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Theepan of the LTTE: Heroic saga of a Northern warrior

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Velayuthapillai Bhagheerathakumar alias Theepan

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Hello Friends

Today April 4th is the third death anniversary of Velayuthapillai Bhagheerathakumar alias Theepan of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). He died in the decisive battle of Aananthapuram along with several frontline commanders and hundreds of cadres of the tigers in that confrontation.

Theepan like Balraj was a fearless fighter and admirable tactician. He was holding the title of “Vadamunai Thalapathi” or Northern point commander at the time of his death.

Theepan refused to retreat from the battlefront without his comrades at arms and opted to face death along with them rather than escape from the front like Col Bhanu. Even the Sri Lankan armed forces were impressed by Theepan’s heroic courage. Complimentary references were made to him in the Defence ministry website then.

I wrote an article about Theepan after the death of this Northern warrior. It was first published in the “Daily Mirror” of April 11th 2009. An updated version was posted on my blog a few days later.

Incidently this article on Theepan was the last of my articles that was translated into Tamil for LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to read. He made it a practice to get some English articles written by a few journalists translated into Tamil for him to read. My articles were regularly translated and read by him.

I learnt that Prabhakaran had been particularly keen to read this piece on Theepan and got the translator to do it overnight and give it to him. After this article this person was not asked to translate any more articles. The main reason for this was due to the situation changing drastically after the Aanandhapuram battle and the state of abnormalcy which prevailed in the beleaguered areas under LTTE control. The translator too was injured in shelling later and is now living abroad.

I am reproducing the article now on my blog to commemorate the third death anniversary of Theepan.

Here it is Friends –

Theepan of the LTTE: Heroic saga of a Northern warrior

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

“All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry,
And even the ranks of Tuscany
Could scarce forbear to cheer” -Thomas Babington Macaulay

[‘Col’ Theepan]

I was reminded of the above lines from the original “Horatius” poem by Macaulay when I was reading a posting on the defence ministry website headlined “Driven to their deaths in vain”.

It was about the large number of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres and leaders killed at Aananthapuram in the Puthukkudiyiruppu AGA division.

The tone and content departed to some degree from the usual defence ministry rants about terrorists and terror bodies etc. Despite the defence establishment constraints this piece though critical of the LTTE leadership was somewhat sympathetic and to a lesser extent , even appreciative of the fallen tigers.

It was not that the LTTE was being supported or praised but the courage and sacrifice of those tigers who died in vain was recognized and admired. Being fighters themselves the security forces were able to relate with respect to this phenomenon though the vanquished were from enemy ranks.

Here is an excerpt from it-“The men and women in the professional arms of the security forces value honour more than anything else. They fight for the cause they believe in and seek honour by contributing towards its realisation. This is the reason that the armed forces personnel are trained to respect the fallen enemy. We do not wish to insult Theepan, Vidusha, Durga, Gadhapi, Gopith, Nagesh, and the rest who died in the recent fighting. Indeed, they were the cream of the LTTE fighting cadre”.

Just as the “ranks of Tuscany” cheered the valiant efforts of Horatius , here the ranks of Sri Lankan defence forces were acknowledging-perhaps grudgingly-the bravery of the fallen enemy.

The Defence ministry could have gone to town about this victory but in a display of decency and good taste, it has refrained from doing so.

This is in striking contrast to the vocal warriors of the Sinhala Diaspora whose triumphalist cacophony has been disgustingly revolting.

DEFINING MOMENT

The Tigers suffered a tremendous blow in the first week of April. In what may very well be the defining moment of the on going war, the tigers lost a vast array of illustrious fighting commanders as well as large numbers of cadres in a single battle.

Some of the military top brass in “off the record” discussions about the tiger debacle with trusted scribes had many good things to say about Theepan. His military record has earned the admiration of the security forces.

Also intercepts revealed that Theepan had refused to break out through military encirclement and escape without his cadres. This was another reason for the military upper echelons to be impressed by Theepan.

Among the fallen tigers “Colonel” Theepan is perhaps the single biggest loss to the movement.Theepan’s death has not been publicly acknowledged by the LTTE.

Nevertheless it is learnt reliably that Theepan and many of the fallen fighters were posthumously promoted by LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in a low-key event held in Valaingarmadam. Theepan has been designated brigadiers for now.

The LTTE is planning to release the names and ranks of the fallen tigers sometime in the future. There is a strong possibility that Theepan may be posthumously promoted as Major-General. If that happens Theepan would be the LTTE’s first “Maj-Gen”.

There is a very big Question mark over the “militaristic” future of the LTTE. But if it was ever possible for the tigers to return to a “business as usual” situation the void left by Theepan can never be filled. It’s an irreplaceable loss.

The life and times of “Col” Theepan are indeed interesting.A trip down memory lane would be helpful in gaining insight about the heroic saga of this fallen northern warrior.

KANDAWALAI

Velayuthapillai Baheerathakumar alias Theepan was from Kandawalai in the Kilinochchi district. He used to adopt the nom de guerre Sivatheeban and an alias Thavabalasingham at times .

Theepan’s family had its origins in Varani in the Thenmaratchy sector within the Jaffna peninsula.

He was a student at Chavakachcheri Hindu College in Sangathaanai. He was in the Bio group for his GCE A levels and obtained results that could have qualified him to enter Varsity as a Bio-Science student. But Baheerathakumar opted to be a militant instead of being an undergrad.

Theepan was a cousin of Thileepan alias “Curdles”, former LTTE commander for Thenmaratchy region who was killed in the Kaithaddy explosion of Feb 14th 1987.

Curdles also known as “Kerdy” was also from Kandawalai where his father served as School principal for a long time.

According to knowledgeable circles it was Curdles who recruited his younger cousin into the movement. Baheerathakumar joined the LTTE in early 1984.

He underwent arms training and assumed the nom de guerre “Theepan”. His communication codename was “Tango Papa”.

The LTTE had then divided the Northern mainland known as Wanni into two regions for their purposes. Mannar district was one region while the districts of Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mullaitheevu formed another unit.

