Chandra Fernando (priest)

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Chandra Fernando
Born Chandra Fernando
Sri Lanka
Died June 6, 1988
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Cause of death Assassination
Resting place Unknown
Nationality Sri Lankan
Education Degree in Theology
Occupation Priest
Employer Roman Catholic Church
Known for Human Rights activist

Reverend Chandra Fernando was a priest from the town of Baticaloa in minority Tamil-dominated eastern province of Sri Lanka. He was known for his human rights activism. He was assassinated by unknown men on June 6, 1988.[1][2]


Rev Fr. Chandra Fernando was born in 1942 in Fernandos Lane, Puliyantheevu[citation needed] (presently called Batticaloa Town), primarily educated at St. Michael's College, Batticaloa and ordained as Catholic Priest in the Year 1970. He served as a Parish Priest at St. Mary’s Co-cathedral, Batticaloa from 1984 to June 6, 1988.[1]


He was killed by unknown gunmen on June 6, 1988 in his own church (St. Mary’s Co-Cathedral) when the city was under the administration of Indian Peace Keeping Force per the Indo-Lanka peace accord of 1985. He was the secretary of the local Batticalao Citizens Committee and was instrumental in highlighting human rights violations by all sides in the Sri Lankan civil war including the rebel LTTE group which was at that time battling the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) and aligned para-military groups. There were many human rights violations committed by all including the authority in power.[1][3]

The St. Mary's Cathedral, Batticaloa in which Rev Chandra Fernando was killed

Although according to a report by pro LTTE Tamilnet, he was killed by a gunman belonging to the paramilitary group Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) organization working for the local Indian Army administration.[3] but according to David Jeyaraj an ethnic Sri Lankan Tamil journalist based in Canada, he was killed by the paramilitary group Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) operatives.[4] This seems to be corroborated by independent sources.[5]

See also[edit]

Other notable clergy killed during the Sri Lankan civil war


  1. ^ a b c Hellmann-Rajanayagam, Dagmar (1988–89). "The Tamil Militants-Before the Accord and After". Pacific Affairs. Pacific Affairs, Vol. 61, No. 4. 61 (4): 603–619. doi:10.2307/2760524. JSTOR 2760524. 
  2. ^ Tharmalingam, K.N (February 2003). "The Gruesome Threshing Floor in Udubankulam". Northeastern Herald (now defunct). 
  3. ^ a b Sivaram, Taraki (2004-08-01). "Death at noon creates crack in Sri Lanka's defences". Tamilnet. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  4. ^ Jeyaraj, David (September 1 01, 2006). "Tamil Catholics perturbed over missing Jaffna Priest". Transcurrent. Retrieved 2007-09-08.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Mylipodiar, Kanagaratnam (2005). "A criminal episode of a Catholic priest". Independent (Sri Lanka). Retrieved 2007-09-08. 

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