Posted on December 22nd, 2018


Revised 18.1.19. 7.4.19

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) gets much attention in Parliament and on television today, because Its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake keeps speaking and speaking  , holding audience attention,  using  long sentences,  in  slow measured tones. He ends up uttering empty statements. JVP is not a popular party. At the 2015 general election JVP only got 4.87 % and six seats. The Joint Opposition has openly stated that the JVP is there to support the America-influenced UNP and the TNA.  The Joint Opposition calls them ‘Rathu Ali’.

Godahewa Indradasa has written about the activities of the JVP in his book ‘Failed revolts in Sri Lanka.   Indradasa served in the top echelons of the Sri Lanka Intelligence service for nearly three decades, the major part of which was the investigation of insurgent activities.  The subversive activities of the JVP had come to the attention of the intelligence services and  a special unit has been formed in the CID to watch them.

Rohana Wijeweera, the creator of the JVP, was given a scholarship by Russia in the 1960s to study medicine at Lumumba University, Moscow.  His visa was thereafter revoked, when he came on a visit to Sri Lanka and he was not allowed to re-enter Russia. It is now alleged that Wijeweera was secretly recruited by USA when he was in Moscow in the 1960s.

Wijeweera on his return to Sri Lanka set about creating a radical movement in Sri Lanka. Wijeweera secretly sought support for a closely knit and well organized clandestine movement starting in 1965, said Indradasa. He began to build a base among the Sinhala youth. Wijeweera visited various parts of the country to obtain support for his movement. The movement gained support in the rural areas   where there were many alienated youth.

The JVP   organization consisted of a central committee and politbureau at the top,  followed by district leaders,  district secretaries, village committees, grass roots units and full time volunteers. The grass roots unit was a group of five, in each Police area. JVP also established contacts in temples. They   used them as hide outs   after the 1971 insurrection.

The high degree of security consciousness introduced into each of these committees, is significant, said Indradasa. JVP conducted their political affairs in secret. The leaders used aliases to prevent identification. The politbureau met every month in Colombo and the district secretaries would take the decisions back to their district and from there to the cadres. JVP started a propaganda section to conduct meetings all over the country, except North and East. JVP impressed the public through its poster campaigns. The same poster appeared island wide overnight. 

 JVP went into action soon after its formation. Several ‘farms’ were established, not for farming but for conducting secret classes and storing weapons. The first were in Anuradhapura, Tissamaharama and Kirinda. The Kirinda one was a poultry farm. The first educational camp was held in Akmeemana in 1967 followed by one in Tanamalwila.    Education camps were thereafter held secretly in remote parts of the country. Camps were held in Kurunegala, Anuradhapura   Tissamaharama, Elpitiya, Akmeemana, Tanamalwila, Tambuttegama, Kataragama and Middeniya. Each camp taught about   25 to 100 cadres.

The youth were told that armed struggle was necessary, and they must be prepared to fight. Instructions in the use of arms were done through diagrams. In 1970 there was a spate of robberies of guns and cartridges. They were removed from houses, taking nothing else.  There was an unprecedented increase in the theft of guns in the country, said Indradasa.  

The JVP also started making bombs. Bombs were made using condensed milk tins. These were collected in large quantities and sent to remote areas. Not surprisingly, there was an explosion at Nelundeniya. At a meeting in Ambalangoda In September 1970, Rohana Wijeweera ordered the distribution of 1000 bombs and 1000 Molotov cocktails (petrol bombs) to each JVP police division unit.

Wijeweera from the very beginning targeted the Sri Lanka navy. This is not well known. A list of navy personnel were submitted to him by a contact whose name is given in Indradasa’s book. Wijeweera met this group at Trincomalee navy base and spoke to them,   probably in 1965. A group of JVP navy men was created. Many naval personnel attended the JVP classes in 1966 and 1967. Naval ratings who were close to Wijeweera were among the instructors. Several members of the armed forces were also recruited and used very discreetly for this purpose, said Indradasa.

