by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Coup d’etat meaning “stroke of state” in French is used to describe the overthrow or deposition of a government or head of state through illegal or unconstitutional means. A coup d’etat generally referred to as a coup is usually undertaken by officer/s of armed forces against the established government.

Recent developments in Sri Lanka have drawn attention among other things to the real or imaginary fear of a military coup.It is becoming clear that a major factor contributing to deteriorating relations between the Rajapaksa regime and General (retd) Sarath Fonseka was suspicion about a possible coup.

Sarath Fonseka makes specific reference to this in the annexure to his resignation letter where he chides President Rajapaksa for being paranoid about a coup and doubting the loyalty of the army.

Whatever the merits or otherwise of Gen.Fonseka’s assertions there is no denying that successive Sri Lankan governments have often been worried about a military coup despite serving defence services commanders maintaining a distance from politics.That is until recently.

Sirima Bandaranaike

This prevailing fear or paranoia can be traced to the abortive coup d’etat in 1962 where a group of Army, Navy and Police officers together with a senior civil servant planned out an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) government of Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike.

At a time when there are open references to a coup within the Country’s political discourse it may be both interesting and illuminating to revive memories briefly of the coup d’etat that never got off the ground in January 1962 and the consequences of a coup that was never enacted.

In a sense there was really no coup because it never got beyond the conspiracy stage to that of execution. Nevertheless 31 persons were arrested and interrogated and several others sent on compulsory leave/retirement.

24 persons were charged in courts and after protracted trial 11 were found guilty. However they were discharged later by appealing to the Privy council which ruled in their favour on issues of technicality

Several reasons could be attributed for this attempt but the premier cause was a state of mind which believed the politicians were ruining the country through maladministration. The world’s first woman prime minister Mrs. Bandaranaike was regarded by the coup conspirators as someone unfit to govern and therefore had to be replaced in the larger interests of the country.

Ayub Khan

The inspiration for the coup planners was Pakistan. Gen. Muhammed Ayub Khan had seized power on October 27th 1958 in Pakistan in what was described as a “bloodless” coup. Interestingly Ayb Khan deposed Pakistan’s president Iskandar Mirza, who had been Ayub Khan’s mentor and benefactor.

Mirza as Defence secretary was responsible for getting Ayub Khan appointed as Army commander on Jan 17th 1951. Mirza bent the rules to make Ayub Khan the first native Pakistany army chief by superseding two of his seniors Generals Akbar Khan and Raza.

Mirza went on to become governor-general and later President when Pakistan became a republic on March 23rd 1956.On October 7th 1958 Mirza declared martial law and appointed his protege’ Ayub Khan as chief martial law administrator. The army chief had only three months more before mandatory retirement.

Though trusted by Mirza, the Pakistani general staged a coup within three weeks of assuming tremendous power as martial law administrator.He sent three generals at midnight to arrest his patron Mirza and then “exiled” the deposed president to England. Ayub Khan became president.

Interestingly there were many who welcomed the coup in Pakistan then thinking a stable political climate would prevail. Ayub Khan entrenched himself in power by holding an unusual type of referendum in 1960.

Over 80,000 recently lected local authority members were asked to vote “yes” or “no” to the question “Have you confidence in the President, Field Marshall Ayub Khan”? With 95.6% voting yes the military dictator introduced a new Constitution for Pakistan.

Ayub Khan’s coup was the inspiration and model for the coup conspirators in Ceylon as the country was known then. It is noteworthy that none of the three defence service chiefs or Police chief were involved in the coup. Most of the officers involved were of senior rank.

“Christian” Coup

The coup was described by the colourful ex-prime minister of Ceylon Sir John Kotelawela as a “Buddhist” coup. Sir John who had himself served in the Army during british rule called it Buddhist as the planners were obsessed by the idea that not a “drop of blood should be shed”.

Ironically most of those involved in the attempted coup were not Buddhists but Christians. Except for a few the overwhelming majority of those charged in courts were Christians both Protestant and Catholic drawn from Sinhala, Tamil and Burgher communities.

