26 October, 2020

Blog

The Murder Of Alfred Duraiappah

By Rajan Hoole

Dr. Rajan Hoole

Dr. Rajan Hoole

Antecedents Of July 1983 & The Foundations Of Impunity – Part III

Alfred Duraiappah who was Jaffna’s independent MP from 1960-65 and several times mayor was a popular figure. Although this is denied by many Tamil nationalists, the fact is that in all elections for the Jaffna seat, the votes were equally split between him, the Tamil Congress and the Federal Party. His appeal had nothing to do with his representing any great ideal or principle in politics. He knew his constituents individually and tried to make everyone feel that he was part of their family. He greeted people on the road and inquired about their studies and personal matters. He catered to the needs of people for the normal business of life to go on. He dealt in jobs, transfers, market buildings, public lavatories and streetlights. It suited him to have government patronage for his style of politics, and so he aligned himself with the SLFP.

Alfred Duraiappah

Alfred Duraiappah

He had no interest in projecting himself outside the Jaffna electorate, but in that prestigious electorate, he posed a potent challenge to the nationalist TUF (Federal Party). He had a vote bank in the significant business, Muslim and Sinhalese communities and the urban poor. This popularity of Duraiappah’s irked the nationalists. This nationalism sought to impose on the very materialistic society in Jaffna, a hypocritical facade that the people were ready to sacrifice all ordinary needs and desires in life for some vague purist idea of Nation. Duraiappah exposed that hypocrisy.

From 1972, the TUF (FP) launched vicious attacks on Duraiappah calling him a traitor worthy of death. At the beginning, it may have been a stunt to win the Jaffna seat. But the more they articulated it, the more they began to believe it to be only right and natural that his end should come. An important event in the vilification of Duraiappah was the International Tamil Research Conference of January 1974.

The research forum series was launched by Fr. X. Thaninayagam, who was an eminent Tamil scholar. The first conference was held in 1966 in Kuala Lumpur and opened by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahuman. It had been supported generously by the Malaysian government. The 1974 conference was, initially, expected to be held in Colombo, but the organisers decided to shift it to Jaffna.

Once the conference was shifted to Jaffna, the TUF inevitably tried to make political capital out of it. (Note: The Federal Party (FP) joined a larger alliance, the Tamil United Front (TUF) which included the Tamil Congress and Ceylon Workers’ Congress on 14th May 1972. The TUF became the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) on 14th May 1976 after adopting the policy of separation from Sri Lanka. The CWC then dropped out saying that they cannot go along with separatism.) There were however good reasons for the shift of the conference to Jaffna and there is no reason to believe that the organisers connived with the TUF. But the Government was nervous and four delegates who came to Sri Lanka for the conference were sent back. But in Jaffna itself there was great public enthusiasm over the event. The scholarly conference was held in Veerasingham Hall from 3rd to 9th January. There was a popular demand to hear the foreign delegates and this public event was fixed for the evening of the 10th.

The police permit to have the meeting, which ended on the 9th, was extended to the 10th on a gentlemen’s understanding between ASP Chandrasekera and Dr. Mahadeva, the chief conference organiser. The latter undertook to ensure that Janarthanan, a politician from Tamil Nadu who was not a delegate, would not speak. Janarthanan was seen at the TUF (FP) office on 2nd Cross Street that evening, according to a witness, talking to Amirthalingam. But the question of the legality of his presence had been raised neither by the de Kretzer nor Sansoni commissions (see below) and ASP Chandrasekera, according to Sansoni, had encountered Janarthanan the previous day and warned him not to speak in public.

The organisers had earlier planned to hold the final meeting in the open-air theatre for which authorisation had been obtained from the Jaffna mayor, Mr. Duraiappah. But because there had been a shower on the 9th, the organisers decided to shift the final meeting to the Veerasingham Hall. But on the 10th the crowds started squeezing into the Hall and many had to be content listening from outside. Seeing there was no rain, the organisers at the last minute decided to go back to the open air theatre. They tried to contact the mayor (Duraiappah) and the municipal commissioner to gain access to the theatre, but were unsuccessful.

The organisers quickly prepared an ‘ad hoc’ stage outside the Hall, but within the premises, facing the KKS Road and the Jaffna esplanade. An estimated crowd of about 50,000 sat on the roads and on the esplanade, right up to the moat of Jaffna Fort. The Police were helpful in redirecting, the city traffic via Clock Tower Road towards Main Street, so that the crowds could listen without being disturbed. The meeting started late at 8.00 PM and the chairman, Dr. Vithyananthan, thanked the Police for their co- operation. The first speaker, Prof. Naina Mohamed from South India, held the audience spell-bound.

A little later, to everyone’s surprise a police party in riot gear started moving into the crowd westwards towards Veerasingham hall from the Clock Tower side, assaulting and roughly ordering the crowd to move aside. Pandemonium broke loose and seven civilians died of electrocution when a power line came down.

The crowd panicked and dispersed. There was not a shred of evidence that Alfred Duraiappah was in any way the cause of this tragedy. But the fact that he was with the Government made the city father a ready scapegoat. The SLFP office on the Main Street was that same night attacked by a mob led by a man identified as a TUF supporter.

Very quickly an effective propaganda campaign was unloosed accusing Duraiappah of responsibility for the tragedy and the deaths of the civilians. This was again a case of ‘corpse politics’. It was later carried to new heights by Prabhakaran, the LTTE supremo. If anyone, it is the TUF and Amirthalingam who should bear a large share of responsibility for the tragedy as will become evident in the sequel. Janarthanan went back to India and claimed that he had seen hundreds of corpses of those killed by the Police. The Veerakesari, the largest Tamil Daily, then editorially condemned Janarthanan’s irresponsible statements.

The government of the day could have cleared up the matter by appointing a commission to go into it. But the government of Mrs. Bandaranaike was so paranoid about it that it declined to do so. The matter was gone into by a three member unofficial commission headed by Justice O.L. de Kretzer. We will take this up in the next section.

