What makes Ekneligoda’s ‘disappearance’ more important than the murder of Richard de Soysa?
Posted on August 2nd, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

Richard de Soysa was a well-known journalist, actor and activist. Yet, we are still to establish if Ekneligoda is even a journalist. Daily Mirror’s News Editor Sandun Jayasekera says I have been serving as a journalist for 30 years now. As far as I know, this person being mentioned has never written any item of news or hosted a tv program or even attended a press conference. The question I have is how Prageeth Ekneligoda became a journalist”. Why is the ‘disappearance’ more important than solving the murder of a well-known journalist?


There is enough proof that Richard de Soysa was a journalist. That was not all he was a poet, playwright, actor, author, human rights activist and a broadcaster. He was killed one week before he took over as the bureau chief of the IPS (Inter Press Service) newly opened office in Lisbon.

However other than parroting Ekneligoda as being a journalist not a single media or publication entity is coming forward to say that he was on their payroll and working for them at the time of his ‘disappearance’. This is very strange and OHCHR is not explaining how he landed up in their list of ‘missing or dead’ journalists. His name was first forwarded by the Free Media Movement – yet they too have not provided an explanation. http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session14/LK/JS13_UPR_LKA_S14_2012_JointSubmission13_E.pdf (Joint Submission by Free Media Movement, INFORM Human Rights Documentation Center)

Richard de Soysa was taken from his home by an armed group on 17 February 1990 despite protests from his mother Manorani Saravanamuttu. On 18th February his dead body was washed ashore at the Korawella beach, Moratuwa. He was tortured and his body was mutilated, the jaw was broken. He was shot in the head and the throat. Richard’s body was identified by Taraki – Darmarathnam Sivaram, a Tamil Journalist who was also killed on 28th April 2005. The UNP Government banned the international TIME magazine 23 April 1990 issue which carried out an investigative article about Richard. Imported copies of the Magazine were seized at the customs itself. It was Victor Ivan (author of the Bandit Queen – චෞර රැජින) who dropped the bombshell revealing that Richard de Zoysa had in fact been deeply involved with the JVP. Was that the motive to kill him?

We know who Richard de Soysa was, we know he was killed, his body was discovered and his mother identified one of the kidnappers as SP Ronnie Gunasinha and through her lawyer Batty Weerakoon informed the Magistrate and the police. He was not arrested. Both Mrs. Saravanamuttu and Batty Weerakon received death threats. A.V. Karunaratne who was living at the Saravanamuttu residence said he saw Richard being dragged and forced into a vehicle (A dark green Mitsubishi Pajero jeep (plate number 32 Sri 4748) Kenneth Arthur Honter identified the photograph of the second accused, former Crime OIC attached to Slave Island Police station, B. G.G. Devasurendra as the one who had entered his house in the middle of the night with a gang of armed policemen and had asked for Richard De Soyza’s whereabouts with a gun pointed at his child. At a hearing before the court representatives of Attorney General Mr.Sunil De Silva reported that there was insufficient evidence against Gunasinghe to proceed against him. Gunasinha died on 1st May 1993 following the LTTE assassination of President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

The Attorney General’s Department had filed action against former ASP Sriyantha Dharmasiri Ranchagoda, former Chief Inspector Devasurendra and sergeant MW Sarachchndra De Soyza’s case went up to 16 years numerous hearings and was handled by several judges. One of the judges, Colombo High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya was shot dead by assassins at his home along with his bodyguard, Police Inspector Upali Bandara, on November 20, 2004 – under UNP rule.

In 2005, Assistant Superintendent of Police Lal Priyantha Darmasiri Ranchagoda, Officer in Charge Bodeniya Gamlath Gedara Devasurendra and Sergeant Mahawedikkarage Sarathchandra were indicted for de Zoysa’s murder. They were acquitted of all charges on November 9, 2005 by Colombo High Court Judge Rohini Perera; she stated that the evidence presented by the prosecution was contradictory and not credible”. So after 15 years all accused have been acquitted and we don’t know who killed Richard de Zoysa.

Richard joins a list of many who died under UNP rule and no one came forward to count the dead, set up missing persons organizations, set up panel of experts on accountability.

