Police investigating Friday’s assassination of
Vanniasingham Vigneswaran, President of the Trincomalee District
Tamil Peoples’ Forum (TDTPF) yesterday said that two security
officers of the main Bank of Ceylon Branch, Trincomalee located
along inner harbour road were witnesses to the killing.
Police Chief Chandra Fernando said that the
security men were armed but had looked the other way as the
assassin walked out of the bank premises. Speaking to The
Island, after visiting the scene of the crime, Fernando said
that a three wheeler driver who brought an old lady to the bank
had seen the killer fleeing the scene on a motor cycle.
The two Tamil security men had run inside the
bank and told the manager of the incident. "They could have
easily hit the assassin," the police chief said.
The police chief, accompanied by DIG CID Asoka
Wijetilleke, visited the bank as Defence Secretary Colonel (Retd)
Gotabaya Rajapakse directed police headquarters to crack the
The IGP disputed pro-LTTE TamilNet claim that
Vigneswaran was shot when he was about to enter the bank.
Quoting the manager and the security guards, he said the victim
had entered the bank at 9.15 am, signed in and requested Rs.
300,000 from the manager. Vigneswaran wanted to take the money
to their kachcheri branch as he expected many withdrawals in
view of the forthcoming festive season. In his statement to
police, the manager said that Vigneswaran walked out of his
office as the money was being counted. The IGP said that the
slain bank employee had claimed that he wanted to have a cup of
tea. Fielding questions, the IGP said that Vigneswaran, instead
of having a cup of tea at the canteen at the same building he
stepped out of the main entrance and was shot at point blank
"Did he receive a call? Did anyone ask him to
come out?" the IGP queried, adding that they were in the process
of drawing a picture of the assassin with the help of the
security guards and the three wheeler driver.
The police chief said that they were also aware
of the fact that the LTTE proxy the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
was about to announce the appointment of Vigneswaran as the
national list Parliamentarian to fill the position held by
Joseph Pararajasingham MP who was slain in Batticaloa on
Although Vigneswaran led a series of protests in
Trincomalee and its suburbs on behalf of the LTTE, a senior
Defence Ministry official described him as a reasonable man.
According to the IGP Vigneswaran, in a letter
dated March 17, addressed to him, thanked the Trincomalee police
for maintaining peace amidst chaos during recent troubles. The
LTTE would have been furious if they knew of the confidential
letter, the police chief said, adding that he was pleasantly
surprised to receive the letter. Although the bank employee had
been critical of a section of the security forces he had praised
the police for excellent work in the volatile district. He had
particularly commended DIG Rohan Abeywardene and SSP Ambanwela.
Vigneswaran’s funeral will take place on April
11 Tuesday afternoon at Anpuvallipuram cemetery.
LTTE Velupillai Prabhakaran bestowed the title
Maamanithar (Great Human being) on Vigneswaran. "Steadfast and
honest, he opposed the genocidal war by the successive Sinhala
governments which destroyed thousands of Tamil lives and their
property, plundered Tamils possessions and resources, and was
intent on destroying Tamil National symbols. Vigeswaran fought
to free Tamils from this menace," Prabhakaran said in a
statement conferring the award, as reported by TamilNet.