Posted on January 27th, 2020


Revised 26.6.20.

One way of erasing the Eelam victory was to show that the Sri Lanka army consisted of brutal killers. They killed out of malice. They killed ‘innocent Tamils’ who were simply going about their daily activities.

The army is also accused of political killings. The assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge (2009), the abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr (2008), the attacks on journalists Upali Tennakoon and Namal Perera were carried out by a military intelligence team operating from the Tripoli Army camp in Slave Island, said the media.

Eelamists pounced on the army killings. University Teachers for Human Rights, Jaffna (UTHRJ) said it had compiled elaborate evidence and information for crimes committed by Army, LTTE and Indian Peace Keeping Force during the Eelam wars. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch pushed for inquiries on such killings. UN Human Rights Council was kept informed.   Here is a list of such killings.


It is alleged that in 1990 Army personnel assembled nearly 200 Tamil civilians, including children, from Sathurukondan and nearby villages in Batticaloa and summarily killed them. This was described as one of the most gruesome incidents in the east. Fr. Miller’s Peace Committee recorded an eyewitness account from the only survivor of the massacre. It is three decades now, reported the media in 2019, but justice has not been done.

1998 /1

Former Army Major Dickson Rajamanthree and an employee of the camp named Priyantha Rajakaruna had assaulted and murdered Gnanasingham Anton Gunasekaram, from Gurunagar area in Jaffna, on September 10 1998, after taking him in for questioning. The judicial autopsy reports revealed that the deceased had suffered 21 cut wounds to the body. Following a lengthy trial, these two were sentenced to death by the Trincomalee High Court .The verdict was delivered by the High Court Judge Manikkavasagar Illancheliyan in 2016.


Colombo High Court, in 2016, imposed two years RI suspended sentence on a retired army officer who had negligently shot an LTTE suspect  who was trying to escape from Pt Pedro camp causing the latter’s death in 1998. The LTTE suspect had tried to escape with his handcuffs on.   A fine of Rs 10,000 was also imposed on the officer. He was ordered to pay compensation of Rs 2,000,000 as compensation to the nearest relative of the deceased, in default of a prison term of 12 month.


R.M.Sunil Ratnayake, a staff sergeant attached to Sri Lanka Army was sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar bench in 2015. He was found to be guilty of murdering eight Tamil civilians at Mirusuvil in Jaffna on December 19, 2000. The   eight civilians were Gnanapalan Raviveeran, Sellamuttu Theivakulasingham, Vilvarajah Pratheepan, Sinniah Vilvarajah, Nadesu Jeyachandran, Kathiran Gnanachandran, Gnanachandran Santhan and Vilvarajah Prasath.

Due to the war, the villagers of Mirusuvil, a village in Jaffna, had abandoned the village and  were living some distance away since Mirusuvil came under fire. They however, kept an eye on their abandoned houses and would visit them periodically, to clean them and to collect whatever produce they could find. The visits were done during the day time and they ensured that they left before dusk.

On December 19, 2000, 8 villagers went back to Mirusuvil to check on their property. They delayed to leave   and were stopped by two soldiers. The villagers were made to kneel and were questioned. One soldier went away and returned with four other soldiers. They had assaulted the 8 villagers. 

The sole witness, Maheswaran said he had been blindfolded with his sarong    and assaulted. He had lost consciousness temporarily. The soldiers had tossed him over a fence and his blindfold had come off. He had run home and reported the matter. His family informed the EPDP.

Meanwhile, Major Sydney de Soyza of the military police in Jaffna had received orders from Brigadier Thoradeniya to inquire into the missing persons. He was told that a Special Operations Unit of the 6th Gajaba Regiment had recently been sent to Mirusuvil. It had reconnaissance unit as well. Major Soyza questioned Maheswaran and recorded his statement.

Maheswaran, his parents, an EPDP representative, the Grama sevaka and military police went to the scene of the crime. Some soldiers came to see what was happening and Maheswaran identified two as his attackers.One was Lance Corporal Ratnayake. The area had been searched on the orders of the Magistrate and the eight bodies found. It was established that those bodies were of the persons who accompanied Maheswaran on December 19 to visit Mirusuvil.

The trial went on for 13 years. 14 persons were charged initially, nine were acquitted and four were discharged. Only one was left. Supreme Court in 2019 affirmed the conviction and death sentence of Ratnayake.Supreme Court concluded that the judges of the Trial-at-Bar were justified in treating witness Maheswaran as a credible witness and acting on his testimony.

