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From the Daily News Archives

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. Nor can one envision the future discarding the experience of the preceding events. Hence the Daily News is serialising the Chronicle of LTTE 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.

Friday July 30, 1999:

Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam assassinate

TULF National List MP Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam was killed by a suspected LTTE suicide bomber at the Rosmead Place - Kynsey Road Junction yesterday morning while on the way to his office at Kynsey Terrace from his Rosmead Place residence.

Dr. Tiruchelvam

Seven others including Police Security Officers and one civilian were injured and hospitalised.

Eye witness PC Neil Perera - driver of the Police vehicle providing security to Dr. Tiruchelvam - said the bomber was dressed in a checked blue shirt and black trousers. He sneaked up to Dr. Tiruchelvam’s vehicle along Kynsey Road, walked around the rear of the car, leaned against the back door of the right side where the Parliamentarian was seated and detonated the device. PC Perera said the security officers had no time to react although RPC Seevali Saman Kumara tried to shoot the bomber.

Police denied an earlier story that the bomber arrived on the pillion of a motorbike. The motor cyclist, a civilian injured in the blast is receiving treatment at the Colombo National Hospital.

Dr. Tiruchelvam died instantly.

Meanwhile a Government Information Department press release stated that the Police Headquarters announced the killing of TULF MP Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam yesterday at 9.10 a.m. at Kynsey Road junction. A suspected LTTE suicide male bomber jumped towards Dr. Tiruchelvam’s vehicle causing his death instantaneously.

Two security personnel who were in the car were also seriously injured. Investigations are proceeding, the release said. Parts of the suicide bomber’s body including his legs and head lay strewn along Kynsey Road. PC Perera said the bomber reached into his shirt to detonate the bomb.

The others injured were Dr. Tiruchelvam’s driver Pathmasiri, Police Inspector Farook Moulana (MSD), Police Constable Neil Perera (who drove the Police Jeep), Sgt. Kodithuwakku, RPC Seevali Saman Kumara, PC, D. Asela who rode the Police security motor bicycle and S.L. Wickremaratne, a passerby. Inspector Moulana who was int he left front side of Dr. Tiruchelvam’s car received severe injuries on the left side of his head and left arm. He was in a state of shock when the Daily News visited him in the Intensive Care Unit of the Colombo National Hospital.

Mr. Moulana’s revolver was found in Dr. Tiruchelvam’s car and handed over to the Minister’s Security Division. Dr. Tiruchelvam was a widely respected Tamil politician. A lawyer by profession he was the son of M. Tiruchelvam, QC who was the Minister of Local Government during the Dudley Senanayake administration.

He leaves his wife Sitty and two sons Iriguran, 27, a lawyer practising in Singapore and Mithuran an undergraduate at the Cambridge University in England who is currently in Lanka.

Leading Tamil lawyer politician killed by LTTE

He stood for democracy:

During the first half of the year 1999 the LTTE terrorists were found to be involved in confrontations with the Sri Lankan armed forces most of the time with the initiative taken by the armed forces to contain the LTTE to small areas of the north and the east. During these six months the LTTE lost a large number of cadres in the north but their attacks on civilians seemed to be on the wane.

Yet on July 29, they killed one of the eminent Tamil politicians who had been nominated to parliament on the national list of the Tamil United Liberation Front, Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam and eminent lawyer, expert on constitutional law and an internationally recognized human rights activist.

Neelan hailed from an eminent Jaffna Tamil family and was the son of the former minister of local government and housing in the government of Dudley Senanayake also an eminent lawyer and a Queen’s Counsel.

Neelan stood for democracy as well as national unity and was a person who shunned violence and believed strongly in democracy and the rule of law. He was highly respected among the political leaders on both sides of the political dichotomy and was a person who worked very hard to find a workable political solution to end the armed conflict. He worked both with the government and the opposition to formulate proposals for devolution of power to the people of the north and east.

On the morning of July 29 he left his home at Rosmead Place to go to his office in his car with his police security car following and at the junction of Rosmead Place and Kynsey Road the car came to a stop. A man standing by the side of the road came round the stopped car and leaned on the right hand side rear door of the car and exploded himself killing Dr. Thiruchelvam immediately. The man was wearing a blue check shirt and a black trouser and was an LTTE suicide cadre who had come to assassinate the eminent Tamil politician lawyer.

This assassination once again proved that the LTTE terrorists did not want any democratic or constitutional mechanisms or those who advocated finding solutions to the people’s problems and issues but only wished to continue killings of all those who did not agree with terrorism. The TULF had by this time almost 27 years after it created the monster separatist terrorists had perhaps begun to regret its past blunders or culpable acts of creating the killer groups and nursing them. But the price they and the people of Sri Lanka had to pay was very high. Neelan Thiruchelvam martyrdom if one could call it such still did not teach the latter day political pups of the TULF as most of them remained mere tools of the LTTE terrorists.

The month of July 1999 also saw two other attacks on civilians by the LTTE. One was on a passenger ferry at Trincomalee on July 15 in the small hours around 3.00 a.m. The ferry usually carried 300 civilian passengers but at the time the LTTE frogmen attacked it there were no passengers aboard. The coxswain was killed while the vessel’s night watchman was injured.

In yet another attack four civilians in a village near Trincomalee were killed by the LTTE.

