New York, December 21, 1999 — Two Sri Lankan broadcast journalists were among 22 people killed in an assassination attempt against President Chandrika Kumaratunga at an election rally on Saturday, December 18. Five other journalists were injured by the blast, which also injured Kumaratunga and scores of onlookers.
According to reports, a suicide bomber detonated the bomb at approximately 10 p.m. near a barrier that separated a crowd of reporters from Kumaratunga and a car that had arrived to pick her up. The blast killed Indika Pathinivasan of the Maharaja Television Network (MTV) and Anura Priyantha of the Independent Television Network, both camera assistants.
MTV cameraman K. Karunaratne and MTV reporter Shehan Baranage both suffered shrapnel wounds to the abdomen. Other journalists injured by shrapnel were Hiromi Hirose, chief New Delhi correspondent for the Japanese broadcasting company NHK, Nobuhiro Ikeda, a cameraman for NHK, and Reuters photographer Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi.