12th November,  2006  Volume 13, Issue 18

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    


Slain TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj was one of the most vocal when TNA MPs protested in front of the UN office in Colombo on November 9 on the bombing of civilians in Vakarai. He posed the question to UN agencies as to why they remained silent. Just 24 hours later he was silenced by an assasin's bullet

CBK to write a socio political analysis on the Rajapakse family

Chandrika accuses President of putting her safety in jeopardy

By Lasantha Wickrematunge

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Friday charged that her security has been dangerously jeopardised by the defence......


Top News 

> Raviraj's last act

> US wants Vakarai attackers brought to justice

> TNA wants A9 opened to transport body of Raviraj to Chavakachcheri

> Sajin's budget airline in full throttle

> Budget package irks Sri Lankans

More News.......

CBK to write a socio political analysis on the Rajapakse family

Chandrika accuses President of putting her safety in jeopardy

By Lasantha Wickrematunge

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Friday charged that her security has been dangerously jeopardised by the defence authorities despite intelligence reports that there was a grave threat to her life at the hands of the LTTE.

The tough talking former Head of State accusing the President of continually harassing her revealed to The Sunday Leader that she as a political scientist was going to write a socio political analysis of the Rajapakse family's attitude towards the Bandaranaike's.

In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Leader, Kumaratunga also charged that having withdrawn most of the security afforded to her, the Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse had 'ordered' her Security Director to be taken to the CID and interrogated twice on the allegation that he did not give her proper security when she returned to the country on October 30.

" Now this has been made the excuse to harass and intimidate the head of my security. The President who by numerous wilful acts of commission and omission, that I described just now, has dangerously put my safety in jeopardy now makes a huge shindig about the airport incident", Kumaratunga said.

The former President also said after the bomb attack on her, she made three big mistakes politically and one was the dissolution of Parliament in 2004 at the insistence of the JVP and some of her own members and the alliance with the JVP was another.

Raviraj's last act

By Amantha Perera

Before he faced the cameras on November 9 in front of the UN office in Colombo, slain TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj had a query. "What do you call the UN in Sinhala," he asked a journalist before appearing before the  camera for  Swarnavahini.

He was one of the livewires of the protest the TNA MPs organised in front of the UN office where they handed over a letter to be forwarded to the UN Secretary General on the Vakarai massacre. Till his arrival there were no banners in English. Raviraj himself was to raise a board that read "UNHCR, UNICEF why are you silent."Less than 24 hours later he himself was to be silenced.

The letters were printed in multiples so as to give copies to the media and was brought by Raviraj neatly folded in a cover that had "Raviraj and Associates," the name of his law firm .

Having distributed them, Raviraj got a TV cameraman and a Tamil journalist into the UN office where TNA Leader R. Sampanthan handed over the letter. He made sure that the TV crews remained at the location so as to get a voice cut from Sampanthan. "Oya inna, ape lokka dan enawa, eyata basha thuanam kataha karanna puluwan," he remarked in his faulting Sinhala.

It was ironic that the protest would turn out be his final act of defiance. A day later, he was killed by assassins, shot not more than two kilometers north of the UN office.

Raviraj was in the thick of things, be it in parliament or in TV debates - he would not shy away. A TNA member who would take part in the TV talk shows in Sinhala, Raviraj had just returned from a programme with the Derana TV station when he was shot.

US wants Vakarai attackers brought to justice

By Amantha Perera

The UN last week charged that civilians were indiscriminately being targeted in Sri Lanka and called for an immediate halt to the ongoing violence while the United States called for those responsible for the attack to be brought to justice.

"Yesterday's massive attack on civilians shows that force continues to be used indiscriminately in the conflict in Sri Lanka," Jan Egeland, United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs said on the bombing of a refugee camp in Kathiraveli, north of  Vakarai.

Allan Rock, Special Advisor on Sri Lanka to the United Nations Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, who had visited the area of the bombings described the situation as shocking. 

"The people trapped in this camp are terrified and feel that they are completely at the mercy of others. The time has come for all parties to respect the basic human rights of these people, which are simply not being observed at the moment," he said.

