Outing a Counterfeit Guerrilla: A tale of lies by Tamil Tigress Niromi de Soyza

The objective of this research note is not only to uncover the truth or otherwise of the “memoir” by Niromi de Soyza (nom de guerre) titled Tamil Tigress: My story as a child soldier in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, but to go beyond and investigate the purpose/s of publication of her “personal story” and reason/s for hiding her real name and identity.

This research note is based on the reading of the book under scrutiny in its entirety, promotional blurbs and reviews of the book by journalists in Australia, critical reviews of the book by two persons of Sri Lankan origin living in Australia, listening to the author of Tamil Tigress at a literary festival, and discussions with few people among the Tamil diaspora in Melbourne and Sydney. In addition, I sought an interview with Niromi de Soyza, in order to afford her an opportunity to respond to my doubts, which she tried to postpone for two months (but did not refuse to meet) for reasons best known to her. In spite of her instant granting of interviews to media personnel (both print and electronic) in Australia and participation in almost all the literary/book festivals held around Australia since the release of her book in mid-2011, her evasiveness to meet a researcher from her place of origin compounded my suspicion about the author of the book.

I first came to know about this book when one of my Sri Lankan diaspora acquaintances living in Australia forwarded me a web link to the Booktopia Blog about this book on 02nd July 2011.[i] For this Professor of Medical Sciences at the Monash University in Melbourne the book was “Mind boggling. A must buy.” The same Professor forwarded me an interview of the author to the Good Weekend magazine (Sydney Morning Herald) by Nikki Barrowclough on 09th July 2011. My only question at that time was, why is this self-proclaimed Tigress using a nom de guerre in lieu of her real name two years after the decisive end of the civil war in Sri Lanka?

Since I was travelling to Melbourne in late August 2011 in order to commence my Endeavour Research Fellowship at the Monash University, I deferred my curiosity about the book by the self-proclaimed Tigress. In any case the book was not available in Sri Lanka at that time (perhaps even now). After I arrived in Melbourne I have come across two critical reviews of the book that have questioned the authenticity of the self-proclaimed Tigress. One is by Arun Ambalavanar (2011) who lives in Sydney but originally from Karavetty, Northern Sri Lanka. The second is by Michael Roberts (2011) who was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Historical Anthropology at the University of Adelaide (who still lives there) hailing from Galle, Southern Sri Lanka. These two critical reviews of the book rekindled my own curiosity about the book, yet I did not read their criticisms fully immediately.

Then, a lecturer at the Monash College invited me to the World Matters 2011 (an annual literary festival) held at Montsalvat in Eltham (outskirts of Melbourne) on 14th, 15th & 16th October 2011.[ii] On the last day of this literary festival, Niromi de Soyza was to participate as a panellist in the ‘Missing Peace’ spotlight on Sri Lanka chaired by David Feith (lecturer at the Monash College). I did attend the panel discussion on Sri Lanka and saw the face of the author of Tamil Tigress. Beyond her face, a lot of what she said and the customary tears she shed (real or contrived) raised more questions than the answers I was looking for. Her tears have become customary because she has done it with Nikki Barrowclough (2011) earlier. What astounded me most was what she claimed her “alma mater” is. Then onwards my intense curiosity turned into profound suspicion.

Niromi announced in Melbourne that part of the proceeds of the sale of her “personal story” will be donated to a charity in the name of her “alma mater” and she gave an email address with the username sjc87. When I searched the web for sjc87 I came across the following website http://www.sjc87scholarship.org/. SJC is the acronym of St. John’s College (Jaffna) which is a boys-only school and therefore cannot be an alma mater of Niromi de Soyza, who is a woman.

In the list of “Working Committee” members of the ‘St. John’s College Batch of 1987 Trust’ or the ‘SJC 87 Initiative: Every Child deserves an Education’, the two names given in Sri Lanka have only mobile phone numbers, which is dubious to say the least. In fact, all the contact details of members of the working committee mentioned on the website are mobile phone numbers and email addresses only, which arouse suspicion; there are no postal addresses (even P.O. Box addresses) or land phone lines in any country of their presence. The working committee members are spread across the world: 3 in Australia, 1 in Canada, 1 in New Zealand, 2 each in Sri Lanka, UK and USA.[iii] One past pupil of St. John’s College Jaffna living in Australia (who is active in the old boys’ association based in Australia) could not identify any of the three working committee members of SJC 87 Initiative living in Australia and New Zealand.

However, the SJC Initiative website does mention a Registration number INC9892583 and Charity fund raising approval number CFN/21586.[iv] But, it is highly unlikely that this purported charity is providing scholarships to children of the schools in Kilinochchi district mentioned on the website.[v] Further, the pictures of classrooms in the beneficiary schools on the website could not have been taken in the past two years.

Moreover, the presenter in the promotional video of the SJC 87 Initiative outlining its activities and soliciting donations is a native Australian woman. This indicates that the primary target of this promotional video is the native Australian general public and not the Sri Lankan diaspora in Australia (who are by this time well versed with such scams by the LTTE lobbies). Ironically, while the entire working committee members are men of Sri Lankan Tamil origin the presenter is an Australian woman.

It is typical of the overseas domiciled LTTE to use host country personnel to advance their cause in whatever form it may take. Prominent members of the LTTE in many countries were/are married to host country women/men; for example, the wife of Anton Balasingam (the former “ideologue”, “theoretician” or simply “political adviser” of the LTTE) is Adele Balasingam originally from Victoria (Australia) and was living in the UK until her husband’s death in December 2006 whose current whereabouts are unknown; the wife of Chandru Pararajasingam [the head of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) office in Colombo during the ceasefire time (2002-2005) – TRO was the humanitarian arm of the LTTE] is an Australian named Margaret Pararajasingam. There are four doctors in the working committee of the SJC 87 Initiative; one each in Australia and New Zealand and two in America. I am not sure whether these are medical practitioners or doctorates or just quacks like Anton Balasingam.

The SJC 87 Initiative is probably a scam. The website of SJC 87 Initiative seems to have come online in August 2011 immediately after the release of Niromi de Soyza’s autobiographical book in July 2011. There may be an organic link between Niromi’s book and the SJC 87 Initiative. This book could have been purposefully written for fundraising to the SJC 87 Initiative AND more. Niromi asserted in Melbourne that she is not in touch with either the Tamil diaspora or the Sinhala diaspora in Australia. If that was the case, how could she be funding the SJC Initiative from the sales of her book? Certainly she is not telling the truth.

