Shanmugalingam Sivashankar

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Shanmugalingam Sivashankar
Born 1962
Nallur, Jaffna , Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan
Other names Pottu Amman
Ethnicity Tamil
Occupation Tamil militant
Known for Military expertise
LTTE Intelligence
Leader of the Black Tigers
Leader of the SpyTigers (TOSIS)

Shanmugalingam Sivashankar (Tamil: சண்முகலிங்கம் சிவசங்கரன், also known as Pottu Amman (Tamil: பொட்டு அம்மன் is a Sri Lankan Tamil militant.[1] He was indicted by the Indian government's Jain Commission for involvement in the assassination of the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Personal life[edit]

Shanmugalingam Sivashankar is an "introvert," who is rarely seen in public and is known to the public by his nom de guerre rather than by his real name. He has a wife and three children, whose whereabouts is unknown. He is a hardliner in favour of an independent Tamil Eelam.


Pottu Amman joined LTTE in 1981 along with Colonel Soosai, and became second in LTTE's military wing after leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Pottu Amman was trained and was the head of a coastal camp in Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu. He also became the leader of the Black Tigers force and Tiger Organization Security Intelligence Service (TOSIS). He was once kidnapped by rival PLOTE cadres and later freed in 1985 in exchange for another PLOTE member.[2] Pottu Amman is known for his military expertise.[3]

Black Tigers[edit]

Pottu Amman was responsible for training Black Tigers for missions which kill them. Most notably, this occurred was when former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a woman Tiger who was allegedly raped by the IPKF. Another attack was against President Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was killed when a Black Tiger blew himself up also killing 23 bystanders on May Day. He is also believed to have been in charge of planning the LTTE's covert operations and being largely involved in the planning of LTTE's successful military operations.


Tiger Organization Security Intelligence Service was also run by Pottu Amman. He would send out cadres to check up in places like Colombo and see what the Sri Lankan Government were planning against the Tigers. He was responsible for getting documents for such attacks from the Sri Lankan Army. Once it took Pottu Amman and other officers one year to attack a base as they had to research what weapons the Sri Lankan Army had, what their military strength was and how many soldiers were there.

Rumoured death[edit]

Sources close to LTTE's overseas operation recently stated that Pottu Amman was safely escaped with his loyalties and is currently living in an African country. For his safety the details of how he escaped and where he resides are kept secret. There had been rumors that a rocket hit the ambulance he was riding, along with Velupillai Prabhakaran after a two-hour firefight in Vellamullivaikkal, 18 May 2009. What was claimed to be the Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's body was found in a mangrove island of Nanthikadal lagoon on the following day. Although all other Tiger leaders' bodies were identified, Sri Lanka Army was unable to identify the body of Pottu Amman among ten thousands of bodies decomposed beyond identification. Sri Lanka Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka later claimed that "he [Pottu Amman] is well and truly dead" as there had been no way out for him due to tight security around the area the last battle of Vellamullivaikkal fought.[4] The Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was also quoted as claiming with more questions arising on Pottu Amman saying that he is "100% sure" that Pottu Amman is dead.

Initially this was believed to be true although there was independent verification only from Government officials and not from within the warzone. However, the Sri Lankan government's reluctance to give a plausible account of the supposed death of Pottu Amman and Interpol's[5] decision to put him back onto the wanted list suggests Pottu Amman is still alive.[6]

See also[edit]

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