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Veteran journalist of Tamil Eelam passes away at 87

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 November 2017, 16:07 GMT]
S.M. Gopalaratnam (SMG), the most senior journalist to serve the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle with a prolific journalistic career in the Tamil-language press with more than 50 years of continuous service, passed away at the age of 87 at his residence in Batticaloa on Wednesday. Born in Jaffna and based in Batticaloa, Mr Gopalaratnam joined Virakesari in Colombo as a proof-reader in 1953 and rose to the level of sub-editor in the same year. SMG joined Jaffna-based Eezha Naadu daily in 1961 as one of the founding editorial board members and served the paper for 20 years covering the non-violent struggle of Eezham Tamils. He narrowly escaped from an arson attack by the occupying Sinhala police who burnt down the office and machinery of Eezha Naadu the very night the Jaffna Public Library was put to ashes in 1981.

S.M. Gopalratnam
S.M. Gopalratnam (03.10.1930 - 15.11.2017)




Gopalaratnam's Award
LTTE leader, Mr. V.Pirapaharan, granting an award to Mr. Gopalaratnam. [Photo: LTTE].
S.M. Gopalratnam
SMG also witnessed a similar assault and detention at the hand of the occupying Indian military in 1987 when Eezha Murasu, which was a Tamil daily closely associated with LTTE's Political Wing, was subjected to attack by the so-called Indian Peace Keeping Force.

SMG has also worked with a number of papers including Jaffna and Vanni based Eezha-murasu and Eezha-naatham and Batticaloa-based Thinak-kathir when the Tamil militancy evolved into a full-fledged armed struggle for the liberation of Tamil Eelam.

He was a honorary advisor to Namathu Eezha-naadu, which functioned during the times of ceasefire in Jaffna.

In June 2004, LTTE Leader V. Pirapharan honored the senior journalist with Tiger emblem, for his “magnificent contributions to Tamil national consciousness and Tamil people’s national awakening”.

“Mr. Gopalaratnam’s writing style, his presentation of opinions and his choice of titles for his works attracted readers’ minds and stimulated their thinking. His creations were succinct, in an easy-to-read style, and included all facets of an argument,” Mr Pirapaharan had noted at that time.

SMG also wrote under pen-names Oor-chutti, Chenthooran and Gopu.

“SMG's prison notes,” a popular series of articles he wrote on his experiences under the detention of IPKF, was issued as a book with the title Eezha-ma’n’nil or inthiyach-chi’rai (An Indian prison in the soil of Eezham)

“The non-ending history in the endless pursuit for Eezham” was a compilation of some of his writings.

SMG was a good friend of TamilNet's Senior Editor D. Sivaram (Taraki), who was assassinated by the SL regime of Chandrika Kumaratunga 12 years ago in April 2005.

SMG's funeral is scheduled to take place on Friday at Poompukaar in Batticaloa.

Eezhanatham / 25 May 1990
Eezhanatham / 25 May 1990
An opinion piece by SMG on LTTE's demand of removing 6th Amendment to SL Constitution, published in Eezhanatham Weekly (Friday) on 25 May 1990. [TamilNet Archives]


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