19 July, 2019

Blog

Was Gamini Dissanayake A Racist?

By Palitha Pelpola

Palitha Pelpola

Was Gamini Dissanayake a racist? – Remembrance On His 75th Birth Anniversary

In the annals of the civil war that raged between the Sri Lankan security forces and Tamil militants led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) and other terrorist organizations, the burning of the Jaffna Public Library was a momentous event. It has been chronicled that an organized mob of Sinhalese origin went on a rampage on the night of June 1, 1981, burning the library. In the fair opinion of many independent observers, it was one of the most vicious examples of ‘ethnic biblioclasm’ of the 20th century. At the time of its destruction, the library was considered one of the major libraries in Asia, containing over 97,000 books and manuscripts.

According to ill-founded rumors, roguishly generated by powerful insiders of the then UNP-led government itself, among the main culprits who led this insensitive and coldhearted plunder was Gamini Dissanayake, the then Minister of Mahaweli Development and Lands And Lands Development and a very close associate of President J R Jayewardene. However, in terms of the contents of the Memoirs of Edward Gunawardene, the then Deputy Inspector General of Police, Gamini Dissanayake was vindicated beyond any reasonable doubt, of this dastardly act. Nevertheless, propagandists of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and its Presidential Candidate in 1994 went to town on this unfounded allegation that Gamin was behind the burning of the library. Dr. Carlo Fonseka, a well-known social scientists and a loud hailer for the so-called ‘left’, was one of the main antagonists who accused Gamini Dissanayake, without any evidentiary material in his possession. He used the Presidential Elections-platform to hurl these innuendos, posing as an authentic source of information.

Gamini Dissanayake

Yet it was quite magnanimous of Carlo Fonseka to have dissociated from these false allegations after reading Edward Gunawardena’s memoirs. He went as far as admitting to being delusional at the time he was indulging in these falsehoods. According to his own words, “EG was our man on the spot and he was an eye-witness to the event. Chapter XI titled: Who burnt the Jaffna library? gives a clear, authoritative and comprehensive account of the Jaffna Library Fire. It riveted my attention. It disabused my mind of an illusion, or rather I should say, a delusion. In psychiatry, a delusion is defined as a false belief persisted in despite evidence to the contrary. I now think that the period in question was one in which “the time was out of joint” in our country and EG was born to set the historical record right. Owing to my delusion that it was Minister Gamini Dissanayake who burnt the Jaffna Library, I became guilty of an act which will remain a permanent source of regret in my life. Allow me to use the privilege of appearing on this platform to try and make amends for the injustice I inflicted on Minister Gamini Dissanayake”.

My own account of these allegations about the burning of the Jaffna Library might be even more relevant in that as Gamini Dissanayake’s Private Secretary at the time, I am fairly sure that GD, as he was fondly called by his close associates, was nowhere near Jaffna. He was engaged in the District Council Election campaign in another district in Uva Province. I was in Nuwara Eliya myself at the time and we learnt about the burning of the Library late night on June 1, 1981. But today some Tamils, both in Sri Lanka and overseas still believe that it was Gamin Dissanayake who was responsible for the burning of the ‘treasure trove of the learned’ in the peninsula. Unfortunately for Gamini Dissanayake, Carlo Fonseka came out clean a way too late and after his demise. Even that came after the publishing of the memoirs of Edward Gunawardena. Consequently, in the context of vindication and clearing of Gamini Dissanayake’s name and removing one blemish, if any, that he had on his name, Carlo Fonseka’s confession has no meaning, nor does it have any weight, to be really honest. Gamini Dissanayake when he was living and even after his demise, is being judged in the most unfortunate fashion. While the Tamils, especially the Diaspora passed judgment on Gamini as an anti-Tamil and a ‘racist’, some Sinhalese leaders, specifically in the so-called intelligentsia and some current politicians, labeled him as a pro-Tamil politician. That indeed is a very unfortunate status a politician would like to find himself in. Remember, Gamini was one of the victims of the murderous suicide gang of Prabhakaran. He was killed by the LTTE and he was hated by the militant Tamil organizations. And one other major causes for which Gamini is held in contempt by both fringes, anti-Sinhalese and anti-Tamil, for his bold and creative role he played in the crafting and implementing the Thirteenth Amendment to our Constitution. 

All this and other related events and information need to be taken into serious consideration when one ascertains whether Gamini Dissanayake was a racist or not. Oxford dictionary defines racist as thus: ‘someone who believes that other races are not as good as their own and therefore treats them unfairly’. In terms of that definition, most of today’s Sinhalese politicians including the leaders of the last regime of the Rajapaksas are confirmed racists. But Gamini Dissanayake, whether in the narrow context of the definition of the word, or when taken against a backdrop of the vast programs undertaken by him, his public conduct of affairs and when staffing and obtaining professional advice from his private and official staff, Gamini Dissanayake was one single leader in the government of J R Jayewardene from 1977 to 1989 and thereafter until his death who remained a very balanced human being as a private individual and an exemplary politician who wished to serve Sri Lanka as one single nation without any prejudice towards any person or a group or class of persons based purely on race, caste, faith.

Sri Lanka today is not the same country that was there during Gamini’s life which spanned only fifty two years. The illuminating effect Gamini had on the landscape of politics, his passionate involvement with whatever the subject he handled at the time, his courageous stances on politically sensitive issues were all traits of an admirable politician whose commitment to the lofty ideals of politics was total and complete as it could possibly be. His appeal to varied issues that confronted Sri Lanka in the last couple of decades of the last century might not be relevant today. But his engagement with those issues and the methodology and equanimous attitude towards those issues do matter in any time, past, present or future. His exposure to the geopolitical equations that were in play, his more-than-cordial relationships with global leaders, he being accepted as one single person in whom one can place full trust when engaging in matters political, industrial, trade or whatever relevant to the very existence of our country as a sovereign member of the family of nations.

