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Kumar Gunaratnam alias ‘Gemunu’ led JVP in guerilla war against Indian Army in 1989

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Premakumaran Gunaratnam-pic courtesy: SBS.com.au

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The enforced “disappearance” and dramatic “re-appearance” of Premakumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar/Kumara Mahathaya a.k.a. Noel Mudalige has evoked much interest into the revolutionary antecedents of this colourful personality who was at one time a key leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) or People’s Liberation Front.

Even though Gunaratnam alias Mudalige has now broken away from the JVP and together with comrades of a similar mindset, formed a new political party known as the Frontline Socialist Party (Peratugami Samajawadi Pakshaya) his significant contribution to the JVP over a period of nearly 30 years cannot be easily overlooked or dismissed lightly.

Due to current political differences his erstwhile comrades from the JVP are estranged and against him. One former comrade now a cabinet minister leading a splinter outfit is suspected of “ratting” on Premakumar to the Defence establishment and intelligence agencies. Much of his present problems with the state were allegedly caused and fuelled by this “lemon puff” eater.

On the other hand senior members of the parent JVP are feigning ignorance of him. They are denying his very existence saying they have no knowledge of such a person. Perhaps they are engaged in wordplay based on his name change and saying there is no Premakumar Gunaratnam because legally he is now Noel Mudalige

Earlier as a JVP activist Gunaratnam was known both as Kumar Mahathaya and Kumara Mahathaya. He preferred to call himself simply as Kumar or Kumara.

Whatever the attempts of former JVP comrades to falsify history there is no doubt that Premakumar and his elder brother Ranjithan Gunaratnam were in the vanguard of the JVP in the mid and late eighties of the 20th century.

Ranjithan is no more but Kumar is active still and continues to make waves. He has assumed a new identity but continues to travel on the same path leading towards the goal of transforming Sri Lanka into a true Socialist state.The current controversy around him demonstrates that this 47 year old revolutionary socialist is someone whom his opponents and rivals are afraid of.

One reason for this may be due to his personality and past experience. Kumar Gunaratnam is not a just a theoretician or ideologue. He is a man of action. A doer and not merely a thinker. He possesses excellent organizational ability and has a knack of inspiring comrades to face overwhelming odds. He is not fond of platform oratory but excels in establishing rapport on a personal basis and converting others to his way of thinking through dialogue and discussion.

TRINCOMALEE

Furthermore Kumar is arguably the ablest military leader the JVP has ever produced. He led the JVP in a military campaign against the Indian Army in the Trincomalee District in 1989 until he was arrested. Some of the skirmishes in Trincomalee were successes from the JVP point of view.

There is a widespread belief that the JVP campaign against “India” in 1987 -1990 was twisted in the sense that the “Rathu Sahodarayo” killed people in the South as perceived collaborators of the Indian “invasion” and urged boycotts of Indian products including “Mysore Parippu” and Bombay Onions but never ever took on the Indian army directly.

The JVP is often mocked for this as cowards who could only kill unarmed people in the South while not daring to lift a finger against the armed Indian soldiers in the North and East

While this accusation is correct to a great extent, there was however a notable exception. This was in Trincomalee District where the JVP engaged in armed action against the Indian army and even drew blood in a few instances.

The JVP’s anti –Indian military wing known as “Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya” (Patriotic People’s Movement) was commanded by “Keerthi Wijayabahu”. Its area leader for Trincomalee in 1989 was none other than Premakumar Gunaratnam, operating under the nom de guerre “Gemunu”. He was the man who led the JVP/DJV against the Indian army in the Trincomalee District.

Under the leadership of Gemunu the DJV-JVP accomplished a few military strikes against the Indian Army but these incidents did not gain much publicity due to the concerted efforts of the Sri Lankan and Indian authorities in deliberately suppressing information. They did not want the JVP to gain publicity and political credit through these operations. Besides most incidents of that nature in Trincomalee were believed to have been committed by the Tigers then.

There was also an opportunistic shift by the JVP and Indian authorities later. As the going got tough for the JVP at the hands of the Sri Lankan security forces, some among the crimson comrades struck a tactical deal with the Indians. This was similar to the understanding reached by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with President Ranasinghe Premadasa when the Tigers were gasping for oxygen at the hands of the Indian Army.

So Kumar Gunaratnam alias Gemunu was chastised by senior JVP Leaders who “apologized” to Indian diplomats interacting with them for the attacks, particularly the one in which 14 Indian Jawans were killed.

Sri Lanka’s ambassador to France, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka in an article written to the Sri Lankan media last year had this to say about the incident:

“Kumara Gunaratnam’S older brother Ranjithan (said to be dead) was one of the most intelligent, able and disciplined cadres I have met anywhere. By comparison, Kumara himself seems to have had more guts than brains, but those guts were in abundance. While the JVP cadre was busily murdering Sinhala leftists and minor state employees in the name of a patriotic war against the IPKF, Kumara was a true believer who actually planned and possibly participated in an ambush of an IPKF unit. The morning after, the JVP leadership contacted the Indian Deputy High Commissioner and profusely apologised, promising never to repeat that.”

With Wijeweera and Gamanayake being killed , some of the remaining JVP members began escaping to India. In another Kautilyan exercise, Indian officials facilitated their travel. Somawansa Amerasinghe alias Siri Aiya allegedly used the Indian connection to reach Europe.

Meanwhile Premakumar alias Gemunu was also arrested and detained. With that the JVP military campaign against the Indian army in Trincomalee ended. Despite this short lived campaign tales of “Gemunu”s military successes spread among surviving JVP cadres and sympathizers. Premakumaran acquired a heroic image among the residual JVP.

GEMUNU

This helped him gain a new status within the JVP later. Gunaratnam devoted his time and energy along with the two Gunatilakes , Senadheera and Nandana,to resurrect and revive the JVP. Although he was junior to Somawansa Amerasinghe , Premakumar now referred to as Kumar/ Kumar Mahathaya or Kumara/Kumara Mahathaya became the dominant leader in the new JVP of the nineties. Very little was known about him outside the movement as he opted to adopt a low profile and function behind the scenes while letting people like Wimal Weerawansa hog the limelight.

A noteworthy aspect of the JVP military campaign commanded by Premakumar alias Gemunu in Trincomalee was its non–terrorist nature. The attacks were essentially of a guerilla type and against military targets.

Though the JVP engaged in mass scale terrorism in the south through its assassinations of civilians including politicians, administrators, media personnel and families of security forces, the operations against the Indian Army in Trincomalee cannot be classified as terrorist.

Kumar Mahathaya’s cult status and heroic image among JVP members and his organizational ability and tactical skill made him a feared adversary in the eyes of his political “enemies”. His experience as a military field commander presented a potential threat.

There was also his Tamil heritage and possible access to elements in the global Tamil Diaspora. The systemic racism in the security apparatus made the “Tamil” JVP stalwart an automatic suspect allegedly having LTTE links.

In the present situation the Government is paranoid about a resurgence of the LTTE. It is feared that subversives in the South could be instrumental in establishing links with fellow Tiger travelers and revive the LTTE again.

