Sithie Subahanya Tiruchelvam, Attorney at Law, passed away on March 22. Mrs. Tiruchelvam was 69 years old and was a founding partner of Tiruchelvam Associates, the law firm she started with her husband, the late Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam, P.C., M.P.
Mrs. Tiruchelvam qualified as an attorney in 1968 and was a law graduate of the University of Ceylon. In addition to her legal career, she was a non-executive director of John Keells Holdings and Galadari Hotels. She also served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Nadesan Centre for Human Rights and South Asians for Human Rights, and was a founding member of Foundations for Peace, based in Northern Ireland, and the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust. She also served as a member of the parallel code review committee with Javid Yusuf and Uvindu Kurukulasuriya on Sri Lanka’s Editors’ Guild Code of Ethics.
She is survived by her sons, Nirgunan and Mithran, their wives and four grandchildren. She is also survived by two sisters, Naima Sidique and Fauzil Sahideen, and a brother, Nadhir Dean. The late Zarook Dean was her brother.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the children’s charity of your choice.
Remains will lie in residence at No. 48 Rosmead Place, Colombo 7. Cortege leaves residence at 10:30 a.m. for cremation on Sunday, March 23 at 11 a.m. at General Cemetery, Kannatte.
Usha s sri-Skanda-Rajah / March 22, 2014
It is sad that so many were killed including her husband Neelan Thiruchelvam, the ethnic conflict caused misery for so many, Sithie lost her husband in vain, how much of pain she must have endured, everything seems a sorry mess right now, I can only pray that all this will end without further bloodshed. I support freedom but the human cost has been colossal. Sithie Thiruchelvam RIP
Vikarna / March 23, 2014
USHA GANDHA RAJAH
You [Edited out] woman, don’t try to distort the truth. Neelan Thiruchelvm was not killed by the ethnic conflict. He was killed by the criminal maniac Prapakaran. You are doing a great injustice to the memory of a great man and his wife who just passed away to whom you, being a lowlife, not even fit to hold a candle. You are a bigot and a racist. By invoking their names you are polluting the memory of two very refined individuals who stood for human rights and pluralism. Sri Lanka, the only country in recent history to completely wipe out militarily a deadly terrorist organization, is now successfully rebuilding itself. Obviously this is making you feel like a pathetic loser and you are the one in a sorry mess. I know you like to bring the bloodshed back, but trust me darling, that will never happen.
Ali Baba Sabry / March 23, 2014
“I know you like to bring the bloodshed back, but trust me darling, that will never happen”
Oh, oh, oh, not so soon, darling! Dont jump to hasty conclusions. Your “that will never happen”, spoken so confidently seems to be closer to happenning now than ever before. What with a little help from your Balu Sena Balla friends and the JVP types like that Champuka fellow in the cabinet who are spewing racial hatred against other minorities every day of the year. Also, remember that although Neelan may have not been killed by the ethnic conflict as you see it, Praphakaran was a creation of the ethnic conflict and if as you insist it was he who killed him, then by inference it was certainly the ethnic conflict that was responsible for his death. Finally, even though you are coward enough to hide behind a fake name, you seem to be an uncouth creature who smells for miles around, and for that we thank you for choosing that very apt name Gandha Rajah to describe yourself.
Point Man / March 24, 2014
Dr.Neelan Thiruchelvam was killed by the LTTE- there’s no question. He was killed because he was mainly responsible for drafting Chandrika’s package to solve the ethnic problem. It’s widely accepted that was the most generous offer ever made by the Sri Lankan government to the Tamils. And yet what happened? The UNP refused to support it and tore it to pieces. Sampanthan was even more outrageous. After promising Chandrika his support he betrayed her at the last minute. Subsequently the LTTE killed Dr.Thiruchelvam to foreclose the possibility of finding a political solution. That a man of great intellect and honesty was killed for such a diabolical reason is unforgivable. It is the Tamil people who suffered. Now the crook Sampanthan and the TNA are mounting a ‘heroic’ struggle to get the much less powerful 13th amendment.
In this backdrop Usha bluffing about the circumstances of Dr.Thiruchelvam’s death especially at a time when we are mourning the death of his wife is abominable. Her threatening ‘bloodshed’ while talking about two individuals who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation shows how uncivilized she is.