Gopalaswamy Mahendrarajah alias Mahathaya was the commander then for the greater Wanni LTTE division. Newly recruited Theepan hailing from Kandawalai ,was placed under Mahathaya’s Wanni command.

MAHATHAYA

Mahathaya ,the man who recognized the talent of Balraj and propped him up in the LTTE was also quick to recognize Theepan’s potential. He took a liking to him and inducted Theepan into his bodyguard unit.

1987 saw some administrative changes within the LTTE resulting in Mahathaya relocating to Jaffna and becoming deputy-leader of the LTTE. The Wanni was re-divided into Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullaitheevu districts . Jeyam, Suseelan and Paseelan were the respective district commanders.

Theepan accompanied Mahathaya to Jaffna and functioned as his chief bodyguard.It was on July 29th 1987 that the Indo-Lanka accord was signed. Soon war broke out between the Indian army and the LTTE.

One incident that took place during the early stages of the fighting was the capture of 18 Indian soldiers at Pandatheruppu by the LTTE. They were later released back to the Indian army.

There was a ceremony to mark this “hand-over” and a contingent of media persons were flown in without visas from Chennai to Palaly. Mahathaya personally handed over the 18 soldiers. Photographs taken on the occasion show a young Theepan standing dutifully behind Mahathaya.

Later Mahathaya got back to the Wanni and stationed himself at Paalamottai in the Vavuniya district. Theepan too was at Paalamottai. But LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had also relocated to the Wanni and gradually began running things his own way.

Lt. COL KILMAN

Theepan was placed in charge of Kilinochchi as military commander. Despite the overwhelming presence of the Indian army, Theepan managed to evade capture by moving from place to place within the district.

The LTTE under Theepan carried out many attacks against the Indian army in K’nochchi district. District-wise, K’nochchi had the second largest number of anti-IPKF operations. Only M’theevu had more. The LTTE in that district was led by Kandia Balasegaran alias Balraj.

It was during the Indian army period that Theepan’s younger brother also joined the LTTE. Like his elder sibling, he too rose rapidly from the ranks and was at one stage appointed as commander of the LTTE’s Charles Anthony infantry division.

Theepan’s younger brother Velayuthapillai Sivakumar who used the nom de guerre “Kilman” was sent to Trincomalee district as commander in charge of the Charles Anthony division in 1993. He was killed in an accidental explosion there in 1994 and was posthumously elevated to “Lt. Col” rank.

Prabhakaran “re-unified” the Wanni command again in late 1988. He brought all three districts under one regional command. Balraj was made Wanni military commander and Maran the political commissar. Theepan was appointed as deputy-military commander to Balraj.

The Indian army left Lankan shores in March 1990. War erupted between the Premadasa government and the LTTE in June 1990. Under Balraj’s leadership the LTTE conducted several successful operations against the Armed forces in the Wanni.Chief among them were the overrunning of Mankulam and Kokavil camps.

BALRAJ

Theepan served as an efficient deputy to Balraj. Both were of the same mould being courageous fighters who led from the Front.There was great affinity between both as comrades.

When Balraj died in May 2008, Theepan broke down when delivering an eulogy.

Theepan said of Balraj then “Ennai Aruhil vaithirunthu Thalapathiaaha valarthedutha thalapathy,Avar En por Aasaan” (he was the commander who kept me at his side and nurtured me as a commander. He was my guru of war)

Balraj along with Theepan participated in the 1991 attack on Elephant Pass which ended in failure. It is said that the Wanni contingent led by both of them was successful in taking Kurinchatheevu area structures and adjacent buildings.

But others tasked with different objectives were not so successful. 673 tiger cadres perished in the abortive attack.

In 1992 , Balraj was appointed as commander of the newly raised Charles Anthony infantry division. Theepan his deputy succeeded Balraj as Wanni region commander.

The Balraj-Theepan duo scored a significant success when the LTTE launched a successful attack on Janakapura (Mannkindimalai) in the Manal Aaru/Weli Oya region. It was codenamed operation “Ithayabhoomi” (heartland)

OPERATION FROG

Two major battles where Theepan proved his prowess were at Poonagary during “operation Thavalai (Frog) and in the peninsula during “operation Yarl Devi”.

The amphibious “frog” operation of November 1993 was a combined effort in which cadres from different regions were mobilised. The sprawling army base at Poonagary and Naval base at Nagathevanthurai were simultaneously targeted.

Bhanu had to target Nagathevanthurai main camp while Theepan had to demolish the main camp in Poonagary. Bhanu discharged his duties efficiently and virtually demolished the navy camp.

But the LTTE ran into difficulties at Poonagary. The plan was to target the main camp as well as the satellite mini- camps simultaneously. Thus Theepan and his cadres had to infiltrate deep into the base complex.

Even as Theepan & co were crawling through the sprawling complex , another tiger team was detected at the periphery. As firing began, Theepan and his team had to run fast towards their target so as to retain some element of surprise at least.

This they did and it was a panting Theepan and cadres who commenced the attack on the main camp. Though successful “operation Frog” was not an overwhelming tiger victory as the soldiers rallied and converged at the Kalmunai point area thus avoiding total annihilation.

YARL DEVI

Another incident where Theepan made an impressive showing was “operation Yarl Devi” in September 1993 where soldiers marched northwards into the peninsula from Elephant Pass. Balraj and Theepan were in charge of countering the incursion.

Balraj got injured on the first day of battle and thereafter it was Theepan’s lot to take charge. This he did and beat back the army at Puloppalai after letting troops advance.

Theepan’s deputies in this operation were Navaneethan and Naresh .They were in charge of Mullaitheevu and Kilinochchi districts repectively under Theepan the overall Wanni commander.

It is said that Theepan concealed cadres within sand dunes for hours and hours thus springing a lethal surprise in ambushing advancing soldiers.

The LTTE seized two T-55 tanks during these battles. The tigers used these for many operations later including one where they buried a T-55 in the sand at Challai and fired upon an unsuspecting Dvora that had come close to the beach.

