Ilankai Tamil Sangam

26th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Historical Dateline of Sinhalese-Tamil Conflict

From 1972 to 2009

by Sachi Sri Kantha

Front Note

The dateline below is a selective (and not an exhaustive) listing of events. The necessity for this dateline deserves a brief mention. In the Wikipedia entries and other websites on the internet , as well as in books and book chapters (contributed by non-Sri Lankan academics, most of whom have gleefully jumped onto the terrorism industry bandwagon), one can now locate datelines of recent events relating to Sri Lanka. Details on these datelines appear mixed; ‘real’ and bogus. Even those ‘real’ ones included have a pro-Government (aka, pro-Sinhalese) bias. Bogus records can be identified by scrutiny. The ‘real’ entries are problematic. For want of space and lack of scholarship, they hardly provide adequate context for the past few decades.

The prime focus in this compilation is on events and not on personalities. Excluding a handful of entries, this is also not a record of individual obituary jottings, about who died, when, where and how. For that, a separate compilation is needed. The selections in this dateline are biased towards the events that tend to be omitted from the datelines and timelines that are presented in the print and electronic publications of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), pro-Sinhalese websites and proliferating anti-terrorism hucksters on the internet such as the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) of India.

Recently, I came across a book chapter on the LTTE contributed by a British scholar, who has jumped onto the terrorism industry bandwagon. [vide, Terror, Insurgency and the State, edited by Marianne Heiberg, Brendan O’Leary and John Tirman, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2007.] His name is Brendan O’Duffy. He was introduced as “senior lecturer in politics at Queen Mary College, University of London, received his Ph.D from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research is focused on nationalism and ethnic conflict regulation, especially in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka and Cyprus.” Guessing from his name, I inferred that he could claim expertise on Ireland, but he was an ignoramus on the LTTE’s origin and its mission. His chapter on the LTTE (chapter 8: LTTE – Majoritarianism, self-determination, and military-to-political transition in Sri Lanka, pp. 256-287) also provides an error-prone timeline from 1948 to 2004. As a sample, I provide three specific entries from this timeline.

“1972: On 22 May, SLFP-led government passes new constitution transforming Ceylon into Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Changes to university admissions policy provoke student uprising in Jaffna by Tamil Students’ Movement (Tamil Manavi Peravi).

1974: Formation of Tamil New Tigers (TNT), led by Chetti Thanapalasingham as political leader and Velupillai Prabhakaran as military leader.

1975: On 27 July, Velupillai Prabhakaran, military leader of TNT, assassinates Tamil mayor of Jaffna Alfred Duraiappa.”

That this Brendan O’Duffy is utterly clueless in the Tamil language, dates of events and interpretations of recent Tamil history is evident from his bloopers in these three entries. “Tamil Manavi Peravi” literally translates into “Tamil Wife Front”, as opposed to “Tamil Manavar Peravai” (Tamil Students Front). The dates stated for the “changes to university admissions policy”, Jaffna uprising of Tamil Students Front and the origins of TNT are wrong, too. I should know for sure. The “changes to university admissions policy” [discriminatory language-wise ‘standardisation scheme’] was initiated in 1971, as a direct consequence of the first JVP-terrorism uprising in April 1971.

I entered the University of Colombo in January 1972, and was in the second batch of Tamil students who were seriously affected by this discriminatory language-wise standardization scheme. The G.C.E. Advanced Level [university entrance] exams were held in December 1970. The university entrance exams then consisted of two components: the theory [written] exam and the practicals exam. The practicals exam was held at the Universities in Colombo and Peradeniya. For our batch, these practicals exam were staggered due to the April 1971 JVP insurrection. We also belonged to the last batch of university entrants, who faced this practicals exam. Then, on the premise that these practicals exam provided a distinct advantage to Tamil students from Jaffna, the practicals exam was scrapped for students competing to enter the medicine, engineering, dental, veterinary science, agriculture and biological and physical sciences curriculum. The tinkering of the university admissions policy during 1971 to 1976 was arbitrary, racist and sloppy that varied from year to year.

The origin of the TNT is traced to 1972 and not 1974 as recorded by Brendan O’Duffy. Indeed, Alfred Duraiappa was assassinated in 1975, solely for the reason that he was a willing collaborator of the racist Sinhalese regime in Colombo.

I have chosen 1972 as the beginning year for this dateline, for the following reasons. First, other datelines have previously been published in book chapters and popular magazines (vide, Mervyn de Silva: Long Road to Crisis, South (London), July 1986, p. 43). A pro-Sinhalese compilation up to December 1996 appears in the Historical Dictionary of Sri Lanka, by S.W.R.de A. Samarasinghe and Vidyamali Samarasinghe (Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD, 1998). Secondly, 1972 was noted for the promulgation of the First Republican Constitution of the SLFP government. Thirdly, the beginning of Tamil militant movement, with the formation of Tamil New Tigers (TNT), the progenitor of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is traced to 1972.

For dates and events for the pre-internet period, I have depended on the following four books, and also have cross-checked with references from my unpublished diary entries from 1972 to 1986.

1. A. Jeyaratnam Wilson: The Break-up of Sri Lanka (C.Hurst & Co, London, 1988)

2. Sumantra Bose: States, Nations, Sovereignty – Sri Lanka, India and the Tamil Eelam Movement (Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1993)

3. M.R. Narayan Swamy: Tigers of Lanka – from Boys to Guerrillas (Vijitha Yapa Bookshop, Colombo, 1996)

4. T. Sabaratnam: The Murder of a Moderate – Political Biography of Appapillai Amirthalingam (Nivetha Publishers, Dehiwela, 1996)

Apart from these sources, I also have relied on the details provided in mainstream newspapers (especially The New York Times) and magazines like Time, Newsweek, Economist, India Today, Link and Frontline.