This is why organizations striving for better understanding between the North and South are highly suspect. This is why progressive southerners reaching out to their brothers and sisters in the north are obstructed, harassed, assaulted and even made to disappear.

Dimuthu Attygalle - pic courtesy: Sandeshaya

DIMUTHU

Premakumar Gunaratnam alias Noel Mudalige’s abduction along with Dimuthu Attygalle has to be seen in this light. It is very likely that both comrades may have increased the tally of the disappeared but for the commendable humanitarian efforts of the Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie, who went the extra mile in matter. Once again International intervention was instrumental in upholding human rights in the island.

The Kumar or Kumara affair with its Noel Mudalige angle provides much food for deep thought and analysis. There are many dimensions to be delved into and many loose ends to be tied up. While leaving those issues for another occasion , I would like to focus now on the little known role of “Gemunu” during the Indian army period as well as some events leading to it.

The objective is not to portray ‘Gemunu’ as a hero but to relate the tale of an important phase in the JVP’s history that is not much known. Although the mass media of the day have not publicized this phase, there is some important material available in books, monographs and research papers.

Chief among them are the books “Sri Lanka: A lost Revolution (The inside story of the JVP) and “Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka” by Prof. Rohan Gunaratna. I am writing this article after contacting knowledgeable journalists, authors, academics, research scholars, security officials and above all, some ex -JVP members.

The Gunaratnam brothers were of mixed parentage with a Tamil father and a mother of Sinhala–Tamil mixture. The younger sister is Niranjana. The family lived in Anguruwella in the Kegalle District where the mother taught for 34 years at St. Mary’s Kegalle. The three children studied in the Sinhala medium and were fluent in Sinhala. They could understand and talk in Tamil but could not read or write.

Both brothers entered the Peradeniya University Engineering faculty in different years. Both got immersed in JVP politics and as a result had to drop out from undergraduate studies at different times.

Rohana Wijeweera

Ranjithan later functioned as convenor of the JVP backed Inter-University Student Federation. He was much liked and respected. Ranjithan became a member of the 21 member JVP Central Committee and later the 7 member politburo. He was a personal favourite of JVP supremo Rohana Wijeweera.

RANJITHAN

Ranjithan was the district secretary of the JVP for Kurunegala District. On one occasion he was sent to the multi–ethnic Trincomalee District by the JVP hierarchy. Ranjithan set up a Trincomalee District committee of the JVP that functioned even during the time when the Indian Army was occupying the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Ranjithan was captured by the Sri Lankan security forces in January 1990. He was tortured and interrogated while in custody. Later he was summarily executed by a para-military death squad aligned to the state. His body was disposed of. Ranjithan Gunaratnam is classified among the “missing” still. He was born in 1960 and was 30 years old at the time of his death.

Ranjithan’s “Thamby” Premakumar was born on November 18th (which incidently is the birthdate of President Rajapaksa) 1965. He studied at St. Mary’s College, Kegalle from January 2nd 1971 to December 3rd 1980. He continued studying at Pinnawela Madhya Maha Vidyalaya from June 15th 1981 to March 22nd 1985. He became involved with the JVP in a limited manner at the age of 15 in 1981. His elder brother did not encourage him in this.

Premakumar known generally as Kumara or Kumar entered Peradeniya University in 1985. He was admitted to the Engineering Faculty under student identity number E/85/58. His National ID Card No was 653231890V. When he entered University the JVP was a proscribed organization as President J.R. Jayewardene had banned left parties during the July 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom, without taking action against UNP leaders like Cyril Mathew.

While Kumar had been associated with the JVP since 1981, he formally joined the organization only in 1985 after he entered Peradeniya. It is said that his brother Ranjithan was not in favour of his younger sibling getting involved in politics. He wanted the “malli” at least to graduate as an engineer instead of disrupting higher studies like himself. But Premakumar went ahead and joined the JVP through the recommendation of Sisira Kumar Devapriya, a fellow undergraduate.

Initially he was engrossed in student activities in the University and held office in the JVP controlled student unions. He was a popular guy particularly among girls. Contemporaries say that he was involved with quite a few girls though he ultimately settled for a wife he met in campus as a medical undergraduate.

The young man from Kegalle was a deep thinker, tactician and man of practical action. Faced with state repression the JVP was slowly beginning to strike back and engage in counter action. Forced to function clandestinely the party was urgently in need of arms and cash. It was against this backdrop that Kumar Gunaratnam had his baptism of fire. Interestingly it was twenty-five years ago in 1987 on the auspicious Sinhala-Tamil new year day.

PALLEKELLE

A group of young JVP members consisting mainly of undergraduates or ex-undergrads assembled clandestinely at the Marrs Hall premises in the Peradeniya University. It was the night of April 14th 1987. Senior leaders of the JVP told them of the plan to be carried out. A former military man briefed them of the layout of the Army camp in Pallekelle.

The JVP team was picked up by a van at 2am in the night. The cadres wore army uniforms. Kumara was appointed field commander of the group which included two women. They had only one shot gun and several knives of different sizes as their arsenal.

The JVP had begun infiltrating low level personnel within the police and armed forces and there was an “insider” in the camp to help out. Thanks to this the JVP squad entered Pallekelle camp from a less conspicuous side. The guards taken by surprise were overpowered. The JVP made off with a sizeable cache of firearms and ammunition using a route along the river.

The nation was rocked by the Pallekelle raid. An intensive manhunt was launched to apprehend the perpetrators. Most of those involved including Kumar went underground. But he was arrested within six weeks on May 23rd 1987 at Galagedara. He was taken to Galagedara Police station and then Kandy Police Station.

Kumar Gunaratnam was later taken to Colombo and detained at the Magazine prison under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) as Detenue No D3301. He along with seven others (Chandrasiri, Samaranayake, De Costa, Jayantha, Lakshman, Sisira and Ranjith) were indicted at the Colombo High Court in 1988 (case No 3591/88) for the Pallekelle armed robbery.

While in Magazine prison he began conducting political classes for the JVP suspects in custody. Subsequently he was transferred to the Bogambara prison in Kandy. There in Bogambara, he and another JVP Central Committee member, “Ragama Somay” devised a plan to escape. This included the digging of a secret tunnel. On December 13th 1988 they put the plan in to action and broke out of Bogambara. Subsequently an open warrant was issued for his arrest

After escaping Kumar established contact with the JVP hierarchy. It was while he was in custody that the Indo-Lanka Accord had been signed and the Indian Army deployed in the North and East. War had erupted between the Indian army and the Tigers. In the South the proscribed JVP was mounting a campaign against Indian occupation and unleashing a campaign of violence.

In the changed situation Kumar was issued new directives by the JVP leadership. He was appointed secretary of the JVP District Committee in Trincomalee and elevated to the Central Committee. He was also assigned the nom de guerre “Gemunu” and instructed to conduct a military campaign against the Indian forces under the aegis of the “Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya”. Thus the younger brother took over the District Committee set up by the elder brother.

