Chronology of LTTE terror:
From the Daily News Archives
chronology of LTTE terror:
Alfred Duraiappah murder
When the euphoria of victory dies down, and
together with it the media hype ceases, when the guns do not rattle and
boom anymore, and the sky, the land and the sea become calm and serene,
when tranquillity reigns through it is natural to live in the present
moment and forget the past.
But one cannot live in the present without a
past. No can one envision the future discarding the experience of the
preceding events. Hence the Daily News wishes to introduce a new feature
today, Chronicle of Terror taken from our own archives which would
remind our readers how it all began.
An awareness of the chronology of terror would
help us prevent the recurrence of such terror and frustrate any attempts
by misguided elements to repeat history to suit their evil designs.
It was not simple terror. Nor was terror
sporadic. It was all pre-planned,
pre-determined, well-calculated terror. The victims were innocent
people. Though it is too many innumerate we would like to recall the
major episodes in the Chronology of Terror.
The rise of political violence in the north in the early 1970s after
the republican constitution of 1972 was enacted by the Parliament should
be looked at not merely as a spontaneous reaction to legislative or
administrative steps taken by successive governments from 1948 but as a
calculated move to destabilize the country and instil fear into the
Tamils of the north who were usually hardworking frugal and law abiding
people who did not resort to violence to address their problems.
Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah
G G Ponnambalan
The assassination of Mayor of Jaffna Alfred Duaraiappah came after
several incidents of violence and sabotage started by the Tamil United
Liberation Front or Tamil United Front youth but the motivating force
behind them was of course the extremist elements among the politicians
of the north notably Appapillai Amirthalingam who was to succeed as the
leader of the TULF on the demise of the first leader of the Illankai
Thamil Arasu Kadchi mistranslated to English as the Federal Party.
When the Republican Constitution of 1972 was enacted no less than
five members of parliament from the north, all of them Tamils had voted
for the constitution and it was recorded that Amirthalingam had said at
a public meeting that these five members will not die natural deaths but
would die in some other ways. The TULF youth had threatened these five
members and posters went up on the walls of Jaffna naming them traitors
to the Tamils.
It was in this background that the rise of the LTTE had to be
understood as there were about 50 Tamil youths who had started
collecting small arms, mostly robbed from places like Excise Stations or
Customs houses or from private parties.
They had also robbed some dynamite sticks and were acting under
cover. It was also recorded by the police officers on duty in Jaffna and
elsewhere in the north that when these youths were arrested and detained
acts of violence and threats against politicians who did not condone
their activities stopped. And whenever they were released from detention
these acts of sabotage or violence started again.
Amirtahlingam had told the youth that they should fight to create a
separate state for the Tamils and they may get arrested, tortured or
even suffer heroic deaths but once all these had passed they would be
able to win the separate state Eelam.
He had also said the help of foreign organizations should be sought
for the struggle of the Tamil people. Yet the tragedy of the Tamil
people of the north at the beginning and the east later was that
gradually the youth began to get themselves organized as terrorist
Alfred Duraiappah was a lawyer and was a very popular politician of
Jaffna, by profession a lawyer. He believed that the people of the north
and the south should unite and he worked very hard to bring prosperity
to the people of the north.
When he joined the SLFP the United Front government led by Madame
Sirimavo Bandaranaike it was in the background of the national food
production drive and farmers of Jaffna had become rich producing rice,
vegetables and fruits that were mainly sent to Colombo for sale.
In 1974 Premier Sirimavo Bandaranaike visited Jaffna to open the new
Jaffna campus and on that occasion there was a rousing welcome for her.
When she came to the Jaffna Town Hall the wives of the Jaffna farmers
spread their long hair on the steps leading to the town hall bending
down to form a carpet.
But Madame Bandaranaike refused to step over that carpet remarking
that she would not disgrace womanhood and asked the wives to get up from
their kneeling positions.
On that occasion when she asked Alfred Duraiappah why such a
reception was accorded to her Duraiappah said that thanks to the
policies of the United Front government the farmers of the north had
Duraiappah used his influence with Sirimavo Bandaranaike to work for
his people. He had several plans to develop the Jaffna town and
especially to convert the beautiful beaches to tourist resorts.
Alfred Duraiappah was loved by the rich or poor of the north
especially by the fisher
folk of Meesalai. None of their weddings would take place without him
attending it most often as the attesting witness and the Mayor’s
residence was a familiar place for them. The day that he was gunned down
by Prabhakaran the fisher folk of Meesalai, men, women and children
rolled on the sand wailing when they heard about it. His funeral was
also attended by these common people and also by the farmers of the
north who had prospered during that time.
