Presidential condolence note 'predates assassination'

[TamilNet, Friday, 14 January 2000, 22:22 GMT]
The assassination January 5 of Kumar Ponnambalam, President of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, might have been planned by the Sri Lankan government eight months ago, a Paris based Tamil publication alleged this week. The Eelamurasu cited a condolence letter by President Chandrika Kumaratunge to Ponnambalam's widow which bore the date 6 May 1999.

In a front page article, the Eelamurasu said this week it had contacted Mrs. Yogalauxmy Ponnambalam in Colombo over reports from "reliable sources" of an unexpected date (which preceded the day her husband died) on President Kumaratunge's note.

President's condolence letter sm
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Mrs. Ponnambalam had said the President sent the condolence letter through one of her security officers on the evening of January 7. However neither she nor the other family members had noticed the wrong date on it at the time, the paper said.

Mrs. Ponnambalam had then faxed the note to the Paris based publication.

It has raised suspicions as to whether President Kumaratunge's letter has been dated 6 May 1999 by mistake or the assassination had already been planned last year, the paper said.

The paper argues that the date was not a mistake as the chances are minimal for such an error to happen in a letter, especially a condolence message, from country's highest administrative office, the Presidential Secretariat.

Mrs.Ponnambalam told Eelamurasu that the letter appears to be deliberately intended as an insult.

Mr. Ponnambalam was a harsh critic of President Kumaratunge's administration.

Tamil paramilitaries operating with the Sri Lankan armed forces are blamed for his killing which was carried out with official approval, according to sources close to the ACTC leader's family.


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