Due to this religious dimension many perceived the botched attempt as last ditch effort by the Christian elite to safeguard their eroding position in the Country. The issue was religion not race.The “Christian” coup was also called a “colonel’s coup because many of the conspirators were of “Col” or “Lt.Col” rank.

The coup itself was planned by a core group comprising senior Police, Army & Navy officials. However “Col” Frederick de Saram the deputy commandant of the volunteer force in a gallant gesture took all responsibility in a full confession made voluntarily and urged that others be absolved of guilt.

Despite this quaint, old-fashioned attempt by FC de Saram to appropriate all blame and help his colleagues in the finest traditions of “esprit de corps” the government of the day went ahead and charged 24 persons in court.

Queen vs Liyanage

Senior civil servant JFD Liyanage or Douglas Liyanage who was then the deputy director of Land development was charged as first accused. Thus the landmark trial conducted when Ceylon was not yet a republic came to be known as Queen vs Liyanage.

This creates an impression that the civilan civil servant Douglas Liyanage was the brains behind the coup. But in actuality it was not so. The real mastermind behind the coup was former Deputy Inspector-General of Police Sydney de Zoysa who had minutely planned the coup blueprint and co-ordinated preparatory moves.

If the coup had gone according to plan FC de Saram was to have come to the fore as the visible face of the coup . He was to be appointed “general officer commanding”,assume “major-General” status and be the lead actor in the coup drama. But Sydney playing a behind the scenes role was the actual playwright and director of the abortive drama.

It was therefore the controversial Sydney who should have been charged as first accused but the Bandaranaike government hated de Zoysa’s guts and did not want to bestow upon him the dubious distinction of engraving his name for posterity as Queen vs De Zoysa. It was this petty reason and the civilian status of Douglas Liyanage that led to him being named the first accused in a list of 24.


The Army officers charged in courts for the attempted coup were

1.Colonel.FC de Saram-deputy commandant ,Volunteer force and Commanding officer Ceylon Artillery.

2. Col. Maurice de Mel-Army chief of Staff.commandant Volunteer Force.

3.Lieutenant. Col Wilmot (Willie) S. Abraham, commanding officer, 3rd field artillery regiment, Ceylon Artillery.

4.Lt.Col JHV de Alwis-commanding officer,2nd Volunteer Engineers,Ceylon Engineers.

5.Lt.Col. Basil R.Jesudasan-Commanding officer,2nd Volunteer signals, Ceylon Signals corps.

6.Lt.Col. Noel Mathiesz-Commanding officer,Ceylon electrical and mechanical Engineers.

7. Major B.I. Loyola-3rd field artillery regiment,Ceylon Artillery.

8. Maj.W.G. White,3rd field artillery regiment, Ceylon Artillery.

9. Maj. Victor Joseph, Duty officer,Ceylon Armoured corps, headquarters.

10. Captain.JA.R. Felix-Staff Officer,Ceylon Volunteer Force, Headquarters.

11.Capt. Nimal Jayakkody-3rd field artillery regiment, Ceylon Artillery.

12.Capt.Tony Anghie,3rd Field Artillery regiment,Ceylon Artillery.

13. Capt. Don Weerasinghe , 3rd Field artillery regiment, Ceylon Artillery.

The Police officers charged in courts were:

1.C.C. Dissanayake (Jungle)-senior deputy-inspector of Police-Range One

2.Sydney de Zoysa-Senior DIG-Police (retd) He had been in charge of Police administration and co-ordination between Ranges until 1962.

3.V.E.Perera-Superintendent of Police (West)

4.W.E.C.Jebanesam-Sopdt of Police-Colombo.

5.Colin Vanden Driesen-Assistant Superintendent of Police, Officer-in-Charge Police depot, Thimbirigasaya (field force hdqrs)

6.J.F.Bede Johnpillai-Asst, Supdt of Police-Traffic.