1972

1972 Feb. 12: Four state universities (University of Colombo, University of Peradeniya, Vidyalankara University and Vidyodaya University) and Katubedde Technical Institute were integrated into one University of Sri Lanka.

1972 May 12: Federal Party (FP), All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) and S. Thondaman’s Ceylon Worker’s Congress (CWC) combined to form Tamil United Front (TUF), at a convention in Trincomalee.

1972 May 22: The First Republican Constitution promulgated, by the coalition government of SLFP-LSSP (Trotskyist)-CP, offering Buddhism ‘a foremost place’ in the island. The author of this constitution was legal scholar cum Trotskyist politician Dr. Colvin Reginald de Silva.

1972 Oct. 2: S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, the leader of Tamil United Liberation Front (TUF), resigned his Kankesanthurai parliamentary seat and challenged the SLFP-coalition government on the issue that Tamils reject the May 1972 Republican Constitution.

1973

1973 Jan: Tamil Ilaignar Peravai (Tamil Youth League) was established, as a junior wing of TUF.

1973 Feb: Ponnudurai Satyaseelan, founder of Tamil Manavar Peravai (Tamil Students’ League) was arrested.

1973 March 23: The Language of the Courts Act enacted by the GOSL to soothe the feelings of Tamils. This law provided for the use of Tamil Language in the law courts in the North and Eastern provinces.

1973 Sept. 9: At the annual convention of FP held at Mallakam, Amirthalingam (the newly elected president of the party) proposed a resolution to change the objective of FP from federalism to separation. This resolution was seconded by C. Rajadurai. The last segment of the resolution read: “The National Convention resolves that the Tamils are in every way fully equipped to be regarded as a separate nation and to live as a separate nation and that the only path for them to follow is the establishment of their right to self-rule in their traditional homeland based on the internationally accepted principle of the right of self-determination of every nation.”

1973 Sept. 17: A bomb attack at a carnival held at the Duraiappah Stadium, Jaffna, led by Prabhakaran, to protest the declaration of Emergency on May 16th. No one was injured in this incident.

1974

1974 Jan.10: 9 Tamils were killed at the final day of 4th International Tamil Research Conference Seminar held in Jaffna. This incident was vastly interpreted by Tamils as due to thoughtless act by police, abetted by collaborators of Colombo’s SLFP government.

1974 June 5: Ponnudurai Sivakumaran, aged 24, became the first cyanide tablet martyr for the Tamil cause.

1974 Oct. 6: Jaffna Campus of the then University of Sri Lanka was opened by primeminister Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

1975

1975 February 7: After being elected at the Kankesanthurai by-election (that was postponed for over two years) be defeating the Government-sponsored Communist Party candidate convincingly, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam (the leader of TUF) claimed that, "I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free”.

1976

1976 Feb.2: 8 Muslims were killed in police shooting within Puttalam mosque premises.

1976 April 5: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was established as a Tamil militant group under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran, aged 22.

1976 May 14: Vaddukoddai Resolution for a “restoration and reconstitution of the Free, Sovereign, Secular Socialist State of TAMIL EELAM based on the right of self determination inherent to every nation…” was passed at the First National Convention of the Tamil United Front (TUF), presided by S.J.V.Chelvanayakam. TUF transformed itself into Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), with CWC of S. Thondaman dissociating itself from this transformation. The TULF resolution for a separate Eelam state was endorsed unanimously, with K. Nesiah being the only abstainer.

1976 May 21: Amirthalingam, V.N. Navaratnam, K.P. Ratnam, K. Thurairatnam and M. Sivasithamparam were arrested in Jaffna for distributing ‘seditious leaflets’ that advised the public not to attend the Republican Day celebrations. Sivasithamparam was released the following day. Other four were taken to Colombo and held for 10 days.

1976 June 18: Trial-at-Bar case was filed against Amirthalingam and other three TULF leaders arrested on May. A record 61 lawyers, led by G.G. Ponnamblam Sr. and M. Tiruchelvam Sr. appeared for the accused.

1976 Aug.6: Chelvanayakam in an interview to Vijitha Yapa stated, “the hostile attitude of the Government helped to promote opinion in favour of separation. This proposal, which has hitherto been considered only as an ‘alternative solution’ thus became the ‘only solution’.” [Himmat, Bombay, Aug.6, 1976, p. 6].

1977

1977 Feb. 10: The High Court discharged Amirthalingam and other three accused TULF leaders. By then, both G.G. Ponnambalam Sr and M. Tiruchelvam Sr had died.

1977 July 21: 8th General Elections held for the Parliament. TULF received a cumulative total of 421,488 votes (6.75% of votes polled) and 18 of its 24 candidates won. UNP with 3,179,221 cumulative votes (50.92%) had 140 MPs elected. SLFP with 1,855,331 cumulative votes (29.72%) could elect only 8 MPs.

1977 Aug.15: Anti-Tamil riots in the island; officially 300-350 Tamils got killed.

1978

1978 Feb.4: Primeminister Junius Richard Jayewardene was sworn in as the first executive president.

1978 Feb.6: Ranasinghe Premadasa was appointed as the primeminister.

1978 Apr. 28: Virakesari, the Colombo’s prominent Tamil daily, published a notice (advertisement) in Tamil, in the letterhead that stated ‘Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’ and dated 25th April , 1978. The notice was addressed to ‘To whom it may concern’. It provided the following details.

