Veluppillai death: Rajapaksa adds on to human rights abuse list
by Satheesan Kumaaran
Jan 15, 2010
The father of the LTTE leader, Thiruvenkadam Veluppillai, passed away suddenly on January 6, 2010, at the Panagoda army camp, which is located in the Sri Lanka's western province where the Sri Lankan army has various army camps with the army's 11th Brigade along with the army hospital. The military spokesman announced the next day that Veluppillai had passed away due to natural causes from a prolonged illness, refraining to reveal that Veluppillai been worried about being in the army camp since he, along with his eighty year old wife, moved to a safer area along with more than 300,000 Tamils at the end of the last phase of Eelam War - IV. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be given credit for the death of the 86-year old Veluppillai and it should be added to the human rights abuse list for which Rajapaksa should be held responsible at the international courts of justice. The late Veluppillai and his wife were virtual prisoners of war. It was easy for them to say that he died of natural causes on account of his age. If Mrs. Veluppillai could be released now, why were they not released before? It is not known whether Mr. Veluppillai and his wife were tortured.
The Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa and his brothers have committed enough human rights abuses, especially the deaths of over 30,000 Tamils in addition to keeping nearly 300,000 Tamils within the razor wired in camps in Vavuniya.
Pirapaharan's parents are not exceptions
The parents of Pirapaharan joined with the tens of thousands of Tamils who fled the battle field in search of protection. They entered Omanthai from Mullaiththeevu between May 16 - May 19 and once they reached the region, the Sri Lankan armed forces captured them and put them in the razor-wired camp in Vavuniya.
After screening, the Sri Lankan armed forces took over 15,000 Tamils who were either suspects of LTTE or political activists of the LTTE into secret locations operated by the Sri Lankan army. Also, the army took the parents of LTTE leader to the Panagoda army camp where they were kept secretly without revealing their whereabouts. Actually, Mr. Veluppillai declared that he was the father of Pirapaharan. The Sri Lankan Constitution clearly states that persons arrested by the security officials should be produced before the courts and the relatives should be informed. However, the Prevention of Terrorism Act introduced by J. R. Jeyawardene empowers them from releasing the details or producing the suspects to the courts. However, it is strange that the parents of Pirapaharan who were not terrorists should have been treated in this manner. Thiruvenkadam Veluppillai was one of Sri Lanka's public servants who retired after serving nearly 39 years of loyal service to the Sri Lankan State. He had an unblemished record of unwavering honesty and integrity to which even the highest in the land and his compatriots cannot hold a candle to.
A strict disciplinarian, Veluppillai never liked his fourth and last child due to his involvement with the Tamil youths. Even when Mr. Pirapaharan was studying in grade 10, he was engaging to fight the Sri Lankan armed forces as he read the history of how the Sri Lankan government treated the Tamils and he witnessed how the Sri Lankan armed forces were conducting violence activities against Tamils. Pirapaharan got frustrated and he, along with many other youths, wanted to begin a militant movement. Pirapaharan, while he was a little boy and his parents were victims of the race riots of 1958 in Colombo, did not let Veluppillai shirk from his unfailing loyalty to the government though the riots were obviously sponsored by the government like all other pogroms against the Tamils.
In the early 1970s, Pirapaharan and his comrades launched activities against the Sri Lankan government, and at one early morning around 3 a.m., the Sri Lankan police cordoned and searched the residence of Pirapaharan's parents in which Pirapaharan lived in Valvettithurai (VVT) in Vadamaraadchy in northern Sri Lanka, and prior to this the parents did not know their son's association with militant movements. When the police reached the residence of Pirapaharan, he escaped the house and the parents realized Pirapaharan's association with militants. Later, Veluppillai went to meet his son, Pirapaharan, in a hideout and Pirapaharan clearly told his father that he would never return home because he would not be a useful son for the family, but he would be a resource for his Tamil nation. Veluppillai returned home, but Pirapaharan never returned his home in VVT.
Many events took place since then. Veluppillai, along with his family, fled to India and settled in Tiruchi in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu where they lived since the Sri Lankan government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe entered into a peace agreement with the LTTE in 2002. The elderly parents spent years with Pirapaharan in the Vanni until they had to flee the last phase of the Eelam War - IV.
Rajapaksas cannot escape from international justice
Encouraging events are taking place in the global forum now, one of which is the international tribunal taking place in Dublin, Ireland, determining how they can bring the perpetrators to justice. And the French government setting up a tribunal to investigate the perpetrators of genocidal war taking place anywhere in the world. This announcement is sweet news for the Eelam Tamils because they hope that the tribunal would bring the Sinhala racist perpetrators who killed tens of thousands of Tamils to justice.
Now the Rajapaksas are adding to the list after taking the life of Veluppillai at the army camp. The Sri Lankan military spokesman announced on January 7th that Veluppillai died of natural causes, but the death is still a plot. He was an 86-year old man who was kept along with his 80-year old wife in the army camp for the crime nothing other than they gave birth to Pirapaharan. But, the spiritual and peaceful man Veluppillai himself committed no crime whatsoever.
Further, Rajapaksa and his brothers extended their hand to Veluppillai's elder son, Manoharan, who lives in Denmark, his daughter in India, and his daughter in Canada to visit the funeral of Veluppillai. The government allowed Veluppillai's funeral to take place in his native village VVT. Veluppillai's daughter, Vinothini in Canada, sought the Sri Lankan consulate general in Toronto and provided the power of attorney to hand over the dead body of Veluppillai to TNA parliamentarian Sivajilingam who is also contesting as an independent presidential candidate.
The government handed over the body to Sivajilingam and who took it to VVT where Veluppillai was kept for public viewing. He was cremated in his native village on January 10. Thirumaavalavan and two representatives sent by P. Nedumaran took part at Veluppillai's funeral. Vaiko and Nedumaran from Tamil Nadu spoke on the phone which aired to the mourners at the funeral where Vaiko said he would take responsibility for taking care of Parvathy, the widow of Veluppillai. This shows noble and cultured ways of the parents of Pirapaharan and how they treated others.
It is no doubt that the death of Veluppillai is more evidence for the Rajapaksas to be brought before an international court of justice in the near future as they are making the human rights abuses worse, even keeping the unarmed and peaceful elderly people in army custody without reason. Tamils around the world pray for the perpetrators of these inhuman abuses to be punished.
(The author can be reached at e-mail: email@example.com