Southern Province Beauty Queen, Premawathie Manamperi was brutally killed and buried alive. She was also raped. An informant in the area had told the Army that Premawathie was the JVP leader in the area. The informant told this to Lieutenant Wijesooriya who got Premawathie down. The rest happened. The Bandaranaike’s are a special lot. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike was killed by a Buddhist monk Somarama for business and political reasons.An attempt was made by the JVP to kidnap and kill Mrs. B. Chandrika’s husband a popular actor and politician was killed by the JVP. They survive with Sunethra and Chandrika.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
In 1971 the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna was young, but it was noticed that JVP was gaining ground among the younger generation in the country. The educated youth left their homes in search of employment. Mainly because the youth did not find a place in the society they belonged to.The jobs they found, out of their homes were not of their satisfaction due to their educational standard. This led to frustration and anger. They had to live on plain tea and reading newspapers looking for better jobs. The politicians lived in Colombo. But when they came to the village the youth in the village had no place in the agenda. This place is the only place where they could con and escape demands of the uprising youth. It came to a stage the younger generation stopped visiting the MP’s house, but the parents continued to go.
When the younger generation started finding a place where they could discuss their problems it was done openly in a temple or a school in the evening. After studying the situation, then came the main issue how to face their problems. This of course was discussed in the nights very secretly, the main speaker being a comrade from Colombo.These were the five lectures delivered by the JVP seminars. These lectures were the most popular among the youth. This was the foundation of the JVP over the years. Over the years being a political correspondent for Lake House papers.
Many said S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike left the UNP and formed the SLFP to become the Prime Minister. I can boldly say “No” because I knew him so well, up to his death. He left because he knew he could never do anything being the Leader of the House and he couldn’t serve the country. He could have lived in this country luxuriously. Because he was the only son of Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike who owned 2,500 acres of land, he was also a good lawyer and could have made enough money.
Then comes Sirimavo Bandaranaike nee Ratwatte. Even though many claim that the plan was to abduct the Prime Minister Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike, it was revealed by Wijeweera himself that the plan was to abduct and kill Mrs. Bandaranaike. By April 5th 1971 Security was intensified at No. 65, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7, the private residence of the Prime Minister. However, without going to the private residence, she had stayed back at Temple Trees her official residence. She spent the night at Temple Trees. The JVP plan was to kidnap her when she came to sleep in the night in her private residence.The JVP plan failed. The armed JVP activists had assembled in a place called Ritz and Lido in Borella. The instructions were to kidnap and kill Mrs. Bandaranaike. An activist by the name of Nimal was assigned as leader.
An Irrigation Department, Technical Assistant had been assigned to finish the job. This Somawansa Amarasinghe alias Franco, alias David was married to a school teacher. Somawansa was married to the sister of Sirisena Cooray, Housing Minister’s wife. He was a very close ally of R. Premadasa. Somawansa Amarasinghe is a very mysterious man being in the top level of the JVP, he vanished from the country and was found somewhere in Europe. How he vanished people know. But the people are silent.The man who planned to kill Chandrika’s mother, Somawansa returned to the country to lead the JVP during Chandrika’s time.
She sat on the same platform with a so called revolutionary and both yelled about democracy, Chandrika for the sake of her party the SLFP formed by Bandaranaike. SLFP and JVP joined hands, signed agreements. Ministers with the present day JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake became ministers. Then the JVP were the killers of Chandrika’s husband Vijaya Kumaratunga. With all these things which has gone into our history, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga joined hands with the JVP to save the country. I presume in spite of these sacrifices Chandrika sacrificed the most. Normally, after a war thousands are killed. Those who did the killings did it brutally; they very rarely come to hold powerful positions in life again except jails or gallows. But in Sri Lanka they are the very people who lead powerful lives trying to topple governments again and again.
These situations have become part of my life as a working journalist for over 54 years. I still write and will continue to write with a ball point pen in hand. In my long career in journalism there is one incident in my life which I could never forget all my life. It is a brutal inhuman killing of a Beauty Queen by an army officer on duty. They were volunteers and they had been sent to Kataragama, the Holy City to suppress all uprisings in the area.
Most of us journalists including Mervyn de Silva, Rahim and Chora Wijesooriya were having a drink in a leading hotel where we all meet. Chora as he was called is the son of a rich race horse owner. Chora’s younger brother Lieutenant Wijesooriya was serving in Kataragama suppressing uprisings. This is how he suppressed. This had never, I believe, happened in the history of the Army. Gamini Windsor of the Observer, Pujith Wijetunga of the Dinamina, Wally Perera, photographer and an ex-Army man and self went to Kataragama to see the uprising. Here’s the story.
“When several events, of April 1971 the most important even now are being discussed they talk about the army. There are also jokes about how a senior officer got his breakfast forty eggs, for this satisfaction. The events of 1971 are regarding the uprising of 500 activists in the Kataragama area and also the killing of Premawathie Manamperi, the New Year Festival Queen of Kataragama. Colonel Derick Nugawela and Lieutenant Wijesooriya had gone to Kataragama to clear if there were any uprisings. They occupied the pilgrims rest in Kataragama. This is how it all happened: An informant had reported to the police that Premawathie Manamperi the twenty-two-year-old Beauty Queen was the leader of the women’s wing of the JVP in Kataragama and her home was being used to stitch JVP uniforms. Based on this information given by the informant four policemen were sent to the area where Premawathie Manamperi the Beauty Queen lived. On instructions given by Lieutenant Wijesooriya, she was brought to the Army camp. Manamperi was held in detention with four others. The following morning. Manamperi was brought to a room for Wijesooriya to question her. She was questioned till the following morning Wijesooriya’s questioning was to forcibly removing her clothes and showing her nude to the parents. She had pleaded with Wijesooriya not to show her nude to the people coming to the camp.
When she was crying and pleading he got the Army men to parade her nude in the streets of Kataragama and also got her to hold her hands above her head for the people to see her nakedness. Holding hands over head fully nude she was kicked all over and they shot her with a burst of fire and then she fell and started crawling.The girl was left on the ground. But when she was left on the ground an army soldier had shouted saying she was alive. Wijesooriya had come back and kicked her several times and then shot her. Then a pit was dug and when she was still alive shot her again and buried her with another shot on her head.
Tortured, raped several times
It was later revealed that Manamperi was tortured, raped several times and buried alive. While dying in the pit she had removed her earrings and given to a passerby. She had 10 brothers and sisters and her father was a watcher in the wild life. Many who saw this incident later volunteered to give evidence and many including Wijesooriya were convicted.During uprisings or wars brutality is almost the same. In my fifty years old career I just can’t imagine whether a young beautiful woman was tortured raped and killed. Lieutenant Wijesooriya was a married man with children and a family respected in society. They hailed from Horana but lived in Colombo. The boys and girls came from private schools.
It must be said that when the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna joined Chandrika three Cabinet ministers took oaths. They were Anura Kumara Dissanayake the present leader, who accompanied Chandrika to Thailand on an official visit, Lal Kantha who now shouts most was also a Cabinet Minister. So was Vijitha Herath also a Cabinet Minister with three deputies and enjoyed the same allowances and salaries as other ministers did. But when they left they had done nothing for the country.