Uyangoda alias “Oo mahattaya” of the JVP had visited Karainagar naval base in 1971 and met one these JVP navy men.This navy man had succeeded in posting pro JVP sailors to work at the armories of the outstation navy bases, telling his superior that they were trustworthy men. The gullible superior had believed him. (names withheld)If the JVP plan had succeeded in 1971 it would have been disastrous for the navy as well as the country,  said Indradasa. Wijeweera also tried to recruit SLFP army personnel arrested on suspicion of trying to over throw the UNP government. But they were not interested.

There were scattered references to CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA.Dharmasekera, who was dismissed from the JVP, formed the Mathroo bhumi Arakshaka Sangamaya, which attacked the UN embassy in Sri Lanka in March 1971. Rohana Wijeweera said that this attack was engineered by the CIA agents.  Dharmasekera faction in turn accused Rohana Wijeweera of being a CIA agent. When a splinter group of ex JVPersm, theVikalpa kandayama’ emerged, sometime later, Wijeweera said its leader was a CIA agent. When the April insurrection occurred, N.M Perera stated that it was a CIA operation.

In 1971, the JVP   staged the first of its two insurrections. This has been described as a romantic, innocent revolution, an unplanned spontaneous attack. It was nothing of the sort. It had been planned beforehand and the purpose was to bring down the SLFP government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

 92 police stations, all in ‘Sinhala’ areas, were attacked. The electricity supply was cut. Approaches to police stations were sealed off, in some cases, by felling large trees. The idea was to take and hold certain Sinhala areas. At the Colombo end, Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike would be taken into custody from her Rosmead Place residence. The army cantonment at Panagoda would be attacked.  Navy personnel at Ragama and air force personnel at Katunayake were to be immobilized by introducing a purgative to their food.

 However, the insurrection failed. The April 1971 insurrection was amateurish, ill planned, and carried out hastily, said Indradasa.  Also, JVP was not a united organization at the time. This supports my view that the JVP had ‘jumped the gun’ and launched the attack prematurely, without waiting till its foreign handlers gave the order.

The JVP did not fade away after April 1971 as it would have done, had it been a purely local affair. Instead, JVP met secretly and reorganized.  JVP first retreated into their hideouts in the jungles of the North Central Province. They moved the camps from place to place.  They did not stay in one place for long. The leader at Namal oya camp was in a separate chena known only to couple of trustworthy members.

There were jail breaks. In November 1971 JVPers escaped from Vidyalankara, Vidyodaya and Weerawila camps. At Vidyalankara, they   escaped through a tunnel which they had dug.  Prison authorities had earlier reported that there was no tunnel  leading to the conclusion that JVP has accomplices in the prison. At Anuradhapura prison as they escaped, JVPers had freed the other prisoners as well.

According to Indradasa, 8000     JVPers, out of a possible 14,000, were arrested by government. The plan was to get back the original cadres rather than recruit new ones. JVP prisoners received visits by   persons pretending to be relatives. They carried JVP messages in and out of these camps and prisons.  JVP cadres   met them as they were released. One of the places used for this was the Peradeniya University.  It was done discreetly without arousing suspicions of undergrads, said Indradasa.

After 1971, JVP made changes in its structure. All key points in the organization were held by those loyal to Rohana Wijeweera. A secret Central Committee was established, which gave the main directions.  The identities of this secret committee were known only to the district organizers. The leading JVPers had code names. The JVP was wary of those who wanted to join them and they were first screened. There was tight control of information. Those who came for lectures were given places to meet at, from where they would be taken to a secret venue.

JVP established a branch in London, known as Ginipupura.  Ginipupura provided the JVP with contacts with Portugal, Spain and France. A military wing Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya (DJV) was established.  This wing was responsible for the violence of the 1987 period.

JVP also established   8 fronts in Sri Lanka. They were Youth Front, Student Front, Bhikku Front, Peasants Front, Trade union Front, Women’s front, Cultural front and Propaganda front. JVP created their own trade unions and also infiltrated the trade unions of other political parties. The bhikku front, “Manava hithawadi bhikku    Sangamaya”,  could be used to great advantage, observed Indradasa. The robe offered cover, and had impact on a Buddhist population.

Since 1960s JVP presence in campuses has been constant, observed Indradasa.    The most powerful organization formed by JVP in the universities was the Inter University Student Federation.  There was also the Interuniversity Bhikku Balamandalaya.    Daya Pathirana, head of the rival Independent Students Union was killed. JVP was considered responsible.