Ironically the LTTE lost both T-55’s in the recent rounds of fighting. One was destroyed at Northern Puthukkudiyiruppu and the other was re-captured in the recent fighting in Southern Puthukkudiyiruppu.

The LTTE’s deputy leader Mahathaya was arrested and executed on charges of treason in 1994.In the aftermath of that episode, Theepan was transferred to Jaffna from the Wanni.It was during this time that Chandrika Kumaratunga was elected and peace talks commenced.

Talks broke down and the LTTE began fighting again. When “operation Leap Forward” took place, Theepan fought along with LTTE cadres in Jaffna to repel it.He was also part of tiger resistance to “operation Thunderstrike” in Jaffna.

RIVI RESA

Then came “operation Riviresa”. Initially Balraj and Sornam were made joint commanders to counter it. But after a while Prabhakaran replaced both with Theepan and Bhanu.

They were appointed as joint commanders after the Army had entered Jaffna municipal limits. Theepan’s assignment was to delay the army and prevent the take-over of Jaffna before Great Heroes day of November 27th.

Theepan led a small force, offering fierce resistance even as all the main routes to Jaffna were being gradually blocked by the army. It appeared that the tigers defending the town area under Theepan would be boxed in and trapped inside Jaffna town.

But Theepan ,managed to prevent the fall of Jaffna till Nov 27th and then withdrew with his cadres by wading through the Pannai lagoon waters for quite a distance until the sea tigers led by Soosai evacuated them safely.

Former deputy defence minister Anuruddha Ratwatte hoisted the national flag at Durayappah stadium on Dec 5th 1995.

The LTTE withdrew from Jaffna peninsula by April-May 1996. Immediately after this , Prabhakaran summoned Theepan and ordered him to undertake “rekke” (reconnaissance) of the Mullaitheevu army camp and formulate an attack plan.

This was done and M’theevu was overrun on July 18th 1996. Over a 1000 soldiers were killed.With the LTTE relocating en masse to the Wanni the M’theevu camp “removal” became a military imperative.

JAYASIKURUI

“Operation Jayasikurui” was launched by the army in 1997. The first phase saw the army taking Omanthai and Nedunkerny virtually without a fight.Theepan was entrusted the defence of A-9 highway or Jaffna-Kandy road. He took up position in Puliyankulam.

It was then that Theepan mounted his now famous “trench cum bund” defences.Theepan’s deputy in the defence of Puliyankulam was Sathasivam Sathananthan alias “Vikkees.”

Vikkees was Theepan’s right-hand man in the realm of strategic defence. He served for many years on the Muhamaalai front and was later brought to Thunukkai to safeguard that strategic location. Vikkees died while defending it. This was a major loss to Theepan.

Another of Theepan’s able deputies was Arivu.Lt. Col Arivu served as Theepan’s chief military intelligence operative for many years. He was sent on a special assignment to Trincomalee and was killed there a few years ago.

Among Theepan’s disciples the most efficient is reportedly Lawrence.He served for a long time on the Kilaly-Muhamaalai-Nagarkovil front and was later transferred by Theepan to the Navvi-Palamottai front. Currently Lawrence has been active in defending the Puthukkudiyiruppu region.

[Just put in caption “Gen Sarath Fonseka with Brig. Theepan, Also in the picture are Lawrence, Pulidevan (civils) and Arivu]

Incidently both Lawrence and Arivu accompanied Theepan for a meeting with Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka during the ceasefire. An old photograph shows Theepan. Lawrence and Arivu along with LTTE peace secretariat director Pulidevan in civils chatting to Fonseka who was then Northern military commander.

During Jayasikurui, the Theepan-Vikkees duo managed to hold off the army at Puliyankulam indefinitely. Unable to break through the Puliyankulam defences , the army finally moved from Nedunkerny towards Kanagarayankulam and from there to Karuppattaimurippu along the old Kandy road axis.Puliyankulam had to be abandoned due to this strategic manouevre.

JOINT COMMANDER

Nowadays , the newly sworn in national integration minister , Vinayagamoorthy Muraleetharan alias Karuna often boasts to the media that he was appointed as Wanni commander by Prabhakaran to withstand the “Jayasikurui” offensive. What Karuna fails to mention is the fact that he was only made joint commander of the Wanni . His partner was none other than Theepan.

Another point conveniently glossed over by Karuna is that the overall field commander during “operation Jayasikurui” was Theepan and not the erstwhile Eastern regional commander.

While it is correct that a large number of Eastern cadres fought in “Jayasikurui” Karuna’s main function as joint commander was co-ordinating defences and laising between field commands . Ground based Frontline leadrship was by the other joint commander Theepan.

ELEPHANT PASS

Even as “Jayasikurui” was on the LTTE attacked and seized Kilinochchi during February 1998. Theepan was tasked to infiltrate Karadipokku junction between Paranthan and Kilinochchi and prevent reinforcements reaching K’nochchi. This Theepan did and the town was taken from the Southern side

“Jayasikurui” was called off in 1998 and in 1999 the LTTE launched phase-three of unceasing waves. From Oddusuddan to Omanthai the waves engulfed targets and military installations fell like dominoes.It was a tiger triumph and Theepan as joint Wanni commander deserved the lion’s share.

The zenith of unceasing waves was the seizure of Elephant Pass. The highlight of that offensive was Balraj’s famous exploit of going by sea and landing behind enemy lines at Kudaarappu and then moving to Ithaavil on the A-9 and interdicting supplies till Elephant pass fell.

Theepan’s role in this was the rapid military drive along the peninsula’s eastern coast from Sembiyanpatru right down to Vettrilaikerny-Kaddaikkaadu.Theepan and his forces attacked the Elephant pass complex from the rear and played an important part in its downfall.

According to LTTE insiders , Balraj had been hesitant when Prabhakaran had explained what was required of Balraj.Landing on the east coast and moving to the centre in enemy territory and interdicting the main supply route was a formidable challenge. But when the tiger supremo told Balraj , what Theepan was required to do all doubts were removed for Balraj. Such was Balraj’s confidence in Theepan that he would not be let down.