7.Terry. V. Wjesinghe-Asst. Supdt of Police-Personal Assistant to senior DIG-Range 1.

8.Lionel.C.S.Jirasinghe-Asst supdt of Police

The solitary Naval officer charged in courts was Rear Admiral (retd)Royce de Mel.He had been “Captain” (as the naval commander was known then) of the Navy until recently. He was the brother of Maurice de Mel.

The two civilians were Douglas Liyanage of the Ceylon Civil service who was then deputy director of Land development. The other was Rodney de Mel a planter.

Ethnically twelve of the twenty-four were Sinhala, Six were Tamil and Six were Burghers. There were no muslim or Malay officers charged.

Twenty-one of the twenty-four charged were Christans. Three were Buddhists.Interestingly FC de Saram whose close relatives were all staunch Anglicans claimed to be a Buddhist himself


The conspiracy had been elaborately planned and as stated before was to be a “gentleman’s coup” without bloodshed. It was to be a swift, surgical strike ex and the mission was expected to be accomplished within a few hours from midnight on Saturday January 27th 1962.

The Army commander Maj-Gen Winston Gerard Wijeykoon, Acting Navy captain (commander) Commodore Rajan Kadirgamar, Air Force chief, Air commodore John F Barker and Inspector-General of Police MWF Abeykoon were entirely in the dark about this proposed coupd’etat.

The codename for the coup was “operation Holdfast”. The idea was to seize strategic positions and installations in a “blitzkrieg”, cordon off Colombo, prevent re-inforcements coming in from the Army cantonment at Panagoda, detain the prime minister, senior ministers, key officials, leftist leaders and get Mrs. Bandaranaike to announce a “voluntary” transfer of power.

Troops and officers from the 3rd Field Regiment, 2nd Volunteer Anti-aircraft Regiment of the Ceylon Artillery , 2nd (V) Field/Plant Regiment,Ceylon Engineers,2nd Volunteer Signals Regiment, Ceylon Signals corps and Armoured cars of the Sabre troop of the Ceylon Armoured Corps were to be utilised for the coup with elements from the Police.


The coup blueprint was roughly something like this. At 10.00 pm on Jan 27th senior DIG Police “Jungle” Dissanayake was to issue a “Take post” order to his men. Immediately ASP Johnpillai in charge of traffic was to clear all main roads and strategically important highways of traffic. This was to be accomplished in 30 minutes.

The clearing of traffic in roads was to facilitate the smooth, swift, unhindered progress of military convoys and columns along roads towards their target destinations. This deployment was to be under the personal supervision of FC de Saram and Maurice de Mel.It was to begin at 11.00 pm on Saturday (27th) and cease at 1.00 am on Sunday (28th).

According to “operation Holdfast” plans the Prime minister was to be placed under house arrest. Senior cabinet ministers including Finance minister Felix R Dias Bandaranaike and important government officials including Defence and External Affairs secretary NQ Dias were to be arrested and taken to Army headquarters.

Others to be taken to Army headquarters were the DIG-CID SA Dissanayake (jingle) who was a brother of CC Dissanayake (Jungle) and acting Navy chief Rajan Kadirgamar.The SP-CID John Attygalle was also to be taken to Army headquarters. Incidently both SA Dissanayake and Attygalle were to become future IGP’s.

Those taken to Army headquarters were to be detained in an underground bunker at the armoury. They were to be held incommunicado for a certain period of time.

Other cabinet ministers, and important officials were to be placed under virtual house arrest. These included the IGP, Air Force chief and Army commander. Their movement was to be restricted to their homes alone.

In another facet of “Operation Holdfast” all Government members of Parliament and leftist MP’s of the opposition were to be detained en masse at e the “Sravasti” MP’s hostel. These included all LSSP, MEP and CP members. Some were to be placed under house arrest in their own homes in Colombo.

Three non-Parliamentarian leftist personalities, all of them Tamils were also to be placed under arrest. They were CMU gen secretary Bala Tampoe, “Tribune” editor SP Amarasingham and veteran trade unionist N. Shanmugathasan.

