21 April, 2018

Blog

State Terror In Sri Lanka: Why Did The Future President Go To A Coconut Estate?

By Darshanie Ratnawalli

 Darshanie Ratnawalli

Darshanie Ratnawalli

A recent article by Dharisha Bastians in Daily FT titled ‘Revolution Betrayed’ begins with an evocative paragraph.

“On 8 January 2015, once he had cast his vote in Polonnaruwa, Maithripala Sirisena and his family made their way to remote coconut estate in Kurunegala. The movement occurred at dusk, when the waning light helped to hide the small convoy of vehicles carrying the future first family to their refuge for election night. When he made the decision to contest Mahinda Rajapaksa for the presidency, Sirisena knew he had placed his life and the lives of his family in the gravest danger.”

Not only the first paragraph but the entire article aims at poignancy. My article intends to explore whether it achieves that or merely ends up generating hypocritical schmaltz. One thing has to be made clear. If Sirisena thought at that time that he and his family were in danger, no one, not even his worst critic would have been justified in dismissing his fears as unfounded and ridiculous. Politically motivated killings had started in post independent Sri Lanka way before the LTTE or the JVP. Even in the relatively halcyon and innocent days of 1959, stalwarts of his own party and government were charged with and convicted of conspiring and bringing about the assassination of Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike. Even now that the LTTE and the JVP had been eliminated from the equation as armed bodies, Sri Lankans continue to be plagued by fears of political assassinations.

Mahinda Dec 21 2014I heard one such ‘fear’ anecdote from Malinda Seneviratne, the Editor of The Nation. It is associated with the 2010 Presidential Elections and the ‘fear’ in it emanates from Sarath Fonseka, the common candidate of the UNP led coalition against the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In Malinda’s own words, this is the story;

“During the campaign a correspondent for an Indian newspaper regularly called to ask if I was fine. I was a freelancer then and I picked MR over SF simply because I thought (and still think) SF would be the greater disaster.  At no point did I say ‘vote for MR’. Neither did I say ‘don’t vote for MR’.

The day after the results were announced (or the day after that) I was invited for a party by Dilith Jayaweera. I asked who else was invited. He said ‘some friends who helped in the campaign’. I thought it would be a party of marginal people not different to me. There were lots of people…probably about 50 including Lalith Weeratunga, Cabraal and Gotabaya. At one point LW asked ‘Malinda do you know these people?’ I said ‘One or two I know, some I know of but most I don’t know’. He said ‘you didn’t understand the question….none of these people would be here had SF won’. I didn’t make much of this…thought that the campaign hype had got to them and they were believing their own propaganda.

The following day I was invited to another party. A couple Indian correspondents and a few Sri Lankan friends. Small gathering of less than 10 people. The same person who would check up on me now and then asked ‘what would you have done had SF won?’

I said: ‘I waited up only until they announced the first electoral result…i.e. not the postal votes…[I mentioned the electorate…I think it was Deniyaya or Akuressa]. Mahinda won by a big margin. I went to sleep.’

‘What if it had gone to SF?’

‘I would have given myself an hour to lose myself somewhere…’

‘That’s about all the time you would have had,’ he said. He was serious. He was also present when SF was holed up in Cinnamon Lakeside and was arrested. He is not like Charles Havilland or any of those fly-by-night journalists writing for European media houses. The guy had been in and out of SL and probably works closely with RAW.”

Given that such an established and acknowledged climate of fear permeated the 2010 Presidential Elections, no one would have been justified in dismissing the 2015 Common Presidential candidate’s fears. But is Dharisha Bastians’ first paragraph a realistic representation of those fears?

First, ironically due to the massive infrastructure development drive engaged in by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, there are no longer any remote coconut estates in Kurunegala. The Kurunegala district itself is not remote from Colombo and carpeted roads have invaded even the innermost corners of the district. Secondly a convoy of vehicles moving at dusk would not be ‘hidden’. A convoy of vehicles to be hidden, would have to move in the dead of night without headlights. Thirdly, a convoy of vehicles would suggest that the aspiring President still had his security detail, which alone would be sufficient to ensure that the Ministry of Defense and the Government are aware of his whereabouts.

