Sri Lankan Conflict and Tamil Nadu: Terror, Bare Life and Necropolitics

Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai


The long and violent Sri Lankan Tamil conflict had its most severe impact on its closest neighbour Tamil Nadu, as exemplified by the violent response of the LTTE to the atrocities of the Indian Peace Keeping Force by the assassination of the ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at Chennai. By exploring the ramification of the suicide bombing of Rajiv Gandhi through the protracted trial and sentencing of Perarivalan (one of the three accused in the case, others being Santhan and Murugan), and the detailed reading of a contentious article that analyzes the causes for the failure of LTTE and addresses the polarization after the genocide, this essay argues how the specter of the suicide bombing is still haunting the Tamil psyche by underscoring its centrality for regional politics and media. By drawing attention to the figure at the heart of that specter Dhanu, the female suicide bomber who assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, this essay seeks to address the specificity of justice in the context of the Sri Lankan Tamil conflict and its bearing on bare lives.

Keywords: Terror, Sri Lankan Conflict, Tamils, LTTE, Rajiv Gandhi Assassination, Dhanu, Female Suicide Bomb, Perarivalan


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