Niromi showed (in Melbourne) a picture of what she claimed the “gravestone of Ajanthi” at “Kopay/Urumpiraay” and talked about the desecration of that LTTE cemetery by the Sri Lanka Army for building the new army headquarters (Jaffna) on the same premises in early 2011.[vi] In fact, Kopai (Valikamam East) and Urumpirai (Valikamam South) are not one and the same place but are far apart. The place she was referring to in Kopai was not a cemetery in the first place and therefore there is no issue of desecration of the cemetery.

During the time of ceasefire (in 2003) two large “maaveerar thuyilum illam” (great warriors’ sleeping place) were constructed by the LTTE; one in Kopai and the other in Kodikamam in the Jaffna peninsula, as monuments for propaganda purposes (the huge maaveerar thuyilum illam in Kilinochchi was also a propaganda monument and not a real cemetery). One of the compilers of the very first list of maaveerars (great warriors) circa 1990 confirmed to this author early this year that there was no human body ever buried or cremated in any of the aforementioned so-called cemeteries. All the aforementioned maaveerar thuyilum illams were built on crown/state-owned lands.[vii] In fact, the Kopai LTTE cemetery was built on a land belonging to the Department of Prisons earmarked for building a new and bigger prison for Jaffna, which is housed in an old depleted building within the City. However, some other maaveerar thuyilum illams did have bodies of fallen Tigers, either cremated or buried; e.g. Vaharai in the Batticaloa district and Sakkottai in Point Pedro. Secondly, there was no evidence to confirm that the picture of the gravestone shown by Niromi was that of “Ajanthi”; it could have been anyone’s.

Niromi claims in her book that she has an Undergraduate Degree in Biotechnology and a Master’s Degree in Law (de Soyza 2011: 299). Besides, at the literary event (in Melbourne) the chair said that she holds a Master’s Degree in Intellectual Property Rights Law. Taking these claims as truth, is it not ironical for an intellectual property right law graduate to be an admirer of Julian Assange (Purcell 2011), founder of WikiLeaks (who is a proprietary rights abuser)? Furthermore, if Niromi is really an admirer of Julian Assange (who is opposed to confidentiality and privacy), how come she conceal her own name and true identity? Moreover, how could Niromi protest against the alleged rapes by the Sri Lankan Army and the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) personnel, at the same time being an admirer of an alleged rapist? Is this not duplicitous?

Ironically, Niromi de Soyza has not mentioned (even once) the name of Adele Balasingam in the book, who was the founder of the ‘Freedom Birds’ (the women’s wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 1985) and its military wing. (See Schalk 1994) This profound omission by Niromi could be to protect Adele Balasingam (Australian/British dual national) from potential criminal prosecution on charges of ‘crimes against humanity’ for recruiting underage girls from schools in Jaffna and the Vanni in Northern Sri Lanka for combat (self-confession in her own writings and in interviews given to international media and scholars). This author has testimonies from such affected girls who are still alive. The non-reference to Adele Balasingam could also be a deliberate snub because Anton and Adele Balasingam became persona non grata to the LTTE since about late-2006 after the former acknowledged the responsibility of the LTTE in the murder of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during the course of an interview to Indian television channel.

On balance of probability, Niromi de Soyza’s Tamil Tigress is largely a fiction based on The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara (Niromi’s teenage idol) and few books and articles on the LTTE by M.R. Narayan Swamy, et al. The writing style appears to be cloned from Guevara (1995) and most of the information on LTTE in Niromi’s “personal story” skimmed from many books and articles on the LTTE, e.g. Swamy (1994). However, she may have had some rudimentary connection to the LTTE; like being a member of the Students Organisation of the Liberation Tigers (SOLT). Due to brevity of space, I just give the following two examples to confirm my assertion:

Example 1

“…….A self-trained man, he (Prabhakaran) wanted us to develop exceptional patience and mental strength which he claimed to have achieved as a young boy by staying inside a sack in the sun all day (no ordinary achievement, considering Jaffna’s heat), by inserting needles under his fingernails and by torturing insects. He knew he was one day going to fight the Sinhala regime, he said…… ” (de Soyza 2011: 121)

Note the striking similarity between the foregoing and the following sentences.

“…….., Prabhakaran began preparing for the battles that he perceived lay ahead. He would tie himself up, get into a sack and lie under the sun the whole day. He would also go and spread himself on chilli bags. He even inserted pins into his nails. At other times, he would catch insects and prick them to death with needles to gain the mental preparation to torture the “enemy””” (Swamy 1994: 52).

Example 2

Niromi claims to be an eyewitness to the point-blank shooting to death of Shanthan (an LTTE cadre) for falling in love with a female cadre Nora by Mahathaya in early 1988 (then deputy to Prabhakaran). (See de Soyza 2011: 276-79) I believe this purported murder was skimmed from an article by Jan Goodwin in which she mentions about Prabhakaran murdering two of his close aides for having sex. (See Goodwin 2008: 4-5) Niromi has replaced Prabhakaran with Mahathaya in order to vilify the latter and justify the former (who is revered by Niromi) as the pro-Tiger lobbies overseas have been doing for the past twenty years.

I am largely in agreement with the questions of authenticity raised by Ambalavanar (2011) and Roberts (2011) and factual inaccuracies pointed-out therein (though some of it could be trivial or even acceptable to Sarvan 2011). According to Niromi, in The Telegraph (London) article, her mother was a teacher (de Soyza 2009: 3), but according to the memoir her mother worked for the Dept of Telecommunications (de Soyza 2011: 94). This double act is certainly not excusable. There are numerous other contradictions, inaccuracies, lies, and misrepresentations which I have not pointed out here due to brevity of space. Nonetheless, Niromi de Soyza should be commended for revealing the class, caste, gender and other social strictures of the Jaffna society; despite some of them are exaggerations.