“The founder name of the organization Tamil New Tigers (TNT) was changed on 5-5-76 [May 5, 1976] and the new name is Liberaiton Tigers of Tamil Eelam. We claim responsibility for the following deaths and mentioned the names of Alfred Duraiappah, N. Nadarajah, A. Karunanithi, Shanmuganathan, Shanmuganathan, Thangarajah, C. Kanagaratnam, Bastiampillai, Perampalam, Balasingham and Siriwardene. The Bastiampillai police came in search of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam about 6 am on 7th April 1978 with SMG, shotgun, revolvers and pistol, and attacked Tigers but the Tigers destroyed them without any death or body injury to Tigers and the car was also destroyed. No other groups, organization or individuals can claim this death. Serious action will be taken against those who claim the above other than Tigers in Ceylon or abroad. We are not responsible for past robberies of any kind.”

1978 May 19: A law enacted proscribing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other similar organizations.

1978 Sept.7: The Second Republican Constitution promulgated. Using its huge parliamentary majority, UNP abandoned the 32 year-old Westminster-style Constitution for the centralized power of an executive president. Tamil language was designated as a national language, but Tamils soon complained that this is an empty sop, lacking any tangible benefits to the community.

1978 Nov. 23: Cyclone caused serious damage to Batticaloa and Amparai districts, with around 500 deaths.

1979

1979 July 12: A state of emergency was declared in Jaffna district, from midnight, to deal with terrorism.

1979 July 14: Brigadier Tissa Weeratunga (a kin of President Jayewardene) was appointed overall commander of the security forces in Jaffna district. President Jayewardene directed his kin, “It will be your duty to eliminate in accordance with the laws of the land the menace of terrorism in all its forms from the Island, and more specifically from the Jaffna district…This task has to be performed by you and completed before the 31st December of 1979”.

1979 July 19: GOSL introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Temporary Provisions) Bill and passed it on the same day in the parliament.

1980

1980 Oct. 11: Kotelawala Defence Academy was established in the estate provided by the third primeminister Sir John Kotelawala, at Ratmalana.

1981

1981 June 1: Jaffna Public Library set on fire and destructed by the state-sponsored terrorist elements.

1981 Aug: Anti-Tamil mob violence in the Southern regions of the island, largely targeting the Tamil tea plantation workers.

1982

1982 Aug.3: Tamil youth militant leaders Kuttimani and Jegan sentenced to death under PTA.

1982 Oct.20: First executive presidential election held. J.R.Jayewardene (UNP) polling 3,450,811 votes (52.91%) out of 6,500,147 votes cast defeated his main rival Hector Kobbekaduwa (SLFP), who received 2,548,438 votes (39.20%). Rohana Wijeweera (JVP) received 263,428 votes (4.2%). Jayawardene won 21 of the 22 districts, excluding Jaffna.

1982 Oct.27: President Jayewardene announced that there would be no elections when parliament’s term ends in July 1983. A referendum on extending the parliament’s term for another 6 years would substitute the general election.

1982 Nov. 2: President Jayewardene told his party MPs that he opted for the referendum to extend the parliament’s term by six years, because SLFP had come under the control of an ‘anti-democratic, violent and Naxalite [anarchist] group. This group led by Hector Kobbekaduwa, the SLFP’s presidential candidate had planned for a bloodbath if they had won the Oct. 20 election by killing him, some of his cabinet ministers, the military chiefs and Anura Bandaranaike, the son of Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

1982 Dec. 22: Referendum held to extend the life of parliament upto 1989. 3,141,223 voted for Lamp (for UNP) against 2,605,983 for Pot (against UNP). Turnout for Referendum was 71%.

1983

1983 July 23: Third major anti-Tamil riots (after 1958 and 1977) in post-independent Sri Lanka commenced, resulting in the death of nearly 2,000 Tamils. This event is remembered by Tamils as the ‘Black July’.

1983 July 25: 37 Tamil political detainees killed in Colombo-Welikada prison by fellow Sinhalese prisoners, that came to be remembered as Welikada Jail massacre.

1983 July 27: In a sequel, 16 more Tamil political detainees killed in Welikada prison by fellow Sinhalese prisoners.

1983 Aug.4: Sixth Amendment [against political demands for separatism] to the 2nd Republican Constitution passed in the parliament.

1983 Dec.28: President Jayewardene invited TULF to be a participant at the All Party Conference scheduled to convene in January 1984.

1984

1984 Jan.10: The All Party Amity Conference, called by President Jayewardene, commenced.

1984 March 23: President Jayewardene set up the Ministry of National Security and named Lalith Athulathmudali its minister, as well as deputy minister of defense.

1984 March 31: A feature published in the India Today fortnightly entitled, ‘Ominous Presence in Tamil Nadu’ by Shekhar Gupta created much stir in Colombo. In 6 pages, it provided (a) some details about the training provided by Indian ex-servicement, (b) carried the photographs of Uma Maheswaran (PLOT), Sri Sabaratnam alias Tall Sri (TELO) and Prabhakaran (LTTE) with a gun (‘in Jaffna’), and (c) interviews with A.S. Balasingham, S. Sivanayagam, V.Yogeswaran and S. Ruthramoorthy. Gupta noted, “while most of the groups are at the moment running training camps on Indian soil, the Tigers (LTTE) are perhaps the only ones active on Sri Lankan soil. What seemed strange was that no specific mention appeared in it about ‘who’ prepared the arrangements for training other than a passing sentence, “Underground and Indian intelligence sources estimate that nearly 2,000 armed men, belonging to the various groups of Tamil insurgents, are now ready for battle.” In hindsight, this feature [appearing a week after the setting up of Ministry of National Security] was nothing but a ‘plant’ by India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to scare the Colombo politicians.

