first major political murder by a Tamil militant group, assassinating the mayor of Jaffna, Alfred Duraiappah, by shooting him at point-blank range when he was about to enter the Hindu temple at Ponnaalai. The assassination was in response to the 1974 Tamil conference incident, for which the Tamil radicals had blamed Duraiappah, because he backed the then ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

Personal life
The Asian Tribune has reported that Prabhakaran was married to Mathivathani Erambu on October 1, 1984. and she, along with their mother, their daughter (Duvaraga) and two sons, Charles Anthony and Balachandran were not in Sri Lanka. However, Sri Lanka military sources stated that they had recovered the corpse of Charles Anthony. A senior Sri Lankan minister later informed that the Sri Lanka Army had also found the bodies of Prabhakaran's younger son Balachandran, wife Mathivathani, and his daughter Duvaraga. However, the military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara later stated that there was no information about the whereabouts of the remaining members of the Prabhakaran's family. “We have not found their bodies and have no information about them,” he said. Yet, it is thought that the entire Prabhakaran's family actually has been wiped out; the bodies of Madhivadhany, Duvaraga and Balachandran reportedly were found in a bushy patch about 600 meters away from where Prabhakaran’s body was found.

Velupillai Prabhakaran's parents, Thiruvenkadam Velupillai and Parvathi, both in their 70s, were found in the Menik Farm camp for displaced people near the town of Vavuniya. The Sri Lankan military and the government gave public assurances that they would not be interrogated, harmed or ill treated.

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