28 October, 2020

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Sri Lanka: The Extraordinary Case Of The Prime Minister’s Murder

By T. Thurai – 

 T. Thurai

T. Thurai

On a quiet September morning in 1959, two men were waiting for an audience with an important man. Seated on the verandah of the Prime Minister’s house, Asoka Christopher Seneviratne and his uncle Stephen had come to ask for a certificate of character.

A mundane request for an insignificant piece of paper; the sort of thing used to support an application for a job or bank loan.

The man they had come to see was S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, who had swept to victory three years earlier. Yet despite his electoral success, Mr Bandaranaike’s short incumbency had not been a peaceful one.

In previous months the country had been brought to a standstill by strikes and pushed to the brink of civil war by violent ethnic riots.

Yet, by 1959 peace appeared to have been restored.

Neither of the two men seated outside the Prime Minister’s home could have anticipated the momentous event that they were about to witness.

Having waited patiently for twenty minutes, they were joined by another supplicant: a Buddhist monk who seemed impatient to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister.

Before seating himself next to the two men, the monk wandered up to the house and peered through the drawing-room window. He then settled next to Asoka and began chatting, mentioning that he worked at the Ayurvedic Hospital.

The men continued to wait. Mr Bandaranaike was late, delayed by visitors inside the house who included the American ambassador.

At last, he stepped onto the verandah where he dealt first with Asoka, directing him into the house, to his office, to write down some personal details. Asoka did not witness what happened next, although he heard it.

After sending Asoka into the house, Mr Bandaranaike greeted the monk, bowing his head in the customary salutation. The Prime Minister then began to question the monk. What had brought him to the surgery?

As the Prime Minister spoke, the monk pulled a gun from his robes and shot Mr Bandaranaike in the hand and chest. The Prime Minister cried in pain and ran into the house, followed by his attacker who fired two more shots at his victim.

Pandemonium broke out. Mrs Bandaranaike ran in from the garden and, holding her husband’s hand, tried to pull the monk away by his robes. The monk tried to escape but was tackled and brought to the ground by several men who had run to the scene, alerted by the shots.

The gun fell to the floor and a furious tussle ensued; the monk scrabbling to retrieve his weapon. Eventually, he was subdued: shot by a policeman and, apparently, sustaining a wound to the genitals – a detail which would later become the subject of a ribald song.

Although he did not die immediately, Mr Bandaranaike was mortally wounded, succumbing to gunshots to the stomach on the following day.

The murderer – Talduwe Somarama Thera – would be one of seven people charged with the Prime Minister’s assassination. It was one of the most extraordinary conspiracies of the 20th century in which the plot to assassinate a leading politician was master-minded and executed by Buddhist monks.

This plot, worthy of the Borgias in its complexity and intrigue, came from an entirely unexpected quarter: the Prime Minister’s own supporters.

Yet, although he was the assassin, Somarama Thera was merely a pawn in a much more intricate game. The real mastermind was a charismatic Buddhist monk – Mapitigama Buddharakkita Thera – whose extraordinary career reflects the bond between religion and nationalist politics in Sri Lanka. Yet it is an example that many would prefer to forget.

In Part 3:  A profile of Buddharakkita Thera, his rise to power and the relationship that began with patronage and ended with murder.

*T. Thurai has an MA in Medieval History from London University. She worked for ten years as a journalist before qualifying as a lawyer. Her first novel The Devil Dancers is set in 1950s Ceylon and has received some excellent reviews across the Commonwealth, Russia and the USA. Extracts from the most recent review by Professor Walter Perera of Perideniya University can be found on the book’s website at: www.thedevildancers.com.

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Latest comments

  • 0
    1

    Can we expect the same treatment to the current rulers. long Live Budharakkita.

    • 0
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      I suggested the name of Venereal Gandasara to render the same kind of treatment for our Meeharaka!

    • 0
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      T Thurai and demon silva,

      “Yet despite his electoral success, Mr Bandaranaike’s short incumbency had not been a peaceful one.”
      “In previous months the country had been brought to a standstill by strikes and pushed to the brink of civil war by violent ethnic riots.’
      “Yet, by 1959 peace appeared to have been restored.”