CONTROL

Trincomalee was the only district under Indian army control in which the JVP was functioning. It had about 15 to 20 cadres under the command of the committee. Kumar alias Gemunu was immediately made secretary of the committee and placed in overall charge. The committee comprised five persons, namely Gemunu, de Saram, Sanath, Arjuna and Pindeniya.

One of the plus points for the JVP in Trincomalee was that it had acquired some arms in 1987 from the army camp in Kallar. The gradual takeover of the North and East by the Indian army was resented by some sections of the armed forces who began connecting with the JVP. When the garrison at Kallar was required to be downsized some soldiers conspired with the JVP to “stage” an arms robbery.

A pre-planned “JVP raid” took place on October 25th 1987 where a number of weapons were reportedly taken away by the JVP. While some were returned unofficially to some soldiers the rest were retained by the JVP.

Thus when Gunaratnam alias Gemunu took up command in February 1989 the JVP had in its possession a small quantity of weapons like T-56, LMG, SMG, shotguns, mortars, grenades and explosives.

Gemunu based himself in the Kantale/Kanthalai area and began a rapid campaign of recruitment and indoctrination. He concentrated only on the Sinhala residents of the area.

Meanwhile the JVP had established links with the People’s Liberation Orgaqnization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) led by Umamaheswaran. This link up was greatly facilitated by the relationship between the JVP Secretary Upatissa Gamanayake and PLOTE military commander Manikkathasan. Both were children of two sisters

The PLOTE however was not strong in Trincomalee and not in a position to help the JVP but Gemunu did interact with the Eelam Revolutionary Organization (EROS) that was well entrenched in Trincomalee. He avoided the pro-Indian TELO, EPRLF and ENDLF. Likewise he shunned the LTTE which he regarded as fascist and pro-western.

Gunaratnam alias Gemunu did not want to enter even into a tactical alliance with the Tigers. Ironically the LTTE soon aligned with the Premadasa regime in May 1989 which helped the state to hunt down the JVP easily.

According to information available Kumar Gunaratnam alias Gemunu recruited around 100 youths in two batches and conducted two week long educational classes for them. Of these about 20 – 25 were specially selected and given a rapid weapons training course for three days.

“SARATH KULE”

Being explicitly instructed by the JVP hierarchy to confront the Indian army directly , “Gemunu” of the Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya began aiming at the Indian army convoys and vehicles as targets. He was lucky because an army deserter codenamed “Sarath Kule” teamed up with the JVP. He had quit the army after the Indian air drop of June 4th 1987.

Sarath Kule had some training in explosives and could set up landmines. Since Kumar too had an engineering background the two together were able to engage in explosive attacks. The JVP high command had already instructed Gemunu that attacks on the Indian army should be launched in July to denote the second anniversary of the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord on July 29th.

The JVP picked the 93rd milepost area on the Kandy–Trincomalee road near Kantale/Kanthalai as the ideal location for a landmine attack. Initially a landmine was placed on the road but was detected by an Indian army mine–clearing foot patrol in the morning. The LTTE was suspected and not the JVP which was yet to make its mark.

Kumar Gunaratnam alias Gemunu being a shrewd tactician made the unorthodox decision of placing landmines again in the evening in the same 93rd milepost vicinity. He calculated that the Indians would not expect a repetition on the same day in the same location.

So Sarath Kule and Gemunu set up two landmines in close proximity. A JVP cadre was placed at a vantage point and tasked with the duty of watching out for Indian army trucks and signal that vehicles were approaching. Unlike the LTTE the JVP had no walkie-talkies.

Unfortunately the JVP cadre assigned this duty developed cold feet at the last minute and ran away. So the leader Gemunu had to replace him. He saw an Indian army truck approaching and signalled to Sarath Kule. Then he ran back furtively to the target area. Instead of a convoy only a truck and jeep arrived. When the landmines were set off only one exploded and hit the truck. The jeep braked and then reversed rapidly.

In the meantime an Indian army post had been set up on the other side of the milepost after detection of the landmine in the morning. That was not known to the JVP which had not conducted any reconnaissance or “recce”. Indian soldiers began running towards the scene of the explosion firing their weapons. The soldiers in the truck also started firing wildly and running. In the melee the JVP cadres led by Gemunu managed to retrieve an LMG and SMG and escape into the jungle without injury.

It was after this attack that the Indian security forces realized that the JVP too was now confronting them directly. Some sections of the Sri Lankan security forces were excited by this development. Several security personnel began contacting the JVP, encouraging them to launch attacks against the Indian army and pledging clandestine cooperation.

MULLIPPOTHANAI

Accordingly Gemunu and Sarath Kule took the bold step of entering Trincomalee town and placing a landmine in the dockyard area. They were aided and abetted by Naval personnel. An Indian army truck was targeted but the landmine went off prematurely near the jetty. Both men escaped from the area with the help of sailors.

With July 29th fast approaching the JVP under Gemunu wanted to make a decisive impact through a major attack. The opportunity came on July 25th 1989. On that day the JVP launched an ambush in Mullippothanai, a Tamil village to the west of Thambalakamam/Thambalagamuwa.

An Indian army truck was hit by a JVP landmine. The JVP cadres then surrounded the vehicle, firing in the same mode as that of the LTTE. Fourteen Indian Jawans were killed and three injured. The JVP made off with the seized firearms. It was a big success for the JVP and sent alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power.

What commander Gemunu of the JVP did not know then was that sections of the JVP through iniatives of the Indian espionage agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had set up a back channel of communication with Indian officials.

The Deputy High Commissioner at the time, Nirupam Sen had encouraged such a liaison with the JVP and other Southern leftist entities. Sen was to be High Commissioner in Colombo years later.

The Indian High Commissioner Jyotindra Nath Dixit dubbed as the viceroy of Sri Lanka, had himself re-organized the Colombo mission’s structure after the Indo–Lanka Accord.

Two political secretaries had been appointed with Dr. S.Jaishankar, a Tamil Brahmin looking after the North and East and Gurjeet Singh, a Sikh overseeing the other seven provinces. First Secretary Joseph Thariyal, a Keralite Christian was the RAW point man at the Indian High Commission.

The line of communication to some JVP elements was allegedly maintained by the trio of Nirupam Sen, Gurjeet Singh and Joseph Thariyal. When the JVP under Kumar Gunaratnam struck forcefully on July 25th, the Indian officials were shocked and angry.

MONKEY BRIDGE

The JVP elements in contact with the Indians had to tender an apology for the incident to Nirupam Sen and promise that it would not happen again. An urgent message was sent to Gemunu to suspend attacks against the Indian army. A lull set in thereafter in JVP operations against the Indian Army.

Gemunu was thoroughly disappointed at this turn of events but continued to strengthen the JVP in Trincomalee. He intensified recruitment and also began garnering more arms. He also embarked on a mission of interacting with and wooing disgruntled members of the security forces.

It was on such a mission that he set forth on September 24th 1989. A meeting had been arranged with a soldier who had promised to give him a few firearms. But when Gemunu reached Palampottaru or Monkey Bridge he was arrested. He had walked into a trap which apparently had been devised by former Army Commander, General Sarath Fonseka, who was the commanding officer of the area at the time.

