Leading rights activist killed in Tamil rebel-held area

April 20th, 2008 - 7:38 pm ICT by admin  

Colombo, April 20 (IANS) The head of a human rights body operating in the areas held by the Tamil Tigers has been killed in a wayside claymore mine blast, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) claimed in a statement Sunday. “Reverend Father Karunaratnam, chairperson of the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR), was killed in a claymore attack on the Mallavi-Vavunikkulam road, carried out by the Sri Lanka Army’s Deep Penetration Unit at 12.30 p.m. today (Sunday),” the statement said.

“Father Karunaratnam, a long-time human rights activist, was the founder of the NESOHR, which is the foremost human rights body operating in the LTTE-administered areas,” the LTTE said in the statement.

“A tireless voice for the plight of the long suffering Tamils, he was active till the very last minute of his life,” the rebels said, adding, Karunaratnam was also a working catholic priest.

“He was serving in Jaffna until 2006, and then the church transferred him to Wanni fearing for his life.”

Although the rebels have blamed the Sri Lankan Army for the blast, military spokesperson Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara vehemently denied the charge.

“We totally deny this allegation. The military has no idea about it, as the incident has reportedly happened deep inside the LTTE stronghold of Wanni, where we do not operate,” Nanayakkara said.

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