Velupillai Prabhakaran

founder of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant organization in Sri Lanka (1954-2009)

Velupillai Prabhakaran (November 26 1954 — May 18 2009)[16] was the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He fought the Sri Lankan Civil War to make an independent state for the Tamil people in the north of Sri Lanka. Under his leadership, the Tamil Tigers became one of the most deadly guerilla groups in the world.[16]

வேலுப்பிள்ளை பிரபாகரன் Velupillai Prabhakaran
Born(1954-11-26)November 26, 1954
DiedMay 19, 2009(2009-05-19) (aged 54)
Nanthikadal lagoon, Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka 9°18′40.46″N 80°46′19.48″E / 9.3112389°N 80.7720778°E / 9.3112389; 80.7720778
Cause of deathGunshot
Other namesKarikalan , Anna
OccupationFounder & Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) movement in Sri Lanka.
Criminal statusDeceased
SpouseMathivathani Erambu (–2009) 
ChildrenCharles Anthony(1989–2009) [4]
Duwarak(1986–2009)  [5]
Balachandran(1997–2009) [6]
Parent(s)Father: Veraswami Thiruwengadam Velupillai (–2009) 
Mother: Velupillai Parvathi Pillai (-2009) [7]
MotiveSri Lankan Tamil nationalism
Criminal chargeCrimes against humanity,[8][9] Militant use of children in Sri Lanka,[10] terrorism, murder, organized crime and conspiracy[11]
PenaltyArrest warrant issued by Colombo High Court[12]
Death warrant issued by Madras High Court, India.[13]
Sentenced to 200 years in prison by Colombo High Court.[14][15]

Early life


Prabhakaran was born in Valvettiturai, a fishing town, on the northern tip of Sri Lanka. His father worked for the government. After Ceylon became independent in 1948, life became very difficult for the small Tamil population. There were laws to limit their chance of getting to university or working for the government. In 1972, Prabhakaran started a group called the Tamil New Tigers (TNT). In July 1975 he shot dead Alfred Duryappa, the mayor of Jaffna.[16] Duryappa was also a Tamil, but Prahbhakaran believed he had become too close to the Sri Lankan government.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam


Prabhakaran went to India to escape from the police. He hid in the city of Madras (now Chenai), where he turned the TNT into the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Each member had cyanide (poison) carried in a necklace which they could swallow if they were captured.[16] Other rules that Prabhakaran made for the LTTE were that members could not smoke, drink alcohol or have sex. The last rule was changed when Prabhakaran married Mathivathani Erambu. The LTTE secretly set up training camps in India.[16] Other Tamil guerilla groups were taken over or destroyed by the LTTE.

The war


In July 1983, there were wide spread attacks against Tamils in Sri Lanka. Many Tamils left the country, and many young people went to the training camps in India. The LTTE fought against the government. They had their own navy, the Sea Tigers, and air force. In July 1987 Prabhakaran started a group called the "Black Tigers". These were a group of male and female suicide bombers. Their explosive belts have been copied by groups in Palestine, Chechnya and Iraq.[16] India sent 100,000 peace keeping soldiers to Sri Lanka in July 1987. The Indian government and the Sri Lankan government signed an agreement, but Prabhakaran did not like it because it did not create a separate Tamil country. The Indian soldiers were soon fighting against the LTTE.

Tamil control


The Indian army left Sri Lanka in March 1990, having had 1200 soldiers killed. Prabhakaran became ruler of the northern part of Sri Lanka. He attacked everyone he thought was responsible for the war. In May 1991, female suicide bombers killed the former Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, during an election rally.[16] Prabhakaran did not trust other people. He would only drink his own bottled water, he slept with a gun under his pillow.[16] He thought his cousin, Mahattaya, was plotting against him. He had him and many others tortured and killed.[16]



In 2001, the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE asked Norway to help make a ceasefire to stop the war. This lasted for four years before the fighting started again. This led to increased attacks on the LTTE by the Sri Lankan army. The LTTE were slowly forced back into a very small area. Prabhakaran and his son, Charles Anthony, were killed in the fighting, and the LTTE were defeated.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lanka army sources". Times of India. May 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  2. Bosleigh, Robert (2009-05-18). "Tamil Tigers supreme commander Prabhakaran 'shot dead'". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  3. Nelson, Dean (2009-05-18). "Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran 'shot dead'". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
  4. "Prabhakaran's son dead". 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  5. "National Leader Prabakaran's Daughter Dwaraka's photos released – Most Shocking". 16 December 2009. Archived from the original on 2014-12-02. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  6. "BBC News - Balachandran Prabhakaran: Sri Lanka army accused over death". BBC. 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  7. Prabhakaran's parents in a welfare village Archived 2009-08-22 at the Wayback Machine. (2010-12-30). Retrieved on 2012-06-22.
  8. The LTTE in brief Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. "No Ceasefire – Only Surrender: Prabhakaran and the LTTE Cadres Must Pay for their Heinous Crimes". Asian Tribune. 2009-02-24. Archived from the original on 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  10. Harrison, Frances (2003-01-31). "Analysis: Sri Lanka's child soldiers". BBC News.
  11. "Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Agency probing killing conspiracy plods on". Times of India. May 20, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  12. "Colombo High Court Issue arrest warrant for Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman". Asian Tribune. 2009-05-13. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  13. "Obituary: Velupillai Prabhakaran". BBC. 2009-05-18. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  14. Mydans, Seth (November 2, 2002). "Rebels Protest Leader's Sentence". New York Times. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  15. "Rebel leader sentenced to 200 years' jail as talks start". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2002-11-02. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 16.8 Farrell, Tom (May 21, 2009). "Single-minded Tamil Tigers leader lived and died by the gun". The Age. p. 12.