There was also the Patriotic Students Movement for secondary schools. This was entirely controlled by the JVP though they avoided getting identified directly with it.  Branches of this organization were set up in several schools in Colombo and outstations.  The intention was to build up a membership, especially in the ‘A’ level classes, from which these students would enter university. This would ensure a readymade membership from among freshers.

Cells were established throughout the country except North and East. Cells were set up in Colombo, Galle, Tangalle, Embilipitiya, Ratnapura, Polonnaruwa, Chilaw Kegalle and Moneragala. These were used for recruitment, indoctrination, and weapons training. The five lectures were revised. They now focused on the need to capture power by force. JVP was also compiling information regarding vital institutions which affected the country security and economy, said Indradasa. The motive clearly was to destabilize the country.

JVP also successfully infiltrated the lower rungs of the police and armed services. JVP planned to establish military units in each police area in the country. Infiltrating the army was not difficult as persons were recruited to army and police without full screening at this time. The army soon realized that its lower rungs had been infiltrated. There were acts of indiscipline and appropriation of arms. The army suspended its training of one batch of recruits suspecting that they were JVPers. The batch recruited in 1986 to the army was not sent for training until they were fully screened.

In the early 1970s JVP gave the impression that they were champions of the Sinhala race. This would have been done to capture Sinhala youth for the movement. After 1977 JVP changed its stance. JVP discarded its pro Sinhala attitude. JVP recognized the right of Tamil people for self determination and by 1980 they were supporting the secession of Tamil areas.

 Indradasa observed that JVP while pursuing concerted action in support of Tamils kept Sinhala masses guessing as regard to their attitude to ethnic issue. However there was evidence to show that they were pursuing a policy of support for the separatist Tamils though they attempted to give the impression that they were champions of the Sinhala race.

In Feb 1978 President J.R.Jayewardene declared an amnesty for JVP prisoners and all of them, including Rohana Wijeweera were freed. JVP was allowed to register as a political party in 1981.   At the same time, JVP was getting ready for violence.

Collection of weapons started in early 1987 .Guns were got after breaking into houses island wide. There was a set pattern in doing this. In the 1980s the JVP was running temporary training camps to familiarize member with various types of weapons such as T56, AK 47, said Indradasa. This was done mainly by hand drawn sketches, and pictures of rifles. A rudimentary military training was given.  There were also classes in physical training.

JVP then staged a second uprising which lasted from 1987 to 1989. This was not an open revolt, but a low intensity conflict with the JVP resorting to assassinations, raids and attacks on military and civilian targets. This campaign virtually brought the country to a standstill.

The timing of this 1987 insurrection is important. It came in between the first two Eelam wars, Eelam War 1(1983-1987) and Eelam war ii (1990-1995). The purpose was to paralyze the government, ruin the economy, and cripple the armed forces, so that Sri Lanka would not win the Eelam War. The foreign powers pushing for Eelam, knew that Eelam War 1 would most certainly be followed by Eelam War 2.

The first targets of the JVP in 1987 were, therefore, armed forces and police. The  insurrection started in April 1987 with attacks on Pallekelle army camp, Kotelawela defense academy and Air force base at Katunayake, in sequence. The daring and ingenuity of the Pallekelle raid in early hours of New Year day revealed the imprint of a well organized movement, said Indradasa.  

JVP issued threats to members of the armed services and police that they should resign or be killed. Police officers investigating JVP activity got death threats. Letters were sent to OIC of police directing them to release suspects already taken into custody.

JVP attacked police patrols and even resorted to killing unarmed constables on beat duty and traffic duty. JVP assassinated several servicemen and policemen in their homes or while on leave or off duty when they could not defend themselves. Director CID and Director, Counter subversive Drive were gunned down close to their homes while on their way to work.

JVP killed 122 members of families of security forces and police in the most brutal fashion. Some were hacked to death, some were burned alive in their homes which were set on fire, they made no discrimination regards old people or children. One such case was the murder of mother, brother, sister in law and two nephews of a DIG who was serving in the south. They were shot and whilst still alive, their residence was set on fire with them inside. The IGP had said he wanted to finish off the JVP.