Detractors and critics of Gamini Dissanayake might indulge themselves in perverted pleasure of disparaging him as a racist or a traitor to the cause of Sinhalese-Buddhists. Voyages into search of truth may be hard and filled with many a storm and tempest; they may be navigating some of the most modern and state-of-the-art ship and your ultimate port might be a deserted island or a utopian land. But when voters are asked to cast their votes in an election, when they are asked to place their trust in one single person to navigate that ship in troubled waters and in stormy environs, Gamini Dissanayake’s name would appear right on top. All the past election results in respect of Gamini’s performance in them are ample testimony to his magic appeal and ensuing readiness to embrace the electorate as his brothers and sisters from wherever they appeared, North, South, East or West.

Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard said: “I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations – one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it – you will regret both”. In that context, let me share with you some info which I have not shared with anyone to date. During the Presidential Election campaign in 1994, Hamilton Wanasinghe, the then JOC Commander, contacted me and asked me to advise Dissanayake not to visit the East. When I asked him why, he said that there is imminent threat to his life from the Tigers. At the time the Chandrika Bandaranaike government had given bare minimum security to Gamini and majority of the security personnel was from private sources. When I intimated this to GD, his reply was thus: “Palitha, I am a politician, my place is among the people. If I decide to get away from that environ, then I must get out of politics”. In fact I could not cancel any commitment that he had made to the campaign schedule. In hindsight, that was the undoing of Gamini Dissanayake. Yet when all pens are down and voices are mute, from D S Senanayake to the current President and Prime Minister, Gamini Dissanayake stands singularly as a Sinhalese Buddhist leader who stood by the basic Buddhist principle of

“Najachcha Wasalo Hothi, Najachcha Hothi Brahmano

Kammana Wasalo Hothi, Kammana Hothi Brahmano

One does not outcast by birth or Genius by birth

Thus will be outcast by deed or will be genius by deed”

The writer can be contacted via palithapelpola@gmail.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 23
    5

    Gamini Dissanayake’s Private Secretary at the time !

    Tells you all you need to know about the “neutrality” of this source.

    Was GD a racist?

    YES !

    • 27
      3

      Jaffna Public library was deliberately targeted and burnt to destroy the ancient ola leaves stored there. For the DDC elections members of JSS were sent as election officers, in order to create trouble, Whether Gamini Dissanayake actually planned and executed it or not is not the issue. He together with Cyril Mathew and Gamini Premachandra were physically present in Jaffna at the time of the burning and knew exactly what happened. Therefore by hiding the fact, he has committed a crime, which if he was really innocent of the crime, he should have revealed and exonerated himself. Previous night a meeting was held at Jaffna police station for which only Sinhala policemen were invited which was attended by Gamini dissanayake. At this meeting the planned .burning of public library was discussed. Therefore Gamini Dissanayaka was part and parcel of this dastardly act, and this is an attempt to whitewash it. Edward Gunawardena who wrote distorting the facts was present in Jaffna during this episode and is guilty of the crime. there are eye witnesses including doctors who say that the library was burnt by the policemen with support from Sinhala thugs. I had great respect for Prof. Carlo fonseka who was my teacher, but when he made the statement to clear Gamini Dissanayake of the crime on the falsified account by Edward Gunarwardena who is also an accused in this crime, I lost all my respects for him. Therefore the labouring by this author to achieve the same objective is pathetic.

      • 12
        1

        After the burning of the Jaffna public library TULF said it would bring a motion of No Confidence in the parliament against Gamini D. and Cyril M. I don’t know why backed out of this. Moreover during the 1983 riots initially hill country was peaceful but after the visit of Gamini along with Elle Gunawansa Threo on the 25th of July 83 communal riots broke out and all hell broke lose thanks to Gamini and his stooges.

        • 0
          0

          [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words.Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

    • 15
      2

      Was Gamini Dissanayake A Racist?

      Yes. He was a downright racist.

      He played a big part in the 1983 anti-Tamil violence. His moto was to eliminate the entire Tamil population. Even he demanded President JRJ to finish off the Tamils. But JRJ asked him: ‘Gamini is it possible? How can you eliminate the entire Tamil population?

  • 10
    16

    This Gamini Dissanayaka couldn’t have been the leader of the Elite, Anglican and Vellala Faction for sure.

    No wonder he gets rolled even in his grave.

    Today the Elite , Anglican and the Vellala faction are in total control.

    They ,the UNP In fact have been so successful eliminating the Sinhala Buddhist Influence that even the Western CM has woken up and realized that the Sinhala Buddhists are the third minority in Colombo already .

    And he pleads with our Sinhala women to ditch the “Small is Gold “with the” UNP NGO Condom Advice Campaign”, and start taking steps to at least retain the third position. before it is too late.

    In the meantime ,Minister Rishad is busy training our Sinhala Students to get into Hand Loom industry to go along with Dr Ranil’s hair dressing and Make Up Artist trades.

    Sira doesn’t have to worry about SAITM I guess….

    • 21
      5

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      Why did Dutta Gamani hate R Premadasa (of Kessel watte)?
      Was it because R Premadasa a non Vellala Dalit, who had this to say about the burning of Jaffna Library:

      “During the District Development Council elections in 1981, some of our party members took many people from other parts of the country to the North, created havoc and disrupted the conduct of elections in the North. It is this same group of people who are causing trouble now also. If you wish to find out who burnt the priceless collection of books at the Jaffna Library, you have only to look at the faces of those opposing us.”

      Why did Dutta Gamani get his goons to burn down the Library? Surely you love him.

      • 3
        14

        Stupid Native Veddo:

        Read what Ayyathurei has written below you.

        As you are dumb, please don’t write. You are just a represwentative from the Christian – UNpatriotic party of Ranil.

      • 2
        10

        Dear Native,

        I am glad you didn’t say Dutu Gemunu..

        Otherwise it would have been the biggest insult to the real Dutu gemunus past and present ,who saved the nation from South Indian Invaders.

