TNA MP Mr. Nadarajah Raviraj's killing
Analysis by International Center for Strategic Defense (ICSD)

Particular assassination is not a work of a single individual. Therefore, it's reasonable to focus on "stakeholder" groups, entities or parties. Not in sequential order of substance, entire range of stakeholders would be,

Military Intelligence
Karuna Fraction or a proxy
LTTE or a LTTE proxy
Other Tamil militant groups such as EPDP or EPRLF
A militant Singhalese group
A foreign Jackal or local underworld

Each of above entities was assessed in relation to possible direct involvements in the killing. Though not many, all related circumstances were considered. It appears that, for all except LTTE, main criteria seem to be how well any involvement is perceived by the Government of Mahinda Rajapakse (MR). Those entities which could be ruled out easily were considered first.

A foreign Jackal or local underworld
Deceased individual has not had any serious involvements with a notorious foreign or local underworld org. There was no circumstantial evidence to suggest that a foreign intelligence agency had any interest in this particular assassination.

JVP had constantly maintained a political ideology, which was in direct discord with LTTE. This seems to be the main reason for any suspicions on JVP but Raviraj's killing by JVP is an extremely remote possibility. The recent political move had undoubtedly made the JVP weaker and apparently they are seeking ways to re-align with MR Govt. If they were found involved, their bargaining power in forthcoming negotiations would certainly be at stake, it's publicity would be a political suicide. Also, there were no reported or even alleged instances of such sophisticated shooting by JVP since their failed insurrection in 1988. Some information has emerged that slain Raviraj has developed ties with JVP lately; however, ICSD could not find any evidence to substantiate the same.

A militant Singhalese group
One or two small hardliner Singhalese groups are believed to be possessing certain skills and expressed motives, which were in par with eliminating key individuals propagating LTTE in south. However, those capabilities cannot be assessed as compatible with the skills displayed in the killing. This refers not to the skill of handling a T-56 but the kills mustered in tactful & complicated withdrawal after firing over a magazine of rounds, circling around victim's vehicle. Also, deliberate pumping of several bullets with the intention of killing the Sinhala policemen could not be expected from such groups.

Military Intelligence (MI)

Raviraj was not in good books of MI; his residence had been used for vital intelligence gathering for the assassination of MI chief Col.Muthalib. However, this had not been a determinant factor.

With regard to the military strategy, MR Govt is different from all proceeding Governments, it's a painful reality for certain sections to swallow. LTTE carefully timed it's high profile, none combatant killings such as former foreign minister Lashman Kadiragamar and military intelligence chief Col.Muthalib, not to provoke the Government to retaliate by similar means and in a larger scale. But these 2 killings recorded the end of a long wait and it's not a secret that present Government ordered or at least indifferent to suitable retaliatory measures. However, it's absolutely impossible to believe that the present government ordered the assassination of Mr. Raviraj, in this manner and specially, at this time given the strong international cry for a low intensity military campaign or a total cessation of hostilities. MR highly in favor of a clean international (personal) image. Further, the Secretary of Defense, hither to unknown personality has strong reasons to maintain "gentleman" status quo, being the own brother of the President, has not had any accusations connected to abuse of power. Prior to taking up of this position, he has lived in US over a decade; as a result, democracy & human rights have overshadowed his psychology, at times, considered excessive by his peers.

The possibility of MI conducting the assassination without being ordered / requested by the MR or Secretary of Defense is arguably zero. Though each operation is not informed to highest levels, MI is functioning within strict environs set by Govt, almost all exceptions were treated with suitable confidential disciplinary hearings, court of enquiries etc. Though a character assessment of two MI Regiment seniors has not been carried-out, ICSD is well aware that there's no officer in MI who would take the risk of loosing entire military carrier and end up in locked cell for life, having commanded an unauthorized political assassination, specially a member of parliament.

Possibility of MR or Secretary of Defense employing another killer group to carry out this high profile assassination is zero, besides the absence of a desire at this crucial hour, eventual leakage of operational details would amount to nothing but political suicide. Other than MI, there had not been any accusations of such groups being employed by MR or Secretary of Defense, not even LTTE has leveled any accusations.