JVP resorted to sheer terrorism to bring about work stoppages, disruption to transport services,    and trade  JVP burned down post offices, robbed the collections from bus conductors, and destroyed their ticket machines, damaged industrial and domestic electricity and water meters. JVP , forcibly collecting vehicle revenue licenses . JVP destroyed records held in kachcheries including files on local taxes and land registers. Almost two thirds of the country did not have an electricity supply for more than six weeks, because the power pylons in Matale were destroyed by the JVP.

JVP issued death threats to professionals, to lawyers and doctors so they could not work.  JVP called for hartals and work stoppages. As a result, trains were not functioning properly, schools and college did not hold exams for almost two years.  For four years no one had graduated from any of the state universities. Medical College was not functioning for almost five years. Factories and work place were forced to close down for long periods resulting in the workers undergoing severe hardship and production suffered.  Strikes paralyzed key government departments. Tourists were walking past immigration and customs   counters freely as the officers were not there.

JVP called upon the public to engage in a civil disobedience campaign by refraining from paying taxes and other dues such a bus fares. Posting letters’ without stamps. JVP said people must observe curfew and not leave homes, work places should shut down, transport must cease to operate, blackout must be observed from 6 pm. People should refrain from listening to radio or watching TV.

Initially the public did not take JVP orders seriously. But JVP started killing and the public realized that they dare not disobey these orders. Teachers who resisted interference of JVP activities were assassinated. JVP selectively conducted attacks on shopkeepers, drivers of public and private vehicles,   trade unionists, management staff of government and private institutions and burning buses of both private and public companies. These acts of terror served to create fear among the public.

JVP reacted violently to exposure of their activities by newspapers, TV and radio. Newspaper agents were killed, vehicles transporting newspapers were burned, and employees of TV stations, Rupavahini, ITN and SLBC were threatened and ordered to give up employment. When these were ignored JVP killed important media personnel, including  DG of Rupavahini and SLBC,  a director of SLBC,  a radio and TV announcer . Gladys Jaywardene, Chairman of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation was also assassinated for not stopping the import of Indian pharmaceutical.

JVP killed 1342 government supporters, 353 government servants, 250 policemen, 284 policemen, 163 servicemen, and 80 home guards. 3 university dons, 2 education officers, 44 principals of schools, and 57 teachers. They destroyed 430 post offices, 78 DDC offices, 59 GA/AGA offices, and 59 agrarian centers, 17 Superintendants of estates were killed. Many civilians including a cultivation officer in Anamaduwa, cooperative chairmen of Weuda and a CTB driver were killed   these killings were all in Sinhala areas. JVP also killed surrendering JVP cadres. They killed two families of surrendered cadres in Anuradhapura. Heads of people who were slain were arranged around the Peradeniya University pond.

The country did not tolerate this for long. The army and police started shooting suspected JVPers and their families and burning their houses. In Kandy road barriers were put up at night time,   in places like Lewella.   Private armed groups emerged to counter JVP terrorism. JVP were killed by private vigilante groups,  such as  Black Panthers and Yellow Scorpions.

Estates  employed private defence groups known as Green Tigers.  JVP had killed 17 estate superintendants. Lawyers who took up the causes of JVPers were also killed by these vigilantes. It was not possible for the security forces to  protect all threatened persons, so they encouraged the creation of these vigilance groups and provided them with shot guns. Political parties were given repeater shot guns for their protection.

When JVP issued threats,   these vigilante groups issued counter threats. When JVP issued death threats, other posters appeared which said ape ekata thope dolahak.” The ‘Deshapremi Sinhala tharuna Peramuna’ circulated a letter to JVP. This letter said  Dear father/ mother/ sister, your son, / brother/ husband has taken the lives of mothers like you, also sisters and innocent children.  They have killed the family members of heroic Sinhala soldiers who fought the Tamil tigers to protect the motherland.  Is it not justified  to put you also to death? Be  ready to die. May you attain Nirvana. Sgd Patriotic Youth Front. ( abridged )

Government of Sri Lanka eventually defeated the JVP. Intelligence cells  set up in police stations, had  good penetration and advance information  was received on JVP activities.  By November  1989 Rohana Wijeweera  and  12 of  the 13 JVP politbureau members  were arrested. Wijeweera was ‘a person easy to control,’ though his speeches  sounded fiery, said Indradasa.   Facing the camera for a video statement when arrested, the expression on his face was one of disappointment and dismay. He had spoken in a shattered voice, with emotion.

