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Prabhakaran, Velupillai (b. 1954)

Charan Rainford


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Velupillai Prabhakaran is the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam , the foremost rebel organization seeking Eelam or an independent homeland for the Sri Lankan Tamils. He was born on November 26, 1954 in Jaffna, Sri Lanka as the fourth child to T. Velupillai and V. Parvathi, a well-respected family in the coastal village of Velvettiturai. Velupillai was a clerk and district land officer. By dint of his father's occupation, Prabhakaran's early schooling was in the Eastern town of Batticaloa, and later in Jaffna. He was said to be a studious boy and a loner by nature. In 1958, during the first major anti-Tamil riots, he witnessed a Hindu temple priest caught and burnt to death by a rampaging Sinhalese mob. These events are said to have had a strong impact on Prabhakaran, who was of a generation that did not witness pre-colonial Sri Lanka. He veered away from a quiet childhood and became more politically aware and radically inclined in his mid-teens. While he was influenced by India's struggle for freedom, it was not by non-violence but by Subhas Chandra Bose , whom he described as his “special hero”. Prabhakaran began to take to violence in the early 1970s, forcing him to stay away from home so as to prevent guilt falling on his family, but it was in 1975 that he undertook his first major killing. Leading a group of eight youths, Prabhakaran shot dead former Jaffna ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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