Prabhakaran, Velupillai (vĕˈlōpĭl-lĪ präbhäˈkärän) [key], 1954–2009, Tamil nationalist guerrilla leader in Sri Lanka. Involved as a youth in protests against discrimination against Sri Lanka's Tamils, he was accused of the killing (1975) of Jaffna's mayor. He subsequently became the secretive, autocratic leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, an extremist guerrilla group that has fought for a Tamil state on Sri Lanka. The Tamil Tigers carried out numerous attacks, including assassinations and suicide bombings (one of which killed Rajiv Gandhi and some against other Tamils), engaged in forced conscription of Tamil youths, and resisted government attempts to oust them from strongholds in N and E Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan forces defeated the Tigers as a military force in 2009 after a three-year offensive; Prabhakaran was reported killed in the last days of the campaign.
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