Thousands pay homage to Raviraj in Colombo

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 01:58 GMT]
"Raviraj was a leader who fought for Tamils' rights and gave a democratic voice to their struggle. The Sri Lanka Government should hold itself responsible for Ravraj's assassination," said Rajitha Senaratne, United National Party parliamentarian for Colombo, addressing a public meeting organised by the Anti-War Front at Vihara Mahadevi Park in Colombo held Monday evening around 4:20 p.m held to pay homage to the slain Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Raviraj, sources Colombo said.

Nadaraja Raviraj
Mother and widow of Nadarajah Raviraj MP.


The funeral cortege carrying the remains of Raviraj, organized by the Anti-War Front organisation, proceeded from Raymond Flower Parlour in Borrela Monday around 2:15 p.m. to Vihara Mahadevi Park for people to pay their last respects.

Pall bearers included Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe, the Front's Leader, Rajitha Senaratne, United National Party (UNP) MP for Colombo, S. B. Dissanayake, senior member of UNP, Mano Ganeshan, Leader and parliamentarian of Western Peoples' Front, Deputy ministers Dilan Perera and Rathakrishnan of the Sri Lanka government (GoSL), sources added.

More than five thousand people comprising Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims from all walks of life participated in the funeral procession bearing placards written 'SHAME' in Sinhalese, Tamil and English.

The cortege proceeded through Senanayake Circle, Horton Place and reached Vihara Mahadevi Park along Maradana road. After the paying of respect by thousands of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, the remains of Raviraj was taken back to Raymond Flower Parlour and kept their for people to pay their last respects, sources said.

Nadaraja Raviraj
Members of the United National Party payin last respects to the slain Tamil MP.
Nadaraja Raviraj


Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe, UNP parliamentarians Rajitha Senaratne and Tissa Athanayake, Junior Ministers Dilan Perera and Rathakrishnan, Suresh Premachandran, (TNA) parliamentarian, Mano Ganeshan, Minister Chandrasekaran representing Up-country Peoples' Front, Baseer Seku Dawood, President and parliamentarian of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and member A. K. Payees, Leftist Front Leader Wickremabahu Karunaratne, Religious heads and distinguished personalities paid homage to Late Raviraj.

Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe criticised the GoSL not taking urgent measures to stop the assassinations of Tamil activists, sources said.

Rajitha Senaratne said: "This is the first mass meeting held in the South venerating a parliamentarian from the North. The whole of Sri Lanka flies white flags mourning the demise of Raviraj. He could express himself in fluent Sinhalese and was a true democrat who made the ordinary Sinhalese people to understand the problems of the Tamils."

"Raviraj's assassination is a message to the Tamils from the Sri Lanka government warning that this will be the fate of all those who raise their voice on behalf of Tamils," said Suresh Premachandran, TNA parliamentarian, addressing the meeting.

Ravraj
Ravraj


"The International Community should exert meaningful pressure on the government to put a stop to the killings of Tamil activists. They have to view the assassinations of Kumar Ponnambalam, Joseph Pararajasingham, Trincomalee Tamil activist Vigneswaran and of others which remain still unsolved and the perpetrators left free to kill more at will," Premachandran added.

"Tamils believe that the Sri Lanka Army and its paramilitaries are the perpetrators of these assassinations," the MP said.

Tissa Athanayake read the message from Ranil Wickremasinghe, the leader of the UNP.

A. K. Payees speaking on behalf of the Muslim Congress Party said, "Raviraj loved the Tamils and Muslims equally and actively worked to solve the problems of the Muslim people. We have lost an efficient leader and all who believe in democracy are deeply grieved by his loss."

The meeting at Vihara Mahadevi Park ended around 6:00 p.m.

The remains of Raviraj will be flown in a private aircraft to Jaffna and the final rites will be held on Wednesday at Chavakacheri, relatives of Raviraj said.

Ravraj


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