Body of slain Sri Lankan MP flown to Jaffna for cremation

Nov 14, 2006 (AFP) – The body of assassinated Tamil legislator Nadarajah Raviraj was flown Tuesday to his home constituency of Jaffna for cremation the following day. Raviraj, 44, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen as he drove to work in Colombo on Friday morning. He was the second member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to be assassinated in a year.

His family and other mourners were flown in two aircraft to the northern military base of Palaly at the northern edge of the Jaffna peninsula and later taken to Raviraj’s village of Chavakachcheri.

The family wanted the cortege to travel along Jaffna’s main road.

But the government refused to open land access, shut since August following fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels, citing security considerations.

Thousands of mourners paid respects to the slain legislator in Colombo Tuesday ahead of the funeral.

The TNA is regarded as a proxy of the Tiger guerrillas, but Raviraj was seen as an articulate moderate who had never taken up arms.

Tamil Tiger rebels on Saturday conferred their highest civilian honour on him.

The main opposition United National Party said the government must accept responsib