North Sri Lankan Tamils observe Great Heroes’ Day in memory of dead LTTE fighters

North Sri Lankan Tamils observed Great Heroes’ Day in memory of cadres of the LTTE who had laid down their lives for the Tamil Eelam.

Published: 27th November 2016 09:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2016 09:29 PM   |  A+A-

Maaveera_torch_being_lit_at_the_Thileepan_memorial_by_M

Maaveera torch being lit at the Thileepan memorial. (EPS)

Express News Service

COLOMBO: North Sri Lankan Tamils on Sunday observed Great Heroes’ Day (Maaveerar Naal) in memory of cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who had laid down their lives for the cause of establishing an independent Tamil Eelam.

Northern Provincial Council members M.K.Shivajilingam and Ananthy Sasitharan, and provincial Agriculture Minister P.Aingaranesan were among many who gathered at the Thileepan memorial in Nallur, Jaffna, to pay homage to the dead fighters.

Thileepan had fasted unto death to force India to side with the LTTE in its confrontation with the Sri Lankan government in 1987. He is hailed as “Thyagi Thileepan” and touted as the non-violent face of the LTTE’s struggle. A Thayaga Sudar or Torch of Sacrifice was lit. A blood donation camp was also organized.

Shivajilingam said that Heroes’ Day observance is meant to remember not just the dead of the LTTE but all the dead of all militant groups, including those who had lost their lives in internecine warfare. He put the total number of dead in the armed struggle at 50,000.

The provincial councilor who is related to Prabhakaran but belongs to a rival group said that observance of the Heroes’ Day symbolizes the continuing struggle for a just political solution to the Tamil question. Those who oppose the observance lose the right to speak on behalf of the Tamils he said.  

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP.E.Saravanapavan lit the torch at a former graveyard (Thuyilum Illam) for LTTE cadre in one of the islands off Jaffna. Similar observances were held in other parts of the Northern Province like the districts of the Wanni which had borne the brunt of the last phase of Eelam War IV.

To mark LTTE chief Prabhakaran’s birth anniversary (November 26) students and faculty of Jaffna University lit candles and planted tree saplings in the campus. A memorial service was held in which the object of veneration was a picture of the flower Gloriosa Lily (Karthigai Poo) which is deemed the national flower of Tamil Eelam.

In contrast to the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government allowed the observance of Heroes’ Day without getting the police and army to disrupt it. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne had both said that it is the right of the Tamils to commemorate their dead.

To make it acceptable to the powers-that-be in Colombo, the observances generally avoided references to Prabhakaran or the display of his pictures. Everywhere it was a solemn occasion to remember the dead by  observing silence, lighting torches and candles, planting trees and donating blood.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp