25 September, 2020

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‘Wijeweera’s Daughter’

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

‘Wijeweera’s Daughter’. The title of a tragic novel that might never get written.

The families of failed revolutionaries (or terrorists, extremists and insurgents if you prefer that nomenclature) tend to be a far cry from beds of roses, especially if the particular individual has perished in battle.  The near and dear of those who are successful in capturing power are talked about.  Others fade away and become less and less newsworthy.

In the aftermath of the LTTE military leadership being vanquished, there was curiosity about Prabhakaran’s parents. For a while.  Ironically (and thanks to painstaking efforts to twist context for the purpose of myth-making and mythologizing) enduring newsworthiness was obtained more from the dead, especially the terrorist leader’s younger son’s dead body.

The families of other slain LTTE leaders, in particular S.P. Thamilselvan and Sea Tiger chief Soosai, interestingly were accorded the privilege of leaving the LTTE-held narrow neck of land without pain of punishment (others were shot at in order to discourage).  We know that the Sri Lankan Government takes care of them, that they live in comfort and gratitude and that the children are adequately insulated from the bloody history their fathers forged over several decades. They attend good schools and go about sans stigma of any kind.

But what of the JVP leader’s family?  Rohana Wijeweera was apprehended on November 12, 1989. He was at the time posing off as a planter, living in Kotmale using the name ‘Attanayake’.  He was shot dead under suspicious circumstances a couple of days later.  At the time, he had 5 children, four girls and a boy who was the youngest. His wife Chitrangani was pregnant with his sixth child.

Fourteen years have passed.  With the assassination of Wijeweera followed by the crushing of insurrection, public attention shifted to other things.  We’ve had three Presidents after the man who presided over the decimation of the JVP was himself killed. We had 4 general elections.  A thirty year long war was ended. A debilitating tsunami served to obliterate a lot of things, not just landscapes.  Chitrangani and her children were naturally forgotten.

The news since 1989 was sketchy. It was reported that the family, spurned by their own relatives, were forced to seek shelter with the Army and later the Navy.  They lived in relative obscurity in Trincomalee. The children did reasonably well in school and passed their exams.  They were moved to better schools in Colombo.  A surprise visit by Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was Minister of Fisheries had resulted, it is said, in the family being moved to the Navy facility in Welisara.

A few years ago Wijeweera’s family stirred public interest again; this was on the occasion of the second daughter getting married.  The newsworthiness came from the fact that leaders of the breakaway group led by Wimal Weerawansa arriving at the function, upon invitation of course.  The party had done what they could for the family, apparently, supporting Chitrangani and the children financially and helping them organize the wedding.  Tempers naturally were frayed.  That’s news.  Wijeweera’s family, however, were incidental to the story.  Happened. Faded away.

And then, just the other day, they made news again.  The eldest daughter was arrested by the Police following a complaint made by Chitrangani.  The girl, now 32, unmarried, apparently got into an argument with her brother and assaulted him as well as her mother who had tried to intervene.

That day of assault, however, was not random.  This girl, Eesha, probably the only one in the family who was fully cognizant of the tragedy that befell them in November 1989, is said to have been as or more intelligent and studious as her siblings.  There was a difference, however.  She was wont to stare into space, to try count the stars in the night sky and spend long hours outside their ‘quarters’ in the Trincomalee Naval Base in complete silence.  According to her mother, Eesha was a ‘difficult’ child, given to long bouts of brooding and ever ready to pick a fight with her siblings.  She would lash out with tongue and fist, we are made to understand.  On one occasion she had swallowed a fistful of pills that was part of her mother’s medication.  That would count as a suicide attempt. She had to be flown to Colombo for treatment after she lost consciousness.

Then this.

There is of course only so much that anyone can do, the State included. The party has done what it could.  The Government has intervened.  Apart from Eesha, the other children have grown up, educated themselves and are leading normal lives.  A lot to be thankful for, one might say, given circumstances.  And then again there would be many who would find no reason to pity or be generous, considering all the children orphaned, all the families torn apart and all the lives laid waste by the acts of their father.  Just as the terrible tragedy of a 12 year old boy called Balachandran being shot dead is ‘dismissed’ by referring to the crimes his father is guilty of.

Children, however, are not to be blamed.  We do not know if this girl’s condition was wrought by ordeals she had to contend with at a tender age or if it was due to something totally unconnected to that tragic turn of events.  All we know is that Wijeweera is dead.  The girl had no father figure in her growing up years.  As unfortunate as any other fatherless girl.  As deserving of attention.  Not because who she is but in spite of who she is.