There is a precedent for a Sri Lankan Head of State being implicated in the assassination of a high profile political opponent. On 23 April 1993, Lalith Athulathmudali was assassinated at a political rally held in Kirulapone. Shortly afterwards, President Ranasinghe Premadasa, one of the most popular presidents of the UNP made an emotional appeal at a rally again held in Kirulapone. “Assassinate my body. But do not assassinate the character which I have managed to preserve since my childhood”. It was an answer to allegations which were surfacing even then that he was responsible for Athulathmudali’s death. Less than a week after this fateful appeal to ‘assassinate his body’, on 1 May 1993, President Premadasa was assassinated in a bomb blast, believed to be by the LTTE.

On 7 December 1994, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, appointed a special Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the murder of Athulathmudali. She instructed the Commission not only to inquire into the ‘whodunit’ aspect, but also into “whether there was a failure to provide, or intentional withdrawal of security by the authorities at the meeting held at Kirulapone on April 23, 1993, at which the late Lalith William Athulathmudali was assassinated and if so, the person or persons responsible for such failure or intentional withdrawal; and whether there was failure by the authorities concerned to provide adequate personal security to late Lalith William Athulathmudali despite repeated requests by him, for such security.”

The Commission submitted its report to President CBK on 7 October 1997. The Commission expressed the view that President Premadasa was himself directly involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Athulathmudali and that others did his bidding. The Commission also implicated Sirisena Cooray, the General Secretary of the UNP under President Premadasa, Ajith Cooray, his son, Sottthi Upali, a famous underworld kingpin, U. L Seneviratne, a UNP Western provincial councilor and various high profile police officers who aided and abetted the conspiracy. According to the Commission, President Premadasa had the strongest possible motive to eliminate Athulathmudali. He was badly insulted by the contents of the so-called impeachment motion, his place as head of state publicly ridiculed and undermined, a political force headed by Athulathmudali was developing against his continuance as president.

The Commission found that underworld gunmen and thugs killed Athulathmudali and the ‘fall guy’ Ragunathan, a Tamil youth who had come to Colombo to go abroad. According to the Commission the acceptable evidence implicates Sotthi Upali as conspiring with others to abduct Ragunathan, receive him as a prisoner, keep him in secret wrongful confinement, starve him of food and water and have him killed by probably secret administration of poison, to wit, cyanide and then make up false scene as if he committed suicide by biting on a cyanide capsule, when he faces imminent capture. All this was done to suggest that Ragunathan was a member of the LTTE, who assassinated Athulathmudali. The Commission also found that various Police officers were implicated in the Athulathmudali assassination. They shifted the venue of the meeting and withdrew police strength from the meeting. Some officers were closely associated with Sotthi Upali and called him ‘chief’. Two officers were even found to have visited Ragunathan in his captivity under Sotthi Upali in Gothami Road. The killings were elaborately planned, the need for deception being of paramount importance. (My source for the findings of the Commission is: “Sri Lanka: The Untold Story”, K.T Rajasingham, Chapter 58: Premadasa indicted )

I have presented two stories; one of terror and death officially traced to Ranasinghe Premadasa, an elected head of state, and the other of terror that was widely anticipated from Sarath Fonseka, a would be head of state. These stories were intended as perspective. It is my contention that in a seasoned state like Sri Lanka the killing or incarceration of an entire family of peaceful citizens outside of a theatre of war would not be carried out in the naïve manner envisaged by Bastians. She says “The broken state of Sri Lanka’s democracy, battered by nine years of Rajapaksa rule, ensured that any direct challenger of President Rajapaksa’s tight grip on power, even in an election he himself had called, was dancing with death. The Sirisena family’s retirement to a remote corner of the Kurunegala District on election night was tacit acknowledgement of this terrible threat. The time it would take to locate the family the morning after could well have meant the crucial hours between life, death or incarceration for Maithripala Sirisena and his immediate family.”

That they went in a convoy of vehicles to a coconut plantation in the entirely un-remote and accessible Kurunegala is in fact the best admission that they saw no such threat. The only credible acknowledgement of such a terrible threat would have been if they had ditched the government security detail and camped out in a Western embassy in Colombo for the election night.