We next come to Prageeth Ekneligoda. Everything about his story is a puzzle starting out with his profession. No one can establish who he was and what he was doing for a living to conclude on a motive. There is no body therefore it is impossible to conclude he has been ‘murdered’. He is supposed to be ‘missing’ while a photo of Prageeth courtesy Lional Bopage which appeared in the Colombo Telegraph claims ‘before the day he was made to disappear’ (made to disappear is rather interesting!)


Let’s look at some of the news appearing about him

September 4, 2015 – CID convinced Prageeth was no journalist https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/cid-convinced-prageeth-ekneligoda-was-no-journalist-abducted-for-other-reasons/

CIA officer tells CT that journalism was not the key reason for his disappearance” – this opens a can of worms.

During Ekneligoda’s first abduction on the 27th August 2009 there was absolutely no evidence or talk of Ekneligoda being a cartoonist or a media person (very interesting piece of info)

He disappeared again on 24 January 2010

Prageeth’s forged documents business was first exposed by Uvindu Kurukulasuriya (editor of CT) in July 2011

When Ekneligoda’s wife Sandya accused the CT editor of attempting to derail the investigation, the CT editor responded https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/was-prageeth-abducted-for-his-journalism-or-for-mailing-human-ash/ (Sept 14, 2011)  quoting CT editor ‘It is my considered opinion that Prageeth was not abducted due to his journalism. Therefore to portray him as a missing journalist is false and unfair to genuine journalists who undergo real hardship.”

In 2011 there was even a request for UN intervention to find Prageeth

On 7th March 2016 another article ‘Who is Prageeth Ekneligoda’ appeared. This article claims that 9 military intelligence officers are in remand over their alleged role in conspiring, abducting and killing Ekneligoda. https://www.ceylontoday.lk/90-120328-news-detail-who-is-prageeth-ekneligoda.html

An article came in August 2015 titled Prageeth’s Matale Mistress & Douglas Devananda’s Secretary to be questioned” makes the situation more confusing.


Another 2011 article Disappearance Of Ekneligoda And The Chemical Weapons Saga” in which the author also asks Was he really a journalist or a poser?” The article goes on to say that ‘P Ranjith & Prageeth Ekneligoda are one and the same” and also asks if the rest of the LTTE network taken in by military intelligence are still living, why would the then government only eliminate P Ranjith alias Prageeth Eknaligoda? (good question) https://www.ceylontoday.lk/90-120328-news-detail-who-is-prageeth-ekneligoda.html

With so many questioning if Prageeth was a journalist – there are the usual culprits making merry that he is (but giving no evidence to prove so) – Free Media Movement, Reporters without Borders, Cartoonists Rights Network International, Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists, International Media Support etc.

Leaving all that aside there is no dead body to claim murder. This raises the Corpus delicti which refers to the principle that a crime must have been proven to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime. With no physical dead body no one can be accused of committing a murder. There is no circumstantial evidence to prove beyond doubt of murder being committed either.

However 9 military intelligence officers have been arrested under the prevention of terrorism act. Rather strange for state officers to be arrested under acts of terrorism when there is no dead body to incriminate them. What acts of terrorism have these officers serving for the nation committed to be arrested under PTA? The news reveal that since August 2015 their salaries have been stopped and their families are facing much hardship. They have also filed fundamental rights cases challenging their arrest under PTA.

If it is fairplay and justice that we are talking about then Richard de Zoysa’s murder remains unsolved. Why are there no calls to conclude who really killed Richard? What about the scores of other journalists that also met their waterloo during this period. Why are their deaths not important?

Who is Prageeth, what was he doing for a living are questions that will reveal who might have motives to make him ‘disappear’ – we don’t know if he was made to ‘disappear’ or whether he is voluntarily ‘missing’. We don’t know if he is in hiding having committed an offence which he cannot come out and face. There are 101 reasons why he can be missing. With no dead body or a skeleton – we cannot presume he is dead and accuse people of killing him.

If the righteous lot are coming forward to stand up for Prageeth when no one says he is even a journalist, why are the same international righteous bodies silent about the 9 military intelligence officers who are being held without evidence? Why are these international bodies not taking up that injustice? These men who were employees of the state are being accused of murder and their families are suffering without salaries to even maintain their families. Why has no international body looked at this angle and come forward to demand the Govt of Sri Lanka produce the evidence to keep them or release them.