After the 1989 defeat, the JVP was rescued by its foreign contacts. The foreign links of the JVP came to light only then. This fact has not received the publicity it deserved. After 1987,  a large number of cadres set up active cells in France, Switzerland , Italy, Thailand , Japan and Australia. In Thailand alone about 60 cadres have been identified. The cell in Thailand not only looked after the cadres but also ferried them to Japan. JVPers had also ended up in Maldives.

 JVP received funds said to be from well wishers in the Middle East. Those in Thailand and Japan were also remitting funds. JVP  supported Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war and was given funds in return.   The sole Politbureau member to escape,  Somawansa Amarasinghe  left in March 1990 to France via India. He lived in Paris and London  for 12 years and  returned to lead the JVP in 1994. This essay shows that there are certain  similarities between the LTTE movement and the JVP movement.

Senator S. Nadesan (1904-1986) made a speech in the Ceylon Senate on 14 and 15 of May 1971 regarding the JVP insurrection of April 1971. This speech was published as a booklet in 1988, by the Nadesan Centre for Human rights. In the booklet, Senator Nadesan was compared to Cincinnatus, a Roman leader who lived in 5 BC.   The booklet also noted that Senator Nadesan was a founder member of the Civil Rights Movement of Sri Lanka and was very active in the cause of Civil Rights.  The Nadesan Centre is named after him.

The JVP insurrection of 1971 was met with stunned disbelief, said Suriya Wickremasinghe in her Introduction. It was marked with confusion, bewilderment, rumor and speculation. How could such a situation have come about, who were the leaders of the JVP, was there a foreign hand behind this extraordinary event,     and so on. There was a curfew and people could not easily meet and discuss. But Senator Nadesan had a curfew pass and ‘used it to the full’   to go about and make inquiries.  He used this information in his speech.

Nadesan’s speech on the 1971 insurrection in the Ceylon Senate,  was the first forthright objective assessment made in public on the matter, said Suriya.  The speech      was used as an appendix in the report made by Lord Avebury, who came  in September, on behalf of Amnesty International, to report on the 15,000 people in detention without trial.The Senate however did not show similar respect. There were interruptions to Senator Nadesan’s speech. Nadesan said, at one point,  ‘this is not an occasion for laughter,’  and again, ‘this is not a time for levity.

In his speech, Nadesan attributes the rise of the JVP to population growth, higher education and  unemployment. The insurgents were mainly poor undergraduates, staying in hovels, seven  or eight in a room, for their undergraduate studies and  exploited by the landlord  in Peradeniya and Colombo.

These students saw no future for themselves, said Nadesan. There were no jobs awaiting them.  They were studying because there was nothing else to do. They did not  go to the  campus gymnasium or playground,  instead they were seated discussing  jobs, their futures, and socialist politics. Politics was the principal diet of the students. The     voting age had been reduced to 18 years, so they were very much a part of the electorate too.

Nadesan says JVP  campaigned for the United Front government of 1971. The JVP youth stopped their work and organized house to house campaigns in support of the United Front.  The UF  victory was the victory of the youth vote.  A study of the voting patterns will show that it was the youth who defeated the UNP, said Nadesan.

But once this new government came into power there was an unprecedented outburst of lawlessness throughout the  country. JVP had infiltrated  government industrial concerns and had intimidated the workers.  There were work stoppages.  ‘ I do not know why that happened,‘ said Nadesan.

Nadesan  agreed that the   armed uprising  had attacked a duly established, democratically elected, popular government. But  he  listed several weaknesses in the government , such as nepotism, favoritism when it came to jobs. Also said Nadesan, there was unemployment. People were thrown out of jobs.

