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Myths, Decadence & Murder

by Rajan Hoole



1.            Authoritarianism and the Crisis of Identity                                 

1.1           Patriotism and Skewed Histories                                                                            

1.2           Roots and Implications of Sinhalese-Buddhist Ideology                               

1.3           The Citizenship Acts and the Birth of the Federal party                 

1.4           Tamils: A Self-imposed Isolation?                                                                             

1.5           The Left Alternative in Sri Lanka                                                                    

2              Antecedents of July 1983 and the Foundations of Impunity                               

2.1            Humiliation and Rebellion                                                                                 

2.2           The PSO                                                                                                               

2.3           The Murder of Alfred Duraiappah                                                                          

2.4           The Tamils and Official History                                                                    

2.5           de Kretzer and Sansoni on the IATR Conference Incident                

2.6           Events in Jaffna and the Violence of 1977                                                  

2.7           Behind the 1977 Violence                                                                                

2.8           The Reality beneath the Sansoni Report                                                   

2.8.1        The UNP’s New Culture of State Violence

2.8.2        The Heroes of Anuradhapura

2.8.3        The Radio Message that Ignited the Island

2.9           The Strains on Judicial Integrity                                                                 

2.10       ‘Sinhala Only’ and its Effects on Ceylon’s Legal Tradition                              

2.11         The Culture of Impunity                                                                                              

3              1979 - 83: The Mounting Repression                                                          

3.1           The Tamil Polity: From Ambivalence to Violence                              

3.2           The Left in the Tamil Struggle                                                                

3.3           The Tamil Leadership after the 1977 Elections                                             

3.4           The PTA and its Effects                                                                                   

3.5           Turmoil and the Art of Governance                                                                         

3.6           The Gandhiyam                                                                                                      

4              Count Down to July 1983                                                                    

4.1           Stirrings in the Press                                                                                     

4.2           PSO in Force                                                                                                    

4.3           Human Rights and Paranoia                                                                

4.4           Indian Concern                                                                                             

4.5           The Daily Telegraph Interview                                                                            

4.6                 Madness in the Air                                                                                       

4.7           Violence against Tamils at Peradeniya University: A Portent?                

4.7.1        The incidents                                                                                                             

4.7. 2       Salient Features                                                                                               

4.7  3       Background to the attack                                                                             

4.7. 4       Tell-tale signs of UNP involvement                                                                       

4.8           Portents for Black July and After                                                                      

5              The Dress Rehearsal in Trincomalee                                                   

5.1           The New Frontiersmen                                                                                    

5.2           The Politics and Economics of Frontier land                                                      

5.3           The New Bosses                                                                                                 

5.4                 Research, Ideology and State Policy

                in Relation to Trincomalee                                                                                       

5.5           Living at the End of One’s Nerves                                                              

5.6           June 1983: Anarchy Loosed                                                                  

6              Sinhalese and Tamils: The Widening Gulf                                                    

6.1           Southern Perceptions Mid - 1983                                                                            

6.2           Among Christians                                                                                           

7              Taming the Judiciary and the Legacy of the 1982 Referendum               

7.1           The UNP and the Judiciary                                                                               

7.2           The UNP Mob vs The Judiciary   (11 June ’83)                                                                                           

7.3           The 3rd and 4th Amendments to the Constitution                                

7.4           The 1982 Referendum and July 1983                                                          

7.5           The Referendum and its Implications for Parliament                                                                            

8              State and Media Repression against Tamil Political Activists               

8.1           The Marx Centenary Detainees                                                                

8.2            Government Blitz against Gandhiyam in the ‘Independent’ Media

 8.3           Rajasundaram: Legitimate Detention or Prelude to Murder,

                Even Judicial Murder?

