Uma Maheswaran

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Uma Maheswaran
Uma Maheswaran.jpg
Native name உமாமகேசுவரன்
Born K. Nallainathan
(1945-02-18)18 February 1945
Died 16 July 1989(1989-07-16) (aged 44)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Other names Mukundan
Occupation Surveyor
Years active –1989
Organization People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam

Kadirgamapillai (Kathirkamar) Nallainathan (Tamil: க. உமாமகேசுவரன்; 18 February 1945 – 16 July 1989; commonly known by the nom-de-guerre Uma Maheswaran) was a Sri Lankan Tamil rebel and founder/leader of the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), a separatist Tamil militant organisation in Sri Lanka.

Early life[edit]

Maheswaran was born on 18 February 1945 and was from Varuthalaivilan near Tellippalai in northern Sri Lanka.[1][2] He worked for the government as a surveyor.[2][3][4]


Maheswaran joined the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1977.[5] The LTTE gave him the nome-de-guerre Mukundan.[5] He was chairman of the LTTE's central committee from 1977 to 1980.[3] He received military training in Lebanon and Syria.[6][7] Maheswaran and LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran were blamed for the shooting of MP M. Canagaratnam on 24 January 1978.[2][8] In 1982 A Sri Lankan court sentenced Maheswaran, in absentia, to 15 years rigorous imprisonment for the attempted murder.[9][10]

Maheswaran fell out with Prabhakaran and in 1980 he left the organisation.[11]


After leaving the LTTE, Maheswaran founded the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE).[12] On the night of 19 May 1982 Maheswaran along fellow PLOTE members Jotheeswaran and Sivaneswaran (Nirnajan) were involved in a shootout with Prabhakaran and Raghavan (Sivakumar) of the LTTE at the Pondy bazaar in Thiyagarayanagar, Madras, India.[13][14][15] Jotheeswaran was injured and hospitalised but Maheswaran and Sivaneswaran escaped.[16] Maheswaran was arrested near Gummidipoondi railway station on 25 May 1982 after a shoot out with the police but was later bailed.[17] Maheswaran and PLOTE carried out bank robberies and kidnappings to finance their activities.[3] Maheswaran's actions led to divisions within PLOTE and number of splinter groups were formed including the Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front (ENDLF). Maheswaran dealt harshly with dissension and is alleged to have carried out 38 murders.[3]

Maheswaran was involved in the failed 1988 Maldives Coup.[11] On 16 July 1989 Maheswaran was abducted by six men in Colombo.[18] His bullet ridden body was later found on Frankfurt Place, Bambalapitiya near the Maldivian High Commission.[19] The ENDLF, an Indian backed offshoot of PLOTE, claimed responsibility for the assassination.[20] Some sources blamed the assassination on disgruntled members of PLOTE.[21][22]


  1. ^ Schalk, Peter. "The Revival of Martyr Cults among Ilavar". Tamil Nation. 
  2. ^ a b c Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 25: War or peace?". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story. 
  3. ^ a b c d Wilson, A. Jeyaratnam (2000). Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: Its Origins and Development in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. C. Hurst & Co. p. 127. ISBN 1-85065-519-7. 
  4. ^ Wilson, A. Jeyaratnam (1988). The Break-up of Sri Lanka: The Sinhalese-Tamil Conflict. C. Hurst & Co. p. 217. ISBN 1-85065-033-0. 
  5. ^ a b "Early Tamil Militancy". Tamil Nation. 
  6. ^ "Jain Commission Interim Report: Growth of Sri Lankan Tamil Militancy in Tamil Nadu Background - Sections 5 to 13". Tamil Nation. 
  7. ^ Perera, K. K. S. (3 November 2013). "25 years on: Aborted coup in the Maldives - Liberators turn Mercenaries in Male". The Nation. 
  8. ^ Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 27: Horsewhip Amirthalingham". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story. 
  9. ^ "Uma Maheswaran Sentenced to 15 Years" (PDF). Tamil Times. I (9): 3. June 1982. 
  10. ^ Sambandan, V. S. (14 November 2002). "LTTE chief faces arrest?". The Hindu. 
  11. ^ a b Asokan, N. (26 February 2012). "The Failed Coup". The Sunday Indian. 
  12. ^ Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (5 April 1985). "How strong are the "boys"?". Frontline. 2. 
  13. ^ ""Tigers" Shoot It Out in Streets of S. India". Tamil Times. I (8): 1. May 1982. 
  14. ^ Senadhira, Sugeeswara (16 May 2010). "Nine lives of Tiger Supremo". The Sunday Times. 
  15. ^ Rajasingham, K. T. (24 December 2002). "LTTE use of donor funds for arms will not be tolerated — Chandrahasan". The Island. 
  16. ^ Subramani, A. (25 November 2012). "Case against Prabhakaran closed 3 years after his death". Ceylon Today. 
  17. ^ "1982 shooting: case against LTTE leader Prabhakaran dropped". The Hindu. 24 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Uma Maheswaran Murdered" (PDF). Tamil Times. VIII (8): 4. July 1989. ISSN 0266-4488. 
  19. ^ Ferdinando, Shamindra (3 February 2013). "Premadasa's plan goes awry as JVP opens up new front". The Island. 
  20. ^ Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 36: Indians rule the roost". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story. 
  21. ^ Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (15 May 2005). "From gun to pen - II". The Sunday Leader. 
  22. ^ Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 39: Amirthalingham eliminated". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story.