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Santhan’s final journey marked by tributes to his life and sacrifice

The final journey of T Suthendraraja, known as Santhan (55), one of the seven convicts freed in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, began in the town of Vavuniya this morning. The casket bearing his remains was transported from the Poraalihal Welfare Association in Vavuniya on Sunday morning amidst a sombre atmosphere filled with farewells and floral tributes. Meanwhile, the rest of the Tamil homeland marked Sunday as a day of mourning.

Shanthan mourned by his mother and brother

Santhan's remains arrived on the island on Friday and underwent a post-mortem examination at the Negombo Base Hospital. Following its departure from Vavuniya, the procession slowly made its way through Kilinochchi and Jaffna, reaching Santhan's hometown of Valvettithurai for the final rites.

Santhan passed away on Thursday from cardiac arrest. He had been receiving treatment at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital for cryptogenic cirrhosis, an ailment unrelated to alcohol consumption that affects liver function.

ITAK leader S. Shritharan pays tribute to Santhan's body in Kilinochchi

The news of Santhan's untimely demise was a shock to many, as he was expected to return home alive in a matter of days. Although Santhan was acquitted in November 2022, he was detained at a foreigners' detention centre in Trichy for over a year. During this time, his health deteriorated, and he was admitted to the hospital for treatment. In the final months of his life, his mother had made several desperate pleas for his repatriation. She had not seen him in over 30 years and yearned to be with him.

TNPF MP S. Kajendran pays tribute

During the legal proceedings, it was revealed that Santhan did not possess the necessary paperwork or travel documents required for him to return to Sri Lanka. Following extensive diplomatic and political pressure, the Sri Lankan High Commission expedited the issuance of the necessary documents, but it was too late.

After receiving the travel document, the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs issued an emergency travel document for Santhan to return immediately. He was supposed to arrive in Jaffna just a few days before he passed away.

Black flags in Jaffna University to mark Santhan's passing as a day of mourning.




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