Jaffna bids farewell to slain MP, relatives reveal assassination attempt

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 13:17 GMT]
A key EPDP paramilitary operative with a handgun had been searching for Nadarajah Raviraj when the late Tamil parliamentarian visited his hometown last month, revealed relatives who attended the funeral of late MP in Jaffna. The entire Jaffna peninsula was at a standstill as the funeral procession paraded through the streets of Chavakachcheri to the cremation grounds located at Sri Lanka Army High Security Zone. Journalists were harassed by Sri Lankan soldiers after the funeral.

TNA MP and former Jaffna Mayor Nadarajah Raviraj's remains were cremated according to Saiva customs. The creamation took place at Chavakacheri Kannadipiddy cremation grounds located along Kerathivu Sangupiddy Road in Sri Lanka Army demarcated High Security Zone.
Relatives of slain MP told media persons that a paramilitary assassin, allegedly deployed by the Military Intelligence to gun down the MP, had visited Raviraj's home asking for the whereabouts of the MP. Raviraj was the first MP to visit Jaffna since A9 was closed following the escalation of hostilities since August 11.

The attempt was spoiled as the MP did not stay overnight at his residence.

The MP had travelled with Sri Lanka Army escort from Palaly to his hometown.

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers arrested and interrogated Wednesday Colombo journalists representing Sinhala, Tamil and English media participating in the funeral of Raviraj. The journalists, released after one and a half hour interrogation and threats at the Chavakacheri SLA camp, were instructed not to publish stories related to the funeral, Jaffna media sources said. Participants in the funeral were video filmed by SLA troopers including those with faces masked in black cloth alleged to be Tamil paramilitary cadres operating with the SLA, the sources added.

The journalists from Colombo were from AFP, Virakesari, Thinakural and several others representing Southern Sinhala media and Tamil media. The journalists taking photographs of the funeral events at various parts of the Chavakacheri town were also arrested by the SLA claiming security sensitive locations were being filmed, the sources said.

The remains of Raviraj, set alight by his 12 year old only son according to Saivite rites, was cremated Wednesday around 1:00 p.m on the Kannaady Petty cremation ground located south of Chavakacheri in the SLA High Security Zone (HSZ) along the Kearithivu-Sangupitty road in Chavakacheri.

Despite the threatening presence of heavily deployed SLA troopers, the five thousand strong funeral mourners consisting a wide spectrum of the society of Jaffna district, took part in the rituals which began around 7:00 a.m at Late Raviraj's residence, in an emotionally charged atmosphere, the sources said.


People from all walks of life including University students, Professors, politicians, Hindu Christian Muslim religious dignitaries, Judges, lawyers, government and private officials, representatives of Non-governmental organisations and others attended the funeral.

Several prominent personalities eulogized Raviraj's unique efforts to bring peace and good will among the people of the Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.

On Tuesday, at 11:30 a.m., a Claymore mine went off 500 meters from Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) where the slain MPs remains were to be placed for public to pay their last respects.

The Claymore had been placed on the boundary wall of the Education Department Building complex consisting of several education offices and a school on the Nallur Muthirai Chanthi - Chemany road that leads to A9 road from Jaffna towards Chavakacheri.

A group of SLA soldiers had visited the site where the slain MPs casket was scheduled to be brought through, civil sources at the area said. No casualties were reported as the casket procession was delayed, the sources added.

Late Raviraj's remains were taken around 1:30 p.m by the alternate route thorugh Wyman road to A9 road and then to Chavakacheri.




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