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Paramilitary leader accused of murdering Tamil MP released on bail

Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) leader and Batticaloa district MP Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, has been released on bail by the Batticaloa Court today. 

Pillayan, head of the government-aligned paramilitary group, is accused of assassinating former Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Joseph Pararajasingham. Pararajasingham was shot dead by two gunmen on Christmas Day 2005 as he was attending midnight mass at St Mary's Cathedral, Batticaloa. 

It is widely believed by many that the assassination was sanctioned by the Sri Lanka government and orchestrated by Colonel Karuna Amman’s political faction. Parajasingham’s wife, Sugunam Parajasingham was seriously wounded in the gunfire among seven other civilians, who were also injured during the ambush.

TNA MP M A Sumanthiran who reportedly appeared at court on behalf of Mrs Pararajasingham, said that if Pillayan can be released on bail under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), why are other individuals detained under the same legislation not released. 

The PTA which has disproportionately targeted Tamils, allows detention without charge, Despite the demand for an alternative counter-terrorism law by the United Nations and the European Union, the Rajapaksa administration has confirmed its plan to retain the PTA. Countless Tamils have been arrested under the PTA, dozens of whom have been kept in detention without trial, or who have been sentenced on dubious evidence. 


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