Colombo City

A crucial part of “operation Holdfast” was the seizure of Colombo city and cordoning it off. This was deemed to be of vital importance as a potential counter-strike by officers and troops loyal to the government was feared. It was necessary therefore to prevent soldiers stationed at the Panagoda cantonment from entering Colombo until the transfer of power was completed.

Army personnel with armoured cars were to be stationed at the two Kelani river bridges, the Wellawatte-Dehiwela bridge and the Kirillapone bridge. In addition military personnel with radio equipment would be stationed at key locations in suburban Colombo.Soldiers with vehicles were to be positioned in strategic junctions within Colombo city also.

At midnight Police cars equipped with radio and loudspeakers were to go around Colombo and outskirts announcing a 24 hour curfew. People were to be warned to remain indoors and that anyone seen outside would be shot on sight.

While these announcements would be going on key installations would be taken over in a rapid “blitzkrieg” like manouevre. The Central Telephone and Telegraph exchanges would be taken over and all tele-communication suspended until further notice.

Radio Ceylon

The Police headquarters and Criminal Investigations department (CID) offices in Fort were to be taken over shortly after midnight. The newspaper offices of Lake House and Times of Ceylon were also to be taken over and newspapers were to cease publication for a few days.

There was no Television in Sri Lanka those days and the most important communications institution was “Radio Ceylon”. Fully armed Signals corps despatch riders on motor cycles were to be positioned from 11 pm on Nov 27th at Torrington (Independence) square. At H-hour when the password “holdfast” is given these troopers were to storm “Radio Ceylon” and take it over.

In anticipation of the coup the conspirators in the Army sappers had on Thursday Jan 25th laid out a special telephone line from the Army headquarters at Lower lake rd to the Army barracks in Echelon square in Fort. This secure line was to be used for urgent intra-army communication.

“Col” Maurice de Mel was to be at Army headquarters co-ordinating matters. FC de Saram was to position himself at the Prime Minister’s official residence “Temple Trees” at the earliest and direct operations from there. The password there was to be “British Grenadier”. This was the title of the Artillery regiment’s marching tune.

CC “Jungle” Dissanayake was to be at “Queens House” (Presidents House) in Fort and direct operations from there until Police headquarters was taken over. Queens House was the official residence of then Governor-General Sir Oliver Goonetilleke who was later implicated in the abortive coup.

“Jungle” was to commence “coup” operations from 11.00 pm on Jan 27th. The password for “Queens House” operations was the name of an IGP during British times-“Dowbiggin”. Once the coup was accomplished the leaders were to meert at “Queens House” and request: Governor-General Sir Oliver Gonetilleke to dissolve Parliament and take direct authority.


A key element in the planned coup d’etat was the mode in which the Prime minister Mrs,Bandaranaike was to be handled. The plotters were aware that Mrs. Bandaranaike proposed travelling to Kataragama on Friday Jan 26th.She was to participate in some special poojas on Saturday Jan 27th and return to Colombo on Sunday Jan 28th

Mrs.Bandaranaike’s proposed itinerary to some extent helped finalise D-day and H-hour for the coup to unfold. According to the original plan Mrs. Bandaranaike was to be “arrested” on the 27th night at Hungama by a Police team led by Asst. Superintendent of Police David Thambaiyah. The Prime minister was to be detained at the Thanamalwila rest house until the coup was effected. Faced with a “fait accompli” she would be compelled to announce an “official” transfer of power.

The initial plan however went awry because of a sudden change in Mrs. Bandaranaike’s itinerary. This was due to a simple matter. The chief incumbent of the temple in Getambe, Peradeniya had invited the premier earlier for a ceremony to be held there on Jan 27th evening. Mrs. Bandaranaike had declined it saying she had to be in Colombo on that day.