      Well, well, Buddarakkita and Somarama did what the leftist opposition could not do by strikes.Ger rid of SWRD Bandaranaika, the Sinhala Buddist Racist, who did not want to treat all citizens in an Egalitarian Manner.

      Finally, the Egalitarian LSSP sold out to the Sinhala Buddhist Racists, and the 4th International Expelled LSSP in 1964, and they licked Mrs. B’s, the widow’s ass, to get portfolios and sell out the Egalitarian principles. It is like the Current Sinhala Buddhists and Sinhala Buddhist Monks throwing out Buddhas teaching to maintain their power and hegemony, just like in 1959.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanka_Sama_Samaja_Party

      Later that year, the LSSP joined the coalition government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Three of its MPs became Ministers; Dr N. M. Perera (Finance), Cholomondely Goonewardena (Public Works) and Anil Moonesinghe (Communications). The LSSP was expelled from the Fourth International, and the membership was passed on to LSSP(R).

  • 0
    1

    Hope another Buddhist bikku monkey going pump him off…????? who….

  • 0
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    Buddharakkita another monk, plotted the killing,and sent Somarama for training in firing the weapon.
    He and Somarama were both found guilty of the murder of SWRDB.

  • 0
    0

    I sincerely hope our Gandasara will help put an end to Sri Lanka’s curse instead of dabbling in wine, women, song and the HALAL issue!!

    • 0
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      Mikie,

      On the one hand you deride us for what we are doing.

      On the other hand you want us to do your dirty work.

      Can’t win with you guys.

      • 0
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        While I don’t support his thinking I do see how “mike” is looking have tow birds (two fat ugly ones at that) killed with one stone.

        But hey, with BBS that is too stupid to raid a butcher shop, there is no way they are going to pull something like that off.

      • 0
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        GALABODA AND M.R ARE AN IDEAL PAIR OF BUFFALOES FOR THE NEXT
        “WAP MAGUL CEREMONY”

        BOTH NEED TO BE GIVEN THE WORKS!!!!

    • 0
      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/

  • 0
    0

    It was not such a simple and clear cut case. What about the bald-headed mystery man who is said to have jumped over the parapet wall and disappeared? Why did not Mrs Bandaranaike appear in courts to give evidence? Rumour about a divorce case that was about to be filed…? The writer does not seem to have a knowledge of what she is writing about.
    s

    • 0
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      There simply was no truth in the divorce rumour; a scurrilous little story that, along with myriad others were rife at the time. As for the bald headed man, it turned out to be Tatta Jura, a driver down Ward Place, who was in the habit of giving one of the maids an emergency post-breakfast servicing and naturally did not want to get involved.

      All is well Diogenes, you can now get back in your tub.

      • 0
        0

        Think Diogenes is more used to a well than a tub

      • 0
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        “emergency post-breakfast servicing”

        I thought if it was a emergency she would want to be serviced pre breakfast,not post breakfast.Hunger pangs are nothing compared to sex pangs.This proves your version of events is untrue and diogenis is right as usual.Sirima the murderess.Killing that poor racist bastard and rolling out her even more racist policies.

  • 0
    0

    A sordid episode now a story of intrigue and mystery. Buddharakhita was, at heart, a conniving schemer who used his position as chief monk as cover for his nefarious activities. He was easily able to persuade the malleable countryfied Somarama to carry out his evil plan. He did indeed convince Somarama that he would get off lightly for ‘his service to the country’. Buddharakhita was just another in a long history of evil twisted men who, even to this day, use the robes of the Buddhist monk as a cover for other distinctly un-buddhist activity.

  • 0
    0

    Like the JFK assassination it was not a simple killing like what this author thinks. A servant saw a man jumping over the back fence and Ossie Corea who was questioned said that he shaved his head at that time because he had a some obligation to do that as part of his pilgrimage to Kataragama!

    There were so many other links and all that was suppressed. Buddharakkita and Somarama were part of a larger plan. In 1962 these same forces tried a coup.

  • 0
    0

    T Thurai,

    “The murderer – Talduwe Somarama Thera – would be one of seven people charged with the Prime Minister’s assassination. It was one of the most extraordinary conspiracies of the 20th century in which the plot to assassinate a leading politician was master-minded and executed by Buddhist monks.”