The UN also issued a statement in Colombo  strongly condemning the bombing. "The United Nations condemns in the strongest possible terms the shelling by the security forces of the Government of Sri Lanka on defenceless civilians sheltering in Kathiraveli School in Vakarai yesterday. The killing and wounding of displaced persons is unjustifiable and a violation of the most basic humanitarian norms," the statement said.

 While most of the blame fell on the government, the UN criticised the Tigers who it said had prevented 2,000 civilians from leaving the Kathiraveli area.

The UN criticism comes following mounting international condemnation of the humanitarian crisis in the north and east.

"We remind all parties to the conflict of their responsibility to protect civilians and uphold international human rights and humanitarian law.  We remain concerned for all displaced persons in the Vakarai area and urge the parties to ensure their freedom of movement, and to facilitate unimpeded and secure access for international humanitarian actors to this  vulnerable population.  We encourage the national authorities to urgently inquire into this incident and take immediate steps to prevent tragedies of this kind," the UN statement said.

Meanwhile the US also called on the government and the Tigers to respect international humanitarian norms. "We exhort the Sri Lankan Government to adopt corrective measures to prevent civilian casualties that also take into account instances where civilians may be used as 'human shields' in the future. We call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to conduct an immediate, independent investigation into the November 8 incidents and bring the responsible parties to justice," the US State Department said in statement.

TNA wants A9 opened to transport body of Raviraj to Chavakachcheri

The TNA on Friday called on President Mahinda Rajapakse to open the A9 highway to take the body of slain parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj for cremation in Chavakachcheri.

The Sunday Leader learns, TNA MP, Mavai Senathirajah had informed the President on Friday that it was the last wish of the MP to be cremated in Chavaka-chcheri and would therefore urge him to consider the request for the opening of the A9 road to transport the body..

It is learnt, TNA parliamentary group leader R Sampanthan too had spoken to the President and made the request both on behalf of the MP's family and the party for the opening of the A9 to transport the body beyond Muhamalai to Chavakachcheri. The President had said he would consult his Service Chiefs and revert.

Sampanthan confirmed to The Sunday Leader he made the request from the President since it would be logistically difficult for all the family members and other relatives and friends to travel to Chavakachcheri by air.

The President, it is learnt had expressed concern that the LTTE would fire mortars if the road was opened but the TNA had given an assurance, the LTTE will not carry out any hostile acts.

"I told the President that we will give an assurance the LTTE will not do anything.I also said If the A9 cannot be opened permanently, at least to open it for the body to be taken to Chavakachcheri as a humanitarian gesture", Senathirajah told The Sunday Leader.

The TNA is to also make an application in court tomorrow seeking approval to cremate the slain MP in keeping with his last wishes.

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera who paid his last respects to the MP at the Barney Raymonds funeral parlour yesterday also agreed to take up the request for the opening of the A9 with the President following representations by the TNA.

Raviraj and his bodyguard  Police Sergeant Lakshman Lokuwella were gunned down in broad daylight Friday in Narahenpita.

Meanwhile the Foreign Ministry has made a request through the British High Commission in Colombo for a Scotland Yard team to probe the executions.Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in London, Kshenuka Seneviratne too has made contact with Scotland Yard through the British Foreign Service, it is learnt.

The response of Scotland Yard is to be communicated to the Government tomorrow.

Sajin's budget airline in full throttle

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ruled that the functions of a state owned budget airline  Mihin Air will not affect the agreements reached between the government and Emirates.

CAA Director General, H.M.C. Nimalasiri  told The Sunday Leader that although the agreement reached by the government with Emirates on the country's national carrier, SriLankan Airlines would not be affected by the entrance of Mihin Air, it would have  an impact commercially on SriLankan Airlines.

He said that SriLankan Airlines would be affected commercially due to the presence of a budget airline.

"SriLankan Airlines will be affected commercially, but there is a lot of competition and people opt for the lower price," he said.

 He said the functions of the budget airlines would look into aspects outside the agreement with Emirates.

"It would look into aspects outside the agreement reached between the government and the Emirates. However we are yet to see the proposals," he added.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of Mihin Air, Sajin Vaas Gunawardena wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority on November 7, seeking its fullest cooperation for its functions, stating it was a fully state owned airline service.