The silence of these international human rights angels including the local lackeys is not surprising. It is shameful that their actions often lead to innocent people landing up in jail, their families suffering mental tortures and economic hardships not to mention the slander to their good name and record.

Sureka Galagoda & Gamini Warushamana writing to the Sunday Observer on 20 February 2005 had this to say

After his death Richard became a symbol for courageous journalists who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of expression, democracy and against state terror in the world. Richard did not belong to the so-called pressure groups that depend on NGO dollars.

He had a political thinking and he was also a patriot that well understood the tragedy the country faced at that time.

But this truth is completely ignored by our free media tycoons who are careful not to mention about his political ideology when commemorating Richard. Revenge 

At the time Richard was killed, the JVP insurrection was completely crushed. There was no reason to kill him unless to take revenge.”

Shenali D Waduge



22 Responses to “What makes Ekneligoda’s ‘disappearance’ more important than the murder of Richard de Soysa?”

  1. Cerberus Says:

    Dear Shenali, This is a fine piece of investigative journalism. How about the 15,000 who were supposed to have been tortured and killed by Ranil and his cohorts at Batalanda? Will all those people ever get justice? Batalanda commission removed Ranil’s civic rights, yet today he is the Prime Minister. How do all the human rights organizations condone all these killings?

    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV6_o9txURc

    There were many people who said that Prageeth Eknaligoda has been seen in France. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AVCKtV5kU4

  2. sena Says:

    The question is why did not the two subsequent governments of Chandrika and Mahinda did not take up the these and other numerous atrocities as well as subversion of democracy in 1982 by JR and Premadasa? They abide by the unwritten rule that politicians look after each other. For the good of the country that rule has been done away with by the present government

  3. aloy Says:

    How can we compare Richard De Soysa with Eknaligoda?. Both are similar in different ways.The former openly abused the opportunity given to him on a popular media to insult an elected president. I myself heard it once when I was in SL. The other guy is a traitor. Perhaps both deserved the inevitable sooner than they expected.

  4. S.Gonsal Says:

    Both these killings (if really happened , 2nd one may be still alive) are unnecessary and do not benefit Sri Lanka.

    We should not forget that some JVP lower rank members really had a reason to fight, where as Ekneligoda fought to earn bucks selling the country. Richard’s killing in that sense is a murder done by most brutal way and the perpetrators got their Kamma back.

  5. Sooriarachi Says:

    Wether they were good men or bad men, we know that one was a journalist, murdered under a UNP regime and mutilated body found and the other was never a journalist, but disappeared under the SLFP regime and transformed into a journalist by word of mouth just for propaganda purposes during the period when there was international machination to discredit the Rajapakse regime and replace him with a puppet.

    The above facts are good enough for the gang of usual culprits the Free Media Movement, Reporters without Borders, Cartoonists Rights Network International, Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists, International Media Support etc. to ignore the gruesome murder of the journalist Richard de Soysa and blowing out of proportion the so called disappearance of Ekneligoda.

    This is the sort of justice we experience in todays world, where might is right and all these organisations have to dance to the tune of their imperial masters, or else they too could disappear.

  6. sena Says:

    Nice mind set from Aloy. More significantly he seems to live abroad Unless he lives in a banana Republic he he may have enough exposure to society that observe law and order and the public is active unlike in SL who allow politicians to kill people just because they criticize them

  7. samurai Says:

    No doubt we all should condemn the cruel way journalist Richard de Soysa was abducted and killed.

    But the hard fact is that Richard was not killed for merely being a JVP sympathiser but for being actively responsible for giving to the JVP info on media personnel who were supportive of the then government or were against the JVP. Richard was a JVP ‘plant’ inside the Rupavahini.

    This was how the JVP’s armed wing the Patriotic People’s Movement (Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya – DJV) was able to identify and issue death threats to individual journalists working for the State and other institutions during the second JVP insurgency (1987-1990).

    One of the victims of this DJV terror campaign was the then News Director, Sri Lanka Rupavahini, Kulasiri Amaratunga who was brutally gunned down by the DJV at his home in Ratmalana. The CID uncovered this information before Richard was killed. In other words he was not that innocent.

  8. sena Says:

    Samurai, I Know Mr. Amaratunga family. They believe he was killed by those who wanted to implicate JVP and justify the atmosphere of uncertainty, lawlessness and intimidation existed at the time.