    Well, well, quite an interesting episode by the Third Gem of the Buddhist Triple Gem, Buddha, Dhamma (Teachings) and the Sangha (Monks).

    So, the Third Gem, the Sinhala Buddhist Monks, plot to kill the Sinhala Buddhist Prime Minister who came to power using Sinhala Buddhist Racism (He was a Christian before that) and was shot by Sinhala Buddhist Monk Somarama, who became a Christian before he was hanged, because he did not want to go to hell.

    So, the Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhists, still call the Monks Maha Sangha Ratnaya -The Great Monk Gems.

    Do they call the BS the Maha Sanga Ratnaya? Or do they call BBS the Maha Booru Balu Ratnaya or Sena , – The Great Donkey-Ass Dog Gem or Force.

    There is a great need to cal a spade a spade, a duck a duck, the donkey a donkey, a dog a dog, and a killer a killer.

    • 0
      0

      “Do they call the BS the Maha Sanga Ratnaya? Or do they call BBS the Maha Booru Balu Ratnaya or Sena , – The Great Donkey-Ass Dog Gem or Force.There is a great need to cal a spade a spade, a duck a duck, the donkey a donkey, a dog a dog, and a killer a killer.”

      Rightly the “Biscuit-Boofer Society” only in the triple gem Lanka!1

      0:3

    • 0
      0

      In the first place you dont understand the meaning of the word sanga and the veneration attributed to them. it does not mean there would not be bad and criminal elements for the sanga. There was in His time and there will be in our times and the future . The veneration is reserved to the good and the pious . even you can not say that on a whole the contribution to the Sri Lankan community is a negative one . There will be a few rouges as in every order . but that does not mean there is something rotten in the core .

      • 0
        0

        Tadpole (゜゜)~ There will be a few rouges as in every order . but that does not mean there is something rotten in the core. Tadpole (゜゜)~

        Abe the Amude
        It’s Faulty towers.
        Poppycock foundation – Mahawamse.
        Lion gave birth etc to monkey called lankets abe the amude.

        0:3

        • 0
          0

          jackass jobless javi has posted some more crap .

          • 0
            0

            tadpole(゜゜)~jobless javi has posted some more ゜゜)~tadpole Holy Greedy!!

            Sevela Abe the Amude,Its mainly in your scratchy underwear.

            What makes you think you are right, you disgusting, smelly, malodorous, foul, little monkey man??

            Take more “Auto Gooo Therapy” the world is not flat.

            Dead centipede works till you sink pathetic Gooo!

            Mugabe Loves You Sinhala Buddhist trip up swim across the land belongs to us Baharat.

            Seoomb I’ve a Big Un O:-)

            (o|o) (o|o) ☆彡^5 ☆彡

  • 0
    0

    What amazes one is the joint wish to kill Rajapaksa by the great majority of posters here.

    And they are the same lot who are in Ms Pillai’s camp to teach our inhabitants Human Rights, and Peace.

    • 0
      0

      Interestingly, you are bothered by a bunch of people WISHING that someone be killed but not bothered at all about the ACTUAL KILLINGS done by your idol.

      Don’t be too bothered about it but I think you are starting to show signs of humanity. You must be getting too old for this ass kissing sheit.

  • 0
    0

    ”… The Bandaranaike administration(1956-1959) sowed the dragon’s teeth and it took Mahinda Rajapakse(2005 to date) to slay the marauding dragon, … Dozens of Tamil youth were imprisoned under Emergency for years, for the crime of hoisting black flags against the promulgation of the ’72 Constitution. …” (Jayatilleka was former Permanent Representative for Sri Lanka to the UN)

  • 0
    0

    Judge Alles who inquired the murder of the PM said in his book that Buddha Rakita’s sex relationships with Vimala Wijayawardene was also a part of the plot. She was a minister in the cabinet under SWRDB.

    This Vimala Wijayawardene was the AUNTY of Ranil Wickramasinghe, the UNP leader. UNP’s slave ideology and the vast nationalization of British/American interests by SWRDB lead to the plot. We felt it when ever SLFP government comes to power!

    There are plenty of reasons to believe that the murder plot was from LONDON through their UNP slaves.

    EELAM and LTTE are also the products of LONDON to make trouble in SL!

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