Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2584

Maheswary Velayutham remembered in Canada - a prey to LTTE child soldiers

Toronto, 26 May, ( Glowing tribute was paid to the memory of the assassinated Human Rights Activist Maheswary Velayutham in Toronto. The memorial meeting was held at 31 Glen Watford in Scarborough, Canada on May 24, 2008. The meeting was organized by the Canadian Democratic Tamil Cultural Association. The meeting was attended by a large gathering, including Maheswary’s relatives.

Maheswary Velayutham was killed at her home in Karaveddy while caring for her ailing mother on her death bed, on May 13, 2008 by LTTE assassins. Speaker after speaker recalled her courage and the selfless services she rendered to the Tamil people for over 30 years of her political and social activism.Maheswary VelayuthamMaheswary Velayutham

Speakers related so many incidents where the media, HR organizations and NGO’s laid the groundwork for the dirty work of the Tigers by not putting the situation in proper perspective and accused them of appeasing or working for the Tigers.

Sam Rajendran who presided over the meeting said, “Though we see the act of brutally murdering Maheswary Velayutham as irrational, it is perfectly rational from the point of view of the fascist LTTE. Why do we say that the LTTE is a fascist organization? Because LTTE perfectly fits the definition of fascism. The fundamental characteristics of fascism are extreme right wing nationalism to the extent of glorifying war and use of violence to impose views on others. LTTE killed Maheswary Velayutham because it doesn’t tolerate alternative views, pluralism, or multiparty democracy. Its goal is absolute power over the Tamil people. Many didn’t realize that all along, the struggle for Tamil rights vis-à-vis the Sri Lankan State was also accompanied by a parallel campaign to subjugate the Tamil people by the Tigers. Quasi Tamil fascist state machinery was in the making. In fascism, state = society.

Today, Tamil public life is totally controlled by the LTTE – even in the Diaspora. No community activity whatsoever whether politics, art, religion, sports, literature, business or media can take place without the blessing of the LTTE. LTTE wants to rule the Tamils in the North and East. The so-called Tamil cause is only a tool for them in their pursuit of political power. That is why so many reasonable practical proposals to solve the ethnic conflict were rejected by the LTTE. LTTE would rather have the war going than settle for some form of democratic solution based on elections, multi-party system, pluralism, human rights, free media etc. Any solution to the ethnic problem will by necessity entail democracy.

But the LTTE cannot survive in a democratic environment. So its policy is all or nothing. Tamil people’s welfare is not a consideration at all for the Tigers. Rather the Tigers are fighting for their own survival today. Therefore, we have to make a clear distinction between the interest of the LTTE and the aspiration of the Tamil people. LTTE does not represent the Tamils’ interest.

Another fallacy being circulated by Tiger apologists is that number one enemy of the Tamils is Sri Lankan State. The problem of the LTTE can be dealt with after dealing with enemy number one. But the root cause of the problem in Sri Lanka is the ethnic conflict.

But, the root cause of our inability to find a solution to this conflict is LTTE. Therefore, the LTTE is part of the problem. Finally, in this context the role of the media, NGO’s and Human Rights organizations needs to be carefully scrutinized. First, we must realize that Human Rights organizations, NGO’s and peace building is a lucrative business that came in the wake of intensification of the ethnic conflict. In Sri Lanka, the basic problem is these organizations need equal acceptance by both the government and the LTTE to be able to function in the country.

So they equate GOSL and the Tigers in their condemnation of the HR violations. But such equating is irresponsible and immoral. These organizations are only telling half-truths. By not putting the situation in the proper perspective, they are only helping the LTTE orchestrate more killings of innocent civilians. Because the Tigers know that a knee-jerk reaction from HR organizations is the only way to avoid their total defeat. The ongoing ethnic conflict has led to a proliferation of media both in Sri Lanka and in the Diaspora.

But unfortunately most of them are not journalists in true sense of the world. For example, the Tamil media in the Diaspora has not reported the killing of Maheswary Velayutham. They have not even mentioned the recent revelations of the Canadian authorities about the fact that WTM and the LTTE are one and the same. Only a society that has morally declined to the lowest level can justify killings of people who have alternative views.

But this is exactly what the pro Tiger media is doing both in Sri Lanka and abroad. They even go to the extent of laying the ground work by depicting the targeted victims in a negative manner. Of course, the Sri Lankan government is also responsible for some killings. But the Sri Lankan State has not gone down to the level of Tigers to justify the killings. They may deny their role in the killings. As Tamils, we are ashamed that our so-called leaders and their media continue to justify the killings of innocent civilians.

It is our moral duty as a community to loudly proclaim that we do not condone this injustice. We should all rise together to voice our total denunciation of such brutality.”

