Sri Lankan opposition politician assassinated

COLOMBO - An opposition politician was assassinated at a New Year's Day religious service near Sri Lanka's capital Colombo yesterday. His party has blamed the government because it recently reduced the lawmaker's security.

COLOMBO - An opposition politician was assassinated at a New Year's Day religious service near Sri Lanka's capital Colombo yesterday. His party has blamed the government because it recently reduced the lawmaker's security.

A gunman opened fire at Tamil lawmaker Thyagaraja Maheswaran, of the United National Party, at a Hindu temple, police spokesman NK Ilangakoon said.

Maheswaran was killed two days after he appeared in a private television interview blaming government paramilitary troops for a spate of abductions, extortion schemes and unexplained killings in government-controlled northern Jaffna peninsula. He vowed to reveal the names of those involved.

The lawmaker and another person died of their wounds after they were admitted to Colombo National Hospital, the hospital's medical director, Hector Weerasinghe, said. Ten other people were wounded, including the suspected gunman. They were being treated at the hospital, he said.

Maheswaran survived a similar shooting three years ago while running for elections. - Sapa-AP

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