NORTHERN COMMANDER

Once Elephant pass fell and the LTTE gained territory inside the peninsula those positions assumed great strategic value. Theepan was appointed in charge of LTTE defences along the Kilaly-Muhamaalai-Nagar Kovil axis.

Theepan was given the title “Northern point commander” (Vadamunai Thalapathy) which virtually amounted to northern regional commander. His baptism of fire in this new assignment was when the armed forces launched “Agni Kheela” in 200 on April 24th. Adopting deep defence tactics, Theepan foiled that attempt inflicting heavy losses on the armed forces.

It must be noted that despite many attempts , the armed forces were unable to dislodge the tigers under Theepan from positions along the Muhamaalai axis. The old-fashioned “Trench-bund” defences withstood the 53 and 55 several times.

Finally it was when the 58 division took Paranthan and moved up to Elephant Pass south that the LTTE was forced to abandon positions inside the peninsula. The tiger defences in the peninsula were never overrun completely. They were only abandoned by the LTTE who were compelled to withdraw from en masse from the peninsula.

Otherwise they would have been trapped inside. Even then with Soosai and Rathinam Amman’s assistance, Theepan managed to evacuate his cadres safely to the mainland in a “mini-Dunkirk” . The tigers defending inside the peninsula were ferried across the Chundikulam lagoon from Kommaatty to Ooriyaan and by sea from Kattaikaadu to Challai.

While being in overall charge of the Muhamaalai defences, Theepan was also delegated duties on the Kilinochchi front. With K’nochchi assuming importance and prestige,Theepan was tasked by Prabakharan to protect the former de-facto administrative capital of the LTTE.

Once again , Theepan commenced his defence of Kilinochchi and environs by rapidly constructing a 18 km bund in a “L” shape. The 57 division despite many attempts was unable to breach these defences effectively. Finally it was the 58 which turned the tide by taking Paranthan.

Thereafter the retention of K’nochchi became impossible. This was the situation later in the case of Muhamaalai-Elephant pass also. Despite the army moving in three directions towards Kilinochchi town ,the tigers under Theepan held on to their positions till 2009 dawned. This was to prevent Kilinochchi being taken by December as announced by Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

JUGGERNAUT

The war then moved on to the areas east of the A-9. Theepan and other senior tiger commanders fought fiercely to retain territory. But it was too late. The overwhelming manpower and firepower of the armed forces was too much for the tigers. Relentlessly the military juggernaut rolled forward and tiger territory shrunk.

After the demise of Balraj in 2008 May, Prabhakaran had not appointed a deputy military chief. But Theepan was like the de-facto deputy military commander. Under his leadership several counter-offensives and counter-strikes were conducted. But the armed forces were on the upbeat and withstood all such moves without wilting.

The end came for Theepan last week when he was holed up in Aananthapuram in Puthukkudiyiruppu to plan and begin a massive counter-offensive. Many top tiger commanders were also assembled there. But the LTTE got trapped when soldiers penetrated both flanks and linked up behind LTTE positions at Pachchaippulmottai. Thereafter a siege was mounted.

While Bhanu broke out through the military cordon with Keerthi and Lawrence , Theepan refused saying he would not abandon cadres. “If I come out it will be with our fighters only” an intercept heard him say.

After breaking out Bhanu participated in a major effort to break through the military cordon and rescue Theepan and other cadres. But they were unsuccessful. With several such attempts being repulsed the fate of those surrounded became sealed.

DEMISE

Meanwhile Theepan’s condition deteriorated as he had been injured twice on April 1st and on the 2nd.Some injuries were on his chest and there was internal bleeding also.Members of the LTTE’s Thileepan medical unit affixed two tubes to get the blood out . Theepan succumbed to his injuries on April 4th.

Thus ended the life of a courageous commander who led from the front and refused to abandon his cadres. Theepan was like an old-fahioned ship’s captain opting to go down with his sinking vessel rather than abandoning his cadres.

This consideration and affection for his cadres was a pronounced trait of Theepan.It is said that Theepan took a personal interest in their welfare and communicated with them easily. He also maintained links with their families and would visit each family of a departed cadre to console.

Despite his tough military reputation, Theepan was a soft-spoken, polite man with a gentle disposition and demeanour. He was very popular with the people.

Theepan did not get involved in the internal politics and intrigues within the LTTE.He accepted Prabhakaran’s leadership and unquestioningly carried out to the best of his ability, the tasks assigned to him.

Theepan was married to an ex-woman cadre from the LTTE. They have no children.

This northern warrior’s life was inter-twined with that of the LTTE’s military fortunes.

Theepan’s death along with other senior tigers comes at a time when the LTTE is on the verge of military defeat. In a sense, Theepan’s demise signals the beginning of the end.

I began this column by quoting lines from Macaulay on Horatius. Let me endthis with a verse from Willian Butler Yeats on the Irish easter uprising of 1913.”Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone with O’Leary in the grave” says Yeats.

With Theepan’s death, Tamil Eelam too seems “dead and gone”. Like Yeats, one can only ponder” was it for this the wild geese spread” and “for this that all that blood was shed” and also on “all that delirium of the brave”.

Was it for this the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;

For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,

And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
All that delirium of the brave:

Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone
It’s with O’Leary in the grave – William Butler Yeats

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45 Comments

  1. It will be great if some take a movie out of the wars of the LTTE, so that it could serve as a history lesson for the Tamils. Particularly the Elephant pass battle, the Anandapuram battle etc.

  2. What a pitty theepan, fonseka, prabakaran, karuna, pottu, kp, shivandra silva, gothabaya were not just one side.if they were would they be the best army in asia or the world ? Would any nation ever produce so many warriors rightly or wrongly to fight each other when together they might have been the best ever ? Or is this division that brings the best in men ? No one will know. However on both sides we produced the best to kill each other and not fight together. We the people who were born in this country are responsible for this division.

  3. He was not killed by a bullet from enemy, instead by a banned weapons which rips the skin of the victim and burn them to a degree of 80% within seconds..Why use banned bombs on him, what was the purpose, his way of death and the enemy’s desperation(cowards) shows he is a great warrior indeed…Thanks DBSJ

  4. Love the picture with Sarath fonseka and present commander… Please guys lets live in peace..
    Credit Goese to Honorable Ranil Wickramasingha for his effort in peace making and stalemating Prabha by splinting Karuna…
    Ranil is a master of politics !