@ http://ratnawalli.com / and rathnawalli@gmail.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 13
    3

    Darshanie Ratnawalli welcome back to CT,

    He went to a coconut estate so that he can drink coconut water all the time.

    • 5
      2

      Darshanie Ratnawalli

      RE: State Terror In Sri Lanka: Why Did The Future President Go To A Coconut Estate?

      Make your selection:

      a) Because he wanted to be a coconut plucker when his dreams of becoming the Future President vanishes.

      b) Because he ran out of Temples and Kovils to visit

      c) Because there are 1,400,000 voters in the Kurunagala District, compared to 350,000 in the Hambantota district, and even if 10% of the voters vote for him, he has a change of being elected, 140,000 votes vs 35,000 votes.

      d) Because there is a higher percentage of Modayas, Mootals and Idiots in the Kurunagala District compared to the Hambantotata District.

      e) All of the above.

      What is the correct answer?

      e) E Stands for the Elephant.

    • 2
      1

      Thiru

      “He went to a coconut estate so that he can drink coconut water all the time.”

      Do you mean Toddy, “Ra” so that MaRa can have a “Ra Bada”, Toddy Tummy?

      MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa Ra Bada

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Apsari-Tilakaratne-Facebook-.jpg

    • 1
      0

      Tamils or Muslims wouldn’t escape Rajapakse’s sword, not just the yougsters of Trinco5 or Mutur17,but parliamentarians like Prarajasingam or Ravirajah, …..
      Citizens wouldn’t dare ask for the reports of CoI on them.

  • 1
    1

    [Edited out]

    • 3
      0

      Navin

      “[Edited out]”

      Another outburst of anger.

      You urgently need to see an anger management consultant.

  • 23
    4

    Look honestly I tried reading. I could not bear reading beyond 2nd para as I still hadn’t learned the gist of the story.

    I thought I told you once to brush up on your writing style. Its cumbersome and tiring to read.

    I think you are making it too complex than it deserves. Keep it simple please from now on. cheers.

    • 15
      1

      Yes, this is a lot of gas no substance. Meandering rubbish! Please think before you write as you will be exposed for what you are – a phony!

      • 8
        2

        Asaipillai

        Come on, by now you should have known that Vibhushana hears lot of different voices in his head, sometimes all at the same time.

        Please leave this poor thing alone.

    • 6
      0

      Agree with Vibushana. What are you saying? Was My3 under threat or was he not??!!

      • 2
        0

        @kumaran
        I guess the point is that MY3 says he was under threat.
        Whether true or not, whether an election ploy or not, we will never know

    • 0
      4

      Vibhushana
      [Edited out]

      Mara Giya! I must introduce you to Mahinda to reflect broadmindedness in his comments.

  • 19
    3

    How interesting!

    Perhaps the “Chief Justice” Mohan Pieris and others met with the former President on the night of the 2015 election results for a late night coffee….to discuss the weather!

    Perhaps the police couldn’t find the killers of Lasantha Wickramatunge because they were stupid……

    Perhaps we are living in a cloud cuckoo land…..

  • 19
    0

    What about Lasantha, and many others who are missing. What about the white van abductions.
    The article has valid points but a bit biased. Also this should have been mentioned.
    One thing is for sure. If MR had won the election he would have systematically destroyed all who went against him.
    That is scarier than Premadasa and SF put together.
    Never forget that.

  • 11
    1

    I’m sure that the threats were real. Had the family sought refuge in a Western embassy, there would have been complaints of a different tenor.

    Faced with difficult choices, My3 may have made a few mistakes during the past fortnight but I think that it’s not worked out so badly. It’s up to us to vote!

  • 1
    3

    Dharshanie Ratnawlli…. Why ? The obvious – “To pluck Coconuts”

    Ratnawalli it is alleged[Edited out]

    Nari-bana………. Post election night is always party time. Not only at temple Tress but in every home. WE HAD A WAIL OF A TIME WITH TAL RA (TODDY) AND CRABS.

    Dimi – learn to be a Kadiya. Do not speculate but learn to sting.