        If he didn’t burn the Library ,Velupulle would have read a few books and learned something. And accepted Dr Ranil’s ISGA .

        And he would have been ruling the Vellalas all over the country ,with your favourite Thrico Sam holding the CM gig of the Municipal Council in Karainagar or Thoppigalai.

        That is if Sampathar was willing to leave his leafy suburb in Colombothurai.

        • 10
          2

          KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

          You have done crab walk yet again without responding to my comment.

          Why did Dutta Gamani hate R Premadasa (of Kessel watte)? Was it because R Premadasa a non Vellala Dalit, who had this to say about the burning of Jaffna Library:

  • 11
    20

    I will be failing in my duty if I do not come out with the truth. I knew Gamini Dissanayake well as member of the DUNF. He has no hand at all in the burning of Jaffna Library. The late A.Amirthalingam, M.Sivasithamparam, V.Yogeswaran, Kumar Ponnampalam and Motilal Nehru had all openly said that Gamini Dissanayake had no hand in this incident. The burning of the Jaffna Library was an inside job within the unwanted elements of the UNP and some Cyril Mathew’s hooligans. It is shrouded in mystery to date. In fact, the allegations that Gamini Dissanayake was a racist is without any foundation. May I also bring to light that the former Government Agent of Jaffna (Mr.Panchalingam), Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake devised a major plan to improve the standard of the Jaffna city with drainage system along with the opening of a International Cricket Stadium and a Five-Star Hotel at Mathagal with the assistance of some western democratic countries. It is Gamini Dissanayake who came forward to implement this multi-billion Dollar project. But it was very unfortunate that the LTTE applied pressure on the Government Agent and eventually Panchalingam was killed by the LTTE. Moreover, Gamini Dissanayake came forward to context the Presidential election with the sole view to solve the ethnic burning issue with a Federal structure. Might I say that the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake was blow to both the Sinhalse and the Tamils.

    • 9
      3

      Ayathuray Rajasingam

      If a politician showed enthusiasm for devising a major plan to improve the standard of the Jaffna city with drainage system along with the opening of a International Cricket Stadium and a Five-Star Hotel at Mathagal with the assistance of some western democratic countries, it was simply because it was multi-billion Dollar project.

      He had plenty of experience building the multi billion Mahaweli project.

      • 4
        6

        Native Vedda,
        Agreed. But improving the Jaffna city was proposed by the Government Agent with a mega project, not only with the drainage system and International Stadium with a 5-star hotel, but also included the transformation of Palaly Airport into an International Airport along with KKS Harbour. At that time, Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali were anxious to get rid of R.Premadasa, Sirisena Cooray and Cyril Mathew and their associates which included some Sinhalese & Tamils. Even Ronnie de Mel and Karu Jayasooriya were supporting the Government Agent’s move to improve the Jaffna city. All these three persons were close to J.R.Jayawardene and were on the move to begin the project. Even some prominent Sinhalese officers supported this project. These three Sinhalese leaders also discussed this matter with the TULF leaders A.Amirthalingam, M.Sivasithamparam & V.Yogeswaran and they were happy. In fact, Since Gamini Dissanayake and Ronnie de Mel were close with the TULF leaders and acted as ‘go-between- the Tamils and J.R.Jayawardena. I have written an article entitled ‘Some errors to be rectified’ about this when I was a member of the DUNF in the publication ‘Eagle’. Had this project be implemented, todat the Sinhalese & the Tamils would have been brothers & sisters, after witnessing the amount of foreign investment followed with establishment with several industries.. No one is worried whether Gamini Dissnayake made money, but what matters is Jaffna should get a new face.This was a great missed opportunity for the Sinhalese and the Tamils.

        • 2
          0

          Mr. Rajasingham

          Are you sure of your facts here about Karu J? At that time he was building his career at
          C.W. Mackie’s where he was in charge of Rubber and other produce. My information is Ranil invited him into politics in the new millennium. I know Karu. His first political foray I recall is being
          made our Ambassador in Bonn.

          Kettikaran

    • 9
      2

      If you say Gamini Dssanayake was a less racist than Athukathmudali or Cyril Mathew, I will accept it. To say that Gamini Dissanayake was not a racist at all is not true. during 1983 riots, he got Indian Tamils who were settled in Trincomalee after being chased out of the estates, physically removed and transported in CTB busses and dumped back in the upcountry. Nuwara Eliya was quiet during 1983 till the black Friday. Renuka Herath got the police to arrest all thugs in the area and incarcerate them as a preventive measure. On that Friday Gamini Dissanayake flew to Nuwara Eliya by helicopter and ordered the police to release all of them and instigated them to commit violence. Nuwara Eliya which remained calm until that day erupted with death and destruction of lives and properties of Tamils. In 1984, in order to break the link between northern and eastern provinces, under the Mahaveli ministry purview, Tamil families in 36 villages in Manal Aru were driven off with 48 hours notice, and Sinhalese from outside the province were settled and name of the place changed to Welioya, which is an act of ethnic cleansing. Now do you deny that Gamini Dissanayake is a racist. His support to Indo-lanka accord in 1987 is only to propel himself to power with the help of Indians and not a genuine one. There is also a rumour that he knew about the bomb blast and shooting in parliament as he gave a lame excuse for arriving late after the incident as that he had to go back home to pray.

      • 1
        0

        GD engineered the attacks on Tamils in N’Eliya a few days after July 24, 1983. I am told the Senior Thondaman, disappointed his appeals to JRJ and the Cabinet to protect his people fell on deaf ears, called upon his own men to retaliate. It was, as a consequence, the transport fleet of M.Y. Hemachandra, – the leading Transporter of Tea from the Hills to Colombo – was attacked and set ablaze. This was a continuation of the GD-Thondaman tussle for political leadership of the N’Eliya District. Old Thonda was a tough nut to crack.

