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 Spotlight

The Sashi factor rocks the JVP


 Heartbreak cityHeartbreak city


The remains of Thiwanka Thisera (17) lies in the hall of his Dehiwala home, as his little sister begs to be carried so that she could have a look at her brother (inset) Principal Hewage, Ralph Alles and Ravi Karunanayake

The month of February, like the month of  January, began with bloodshed. In January, the bomb near Nippon Hotel in Slave Island killed three school children and several other innocent civilians. February began with even worse bloodshed. Over 20 civilians were killed and about 100 injured when a bus bomb shattered the serenity in the minds of hundreds of pilgrims on their way to the sacred Ruvanweliseya in Anuradhapura on just the second day of February. The bus had left Kandy around 5.15 a.m and was nearing the Dambulla bus stand at 6.57 a.m. when a powerful explosion ripped it apart, blowing the steel off its roof. What happened to the people inside is a horror story that has not been fully understood by the powers that be. Men, women and children, not classed as VIPs hence not afforded the protection of closed roads and military escorts, suffered and died, some on the spot and  others after hours of agony. Among the dead were A.M. Nilmini Udeshika Herath (19) of Galgiriyagama, M.G. Gnanawathi (42) of Katugastota,  D.M. M. Erandathi Dissanayake (18) of  Matale, U.G. Kanchana Bandara (40) of Rattota, Beligala Somawathi (65) of Katugastota, W.G. Babynona (50)  of Katugastota, A.P. Somawathi (50) of  Katugastota, W.M. Ranbanda (72) of  Kandy, A.P. Dingiri Amma (58) of Nalanda,  P.L. Lucyhami (70) of Kahawa, M.G. Gnanawathi (53) of Katugastota, Wasala Kumari (14) of Matale, Yakdehigedera Sumanawathi (70), Gnanawathi Rajakaruna (69), Madurangani Wanasinghe (19), and Pichamalgedera Nandawathi Surasena (70). These are the victims who died on the spot, while many of the injured succumbed to their injuries thereafter. Their bodies were brought home on Sunday, February 3 and along with the wails from their hometowns echoed another devastating explosion from the Fort Railway Station in the heart of Colombo. Some people mistook this explosion to be another one of the 'ordinary' explosions that are occurring everyday somewhere in Sri Lanka. But it was after the initial mayhem subsided that it was discovered that this explosion was no ordinary one and took away many innocent lives as did the Dambulla bomb explosion, the only difference being that the victims of the Fort Railway Station suicide attack took away victims who were in their tender years...

By Ranee Mohamed

Tragedy has many ugly faces and the most shocking distortion is the fact that the young coach of the D.S. Senanayake College baseball team, Malinda Arumadura died on the same day, February 3, as did his father, one year ago. Coach Arumadura had postponed the alms-giving of his father for another date due to his involvement in the matches that were being held in Kandy that fateful weekend.

Now however, it is his own alms-giving that is taking precedence, with one week having elapsed since his sudden departure without even the faintest hint of a  goodbye to his young wife and bonny baby.

Coach Malinda Arumadura had telephoned his wife that Sunday afternoon and said that he would be in Colombo in one hour and thereafter he would rush home as he was anxious to see their one year old daughter. Malinda Arumadura is a past pupil of D.S. Senanayake College. He had been working as a sales representative of a leading private telephone company in Sri Lanka. As he loved baseball, he had enjoyed training the keen young team.

Great dream

He  fell in love and married Sadeesha Jayasinghe on June 12, 2005. But his duties did not allow him to go home to his little family everyday. He visited them only during the weekend. Coach Arumadura's greatest dream had been to buy a house in Colombo and settle his family therein so that he could go home every evening. 

Though far away, Coach Arumadura's thoughts were also with the other members of the team who were now safely back in Colombo and at classes.

When  the mobile phone belonging to a member of the baseball team, Mohammed Rizan rang the first time, it was about four minutes before the suicide bomb attack at the Fort Railway Station.