The Sansoni Commission Report (p. 25, see below) quotes Mr. J.D.M. (Mitra) Ariyasinghe who was then SP, Jaffna, on a speech made by Mrs. Amirthalingam. She spoke to a gathering opposite Munniappar Kovil on the occasion of a hartal organised by the Tamil United Front on 9th February 1974 in protest against the police action above. She is said to have referred to ASP Chandresekera as the person responsible for the deaths on 10th January and to Mr. Duraiappah as being a traitor who was behind the incident on that day.

We will have more to say about Ariyasinghe in the next section, but what Mrs. Amirthalingam allegedly said is consistent with the politics of the TULF (i.e. TUF, FP) at that time. (E.g., on 24th May 1972 Kasi Anandan spoke at a meeting in protest against the new republican constitution. According to witnesses, Duraiappah was named by him as being among the traitors listed who should not die a natural death, but the nature of whose death should be determined by the younger generation. Chelvanayakam and Amirthalingam were then on the platform.) It may be noted that Duraiappah’s name did not crop up at the de Kretzer Commission hearings where the TUF had a role in producing witnesses, and Bishop Kulandran who was on the Commission was known for his leanings towards the Federal Party (TUF). Although Duraiappah as mayor may have preferred the organisers to have chosen the Jaffna Town Hall as the venue, there is no evidence to suggest that he was in any way hostile or uncooperative.

Such was the nature of the build-up of hate towards Alfred Duraiappah. Those with nationalist sympathies had little difficulty in swallowing this propaganda and failed to ask where this was leading to. Planted in the minds of youth who were on the threshold of militancy, it was an instigation to kill.

On 27th July 1975, Duraiappah was shot dead when he arrived by car at the Ponnalai Varadaraja Perumal Temple with two companions, as was his custom on Friday evenings. Prabhakaran was among the group of assassins who formed the incipient Tiger Movement. Testimony from one of Duraiappah’s companions is of interest.

The assassins who were waiting went towards the three passenger doors of the 4-door car as it halted. The intention was to kill Duraiappah and both his companions. One of the latter, as he alighted through a rear door, saw a short youth pointing a pistol towards him and shivering. This companion, Yoganathan, pushed the youth aside, toppling him flat on the ground and ran into a nearby kiosk selling soft drinks. Another companion, Rajaratnam, was injured but managed to run away.

The assassins, who were evidently nervous, took off in Duraiappah’s car with one Patkunam driving. No attempt was made to go for Yoganathan who was hiding in the kiosk. The woman who ran the kiosk called him out when the assassins were gone. He came out and found Duraiappah crying for water. Placing the dying man’s head on his lap, he poured some aerated water into his mouth. Duraiappah then breathed his last. Years later, upon seeing Prabhakaran’s picture, Yoganathan identified the youth, who had stood before him shivering, as Prabhakaran, and also became his admirer. Others have suggested that Kalapathy, another member of the group, had an appearance having some similarity to Prabhakaran’s.

Yoganathan’s identification, if correct, points to a Prabhakaran who, in July 1975, still retained a healthy inhibition against killing. But not long afterwards he was instrumental in the murder of Patkunam who drove the car. The direction of his movement was set.

As to the TULF (then TUF) directly instigating Duraiappah’s murder, there is no evidence. We may say that the TULF pointed a pistol at Duraiappah and looked the other side, knowing that someone would pull the trigger. We do know that some TULF leaders had contact with these militant youth – which, from inside testimony, became semi-formal in 1976 after a meeting between Amirthalingam and the central committee of the LTTE. The indications are that Prabhakaran remained loyal to Amirthalingam into the early 1980s. This does not mean that the TULF played any role in the LTTE’s decision making.

Mrs. Yogeswaran, the TULF Mayor of Jaffna, was assassinated by the LTTE in May 1998. A columnist in the Sanjeevi published in Jaffna, later wrote that Mrs. Yogeswaran had told him that Prabhakaran called on her husband in Jaffna soon after murdering Duraiappah and she had served him tea. Yogeswaran became the TULF’s Jaffna MP in 1977 and was known to have been consorting with militant youth.

The columnist’s claim must however be treated with some scepticism. This was not the kind of thing nervous assassins would do when there was a police net out for them. To escape to India, Prabhakaran would have made for the northern coast rather than to Jaffna town. On his own testimony to a schoolmate, this is what he had done. He climbed a banyan tree near a temple in Thondamanaru and hid there for three days until the naval alert was down. Moreover, Duraiappah’s car in which they escaped had been driven northwards and was abandoned near Senthankulam on the north coast.

However the hate campaign against those who disagreed with nationalist claims and the very act of usurping the right to Duraiappah’s life, set the direction of Tamil politics on the course of tragedy. Grief over Duraiappah’s death brought forth an outpouring of tears. Today there are no tears left.

*To be continued..

*From Rajan Hoole‘s “Sri Lanka: Arrogance of Power – Myth, Decadence and Murder”. Thanks to Rajan for giving us permission to republish. To read earlier parts click here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 6
    13

    Dr Hoole
    What are you trying to achieve?
    Is there any purpose in your writing these articles at this time
    when reconciliation should be main focus.
    Why not concentrate in educating the population of srilanka to understand the other race. religion so that some sort of harmony can be achieved in the country. Once that is done , then you can spend your entire remaining life writing what you like.

    • 9
      0

      Proudman – FYI Dr Rajan Hoole published the book from which CT (not the author) is carrying these excerpts at least 15 years ago. And last year or so Dr Hoole brought out yet another book taking his narrative and analysis much further.

    • 8
      0

      I think the story has to be said it happened, and not the way cessionists or anyone else that is embarrased wishes to portray them according to their policy of misinformation. CT please go ahead we are reading these excerpts with interest.

    • 13
      0

      PROUDMAN

      “Is there any purpose in your writing these articles at this time when reconciliation should be main focus.”

      Truth has to be told. Any time is good time for Dr Hoole to tell the truth as he perceive it. However there may other ankles to it. It is for you to unearth truth if you really want to.

