Parliamentarian T. Maheswaran and one of his bodyguards were killed and 12 people were injured when a gunman opened fire at the MP and other worshippers at the Ponnambalavaneswarar temple, a renowned shrine for Lord Shiva near the Colombo port.
The killing of a Tamil democratic leader T. Maheswaran comes amidst a world mourning the brutal killing of Benazir Bhutto, leader of Pakistan People’s Party and the best hope of restoring democracy and order in Pakistan. Military dictator Pervez Musharraf blamed others while there has been many news reports suspecting his role in the killing.
The government of President Mahinada Rajapakse posses a similar track record.
News agency Indo Asian News service (IANS) in a news report on Tuesday Jan 1st said, quoted an unnamed ‘leading military expert’ saying “the assassination had serious security implications because the temple was located outside the Colombo harbour, a high security area. If the Tamil Tigers have done it, it is cause of more worry because it shows they are prowling in the city in a high security zone,“ the expert told IANS.
[Her world crashed: heartbreaking picture of slain parliamentarian Thyagarajah Maheswaran’s distraught daughter Pavatharani (8), as she weeps for a father who will never return home]
The Sri Lankan Defence ministry quoted the police as saying that the gunman was injured when the MP’s guards fired back after coming under attack.
However its being suggested that Sri Lankan government authorities may coerce the suspect or the entire arrest may be a drama to pin blame on others.
The Government of Sri Lanka has not investigated the killings of other Tamil parliamentarians – Nadarjah Raviraj nor Joseph Pararajasingham. N. Raviraj was killed during daylight at a Colombo high security zone in Nov 2006 and Joseph Pararajasingham was killed during the Christmas mass in Batticaloa in 2005.
A Sri Lankan Deputy minister P Radhakrishnan told BBC Sandeshaya that the government should take the full responsibility as three Tamil MPs are killed since President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over since November 2005. “MP Joseph Pararajasingham’s killer is still at large in Batticaloa,” the Up Country Peoples Front (UPF) parliamentarian told BBC’s Elmo Fernando.
The slain MP is a legislator from the Colombo District belonging to the United National Party (UNP). The UNP said the slain legislator has planned to reveal the widespread human rights violations in Jaffna.
“He was planning to make a special statement at the parliament on abductions and killings in Jaffna on 08 January,” UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said.
Work towards ending impunity
Meanwhile a Sri Lankan media rights group has urged the media to work towards ending impunity in Sri Lanka.
The Free Media Movement (FMM), a Colombo-based media rights group, in a press release issued Tuesday, strongly condemned the assassination of United National Party (UNP) MP T. Maheswaran, and said the murder adds to the “incredible number of political killings and the suppression of those who seek to bring to light gross human rights abuses,” in Sri Lanka, and FMM is “mindful that the Sri Lankan Police have been unable and unwilling to bring the killers of other high profile political figures.”
The statement called upon the media to investigate this killing and larger and disturbing erosion of democracy in Sri Lanka, with a view to upholding all human rights for all and end impunity.