As  Rizan had been at a tuition class, along with his other friends, he had not dared to answer the phone. "Then it rang again, for the second time and it was about two minutes before the suicide bomb attack and I cut off the call," said Mohammed Rizan in tears. "If I had only spoken to the coach when it rang," he regretted. "The coach and the others called me in the morning and then again at about 12.30 p.m. He said that they were in Polgahawela and will be in Colombo at about 2 p.m.

Last call

Mohammed Rizan had been desperate to answer the call from his coach and team, but had to terminate the calls because he was at his special classes. But almost immediately after he had cut off the calls he had somehow rung the number back again.

"It rang and rang for a long time. I gave 18 calls. The 19th call was answered, but it was an unfamiliar voice. He identified himself as a policeman and told me that the baseball team was injured and asked me to come to the Accident Service. When I rushed  there, I saw chaos, blood and tears. I was taken to the side where the mortuary is situated and asked to identify some dead bodies - I  saw that many of those dead were my friends - our baseball team from D.S. I almost died there. The last person I identified was Vimukthi from Kalutara," said Rizan in tears.

Samrahz Nilar, Captain of the D.S. Senanayake College's baseball team said that the boys in the team had been true team mates. "We played baseball together for about eight years - from grade six. We ate together and had fun together. Some of us had to come on Saturday morning because we had classes on Sunday. But the others wanted to stay behind and come back leisurely on Sunday."

"They had shared kottu roti on Saturday night and had a happy time together and thereafter left to the station in the morning. The team had boarded the train at about 10.30 a.m from the Sarasavi Station in Kandy," said the Captain. He went on to say that D.S. had lost these exceptional young men who were keen, sporty and disciplined.

Lesson in heartache

Principal of D.S. Senanayake College, Ashoka Senani Hewage sat behind his desk at the school, while outside, white flags waved in the wind. The teachers were in white and the visitors who thronged the rear gate of the school also wore white.

Principal Hewage went to the homes of the seven students and spent over an hour in each home. It had been a lesson of tears and heartache for Principal Hewage had earlier on several occasions commended the exceptional brilliance of these particular students.

"One will notice that some of these students are from far away places. That is because they are on scholarships afforded to them for their excellence. We did everything possible to protect our students - we hired a private security service, there are parents checking bags and we have a security committee as well, but we could not stop this great loss that we experience today," said Principal Hewage in tears.

It was February 4 and the father of the nation, the first prime minister of  Ceylon, D.S. Senanayake was remembered and revered. After the initial euphoria of this 60th Independence Day celebrations died down, the wails rose, ironically, from the premises of D.S. Senanayake College itself when the gates opened for the eight bodies of these young students and their coach.

Nightmare

Grief stricken students, past pupils, teachers and parents watched in horror as the lively team and their coach  lay still in their coffins which were carried into the very same hall in which they mingled for years with fellow students.

The bodies of Kolitha Kumara Mahamudalige (20) of Hokandara North, Rajarathnem Radeeswaran (18) of Dematagoda, Vimukthi Sajan Thewarapperuma (19) of Kalutara North, Supun Hallala  (17) of Angoda, Dimuth Priyasanka (17) of Agalawatta, Thiwanka Thisera (18) of Dehiwala, Eranda Chaturanga (22) of Colombo 7, and Coach Malinda Arumadura (26) of Gandara were kept in the school for about one and half hours and later taken to their homes.

In the home of Thiwanka Thisera, his mother and father waited at the door, their eyes an endless stream of tears. They were choking on their words. While his mother managed to recall how she did not send Thiwanka to school for fear of bombs, his father could not talk at all. The grief was too much to bear for the whole family, especially as his youngest sister kept asking for him.

"How can these things happen. Why did our innocent child have to die?' asked his grief stricken mother. "Thiwanka was my best friend. We gave him everything. We were a happy family and we can never be a happy family again without our darling son. How can I live after my child is dead? Do you know how much we have suffered to bring up our children? My child is innocent and why was he not protected? Why is this happening to innocent people? We are innocent people," she cried uncontrollably.

