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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 78

Lakshman Kadirgamar – Prince of peace, champion of democracy

[b]Lakshman Kadirgamar – Prince of peace, champion of democracy, equality and human rights and crusader against terrorism.[/b]

By Major General Janaka Perera (Retd) RWP, RSP, VSV, USP

[b]A personal tribute to a nation’s hero.[/b]

Many leaders have walked the centre stage nationally and internationally, but no one had the stature, focus and vision coupled with the adoration of the common man as Lakshman Kadirgamar. Some champion peace, others democracy and yet some others crusade against terrorism. But he was one man who had all the traits rolled into one. I was saddened at the death of my parents due to old age. I was shocked and saddened at the sudden death of my twin brother, but never was I so saddened and burdened with sorrow as the news of the assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar, my mentor and my guide.

The sound of the bullet that felled Lakshman Kadirgamar echoed right round the world, drawing condemnation from the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, down to members of all communities in Sri Lanka. His death touched hearts and minds of all sectors of Sri Lankan society and the international community. I can vouch for this from responses of my Australian and Indonesian counterparts, who were most forthright in condemning the assassination of yet another Sri Lankan leader.

Lakshman Kadirgamar, like most other Sri Lankan leaders who were assassinated in recent times, shared one notable common feature; they were all opposed to the LTTE. Even Rajiv Gandhi, the former Indian Prime Minister, was seen by the LTTE as a threat to their political future and he was targeted by a suicide bomber who was trained, psyched and driven to it by the fanaticism of LTTE violence. LTTE has always operated on the principle that there can’t be two Tigers in the same mountain. This is the meaning behind their claim to be “the sole representative of the Tamils”. It is this dogged belief that has led to the elimination of the Tamil and the Sinhala leadership since it launched its killings in 1975 with the cold-blooded assassination of Alfred Duraiyappah.

I focus on this point because Lakshman Kadirgamar was fully aware of the dangers of crossing the path of the LTTE. He displayed a remarkable courage knowing that his vision and mission has made him the No. 1 target of the LTTE. Often when I came down to Colombo, either from Canberra or Jakarta, I never failed to call on him. He always had time for me. Our long conversations invariably ended up by my saying; “Sir, please take care. I know the LTTE. They have never spared anyone who opposed them seriously.” He in return would tell me; “You take care yourself. You are also in that list as I am.”

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