Though in army custody, Kumar was treated kindly. Many army officers liked him and were sympathetic. Instead of placing him in a cell, the army kept him in the officers’ quarters in Kantale. He acted as a batman to a senior officer. Kumar also advised the army officers on how to handle and treat arrested JVP suspects. He even liaised with them.

After the Indian army left in 1990 March, war broke out with the LTTE in June 1990. Kumar Gunaratnam was transferred to Pallekelle , the place where he began his armed militancy. He was housed at the rehabilitation centre in Pallekelle.

There are two versions about what happened thereafter. One version says Kumar was a model detenue at Pallekelle. After a period of rehabilitation he was released along with 15 others to be sent to Japan for employment. According to this version Kumar had dropped out from going to Japan and went underground.

The other version alleges that he escaped from Pallekelle under mysterious circumstances and went underground thereafter. According to this version he was assisted by security personnel to escape from Pallekelle.

Gunaratnam known to JVP cadres as Kumara or Kumar Mahathaya, began to adopt a low profile in public while setting about quietly on a JVP renaissance mission. Together with senior JVP leaders he began to revive and re-organize the JVP. He succeeded in this to a great extent.

Premakumar Gunaratnam says he is certain his captors in Sri Lanka planned to kill him. Photo: Anthony Johnson - courtesy of: SMH

WELISARA

In 1993 he got married to Dr. Champa Somaratne, a medical doctor attached to the Chest Hospital in Welisara. He reportedly used an alias to get married.

After marriage Kumar lived at the medical officers’ quarters ar Welisara with his wife, whom he had met at Peradeniya University. She too was a JVP member and had contested elections in Kurunegala on the JVP ticket in 1994.

Later his wife relocated to Australia and subsequently Kumar too joined her. It is said he adopted another alias to go to Australia and then again changed his name while there.

Apparently he acquired a new passport and began travelling back to Sri Lanka frequently to engage in political work. Kumar maintained a low profile and operated under different names for personal security.

“Noel Mudalige” also used his stay in Australia as a period of reflection and thought into the future of the JVP. He arrived at certain conclusions and succeeded in convincing the rank and file of the JVP into agreeing with him.

He played an important role in mobilizing the “Jana Aragala Vyaparaya” (People’s Struggle Movement) that was the forerunner of the Frontline Socialist Party.

Kumar Gunaratnam was poised to attend the launch of the new political party on April 9th when he was abducted on the 6th.

A spontaneous call for his release was made from diverse circles such as family members, party comrades, media personnel,varsity academics and human rights activists. The emotional appeal made by his wife,sister and mother were very moving. Mrs. V Gunaratnam his mother who made her appeal in Sinhala,Tamil and English touched the hearts of many and personified the anguish of all Sri Lankan mothers whose children were reported “missing”.

RELEASE

After his release and return to Australia it has transpired that his passport was issued under the name Noel Mudalige.

Although he was not officially deported and is technically eligible to return to Sri Lanka if he pays the fine of Rs. 40,000 for overstaying, it is highly unlikely that Colombo would let him enter Sri Lanka again and engage in politics.

Given his traumatic experience and close brush with death, one doubts whether he too would want to return to the land of his birth in the near future. It is also unclear as to whether Kumar would face difficulties with Australian bureaucrats over his antecedents and the irregular procedures allegedly adopted by him.

After his traumatic experience in Sri Lanka, the 47 year old political activist was re-united with his wife, 17 year old daughter and 8 year old son in their home in Dural, Sydney, NSW.

While no definite prediction is possible at this juncture, it does seem likely that Noel Mudalige will have to live in the sun-burnt country Down Under for quite a while.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached on djeyaraj2005@yahoo.com

This article written exclusively for “News First” website in Colombo is also being posted on my blog.The original can be accessed on www.newsfirst.lk

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99 Comments

  1. DBS, thank you for another beautifully written article. I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to your next piece in earnest. As per always you represent all that is great in investigative writing and I hope you will get all the credit you deserve for it!

  2. All these days I also thought JVP bunch of cowards who kill people in South but not fight IPKF in north or east. But now I realise from this artical it was not so. Thank you Mr.Jayaraj

  3. Someone told me that you can’t trust fellows who are prematurely bald.Don’t know whether it is true or not?On a dark night if i see this fellow walking towards me in a western city pavement,i would cross onto the other side of the road immediatly,or start running with my skirt flying high.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I didn’t realise that you suffer from Alopecia phobia. As someone who is losing hair rapidly in the pat few years (after I started this blog) I resnt your slurs on baldies badly. Dont forget the American symbol is a bald eagle

    Besides baldies are really nice people and there are many reasons for going bald. But the best one I like is the one saying ” Those who are thinkers are bald at the front. Those who are sexy are bald at the back. Those who think they are sexy are bald all over”.

    With people like Shankar around all Baldies must form a common front to to protect their rights and salvage their repoutations

    Be bold and unite all ye that are bald. You have nothing to lose other than your hair.

  4. Excellent article Mr.Jeyaraj. Amazing research and insight. Enjoyed it so much I re -read it again.

  5. When I listen to Gunaratnam amma make sad appeal in all three languages my eyes were full of tears. She is the ideal Sri Lankan fluent in Sinhala,Tamil and English

  6. Honorable Defence secretary must enlist courageous fighters like Gunaratnam alias Gemunu for the fight with India

  7. Very many thanks to Mr.DBS for writing about comrade Kumar and letting world know about his heroic past

  8. Pingback: DBSJ : Kumar Gunaratnam alias ‘Gemunu’ led JVP in guerilla war against Indian Army in 1989

  9. Hey DBS. You were on TV News in all 3 media. . Newsfirst is promoting you in hell of a big way as the columnist. Good for you man!

  10. Excellent article. Only recently I came to know that he was my batch mate in Peradeniya. I had seen horrific crimes committed in and around Peradeniya by black cats (I think that was how the secret forces were called then) to suppress JVP insurrection. After everything was over in 1989, university reopened (after almost 2 years closure) and many were missing but no-body wanted to talk about anything. It was an untold story for a long time. Thanks for writing about it in detail.

  11. I wanted to say masterpiece by DBS but then I wont tell that because I know he is going to write more and more masterpieces like this

  12. The vast majority of sri lankans think of the JVP as a bunch of troublemakers who did nothing to benefit the country nor the universities they swamped but also killed thousands of youth every 15 years or so while the leaders most of the time went in to live in the same capitalist countries they vowed to bring down .As such, it is very clear that these guys cannot make any impact on the ethnic issue in the country. As it is, the Sinhalese think that they too are linked to LTTE which puts them on red alert preventing any compromise on the devolution issue. The Tamil leaders should get out of the mentality “Enemies of MR are friends of us”. It’s time they start believing “Lets make friends of MR our friends too”. That’s the only way out.

