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Arrests (again) over killing of TNA MP Raviraj

Three members of Sri Lanka’s navy have been arrested over the killing of TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj who was killed in Colombo, near the headquarters of the military police, in November 2006.

Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara said the arrested were being interrogated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

“The three soldiers including two officers will also be interrogated over the incidents of disappearance of several youth reported in 2006,” he said.

The government was accused of being behind the attacks by the TNA, diaspora organisations and the UNP. The US led international criticism of the government and urged it to conduct an investigation.

Then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered an inquiry and two suspects, Nalaka Mathagaweera and Aruna Shantha Ediriweera, were arrested in 2007. Mr Rajapaksa requested assistance from Britain’s Scotland Yard, who sent a team to work with the Criminal Investigation Department, who looked at evidence. Nothing came of the inquiry. 

Nadarajah Raviraj, who was also a human rights lawyer, was conferred the highest civilian honour of the LTTE, the Maamanithar award, in 2006. Thousands of Tamil-speaking people observed shutdowns across the North-East, and the up-country, in protest at his killing.

The MP was widely respected for his work in bringing Muslims and Tamils together.

The Federation of All Mosques and Organisations in Eastern Province (FAMOEP), in a statement at the time, expressed its deep sorrow over the killing of Mr. Raviraj.

"Muslims of North East revere Raviraj as a Tamil leader who had given an important place in his heart for the well-being of Muslims," it said.

“He worked tirelessly for the liberation of Tamil speaking people in the North East and also vehemently advocated the unity of Tamils and Muslims. He openly expressed regret for the suffering the Muslim people had undergone in the North East during war period.”

Mr Raviraj, during his time as a lawyer, appeared in the Sri Lankan Supreme Court, Court of Appeals 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.

He 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.

Joining the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1987, he 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.

Mr 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.

Raviraj also 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.

Tamil Parliamentarian Raviraj assassinated in Colombo - TamilNet (10 November 2006)

People of Jaffna pay last respects to Raviraj - TamilNet (14 Nov 2006)

Thousands pay homage to Raviraj in Colombo - TamilNet (14 Nov 2006)

Government blamed for TNA MP's killing (15 Nov 2006)

Anger and frustration (15 Nov 2006)

NorthEast mourns for Raviraj - TamilNet (15 Nov 2006)

Kilinochchi remembers Raviraj - TamilNet (16 Nov 2006)

British forensic officers study Raviraj exhibits - TamilNet (13 Jan 2007)

Raviraj murder inquiry fixed for January 2 - TamilNet (22 Dec 2007)

Court extends remand for suspects in Raviraj, Maheswaran killings - TamilNet (17 Apr 2008)

New govt to investigate assassination of 2 TNA MPs during Rajapaksa reign (22 January 2015)