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Veteran Sri Lankan Journalist Murdered in Her Home

The Home of murdered former Sri Lankan Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist Mel Gunasekera is probed by police investigators at the capital Colombo on February 2, 2014. Gunasekera was stabbed to death after a break-in at her family's home. Image by Tharaka Basnayaka. Copyright Demotix (2/2/2014)

The home of murdered former Sri Lankan Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist Mel Gunasekera is probed by police investigators at the capital Colombo on February 2, 2014. Gunasekera was stabbed to death after a break-in at her family's home. Image by Tharaka Basnayaka. Copyright Demotix (2/2/2014)

Melicia “Mel” Gunasekera, one of Sri Lanka's most prominent journalists, was stabbed to death in her house in Battaramulla, a suburb Colombo city on February 2, 2014. She was the assistant vice president at Fitch Ratings Lanka and the founding editor of the Lanka Business Online, an online financial news service website. She was a former reporter for French news agency Agence France-Presse and also worked as a freelance journalist.

D. B. S. Jeyaraj notes that Gunasekera was very popular and was loved by her colleagues in the media. A construction worker was arrested within the same day and preliminary investigation indicates burglary may have been the motive. But her fans and followers think otherwise.

Nalaka Gunawardene questioned “Who Really Killed Mel Gunasekera?” on Groundviews blog:

According to police, the killer stole just LKR 1,200 (USD 10) and her mobile phone. No other motive is suspected.

Any death is a tragedy, but what do we make of a killing done for small change and a piece of metal?

The reactions in Sri Lanka after her murder include reflections on how this country has become brutalized. Policy entrepreneur Rohan Samarajiva noted in a eulogy in Lanka Business Online:

She should be writing my eulogy, not me hers. The young should not predecease the old. We should have built a country where a young journalist could take the bus with no fear and spend a Sunday morning in her own house without getting murdered. The war brutalized us. Killing became nothing.

Others mourned the journalist on Twitter:

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