  5. Once former president Premadasa confided to a Tamil person that warriors like Mahathya should be in the Sri Lankan armed forces not fighting against them. He was highly impressed by the LTTE’s fighting men and women who were able to deliver what was required of them with limited resources.

    However where did they go wrong?
    Who did decide to sacrifice these men and women (and children)?

    Honourable surrender was an option on the table for some months. Why did not the LTTE under its National Leader grab the oppotunity?

    Had LTTE under its National Leader showed some wisdom through out its existence it could have saved lives on both sides of the ethnic devide.

    LTTE under its National Leader was given many opportunities to transform itself from mere fighting force to freedom fighters but ended up as terrorists in the people’s mind and at Vellai Mullivaaikkal.

    Sinhala/Buddhists never helped them either. Ultimateley the brave Sri Lankan soldiers who sacrificed their life for the cheap, corrupt politicians ended being war criminals.

    Irrespective of their race, religion, and region there is something fundamentally wrong with the Tamil and Sinhala speaking people.

    In Sri Lanka your brave men are either terrorists or war criminals. Rest of them of them possess criminal mind.

    As I am bit thick I am unable to work it out. Could anyone help me.

  6. Deepan – A great warrior no doubt .I remember once Karuna talking in TV after Deepan’s death that now that Deepan is no more , LTTE does not have any senior Military leaders to withstand the advancing SL army and that their end is very near after Deepan’s death .

  7. I am not here to say who is right and who is not. We fought bitterly with each other. One cannot say this was a pipe dream of Tamils. I am very sure till the last drop of breath; liberation was nailed to their heart. Some call them terrorists some a freedom fighters; I very well know only the history will decide on that. However, one thing was sure, come what may!! Their focus did not deter.
    I am glade now the war is over.. and everything should have a beginning and an end! Now, the time has come for all the Tamils across the globe, to fight for what is right, through pure democracy!
    Annan DBS, you have proved a Pen will do a great job than any other arsenal!
    And to all my Sinhalese friends, do what is right. Live and let live. We both have lost 60 years of our productive life. If you don’t settle the most important issues of the Tamils, we will lose another 60 years.
    The battle is over locally, but the war will still continue on the international stage. The stage is set already. And I am pretty sure it is going to be an ugly sight.

  8. Shame on you DBSJ to bring back these “dummy” brigadiers back to the memories…

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I shall continue to remember them in my own way whenever possible.

    I do not need to revive memories because their memory is an integral part of Sri Lankan Tamil history.

    As the playback singer Ghandasala sings “they are a dream in our thoughts and a thought in our dreams’ (Kanaviniley oru ninaivaagi,Ninaiviniley oru kanavaagi)

    The shame is not in writing about those who fought and died on the battlefield but in executing a captured 12 year old boy in cold blood.

  9. Native Vedda
    Irrespective of their race, religion, and region there is something fundamentally wrong with the Tamil and Sinhala speaking people.
    In Sri Lanka your brave men are either terrorists or war criminals. Rest of them of them possess criminal mind.
    ———————
    Native Vedda only if….had the Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and other minorities united as one… this country could have done miracles beyond Hong Kong and Singapore.
    You should thank the Sinhala Only Policy of SWRD and the subsequent rise of the Sinhala nationalism for the state we are in now..
    The nationalistic tumor has grown so big/deeply enshrined and those who oppose it are deemed traitors/LTTE sympathizers its too late for chemotherapy or any other panacea the cancer will slowly but surely take over to the ultimate demise

  10. Comments by Anuradha DBSJ and RajasH.

    Remembering the dead whether VP or Ranasinghe Premadasa or Rajiv Gandhi will go on. I do not wish to comment on whether they should be remembered or how they should be remembered. That will be up to those who loved them and treasured them. It will be irrelevent to argue whether they were on the ‘Right’ side or wrong side. Most have perished amongst the SLA and LTTE on the words which DBSJ knows very well.

    ‘Ours is not to question why,
    But to do and die.’

    My comment here is on a pot shot taken by DBSJ on the demise of VP’s son Balachandran.
    It is now claimed that he was killed by the SLA. However DBSJ report on KP did not disclose this news. I presume new evidence hitherto unknown has surfaced?
    The pictures of Balachandran with bullet holes shot at close range direct to the heart was on the web for a long time.

    I have said before and I will say again.

    The war was brutal and so was the LTTE, lets not forget the Aranthalawa hacking of bikkhus the same age as Balachandran. two wrongs dont make a right but who will cry for those butchered by the LTTE? The UNHCR? What did those so called champions of Human Rights do when so many villagers were hunted and hacked.

    If one was silent then dont speak now as your words are as tainted with the same blood of the innocent and your hands are too.

    Since this article was about Theepan to whom DBSJ has great respect let it be so.

    On the question of Dummy ‘brigadiers’ and ‘generals’.
    Most of us are as Phony as those with those labels. We are mostly false Mr’S and Mrs ‘s as well. Labels dont make anyone great its what they do. There is no Mr.God or Brigadier Jesus. Have a blessed Easter everyone.

  11. Anuradha says:

    “Shame on you DBSJ to bring back these “dummy” brigadiers back to the memories…”

    According to Sri Lankan Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya:

    Number of soldiers disabled in the island’s 30-year-old civil war were 14,324

    Number of soldiers totally disabled were 238

    Number of soldiers and policemen who were killed was 23,790

    Number of soldiers killed between July 2006 to May 2009 was 6,261 soldiers

    Number of soldiers wounded between July 2006 to May 2009 was 29,551

    Number of deserters in the Sri Lankan Army was 20,597 or more.

    According to Indian Express the number of Indian army killed was 1155. Number of injured/disabled not known.

    If LTTE could inflict so much damage on both armies with these “dummy” brigadiers and baby brigades imagine what would had been the destruction if they had deployed professional soldiers,non dummy brigadiers and proper generals.

