Seelan

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Lieutenant
Seelan
Seelan (Charles Lucas Anthony).jpg
Native name சீலன்
Born Charles Lucas Anthony
(1960-12-11)11 December 1960
Died 15 July 1983(1983-07-15) (aged 22)
Meesalai, Sri Lanka
Years active –1983
Organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

Charles Lucas Anthony (Tamil: சாள்ஸ் லூக்காஸ் அன்ரனி; 11 December 1960 – 15 July 1983; commonly known by the nom de guerre Seelan) was a Sri Lankan Tamil rebel and leading member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist Tamil militant organisation in Sri Lanka.

Early life and family[edit]

Anthony was born on 11 December 1960.[1] He was from Trincomalee in eastern Ceylon and a Roman Catholic.[2][3][4][5] He was educated at Sri Koneswara Hindu College in Trincomalee.[6] He is said to have participated in the burning of the Sri Lankan flag when it was hoisted at the school on republic day in 1972.[7]

LTTE[edit]

Anthony was one of the founding members of the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).[5][8] He took on the nom de guerre "Seelan".[9][10] Seelan was a close friend and confidante of LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran.[9][11] Whilst Prabhakaran was India, Seelan, together with Mahattaya and Ragu, were in charge of the LTTE in Sri Lanka.[12][13] Later Seelan served as military chief of the LTTE.[12] Seelan is credited with transforming the LTTE into the leading Tamil militant group.[9]

The first attack on the army by Tamil militants took place on 15 October 1981 when the LTTE ambushed an army jeep the KKS Road in Jaffna and Seelan shot dead two soldiers (H. G. W. Hewawasam and H. M. P. Thisera).[4][5] Seelan is also beloved to have been responsible for the shooting dead of Sivashanmugamoorthy (alias Sundaram), deputy leader of People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam and editor of the Puthiya Pathai (New Way) magazine, at the Chitra Press in Jaffna on 2 January 1982.[4][14]

On 27 October 1982 Seelan led a group LTTE cadres (Aruna, Bashir Kaka Mahattaya, Pulendran, Raghu, Santhosam and Shankar) who attacked the police station in Chavakachcheri, killing three police officers (Kandiah, Karunanandan and Tilakaratne) and stealing a large amount of arms and ammunition.[4][15][16] Seelan was seriously wounded after being shot in the knee.[4][15][16] He was driven to the house of University of Jaffna lecturer M. Niththyanandan and his wife Nirmala in Jaffna for medical treatment.[15][16] He was then moved to Tamil Nadu for further medical treatment and didn't return to Sri Lanka until February 1983.[4][15][16][17] Niththyanandan and Nirmala were arrested on 18 November 1982.[15][16]

On 6 July 1983 a group of LTTE cadres, including Seelan and Sellakili (Sathasivam Chelvanayakam), stole five exploders from Kankesanthurai Cement Factory.[18][19] J. G. Balthazar, the commander of the Sri Lankan security forces in the north, received a tip-off from a police officer on 15 July 1983 that Seelan, the most wanted Tamil militant after Prabhakaran, was operating from a house in a coconut grove at Meesalai near Chavakachcheri.[5][8][19][20][21] As the army arrived at the house that evening, Seelan and three other LTTE cadres (Anand, Aruna and Ganesh) fled on bicycles.[20][22] As the soldiers pursued the LTTE cadres and opened fire, Seelan, who was handicapped by the injuries sustained at Chavakachcheri police station, abandoned his bicycle and ran through a paddy field.[22] The soldiers continued the pursuit and kept firing, killing Anand and injuring Seelan in the knee.[5][8][20] As Aruna went to help Seelan, who was struggling to keep up, Seelan asked Aruna to shoot him and escape.[5][20] Aruna protested but Seelan ordered him to shoot.[5][20] Aruna placed the barrel of his rifle on Seelan's forehead and shot him dead before escaping in a hijacked car.[5][8][20][22]

The LTTE ambush on the army on 23 July 1983 which killed 15 soldiers and several LTTE members is believed to have been revenge for Seelan's death.[9][23] This in turn resulted in the Black July anti-Tamil riots and full scale civil war.[9]

The Charles Anthony Brigade was named after Seelan.[11][24] Prabhakaran's eldest son Charles Anthony was also named after Seelan.[2][24][25] A memorial to Seelan and a children's park named after Seelan were built at Meesalai-Allarai.[2][11] After the Sri Lankan military re-captured the Thenmarachchi region in 1995 they destroyed the memorial and children's park.[2][11] The memorial was re-built in 2003 during the Norwegian mediated Cease Fire Agreement.[2][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "லெப். சீலன் , வீரவேங்கை ஆனந் வீரவணக்கம்". Eelam View. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Lt. Seelan commemoration held in Trincomalee". TamilNet. 15 July 2003. 
  3. ^ Ferdinando, Shamindra (3 June 2013). "Black July 1983: A new perspective". The Island (Sri Lanka). 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Swamy, M. R. Narayan (1995). Tigers of Lanka From Boys to Guerrillas. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Pathirana, Leel (24 July 2010). "The 13- an outbreak of the thirty years long war in Sri Lanka". Asian Tribune. 
  6. ^ "Charles Anthony remembered". TamilNet. 16 July 2002. 
  7. ^ "Book on Charles Anthony Brigade released". TamilNet. 24 October 2003. 
  8. ^ a b c d Perera, Amantha (27 July 2008). "The Four Four Bravo attack". The Sunday Leader. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Sambandan, V. S. (16 July 2003). "LTTE observes military commander's death anniversary". The Hindu. 
  10. ^ "Lt.Seelan remembered in Muttur east". TamilNet. 16 July 2006. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "LTTE to commemorate anniversary of Lt. Seelan’s death". TamilNet. 14 July 2003. 
  12. ^ a b Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (8 May 2015). "Defeat of LTTE and Demise of Tiger Leader Prabhakaran in May 2009". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 
  13. ^ Richards, Joanne. "An Institutional History of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)" (PDF). Staatssekretariat für Migration/Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies/The Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding. p. 14. 
  14. ^ Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 27: Horsewhip Amirthalingham". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 28: Prelude to eruption". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "Tamil Prisoners’ Masacre ‘83 – A Horror revisited by M. Nithyanandan, one of the 19 survivors". Asian Tribune. 26 July 2004. 
  17. ^ Taraki (6 October 1996). "LTTE has own 'medical corps'". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 
  18. ^ Sabaratnam, T. "Chapter 37: Heroic Death of Seelan". Pirapaharan. 
  19. ^ a b Dissanayake, T. D. S. A. (2004). War or Peace in Sri Lanka. Popular Prakshan. p. 55. ISBN 81-7991-199-3. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f Amarasingam, Amarnath (2015). Pain, Pride, and Politics: Social Movement Activism and the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Canada. University of Georgia Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-8203-4812-4. 
  21. ^ Swamy, M. R. Narayan (28 September 2003). "Headlong into uncharted territory". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 
  22. ^ a b c Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 29: Prisoners massacred". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story. 
  23. ^ Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 57: Kittu, the LTTE legend". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story. 
  24. ^ a b Richards, Joanne. "An Institutional History of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)" (PDF). Staatssekretariat für Migration/Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies/The Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding. p. 20. 
  25. ^ Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 31: Indira Gandhi - a casualty of terror". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story. 

External links[edit]