        In his complex, scheming personality GD was also as bestial as they come. As the old adage goes he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

        Kettikaran

  • 6
    1

    “opening of a International Cricket Stadium and a Five-Star Hotel at Mathagal with the assistance of some western democratic countries.”

    You must have been day dreaming to utter those sentences to people with iota of functional brain.

  • 5
    1

    While it is very likely that GD had physically nothing to do with burning the Jaffna Library, the confirmation given by Palitha Pelpola is absolutely worthless. He led a gang in Hatton which assaulted Jeffrey Abeysekera of the Christian Workers Fellowship and Karavai Kandasamy, who later joined PLOTE and was killed by the LTTE, the night before the Referendum in December 1982. I too was a member of this small group of activists canvassing against the Referendum but escaped being assaulted because I had gone back to Kandy to cast my vote against the referendum. Their crime was that they were to play the crucial role of being the (only) anti-Referendum polling agents in Hatton. SLFP polling agents were keeping away since they had been attacked soon after the Presidential election, again probably orchestrated by PP and his gang. When I returned to Hatton on polling day I found our polling agents not in the polling booths but in hospital thanks to PP and his gang. I would not rule out PP being responsible for any assaults, burning etc during that era and I am sure GD was not unaware of these attacks.

  • 5
    0

    Gamini Dissanayake’s guilt or otherwise in this terrible and sinful act will ultimately be known by him and him alone.This is the only conclusion that one can come to in the face of Gunawardene’s book , that came way after GD was no more and the capricious ,irresponsible and idiotic recant of Carlo Fonseka on reading that book.Meanwhile it is GD’s lot , unfortunate or otherwise, to be blamed for that terrible act that was not just Jaffna’s loss only but a loss to human civilization.What can you call the perpetrators? Surely we can’t call them animals.

    This is one matter that will have mixed reactions for years and years to come from all those who know about the carnage and people like Mr. Pelpola who knew GD from close quarters.Both factions are passionate in their views.In the meantime both shades of opinion may ponder and draw some solace from what the Bard of Avon wrote some what cryptically many centuries ago. ” The evil that men do lives after them;The good is oft interred with their bones”(Julius Ceasar Act 3:Scene 2)

    • 3
      1

      Tissa Basnayake

      “This is one matter that will have mixed reactions for years and years to come from all those who know about the carnage”

      Had the state and its leaders, politicians and state functionaries behaved responsibly, were willing to put their neck on line, done what was necessary during or immediately after the horrific incident we would never have to speculate, judge or recycle truth/gossip as to who perpetrated this or that crime.

      Dutta Gamani was a powerful minister, then the richest man in South Asia according to old fox, should have put his foot down and stood for digging out truth in the name of humanity. Certainly he had failed in all count.

  • 5
    2

    All the Sinhalese leaders from DS Senanayake to Mahinda Rajapaksa were racists in the sense they were hell bent to ethnically cleanse the Tamils from their traditional homeland. To them the island belonged to the Sinhalese and Tamils must pick the crumps from the master’s table. Gamini Dissanayake is no different. All the Sinhalese Prime Ministers and Presidents aggressively used the state aided colonization schemes as an instrument to colonize the North and East with Sinhalese. Today the Tamils are reduced to a minority in the East by a steady process of colonization like Gal Oya, Allai, Kantalai etc.
    Herman Gunaratna writing in the Sunday Times (26-08-1990) disclosed the modus operandi of how to drive the Tamils out and settle Sinhalese in their lands in North/East. He wrote………
    “All wars are fought for land…The plan for settlement of people in Yan Oya and Malwathu Oya basins were worked out before the communal riots of 1983. Indeed the keenest minds in the Mahaweli, some of whom are holding top international positions were the architects of this plan. My role was that of an executor…
    We conceived and implemented a plan which we thought would secure the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka for a long time. We moved a large group of 45,000 land hungry (Sinhala) peasants into the Batticaloa and Polonaruwa Districts of Maduru Oya delta. The second step was to make a similar human settlement in the Yan Oya basin…..
    By settling the (Sinhala) people in the Maduru Oya we were seeking to have in the Batticaloa zone a mass of persons opposed to a separate state…Yan Oya if settled by non-separatists (Sinhala people) would have increased the population by about another 50,000. It would completely secure Trincomalee from the rebels…”

  • 3
    2

    Contd
    In 1984, a total of 13,288 Tamil families living in 42 villages for generations including Kokkulai GS Division (1516 Tamil families), Kokku –Thoduvai GS Division (3306 Tamil families), Vavuniya North GS Division (1342 Tamil families), Other Divisions of Mullaitheevu District including Naiyaru and Kumulamunai (2011 Tamil families) were asked to vacate their homes and farmlands within 48 hours on pain of eviction by force in case of default. This threat was issued by the army over the public address system.
    The Mahaweli ‘L’ zone was established specially for coconut cultivation and each Sinhalese family was given 5 acres of land consisting of ½ acre for residence, one-acre of irrigated land and 3 ½ acres for coconut.
    The Mahaweli Economic Agency (MEA) financed all development projects while Mahaweli Engineering and Construction Agency (MECA) handled all the construction works such as roads, electricity, houses etc
    In the late 1950s, Pihimbiyagollewe Dhammaloka Thero, who had settled in Padaviya, blocked Tamils being settled in the Eastern parts of the Padaviya colony with the auspices of the Sinhala politicians. Entire Padaviya settlement was turned to a Sinhala colony and later in 1980s the traditional Tamil villagers like Thennanmaravadi in the Eastern coast off Padaviya were also wiped out. Through this process, a wall of Sinhala villages was erected in between the Northern and Eastern Provinces. It can be observed that the colonization process in the age of the D.S. Senanayake aimed at undermining the separatist trends among the minorities. But the late colonization was attempts to spread Sinhala chauvinism.
    Herman Malinga Bandara, a civil servant engaged in colonization in Weli Oya has clearly hinted in his book ‘For a Sovereign State’ that Sinhala chauvinist interests were behind the setting up of Weli Oya colony in the north-eastern parts of Sri Lanka.

