21th  March, 2004  Volume 10, Issue 36




















 Haunting memories of the JVP that linger

The top trio - Somawansa Amarasinghe, Wimal Weerawansa alias N. Gamlath and Tilvin Silva

By Frederica Jansz

A UNP supporter being meted out JVP justice during the terror era

Listening to the rhetoric of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and that of some members of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) there is but one overwhelming factor that emerges. And that is the JVP's finesse, like that of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, to lie.

Spurred by an unquenchable thirst for power and the undeniable fact that it can never independently assume the trappings of complete power, the JVP has but only one end result to its deadly game of cat and mouse with the People's Alliance. That is to win the April 2 general election at any cost.

Gold diggers and murderers forsooth, the stage is set as far as the JVP is concerned, for their historic entry into forming the next government. The ravings of Wimal Weerawansa, spokesperson and former MP of the JVP, are easily the most abusive, contradictory and selfish statements made by any politician on present election platforms.

Watching Weerawansa's diatribe against fellow politicians and members of the independent media, a single image is conjured. That Weerawansa is no better, if only worse than Sri Lanka's large multitude of politicos who will sink to the lowest depths to articulate lies, and more damning lies.

It is Weerawansa who it was proved, shared a joint bank account at the People's Bank Nugegoda with Media Information Secretary to Mangala Samaraweera, Ruwan Ferdinandez.

Account number 0174 165 006 8569 at the People's Bank Nugegoda was jointly held by T.G.R.P. Ferdinandez and W. Weerawansa. As of September 31, 2001, the carried forward balance in this account was Rs. 1,049,147.63.

Ferdinandez in the late 1980s was the leader of the JVP's armed section for the Matara District. He was later appointed as financial secretary to the JVP.

Joint account

This bank account opened in the mid 1990s was established as a joint current account with Wimal Weerawansa. Before he began working for Mangala Samaraweera, Ferdinandez was an active and important member of the JVP. In fact, Ferdinandez was one of the JVP's most trusted lieutenants together with party diehards like Wimal Weerawansa alias N. Gamlath.

Weerawansa proved his immense capacity to utter the most diabolical lies when he totally denied sharing this account with Ferdinandez despite available documentary evidence and the confirmation from senior bank officials at the People's Bank, Nugegoda.

Needless to say that Somawansa Amarasinghe, the present leader of the JVP, has the temerity to stand before the public and espouse the causes of bribery and corruption is hardly any cause for comment as Amarasinghe, a blackguard even within the ranks of the JVP, can no longer be credited with any single statement, given his proven track record of being nothing but a common thief. As we have already pointed out with documentary evidence, Amarasinghe not only masterminded massive gold thefts for the JVP but stole for his own personal booty from the JVP loot as well.

Amarasinghe's gold heists and his having led an 'assassination clique' which eliminated thousands of government supporters and any who refused to bow to the fear psychosis initiated by the JVP can hardly be forgotten a mere decade later by a nation that wept bitter tears and shook with fear at the very mention of the words 'Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.'

Indeed, it would be the understatement of the decade if it is not said that the JVP a decade ago succeeded in placing a stop gap on Sri Lanka's development and social progress by at least 10 years. It is this same party that is now espousing the causes of development, social and cultural growth for Sri Lankans after having systematically bled the nation of any futuristic progress.

It would indeed be refreshing if Weerawansa finds it prudent to explain why the JVP chose to mercilessly murder 50 school principals between 1988 and 1989, as well as a number of tea planters and important government servants, members of the clergy as well as a host of politicians (see box for names of murdered school principals and leading politicians).

Cold-blooded killings

It is perhaps prudent to remember the cold-blooded killing of Superintendent, Silverdale Estate in Akuressa, F.W. Jayawardena on February 26, 1988. His killing was followed with the murder of Superintendent, Pasgoda Tea Factory in Urubokka, Malen Alles on July 2, 1988. Exactly seven days later on July 9, 1988, Superintendent, Galkaduwehehna Estate Mirissa at Weligama, Premaratne Bandara was also shot dead by a JVP assassin.

