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New govt to investigate assassination of 2 TNA MPs during Rajapaksa reign

Sri Lanka's new government announced it would recommence inquiries into the assassination of two Tamil politicians during the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa's reign - Joseph Pararajasingham, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP for Batticaloa district, who was shot and killed by two gunmen on December 24 2005, whilst he was attending Christmas prayers at the St Mary's church in Batticaloa town, and Nadarajah Raviraj, a TNA MP and human rights lawyer who was assassinated in Colombo by an unidentified gunmen in November 2006.

The assassinations of both politicians, which occurred as the official ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was still in place, were widely suspected to have been carried out by government forces, led by the then president, Mr Rajapaksa.

The killing of Tamil political figures, many who were assassinated before Mr Rajapaksa's presidency, remain uninvestigated, including that of the prominent human rights lawyer and leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC), Kumar Ponnambalam.

Mr Ponnambalam was assassinated in a busy Colombo suburb on January 5 2000, during Chandrika Kumaratunge's government. His killers have never been brought to justice.

Mr Ponnambalam, who was renowned for his pro bono work in defending Tamil and Sinhala youths detained under Sri Lanka's draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, had filed reports in important human rights cases that incriminated the Chandrika government, including the gang rape and murder of the Tamil girl, Krishanthi Kumaraswamy and mass graves in Chemmani. 

He was shot dead by unidentified gunman on January 5th, 2000, whilst in his car on Ramakrishna Lane, in the Tamil area of Colombo, Wellawatte.

The murder came a few days after he had written an open letter to then president, Ms Kumaratunge, condemning her anti-Tamil policies.

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