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Rajiv Gandhi’s killers left out of LTTE Mahaveer Naal commemoration

The list, comprising 24,379 names, must have been subjected to the approval of the LTTE leadership, hence the decision to leave out the one-time deputy and team that executed one of the landmark operations in the history of the group.

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LTTE's deputy Chief Mahattaya(L) and senior LTTE member Appaiah(C) with Vaiko (R). [ File Photo]

The killers involved in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi have been excluded from the ‘Heroes’ list displayed in Nallur, Jaffna, during the recent Mahaveer Naal celebrations. The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) assassinated Gandhi during the parliamentary polls campaign at Sriperumbudur in South India on May 21, 1991, less than a year after India withdrew its Army from Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern provinces.

Among those left out of the ‘Heroes’ list were the suicide killer of Gandhi, Puwaneshwari Rajaratnam, and two other LTTE operatives who took cyanide when Indian security forces, following a three-month-long manhunt, surrounded their hideout in Bangalore, Karnataka State, on August 20, 1991. Sources identified one of them as the one-eyed Sivarasan, who masterminded the assassination of Gandhi.

Military Intelligence sources told the writer that Uduppidy, Jaffna-born Pakyachandran Chandrasekarampillai was the real name of the one-eyed LTTE operative. Like thousands of others, Chandrasekarampillai had received military training in India in the early ’80s as a member of another Tamil group, TELO (Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization), before switching his allegiance to Prabhakaran.

Sources said that there could be many other cadres left out of the list, as Prabhakaran executed quite a number of his men on suspicion that they served Indian and Sri Lankan intelligence services.

Meanwhile, Mahendraraja Gopalswamy, alias Mahattaya, the deputy of the defeated LTTE, has also been left out of its ‘Heroes’ list displayed in Nallur, Jaffna, during the recent Mahaveer Naal celebrations.

Sources based in Jaffna said that Mahattaya, who was executed on December 28, 1994, on orders of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, wasn’t included in the list. Mahattaya was put to death after the LTTE found him guilty of serving India’s premier intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).

Sources said that the list, consisting of 24,379 names, must have been subjected to the approval of the LTTE rump, hence the decision to leave out the one-time deputy of the group.

Mahattaya is believed to have been executed after being detained for about 16 months. He was about 38 years old at the time of his execution by the LTTE. Responding to media queries, sources said that the LTTE was believed to have initiated investigations after he was left out of a charge sheet in the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Shamindra Ferdinando

Shamindra Ferdinando is a Deputy Editor of a Colombo-based daily newspaper, The Island.

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