  • 2
    2

    Contd
    Weli Oya was later earmarked as Mahaweli L-zone. Under the original plan, 39,000 hectare land belonged to Anuradhapura, Vavuniya and Mullaitheevu administrative districts were divided into six zones. The architect of the Weli Oya colonization scheme was none other than Gamini Dissanayake. He was appointed in 1977 as the Minister of Irrigation, Power and Highways. Dissanayake spearheaded the Mahaweli Development Project. This was a huge project which was expected to take 30 years to finish. But Dissanayake managed to finish the project within 6 years. On April 11, 2003 as recognition of Gamini Dissanayake’s sincere and untiring commitment to the Mahaweli Programme, the government named the Kotmale Reservoir as the Gamini Dissanayake Reservoir.
    According to Mahaweli Authority, 5000 families were settled in wilily, 3364 of them were settled in legally allocated land and the others were squatters. Now a seventh zone (Weli Oya) has been added and during the 2014 Mahinda Rajapaksa gave away deeds to the land to over 3,000 Sinhalese families.
    The term genocide coined in 1945 by Raphael Lemkin, fits in with the planned and systematic colonization of the Tamil homeland, the objective of such a plan is the disintegration of the political
    and social institutions of culture, language, religion and land. The burning of the Jaffna library by the police and was a well organized act of destruction.
    As for burning of the Jaffna library, the scholar Nancy Maury recorded the extent of the damage caused to the Jaffna library by burning:
    “With several high-ranking Sinhalese security officers and two cabinet ministers, Cyril Mathew and Gamini Dissanayake (both self-confessed Sinhala supremacists) present in the town of Jaffna, uniformed security men and plainclothes thugs carried out some well organised acts of destruction. They burned to the ground certain chosen targets – including the Jaffna Public Library ,,,,,”

    • 3
      1

      Thank you, Thanga, for the valuable data outlining some of the crimes of Colonisation of Tamil land both by
      GoSL, Buddhist priests, recently arrived Muslims and other interested parties. We must here appreciate the fear of the Sinhalese of Separatism, whether real or imaginary being another matter. But I believe the issue could have been settled by negotiation – serious talk, talk and talk. Now it is almost impossible to regain the Status Quo. Yet, the situation is not impossible. A great injustice has been done to the Tamil Nation – by all Sinhala political parties. No less the Muslim.

      Ancient history tells us land in the NEP has been conquered, lost, reconquered and so on. You cannot entirely destroy the Tamil race in the area. They will surely prevail.

      R. Varathan

  • 3
    2

    YES HE WAS!!!!!!!!!!

  • 5
    2

    Of course he was. As were and are all Sinhala politicians. You can’t come to power in Sir Lanka without being a Sinhalese-Buddhist supremacist.
    After the July pogrom Mr. Saumyamoorthy Thondaman had spoken in parliament supporting Mr. Amirthalingam and the struggle of the people in the North for their rights. Referring to this when addressing the executive committee of the UNP’s Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union on 5 September 1983, at UNP Headquarters Sri Kotha, Minister Gamini Dissaneyeke made bloodcurdling threats against the Tamil people. He said among other things: “Our Buddhists priests and Sinhala youths have been enraged by this. We have calmed them with great difficulty. Who attached you? Sinhalese. Who protected you Sinhalese. It is we who can attack and protect you. They say they are bringing an army from India. It will take 14 hours to come from India. In 14 minutes the blood of every Tamil in the country can be sacrificed to the land by us. It is not written on anyone’s forehead that he is an Indian Tamil or Jaffna Tamil, a Batticaloa Tamil or upcountry Tamil, Hindu Tamil or Christian Tamil. All are Tamils”.

    • 2
      1

      Gamini D was inconsistent in his position about Tamils. Although there is room to argue he was not anti-Tamil, per se, he hardly concealed his prejudice against Indian Tamils. He did not enjoy the fact Thondaman (Snr) took most of the Indian Tamil votes in Nuwara Eliya District – GD’s electoral District. The latter and his voters were obstacles to GD’s political fortunes. In one election meeting in Nuwara Eliya he compared Indian Tamils to ticks in dogs. It was his supporters who burnt to death an entire family from an Indian Tamil business family of over a dozen, including children, young and older women in the town. These innocents had sought protection in a large Bungalow they took refuge in the feeling they were safe from attack that sad week in 7/83. The entire lot perished alive in flames. As far as I know the culprits were neither identified or prosecuted. So much for our Police impartiality and efficiency.

      I have also heard it said Gamini D is widely believed to have worked Sinhala thugs then with the assurance in a few minutes Sinhalese will finish every Tamil in the country. They almost succeeded, in a way. Did VP, therefore, order GD be asked to pay – to win Tamil support? Those were difficult and complicated days when even educated, good men turned into bestiality.

      Pandaranayagam

      ..

  • 4
    3

    Ayathuray:

    “Moreover, Gamini Dissanayake came forward to context the Presidential election with the sole view to solve the ethnic burning issue with a Federal structure. Might I say that the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake was blow to both the Sinhalse and the Tamils.”

    Either you are naive or you think the people are naive. All, I mean all of them, promise the sun and the moon and in those days campaign by promising to solve the ethnic issue but show me just one leader who kept that promise. So, what makes you think that Dissanayake would have been any different? Even written agreements were not honoured by these bunch of crooks and even written promises to a world body was thrown into the dustbin and you are telling us pantomime stories. If there is one thing that a common thread runs through all of them is, they want the Tamil votes but they want the Sinhalese patronage and between the two a genius like you can take a wild guess which way it has gone ALWAYS. Changing the spots of a sinhalese leader is like the sun rising in the west.

