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Murder shocks South
UNPCM candidate killed in front of his children

Opposition Leader of the Galle Municipal Council and UNP Chief Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council election, 40-year-old Deshabandu Dushyantha Seneviratne was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in front of his four children, early yesterday morning at Beligahahandiya in Galle.

Seneviratne was killed while taking his children to school. He had left children in his car and gone to buy them breakfast when his killers struck.

He had been shot seven times with an assault rife, JMO the Ruhuna Medical Faculty Dr. U. C. P. Perera told The Island.

Dr. Perera said five shots had been fired from behind the victim and two after he collapsed on the road.

"I was seated in the car with my sisters and brother when I saw my father coming out of a bakery carrying our breakfast and a newspaper. While he was approaching the car, two men wearing helmets came on a motor cycle and one fired a few shots at him. When I tried to get off the car, father shouted,"epa, epa," (don’t, don’t). Then he screamed in pain and fell," the victim’s 15-year-old eldest daughter Hansi Sithari told The Island yesterday.

The victim was in the habit of driving his children to school from Dangedera every morning and on the way he would stop at a bakery to buy children their breakfast and a newspaper.

At the time this edition went to press the Galle Police Special Crime Bureau conducting investigations under SSP Keerthi Silva’s directions had not made a breakthrough.

According to family members, Seneviratne had been liked by everybody irrespective of party politics and did not have any enemies they knew of. His close relatives said he had not received any threats.

Seneviratne’s death sent shockwaves through the Galle town. On hearing the news hundreds of people including leading local politicians of different parties flocked to the Karapitiya Hospital. UNP frontliner MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the late Councillor had obtained substantial preferential votes every time he contested elections to the Galle Municipal Council. "At least this time around the culprits must be nabbed," Karunayake said. Seneviratne had been a member of the Galle Municipal Council continuously since 1997.

Galle Mayor Methsiri de Silva (UPFA) said the deceased had been a brilliant orator and good friend of all councillors. "It is a great loss not only for the Council but also for the entire Galle town," de Silva said.

Seneviratne’s funeral will be held on Saturday at the family burial ground, Dangedara at 5.00 pm.

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