Sydney service remembers pro-Tamil MP assassinated "like Romero"

Several local MPs and representatives from humanitarian agencies attended a memorial meeting on Sunday to pay tribute to Joseph Pararajasingham, the Sri Lankan Catholic MP who was slain while attending Mass in his local church in Sri Lanka on Christmas Day.

The event, organised by Tamil Australians, was held at the Homebush Boys High School auditorium.

"I was shocked to hear of the assassination of Mr Joseph Pararajasingham whom I met last May when he visited Australia," siad John Murphy MP. "I was deeply moved by his courage in exposing the atrocities committed against his people despite threats to his life... He was not only a brave man but also most importantly a man committed to the truth and prepared to pay the price for it."

Several speakers referred Joseph Pararajasingham's christmas day killing inside the church to Archbishop Oscar Romero's assassination in El Salvador back in 1980. Archbishop Romero was celebrating mass in the central cathedral when gunmen shot him dead. Shortly before his murder, the Archbishop said "you can kill me….but the people will never perish".

The meeting concluded with Rev. John Jegasothy, a friend of Mr Pararajasingham, recounting his experience growing up with him in Batticaloa. A booklet, "Ground Realities" containing several articles on the current situation in Sri Lanka published in the memory of Mr Pararajasingham was also released at the meeting.

Pararajasingham, 71, was a Sri Lankan Member of Parliament who was known for his pro-Tamil Tiger views and advocacy of human rights. He became a member of the Sri Lankan Parliament in 1990 and joined the Tamil National Alliance, a pro-rebel party. He was assassinated while attending a Christmas midnight mass at a church in Batticaloa, 305km east of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. Gunmen opened fire on Pararajasingham just after he received communion, killing him and injuring eight others, including his wife. No one has claimed responsibility for his assassination.

Assassinated Pro-Tamil Catholic Parliamentarian remembered in Sydney (NSW Tamil Community 24/1/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Joseph Pararajasingham (Wikipedia)
Joseph Pararajasingham MP shot dead in Batticaloa church (TamilNet 24/12/05)

25 Jan 2006