Reuters: South Indian regional party Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) celebrated the 61st birth anniversary of slain Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) founder Vellupillai Prabhakaran on Thursday, 26 November.
Prabhakaran was born into a middle class family in the coastal town of Velvettiturai in northern Sri Lanka in 1954.
The architect of Asia’s longest-running civil war had vowed never to be taken alive, but Sri Lankan army soldiers killed the island’s most wanted and most elusive man in 2009.
For 37 years, LTTE Chief Prabhakaran had done one thing better than anything else on his fearsome resume: avoid capture. But on May 19, 2009, there was little doubt about the elusive Tiger chief’s whereabouts, even though an LTTE official denied he was dead.
The MDMK has long hailed him as a revolutionary.
“We have taken a vow to achieve the goal for which he launched the armed struggle; such a valiant struggle and supreme sacrifice the LTTE has delivered. We are very firm a day will come when a sovereign Tamil nation, Tamil Eelam will be ushered. Therefore, we have made an appeal to the youth, to the youngsters to mobilise the opinion to achieve the goal of Tamil Eelam,” said MDMK Chief V. Gopalsamy or Vaiko.
He accused the Tamil Nadu government of “curbing” freedom of expression and said there was a state of “undeclared emergency” in the state.
Prabhakaran sent thousands of foes and followers to their deaths, either by signing off on their assassinations or ordering them to blow themselves up with a bomb strapped to their chest.
Video footage showed what the military said was Prabhakaran’s corpse with the top of his head blown off.
The man known to friends as “Thamby,” or little brother in Tamil, started out with a few friends by robbing banks to fund their rebel group in the 1970s, and eventually turned it into one of the world’s most well-funded and well-armed irregular groups.
Before meeting his end near a marshy lagoon in the land he fought three decades to establish as a separate nation for Sri Lanka’s Tamils, Prabhakaran had almost single-handedly propelled one of the world’s most brutal and intractable wars.
The LTTE at its peak ruled a quarter of Sri Lanka’s land mass, maintaining a standing army, navy and even a combat air wing of small planes that carried out attacks in the capital and elsewhere during its two years aloft from 2007-2009.
Prabhakaran was most often pictured in his trademark tiger stripe camouflage with men and women he had sent to their deaths on suicide missions.
He also changed his growing insurgent group’s name to reflect his goal of creating Eelam, the Tamil word for homeland.
The LTTE quickly became the most brutally efficient of several groups formed to fight against what they saw as mistreatment by successive governments, all led by the Sinhalese ethnic majority since independence from Britain in 1948.
By the time Sri Lanka’s civil war got underway in 1983, the LTTE had sidelined almost all of them.
The LTTE is accused of assassinating former Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi.