Remembering Thileepan's sacrifice 33 years on

Today marks 33 years since the death of Lt Col Thileepan, a political wing leader of the LTTE who fasted to death, in a protest appealing to the Indian government to honour pledges made to the Tamil people. Thileepan began his fast on the September 15, 1987, with 100,000 people gathered around the historic Nallur Kandwaswamy Temple in Jaffna. On September 13, 1987, Thileepan put forward five demands to the Indian government following the signing of the Indo-Lanka accord in July 1987: Three decades on, Tamils continue to call for the demands made by Thileepan. See a video of his famous speech...

SPB and songs of the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle

S P Balasubrahmanyam jots down lyrics while practising for Ulaga Manitham Thalaikal - 21st June 2007. Photograph: Oviar Pugazhenthi Among the late, great S P Balasubrahmanyam's body of work, which spans over five decades and over 40,000 songs, were several enthusiastic contributions to the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle. Encompassing a variety of styles and speeds, Balasubrahmanyam frequently voiced the lyrics of Eelam revolutionary poets Puthuvai Ratnathurai, who was forcibly disappeared in May 2009, Kasi Ananthan and Joe Puradchi. We look back at a selection of SPB's Eelam liberation songs.

A dozen petitions filed in Sri Lankan Supreme Court challenging 20th Amendment

One day after a controversial draft of the 20 th amendment was tabled, a total of twelve petitions were filed in Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court challenging it, including by the Tamil National Alliance, (TNA) and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB). The contentious bill is set to replace the 19 th amendment passed in 2015, which strengthened the role of the parliament and curtailed the powers of the country’s president. The bill was tabled by Justice Minister Ali Sabry as opposition members shouted in protest while holding placards and wearing black bands, in what SJB leader Premadasa called a “dark day...

‘I cannot repay their love’ - S P Balasubrahmanyam and Eelam Tamils

SPB looks across Eelam as he flies to Jaffna for the first time in 2016. As Tamils and music lovers around the world mourn the death of legendary South Indian musician S P Balasubrahmanyam, we look back at his support for Eelam Tamils and his famous 2016 concert in Jaffna. Before he had visited the island, Balasubrahmanyam was already a household name. The renowned playback singer had already smashed records around the world and recorded dozens of songs praising the Tamil Eelam liberation movement. Given his long history of support for the Eelam struggle, there was a buzz when it was announced that he was to visit Jaffna in 2016 – the first time Balasubrahmanyam would come to the historic city. He was due to perform with another Kollywood celebrity Gangai Amaran, composer and brother of music director Ilayaraaja.

PEARL condemns Sri Lanka’s latest assault on Tamils’ right to remember

Following the banning of memorials for Lt. Col. Thileepan, who died whilst conducting a hunger strike for Tamil rights in 1987, PEARL () has voiced support for Tamil political parties who have vocally opposed the ban and the planned protests; whilst also condemning the repression that said ban entails.

Point Pedro Magistrate Court bans hunger strike organised by Tamil political parties

Point Pedro Magistrate Court has banned a hunger strike organised by Tamil political parties in protest over the ban on commemorating the anniversary of Lt Col Thileepan's fast unto death. Sri Lankan police filed a ban on the hunger strike which was organised in response to the extension of the ban ordered by Jaffna Magistrate Court on events attempting to commemorate Lt Col Thileepan Jaffna Magistrate Court concluded that if the ban is to be extended further, the Ministry of Law and Order must do so through a Gazette notification. Sri Lankan police have intensified their crackdown on...

Tamils mourn legendary singer S P Balasubrahmanyam

The legendary South Indian musician S P Balasubrahmanyam has passed away aged 74. A prolific playback and concert singer who also made his mark as a music director, actor, dubbing artist and film producer, Balasubrahmanyam also lent his voice to the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle, recording several revolutionary songs in the mid-2000s.

Sinhala Buddhist monk threatens government officials over archaeological site

Ampitiye Sumanarathana, a monk notorious for previous assaults, threatened officials of the Department of Archaeology over a delay to demarcate an archaeological reservation land in Chenkalady on Monday. The video shows Ampitiye Sumanarathana threatening to choke one official and demanded his superior to make an appearance at the scene. Colombo Gazette reported that the monk was heard threatening a government official. “Tell your superior to come or I will take this pole and kill you,” he threatened. The official is seen on his phone supervising the gathering but the monk is pictured pushing...

Thileepan commemorated at homes across Europe amidst coronavirus pandemic

Tamils across Europe have been marking the 11 day hunger strike by the LTTE’s Lt. Col. Thileepan in ceremonies at their homes, with many countries on the continent continuing to have tight restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. As coronavirus infections begin to rise many governments have put restrictions on large gatherings in place. Tamil organisations across the continent however have called on the public to mark Thileepan’s sacrifice in their home or with socially distanced events.

Rajapaksa vows to send in the troops over ‘garbage tea’

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa vowed to send in troops from the notorious Special Task Force if tea plantations continued to produce “garbage tea”, in a warning to factory owners on the island. Speaking to factory owners last week, the war crimes accused head of state said there had been reports of “instances of adulterating the quality tea by mixing sugar, glucose, sodium bicarbonate and ferrous sulphate”. “Based on intelligence information the Special Task Force of the Police and the Police raid tea factories which produce garbage tea and using harmful chemical components,” the Sri...