Budget package irks Sri Lankans

By Arthur Wamanan

The low fare budget package introduced by SriLankan Airlines (SLA) has come under criticism due to various conditions put forward by the organisation.

Most of the complaints made were based on two conditions stating that the money paid for the package could not be refunded and the scheduled dates could not be changed.

The persons who complained suggested a percentage of the money should be refunded or a surcharge should be levied for a date change.

However,  SLA said none of these suggestions could be accepted.

Chief Commercial Officer of  SLA, Barry Brown told The Sunday Leader the people who paid for the package were aware of the conditions laid down by the company before they made any payments.

"We introduced this package to provide transport to European countries and back," Brown said.

He said all the details were included in the website for the benefit of those interested in the package.

"The conditions were put up on the website and the people are in a position to go through them before they make any payments. They are asked to pay Rs. 19,900. We have clearly mentioned that this is a limited package with special fare. It is also stated that the money paid is gone forever if they fail to adhere to the conditions," he said.

He added the package was valid till the end of the year.

"We introduced the package in mid October and will continue till December 10," added Brown.

He however suggested the only way for the people to get back the money was to obtain travel insurance.

"This can be obtained from any of the insurance companies or travel agencies. That is the only way they can get back the money," he said.

No approval for a Private Medical College - UGC

The University Grants Commission (UGC) last week said it would not give approval for a Private Medical College.

UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake told The Sunday Leader none of the foreign degrees were approved by them.

"The institutes, which conduct degree programmes with the affiliation of foreign bodies are not recognised by the UGC or given approval," he said.

He added the Private Medical College would be conducting the final stage of the course in Tanzania.

"We learnt the first two years of the medical course would be conducted in Sri Lanka, while the rest will be completed in Tanzania. The UGC has no connection with this programme since it is done with the support of an international body," he said.

He however said the UGC had given approval to a few institutions to conduct local degree programmes.

"The UGC has given approval to a few private organisations to conduct degree courses on Computer Science and Computer System and Design. However, these courses are done locally and have connection with international colleges or universities," he said.

The medical students at the Colombo University last week staged a protest against the Private Medical College opposite the UGC.

The students complained the standards of the doctors produced would go down as the students who had narrowly passed the Advanced Level examinations also would end up being doctors.

"The students who have passed the A/Levels with three simple passes will also be eligible to follow the course and they will eventually pass out as doctors. Therefore, the standards of the doctors could come down unless they have a specific standard," a first year student at the Colombo University told The Sunday Leader.

He said it was highly unlikely that the Private Medical College would have a standard since they would want to pass out all the students.

"These days, the private institutions conduct courses for the sake of money. They would look to make each and every student pass out without bothering about the standards. What is the guarantee that this particular institution would also follow a specific standard as the Medical Faculty?" he questioned. (AW)

SCOPP concerned about media reports on 'surrendees'

By Kumutu Amarasingham

The Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) in a letter to the Media Ministry has called for more responsible reporting on child combatants from the media last week.

"I have been informed that on many occasions, child combatants who are  'surrendees' have been given publicity in the media, exposing their identity as their faces are shown, details are disclosed about names etc., during interviews with the media,"  Secretary General, SCOPP, Palitha Kohona  said in his letter, addressed to Secretary, Ministry of Media and Information, W. B. Ganegala.

The letter said that while the media had a significant role to play in the prevention of recruitment of children, revealing their identity was a form of abuse that put them at risk.

"While the media have an important role to play in the advocacy against the recruitment of children as combatants, exposing their identity is also a violation and one which contributes to the risk of reprisal by the LTTE," Kohona said.

Kohona called for the Media Ministry's support to prevent such revelations and added that names and identifiable pictures of child soldiers needed to be withheld.

"Information on child combatants could be published in the media with blurring of their faces, names and all forms of identification, so that they are protected from reprisals," the letter stated.

Fast work at passport office

By Risidra Mendis

The renewal of a passport could now be done in just two hours. According to a new system introduced by the Department of Immigration and Emigration the minimum time for the renewal of a passport is two hours.  

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Controller  of  Immigration and Emigration P. D. Abeykone said the services at the department havebeen improved to meet the growing demands.