No protection

And truly they all were. They are the common people who depended on the government for protection and a safe and free climate to live.

But this truly has not happened for in eight houses all over Sri Lanka that day, mothers were crying their hearts out for their young off spring.

In another house down Baudhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7 was another teenager who lay still as his family hid in fear of having to face the return of the parents of the boy. Eranda Chathuranga's mother was expected from Dubai and his father from Kuwait. The parents had gone overseas  to ensure that the son had a stable future.

"He was a good boy and was loved by all down this lane. They talk about him night and day and ask why this had to happen to him. What is happening to the children of this country? Today you cannot send a child to school without the fear of having to lose him. This is the first time that we are hearing of happenings as this. What is this war? Stop the loss of these innocent young  lives. We will have to live with this grief for the rest of our lives. Our children cannot go to school, our children are dying. stop this," begged a close relative of Chathuranga.

Heartache

"Today parents continue to burn in heartache till their children come home," she observed.

Meanwhile Buddhika who had been a close friend of Chathuranga  from their pre-school days said that he cannot believe that his friend is dead. "How can a person be healthy and happy one day and lie dead the next day?" queries a  puzzled Buddhika, wiping the tears from his eyes.

"He asked me to come on this trip with him. I work at the airport and I had applied for leave too, but it was too late for me to go. When I told Chathuranga that I cannot come, he did not force me either, he simply said it is okay. On other days he would force me and coax me to come, but not this time. It seems like he wanted to leave me behind and go away," said this friend in tears.

"His  girl friend has spoken to him at Polgahawela and he had told her that he will be coming soon. They had been very hungry and had wanted to rush back to their homes," said Buddhika.

Buddhika went on to say that when he saw the baseball bats strewn all over the station his heart had almost stopped. I rushed to the hospital and was told that the captain was dead. I looked for Chathuranga's name in the list of injured people, but his name was not there. I ran frantically all over the hospital. Later I was able to find out that the doctors were battling with the life of a young man who had suffered severe injuries to his head and chest. When I gave the hospital authorities the description, they confirmed that it was Chaturanga's life that they were trying to save. The more blood they gave him, the more he had bled.and that is how I lost a part of myself - my friend Chathuranga," said lifetime friend Buddhika.

The hero

Elsewhere in a underprivileged crowded town, in Dharmarama Road, Dematagoda, was a  temporary shed in which the whole town seemed to have crowded around. "They have no room in their makeshift hut to keep the body of their son," murmured the women in tears.

And  there lay Rajarathnem Radeeswaran, the son of a labourer, poor yet the hero among the poverty stricken. "He was the educated one, and we respected him. He was the greatest cricket player in our cricket team," said his friends in the neighbourhood.

The son of a labourer, Radeeswaran had risen above the hard life and squalor amidst which he lived. He had a different life in school, among the books, among the white uniforms and among his baseball team mates. He truly had felt that he was the winner and had promised that he would take all his friends to the winning goal in life.

Shattered hopes

Not only his family, but his whole neighbourhood had great hopes and dreams for Radeeswaran. "We knew that he will one day be an educated gentleman and that he would help us," said his friends Kishan, Pushpakumar, Kedishwaran and Lancer. These boys from the neighbourhood did not have the same education as Radeeswaran, but they had lived in the hope that he would one day take them all to the upper rungs of life.

And today they cried, as the body of their 'best friend and gentleman' lay in a makeshift tent.

Everyone cried as he lay there covered in jasmine flowers. His mother did not see the crowd, she did not hear the wails of his friends and relations. Her own cries were heart-rending as she tried to shake her son awake. "Wake up Radeesh. she wailed" as her two older sons stood by her side. Nobody tried to stop her, as she tried to wake up her son from  his eternal sleep, minutes before his coffin was taken away, with the tearful crowd of helpless people who trailed their way in unison.

"Only teachers died, that too of natural causes during our time"

Ralph Ignatius Thomas Alles, founder principal of D.S. Senanayake College who visited the funerals of the baseball team said that he broke down when he saw the young boys in the coffins.

