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Sri Lanka junks Prabhakaran is alive claim by Tamil Nadu leader 

Nedumaran, a Congressman who turned into a Tamil nationalist at the later stage of his political career, also claimed that he was in touch with the family of Prabhakaran
Last Updated : 13 February 2023, 13:47 IST

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Tamil nationalist leader Pazha Nedumaran, in an attempt to keep the Sri Lankan Tamils issue boiling in Tamil Nadu and to remain relevant, on Monday claimed that Velupillai Prabhakaran, the founding chief of once-dreaded LTTE, was alive and that a “conducive atmosphere” prevails now for him to appear.

However, Nedumaran’s claims were dismissed outright by the Sri Lankan Army in Colombo which said it has enough evidence, including photographs to show that Prabhakaran, whose LTTE is accused of killing former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President R Premadasa among others, was killed in the last phase of the civil war.

“The fierce opposition to the Rajapaksas by Sinhalese in Sri Lanka and the global situation has created a conducive atmosphere for the National President of Tamil Eelam (Prabhakaran) to emerge. At this juncture, I wish to announce the good news that Prabhakaran is alive,” Nedumaran claimed in a press statement and later at a briefing in Thanjavur.

Nedumaran, a Congressman who turned into a Tamil nationalist at the later stage of his political career, also claimed that he was in touch with the family of Prabhakaran. However, there were no buyers for Nedumaran’s claim with even his comrades in the Tamil nationalism stream, Seeman of Naam Tamizhar Katchi, asking him not to “confuse” people.

Vaiko, who had sneaked into northern Sri Lankan several times to meet with Prabhakaran, too dismissed Nedumaran’s claims. Political analysts said Nedumaran’s “absurd claims” are nothing but an attempt to keep the Sri Lankan Tamils issue boiling in the state and to make his voice heard. Though Nedumaran has made such statements in the past, his claims and the timing have raised doubts.

Brigadier Ravi Herath, Director of Media and Spokesman of the Sri Lankan Army, was quoted as saying by BBC Tamil that they have evidence of Prabhakaran being killed in the last phase of the civil war in 2009. We also have DNA evidence. He was killed on May 18, 2009,” Brigadier Herath said.

Nedumaran’s claims are unlikely to be believed by the majority as the Sri Lankan Army took enough care and time to announce Prabhakaran’s death after the end of the 30-year-old civil war in Sri Lanka. The Army announced that the war came to an end on May 18 but declared Prabhakaran’s death official only the next day with photo and video evidence. The then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the Parliament on May 19 hours before the declaration, didn’t mention anything about Prabhakaran’s death.

Not leaving there, the Army also flew Karuna Amman, a close aide of Prabhakaran before he broke the ranks with the LTTE and joined the political mainstream after laying the guns, to Mullivayakal in northern Sri Lanka to identify the slain leader’s body. The Army also collected DNA samples to confirm that the dead was indeed Prabhakaran.

In fact, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, head of LTTE’s International Diplomatic Relations, on May 24, 2009 announced in a press release that Prabhakaran attained “martyrdom.” His statement was taken seriously as Pathmanathan was speaking on behalf of the LTTE and his statements were published by TamilNet, a website that served as a semi-official mouthpiece of the Tigers.

It was Pathmanathan’s statement released on May 17 through TamilNet that the three-decade-old civil war might have come to an end. “In the face of the current conditions, we will no longer permit this battle to be used as a justification by the forces of the Sinhala state to kill our people. We willingly stand up with courage and silence our guns,” the statement had said.

The body of Prabhakaran’s elder son, Charles Anthony who headed the Air wing of the LTTE from the jungles of Wanni, was found along with that of B Nadesan, the head of the political wing, on the morning of May 18, 2009. The Army officially declared the war had ended on May 18 afternoon but it took more than 24 hours to declare Prabhakaran’s death with photographs and video clippings as evidence.

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Published 13 February 2023, 13:47 IST

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