Resident Manager, Bentota Beach Hotel, Marlon Mendis was pleasantly surprised when his passport was renewed in half an hour.

"I filled up a passport renewal form, walked into the passport office and handed the form to an official. The officer checked my passport, photo and signature and endorsed the form. I paid Rs 500 for the renewal of my passport for five years at 10.35am," Mendis said.

According to Mendis his reference number H-55 was called at 11 a.m. "The passport office is the most efficient and well organised government department. I went to the Deputy Controller of Immigration and Emigration Dayantha Fernando's office and told him 'Sir' thank you very much. I did not know your department is so efficient. Keep up the good work," Mendis added. 

"Mondays are busy days at the office. We have around 3000 people coming to get their passports on a Monday. For the convenience of people we have opened three new passport offices in Matara, Anuradhapura and Kandy," Abeykone said.

Sea Tigers claim 'victory' in naval battle off Pt. Pedro coast

By D. B. S. Jeyaraj

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Sea Tigers Division has claimed 'victory' in a fierce naval battle off the northern coast of Point Pedro.

The fighting occurred in the evening on Thursday, November 9 about four nautical miles off the Pt. Pedro coast.

Two Dvora fast attack crafts  of the navy were sunk while a third was severely damaged. Two Black Sea Tiger suicide boats laden with explosives rammed into the boats.

LTTE Defence Spokesperson  Rasiah Ilanthirayan told the media that some vessels of the Sea Tigers were engaged in a marine 'training'exercise along the Nagarkovil coast when a flotilla of eight naval Dvora fast attack crafts moved close to the shore and attacked them.

This led to afleet of 12Sea Tiger boatsengaging the navy. The fleet had been ready for rapid deployment to protect the Sea Tiger boats involved in training exercises.

After a fierce sea skirmish the navy boats had retreated and proceeded towards Kankesanthurai. The Sea Tigers had given chase along with a few black Sea Tiger suicide boats.

The LTTE had engaged the navy again offInbarutti along the Vadamaratchi coast. ThreeK-fir jet bombers and two Ukrainian built Mi 24 helicopter gunships had lent air support to the navy.

A Black Sea Tiger suicide vessel had rammed into the middle of aDvora at5.35 p.m. The boat had exploded and sunk rapidly.

Another explosive-ladenBlack Sea Tiger boat had rammed into the back of a second fast attack craft. This had resulted in the boat catching fire.

With the sailors on board jumping off the ship a Sea Tiger squad had quickly climbed aboard.

The LTTE cadres had rapidly removed some equipment andweapons on the ship.

One23 mm cannon, five PK-LMGs, four 50 calibre guns and an Auto HK Grenade Launcher with ammunition were among the guns seized by the Sea Tigers.

The second Dvora already burning began sinking at 6. 05 pm.

A third Dvora sustained much damage in the fighting but was towed away by other naval vessels to KKS.

The LTTE boats gave up the chase after aerial attacks by the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The LTTE retrieved the body of one SLN sailor.

Also four navy men were captured as prisoners of war.

The Tigers are expected to hand over the sailor's body to the ICRC in Kilinochchi shortly. Arrangements are to be made for the ICRC and SLMM representatives to visit the four navy men in LTTE custody.

At least 26 naval personnelwere killed in the sea battle. The navy has reported 18 sailors as missing.

The LTTE says that five of their fighters including Black Sea Tigers died in the clash.

Meanwhile the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has accused the LTTE of targeting the passenger ship 'Green Ocean' carrying 308 civilians and security personnel. The navy boats giving protection to the ship were attacked by the LTTE it is charged.

The 'Green Ocean' hasreportedly docked safely at KKS it is said.

The LTTE has denied that the 'Green Ocean' was attacked and said the ship was nowhere to be seen when the sea skirmish took place.

The charge about  'Green Ocean' being targeted is only a red herring to deflect attention away from the negative publicity caused by the massacre of displaced Tamil civilians at the Kathiraveli refugee camp say the Tigers.

The GOSL has also claimed that 22 of 26 LTTE boats were destroyed and that the remaining four had retreated.

The LTTE has refuted this claim and pointed out that the LTTE had captured four navy personnel alive and also taken away guns from the navy Dvora.

