A wealthy 53-year-old Tamil Canadian has been slain and allegedly mutilated in his native Sri Lanka, where he is reported to have been attempting to recover property that was seized during the civil war.
The body of Andrew Antonipillai Mahendrarajah was discovered early this month. The remains of the married father of three are to be flown to Montreal next week for funeral services on May 19.
Canadian High Commission officials have urged the Sri Lankan government to launch a full investigation, according to a BBC report.
Canadian officials are providing consular service to the family and are working with local authorities to gather additional information about the case, said John Babcock, a Foreign Affairs spokesman in Ottawa.
Mr. Mahendrarajah is reported to have owned several stores outside of Killinochi, a jungle village that for years was the home base of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
For years, the Tamil Tigers controlled a de facto breakaway state in northeast Sri Lanka. But the LTTE guerrillas were decimated three years ago by the Sri Lankan government, which is dominated by the rival Sinhalese ethnic group.
Since winning the 30-year civil war in 2009, the government in Colombo has maintained a heavy military presence in former rebel areas. It has faced criticism for colonizing, expropriating and selling lands formerly controlled by Tamils.
Hundreds of thousands of Tamils fled Sri Lanka for Canada during the decades of civil war. In 2010, a boatload of nearly 500 Tamil asylum seekers arrived in British Columbia.
Tamil sources describe Mr. Mahendrarajah as well-off entrepreneur who was possibly a millionaire. He lived with his wife in Montreal and has close family in Canada.
Family members declined to comment about his case on Friday.
“We think there's no point. We're not going to get him back. We just want to get the funeral over and done properly,” said a niece, declining to identify herself.
Unconfirmed reports in the Tamil media said Mr. Mahendrarajah had journeyed to Sri Lanka to reclaim eight commercial properties “appropriated by the occupying military.” The reports allege that unknown killers cut off the Canadian citizen’s genitalia.
A death notice published on the Internet said he leaves a wife, Nirangini, and three children. His funeral is scheduled next week at a Catholic Church northwest of Montreal.
With a report from Campbell Clark in Ottawa