Gandhi appointed as new Razeek group leader

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 June 1999, 09:22 GMT]
Mr. Sivaguru Navaratnam alias Gandhi, 33, was appointed the new leader of the Razeek group yesterday. He was sworn into his new post in front of the Sri Lankan Army Commander for Batticaloa.

The appointment follows the death of the group's leader Mr. Ganeshamoorthy, alias Razeek, and his second in command ,Thaya, in an LTTE suicide bomb attack last Saturday.

Gandhi, a former member of the EPRLF, fled to India when Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) withdrew from Sri Lanka in early 1990.

He returned to Sri Lanka later that year and established the Razeek group with Mr. Ganeshamoorthy.

Previously a paramilitary group that helped the SLA in its operations against the LTTE the Razeek group has become incorporated into the formal structure of the SLA as the ninth auxiliary force.

The group has about 250 member who have received SLA infantry training and operate under the command of the local SLA intelligence unit.

Razeek's death was said to be a major blow for the former EPRLF Northeast Provincial Council Chief Minister, Mr Varatharajaperumal.

The EPRLF is a political group that has representatives in the Sri Lankan parliament and the Razeek group functioned as its de facto military wing.

Mr. Varatharajaperuman, the former EPRLF leader, became the Chief Minister of the Northeast Provincial council set up under the auspicious of the Indo - Lanka accord. The Chef Minister and many other members of the EPRLF Provincial Council government left for India following the IPKF withdrawal.

Mr Perumal returned to Sri Lanka this year and has had discussions with, amongst others, the Sri Lankan President. It is though that he is trying to build a political base again with military support from the Razeek group.


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