Judgment was delivered on the 25th of June, 2015. Ratnayake was found guilty and was sentenced to death. On 26 March, 2020, Sunil Ratnayake who was on death row was granted a Presidential pardon by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa .There was a spate of objections.

The International Commission of Jurists, through its Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, said it welcomed the lifting of the death sentence, but condemned   the full pardon. It said it was a blow to the victims of these violations.   It was incompatible with international standards and thirdly, reinforces the view that the military is exempt from any accountability, even for the most heinous crimes”. The ICJ has consistently raised concerns about this and fears that this presidential pardon may be the first of the many to come

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva said this was one of the rare human rights cases from the Eelam war that went all the way   to a final conviction. The Presidential pardon therefore  is an affront to victims and yet another example of the failure of Sri Lanka to fulfill its international human rights obligations to provide meaningful accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other gross violations of human rights.

Human Rights Watch    objected to the pardon and said that this was one of the very few cases of security force personnel being criminally punished for civil war-era atrocities, despite the huge number of credible and extremely serious allegations.

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) wrote to the President saying that the pardon sends a negative message. The   death sentence should have been commuted to long term imprisonment.

Three Fundamental Right violation petitions have been filed   challenging the pardon. Tamil families of the murdered villagers have filed one petition. Ambika Satkunanathan has filed another. She said, The President’s power to grant Pardon cannot be arbitrarily used and should not be exercised for collateral purposes,” it added, stating that the move was arbitrary, capricious, irrational contrary to the principles of Natural Justice” and tantamount to Contempt of Court”.

Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) filed a third application. The President is required to exercise any power reasonably, and in the public interest. The decision to pardon Ratnayake is arbitrary, unreasonable, ultra vires and has not been done in the interest of the public interest.   There was no miscarriage of justice.  To pardon a convict of a crime of this gravity when 5 judges of the Supreme Court have affirmed his sentence undermines the independence of the Judiciary and is an affront to the rule of law said the CPA.

Others welcomed the pardon. The president must be commended for pardoning Sunil Ratnayake, they said. Court has found just one person, Corporal Sunil Ratnayake guilty of a crime committed by several persons said critics. Under these circumstances, pardoning the only survivor is the correct thing to do. Ratnayake and his family must be compensated for the grief they went through.

This pardon as nothing new, they said. A large number of Tamil terrorists who killed scores of civilians have received Presidential pardon. President Sirisena pardoned convicted LTTE soldier Sivaraja Jenivan at a ceremony too in 2016. Others who have committed murder, arson, terrorism and robbery have been pardoned over the years, they added.

The case of Sunil Ratnayake is interesting because it carries a political twist and lots of political bias, said critics. There was a change of government in 2001, installing the pro-West government of Ranil Wickremasinghe. This was legally questionable government. In 2002, this government agreed to try the arrested army officers without a jury.

This group then proceeded to analyse the trial and the judgment. To start with, Ratnayake did not commit a war crime, said critics. He was charged for murder and other offences but not for war crimes. Furthur, the incident happened at a time when LTTE infiltrated into villages in the north with a view to gather information LTTE waswell known to use civilianstodo their terrorist acts. Using civilian ‘spotters” was a common tactic of Tamil terrorists.

 The  court verdict was based on circumstantial evidence given by the sole survivor, Maheswaran. On one flimsy ‘witness’ account of a man whose eyes had been bound by his sarong, but  got thrown to a fence where  his blindfold got removed allowing him to see Sunil Ratnayake. The witness then managed to escape from 14 soldiers. If these soldiers could kill 8 why did they spare this one ‘witness’ asked critics. 

Ratnayake has been convicted of a crime which could not have been committed by a single individual. Supreme Court stated It is highly improbable if not impossible for a single person to commit all these acts. It is reasonable to infer that these acts have been committed by more than one person. One man, by himself could not have committed all the acts, said critics. Ratnayake could not have, by himself, killed eight civilians, dug a hole large enough to bury them all in one place, and dug another to bury the bicycles, they added.

There were four others also charged with Ratnayake, but they were acquitted on grounds that their identities cannot be established.  Only Ratnayake was left. he was found guilty of all the crimes. Court has sentenced Ratnayake to death, while the others who presumably participated in the crime were acquitted.