I could empathise with the rank and file of the Tamil Tigers. I have undertaken a survey of over one-hundred former guerrillas for an INGO in late-2010. I have been helping former guerrillas find jobs in the private sector. But I cannot empathise with dupers, imposters, and scammers masquerading as noble warriors. My suspicion is that there is a group/s of people behind Niromi’s “personal story” book, which is at least partly a fundraising scam.

To me, in difference to Ambalavanar (2011) and Roberts (2011), there is a more serious attempt at deception perpetrated by Niromi de Soyza and the people behind her book including the purported charity she is funding through the sales of her book. It is the responsibility of the appropriate authorities in Australia (and beyond) to get to the bottom of this apparently well-conceived and well-concealed scam. At a time when Sri Lanka is reeling under a low-intensity authoritarian regime of the Rajapaksa family (Lions), the last thing Sri Lankans want is ghost or pseudo Tigers.

Muttukrishna Sarvananthan (Ph.D. Wales M.Sc. Bristol M.Sc. Salford B.A. Honours Delhi) is the Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development, Point Pedro, Northern Sri Lanka (http://pointpedro.org) and an Endeavour Research Fellow at the Global Terrorism Research Centre (GTReC), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia from Sept 2011 to Feb 2012. He can be contacted at [email protected]

[i] See http://blog.booktopia.com.au/2011/06/27/niromi-de-soyza-author-tamil-tigress-answers-ten-terrifying-questions/

[v] ibid

[vi] See GroundViews, Desecration of graves in Jaffna: Path to reconciliation? March 08, 2011. http://groundviews.org/2011/03/08/the-desecration-graves-in-jaffna-path-of-reconciliation/

[vii] Read my comment in ibid.


Ambalavanar, Arun, (2011), “The Farce of a Fake Tigress”, Sri Lanka Guardian, August 15.


Barrowclough, Nikki, (2011), “Tigress, interrupted”, Good Weekend magazine (Sydney Morning Herald), July 09, pp26.

de Soyza, Niromi, (2011), Tamil Tigress: My story as a child soldier in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

de Soyza, Niromi, (2009), “Life as a female Tamil Tiger guerrilla relived by one of first female soldiers”, The Telegraph, May 08. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/srilanka/5283438/Life-as-a-female-Tamil-Tiger-guerilla-relived-by-one-of-first-female-soldiers.html

Goodwin, Jan, (2008), “When the Suicide Bomber Is a Woman”, Marie Claire, January 16. http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/female-suicide-bomber?click=main_sr

Guevara, Ernesto Che, (1995), The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey around South America, London: Verso.

Purcell, John, (2011), “Niromi de Soyza, the author of Tamil Tigress, answers Ten Terrifying Questions”, June 27. http://blog.booktopia.com.au/2011/06/27/niromi-de-soyza-author-tamil-tigress-answers-ten-terrifying-questions/

Roberts, Michael, (2011), “Forbidden Fruits: Niromi de Soyza’s “Tamil Tigress”, Norma Kouri and Helen Demidenko?” Groundviews, August 31. http://groundviews.org/2011/08/31/forbidden-fruits-niromi-de-soyzas-tamil-tigress-noumi-kouri-and-helen-demidenko/

Sarvan, Charles Ponnuthurai, (2011), “Writing and truth: The instance of Niromi de Soyza’a Tamil Tigress”, The Sunday Times (Plus), September 25. http://sundaytimes.lk/110925/Plus/plus_07.html

Schalk, Peter, (1994), “Women Fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ilam: The Martial Feminism of Atel Palacinkam”, South Asia Research, Vol.14. No.2, autumn, pp163-183.

Swamy, Narayan M.R., (1994), Tigers of Lanka: From Boys to Guerrillas, Delhi: Konark Publishers PVT Ltd.

Windsor, Gerard, (2011), “Tamil Tigress: Life of a child veteran fighting persecution in a protracted civil war”, Sydney Morning Herald, September 03. http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/tamil-tigress-20110901-1jmmv.html

  • veedhur

    Bravo Sarvi,

    I had a feeling it was s dupe on the first read.

    Will St.Johns College OBA issue a statement disassociating themselves of this scam?

    • A Jeevan – Melbourne

      [Edited out.]

      Dear Jeevan,

      Unfortunately, your comment, which includes extracts from email correspondence with an official from Monash University, will not be approved on the site. We are unable to confirm the veracity of the email and whether this was considered private correspondence, and therefore exercise caution by restricting its publication. However, if Dr. Peter Lentini would like to respond to the article, he may do so by sending in a comment himself.

      Thank you.


      • A Jeevan – Melbourne

        Thank you Sir/Madam,

        Please note there is a latest analysis on Niromi de Soysa’s Tamil Tigress book.

        This analysis from DBS Jeyaraj and it is challenging Mr Muthukrisha Sarvananthan’s article assumptions and shaking its very foundation.

        Here are the facts about Niromi… as per DBS

        Mr Sarvananthan is in a very precarious position!

  • Rohan

    Well, Mr. Sarvananthan… Your research note is not to uncover the truth of the memoir by Niromi de Soyza and to investigate the purpose of publication of her personal story started on a wrong note. As far as I know, the primary school had girls in them. With respect to SJC initiative, this is a good news story. Rather than calling the fund-raising a scam, you could have called one of the guys listed in their site or even the SJC Office. This shows the depth of your ‘research’, Mr. Sarvananthan. Before throwing mud, one should think what they are doing in the public domain.

  • Shaun

    Wow! When I browsed the link given by the writer of the article , I realised the sjc 87 is making a great difference in the lives of the less fortunate children in a non political , purely humanitarian way. What you are doing here is destroying the initiative.

    I also realised by reading their website , they work directly with the schools. Very clean hand.

    When I read read the committee members profile , they are highly professionals sacrifice their time , volunteering their time for the poor children in mother Lanka.

    We should be proud of an ex carder who contributed to the poor children to build their lives ( Not giving money for Guns and tanks!) .

