A remembrance event was held for Selvarajah Yogachandran, referred to as Kuttimani, and Nadarajah Thangavelu, alias Thangathurai, the co-founding leaders of TLO (Tamil Liberation Organisation), at the Tamil National Party office in Jaffna on Sunday.
The two were brutally murdered during the infamous Wellikada prison massacre which occurred during ‘Black July’, which saw thousands of Tamils killed by Sinhala mobs backed by the Sri Lankan government forces.
Kuttimani was accused of orchestrating the Neervely’s Bank robbery of 8 million Sri Lankan rupees on 21 March 1981. He was arrested on 5 April 1981 along with Thangathurai and Selvadurai Sivasubramaniam alias, Devan, while bidding to escape in a boat to Tamil Nadu, and was sentenced to death by Colombo High Court, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in August 1982. Kuttimani memorably stated:
“I request that I should be hanged in Tamil Eelam… I request that my eyes be donated to some blind person, so that Kuttimani will be able to see through those eyes the reality of Tamil Eelam”.
Whilst their trials were still pending, Kuttimani and Thangathurai were brutally murdered in Welikada Maximum Security Prison. Kuttimani’s tormentors “gouged out” his eyes - an allusion to the request that he had made and Thangathurai’s tongue was cut off for his speeches of nonconformity. According to Amnesty International the Sinhala prisoners were offered alcohol and permitted to attack the Tamil prisoners.
37 other Tamil prisoners were also massacred on 25 July 1983. To date, none of the preparators have been held accountable for the Welikada prison massacre.