A memorial statue of Fr James Pathinanthan, a Catholic priest remembered by the Tamil community for his social work, has been unveiled in the tsunami victims memorial complex in Mullaitivu.
When the waves struck the coasts on December 26, 2004, claiming thousands of lives, Fr Pathinanthan provided much needed humanitarian relief to the affected Tamil community in the coastal Vanni area.
Fr Pathinanthan was a survivor of the Mullivaikal massacre in 2009 and was a source of support and comfort for the Tamils who were being subjected to genocide by the Sri Lankan government.
He had sustained injuries in Valaignarmadam on Wednesday 22nd April 2009, after bombs were fired into the area by the Sri Lankan military. He was one of 17 priests and 22 nuns who had remained in the final conflict zone in the midst of Sri Lankan shelling. He was a member of the National Commission for Justice, Peace and Human Development at the time of the bombing.
He wrote a missive to the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon detailing the enormity of the slaughter that the Tamils were facing under the Rajapaksa administration.
"Deaths, injuries, displacements and attendant misery pervade the lives of the innocent Tamil civilians. The Draconian economic embargo imposed slyly on Wanni has become a monstrous obstacle even in giving relief and solace to the 170,000 persons recently displaced. Day and night, Wanni is thundering with Artillery Guns, Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers, Supersonic fighter jets and Naval gunboats", Fr.Pathinathan said in the letter.
Fr. Pathinanthan passed away on July 11, 2019, succumbing to physical illnesses.
Chrisitian religious leaders unveiled Fr. Pathinanthan’s statue during the commemoration of tsunami victims on December 26, 2020.