"Are these the actions of defeated and retreating Sea Tigers" the LTTE has asked rhetorically.

Sea Tiger Special Commander Col. Soosai has said that deputy sea Tiger commander Cheliyan led the counter attack against the Sri Lanka navy off Pt. Pedro.

Journalists prevented from covering demo

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti in the Maldives

Three Sri Lankan journalists were prevented from covering a minor protestnear the Artificial Beach in the Maldivian capital on Thursday (9) night and were ordered to produce a letter of invitation by the Maldivian government.

The Maldivian special task force personnel after checking the Sri Lankan media accreditation cards demanded the production of an official invitation if the journalists wished to cover the incident and said that all types descended on Male and the purpose of their visit or on whose invitations they arrived were unknown to the authorities.

On Thursday night a group of protesters believed to be supporters of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) hoisted their party flags close to the Artificial Beach area. Soon afterwards, police were deployed in the area, which was promptly cordoned off.

Civilians were directed to immediately leave the place while the police removed the flags.

The protestors were shouting slogans against the government and were calling the administration a criminal one that had brutally suppressed the rising opposition.

The journalists who arrived on the scene were told that nobody could cover anything even if accredited international media personnel, as long as the government has not officially invited them to do so.

The harassment was experienced soon after Chief Government Spokesman, Mohamed H. Shareef gave an assurance which is on record that no journalist would be prevented from covering any protest or any other aspect of the Maldives as long as they had proof of being accredited journalists.

However, the journalists complained to the Government Spokesman who apologised on behalf of the government and instructed the police to allow the journalists to engage in their professional work without interruption.

The three journalists were Bureau Chief, Media for Democratic People World Wide, Suranimal Perera of The Sunday Standard and this writer.

The MDP had planned to hold a massive demonstration against the Gayoom administration demanding democratic elections, speedy electoral reforms and the restoration of democracy. However, following the arrest ofscores of people travelling to Male to attend the protest last Wednesday (8) and increased house searches and tight security, the MDP called off the protest on Thursday evening (9) alleging fear of security for the people and possible brutal suppression tactics by the government.

A spokesman for the MDP told The Sunday Leader that it seemed too risky to hold a protest at a time when the government had detained and ill-treated those involved and even not involved in the protest. "There has been a sustained campaign of  government harassment," said MDP Secretary General, Hamid Abdul Gafoor.

TMVP condemns attack on civilians

The Karuna group last week said the attack on the civilians in Kathiraveli cannot be justified by the military.

In a statement released last week the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) condemned last week's attack in Kathiraveli.

"We, the TMVP condemn every incident where civilians are killed or affected. The government cannot justify this attack on innocent civilians. The safety of the civilians should be ensured when the military or any group carries out attacks," the TMVP said. It  urged the government to provide immediate assistance to the people who were affected in last week's shelling. The TMVP also condemned the LTTE for using the civilians as a shield.

Four ships carry goods to Jaffna

The Essential Services Commissioner's last week provided relief items to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Jaffna peninsula.

Deputy Essential Services Commissioner H.M Rathnakeerthi told The Sunday Leader that four ships had already left with goods to the peninsula.

"Four cargo ships carrying container loads of essential goods have been sent to the peninsula within the last week, whereas a cargo ship which reached the peninsula Thursday (9) completed its unloading of 2800 metric tonnes of relief, which  provisions were accordingly distributed to the IDPs in the area" he said.

Further Rathnakeerthi said one of the ships was in Trincomalee and was being loaded with relief items

"It is expected to reach the Jaffna peninsula today (12)," he added.

 He also said the cargo weighed up to 1900 tonnes.

Rathnakeerthi said, the ESC had sent another shipment carrying 4210 tonnes of relief to the peninsula and this shipment to would arrive on the same day.

He said the items sent included vegetable oil, milk powder, sugar, rice, flour, and medical supplies.

According to Rathnakeerthi, these shipments would be sufficient for a month or more, but he added the ESC would continue to send relief items on a weekly basis. (WB)

Sri Lanka high on the corruption list

By Warren Balthazaar

Sri Lanka was placed 84th among 163 countries in the 2006 corruption perceptions index

This indicates an increase in corruption in  Sri Lanka's public sector.