  9. aloy Says:

    You have a country to run. And all and sundry are insulting you and your family on popular media and the archaic judicial system does work to protect your rights. What do you do?. I think Preme did right. I have heard other countries having similar problems do that.
    SL was made a banana republic by our last king and the current one is continuing in the same tradition.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    We agree with Sena’s comment.
    There are unwritten rules to be followed by ruling government people and the opposition, for the sake of Security issues, the common good of the entire country and all the citizens. The present govt does not follow those rules. They dance to the tunes of foreign masters and are willing to crash the economy and sell off Lanka, whilst humiliating past leaders.

    There is political immaturity and even childishness in the present govt. bordering on silliness – all this has gone on too long. If it only lasted a few months and a normal govt resumed its work of taking care of the needs of the country and people, then it would have been acceptable but political harrassments have gone on for too long.

    The most ironical part is that some of the Yahap govt folk are the worst offenders, now trying to white wash themselves.

    Patriots should concentrate on, among other things, to get the 13-A REMOVED, as well as getting Tamil leaders to officially REVOKE the V’koddai Resolution of 1976 (Eelam through Violence).

  11. samurai Says:


    I know the machinations of the JVP well. One of my first cousins was involved in the 1971 insurgency but survived and afterwards gave up JVP politics just like most of the JVP old guard, except for Wijeweera and a couple of others.

    During the second JVP insurgency, the party at first refused to admit the DJV was its armed wing. Later they tried to rationalize its actions, saying that not only JVPers but other so-called patriots too were in the movement. Eventually the party’s former leader the late Somawansa Amarasinghe and the current leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake admitted the JVP’s wrong doings – without specifically identifying them – and apologized for the misdeeds.

    My question is if the Amaratunga family suspected the persons behind his murder was not the DJV, did the family make a public statement to that effect? Did they convey their suspicions to the then government or the next government? If they have failed to do so this day what is the reason?

    There’s no question that at the time there was uncertainty and lawlessness for which both the then government were responsible in varying degrees.

    There’s no question that the government of the day resorted to horrific methods to suppress the uprising, though the JVP was no better. The latter sowed the wind and reaped the whirl wind

    However the tendency (either through fear or political bias) among some people was to white wash the JVP/DJV and pin the blame for almost all the insurgency-related murders (whether the victims were pro-JVP or pro-Government) on the ruling circles or some unknown party trying to settle personal scores.

    Tamil Eelamists too had a similar attitude towards the LTTE fondly calling them, ‘the boys.’

    I recall when Vijaya Kumaratunga was killed some people were trying to accuse the government despite Vijaya’s own mother and the United Socialist Alliance of which he was a member accused the JVP of the crime. The JVP/DJV too never denied the crime to my knowledge.





  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    Then govts of Lanka held five rounds of talks with the LTTE which failed.

    As far as we know, NO talks were held with the JVP when that organisation first started out. If talks were held, it is entirely possible that the terrible aftermath may have been avoided.

    Does anyone know why talks on a serious basis were NOT held with the JVP ?

  13. samurai Says:

    Talks were held with the LTTE due to foreign pressure. The so-called international community virtually forced both parties to do so. If there was no Indian intervention in 1987 there would have been no talks with the Tigers who at the time did not have half the strength which they acquired a few years later.

    Regarding the talks, intelligent, patriotic Sri Lankans knew that positive was going emerge from them unless LTTE demands were met.

    As for the JVP Premadasa did not condemn the JVP before he became President and hoped that they would be willing to reach and agreement with them. But it did not happen and they got the treatment they deserved.

  14. Fran Diaz Says:


    Let’s go further back in time re the LTTE & JVP.

    The LTTE got international pressure due to the trumped up 1983 Riots >> Tamil ‘Refugees to the west’ >> Tamil Diaspora that applied pressure on foreign govts via funds & votes >> foreign pressure (as you say).

    As for the JVP, the FIRST insurrection was during Mrs B’s time in 1971. There was a Coalition Govt between the Colombo Trotskites (N.M. Perera, Colvin de Silva, etc) & Mrs B. The JVP was a Communist (pro-Moscow initially) party. WHY were no talks held ??
    This is how the Sinhale were divided – Colombo vs Rural Youth. Why was that allowed to happen ? This rotten attitude first started under Mrs B. Why ?

  15. Fran Diaz Says:

    The first JVP Insurrecton was due to the problem of Unemployment among Rural Youth.