On January 2, 2006, five young Tamil men aged 20  were gunned down, near the Gandhi statue at the sea front in Trincomalee. Two other students suffered injuries but survived. The five victims were Manoharan Rajiharan, Yogarajah Hemachandra, Logitharajah Rohan, Thangathurai Sivanantha and Shanmugarajah Gajendran all aged 21.The two injured youths were Yogarajah Poongulalon and Pararajasingham Kokulraj.  They managed to escape by feigning death.

The post-mortem conducted by Trincomalee JMO Dr. Gamini Gunatunga determined that the five had died from gunshot wounds. Three had been shot in the head at close quarters while two died from shots to the chest and abdomen. Some had injuries that were not caused by gunshots.  Trincomalee Magistrate V. Ramakamalan conducted an inquiry and recorded an interim verdict of gunshot injuries. 

D.B.S .Jeyaraj reported that the Gandhi statue roundabout where the Dockyard Road and Fort Frederick Road intersected had an important check point close by, manned by Army, Navy and police personnel. There were three more check posts manned by the Navy within a 100-metre radius.

Almost as if on cue a security force truck trundled in quickly, continued D.B.S. Jeyaraj. The occupants of the truck zoomed in on the seven Tamil youths. They surrounded them and forced them to kneel down. They started checking their ID cards. Thereafter, they began assaulting them. They were then put aboard the truck and repeatedly assaulted.

At this point, some more security personnel on motorcycles and in a land rover arrived. There was excited discussion in Sinhala among the new and old arrivals. The youths could only hear the noise. Suddenly, they were kicked and pushed out of the truck. Even as they fell, they found that the entire area was now pitch dark. The lights in the vicinity had been turned off. The youths were now hit again and forced to kneel down. 

 After some more rounds of assaulting, the youths were forced to kneel down again. Firearms were taken out and brandished. The youths were told they were going to be killed as a warning to the Tigers in Trincomalee. The innocent youths began wailing and pleading. Their pathetic cries were heard far and wide, reported D.B.S. Jeyaraj. 

There were more than a hundred people in the vicinity when all this started happening. But police and Navy personnel cordoned off the area and forced the people consisting of vendors and others relaxing on the beachfront to kneel down or squat or lie prostrate on the ground. Some could however see and hear what was going on. Almost everyone heard the report of the grenade explosion and the subsequent gunfire reports, continued D.B.S.Jeyaraj. 

After playing cat and mouse for a while, the assassins now began firing. Two of the youths were shot behind the ear. One was shot in the back of the head. The other four then scrambled to their feet and made a desperate attempt to escape by running away. They were mowed down by gunfire. They were shot in the chest, abdomen, shoulders and thighs and then collapsed. A little while after the firing was over, a grenade was thrown at the still bodies. It proved a dud and did not explode, concluded D.B.S. Jeyaraj.  

 Tamil Guardian” said the students had been pushed on to the road. They had then been forced to lie face down and shot. Navy personnel had closed off all exits to the beach, no one was allowed in or out. Then, a military jeep rolled  in with 10 to 15 uniformed armed men shouting in Sinhalese. The men, later identified as members of Sri Lanka’s police Special Task Force (STF), proceeded to assault the students with their rifle butts. Suddenly a grenade was thrown and fell near my feet,” said Poongulalon, I ran about 10 metres  and fell down injured.”

Ponnuthurai Yogarajah, the father of Hemachandran  had run to the place. He was  stopped by Sri Lankan troops at a nearby checkpoint.. He told UTHR-J that he was struck by military personnel who forced him to the ground. Soon after, masked men, possibly belonging to the STF, arrived and began to beat him.  Lying face down on the ground, he heard gunshots. They were not shots fired upwards, but had the distinct sound of shots fired at the ground,” reported Tamil Guardian”.   

Later at the hospital, three uniformed police officers and six or seven masked men with guns  had  approached  Dr. Kasipillai Manoharan ,father of Rajiharan. They demanded that he sign a statement admitting his son was an LTTE cadre who had been killed in an explosion. An angry Dr Manoharan refused. He left the hospital and later returned with the head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in the Trincomalee district Arthur Tveiten who had declared This is murder, these boys have not been killed by explosion, these are gunshot wounds” reported  Tamil Guardian”. 

 Tamil Guardian” said that  its account was based on the testimonies collected by Together Against Genocide, UTHR-J and Amnesty International. University Teachers for Human Rights-Jaffna   had compiled elaborate evidence and information pertaining to the case.