  13. This is really really wonderfull article by Mr.Jayaraj. Never know that JVP did attack Indian army those days

  14. I am a southerner and I hate JVP. I witnessed how these people tortured innocent people(Grama Sevakas, UNP supporters, etc) in South durinh late 80s. Anyway, so called “political activist” Kumara Mahattya is not so innocent when we read about his past.

  15. Arun Thambimuttu, a well educated and well employed, Tamil youth, has returned to Lanka with a legit passport, to help his generation and future generations ,to live in a truly multicultural and multi ethnic society, like the one in which he grew up and got educated and employed after arriving as a refugee.

    Here is Mr Gunerathnam, who sneaked into Srilanka as a Sinhalese, was trying to take our youth and our future youth, back to the future and live as the inhabitants of Cuba, whilst his children and his family live in the comfortable land of milk and honey, Australia.

    And there are takers, but they and their families also live comfortable lives in the West.

  16. BEING TAMIL IS QUITE IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVIDE LEADERSHIP FOR SOCILATST MOVEMENT IN ISLAND IN PRESENT CONTEXT.
    THIS GROWND REALITY OF SRI LANKAN SOCIAL STRUCTURE.IN COUNTRY , POWER OF POLITICAL CLASS REMAIN MORE YEARS TO COME.

  17. Even if the facts are correct, we do not need terrorists who now veil themselves as politicians. Obviuosly, this gentleman has conned the Australian Immigration about his past for migration. Sri Lanka will certainly not see this person even if he does another name change.

    Let us see what Australia does in investigating this.

  18. Fingerprint all foreign nationals visiting Sri Lanka. US does it by default. With so many
    foreign nationals getting caught ‘in the act’ in the country, it’s time to go to the next
    level of national security to protect dearest MotherLanka.

    Agents of foreign vultures are looking loopholes in our systems to exploit.

  19. Usually,I do not have patient to read long articles,but I read this till the end until midnight,in spite of my tight schedule tomorrow.I was wondering about this Kumara Mahathaya,and this was an eye opener about his role in JVP.

    Your political column is always intereting.

  20. Hi! Anna,

    The JVP is mostly un-know beast to the Sri Lankan public and I am sure it will be so for Good.

    They have dug their hole too deep to come out of it and they will never be a political force in Sri Lanka.

    The Progressive Leftist front is a welcome sign in the current corrupt, right to center Capitalist Political milieu of UNP, SLFP bandwagon.
    What we need today if a front for agitating against Social injustices for all communities, corruption rampant, political bandy ism, thuggery, abductions etc etc.
    May be we will need to introduce a strong leader at some point to lead this country but the folks seem to carry water when it comes to argument, debate, identifying the issues correctly and targeting the right audience etc.

    But we can never entrust power to these immature , untested folks for sure,
    The ‘Jana Aragala Vyaparaya’ can be a good substitute for ‘Muslim brother hood in Egypt’

    So folks let the ‘Argala karayo’ set the wheel in motion. let Kumara have some down time with his family which he rightfully deserves after so much of action packed years in the past.

    regards,
    -ajith

  21. DBSJ,

    Brilliant piece!

    But I have to do some nitpicking with the following: “Since Kumar too had an engineering background the two together were able to engage in explosive attacks.”

    The courses they teach in engineering at Peradeniya, especially the first year or two—Gunaratnam would have dropped out at that stage, won’t help someone develop skills in explosives or this kind of attacks. But the education could have given him the confidence to learn those skills from other sources, as well as leadership skills.

    Pera and Sengo may want to add their comments on it.

    ????????????……………..DBSJ

  22. This is why organizations striving for better understanding between the North and South are highly suspect. This is why progressive southerners reaching out to their brothers and sisters in the north are obstructed, harassed, assaulted and even made to disappear.

    .. words worth a Million $ !!

  23. is it true Kumar is getting support from the Australian Trade Union Movement, who campaignned vigerously for his release.

  24. Proud Bullet says:

    “With so many foreign nationals getting caught ‘in the act’ in the country, it’s time to go to the next level of national security to protect dearest MotherLanka.”

    Let us start with Gota and Palitha, Chinese, Indians, Russians, ………..etc.

    You say:

    “Agents of foreign vultures are looking loopholes in our systems to exploit.”

    Loopholes, such as ……………

  25. ANURA says:

    “we do not need terrorists who now veil themselves as politicians.”

    So what do you propose we should do with Somawansa, Tilvin, Weerawansa ……..and others?

    Would you like them to be deported?

  26. First you were quick to praise the Aus HC and the IC for for their humanitarian act in quick intervention and securing their release.

    Then in the next sentence you admit there are many loose ends.
    once those loose ends are tied together,your first conclusion may proved to be wrong.

    In this whole episode Gunaratnam is the one who has benefitted most.

    His party procalimed that he will come out in the open at the party convention and lead the party from there on. Now he conveniently don’t have to that! Just imagine the moment he came out in the open the Indians will clamour for his head and the government will be more than glad to deliver. Now he is protected from all that. He got more that two birds with one stone. He got out of a difficult situation. He got priceless amount of publicity for his party. He managed to slander the government and now he is free to live the rest of his life in the comforts of down under with his family which he denied to many in his long political activism.

    One good exposure I found in your narration was the double speak of these so called socialist JVP. They were throwing their caders to killed by the army and the other killer squads screaming for the Indian monkey army to be sent back all the while maintaing links with the Indians and RAW. Excellent!

    Some londoners who though claim to be sinhala don’t even know the sinhala word is not chokka,It is sokka!

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    The praise given to Australia High Commissioner for securing their release stands. It is thanks to such “international” intervention that two abducted people were released.

    The loose ends pertain to the Defence establishment and tying up loose ends there will not affect the credit given to International intervention in the form of Robyn Mudie. Great woman!!

  27. DBS J says:

    “With people like Shankar around all Baldies must form a common front to to protect their rights and salvage their repoutations”

    I am all for supporting your cause, fighting for the rights and dignity of ordinary people.

    Do I have to be bald to qualify for membership of your common front?

    Go to Pazhani or Thiruppathi………DBSJ

  28. This is fabulous stuff..both the article and the the subject of the article…and know what the time is not far awawy for Kumar to return and even if he is prevented it will be for a short time…Kumar knows what to do and see what he knows from things he has done. I will support him and I mean support him to get rid of the tyranny facing Sri Lanka. Blood boils man….

  29. Having read what Mr. DBSJ has been writing for the last 5-6 yrs, I should say this.. I like your writing as it keeps the reader inspired as if they read a suspense-thriller. Also, you seem quite fascinated about ‘Being a rebel’ specially in military means and always prompt to give credit to those involved there, without resorting to terrorist ends. It is in another words looks like you admire ‘Hitha honda chandiyas’ despite their illegitimacy. You remind me of Sydney Sheldon whose almost every fiction I have read, but the clear distinction here between you and Sheldon is, you write about true life incidents with an equal passion and a glamour which I really appreciate from readers’ point of view.

    While I admit the interesting part of your writings, I still question its ethical background as it is promoting violence to a certain extent giving an impression about a Wild West movie hero.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    You dont want any articles to be written about LTTE/JVP members or ex-members?