 8.4           The Priests, Dons and Doctor Case                                                                       

8.5           Dr. Tharmalingam and Kovai Mahesan                                                            

8.6           A Proposed Amendment to the PTA                                              

8.7           The Killing of Escaping Detainees!                                                                 

9              Sri Lanka’s Black July                                                                                     

9.1          Preliminaries                                                                                                    

9.2           The Government and   the Violence of July 1983                                                                                   

9.3           Borella, 24th Evening                                                                                      

9.4           What really happened at Kanatte?                                                                          

9.5            Jayewardene’s Failure to Declare Curfew                                                                                           

9.6           Other testimony regarding the violence                                            

9.7           The Cover Up                                                                                                        

9.8           30th July 1983: The Second Naxalite Plot                                                        

9.9           The Testimony of Lionel Bopage, then General Secretary of the JVP                                                                           

9.10          Thondaman & Muttetuwegama                                                            

9.11         What was behind Tiger Friday - 29th July? -The Significance of the Pettah                                                            

9.12         Tamil Merchants in the Pettah - Post July 1983                                    

9.13         A family’s Tragedy in Colombo                                                                           

9.14         A note on Buddhism, Caste & the New Sinhalese Nationalism                                                                         

9.15         The Question of Numbers                                                                                        

10            The Welikade Prison Massacres                                                                       

10.1         An Acknowledgement                                                                                          

10.2         The First Massacre: 25th July 1983                                                                             

10.3          Circumstances leading to the Magistrate’s Inquest                                

10.4         The Second Massacre: 27th July 1983                                                          

10.5          Postscript                                                                                                          

11            July 1983: Planned by the State or Spontaneous Mob Action? 

11.1         Official Claims                                                                                                

11.2         Other Cabinet Ministers                                                                                               

11.3         Not a Sudden Outburst                                                                               

11.4         Events of 24th July – the Eve of the Holocaust                                            

11.4.1      Who wanted a military funeral?                                                               

11.4.2      Failure to declare curfew                                                                            

11.5         What were the Army’s orders?                                                               

11.6         Further Evidence of Advance


11.7         The JSS Goon Squad Regime                                                                

11.8         Institutional Implications of the JSS and Black July                                     

11.9         Kelaniya University: March 1978                                                                   

11.10       The Welikade Prison Massacres                                                      

11.10.1    Some Circumstances Concerning the Prison Massacres                            

11.10.2    The Security Council & Army                                                     

11.10.3    Mr. Rogers Jayasekere (RJ)                                                         

11.10.4    Gonawela Sunil                                                                                                   

11.10.5    Sepala Ekanayake                                                                                         

11.10.6    The Massacre of 27th July                                                                                       

11.10.7    Further Indirect Evidence of State Involvement                                        

11.11       Remarks & Testimonies in Retrospect:                                                      

12            Some Missing Threads                                                                     

12.1          Jayewardene and Mathew                                                                                           

12.2         Cabinet Ministers and the Welikade Prison Massacres                                                                  

12.3         Alle Gunawanse – A Missing Link?                                        

12.4         The Events at Kanatte on the Evening of 24th July                                                                    

12.5         Relation of Events at Kanatte to the Outbreak of Violence              

12.6         Tiger Friday – 29 July                                                                 

12.7         Jayewardene Confers with Gunawanse and the Search for a Scapegoat                                              

12.8         Indira Gandhi, Gunawanse and the Left                                                 

12.9         Planned Violence and Its Significance                                               

13            Sri Lanka: A Haunted Nation –  The Social Underpinnings of Communal Violence         

13.1         Adrift                                                                                                   

13.2         The SLFP                                                                                         

13.3         Exorcising Reds and Eelamists                                                                  

13.4         Other Minority Groups and the July Violence                       

13.5         The CCNH Document                                                             

13.6          Obfuscation of Tamil Grievances                                        

13.7         India and Plantation Labour                                       

13.8         The Legacy of the Citizenship Act                                                          

13.9         The Tamil Homeland Question                                                               

13.10       Smashing the Tamil Homeland                                                            

13.11       Scholars and the Tamil Homeland                                                 

13.12       The Red Herring of Ancient Possession                                                                             

13.13       Ethnicity: The Futility of Backward Projection                                                              

13.14       The Separation of Tamils

                A Refugee’s Farewell                                                                              

14            The Rise and Fall of the Tamil Militancy and the International

                Legal Implications of the Government’s Counter-Insurgency               

14.1         The Road to Brutalisation                                                                                     

14.2         The Madura Oya Fiasco                                                                           

14.3         On to Weli Oya                                                                                                              

14.4          Sinhalese Settlers: Heroes or Victims?                                                          

14.5         International and Legal Implications  of Weli Oya and its Aftermath                                                                             