This killing was followed by the assassination of Superintendent, Sirisumana Estate at Akmeemana, D.R. Senanayake on August 31, 1988 and on January 25, 1989, Superintendent, Elpitiya Estate, G. N. de Almeida was shot dead. Superintendent, Aislaby Estate at Bandarawela, Nimal Hettiarachchi was shot dead on February 4, 1989 and on February 18, that year Superintendent, Vilehena Estate at Ahangama, Ranjith Kumara Dayananda was killed. Superintendent, Luke Estate at Wellava, Lalith Gunaratne was killed on February 29, 1989 and Superintendent, Kurukkuwatana Estate at Madampe, J. Michael was the next victim of the JVP's hit squad on March 3, 1989.

Six days later on March 9, 1989, the JVP killed Superintendent, Hanford Estate at Deniyaya, Senaka Gunawardena and continued its killing spree by murdering Nadarajah, the retired chief clerk of Mado-Elle Estate at Panwila on March 19, 1989.

Superintendent, Talgaswala Estate, A. Dissanayake was killed by the JVP at Nagoda on September 12, 1989 and Superintendent, Nugegodawatte Estate, K.P. Premadasa was shot dead at Nittambuwa on September 15, 1989. Superintendent, Thundola Estate, Hapugoda was killed at Meegahatenna on June 7, 1989.

Duty before self

These men were all killed because they placed duty before life and refused to cower in the face of cowardly dictates by the JVP whose terror tactics were well shielded by the point of a gun.

Many more victims were to fall to the JVP assassins' bullets who during that period mercilessly gunned down any man or woman who had the courage to carry on with their public duties despite a deadly chit system by the JVP to keep away from work.

It is for this same reason that Chief Engineer attached to the Colombo Port Authority, D. C. Athukorale was shot dead at Welikada on November 17, 1988. Working Director, Salt Corporation, E. Liayana Pathirana was killed on June 22, 1989 at Opanayake and Chairperson, State Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Gladys Jayawardena was shot dead at Slave Island on September 12, 1989.

To now hear the JVP wax eloquent about the police and servicemen serves to bring into sharp focus the murder of hundreds of policemen and servicemen by the JVP who could not tolerate their allegiance to the call of duty.

It is in the same manner the JVP ruthlessly gunned down 102 SLFP supporters, 64 loyalists of the United Socialist Alliance including its Leader, Vijaya Kumaratunga and 98 home-guards during the period from 1987 to 1992.

Murder of Buddhist monks

We have previously detailed how the JVP which now preaches the dhamma, beginning in December 1988 upto December 1989, gunned down 30 Buddhist monks.

Wimal Weerawansa has recently been placed on record as saying that the JVP was "shaped by Buddhist culture and not Marxism." He even stated that his party was founded on a poya day, attempting to prove its servility to the Sinhala-Buddhist calendar. Weerawansa however conveniently forgets to mention the cold-blooded murders of the 30 Buddhist monks by the JVP in the year 1989 only.

The JVP, he has further said, is a "nativist" party, taking only certain things from Marxism and adapting them to suit local Sri Lankan conditions.

Weerawansa also claims the primary aim of the SLFP-JVP alliance is to start a "cultural journey." He said the JVP intends to begin a pristine Sinhala-Buddhist culture which existed prior to 1505, referring to when the Portuguese landed in Sri Lanka and forcibly Christianised and Westernised the country.

Weerawansa having ruled by the gun appears to have yet not put aside his weapon given his recent antics at the offices of Commerce Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The question that begs answer is if it is this "cultural journey" Weerawansa plans to embark Sri Lanka on.

Remember how DIG Premadasa Udugampola who finally turned his gun and men on the JVP was born? The JVP on July 24, 1988 attacked his ancestral home at Poddala and burned alive his mother, brother, sister-in-law and two small children to ashes.

Killing of industrialists

The organisation also shot dead leading industrialists of the calibre of the Shanmugam brothers who were assassinated at Pettah on February 6, 1989, K. Gunaratnam at Maradana on August 9, 1989 and exactly nine days later, Director, Hebtulabhoy Company, Shabeer Hussain at Kohuwela on August 18, 1989.

And the JVP's 'assassination clique' according to Srimathi Chitrangani Wijeweera, wife of Rohana Wijeweera, did not stop there. They even killed foreigners who paid the final price for refusing to close their industries on the orders of the JVP.

Mr. and Mrs. Banshall, two Indian citizens working at the Pelwatta Sugar factory were shot dead by the JVP on November 23, 1988 at Siyambalanduwa. The Banshalls were two Indian citizens working at the sugar factory. The JVP then proceeded to murder on June 23, 1989 D. K. Sundaram, also an Indian businessman and P. Nadar Weeramuni, also Indian. Both were shot dead on the same day at Chilaw.

