Another victim of 88-89 dark era | Daily News


31st death anniversary of Wijedasa Liyanarachchi:

Another victim of 88-89 dark era

Attorney-at-Law  Wijedasa Liyanarachchi
Attorney-at-Law Wijedasa Liyanarachchi

During the last four and a half years, we often heard about names such as Ekneligoda and later it was reported that some of those who went missing were found from foreign countries. But, neither the media nor anyone else talked about people such as Richard De Zoysa and Padmasiri Thrimavitharana who were abducted, tortured and killed. Their names were not heard at all from 2015 to 2019.

It is good for our younger generation to know about the recent history of our motherland which was turned into a pool of blood by certain individuals and groups. It is important because some of those individuals who hired thugs to kill innocent people are still talking in the media about rights and democracy of people, especially with regard to the 19th Amendment.

It is hilarious to see how some corrupted politicians who killed innocent poor Sri Lankan youths during the 1988/1989 period talk about the wellbeing of local youths. Some are trying to give leadership of their political parties to youths while some others talk about youngsters 24x7. But, their bitter past will never be erased from the Sri Lankan history. It is the responsibility of all media to educate the present youngsters about the bitter and dark era

during which their parents suffered as youths. This is because the available information is very limited and it is very hard to find out information online.

Wijedasa Liyanarachchi who is a prominent lawyer was murdered on September 2, 1989. He died at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo (NHSL) while in police custody with multiple injuries that resulted from torture. He received those injuries while in police custody in 1989. He was arrested by the Counter Subversion Unit of Tangalle on August 25, 1988, and was detained at the Tangalle Police Station. Then he was brought to the Counter-Terrorism Unit in Sapugaskanda, Colombo.

Shortly before he died, Liyanarachchi claimed to have been tortured by police. Sources report that Liyanarachchi had represented the suspected guerrilla members. On September 6, 1989, the High Court was permitted to hold a public inquiry into Liyanarachchi’s death.

Sri Lankan press reports in November 1989 indicate that the Police Superintendent responsible for Liyanarachchi’s arrest had been charged with murder. On March 23, 1992, Deputy Inspector General of Police Premadasa Udugampola’s passport was impounded and, a court ordered him to report to police investigators for an inquiry into Liyanarachchi’s death. He was not allowed to leave the country.

When it comes to the situation of Sri Lankan youths three decades ago, it was very dark and full of murders and disappearances. The dark and deadly era existed from around 1987 to 1992. But, the untimely deaths of our heroic Armed soldiers came to an end only on May 18, 2009, under the guidance of the then President and the current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the current President and the then Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. After that golden day written in the Sri Lankan history, no Sri Lankan mother cried for her son’s untimely death due to the conflict with the LTTE. From 1987 to 1992, over 60,000 innocent poor Sri Lankan youths, mostly Sinhalese, were killed by the Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya (DJV), the then Government, and various other unofficial and unidentified armed groups such as Black Cats, Yellow Cats and Praa sponsored by various politicians.

Against the broad daylight murders of over 60,000 innocent poor youths including schoolchildren, undergraduates, lawyers and journalists carried out by the regime existed in 1987/1988, the fifth Executive President of Sri Lanka and the current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa travelled to Geneva in Switzerland to lobby country representatives at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the international body that preceded the current UN Human Rights Council. Young Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa carried 533 documents with him to Geneva which contained information about missing persons and 19 pages of photographs of them to make his case to delegations at the UN.

“We have a right to tell this to the world. Tears of innocent grieving mothers compel us to tell their story of pain and sorrow to the world. We will do it today, tomorrow and always,” Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa stated in Parliament.

He took the lead to form the ‘Mothers’ Front’ with over 25,000 Sri Lankan mothers, wives and sisters etc. who lost their loved ones due to the state-sponsored killing field existed in Sri Lanka in 1987 and 1988. Over 60,000 young men and women were killed after torturing at selected locations such as Batalanda and then murdered during this period. Among them, there were prominent professionals such as Richard De Zoysa and Wijedasa Liyanarachchi.


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