 Weeks later, a Tamil trishaw driver and  Tamil photojournalist were   killed by unknown” persons.  The trishaw driver was an eye-witness to the incident and had been prepared to testify in a trial. Subramaniyam Sugirdharajan,  a ‘Sudar Oli’ journalist, had accompanied Dr Manoharan to the mortuary and published incriminating photographs of the victims showing they had been shot dead point blank.  A 20-year-old asylum seeker , now in Christmas Island , who had been a witness to the events that evening,  said he was beaten, imprisoned and eventually forced to leave Sri Lanka .  

According to ‘Tamil Guardian” amidst the mass of vehicles and soldiers that Dr Manoharan could see, one stood out. A grey unmarked pick up vehicle had been sat parked further ahead, watching whilst events were unfolding. Inside sat SP Kapila Jayasekera. I have no doubt that  Kapila Jeyasekera is responsible for killing my son” said Dr Manoharan, seven years after the murder. Kapila Jayasekera was promoted to DIG in the Ampara district in 2013. (

 Family members of the victims  were  pressurized to keep silent. Dr Manoharan,  said he  received anonymous calls after he testified  at Magistrate Court, that he  and his family will be killed. The  house was pelted with stones. In June 2006  threats intensified, Dr Manoharan  and  his family, fled abroad and the  investigation stalled.

After the inquest, 11 STF had been arrested but were released when it was found that the bullets did not match their authorized firearms. UTHR Jaffna had reported that a witness said he had seen two naval officers arrive by motorbike   carrying  three guns and they gave one of them to STF, before students were killed.

On February 12, 2006, twelve  officers of the Special Task Force (STF)  and an assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) were arrested  in connection with the killings. The CID had cited 36 witnesses.  As the case progressed, it became apparent that the prosecution was finding it difficult to produce credible witnesses. Some of the key witnesses  including the two survivors who were eye-witnesses and the families of the killed students had  left Sri Lanka due continuous threats and consistent harassment.

After protracted hearings, Trincomalee Chief Magistrate M.M. Mohammed Hamza acquitted all thirteen of all charges. The magistrate ruled that  there was insufficient  evidence  to continue the case .

But in 2018, Yahapalana  government said it was planning to seek a fresh trial since it was now possible to  give evidence on Skype, “which meant that those abroad could give evidence. We could not proceed with the case as the main witness was overseas and was not in a position to support proceedings. The case is now progressing as new reforms have allowed the use of Skype evidence,” Yahapalana said.

In 2008 Dr Manoharan  had testified  before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to look into 16 cases of ‘serious HR violations’. He testified from abroad via video conferencing.

This  killing  has since come to be known as the ‘Trinco five’. The “Trinco 5” case  became a rallying point for human rights activists  The dead boys are remembered at Trincomalee’s beach front at the dawn of every new year.

The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission appointed former High Court Judge T. Sunderalingam as a special Rapporteur to probe the killings. His report dated March 31, 2006 was not publicized due to some procedural hassles and other issues at the HRC. The official” fate of that report remains a mystery. Subsequently, extracts of the report were quoted by human rights organisations and activists in their writings, said D.B.S. Jeyaraj. 

Trinco 5′  is one of the highest profile killings in Sri Lanka to receive international attention, said critics. The Trinco five massacre is not such a difficult case,” commented James Ross, Human Rights Watch’s Legal and Policy Director.

In 2012 over 700 activists in New York demanded justice for the killings  and condemnation  came from human rights organisations across the world. “Trinco 5” figured at UN Human Rights Council sessions  of 2013 with calls for Sri Lanka to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Two of the parents Dr. Kasipillai Manoharan, the father of Ragihar and Aiyamuttu Shanmugarajah, the father of Gajendran were in Geneva during the UN Human Rights Council sessions in March 2013 and participated in several meetings and conferences held on the sidelines. They pointed out that no action had been taken for seven years. Their impassioned pleas demanding justice for their children made a profound impact in Geneva.

Dr. Manoharan,  attended the UN Human Rights Council annual review meeting in March 2013 to demand justice for the murders. Dr Manoharan, broke down in tears while speaking at  this meeting. Seven years have gone after the brutal killings of the students, but so far justice is not served.”

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Dr Manoharan told member states, With all the pain of losing my son Ragihar, I seek your help and that of the Human Rights Council to move the investigation of the murder of the five young men in Trincomalee to the international level because I have no hope for justice in Sri Lanka”.

