Tamils divided over video where woman claims to be Duwaraka, daughter of LTTE chief Prabhakaran

The person in the video requested Tamils living in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, and other countries to take forward the "freedom struggle" politically, and sought their support.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Nov 27, 2023 | 11:32 PMUpdatedNov 27, 2023 | 11:59 PM

Tamils divided over video where woman claims to be Duwaraka, daughter of LTTE chief Prabhakaran

The purported video of slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s daughter Duwaraka, surfaced online on the evening of Monday, 27 November, giving rise to questions among the Tamil people, both in India and abroad, about its authenticity.

On Sunday, director Va Gowthaman, who is said to be in contact with former LTTE cadres, told reporters in Chennai that he got a call from an undisclosed location and the person identified herself as the LTTE supremo’s daughter.

He also revealed that Duwaraka would make a public appearance and deliver her speech commemorating Maaveerar Day (Great Heroes Day), which is celebrated every year on 27 November by the LTTE.

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The video

On Monday evening, the purported video was live-streamed on tamiloli.net and its social media page, where the person claiming to be the daughter of the LTTE chief spoke for 10 minutes.

She alleged that the defeat of the Tamil Tigers during the last phase of the conflict in Mullivaikkal — in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka — was made possible only due to the help of other countries supporting the island nation.

The individual on screen also alleged that the Tigers, who fought with the help of the people, were cunningly defeated. She added that the next phase of attaining a separate state — the “Tamil Eelam” — would be possible only through political moves.

The person who claimed to be Duwaraka also requested the Tamil populace living in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, and other countries to take forward the “freedom struggle” politically and show their support.

“We are not against the Sinhalese people and we never fought against the Sri Lankan public. Instead, we fought against the corrupt politicians of the country. We hope people will understand our struggle for civil rights,” the person said.

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‘Cannot be Duwaraka’

Raising questions over the video, a former LTTE cadre who was in the last phase of the Eelam war in Mullivaikkal told South First that the clip could be made with the help of technologies like Artificial Intelligence.

“After the Anandapuram samar (war), we were ordered to fall back to the Nandikadal region due to shortages of ammunition, artillery, and mortar shells,” he said.

“During the last days, the Sri Lankan army’s infantry units were moving from the north and south in a pincer movement along the Nandhikadal eastern side,” he recollected.

Duwaraka (red attire) with her family. (Supplied)

“I was 600 metres away from the ‘Desiya Thalavar‘ (Prabhakaran). We heard Anni and Duwaraka, who were under security cover of the Sea Commander Susai, were killed in shelling while they were trying to repel the Sri Lankan army lines with the help of black tigers and a few commanders of the Jeyanthan infantry brigade,” he said

Asked about the chances Prabhakaran’s family of escaping from the war zone, the cadre said that after the Anandapuram defeat, the Tigers were no longer capable of coordinated defensive warfare, and the remaining units fought on without command or control.

“We retreated to a small strip of coast between the Nandikadal and the sea, an area including the second No Fire Zone. The 58th Brigade of the Sri Lankan army broke through the LTTE’s defences and made its way onto the coastal strip for the first time. Inflicting heavy civilian casualties, this manoeuvre split the No Firing Zone into two, and approximately 1 lakh civilians in the north escaped the conflict zone, while another 1.3 lakh remained trapped further south. So there is no way for them to escape,” he said.

Stating that the purported video raises several questions, the former LTTE cadre asked: “Why was there a delay of 14 years? What is the necessity of releasing such a video when there is no change in the situation in Sri Lanka? If Prabhakaran or Anni were alive, they would never let Duwarkara appear in public. The video was released with a hidden agenda.”

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Why now?

MR Narayan Swamy, the biographer of Prabhakaran, told South First that he personally believed that keeping in mind the things that happened during the last days of the war, Duwaraka was in all probability not alive.

“Let us assume for the sake of argument that the person who appeared in the video is Duwaraka. She could have appeared at any time. Why wait for a specific day? There is no need,” he said.

“The pro-LTTE diaspora overseas wants to believe that Prabhakaran and his family have been alive since 2009. That is why it has since then not held any commemoration that would indicate they were dead. It’s like the mystery around Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s death,” said Swamy.

He added if somebody was claiming to be Duwaraka, no one could readily deny it.

“Nobody wanted her dead,” he said, adding: “However, until and unless there is credible evidence, I will continue to maintain that this is not Duwaraka.”

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Divided opinion

A few pro-Tamil outfits also raised questions about the authenticity of the video, claiming that the audio was not in sync with the video.

However, KS Radhakrishnan, a staunch supporter of the LTTE and a close friend of Prabhakaran, told South First: “We have been saying this for the past 14 years: Prabhakaran and his family — except his elder son Charles and his younger son Balachandran — are alive.”

He added: “When Nedumaran (Tamil nationalist politician Pazha Nedumara) said this a few months ago, several mocked him. Now his (Prabhakaran) daughter has appeared in public. Im sure, it is Duwaraka. I have known the family for years. Let the video be analysed. The truth cannot be hidden.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror on 18 November quoted sources from Sri Lankan intelligence as saying that foreign intelligence agencies had alerted Sri Lanka that a video clip was being prepared using artificial intelligence to be disseminated on 27 November to indicate that Duwaraka Prabhakaran was still alive

G Vaideeswaran, a cyber technology expert, after watching the video, told South First that the audio was not in sync with the video.

He said: “There is a lag in the audio. Throughout, the inhalations, exhalations, and pauses heard in the voice are not reflected in the video, where the woman’s mouth keeps moving.”

He added: “The video is edited multiple times and there are distortions and inconsistencies in the person’s appearance for every cut. However, the video must be fully analysed — along with its metadata — to derive a concrete conclusion.”