The proposed pigrimage to Katragama had been planned and finalised on Jan 16th. Mrs. Bandaranaike had forgotten the Getambe priest’s prior invitation. It was on Jan 26th when she intended travelling to Kataragama in the evening that the PM’s secretary Bradman Weerakoon remembered the Getambe invitation. Weerakoon then informed the Prime minister that the Getambe priest would be offended if Mrs. Bandaranaike went to Kataragama on the 27th after declining his invitation.

Mrs. Bandaranaike agreed with Bradman and cancelled her envisaged Kataragama trip at the last minute. When the coup conspirators came to know of her cancellation they were rattled fearing that Mrs. Bandaranaike had come to know of the proposed coup.

“Temple Trees”

A contingency plan was made where Lt. Col Willie Abraham was to move into “Temple Trees” and establish control. The police officer in charge of security at “Temple Trees” WT Dickman was suddenly removed and ASP Lionel Jirasinghe assigned.

Jirasinghe was instructed by DIG “Jungle” Dissanayake to cooperate with Abraham at “Temple Trees” and place the Premier and her three children under protective custody in the premises.

The eldest daughter Sunethra was then 18 and the second daughter Chandrika 16. The son Anura was 12.

Jirasinghe was given strict instructions by Dissanayake that the safety and security of the prime minister and her two beautiful daughters had to be ensured at all costs. They were to be supplied meals from Galle Face Hotel and prompt medical attention provided if and when necessary.

The coup conspirators intended treating the Bandaranaike family with great consideration. Once Mrs. Bandaranaike made the announcement transferring power and authorities to the perpetrators of the coup d’etat. The family was to be moved to “Tintagel” on Rosemead place and placed under protective custody.

Thereafter admission to Oxford University was to be obtained for Sunethra. Chandrika and Anura were to be admitted to schools in England. Mrs. Bandaranaike was to be sent off to England to be with her children She was to be endowed with a munificient pension.

Three Phases

The coup conspirators did not seem to have plans of retaining power for themselves after acquiring it. At least that is what it seemed at that time.The simplistic plan was to dissolve Parliament and establish direct rule under the Governor-General Sir Oliver.

He was to be assisted by a “Council” in which former Prime Ministers Dudley Senanayake and Sir John Kotelawela were to be members of. After a reasonable period of time fresh elections were to be called and an elected government installed.

It was stated later that thre phases were envisaged. The first phase after the coup would be a military dictatorship. The second phase would be “indirect democracy” where a council including ex-prime minsters would assist the Governor-General in ruling. The third phase was elections to Parliament after promulgating a new constitution ensuring justice and equality to all races and religions.

Whether this altruistic plan would have gone through as envisaged if the coup succeeded is a moot point. It is doubtful whether those who gained power through extra-Constitutional means would have relinquished it so easily. Since the coup never materialised as planned the matter is only of academic interest now.

Stanley Senanayake

As stated earlier coup d’etat in French means “stroke of State”. In this case however the envisaged stroke of state did not occur only because of a “stroke of fate”. This fatal stroke was inflicted on the proposed coup d’etat by a conscientious Police officer Stanley Senanayake.

Stanley Senanayake a Buddhist was Supdt of Police, Colombo. He had been an ASP under CC Dissanayake when the latter was SP, Ratnapura. For some reason Dissanayake had delayed bringing Senanayake into the picture until the penultimate stage.

It was on Saturday Jan 27th during their regular “morning walks” on Galle Face Green that Dissanayake revealed to his subordinate some details of the coup and invited him to join. Senanayake said he would think about it and let his superior know.

Senanayake came to Dissanayake’s official residence at C-73, Longden place, Colombo 7 around noon. The straight-forward SP told the DIG that he could not get involved in a coup attempt against the democratically elected government. If a change of government was to be brought about it could only be through elections, emphasised Senanayake. He then departed after saluting Dissanayake.

Realising that he had misjudged Senanayake, “Jungle” Dissanayake kept contemplating on what to do next. There were misgivings among the core group comprising De Saram, the De Mel Brothers, De Zoysa and Dissanayake about the feasibilty of going ahead as planned.