Alles who walked into the hall named after him said: "I could not believe what I was seeing. There were six open coffins in the hall of the school I founded. The other two coffins had not come in then. These were D.S. children, whatever it is, they were children and here they were lying in coffins. I was the first to go to the morgue and when I saw the young boys I could not believe my eyes. I almost fainted, it was too much to bear, many of them had nothing below their naval," he said with a deep sigh and tears in his eyes.

R.I.T. Alles went on to say that during his time they only heard of teachers dying that too from natural causes. "Of course there was one death of a teacher in a motor accident and that too after I had left. When I saw these young boys in their coffins I thought of the shrine rooms at DS - for Buddhists, a chapel, a kovil and a prayer room for the Muslims. We have had head boys who were Sinhalese, Muslims, Hindus and Burghers. We are all one in humanity and that is the thinking that will prevent all this," said Alles. He said the school marks its anniversary on February 10 and he had suggested that it be held with religious ceremonies.

"Some of the families of these boys who died are very poor and they have lost their best child. They did not have room in the house to even keep the casket," cried this founder of D.S. Senanayake College, Ralph Alles.

Alles said that when he saw these young boys in their coffins his thoughts went out to his own son Malik. Malik Alles died at 17 years due to a sports accident. It was a time of unbearable grief for these educationists, Ralph and Rohini Alles.

"Some of the families asked me to speak and I do not know what I said," said Alles with tears in his eyes.

"In my personal opinion, closure is not the answer. We close the school till Monday, what if something happens on Tuesday. This is a time for  parents, teachers and senior students to gather and form vigilance committees," advised Alles. He went on to query as to how long we can keep the schools closed and children confined to homes without studies and sports. "The answer to the problems of today is brotherhood. We are human beings and we must get together, otherwise this problem cannot be solved," pointed out the veteran educationist.

"Students died due to wrong policies of govt." - MP

UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake who attended the funerals of all those killed in the suicide bomb attack at the Fort Railway Station said that the country is in a very sad state today. Though he tried to comfort the grieving parents, there was no explanation that was acceptable to them as their most precious possession lay in a coffin in their hallways.

"Whether they be from Colombo, Jaffna, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy or Hambantota, children are children. It is heartbreaking to see them being snapped away in their tender years when their talents are about to blossom. This is the future generation of our country," pointed out Karunanayake. He went on to ask who is to be blamed for this situation and said that it is the wrong policies of the government that have led to the deaths of these children.

"Why have they died? For what reason? Schools have always been safe places. Why is the government saying that schools have to be closed? Education should never be mixed up with warfare," said Karunanayake.

He went on to observe that 60 years after independence we are today unable to admit a child to grade one on time.

"Why can't the government provide safety to school children? School children be they from Colombo, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Kandy, Hambantota or from anywhere else, are all Sri Lankan children," stressed Karunanayake.

Blind parents lose their sight again

With the suicide attack at the Fort Railway Station on Sunday, two girls aged 12 years too went on their final journey without a goodbye to their families. They are Rashmi Lashika Perera (12) of 8 A, Holy Family Convent, Dehiwala and Sandya Luminduni (12) of Sri Panchananda Vidyalaya, Raddoluwa.

Sandya accompanied her blind parents to the house of a relative in Batapola to show them the way. They had taken a train from Amblangoda to Fort and were waiting for a train to their next destination when they found that they could not bear the pangs of hunger. The little girl had said that she could not bear the pain in her stomach, so she had taken her parents by their hands and gone in search of the canteen.

"We could not eat even three mouthfulls of rice when the explosion shook the whole canteen. When I groped around I felt that my wife and daughter were thrown on the floor atop each other and I tried to pull them up," said her blind father.

Sandya and her blind mother were taken to the Accident Service in a critical condition where Sandya succumbed to her injuries. Her parents lie critically injured at the National Hospital but have been spared the greater pain of being told that their daughter, the light of their life and of their eyes is no more. 