MPs gave themselves pensions, enhanced allowances and  wanted to import Peugeot cars for official travel. The JVP has also complained that the MPs took the Rs 50 allowance per day and vanished without staying for the Constituent Assembly meetings. The Senators listening to Nadesan, helpfully  added at this point, ‘there  were also objections to MPs foreign  travel  and safaris’. Nadesan said he   did not know of those and was speaking only of what he did know.

One of the first items referred to at the JVP rally held at Hyde Park in Feb 1971   continued  Nadesan was the fact that the  government had introduced compulsory retirement of those over 55.  Very  violent speeches were made by the sons of these dependants, observed Nadesan. JVP had also objected to the fact that  the government had gone to the agents of American imperialism such as World Bank, IDB  for loans like the previous government.

The government had failed to nationalize  banks as promised,  and put a ceiling on land ownership. So their only hope lay ,  JVPers said, in establishing by themselves a socialist society in this country. They proposed to give the government a little time and then take matters into their hands. These were the type of speeches made, said Nadesan.

The JVP leaders, instead of advising these youth that the government should be given a reasonable time and chance of redeeming its promise,  instead started propaganda against the government  and organized discontented youth to attack. The youth were impatient for radical measures, they had been prepared for warfare. They wanted results.

 The youth were either misled  or were foolish enough to think that immediate solutions were possible. The Youth may have thought that if they deferred their actions and make preparations quietly over the years, they would miss the bus,  because by that time the security forces would have hunted them down . That is my analysis. I am looking at this objectively, said Nadesan.

Government declared a state of emergency to wipe put this movement and the security forces ‘went  round to a number of places and sometimes through  good fortune and luck were able to find bombs, ammunitions and arms collected at various places and they started hot on the trail of this movement, continued Nadesan.

The significant part of Nadesan’s speech comes after this. Nadesan  draws attention to the weaknesses of the  Emergency Regulations enacted at the time, particularly Regulations 19 and 20  which deal with arrest, detention, cremation and burial. These Regulations say that any police officer may arrest without a warrant a person suspected of an offence under the Emergency Regulations.  The earlier safeguards that such a person must be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours and also that police must report to magistrate if they arrest a person without a warrant were removed.

Further, nothing need be done in any part of the country in respect  not only of person shot dead while in combat between security forces and insurgents but also of person who dies while in detention after they have been taken into custody, said Nadesan. Any ASP of officer in charge of a police station can bury or cremate any dead body without inquest, or death certificate.  And the burials needed not be recorded anywhere.

In  the case of those who die in combat, it is well known all over the world that a count is taken of the people who die and their identities established if they can be   ascertained.  a list is given of the wounded and the dead, so that people from the other countries can know whether somebody is a prisoner, dead or wounded. These are dispensed with here in Sri Lanka.

Nadesan observed that the police have many honorable capable people but ‘ there are also a  number of persons who oppress the public’. In certain police stations people are frightened that they will be assaulted,  even in normal times. When police are attacked some of them, not particularly educated,  may think of revenge. Some members of the police when their lives are not in danger have been guilty of  cowardly attacks.  One can just imagine what they will do at a time of  civil strife when they can without giving  account to anybody, be a law unto themselves.

 The bulk of the police will not take advantage of ht regulations to abuse their powers,  but in any society, particularly in a country like ours  there are bound to be certain people who will utilize the safeguards provided by these regulations to carry out some private  vendetta or misuse the power granted to them, said Nadesan.

Nadesan then listed a series of allegations regarding criminal behavior on the part of the  armed forces  while dealing with the insurgency. Allegations have reached my ears from  reputable sources  whose names I will not disclose here, that insurgents who surrendered or were captured were shot in a large number on the ground that there was no way of keeping them in prison and there were no faculties for transporting them or for accommodating them. Whether this allegation is true or not is a different matter.

 Allegations have been made that in areas far away from the place of actual confrontation between security forces and insurgents, a number of youth were arrested on suspicion, some were shot summarily, others assaulted, tortured, taken away and shot. Suspects were asked to run away from the police station and then shot when running.

Allegations have been made that  in some police stations torture and sadisms have been indulged in by some police officers, they were deprived of their wrist watches and then sent off. Nadesan had been able to verify one such case.