This year Sri Lanka has seen a steady increase in corruption compared to the last two years, Transparency International (TI) revealed.

According to a statement by TI Sri Lanka's perceived corruption has risen to 3.1 this year in contrast to 3.2 last year and 3.5 the previous year. On a scale of one to 10, one denotes the most corrupt and 10 the least.

The statement further says 75% of the countries in the world indicated high levels of domestic corruption

About 75% of the countries in the world indicated considerable domestic corruption that ranged above five in the index.

Other countries mentioned in the corruption perception index included many South Asian countries.

Bangladesh was placed the lowest at 156th with an index score of 2.0 while India ranked  70th with a score of 3.3, while Pakistan was at 142nd with a 2.2 score.

 Haiti had the lowest score at 1.8; Guinea, Iraq and Myanmar share the one before the last slot, each with a score of 1.9. Finland, Iceland and New Zealand shared the top score of 9.6. 

Questions over VIP security following Raviraj killing

By Nirmala Kannangara

Questions have been raised on the level of security provided to VIPs following the assasination of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian, N. Raviraj at Elvitigala Mawatha in Colombo during peak office traffic  last Friday morning.

Former UNP Parliamentarian S. B. Dissanayake who rushed to the Colombo National hospital on hearing of  the incident  questioned the security of even ordinary citizens  in the country.

He told The Sunday Leader that the government was answerable for  this  assassination and President Mahinda Rajapakse should take immediate action to prevent such  killings from recurring in the country.

"Is this the honourable peace the President assured a year ago? Raviraj was a peace loving person. He swayed justice, he hated injustice that happened not only to his community but also to others," Dissanayake said.

Deputy Minister   of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC),Vadivel Suresh told The Sunday Leader that Raviraj was a leader who was concerned about the estate workers.  "This is an irreplaceable loss to our community," said Suresh.

Western People's Front Leader, Mano Ganesan said the government should take responsibility for this incident.

"He was a colleague in arms against injustice. He was also a member of the Civil Monitoring Committee on abductions and killings and played a prominent role in the committee," said Ganesan.

"Raviraj was my brother's son. Although he was into politics he never spoke political issues with the family members. He was so concerned about the underprivileged and fought  against injustice. The government is responsible for this assassination," charged Raviraj's uncle, V. S. Ganeshalingam who had come to the National Hospital to find out about his nephew's condition.

R. J. Singh,  cousin of the slain parliamentarian said that Raviraj was worried about the food scarcity in Jaffna.  According to Singh, Raviraj had also aired his displeasure against the security personnel at the Palali Airport.

"At the airport he was subjected to a body check and once again when he was to be checked he had informed the higher authorities  at the airport who had let him go without further checks. He constantly spoke about the food shortages in Jaffna. He was a man who wanted to see peace in the country. This great loss will be felt tomorrow than today," Singh said. 

The Prado Land Cruiser KE- 1279  vehicle  which Raviraj was driving  at the time of the incident had knocked  against the iron railing along the center island of the Basline highway. Both the left and right front  windows of the jeep were totally shattered and the bullet ridden right side rear windows had indicated that the assailant had gone round the jeep, firing at Raviraj.

Ranjan, a civilian who was driving past at the time had seen a jeep turning from Matha Road towards Narahenpita. "The jeep tooted the horn asking me to stop for a while and no sooner the jeep took the turn, a round of bullets were fired at the jeep. A bullet even went past me, damaging my right shutter," Ranjan said.

Warnajith who had come to the nearby army hospital had seen the assailant firing at the jeep. "The T56 was in a travelling bag and he did not take the rifle out, instead whilst keeping part of it in the bag he shot at the jeep continuously. The assailant was wearing a brown coloured T-shirt and sped towards Borella  in an old motor cycle," he told The Sunday Leader.

A  classmate of  Praveena, Raviraj's   15 year old daughter told The Sunday Leader that not only she but also all her friends were shocked to hear of the incident. "He was a father figure to all of us. He was so jovial and looked into our needs in every possible way. Not only did he  encourage us to do our studies but also advised us to take part in curriculum activities to mould our future," she said.


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