Schools closed because of Deyata Kirula

Secretary, Ministry of Education, N.D. Bandara when contacted by The Sunday Leader said that the Ministry of Education had to close schools in Colombo due to the Deyata Kirula exhibition. The exhibition is to be held at the BMICH this week.

"The closure is due to the security forces occupying 12 schools in lieu of the preparations. We have also met a demand from the parents to close schools during this exhibition," said Secretary Bandara.

He said that the closure of schools in the city is due to the ceremony, and private schools have been asked to make their own decisions. 

  


The Sashi factor rocks the JVP


Sashi meeting with Ketapearachchi 
at KFC (Inset) Sashi attempting to 
cover her face on the way out

Wimal's wife plots and plans at KFC

Sashi looks to Ketapearachchi as
ally to control JVP

Ketapearachchi gives contact details 
of Sunil's woman confidante to Sashi

Sashi reveals deal with govt. to replace 
Sunil with JVP member 

By Malaika Fernando

In a new twist to the JVP's internal conflict, wife of Party Propaganda Secretary, Wimal Weerawansa, Shirsha "Sashi" Udayanthi, has openly entered the fray as a powerful force and warned the party leadership their inner dealings would be exposed unless her grievances are addressed forthwith.

In a warning shot to the Marxists, Weerawansa's wife has looked to Sampath Dimuthu Ketapearachchi, the man the JVP publicly accused of taking the inner party conflicts to the media as an ally for her future battles.

Ironically, Sashi made her move after her husband, Wimal Weerawansa urged her to intervene with Ketapearachchi and attempt to resolve the crisis emanating from statements made to the media over Colombo District MP, Sunil Handunnetti's unofficial house arrest.

Sashi saw an opportunity in this crisis to address some of her own grievances with the party including the right to have a bigger say in the decision making process and do business if she saw it fit, and also accompany her husband on overseas visits when the occasion arose.

Piqued

She was particularly piqued at the unofficial inquiry the party conducted into the sexual harassment allegation made against Wimal by a former Lake House employee and also wanted action against all other party members who had relationships with the female of the species. 

In giving vent to her fury, Sashi has also come out with more details about the unofficial house arrest of Colombo District Parliamentarian, Sunil Handunnetti by the JVP, and its inner workings, promising in the process to go public with information in her possession unless the party puts its house in order as directed by her.

Sashi made all these revelations when she met with Sampath Dimuthu Ketapearachchi, a former member of the JVP and one of Handunnetti's confidants who has now been accused by the party as the man behind leaking party information to the media.

The secret rendezvous between Ketapearachchi and Weerawansa's wife, Sashi, took place at a symbol of American capitalism, the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant at Rajagiriya. Ketapearachchi  who has been allegedly threatened by party members had earlier lodged a complaint with the Welikada police resulting in the issue ending up in court.

Personally contacted

It was Sashi who made contact with Ketapearachchi after his name was linked to the inner party conflict and arranged for the duo to meet at KFC, a venue she frequented to discuss the inner party conflicts. Sashi who also raised eyebrows within the party by holidaying last year at Disney Land in Los Angeles, California, was to tell Ketapearachchi there would be less suspicion if they met at the Rajagiriya KFC since it was one of her favourite 'joints.' Accordingly, Ketapearachchi met Sashi on February 3, (Sunday) at KFC Rajagiriya at 7.30 p.m.

Sashi, who drove her vehicle with tinted windows, a black Toyota Vios, bearing number WP KG 3214, was already at KFC with another family when Ketapearachchi arrived with his wife and a friend.

 Acting on a tip off, unknown to Sashi and Ketapearachchi, The Sunday Leader was already at the venue to observe the conspiracy at work.

When confronted by The Sunday Leader at the venue soon after their meeting, Ketapearachchi said that Sashi approached him through a mutual friend.

She had asked the friend to call Ketapearachchi and inform him that she wanted to speak to him on several 'matters of great importance' including the issue regarding Handunnetti.

Ketapearachchi had responded by saying that he had only acted to save his friend (Handunnetti) and that he would not stop until Handunnetti was safe.

