Courtesy of The Hindu, 24 November 2013
The Sri Lankan police have arrested and handed over Jeyabalan – a Jaffna-born Norwegian actor-poet– to the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Mr. Jeyabālan, who made a mark in Kollywood with his performance in Aadukalam, was reportedly engaged in political work in the Northern Province, while on a tourist visa. Police spokesperson Ajith Rohana told The Hindu on Saturday that Mr. Jeyabālan was arrested in Mankulam on Friday for propagating “extremist views.”
Editorial Note: Jeyabālan is a Sri Lankan and lived in the Wellawatte area in colombo in 1995/96 where I consulted him in writing an article on the Tiger cult of suicide for cause –in effect uyirāyutham— that had been initiated by the example of Ponnudurai Sivakumāran of Urimpurai who swallowed cyanide when he was cornered and about to be arrested in 1974. Note that Sivakumāran was not a member of TNT then. His funeral was commemorated by a hartal; while senior Tamil politicians who attended were abused and slapped by some youth. See Roberts: “Filial Devotion in Tamil Culture and the Tiger Cult of Martyrdom,” Contributions to Indian Sociology, 30: 245-272.
A copy of artwork poster was kindly given to me by the Tamil Information Centre
in London. This artwork says that there is a “changing of the guard” in process: the youth such as Sivakumāran will displace Chelvanāyakam.
Sivakumāran was one of the early militants and committed suicide by cyanide when cornered by a police unit in 1974. A hartāl marked his funeral at Urimpurai and a prophetic plaque indicating that there was an impending “changing of the guard’” in Tamil leadership circulated in some circles. An enormous crowd attended his funeral at Urimpurai and leading Tamil politicians were humiliated with assaults by slipper when they visited his home (Roberts 1996). A statue was erected in his memory and became the focus of symbolic struggles as armed forces surreptitiously knocked it down. The political significance of such statements was realised and depicted in an article in the National Geographic in 1979.