Bottom line.  She didn’t get closure.  Her father bears responsibility. We do too.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

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    I think this child had grown up in the middle of lot of Trauma.

    See needs lot of Psychiatric help. I don’t think President or any other would help unless they can score, some thing personally on this for them.

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    Glad we will not face similar problems from Prabakaran’s daughter!! :)

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    “We do not know if this girl’s condition was wrought by ordeals she had to contend with at a tender age or if it was due to something totally unconnected to that tragic turn of events.”

    It is in the genes.Wijeweera was a crackpot.One look at him with his beard and cap and you don’t need to look twice to confirm that.The mother looked a decent normal woman.When the two genes are mixed you get better offspring than wijeweera because his DNA would have got diluted by his wife’s.Unfortunately one of the offspring has a spot of bother because it has been diluted but not as much as the other children.Her mother says “is said to have been as or more intelligent and studious as her siblings. There was a difference, however. She was wont to stare into space, to try count the stars in the night sky and spend long hours outside their ‘quarters’ in the Trincomalee Naval Base in complete silence. According to her mother, Eesha was a ‘difficult’ child, given to long bouts of brooding and ever ready to pick a fight with her siblings. She would lash out with tongue and fist, we are made to understand.”

    I would be amazed if wijeweera too had not been like this when he was a child.All this BS of trying to change the country etc is just an outlet for the DNA that would have been tormenting him.Not his fault,it would be there in his family tree.We are what our DNA is and cannot help behaving the way we do. For centuries dog breeders have known this when they started with the wolves.They would select the cubs that have show interest in humans and discard the rest into the wild.Then with selective breeding they get them better and better with the qualities that the humans like and want.

    Main thing is to select a partner who has not got your defects in your DNA.If you are hot tempered select a partner who is cool tempered.If you have a history of diabetes or cancer in your family don’t get a partner who has the same because the chances are the children will also get it.Diabetes+diabetes=diabetes.Diabetes+ cancer=only 50 or less chance of getting either.This way of selecting partners will reduce with every generation potential problems for them.

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      Please no damn DNA! This is obviously the post-traumatic reaction of this child :/

    • 0
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      Shankar, you are an idiot.

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        Jim,thanks,i value criticism and am wary of those who praise me.

        However unless you tell me why i’am an idiot,i will not be able to take corrective measures and improve myself and one day even beat a brilliant guy like you.

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        He is more than just an idiot. He is a bloody idiot. Fool!

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    Here he goes, again! The butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth hypocrite now trying to write “human interest” stories!
    I dare say this paid lackey of the government will succeed with those village idiots writing in defence of the GoSL continue to contribute their two cents worth to the writing of CT’s regular contributors.
    This man is truly without shame and certainly remembered to look for his usual Brownie Points from the usual source by mentioning the “humane” conduct of his mentor when that worthy was Minister of Fisheries. Perhaps, the owner of The Nation can reward him with a few more crumbs from the Rajapassa table?
    One can hardly be surprised that this guy shares an Ivy League alma mater with George W. Bush!

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      Now I’m not one of the writer’s henchmen okay… But what’s the point of ranting it on him? are u JVP or why u are so worried about Rohana’s daughter coming back to records? this isn’t obviously aimed at crediting the goodwill accounts of Moda Raja and his company but this is more or less an eye-opener for those who blow big big farts about war crimes and tiger slaying of SL army I reckon.

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    i do not know about this wijeweera or other veerayas who sacrficed their life but one thing we know is that the cildren of MR are doing far better off than the children of these veerayas who gave up their life.

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      “one thing we know is that, the children of MR are doing far better off than the other children are.

      Of COURSE ;
      do not ask any questiones.

      At the EXPNESE OF TAX PAYERS MONEY AND LOOTING, PLUNDERING OF NATIONAL COFFERS.

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    At the bottom of it all I have this question for u Mr. Editor-in-chief :)
    why you state here

    Apart from Eesha, the other children have grown up, educated themselves and are leading normal lives.

    Come on! except the fact that she was a firsthand witness of the said tragedy, there’s nothing unusual about her agressiveness… at least to me.

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    a good article by Malinda and please people dont vent your anger on that mad hatter Wijeweera on his daughter she seems to be the unfortunate outcome of that fellows madness

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    A thoughtful article.

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    Another artfully crafted piece by the mostly misunderstood Malinda, showing us the humanitarian and egalitarian side of his outlook on life. Great guy who I love to love.

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