      There are other truths which are being buried under Mullivaaikkal, Matele and elsewhere. Start digging you may find thousands of little truths.

  • 6
    2

    Dr. Rajan Hoole

    RE:The Murder Of Alfred Duraiappah

    “However the hate campaign against those who disagreed with nationalist claims and the very act of usurping the right to Duraiappah’s life, set the direction of Tamil politics on the course of tragedy.”

    Thanks for the narrative..on the Final acts of Tamil Stupidity.. initially promoted by G. G Ponnabalam, P. Ramanathan and S J V Chelvanayagam, and the retention of Vellahala Casism..

    The Tragedy of Alfred and the Tamils..,.. and Rajiv Gandhi and Muslims,,, and Sinhala… and Tamil..Nationalists…. and the Vellahalas … Gone with the Wind..

    Now getting a better understanding of the bimodal IQ distribution of the Tamils, as published in CT.

    There are two kinds of Tamils…and their IQs are bi-modally distributed…

    The Story Of Two Graphs drawn by A Tamil Man: By Mahesan Niranjan

    Onion Prices and Tamil IQ Distributions

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-story-of-two-graphs-drawn-by-a-tamil-man/onioniqdistributions/

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-story-of-two-graphs-drawn-by-a-tamil-man/

  • 5
    5

    Alfred Duraiappah is no angel regardless of Tamil politics.

    • 2
      0

      shawn, can you please explain what you meant by the previous comment? I knew Mr. Duraiyapah personally and wandering where you are going with this comment?

  • 8
    4

    “This nationalism sought to impose on the very materialistic society in Jaffna, a hypocritical facade that the people were ready to sacrifice all ordinary needs and desires in life for some vague purist idea of Nation. Duraiappah exposed that hypocrisy.”

    This ploy that continues to be deployed to this day, could not have been described any better.

    “Ordinary needs and desires of life’ dictated the massive exodus from Jaffna to the South and foreign climes, with the reasons and excuses, outcomes of this ‘Nationalism’ provided. Those who could not make it, paid a very heavy price. Jaffna is anemic today because of this exodus- which was the unrecognized and unlamented blood letting. The material wealth the Diasporean Tamils are claimed to command, would never replace the human resource we lost through this great escape.

    The ‘ Idea of a Nation’ was a shortsighted, unrealistic and ill thought political slogan, deployed to garner votes. A concerted effort is being made now to give this blight new life. I pray, what I would call the ‘ Pragmatism’ of the Jaffna man will standup to smother this blight before it becomes a runaway carriage, once again.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 2
      2

      Rajasingham,

      Your feigned sanctimony is mind boggling!

      You highlight Hoole’s observation “Ordinary needs and desires of life dictated the massive exodus from Jaffna to the South and foreign climes, with the reasons and excuses, outcomes of this ‘Nationalism’ provided.”

      Did you not realize that it was directed at you too!

      Please tell us how many years of your post education, productive life did either you or your brother spend in Sri Lanka, let alone Jaffna?” Are you both not prime examples of the “materialistic massive exodus from Jaffna to the South and foreign climes?”

      Were you not an active participant of the misguided “Nationalism” proposal as you left and tried to establish your self in the foreign climes that you now seem allergic to?

      Despite the hardships following your inability to get established in Canada, as a commentator recently pointed out, you chose to live in the desserts rather than return to the home country, even in some minimal acknowledgement, appreciation and obligation for the education the country provided. Only after MR duped you, you chose to return hoping for a “royal treatment,” based on the teaser that MR enticed you with.

      In one of your initial responses to, I believe, Dr. Sankaralingam, you chose to describe your life’s time line as having grown up in Jaffna, and travelled with daddy all over the island as he as a Railways employee got stationed in in various cities. You then stated that thereafter you entered the university and was at Peradeniya, and finally came back to settle down in Jaffna! What a sneaky fraud – you buried the whole 30-40 years of the productive life that you spent as part of the “a materialistic exodus from Jaffna. ”
      You returned only because you believed MR would give you a privileged status – and perhaps your honey-moon with Saudis were also reaching its final hours. You came back thinking your “riyals” would let you establish an El Dorado, and you could reign supreme as a brown Sahib. That hope bombed out completely – and thus your “cat on a tin roof” mindset now, having to put in your two-cents worth every opportunity you get, and almost all in absolute hypocrisy!

      • 1
        0

        Kumar R,

        “Please tell us how many years of your post education, productive life did either you or your brother spend in Sri Lanka, let alone Jaffna?” Are you both not prime examples of the “materialistic massive exodus from Jaffna to the South and foreign climes?”

        How about yourself? Am I wrong to assume that you provide your criticism from far away almost without any knowledge of reality in the North?

  • 4
    8

    just like the word “quisling” that originated from the Norwegian, the word “Duraiappah” became synonymous in Tamil for “Throkikal” (traitors). There were and still are, several Tamil traitors that think of selling the common interests of the Tamil people for their own limelight, self-glorification, and self-benefit. This writer has always put his interest in front of the Tamils’.

    • 5
      3

      Sam

      “just like the word “quisling” that originated from the Norwegian, the word “Duraiappah” became synonymous in Tamil for “Throkikal” (traitors). “

      The Tamils suffered from lack of pragmatism. The so called Tamil “Patriots” suffered from stupidity, and they believed that Stupidity is a virtue, as seen by others. So they called the Pragmatists “quisling” “Throkikal” (traitors). “

      The Results before independence, with G. G. Ponnabalam’s and P. Ramanathan’s tactics before independence, and S J V Chelvanayagams and TULF tactics after independence support this assertion.

      There are two kinds of Tamils…and their IQ’s are bi-modally distributed…

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-story-of-two-graphs-drawn-by-a-tamil-man/onioniqdistributions/

  • 2
    11

    Never you have discussed about general public Tamil Genocide by the vested interest and Government. His concern is always only Alfred Duraiappah.