1984 May 9: TULF and All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) denounced the All Party Amity Conference as an ‘exercise in futility’ and opted out of the committee stages of talks, when the Conference resumed after a 50-day recess.

1984 May 10: American couple, Stanley Allen (36) and his wife Mary (29), from Columbus, Ohio, were kidnapped by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the military wing of the EPRLF, in Jaffna. Kidnappers demanded a ransom of 2 million US dollars in gold and release of 20 of their fellow EPRLF cadres held in Sri Lankan prisons. Quick-witted action taken by K.Mohandas, the Tamilnadu Chief Minister M.G.Ramachandran’s ‘Man Friday’, in capturing Douglas Devananda, the leader of PLA in Madras and threatening him for dire consequences, resulted in the safe release of Allen couple in Jaffna, after five days in captivity. Mr. Allen, an engineer, was an employee of Ruhlin Co., Akron, Ohio, and was overseeing a water management project. PLA had charged that Allens were working for CIA, which Ruhlin Co. had denied.

1984 Dec. 22: The Economist weekly reported that “The Indian government continues to deny that the Tamil rebels are getting military aid as well as refuge in South India, though the evidence is that support for the insurgents within India has grown. Some of it may be provided by India’s version of the CIA, the so-called Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which is said to be supplying small arms.”

1985

1985 Jan. 21: President J.R. Jayewardene announced that he will now refuse to talk to any party advocating a separate Tamil state.

1985 May 9: Nearly 90 men, women and children were attacked and killed at Velvettiturai Public Library, by Sri Lankan army personnel.

1985 May 14: Tamil guerrillas, disguised as soldiers, killed 145 people and wounded 100, that came to be known as ‘Anuradhapura massacre’. According to the Economist weekly report (May 18, 1985), “the guerrillas are said to have shouted ’70 for 70’ as they fired – presumably referring to the massacre of 70 Tamils a week before in the northern city of Jaffna. The government denies any such massacre happened.”

1985 July 8-12: Phase 1 of Thimpu Talks, between GOSL and four (LTTE, EPRLF, TELO and EROS) of five Tamil militant groups and TULF. The Tamils presented four preliminary demands: (1) the Tamils to be recognized as a distinct nationality. (2) recognition and gurantee of the territorial integrity of the traditional homelands of the Ceylon Tamils. (3) right of self-determination of the Tamil nation, and (4) recognition of citizenship and fundamental rights of all Tamils who regard Ceylon as their home. These demands were rejected by GOSL team, led by H.W. Jayewardene, the brother of President Jayewardene.

1985 Aug.12-17: Phase 2 of Thimpu Talks, between GOSL and the Tamil groups. Tamil delegates walked out on Aug. 17, protesting the SL army massacre of nearly 200 Tamil civilians in Vavuniya. Following the aborted talks in Thimpu, Indian government scapegoated the Tamils and served deportation orders to Anton Balasingham (LTTE’s spokesman), N. Satyendra (TELO’s spokesman) and S.C. Chandrahasan (Convener of the Organisation for the Protection of Tamils of Eelam from Genocide). They were asked to leave India within 48 hours. Subsequently the deportation order served on Chandrahasan was revoked.

1986

1986 Jan.31: The parliament passed legislation to grant citizenship to 94,000 Tamil plantation workers, who had been tagged ‘Stateless’ for 38 years. Political observers noted that the motive was not really altruistic, but to deftly deflect the arm-twisting engagements of India’s political leaders on behalf of indigenous Tamils of the island.

1987

1987 Jan.28-30: More than 200 Tamils were massacred by Special Task Forces (STF) at Kokkadichcholai, Batticaloa.

1987 Apr.23: New York Times’s reporter Barbara Crossette, in a ‘Special to the New York Times’ feature reported from Colombo (dateline April 22) that “The Sri Lanka Air Force attacked bases of two Tamil guerrilla separatist groups in the north today, killing 80 people, the Government said. President J.R. Jayewardene’s Government vowed to destroy all the bases of the two guerrilla groups, which it blamed for an attack that killed 127 bus passengers last Friday and a bombing at Colombo’s main bus station Tuesday, in which at least 110 people died…” Ms. Crossette further reported, “Mr. Athulathmudali, speaking to three reporters in an office at the Defense Ministry, said the Cabinet decision today to ‘pull the stops’ on the military marked a ‘fundamental’ change in government policy.”

1987 June 3: Indian flotilla sent to Jaffna with supplies, was turned back at Sri Lanka territorial waters by the SL Navy.

1987 July 5: LTTE’s first suicide attack by a Black Tiger Captain Miller at Nelliady army camp. This was in retaliation of GOSL’s use of Sri Lankan Air Force in discriminately bombing attacking Tamil regions under the cloak of attacking the bases of guerrilla separatist groups.

1987 July 27: A 72 hour island-wide curfew was imposed.

1987 July 29: India-Sri Lanka Peace Accord (aka Rajiv-Jayewardene Accord) signed in Colombo, followed by the induction of Indian army in Sri Lanka as Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF).

1987 Aug. 4: After returning to homeland from India, LTTE leader Prabhakaran addressed a mammoth meeting held at Suthumalai, Jaffna. He declared that ‘We are surrendering our arms to the Indian army relying on the basis of assurances given by the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.’

1987 Aug.18: A bomb attack targeting the top leaders of UNP within parliament premise when the UNP parliamentary group meeting was in progress. One deputy minister was killed and 10 were injured, including the Minister of National Security Lalith Athulathmudali.

1987 Sept. 15: Thileepan, the LTTE political leader of Jaffna district, began a fast unto death over five demands made to the Indian government. Thileepan’s fast took place in front of Nallur Kanthaswamy temple.

