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 Post subject: pro-LTTE MP Nadarajah Raviraj shot dead
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:26 pm 
Tamil MP killing: Rajapaksa orders probe

B. Muralidhar Reddy
@ The Hindu / Friday, November 10, 2006


Colombo: Amidst fast deteriorating security environment in Sri Lanka, unidentified gunmen killed pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Nadarajah Raviraj this morning in one of the prime localities of the national capital.

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Mr. Raviraj, a prominent and vocal parliamentarian, is protected by government security agencies. The circumstances under which the attack took place are immediately not clear. Police said personal security officer of Raviraj, who also sustained serious injuries in the incident, later died in the hospital.

The spiral of violence and the military build up by the Sri Lanka military and the LTTE in the north and east has triggered alarm in the international community.

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Most observers here are of the view that if immediate steps were not taken to halt the trend, the situation could spin out of control.

In a statement, President Mahinda Rajapaksa unequivocally condemned the brutal killing. His Secretariat said Inspector General of Police has been asked to initiate a thorough, comprehensive and speedy inquiry to apprehend the perpetrators of this cowardly and heinous act.

"The President views the killing of Mr. Nadaraja Raviraj, an outspoken Member of Parliament from the TNA, by whomever or whatever forces responsible for it, as one more reprehensible act by those opposed to dissent and political pluralism in a democratic society.

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President Rajapaksa had close and very cordial relations with Mr. Raviraj when they were together in Parliament, and after his election as President", the statement said.

The ongoing confrontation between the military and the Tamil Tigers particularly in parts of east appears to have taken a toll on the life of innocent citizens.

The Sri Lankan Army has alleged that LTTE cadres prevented a large group of civilians attempting to escape from un-cleared areas of Vaharai and Panichchankeni in Batticaloa after firing at and chasing them back on Thursday.

The Government has also come several crititicism from the international community for the death of scores of innocent citizens in a camp for the displaced as a result of fire from its security forces on Wednesday. "Yesterday's massive attack on civilians shows that force continues to be used indiscriminately in the conflict in Sri Lanka," said Jan Egeland, United Nations Under-Secretary General for humanitarian Affairs.

A Sri Lankan Army artillery bombardment hit Kathiravelli School, which was hosting some 1,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Vaharai area in Batticaloa District of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in its initial report on Wednesday said that they had counted 23 bodies and that 135 people were being treated in the hospital with serious and minor injuries, but the number of fatalities is expected to increase. The Monitoring Mission found no evidence of military installations.

However, there have been equally disturbing reports that the LTTE prevented some 2,000 civilians from fleeing to safety. Shelling between the two parties has continued in Vaharai over the last few days." The people trapped in this camp are terrified and feel that they are completely at the mercy of others," said Allan Rock, Special Advisor on Sri Lanka to the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

"The time has come for all parties to respect the basic human rights of these people, which are simply not being observed at the moment," he added. After his visit to the camp today, Mr. Rock described it as a "shocking sight."

"I call upon all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians under all circumstances in accordance with International Humanitarian Law," Mr. Jan Egeland said.


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 Post subject: "Seerum Padai" a shadowy anti-LTTE group claim res
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:34 pm 
Scotland Yard may probe SL MP killing
"Seerum Padai" a shadowy anti-LTTE group claim responsibility

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

@ HT /PK Balachandran
Colombo, November 10, 2006


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.

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.


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 Post subject: Nadarajah Raviraj
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:54 pm 
Nadarajah Raviraj

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@ TransCurrents / November 10th, 2006
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj


Nadarajah Raviraj , one of the bright young stars in the Tamil political firmament is no more. The 44 year old Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian from Jaffna district was brutally shot dead on Friday November 10th while driving his vehicle numbered KE - 1279.

Raviraj had just left his residence in Manningtown, Narahenpita and was proceeding towards Elvitigala Mawatte through Martha road when two assassins on a motor cycle rode up to him . The man seated behind had fired away with a T - 56 . The assassins had then sped away after dropping the T- 56 a few yards away from the murder scene.

Both Raviraj and his POlice constable bodyguard Lakshman Lokuwella were gunned down.The shooting occurred close to Raviraj’s residence in Manningtown, Narahenpita at about 8. 40 am in the morning.

Both victims were taken to the Colombo National hospital where the bodyguard Lakshman was pronounced dead upon admission. Raviraj too was “clinically dead” according to informed sources. The Tamil parliamentarian passed away at 9. 20 am according to Hospital director Dr. Hector Weerasinghe.

