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Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front
Tamil name ஈழமக்கள் புரட்சிகர விடுதலை முன்னணி
Founder K. "Ranjan" Padmanaba, Varatharajah Perumal
Secretary Suresh Premachandran (Suresh wing)
T. Sritharan (Padmanaba wing)
Founded 1980
Split from Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students
Headquarters 85/9 Pokuna Road, Hendala, Wattala (Suresh wing)
15C Summit Flats, Keppetipola Mawatha, Colombo 07 (Padmanaba wing)
Ideology Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism
National affiliation Tamil National Alliance (Suresh wing)
Democratic Tamil National Alliance (Padmanaba wing)
Election symbol
Flower (Suresh wing)
Candle (Padmanaba wing)
eprlf.net (Padmanaba wing)
Political parties

The Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) is a Sri Lankan political party and a former militant separatist group.

Militant separatists[edit | edit source]

The EPRLF was formed in 1980 by K. Pathmanaba (Padmanaba),Douglas Devananda,Suresh Premachandran and Varatharajah Perumal as a breakaway faction of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students.[1] In 1982 the EPRLF formed a military wing, People's Liberation Army, headed by Douglas Devananda. The PLA is believed to have received military training by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

In early 1986 disputes amongst the EPRLF leadership led to it splitting into two factions: EPRLF (Ranjan) and EPRLF (Douglas).

In late 1986 the Tamil Tigers attacked the EPRLF, inflicting a heavy losses.[2] Many of its cadres were killed or taken prisoner and its camps and weapons were seized by the Tigers. Douglas Devananda was blamed for the debacle.

In 1987 the EPRLF (Douglas) faction formally split from the EPRLF. It initially formed the Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front with a breakaway faction of the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam led by Paranthan Rajan, but later transformed itself into the Eelam People's Democratic Party.[3]

Political party[edit | edit source]

After its military defeat by the Tamil Tigers the EPRLF transformed itself into political party and allied itself with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) who were occupying much of Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka.

The EPRLF's first foray into politics came in the flawed 1988 provincial council elections. With the assistance of IPKF the EPRLF secured 41 of the 71 seats on the North Eastern Provincial Council.[4] On 10 December 1988 Varatharajah Perumal became the first Chief Minister of the North Eastern Provincial Council.[5]

The EPRLF formed an alliance with the Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front, Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization and Tamil United Liberation Front to contest the 1989 parliamentary elections. The alliance won 188,593 votes (3.40%), securing 10 of the 225 seats in Parliament. 7 of the 10 alliance MPs were from the EPRLF.

On 1 March 1990, just as the IPKF were preparing to withdraw from Sri Lanka, Varatharajah Permual moved a motion in the North Eastern Provincial Council declaraing an independent Eelam.[6] President Premadasa reacted to Permual's UDI by dissolving the provincial council and imposing direct rule on the province. The EPRLF's leadership fled to Madras (now Chennai), India.[7]

On 19 June 1990 the Tamil Tigers attacked an EPRLF meeting in Madras, murdering thirteen EPRLF members including leader K. Padmanaba, Jaffna District MP G. Yogasangari and former North Eastern Province Finance Minister P. Kirubakaran.[8]

In 1997, after the Sri Lankan military had recaptured the Jaffna peninsula from the Tamil Tigers, the EPRLF re-opened its Jaffna office.[9] It took part in the 1998 local elections held in the peninsula and was able to win 13,140 votes (14.35%), winning 25 seats across 11 local councils.[10]

The party broke into two factions in 1999 when its General Secretary Kandaiah "Suresh" Premachandran made a deal with the Tamil Tigers.[9] The majority of the party formed the EPRLF (Varathar) wing under the leadership of Varatharajah Perumal whilst the rest formed the EPRLF (Suresh) wing under the leadership of Suresh Premachandran.[11] Crucially Suresh had control of most of the EPRLF's assets as well as its name (as registered with the Sri Lankan Department of Elections).[9]

Suresh wing[edit | edit source]

The Suresh wing joined other pro-Tamil Tiger parties in 2001 to form the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Varathar wing / Padmanaba wing[edit | edit source]

The Varathar wing has restyled itself as the Padmanaba wing, after its murdered leader. It is registered as a political party with the Sri Lankan Department of Elections under the name of Padmanaba Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front.[12] In 2008 it joined with other anti-Tamil Tiger parties to form the Tamil Democratic National Alliance (later restyled Democratic Tamil National Alliance) to contest provincial and local elections.

The wing's defacto leader (Varatharajah Perumal is in exile in India) Kandiah "Robert" Subathiran was murdered on 14 June 2003.[13] The wing's current General Secretary (and defacto leader) is Thirunavukkarasu Sritharan (Sridharan).[14]

Paramilitary group[edit | edit source]

There have been repeated allegations that various factions of the EPRLF, despite their claim to have given up violence, operate armed wings which have worked with the IPKF and Sri Lankan Army. A group composed of former EPRLF cadres known as Razeek Group works along with the Sri Lankan Army as a paramilitary group in activities against the Tamil Tigers in the Batticaloa region. They have also been accused of indulging in massacres, kidnappings and torture [15]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sri Kantha, Sachi (5 May 2006). "Celebrating the LTTE's 30th Anniversary". Ilankai Tamil Sangam. http://sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/05-05_LTTE_30th.php?uid=1720. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  2. "The Snares of Violence". University Teachers for Human Rights. http://www.uthr.org/Reports/Report1/Appendix1.htm. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  3. DBS Jeyaraj (22 November 2001). "The Douglas Devananda phenomenon". The Sunday Leader, Sri Lanka. http://www.sangam.org/ANALYSIS_ARCHIVES/Jeyaraj_11_22_01.htm. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  4. "Election Results". December 1988. p. 4. ISSN 0266-4488. 
  5. K T Rajasingham (20 April 2002). "Sri Lanka" The Untold Story". Asia Times. http://www.atimes.com/ind-pak/DD20Df03.html. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  6. Shamindra Ferdinando (10 September 2000). "I'm no traitor, says Perumal". Sunday Island, Sri Lanka. http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/features/20000912no_traitor.htm. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  7. T.S. SUBRAMANIAN (15 November 1997). "PADMANABHA MURDER CASE: End of a trial". The Hindu. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1423/14231260.htm. 
  8. T.S. SUBRAMANIAN (14 August 1999). "SRI LANKA: Chronicle of murders". The Hindu. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1617/16171020.htm. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "The Murder of T. Subathiran : Sri Lanka’s End Game". University Teachers for Human Rights. 15 June 2003. http://www.uthr.org/Statements/Subathiran.htm. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  10. "Election commissioner releases results". TamilNet. 30 January 1998. http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=814. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  11. DBS Jeyaraj (5 July 2003). "The killing spree". The Hindu. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2014/stories/20030718006713000.htm. 
  12. "Political Parties". Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. http://www.slelections.gov.lk/pp.html. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  13. "EPRLF Varathar wing senior member shot dead in Jaffna". TamilNet. 14 June 2003. http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?artid=9205&catid=13. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  14. Kamalendran, Chris (26 August 2007). "Government sidelines Karuna, promotes new front in East". Sunday Times, Sri Lanka. http://sundaytimes.lk/070826/News/nws1.html. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  15. Another human bomb

External links[edit | edit source]

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