Batticaloa land owner murdered

[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
K. Murugesapillai, a Grama Sevaka and land owner noted for his affluence, was found dead in a barn in his paddy field at Panichchenai, near Unnichchai, 30 km north-west of Batticaloa on Wednesday morning.

Neighbours claimed that they had heard gunshots around 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday night.

Panichchenai, reputed for its sprawling acres of luscious paddy, is not densely populated.

Only barns, where paddy is stored, dot the landscape and going from one barn to another at night can be risky business.

Though the Sri Lankan police say Murugesampillai was killed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), local people say that this is unlikely because Murugesampillai's two sons had been LTTE members. They had been killed fighting for the Tigers, said sources in Batticaloa.

Local people suspect that the home-guards from nearby Sinhala villages had killed the wealthy landowner.

On the other side of Unnichchai are Sinhala villages along the Maha Oya (river) defended by Sinhala home- guards.

The fact that his two sons had been in the LTTE and rumours that Murugesampillai too was a supporter of the Tigers, could have been the motive for his murder, said the sources.

Locals say that the LTTE is conducting its own inquiries into the killing also.


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