    The problem was UNEMPLOYMENT, a VALID complaint. Because no talks were held, the insurrection happened.

    Why were no talks held re this valid complaint ?

    That Coalition govt was the first failed govt in Sri Lanka. Do NOT ever let such incidents happen, ever again. The ‘divide & rule’ folk will always move in and divide & rule even further, till all in Lanka suffer.

  16. samurai Says:

    The JVP in 1969-70 supported the SLFP-led United Front Coalition. During the last days of the Dudley Senanayake Government when the police began rounding up JVP suspects – since the CID had found plenty of evidence they were preparing for an insurrection the UF complained to the then Governor General (later President) William Gopallawa that the police were harassing their youth wing. Subsequently they were released and they backed the UF at the Parliamentary Election of 1970.

    I knew this first hand because I was one of the journalists covering the Police Department for then privately-owned Lake House. Though over 95 percent of the JVP youth were Sinhala and the majority them from rural areas they were NOT raising Sinhala issues, rural or otherwise, but were fighting against what they perceived as a reactionary socio economic system. They were concerned with their version Marxist ideology and the ‘class struggle’ – NOT Sinhala nationalism

    Had the UNP come back to power the insurgency would have probably occurred even earlier than 1971 because the JVP first wanted to make sure that the UNP will not win. But it did not take long for them to realise that they would not achieve their objectives as long as the parliamentary system prevailed no matter under which government. Their mentors, the Marxist old guard who were preaching revolution since the late 1930s, were now with the government. (It is not without reason they were called Parlour Bolsheviks!)

    So the JVP had no alternative but to hijack the ‘revolution’ which was doomed to failure. None of the socialist countries whom the JVP leaders so admired came to their assistance, except probably North Korea (covertly) resulting in the suspension of diplomatic ties with that country. The JVP chose the wrong path and reaped the bitter fruits.


    You should read former Government Agent Gavin Karunaratne’s excellent piece based on his own experience on how the JVP in 1971 destroyed rural entrepreneurs and forced them to leave villages after selling their property. But nothing happened to the Colombo capitalists. Unfortunately I do not have the link to that article.

    To me the JVP (in 1971 and in 1987-90) was the Pied Piper who led two generations of Sinhala youth into their graves.

    If the Sinhalas are divided then all the major parties are responsible for it.

  17. Fran Diaz Says:

    The second JVP Insurrection happened due to protest over the ILLEGAL imposition of the 13-A by INDIA on the JRJ UNP govt.

    Again, a valid complaint, and NO talks were ever held under Pres Premadasa’s UNP govt.
    Didn’t the JVP deserve a hearing ?

    Again, since NO TALKS were held, the JVP resorted to a second insurrection.
    Over 50,000 Sinhala Rural Youth were massacred.

    Today, ALL thinking people in Lanka are demanding that the 13-A be removed !

    How ironic ! how sad !

  18. Fran Diaz Says:

    At the end of the day, today the JVP is a ‘yapping terrier’ or a terrier sized baby Red Elephant, at the end of the RW led UNP leash !

    This is the story of ‘How to Break the Spirit of Rural Youth of Lanka’ – shame and double shame on the present day UNP under RW.

    Pray tell us what pleasure is derived from such sport, unless it is pure Sadism with a dash of Fear ?

  19. samurai Says:

    Fran Dias
    Let me repeat what I said earlier little differently.

    First leave aside the questions of justice and injustice and start with the question of why no talks were held with JVP.
    In the 1970 Parliamentary Election campaign JVP youth supported SLFP-led United Front hoping that it would usher in a Marxist-Leninist (JVP version) government since the UF comprised the Marxist old guard. I covered one of these meetings where the JVP demanded not just jobs for the youth but a Marxist Socialist Government.

    But the JVP was mistaken to think that the SLFP would allow a Communist regime here despite the party’s close ties with the socialist bloc. And I doubt even the ‘Parlour Bolsheviks’ (arm chair revolutionaries) in the government really wanted to replace the parliamentary system though they had been preaching Marxist revolution for decades.
    Not surprisingly it led to the JVP deciding to hijack the so-called revolution which was doomed to failure. About this time the CID found information that the party was collecting firearms and other weapons to prepare for an uprising. This was during the last days of the previous UNP-led Coalition, which comprised the Federal Party, the MEP and four other minor parties. It was called the Hath Havula.