    I am very disappointed at you sir. I have a serious question about your PhD. rather spending time and throwing the mud at some honest association , you should have call one of the guys listed in their site and them directly. This shows the depth of your ‘research’, Mr. Sarvananthan

    Here are the links for the website the author mention
    http://www.sjc87scholarship.org and http://sjc87scholarship.org/News.html

  • Thirukumar

    it’s clear you have no interest in the truth . That’s why he’s just writing am opinion piece rather than a factual piece. This shows the hidden agenda. I know you, Michael Robert and Arun Ambalavanar are trying hard to surf on Niromi’s popularity. It is very hard for you three to accept the truth her book is selected as one of the top books cannot put down. We know you three wrote many books and nothing stand near to her book written by Niromi and none of the books were published by the leading publishers. I was on of the victims initially trusting Arun and Michael’s view and later I took a bold decision to purchase online. It is one of the books every one should read as Professor of Medical Sciences at the Monash University in Melbourne said the book was “Mind boggling.

    It is really commendable that the author of the book Niromi De Soyza is supporting the war affected children through the educational initiative . How great is to see an ex-carder who is committed to build the lives of the children in the war affected Sri Lanka.

    I would suggest you to do something constructively rather criticizing the author without substance . you are not only wasting your time, but also readers precious time. most of the people are confused about you as a ” Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development”.

    • S.Sivarajah

      ” We know you three wrote many books and nothing stand near to her book written by Niromi and none of the books were published by the leading publishers”

      Are you suggesting that had the trio( Ambalavanar,Roberts and Sarvananthan)written a book with devices such as plagiarism and fraud like the same way Niromi soyza did, it would have published by a leading publisher?

      Fraud often bring higher margin and popularity for the short time. But on the long term fraudulent actors will be arrested punished and exposed. Allen & unwin has a history of promoting and publishing fake and fraudulent books as clearly explained by Michael Roberts in his Groundviews essay. Niromi’s days are numbered. No other internatinal publisher from Europe or America will publish niromy’s this fake memoir as her fraud is now well exposed.

      • Thirukumar

        reply to Sivarajah,

        ” I lived in Jaffna contemprary to Niromi’s time.
        My cousin studied with Niromi in the same school she attended . She is confirming the events and most of the people lived in Jaffna know the facts about Niromi and Ajanthi. My sister recalls the good old school days with these girls.
        It is absurd for Michael Robert is telling it is fake since he did not even live in Jaffna.

        Factually I did not see noticeable errors . I think truth stands. People who read her book with open hearts will appreciate her story and the contribution she made according to the article for the war affected children through Educational programs is commendable and set an example for others. “

  • Ranjo

    I am curious about Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, who claims to be the Principal Researcher of Point Pedro Institute of Development. The website reads like a self promotion of a few individuals and the projetcts read overly localised. His background hardly has any connection to the Global Terrorism Research Centre he intends to work for!

    Oh, by the way, Muttukrishna Sarvananthan says, there is much more serious felony perpetrated by Niromi de Soyza and the people behind her book including the purported charity she is funding through the sales of her book. He goes to suggest that ‘it is the responsibility of the appropriate authorities to get to the bottom of this apparently well-conceived and well-concealed scam’. If this ‘Principal Researcher’ had done a bit of simple research, he would have found out that NDS spoke to the media immedietly after the ‘war without witness’, which is characterised as nothing short of a massacre by NGO and UN officers.


    Also, it would be useful if this Research Fellow at the Global Terrorism Research Centre can define what ‘low intensity authoritarian regime’ means!

    Rajapakse Family controls nearly 90% of the national budget, and has bought out almost all newspapers and TV stations. Sri Lanka is one of the top three in the list of contries dangerous to journalists. The Court sets up the date of judgment to suit President’s birthday. The birthday present is a three-year jail term to his rival, who contested against him the Presidential Election after leading the war against the Tamil rebels. An MP shoots to kill another MP with his pack of gangsters, and the former was not in a suspect in the case (huh!), and was smuggled out of the country by those in power. Now a Court has ordered the police to arrest the missing MP, but nobody knows where he is. Low intensity regime, huh?

  • Raj Tharmasunderam

    Thank you Dr Sarvanaratnam for this research and the report. As I expected there are pro LTTE comments here. This book by ‘ Niromi de Zoyza’ is obviously an LTTE funded project to discredit sri lanka and the armed forces. What puzzled me was why she decided to use a Sinhalese name instead of a Tamil name.

  • jaffnaboy

    Pretty sad that the author claims to be a Tamil, comes from PP and doesn’t do his research properly. A phone call to any of the numbers listed on the SJC87 website would have shown that these are not dubious numbers as suggested by the author. [Edited out]

  • Rajan Bala

    When I read this article I see the falsified information. Thus I am now starting to question the authenticity of this article which then leads to think that this author is trying to falsify the truth told by the book. I lived a few miles away from the Kopay Maveerar Mayanam and I was a scout of JHC. I have witnessed burial of war heroes at the Kopay Maveerar thuyilum illam. I visited Jaffna this year and I drove through to see my home town and I did not find the Maveerar Thuyilum illam which used to be there. Obviously most of the content in the article is fabricated to create propaganda to damage a book’s reputation.


  • Against Fraud

    This book – it’s accuracy and honesty – have been questioned by several reviewers. However, Sarvananthan’s typically malicious review gives it a degree of “street cred” that it is not entitled to, because, in a unfortunately backhanded way he promotes it! After all “anything condemned by this person in this manner can’t be all bad,” goes the old argument!
    Sarvananthan needs to learn to write decent, simple English without trying to parade his “erudition” before the world but then I suppose in the well that Sri Lanka is puffed up frogs continue to achieve importance.

  • Mahen

    Having read the book which was so absorbing, when I saw the title of the article I went through it in great earnest thinking I might find something that I had overlooked in the book.
    Alas! Behind all that hype of the author as a researcher with a string of letters after his name, I found a cheap man who had nothing to say about the factual writing in this excellent book but an effort to sling mud on the author trying in vain to discredit the author as a person. This entire article is so shallow ,and spiteful, that it makes me wonder how it was allowed by the editor of Ground views for publication. So far I had great respect for this web based news line as of some quality. This now stands shattered. I am of two mind now whether I should desubscribe?

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      We also think you should ‘desubscribe’, whatever that means.

  • Jayantha Anandappa

    Muthukrishna Sarvananthan, like Ambalavanar and Roberts had not really presented objective evidence that Tamil Tigress is a fake. Comparison with Julian Assange has no relevance to the topic.

    Personally I am too not 100% convinced on the authenticity of the book, but we need to be more objective and specific.