Aggrieved / March 23, 2014
A good woman has passed away and that is all that needs to be, if at all anything, by LTTE supporters at this sad time — particularly by a Methodist College old girl at the time of death of another Methodist College old girl.
This is not the place to say “I support freedom but the human cost has been colossal” — as if in veiled justification of Neelan Tiruchelvam’s assassination. Is what I read an MC-ite supporting murder in the name of freedom?
Ayathuray Rajasingam / March 23, 2014
I knew both Dr.Neelan Thiruchelvam & his wife Sithy at Law Faculty. Both were friendly and helpful. In fact, Dr.Neelan Thiruchelvam was closer to me, but he assassinated by a stupid LTTE suicide bomber. Had both lived today there would have been a new constitution for which strived hard and peace & harmony would have prevailed in the country. Sri Lanka lost good citizens. May her soul rest in peace.
kabaragoya / March 23, 2014
I remember Neelan and Sithie in the Peradeniya Campus where both were law students. The Campus provided such a romantic setting for their relationship to grow. Neelan was lean, erudite, serious and shy. Sithi, rather on the plump side, was a contrast, always smiling and vivacious. She was one of the few Muslim girls on the campus, quite distinct because she was always in a salwar kamiz. It was one of the campus romances which ended in marriage and we, who knew them then, were happy when this happened. I never met them together after those campus days.
Neelan’s brilliant life was cut short by the senseless brutality of the LTTE, one of the many acts of vain brutality that the LTTE engaged in. He was a peace-maker. There was a need for such men. My hapless country did not let such men live. The LTTE had no need for them as their violent creed had little time for peace. Neither did the Sinhala leadership which thrived on chauvinisim, the single cause that continues to dictate Sinhala politics.
Sithie carried on the work in the Law and Society Trust. I take personal comfort in that I can see, in my aging mind’s eye, Sithie and Neelan walking together again, as they did before when we were young.
George / March 23, 2014
Thank you for evoking these memories. They are a lovely tribute to the Neelan and Sithie.
Bensen Burner / March 23, 2014
Heartfelt condolences to the nearest relatives at this great loss. bensen
sirisena yatawara / March 23, 2014
LTTE-terrorist outfit who killed Dr Neelan to win Tamil-Eealm of Rough state by gun point.
Actually LTTE who had been killed not Neelan ,but they try to kill the foundation of Democratic nation by GUN POINT,the people of nationalities had been enjoy democracy by in Sri Lanka.
Lost of Dr Neelan was lost for the democracy of People of SL.
late Her wife of Dr Neelan had been work jointly with the contributed for democracy of our nation, that hand in hand with safeguarded of tiny Island of Sri Lankan who enjoy unity & Democracy.
Pandaranayagam / March 23, 2014
It is believed the LTTE reluctantly decided to do away with Neelan because he was working in cohorts with Prof. GLP to make provisions
for a separate Council for the Muslims in the Southern part of the
Eastern Province. The LTTE considered this traitorous action to divide the land of the Tamil Nation in the NEP.
Citizen / March 24, 2014
There is a small error. No doubt the suicide attack was carried out by a LTTE suicide bomber. I strongly feel there is a Tamil politician who aspired to be a leader was behind the scene. When I met Neelan Thiruchelvam at a wedding three days before the incident, he invited me as well as others to discuss the draft constitution & it was almost on the Canadian model which would have satisfied every community. Even GLP was dragging the issue. He was so popular, not only among the Tamils but also among the Sinhalese & Muslims. Neelan was to be the leader of the Tamil community, but was frustrated by a stupid act of one LTTEer. It was really a loss to the country.
Pandaranayagam / March 25, 2014
I knew both Neelan and Sithie personally. If you do not mind, Neelan had no intention to be the leader of the Tamil side. His relentless goal was to bring normalcy to the Tamil Nation – peace and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans. I am not aware or heard of the “Tamil politician” you speculate. The death of Neelan was a colossal loss to the entire country. The tributes from Britain, the USA and elsewhere at the time – from great institutions of learning and the leading newspapers – was illustrative of the tremendous global respect he enjoyed. Michael Ignatieff, the former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, surprised me when he said he personally came to pay his respects to his Harvard-colleague. Many expected Ignatieff to win over Stephen Harper in the last General Elections there. The conspiracy to kill was the work of sick, confused minds carried out by a mindless brute under the foolish belief of Tamil Nationalism.
