Tamil Parliamentarian Raviraj assassinated in Colombo

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 November 2006, 03:43 GMT]
Nadarajah Raviraj, 44, Jaffna district Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian was shot in Colombo around 8:30 a.m. Friday. The MP succumbed to his wounds at Colombo National Hospital. A lawyer turned politician, former mayor of Jaffna, Mr. Raviraj, elected twice, has been an outspoken parliamentarian who voiced against the extra-judicial killings and forced disapperances in NorthEast and Colombo. The parliamentarian took part in a demonstration Thursday against the Sri Lanka Army shelling in Vaharai where 47 Tamil civilians, Internally Displaced from Trincomalee, were killed, Wednesday.

Nadarajah Raviraj MP
The shooting took place near the MPs residence at Manning Town, Narahenpitiya in Colombo when unknown gunmen riding a motorbike shot at him while he was preparing to drive his car. The MP had returned home around 8:20 a.m. from participating in a Derana TV interview program between 7:00 am to 8:00 a.m.

Mr. Raviraj passed away at 9:20 a.m., according to Dr. Hector Weerasinghe at the hospital.

His bodyguard was pronounced dead on admission.

Raviraj's damaged car
Damaged side window of Raviraj's car
"A democratic voice of Tamils has been silenced in Sri Lanka's capital today," said Selvam Adaikalanathan," fellow TNA MP who charged that resourceful Tamil politicians, journalists and activists are being systematically killed in Sri Lanka.

"Raviraj tirelessly worked to improve the conditions of the people living under economic embargo to relieve the humanitarian catastrophy. He had a convincing way of dealing with even the crude bureaucracy of this failed state," Mr. Adaikalanathan said.

"He fought from their platform. His voice in the Sri Lankan Parliament, and in South, where injustice and oppression originate, was much feared."

"By silencing the democratic voices of the Tamils, the Sri Lankan military and its paramilitaries such as the EPDP will not be able to silence the Tamil struggle," the MP added.

Originally from Chavakachcheri, born on 25 June 1962, he attended higher studies at Chavakachcheri Drieberg College and St. John’s College, Jaffna.

He was enrolled as an Attorney at Law in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in November 1987.

Raviraj appeared in the Sri Lankan Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and in High Courts of Ampara, Batticaloa, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Jaffna and elsewhere in the south. His Law Firm, Raviraj & Associates, specialised in cases under Prevention of Terrorism Act, and Emergency Regulations.

Raviraj also worked as a human rights lawyer in Colombo, Home for Human Rights, from 1984 to 1990 and from 1993 till 1997 before embarking on a political career, first appointed as Deputy Mayor of Jaffna Municipal Council.

He joined the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1987, became Central Committee Member in 1990 and the party's legal advisor in 1998. He was appointed as a member of political bureau of the party in 2000.

Raviraj was appointed Mayor of Jaffna 2001 and appointed as administrative secretary of the party.

He was elected as Member of Parliament for Jaffna District in 2001 general elections and re-elected in 2004.

During the last few months Raviraj participated in the Civil Monitoring Committee (CMC), chaired by Srithunga Jayasooriya, and comprising Mano Ganesan MP (Colombo District), Vasudeva Nanayakara MMC, Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne, and Appapillai Vinayagamoorthy to monitor extra judicial killings, abductions and disappearances.

Raviraj MP has participated in conflict resolution workshops hosted by Institute of Federalism in Switzerland, Conrad Adeanaur Foundation in Germany and Peace Institute in Austria among others.

Raviraj is a father of a teenage daughter, and a 11 year old son. His wife, Sasikala, has an MA degree, and is a teacher at Bishops Convent in Colombo 3.

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14.10.06   29 reported missing in Colombo - Civil Monitoring Committee
24.08.06   LTTE confers Maamanithar award on Sivamaharaja
07.04.06   Vigneswaran shot dead in Trincomalee
24.12.05   Joseph Pararajasingham MP shot dead in Batticaloa church
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