International Probes on Three Darkest Days and How Ranil Lost
The two main opposition parties, SJB and JVP have participated in protests held by families of victims and Catholics over the failure to apprehend the real mastermind who initiated Easter Sunday attacks that took 369 lives and maimed over 500 innocent devotees on Easter Sunday four years ago.
SJB had a demonstration in Negombo, while JVP, had woken up from a four-year deep slumber to hold a vociferous demo and a rally in the Catholic vote base. Sajith Premadasa vehemently criticized the poor and lethargic approach to the probe, alleging a hidden hand behind the disaster and pledged to hold a full-scale investigation, both at local and international levels to expose all elements, no sooner as he gained power. Anura Kumara Dissanayake expressed his dissatisfaction and resentment at the current status of investigations and vowed to bring solace to the aggrieved parties once he established a common man’s regime. No doubt all peace loving public irrespective of religious/political differences would welcome their firm stand.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe is facing a monumental task in leading Sri Lanka out of economic catastrophe and restoring public order. Foreign currency reserves ran dry, resulting in a lack of funds to import essentials. An economic crisis brought misery; president in his first address to the nation said, “things are going to get worse before it gets better”-- his message was to “be patient, I will bring things back to order.” Viewed by many as an astute political operator, the former six-time prime minister managed to stick on in parliament despite his party being wiped out at elections.
Sajith and Anura should join hands in appointing three Presidential commissions with international support to inquire into these three tragedies and identify inter alia those who carried out the President’s or political leader’s orders, as well as those advisors, if any, who influenced moves
Betrayed by President Ranasinghe Premadasa and remembered only by their families, the bodies of 623 policemen lie in an unmarked mass grave in the East. Those brave policemen, including the senior officer who questioned the ‘wisdom’ of the idiotic order, were asked to hand over the rifles and surrender to the brutal terrorists. The order was given by the president, an LTTE delegation was enjoying the comforts at Hilton as his guests.
“We drove about 20 km into thick jungle. I could see what they did because my blindfold was loose. The place was like a playground.... They robbed our wallets and watches and asked us to lie on the ground... I knew we would be killed and I thought of my dead mother. ..Others began to cry calling names of their loved ones with fear of death. Order to fire came from somewhere and they showered us with bullets. I knew that I was not dead. Those who did not die immediately were groaning. I lifted my head. Tigers came to us with torches, checked one by one and shot on our heads. The shot hit my earlobe. I was watching busloads of policemen from Akkaraipattu, Pottuvil, Kalavnchikudi and Eravur were brought, made to lie and shot… I was woken up around 3.30 am; went back to the place we were shot and called if there was anyone alive. No sound replied. I saw the ground soaked with the cold blood of my fellow policemen. All 600 were dead. I bade them farewell silently and walked into the unknown jungle, encouraged by the urgency to save my life. I walked; falling and getting up. Blood was oozing from my left hand and the ear, both hungry and thirsty too with entire body aching and shocked with fear”. – said a Police officer who Survived.
Millions out of public funds are given to children of politicians killed by LTTE, but the families of the 623 policemen are neglected. Unfortunately, those who are paid to scream from rooftops at every commemoration of past heads and [April and November Heroes] are maintaining a defaming silence on the cold-blooded murder of 623 cops. Report of the LLRC says, under the title, ‘Issues Relevant to Addressing Grievances and Promoting Reconciliation’, “This Commission regrets that up to date no investigation has been conducted in respect of the killing of 600 policemen. The Commission is of the view that this matter warrants a full investigation because of the nature of the Crime and the bearing it has on Reconciliation.”
Sajith Premadasa vehemently criticized the poor and lethargic approach to the probe, alleging a hidden hand behind the disaster and pledged to hold a full-scale investigation, both at local and international levels to expose all elements, no sooner as he gained power
The JVP had planned to carry out simultaneous attacks on over 100 police stations island wide on the night of April 5, 1971 – The coded telegram message “JVP Appuhamy expired - Funeral 5”, as per orders of leader Wijeweera [an April hero, annually commemorated by the present leadership] was misunderstood, and the JVPers in Moneragala hastily attacked the Wellawaya Police station in the morning instead of night, thus alerting the forces to impending attacks. 35 Police areas fell almost totally under insurgent control. Though police forces remained alert, 73 stations were attacked later in the day with hundreds of poor policemen being killed.
Sajith and Anura should join hands in appointing three Presidential commissions with international support to inquire into these three tragedies and identify inter alia those who carried out the President’s or political leader’s orders, as well as those advisors, if any, who influenced moves; who had prior knowledge but deliberately disregarded, or aided and abetted with the motive of gaining political mileage. And all the families of the brave 623 in 1990 and 1971 be suitably compensated. Failure to implement the above plus the unaccounted number killed in 1971, would be worse than the haunting betrayal by President Premadasa.
Failed in his previous two runs for the presidency [in 1999 and 2005] due to circumstances beyond his control though, Ranil Wickremesinghe is the only person with the experience, the know-how and the capability to provide answers to the present crisis-- He had pledged to bring a cross-party rule to the country that would “put an end to the deceitful political culture” but failed to muster enough support from the opposition.
In 1999, Popularity among the Tamil minority, who voted en masse for Kumaratunga in 1994, over D B Wijethunga’s [UNP] racist comments, was declining fast. Most of them had shifted their loyalty to Wickremesinghe as a mark of protest. CBK narrowly escaped a terrorist assassination attempt. It was around 9.15 pm— President Kumaratunga was leaving the premises after addressing a rally, the suspected female suicide bomber exploded herself. President survived the assassination bid but lost her right eye. She appeared on TV with bandages around the injured eye and broke down emotionally causing a severe impact on the voter. She received a clear 51.12 % of votes cast. Thus, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sri Lanka missed an opportunity.
It may be remembered that the campaign against Ranil during 2005 presidential elections was also similar. What actually occurred in 2005 was almost the conflict of the allegations levelled against Ranil. The man blamed for conspiring with the LTTE to win actually became the victim of a Tiger scheme. The LTTE called for a boycott of the poll in the largely Tamil areas. 250,000 Tamil voters kept away. The bulk of these votes were likely to have been in favour of Wickremesinghe. Ranil lost to Mahinda, [who connived with Prabhakaran] by some 180,000 votes. Another opportunity was lost.