    Traitor

  • 3
    11

    Dr Hoole
    After reading your article I concluded that Alfred Duraiappah was assassinated but not murdered. You certainly know the difference because later you say that Mrs Yogeswaran was assassinated.
    The graphic description “Placing the dying man’s head on his lap, he poured some aerated water into his mouth. Duraiappah then breathed his last” is touching and heart-rending. Have you considered giving up medical practice and take up writing fiction? Or have you tried and failed?

    • 8
      1

      Pillai

      ” Placing the dying man’s head on his lap he poured aerated water into his mouth.
      Duraiappah then breathed his last”, is touching and heart- rending.
      “Have you considered. giving up medical practice and take up writing fiction? ….”.

      Did the driver of Alfred Duraiappah who witnessed the entire drama and was threatened with death to his family and his immediate family relate his fiction to you?
      What evidence if any have you to justify your fiction that the author is a medical doctor to give it up and switch to fiction writing?

    • 6
      3

      Pillai – Dr Hoole is not a medic but a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

      • 7
        0

        In Mathematics, from Oxford University; after a 1st Class degree in Electrical Engineering from Peradeniya.

    • 5
      0

      K Pillai

      Is it true that about 2000 people claimed to have shot Alfred Duraiappah, when they applied for German asylum in the early 1980?

      Were you one of them?

  • 7
    2

    Idiots K.Pillai and PROUDMAN, read properly first before making silly comments.
    These are excerprts taken from a book published by Dr. Hoole.
    CT please publish the date of this book so that these low IQ’s may get some idea of what the writer says.
    P.S. ofcourse the tiger rump doesn’t like this plain truth,they still would like to continue with the deception.

  • 10
    2

    It makes me laugh when I read the low IQ comments by many here ,this is not writen by Rajan Hoole now this was writen long ago as a book and CT is publishing it now,GOT IT ?

    Well it seems that many Tiger supporters are calling Duriappah traitor and no angel but I cannot defend or accuse since I was not born at that time nor do I find many articles or news items on his traitorous behaviour

    But I was certainly there in Jaffna as a young child and a teen when the LTT went on murderous rampage and killed anyone whom they didnt like from 15-16 year old boys of the TELO,PLOTE to Govt Agents and servants,but that rascal Kittu of the LTTE was having a gala time with the Army in Jaffna Fort,but when St Johns Principal arranged a cricket match with the SL Army he was killed

    Even as late as 2009 Soosai tried to send his wife and kids away in a boat to India while keeping others as human shields,now tell us who is a traitor and who is not?

    • 1
      6

      So you can measure the IQ of people whom you have never met.The author must give permission to republish the work. It is not the time to republish such work.
      If you are saying CT is trying to stir up communal feeling then I have nothing to say.
      My point is author must have refused permission to republish at this time, Has he written recently anything to alleviate the misunderstanding between the communities. Such work is what is needed.

      • 6
        1

        Oh dear what on earth are you talking ‘Proudman’ you sound more like a fellow who shoots with his eyes shut

        You say ‘.The author must give permission to republish the work. It is not the time to republish such work.’

        But please read the article fully and you can see that CT has said

        “*From Rajan Hoole‘s “Sri Lanka: Arrogance of Power – Myth, Decadence and Murder”. Thanks to Rajan for giving us permission to republish.

        Please read before you write

        Also when did I say that CT is stirring communal strife? that itself shows your IQ

        • 1
          5

          peace lover
          you don’t seem to know the simple rule of royalty. The book is Dr Hoole intellectual property and if anyone wants to reproduce it in full they must have Dr Hoole’s permission. Of course CT can buy the royalty from Dr Hoole and his original publisher, in which case they can do what they like with it. If that was the case then CT is being mischievous in serialising at this juncture. That is my take on it.
          You accuse me of low IQ which may be true but you haven’t got the capacity to understand what In have written.

          • 5
            0

            Again you got your facts wrong please open your eyes and see at the botton of the article where CT has said its done with the permission of the author

            “From Rajan Hoole‘s “Sri Lanka: Arrogance of Power – Myth, Decadence and Murder”. Thanks to Rajan for giving us permission to republish”

            You guys are still having a romantic notion of that rascal Prabakaran and get hurt when the truth is told

            Unfortunately the truth is bitter whether your a Prbakaran fan or Rajapakse worshiper mate:)

          • 6
            0

            Hilarious!

            You hate Dr Hoole.

            You hate what he writes even more.

            Yet you want to defend to the death his “Intellectual Property Rights!”

            • 4
              0

              Give up Proudman, you have lost. Don’t make yourself look ridiculous like our ‘honourable’ politicians.

  • 4
    0

    “From 1972, the TUF (FP) launched vicious attacks on Duraiappah calling him a traitor worthy of death.”

    Every leftist was a “traitor” since 1956, as much as any Tamil who joined the UNP or SLFP and posed a threat FP monopoly in Jaffna.
    I cannot remember Tamil nationalists ordering “Off with his head” as early as 1972.

    “The 1974 conference was, initially, expected to be held in Colombo, but the organisers decided to shift it to Jaffna.”

    It was not as simple as that. I remember the almost forgotten fact that the original chief organizer of the Conference, Architect VS Thurairajah resigned in disgust over political manoeuvres to shift the venue to Jaffna.

    “… the Tamil United Front (TUF) which included the Tamil Congress and Ceylon Workers’ Congress on 14th May 1972….The CWC then dropped out [of the TUF] saying that they cannot go along with separatism.”

    There is more than meets the eye in the formation of the TUF and the transition to TULF. Not only the CWC, even the then UNP MP of Kalkuda, KW Devanayagam was in the TUF. Could he have joined without the blessings of JRJ? Where were Thondaman’s loyalties at the time?

    “If anyone, it is the TUF and Amirthalingam who should bear a large share of responsibility for the tragedy as will become evident in the sequel.”

    I very much agree. But I also think that A has a considerable share in the run up to the tragedy.

    I wonder why has the author of the chapter while commenting on the possible role of V Pirapakaran left out the name of a key suspect in Duraiappa’s murder?