1987 Sept.26: Thileepan attained martyrdom at 10:48 am. The representatives/diplomats of the Indian government ridiculed Thileepan’s death.

1987 Oct. 3: 17 LTTEers sailing on the boat ‘Kadalpura’ in the sea were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and handed over to the Army at Palaly camp. The Indian officials failed to take any concrete steps to cause the release of these LTTEers.

1987 Oct.5: The detained 17 LTTEers swallowed cyanide. Twelve, including two regional leaders of LTTE, Kumarappa and Pulendran, attained martyrdom. The remaining 5 were imprisoned and released after several years.

1987 Nov.2: Rohana Wijeweera, JVP founder-leader, was released from jail in an amnesty.

1987 Nov.12: Provincial Council Bills passed unanimously, and the 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution, by a two-third majority in the parliament.

1988

1988 Apr.28: The First Provincial Council Elections held for the North Central, Sabragamuwa, Northwestern and Uva provincial councils.

1988 Sept.7: President Jayewardene issued the proclamation merging the Northern and Eastern provinces into a single administrative unit.

1988 Dec. 19: Second executive presidential election held. primeminister Ranasinghe Premadasa (UNP) defeated his main rival Sirimavo Bandaranaike (SLFP) by receiving 2,569,199 votes (50.4%) against 2,289,860 (44.9%).

1989

1989 Jan.2: President Premadasa, in his inaugural address, invited both the LTTE and JVP for peace talks.

1989 Feb.15: 9th General elections held for the parliament, and the first one to be held under the 1978 Constitution’s system of proportional representation. In Tamil regions, 13 candidates of Eelavar Democratic Front (EDF aka EROS) were elected to the parliament.

1989 April 12: President Premadasa announced a unilateral ceasefire between SL armed forces and LTTE. In turn, LTTE rejected this ceasefire offer noting ‘Until the Indian army of Oppression leaves our land, there will be no such thing as a ceasefire.’

1989 May 4: First meeting between President Premadasa and LTTE representatives Anton Balasingham, Adele Balasingham, Yogaratnam Yogi and Paramu Murthy.

1989 May 5: First round of Talks between GOSL representatives and LTTE. The talks continued until May 28th. The chief representative of GOSL team was A.C.S.Hameed, the prominent Muslim Cabinet minister.

1989 June 2: President Premadasa forwarded a letter to Indian primeminister Rajiv Gandhi urging him to withdraw the IPKF by July 31st, the 2nd anniversary of IPKF induction.

1989 June 15: Second round of Talks between GOSL representatives and LTTE began.

1989 June 20: Indian primeminister Rajiv Gandhi responded to President Premadasa’s withdrawal request, with diplomatic demands of discussions on mutually agreed schedule for IPKF, and for full implementation of the July 1987 Accord, insisting that both should be ‘parallel exercises’.

1989 June 28: A joint release of GOSL and LTTE announced bilateral cessation of hostilities.

1989 Sept.18: India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement in Colombo, providing for the withdrawal of IPKF, from the North and East by December 31, and the suspension of offensive military operations against LTTE, from the 20th onward.

1989 Nov.13: GOSL announced the death of JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera during questioning and detention.

1989 Nov.14: GOSL announced the death of JVP’s general secretary Upatissa Gamanayake during detention.

1990

1990 March 24: The last troops of IPKF left Sri Lanka.

1990 June 19: K.Padmanabha, the leader of EPRLF and 15 of his associates were shot dead in Madras.

1990 July 23: EROS (represented by its political wing Eelavar Democratic Front) pulled out its 11 MPs from the parliament. Two other MPs of EROS have resigned previously under other pretexts.

1990 Sept. 18: India agreed to withdraw its 43,000 troops from Sri Lanka by December 1989, and end hostilities with LTTE. The agreement was signed in Colombo by Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Bernard Tilakaratne and Indian highcommissioner L.L. Mehrotra.

1991

1991 May 21: Rajiv Gandhi, the Indian prime minister from 1984-89, was assassinated at Sriperumbudur, ahead of his anticipated address at Congress Party election rally. The assassin was tagged as ‘Dhanu’ (a human bomb) by the Indian law enforcement officials. 18 people (that included Rajiv’s security detail, police personnel and ‘Dhanu’) in the vicinity also died in the bomb blast.

1991 May 24: Judge S.M.Siddick was appointed as Judge of the Designated Court to try the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

1992

1992 May 14: The Union Government of India banned the LTTE.

1992 May 20: Charge sheets were filed before the Designated Judge in Madras on Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, naming 41 persons as accused.

1992 Aug. 12: Charge sheets were filed on 26 accused by the Tamil Nadu Special Investigation Team (TANSIT), on Padmanabha murder case. Of the 26 accused, 17 faced the trial.

1993

1993 Jan.16: LTTE’s front rank leader Col. Kittu and ten of his LTTE cadres attained martyrdom at Bengal Sea, after confrontation with Indian Navy vessels.

1993 May 1: President Premadasa was killed in Colombo while engaged in working the assembled crowd in the party’s May Day rally. The assassin was described by the police and press as a suicide bomber who barged into President’s security cordon in a bicycle. Within hours, vital forensic evidence of the killing had been destroyed by the organizers of the rally.

1993 May 5: Pre-trial proceedings (Arguments by the Prosecution and Defence lawyers) on Rajiv Gandhi assassination case began before S.M.Siddick, the Designated Judge.

1993 Nov. 24: The Designated Court on Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, framed charges against the 26 accused.

