Velupillai Prabhakaran was a Sri Lankan Tamil guerrilla and the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. He was killed in fighting in May 2009. His son Charles Anthony was also killed. His wife’s and daughter’s bodies were reportedly found. It was alleged that his 12-year-old second son was executed a short time later.
About Velupillai Prabhakaran in brief
Velupillai Prabhakaran was a Sri Lankan Tamil guerrilla and the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Founded in 1976, the LTTE rocketed to prominence in 1983 after it ambushed a patrol of the Sri Lanka Army outside Jaffna, resulting in the deaths of 13 soldiers. After years of fighting, including the intervention of the Indian Army, the conflict was halted after international mediation in 2001. He was killed in fighting in May 2009. His son Charles Anthony was also killed. His wife’s and daughter’s bodies were reportedly found. It was alleged that his 12-year-old second son was executed a short time later. He is often seen as a martyr by Sri Lanka Tamils, but critics have noted that he created one of the most notorious and sophisticated insurgencies, with many of the tactics he pioneered influencing political militant groups globally. He declared that his goal was’revolutionary socialism and the creation of an egalitarian society’ He was the youngest of four children, born in the northern coastal town of Valvettithurai on 26 November 1954. He came from an influential and wealthy family who owned and managed the major Hindu temples in the town. In 1972, he founded the Tamil Youth Front, a successor to many earlier Tamil organizations that protested against the post-colonial political direction of the country. In 1974, he carried out the first major political assassination by a Tamil group, killing Alfred Duraia, the mayor of Jaffha, for shooting him at point-blank range when he was about to enter the Hindu temple.
The assassination was in response to the killings of the Tamils in 1974, which were pitted against the majority Sinhalese people. In 1975, after becoming heavily involved in the movement, he became the first Tamil group to kill a Tamil leader at a conference for Tamil unity. He joined the student group to protest against the standardisation of Tamil language in Sri Lanka in the 1970s and 1980s. He became the leader of New Tigers in 1982. In 1987, he declared that he chose military means only after observing that nonviolent means were ineffectual and obsolete, especially after Thileepan’s fatal hunger strike in 1987 had no effect. He said, “I would prefer to die in honour rather than being caught alive by the enemy”, and that he would rather die ‘in honour’ than be killed by ‘the enemy’. The Tamil Tigers, which came to be known as the Tamiligers, controlled large swathes of land in the North and East of thecountry, running a de facto state with Prab Hakaran as its leader. The Sri Lanka army launched a military campaign to defeat the Tamil Tigers in 2006, and the conflict ended in 2009 with the announcement ‘We have decided to silence our guns’ by Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the Tigers’ chief of international relations.