    • 3
      1

      I still maintain that the burning of the Jaffna Public library was shrouded with mystery. I agree to date the Sinhalese politicians were reluctant to enact laws to enable the Tamils to have their due rights. But in this issue, just because Gamini was seen at that time, does not mean he was involved in this crime. Let us get a proper answer for the following issues.
      1.Why was the Government Agent of Jaffna, Mr.Panchalingam killed by the LTTE? Why was he pressurized by the LTTE.
      2.Since the mega project of rebuidling Jaffna city including Palaly Airport and KKS harbour was proposed by the Government Agent of Jaffna, who else were having an eye on such project with the view to earn money.
      3. Who was the Permanent Secretary for Cyril Mathew’s Ministry? Was he related V.Prabaharan?
      4. Who brought those 80 JSS hooligans in two buses to Jaffna during the DDC election?
      5. Why were Gamini Dissanayake, Lalith Athulathmudali and Ronnie de Mel not in good terms with R.Premadasa?
      6. Why did Gamini Dissanayake sent his Security guards to the residence where the TULF leaders A.Amirthalingam, M.Sivasithamparam and V.Yogeswaran when the LTTE desried to meet them?
      7. Why did A.Amirthalingam, M.Sivasithamparam, V.Yogeswaran, Kumar Ponnampalam and Motilal Nehru immediately said that Gamini Dissnayake had no hand at all in the burning of the Jaffna Public library? Have they known the culprit who was instrumental for the incident and remained silent because of the embarassing situation?
      8. Who were the associates of Cyril Mathew within the UNP?
      9. Were there two factions within the UNP, one of which was grumbling over Gamini Dissanayake because he was very close to J.R.Jayawardene and could get things done swiftly?
      10. Was the faction led by Cyril Mathew and his associates fuming over Gamini Dissanayake, Lalith Athulathmudali and Ronnie de Mel who were friendly with the TULF politicians?
      11. Do you know when Gamini contested the Presidential election, he was for Federalism and when died after the bombing, even his wife Srima Dissanayake contested the Presidential election on solving the ethnic issue with Federalism?
      The list is long. It is easier to make allegations but cannot accuse a person without any concrete evidence. The conclusion we can arrive is that Gamini Dissanayake was a victim of circumstances.

      • 1
        0

        Billion dollars valuable answers behind those questions !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 4
    0

    Mr. Pelpola is trying to rehabilitate himself under the guise of writing to correct an incorrect impression from 30 years ago. Where were you all these years? Oops sorry, in Los Angeles. Let’s not talk about the Mahaweli bribe money that bought real estate particularly in Australia.

  • 3
    0

    It was indeed to the personal advantage of JR Jayawardene that records pertaining to his family in the Jaffna library be destroyed.

    Gamini Dissanayake, however stated in Parliament as follows: “‘We do not wish to minimise in any way the untold damage that has been done……………I saw it and I was shocked……… These police officers have run beserk………I am sorry for the violence that has been perpetrated in the Jaffna peninsula. I think we are all responsible.””
    .
    From this is very clear that Dissanayake was present in in Jaffna when the incident took place . He might have have .not been personally responsible for the burning the libraray. Bensen

    • 3
      0

      Bensen Berner

      “Gamini Dissanayake, however stated in Parliament as follows: “‘We do not wish to minimise in any way the untold damage that has been done……………I saw it and I was shocked……… These police officers have run beserk………I am sorry for the violence that has been perpetrated in the Jaffna peninsula. I think we are all responsible.””

      Did he actually state this in the parliament? Could you cite the source.

      He was reported to have said, “it will take Indians 45 minutes to land here, we will finish off the Tamils in 20 minutes”

      Many among the Colombo chattering classes believed he was Hindia’s RAW man in the Sri Lankan government. It was said New Delhi used to receive all cabinet discussion/decision papers within 24 hours. Now probably Hindians have instant access.

  • 1
    1

    The war victory and the elimination of LTTE Tamil paramilitary group should have been done under the leadership of Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake.

    If that was the case then Sri Lanka would have been in a better situation than what it is today.

    These were the smart Sinhala politicans in the modern era, sadly elimninated by either LTTE or Premadasa.

  • 4
    1

    Yes he was a damm racist

    Its not whether he physically lit the match that burnt the library but here was there with Cyril Matthew and knew what was going on nd kept quiet later which makes him an accomplice

    Officers of the Jaffna Police who are now retired have verified the facts that Gamin and Cyril were there

    Carlo (Nutty) Fonseka and vicious Edward Gunanawardana can try to distort facts and re-write hsroty with lies but the actual facts never change

    Gamini Dissanayake would have by now answered his maker in heaven for his deeds on earth……

  • 3
    0

    I don’t know if Gamini D was directly involved in the burning down of the Jaffna Library. I knew him as a
    cultured man – with several close Tamil friends. Thanks to his personal intervention some elite Tamils in
    Colombo and their assets were spared by those Sinhala Buddhist heroes of 7/83. However, he would not have gone out of his way against Cyril Mathew and JRJ – out to “teach the LTTE” a lesson by harming Tamils all over the island in what went down in history as the “9am – 5pm communal riot” GD, after all, is the man who, to a large extent, created that dangerous thug in robes Elle Gunawansa. It is said it was GD who helped Gunawansa Thero to illegally occupy that valuable land at Baudhaloka Mawatha – opposite the BMICH. Mathew’s right hand man in the Jaffna operation was that killer, thug and gangster from the Boralesgamuwa area – Gamini Lokuge of the then JSS. Lokuge was out to please both his bosses (named here)He was later rewarded with Cabinet positions both by the UNP and the SLFP..

    As to the role and evidence of ex- Policeman Edward G the less about this bitter anti-Tamil the better. I smile when I read the man writing on this, that and the other regularly in the media pretending to be an upright and decent citizen. Rajan Hoole has written at length about the role played by this racialist during that time in Jaffna. .I believe Hoole’s “Arrogance of Power” has much to record about Edward G – loudly claiming to be a practising Catholic

    Kettikaran

  • 0
    0

    There were rumours afloat during the period of the UNP government’s inspired 1983 racial riots that GD had helped his friend the late Tamil leader SJV’s son Chandrahasan to escape to Chennai.
    Perhaps he may have an clue if GD was indeed a racist and was in any way involved with the burning of the Jaffna Public Library.