    My comments on the book are found in: Nation 16 Oct 2011 edition


    Jayantha Anandappa

    • Linda Mills

      Girls who studied with her at primary and secondary school live across the globe confirming the authenticity . Only way to deny the fact is eliminate those girls and come up with the new story , which is not going to happen any way.

      • Edwina Ranjani

        According to the book Niromy went to HFC convent until her O levels and A levels in Chudikuli girls college. Both are girls schools. So She had never been to St. Johns colege. It was accordong to her book. So please read the book before blindly defending her.

    • S.Sivarajah

      Dear Anandappa,

      In ur article U only tackled one issue that Ambalavanar raised that Niromy is wrong in writing that Jaffana uni got an eng Faculty. How about the following many questions that Amabalavanar raised?

      1.She implies the senior Tiger leader Bashir Kaka was a Muslim. Actually he is a Hindu and the name Bashir Kaka is only his nom de guerre. (Pg112)

      2.She claims that as untrained and unarmed women she and her friend were sent to the frontline watch-post around Jaffna fort. (pages 94-105) She writes that even before her military training began, as would-be trainees they were given cyanide capsules and firearms. (Pg 115) LTTE practices have been well-documented over the years and there is no evidence that such practices existed in the LTTE. The LTTE was known to hand over firearms to its cadres only after physical training and cyanide capsules were given only after cadets completed the training.

      3.She writes TELO and PLOTE were ‘banned’ at the same time (Pg 48-49) Actually TELO was ‘banned’ in 1986 April and PLOTE months later. She also contradicts soon after in pages 50 and 51.

      4.The very first paragraph of the very first chapter of the book opens thus: “The air was sweetly pungent with the smell of ripening bananas and palmyrah fruit.” She experienced this in 1987 two days before Christmas. Palmyrah fruit is available in Jaffna only in the Tamil venil kalam (Summer: June-July). Not in December which is the rainy season

      5.It has been made known that when a group of Tigers, including Pulendran and Kumarappa were detained in Palaly, it was Mahathaya and Anton Balasingham who visited them and secretly handed them fresh cyanide capsules. But in this book Niromy’s “boyfriend”, Roshan is supposed to have performed the task. Then Niromy discusses and analyzes as to whether it was a case of forced suicide by Prabhakaran. Such discussions and scenarios are impossible in the LTTE and can only have been written to appeal to an international readership.
      (from http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/08/farce-of-fake-tigress.html)
      You haven’t done ur home work at all Anandapa. Yet U are quick to put a weak defence to Niromy. Are U doing these at the behest of Niromy?


      • Thirukumar

        reply to S.Sivarajah ‘s answer to the questions;

        I was like to Sivarajah. I commented based of some one’s comment rather than looking at the master piece. We have been brought up in that way. It is no one to blame. But we need to learn atleast now! .It is clear you have not read the book with the context.

        Here are the questions you posted and my answer from my understanding.

        Q1.She implies the senior Tiger leader Bashir Kaka was a Muslim. Actually he is a Hindu and the name Bashir Kaka is only his nom de guerre. (Pg112)

        Answer; for me it is silly. when you read the context you will realise three 17 year old girls kidding each other . you and Arun Ambalavar took this as a factual error. you must also understand the difference between History book and Memoir.

        Q2) 2.She claims that as untrained and unarmed women she and her friend were sent to the frontline watch-post around Jaffna fort. (pages 94-105) She writes that even before her military training began, as would-be trainees they were given cyanide capsules and firearms. (Pg 115) LTTE practices have been well-documented over the years and there is no evidence that such practices existed in the LTTE. The LTTE was known to hand over firearms to its cadres only after physical training and cyanide capsules were given only after cadets completed the training.

        Answer: The soldiers were sent to the front line prior to the proper training. I have friends and relatives who were in the old park road Kachcheri LTTE Training Camp, sent to Jaffna fort, Sentries in the front line. They were given cyanide capsules (in case the Army captured them) and firearms to give them confidence even though they were not trained to use them. I am the witness.

        3.She writes TELO and PLOTE were ‘banned’ at the same time (Pg 48-49) Actually TELO was ‘banned’ in 1986 April and PLOTE months later. She also contradicts soon after in pages 50 and 51.
        Answer :“She writes TELO and PLOTE were ‘banned’ at the same time (Pg. 48-49). Actually TELO was banned in 1986 April and PLOTE months later.”

        Yes, TELO, a paramilitary organization, was banned in 1986 and a couple of months later PLOTE and other Armed groups were banned. Later. you and Arun Ambalavar took this as a factual error. you must also understand the difference between History book and Memoir.

        4.The very first paragraph of the very first chapter of the book opens thus: “The air was sweetly pungent with the smell of ripening bananas and palmyrah fruit.” She experienced this in 1987 two days before Christmas. Palmyrah fruit is available in Jaffna only in the Tamil venil kalam (Summer: June-July). Not in December which is the rainy season

        Answer: I was in Jaffna in December 2010. During that period, I noticed the smell of the banana in my mother’s garden and palmarah fruit smell from the neighbour’s garden.

        5.It has been made known that when a group of Tigers, including Pulendran and Kumarappa were detained in Palaly, it was Mahathaya and Anton Balasingham who visited them and secretly handed them fresh cyanide capsules. But in this book Niromy’s “boyfriend”, Roshan is supposed to have performed the task. Then Niromy discusses and analyzes as to whether it was a case of forced suicide by Prabhakaran. Such discussions and scenarios are impossible in the LTTE and can only have been written to appeal to an international readership.

        Answer: I am unable to comment on the internal matters.


        you forgot to bring two most intelligent questions brought by your friend Arun ambalavanar….I would like to answer those ones

        Q.6) wrongly spelt name: writes about the murder of St.John’s principal “Anandarajan” (Pg39-40). His real name is Anandarajah. For foreigners this may appear a minor mistake. This difference in Jaffna is of much significance and no local would commit such a mistake.

        answer: your friend Ambalavanar spelt the name in correctly as Anadarajah. However Niromi spelt is correctly as Anandarajan

        Q.7) another question posted by Arun is ” She uses the words ‘brick’ a few times. Brick stones are very rare in Jaffna and the building block used instead is concrete stone. There is no mention of ‘concrete’ however”

        Answer: bricks can be made of concrete, clay..etc. It is a joke for so called Poet cannot understand about a brick.

