Assassination of Lalith Athulathmudali

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April 23, 1993
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6/9/2011
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Lalith Athulathmudali, the former Cabinet Minister of Trade, National Security, Agriculture, Education and Deputy Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka was killed at 8:10 p.m. Sri Lanka Time (2.10 p.m. UTC) on 23 April 1993 in Kirulapana. Athulathmudali was fatally shot while addressing a gathering, approximately 4 weeks ahead of the Provincial Council elections for the Western Province, May 1993. The investigation carried out by Sri Lanka Police and Scotland Yard separately concluded that the assassination was carried out by a Tamil youth named Appiah Balakrishnan alias Ragunathan, who was affiliated to LTTE. However these findings were widely disputed by people due to the political context of that time. In 1995, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga appointed a presidential commission to probe the Athulathmudali assassination, which had been an election promise of her 1994 presidential election campaign. The final commission report submitted on October 7, 1997 pointed the finger at former President Ranasinghe Premadasa (1988–93) and security force personnel who were close to him as directly responsible for the killing of Athulathmudali. Subsequently, a few security force members and underworld figures were arrested. They were eventually charged with conspiracy, aiding and abetting to commit murder. Three of the accused were killed during prosecution, raising further questions about the assassination. The Lalith Athulathmudali case remains the most controversial political assassination in recent Sri Lankan history.
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