Velupillai Prabhakaran (November 26, 1954 – May 18, 2009) was the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers), a militant organization that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. For over 25 years, the LTTE waged a violent secessionist campaign in Sri Lanka that led to it being designated a terrorist organization by 32 countries. Prabhakaran was wanted by Interpol for terrorism, murder, organized crime and terrorism conspiracy. He also had arrest warrants against him in Sri Lanka and India. Early life
Velupillai Prabhakaran was born in the northern coastal town of Velvettithurai on November 26, 1954, to Thiruvenkadam Velupillai and Vallipuram Parvathy. Thiruvenkadam Velupillai was the District land Officer in the Ceylon Government Angered by what he saw as discrimination against Tamil people by successive Sri Lankan governments, he joined the student group TIP during the standardization debates. In 1972 Prabhakaran founded the Tamil New Tigers (TNT) which was a successor to many earlier organizations that protested against the post-colonial political direction of the country, in which the minority Sri Lankan Tamils were pitted against the majority Sinhalese people. In 1975, after becoming heavily involved in the Tamil movement, he carried out the first major political murder by a Tamil militant group, assassinating the mayor of Jaffna, Alfred Duraiappah, by shooting him at point-blank range when he was about to enter the Hindu temple at Ponnaalai. The assassination was in response to the 1974 Tamil conference incident, for which the Tamil radicals had blamed Duraiappah, because he backed the then ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party. He was also seen by Tamil militants as betraying the Tamil nationalist sentiments in the Jaffna Peninsula, by allying with the Sinhalese majority government. Founding of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers)
On May 5, 1976, the TNT was renamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers. Religion was not a major factor in his philosophy or ideology, but the LTTE was characterized as anti-Buddhist. Prabhakaran himself was a lapsed Methodist. The LTTE was also an organization that did not cite any material from religion or religious texts in any of its ideological documents and propaganda but were driven only by the idea of Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism. They focused on this single-minded approach and inspiration toward the attainment of an independent Tamil Eelam. Press conference at Killinochchi
Prabhakaran's first and only major press conference was held in Killinochchi on April 10, 2002. It was reported that more than 200 journalists from the local and foreign media attended this event and they had to go through a 10-hour security screening before the event in which Anton Balasingham introduced the LTTE leader as the "President and Prime minister of Tamil Eelam." A number of questions were asked about LTTE's commitment towards the erstwhile peace process and Prabhakaran and Dr. Anton Balasingham jointly answered the questions. Answering a question from one of the reporters Prabhakaran said that he has instructed the LTTE cadres to kill him if he compromised on the goal of independent state. Repeated questions of his involvement in the Rajiv Gandhi Prime Minister of India assassination were only answered in a sober note by both Balasingham and Prabhakaran. They called it a "tragic incident" they requested the press "not to dig into an incident that happened 10 years ago." During the interview he stated that the right condition has not risen to give up the demand of Tamil Eelam. He further mentioned that "There are three fundamentals. That is Tamil homeland, Tamil nationality and Tamil right to self-determination. These are the fundamental demands of the Tamil people. Once these demands are accepted or a political solution is put forward by recognising these three fundamentals and our...
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