With Thileepan during his last 12 days

by Dr Elumathy Karikalan

(September 27, Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka Guardian) Large section of humanity shuddered with awe and grief. It was the day the country that taught non-violent protest to humanity was shamed. It was the day the LTTE showed the world that it too can adopt non-violent means of struggle.

In 1985, “Freedom birds” was launched as the initial phase leading to female members joining the LTTE. The women who joined “Freedom birds” were initially trained in health service delivery by the different area medical professionals and the women thus trained were instituted in the primary healthcare centers setup in many places.

I was serving as the doctor in Vadamaradchi and was supervising the eleven primary healthcare centers set up in my area. I first met Thileepan in my work related to the primary health care centers.

About this time we displaced to Thenmaradchi due to the “Operation Liberation” military action. The first Black Tiger attack by Capt Miller took place on 5 July 1987 and this was soon followed by the direct Indian military involvement in our homeland at the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government.

The arbitrary execution of young Tamil men and women, the creation of Sinhala settlements in the Tamil homeland, and the opening of new Sri Lanka police posts in the Tamil homeland all continued during the presence of the Indian military.

Thileepan began his fast unto death on 15 September 1987, putting forward five requests to the Indian Government. I was with him for the eleven nights of his fast. I would join him after finishing my duties during the day. On the first three days he was up chatting with us happily. On the fourth day he could not sit up for long and he kept smiling while lying down. On the fifth day he could not smile, he just looked at us. He spoke thousand words with his look and I cried aloud looking at him. From sixth day till the eleventh day he did not open his eyes. I stayed with him and communicated silently.

On the twelfth day, on 26 September 1987, he dissolved in our souls, as the entire Tamil people in unison shook in sorrow. According to Thileepan’s wish, his body was handed to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital for medical training.

Today, even in the present tense environment, the Thileepan Primary Health care service, carrying his name, continues its service. Several batches of LTTE medical members have been trained and they continue the services for the people.

“Let the people’s revolution breakout leading to the birth of Tamileelam”, is the frequent words of Thileepan. Let us carry his words in our hearts and continue forward.26 September 1987 -[From LTTE Peace Sec.]
- Sri Lanka Guardian