14.6         Land – A Raw Nerve                                                                                      

14.7         Jockeying for Succession                                                                               

14.8         The Degradation of the Tamil Cause and the Indo-Lanka Accord                                                               

15            The Indo-Lanka Accord and

                Sri Lanka’s Fault Lines: July 1987                                    

15.1          Disregard for Humanitarian Norms  and a Flawed Liberation Struggle   

15.2           Massacres of Sinhalese Civilians                                                      

15.3         The Indo-Lanka Accord and the

                Crisis for the LTTE - The High Cost

                of Politics through Rhetoric                                                      

15.4         The Southern Polity                                                                         

15.4.1      The JVP: Towards a second comeback                                        

15.4.2      The JVP and the SLFP                                                                  

15.4.3      The UNP                                                                                     

15.4.4      The Coming of the Indian Army                                               

15.4.5      The Left and Other Pro-Accord Sections                               

15.5         The Brutalisation of the Tamil Polity                                   

15.6         The Role of the IPKF and a Sequel                                                   

15.7         Weli Oya and the Political

                Necessity  for Permanent Refugees                                                             

16            The Year 1988: The Red Moon Over

                Sri Lanka and the Dawn  of New Wisdom                             

16.1         Early 1988: Conspiracies Galore                                                   

16.2          Jayewardene Quits                                                                  

16.3         The Human Rights Question in the South                                                                               

16.4         The Presidential Election Campaign                                                  

16.5         JVP Demands and the Coalition Government Interlude                  

16.6         Some Remarkable Events and Premadasa’s Victory                           

16.7         New Wisdom: But Alas, Too Brief and Fleeting                                  

17            1989: The Eclipse of the JVP and the Perplexity of the Left                     

17.1          Premadasa’s Appeal to the JVP and the LTTE                           

17.2         The JVP’s Bid for Power & the Government Response                      

17.3         The PRRA (Peoples Revolutionary Red Army)                                     

17.4         Disillusioned Revolutionaries                                                         

17.5         Post JVP Dilemmas                                                                            

17.6         Findings of the Disappearance Commissions                                              

17.7         The JVP’s Malignant Legacy                                                       

18            The 1990s: The Culture of Untruth and a Perilous Vacuum         

18.1         A Flawed Triumph and Dilemmas of the Elite                           

18.2         The Assassination of Ranjan Wijeratne                                              

18.3         The Rise and Fall of the BSO: Crisis Management UNP Style                           

18.4         The Impeachment Crisis                                                                   

18.5          Wijetunge: President of the Transition                                      

18.6         1995 - The PA Government and the Continuing Vacuum             

18.7         Embilipitiya Schoolboys’ Affair -   The Thin End of the Wedge  

18.8         The Culture of Untruth                                                                    

18.9         A Wider Responsibility                                                                               

18.10     Overcoming the Logic of Terror                                                        

19           Political Murders, the Commissions and the Unfinished Task      

19.1        Impressions and Flawed Evidence                                                           

19.2         A Note on the Kobbekaduwe Commission Report                              

19.3         The Premadasa Assassination                                                             

19.4         Other Testimony on the Premadasa Murder  

19.5         The Disappearance of Ananda Sunil - 27th July 1983                            

19.6         The Athulathmudali Assassination                                                          

19.7         Ragunathan’s Disappearance                                            

19.8         The Vijaya Kumaratunge Assassination                                             

19.8.1      Criticism of Commission Findings                                             

19.8.2      The Underworld in Piliyandala                                                            

19.8.3      Links to the Daya Pathirana Murder                                     

19.8.4     Piliyandala: The Political World and Underworld                                

19.8.5      The Police Investigation into the VK Murder               

19.8.6      Discrepancies in Proceedings: The Harsha Abhayawardena Case    

19.8.7      What Was Behind the Kumaratunge Murder?                                                

19.9         JVP - UNP Links?                                                                                        

19.10        Distorting History                                                                                         

20            Border Aggression and Civilian Massacres                                         

20.1          Massacres & Institutional Blindness                                                   

20.2         Opting out of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Homeland                                    

20.3         Post July 1983 & JOSSOP: A New Kind of War                                    

20.4         Orchestrating Tamil Hordes                                                             

20.5         Enter Mossad and Ravi Jayewardene                                             

20.6         Mahaveli System L: The Weli Oya Project and the Declaration of

                War against Tamil Civilians                                                               

20.7         Arming Sinhalese Civilians in Border Areas                                                       

20.8         The East Erupts: Mossad Again?                                                                  

20.9         The Paul Nallanayagam Case                                                                     

20.10       The Anuradhapura Massacre: 14th May 1985                                              

20.11       The Continuing Massacres in the East 

20.12         June 1985 - May 1986: The Final Assault on Trincomalee

  and the Trappings of a Colonial War                                        

20.13       May 1986 - The Death of the Tamil Struggle and a

                New Rationale for Massacres                                                                          

20.14       July 1986 - The Present                                                                          

20.15       The Role of the Mossad                                                                                  

20.16       The Toll: 1983 - July 1987                                                                                 

20.17       Mervyn de Silva on Israeli Involvement                                                         

21            Law Enforcement and the Security Services: Politicisation

                and Demoralisation                                                                                

21.1         The Police                                                                                             

21.1.1      The early 1990s                                                                                                          

21.1.2      The PA and the Administration of the Police                                                              

