Emergence of LTTE violence remembered with Duraiappah & Thiruchelvam murders
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
It is thirty years on Wednesday (27) since the so-called freedom struggle of the LTTE for separatism was formally launched in the Jaffna peninsula after gunning down Alfred Duraiappah, Mayor for Jaffna and the SLFP Chief Organizer for Jaffna on 27th July 1975.
It is also the sixth death anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam, by LTTE suicide bombers on 29th July 1999 as he drove close to his home. Forced exit of a scholar like Dr. Thiruchelvam, a son of an illustrious politician has created an unbridgeable lacuna in the annals of Tamil civilization that would never be pardoned by any sensible member of the Tamil community.
Dr. Thiruchevam, popularly called by his associates as "Thiru" has authored over 25 books on Tamil nationalism, its politics and also its future directions, which are even today being referred to by academics worldwide. He never wanted to promote violent politics of the Tamil youngsters, nor did he want to associate himself with their ideology, to say the least. His role as Member of Parliament inter alia remains a good testimony to what he believed in politics.
Duraiappah, being a respected politicians among moderate Tamils was in Ponnalai, Jaffna when "LTTE freedom fighters" felled him with a rain of gunshots to mark their protest to Duraiappah's uninterrupted contribution towards the democratic rights of this people. It is said that it was Prabhakaran himself who gunned him down.
The assassination of their mayor in cold-blood sparked off a series of condemnations at that point of time unlike today but that was the unofficial onset of LTTE's horrendous cycle of manhunt and killing spree after their emergence from hideouts in the peninsula.
It appears that the LTTE, bent on carving out a separate country for them selves saw all Tamil democrats, politicians, intellectuals and the literate en masse as a stumbling block to their machinations hatched and conducted in secrecy with the help of misguided and brainwashed youth. Their killing doctrine was intensified and made Jaffna people to regard brutal murders as part and parcel of the day.
After nearly ten or twelve years of LTTE violence, the Tamil Academy has awakened to ground realities and begun to realize that what the hegemonic LTTE was continuing in practice was far more detrimental and suicidal to the Tamil community than what the government, if not, the military was in fact doing.
The voice of moderate and peace-loving Tamils is no longer heard, nor is it allowed to be heard. Except for the voice of a handful of brave anti-LTTE Tamils, mind, that is also out of Jaffna, no one is supposed to talk or act in the greater interests of their own community unless they collaborate with LTTE's clandestine operations, whether they like it or not. In short, Tamils have been miserable and humiliatingly reduced to the state of slavery, gripped in the claws of LTTE's "Hitlerism", perhaps, unprecedented in the history of our prestigious Dravidian culture.
The LTTE leader's pre-occupation with "caste consciousness" for his own gains has apparently transformed not only his followers but also the entire Tamil community, into a state of servitude be they in the north-east or overseas.
Alfred Duraiappah who was Jaffna's independent MP from 1960-65 and several times mayor was a popular figure. Although this is denied by many pro-LTTE men, the fact is that in all elections for the Jaffna seat, the votes were equally split between him, the Tamil Congress and the Federal Party. His appeal had nothing to do with his representing any great ideal or principle in politics. He knew his constituents individually and tried to make everyone feel that he was part of their family. He greeted people on the road and inquired about their studies and personal matters. He catered to the needs of people for the normal business of life to go on. He dealt in jobs, transfers, market buildings, public conveniences and streetlights. It suited him to have government patronage for his style of politics, and so he aligned himself with the SLFP.
Grief over Duraiappah's death as well as that of Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam has brought forth an outpouring of tears. Today there are no tears left but uncertainty in every decent Tamil civilian.
Bereaved Family Member