    • 2
      1

      Sekera,’

      What you have said of Amirthalingam is quite correct. I have met and dealt with him. He was a cheap politician and a shallow man. He thought he could use the Tigers to mount the throne and this became the thought of many Tamils who wanted Thamil Eelam. The Tiger he mounted, did not allow him to dismount and finally devoured him. It was a tragic Tiger ride!

      Dr.RN

  • 1
    0

    Sekere.

    Just one point.
    K.W.Devanayagam UNP MP for Kalkuda did not join the TUF. He merely appeared on TUF platforms after the adoption of the 1972 constitution.JR had nothing to do with this; After all just an year earlier even JR wanted to join the UF Govt!
    KWD wanted to outsmart his cousin P.Manikavasagam of the FP who was MP earlier.
    KWD defeated Manicavasagagam by a mere 400 odd votes,thanks to the Muslims!
    Incidentally,KWD was elected again in 1977 defeating his opponent of the TUF,A SON-IN-LAW of Manickavasagam by a mere 400 odd votes again!

    • 4
      0

      Plato: Thanks.
      I agree that KWD could not join the TUF formally while in the UNP.

      The point is that he was closely identified with the TUF until the election was in sight. The Vaddukkoddai Resolution, the biggest election gimmick of Tamil politics, also served Thondaman and KWD well.
      My question is how did JRJ condone KWD’s action for many months.
      That there was a deal between the TUF/TULF and the UNP was suspected in 1977. Tamils outside the Peninsula were persuaded to vote for the UNP. Thondaman let the cat out of the bag after 1983 July.

      Notably, KWD pulled back giving the same reasons as Thondaman.
      Is there a parallel between JR, after a blotched coup against Dudley, seeking shelter in the UF and KWD sailing on both boats in good comfort?

      I hope that you are not bringing political morality of individuals into the picture. That was a thing of the long past.

      TUF/TULF politics was pure theatre: the stage collapsed sooner than expected.

      • 4
        0

        sekara
        Thank you.
        I can endorse all what you have said, because the TUF/TULF had an.close understanding with JR and the UNP from the time Ms Srimavo Bandaranaike became PM in 1970.
        Amirthalingam smarting with bitterness with the unexpected impact of losing his Vaducoddai seat to Thiyagaraja willingly collaborated with the UNP and conducted a low profile campaign among Tamils in Colombo and it’s suburbs to vote for the UNP at the 1977 elections.
        SJV after some time resigned his KKS seat and re- contested the elections at which the theme was ‘Separation’.
        He won and that was followed up with the diasterous Vadducoddai Resolution.
        The Colombo Tamils learnt a bitter lesson in 1983 by voting UNP and the rest is now history.

  • 8
    4

    If Duraiappah had been allowed to live, Jaffna would have been a thriving traditional metropolis in sublime symbiosis with the rest of the island.

    • 3
      0

      true dat,you do have a very valid point american gal

      • 0
        0

        Heart is truly Lankan, Peace Lover.

    • 4
      0

      RTF
      If Duraiappa was alive Jaffana would have been a thriving metropolis.
      Possible.
      But ” sublime symbiosis with the rest of the island “?
      That is going over the top.
      What is sublime in the island ?
      Is it the racism,hatered and crookedness widespread in the island?
      How can there be any symbiosis in that?

      • 0
        0

        Oh…..it would have all balanced out Uthungan .

    • 5
      0

      I think that’s very true, RTF!

    • 3
      2

      rtf,

      I have to remind you that the city of Jaffna was the second largest and prosperous, after Colombo, in Sri Lanka at one time. Alfred Duraippa’ s murder/ assassination, marked the beginning of the end, of that era.

      Dr.RN

    • 1
      0

      ramona:

      The killing of Duraiappah was senseless but your catch of the consequential future simply shows how plain silly you can be. Are you still catching frogs in the well? Or still living in a cocoon?

  • 2
    0

    sekara.

    Your line….

    …My question is how did JRJ condone KWDs action for many months…..

    – The intention of KWD WAS TO TAKE THE WIND OFF THE SAILS of his cousin P.Manickavasagam at the upcoming election.Fortunately for KWD,his formidable adversary died in 1976!

    – Indeed Srikotha rapped KWD and asked him Are you with us or Them?
    This was published in the Media then!

    Then coming to your other line…
    I hope that you are not bringing political morality….

    My response is Fiddlesticks!

    • 0
      0

      Dear Plato
      If I had missed Siri Kotha pulling up KWD, thank you for educating me on that.
      Yet, KWD hung on to the TUF without being suspended or even disciplined by the UNP, until the TULF was formed. Would that have been possible without a nod and a wink from above?
      I do not question you on KWD’s schemes which only point to KWD wanting to woo the FP/TUF voter.

      I have doubts on your earlier election analysis with implications for Muslims:
      “KWD defeated Manicavasagagam by a mere 400 odd votes,thanks to the Muslims!”
      (At the time there were two Muslim candidates so that Muslims could not have influenced an outcome based mainly on Tamil votes. In 1970 KWD defeated Manicavasagam by nearly 2800 votes– that was without a Muslim candidate.)

      “Incidentally,KWD was elected again in 1977 defeating his opponent of the TUF,A SON-IN-LAW of Manickavasagam by a mere 400 odd votes again!”
      (A Muslim candidate collected 3700 votes in this election.)

      In a situation in which the Tamils divided almost 50-50 or better in favour of KWD, do you think that “interference” by a Muslim candidate would have helped KWD?

  • 2
    2

    My opinion is this Sinhala Politicians are rally Backbone less.

    Run Over Tamils. Assimilate them into the sinhala civlization.

    they will complain. but, eventually, they accept it and appreciate it.

    • 5
      1

      Thanks, “jim softy”,

      This is a definite improvement on the line you usually take.

      However, I don’t think that we have a right to be proactive in assimilating Tamils in to “the Sinhala Civilization”. If it comes about naturally (and it has to a very great extent: so many Tamils know our language, but the vice versa is not true): well then it will be O.K.