Yet on the day he was killed he had returned after visiting Brunei
where his wife was the Chief Medial Officer and usually went for worship
at the Punnalai Sri Vishnu Temple. He never believed that anyone would
ever harm him let alone kill him.
Such was his popularity among the people and he worked hard to raise
their living standards and used his influence with Premier Sirimavo
Bandaranaike and the ministers to do something for the farmers, fisher
folk or others of his hometown. He came from a wealthy family and was a
lawyer by profession and had married into a family related to the late
Tamil Congress leader G. G. Ponnambalam.
At that time the SLFP presence in Jaffna was an embarrassment to the
leaders of the TULF especially to Amirthalingam who had by that time
become the godfather of armed Tamil youth who were fondly known as ‘the
boys’ by their patrons who were the minority among the people of the
When Madame Bandaranaike visited Jaffna in 1974 the Jaffna farmers
put up pandals embellished with potato, beet, plantains, chilly and
other fruits to welcome her.
When Duraiappah came out of the Punnalai Kovil after worship the
terrorist group was waiting for him.
While he was coming to get into his car Velupillai Prabhakaran
whipped up a pistol shot Duraiappah at point blank range killing him
almost in seconds on the spot. A member of the Jaffna Municipal Council
D. K. Rajaratmam and an employee of the Municipal Council Loganathan
also were injured in the attack.
Associated with Prabhakaran were other terrorists Kiubakaran,
Sridaran, Santhiyar, Sothiratnam,Kailasapathy and Selvakumar. The group
got into the Mayor’s car and fled the scene of crime and on the way
abandoned the vehicle and disappeared.
Though Amirthalingam and Duraiappah were members of the Jaffna bar,
colleagues, neither Amirthalingam nor any other member of the TULF
attended the funeral. It was a very clear that the TULF had condoned the
crime as they were hand in glove with the rising terrorist bands at the
The contribution Duraiappah made to Jaffna and to the north in
general could not be erased by his assassination and later - poetic
justice - Amirthalingam his wife and a number of colleagues were killed
by the very same terrorists that they had nurtured and brought up. And
finally Alfred Duraiappah’s killer and the entire cohort of the
terrorists also met the same fate.
Masked gunmen kill Jaffna Mayor Shot dead outside temple
Special Police team sent out to Jaffna: Peninsula
Mr. Alfred Duraiyappah, Mayor of Jaffna and President of the SLFP
branch in Jaffna was shot dead yesterday afternoon at Punnelavy in the
Vaddukodai electorate when he was about to enter a temple.
Mr. D.K. Rajaratnam MMC, a member of the management committee of the
temple who accompanied him was also shot at and injured in the arm. He
is reported to be out of danger.
According to first reports, three masked men shot at Mr. Duraiyappah
and Mr. Rajaratnam as they got off the Mayor’s car.
Immediately after the shooting the gunmen drove away in the Mayor’s
car which the police later found abandoned at Sendankulam.
The Police have launched a massive search for the killers. A special
police team headed by Mr. Ana Seneviratne DIG Range B is now in Jaffna
conducting investigations. The team was sent on the orders of the Prime
Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
The Jaffna Police cordoned off the entire peninsula minutes after the
All vehicles are being searched by the police in an attempt to
apprehend the assassins.
The driver of the Mayor’s car has given the police a brief
identification of the assassins with regard to their clothes, police
said. Mr. Duraiyappah visits the temple every Sunday and Police believe
the shooting was planned.
The inquest into the death of Mr. Duraiyappah will be held today by
the Malakkam Magistrate, Mr. J.M.D. Jesurathnam. The Government Analyst
and a ballistic expert from Colombo are expected to testify at the
Thousands gathered at the Jaffna hospital as the news of Mr.
Duraiyappah’s death spread. The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications
Mr. Chellaih Kumarasuriar visited the hospital later in the evening.
Mr. Duraiyappah was 48. He entered politics in 1952 and became Mayor
of Jaffna in 1958.
In 1960 (March) he created a major upset in Jaffna politics when he
beat the Tamil Congress leader Mr. G.G. Ponnambalam and a Federal Party
candidate at the general election to win the Jaffna seat.
In July of the same year he was reelected to the Jaffna seat
defeating Mr. Ponnambalam and the Federal Party candidate. He lost at
the 1965 and 1970 general elections.
He was educated at St. John’s College, Jaffna and later passed out as
a Proctor from the Ceylon Law College.