The day was 10th January 1974. The whole of Jaffna peninsula was decorated reminding of “Kaveripoompaddanam” of olden days. Speakers all over are broadcasting traditional “Nathaswaram – Thavil” music and other Tamil songs. Festive atmosphere was prevailing on the previous 7 days .The Occasion was the 4th Tamil Research Conference, held at Jaffna for the first time from 3rd January to 10thJanuary 1974, amidst much opposition from Srimavo Government. The Government and turn-coats like Alfred Duraiyappa did all at their disposal to shift the conference to Colombo.
Despite all their efforts, 7days of the conference went on without any hitch. The people were able to hear sweet and inspiring Tamil speeches of very popular and expert speakers and professionals. Cultural programs made the people very happy.
8th day dawned on a happy note. But its end was not going to be so.
The time was approaching 08.30 in the evening. People were absorbed in the oration delivered on the main stage. More than 50,000 people had filled the esplanade. Professor Nainar Mohamathu was delivering a beautiful speech in Tamil.
Anarchy of the Police
Two policemen came in a Motor cycle and tried to go through the multitude of Tamil people. But the people did not budge and make way for the police men. Unable proceed they went back.
Sometimes later a number of armed policemen came in a vehicle and asked to be let through. But the people did not allow them go; the police men tried to push away the people and make way. There was some commotion. Stones were thrown at the police. Police started to baton charge the people mercilessly. People started running in all directions. At that time, live Electric wires which were running across the area were made fall among the multitude of people who were running away to escape the baton charge, in a pre-planned way. People were also tear gassed.
When the electricity was disconnected finally, bodies of 9 innocent Tamils who had come to taste the classic Tamil, were recovered from among the electric wires and the trench of the Dutch Fort. Irritated by the deaths the people burned 2 CTB buses parked in the Bus stand; more than 1,000 Bicycles and vehicles along with Weerasingam Hall were damaged. More than 30 were injured including Era. Janarthanan from Tamil Nadu. The president of the Organizing Committee, Kopalapillai Mahadeva also was a victim to the tear gas.
A memorial tower was erected at the site in memory of the 9 persons killed. But the gene existing in Sinhala Blood which made them to destroy resting places of Tamil Martyrs persisted then also. The memorial was desecrated by armed forces. A solid memorial was constructed right under the noses of the security forces. Even that one was pulled down with a heavy vehicle. Later people used to paid their respect at the site of the pulled down remains of the memorial.
But same chauvinist government built the very memorial they destroyed.
It now stands as a proud memorial for the people who lost their lives for the fault of attending the final day events of the 4th Tamil Research Conference.