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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2401

Jeyaraj no more

Sunil C. Perera in Colombo

Colombo, 06 April, (Asiantribune.com): Chief Organiser of the government and Minister of Highways Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was killed in an LTTE suicide bomb attack this morning. The blast occurred at around 7.30 am while the Minister was at a marathon race in a Weliveriya.

Sources say the Minister arrived at the starting point of the Marathon to give the starting signal when the blast occurred. Police say the Minister was killed at the site and 11 others have also been killed. 99 persons were injured in this morning’s blast.Image at the scene of the bomb blastImage at the scene of the bomb blast

Hospital sources say 92 persons are receiving treatment at the Gampaha District Hospital. The condition of ten is critical. Three patients have been transferred to the Ragama Hospital. Four others are receiving treatment at the Accident Ward of the Colombo National Hospital.

The post-mortem has been conducted on the Minister and preparations have been made to convey the body to Colombo. The bodies of seven persons have been identified by their relatives. Marathon runner K.A. Karunarathne and National Athletic Coach Lakshman De Alwis are among those killed.

The office of Gampaha A.S.P. says the head believed to be that of the suicide bomber has been found. Police spokesman DIG N.K. Ilangakoon says special security arrangements have been made centering the site of the blast and search operations are being conducted around Weliveriya. IGP Victor Perera toured the site of the blast.

Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was a father of two and aged 55 at the time of his assassination. He was born on 11th January 1953 and received his primary and secondary education at Ave-Maria Convent and Maris Stella College in Negombo. Passing out from the Sri Lanka Law College, his legal career commenced in 1977.

In 1983 he was appointed as the Organizer in the electorate of Katana for the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. He was elected to Parliament from the Gampaha District in 1989. In 1994 he was elected as a Member of Parliament for the second time and was the Deputy Minister of Finance, Ethnic Affairs and National Integration. In 1997 he was appointed as the Minister of Plan Implementation and Parliamentary Affairs. In 2000 he was appointed the Minister of Civil Aviation, Tourism and Christian Religion Affairs. In 2004 Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was appointed the Minister of Trade and chief government whip of parliament.Image at the scene of the blastImage at the scene of the blast

The late minister is renowned as a leader committed to enhance ethnic relations between Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. He is also noted as a Minister who frequently kept in touch with the media regarding current developments. The late Minister gave his final comments to the SLBC at around 6.50 this morning regarding the eastern provincial election while travelling to Weliveriya for the Marathon race.

In a message of condolence Minister of Information and Mass Media Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says the untimely demise of Minister ernandopulle creates a huge void in the country’s political arena in addition to being a great loss to the country. The Minister appreciated the role played by the late Minister in solving the ethnic issue and advancing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. The Minister added that the need of this moment is to take forward the attempts of Minister Fernandopulle and eradicate terrorism. The Presidential Secretariat says the final rites of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle will be conducted with state honors. President Mahinda Rajapakse has directed relevant units in this regard.

- Asian Tribune -

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