    You want articles on Robin Hood, Saradiel, Billy the Kid, Jesse James etc to be banned too?

  30. DBS J responded:

    “Go to Pazhani or Thiruppathi………DBSJ”

    I am not part of Rajapaksa’s extended family. Therefore I don’t think both temples would allow me to perform my democratic civil duty to support your cause.

    Is there any other alternative to shaving my head ?

    Please note I am not a politician like Champika aspiring to be a Buddhist monk.

    Ramzi Rahman?…………..DBSJ

  31. I am intrigued as to what Gunaratnam’s race politics are. He ran Peradeniya Campus during the years 86-89. Although he didnt personally threaten, intimidate and bully, his loyal footsoldiers did the dirty work for him. The IUSF headed by his brother killed Daya Pathirana who refused to be cowed by the JVP. So as you can see he and the rest of the JVP had absolutely no qualms about using the same terror tactics used today by the Rajapakses. They make much of their commitment to democracy today but this makes me wonder why the JVP students unions have consistantly opposed elections for selecting student representatives. Instead nominating the student representatives from within the ranks of the JVP faithfull. Which makes me wonder if a JVP govt would ever address anti-democratic practices or even dissapearences.

    All these heroism about killing 14 Indian Soldiers does not really impress me. I wonder if it was necessary at all. The JVP tried to paint the IPKF as an invasion force on a mission to annexe Sri Lanka. They then branded everyone who disagreed as traitors. To my knowledge an invasion force does not leave when politely asked to do so by a given deadline. However the IPKF left when Premadasa asked them to leave. So why did he have to kill 14 human beings making widows and orphans of their loved ones? Would it not have been better to spare those lives and wait till they left?

    We hear Gunaratnam was responsible for rebuilding the JVP from its ashes. This new JVP included the blatantly racist Wimal Weerawansa and many others who who can be termed “racist-light”. Which makes me wonder what really are these people’s principles if they can bring fascists, marxists, Sinhala Nationalists and now even Tamil Nationalists under the same umbrella organisation. The man who put up posters all over Kandy saying “Let us defeat Tamil Separatism” and “Let us defeat Tamil Terrorism” is now trying to recruit the Separatists and Terrorists into his new party! A party that once championed Sinhala Nationalism and borderline racism!!

    If he wants to be taken seriously he needs to come out in the open and tell the Sri Lankan public.

    1. Why he recruited Weerawansa into the JVP in the first place. How did they ever see eye-to-eye.
    2. How does he intend to address the issue of Tamil self determination.
    3. Does he think it is necessary to kill political oponents to gain political advantage?
    4. If not why did he not oppose the JVP’s killing of Daya Pathirana, Vijaya Kumaranatunga and various bus drivers, estate workers, gramasevakas, petty kada keepers etc.
    5. If he ever becomes head of state will he hold elections again? Or will he ban them as he did when he was boss of the University.

  32. Thanks DBS, As always your articles make great reading. Incidentally, Kumar’s bro Rnajitham was my contemporary at E’Fac in Pera. He was a good natured and a likeable person though we disagreed with his politics.

    I have been a huge fan of Gota and MR’s Govt. for fighting the war as no one did and seeing an end to it. But the way they rule the country now, I have no faith in them. The war is over, we expect good governance and the rule of law to prevail.

  33. In your article you try to imply that Ranjitham called his brother Kumar “Thamby” as well as “Malli.” Which one was correct?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I did not try to imply anything of that sort. Obviously Malli and Thamby mean the same – younger brother- and are interchangeable.

  34. Very interesting and an adventurous life he had.

    Hope he will write a book about his adventures in SL. With this publicity it will surely be a best seller.

    Like Niromi de Zoysa he too should use this time of underground days to sit down and write. Preferably in all 3 languages.

    This Sri Lankan conflict history is all movie stuff.

  35. Wow! Thank you DBSJ for a well researched and wonderfully written article as always. Without you, we’d be doomed to live in ignorance.

    It amazes me how some still complain about what the ‘foreign national’ Kumara Mahathaya was doing in Sri Lanka. Whatever he did in no way justifies abduction, torture and murder by the State. Thank goodness he was an Australian citizen because it was the only thing that saved his life. Heaven help the Sri Lankan citizens living in Sri Lanka.

  36. DBSJ,

    will you let me modify your reply to Shankar?

    ‘Be bold and unite all ye that are bald. You have nothing to lose other than your hair.’

    [Be bold and unite all ye that are bald. You have nothing to lose NOT EVEN your hair.]

    Sorry I can’t join the club I’m not bald.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Good change. accepted.

    As for your not joining the club but er, excuse me, what about becoming a Dasa Sil Matha?

  37. The Gunaratnam family must put flowers at her feet and worship Australian high commissioner Madam Robyn Mudie

  38. Great thinkers are always men and always bold. DBS is a prime example.

    But, I do agree, not all men and baldies are great thinkers.

  39. DBS J responded:

    “Ramzi Rahman?…………..DBSJ”

    He is too expensive, only the politicians can afford him.

    I thought you are the Veddah MP?…….DBSJ

  40. DBS J responded:

    “I thought you are the Veddah MP?…….DBSJ”

    I never claimed to be a politician nor wished to be an MP.

    I am not that corrupt yet to demean myself. On the contrary I want power to the people not the other way round.

    Do you think I would make a fine MP? If and when I change my mind you are rest assured you will be appointed as my campaign manager (Chief of staff) on one condition you should be able to spin fantastically well.

    Sorry but I dont think you’ll get elected…………..DBSJ

  41. TRN wants recycled insurgent Noel Mudalige to write a book.

    Following the pulication of ” Piraphharan” by Nedu, there seems to be an insatiable appetite among the Diaspora for these autobiogarphies..

  42. Superb Article shedding a lot of light on the character of Noel Mudalige.

    The fact that both he and his brother got entrance to Uni and dropped out means two lost places for someone else who would now have been Engineers.

    The 15 Jawans he killed had families too. Jawans are Indian peacekeepers who came to this land at the invitation of the then Sri Lankan Government. I can imagine what the mothers of those Jawans would state if theye were to come on national Television. I wonder what happened to the children of those Jawans thereafter.

    I wonder how many this man killed in the name of socialism.

    The picture shows a man with a sad cocked head with his wife and child, complaining about his abduction and sexual abuse.

    Wonder if they know that Daddy was a killer once.

    Dont know if he would write a book one day about the good people they (JVP ) killed because they didnt bow down to JVP terror threats.

    I wonder if he would write a chit asking factories to be shut down.

    Did he even order that those killed by the JVP should not have a decent burial.

    A lot of information for Mother, Wife and daughter to know about ‘Daddy’

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Finding out how many were killed by the JVP in the name of socialism, finding out how many were killed in the name of suppressing JVP, finding out how many were killed by the LTTE and other groups in the name of Tamil liberation, Finding out how many were killed by the armed forces in the name of suppressing separatism etc are all questions blowing in the wind.

    Who has the answers?

