Aranthalawa: The Poson month soaked with blood in 1987 | Daily News


Aranthalawa: The Poson month soaked with blood in 1987

The massacre recalled in  sculpture inside the actual bus
The massacre recalled in sculpture inside the actual bus

The dark 30 years long history of Sri Lanka ended on May 18th in 2009 by our heroic Armed Fforces led by then President and current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Defence Secretary and the current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa includes a month of Poson soaked in blood. Thirty one (31) Bhikkus were brutally murdered 33 years ago in Aranthalawa, Ampara.

Every effort was made during the past five years to make this month forgotten. Steps were even taken to pay damage not to the victims, but to the barbaric LTTE cadres who killed thousands of innocent poor people in Sri Lanka including Buddhist monks, priests belonging to all the other religions, elderly, patients, pregnant mothers, infants, scholars and all. This was the `justice’ done during past five years. The human rights of murderers were protected while violating the human rights of innocent poor people who lost their valuable lives, the people who became permanently disabled and lost loved ones due to the barbaric acts of the LTTE. They used the most brutal ways to kill them. They hacked them to death using swards and other weapons. The majority who died suffered for hours and hours exactly knowing that they will die without being able to get help from outside.

It was 7.15 in the morning of June 2, 1987. A bus filled with small Samanera Buddhist Monks, their mentor Ven. Hegoda Indrasara Thera and a few civilians was stopped near the village of Nuwerathanne by LTTE terrorists.

They were going on a pilgrimage from their temple in Mahavapi to Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya in the Western Province. They were stopped by 20 armed terrorists. Then the bus driver was ordered to drive the bus in to the Jungles of Aranthalawa for about 200 metres. After the bus stopped, the LTTE cadres went on a rampage, attacking the monks with guns and swords and also shooting some of them.

The barbaric LTTE cadres brutally massacred 33 Buddhist monks, most of them small Samanera monks. Four civilians were among them. Three monks who escaped the massacre sustaining critical injuries continue to require medical assistance.

Another monk was permanently disabled. The massacre took place close to the village of Aranthalawa, in the Ampara district of Eastern province.

This massacre is considered one of the most notorious and devastating atrocities committed by the LTTE and continues to be commemorated 33 years on by Buddhists and other religious leaders worldwide.

In 2003, the STF (Special Task Force) and Helabima Organization got together to build a monument near the very place that this massacre took place. In 2013, a memorial museum was built on this location using the same bus in which these monks were traveling by a local artist. The gruesome last minutes of these small novice monks has been re- created inside this bus. It is open to the public.This and similar attacks against Sinhalese civilians were carried out by the LTTE terrorists to antagonize the Sinhalese majority against the Tamil populace of the country, thereby creating friction and conflict between the two main ethnic groups of Sri Lanka. The LTTE terrorists hoped such animosity between the two communities would result in removing or expelling all Sinhalese from their so-called ‘homelands’, attacks by Sinhalese against Tamil civilians, which would increase support from Western governments, Western backed NGOs and Pro-LTTE UK, EU and US and Tamil Diaspora funding towards their separatism campaign. Buddhist monks are incapable of defending themselves. But they never left the areas. They sacrificed their precious lives to protect innocent poor civilians belong to all ethnicities and all religions.

Dimbulaga Hamuduruwo was the pioneer in restoring the ancient Buddhist monastery Dimbulagala Raja Maha Vihara in the 1950s and was the chief incumbent of the monastery for around four decades. He lived a modest life and spent his life for the development of the ancient monastery and for the uplift of the poor peasants who lived in the surrounding areas of the Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province. On May 26, 1995 Kithalagama Sri Seelalankara Nayaka Thera, popularly known as Dimbulagala Hamuduruwo was killed by the LTTE when he was on his way to visit a farm belonging to the temple. He provided moral support to the poor people to fight LTTE intrusions into their villages. He was the chief Sanghanayaka of the Northern and Eastern provinces and Tamankaduva area at the time of his death. Sri Lanka Post issued a postage stamp on 21 July 2005, to commemorate his valuable service to the nation.

Harming of a monk is considered to be one of the highest offences in Theravada Buddhism and even in Hinduism. The majority Tamils are Hindus. The massacre is considered to be one of the most brutal attacks carried out against religious clerics anywhere in the world. Each year the Aranthalawa Massacre is commemorated by a series of special programs. Throughout the course of the Tamil Tiger terrorism in Sri Lanka, the LTTE has carried out a number of similar attacks against Buddhist sites.

Now it is the duty of all Sri Lankans to assist all who protect Sri Lanka against all types of threats, especially all types of terrorism and make sure that the power does not go into the hands of traitors of mother Lanka. The past conduct of any individual is the best and only measurement that we can use to judge the individual and to check whether he/she really harbours genuine patriotic feelings in them and is ready to sacrifice his/her life for the country. Anyone can talk but a very few can prove this through acts.  The people of Sri Lanka are wise enough to select.

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