    If the UNP won the 1970 General Election insurgency would have broken out even before 1971.

    No government anywhere in the world is likely to engage in talks with an armed rebel group unless (1) the latter is in position of strength which makes it difficult to defeat them and (2) there is pressure from powerful foreign countries.

    During the 1971 insurgency the JVP had hardly any foreign support except probably from North Korea with which the then government suspended diplomatic relations. It is the government which had foreign assistance – from India (which had their navy patrolling the sea off SL and sent a military unit to guard the Katunayake airport), the USA, China and the Soviet Union (which gave us MIG 17 combat aircraft).

    By the time of the second insurgency of 1987-90 the State was much better armed and did not need any foreign support to suppress the insurrection though it took three years to accomplish it. Since Indian troops were occupying North and East, the JVP insurgency was mainly limited to the rest of the country unlike in 1971, when JVP cadres unsuccessfully attacked the Jaffna prison hoping to rescue Wijeweera.

    Both insurgencies had very little public support or involvement though the 1971 uprising had some sympathy for the youth involved, because their grievances were genuine. But in the second insurgency was a campaign of pure terror, which claimed many an innocent life. The government retaliated in likewise. Ordinary people, even if they were opposed to the 13-A, wanted no part in the JVP/DJV campaign. The latter reaped the wind and reaped the whirl wind, though the JVP knew that the Indians forced 13-A on the government.

    Unemployment among rural Sinhala youth and other causes that led to the 1971 insurgency was not the fault of just one government but all those who ruled the country since 1948. The faulty socio-economic system and an education system divorced from the country’s reality all contributed to the troubles.

    To me the JVP is a Pied Piper which led two generations of Sinhala youth to their graves. That the JVP was a failure should have dawned on the leadership when most of the party’s old guard, except for Wijeweera and a few others, left the party after the 1971 insurgency.

    There is no question that today the JVP is a ‘yapping terrier’ at the end of the RW-led UNP leash. It appears that the JVP’s successor the Frontline Socialist Party too is going on the same beaten track – 26 years after the fall of the Socialist Bloc and China is only a namesake Communist country.


  20. Fran Diaz Says:


    Thank you for your response.

    There is a lot to say, but I will try to be brief as possible.


    At the outset, let me state again that Rampant Socialism leads to Communism. I am not for Communism.
    Also, Rampant Capitalism leads to Fascism. I am not for Fascism.

    I am for a more sympathetic and understanding view toward the JVP of early times and now. The JVP youth had no alternative at that time but to turn to Marxism. We must remember that it was MOSCOW that offered the Rural Youth scholarships to study there, not the west. Only the children of the wealthy & the English language proficient in Lanka went to the west for studies.

    I still cannot agree that the best was done by then leaders starting with Mrs B’s Coallition govt., to PREVENT the insurrections. That the JVP wanted a Communist regime is understable at that time (1971), as none of the so called Democratic/western style govts had delivered results re jobs for the Rural Youth. More ought to have been done by the Colombo Marxists, but this did not happen. Not even sufficient HOPE was given for the future.

    In the 1970s era, to offer FREE EDUCATION and NO JOBS at the end of a degree was to LET DOWN the mass of Rural Youth. Almost all the Colombo Marxists were land owners who took care not to lose their land when Mrs B’s Land Reform Act happened. They were not able to help the Rural Youth and were Marxists in name only. Whether Mrs B’s Land Reform Act actually helped the Rural Youth is open to question to this day. Did the Land Reform create more JOBS for the Rural Youth, directly or indirectly ?

    From the point view of the JVP, which party was started by Rohana Wijeweera, whose father was guided by Marxist Dr S.A. Wickremasinghe, a highly respected doctor in the Matara area, asking for a Marxist style govt was reasonable, although such a set up was highly feared by all Land Owners & Business Owners, who were the wealthy of the country. In 1971, most of the political leaders of the country were Land Owners and feared the JVP Marxist idealism. It is more than likely that they took the easy route out and killed the JVP followers.