    MY3 got cornered by the english socialising BOYS club within the the yahapalanaya political circles and parties.

  • 2
    1

    Ohh really PREMADASA killed him???? What young Premadasa to say about this who fondly called him Lalith uncle?? will he ashamed of his murderous father? I still see him bragging his father’s housing projects (whatever it’s called), etc!!

  • 3
    3

    As proven by his conduct during nominations, My3 is a mouse and scared of his own shadow. Why such a mouse confronted a devilish cat remains a mystery. One theory is that the mouse watched a Tom and Jerry cartoon and got mixed up.

    Whatever the reason was, now the mouse has got back to its senses and regrets what he has done. You will find him dancing to the cat’s tune more than a normal mouse would.

    I am so glad that this mouse was not in charge during the Eelam war!!!

  • 0
    9

    Finally a writer with some sanity. Please keep up the good work.

  • 14
    1

    You are absolutely right, Rathinavalli. Rajapaksa never hurt even a fly. He was an is an angel. The many abductions, disappearances and killings during his regime had nothing to do with him. Remember how he threatened the late TNA MP Joseph Pararajasingham by telephone with death before he was murdered? Please stop writing nonsense.

  • 1
    9

    Thanks for this…Most of the accusations against MR are hollow and if you dig deeper it is stupid…hightime to highlight that

  • 3
    1

    State Terrorism still exists in Sri Lanka, according to a US report.
    [Edited out]

    Is it any wonder that Maithripala Sirisena hid in a remote coconut estate after voting for himself as presidential candidate.
    He and most politicians, citizens & public servants were aware of State Hit Squads.

  • 9
    2

    The author is simply speculating about events. She would make a good children’s story writer.

    Dharisha Bastians has rather more credibility.

  • 10
    1

    By trying to sound profound the author has made this piece almost impossible to read and quite frankly unintelligent..After all that labour “There is NO point.”..suggest to her go and read Dharisha Bastians on how to write English.

  • 11
    2

    Ratnawalli
    I have now read both articles, Dharisha’s with delight for her refined writing and yours with difficulty for the lack of substance. I really do not get what you are driving at. You just seem jealous of Dharisha’s ability to write truly well and have tried to criticise her view with nothing to counter it. It is hard to believe that you are from Kurunegala where I come from because there are very many coconut plantations that can be called remote without your Rajapaksha road construction touch. You have brought in two stories perhaps to prove that Sirisena had empty fears. You have indirectly supported the assumption that a lot of people could disappear if SF came to power. You have conveniently ignored the naked truth that MR incarcerated SF as part of his political revenge. Is he not capable of murder? I guess you should restrict your Bintenna logic to the maids who toil in Medamulana kitchen to feed all those fools.
    Nilame.

    • 8
      0

      Ratnawalli is nothing but a green eyed monster. This article is not only meaningless but insane too. Dharisha is light years ahead of Ratnawalli in writing. This kind of stupid article is only good for some mentally retarded. A complete waste of time and cyber space. By publishing such low grade articles, CT is only degrading their reputation.

  • 2
    1

    The innuendo about SF reproduced in this article is quite scurrilous .

  • 0
    1

    It sounds true, President Sirisena was under threat when he declared himself as a presidential candidate. Even now, Sirisena gave nomination to Rajapaksa to contest Kurunagala because he was threatened, may be from some of the Army personnel who are still supportive of Gothabaya. These days in Sri Lankan politics, no one knows in which hole what snake exists.

  • 5
    0

    This article was written by somebody who may have visited Hambantota not Kurunegala. In the former, there are carpeted roads even to public defecating areas. In Kurunegala, only the towns have good roads, many rural places have no roads at all.

  • 4
    0

    Beat around the bush.

    Dharshanie could do with some writing skills as a writer.

  • 4
    1

    The picture of this man of 70years,,,

    What does he eat ?? Young girl’s……… ?? To look young until the eternity or just the MAKEUP.??

    It will be good if one looks his / her age.
    All very synthetic.

    • 4
      1

      Older men and old men dying their hair is quite common in Sri Lanka if you are a politician. Deception is practiced by politicians and it is part and parcel of their trade. Look at GLP. The man looks like a shrivelled up prune due to old age but his hair is jet black. If politicians can use anything to mask who they really are appearance and demeanour go a long way to deceive the common man.