    • 1
      0

      I think that it is true that he helped SCC.
      Even Kumar Ponnambalam is known to have sworn by Gamini D that he was not the kind to do such wicked things.

      Communalism is of two broad kinds: one personal, based on bitter person experience; the other political.

      The first category tends to hate people of a group individually.
      The second has no personal animosity but acts on a policy of hurting a community. Such people are kind to personal friends irrespective of ethnicity.
      The first is more easily cured than the second.

  • 3
    0

    Oh Mr Palpola

    GD was in Jaffna for a meeting at Veerasingham Hall on that day. He was behind the burning of the library that night and damaging house of Mr yogeswarn whom he could not counter in the parliament. We know few fellows like you are trying to whitewash the racit GD. Carlo is an old fox every one knows , he will wait till he gets a chance to score another racist in sheeps cloths

  • 0
    0

    DNA evidence is Lankans (except for the Veddhahs) are of the same race – Indian subcontinent origin. Lankan predicament is exploitation by politicians of language/religious divide. So technically Gamini D was not a racist. Was he an uncouth politician? Yes yes yes. He socialized/associated with bigots of the ilk of JR J and Cyril Mathew. The Jaffna Library was about 100 m as the crow flies from the Jaffna Rest House. Gamini and Mathew were there that fateful night. Would have heard the carnage.

    Palitha Pelpola: “…………. June 1, 1981, burning the library………… was one of the most vicious examples of ‘ethnic biblioclasm’ of the 20th century”
    The word is “bibiliocide”

    Word about this Carlo Fonseka. He literally shed tears when he heard about the burning of Jaffna Library. He was a so-called leftist at that time. He found out that he cannot exploit this for long and when the Edward G canard arrived he latched on to it. For this somersault he got the job (along with perks) President of Sri Lanka Medical Council. Right now he is waiting for the instructions as to what to do with SAITM.

  • 5
    0

    Palitha Pelpola then answer these two questions

    1) WAS GAMINI DISSANAYAKE CORRUPT OR NOT ?

    2) Were you corrupt or not during the period you worked for GD ?

    You may refer the oxford dictionary for the meaning of corruption.

  • 4
    0

    Was Gamini Dissanayake A Racist?

    Yes, no doubt.

    Not just Gamini. All the Sinhala politicians are racists. Reason? Very simple – if you are not a racist and anti-Tamil or anti-Muslim you cannot be in Sinhala politics and become an MP or Provincial Councillor.

    The same applies to the Tamil politicians. If a Tamil politician fail to utter at least a word against the Sinhalese, he cannot be a Tamil politician.

    Each side is helping the other.

    Muslim politicians are no different. In the East, for a Muslim politician to become an MP you must be anti-Tamil.

    The problem is not with the individual politicians. The problem is with the politics of Sri Lanka and the political system of Sri Lanka.

    If not for this political system, we would not have had a Sinhala-Tamil problem and we would not have created a Pirapaharan.

    • 0
      0

      The inconvenient truth is, arguably, since post-1956 the system has made both Sinhala and Tamils racists in one form or the other. The late-comers, our Muslim cousins, joined the club in the late 1980s after Ashraf made his reckless bid for the Muslim leadership. To a large extent, he created the division in the Muslim community resulting in separate identities of NEP Muslims and those in the rest of the country. Even the most strident denier of this reality cannot deny they speak their mother tongue – Tamil – differently.

      Can the communities rid themselves of their weakness in the near future? Will the 75/80% majority Sinhalese
      offer leadership in this feature wherein can lie our much needed national salvation.

      Pandaranayagam

    • 0
      0

      It is SWRD like people who screwed it up. They should have followed what the west is doing.

      See australia, USA, NEw Zealand and even europe. do immigrents talk about how many centuries they are living there ?

  • 1
    0

    He is a racist , He was present at all the places where violence against Tamil people their properties happened. He was in Jaffna when the Jaffna library one of the best in Asia got burned. He was present in up country area when violence against Indian origin Tamils in these areas erupted. He was one of the chief architects of Tamils being ethnically cleansed overnight in the Manal Aru area in the 1990s and the area literally renamed in Sinhalese Welioya and thousands of out of area Sinhalese from the south were settled in these ethnically cleansed Tamil villages in the Manal Aru area.
    Everywhere there was large scale violence against Tamils or Tamils ethnically cleansed he was there or these incidents happened as soon as he left. It is not one isolated incident but too many. He was a nasty racist Sinhalese politician just like all of them. Including the present ones

    • 0
      2

      Real Sankaran,

      Architect of Weli Oya was Lalith Athulathmudali. Both Lalith and Gamini are both loved and respected by the sinhala people. To us they are real Patriots, to you Thalayas they were racists. It is these two who came to my mind immediately when I saw the dead body of keri prabakaran.

      Talking about Weli Oya, I have personally visited this place a few times during the war days. The ones who remained there even during the war days were a really tough bunch. They vowed never to leave.

      For your information, more and more sinhala settlements are taking place in Vavuniya , Mullativu and Batticalo.Muslims are planning similar settlements in Mannar. Only Jaffna will not be touched in a large scale.

      In time to come Vanni and batti will also be out for you thalayas. Your only hope is to take it up in the UN/International forum and stop this if you think you can. Try to brainwash the west with your fairy tales.
      Having interacted with the foreign embassies in Colombo, I know whose narration of history they would believe.

      • 3
        0

        ravi Perera the Sinhala speaking Demela

        “Both Lalith and Gamini are both loved and respected by the sinhala people.”

        Both were public racists and Sinhala/Buddhist have lots of affection /love/respect, …..for them because they were the worst kind of war criminals and perpetrators of war crimes against humanity.

