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Uploaded on Apr 6, 2008
Sri Lanka's Tamil ethnic Minister of Highways & Road Development, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, was killed in a suicide bomb blast by a LTTE terrorist at the public playground in Weliweraya, located in the Gampaha district of Western Province, around 8:00 a.m. Sunday(06). 12 persons were killed and more than 50 wounded in the attack that took place while the minister was waving a flag to start off a marathon race in connection with the Tamil and Sinhala New Year celebrations.
An athletic coach attached to the sports ministry, Luxman de Alvis, former Sri Lankan cyclist champion Karunaratne, and a police officer were also killed in the blast, according to initial reports.
The 55-year-old minister, who is also the chief government whip of the Sri Lankan parliament, has been elected to Sri Lankan parliament for five consecutive terms.
3 days ago, Mr. Fernandopulle led the ruling UPFA delegation in Trincomalee to field candidates for the upcoming Eastern Provincial Elections in which he had curtailed the number of nominees of paramilitary-cum-political party TMVP, from five to two, for the Trincomalee district.
He was a close associate of the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa and played a key role in strengthening Sri Lanka's relationship with Iran since 2006, when he was the the minister of trade, commerce, consumer affairs and marketing development.
He was affluent in Sinhala, English and Tamil languages and functioned as a propaganda spokesman for the UPFA government.
Police claimed that the blast was caused by a suicide attacker, charging that the LTTE was behind the attack.