      Mind, I’m not advocating it! Tamils have as much right to their identity as we – the Sinhalese – do.

      We have about 22 million people (too many!) in Sri Lanka. Each of them is an individual. Let us just respect the rights of other human beings. If we do that, half our problems will be over, and we could concentrate on Economic Development.

      • 4
        0

        Sinhala_Man

        Don’t worry too much about Jim Softy (dimwit). He must be a recent convert to Sinhala/Buddhism. Only the recent converts usually over do it to fit in with the crowd.

        Probably the third generation convert, from a South Indian kallathoni descendant, a tribe from Eri Vira pattnam.

  • 1
    1

    It is a tragedy that SL had to drift through a course that was rudderless. It is even worse that even to this day we see the absence of a leadership that can provide a course for the country to address the hurt and pain, of all sides, and take the country forward. Rather, as ever, the country pains itself to be at “crossroads” and the will to unbind politics from nation management seems to have evaporated.

    Of course, this is not an article written by Rajan yesterday or today. CT is merely publishing these with Rajan’s permission for our benefit and I am sure we all can learn from the past deeds that had ravaged this nation. Indeed, what would be the regime’s assurance that it was all over after the end of the war sounds hollow with a nation in turmoil and the issues that dragged this nation on a warpath had hardly been addressed in a way that can assure everyone to sleep with the comfort that this island can relieve itself from its past.

    What has to be told has to told. Every step of the way, the Sinhalese politicians had intimidated and sought power by trampling on the rights of Tamils. By going after the Tamils, the Sinhalese politicians created a much deeper divide on what was already one before independence. The British, for whatever reasons, had favoured the Tamils in assisting them in managing the island. Most plum positions were in the hands of Tamils, particularly the Vellala Tamils.

    While the country matured into independence, the politicians did not. Having a very sensitive situation on their hands, they found in it a very potent but toxic arrow to aim at the Tamils. It need not be emphasised that a majority population was waiting for their minds to be poisoned. There cannot or shouldn’t be a situation where a majority in a nation are disregarded in favour of the minority but the transition could and should have been managed where ultimately the majority could have earned their rightful place through merits. As much as the politicians placed their hope on greed for power, they literally insulted the intelligence and capabilities of the Sinhalese to grow into their own right with, of course, help from the govt, as this would have been necessary to give them an upstart. Creating enemies out of the Tamils in addressing this issue clearly shows how then and even now the leaders of this country are so ill equipped in handling a nation such as SL.

    The LTTE and the support of majority of Tamils for it should not be viewed in a vacuum. Every step of the way, it became a path of show of force by a majority race against a minority race that might is right. It will be interesting to know how then Duraippah voted for the 1972 republican constitution? Incensed as they were, how else could the Tamils have reacted to another Tamil who had aligned himself with a govt that had deprived the Tamils of the minimal safeguards enshrined in the original constitution? The least he should have done is to resign as a sign of protest. He made it look like he was feeding a hungry man with food tainted with poison. Might as well give the poison straightway. There was yet another angle to this. The Srimavo govt was using the “establishment” Tamils to dilute the rights of Tamils. If this is not traitorous what then it would be? Rajan may have side-stepped this and shone his light on that one incident. Be as it may, I will never agree to the murder of someone although it should be pointed out that it all started with the tit-for-tat cycle or orgies. It is heartening that the UNHRC has cited both the LTTE and the Rajapakse regime for the blood in their hands.

    Seven years had passed since the end of the war. The suspicion and mistrust between the Sinhalese and Tamils are as wide as ever and doesn’t look like it will decrease. In fact, they are waiting to draw blood. Compounding this factor is the bloodletting among Sinhala politicians, symptomatic of a barbaric bunch of hoodlums. How on earth can we expect these hoodlums to solve the problem. In fact, they would love the problem to fester as without the Tamil issue in their equation their politics will loose the luster.

    For a better future of this nation and to create better Sinhala politicians it will be better if both go their separate ways. This may earn the wrath of the Sinhalese as if it is an attempt to break up the country. In a directionless country that is embroiled in hounding one another, now My3 against Rajapakse, this circus will continue and it is the people who will continue to suffer. You don’t need a crystal ball or an expert astrologer to say what this country will be in ten, twenty or even fifty years. It will be as written by a political culture that draws blood by creating enmity among the races. Is that the future we all want to leave for our future generations?

    • 2
      0

      Jansee,

      A meaningful and thoughtfull comment. However, did anyone have the right to kill a performing Tamil politician, because he had political thoughts and goals different from theirs? To dissent is a right in modern society. Dissent does not make a person a traitor? We, as a community should learn to respect dissent and understand the sense behind an opposite view. We should understand also the Sinhala politicians would overnight become very accomodative towards the Tamils, if the vast majority of Sinhalese want it to be so and express their opinion. Politicians in general are scavengers of sorts- they feed on our disatisfactions and hurt, and fatten themselves at our expense. They will also make our success,through our efforts theirs, but will never accept responsibilities for their failures that push us into the abyss.

      Anandasangary and Douglas Devananda were at each other’s throats in 2009, as the war was ending and put on an ugly display in front of the then US Ambassador Robert Blake. Now they have come together to form a new political party! This same Ananadasangary wrote a letter to the then Presidential Advisor, Basil Rajapakse that the IDPs at Settikulam only needed red rice for their main meals and biscuits with their tea, while Douglas Devananda was getting ready to plunder Jaffna that was about to fall into his hands!

      Aiyngaranesan, presently a minister in the NPC has been accused of accepting a massive bribe to bury the Chunnakam well water pollution issue. However, no inquiries have been held yet and the people of Chunakam are yet confronted with water pollution. I am relating these stories to tell you that our politicians are as bad as those on the opposite side. Given the opportunity, they would be worse.

