Veteran photojournalist passes away at 82 after bicyle accident

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 November 2015, 23:41 GMT]
82-year-old photojournalist Sankarakampan Kathiravelu passed away on Thursday at Jaffna Hospital after he accidentally fell into a well when his bicycle crashed on a by-lane located near the newspaper office of Thinakkural in Jaffna. Mr S. Kathirvelu, coming from Up-country Tamil origin, has been one of the key photojournalists of Jaffna, who remained committed in his service for more than three decades. “His last wish was that Tamil journalists in the diaspora and the homeland should jointly work to strengthen the journalists to remain committed in their work to document the systemic crimes against the nation of Eezham Tamils,” senior journalists paying tribute to him told TamilNet.

Sankarakampan Kathiravelu
Kalaapoosha'nam Sankarakampan Kathiravelu (16.08.1933 - 19.11.2015)
Despite losing sight in one of his eyes in a Sri Lankan police assault and facing various harassments and threats throughout his life, Mr Kathiravelu remained a committed Eezham Tamil journalist till his last breath.

Kathiravelu was photographing the non-violent struggle staged in front of Jaffna District Secretariat during the times of Thanthai Chelva in the early 1960s.

He was also a witness to the temple entry movement opposing caste discrimination in the late 1960s.

He was one of the key photographers who documented the SL police assault on the 4th International Tamil Conference held in Jaffna in 1974. Eleven Tamils lost their lives in that massacre.

After 1983, he became a leading photojournalist in documenting several murders, assassinations and abductions that were carried out by the occupying Sri Lankan military and police in Jaffna.

Kathiravelu has served several newspapers, including the Tamil nationalist paper Suthanthiran of the times of Thanthai Chelva and the SL State run Thinakaran. He was working for Valampuri and the Jaffna edition of Thinakkural in his later years.

Mr Kathiravelu was honoured with the title, Kalaapoosha'nam, in 2012 for his long service to Tamil journalism.

He leaves behind a son and a daughter.

Kathiravelu's funeral will take place at A'laveddi in Jaffna on Friday.

Memorial event of Marie Colvin in Jaffna
Senior journalist S. Kathiravelu paying tribute to the late Marie Colvin in 2012. Ms Marie Colvin was a war correspondent of the UK based The Sunday Times. She has been in the island covering the conflict earlier and was a remote witness to the white-flag surrender issue in May 2009.

Senior Photojournalist Kalaapooshanam S Kathiravelu attending the 15th memorial event of assassinated Journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan in October 2015

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