Veteran Sri Lankan Politician, Tamil Leader Sampanthan Passes Away At 91

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Tamil National Alliance parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan speaks at the opening session of the Sri Lankan parliament in Colombo, April 22, 2004. (Reuters)

R Sampanthan, a veteran Sri Lankan politician and a moderate Tamil leader, passed away last night while receiving treatment in a hospital, the Tamil National Alliance has announced.

R Sampanthan, a veteran Sri Lankan politician and a moderate Tamil leader, passed away last night while receiving treatment in a hospital, the Tamil National Alliance has announced.

Sampanthan, 91, led the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) from 2004 and became only the second Tamil to become the main opposition leader in the Sinhala-majority country.

He was ailing for a long time and was missing the current parliamentary sessions for a long time. He was a moderate Tamil who had been leading the political movement to achieve a negotiated political settlement to the Tamil demand for political autonomy.

The Tamils put forward their demand for autonomy since gaining independence from Britain in 1948, which, from the mid-70s, turned into a bloody armed conflict. He took office as the leader of the opposition in 2015 and was actively involved in the process of drafting a new Constitution until 2019.

A brilliant lawyer, Sampanthan entered Parliament for the first time in 1977 from the eastern port district of Trincomalee.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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