      • 2
        1

        Piranha, what is the relevance of GLP and his shrivelled nuts and prunes to this discussion? Are you saying that if he dyes his hair, he should dye all over or not dye at all. Or is it that he is deceiving us by dyeing his hair and not revealing his real age which must be near 70 just like his great leader Mahinda who also is gifted with jet black hair. Are they both deceiving us? But, why do we get deceived by such men all the time?

  • 5
    0

    Synthetic world of JARAPASSA.
    Very sad. The whole family and friends drained our land to. lead a synthetic life.
    Lamborghini’s Pedigree Pooches, Race horses, Classic watches to wear
    Different ones on each day of the week, helicopter rides to go from A to B and then to C.

    Top class hotel bills. Limousine Bills and expenses ,
    The country was DRAINED FROM LEFT RIGHT AND CENTRE. BY THE WRETCHED FAMILY.

    VOTERS HOPE YOU VOTE WISELY TO RID THIS CANCER FOREVER.

  • 3
    1

    Good to see Valli, the misguided Tamil girl back. Problem is that it is, as usual, difficult to see what she is getting at. Is she trying to say that Sinhalese politicians have murder in their hearts all the time? If she is, she is right. They murder their own kind as much as they murder Tamils with careless abandon. Everyone knows that Sirisena would have been a dead duck or dodo, if Mahinda had won. Going to a coconut estate would not have stopped it from happening. Is that the reason that Mahinda is going to Kurunagala? He can hide in a coconut estate after he loses. But, if Valli is right, there are no coconuts or any other nuts in Kurunagala after the roads built by Mahinda. So, where does Valli get her nuts from these days?

    • 3
      0

      Ponkoh Sivakumaran

      “Problem is that it is, as usual, difficult to see what she is getting at.”

      If you are looking for something you are looking at the wrong place. She never had anything to offer except to denigrate established honourable scholars.

      If you are looking for something else she is too young to offer. This child writer write to thrill a few old codgers. If you are one of them you would have been thrilled by now. Since you are not I conclude that you are not one of them.

    • 1
      1

      I don’t think she’s Tamil. What makes you think she is?

      • 3
        1

        Agnos

        “I don’t think she’s Tamil. What makes you think she is?”

        She was created from a special myth pool, which she defined earlier in several of her scribbling.

        Remember she is only a child “protege” groomed by old codgers. The purpose of grooming is to target those few scholars who still retain intellectual honesty and their scholarly work.

        Misguided by old codgers she continues to sling mud on scholars whose work contradicts the main stream Sinhala/Buddhist mindset.

        In her last big interview somehow she managed to target a Scholar High Commissioner by her sly innuendo.

        • 1
          0

          I know she would not like to be Tamil. But, she has the name of Native Vedda’s people Valli. The Tamil Hindus believe that Valli, Murugan’s consort, was found by the Vedda chief while digging for yams (Valli being a type of yam in Tamil) and that too in Kathirgamam. So, Valli is a Tamil name. Many who call themselves Sinhalese, indeed the most extremist amongst them, have Tamil names. Like Valli, being Tamil. The symbolism in the Valli story is that if you dig deep in your heart, you will find Valli and Murugan. Such things are lost in our little girl, Valli, the extremist, who writes fables in such bad style. One hopes that she can dig deep into her heart and find truth and kindness without twisting stories to suit her prejudices.

        • 1
          0

          That was ages ago VEDS. My last big interview was actually http://nation.lk/online/2015/06/13/straight-lefts-from-the-turkish-ambassador/

          • 2
            0

            Irathina Valli

            “That was ages ago VEDS.”

            Sorry I didn’t ask you about your clinical condition VEDS (Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome).

            Anyhow, thanks for the link.

            I may not read it however I might as well retain the link/copy. On the other hand I would not know what I am going to do with it until I am alerted to your next big thing.

            Please keep us informed as to your history making, faking, and other activities for I don’t trust old codgers.