        Q.8.) another question brought up by Arun “The most used popular swear words in Jaffna…..” …and then lists down the words.

        Answer: I presume the author’s intention was to not list down the swear words used in Jaffna. very dirty naughty boys you all are ….

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        I’ve not read the book, so I can’t form a real opinion on whether it’s fact or fiction, but from reading the reviews and the various inaccuracies pointed out by reviewers, I feel many of these inaccuracies are only superficial. This book doesn’t pretend to be a history of the war, so I think you can expect mistakes or embellishments. If you read Bravo Two Zero and The One that Got Away, which are both books about the same incident, they don’t match up, but both books are considered to be based on fact. Such authors will gloss over or change things to make a story more interesting or readable, or to make themselves or their causes look better, but in the end it’s all based on real events.

        Of course, it could all be pure fiction, too.

  • Guru Gurushankar

    Mr Sarvanantham,
    As an old boy of St.John’s College, Jaffna, I am horrified at what I have just read.
    I personally know atleast 3 or 4 members of the SJC87 initiative. I would venture to say that this project is as authentic as it gets. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I will never understand what motivates people like you to write article like these?

    The sole purpose of reading this article was to see what you had to say about Niromi De Silva’s book, until you started vilifying the SJC87 initiative. This immediately cast a massive shadow over your entire piece.

    I am not here to call you names or question your qualifications but, merely to inform you that the venom you spit on good initiatives reflect your mindset.

  • anbu

    De soyza – is a pen name that is tribute to the murderd Mixed race(Tamil/Sinhala) journalist Richard De Soyza

  • jaffnaboy

    I am an old boy of St Johns College, Jaffna and I know one of the committee member very well. These are genuine guys who have put in a lot of their own time to do good work for orphans and one parent children in the North. I can tell you that the author has done no home work at all on the SJC87initiative.

    1.Did he try contacting any of the members listed on their website either by email or calling their numbers?

    2.Did he speak to the presidents of St Johns College Old boys association in Australia, either in Melbourne or Sydney?

    “One past pupil of St. John’s College Jaffna living in Australia (who is active in the old boys’ association based in Australia) could not identify any of the three working committee members of SJC87 Initiative living in Australia and New Zealand.”

    Are you sure you spoke to an active member? or is this another fiction?

    3.On the way back to Point Pedro, from your stint in Melbourne, why don’t you stop at any one of those schools mentioned on the website and ask the principal of that school about the good work SJC87 is doing?

    4. The domain search gave the following results.
    Domain ID:D156392524-LROR
    Created On:14-Jun-2009 03:45:10 UTC
    Last Updated On:12-Jun-2011 22:31:25 UTC
    Expiration Date:14-Jun-2012 03:45:10 UTC
    Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)

    This clearly states that the website was created on 14 June 2009 and last updated on 12 June 2011. Compare this to the author’s absolute ignorance, date given of August 2011.

    Basically this puts into question anything the author has written in this “research note”. Phd’s(doctorates) offered to quacks, you got it sir!

    I hope this has exposed the authors lies and groundviews removes all reference to SJC87 initiative from the article.

    Message for the author, Please write and apology to SJC87 initiative if you are a decent journalist/phd researcher.

  • Arun from Australia

    Mr Sarvanandan, I am very much dismayed by your article (please note it does not deemed to be a research note due to the poor quality work) and now very suspicious about your motive.

    Mr Micahel Roberts and Mr Arun Ambalavanar (don’t know who this guy is) both tried to throw mud at Niromi before but failed miserably and now we see your article as a follow-up.

    Niromi is a successful Sri Lankan born writer in Australia and I am proud to see her book picked as one of the “Top 50 reads for 2011″.

    I think Mr Sarvanadan, Mr Roberts and Mr Ambalavanar are trying to ride on the fame of Niromi by accusing her without any credible evidence.

    But I should admit, these 3 musketeers are doing a wonderful job in providing further publicity for the book. If I am the publisher of this book, I will send them a bunch of flowers with a thank you note for promoting the book.

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Arun, criticisms in a review should be taken as such, without casting aspersions on the reviewer because you don’t like his review. If you disagree with him, argue your point. Accusations of slinging mud and riding the author’s fame is just childish. That also goes for the others here who have said similar things. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • Shereen Thava

    This memoir is definitely a fake from my reading.

    1. Adele Balasingham in her book “”will to freedom” graphically describes how prabhakaran gave cyanades vials to Balasingham and Mahaththaya who later distributed them to Kumarappa + Pulaendran group in SL army custody. So niromi’s claim that her boyfriend Roshan distributed them is absolutely a farce.

    2. Some of the weak comments to defend Niromi by Thirukumar should be criticised here
    (a)”bricks can be made of concrete, clay..etc. It is a joke for so called Poet cannot understand about a brick.”
    – Thirukumar

    Thirukumar need basic English lessons. Bricks cannot be made of concrete. Can Geoundviews confirm and educate this to the ignorant thirukkumar.

    (b)”I was in Jaffna in December 2010. During that period, I noticed the smell of the banana in my mother’s garden and palmarah fruit smell from the neighbour’s garden. ”
    If somebody smell a scent from an object that is not in the premises that person is experiencing is what called ” Hallaucination” in English. The special word for this olfactory hallaucination is called “phantosmia”.

    (c) Thirukumar also educated about history and memoir. He has the wrong idea that unlike history, Memoir is a complete fiction.

    (d) giving cyanides and fire arms before training never existed in the LTTE. It was practically impossible too. Giving cyanide to a would be trainee is suicidal. Under drill pressure and harsh treatment of tough training regime a would be trainee at first opportunity would bite cyanide. There is occupational hazard too. while under physical training a cyanide glass vial may damage and thus the poison may enter the body which will immediately cause death.

    (f) In the books ‘ Broken Palmyrah” and ” The Arrogance of power” Pricipal of St. John’s is written as Anadarajah. The authors of the books were close to the pricipal and they personally know him. So Niromi and thirukkumar is wrong in this.