The Trinco five” is listed in   the 2014 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on Sri Lanka and has been raised repeatedly in international forums. in 2018  There was a tweet by US Ambassador Atul Keshap on the  matter.


 on August 4, 2006,  the bodies of 15  employees of Paris-based Action Contre La Faim (ACF, Action Against Hunger) were discovered lying face down on the front lawn of ACF’s Muttur office. They had bullet wounds to head and neck , showing that  they had been shot at close range, execution style. Bodies of two  staff members were found later in  a car nearby, making a total of 17. The dead consisted of one Muslim  and 16 ethnic Tamils, including 4 women.

ACF said  the  incident had occurred in the midst of the fighting between government forces and the separatist LTTE for control of Muttur. ACF said it had lost contact with its mission in Muttur at around 7am on 4 August 2006, as fighting raged around it.  But ACF staff were not killed by stray bullets. They were deliberately targeted, despite the fact that they were wearing white ACF T-shirts and were not armed. they had been lined up, forced to kneel and each shot in the head. ACF demanded an international inquiry.

The Sri Lankan government  rejected accusations by ACF that the military was responsible for the massacre of 17 aid workers in Muttur. Here is its statement.

The content of the Press Release reportedly issued by ACF on 3 December 2013 contains allegations of a very serious nature implicating the security forces of the country.If the ACF  had in its possession evidence which could bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice, the first thing they should have done was to produce that evidence, not withhold such evidence for almost 7 years.The fact that they did not come up with so called evidence and chose instead to release a public report on the matter, calls to question the motives of the organization in withholding such evidence.

This is another instance of a pattern which has emerged since the end of the conflict where certain organizations level allegations against the Government of Sri Lanka  without providing sufficient details to enable an investigation. These accusations are then repeated in several other documents, by different agencies, thereby forming an opinion which is then propagated, without substantiation.

The Government  of Sri Lanka has  not been provided  with the evidence which is claimed to be in the possession of the authors of these reports.ACF concludes these allegations with a call for an independent international investigation.The Government remains committed to conduct impartial and comprehensive criminal investigations and domestic inquiries into any complaints and information received, relating to alleged perpetration of crimes by members of the armed forces and the police.”  ( end of statement)

In July 2007, President Mahinda Rajapaksa established the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate 16 major human rights cases, including the ACF case. Families of ACF workers who testified before the Commission reported threats by security force personnel.

The Commission’s full report was not released until September 2015. while stating it had insufficient evidence to determine the perpetrators of the ACF killings, it effectively exonerated the army and navy in the massacre and indicated that LTTE forces or Muslim militia carried them out.

The ACF deaths were publicized by  international  organizations interested in Sri Lanka . Sri Lankan authorities have failed to bring to justice those responsible for the execution-style killing of 17 aid workers 13 years ago, Human Right Watch said. “Thirteen years have not brought the Sri Lankan police any closer to bringing to justice those responsible for the summary execution of 17 aid workers,” said James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch. “The ACF case shows the need for the government to seek international judicial assistance to prosecute these and other killings.”

University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR), released on April 1, 2008,  their “Special Report No 30”, which  dealt exclusively with the massacre of ACF staff. They published detailed findings on the Muttur killings, based on accounts from witnesses and weapons analysis that implicate government security forces present in the area. They allege that two police constables and Sri Lankan naval special forces commandos were directly responsible, and that senior police and justice officials were linked to a cover-up.

UTHR names one member of the Sri Lankan Home Guard, now the Civil Defence Force, and two Police Constables based in the Muttur Police Station as perpetrators, but adds that several Sri Lanka Navy Special Forces were part of the group that entered the ACF compound and remained passive as the ACF staff were murdered.

They  were killed by ‘unidentified attackers, believed to be member of the Sri Lanka security forces’ said Amnesty International .  US embassy said that members of Sri Lanka’s Special Task Force, and the Muslim Home Guard, were the likely perpetrators.Kamal Gunaratne in his book Road to Nandikadal (2016) said ‘I can say with responsibility that the army was not involved in  this cowardly act.


TNA Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj and his police bodyguard, Sergeant Lakshman Lokuwella, were both fatally shot, on November 10, 2006, when their car was passing through Narahenpita in Colombo. Five naval intelligence officers,  were indicted in respect of the shooting and killing  All were acquitted. Attorney General sought a retrial.  He appealed seeking to set aside the High Court order, which acquitted the five naval intelligence officers, The jury was mis-directed and any case couldn’t judge this, the AG  said. Trial process was not appropriate and there were several deficiencies in the summing up of the judge.