1994

1994 Jan. 19: Rajiv Gandhi assassination trial started, as an ‘in-camera’ investigation.

1994 May 23: First branch of Bank of Tamileelam was opened at Kannathiddy, Jaffna.

1994 May 29: LTTE leader V.Prabhakaran, LTTE Intelligence Chief Pottu Amman, and LTTE Women’s Wing Leader Akila were declared as proclaimed offenders.

1994 June 24: The 9th parliament dissolved.

1994 Aug.16: 10th General elections held for the parliament. Peoples Alliance (PA) led by SLFP gained power defeating UNP which had been in power since 1977.

1994 Nov.9: 3rd Executive Presidential election. Chandrika Kumaratunga leading PA defeated Sirima Dissanayake (UNP), in a landslide (62%). who was nominated as a replacement of her assassinated husband Gamini Dissanayake.

1994 Nov.12: Chandrika Kumaratunga took oath as the 4th Executive President.

1995

1995 Jan. 8: Bilateral truce agreed upon between the newly elected President Chandrika Kumaratunga and LTTE.

1995 Apr. 19: Eelam War III (between GOSL and LTTE) began.

1995 May 5: The second branch of Bank of Tamileelam was opened at Kininochchi.

1995 Sept.14: The third branch of Bank of Tamileelam was opened at Nelliady, Jaffna.

1995 Dec. 2: Jaffna fell to SL army forces.

1996

1996 Jul. 18: LTTE attacked the SL army camp in Mullaitivu, killing around 1,200 SL soldiers.

1996 Dec.30: Rajiv Gandhi assassination trial – V.Navaneetham replaced the Judge S.M.Siddick as the Designated Judge as the latter had moved to the Madras High Court.

1997

1997 May 13: Operation Jayasikuru (Victory Assured) launched by the GOSL in the northern Tamil homeland. LTTE, under the overall command of Prabhakaran, resisted GOSL army, with commanders Balraj, Sornam, Karuna, Anbu, Bhanu and Jeyam. The A-9 trunk road linking Jaffna and Kandy was the theater of this Operation.

1997 Oct. 8: USA designated LTTE as one of a foreign terrorist organization.

1997 Nov. 5: Rajiv Gandhi assassination trial - Arguments were concluded.

1997 Nov. 8: Arumuga Perumal Adithan, Judge of the Designated Court II delivered the judgment on Padmanabha murder case, acquitting 15 of the 17 accused. The remaining two accused Chinna Santhan and Anandaraj were convicted for offences under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) charges.

1998

1998 Jan. 26: LTTE was banned by the GOSL.

1998 Jan. 28: Rajiv Gandhi assassination trial – After 6 years and nearly 300 examined witnesses, V.Navaneetham, the Judge of the Designated Court, convicted and sentenced all the 26 accused who were tried to death. “The Judge passed no sentence for three Sri Lankan rebel leaders [V. Prabhakaran, Pottu Amman and Akila] tried in absentia.” [New York Times, Jan.28, 1998/ Associated Press report].

1998 Sept.26: LTTE overrun the Kilinochchi army camp, where the SL army lost over 1,000 soldiers.

1999

1999 May 21: Rajiv Gandhi assassination trial – Supreme Court’s judgment delivered for the appeal of 26 accused. All 26 accused, condemned to death by Designated Court Judge Navaneetham were acquitted of Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) charges. 18 of the 19 accused, released from jail, were cleared of being participants in a criminal conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. The death sentences of 4 accused (Nalini, Perarivalan, T.Suthenthirajah alias Santhan and Sriharan alias Murugan) were confirmed. The 4 who were due to be executed on June 9, 1999, but the execution had stayed/postponed. The death sentence of 3 accused (P.Ravichandran, Robert Payas and S.Jayakumar) were commuted to life imprisonment.

1999 July 2: LTTE announced that a total of 147 Black Tiger cadres had achieved martyrdom from July 5, 1987 to June 1999. Among these, 110 were men and 37 were women. While the Land Black Tigers comprised 35, Sea Black Tigers tallied to 92.

1999 Nov. 5: The date set for execution of 4 death-row accused of Rajiv Gandhi assassination trial, after their clemency petitions to the Tamil Nadu Governor Fathima Beevi was rejected. But executions were called off following a legal challenge to the Governor’s decision.

1999 Nov. 25: Madras High Court ruled that the Tamil Nadu Governor’s decision was invalid, as she had failed to consult with the State Government as prescribed by the Constitution.

1999 Dec.18: President Chandrika Kumaratunga was wounded in an eye at an SLFP election rally in Colombo. At a UNP election rally in Ja-ela, a Colombo suburb, Major General Lakshman (Lucky) Algama was assassinated.

1999 Dec. 22: Fourth Presidential election held. Chandrika Kumaratunga (People’s Alliance) polled 4,312,157 votes (51.5%) against Ranil Wickremasinghe (UNP) 3,602,748 votes (42.7%) and was elected for the second time.

2000

2000 Oct.10: 11th General Elections held for the Sri Lankan parliament.

2000 Dec.21: As a gesture of goodwill, LTTE unilaterally declared a month-long ceasefire, effective Christmas Eve, December 24th.

2000 Dec.23: GOSL rejected LTTE’s ceasefire and asserted that military offensives against LTTE would continue.

2001

2001 Jan.24: LTTE extended the unilateral ceasefire and called on the International Community to persuade GOSL to reciprocate favorably and kick-start the negotiation process.

2001 Jan.26: GOSL rejected the LTTE ceasefire and launched military offensives against LTTE positions.

2001 Feb.22: LTTE extended the unilateral ceasefire by another month and called on the International Community again to persuade the GOSL to reciprocate favorably to its goodwill measure.