      Dr.RN

      • 1
        1

        Doc:

        If you had read what I have written then you will appreciate that I am against, totally against, the gruesome murder of Duraippah. No matter what the justification is and being a person who is even against the death penalty, I, for one, will never accept the killing of another fellow human being. I have also pointed out that for the blood in their hands, both the the LTTE and the regime have been cited by the UNHRC, and rightfully so. In the case of Duraippah, and based on the then prevailing sentiment, he may have even been voted out, a price he ought to have paid for supporting the 1972 constitution but this too begs the question why he should so mercilessly and senselessly be murdered.

        Oh no, I have not let off the radar Tamil politicians if indeed they have stolen people’s money. It is a heinous crime as is murder and wish you could write more with details. If it means that autonomy fills the pockets of a few, then it becomes meaningless and all such corrupt officials must be exposed. The meaning and benefits of autonomy must reach the ordinary folks.

        If only the various sinhala regimes have done what is right and taken the Tamil folks into confidence, all these waste and pain could have been avoided. If they can forgive someone like Sarath Fonseka, I think the Tamils have a lot of goodwill but when each time they get short-changed by cunning regimes in a rush for a quick dash to the top that goodwill simply evaporates. Can you imagine the joke of MR just before he was booted out – vote for the DEVIL you know. How gullible he would have thought of the Tamils.

        A lot of our women and girls have been disgraced. Who on earth can forget that? The perpetrators must pay the price and they will.

      • 0
        0

        Dr RN,

        “Aiyngaranesan, presently a minister in the NPC has been accused of accepting a massive bribe to bury the Chunnakam well water pollution issue. However, no inquiries have been held yet and the people of Chunakam are yet confronted with water pollution.”

        Have the accusations against Aiyngaranesan and the results of the Chunnakam ground water quality studies all been buried?

        What ever happened to the recent grass roots resistance against the Mathukerny R/O plant? Can the ADB finance a project without Environmental Impact Assessment?

        “I am relating these stories to tell you that our politicians are as bad as those on the opposite side. Given the opportunity, they would be worse.”

        I agree with you. We in the North suffer from almost total lack of investigative journalism/research and free media even more than the inhabitants of other areas of SL.

  • 1
    1

    All unnatural deaths are sad indictments on society. Alfred Duraiappah is one in thousands since independence. It is lackadaisical to argue that Alfred’s demise changed the course of history and imply that this resulted in the present Lankan predicament.
    ramona therese fernando says “If Duraiappah had been allowed to live, Jaffna would have been a thriving traditional metropolis in sublime symbiosis with the rest of the island.” Not many will agree but ramona is entitled to express her view. Unfortunately commenters of the NAK-kind straight away went ballistic with “Idiots K Pillai and PROUDMAN ………”. According to NAK those who hold views contrary to his views have low IQ. Such foul mouthing comes from bad upbringing.

    • 3
      0

      KP
      Duraiappah’s assassination on its own may not have had an impact.
      SWRD Bandaranaike’s shocked the country but the overall effect was modest except for the entry of Mrs B into politics and what followed. The social process triggered by SWRDB had a momentum of its own.

      Duraiappah’s assassination had a major impact because it signalled to the militant youth that such things were acceptable to the Tamil polity.
      The involvement of a family member of a leader of the TULF, the silence of ‘Eelaththu Gandhi” Chelvanayakam on the matter, and the hate campaign against the victim even after the event played a role in the surge in political killings in the North.

      So it cannot be readily dismissed as “one in thousands”. It was rather the one that led to, may not be thousands, but certainly hundreds.

      • 2
        0

        Sekera,
        I think SWRD harnessed the simmering discontent of the Sinhala peasantry, working class and the middle class, against a UNP- led Brown Sahib regime, to win an election. He was a shrewd politician and an intelligent man but an opportunist par excellence, who pursued heartless and thoughtless poltics as DSS did to secure power and in this process contributed to setting this country on the wrong path to social justice. Both DSS and SWRD made expediency a political virtue and Buddhism a political instrument.

        Dr.RN

      • 1
        0

        Dr RN
        I agree that SWRDB’s use of Sinhala Only was most opportunistic.
        But it was not his original idea.
        Official language was already an issue within the UNP.
        Buddhism fared far less prominently as an election issue in 1956.

        Interestingly it was Dudley who introduced the “poya week” (1965-1972) which Mrs B disposed of by negotiating with the Maha Sangha, but at the small price of Full Moon Day holidays. It was Dudley who made various concessions to the clergy including reserved seats in buses. It was Dudley who introduced free rice. (The subsidized rice quota was reduced but part of it was given free.) That was why he was bitterly mourned in 1973.

        SWRDB could have easily won without the Sinhala Only pledge. But that would have required an alliance with the LSSP (and if possible CP). Whether that was feasible is another matter especially after Phlip G had compromised.

        People had other serious concerns which The SLFP-led MEP addressed better than a then discredited post-Hartal UNP.

        Tamils tend to see only one dimension to the politics of the South and Tamil leaders address that alone in their election campaigns and denied themselves opportunity for dialogue with the South.

        • 2
          0

          Sekara

          According to Orof.Dharmadasa ( see link in another thread in my reply to Zeus) what DSS wanted to achieve ‘Hemin, Hemin’, SWRD wanted ‘Dang’. Further, JRJ was always the villain of the piece from his State Council days.

          Expediency was a characteristic of all political parties, including those of the left and most politicians. Prominent Tamil lawyer politicians of yore concentrated their poltics to the north and east and their money making to the south! They gradually isolated the Tamils and their political thoughts to the north and east and made them frogs in the well! The Tamils slowly, but steadily lost their ability to understand what was happening in the south in terms of context. This was ideal fishing grounds for Tamil politicians. the Sinhala polticians made their contribution by driving most Tamils in the south to the north and east. the alienation was completed by the shortsighted and violent politics of the Tamil militants and the stupid reactions of the security establishment.

          Dr,RN

          • 1
            0

            Dr,Rajasigham Narend

            As far as SJ/sekera is concerned the Left/SWRD Banda/Siri Mao/The Noisy minority (Sinhala/Buddhists), … have done no wrong in fact they promoted peace, harmony, humanity, ……. equality while the Tamils (particularly A Amirthalingam) should be held responsible for making the hard working up country people stateless, imposing Sinhala Only language policy, all the riots against people since 1915, all those war crimes that had been committed since 5th April 1971, ….