  43. Dear dingiri

    To my knowledge an invasion force does not leave when politely asked to do so by a given deadline. However the IPKF left when Premadasa asked them to leave.

    Wrong. IPKF left only after Premadasa made alliance with LTTE. Also IPKF came only after the illegal Parippu Drop which was a blatant warning of bombing.

  44. Appoi Jeyaraj

    I got a big surprise no aney seeing your image on TV announcing you are writing for News First website.

    Lot of my friends also watched.

    aau au now you are on TV also aah? I am so thrilled aney.

    Then I went and read article on Kumar Gunaratnam. Fantastic really fantasitic. We took print outs and circulating now. All are amazed at the details

    Aney Jeyaraj tell will you how do you get these facts, Aney Kiyanda ko.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Aiyo Nelum,

    Samawenda kella. These matters kiyanda baa ney ?

    Thank you for reading and liking article.

    Aney Nelum when you praise me it is very nice ne kella?

    Now tell will you how did I look on TV?

    Kiyanda ko Kella?

  45. DBS J responded:

    “Sorry but I dont think you’ll get elected…………..DBSJ”

    Thanks, now you have confirmed it I am happy that I can get on with and focus on my mundane life, being an ordinary citizen untainted by corrupt practices.

  46. dingiri says:

    “So as you can see he and the rest of the JVP had absolutely no qualms about using the same terror tactics used today by the Rajapakses.”

    So there is no differences between LTTE, JVP and MR.

    I can see unity in brutality as a common thread among the various diverse sections of the people.

    Can we use this unity in brutality as the starting point for future reconciliation?

    dingiri, I sorry am bit thick.

  47. DBSJ RESPONDS:

    “Who has the answers?”

    The three Commissions appointed by Chandrika found some answers to your very important questions. However these three reports gathering dust at the National Archives.

    Kishaly Pinto Jayawardana had published a report on this subject, and I quoted the book elsewhere in this forum.

    Sadly though the Three Commissions named the perpetrators, Chandrika’s uncle then Defense chief refused permission to charge them due to war in the North.

    Imposed impunity for political expediency has been the culture in this island since 1971. Therefore we need an independent Commission to establish the truth covering the period from 1971 to date, if justice to be served to the people of the island irrespective of their race, religion or region.

    Most stupid Sinhalese and few stupid Tamils too think that truth would hurt reconciliation (as if there is a genuine reconciliation process in place). On the contrary Truth Commission would heal the wounds at the same time avoid punishing the perpetrators if they confess to their brutality.

    We can learn a lot from my cousins in South Africa.

  48. Wije,

    I dont think you get the drift of my argument. According to the JVP, India has imperialist ambitions and the parippu drop and the IPKF was just a ruse to get their army in and colonise Sri Lanka. If this was their intent do you think Premadasa’s covert support to the LTTE was sufficient to beat them back militarily after losing just 1000 soldiers? If the second largest army in the world in terms of manpower can be defeated or made to reconsider its “imperialism” after the mere loss of a 1000 men? If this was the case how ever would India expect to counter the Pakistanis and Chinese who are camped on their borders? Are you suggesting that India would throw in the towel and surrender to Pakistan after losing just 1000 men? What both Sinhala and Tamil Nationalist are incapable of comprehending is that India has largely played a benign role w.r.t Sri Lanka except for the period during Indira Ghandi’s rule when after being baited and provoked by JR and Premadasa she decided to teach us a lesson by arming and training the Tamil militants (however this too was only after July 83) . The fact is, Indira wasnt a very sophisticated woman, much like our Rajapakses, Bandaranaikas and Premadasas and you Wije. When she was was publicly and undiplomatically insulted by the prime minister of a neighbouring country (e.g. calling her and her son “Eladena” and “Wassa”) – something that doesnt happen between even overtly hostile nations – her instinctive and petty reaction was to retalliate against the whole country. Since Indira during the UNP rule, you must agree most Indian govts. have been mostly favourable to Sri Lanka. They have been among the biggest post Tsunami and post War donors to Sri Lanka. They have helped with men, materials, training and intelligence in the lead upto Nandikadal. They have defended Sri Lanka diplomatically at the UN. But Sri Lanka seems to take their good offices for granted.

    Consider the following incidents in the recent past.
    Wimal Weerawanse being incensed at the Army officer guiding him around Kilinochchi attributing the development projects he is being shown around to Indian and other foreign donors. Wimal then makes a big speech saying it is not foreign governments but the Sri Lankan governments that should take the credit for the projects. Why? Because the foreign govts. money comes to the Sri Lankan treasury and it is the SL Govt that carries out the development work. He even added that the Lankan govt. could if it wanted use the money for other things like importing cars for politicians, and have instead decided to benevolently spend it on the people!! The Army officer is then transferred forthwith.

    Rajapakses giving the Indians assuarances about devolution and then reneging later. I guess the men who run our foreign relations dont realise that repeated lying and dishonesty does not win friends.

    Can you then blame the Indians for running out of patience when there is not an iota of gratitude, honesty or sincerity in our dealings with them?

  49. DBSJ says;

    ‘As for your not joining the club but er, excuse me, what about becoming a Dasa Sil Matha?

    Matha of course but for DasaSil – I’m not that bold.

    U seems 2 b in a good mood DBSJ, responding to many comments.

    Is that bad?Do you want me to stop responding?……….DBSJ

  50. Kalu Albert says:
    April 19, 2012 at 7:56 pm
    TRN wants recycled insurgent Noel Mudalige to write a book.

    ——————
    Aney, Kalu, mokada meya, insurgent kiyanne. Mona surgent unath his life is adventure ne? Movie stuff ne? Hindhi film paradai ne?

    Kalu why don’t u write a book too? Suggest ‘Economic boom in SL: hemiplegic view’ !!

  51. haaaaaaaaaaaaa..DBS I am not interested in gunarathnam whoever he is…but really interested in YOU AND NELUM haaaaaaaa,..keep it up….

    Aiyo Manuri,Thats up to that kella Nelum no Aney?………DBSJ

  52. sudha says:
    Kumar knows what to do and see what he knows from things he has done. I will support him and I mean support him to get rid of the tyranny facing Sri Lanka. Blood boils man…

    ————————————

    Brilliant thoughts ! Get rid of one tyrant and hand over to another !

    That’s what we Sri Lankan citizens had been doing for last 60 years !!

  53. Like it or not for some – he could be the first Tamil President of Sri Lanka. Don’t forget he is opposed to imperialist funded LTTE murder, India/China funded GOSL murder and JVP orchestrated murder in 80s which is what Somawansha pappa is denying.

  54. Aiyo DBSJ don’t put these guys photos.Put nice looking people like vijitha herath and lionel bombage,even though they are JVP,and aney my favourite kolla ranil,you have not put him for a long time, handsome that he is.

  55. Aney TRN, why do you need a book to read their “adventures” when the great mapority of our Lankan inhabitants still vividly remember how they sent over 50,000 rural poor Sinhala youth to horrible deaths in two instalments.,

    They still remember how Premadasa mates pushed sharp grey leads in to the ear holes of misguided youth.