Allegations have been made that the houses of parents of a large number of young persons who were suspected of being insurgents have had their houses burnt down. Allegations have been made that some members of the police force and army have in broad daylight gone to shops, markets and other places and helped themselves to goods and in some cases they have indulged in looting of shops and boutiques, taking away jewellery.

Nadesan  repeated this a second time. Allegations have been made that after curfew house in places close to Colombo like Nugegoda and in faraway places like Badulla  members of security forces have gone into boutiques and shops and carried away jewellery and cash to the extent of Rs 5,000, 6000 and 7000. Allegations have been made that people’s residences, shops and boutiques with all valuables have been burnt down.

There were interruptions while Nadesan was narrating this list of ‘allegations’. Senator Kumarasuriar had interrupted Nadesan to say these allegations are false. Senator Somaratne asked to whom these allegations have been made. Nadesan’s reply was  people dare not complain, so they don’t. In any case the police will deny.”

I do not  say the armed force and the police are lawless. What I say is that there are certain allegations of lawlessness made against them which it is not possible in the present climate to investigate.  government should take up the position that it will investigate these when the time is suitable and every respondent who has a genuine complaint to make will be  given the opportunity.

Senator Nadesan then moved on to the main thrust of his speech, the need to tell the ‘truth ‘ about of  what the security forces had done  during the insurgency and after. The first casualty in civil  war is  truth” he said.  In a civil war, to ensure the security of the state, propagandists  prefer to  utter an untruth or  give a garbled version to the people, than to state the truth and run the risk of  more trouble.

‘I do not expect the government at a time like this, to come out with the truth, and to state the whole truth in respect of all that has happened. the time is not yet ripe for that. But eventually, it is necessary to report excesses committed by some members of the police and security forces.

  I implore the government  in respect of these allegations not to say whether they are true or false. I ask them not commit themselves one way or the other when they do not have the facilities’ for the purpose of investigating and arriving at the truth.  Better take the position.  well there are these allegations, we cannot say anything one way or other, at  present but later we will inquire into them.

In the process of combating the insurgents and putting down the movement with a firm hand we should not give the impression that we are at any  time  prepared to tolerate indiscipline or lawlessness on the part of the  armed forces or the police. Once  matters have settled,  the government must promise to investigate.    Nadesan then called for economic reform and the speech ended  with a statement on  banning the import of  potatoes and chillies. ( continued)


 The following report appeared in Island 6.4.19 p 9  sent in by Janaka Perera,  former  chief of staff of the Sri Lanka  army.

Towards the end of March, 1971, the Trincomalee Naval Base received a letter from the Peradeniya University requesting to arrange a football match between university students and Navy personnel on the naval base grounds on April 5. The letter also requested the Navy to arrange for the university team to spend the night at the base, since it was difficult for them to return to Peradeniya the same day after the match.

The naval authorities were reluctant.  eventauly  the Navy decided it was not safe to allow a football match between the Navy and University team. the university authorities were informed that the naval base grounds could not be given for the match on the scheduled date.

If the match was held as planned, one of the Navy men who would have participated was Able Seaman H.M. Tillekeratne, one of the Navy’s best football players. He had also been selected as an all-island hockey champion.  A strong well-built man, Tillekeratne was serving at the Navy’s Elara Camp in Karainagar at the time. Tillekeratne was the ‘Coordinating Officer’ between the Navy and the JVP, which was planning to appoint him as North-East commander if they seized power.     He was in the habit of regularly travelling between the Elara Camp and the Trincomalee  Naval Base.  he was conducting political classes for some Navy personnel. 

On April 4, the date on which the Navy decided not to have the football match, Tillekeratne was on duty at the Elara Camp.  In the early hours of the following day the JVP insurrection began, with an attack on the Wellawaya Police Station, killing a policeman at his desk.  Fighting then commenced country-wide with attacks on 92 police stations. By this time the CID had got wind of Tillekeratne’s strong connection with the  JVP.

Within 48 hours of the JVP uprising, and the government declaring an island-wide curfew, the then Superintendent of Police Jaffna, Ramachandra Sunderalingam, received a message from Colombo of a suspected  move by Tillekeratne to put sleeping tablets into the water filters at the Elara Camp’s officers mess.  The police took immediate action.

