Consortium of Tamil Associations in New Zealand
Auckland Wellington Christchurch Palmerston North
13 th November 2006
Assassination of Tamil Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj
On 10th of November 2006 Nadarajah Raviraj, Jaffna district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian, was shot dead in
Colombo. The shooting took place near the MPs’ residence when unknown gunmen riding a motorbike shot at him while he was
preparing to drive his car. His bodyguard also died in the attack.
A lawyer turned politician, and former mayor of Jaffna, Mr. Raviraj, elected twice, has been an important
parliamentarian who spoke out against the extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances in Northeast and Colombo.
Mr. Raviraj took part in a demonstration on Thursday against the Sri Lankan Army shelling in Vaharai, where 47 Tamil
refugees were killed.
R. Sampanthan, leader of the Tamil National Alliance, stated "Raviraj's assassination is a clear attempt by the
paramilitary operating with the Sri Lankan Army to stifle the Tamil parliamentarians' voice in and out of the Parliament
to inform the International Community of the Sri Lankan Government's genocide against the Tamils."
Sampanthan further said, "Almost a year has passed since the assassination of Batticaloa parliamentarian Joseph
Pararajasingam and the Sri Lankan government is yet to bring the killers to book. This reveals the covert connections
the government has with them."
The Federation of All Mosques and Organizations in Eastern Province, in a statement issued the day after the
assassination, expressed its deep sorrow over the death of Nadarajah Raviraj.
The statement noted "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."
The U.S. Embassy in Colombo issued a press release stating: “The United States deplores the assassination on November 10
of Mr. Nadarajah Raviraj, member of the Sri Lankan Parliament.”
“It is critical that crimes such as the murder of Nadarajah Raviraj not go unpunished.
We urge the government to begin an immediate investigation into the circumstances of his killing and to find, arrest,
and prosecute those responsible on the most urgent basis.”
The assassination of Nadarajah Raviraj has not occurred in isolation. It is part of a series of large-scale attacks
against Tamils civilians, NGO workers, parliamentarians and journalists that have occurred during the past year.
In the opinion of COTANZ (Consortium of Tamil Associations in New Zealand), the
targeting of Tamil civil society will only stop when there exists a sufficient cost to the Sri Lankan armed forces (and
their proxies) in carrying out this type of tactic.