        As minister for national security Lalith was the theoretical physicist who invented barrel bomb which were periodically dropped from sky sometimes filled with toxic materials, sometimes human feces, possibly when he ran out of chemicals.

        “In time to come Vanni and batti will also be out for you thalayas.”

        I suggest you start learning Hindi and practice Modi brand of Hinduism. Hindians consider Sri Lanka as the Sinhala state of Hindia, may be North East will be merged with TamilNadu.

        However I propose that Sinhala/Buddhists be granted a 10 square mile area in the deep south to build their promised Sinhala/Buddhist Ghetto.

        somass, you and others may benefit from such a ghetto, of course surrounded by a Trump Israeli wall and rest of the people hopefully can live in peace.

        • 0
          2

          Ado Thala Vedda,

          “Both were public racists and Sinhala/Buddhist have lots of affection /love/respect, …..for them because they were the worst kind of war criminals and perpetrators of war crimes against humanity.”

          Correct especially when the racism is directed at Thalayas.

          “As minister for national security Lalith was the theoretical physicist who invented barrel bomb which were periodically dropped from sky sometimes filled with toxic materials, sometimes human feces, possibly when he ran out of chemicals.”

          Correct.

          “I suggest you start learning Hindi and practice Modi brand of Hinduism. Hindians consider Sri Lanka as the Sinhala state of Hindia, may be North East will be merged with TamilNadu. “

          This will never happen. If at all Hindia will take control of Jaffan and run it themselves. Vanni and East no way. We can sort that out with India, Rajives Ghost is on our side.

          • 2
            0

            ravi Perera the Sinhala speaking Demela

            “This will never happen. If at all Hindia will take control of Jaffan and run it themselves.”

            The Sinhala/Buddhist noisy minority proposes and Hindia disposes what it deem good for the little islanders.

            Remember when in 1987 five An-32s and 2 Mirage 2000s roared over the skies of this island Lions were hiding behind their women folks later behind VP’s bump.

            Do you know what was Pakistan before 1971 and after? Do you also remember 90,000 Pakistani war criminals surrendered to Hindian armed forces?

            Do you also remember VP was the only person to fight and evict an invading foreign army in the past 450 years?

            “Vanni and East no way. We can sort that out with India, Rajives Ghost is on our side.”

            Rajive’s Ghost also remembers Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva, JR, R Premadasa, Athulath, ……. and those who armed LTTE.

            • 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/

              • 2
                0

                ravi Perera the Sinhala speaking Demela

                Brilliant

                Thanks

                Keep up your good self destructive work but remember,

                To be angry is to revenge the faults of others on ourselves. Alexander Pope

  • 0
    0

    Palitha Pelpola
    “tell me single Sinhala Minister/MP who is not a racist or did not support racist policies against the Tamils?

    • 1
      0

      Dr Fonseka (not fit to be called Professor as he has not contributed to the expansion of knowledge in physiology apart from being a good teacher which is required for Professor Emeritus status) should see this, the wolf in sheep’s cloths

  • 0
    0

    “Nevertheless, propagandists of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and its Presidential Candidate in 1994 went to town on this unfounded allegation that Gamin was behind the burning of the library.”

    People saw Gamini Dissanyake and Athulathmudali there large as life and with their own eyes.

    My first cousins are witnesses. No Jaffna person believes your lie.

    When you lie you share in their sin.

    Both were heartless racists fighting to be the next President.

  • 1
    0

    Racialism in Sri Lanka is not new. The 6th Amendment is a case in point to show that Sinhalese politicians were driven with racialism to the extent of challenging the freedom of speech and thought of the Tamils. But Gamini Dissanayake has contradicted himself when he supported the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord. In fact, he was the Minister-in-attendance when the Peace Accord was signed between J.R.Jayawardena and Rajiv Gandhi and R.Premadasa or Cyril Mathew were never given importance. This is what is confusing about Gamini Dissanayake. I think someone can point out how the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord neutralized the 6th Amendment and why Gamini Dissanayake was in favour of the 13th Amendment.

  • 0
    0

    Palitha Pelpola.

    Gamini Dissanayake was not involved in the burning of the Jaffna Library eh?
    Why are you trying to whitewash him,after so many years?
    Besides you are relying on that blackguard DIG Edward Gunawardena?
    Surely,R.S.Pelpola your Speaker father would have certainly frowned on the behaviour of GD?
    The universal view is that GD was responsible!

  • 0
    0

    This burning of the Jaffna Library is probably the most disgraceful event in the history of the Sinhalese. It is difficult to believe that someone with GD’s background (Trinity plus Cambridge) could order such an act. If he was involved (I hold no opinion), then certainly the karma came back in 1994.

    • 1
      0

      Lalith Athuhmudali with his background (Royal, Oxford and Harward) was solely instrumental in organising the 1981 riots against Tamils in the south. He is also accused of playing a major part in the 1983 riots as well as the atrocities committed by the armed forces on during his tenure as minister of national security. Of course Gamini (opportunistic) was a less racist than Lalith (inborn).

      • 0
        0

        You are wrong about LA. He helped many Tamils in Colombo.Calling him a racist because he was the Defense Minister is a faulty assumption. The job of a Defense Minister is to protect the country first, including enacting extraordinary security measures when necessary.

        • 1
          0

          Lester

          “You are wrong about LA. He helped many Tamils in Colombo.Calling him a racist because he was the Defense Minister is a faulty assumption”

          The post of minister of defense was to protect the country firstly from invading forces not killing your own innocent people. When Hindia sent its war planes Mirage 2000 violating our airspace that was the occasion when defense minister should have scrambled his air force planes to chase away and stopped operation Poomalai.

          Lalith Athulathmudali was the Minister of National Security while J. R. Jayewardene was the minister of defence.

          Didn’t Lalith Athulathmudali hire foreign mercenaries to fly Sri Lankan air force helicopters which were used to shit bomb the North, sometimes to drop barrel bombs containing cocktail of different toxic liquids?

  • 1
    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/

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.