Karnataka Political Workers, On Post-Poll Holiday, Killed In Sri Lanka Blasts

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa both expressed grief over the deaths.

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Karnataka Political Workers, On Post-Poll Holiday, Killed In Sri Lanka Blasts

Police survey the situation at the site of the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Four JD-S partymen among the five Indians killed in Sri Lanka blasts
  2. They were part of a seven-member JDS team touring Sri Lanka, he said
  3. Nearly 300 have been killed in the Sunday's attack on churches and hotels

Five members of the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) were among eight Indians killed in a series of blasts that struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy confirmed today. They were part of a seven-member group from Dasarahalli that had gone to the island nation after the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 18.

The victims were identified as Lakshmana Gowda Ramesh, KM Lakshminarayan, M Rangappa, Hanumaiah Shivakumar and KG Hanumantharayappa. The others - A Maregowda and H Puttaraju - are still missing. They were staying at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.

Mr Kumaraswamy - who is the son of JDS chief Deve Gowda - expressed grief over the deaths on Twitter. The Indian embassy in Sri Lanka will let them know once further information emerges on the missing party members, he added.  

At least 290 people were killed and over 500 injured in six blasts that occurred in the island nation on Sunday. The Sri Lankan government, which accuses a local extremist group called the National Thowheeth Jama'ath of orchestrating the attacks, has declared a nationwide emergency from Monday midnight.

The deaths of Hanumantharayappa and Rangappa were confirmed earlier today by the Indian High Commission in Colombo. "I am deeply shocked at the loss of our JDS party workers, whom I know personally," Mr Kumaraswamy had tweeted then.

BS Yeddyurappa, who heads the BJP's Karnataka unit, also expressed grief over the deaths. "Deeply saddened to hear about the loss of a few Kannadigas who were the victims of terror attacks in Sri Lanka yesterday. My heart goes out to the families of the departed in these cowardly acts of terror. Let us all stand united in this moment of grief and fight back terror," he tweeted.

According to Reuters, the suicide attack occurred as the guests were sitting down for a buffet meal at the hotel. "They were having breakfast on the second floor when the blast happened," Rajath B, a family friend of one of the victims, told the news agency. "We got to know about the incident from television." 

Twenty-four people from the minority Muslim community have been arrested in connection with the blasts so far, but the Lankan government has not provided additional details. "Don't give extremists a voice. Don't help turn them into martyrs," said Ruwan Wijewardene, State Minister of Defence.

(With inputs from Agencies)



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