LTTE prime suspect in Selvarajah killings
By Asif Fuard
In the wake of last Friday’s killing of a top woman broadcaster and her husband, fingers are being pointed directly at the LTTE as she had broadcast programmes critical of the Wanni Tigers.

The two deceased are Relangi Selvarajah (44) and her husband Sinnadurai Selvarajah (47), who were residing at Balapokuna Road, Kirulapone. They are the parents of a child who will be a year old this Wednesday.

Relangi had been a television and radio presenter for the past two decades for Tamil programmes. She had been hosting a Tamil radio programme on the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) called ‘Makkal Pural’, which was critical of the LTTE when it was aired in 1991. The Sunday Times learns that the programme had been sponsored by the EPDP to give adverse publicity to the LTTE.

Relangi who joined the state media in 1985 was a well-known news presenter and talk show hostess for the SLBC, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and ITN. Before she joined the state media she was working in a private advertising firm in her hometown, Jaffna. She had acted in several Tamil films and tele-dramas.
She produced the programme ‘Idhaya Veenai’which was also critical of the LTTE. She had been criticised by the LTTE several times for airing anti-LTTE programmes.

She hosted the daily Tamil morning show telecast by Channel Eye called ‘Udaya Darshanam’.

She was later appointed as the Deputy Director for Tamil Programmes at Rupavahini. She had resigned in order to set up her own private business.
Sha and her husband were ardent PLOTE supporters. Her husband who is a businessman had been in the PLOTE from the time the organisation was formed. The Sunday Times learns that he was a close associate of former PLOTE leader Uma Maheswaran.

He was a former PLOTE militant who had also taken part in the 1988 coup in Maldives to overthrow Maldivian President Abdul Gayoom. He left the PLOTE in July 1989 following the death of its leader but remained a PLOTE supporter ever since.

Unidentified gunmen shot the two in their heads leaving spent 9 mm. ammunition caps on the floor. The two were at their shop at St. Peter’s Place Bambalapitiya, which is opposite St. Peter’s College.

The shop they owned was a photographic studio, communication centre and travel agency which bore the name Kinross Communication. The couple had employed four persons at the shop. Usually at least one person stays at the shop when both employers are in the premises. But when the shooting took place none of the workers were at the shop.

The workers told the police that three of them had gone out for lunch while the other had gone to the bank. One of the workers told The Sunday Times that usually at least one of the workers stays at the work place when their employer is around. It being their pay day they thought of going out for lunch together since their employers didn’t mind them going for lunch. The workers had left the premises at 12.30 p.m. while the shooting took place fifteen minutes later.

Last Friday evening the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate Kishani Dodangoda visited the crime scene along with officials of the Government Analyst’s Department and the Fingerprint Bureau.

There is speculation that the killing would have been in retaliation for the killing of top journalist Dharmaretnam Sivaram which was alleged to be the work of the PLOTE.

PLOTE spokesperson Paun told The Sunday Times the LTTE had set up an intelligence team to wipe out all PLOTE members and supporters, which had come in the wake of this killing.

“The LTTE had gunned down our members in the past and it is still continuing to do so. We had informed the SLMM with regard to this but nothing much has happened. The killings are still continuing,” he said. Meanwhile Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse has issued a statement condemning the killing of the veteran media personality and her husband.

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