    Why Rohana Wijeweera turned to Marxism & the demand to rectify Joblessness :

    Rohana Wijeweera’s father later died of injuries sustained in a protest gathering for workers rights, organized in the South. Rohana himself was a young person at the time of his father’s death. The young family was left destitute. The State offered no help, as far as I know. Rohana wanted to become a doctor to heal his father’s injuries, and Moscow authorities offered young Rohana training there to be a doctor, likely due to Dr S.A. Wickremasinghe’s help. However, he fell ill after passing the first years training with Distinction, and returned to Sri Lanka. Rohana turned to the Chinese way and did not return to Moscow to continue his studies.

    It is definitely the neglect of the Rural Youth & Rural Poor that led to the first demand, i.e. Rectify Joblessness.


    It is pertinent to note that after two world wars, Europe the Coloniser, turned to SOCIALISM for answers to problems in Socio-Economics that beset the people of Europe. The educated Marxist leaders in Mrs B’s govt ought to have noted that and convinced the JVP leaders to follow the less offensive route of Socialism. This did not happen.

    If the SYSTEMS in place are addressed, then we stand a better chance of finding lasting solutions to Lanka’s problems. Turning mostly Socialist Lanka to a Capitalist/Fascist type state will only make matters worse.

    That said, it is not right that today Lanka is led yet again by two failed politicos (RW/CBK)who do not appear to have the country’s interests in their Hearts. The lack of sincerity and ineptness at handling social needs is what has shown up throughout their political careers. They both appear to be for solving foreign problems and not local problems.

  21. Fran Diaz Says:

    Depleting the Sinhala Rural Youth appears to be some Diabolical Game that started after the JVP killings in the 1971 Mrs B era.
    Given that the Cold War was on during 1971, the killing of JVP followers must have been expedited …. so sad.

    The bad notion continued into the Pres Premadasa era, end of 1990s, with the Cold War winding down – the concerns by the JVP about the ILLEGAL 13-A was not addressed. Wrong governance there. When the JVP started to protest violently, it was easier to just kill them off, including their leader, Rohana Wijeweera. Some say he was thrown live into the Kanatte Crematorium.

    It is a shame that someone of Richard de Zoysa’s values, education, calibre & talents, was brutally murdered.

    The old British formula for ‘dividing & ruling’ countries does not work in the long run. Time to put in place lasting Human Values.

  22. samurai Says:

    Let me further clarify what I have already stated.

    Not only Mrs. B’ Coalition but also no other government has so far done the best prevent youth unrest. Free education and no jobs was the result of successive governments – whatever their politics – failing to introduce a realistic educational and economic policies to meet the social realities of this country. The colonial system continued after 1948 with only cosmetic changes, despite making Sinhala the official language.

    I agree that the Parlour Bolsheviks were Marxists in name only causing the JVP to hijack the foredoomed ‘revolution’. Yes that the JVP wanted a Communist regime is understandable. Even we in our school days were drawn to communism and were particularly fascinated by the Cuban revolution.

    The Land Reform did not bring the results the people expected. Instead it ruined some of the profitable plantations following the appointment party supporters who were misfits to run the estates which came under the Land Reform Commission. Only the estates which came under the JEDB and the State Plantations Corporation were saved.
    I have read about Rohana Wijeweera, the tragic death of his father and about Dr. S.A. Wickremasinghe. He was also known to my maternal relatives in Matara.

    The fear of landowners was also understandable since they had heard and read about Stalin’s despotism and what happened to the rich in Russia and China. Not only was their property confiscated but some of them ended in labour camps while others were executed. The People’s Communes, the Great Leap Forward and the so-called Cultural Revolution were disasters.

    Let alone Sri Lanka’s rich but even the ordinary people would not have wished to experience such repression.
    The fault of the JVP and other Marxists (except for the Trotskyites to some extent) was they were deafeningly silent or were denying these crimes and great blunders but were focusing only on Western imperialism and neo-colonialism. Anything critical of the socialist bloc was rejected as “capitalist, imperialist, reactionary” lies. Some of them even went to the extent denying even the Sino-Soviet ideological split after Stalin’s death until the denial was no longer possible.

    Yes, as you say if Marxists leaders like Dr.N.M. Perera were able to convince the JVP that socialism was a better option than Communism the slaughter of the youth could have been avoided.

    However I still vehemently condemn the course of action the JVP/DJV took during the 1987-90 insurgency which brought disaster to both themselves and others (many of them non-combatants). I have no sympathy for the perpetrators of there crimes, though I am an opponent of the 13-A.

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