15 April, 2024


A Return To 1983 & Ranil’s Friend Kalu Lucky?

By Rajiva Wijesinha

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

UNP efforts to intimidate the Bond Commission bring back memories of their attack on the homes of Supreme Court judges in 1983. A full account was most recently presented by Rajan Hoole, recording the active involvement of Ranil Wickremesinghe in the exercise.

After the Court had found that the Kollupitiya police had violated the fundamental rights of Vivienne Goonewardene, the government promptly promoted the guilty officer and paid the fine. Then it demonstrated against the judges, using SLTB buses to carry the mob.

When it became clear that this behaviour of the government was anathema to the people at large, an individual called Kalu Lucky turned up at Lake House and claimed that he was responsible, it was nothing to do with government, but he had wanted to show that anarchy resulted when the Courts censured police who dealt firmly with demonstrators.

But then it transpired that he was closely associated with Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had been an attesting witness at his wedding. In my own book, the updated version of which, ‘Declining Sri Lanka’, was published by Cambridge University Press in Delhi, I noted that this incident, an example of the hubris that precipitates a fall, heralded the end of UNP authoritarianism.

To quote from Hoole’s account, since a younger generation may have forgotten the profound authoritarianism of the Jayewardene UNP and the manner in which, which presenting an urbane façade, he used thugs to intimidate (with Ranil in those days being part of the B Team):

“In Jayewardene’s quest to become all-powerful, he tried to keep up an appearance of liberal democratic norms. He had his A team to look after legislation, appointments and securing compliance through gentlemanly persuasion. This group was from the upper class with a veneer of liberal culture. The B team were the fixers openly associated with gangs of hoodlums.

Despite all the battering the Supreme Court was still not adequately, submissive it seemed. On 8th June 1983 a three-judge bench comprising B.S.C. Ratwatte, Percy Colin-Thome and J.F.A. Soza delivered a judgement in the case where Mrs. Vivienne Goonerwardene, who and her husband Leslie had been senior members of the LSSP, had complained of wrongful arrest and degrading treatment by the Kollupitiya Police. The court conceded wrongful arrest, but held that the degrading treatment alleged, had not been substantiated by the evidence. It was a minimal judgement.

On 11th June, the UNP B-Team went into action. A large crowd arrived in vehicles with banners and staged noisy protests outside the residences of the judges. The judges telephoned the Police who failed to respond for a long time. Even the emergency lines to Police HQ seemed to have gone dead just then. Jayewardene was then abroad. Gentlemanly arm twisting of judges is one thing, but this brazen attack on symbols of civilised society, was another. Protests started mounting. The people were clear that JSS, the UNP trade union organised by Cyril Mathew, provided the ruffians for the protest. As the result, witnesses were not prepared to give evidence to the Police; evidence was given anonymously or in confidence through third parties.

Herman Perera, the President of the Bar Association who had protested, received a threatening post card. On his appealing to Acting President Premadasa for police protection, the latter replied that it must have been a practical joke. Chief Justice Samarakoon himself gave the Police some names and other details for investigation. Of 10 vehicle numbers given, SSP Ignatius Canagaretnam of the CDB traced them all to vehicles owned by Ceylon Nutritional Foods, the Tyre Corporation and the buses among them to the CTB depots at Ratmalana, Kesbewa and Mattakuliya. All persons questioned provided alibis.

The most remarkable incident in the aftermath took place on 22nd June when the UNP sought a diversion. A young man by the name of Lakshman Fernando, also known as Kalu Lucky, went to the offices of the Island and handed over two statements, one in English and the other in Sinhalese, taking responsibility for having organised the demonstration, as a democratic protest against the Vivienne Goonewardene verdict. The English draft copy had been typed on an electric golf ball typewriter, then not commonly used, and had been corrected by two different hands. The following day the JSS complained to the IGP that it was being harassed by false and baseless complaints. The Attorney General, Shiva Pasupathy, the Press reported, was unable to make a ruling on whether to proceed against Kalu (Black) Lucky.

On 24th June, the Sun found Lucky at the Pannipitiya address he had given and he admitted that lawyers helped him to draft the statement. But a Police team led by Malcolm Cruz sent to the address the same day to question him said that they were unable to trace him. Further investigations by the Press revealed that Kalu Lucky was a leading member of the JVP in the 1971 rebellion (see Alles’s book – 29th suspect before the Criminal Justice Commission and sentenced to 5 years RI). He had subsequently joined the UNP and had campaigned for it. In 1983 he had a firm involved in servicing ships at the Colombo Port. The JVP in the meantime denounced him as a renegade.

Most interestingly, the Sun produced Kalu Lucky’s wedding photographs, where the couple was flanked on either side by two ministers. They were Justice Minister Nissanka Wijeratne and Youth Affairs Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was quite clear whose protégé Lucky was and who set him up in the judges’ episode. His role in the judges’ affair was between his appearances at the Gangodawila magistrate’s court with seven others on charges of having murdered one Premasiri. One appearance was on 25th May 1983 and the next was scheduled for 3rd August.”