There was no change in the decision though much doubt had set in but a sudden development altered their plans drastically.

Mrs. Bandaranaike’s sudden cancellation of her Southern province trip had resulted in amendments to the original plan. There was however a communications breakdown in informing ASP David Thambaiah.

Acting according to his earlier instructions the ASP took into custody Neil de Alwis the Samasamaajist MP for Baddegama. When news of this arrest broke Dissanayake felt the coup had been compromised and called it off at 9.30 pm. The would be participants returned to their dwellings.

Pde S Kularatne

But events had overtaken. Stanley Senanayake after wrestling with his conscience for hours decided to blow the whistle. He first told his Father in law Pde S Kularatne the famous educationist. Kularatne a former Principal of Ananda College was now a Parliamentarian. Senanayake had married his daughter Maya.

A shocked Kularatne advised his son in law to inform his superiors in the Police. Stanley then informed the IGP and DIG Cid SA Dissanayake and SP CID John Attygalle. Pde S Kularatne informed Felix Dias Bandaranaike of the plot.

Felix and the senior Police officials then went to “Temple Trees” and informed Mrs. Bandaranaike. She was initially dazed but recovered soon and displayed tremendous courage in coping with this historic crisis. Felix a nephew of SWRD Bandaranaike was a tower of strenth to her and demonstrated that he was indeed the strong man of the cabinet.

Felix Dias stationed himself at “Temple Trees” and directed counter-operations. Unable to trust the Army or Police personnel from the Navy were deployed at “Temple Trees”. Seven persons including CC Dissanayake, Sydney de Zoysa and Maurice de Mel were arrested first and brought to “Temple Trees”.

Royce de Mel

An arrest warrant was issued for ex-Navy chief Royce de Mel. But he evaded arrest and went underground. Eventually he was produced in courts by his lawyer GG Ponnambalam QC when trial commenced. Some Navy personnel in civils assembled at court premises and cheered Royce saying “Well done Sir”.

FC de Saram drove alone to “Temple Trees” and gave himself up. Arrest warrants were issued for a further 22 persons including Douglas Liyanage . All were apprehended.

The Coup suspects were initially housed in a two-storey building within “Temple Trees” premises. It is said that Mrs. Bandaranaike took a personal interest in their detention ensuring that they had all proper facilities. She even checked on the toilets to see whether they were in working condition.

Felix Dias Bandaranaike began conducting an “inquisition” of sorts where he questioned each and every coup suspect and recorded their statements. Ultimately it was Felix Dias Badaranaike’s excessive zeal in playing the grand inquisitor that ultimately worked to the benefit of the coup suspects. TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at

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Filed under Current affairs | 132 Comments | Permalink


