Kilinochchi - LTTE’s ‘Waterloo’
An interview with TULF President V. Anandasangaree:
United Liberation Front leader Veerasingam Anandasangaree represented
Kilinochchi for more than a decade in Parliament since 1970. It was
during his period in 1977 Kilinochchi was established as a separate
district. He described that LTTE’s `jungle law’ prevailed since 1995 in
Kilinochchi with its police and courts until the region was liberated by
the Security Forces with the dawn of 2009.
The TULF leader while praising the gallant soldiers liberating
Kilinochchi, recollects his days in the region which he calls the
`region of reservoirs’. Here the excerpts of the interview with V.
Q: How did you feel when you first heard the news that the Security
Forces had regained your former constituency Kilinochchi from the
clutches of the LTTE?
A: I was extremely happy. I represented Kilinochchi for more than a
decade in Parliament since 1970. Prior to that I served as the Chairman
of the Town Council of the region. So I played an important role in
Therefore, now I am very happy to see that my electorate is now
liberated from the barbarians-the LTTE. I believe the Security Forces
will soon rescue my people from the areas where they have been virtually
imprisoned and used by the LTTE as human shields.
Q: Having represented Kilinochchi in Parliament for a lengthy period
how do you describe the region?
A: In the year 1960 Kilinochchi was established as a separate
electorate. Until then the area was part of the Chavakachcheri
electorate. I was elected for the first time as Member of Parliament for
Kilinochchi in 1970. The late K.P. Ratnam and the late V. Kumaraswamy
were my predecessors the Parliamentarians for Kilinochchi.
In 1977 Kilinochchi became a separate district.
Q: How do you describe the development activities that were carried
out in Kilinochchi?
A: There was hardly any human settlement prior to the early sixties.
Affluent people from Jaffna had their paddy lands in Kilinochchi. Sir
Ponnambalam Ramanathan had 100 acres of paddy land in Kilinochchi and it
was from the income gained from those paddy lands that he managed his
educational institutions Parameswara College (Now the University of
Jaffna) and the Ramanathan Ladies College in Jaffna.
It was during the British period that the giant Iranamadu tank was
built and several other reservoirs were renovated for cultivation. The
British also initiated the colonisation schemes by bringing people from
Industrial activities were launched with the chemical factory in
Paranthan. This factory which was setup in the mid fifties provided job
opportunities for hundreds of youth.
Salterns in Elephant Pass and Paranthan were also functioning
effectively. As sugarcane was cultivated in the region there was a
factory which produced jaggery.
Q: How did education fare in the area?
A: There was nothing significant as far as education was concerned.
Teachers from the outstations were reluctant to serve in the area as it
was considered a difficult area. There were around 70 schools. There was
also a Sinhala school.
However with the initiatives taken during my period as
Parliamentarian vigorous efforts were made in restructuring the
educational setup in Kilinochchi. For the first time in 1983 a girl from
my electorate entered the university for the arts stream. Thereafter,
there were students entering universities for other streams as well from
Q: How were the links between Kilinochchi and the South during your
A: It was enormous. The `Kilinochchi Pola’ (market) was very popular
among people from the South. Even from Galle, Matara and various other
parts from the south people came to the Kilinochchi Pola in lorries.
The Kilinochchi market remained a hub linking the North and the
South. The Southerners purchased chillies and onions along with other
agricultural products such as grapes and mangoes from Kilinochchi.
Even I had a vineyard of 20 acres in Kilinochchi. On the other hand
the southerners brought pepper, pineapples and other agricultural items
produced in the south.
Furniture and handicraft made in the South were also brought to the
Kilinochchi market. People came from South to the Kilinochchi pola, went
deep into the hamlets in Kilinochchi and there was good rapport.
There were bakeries and shops run by the Sinhalese in Kilinochchi. A
significant number of Sinhalese was serving in the Government offices in
Kilinochchi, Paranthan chemical factory and the salterns in Elephant
Pass. There was a Sinhala school and a Buddhist temple in Kilinochchi.
Q: What could you say about Elephant Pass and Pooneryn the areas,
part of Kilinochchi electorate?
A: Army camps were put up in the late fifties in Elephant Pass and
Pooneryn to stop illegal immigrants entering the Jaffna Peninsula and
Kilinochchi areas from South India.
Therefore, the Pooneryn and Elephant Pass army camps had a very few
men and they were on the look out for illegal immigrants and smuggling.
However, after militant activities began in the north, the strength of
the Elephant Pass and Pooneryn camps were increased with more men and
Q: How do you see the fall of the LTTE in Kilinochchi?
A: The law of the jungle prevailed in Kilinochchi for almost fifteen
years with the outfit establishing its own administration with its
police and courts. The LTTE took Lankans and the international community
for a ride for more than a decade from Kilinochchi. Ultimately
Kilinochchi became their `Waterloo’.
Q: You visited Kilinochchi when you were in the Tamil National
Alliance (TNA) and met LTTE leaders. How do you describe the meetings
you had with them when the Ceasefire Agreement was in place?
A: In fact as the head of the TNA then I thought I could play an
important role pushing them more towards the political mainstream and go
for a political settlement.
However, with my early meetings with the LTTE leadership I realised
that they were trying to use the TNA to carry out their own agenda. I
did not find anything healthy with regard to their political stance and
made a timely decision to keep away from the outfit.
Q: What do you think about the ban on the outfit by the Government?
A: The LTTE dug its own grave. They had enormous opportunities to do
constructive things politically. But they lost all the opportunities
which came to their doorsteps. Now they pay for the sins they committed.