    However when India invaded Sri Lanka in 1987 proper Lt Colonels, Brigadiers, Generals, Admirals…Air Marshalls…ect were hiding behind their women folks and LTTE.

    I find it difficult to reconcile your comment and the facts as they are. I am confused. May be source of my information is contaminated.

    Anuradha

    Please let me know once you have figured it out.

  12. Thank you DBSJ for re producing your original article about a Great Northern Warrior Theepan. I remember and pay tribute to thousands of people who lost their life in the battle for freedom to thamils.

    Ultimate sacrifice of a human being is losing his/her life for the benefit of others. Thousands of thamil youths did this on the hope of achieving freedom to thamils.

  13. Another person uses my nickname “krishna”, hence I switch to my full name and my institutes e-mail ID.

    As DBSJ said, the memory of these warriors will remain with Tamils all over the world, not only in SL.

    Thanks DBSJ for this article and the anatomy of anathapuram battle.

  14. Your article on Theepan is very good. Thank you for chronicling these fallen heroes whom the Tamil diaspora has forgotten

  15. “……..In Sri Lanka your brave men are either terrorists or war criminals. Rest of them of them possess criminal mind. As I am bit thick I am unable to work it out. Could anyone help me. ……”

    Native Vedda,

    You might be true. But…I think that Native Veddas are exception to your own statement.

  16. The lost battles are a plenty in the human history.
    but look at Japan, they were beaten and humiliated and still can’t raise their own Army( I suppose)
    Look at Germany, it has risen from the ashes of Carpet bombing by the allied forces.
    Now As Sri Lanka where should we head???
    Fight a different war by agitating against Sri Lanka on one side by the STUPID diaspora Tamils with the Help of US.
    The real physical battle has delivered a great LOSS!!! both Military personnel and generations of Tamil population were driven back to stone age.
    Now look at the other side of the Coin, The Southern Sri Lankan government is not the best, but the continuous agitation will result racial dis-harmony among Sri Lankan Tamils and Majority sinhalese.
    Each time the Diaspora win the loss is on the Sri lankan tamils.
    Double speaking US did not come to their saving during the last days of physical battle, so I can not count on them helping tamils in the loss of diplomatic battle.
    Here is another dimension, to win vast markets like China and India, US will eventually toe the line of India and China short changing minions like Tamil diaspora.
    They have demonstrated this in the past very much safeguarding its trade interest over international Justice and human rights.

    Given the fact that China is deeply entrenched in Sri Lanka and very busy doing so in Bangladesh and India I would assume they will fight tooth and nail to defend Sri Lanka in major eventual diplomatic battles started in Geneva last month.

    India for now shows accepting the US diktat will not do so in the long run to help create a Tamil Elam by Diplomatic War in Sri Lanka as it is at the behest of dis-integrating India itself creating a greater Tamil Eelam in South Indian Tamil Nadu state.
    So the loss hurts but the Diaspora should think the way Germany and Japan thought and be successful in the aftermath of second world war.

    This is bitter but that is the truth of it.
    So the prudent thing every single Tamil should do is prevent racial-disharmony and learn to live together, by working democratically to win their rights.

    Trying to work on segregation by diplomatic means is a lost battle in inception.( why , read below).

    Right now the activities of Diaspora tamils is like headless chicken, no thinking but action due to reflexes driven body, charged with emotion.

    Whither the sanity in the Tamil Diaspora?????

    The Anonymous.

  17. All communties have brave people that I accept but Sri Lanka can only have one set of heros and they are those who shed blood for Sri Lanka’s soverignity. Those inlcuded not only Sinhalese but Maj. Thuwan Nizam Muttaliff, Maj Fasly Lafeer, Lingasaamy Devarasa (LRRP), Plote Mohan etc….

  18. You shameless bogus jounalist …. This is not a suprise cos you Tamils are suffering heavily from Selective Amenesia

  19. Anonymous says:
    April 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I am sorry I forgot to give my name to the above comment.

  20. Anuradha says:

    “All communties have brave people that I accept but Sri Lanka can only have one set of heros and they are those who shed blood for Sri Lanka’s soverignity”

    I have one question and one comment for you.

    First the question:

    In 1987 when India violated Sri Lankan so called “sovereignty” threatening to bomb the island with six Tuplov planes load of Chappatti floor guarded by two Mirage 2000 I did not see the Sri Lankan “Sinhala/Buddhist” armed forces lifting their middle fingers to see them off. Instead they welcome IPKF which killed, raped, plundered part of the land just like medieval concuring Cholas. Where were your armed forces when they were supposed to protect their own people? I know they were hiding behind their women folks and LTTE. Am I right in my observation?

    The present day heros of brave men Fonsekas, Rajabaksa, Udugampolas, Janakas, ……….who were serving in the armed forces and polic at that time did not fight to protect sovereignty and its people from invading modern day Cholas the Hindians.

    Why?

    My comment:

    Sovereignty of Sri Lanka is just like viginity of a sex worker.

    Sri Lankans and Sex workers should not pretend to possess what they don’t have.

    China will protect Sri Lankan virginty and sex workers’ sovereignty.

    Can a state chose to have its sovereignty when it wants and when it does not need? Oh is it similar to dial a cab? You don’t actually possess a car but when needed you can hire one at your convenience.

    Let me hear your excuses why Sri Lanka should have its own sovereignty when it couldn’t protect it. Sex workers on the other hand would not claim to be virgins because they are realistic about themselves.

  21. kumaraguru,

    those 3 did their part. Living in the west through Selling our freedom struggle, but calling that “walking dead” …..have to think did we do any contribution to our struggle?? others have to fight but we will shed some coins…

  22. I just want to add another perspective with regards to the death of Balachandran. If one focuses purely on the death/murder of a 12 year old boy, then pretty much everybody would agree that it has to be condoned,condemned & the killers brought to book.
    But, unfortunately it’s a little more complicated than that and the focus, not so crystal clear. There are several questions which need to be asked and answered.