Fellow Parliamentarian and TNA colleague MK Sivajilingam told the AP news agency that Raviraj an attorney at law by profession was on his way to courts when he was shot. He had just returned after a morning panel discussion on a TV program.

Raviraj is the second Tamil National alliance MP to be assassinated after Mahinda Rajapakse became President. Veteran Eastern Province Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham was shot dead last year at the St. Mary’s Cathedral in Batticaloa during midnight mass for Christmas. Joseph was returning to his pew after partaking of Holy communion from Batticaloa Catholic Bishop Rt. Rev Kingsley Swampillai when the assassins came from near the altar and shot him dead in full view of the terrified congregation.

Nadarajah Raviraj is a native of Chavakachcheri in the Thenmaratchy sector of Jaffna. His father was a schoolmaster at Chavakachcheri Hindu College in Sangathanai.

Friends recall with affectionate nostalgia that Nadarajah Master’s nickname among students was :”kilangu” (potato). Soon Raviraj too was called “kilangu” in his student days due to this.

An old boy of Chavakachcheri Hindu College, Driebergs College, Chavakachcheri and St. Johns College , Jaffna Nadarajah Raviraj passed out as a lawyer and soon joined the Attorney - General’s Dept.

He quit the AG’s dept after some time and became a human rights lawyer attached to the Home for Human Rights . After a while he began private practice and soon set up his own law office.

Raviraj became enamoured of democratic politics at a time when most Tamils of a younger generation were aligning with militant groups. He joined the Tamil United Liberation Front and worked actively for the party along with other young Tamil lawyers like former Jaffna mayor Pon. Sivapalan and ex - Batticaloa MP Thurairajasingham.

Raviraj owed his rise in politics to TULF stalwart Veerasingham Aanandasangaree who regarded his younger colleague as a protegee. Sangaree who was senior vice - president of the TULF then promoted Raviraj within the party.

The TULF of that era faced great danger at the hands of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Other militant Tamil groups now functioning as “democratic” parties were also not well - disposed towards the grand old democratic party of Sri Lankan Tamils.

It was amidst great physical danger that the TULF contested the Jaffna Municipality in 1998. Raviraj too was on the list. The TULF with its slogan of “unarmed democracy” (Aayuthamatra Jananayagam) topped the polls in Jaffna despite not having resources like other parties such as EPDP, PLOTE , TELO and EPRLF.Raviraj became a municipal councillor.

Sarojini Yogeswaran became mayor and was shot dead by the LTTE. Pon. Sivapalan then succeded her. Sivapalan along with Jaffna military commander Brigadier Mendis and several others were killed when the LTTE exploded a claymore mine concealed in the ceiling. The mayoral aspirant Pon. Mathimugarajah was assassinated by the LTTE in front of the Nallur Kandaswamy temple.

In spite of the danger involved Raviraj backed up by Aanandasangaree came forward to don the mayoral mantle. Instead of becoming mayor directly Raviraj was appointed deputy mayor. Instead of becoming Mayor Raviraj functioned as acting mayor. He was the de - facto and not de- jure mayor.

Raviraj adopted this razor’s edge stance and managed to survive . In 2000 October Raviraj contested the Parliamentary elections on the TULF ticket but failed to win a seat.

By 2001 there was a sea change in Tamil “moderate” politics. The TULF, Tamil Congress, EPRLF and TELO joined hands and formed a loose alliance known as the Tamil National Alliance. They started moving close to the LTTE and began toeing the tiger line.

The TULF then faced danger at the hands of Douglas Devananda’s EPDP which treated the new political formation as potential danger. When the TULF went into the Islands to do propaganda the EPDP saw it as an affront and challenge. The EPDP had for long regarded the Kayts division as its fiefdom.

A gang of EPDP goons led by Napoleon and masterminded by Mano accosted the TULF in Thambatty in Naranthanai and launched a brutal assault. Raviraj driving up in the front vehicle displayed great physical courage in combatting the challenge. Two TULF activists were killed and people like Mavai Senathirajah and Sivajilingam sustained injuries. It was this incident which turned the tide against the EPDP then.

Raviraj too won and entered Parliament for the first time in 2001 December. There was however a split in the TULF during this time when the old warhorse Aanandasangaree fell foul of the LTTE which wanted him ousted. The TNA was now fast becoming a puppet of the LTTE. Sangaree resisted LTTE domination and paid the price as most of his colleagues and followers deserted him and paid pooja to the tigers.

