Today marks the 67th birth anniversary of Tamil human rights activist Rajini Thiranagama who was assassinated by the LTTE in September 1989 after she criticised them for their atrocities.
At the time of her assassination, she was the head of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Jaffna and an active member of University Teachers for Human Rights, the Jaffna branch of which she is one of the founding members.
A determined idealist, she criticised the narrow nationalism of the LTTE, and the atrocities committed by the LTTE, the Indian Peace Keeping Force and the Sri Lankan government forces upon the innocent Tamil civilian population in Jaffna. She began to collect evidence of human rights violations of IPKF and LTTE. At the University of Jaffna, Rajani and some of her teacher colleagues founded the Jaffna branch of the University Teachers for Human Rights.
Having witnessed the evidence of human rights violations by the IPKF and LTTE, Rajini co-authored a book entitled The Broken Palmyra which documented the violence in Jaffna in the 1980s.
Posting on his social media page in remembrance of his wife, Dayapala Thiranagama said.
“Rajini was born on a day like today (23/02/1954). If Rajini was alive today this would be her 67th birthday. However, on September 21, 1989, she was brutally shot dead on the way home from the Medical Faculty in Kokuvil, Jaffna. She was just 35 when she was killed.
Rajani relentlessly criticized the LTTE’s atrocities as well as their gross violation of basic human rights, including the right to life. Although Rajini was well aware of the brutality of the LTTE, Rajini was not prepared to back down in the face of justice and fairness. We pay homage to her brave and courageous short life by realizing that it is still difficult to find words to describe the painful lives we went through as a family after losing her.”