7/28/2010

Is LTTE ideologue Balakumar dead or alive?

(July 28, 2010, Colombo - Lanka PolityVelupillai Balakumar or Balakumaran was the one time leader of Ealam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS). He was also a member of Sri Lanka parliament for a brief period.

In late 1980s or early 1990s, he split the EROS and joined the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) with a number of his associates.

He is believed an influential adviser to the leader of the LTTE Velupillai Prabakaran. The importance of this man is that he is famous as a Marxist. If he is alive like the former LTTE chief of international relations, he may speak one day how his Marxist ideas influenced the Tiger leader.

Asked by The Island today whether among the detained terrorists were Yogiratnam Yogi, one-time LTTE negotiator and Balakumaran of the EROS, who threw his weight behind Velupillai Prabhakaran, Rehabilitation Commissioner Brig. Ranasinghe said that he did not have them.

A controversial media report posted in state-owned Sinhala daily The Dinamina on June 11, 2009 said that Balakumar was arrested while hiding in a refugee camp in Vavuniya.

On May 31, 2009, Lankafirst.com website quoting Government Information Department sources, reported that some top Tiger leaders who were in the military hand, were going through series of serious investigation by the security forces.

“Former eastern province political wing leader and subsequently in charge of the economic division Karikalan, former spokesman of the LTTE Yogaratnam Yogi , former EROS MP turned advisor to the LTTE V. Balakumar , a former spokesman of the LTTE Lawrence Tilagar, former Deputy political section leader Thangan , former head of the political section for Jaffna district Ilamparithi , former Trincomalee political wing leader Elilan, former head of the LTTE sports division Papa , former head of the administrative division of the LTTE Puvannan and deputy international head Gnanam are in custody,” it said.

A report by the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) also said December last year that Balakumar and his son teenaged Sooriyatheepan surrendered to the 53 army Division near Irattaivaykkal, along the Nanthikadal lagoon on May 16.

“Like Balakumar, many top LTTE leaders reportedly surrendered in the last three days of the war, between May 16 and 19 (2009)”.

The UTHR-J report mentioned the following top leaders as having surrendered: Karikalan (former eastern province political wing leader and subsequently in charge of the economic disivion), Yogaratnam Yogi (former spokesman of the LTTE), Lawrence Tilagar (a former spokesman of the LTTE, a one time head of LTTE office in Paris and later in charge of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation), Thangan (former Deputy political section leader), Ilamparithi (former head of the political section for Jaffna district), Elilan (former Trincomalee political wing leader), Papa (former head of the LTTE sports division), Puvannan (former head of the administrative division of the LTTE), Gnanam (deputy international head) and Tamilini head of the Women’s political wing.

However, bn January 29, 2009 it was reported that Balakumaran was critically wounded.

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