2001 Mar.22: LTTE extended the unilateral ceasefire until April 24th and warned that they would resume armed operations if GOSL refused to reciprocate the ceasefire and continues its military operations against the LTTE.

2001 Apr.23: After a 4 month-long ceasefire, LTTE called off its unilaterally imposed restraint.

2001 Apr.24: Within hours of LTTE terminating its unilaterally declared ceasefire, GOSL forces launced a massive military campaign (Operation Agni Keela aka Fire Ball). Operation Agni Keela turned out to be a debacle to GOSL.

2001 July 24: LTTE cadres infiltrated the Katunayake air base and destroyed 13 air crafts including two Kfir jet fighters, one MI-24 Helicopter gun ship and one MIG-27- jet fighter in blitzkrieg style.

2001 Dec.5: 12th General Elections held for the Sri Lankan parliament. United National party led United National Front emerged victorious with UNP/UNF gaining 109 seats. The People Alliance led by SLFP, of President Chandrika Kumaratunga won 77 seats. JVP was victorious in 16 seats, Tamil National Alliance 15, the SLMC 5, the EPDP 2 and the DPLF one. The Sihala Urumaya failed to retain the single seat it had won at the last election.

2001 Dec.19: LTTE unilaterally declared a month-long ceasefire to be effective Dec.24.

2001 Dec.21: The new UNP government of primeminister Ranil Wickremasinghe, reciprocated the ceasefire offer of LTTE.

2001 Dec.27: Prime Minister Wikremasinghe officially requested Norway to resume its facilitator role, between GOSL and LTTE.

2002

2002 Feb.22: The Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) was signed between GOSL and LTTE, with Norway as the chief facilitator.

2002 Apr. 10: LTTE leader Prabhakaran met with international and local press after a lapse of over 12 years.

2002 Sept.5: The GOSL lifted a ban on LTTE, conceding to a key demand by the Tamils, ahead of proposed peace talks scheduled to begin on Sept. 16 in Thailand. The ban was imposed in 1998, following an attack Dalada Maligawa, Kandy, that killed 26 people.

2002 Sept.16-18: The 1st Session of direct peace talks between GOSL and LTTE held in Thailand.

2002 Oct.31-Nov.3: The 2nd Session of peace talks between GOSL and LTTE held in Thailand.

2002 Dec.2-5: The 3rd Session of peace talks between GOSL and LTTE held in Oslo, Noway.

2003

2003 Jan.6-9: The 4th Session of peace talks between GOSL and LTTE held in Thailand.

2003 Feb.7-8: The 5th Session of peace talks between GOSL and LTTE held in Berlin, Germany.

2003 Mar.18-21: The 6th Session of peace talks between GOSL and LTTE held in Hakone, Japan.

2003 Apr.21: LTTE temporarily suspended its participation in the Peace Talks, citing non-implementation of agreements reached in the first 6 Sessions.

2003 Oct.31: LTTE submitted its Interim Self Government Agreement (ISGA) proposals to the GOSL and urged the latter to recommence the suspended Peace Talks.

2003 Nov.1: GOSL agreed to re-start the suspended Peace Talks, on the basis of LTTE proposal.

2003 Nov.4: President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolved the parliament, and called for snap general election in 2004 April.

2004

2004 Apr.2: 13th General Elections held for the Sri Lankan parliament. The UPFA front of SLFP-JVP coalition won 105 seats (including 13 national list) against the United National Front led by UNP and Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) which was victorious in 82 seats (including 11 national list). The Tamil National Alliance, constituting the former TULF-proper, that has pledged its support to the LTTE won 22 seats (including 2 national list) in the North-East. The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) gained 9 seats (including 2 national list). The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 5 (1 national list), the EPDP 1 and the Up-country Peoples Front 1 were the other minor parties. The UPFA front polled 4,222,970 (45.60%) of the total vote against the UNF’s 3,504,200 (37.83%).

2004 Dec.26: The Great Tsunami struck Sri Lankan island at 09:36h local time (03:36 GMT), causing the death of nearly 31,000 people and irreparable damage to the infrastructure. The worst hit regions were the North-East coast, facing the Bengal Sea. Distribution of tsunami relief to the Tamil-speaking areas was slow due to bureaucratic inertia and ethnic priorities hampering the Sinhala-ruled government.

2005

2005 Jan. 17: Officially confirmed death toll from the tsunami catastrophe increased to 38,195 people, according to Essential Services Commissioner General and Public Security Ministry secretary Tilak Ranaviraja. Paul Wolfowitz, US Deputy Secretary of Defence, who visited Galle stated “There are over 700 US marines and engineers in Sri Lanka and they would be in Sri Lanka until they are needed.”

2005 Jan. 28: The Science journal carried the following death toll distribution numbers due to December tsunami in the affected districts: Amparai 10,436; Hambantota 4,500; Galle 4,214; Mullaitivu 3,000; Batticaloa 2,836; Jaffna 2,640; Matara 1,342; Trincomalee 1,078; Kilinochchi 560; Kalutara 230; Colombo 6; Puttalam 4.

2005 Mar. 1: Anthony M. Davis reported to Janes’s Intelligence Report that, “according to Sri Lankan sources, some 2,800 LTTE cadres perished in the Big Tsunami of Dec., 26, 2004”. Of these losses, an estimated 2,100 were Sea Tiger personnel.

2005 Nov.17: 5th Executive Presidential election held. Mahinda Rajapaksa (SLFP) polled 4,880,950 votes (50.3%) against Ranil Wickremasinghe (UNP) 4,694,623 votes (48.4%) and was elected with a slender majority of 186,327 votes. Wickremasinghe became the first politician in Sri Lanka to lose two presidential elections consecutively.

2005 Nov. 24: LTTE’s count of its cadres who became martyrs to its cause increased to 17,903. Among these, 263 were Black Tigers. 79 among the Black Tigers were Land Black Tigers. The remaining 184 were talled as Sea Black Tigers. District wise, the majority of martyred cadres were from Jaffna (6,557), Batticaloa-Amparai (4,634), Vanni (2,538), Trincomalee (1,527) and Mullaitivu (1,305). The balance were from other districts, including Mannar.

2006

2006 Feb. 22: GOSL-LTTE meeting in Geneva. Peace negotiation talk held for the first time, since 2003. At this meeting, the GOSL gave a commitment: “The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) is committed to taking all necessary measures in accordance with the Ceasefire Agreement to ensure that no armed group or person other than Government security forces will carry arms or conduct armed operations.”

2006 April: The Second Geneva Peace Talks scheduled was cancelled, as LTTE felt that the GOSL was not committed to execute its commitment offered in February 2006, while providing excuses and outright lies such as no para-military forces exist in Sri Lanka.

2006 Apr. 25: SL army chief Sarath Fonseka was seriously wounded in what was presented as a suicide bomb attack within the high security SL army headquarters premises.

2006 Apr. 26: GOSL armed forces carried out air strikes on suspected LTTE bases – the first army action since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002.

2006 May 11: The vessel ‘MV Pearl Cruise’, carrying 710 SL armed force members from Trincomalee to Kankesanthurai was provided security by 6 Dvora Fast Attack Crafts (FAC) and one gun boat. LTTE Sea Tiger boats attacked the FACs in a battle lasting for 90 minutes. 17 SL Navy men in FACs and 4 of Sea Tiger cadres were killed. Two members of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) from Nordic countries were in the MV Pearl Cruise vessel and one in the FAC boat. LTTE claimed that it has warned the SLMM previously not to board the SL navy ships transporting the armed force members, because SL Navy takes them as protective cover, from any LTTE attacks. According to LTTE, if SLMM members board any SL Navy ships, it shows partiality to GOSL, rather than being impartial in monitoring the CFA of 2002.

2006 May 29: LTTE was added to the list of international terrorist organizations of European Union (EU).

2006 Dec.14: Anton Balasingham, the LTTE ideologue who led the LTTE delegations in all the peace parleys held in India, Sri Lanka and elsewhere since 1985, died in London, aged 68.

2007

2007 Mar. 26: The first offensive carried out by the LTTE’s Tamileelam Air Force (TAF) at Katunaike airport base. It glaringly exposed the weaknesss in GOSL’s air defence programs.

2007 July 11: GOSL announced that, with the hoisting of national flag at Kudumbimalai (Thoppigala Rock), that Eastern Province had been fully liberated.

2007 Oct. 22: LTTE’s 21-member suicide squad attacked the Anuradhapura Air Force base. It was reported that 8 aircrafts belonging to SL Air Force were destroyed.

2007 Nov.2: S.P.Tamilselvan, aged 40, LTTE’s political head who was a deputy to Mr. Balasingham in the GOSL-LTTE peace talks (2002-2003), was killed by Sri Lankan Air Force’s targeted attack in Kilinochchi.

2008

2008 Jan. 2: President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces as well as the Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka decided to unilaterally terminate the CFA with the LTTE. Keheliya Rambukwela, GOSL spokesman, confirmed that a cabinet decision to withdraw from the CFA has been taken. CFA was held tenuously for 5 years and 11 months.

2008 Jan. 4: SLMM announced that it would terminate its current operational activities in Sri Lanka on 16 January 16 at 1900 hours, following the decision by the Government of Sri Lanka to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement of 2002 with LTTE on 16 January 2008.

2008 Jan. 10: In a statement issued on behalf of LTTE, its political head B. Nadesan stated: “We are shocked and disappointed that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has unilaterally abrogated the Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) signed in 2002 between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the GOSL with Norway’s facilitation. The GOSL was forced to sign the CFA in 2002 after the LTTE brought about a military balance of power through a series of large scale military victories. The CFA was thus signed on 22 February 2002 by the two sides…. The LTTE did not take any decision to withdraw from the CFA agreement even when the GOSL assassinated the leader of the LTTE peace delegation, S P Tamilselvan, in November 2007. The GOSL, without any justifications, has now unilaterally withdrawn from the CFA…”

2008 Sept. 9: LTTE Air Tigers, artillery and Black Tiger commandos, carried out a joint attack at the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) and Sri Lanka Army (SLA) installations inside the Vanni Sri Lankan forces Headquarters. 11 Sri Lankan military and police personnel were killed and 33 wounded, including two Indian radar operators. This incident highlighted that Indian mercenaries were being employed by the GOSL. It was later revealed that 5 of the 10 Black Tiger commandos were women, headed by Lt. Col. Mathiyazhaki.

2009

2009 May 18: GOSL announced that the LTTE leader Prabhakaran had been killed, and the LTTE has been routed militarily.

2009 June 1: A Newsweek feature [‘Lessons from the Tiger Defeat’] by Christian Caryl cited the following four ‘key tactics’ adopted by the GOSL in routing the LTTE militarily; (1) creation of heavily armed village militias to protect civilians, belonging to ethnic Sinhalese. (2) quick movement of enough professional soldiers to hold the ground, cleared from LTTE. (3) use of highly trained commandos to snoop out LTTE bases deep in the jungle and using GPS to call in airstrikes. (4) success in naval blockade, to cut off LTTE’s seaborne supply lines.

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