Other Tamil militant groups such as EPDP or EPRLF

The last assassination in a none combat area carried out supposedly by above groups had been that of Mr. D.Sivaram alias Tharaki, but it boomeranged resulting in severe setbacks, effectively nullifying the possibilities of delivering future attacks. For the foreseeable future, above groups would not try a high profile political assassination such as a TNA member, they too depend heavily on a good repo with the present Govt. Further, notwithstanding all other considerations, these groups are heavily infiltrated by LTTE moles. It's unlikely that they could plan Raviraj's killing without alerting LTTE and eventually Raviraj himself. Victim has not expressed any fear that he's being targeted by above para military groups. Watchful eye & long arm of specific Police divisions which are, at times, operating on it's own in apprehending culprits should also be mentioned, they pose an effective deterrent effect on all para military groups specially in Colombo.

Ex. LTTE Eastern leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias Karuna would be the major "personal" beneficiary of the entire process of the de-merger of East from North. None other than he himself could try for political supremacy such as chief minister once the northern LTTE is removed from East. Unlike Pirabakaran, Karuna seems to be favoring a political position. For this goal, it's imperative to maintain an intimate reputation with the MR Govt. Slain Raviraj hailing from Chavakachcheri is not a "would be" contender for East nor his existence would check K's political motives in East.

Until escalation of recent hostilities, K fraction had maintained few operating cells in Colombo & suburbs mainly for admin purposes. There were reports of them engaging in targeted killings & abductions. These acts had drawn sharp criticisms internationally & locally, eventually forcing MR Govt to intervene. Another compelling factor had been the scarcity of trained carders to defend their positions in East and in newly captured areas in Trinco south. ICSD is aware that K fraction had withdrawn all carders from Colombo operations and if this were carried out by them, it would be a very controversial "come back" risking vital administrative lifeline and safe heaven in Govt controlled areas. Further, K fraction is heavily focusing on the remaining areas controlled by northern LTTE in East and it's unlikely that they could simultaneously muster sufficient resources for planning, coordination & execution of such a high profile assassination. Though ICSD cannot rule out the possibility of K fraction carrying out Raviraj assassination, the likelihood is considered as between low to zero.

LTTE or a LTTE proxy

Modus operandi is comparable to the assassination of MI chief Col.Muthalib. Geographically, two assassination sites are not far from each other. Difference being the abandonment of the weapon used, which make it comparable to leaving away the grenade launcher after assassinating former Minister Lakshaman Kadiragamar. Planning, coordination, execution, will of the killer, brutality, absence of claiming of responsibility were considered for comparison. Slight hitch appears with the hurry in publicizing the death, supposedly, before being officially declared by the Hosp director.

The famous question with those not willing to suspect LTTE is "would they kill Raviraj? He appeared for LTTE".

Several years ago, especially after LTTE assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, a hypothesis emerged which read as "LTTE does not care losses". Through personal interviews with ex-LTTE seniors, civilians and research studies, ICSD redefined or rather corrected above hypothesis. I.e. "LTTE does not care losses except for Pirabakaran, his wife, his son and his daughter". An easily understandable reality emanating from this philosophy is Pirabakaran would not mind sparing anyone but himself and his family members.

Those who still carry doubts could consider the services Appapillei Amirthalingam rendered to LTTE which is greater than that of Raviraj. AA & his wife, in declaring Vadukkodei resolution, went to the extent of publicly expressing most brutal sentiments in support of LTTE. Further considerations could be assassinations of Neelam Thiruchelvam & Gopalaswami Mahendrarajah.

Therefore, for Pirabakaran, services rendered by Raviraj to LTTE are no hindrance in taking a decision over the life of latter.

Gains of losing Raviraj to LTTE,

A. Local & international criticisms on Government
B. Realization of the pressure of injecting UN or equivalent forces for administration of ceasefire & demarcation of territories.
C. Arousal of somewhat stagnating sympathy and enthusiasm of Tamil community through impressive funeral possessions. (placing pottu using deceased individuals blood / body fluids on wailing crowd. Given the psychology of Tamil community in the area, this could along be sufficient to recruit another suicide carder).
D. Opportunity to introduce another, more useful and yielding.
E. Obliterating effect on LTTE's blood soaked history and justifying effect on future political killings to be carried-out by LTTE.
F. Excursion of further pressure on already weaker, inactive & overburdened Government international propaganda mechanism.
G. Substantiating the claim that LTTE cannot reply on democracy because democratically elected leaders are killed in broad daylight, only military options left in answering Tamil grievance.

Losses, if any, of losing Raviraj to LTTE,

A. Loss of one voice in the parliament & TV debates.
B. Fear psychosis among remaining TNA members hampering future activities.
C. ??

Quite obviously, gains overweigh the losses. In other words, this was an opportunity. There were few instances, if any, where LTTE missed opportunities.

November 2006.



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