Daya Master Making Millions While On Bail
By Faraz Shauketaly in Jaffna
Daya Master, the LTTE’s Media Spokesman and Principal Liaison Officer, is in the money – so to speak. Ever since he surrendered to the Sri Lanka Army – he walked out along with scores of bona fide civilians fleeing the war zone – Daya Master’s fortunes have been on the up and up.
The Sunday Leader can reveal that the former English tuition master turned LTTE media-supremo, has made millions after his ‘arrest.’ In Point Pedro, about 34 km out of Central Jaffna, Daya Master is in the final stages of building his new house. The cost? An estimated Rs. 5 million – not much by Colombo standards, but an awful lot in Point Pedro. Daya Master was quick to point out that the legal ownership of the house now being rebuilt is in fact vested in his sister’s name.
Serious questions are being asked not only in Sri Lanka but internationally, as to exactly what happened to the funds that were in the coffers of the LTTE at the end of the war. The return of ‘KP’ — Prabhakaran’s successor — to Sri Lanka only fanned the flames of speculation with charges abounding that ‘KP’ had struck a deal with the government. In various interviews, ‘KP’ has maintained that no such deal was struck and he has no knowledge of the LTTE arsenal of funds and assets.
Velayutham Thayanidhi – Daya Master’s real name – told us that he lives quietly in Point Pedro, in a house that is owned by his wife. Mrs Thayanidhi is a school teacher, working locally – teaching at the Vada Hindu College – where the local gossip maintains that Mrs. Thayanidhi, who is a graduate teacher, is angling to be appointed the popular schools’ principal; using her husbands’ close links to the Rajapaksa regime as her qualification.
While ‘KP’ told us that he “feels” for and indeed was moved to tears, when he saw for himself the plight of innocent civilians housed at Menik Farm, Daya Master appears to have forged a whole new life with all the comforts to boot. His unfortunate brethren, still languishing in the heat, misery and squalor of temporary homes within the IDP camps, all but forgotten.
Politics they say makes for strange bedfellows. In the hay days of the LTTE, when they virtually ruled the northern peninsula of Sri Lanka and when they perpetrated absolute terror on the lives of all Sri Lankans, one of the prime targets was MP Douglas Devananda. No less than four attempts were made to assassinate him, including sending a suicide bomber to his office in Colpetty.
Today, in the new Sri Lanka of a post-war era and a liberated northern peninsula – albeit under heavy armed forces occupation – Daya Master has, ironically found employment with DAN TV, a Tamil language satellite based TV channel, for long and popularly associated with Devananda’s EPDP. Daya Master works out of the TV channels’ regional studio in Jaffna, as a news compiler. DAN TV has its origins in Paris, France and was the first channel to broadcast focused on the Tamil speaking viewer. It claims to be available to viewers not only by satellite direct-to-home (DTH) transmission, but also terrestrially in Jaffna and Vavuniya.
Daya Master underwent surgery for a heart ailment in Colombo and in his post-war retirement, obtains regular treatment at the Point Pedro Hospital. He claims to rarely visit Colombo, citing a lack of time. He told The Sunday Leader that “life is good now” and that he is very happy; his mother, he said also lives nearby, completing the cosy family life for him.
Medical treatment for his heart condition is available at the Point Pedro Hospital he told us, meaning there was no need to travel to Colombo regularly. As in all wars, the civilians who played no direct role in the conflict other than to stand-by and be used and abused by both factions, are all but forgotten and indeed ignored by their LTTE masters. To a large extent, also ignored by their political masters in Colombo, who recognise that unlike ‘KP’, Daya Master and other prominent LTTE members, civilians have no real benefit to give the South.
Their needs therefore come in a poor last in terms of facilities and benefits. Reliable sources told us that Daya Master is one of the most prominent and emerging power brokers in Jaffna and predicted that with the emergence of ‘KP’, Daya Master too will be a serious force to be reckoned with in the immediate term.