Sashi in turn had informed Ketapearachchi that his approach to the issue was wrong and that he could never get Handunnetti released if he continued to reveal the dirty deals of the party.

The meeting plan

Ketapearachchi said that Sashi had then directly spoken to him and asked to meet him at KFC, and he had agreed.

Sashi had initially suggested meeting at a playground near the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital. Ketapearachchi had refused as he considered it to be an unsafe location.

Sashi had then suggested meeting at McDonald's in Rajagiriya to which Ketapearachchi had agreed.

An appointment was then made to meet at 7.30 p.m. on Sunday (3).

According to Ketapearachchi, while he was on his way to McDonald's Sashi had asked him to come to KFC in Rajagiriya as she was already there, adding, she was more comfortable meeting at that venue since it was a place she frequented. Ketapearachchi had agreed and had made his way to KFC.

During the meeting, Sashi had told Ketapearachchi that the steps he had taken so far have been in the wrong direction as it would not make the party release Handunnetti.

She has asked Ketapearachchi not to go to the media with stories related to the party and advised him to tell her all the details he had and that she would then be in a position to resolve the matter using her leverage in the party.

According to Sashi, she wielded great power within the JVP and assured Ketapearachchi that she was in a position to even negotiate with the party leadership.

Power personified

Sashi had also told Ketapearachchi that she could resolve the matter through her husband  since she was too much in the know of the inner party dealings for them to ignore her advice on the matter.

"I can work through Wimal or even through Party Leader, Somawansa Amarasinghe as I have an open communication line with him," Sashi had said.

She has said that the party was concerned about Handunnetti's seat in parliament as it would have a severe impact on the numbers enjoyed by the party if he resigned.

If Handunnetti were to vacate his position in parliament, a SLFP member would fill the vacancy. According to Sashi, the party had serious concerns about it and was in the process of trying to work out a deal with the government on it.

She has said that the party would never release Handunnetti from his unofficial house arrest over some exposures in the newspapers, as he was just another person to the party. However, the negative impact it had created, especially with the secret deals of the party coming out in the open has badly eroded the party's virtuous image, Sashi confessed.

Sashi has also said that the only way to get Handunnetti released would be to institute disciplinary action against him and has asked Ketapearachchi to reveal any 'disciplinary issues' he knew of Handunnetti.

She was to further tell him that were her hands strengthened by providing all the details relating to Handunnetti, she would be in a position of strength to negotiate with the party and win their demands.

Spills the beans

Ketapearachchi had then given her the contact details of Handunnetti's lady confidante whom the media has already written about and said she could speak with her and obtain all the necessary information.

Ketapearachchi had also given copies of some of the documents he had of several secret deals the JVP had entered into, which were given to him by Handunnetti. He has however, kept back with him several documents and numbers of payment cheques made by various businessmen and establishments.

According to Ketapearachchi, he is in possession of documents and many other material that would bring  to light the darker side of the JVP, which he would present to courts if and when the JVP institutes any sort of legal action against him.

Ketapearachchi had also given Sashi the original pictures of Handunnetti's wife with a plaster pasted across her mouth published in the media for the party to see for itself the truth of his allegations. This he said was necessary because the JVP had alleged that the photographs were doctored.

However, Ketapearachchi's meeting with Sashi came to an abrupt halt when they spotted the cameras at the scene.

Camera shy?

Disturbed by the presence of the cameraman, Sashi had first shouted at Ketapearachchi claiming that he had tipped off the media, an allegation vehemently denied by him.

Sashi had asked Ketapearachchi to send the photographer out of the KFC premises. He had said he could ask the cameraman to move out, but was not in a position to forcibly move him out. At this point Sashi had approached the KFC management and asked them to inquire into the identity of the cameraman.

The cameraman had identified himself as being from a private media institution working on a news story.

However, the meeting between Sashi and Ketapearachchi had then come to an end.

Sashi still maintains contact with Ketapearachchi asking him not to make statements to the media but to work through her to bring the party to heel.

