M A I N   N E W S

Lanka clamps emergency
No role in Foreign Minister’s assassination: LTTE

Colombo, August 13
Sri Lanka declared a state of emergency today following the killing of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar by suspected Tamil Tigers, threatening to derail the fragile peace process between the government and the LTTE.

The government suspected the Tamil rebels to be behind the killing of the 73-year-old ethnic Tamil Christian Minister, who was shot in the head and chest at his heavily guarded residence here last night by two snipers from an adjacent building.

The rebels, however, have denied their involvement in the killing and said the government must look at insiders for the killers.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared a state of emergency for an indefinite period to facilitate enhanced security measures and effective investigations into this act of “wanton terror” and appealed for calm and restraint in the face of this “grave and cowardly attack upon Sri Lanka”.

Describing Kadirgamar, who led the efforts to ban the LTTE as a terrorist outfit, as a “hero of our times”, she said “he waged a relentless war against terrorism in all its forms despite continuous threats to his life”. The emergency gives security forces sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Daya Ratnayake said the Tamil Tigers were the prime suspects in the killing but the authorities were working with an “open mind”.

“We strongly suspect the Tigers because he had threats from the LTTE,” he said. “Two weeks ago, too, we arrested two suspected LTTE men who had been spying on the minister.”

A large security operation was launched after the shooting with police cordoning off the area and conducting house-to-house searches in the capital. All vehicles coming in and out of the city were being checked. Military aircraft hovered over rebel-held territory to monitor the movement of the separatists.

Kadirgamar will be cremated here on Monday with state honours, a Cabinet member said.

The late Foreign Minister’s body was kept this evening at his official residence for public viewing. On Monday, the body will be publicly cremated in Colombo’s Independence Square, where Sri Lanka was declared free from British rule in 1948.



India condemns killing
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
India today condemned the assassination of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and hoped that the Chandrika Kumaratunga government would defeat the forces that seek to undermine the island nation’s unity and political stability.

In a statement here, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs described Kadirgamar as a “long-standing friend of India” and conveyed the sincere condolences of the government and people of India to Ms Kadirgamar and the entire family on their irreparable loss.

Mr Madanjeet Singh, Founder, South Asia Foundation, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, said Lakshman Kadirgamar played a leading role in promoting regional cooperation and peace in South Asia. “His death is an irreparable loss to SAF and extremely painful to me personally as he was a friend, guide and adviser,” he added.


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