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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 15:10 GMT
Funeral held for Tamil politician
Sri Lankan Navy sailors stand guard
There has been an increase in violence in Sri Lanka
The funeral of a pro-rebel Tamil parliamentarian, who was killed over the weekend, has taken place in eastern Sri Lanka.

Joseph Pararajasingham, 71, was shot dead in a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa on Sunday.

Earlier this week, his body was taken to rebel-controlled territory in the north, where it was put on display.

The Tamil Tiger's reclusive leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, were among those who lined up to pay homage.

Heavy security was in place for the funeral in Batticaloa.

It is now imperative that the parties join hands to arrest the violence
Hagrup Haukland
Truce monitor

The Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers have blamed each other over the killing.

"He was killed by those who did not like peace, those who did not like him," a local government official, S Thuyagaraja, told Reuters news agency.

Some have blamed the killing on a breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers which is active in the east.

War warning

Violence has increased in Sri Lanka over the past month, following the election of Mahinda Rajapakse to the presidency.

On Thursday, international truce monitors warned that if the violence continued, war "may not be far away".

"It is now imperative that the parties join hands to arrest the violence prevailing in the north and in the east," the Norwegian head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, Hagrup Haukland, said.

Mr Pararajasingham represented the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) party in parliament.

The TNA is linked to the Tamil Tigers.

At least eight other people, including Mr Pararajasingham's wife, were injured in the shooting at the crowded midnight church service in Batticaloa, 300km (190 miles) east of the capital, Colombo.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for a fully-independent ethnic homeland since 1983.


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