Sailor Who Clubbed Gandhi Suspected of Link to Leftists

From Reuters

The Sri Lankan sailor who hit Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi with a rifle butt is suspected of having links with a banned leftist group, senior military officials said Sunday.

"Investigators dug up his past and found he has ties with JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, or People's Liberation Front) members in the south," a military official said.

Wijeyemunige Rohana de Silva, 22, was examined by doctors and found to be mentally stable, the military officials said.

He was a member of an honor guard being inspected by the visiting Gandhi when he swung his rifle at the Indian leader, hitting him on the left shoulder. Gandhi was not hurt in the Thursday's incident.

The official said De Silva had probably been among those who infiltrated the armed forces in 1984 when background security checks were scrapped during a hasty recruitment drive to step up the fight against Tamil rebels in the north and east.

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