B. Muralidhar Reddy

Rajapaksa wants Scotland Yard help for investigation

COLOMBO: The fragile security environment in Sri Lanka suffered another blow on Friday following the assassination of Nadarajah Raviraj, pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) member of Parliament, in broad daylight by unidentified assailants in the heart of the capital city.

The murder came hours after the Sri Lanka Navy (SLA) claimed it destroyed two Tiger suicide boats off Salli-Sambaltivu, north of Trincomalee in the east, and the U.S. joined several others in exhorting the Sri Lankan Government to take "corrective measures" to avoid incidents like Vaharai on Wednesday in which scores of innocent civilians were killed in military artillery fire.

On way to office

According to the police, the assailants riding a motorcycle pumped bullets into Mr. Raviraj near his residence as he was on his way to office. The Government security officer attached to the MP also came in the firing line and later died of injuries.

Condemning the incident as a `deliberate and well-planned attempt to bring the country and the Government into disrepute', Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked the Foreign Ministry to make an urgent request to the Scotland Yard to assist in investigations into the assassination.

A statement by the President's Secretariat quoted Mr. Rajapaksa as saying that the murder of the MP was also a serious move to "create obstacles' to the efforts being made to bring about better understanding among the different communities in the country, in the search for peace and harmony."

It quoted Mr. Rajapaksa as saying that Mr. Raviraj was a very good friend whom he had known for a long time.

Deploring the killing, the U.S. in a statement said, "It is critical that crimes such as the murder of Nadarajah Raviraj do 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."

More In: Today's Paper