Whilst Sri Lanka has imposed a ban on commemorating the sacrifice of Lt Col Thileepan across Eelam, Tamils across Tamil Nadu have taken to paying tribute to his hunger strike, despite the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the state.
Spearheading the memorial events in Tamil Nadu is the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) under the leadership of its chief-coordinator Senthamizhan Seeman. The Tamil nationalist party commemorated ‘thiyaga theepam’ Thileepan by paying floral tributes to his image and lighting the ceremonial candle, whilst dozens of events were held by members across the state.
Speaking to the press after the proceedings, Seeman said:
‘An unrivalled soldier, pinnacle of sacrifice, our Anna (elder brother) Thileepan’s 33rd memorial falls today. He instilled in our people’s minds that meeting death fighting for rights is greater than a life of slavery. He taught us that the freedom of our people is more important than our own life. He is a representation of fight against injustice. He took the Tamil Eelam struggle for independence to a higher level.’
‘As we commemorate the sacrifice of that nonpareil revolutionary, it behoves the entire Tamil community to resolve to work towards realising Thileepan’s dream of an independent Tamil homeland. That is how we pay true tribute to the sacrifice of the great soldier.’
‘The Sinhalese state is encroaching and colonising our homelands by creating Sinhalese settlements. It is militarising Eelam and is destroying the memorials of our maaverars (great heroes) and erasing our identity. It has prevented us from observing the memorial day of Thileepan Anna’s ultimate sacrifice.’
On Thursday, Seeman had released a statement urging the Tamils to observe fast from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM. ‘To someone who suffered hunger for 12 days for our sake, we must pay respect by abstaining from food and water for 12 hours.’
MP Thol Thirumavalavan of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi also commemorated the 33rd anniversary of Thileepan’s sacrifice at his head office in Chennai.
As Tamil Nadu assembly elections draws closer, Tamil nationalist ideology continues to hold great sway across the state, and is gaining greater traction. This trend has also contributed to a greater awareness amongst Tamil youth aof the revolutionary struggle for independence in Eelam.