Tigers salute Ponnambalam, accuse government
[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 January 2000, 12:53 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers Thursday paid tribute to Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam, leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress who was shot dead Wednesday in a Colombo suburb. The LTTE in a statement sent to international media, accused the Sri Lankan government and Tamil groups operating with the Sri Lanka armed forces of carrying out the killing.
Mr. Ponnambalam was shot dead at close range whilst at the wheel of his car Wednesday. An unknown group giving its name as the 'National Front Against Tigers' claimed responsibility today and said the Tamil leader was targeted because he was Ža traitor.
The text of the LTTE's press release follows:
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) wishes to express its deep shock and profound grief over the brutal killing of Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam, a courageous Tamil leader who fearlessly exposed the hypocrisy of the Sinhala state and audaciously championed the cause of the Tamil nation.
We accuse the Sri Lanka government and the Tamil quisling groups of masterminding and executing this heinous crime to silence a brave, daring voice of reason that defended the rights of the Tamils.
Mr. Ponnambalam's sudden death is a great and irreparable loss to the Tamils, a monumental tragedy that has befallen the Tamil nation at a critical historical time.
Faced with constant threat to his life and property, Mr. Ponnambalam lived in the heart of the Sri Lankan capital and boldly challenged his racist adversaries. His speeches and writings, which touched on extremely controversial issues, expressed its truthfullness, genuiness, uprightness and indomitable spirit for justice.
He pleaded for the rights and liberties of thousands of innocent Tamils in Colombo who were subjected to constant persecution at the hands of the tyrannical Sinhala state. He also voiced for the Tamils rights at international forums.
Mr. Ponnambalam was the only Tamil leader who openly and fearlessly supported the armed freedom struggle of the Liberation Tigers. He endorsed the policy of the LTTE as the authentic political project based on the right to self-determination of the Tamil people.
By his gallant and heroic life in advancing the legitimate cause of the Tamils amidst all dangers, Mr. Ponnambalam has earned the respect and admiration of his people as a true Tamil patriot.