By Camelia Nathaniel
Last year Tamil National Alliance Northern Provincial Council member M.K. Sivajilingham had a conflict with the police when he attempted to hold an event which the police felt glorifying the LTTE. Sivajilingham however said that this year he did not hold any commemorative events in the north.
Some students of Jaffna University brazenly defied an army directive not to observe the LTTE’s annual Heroes Day (Maaveerar Naal). The Jaffna-based daily Uthayan said in its on-line edition that over 10 students secretly held a commemorative ceremony in the Students’ Common Room, after slipping through the tight army cordon around the university campus.
While the rest of the Tamil-majority in the Northern Province heeded a stern warning from Lankan Army Commander Lt. Gen.Daya Ratnayake, the defiant student group worshiped a poster portraying “Lieutenant” Shankar, the LTTE’s first combat casualty. Candles were lit and silence was observed in homage to all the dead LTTE cadres.
The university which was to be closed to avoid trouble had been opened but was under close army watch. After some pro-LTTE posters appeared in some parts of the Jaffna peninsula a few days ago, the army brought the university campus under its control. Students and staff were let in only after checking. Barriers and checkpoints had come up throughout the Jaffna peninsula. Temple authorities were told that they should not allow any special poojas for the LTTE dead. However, according to Uthayan, Tamils lit lamps in their houses at 6.05 pm throughout the Northern Province. It was at 6.05 pm that Prabhakaran used to begin his annual Heroes Day oration. In Mullaitivu, Northern Provincial Council and Tamil Nation Alliance (TNA) member Thurairasa Ravi Karan publicly paid homage to the LTTE dead.
In his speech he said that the LTTE cadre had sacrificed their lives for the Tamil national cause. Apart from paying homage to their sacrifice, Tamils should use the day to propagate the Tamils cause, he said. Ravi Karan further said that civilization demanded that the dead be commemorated. The TNA, as such, ignored Heroes Day this year. It had observed it in 2013 as “Tree Planting Day” with Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran planting a tree in a private compound in Jaffna.
Meanwhile in Tamil Nadu, pro-LTTE Tamil organizations like the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) led by Vaiko; Viduthalai Chiruththaigal Katchi (VCK) led by Thol Thirumavalavan; Tamil National Movement (TNM) led by P. Nedumaran; and Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) led by Film Director S. Seeman; publicly celebrated the day by cutting cakes and blowing 60 candles.
Other Indian politicians condemned the celebrations. “It is very wrong. Prabhakaran and his organisation fought with our army, they killed our Prime Minister (Rajiv Gandhi). It is a very wrong thing,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), leader R.K. Singh in New Delhi. “It is very unfortunate that in India someone is celebrating the birthday of Prabhakaran, who is known to have worked for the disintegration of the country and who is known to be a protagonist of terrorism to the pursuit of political goals.
I think the nation as a whole must take a forthright stand. This is clearly an unacceptable activity in the country,” said Congress leader, Ashwani Kumar. Meanwhile in London a Heroes Day event was held.