Thousands of Tamils thronged to Thileepan's monument in Nallur, Jaffna, today, where the legendary freedom fighter died 32 years ago.
A former medical student and the head of Tamil Eelam political section for Jaffna, Thileepan (Rasiah Parthipan) launched a hunger strike on 15 September 1987, demanding the Indian military forces occupying Tamil Eelam and the Indian government of Rajiv Gandhi to fulfill the political aspirations of the Tamils.
Thileepan died twelve days later on 26.09.1987, as the Indians opted to turn blind eye to his hunger strike.
His death marked a turning point in the Tamil freedom struggle in that the Tamils became disillusioned with India and fourteen days later an all-our war broke out between the occupying Indian military forces and the Tamil freedom fighters.
Memorials to pay tribute to Thileepan were also held in other parts of Tamil Eelam, Tamil Nadu, India, and in Western capitals today.