    (g) If Thirukumar know the real name of niromi ( through his sister/ cousin) why can’r he reveal it. So that we can check the authenticity.
    Or why can’t thirukumar ask niromi to reveal her real name and end this dispute? Didn’t obama released his birth certificate details when the place of his birth was disputed. Whythirukumar and other defend her still keep noromi keep under darkness?

    Shereen Thava

  • Nihal Perera

    Of course Niromi cannot reveal her real identity. Look at what happened to MIA, when she spoke out against the Sri Lankan Government. Regardless of whether the book is true or not, no one should be in doubt on this point. By the way, the latest whitewash to appear on the scene is the LLRC Report, which said the Channel 4 tape is a “total fabrication.”

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Why, what happened to MIA? Last time I checked, she was fine and making millions from her music; in fact, she probably is more successful thanks to the controversy. Authors like Andy McNab started this absurd trend of remaining anonymous simply because one had been in a secret outfit like the SAS, pretending that there would be people out to get the author. It’s just a PR stunt to add to the mystique and push book sales.

    • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

      Nothing happened to MIA when she joined to genocide chorus. Some nutters made death threats against her and her baby – a disgusting act – but nothing happened to her.

      The precise point about this book is that if it is an autobiography, it should be factually accurate. If not, it can be a novel, a fantasy or whatever. Niromi’s refusal to face her critics is the best proof that this a novel masquerading as factual account.

      Channel 4 as the arbiters of truth in Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE. They’re as biased as any of the other actors in this unending drama. Don’t believe me? Here’s the Eelamists’s favourite UK MP, Siobhan McDonagh, MP for Mullativu and Mulliavaikal openly admitting that Channel 4 kept her (and thus the LTTE rump) fully informed of progress on the “Killing Fields” documentary.

      McDonagh says: “..the guys from Channel 4 have been extraordinary and dedicated to this cause and they’ve become more dedicated and not less … they text and contact me and Lee [Scott] all the time telling us what the next step they’re taking [is]..”


      • Nihal Perera

        The problem is that guys like you refuse to weigh the evidence in an unbiased manner and draw an objective conclusion. A lot of what Channel 4 said could easily have been confirmed or disproved by the IDPs had the LLRC implemented a simple witness protection mechanism. GOSL has done its best to hide the evidence (nothing new here) which is one indication sign of guilt.

  • Nihal Perera

    Don’t you find it odd that MIA never gave a concert in SL? Particularly given the fact that she was the most successful Sri Lankan “hip-hop” artist in history.

    The Sri Lankan government bombarded fans who uploaded her (MIA) videos, asking them to remove them: “They’ve Facebooked and MySpaced my fans saying, ‘If you support this person you’ll get done for terrorism because under the PTA [Prevention of Terrorism Act] you’re supporting someone who supports a terrorist group and you’re a terrorist because it covers anything to do with affiliation.'”


    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      She may be the most successful Sri Lankan hiphop artist, but she’s not successful in Sri Lanka, so why should she have a concert here? If you’re suggesting that the only reason she didn’t perform here is because of threats, how come she didn’t perform in India either, where most of the Tamils live? Or was the Indian government threatening her too? Talk sense, man.

      As for the BS about the GoSL bombarding MySpace, lol. Those threats are from the sort of retards who inhabit DefenceNet. The GoSL probably doesn’t even know what mySpace is.

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @David Blacker

        How do you know that the Government of Rajapaksa doesn’t know about mySpace? Are you privy to some inside information that we are not? The Government of Rajapaksa started off by blocking sites like tamilnet and MIA. Since of late they have graduated to blocking SL websites.Blacker is on his favourite hobby horse once again…trying to white wash the GOR. Show us the proof first!

      • Nihal Perera

        She should have a concert in SL because SL has quite a big hip-hop scene, aka Iraj/Centigradz/DeLon, etc. Particulary in comparison to India, which has no hip-hop scene worth speaking of. Famous artists generally go where demand is high, since sold-out concerts are more profitable. On the other hand, she did film one of her songs, Kala, on location in India. GOSL has no problem going after any website they deem “unpatriotic.” MySpace, Facebook, it doesn’t matter.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        Duncy, proof of what? Shouldn’t you prove your claims instead of asking me to disprove it?

        Nihal, hiphop might be relatively big in SL compared to other music genres (and even that is arguable), but it is tiny in global and marketing terms. Indian hiphop is far bigger, even though you haven’t heard of any Indian rappers; most Indians haven’t heard of SL rappers either. But hit “hiphop India” on Google and have a look for yourself. In fact, hiphop started off in India in Tamil. So if an ethnic Tamil global star like MIA hasn’t performed in the biggest Tamil market in the world, it is a bit ridiculous to question why she hasn’t performed in little old SL. Duran Duran shot the music video for Hungry Like the Wolf here in SL too, as have several German bands, including at least one hiphop outfit, but have they performed here? One has nothing to do with the other. Not everything is related to the political situ in SL, you know 😀

  • Agnos

    I have asked Sarvananthan and Roberts several times to explain their acceptance of the GoSL claims that there were only 65,000–140,000 civilians caught up in the war in the Vanni, while the NGOs and Mr. Sangaree came up with much higher estimates.

    Even after they were proved egregiously wrong by the number of civilians at Menik farm alone, they haven’t had it in them to say they were wrong.

    In other words, when they get used to uttering an egregious lie –a lie that impacted the lives of thousands of innocent civilians– with nary a word of contrition, they are going to continue utter more lies, and to keep the focus away from their own lies, nitpick on trivial falsehoods/inaccuracies from others.

    In Sarvananthan’s case, I have personal experience with his lies, when he was on a temporary position with George Washington University here in Washington, DC. He lied about the nominal, voluntary contribution of $50 collected by the organizers from a few people to cover expenses (such as placards, food, etc.) at a rally in front of the White House, saying that it was for buying arms for the LTTE. My close relatives were his friends, and he attended dinner at their homes. They said that Sarvananthan’s pronouncements in support of the GoSL at that time should be ignored because he was probably being paid by the GoSL.

    Lying birds of the same feather flock together, backslapping and complimenting each other.

