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Scotland Yard may probe SL MP killing

But a shadowy anti-LTTE group has already claimed responsibility for the attack, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 17:44 IST

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the Foreign Ministry to request Scotland Yard to help Sri Lanka investigate the assassination of the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, Nadarajah Raviraj, in Colombo on Friday.

But "Seerum Padai" or Aggressive Army, a shadowy anti-LTTE group based in the Eastern town of Batticaloa, has already claimed responsibility for the assassination.

The 21 remaining TNA MPs are in the grip of fear.

The MPs, who had held a prolonged Satyagraha in parliament and had demonstrated before the UN mission in Colombo highlighting the bad conditions in the Tamil-speaking North East Sri Lanka, feel that the killing of Raviraj is a way of telling them to lay off.

 Attack on politicos

July 13, 1989: Appapillai Amirthalingam, leader of the moderate TULF, is shot dead in Colombo.

March 2, 1991: A car bomb blast near Colombo kills Deputy Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeratne.

April 23, 1993: Opposition leader and former National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali is shot dead at an election rally near Colombo.

May 1, 1993: President Ranasinghe Premadasa is killed in a blast during a May Day rally in Colombo.

October 23, 1994: Presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake and 51 others are killed in a bomb blast during an election rally in Colombo. The LTTE denies involvement.

May 17, 1998: TULF's Sarojini Yogeswaran, the mayor of the northern Jaffna town, is killed at her residence by a gunman. An unknown group, the Sangilian Force, claims responsibility.

June 7, 2000: Industrial Development Minister CV Gunaratne and 21 others are killed in a suicide bomb blast in Colombo.

August 12, 2005: Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is shot dead near his Colombo home in an attack blamed on the LTTE.

December 25: Joseph Pararajasingam, MP for the Tamil National Alliance is shot dead in a cathedral in the eastern town of Batticaloa.

July 24, 2006: M Kanapathipallai, a senior member of EPDP is gunned down in Colombo.

August 12: Kethesh Loganathan, an ethnic Tamil and deputy head of the government's peace secretariat, is shot dead in Colombo.

November 10: Nadarajah Raviraj, a prominent member of the Tamil National Alliance is shot dead in Colombo. 

Speaking at a function to honour the Sarvodaya leader Dr AT Ariyaratne here, President Rajapaksa said that Raviraj's killing was an indication of a "deliberate and well planned attempt to bring the country and the government into disrepute."

It was also a move to create obstacles on the road to peace and national reconciliation, which he had made, the president charged. 

In a statement posted on the anti-LTTE Tamil language website www.neruppu.com "Seerum Padai" warned that if the TNA MPs did not abandon their pro-LTTE line immediately, they would also be dubbed "traitors" and eliminated, as Raviraj was.

Raviraj was a "traitor" who was killed to "awaken the Tamil people," it said.

Based in Kalladi in Batticaloa town, the "Seerum Padai" recalled that it had killed Joseph Pararajasingham MP for being "a Voice of the Tigers".

Pararajasingham was killed in a Batticaloa church immediately after the midnight Christmas Mass on December 25, 2005. The murder is yet to be solved.

It is noteworthy that Batticaloa is the base of an anti-LTTE Tamil militant group led by the breakaway regional LTTE commander Col Karuna.

Pro-LTTE groups accuse the Karuna group of working with the Sri Lankan Security Forces.

The killing of Raviraj was only a part of the series of killings to eliminate traitors to the Tamil cause, the "Seerum Padai" said.

It accused the MPs of the TNA of advocating the line of the LTTE and fooling the Tamil people saying that this was in their interest.

The TNA MPs had no right to live under the security provided by the Sri Lankan government, while upholding the cause of the LTTE, completely ignoring the sufferings of the Tamil people, the statement said.

These "fake peoples' representatives" could not expect any security, if they did not abandon their pro-LTTE line and opt to spend the rest of their lives in peace with their families, it warned.

They might not get the time that Raviraj got after the assassination of Pararajasingham, it said, hinting that further killings could follow quickly.

"If you do not sever your connections with the LTTE immediately, nothing can stop your inclusion in the list of traitors," the statement said.

Fear grips TNA MPs

The current climate of violence has created a deep disturbance in the minds of the 21 remaining TNA MPs as they suspect that state agencies are hand in glove with the killers of Raviraj.

"It is significant that Raviraj was killed after a long hartal by the TNA MPs in parliament, and one day after a demonstration before the UN mission in Colombo," said Suresh Premachandran , MP from Jaffna.

"The killing is a warning to all of us to lay off," he added.

"Though the President has issued a statement condemning the killing, no one from the government has bothered to contact us after the assassination," he said.

"The international community including India should take note of our plight," Premachandran said.