Friday July 30, 1999:

President unreservedly condemns assassination

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga unreservedly condemned the cruel assassination of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam and called on the people to embrace the vision of ethnic harmony and peace that he was committed to.

The President in her message of condolence states:

“The cruel assassination of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam, Vice President of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), earns my unreserved condemnation.

Car in which Dr. Tiruchelvam travelled.

Dr. Tiruchelvam had won the affection, and respect of not only the Tamil-speaking peoples but also all the communities in our country. He was a distinguished academic who had earned the plaudits of a broad spectrum of the international community.

Knowing full well the threats and dangers to his life, he carried on an untiring and inestimable effort through many years to find solutions to the ethnic crisis that we continue to face. Dr. Tiruchelvam has been tragically lost to our country and society at a decisive period in our political life, when his services would be most needed.

The aim of the terrorist who seek to decimate such eminent and democratic intellectuals of rare quality is to establish the terrorist leadership of the LTTE as the only valid leaders of the Tamil people. However, savage assassinations of this type only help underline the fact that in order to obtain the true rights and freedoms of the Tamil people, it is necessary to have more leaders of the calibre of Dr. Tiruchelvam, who have respect for the rights of man. There is no doubt that history will record with much respect the services that Dr. Tiruchelvam rendered both nationally and internationally.

All who are able to ascertain good and evil will treat this dastardly assassination with the contempt it deserves. Such assassination only help to demonstrate the arid and infertile terrain of the terrorist mind.

Let us pay our respects to the late Dr. Tiruchelvam and embrace the vision of ethnic harmony and peace that he was committed to and always followed, and thereby rededicate ourselves to solve our country’s ethnic crisis in a truly peaceful manner.

On this sad occasion I extend to his wife, two children and all other members of his family, and to the Tamil United Liberation Front my heartfelt condolences, and the condolences of our party, our Government and of all those who value democracy, human decency and peace in this country.”

Friday July 30, 1999:

Neelan Tiruchelvam, an internationally respected human rights activist

Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam killed by a suicide bomber yesterday was an internationally respected human rights activist and a peace crusader.

Ever smiling and courteous Neelan, as he was endearingly called by his admirers and tormentors, has been toiling tirelessly for a durable peace in Sri Lanka since he entered Parliament unexpected in March 1983 on the untimely death of TULF MP S. Thirunaukkarasu.

Three years earlier 1980, he played for the first time the time consuming, tedious backroom role in drafting the District Development Council Law which he tried his utmost to get it implemented. It was the role he played urging the TULF to experiment on the working of the DDCs that won him the displeasure of the militants.

Dr. Tiruchelvam with the academic bent and wealth inherited from his father Murugesu Tiruchelvam and mother Punitham could have risen in the Bar and the intellectual world but chose to continue the battle for peace for his motherland.

He vacated his seat in Parliament by declining to take the oath under the Sixth Amendment but continued to play a role in working out the political solution to the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Pact of 1978.

Recognised and respected as a constitutional lawyer, he played a backstage role in drafting the Government’s constitutional proposals. His expertise in constitution drafting was globally recognised when he was asked to draft the constitution of Kazakhastan.

Dr. Tiruchelvam won international fame as a promoter role of civil society as a democratising instrument of governance and was invited by many countries to deliver lectures and conduct seminars.

He took part in many international missions to oversee elections. He went to Chile, Hungary, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Born on January 31, 1944 he went to Royal College, Colombo and passed the LL.B at the University of Ceylon and obtained his Masters and Doctorate at Harvard Law School where he lectured for some time. He was associated with the Human Rights Program as its first Edward Smith Visiting Fellow and later as visiting lecturer.

Dr. Tiruchelvam was admitted to the Lanka Bar as an advocate in 1968 and took over his father’s law firm Tiruchelvam Associates after him.

He was a member of the Law Commission and played an important role in upgrading and modernising many areas of Sri Lankan law.

His heart, in the recent past, was on seeing the draft constitution enacted into law and on the Equal Opportunity Law which guarantees the end of social and gender discrimination.

He leaves his wife and two sons.

Friday July 30, 1999:

Dr. Tiruchelvam stood for unity and democracy:

Sudu Nelum Movement

The Sudu Nelum Movement expresses its deepest condolences at the assassination of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam PC, MP by a suicide bomber. He stood for the unity of the motherland, unity among all races and a democratic administration, a news release issued by the Movement stated yesterday. The release added: “He never believed in violence and represented the Tamil people in the democratic political stream.

He committed himself to a non-violent, democratic path when Tamil youth were engaged in violent methods to address their grievances. He also tried to veer those youths away from violence and into the democratic process.

He was optimistic about the political proposals embodied in the new draft constitution submitted by the present Government as a solution to the ethnic problem and strove to make it a success. It is perplexing as to what the terrorist organisation stands to gain by assassinating intellectuals of this calibre who stood for justice and fairplay. In our opinion, problems cannot be solved by killing fellow human beings.

The assassination of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam is another consequence of this disastrous war. If the war is not ended, more killings of this nature will take place. Therefore it is imperative that the political proposals embodied in the new draft constitution are carried forward and a political solution found in order to end the war. At this tragic moment, we appeal to the people to actively seek this objective of achieving peace.”

Tomorrow: Suicide bomber kills Minister C.V. Gooneratne

Yesterday: Bomb blast at Maradana junction



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