This was followed with another murder on the anniversary of the Banshalls killing. Exactly one year later on November 23, 1989, Ann Herchoi, an engineer attached to a Korean construction project was shot dead at Gokarella for continuing with her work despite a chit by the JVP ordering her to stop carrying out her duties.

Hunt for servicemen

The JVP's inhuman hunt for servicemen resulted in the gunning down of 209 service personnel and 342 police personnel. Today, the JVP pledges strong allegiance to the security forces. Their words however fall hollow in the wake of a bloody trail the JVP initiated in 1989 to condemn to death security forces personnel and policemen.

Some of the more notable police and service personnel killed by the subversive group included the assassination of DIG Terrance Perera, who was director of the counter subversive division. He was shot dead on December 12, 1987 at Talangama. DIG Bennet Perera, one time director, CID was the JVP's next victim and was gunned down at Mount Lavinia on May 1, 1989. On August 23, 1989, the Transport Minister's Security Officer, ASP Shahabdeen, was killed by a JVP assassin and on September 12, 1989, Captain B.M. Perera of the military police was shot dead at Moratuwa.

The JVP, since the start of their campaign of terror in 1987, and even before that, had hailed the security forces as the heroes who were preventing the separation of the country by waging war against the Tamil terrorists. In 1989, the JVP began to condemn to death not only these very heroes, but also members of their families.

The JVP for once however knew that they had made a fatal mistake. No sooner had they issued death threats to the families of the servicemen, posters appeared all over the country announcing, "Ape ekata thope dolahak!" (Twelve of yours for one of ours!)

A vigilante group known as the Deshapremi Sinhala Tharuna Peramuna (Patriotic Sinhala Youth Front) under whose name the 12 to one posters appeared, also circulated a note to the families of JVPers, which read as follows:

"Dear father/mother/sister,

"We know that your son/brother/husband is engaged in brutal murder under the pretence of patriotism. Your son/brother/husband, the so-called patriot, has cruelly taken the lives of mothers like you, of sisters, of innocent little children. In addition he has started killing the family members of the heroic Sinhalese soldiers who fought with the Tamil Tigers and sacrificed their lives, in order to protect the motherland.

"It is not amongst us, ourselves, the Sinhalese people, that your son/brother/husband has launched the conflict in the name of patriotism? Is it then right that you, the wife/mother/sister of this person who engages in human murder of children should be free to live? Is it not justified to put you to death? From this moment, you and all your family members must be ready to die. May you attain nirvana!

"Patriotic Sinhala Youth Front."

That the JVP is far from changing its terror image was clearly displayed recently when Wimal Weerawansa armed with a gun broke into the offices of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, Ravi Karunanayake on March 11, 2004. He proceeded to vandalise the property and then to brandish his gun at Attorney-at-Law, Gamini Dharmadasa shouting, "I will kill both you and your minister."

Weerawansa has got off scot-free. Despite his disgraceful behaviour, the police unfortunately have once more proved it does not have the mettle to enforce the law, but is well and truly a force that has long lost sight of the fact that it is duty bound as a law enforcement authority to ensure the law is indeed implemented.

Ravi Karunanayake has now written to Chairman, Police Commission, Ranjit Abeysuriya drawing his attention to the partial conduct of DIG Jayantha Wickramaratne in the incident.

Misleading the police

In his letter Karunanayake has outlined some of the more salient facts about this incident, reiterating how Weerawansa misled the Welikada police by saying mud slinging posters were being printed against him at a house at Rajagiriya and then led the cops to Karunanayake's office.

The OIC for Welikada and SSP Bandara who were witness to the damage caused to Karunanayake's office reported the incident naming Weerawansa and JVP MP Vijitha Herath as well as other JVP thugs.

Weerawansa's personal security officer, Priyantha Gunasekera had pointed a pistol at Karunanayake's security and telephonist present at the office and forcibly prevented them from speaking to Karunanayake. Weerawansa himself carrying a pistol pointed it at Gamini Dharmadasa and threatened him with death while other JVP thugs held a hand bomb at the ready.

A three-wheeler bearing number 205/3894 taken into police custody carried 11 live cartridges, a prescription detailing medical treatment taken for Wimal Weerawansa's daughter, mud slinging posters on the death of Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera, wall posters of Colombo District JVP candidates and a cassette of liberal songs.