    1) What was this boy doing in the middle of a war zone where he was witness to pain,death & destruction? True, he was the son of V.P., but is that the environement that one would want to bring up a 12 year old child? Surely people would have known that the safety of this boy would be severley compromised in such an environment.

    2) With prolonged exposure to such an environment, what would the psychological impact/ trauma be for this child? I’m just wondering what the state of mind of this child would be. Certainly, it will not be the same as a child who was not exposed to such violence.

    3) Assuming that the army did execute this boy, I’m curious as to why the army did not do the same to other families/ children of frontline LTTE cadres who were either captured or surrendered to the army?For instance, how is it that the parents of V.P. were ‘spared’ by the army? The only explanation which comes to mind is that the army wanted to ‘disconnect’ the entire blood line of V.P. From a purely politico-military point of view, the army could not afford to ‘spare’ Balachandran, and for him to be a source of inspiration to the Eelam backers.Afterall, I’m sure there would have been a lot of ‘currency generated’ towards the Eelam cause knowing that the son of the ‘Son God’ was still alive and ready to lead the next phase of the ‘Eelam Project’ in the not too distant future.No other surviving LTTE member would have that same ‘effect’ on the Eelam cause. Could the Sri Lankan State afford to take a chance on such an eventuality, especially considering the high stakes involved.

    4) Who is responsible for this child being in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’? Should they also not be held accountable for the death of this child? Surely, the army did not bring this boy into that war zone.Had he lived in any other part of the world, he would still be alive today.

    5) Knowing that he was the son of the leader of the LTTE, is there any doubt that he would have been ‘brain washed’ with those same ideologies of the LTTE, along with all that hatred for the ‘sinhala enemy’.Especially considering how easily a young mind could be influenced, and considering what he was exposed to.

    6) On taking a look at the photo evidence, it would seem that there were no signs of physical torture( also backed by channel 4 video) and that the ‘execution’ was conducted in a most efficient & clinical way so as to avoid pain & suffering. Death would have been almost instantaneous.

    7) Considering the relatively ‘pain free’ death of Balachandran and the ‘clinical’ method used, one could question whether the LTTE themselves conducted such an execution to avoid capture of V.P.’s son. I’m unsure if Balachandran was wearing a cyanide capsule at the time or whether he ever did. If he was not, then this scenario certainly gains momentum.

  23. dilshanf, I don’t think DBSJ was white washing the tigers in anyway by bringing up VP’s son. He was pointing out Anuradha’s hypocrisy in condemning the tigers while blissfully ignoring the human rights violations by the SLA. I think Anuradha’s recent posts prove my point and his own selective amnesia. However, you are spot on in regards to both sides having committed crimes against humanity. But the tigers are dead and any remnants can be pursued. Who is going to punish the excesses of the state? I don’t think the international community will do such a thing but you get my point, the state needs to make up for its excesses over the years and approach the Tamils with meaningful conciliatory overtures. While the state can ignore the Diaspora’s sabre rattling, it needs to win over the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

  24. Anuradha says:

    “You shameless bogus jounalist …. This is not a suprise cos you Tamils are suffering heavily from Selective Amenesia”

    Did you aim at me?

    I am not a journalist.

    I am a hunter gatherer and honey collector. I suppose you could compare my profession to a journalist. A professional journalist hunts, gathers and collects information hopefully leading to exposure of truth through his/her tireless investigation.

    Honest journalists are a dwindling species in Sri Lanka, just like my people.

    You say:

    “This is not a suprise cos you Tamils are suffering heavily from Selective Amenesia”

    Could you elaborate on your observation.

    Of course Tamils suffer from delebrate self generated amnesia. It does not absolves the Sinhalese from their own self inflicted amnesia. The fact that Sri Lankan armed forces’ failure to protect its own people from invading Hindian forces has been conveniently whitewashed.

    In your previous comment you quoted a handful of people (namely Maj. Thuwan Nizam Muttaliff, Maj Fasly Lafeer, Lingasaamy Devarasa (LRRP), Plote Mohan etc…) out of 23,790 dead soldiers.

    What is your message?

    Are you saying you could only find four brave men among the minorities?

    Are you implying that compare to their population proportion of each minorities the percentage of death among them was too low therefore minorities lack martial traits?

  25. Jazz

    Hindustan Times reported on the 27th March 2012:

    Sri Lanka also had no executions in 2011, but 362 people were on death row. Sri Lanka has sought to hire a hangman and received several applications for the job, Amnesty quoted Sri Lanka’s Treasury department as reporting.

    Have you forwarded your application to prison department?

    I wish you well.

  26. Bravery in battle is something that has been admired from time immemorial

    DBS,It will be great if you can also write a similar article about the siege of the Jaffna Fort from June -Sept 1990 when a battalion Soldiers (Sinha regiment) and cops from the Jaffna Police station (including Tamil policemen) were besieged without food ,running water , causality evacuation (excepting once) or medicine and under attack 24/7 ,food was air dropped daily and many parcels were way off mark,there were many attacks to breach the Forts defences but the Soldiers held on till they were evacuated it was nothing short of an epic and heroic stand by them

    Please do justice to them and write about it with accounts from those who took part in both sides,I was in my early teens and living in Jaffna at that time and even days before the break of war I had seen the Soliders from Fort shopping in Jaffna town and the cops providing security to banks in town little knowing that the peace prevailing at that time will be but a dream in a few weeks time and many of them dead too which is very sad

  27. Native Vedda,
    You are looking at my comments from a purely sensitive, sentimental or even emotional perspective because this child was V.P.’s son. But, I urge you to also be pragmatic because several hundreds of children died during the span of this conflict. All these children were as valuable and important to their parents/ families. I do not wish death on anybody, but we should also ask the ‘pragmatic’ question, whether the death of this child may have prevented a continuation/ resurgance of intense conflict and saved tens of thousands of lives, whether they be sinhalese, tamils, muslims or any other ethnicity.

    Yes, people in this country have problems/ issues and solutions to these issues need to be found. But, at least we can set about finding solutions without killing & destroying each other anymore. Just think about it from that perspective.

