S. P. Thamilselvan

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S. P. Thamilselvan
Born Suppayya Paramu Thamilselvan
August 29, 1967
Chavakacheri, Sri Lanka
Died November 2, 2007
Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka
Occupation Political leader of Tamil Tigers
Political party Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Spouse(s) Sasirekha
Children Alaimagal (12)
Oliventhan (8)

Suppayya Paramu Thamilselvan, commonly known as S. P. Tamilselvan, (sometimes transcribed as "Tamilchelvan"),[1] was the leader of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, an organisation fighting for a separate state for the ethnic Tamil minority in northern Sri Lanka from majority Sinhalese govt. He was a prominent negotiator and one of the closest associates of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.[2][3]


Thamilselvan, who was born in Chavakacheri, Jaffna in 1967, joined the LTTE in 1984,.[1][4] At one point, he was the personal bodyguard for the LTTE's leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran. He became the LTTE organisation area commander for Jaffna during the IPKF intervention in the late 1980s. In 1993, he suffered a shrapnel wound at the Punarin battle which left him with a permanent limp and since then he walked with the aid of a cane.[5] In 2001, he narrowly avoided being killed by the Sri Lankan Army's Deep Penetration Unit.

Thamilselvan began to rise in the movement after the capture of Jaffna city by government forces in the late 1990s. He was the international face of the separatist group led by Velupillai Prabhakaran and outlawed as a terrorist organisation by some countries. When Norway began mediating in the peace efforts, he began to become more prominent due to the worsening health of the LTTE's international spokesman, Anton Balasingham, and led the LTTE's delegation during peace talks in Geneva.


Thamilselvan, along with 5 other high ranking Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in sleep on November 2, 2007 by a precision air strike carried out by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) on an undisclosed location near the LTTE's stronghold town of Kilinochchi. Thamilselvan's fortified bunker was hit by Sri Lankan Bunker Blaster bombs of the SLAF fighter jets (mig 27, kfir), igniting fuel tanks stored inside and collapsing the structure.[6][7][8][9][10] The LTTE posthumously promoted Thamilselvan to Brigadier after his death, the first time the LTTE has award this rank.[11]

Widow and children

With the end of the Sri Lankan civil war and the defeat of LTTE, Thamilselvan's widow Sasirekha and two children surrendered to the government forces. From May 2009 to May 2011, they were kept under protective custody at a chalet in the Panagoda army cantonment. They were allowed to maintain "supervised" contact with close relatives. In May 2011, they were released under a restricted release order.[12]