Former President ordered assassination

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The commission of inquiry into the assassination of Lalith Athulathmudali, minister for National security in the UNP regime between 1984 and 87 has concluded that former UNP President Premadasa (1988-1993) was directly responsible for the killing.

The commission submitted its final report to the Sri Lankan President last evening- Oct 7. It said that the others who were involved were only carrying out Premadasa's orders.

Former UNP cabinet minister Mr.Sirisena Cooray, who was a close colleague of Premadasa, has been convicted by the commission for avoiding its summons without reasonable cause.

He has been disqualified from being elected to Parliament for a period of seven years. The commission has also recommended that Mr. Cooray be subjected to civic rights.

Athulathmudali was co-founder of the DUNF, a breakaway from the UNP. He was shot dead during an election rally in April 1993, when President Premadasa was still in power.

The Sri Lankan security services immediately blamed the LTTE for the killing. The Colombo based Sri Lankan press were also quick to endorse the claim.

As minister for national security, Athulathmudali had aggressively pursued a 'dirty war' in the Tamil homelands and unleashed unrestrained military offensives into Tamil areas of the island, and so it was believed the LTTE had a motive.

The commission has been looking into the Athulathmudali's assassination for 2 years. However, the timing of the commissions final report is seen as significant by political observers.

Many observers believe that the current (PA) government is intent on dragging skeletons out of the previous (UNP) regime's closet in an attempt to either undermine the UNP's public support, or to discourage it from further opposing the PA's devolution package.

As the PA government seeks to mobilise public support for its devolution proposals, the UNP has been decidedly reluctant to endorse them, calling for talks with the LTTE instead.

"Chandrika's trying to bully the UNP into line", noted one observer, pointing out that recently the PA had also recently announced that the results of the investigations into 16,000 disappearances carried out during the UNP's reign were going to be made public.

 

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