Balaguru (Maheswary’s relative) traced family’s commitment to serving the community and the contribution that the family made for the cause of the Tamils.

Mahendran, recalled what Maheswary’s brother had said about taking his sister who was safe in the South to her home village Karaveddy in Jaffna, where she was killed by her very own people in the North. He said that the 12 year old boy who identified Maheswary to her assassin had been brain washed and used by the fascist LTTE. We as Tamils should be ashamed of this gun culture being imposed on the children who are also victims. The children present in the house where Maheswary was killed were terrorized and they are having nightmares.

Next Maheswary’s niece spoke of her experience while traveling to Madrid, Spain where Maheswary attended a UNICEF conference. She said she was very proud to see her aunt’s presentation at the conference. She also said the family is grieving for her aunt, who was a good person.

Davidson, who had known her since 1982, gave a detailed account of Maheswary’s public life. Maheswary started her public life in 1977, when she was a member of the Federal Party women’s wing. She also worked along with Devananda at the Tamil Refugees Rehabilitation Organization (TRRO, not the present TRO of the Tigers) formed by the trade unionist K.C.Nithyananada. In early 80s, she contributed as a lawyer in getting the youths released.

Davidson also said that when he was detained in 1980, she also did her part and raised her voice with the legal team which got me released. He mentioned that none of the prominent Tamil lawyers would take up the cases of the youth without asking for their fees first. She also got many Tamil Tigers released from the Sri Lankan prisons. In 1990, when 13 EPRLF members including Pathmanabha, Secretary General of EPRLF was killed by the LTTE in Tamil Nadu, and when the EPRLF members were devastated not knowing what to do next, Maheswary Velayutham came forward and helped them. She approached the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and organized the funeral of the EPRLF members. She helped all the Tamil movements without any discrimination.

In 1994 Maheswary accepted EPDP Secretary General Douglas Devananda’s invitation to come home and work for her people in her motherland and she accompanied him to Sri Lanka. In Colombo Maheswary formed the Forum for Human Dignity and started working for her in people in Sri Lanka.

A woman who has worked over 30 years for her people was killed by a 12 year old Tamil boy. This is like a son killing his own mother. Using a child to kill its own mother shows the cowardice and inhuman nature of the Tiger Leadership.

The Tamil community should come forward to condemn this heinous crime. Till today not a single Law Association, Human Rights Organizations nor the so called women’s organizations, which make so much noise for nothing are silent. This shows that the LTTE had killed Maheswary Velayutham. Only one brave woman, Rajeswary Balasubramanim had openly condemned the killing. At this time I would like to commend her courage. The rest of the women and public should follow her footsteps and condemn any form of killing in our community.

He also said that there have been many women like Rajani Thiranagama, who had worked for their people. But they were not spared by the LTTE for long. But Maheswary Velayutham was able to serve for more than 30 years and more than 14 years in Sri Lanka.

She was able to do so by choosing to work with the EPDP. Often the intellectuals are not accommodated in any political party for a long period of time. But in Maheswary’s case EPDP was very accommodative of Maheswary’s work and she was able to serve the people freely. She will be written in golden letters in our history as the first woman who had fought for the rights of our people for a long time with charisma, leadership and multi-faceted qualities. We have lost our “Peace Dove”. We have to work towards the “Dawn of North” just like the “Dawn of East” which was staged as the Provincial Council on the day she was cremated.

Nadarajah Master called for a radical change in our thinking. We have lost so many leaders and we Tamils have been living in the dark for more than 20 years. When our leader Amirthalingam was killed, we could not remember him in Toronto, but now things have changed and we are able to remember the people who have served our people.

Lenin said that the only terrorist leader who relishes being photographed with suicide killers and getting it published in the media is Pirabaharan. He asked what moral rights the NGO’s and HR organizations have to ask the Tamil people to live under such a maniac. The NGO’s are doing these things as many of them have a hidden political agenda. There is no accountability for their actions. At least, the governments have to face the people from time to time. The NGO’s have a field day as there is no mechanism to monitor them. Lenin said that these NGO’s do not even hesitate to put the blame on other groups when the real culprits are the Tigers. He also found fault with the NGO’s and HR organizations for not condemning the killings by the Tigers and thanked the Tamil Democratic parties for condemning the killing of Maheswary. He also thanked everyone for sacrificing a sunny Saturday in Toronto and coming to this meeting to remember a brave woman, Maheswary Velayutham.

The meeting was concluded by the CDTA President, appealing to the Diaspora and the Sri Lankans to condemn the killings of the fascist LTTE and not to be silent.

- Asian Tribune -

Share this