Vavuniya MP's funeral held
[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The funeral of Vavuniya Parliamentarian, Mr. S.Shanmuganathan (PLOTE), and his son who were killed in a land mine attack on Wednesday was held in the Vavuniya Kovilkulam cremation ground last evening.
The bodies that had been kept at Mr.Shanmuganath's residence at Irambaikkulam were brought to Vavuniya Town hall at around 10.45 a.m. yesterday.
Mr. Siddarthan, the leader of PLOTE, Mr. Manikkathasan, leader of PLOTE's military wing, Mr.G.T.Linganathan, Chairman of the Vavuniya Urban Council (PLOTE) and other prominent members of the PLOTE and a large number of people took part in the procession, carrying the bodies to the town hall.
A memorial ceremony was also held at the town hall, presided over by Mr. T. Linganathan.
Mr. Siddarthan, Mr. Manikkathasan , Dr. Jeyalath Jeyawardene of the main Sri Lankan opposition party UNP, Mr. Tharan of the EPRLF, Mr. Sivajilingam of TELO and representatives of the SLFP and SLMC spoke at the meeting.
"The Tigers who have been weakened by Operation Jayasikurui want other groups to be weakened also and are involved in murdering their members. Mr. Shanmuganathan's is such a murder" said Mr.Manikkathasan, leader of PLOTE's military wing, while speaking at the memorial ceremony.
"The Tigers have carried out two big attacks on our group in Vavuniya. Our organisation has faced setbacks due to these attacks. They are plundering Tamil Eelam. They are good for nothing. We will take action against them and we want people to support", said Mr. Manikkathasan further.
The bodies were cremated at the Kovilkumal cremation ground at around 5 p.m., with gun salutes.
Sources in Vavuniya said that the town was sombre yesterday with shops remaining closed.
This is the third in a series of attack on PLOTE's senior members in Vavuniya. A large proportion of the PLOTE, including its military wing, is present in the northern government-held town of Vavuniya.
The Sri Lankan Police and the PLOTE have blamed the Liberation Tigers for these attacks. The Tigers, however, have not commented.
However, ex-militant sources in Colombo said that the killing of Shanmuganathan is the latest retaliation in the internecine violence which erupted within the PLOTE, following the land mine blast on May 12 which claimed the life of PLOTE's Vavuniya military commander, Mr. Thasan, a close aide of group's military wing leader Mr. Manikkathasan. Mr. Manikkathasan himself was not hurt in the attack.
Meanwhile, in a press release issued from their International Secretariat on Thursday, the Liberation Tigers blamed the PLOTE for the recent disappearances of Tamil civilians in Vavuniya.
"21 Tamil civilians have recently 'disappeared' in Vavuniya after arrest by PLOTE death squads. It has 18 secret locations in Vavuniya to carry out its murders. One of the famous cases is the disappearance of a Tamil boy, Sujithas Ganesamoorthy, in Vavuniya after arrest by PLOTE on June 12", the press release said.
However, Manikathasan has told sections of the Tamil press that only 3 of the youth reported missing are in PLOTE's custody.
16.07.98 PLOTE leader blames Tigers
15.07.98 Vavuniya MP killed
09.06.98 Vavuniya MP escapes attack
15.05.98 PLOTE military leader promises retaliation