  • Saunthary

    In Todays Sunday leader St John’s college principal confirmed that Niromi de Soyza’s charity is a fake. See the link

    • Ranjo

      “Principal of St. John’s College, N. J. Gnanaponrajah said the school was always a boys’ school. Therefore, it could not have been her alma mater as she claimed at a literary event. Gnanaponrajah confirmed that the SJC87 Initiative was run on the initiative of past pupils, though any money collected on behalf of the school would have to be handed over to them.” What are you talking about, Saunthary?

      • http://www.sjc87scholarship.org Thirukumar

        Here the truth comes;

        Please understand clearly. Niromi never claimed that she studied at St.John’s college in first place. It is the work of the Muttukrishna Sarvananthan . He could be having some hearing problem or could be some problem in understanding…

        Please read the article , I have come across clearly tells the true story .


        from the committee of SJC 87 initiative.

  • Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

    The following is my reply to the rebuttal by SJC87 Initiative


  • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

    This gets better and better. Niromi’s Facebook promo site for the book says:
    “Tamil Tigress chosen as one of ’50 Books You Can’t Put Down’ in Australian Government’s Get Reading! 2011 Campaign to get Aussies reading! and “15% of all proceeds from sales of TT will be donated to the education of war affected children….you can help too!

    Hmmmm…. perhaps they should add the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to “Get Reading! 2011 Campaign”, also. I knew the Aussies were simple, easily led people, but I had no idea they were so gullible.


  • Shuan

    Since I am one of the donors through sjc87initiative. and I know how they carefully identify the children and provide educational scholarship for other 14 schools who are in desperate need.

    Did you see sjc87 initiative’s committee’s written rebuttal letter to the Ground view and the website publication that Niromi is one of a donors of the SJC87 scholarship initiative in Australia http://sjc87scholarship.org/Welcome_files/SJC_87_Rebuttal_letter.pdf

    What the principal of SJC said is correct at this point of time . We should understand what kind of questions were asked by the reporter to the principal. Who is a busy person.

    Did the report had an interview face to face with prior arrangement or asked the principal to get what the reporter wants to hear ( selective hearing) I am imagining questions would be similar to the following:

    a.) Did Niromi De soysa study at the school? obviously principal would have answered “no” That is her pen name and Niromi never claimed she studied at St.Johns’s college , Jaffna. It is what Muttukrishna Sarvananthan is telling .

    b.) Did sjc87 initiative help the children ? principal would have answered yes . currently they sponsor 7 children.

    I took time to phoned the country representative in Australia and realised

    sjc87initiative contributed the following to the school, I am sure sjc87initiative will publish in the report with the principal’s letter.

    1.) 1.5 million to build two A.L classrooms which were damaged by the war in early 2000. Still the building carries their name!

    2.) educational scholarship for 11 students in 2010 ( 660,000/-)

    3.) educational scholarship for 7 students in 2010 ( 420,000/-) since the students are going back to Vanni. due to the criteria in place. they are unable to find students in the given list.

    4.) They supplied and install the computer infrastructure to the school admin building, Auditorium and College hall including the wireless connectivity. The school never had wires network facilities in the College hall

    5.) SJC87 donated educational software worth of 500,000/- in 2005 and again in 2011.

    SJC 87 initiative run by the professionals who volunteer their time , I am pretty confident they would have written to the Sunday Leader . Wait and see whether they publish or not. It looks to me Raisa Wickramatunge is defending her writing from her previous article.

    Also I come across a brief comment on the groundview

    ” Thank you for your comments and we will soon update our website.

    SJC87 Initiative is committed to submitting the financial statements to
    the relevant authorities and the stake holders through the annual

    SJC87 Initiative is a non political registered entity to run charity
    activities as such we do not take a stand on this or any other book.

    All our donors are honorable citizens of the countries they reside.

    If you have any questions or comments, please email us directly to
    [email protected] with your full contact details (full name,
    contact phone number including the country and area code) so that one
    of the committee members will get back to you.

    SJC87 Initiative “

  • Nat

    I Just finished reading this book. I grew up in Sri Lanka and now live in Australia. I’ve never known much about the war and have always wanted to understand both perspectives (I strongly believe that there is always two sides to the story). As a young girl(25, neither sinhalese nor tamil), I found this book to be a great read. It painted me a rare glimpse of what it must have felt like to live in Jaffna (A place I had absolutely no idea about growing up in Colombo, except that it was where the LTTE lived). I support neither side (LTTE or the Sri Lankan Government). I fail to understand the concept of war and believe that Peace cannot be achieved through war, which is why I was glad that Niromi ended her book with this realization.

    I don’t think this book needs to be discredited. Its a touching story that ultimately shows the destruction caused by war.

    We can’t change the past, but the future can still be bright. I believe in my heart that ALL Sri Lankans want to live in peace. Enough with the hate.

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  • Mithila

    The SJC 87 Initiative is an LTTE independent and authentic fund set up by past students and teachers of St.
    John’s College to educate displaced orphans currently living in the school zone (displaced boys are set up in the hostel in St.Johns, currently similar facilities are being arranged with Chundukuli for displaced girls). St. Johns and Chundukulli Girls are schools that closely work together and often form affixed alumni groups: examples of this are the St. John’s and Chundukuli Girls’ Alumni Association and the St. Johns – Chundukuli Girls Colleges Past Pupils Association.

    I live in New Zealand and my father is a past St. John’s old boy and a teacher at St. John’s for 8 years, and a member of the St. John’s Old Boys Association (OBA) here. The SJC 87 has been discussed in our annual meetings and we have been shown how the funds are being used. There is no question as to the authenticity of it, or is there any connection with the LTTE. If you show the St. Johns OBA NZ the working committee list for Australia and New Zealand, we can as a group objectively tell you if we know the three people or not.

    With regards to Niromi’s story, my father gave after school tuition to both her and Ajanthi for Physics during the last year while they were attending Chundukuli, before leaving school for the movement. My Father is a good friend of Ajanthi’s father. According to his account, Ajanthi and Niromi were close-knit friends who did everything together. He was cycling in the opposite direction when he saw the two on their bicycles leaving Ajanthi’s house on the day that they ‘went missing’ (later a note was found that said that they had joined the movement, he also remembers soldiers set up camp in the neighbourhood for them one or two years later). Ajanthi’s news of death came in 1987 but he never heard about Niromi.