Kumar Ponnambalam remembered on eighth anniversary

[TamilNet, Saturday, 05 January 2008, 13:33 GMT]
Eighth year anniversary of Kumar Ponnambalam, president of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at Wellawatte, a Tamil suburb of the capital Colombo around 11.15 a.m. 5 January 2000, was commemorated in U.K. and in Vanni in simple ceremonies.

The LTTE bestowing the Most Eminent Person (Maamanithar) award in January 2000 said the award was for Mr. Ponnambalam's "dedicated patriotism and for his outstanding contribution to the cause of Tamil liberation".

"Conferring this highest national award for extra-ordinary services on Mr. Ponnambalam, the LTTE leader Mr. Pirapaharan praised him as a great patriot who courageously championed the freedom of the Tamil nation."

In a special statement issued announcing the award Mr. Pirapaharan categorised Mr. Ponnambalam as "a revolutionary political leader who fought for human justice with sincere determination and commitment," the LTTE said.

"Freedom of expression is a basic tenet of a vibrant democracy. If Mr.Kumar Ponnambalam's assassination is attributable to the exercise of this fundamental right it would indeed be a dangerous trend, and would seriously erode the right of a citizen to think and express himself with independence," TULF said in a statement issued following death.

Mr Kumar Ponnambalam was an outspoken critic of then President Chandrika Kumaratunge, and it was widely believed that the murder was carried out under the direction of Kumaratunge.

Sunday Leader in its 11 November 2001 edition identified Baddegana Sanjeewa, a member of Sri Lanka's Presidential Security Division, as the architect of the murder. Sanjeeva was found dead with gunshot wounds on 2 November 2001.

Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam was the only son of the founder leader of the ACTC, Mr. G.G.Ponnambalam. Kumar Ponnambalam was married to surgeon Dr.Mrs.yogalakshmi Ponnambalam, and has two children, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian, and Mirnalini, medical doctor currently living in the U.S.


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