(Source: ‘Taming The Judiciary & The Legacy Of The 1982 Referendum’) 

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Latest comments

  • 0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 4

      Rajiva Wijesinha,

      Just ask Lasantha Wickramatunga …..he would vouch that a little stoning and a bit of rough stuff is better than murder ……….. any-day

      I wasn’t reading back then, but perhaps you showed the same public consciousness and upright morality then too ……….. I’m searching back-pages ……………

      The moral-fibre of all you guys make me optimistic for the future of humanity ……………..

  • 8

    Mirabile dictu, Mr Wijesingha has got a bullseye with this one. Yes, it is true, our Ranil (like JR) does like a bit of rough every now and then to do those jobs that others just wouldn’t, couldn’t.

  • 3

    Rosy is more involved in this scam than people think. Please see this video:


  • 5

    History Repeats.

  • 4

    What a none sense you are talking about …sri Lanka is not England or Swiss or for that matter any European country to follow rules of laws .Sri Lanka is ruled by two sets of laws ..public must obey the law in letters and yet; politicians could play ground.
    Look how Mr and co violated all laws of land..
    How much money may have looted by them so far..a lot of investment locally and internationally and yet; how did Ranil and M&s blocked all cases related to them .
    So if you are politicians you are like qadafi or Sadam..you could buy any one and any things ?
    So ; talks if justice or rules of laws are not real one .
    Where have you been ?.
    Broadlight violence in Aluthgama is done with support of Some armed forces and same in Gintota.so; one rule for sinahsle and one rule for minorities and one rule for rich and another for poor .
    Sri Lanka is not an utopian country..
    Human males mistake but this intentional one is acute and hating all..
    Hope to see justice with good political leadership.
    Ranil is a fox
    M&s is a niether tiger nor lion but a goat.
    We need s good leader.

    • 0

      Yes but this brauni would not see it like us the srilankens.

      He cant even get on with a team of people but to leave his academic carrier for lanken politics is beyond ridiculous.

      I think this buddy of Dayan Buruthilaka- has really a big problem, which belongs to the category of pathology.

  • 4

    JVP though marxists as a party was pro UNP orientated.
    Wonder whether UNP was behind the JVP in the 1971 Insurrection as well ?

    Ranil was/is no Mr. Clean and a tie coat wearing pro western wonder boy but a cheap skate indulged in thuggery and now a schemer who aided and abetted to loot people’s money from the central bank.

    A Royal looter, preacher engaged in gutter politics.

    • 3

      The JVPwas a CIA inspiration contrived to help the UNP following the failed coup of 1962.
      Now it has metamorphed as a different animal to play a different role to suit the time.
      The FLSP is another recent formation to confuse and confound.

      • 0

        Where can I find more details about a CIA plot being behind the creation of the JVP in the mid 1960s to help the UNP?

  • 4

    Rajiva Wijesinha remembers 1983 for the onset of political interference into the judicial system. Some of us remember the July 1983 pogrom.
    The article is a reproduction of a Hoole writing. Rajiv should have at least commented on the contents.
    The 1983 pogrom was a smokescreen to mask some insidious goings on. The 2014 Aluthgama pogrom was another. Gnanasara (May his Mr Universe muscles increase) used the Gintota incident to gain respectability but buggered it all with the ‘ear-splitting’ phobic outburst!
    Rajiva is attempting a comeback. He is trying to position himself like Dayan. May work.
    Is it worth it Rajiva?

  • 7

    Prof: Rajiva W. has been forthright here notwithstanding the fact that Ranil W. IS HIS COUSIN!

    When a journalist from a foreign News agency inquired from JRJ about the stoning incident of the residences of the Judges, he wryly remarked that they[ The mob] had exercised their Human Rights!
    Vivienne Goonewardena incident was a trivial one,where she quite rightly complained about the Colpetty Police; Surely,she could not have toppled the 4/5ths Majority of JRJ.
    Here we find the true nature of JRJ; A Son of a Supreme Court Judge himself.
    The July 1983 Anti-Tamil riots in the South of the country against innocent Tamils living among the Sinhalese by CHOICE will go down in History as the biggest saga of modern day Srilankan History!
    To punish the LTTE in the NORTH,he took it out on the Tamils in the South.!
    He was the almighty Executive President who presided over those events.
    The country had to go through a bitter war over 30 years as a result of that.
    Will the country now face an economic crisis over the Bond scam?

  • 0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2

    English professor would have not talked this way, if he were given a national list –
    minister post Unfortunately, prof always talking about how to give a piece of lands to tamils with all the powers. Ranil’s politcs is different.

  • 1

    This is an English professor, A PHD holder, he can not see that we, readers see his ugly mind through this mass of letters. What is the difference between Ranil and Rajitha as the members of the ruling elite of Sri Lanka? Especially when it comes to selective throwing stones!

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