Thursday, March 02, 2006

1991: Deputy Defence Minister among 19 killed

BBC ON THIS DAY | 2 | 1991: Sri Lankan hardliner among 19 killed in blast: "The authorities say Mr Wijeratne, who was 59, had been travelling to his office when a remote-controlled bomb in a parked car was detonated during the morning rush hour.

Since 1983, in a civil war which has claimed the lives of 14,000 people, the rebel group has been fighting for an independent homeland in the north and east of the country. Following the attack, the LTTE denied killing Mr Wijeratne but said would be greeted with a sense of relief by the Tamil people.

The rebellion, the LTTE says, came about because of discrimination against their predominantly Hindu community by the majority Buddhist Sinhalese population who control the government and the military. The Hindu community account for just under a fifth of Sri Lanka's 16 million people.

In September 2002, the government agreed to a key rebel demand and lifted its ban on the LTTE. In return the Tamils dropped their demands for a separate state. "

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