The Attorney General, in September 2019, indicted in the Colombo High Court ,former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Rear Admiral D.K.P. Dassanayake and 12 other naval officers with abduction and disappearance of 11 youths in 2008 and 2009.  They were charged with kidnapping for ransom, illegal detention and murder. This investigation has come under the scrutiny of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The alleged disappearances came to light, in early 2009, soon after the successful conclusion of the war.   Navy Commander Karannagoda initiated an inquiry after receiving representations from a close relative of one of the missing persons. Karannagoda had   made a written complaint to the CID on May 28, 2009, against his personal security officer, following which the CID was able to uncover the Navy’s involvement in the abductions.  Karannagoda had reported the recovery of some national identity cards and other items belonging to the missing persons, from his  security officer’s locker.

The CID initiated a fresh investigation after the change of government in January 2015.The CID recorded statements, from over 50 officers. Several Navy personnel too had given evidence confirming the detention of these youths.

In 2008, 11 youths, Kasthuriarachchilage John alias John, Rajiv Naganathan alias Malli, Pradeep Vishvanathan, Tillakeshwaran Ramalingam, Mohomed Sajith, Jamaldeen Dilan, Amalan Leon, Roshan Leon, Antony Kasthuriarachchi, Thyagaraja Jegan and Mohomed Ali Anver alias Hajiya,  were abducted from Kotahena and other suburbs of Colombo by the navy. The victims were taken into custody, claiming that they had connections with the LTTE.

The first arrests were made on September 17, 2008. An intelligence team had obtained an open warrant and raided a house near the Dehiwela Police Station and arrested, Rajiv Naganathan, Pradeep Vishvanathan, Thilakeshwaran Ramalingam, Mohommed Jilan and Mohommed Saajith. 

The  11 youths were held at the ‘Pittu Bambuwa’ jail, then  at  the Naval camp in Chaitya Road, Colombo Fort  and  finally transferred to ‘Gun Side’, in the Ocean Science Faculty premises of the Naval Command in Trincomalee.

It appeared that a group of naval officers  had carried out the  abductions to extort money.  One of the abducted youths, Rajiv Naganathan had been in contact with his parents. The Navy soldiers guarding these youths had lent them their mobile phones. Rajiv’s mother said a man calling himself Annachchi had kept calling her asking for Rs. 10 million as ransom in order to release Rajiv.  Information on the financial position of this family had been provided by Anver Ali, alias ‘Haajiyar,’ who was in the intelligence service at the time.  Anvar Ali was a resident of Dehiwala. He too disappeared in 2009.

in 2020, Former Commander of Sri Lanka Navy, Wasantha Karannagoda, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe into allegations of political victimization of public officials during the Yahapalana government, that he had  merely made a police complaint about the abduction of 11 youth. Yahapalana government twisted evidence to make him the chief suspect in the case. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) tried to have me arrested. They said that the offence was a war crime said Karannagoda. “

The inclusion of Captain (now Commodore), D.K.P. Dassanayake in this case is also easy to understand. Dissanayake has played a very significant role in containing the LTTE .he is mentioned many times in Karanngaoda’s book ‘Adhistanaya.’   When Dassanayake was at Chalai in 2009 to intercept LTTE movements, he had carried out a clandestine operation, overseas, with a small Navy team, with the backing of the DMI. Dassanayake’s team had commandeered an LTTE owned ship ‘Princess Cristina’, anchored in a foreign harbour, and brought it into Colombo harbour, in Dec 2009.      


In November 2019, the Colombo Special Trial-at-Bar served indictments on nine army officials over the allegations of ‘kidnapping and conspiring to murder’ journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda between January 25 and 27, 2010. The abduction and suspected murder of Eknaligoda, was a ‘politically motivated’ crime. 

The first complaint of the disappearance of Journalist Eknaligoda was received by the Homagama police on January 25, 2010. Though the investigations had been carried out by both the Homagama police and the Colombo Crime Division, the inquiry did not proceed. Subsequently, the investigation was taken over by the Criminal Investigation Department.

The CID, which has been pursuing the Eknaligoda abduction case since 2015, have reported several instances of destruction of vital evidence pertaining to the crime and obstruction of justice by the Sri Lanka Army to the Homagama Magistrate’s Court, where a Habeas Corpus inquiry was under way.

