Kumaravel Thambiah, Head of the Economics Department of the Eastern University in Vantharamullai, was the thirtieth victim of a wave of extra-judicial killings allegedly carried out by both sides of the LTTE since the split. Of the 30 victims, 22 were directly or indirectly connected to the LTTE, five were civilians and two were from the armed forces.
Mr. Thambiah was killed on Monday around 4. 30 p.m. -- about 15 minutes after he returned home from the university, which he joined in 1991. The two killers came on a motorbike. One waited on\ the main road at Gnanasuriam Square while the other walked up to the Thambiah residence and called, "Thambiah Sir".
When Mr. Thambiah came up to the door, the assassin pulled out a pistol from his waist, and fired at him. Sensing danger, Mr. Thambiah turned back to run inside. Two of the bullets hit him on the back and the shoulder while the third smashed the window of a neighbouring house.
The killer ran away leaving his slippers and fled on the motorbike towards the Kalliankadu cemetery and escaped. Mr. Thambiah was rushed to hospital but died on admission.
His body was kept at his residence 'Gnanasuriam' and later at the university for the public to pay their respects. On the next day his body was taken to Asikulam in Vavuniya for burial.
Mr. Thambiah had been away in Vavuniya and Colombo since April 12, just before Karuna fled his eastern stronghold. The SLMM and the police are carrying out separate investigations but the public say they have little faith in these investigations.
The people are also raising questions as to the stoic silence maintained by the university authorities.
PLOTE member shot dead
A supporter of the PLOTE was shot dead in Vavuniya town last morning, police said. They said the member identified as Arulanantham Arul Barath, 32, from Trincomalee was shot by a youth on a motorcycle along with an accomplice.
The victim was the brother of a former PLOTE member, Guru. The incident came in the wake of a poster campaign by the LTTE's Sangilian group, warning people to refrain from getting involved in criminal activities.