|Massive demo for Raviraj
- President skips funeral
due tosecurity; sends floral tributes
- A9 remains closed
By Vindya Amaranayake and
Anti-war groups and civil society organisations are to hold a
mass rally to protest against the assassination of TNA
parliamentarian N. Raviraj tomorrow, before the body of the
slain MP is to be air-lifted to Jaffna on Tuesday (14).
The remains of MP Raviraj will be taken to the Town Hall in
procession where a mass rally is planned to be held against
killings and abductions.
Meanwhile, the government yesterday turned down a request made
by the Tamil National Alliance to allow the body of its
assassinated member Nadarajah Raviraj to be taken to Jaffna
through the now closed A9 road.
However Government’s Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya
Rambukwella said that the government had instead offered to
airlift the body to Jaffna for the last rites. Accordingly, the
remains of MP Raviraj will be airlifted to Jaffna on Tuesday and
the funeral is scheduled to take place at Chavakachcheri on
The request to allow the body of MP Raviraj to be taken to
Jaffna through the A9 road was made to Foreign Minister Mangala
Samaraweera by TNA parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan,
when Minister Samaraweera visited the funeral house yesterday
Afterwards TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah met with
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and made the request. The President
responded that the military had advised him that given the
security situation, it was not possible to open the A9 road.
However the President had indicated he would reconsider the
decision after further discussions with the military top brass.
Highly placed government sources said that the government was
keen on conducting a thorough investigation into the killing to
apprehend those responsible, as other political parties were
pointing the finger at them.
Sources said that the President was genuine in his efforts to
carry out an impartial investigation with the help of the
Scotland Yard, to prove his bona fides. The source added that
whenever the government was making progress, acts of this nature
were carried out by interested groups to scuttle the process.
The Christmas day assassination of MP Joseph Pararajasingham too
was one such incident, the source said.
According to these sources, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was keen
on paying a visit to the funeral house, but this had been ruled
out due to security reasons. He had however sent a condolence
message and floral tributes through Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera.
In the meantime, United National Party MP Rajitha Senaratne said
yesterday that the body will be taken to Town Hall in a mass
procession and the city will be adorned with white banners. The
body will then be taken to Jaffna in time for Wednesday’s
“We are requesting all political parties, labour unions, foreign
diplomats, civil society organisations and all the peace loving
people of this country to take part in the protest.”
Senarathne said Raviraj’s was a political killing and not an
isolated incident. He added that the protest will focus on all
the abductions, killings and political assassinations that have
been taking place in the country over the last few months.
Meanwhile, the anti-war front has organised a 10,000 poster
campaign that would commence tonight. On the other hand, in a
mass scale publicity campaign using electronic and print media,
the public will be invited to take part in the protest.
Stressing on the rapid increase of violence in the country,
Senaratne added that it seemed as if the country was heading
back to the 1988/89 era. “If the situation in the country
prevails in this manner, all political leaders who voice protest
against the war will be assassinated. We have to take firm
action against this situation,” he said.
TNA Parliamentarian R Sambanthan said that he was happy that
many people are committed to oppose atrocious political
killings. “This is not only about Raviraj, but all the
abductions and killings happening in the entire country,” he
Sambanthan added that people who commit these crimes do so with
the utmost confidence that the arm of law will never reach them.
“We have all witnessed the weapon that was brought to kill
Raviraj. Colombo highways are saturated with checkpoints. Still
such a weapon passed through all scrutiny,” he said.
It is the wish of the people, Sambanthan said, that it is time
to come together not only by word but by deed, to make sure that
the country was not heading towards anarchy, and that democracy
Western Province People’s Front Leader Mano Ganesan said
business establishments in the Colombo District will be closed
on Tuesday in honour of slain Raviraj.
Karuna faction denies involvement
Spokesman for the Karuna faction, the Thamil Makkal
Viduthalai Pullikal, T. Thuyavan said that they do not take any
responsibility for the killing of TNA MP N. Raviraj. “We have no
involvement,” he told The Nation.
Vital clues found: Police
The police said yesterday that they have come across vital
clues that could lead the investigators to track down the
killers of MP Nadarajah Raviraj on Friday.
IGP Victor Fernando had deployed two teams from the Criminal
Investigation Department to conduct investigations. Police
sources said that they would be able to nab the assassins
quickly from the clues they had found. The assailants had come
in a three wheeler and had fled the scene after the killing on a