When singing a song became a crime in 1989! | Daily News

When singing a song became a crime in 1989!

Sagarika Gomes’ 33rd Death Anniversary

There was a dark era in Sri Lanka that male and female journalists, artistes, scholars, heroic members of our Armed Forces, politicians etc. gunned down for doing their official work. During that time reading news as a journalist or singing a song as a singer can be deadly and it was considered as a crime by a certain group of thugs who called themselves rebels. The younger generation of Sri Lanka can find out about this darkest era that existed in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1992 through the internet, ancient photographs, news reports etc. But the best sources of obtaining reliable details of this darkest era of Sri Lanka are patriotic adults above the age of 63 by now. They saw and heard exactly what took place in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1992. They are the witnesses who still live to tell the story.

Sagarika Gomes was a Sri Lankan newscaster and artiste. An aspiring artiste, she worked for the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), the State run television channel. During the 1987–1989 JVP insurrection, employees of the Rupavahini Corporation and the Independent Television Network (ITN) were ordered by the Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya (DJV) led by Saman Piyasiri Fernando to suspend news casting. Under threat, many of the newscasters refused to present the evening news. Deputy Minister of Information, A. J. Ranasinghe approached Sagarika Gomes to undertake presenting the evening news. She accepted and undertook the task. On September 13, 1989, she was kidnapped from her home by a group of armed men. She was then taken to the beach, raped and killed.

Her killers did not stop there. They killed 30 politicians, 23 academics, 1clergy, 2 Government officials, 89 civilians and 61 service personnel, from July

1987 to January 1990. They began preparing to topple the Government. They began targeting opponents, carried out robberies to collect funds and began

acquiring weapons. Usually collecting pistols and shotguns from owners who had gun licenses from the Government. Thereafter, they planned to raid the Government armouries. The Security Forces had been deployed to the North and East of the country to counter the LTTE. On December 15, 1986, they abducted and murdered Daya Pathirana, Leader of the Independent Students Union (ISU) of University of Colombo, which was a rival student union of theirs. They carried out a large number of murders.

They murdered probably thousands of people and crippled the country with violently-enforced general strikes for two years. Individuals or organisations were warned or intimidated with messages dropped in the night to homes or posters or graffiti that appeared overnight. Those that did not cooperate were brutally killed, with the repercussions extended to their family members. Executions were mostly carried out at night with armed groups coming to the homes of the victims and carrying them away to be tortured, executed and left as an example, while occasional bombings took place.

In most cases the funeral ceremonies of these victims were not allowed to be conducted by them, traditional final rights were not allowed and the caskets were to be carried below knee level as a mark of disrespect. With these techniques of fear and intimidation, they were able to bring the country to stand still. Acts of sabotage were common, with the destruction of Government property, electric transformers were a common target. Killings took place in both urban and rural areas and the Government seemed powerless in the face of it.

The current younger generation of Sri Lanka should not consult anyone below the age of 63 or anyone in the political camps connected to the two minor political parties (one of them have just three percent of representation) because finding out about the darkest era of Sri Lanka (1987 to 1992) from them will be similar to ‘inquiring about the thief from his own mother’. Therefore, anyone who wants to find out the true and bitter history of Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1992 should consult any patriotic adult over the age of 63 who suffered at the hands of the killers attached to various official and unofficial groups.

It is important to learn and remember about the darkest era of Sri Lanka which existed from 1987 to 1992 because all the elements connected to that era are still very much active in politics and even represented in the current Parliament. Now they are trying to be the ‘good boys’ who do not steal and are people's brothers and sisters. But no one will be able to distort the truth until patriotic Sri Lankan adult men and women (over the age of 60 by now) live in this sacred land.



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