            Have you noticed he is soft on LTTE, one suspects he is being a secret admirer VP and LTTE?

        • 0
          0

          Dr RN
          Thanks.
          It will help to note that KNO Dharmadasa was a strong UNP supporter in examining his oversimplified comments on DSS & SWRDB.
          SWRDB was not very decisive and his vacillation was his doom in many matters other than the B-C pact etc. Mrs B was far more decisive and straight (although people may disapprove of some/several things she did).

          It was not just the lawyer politicians of the North who slipped. There are other factors like the dominant ideology and dominant class of Jaffna that need to be invoked.
          We get the leaders we deserve.

  • 1
    0

    Jansee,

    A correction!

    Mr Alfred Duraiappah was not a Member of Parliament in 1972.

    Mr Alfred Duraiappah was elected as a Member of Parliament only in the 1960 March and July General Elections.

    He was defeated by GG.Ponnambalam of Tamil Congress in the 1965 General Election and by C.X.Martin of Federal Party in the 1970 General Election.

    However he was the Mayor of Jaffna during this period.

  • 2
    0

    The FP was historically allergic to Alfred Duraiappa because he was a popular political activist who always sided with the marginalised and exploited.
    Even when he sat down with the Satyagrahis during the protest campaign in1961 he was not welcomed but sidelined.
    He was an independent MP then but he taught a good lesson to the elitist caste conscious TC’ leader G.G. Ponnambalm who had held the Jaffna seat from 1947.
    But that did not deter Duraiappa becoming an MP in 1980 & 1965.
    When he was Mayor and MP during that period, it was too much for the FP to stomach.
    M. Thiruchelvam was FP’s Minister for Local Government in UNP’s Dudley Senanayake’s cabinet and no effort was spared by the FP to ensure Alfred Duraiappa’s arbitrary and illegal removal from his mayoral post on some flimsy grounds. The matter was contested in the PC by Alfred Duraiappa but without success.

    • 0
      0

      U
      A minor correction: Duraiappah won in 1960 March and July in 3-cornered contests. He lost badly in 1965 but was only narrowly defeated in 1970.

      Duraiappah had his faults, but was vilified by the FP because it feared his popularity.

      • 0
        0

        sekara
        I stand corrected.

  • 1
    0

    Let us look at the issues in correct historic perspectives.

    In Dec 1964, Mr Alfred Durriappa was the Member of Parliament for Jaffna, even though elected as an independent member in the 1960 July election, he was usually voting with the SLFP/SLFP- LSSP coalition Government and Mr S.Thondaman – a nominated Member of Parliament also was voting with the Government.

    This was the period of controversial Press Bills and soon after the Srimavo- Shastri Pact of 1964.

    During the No- Confidence Vote in Dec 1964 proposed by Dr.W. Dahanaike, then Member of Parliament for Galle, the Government lost the no-confidence motion by one vote.(Was it 73/72?)

    Mr Alfred Duraiappa and Mr Thondaman did not participate in the vote.

    However,both were in the country at that time.

    Had both voted with the government or even one of them had voted with the Government the Government would have survived and Parliament need not have been dissolved in December 1964 leading to premature 1965 March election?

    If the vote was a tie, then the Speaker Mr Hugh Fernando would have casted his vote as the usual practice.

    But, he would have voted against the Government.

    Whatever it may be, Mr Alfred Durraiappa was never anti-Tamil or a power hungry politician, nevertheless, a controversial politician and in a crisis situation, his actions were unpredictable.

    • 2
      0

      It is true that Alfred Duraiappa had his faults as another commentator has also said.
      The fact that Duraiappa lost badly in 1965 could be due to his neutrality in not voting which caused the government going out of office, and that tactic of his must have enabled him to cosy up with the SLFP later on.
      But there was rivalry between him and Kumarasooriyar who was parachuted in as Telecommunication Minister by the SLFP.
      The latter had no common touch with the Tamil electorate and it was amusing to see both competing with each other to catch the eye of the PM in terms of popularity with the Tamils.
      That said, it is diffult to deny what Alfred Duraiappa did with regard to modernising within the Jaffna municipal limits like the supply of water to from Tinnevely to Jaffn’s residents, the model market scheme and the Nallur Kalyana Mandapam has not been surpassed by any one subsequently holding the Jaffna mayoral office.
      The additional funds for the model market scheme was financed by Duraiappa in his capacity as mayor with a night carnival organised for that purpose which must have lasted a month.

  • 0
    0

    Uthungan.

    Duraiappah was married to GGPs Niece!

    • 0
      0

      Plato
      It is a fact that even the author of the article missed.
      However, Duraiappah was politically very different from GGP, perhaps the way Arunachalam differed from Ramanathan.
      GGP never expected Duraiappah to enter parliamentary politics.
      The family relationship was strained for a while but recovered.

  • 1
    0

    Duraiyappah was certainly a common man politicians of the like of R.Premadasa. His only fault was his success at the polls to the dismay of All Ceylon Tamil Congress and the Federal Party leadership.
    Unfortunately Mr. Amirthalinams political rhetoric political speeches were so inflating while on the other hand Mr.Duraiyappah pursued SLFP line of politics in Jaffna offending the youths and their political wants and ideologies.
    Mr. Amirthalingam having full command over the youths made the most to win more seats and advance the FP representations at the Polls. His greed for power led to a series of killings of reputed politicians like Arulampalam , A.Thiagarajah ,Alfred Duraiyappah and many others in the North and in the East as well.
    The Trigger happy youths with no permanent jobs to bother about went on the hunt and please their political heroes of the time.

    I do not agree to label this type of politics as that identical to the Vellahlaah caste and wish to point out that neither Mr. Amirthalingam nor Prapakaran and most trigger happy jonnies were from the Jaffna Vellalaah cast.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.