Prageeth Eknaligoda, a cartoonist, working as a freelance journalist for the website was abducted twice. Ekneligoda was first abducted on August 27, 2009 and released the following day. He was thereafter reported missing on January 24, 2010.  It is said that he was abducted by pro-government supporters because he was investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons, by the government of Sri Lanka. He had been a fierce critic of  President Mahinda Rajapaksa .  

Nine years after Eknaligoda disappeared without a trace, investigations have uncovered a gruesome abduction plot allegedly orchestrated by a military intelligence unit operating out of the Giritale Army camp, reported the media in 2019. It appears that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had allegedly given the command to abduct and later, kill Eknaligoda.

The elaborate abduction trap set for Prageeth Ekneligoda begins in the year 2001, when the journalist travelled to Madhu, Mannar with a Tamil politician who is today an MP, said the media.  In Madhu, the politician introduced Ekneligoda to an LTTE cadre known as ‘Thavendran’ an alias for Sumathipala Sureshkumar.  This Sureshkumar was a former LTTE who was thereafter recruited by the Sri Lanka army as an intelligence operative. Sureshkumar was instructed by his military intelligence handlers to remain in contact with Eknaligoda.

Sureshkumar In a confession under oath before the Homagama Magistrate, said that he was told that on the orders of Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa, they were to facilitate the abduction of Prageeth Ekneligoda by tricking the journalist into a meeting with an undercover military intelligence operative.

Ekneligoda was kidnapped and brought to Giritale camp on January 24, 2010, from Colombo. He was handed over to Sureshkumar’s military intelligence handler Sergeant Ranbanda. Sgt Ran Banda confessed all, hoping to turn crown witness.

Sgt Ranbanda’s confession helped investigators to pick up the next sequence of the abduction.  Ranbanda had been ordered by his commanding officer to interrogate Eknaligoda about several obscene cartoons he had drawn of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, the Defence Secretary. Sgt Ranbanda interrogated the journalist, who admitted to being the artist behind the cartoons. The interrogation was observed by two corporals.

An LTTE member, Edirimanasingham Arichchandiran, who was at the Giritale Camp said that Eknaligoda was badly treated. he was kept in cell where he could not ‘satisfy even his sanitary purposes’.

Eknaligoda  was also questioned by others. he was blindfolded most of the time, when interrogated, but on several occasions, the cloth was removed and Eknaligoda was on a position to identify the people who were questioning him, said Ranbanda. Eknaligoda was blindfolded and taken away from Giritale. Sgt Ranbanda told the Magistrate he never saw Ekneligoda again.Thereafter there are no more witnesses who can testify to having seen or heard from the journalist again, reported the media.

CID investigators believe Ekneligoda was murdered in Akkaraipattu, and his body disposed of in Ampara. No trace of Prageeth Ekneligoda has ever been recovered in Giritale or Akkaraipattu by CID sleuths so far.

Four suspects had been arrested in 2015. All four suspects strongly deny having travelled to Akkaraipattu. But investigators have mobile phone records that place them n Akkaraipattu from January 25-26, 2010. The CID has also found records from an obscure army camp in Akkaraipattu which indicated that their vehicle had stopped for refueling inside the camp on January 26, 2010.

According to the prosecution,  the  Eknaligoda abduction was allegedly executed by an MI team operating out of the Giritale army camp. . After 2009, the 3rd Army regiment in the Giritale Army Camp  was  given the task of collecting intelligence data and monitoring the terrorist activities in the country. Two military intelligence officials attached to the Giritale Army camp provided matching confessions before a Magistrate which indicated this  The CID has yet to gain access to the two confessions given to the Magistrate. (source


Two police Special Task Force personnel were  arrested in November 2011 by the CID at the Jaffna Police station over the killing of a 24-year-old man on the afternoon of October 22 at Maniyam Thottam in Ariyalai. The victim Don Bosco, a fisherman had been proceeding on a motorcycle with another man when two armed men who followed them in another motorcycle fired at them and fled. The fatally shot Bosco   died after admission to Jaffna hospital.Soon after people in Jaffna protested stating that it was carried out by the police. The two commandos were summoned to the Jaffna police station.  They were arrested after recording their statements. The suspects denied any involvement in the killing. CID investigators, however have established that it was the two commandos who carried  out the killing, reported the media. ( continued)

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