|Tuesday, 17 August 2004|
EPDP Media Secretary gunned down at Wellawatte
by Sarath Malalasekera and Manjula Fernando
EPDP leader Minister Douglas Devananda's Media Secretary was gunned down in broad daylight at Wellawatte yesterday.
K.Balanadarajah who was also a former EPDP election candidate for the Jaffna District was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen near his home at W.A. Silva Mawatha, Wellawatte.
In addition to being the spokesman of the EPDP, Balanadarajah also known as Sinna Bala was on the Editorial Board of the party news paper Thinamurasu.
According to the investigators the gunmen who had come in a motor cycle had opened fire at the EPDP member while he was waiting near his home to come to his Colombo office.
The Wellawatte police cordoned off the area in a bid to arrest the suspects who had fled the scene.
Balanadarajah is the second member of the EPDP to be killed in Colombo during the past two weeks.
EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda also escaped an assassination bid last month when a LTTE woman suicide cadre entered his office. She later blew herself inside the Kollupitiya police station.
Meanwhile, the EPDP headquarters in Colombo said that they were positive the killing was carried out by the LTTE.
"We have no other suspects. We are one hundred percent sure it is the LTTE," Stephen Pieris of EPDP Colombo office told the Daily News.
Kandasamy Ayer Balanadarajah Ayer (47) who was the Media Secretary of Minister Douglas Devananda was on his way to office when he was shot dead by two men on a motor cycle, suspected LTTE pistol gang members.
"Since his usual transport got delayed yesterday he has walking towards the main road after leaving his house on W.A.De Silva Mw at Pamankada," Pieris said. Kandasamy was shot six times and died on the spot.
"The LTTE has assassinated 113 people in the North and East and in Colombo since the signing of the MoU in 2002. This was the 114th killing," the EPDP spokesman said. Meanwhile, the EPDP in a press release issued yesterday blamed the LTTE for the killing of its media secretary Kandasamy Iyer Alias Balan Nadaraj Iyer and called upon the authorities rein in the "Tiger hunting dog" before it could sound the death-knell of democracy in this country.
The release added that these killings had posed a serious security threat to the EPDP and its activists and the party leader and UPFA Minister Douglas Devananda hoped to meet the President and discuss this matter with her.
Iyer who was born in Uralu, Jaffna on June 6, 1957 started his political activities in 1972 from the Tamil Students Organisation.
Later, he functioned as a leader of EROS and a member of the Tamil Liberation movement. After the LTTE gobbled up EROS, Iyer joined hands with EPDP leader Douglas Devananda to fight for the democratic rights and pluralism of the Tamils in the North and East. A well-known author and journalist he was popularly known among Tamils as 'Ilayawan'. He was married and had three daughters.
Meanwhile, the Free Media Movement (FMM) yesterday condemned the killing of Kandasamy Iyer Alias Balan Nadaraja as a blatant violation of international law and democratic rights and requested authorities to bring the perpetrators of the crime before the court of law.
The FMM in a press release issued yesterday said 48-years-old Iyer, a father of three was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen while on his way to work in the morning.
The release signed by FMM spokesman Sunanda Deshapriya added that this killing could be described as part of the internecine warfare between the LTTE and its renegade Karuna faction which had exalted in recent times.
Earlier, Weerakesari journalist and IBC correspondent Aiyadorai Nadesan too was gunned down in similar fashion in Kaththankudy.
Although no one could be directly held responsible for this killing it wouldn't be totally unfair to apportion it on the LTTE going by the common political understanding. However harming journalists and civilians during military clashes was considered as a breach of international law and democratic rights and norms.
While calling upon all parties to the conflict to desist from politics of killing people the FMM would call upon the authorities to bring the perpetrators of this crime to book.
Produced by Lake House