The unkindest cut for Sangaree was the “transformation ” of Raviraj. The young MP had initially backed his political mentor but gradually parted ways with his senior colleague.

In 2004 April Raviraj was re- elected as Jaffna district MP but Aanandasangaree was defeated in an “undemocratic” poll conducted under dubious means. Raviraj soon became a rising star in the TNA which contested under the house symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK).

One of Raviraj’s strong points was his fluency in Tamil, English and Sinhala. This enabled him to participate fully in Parliament debates, media discussions and interviews and public meetings. He was a forceful speaker and conveyed his views precisely and clearly. He was capable of quick repartees and often made pithy and pungent comments.He also participated in demonstrations particularly those concerning freedom of _expression.

Raviraj was in Canada some years ago and I heard him speak at a public seminar on the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Raviraj was the last speaker. There were a couple of Canadian mainstream MP’s at the meeting. As is usual among western politicians who “grace” minority community occasions just to keep up “appearances” the two gentlemen began moving out as Raviraj was on the rostrum.

The young Tamil MP was not fazed and made a public appeal that both MP’s should not leave but sit and listen to his speech. Taken aback both men promptly returned to their seats, tuned in and after it was over engaged in long discussions with the Sri Lankan Parliamentarian.

I also recall that Raviraj could not have dinner with me as arranged earlier because his departure from Toronto had to be expedited due to an urgent matter. I was not at home when he called to inform me of the sudden change of plan.After returning to Colombo Raviraj was courteous enough to telephone me and apologise profusely .

The situation in Sri Lanka began deteriorating after Mahinda Rajapakse became President. An undeclared war is being conducted against the Tamil people. The basic human rights of the Tamil people are being violated with impunity.

Raviraj was in the forefront of those resisting this creeping state terror. He joined hands with those of different political beliefs and ethnicities to fight for common causes. A case in point was his active involvement in the Civil Monitoring Committee (CMC) set up to monitor extra - judicial executions, disappearances and abductions.Raviraj worked with people like Siritunga Jayasuriya, Mano Ganesan MP (Colombo District), Vasudeva Nanayakara MMC, Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne, and Appapillai Vinayagamoorthy etc in this regard.

I also know for a fact that Raviraj was one of the few Tamil MP’s who interacted closely with diplomats, human rights activists and media persons about issues affecting the Tamil people. Though he did not hog the limelight in this Raviraj worked quietly behind the scenes in keeping the “world” informed about what was happening in the Island.

Raviraj along with a few other MP’s was the livewire of the TNA. The TNA is being forced to adopt a more militant yet non - violent stance in espousing the Tamil cause. After many non - violent demonstrations in Parliament the TNA began taking to the streets to articulate Tamil grievances. The demonstration opposite the UNHCR office in Colombo 7 was the beginning of a new series of envisaged protests.

Once again Raviraj played a crucial role in organizing and conducting the demonstration. 19 of the 22 TNA Parliamentarians participated. Apart from handling logistics Raviraj’s voice could be heard shouting slogans and demands loudly in all three languages.

Given the prevailing political culture where all Tamil dissent is ruthlessly suppressed a voice such as that of Raviraj’s too had to be silenced from the viewpoint of those wielding power in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.. There is a coordinated campaign going on in the North - East where all Tamils with leadership potential are being killed, disappearing, leaving the country or simply becoming invisible.This trend spills over to Colombo frequently.

Nadarajah Raviraj was one such Tamil who had to be silenced.The brutal murder of Raviraj is a calculated attempt to terrify and intimidate the Tamil people and their representatives in Parliament.His fellow Parliamentarian Selvam Adaikkalanathan of the TNA expressed this viewpoint succintly.

“A democratic voice of Tamils has been silenced in Sri Lanka’s capital today.Resourceful Tamil politicians, journalists and activists are being systematically killed in Sri Lanka. Raviraj tirelessly worked to improve the conditions of the people living under economic embargo to relieve the humanitarian catastrophy. He had a convincing way of dealing with even the crude bureaucracy of this failed state,” Mr. Adaikalanathan said.
“He fought from their platform. His voice in the Sri Lankan Parliament, and in the South, where injustice and oppression originate, was much feared.” By silencing the democratic voices of the Tamils, the Sri Lankan military and its paramilitaries such as the EPDP will not be able to silence the Tamil struggle,” the MP added.

Nadarajah Raviraj leaves behind his wife and two children. My condolences to the family. May Ravi’s soul attain eternal peace and solace.


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