    How even middle aged Sinhalese , mainly UNP opponents were burned with tyres around their mecks.

    And these are the heroes, who are now not only protected by the so called Human Rights guardians, but also given them new Passorts under new names.to engage in more adventures.

    Surely one must have a hemiplegic brain to enjoy their adventures.

  56. Kalu Albert says:
    great mapority of our Lankan inhabitants still vividly remember how they sent over 50,000 rural poor Sinhala youth to horrible deaths in two instalments.,

    ———————–

    Now// Dear Kalu/ Hemi,

    Who put 50,000 rural poor youth to horrible deaths??

    What’s wrong with you economic champion, I think you have a phobia too. Why did the youth uprising came? not once twice. Mind you they were educated rural youth. Why???

    Do you justify the ruthless state suppression?

    Or do you only see the violence of JVP?

  57. Kalu Albert says:

    “Aney TRN, why do you need a book to read their “adventures” when the great mapority of our Lankan inhabitants still vividly remember how they sent over 50,000 rural poor Sinhala youth to horrible deaths in two instalments.”

    Was it the work of Tamil LTTE terrorists?

    What was the response of the state at the time?

    Why did the stupid Sinhala/Buddhist youths join JVP? Was Rohana a very good con artist?

  58. I wonder how Gota let Kumar to escape from the country while he allegedly ordered to kill VP. What is the difference between Kumar and VP? Since both were rebels, Did weather Gota bend to the international pressure or any other motive?

  59. Hi DBS

    Wonderfully reasearched brilliantly written article. It appeared in print in “Ceylon Today”newspaper in Colombo

  60. dingiri says:

    “According to the JVP, India has imperialist ambitions and the parippu drop and the IPKF was just a ruse to get their army in and colonise Sri Lanka.”

    The Hindians have no intention of colonising Sri Lanka. However it seems Hindians are working on a long term programme of culturally, economically, militarily and politically integrating Sri Lanka into Indian state.

    In other words Hindians see a potential for transforming Sri Lanka as the Sinhala state of India.

    You say:

    “When she was was publicly and undiplomatically insulted by the prime minister of a neighbouring country (e.g. calling her and her son “Eladena” and “Wassa”)”

    Focusing on individual’s likes and dislikes will not help us to understand the real Geo-strategic environment. India was in the middle of transition from former colony to truly independent country, aspiring world power.

    In the thick of cold war, JR made the stupid move to align with the west. Trincomalee oil tanks, Voice of America, Rest and recreation facilities for US armed forces, open economy, Diego Garcia US base, facing difficulties in naval expansion in Indian ocean, …………..etc culminated in Indian adventure in Sri Lanka using the stupid Tamils to run a covert operations. If India didn’t run the operation someone else would, went the argument among the Indian analysts.

    Being adventuress Indra went along with the covert operations in Sri lanka not to mention electoral considerations.

  61. Thanks DBSJ from a constant reader of your writing from the days of “Behind the cadjan curtain” ……now was it The Island or The Sunday Times that you started with?

    I was at St. Mary’s Kegalla and knew of both Gunarathnam brothers.

    Once again thanks for a great and incisive article, DBSJ….looking forward to many more….

  62. With this superb bit of digging and reconstruction, DBSJ reconfirms his status as the best Sri Lankan investigative journalist of his –and this– generation. He should be lecturing in a good journalism school somewhere. His writings are vignettes of contemporary SL history.

  63. This guy wants to form a socialist party in Sri Lanka, whilst living in capitalist Australia. For a start why didn’t he go to Cuba or North Korea ?. There are few two tounged lizards living in capitalist countries and want to form socialist parties in Sri Lanka.

  64. marusira malliee, Lenin was in exile in United Kingdom. heaven of capitalism before he went to do revolution in Russia.

  65. Gamaya1 aiya, oh yeah see what’s happened to Russia now. After so many death and destruction, now Russia is reverting to capitalism. So much for socialism.

  66. gamaya1 , marusira ,

    Please // enough of capitalism & socialism. Both have failed and people were in misery while the leaders enjoyed the benifits.

    Lets think of humanism for a change !!

  67. Marusira malliee I was in USSR If Stalin did not change the path to cult and dictatorship the outcome would have been different. We did not like the socialism of that type either that he created. But once USSR collapsed very same people wanted to go back because they lost their free housing and welfare state. Now the difference between rich and poor is very high and Putin trying to stem it but I don’t think he can. Most of the new oligarchs looted existed wealth and ran away or invested in the west.

  68. It is interesting that TRN advocates ” Humanism” for Lankan inhabitants.

    Mr Gunaratmna with his Capitalist passport under a Sinhalam name has become a championan of Human Rigts after his attempts to introduce Socialism.

    An Authentic British passport holder is in custody, trying to collect his bag of Hashish from Lanka Post, which was sent to him from his Capitalist homeland.

    And poor Angela loses her job at the Embassy ,for no reason.

  69. Very well presented. We people in Sri Lanka miss journalists of your caliber! Can you please elaborate on Dimuthu Attygalle history?

  70. It came as a shock to read that the JVP while howling in the country for the indians to leave has secret relationship with indian top officials.What rat bags they are.Compared to them the LTTE was more straightforward.With them at least what you saw was what you get.The JVP are the opposite.You never can tell with them what they are thinking inside.They should be avoided like the plague by srilankans until they are ground into the dust and vanish from the srilankan landscape for ever.The decent types among them like lionel bopage should be absorbed into the NSSP of vasu who is another guy i like because they never speak double speak and are not violent types,and what you see is what you get.Guys like kumar gunaratnam who have violent pasts should never be encouraged by srilankans anymore.

    I liked dingiris comment which says it all. dingiri says:
    April 19, 2012 at 5:40 am

    DBSJ,This was a gem that could be bundled with some of the best you have produced.Very happy to hear that your extroadinary journalistc skills are going to be used on newshour too.You can do much more good with the pen than with the sword,not only because of your writing skills but also because people know that you will give both sides of the story without any bias.I wholeheartedly agree with Dr.dayan in Dr Dayan Jayatilleka says:
    April 22, 2012 at 4:11 am

    I also enjoyed TRN’s sharp and short comments and his grasp of the root causes of the problem.I enjoyed his description of people who can see only one side of the coin as hemiplegic,which is very apt for some comments on this blog.When he said that it is not capitalism or socialism,but humanism that is needed,that was certainly food for thought.We have seen that both systems have failed to bring real lasting happiness to people and a fresh thinking may be needed

  71. Shankar,

    Thank u for the compliments. Just a clue for you.

    TRN says:
    April 20, 2012 at 7:06 am
    DBSJ says;

    ‘As for your not joining the club but er, excuse me, what about becoming a Dasa Sil Matha?

    Matha of course but for DasaSil – I’m not that bold.

    ————————

    Got it Shankar ??

  72. TRN,so you are a woman,because matha is women monks who follow dasa sil,the 10 precepts of bhuddhism.The bhikku in dambulla has added a eleventh one which is firebombing other religious places of worship.

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