Published on - 8/26/2005
The crusader against LTTE terrorism and the leading proponent of peace and unitary status of Sri Lanka, Mr. Lakshman Kadiragarmar (MP), Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, who adorned the Sri Lankan image across the world, bade farewell to the Nation he adored so much at a simple but dignified funeral ceremony with full state honours on Monday (15) evening at Independence Square, Colombo 7.
A galaxy of religious dignitaries of major faiths, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Speaker, Senior Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament, Senior officers of the Armed Forces and the Police, Heads of Tamil and other political parties, Senior leaders of foreign states, diplomats, provincial politicians, friends and relatives and a massive sea of mourners of ethnic Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and others assembled at the esplanade to pay their last respects to this illustrious Tamil son of this island-nation has ever produced. Mrs. Sugandi Kadiragarmar, his son and daughter, his next of kin and members of the family afterwards solemnly inched their way with heavy-hearted faces to the special shelter where all other dignitaries were seated.
Hon. Kadiragarmar remained a symbol of ethnic unity, statesmanship and more importantly, an advocate of peaceful solution to the question of terrorism, which had been spearheaded by Tamil Tiger separatism with no regard to all national and international efforts hitherto launched to arrive at a solution.
Remains of this most respected National Leader of the highest calibre in contemporary Sri Lanka were conducted in a solemn funeral procession after traditional religious rites of all denominations were performed at the residence. The cortege headed by Army, Navy, Air Force and the Police mass bands left his official residence and it wended its way to the Independence Square while thousands of mourners lined up to bid farewell to the outspoken leader who stood the test of terrorism and paid the supreme sacrifice on behalf of the territorial integrity of this Nation.
Slain leader's coffin draped with the National flag on reaching the Independence Square was received at the entrance by his former school mates from Trinity College, Kandy and taken to the special place that has been set apart before the coffin was formally taken over by the Prime Minister, Speaker and Members of Parliament representing the Government and the Parliament. The special dais with Red Carpets awaited the fallen hero's remains that have been erected ahead of the main shelter.
As the funeral procession marched in slow time with the Ransivige carrying his mortal remains entered the premises, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge arrived at the venue and went on consoling bereaved Mrs. Kadirgarmar while sharing her sorrowful thoughts with her. Hundreds of ceremonially dressed servicemen and Policemen stood in attention in and around the premises as religious orations (Anusasana) by Buddhist, Catholic, Islamic and Hindu denominations commenced.
Chancellor, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Ven. Professor Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera, Bishop of Colombo Rev. Chickera and two other chief clergies from Islamic and Hindu beliefs delivered religious orations commending the role played by the slain National leader.
Prime Minister Rajapakse representing the government hailed the fallen hero as a human being cum statesman extraordinary and a victim who fell prey to vicious clutches of LTTE terrorism. â€œLTTE terrorism tries to divide this Nation and destroy our much-cherished co-existence and all norms of democracy and ethnic harmony that has lasted for generations in this country. His mission brought Sri Lanka to the mantle of fame and wide recognition and time has dawned to act fast\", he said.
â€œThe evil hand of terrorism has eradicated an illustrious son of our soil. In our moments of grief, irrespective of all ethnic differences, I call upon all to stand by us to fight against this menace,â€ Mr Rajapakse appealed.
He also called upon the World Community to rise to the occasion and join hands together to eliminate terrorism of all forms after jointly working on a common platform of understanding because it was those terrorists who decimated personages such as Indian Prime Minster Rajiv Gandhi, President R. Premadasa, Presidential Candidate Gamini Disanayake, and now Mr Kadirgarmar of that magnitude.
Seconds after Premier Rajapakse's eulogy, the casket was moved to the pyre and set fire by two nephews of the fallen hero of our times amidst tears of all those who had gathered at the esplanade. Precisely at 6.00 p.m. on Monday (15) evening Mr Kadirgarmar creating a niche for himself in the annals of Sri Lankan history bade farewell to the Nation as bellows of smoke circled the skies.