Citizen / March 25, 2014
Even I was at his funeral at Kanatte. What I said was I had a strong feeling that Neelan was assassinated. Feeling indicates suspicion. Every Tamil politician has a relative (e.g.nephew) as a member of the LTTE. Neelan was only interested in peace & harmony in the country and so is his wife, Sithy. Because we felt Neelan should lead the Tamil community in the best interests of the country. I know how he worked hard to push the Draft constitution on the Canadian model. That is why I said it is the stupid LTTE.
shankar / March 24, 2014
What bloody traitorous action are you talking about,pandaranayagam.Muslims are the largest in the east.Do you think that they could be just ignored as if they do not exist and tamils can get the east.Not only for the muslims,but also for the sinhalese who are now in equal proportion to the tamils separate councils will have to formed if the tamils ever think they can get the east too.in fact i dont think it is councils that will even solve the problem but a third of the east on the northern side would have to excised from the rest and amalgamated with the north and the tamils in the east resettled there.
If that is too difficult then northern tamils will have to forfeit the east altogether and tell their eastern brethren to sort out their problems with the sinhalese and muslims and leave them to their fate.There is no other alternatives because we have to be practical here and take into consideration the ethnic demographics without having this pie in the sky dreams and getting shit on the head as usual.
Pandaranayagam / March 24, 2014
The Muslim who thickly goes as Shankar boasts “Muslims are the largest in the East” Don’t we know that – now? Until BBS and friends raised the nation’s attention, it could well be in 25 years they would have come close to bypassing he Sinhalaese with their magic “population explosion” The BBS gave the example of a grandmother, mother and daughter from the same family in the EP being in the same maternity ward for delivery – 3 in fact.
That must be a world record. Which is why the BBS is asking the State to deny free educational and medical facilities to those with more than 3 children. The Sinhala extreme says Sri Lanka has to be saved from the fate that the Maldives imposed on other communities there. It was this and the State-inspired Colonisation that brought the Tamil numbers from the highs to what they are now – where they are forced to bow to the Muslim majority in the EPC. But that aberration must change sooner than later.
shankar / March 24, 2014
“The Muslim who thickly goes as Shankar”
pandara/bandara,so for you anyone who says to you to be fair to other communities becomes automatically a member of that community.Bloody fool.It is buggers like you who have caused so much misery for my people.Whenever anyone told the LTTE to change their ways they were also labelled as tamil traitors.Now the so called tamil saviours are no more and before they died they used the tamil people as human shields.If you don’t know to respect other peoples rights whichever community they belong to,don’t expect others to respect you rights too.
As for the muslims having more kids than tamils,that is none of your business because the east was not a part of the jaffna kingdom anyway and historically the tamils who were there were chased to the north by another set of tamils,the mukkuwas who came from the coramandel and malabar coast and settled there.History was repeated when karuna chased you buggers again back to north.
If you don’t learn from history,then it will repeat itself.
Pandaranayagam / March 25, 2014
“Buggers” “Bloody fool” in debate is the language of those lacking proper breeding and background. That is the culture and way of life of this pathetic Muslim creature who shamelessly hides under a Tamil name.
What he writes here makes little sense and is contradictory. Karuna chased nobody away. His and Pillaiyan’s strength were the Tamils in the EP – who still remain there. In his rage the man forgets the goal of Tamils in the North and the East is for the merger of the NEP – a Tamil-speaking Province – as it was from 1987 within an undivided Island. Mr. Sampanthan, the undisputed leaders of the Tamil nation, is from the East – basic knowledge even to a school boy. The equation in the EP was changed by those who sold political principles to get positions in the name of religion and who now find they have nowhere to run to and no friends to go to. Does not this imbecile convinced “the so called Tamil saviours are no more” – know that the liberal Sampanthan, Wigneswaren, Sumanthiran, Mavai and others are globally respected Tamil leaders who are in the process of bringing peace, reconciliation, normalcy and unity to the NEP with help from the region and the world. The Muslim people and the leadership have thanked the Tamil leaders for coming to their defence. What the Tamil political leaders did is the right thing to do because the large number of Muslims are peaceful and realise it is the half-baked and irresponsible Jihadists among them who have brought misery to them. It is in their interest to prevent nitwits in the community speaking on their behalf.
