The Tamil veteran leader, late Appapillai Amirthalingham is to be remembered in London, on his 82nd birthday. Late Amirthalingham who first contested unsuccessfully as an Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi(Federal Party) candidate at Vaddukoddai in 1952, and he continued to lead the Sri Lankan Tamils since his untimely demise in 1989. He was the General Secretary of the Tamil United Liberation Front and was the Leader opposition from 1977 to 1983 in the Sri Lanka parliament.
The July violence of 1983 and the sixth amendment to the constitution led to the TULF boycotting parliament, thereby rendering their seats vacant.
Amirthalingham, an eloquent orator, but never either practiced or preached violence and terror. He believed steadfastly in ahimsa - nonviolence.
Because of his unwavering non-violence stance, he won the wrath of the terrorists’ leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
After the Indo-Lanka accord of 1987, the TULF contested elections to parliament again in 1989. Amirthalingham himself contested in the Batticaloa electoral district. He lost. But he managed to enter parliament as the nominated national list MP in what was then considered a controversial move.
In 1989 July, assassins sent by the terrorists’ leader Prabhakaran killed him in his official residence in Colombo.
He along with former TULF Jaffna MP. V. Yogeswaran were gunned down in cold blood. TULF president M. Sivasithamparam was too wounded seriously in the incident.Prabhakaran after assassinating Amirthalingham decreed that no Remembrance Day ceremonies of Amirthalingham should be held in the North and East of Sri Lanka, as well as in any Western capitals by the Tamil diaspora.
This time, the London branch of the TULF has organized a memorial lecture on 31st August, at the Indian YMCA hall, located in London.The keynote address is to be delivered by Rauff Hakeem M.P., who is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.- Asian Tribune -