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01 January, 2008 - Published 14:26 GMT

Govt. 'responsible' for killing MP

Sri Lanka's parliamentarians from the ruling coalition and the opposition have accused the government of being responsible for killing Tamil MP, T Maheswaran.

Colombo District United National Party (UNP) legislator T Maheswaran, has been shot dead at a Hindu temple in the capital, Colombo.

Maheswaran, a former minister and an outspoken critic of government's policy towards minority Tamils, was clinically dead when he was taken to the hospital, authorities told the BBC.

Opposition and UNP leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe, said the government put pressure on MP Maheswaran and others to vote for the budget proposals.

"As a result (of voting against) his security as well as that of Mano Ganeshan and some other members were withdrawn," he told journalists in Delhi, India.

The late MP was to "expose" the involvement of "key people" of the killing in Jaffna, the opposition leader said.

"The government has to take full responsibility for the killing of this MP," Ranil Wickramasinghe said.

Deputy minister P Radhakrishnan told BBC Sandeshaya that the government should take the full responsibility as three Tamil MPs are killed since President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over since November 2005.

"MP Joseph Pararajasingham's killer is still at large in Batticaloa," the Up Country Peoples Front (UPF) parliamentarian told BBC's Elmo Fernando.

However, UPF leader minister P Chandrasekaran said it is too early to point the finger at anybody.

The UNP said the slain legislator has planned to reveal the widespread human rights violations in Jaffna.

"He was planning to make a special statement at the parliament on abductions and killings in Jaffna on 08 January," UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said.

At least six people a day are abducted by pro-government paramilitary groups, T Maheswaran has told media a day before the killing.

The UNP parliamentarians accused the government of reducing his security days after he voted against the government for budget proposals.

UNP legislators Ravi Karunanayake said his security was reduced to two policemen from 18 just after the vote.

Pointing the finger at the government, UNP parliamentarians Johnston Fernando and Dayasiri Jayasekara said his plan to reveal Jaffna situation has led to his murder.

The government has denied any responsibility.

The government says the fact that his security was reduced has not played any part in the assassination.

The security was provided based on the recommendation of the Threat Assessment Unit and the late MP has failed to change his routines, Defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

Police have begun investigations.

Two including the MP were killed and 10 others have sustained injuries at the shooting incident.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Victor Perera, told BBC Sinhala.com that the suspect who sustained injuries is also admitted to the hospital.

"We are making inquiries," he said.