CHRONOLOGY OF LTTE TERROR: - Part 64
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Friday July 30, 1999:
Neelan Tiruchelvam, an internationally respected human rights
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
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
Tomorrow: Suicide bomber kills Minister C.V. Gooneratne