According to Ketapearachchi, Sashi was prompted by the party to meet with him to see for sure if he had the details about their secret deals and to find a loophole where the party could try to save face by resorting to some sort of legal action.

Record in JVP

Ketapearachchi, who was a former member of the JVP said that he knew very well how the minds of JVPers worked. However, the party has so far denied that Ketapearachchi was a member of the JVP.

Responding to the JVP's claim, Ketapearachchi says that intelligence records would stand testimony to the fact that he was a member of the JVP and that he was also held in several camps during the 1988/89 period.

He said that Somawansa Amarasinghe, who is now the party leader was one who abandoned the party's cause and left the island during the terror period. Party's Politburo Member and Parliamentarian, Vijitha Herath during the same period had allegedly performed the role of  Gonibilla (the masked man) who betrayed several hundreds of youth to the forces while party Secretary Tilvin Silva did not raise a finger to help the JVP members at the Magazine Prison when they tried to dig a cave from the prison premises as an escape route.

It is the role played by the media that has so far managed to save Handunnetti's life, Ketapearachchi said.

Indebted

"Handunnetti would forever be in debt to several media organisations that exposed the story and some day when he is out of the party, I am sure he will come and personally thank them," Ketapearachchi added.

Abductions, threats and placing people under house arrest are nothing new to the JVP, according to Ketapearachchi.

He said that even after the last general election, the party resorted to placing one of its members under unofficial house arrest. That was when the party's alleged request for the member who received more votes from the Hambantota District than Nihal Galappatti to step down to make way for Galappatti to enter parliament, was turned down. The member, he alleged, was placed under unofficial house arrest and forced to sign a letter claiming he had resigned from his position.

Ketapearachchi also said that the party is now forcing university students, who are members of the students union to join the party as full timers without completing their studies.

However, the Handunnetti saga and the revelations made following it has caused much displeasure among party high rankers as well as its grassroots level members over the double game played by the party.

In response to the allegations levelled against the party and Handunnetti, the latter initially denied ever knowing Ketapearachchi, but has now changed his stance and come out saying that he did not know Ketapearachchi that well.

In denial

In a statement to the Welikada police on February 1, Handunnetti had said that he knew Ketapearachchi, but had not discussed with him any details related to the party or of his plans to go overseas.

It is in this backdrop that JVP Politburo Member and Parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha, in an interview with the state owned Silumina newspaper, stated that Ketapearachchi's family and Handunnetti's family had a close friendship.

According to Ketapearachchi, Handunnetti's house arrest is a fact and no matter how much the party denied the claims, it could no longer hide the truth.

If the story were false, the party would never release a statement to the media as Handunnetti after all was just another member in the party, Ketapearachchi said.

He also says that he is in possession of documents in Handunnetti's handwriting where he has asked Ketapearachchi to check details of several countries where he could migrate.

Ketapearachchi also says that Handunnetti had wanted to go to a country where the party's international wing was not too active.

Ketapearachchi challenged Handunnetti to resort to legal action if what he has revealed so far has been false.

Police inquiry on

Meanwhile, the Welikada police is still continuing with the inquiry over the complaint made by Ketapearachchi on the death threats received by him from members of the JVP for allegedly leaking information about Handunnetti's unofficial house arrest and other secret deals of the party to the media.

The police is yet to receive detailed bills from telephone providers Hutch and Suntel to determine the calls allegedly received by Ketapearachchi.

According to the Welikada police, the courts have been informed of the progress made with regard to the inquiry and said that they will continue with the inquiry, adding that Handunnetti's statement to the police would not bring an end to the investigation.

Be that as it may, Ketapearachchi is now under severe pressure to stop making statements to the media and revealing the dirty details of the JVP.

The Sunday Leader learns that Ketapearachchi had been requested by members of the government to stop making statements detrimental to the JVP as they were a coalition partner of the government.

However, Ketapearachchi says that though the JVP threatens him and puts pressure on him it would only result in a further split in the party as other disgruntled members of the JVP would start to come out with more dark secrets of the party. 

  


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