The assassination came barely a week after the Colombo government had announced its intention of placing its constitutional package on which its peace hopes rest before Parliament in August. It has widely been acknowledged that Neelan Tiruchelvam provided most of the input into this package from the Tamil side. Although even his own party, the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), did not directly accuse the Tigers of being responsible for the brazen attack, it was obvious to everyone that only the Tigers had a motive for the killing and, for that matter, had the capacity to execute it with the split-second precision that was clearly evident.T

Dr Tiruchelvam was a gifted lawyer, a President's Counsel in Sri Lanka, an intellectual, academic and human rights activist with ready access to the major players in the Lankan polity. Though not an elected Member of Parliament, he was nominated to the legislature by the TULF in preference to the son of S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, the idolised founding father of the Federal Party, the predecessor of TULF. Equipped with a razor-sharp mind and finely-honed debating skills, he was the natural choice for negotiations between the Tamil moderates and the Sinhalese majority belonging to both the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which dominates the ruling People's Alliance (PA) and the main opposition United National Party (UNP).

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Himal Southasian