Karunanayake charges that DIG Wickramaratne in this case has acted maliciously and fraudulently by aiding and abetting JVPers Wimal Weerawansa and Vijitha Herath to act unlawfully.

Jayantha Wickramaratne is a cousin of the President's former Security Chief, Nihal Karunaratne and has been repeatedly named as being responsible for election related violence in the past.

Take action against Somawansa - Senaratne

By Marianne David

Following the expose by The Sunday Leader on Somawansa Amarasinghe's involvement with having master-minded gold robberies for the JVP between 1987 to 1989, Lands Minister Rajitha Senaratne last week charged Amarasinghe with armed robbery and theft.

Senaratne last week said there are two charges against JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe; aiding and abetting robbery and defrauding party funds. At a press conference held last week, the Minister appealed to the authorities to take necessary legal action against Amarasinghe.

"There are two charges against Somawansa Amarasinghe. One is aiding and abetting robbery and two, he cheated his own party, the JVP. This is the type of leader who is leading the JVP that claims to be a civilised political organisation in the country," Senaratne said.

He added that according to the 12-page statement of Matarage Don Ariyadasa, a JVP member arrested during the insurgency, Somawansa Amarasinghe, apart from having planned numerous gold heists, was also part of an 'assassination clique' and ordered all the killings for the JVP.

Senaratne charged that Amarasinghe is the leader of the gang that wanted to capture Mrs. Bandaranaike alive or kill her as well, as is responsible for the murder of Vijaya Kumaratunga, the husband of President Kumaratunga.

"This is the unholy alliance formed by Mrs. Kumaratunga for the sake of power - joining hands with her mother's attempted killers and her husband's killers," he said.

He said Amarasinghe in a recent interview stated there are no charges against him and that the UNP is now presenting the first one and asking the authorities to take action. "We challenge Somawansa Amarasinghe to say whether he is responsible or not. If he says no, we will bring more evidence to show that he is responsible," the Minister said.

According to Ariyadasa's statement, Saman Piyasiri Fernando alias Keerthi Wijayabahu of the JVP had asked Ariyadasa to conceal some jewellery in his house and he had agreed to do so.

JVP members had then brought 30 sacks of jewellery to his house, four bags of which were taken away by Wijayabahu and Amarasinghe. Ariyadasa claims that Amarasinghe visited his house on another occasion and took away some jewellery. Amarasinghe had returned the jewellery a few days later but some items had been missing.

The Minister also drew attention to a letter written by Srimathi Wijeweera in 1989 in which she claims that Somawansa Amarasinghe "defrauded party funds" and that Nandana Marasinghe who revealed everything about Amarasinghe was killed on Amarasinghe's orders.

"She says that Amarasinghe defrauded party funds and also that he was a government informant. What do Amarasinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga have to say about Srimathi Wijeweera's letter?" asked Senaratne.

Minister Senaratne further said that not only has the JVP not confessed to the violence the organisation generated in 1988 and 1989, the party has still not emerged from its murderous ways and has a large number of weapons in its possession. "We believe these weapons are being used for destruction and murder. They have not been handed in to the police," he said.

He questioned why Amarasinghe was not being punished when Matarage Don Ariyadasa was imprisoned, adding, "I ask the police and the Defence Ministry under the President to act according to the law."

*  *  *

Some politicians killed by the JVP

          UNP MP for Tangalle, Jinadasa Weerasinghe shot dead at  Angunakolapelessa on July 20, 1987

          A bomb attack at the parliamentary complex on August 18, 1987 caused the deaths of UNP MP for Deniyaya, Keerthi Abeywickrema    and of one Senadeera, an employee. The attack also caused injuries             to 18 other parliamentarians.

          UNP MP for Habaraduwa and District Minister, G.V.S. de Silva was  killed at Galle on May 1, 1988.

          Lionel Jayatilake, a minister at the time, was shot dead at Kuliyapitiya on September 26, 1988

          UNP MP for Kandy, Anura Daniel was shot dead at Thalatuoya on June 25, 1989

            Chairman, UNP, Harsha Abeywardena was killed at Wellawatte on December 23, 1987

          General Secretary, UNP, Nandalal Fernando was killed at Wellawatte on May 20, 1988

          UNP Organiser for the Akmeemana electorate, Sarath Nanyakkara was shot dead at Habaraduwa on January 27 1988

          Member of the Colombo Municipal Council, Lakshman Silva was killed at Narahenpita on July 1, 1989


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