Fourth Day – 18th Sept 1987
The journey of his sacrifice.
Thileepan Anna’s health was beginning to deteriorate and this was evident from the pulse rate of 110 the night before.
The news of Thileepan Anna’s hunger strike travelled across the globe and phone calls started coming from European countries such as Great Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and countries in the Middle East. Why? The news of the hunger strike caused an uprising in Tamil Nadu, India. Many country newspapers, including in Tamil Nadu had dedicated their headlines to the hunger strike in support of Thileepan Anna.
Thileepan Anna’s body seemed very weak. The scene of him withered and shrivelled up on his bed was devastating to watch. Despite this he delivered a speech to the people.
‘My beloved Tamil Eela people,
Before a flame goes out it shines bright. I can understand that I am also like this today. I can talk plenty today. Be ready to fight! Give me answers! Please do not ask me to give up on this fight. My leader and I made this joint decision. With the 650 martyrs, I will be the 651st one and will watch from above. Our lives will join yours. Do not worry about me. As my organs are losing their ability to function, I am aware that I will no longer be able to live on as a human. Our martyrs give their lives for our belief. They will follow me for our ambition. Do not stop them either. As a result of the death of 5 or 6 people no harm will be done. Let the Tamil peoples’ war erupt. I have spoken three times. All three times I have spoken with the same meaning.”
He slept throughout the whole night yesterday. Even when the clock struck nine in the morning he did not awake from his sleep. The “Naveenan” youngsters took turns to sit to his left and right and continuously fanned him.
Last night his pulse rate reached 110 beats per minute, his body has started to wither. The sun’s rays shone wide all over the earth.
His vitals were as follows:
Pulse rate: 120, Respiratory rate: 24.
Yes, his pulse rate was abnormally high. (Normal rates: Pulse rate: 72-80, respiratory rate: 16-22).
Not having consumed any water for four days it became clear the fluidity in his body had decreased. The volume and depth of the blood travelling to the heart and the lungs had decreased. Therefore, the heart and the lungs have started to overwork. Additionally, he had not passed urine over the last two days. If no urine is passed over the next two days kidney failure may begin to occur. If kidney failure were to occur it will also attack and shock the heart which could lead to death.
You could hear the prayers the people were making to the Nallur Murugan and the Amman at Naachimar temple.
Thileepan Anna woke after a long time, with a severe lack in energy to stand so he just laid. The grounds were constantly filled with people. People were continuously approaching the stage to see Thileepan Anna and then left…not a single person’s face was filled with happiness. Some mother’s couldn’t stand the terrible state of Thileepan Anna and cried inconsolably.
Father Singaraayar came to the stage to see Thileepan Anna, he was a Christian father who was imprisoned for several years and suffered numerous tortures. He also surprisingly managed to escape in 1983 when the Sinhalese brutally killed 52 Tamils in Welikada prison. Despite being a priest himself he cried at the helpless state of Thileepan Anna. He gently held Thileepan Anna’s hand. Thileepan Anna had a full hearted lengthy conversation with him despite his lack of health. The priest was well aware of Thileepan Anna’s stubbornness and determination. However, he still pleaded with Thileepan Anna to have a sip of water before continuing his hunger strike.
Thileepan Anna always admired and respected Father Singaraayar. But even so, he used his signature gentle smile as a response for his request and remained silent.
Once father Singaraayar had departed, the leader of EROS: Balakumar and the leader of the political wing of Jaffna: Para came. No matter which party someone belonged to no-one could treat them all the same as well as Thileepan Anna himself. They also compelled Thileepan Anna to drink some water at the very least. However they also received their reply with a silence.
Miss Kugasanthini and Mrs. Nallaiyya started their own fast unto death in support of Thileepan Anna. In addition there was news of 5 Tamils that had already started their own hunger strike in Valvettithurai in the newspapers. This evening the LTTE political consultant Kalanidhi Anton Balasingham met Thileepan Anna. He told Thileepan Anna how there was no reply from both the Indian Government and Indian diplomat. Yogi had also accompanied Anton Balasingham.
Yogi Anna was looking after all of Thileepan Anna’s affairs and responsibilities.
A few days prior, a one day-picketing was held by the public in front of all the camps condemning the Indian Peace Keeping Force’s discriminatory actions and the actions in favour of the Sinhalese army. Thileepan Anna spoke in front of the Jaffna Fort after ending the picketing there.
“A few centuries ago in this Jaffna Fort the Tamil flag flew high, which the Portuguese seized. From the Portuguese the Dutch and from them the British. Finally, the Sinhalese captured it from the British. The time for the Tiger flag to fly is not far away. In order to let that Tamil flag fly each one of us is sacrificing our lives. When will my part be…? Should be our question, positions are not important to us. Those that find positions to fulfil are not Tigers. There are other people here for that!”
Thileepan Anna started his fast unto death to give life to that prophecy. He was a great chess player. He won a lot of prizes during his school days. He must have known what move to make at what time in politics. It was entirely apt to begin the fast unto death to open the eyes of the Indian Peace Keeping Force who regarded non-violent peaceful protests.
If India wholeheartedly followed Gandhi’s footsteps then it must answer. Otherwise, it will not escape the eyes of the world.
Thileepan Anna’s blood pressure was measured without his knowledge.
Blood pressure reading: 100/65
Pulse Rate: 114
Respiratory rate: 25
What will India do? Why are they silent to Thileepan Anna’s ordinary demands, he isn’t even asking them to leave?