21.1.3      The CID                                                                                                            

21.1.4      The PSD (Presidential Security Division)                                                             

21.1.5      The Fate of an Honest Officer and the Road to Anarchy                

21.1.6      The Ponnambalam Affair                                                                                     

21.1.7      Political Patronage of Criminals and Police Dilemmas               

21.1.8       Magistrates - The Weak Link in Policing                                          

21.2         The Army                                                                                              

21.2.1      The Operation in Jaffna: July 1979                                                               

21.2.2.     What was Wrong?                                                                                  

21.2.3      A New Culture                                                                                            

21.2.4      The Years 1984 - July 1987                                                                  

21.2.5      The Indo-Lanka Accord                                                                                 

21.2.6      Handing Over Arms to the LTTE                                                               

21.2.7      The Withdrawal of the IPKF                                                                    

21.2.8      1990 - August 1994 : The Chickens Come Home                                       

21.2.9      Under the PA Government: 1994 -                                                                       

21.3         Looking Back: The Role of Civil Society                                                        

21.3.1      1994 to 1995                                                                                                  

21.3.2      Fall-out from the Navaly Bombing : The Mulder Affair                

21.3.3                 Conspiracies Galore: NGOs, Tamils, Priests and Xenophobia                       

21.3.4      On the Road to Retrogression                                                                      

21.4                Governing Under Siege                                                                                 

21.3.1      Rules and Minorities                                                                                   

21.3.2      Dangers of Perpetuating Partisanship                                                         

21.5         The Fall of Elephant Pass: The System Cannot Hold                                       

21.6         Military Ethics and Human Rights                                                                    

21                 THE PARCHED TREE: Tamils and the Political Culture of Auto-Genocide                                             

                A Night in War-time -Sivaramani Sivanandan                                          

22.1         The Surrender of the Intellectuals  and the Cancer of Fascism                 

22.2         The Murder of Neelan Tiruchelvam                                                                         

22.3         Kumar Ponnambalam: the Murky Politics of Heroes and Traitors             

22.4         Fascism: The Heart’s Cry of the Mediocrity                                                

22.5         The Global Caste System                                                                                  

22.6         Salient Features of the New Under Caste                                                

22.7         The Contrasting Worlds of the Tamil People                                                        

22.8         The Role of the State                                                                                

22.9         The Assault on Freedom, Debasement of the Soul and the Cult of Suicide                                        

22.10       Democracy: Does it have any meaning for the Tamils?                           

22.11       The Death of a Struggle                                                                              

22.12       A Monstrosity                                                                                                        

22.13       Purity and Tamil Fascism                                                                               

22.14       The Weight of Past Choices Crushed Humanity- Chelvi Thiagarajah                                                     

23            Present Realities and Precarious Options                                            

23.1         The Avenger                                                                                               

23.2         The Erosion of a Tradition of Law:

                What Went Wrong?                                                                                    

23.3         The State and the People                                                                               

23.3 1.     Human Rights in the North-East                                                                      

23.3 2      The State’s Complicity in Murder  

                and the Two-Track Approach                                                                             

23.3.3      The Failure of Law Enforcement                                                                        

23.3.4      The Judiciary: Gains and Concerns                                                                   

23.3.5                 Activism, Reform and Civil Society                                              

23.3.6      Merit, Governance and the Vacant Economy                                                           

23.3.7      The Rehabilitation of Jaffna                                                                   

23.4         Reviving Democratic Institutions                                                                          

23.5         ‘Twined with the dead boughs that winter still must bind’: Can Sri Lanka Be Helped?                                  

23.6         Peace: Missing out on Justice?                                                               

23.7         The Tortuous Road to a Political Settlement and

                the Federal Imperative                                                                                      

23.7.1      The Fate of President Kumaratunge’s Political Package               

23.7.2      Decades of Procrastination and Tamil Dilemmas                                           

23.7.3      The Implications of Protracted State Repression and Denial of Rights               

 23.7.4    The Bindunuwewa Massacre and the Challenge of Sinhalese Extremism 

 23.7.5      Political Irresolution, Children and War Realities                               

23.7.6        Federalism vs. Division and Fascism                                                        

23.7.7        Boundary of a Federal Unit vs. the Boundary of a Separate State               

23.7.8        Federalism: Objections & Dilemmas                                                             

23.7.9      Half Truths and the Battle of Sinhalese Racism vs. Tamil Fascism               

Concluding Thoughts                                                                                       

Appendix I                                                                                                                        

                A Cry From the Heart….  - From Bishop Lakshman Wickremasinghe’s

 Final Pastoral Letter

Appendix    II                                                                                                                

                (Extracts from Richard Crampton’s review of ‘The Great Balkan Illusions’ by Noel Malcolm,  in the Times Literary

 Supplement of April 24 1998)

                The Great Balkan Illusions: An unblinkered approach to history, myth and identity in Kosovo

 Appendix  III                                                                                                                       

                Ethnic unity in Trinco- some reminiscences,

                by R. M. A. B. Dassanayake

Appendix   IV                                                                                                                      

                 ‘PROSAIC’ NORTH AND EAST,

                   by Mallika Rasaratnam

Appendix V                                                                                                                      

                A Note on the Legal Saga of Hill-Country Tamils




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