  • 2
    0

    It is very Sad to Say That Dhrshanee,

    She Missed, My name JULAMPITIYE AMARAYA , Raththaran, Kudu Dumuinda, Weleye suda, Arundika, Wermin Silawa, Hothambaya, list goes on.

    But I am Happy that, When She writes to Colombo Telegraph, Always she makes us funny.

    she Quotes;
    Malinda said “I waited up only until they announced the first electoral result, I think it was Deniyaya or Akuressa]. Mahinda won by a big margin. I went to sleep.”
    ’The guy had been in and out of SL and probably works closely with RAW.”.

    May be He was dreaming of an another Laptop with Aappa and Coffee treatment from Mahindran Jaarpassa .
    I think, He likes to have a brush and touch with bigwigs.
    There is a speculation that many of the Sri Lankan Media guys WERE/ ARE on the pay roll of RAW.

    By the way,
    We sri lankans are taking Buddhism and Sinhala race for a Ride when it is a issue with Politics ad SELL it with Separatist War.

    ” Politikko Yuddhey Wikunala, Full Suddhey Denawa”.

    Anyhow We are Sinhala Buddhist, Hindu Tamils, Islamic Muslims and Sinhala tamil Cristians who wants to go their own ways,

    But not careing that WE ARE SRI LANKANS

  • 0
    2

    Ratnawalli I was travelling with the convoy I can assure you that there were loud speakers on top of the cars blaring away praise for the future president all the way to Kurunagalle

    If you don’t believe me ask Nimala n …..

  • 0
    1

    This is a pathetic attempt to discredit Darisha, an insightful social analyst. This writer should stay with her specialty, Sinhala chauvinist writing.

  • 2
    0

    This is a pathetic attempt to discredit Darisha’s insightful analysis. This writer should stay with her speciality, Sinhala chauvinist propaganda.

    • 2
      0

      scott

      This child is trying her best to fit in with the in crowd. Not knowing the consequences she goes on on about nothing.

      Those handlers know what they want from this girl.

      She target scholars who have been secular in their writing, intellectually honest, ….. to discredit them.

      She believes she could trap diplomats and archaeologist with banal questions and answer sessions.

      She also thinks that she could persuade other governments to support Sri Lanka in international arena.

      She asks very stupid question to extract anti Indian statement from diplomat.
      We do not know whether the diplomat is feeding this girl with disinformation is difficult to say.

      She has promoted herself from an erotic writer to a historian to now a international diplomatic correspondent.

      Is she aiming to travel with Namal on his overseas diplomatic missions (or leisure trips) if MR forms the government after the elections?

      Please stop Namal becoming the next leader of this island.

  • 1
    0

    There is actually no evidence that Miathreepala went and hid in Kurunegala. That is the story that he used to cover is foot steps that evening. Furthermore, there was no real danger that night itself. The danger was afterwards, as it was with Fonseka who was arraigned afterwards. Sirimavo was stripped of her rights afterwards. Rajapaksa’s methods are more cunning and scheming rather than directly brutal.

    Batians uncritically repeated the story which is clearly false, not only for some of the reasons given by Ratnavalli, but also other evident reasons. Ratnavalli has recognized this and she is raising the right questions.

    However, Ratnavalli’s solution for a place of refuge from terror, viz., to hide in an embassy, would have been rejected by someone like Maithree while it may have been acceptable to someone like Ranil.

    Where did Maithree stay that night? I think the facts will come out soon enough. He was in full communication with Rajitha, Chandrika and Ranil that whole evening, and not very far away.

  • 1
    0

    Dharshanie ..[Edited out] the quest to find ‘ hypocritical schmaltz’ in someone else article has led you to this shameful article. Talk about a swing and a miss. What happened? [Edited out]

    • 1
      1

      Bedrock Barney

      Now Irathina Valli works as an International Diplomatic Correspondent. She thinks that by her charm and beauty she could entice foreign diplomats into supporting Sri Lanka in the international forums and against India and USA.

      After Karunanayakam and Dayan she would single handedly deal with International Conspirators as she has already prepared ground, through her childish interviews.

  • 0
    0

    This young woman[Edited out]

    • 2
      0

      Silva

      “This young woman[Edited out]”

      Nope, she is child.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.