Tillekeratne was ordered to go to Chunnakam and thereafter proceed to Palaly Airport for the flight to Colombo.  He knew the game was up.  There was no question he would be arrested as soon as he arrived in Colombo. Tillekeratne headed for Chunnakam in a Navy jeep What happened next was like a scene from a gangster movie.

 Upon reaching the power station Tillekeratne got off the jeep, instructing the driver to keep the engine running.  Tillekeratne then walked nonchalantly towards the power station, which was guarded by a detachment from the Elara Camp. They knew him well. When he entered the power station the Naval guards who had completed their duty the previous night were relaxing. They had kept their submachine guns aside. Suddenly, Tillekeratne picked up one of the guns ordered the other Navy men to raise their hands.

All obeyed Tillekeratne, except Petty Officers Cecil Gunasekera, N.J.T. Costa and another. Since the three men were his close friends they thought he was joking. He then repeated his order. “This is my last warning. Are you putting up your hands or not?”  But the three men ignored him.

Then Tillekeratne opened fire, killing two of them –Gunasekera and Costa – on the spot. several others were  Seriously injured , among them a Navy PT instructor, T.M.N. Abdul, who was crippled for life as a result.  He was the father of five children. His mother had fallen ill and died following the shock she had on hearing her son’s cruel fate. According to Abdul, whom this writer met eight years later in 1979, Tillekeratne had shot him because he wanted to ‘settle’ a score. Abdul was the man earlier detailed to escort him to Colombo for the CID interrogation.

Following the shooting Tillekeratne, according to Abdul, had forced two other Navy men at gun point to load the jeep with all the weapons and ammunition he had seized from his colleagues, and accompany him in the vehicle.  Tillekeratne’s aim was to join the insurgents waging guerilla war against the State to usher in ‘socialism’.

Suspecting that he would try to flee Jaffna, the SP Sunderalingam,promptly telephoned ASP Mendis, manning the Elephant Pass Police check point to be on the alert for the jeep carrying Tillekeratne.  As soon as the message was received, the policemen at the check point along with army personnel waited for the vehicle to appear. A short while later they saw the jeep at a distance. They waited until it came close and then ordered the driver to stop. Their guns were aimed at the jeep.  At first it appeared the vehicle was going to slow down. Suddenly Tillekeratne tried to grab the submachine gun on his seat. But those manning the check point were faster. Their shots killed Tillekeratne and the driver on the spot. Everything happened within a matter of three minutes, according to Sunderalingam.

After Tillekeratne’s death, police searched his personal belongings and found secret documents, and several bottles of sleeping tablets which were to be put into the water filters of the Elara Camp’s officers’ mess.  His plan was to seize all weapons and ammunition from camp’s magazine, before joining his JVP comrades after making naval officers unconscious. JANAKA PERERA”


  1. Christie Says:

    JVP started with S D Bandaranayke M P for Gampaha in the Fifties. Money and support came from North Korea. Whether China was behind North Korea is not known but India may have suspected that China was behind S D Bandaranayke and the JVP. J V P evolved as a part of the Communist Party of Ceylon.

    Remember Socialists in Ceylon was managed by India and Indian Parasites. They provided finance and policy support for the J V P in the same way they did for Samasamajists like N M Perera and Phillip.

    Sirimavo who is an Indian puppet got rid of S D B ‘s JVP and there was a J V P vacuum for a short period.

    Russia offered Scholarships to the third world students in good faith. They expected good and smart students will be selected to study in Russia. But unfortunately local selectors only selected those who were approved by Janatha Committees and the Communist Party and Socialists.

    Wijeweera was the son of a Socialist or a Communist Party member.

    When he returned to Ceylon he came through London where I believe that he met members who formed Eelam Revolutionary Students Organization in London.

    So India and Indian Parasites hijacked the J V P and became the Sinhala terrorist arm of India that killed Sinhalese and got Sinhalese killed. Thus fulfilling Indian Imperialist objective of killing as many locals as possible while breeding their own.

  2. Charles Says:

    thank you Kamalika ñow Ï unerstand why DEW Gunasekara MP is sympathetic tô JVP and éven supports their 20A tô thé constitution and expresses openly that thé Exécutive Powers of thé Président should bé removed.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2020 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress