A. Chandranehru

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A. Chandranehru
அ. சந்திரநேரு
A. Chandranehru.jpg
Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for Ampara District
In office
Personal details
Born (1944-10-15)15 October 1944
Died 8 February 2005(2005-02-08) (aged 60)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Political party Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi
Other political
Tamil National Alliance
Occupation Merchant seaman
Religion Christian
Ethnicity Sri Lankan Tamil

Ariyanayagam Chandranehru (Tamil: அரியநாயகம் சந்திரநேரு; 15 October 1944 – 8 February 2005) was a Sri Lankan Tamil merchant seaman, politician and Member of Parliament.

Early life and family[edit]

Chandranehru was born 15 October 1944.[1] He was from Thirukkovil in south-eastern Ceylon.[2] He was named after two leading Indian independence activists admired by his father - Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru.[2]

Chandranehru was the son of K. A. W. Ariyanayagam (Arappor Ariyanayagam), one of the founders of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (Federal Party).[2] Ariyanayagam was a follower of the Gandhiyam way of life and took part in the non-violent civil rights protests by Tamils in the 1950s and 1960s.[2] Chandranehru took part in the satyagrahas of 1956 and 1961.[2] However, he, like many young Tamils, became disillusioned with non-violent protests and began to support militant armed struggle.[2]

Chandranehru's family were protestant Christians and his brother Ruban was a Methodist pastor.[2] Chandranehru's son Chandrakanthan is a former Member of Parliament.[3]


Chandranehru joined the public service, working at the fisheries department in Kalpitiya.[2] He then started working as a second officer on a Maldivian ship.[2] After six years he became captain of a ship.[2] In the mid 1980s, when he returned home for a holiday, he was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and detained at Boosa prison for more than a year.[2] This increased his support for achieving a separate Tamil state through armed struggle.[2] In the late 1990s he gave up shipping, returned home to Thirukkovil and became a businessman, buying several shops.[2]

Chandranehru contested the 2001 parliamentary election as one of the Tamil National Alliance's (TNA) candidates in Ampara District. He was elected and entered Parliament.[4] He failed to get re-elected at the 2004 parliamentary election after coming second amongst the TNA candidates.[5] Chandranehru and others founded NESOHR (North East Secretariat on Human Rights) on 9 July 2004.[6][7]

On the night of 7 February 2005 Chandranehru, along with several members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), were travelling from Polonnaruwa to Thirukkovil along the Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa highway in a blue Toyota Dolphin van.[8][9][10] At around 7.45pm, at Pillaiyaarady near Namalgama, 40km north-west of Batticaloa and inside government controlled territory, their vehicle was overtaken by a white van, which had been following them, which then blocked the road.[8][9][11][12] Men dressed in military uniforms got out of the white van and ordered the occupants of Chandranehru's Dolphin van to get out.[11] The two police officers providing security for Chandranehru did not resist as the men were in military uniforms.[11] The men in military uniforms then started shooting at Chandranehru and his group. E. Kousalyan, the LTTE's political head for Batticaloa-Ampara District, and four other LTTE members (Nithimaran, Vinodhan, Kamalan and Kumanan) were killed.[9][10][13] Chandranehru was seriously injured in the attack and was taken to hospital in Colombo National Hospital but the following day (8) he died of his injuries.[9][10][14][15][16] The attack took place close to several Sri Lanka Army camps including Namalgama, Ruwanpitiya, Welikanda, Punanai and Kadwathmadu.[8][10][12][17] The assassination was blamed on the government backed Karuna paramilitary group and the Sri Lankan military.[18] The Tamil National Force, a TMVP (Karuna Group)/ENDLF front, claimed responsibility for the attack.[19]

On 12 February 2005 the LTTE conferred the title Maamanithar (great human being) on Chandranehru.[12][20][21]

Electoral history[edit]

Electoral history of A. Chandranehru
Election Constituency Party Votes Result
2001 parliamentary[4] Ampara District TNA 26,282 Elected
2004 parliamentary[5] Ampara District TNA 25,572 Not elected


  1. ^ "Directory of Members: Ariyanayagam Chandra Nehru". Parliament of Sri Lanka. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (13 February 2005). "Chandranehru: Patriotic son of the eastern soil". The Sunday Leader. 
  3. ^ "Chandrakanthan sworn in as TNA national list parliamentarian". TamilNet. 27 September 2006. 
  4. ^ a b "General Election 2001 Preferences" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. 
  5. ^ a b "General Election 2004 Preferences" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. 
  6. ^ "Nehru, a fearless Human Rights campaigner- NESOHR". TamilNet. 13 February 2005. 
  7. ^ "HR Group meets to finalize Charter". TamilNet. 1 August 2004. 
  8. ^ a b c Kamalendran, Chris (13 February 2005). "'We have been hit by another tsunami'". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 
  9. ^ a b c d "Killing raises Sri Lanka war fear". BBC News. 8 February 2005. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Kousalyan killed in ambush". TamilNet. 7 February 2005. 
  11. ^ a b c "Kousalyan's body released after 19 hour delay". TamilNet. 8 February 2005. 
  12. ^ a b c Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (20 February 2005). "Chandranehru: patriot of the east". The Sunday Leader. 
  13. ^ Warnakulasuriya, Asanga (9 February 2005). "Former TULF member injured in ambush dies". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 
  14. ^ "Wounded ex-TNA MP dies". TamilNet. 8 February 2005. 
  15. ^ "Chandra Nehru succumbs to injuries". The Island (Sri Lanka). 9 February 2005. 
  16. ^ "Sri Lankan parliament in uproar amid Tamil MP protest". The Sydney Morning Herald. Associated Press. 10 February 2005. 
  17. ^ Sambandan, V. S. (10 February 2005). "Kousalyan's death rocks Parliament". The Hindu. 
  18. ^ Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (16 March 2008). "Assassinating Tamil Parliamentarians: The unceasing waves". The Nation (Sri Lanka). 
  19. ^ Sambandan, V. S. (11 February 2005). "Tamil National Force claims responsibility for Kousalyan's murder". The Hindu. 
  20. ^ "Pirapaharan honours slain TNA MP". TamilNet. 12 February 2005. 
  21. ^ Kamalendran, Chris (13 February 2005). "Army sentry points attacked in day of hartal, high drama". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).