The hidden roots of a gigantic Tree – The Black Tiger Subesan

It was getting close to midnight. The peace of that night has long since been broken. The inky darkness was disturbed by the light of intermittent gunshots. Our Black Tiger teams broke through the enemy’s strong barricades, charging in fast and accelerated their attacks. The targets we were looking for were blown up. After destroying the targets the Black Tigers received orders from Major Kumudhan to withdraw.

We strategized and prepared for a swift retreat. But Subesan, who was in charge of our team, was shot in the leg and chest. Subesan could not retreat with us. We tried to pick him up as an effort to save him. Given the circumstances, it was near impossible to do. ‘Don’t wait for me. Don’t waste your time picking me up, you must go’. Subesan looked at all of us and gave a final farewell, clear and determined of his fate. How do we part with him – it was difficult for us. He said to us, ‘You have a lot to accomplish, please don’t stand and get hurt in vain because of me – I have to pull the trigger’

Once we part from him, what was going to happen in a few seconds was excruciating to think about. Never again, never to see or speak to him. I was heartbroken thinking about it. How do we tell his sister that ‘Subhesan has died a hero’. How is she going to bear it?

Subesan, like every elder brother, had immense love for his sister. For her, Subesan meant the world.

While we are training for the attack on Chinabay in Trincomalee, I recall a night where Subesan woke up from a nightmare. He had dreamt his sister was kidnapped and in the dream he found her but she was unconscious. When he woke up, he was really shaken. He couldn’t sleep again. By dawn, he told his sister about the dream, he told his comrades, it really got to him. I wondered, over just dream, he trembled at the thought of his sister in harms way, imagine what his final thoughts may have been before making the decision to pull the trigger?

The command post is our destination. At that final moment when we left our camp, we all boarded the vehicle and sat down. The vehicle was to take off in a few seconds. That final parting moment – we all take turns saying goodbye. No one knows who will get the chance to return.

He spent his final moments talking to his sister. At the end of the day, Subesan’s sister knows that her brother is a Black Tiger and being a Black Tiger, she is very clear with their fate should they carry out a Black Tiger attack.

She prayed her brother return after destroying his target just as he did in Chinabay. A military commander wipes the tears of Subesan’s Sister and says, ‘You shouldn’t cry, don’t worry’. He advises his sister and says comforting words, he gets into the vehicle and separates the entangled relationship that cannot be separated in the middle of the struggle.

She waved at her brother. He waved as the seconds flew by so fast. The sister’s whisper is heard in his ear. How was it for Subesan who could not bear to see his sister’s agitation.

The vehicle starts moving slowly. He applies the torch in the direction of his sister as she leaves. The sister’s face is visible. When he saw her distress, his heart felt like he wanted to comfort her. The vehicle gradually picked up speed. Unable to bear the separation, Subhesan falls head over heels.

Subesan joined the Black Tigers in 1993. For years, he has carried the same principle in his heart and taken all the rigorous training. He waited all these years until he got to this goal that burned the enmity with his last breath!

He had many injuries on his body. During 1994, Subhesan went to the final stage of a Black Tiger attack on the Command base. In the clash with the enemy that day, Subesan suffered a major injury on his arm. Due to the injury on that day, his arm wasn’t as effective as it previously was. He was still proficient in all weapons and has excellent marksmanship. Able to plan well and lead teams well in any tight situation. Subesan had led the Black Tiger squads that destroyed enemy aircraft and heavy weapons at Chinabay.

There was a day I recall; the Sinhalese army made a major move from Betel Keni to Kandy to repulse an air-sea attack. Subesan also stood with a five-member reconnaisance team along with our teams who stood to make a penetrating attack. Subesan had gone and started with the recon team immediately. Subesan stayed at the camp instead of retreating away because he had work to plan for the next day’s invasion. Food supply was severely disrupted due to the fighting situation. Eating occasional meals. If one of the comrades was unable to have their meal due to carrying out other important tasks, the other comrades would have to resist the temptation of eating whats left and keep it for the comrade.

The meal had arrived that day. But the food packets that came were not enough for the amount of people on the team. Subhesan’s team of five got two food packets. He thought that he would eat with his companions after their recon mission, so he carefully wrapped the packets of food in a cloth and went to bed. That afternoon was passing. Subesan, who was lying down, wakes up from his sleep when he hears the news that his team are on their way back.

Once up he went to get the food packets, but the packets are missing. Someone had clearly eaten them. Subesan couldn’t hold back his tears. He was upset that his team would come home with the hope of food and that they had no food. He was upset that he could not even give them one meal. Subhesan cried in the same way a mother cries when she sees her children starving. No matter how much his companions reassured him, Subesan’s cries did not stop. Other companions who stood there searched and fetched fresh water and gave it to everyone and gave it to Subesan too, but he did not drink. ‘Give it to my family, they are very hungry, I don’t want it,’ he refused. He always loves others more than himself. That final moment when I smiled and talked to him for the last time was how sacred his feelings were.

The first barrier has been crossed by penetrating the commando base. The attack was still a few hours away. Finally we were happily eating fruits and dry food, reminiscing and sharing laughs. Subhesan looked lovingly at each warrior’s face. His face was slightly sad. ‘Look at how much laughter and cheerfulness you brothers have. In a little while…’ He could say no more. He wouldn’t have been bothered if he was going to destroy the target alone. He is nostalgic that these comrades who used to gather together with him will become legends in a few hours. The love he had for our nation, for the people and for our leader is what made him a great Black Tiger hero.

‘The Thirst of Tigers is the Motherland of Tamil Eelam’

Subesan’s emphatic speech echoed in the sky. His breath, who always used to breathe for others, will surely keep our country alive.

Black Tiger

 Lt. Col. Subesan Killivalavan

 Marusalene Alvin  Mannar

 Born:- 02-07-1971

 In operation:- 10-02-1990

 Siblings:- One brother, 3 Older Sisters, 4 Younger Brothers and One Younger Sister.

Attacks on the stock before joining as a black tiger

 A.G.V. Perunchamar

 Fight against Lightning Army operation, Ambush carried out at Kokkuthuduvai

 Kavalaran extermination in Chinmanandalai area

 Assault on the military camp

 Commemoration – LTTE magazine

Film – Vaikasi, 1999

Vizhutherintha Virudsathin…

விடுதலைப் புலிகள் – குரல் – 89


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