Man, why don’t you chose a Muslim name without bringing disgrace and discredit to a lovely ancient Tamil name such as Shankar.
shankar / March 25, 2014
Pundaram,you talk a lot about breeding and background.If you consider words such as bugger and bloody as coming from a person of low breeding,what do you say about a person who considers childbirth as a criminal offence and makes fun of it joining low bred mongrels like the BBS and supporting them.So you are a high breed is it?heh,heh,heh.Your mother did not bear you at all?Putting you into this world was a mistake all right.A polluted warped mind like yours against other peoples human rights is much worse than words like bloody and bugger.People who try to be good on the outside and shit on the inside are the real low borns such as you.Your comments showed enough about your birth.Denigrating a great man like neelan as a traitor,joining the BBS to mock the muslims,trying to grab the east without any regard for the feelings of the largest ethnic group there etc.It is because of tamils like you that today tamils are suffering.You have no feelings or respect for others.The world revolves around you.
“Karuna chased nobody away. His and Pillaiyan’s strength were the Tamils in the EP – who still remain there.”
Adey,mokku,read what i have written.Karuna chased the northerners out of the east because he realised what exploitative bastards they were using the warrior clan mukkuwas for the battlefield while they kept the trappings and status and drove around in pajeros.The tamils who are now in the east are the descendents of the mukkuwas under king pandian,who came from the malabar coast and chased the tamils in the east back to the north from where they had come from.that is why i said that history repeated.
Before you even talk of tamils like as if they are all one,tell me whether a tamil in jaffna will even look at a marriage proposal for his kid from a tamil in batticaloa?He will snort,tell all the nasty things about batticaloa tamils and in the
usual arrogant manner will tear and throw it in the waste,but when you need them to do the dirty work of fighting for you they become your tamil blood brothers.
“Man, why don’t you chose a Muslim name without bringing disgrace and discredit to a lovely ancient Tamil name such as Shankar.”
You bloody fool, i don’t want to boast about my ancestry because it is irrelevant in this day and age,but i can tell you that they would have contributed much for the north at one time.
That is why you fool,i said that history was repeating itself.
kabaragoya / March 25, 2014
Can you two gentlemen of high breeding take your acrimony to some other place. This does not seem to be the appropriate place for you. Thank you.
shankar / March 25, 2014
Can’t you let us enjoy a little more please.Nobody is forcing you to read our rubbish.Let me squeeze his —-once more and get a kick on my bum,then we are finished for good and move on to other more important things like your favourite topic of deposing the king.
Pandaranayagam / March 26, 2014
“Pundaram” “shit” “ adey mokku” is further evidence of the level of society you were brought up and survive. Even Muslims will be ashamed to call you one amongst them for your foul-mouth.
The first expletive I mention here is not spoken of in any decent society – where Tamil is spoken.
There are hundreds of marriages between Jaffna Tamils and those from Batticoloa – then and now. But that is at a different level of society, which is why you are not aware of them.
Legitimising a continued dialogue with a sub-human, culturally stenchy degenarate is a futile exercise. Wallow in your own social mud, Mister. That is your natural habitat.
But for God’s sake, once again, spare the disgrace of stealing a good Tamil Hindu name. Needless, you are ashamed of Muslim names.
Funlover / August 2, 2016
[Edited out] Pundaram, (may be Bandaram is a better name for you), admit it … Shankar has given you shit….. all what’s left for you to do is squat on your hind legs and eat it. Go on ….
Dilikumar / March 23, 2014
Piranha / March 24, 2014
Sad loss of another fighter for justice, human rights and democracy in Sri Lanka. All the good people are either staying silent due to fear or dying one by one leaving the Rajapaksa wolves to ravage the country. One of the most stupid and savage acts committed by the LTTE was the murder of her husband. May her soul rest in peace.
Richard / March 24, 2014
Thank you everyone contributing the good memoirs and respect for the late Sithie Subahanya Thiruchelvam. Think about what Nirgunan and Mithiran and families will feel proud reading all our memorabilia about their mother. I pray they forgive those who make this a Sri Lankan political forum to even attack passive contributors. Kindly requesting to make this a passive and respectful presentation for a good, peace loving Citizen of Sri Lanka who has contributed immensely for her Country. May she RIP.