  28. Jazz says:

    “You are looking at my comments from a purely sensitive, sentimental or even emotional perspective because this child was V.P.’s son”

    Not because he was VP’s son but because he was fellow human being and his photograph splashed all over websites.

    Your analysis should have aimed the fundamental issue of war crimes and should not have gone to the extent of why the child was there and so on.

    I do not view the problem from purely sensitive, sentimental or emotional perspective. You could take it from me that I am desensitised from any emotional attachment to Sinhala or Tamil sentiment as both are stupid people and disgrace to humanity.

    You say:

    “But, at least we can set about finding solutions without killing & destroying each other anymore. Just think about it from that perspective.”

    It is a noble idea, thus far it goes when you read all powerful person in the island says “singing national anthem in Tamil is a ridiculous idea”.

    If you look at the history of Sri Lanka it has always been self destruction. LTTE against Tamils, the State against its own Tamil and Sinhala speaking people.

    As I have said in this forum many times over that Sri Lankan tragedy is self inflicted. As long as the Sinhala/Buddhists who vote the governments to power believe that the island exclusively belongs to the Sinhala/Buddists and their history based on myths, the problems cannot finds its own solutions.

    One day in the future Sinhala/Buddhists are going to be disappointed when they realise the whole island belongs to just the clan and its cronies, no sharing of the land and political power with the rest of the Sinhala/Buddhists, leave alone the minorities.

  29. DBSJ is commemorating real LTTE warriors like Theepan in spite of being critical of tigers and being affected by them. But where have the Diaspora tigers gone? Why are they not commemorating?

  30. dilshanf
    Remembering the dead whether VP or Ranasinghe Premadasa or Rajiv Gandhi will go on.
    ——————
    I am not too concerned about managed remembrance of leaders, …..ordinary people also have lost their sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, colleagues for over more than half a century, since Ceylon(what was Sri Lanka then known as) gained independence. These people were not killed not by foreign invasion as in Vietnam or other parts of the world but internal killing during to race riots, race hatred, insurgency,liberation struggle/war, political killings etc etc.
    We are not talking about a small number of killings but hundreds of thousands.

    The killing goes unabated even after the end of the war when there is window of opportunity to make the country a peaceful place.

    What is frightening is that after half a century of killing, in any other country people wold have arisen to put a stop to this mad killing and state of affairs, here in renamed Buddhist Sri Lanka people seems to have accepted it as a norm or have been programmed to believe this is norm or don’t have the will do to anything about it or the state has a iron grip over it.

    Events like the recent Cricket tour by the England team gives a classic opportunity for the Sri Lankans to escape in to an virtual world akin to poor Indians filling up the cinema halls all over India to escape from poverty in to a virtual Bollywood world.

    The Buddhist Sri Lanka was also given an international publicity on an alcohol free dry Poya Day at the Grounds full of English Cricket fans.

    How long can this escapism go on before it’s too late.

  31. Finally it was when the 58 division took Paranthan and moved up to Elephant Pass south that the LTTE was forced to abandon positions inside the peninsula.
    —————————————————
    The falling of paranthan was the turning point of the war,not ananthapuram.When paranthan was lost,everything was lost,muhamalai,elephant pass and kilinochi falling like dominoes.

    Paranthan fell in three days,which was a shock.A strategic point like that would have been expected to be defended much better.It fell on the new year day of 2009 and the war was over in 4 months.

    Its strategic location is the fact that it is between kilinochi and elephant pass.The moment paranthan falls kilinochi cannot help in defending elephant pass and vise versa.Also the army is able now to attack elephant pass and kilinochi from another direction too.The LTTE was stupid in focusing its resources on kilinochi which was just a prestige location,and not on paranthan,which would have saved the vital elephant pass strategic point which they had sacrificed so many cadres previosly to take.

    Paranthan is a four way junction,because it connects pooneryn to the west,mullativu in the east and jaffna and muhamalai in the north through the B-69,A-35 and A-9 roads.Pooneryn had already fallen 2 weeks before paranthan.No wonder everything fell like a domino in just 4 months after its fall.In my opinion pooneryn and paranthan should have been the main focus of defence,not kilinochi,which was prabha’s capital,just prestige,but of much less strategic significance.When LTTE lost pooneryn they lost the entire west coast.That allowed the attack on paranthan and from that junction it was easy to attack kilinochi,elephant pass,muhmalai and mullaitivu.So loss of pooneryn and then the loss of paranthan was the turning point of the war,while the crack troops of the LTTE were defending kilinochi for prabha’s ego.

  32. When i said that paranthan was a four way junction,i missed mentioning that it connected kilinochi to the south.No wonder the fierce attacks on kilinochi by fonseka was just a decoy.He always wanted paranthan,not kilinochi,because the day paranthan fell,he announced that the war is over.By pouring over maps and with his 40 years of battlefield experience mostly in the north,he seemed to have a better idea of the geography of the north than the LTTE themselves.Alas,the sinhalese have short memories and now he is languishing in prison while karuna who killed the 600 surrendered policeman is a minister in the government.

  33. //The shame is not in writing about those who fought and died on the battlefield but in executing a captured 12 year old boy in cold blood//
    Dear Jayaraj,
    By writing this,you have given enough hint that you have pieced together what exactly happened on the final moments.
    So can we expect another well written article on May 18 2012?

  34. I agree with Shankar.

    The LTTE was essentially a war movement, a terror outfit. They were dead the day they started pretending to be a political movement. When they thought they could run a state the borders of which it could not protect, death and defeat was guaranteed.

    Their longevity was the result of many causes, chiefly among them being the reluctance of many preceding Sri Lankan governments to fight a war the way it should be faught.

    Theepan may have been a great warrior. What you conveniently try to gloss over is the fact that he and his gallant team were decimated in battle by those who were superior in war craft.

    I am personally acquainted with some of the SL military greats who led from the front and know for a fact that had they been unleashed earlier, this war would have been over decades ago.

  35. Jazz

    Had the LTTE excuted Prabakaran’s son, I would assume it would be by a bullet to the head.

    Someone who wants to create a shock and awe in a connected person watching would shoot multiple body hits.

    Just my two cents…

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