Nadarajah Raviraj, an outspoken Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament belonging to the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA), was shot dead in the Sri Lankan capital on Friday.
The Tamil MP, who was a former Mayor of Jaffna, was shot by a motorcycle-borne assassin with a T-56 assault rifle as his vehicle was turning at the Matha Road-Elvitigala Mawatha junction at about 8.45 am.
The assassin fired several shots through the shut window of the air conditioned vehicle, threw the bag containing the weapon and the ammo on to the sidewalk, and sped away.
Raviraj was badly in the injured in the face.
Three-wheeler drivers in the vicinity pulled him out of the vehicle and rushed him to the government National Hospital, where efforts to save him failed.
Though closely identified with the political line of the LTTE, Raviraj was popular among all the communities in Sri Lanka, including the majority Sinhalas. He helped people irrespective of their religion or ethnicity.
Given the gift of the gab, Raviraj was the foremost advocate of the Tamil cause among the majority Sinhalas as he spoke Sinhala fluently and participated in TV and radio debates on the ethnic issue fequently.
"I am all for national reconciliation. This country can be united if only the Tamils were given regional autonomy under a federal constitution. I am working day and night for this, participating in discussions on TV late into the night, risking my life.
The Sinhala politicians who oppose a federal solution should realise this," he told Hindustan Times recently.
In his mid-forties, Raviraj was a practicing lawyer. He leaves behind his wife, a physics teacher in the prestigious Bishops' College, a son and a daughter.