  1. Daphne BrohierNovember 27, 2009 at 2:28 pmThe 1962 coup attempt was sensational stuff those days. As a teen-ager I used to read all about it and discuss with friends.My family was more than interested in the matter as two of our relatives and five friends were allegedly involved in the attempt. Since my father was also in the Police force we were naturally engrossedYour article revives memories of those heady days Mr. Jeyaraj.I must congratulate you for the concise and precise re-construction of those events. You must have been a child thenI am eagerly awaiting the next part of the article
  2. SooriyaarachchiNovember 27, 2009 at 2:59 pmDBS article gives good insight of an important happening in our history. It is well-written with facts. DBS has done lots of research into the matter.Thank You DBS
  3. Shiranee FernandoNovember 27, 2009 at 3:47 pmWhen I first read the article I just did to know about the past history. As I kept reading I got really interested as Mr.DBS has written it very powerfully like a very good story.I also think Mr. DBS wrote this purposely at this time because the 1962 coup has lots of things simiar to our present political situationA military dictatorship is possible even nowadays if the people are not sharpThank you for this article at this time Mr. DBS
  4. bobNovember 27, 2009 at 4:36 pmDBSJWhen did you start Story Writing ?Long before you were born Bobby boy ……………..DBSJ
  5. Rain BowNovember 27, 2009 at 5:00 pmGreat history lesson DBSJ, Thank you!
  6. DF RanasingheNovember 27, 2009 at 6:02 pmVery well written article Jeyaraj.Extremely relevant to our times.If the Rajapaksa brothers had not been vigilant we may have had a Sarath Fonseka led military coupIf 1962 was a “christian” coup this one would have been a “Karawe” coupMost promotions in army made unethically by Fonseka were for officers from his own Karawe caste.He had a sinister plan but the Govt acted fast and nipped this caste coup in the nick of timeLooking forward to part two Mr.Jeyaraj
  7. AbeywickremaNovember 27, 2009 at 7:11 pmVery,very interesting article.Lots of facts. Written well by DBSJ
  8. Carlo DissanayakeNovember 27, 2009 at 7:44 pmYou are an inspiring guy. Good account!
  9. RameshNovember 27, 2009 at 8:24 pmA pleasure to read your articles and the blog, please write more often…. I am hard pressed to find articles/stories of this calibre even on the NYT.I see that the characters involved in the attempted coup d’etat were ethnically and by faith a diverse bunch. Their intention seems to have been to try and establish a democracy that would ensure justice and equality to all races and religions.I wonder what would have happened had they succeeded. All the pain, hardship and misery that had been unleased on all the peoples of ‘Ceylon’ under the guise of democracy may not have materialised and would not be part of our barbaric history.As in India having a Sikh( a member of a group that fought againt the government) in the likes of Manmohan Singh and and Sonya an Italian(The Britsh Raj and it’s soldiers fought against during WW2) in the highest offices of the Indian democracy. Likewise we too may have had a Tamil, Muslim, Malay, Burgher or Veddah in the highest offices of our democracy.What we have now is ‘THEM OH CRAZY’
  10. Chamari RodrigoNovember 27, 2009 at 9:08 pmFascinating read. What a wealth of informative details
  11. Tissa WijeNovember 27, 2009 at 9:27 pmAnother well researched article from DBSJ – Brilliant. YOu have brought out this at a time when we see today’s leaders too had memories of the bygone days and frear of another coup.As a schoolboy, I recall seeing Stanley S a figure lost in thought a mental struggle of Hamlet proportions inside no doubt, watching plays in the school hall where his sons acted. AL schoolboys of the time, particularly those coming from English speaking households considered him s ‘cad’ for not following the spirit of the corps.
  12. A. GurugeNovember 27, 2009 at 9:35 pmDBS Jeyaraj reference to Pakistan General Ayub Khan and his mentor Mirza is very appropriate in the context of Sri Lanka. Just as Ayub Khan was elevated wrongly by defence secy Mirza as Army commander our Sarath Fonseka also got unfair advantage from our def secy Gota. Just like Ayub Khan betrayed Mirza the man who helped him our Fonseka has also turned traitorously against Gota and Mahinda
  13. SonaliNovember 27, 2009 at 9:56 pmThank you DBS for this fantastic article. You make the past come alive by your writing. Very good
  14. TuanNovember 27, 2009 at 10:17 pmI am very happy to note that no Muslim or Malay officer was involved in the 1962 coup. There were lots of Malay officers then but fortunately their democratic commitment was greater thn loyalty to superior officers
  15. dilshan fNovember 27, 2009 at 10:25 pmI have to say some of my contempories who I thought would never read your column in the Sri Lankan newspaper here have told me to read your column to get facts. This is a great compliment to you. Thought I would just let you know that a lot of Sri Lankans are veiwing your articles in all honesty and appreciate your unbiased stance even though it may not fit our biased minds sometimes.Your writing on the coup —- is there more between the lines??????DBSJ RESPONDS:Thanks Dilshan. One reason I write for the print editions of Sri Lankan newspapers instead of focusing on the internet alone is because I am very keen to reach out to the average reader in Sri Lanka and not cater to the Diaspora alone. However it is not always possible to get feedback from the ordinary readers – Citizens Perera, Arumugam, Mohammed……………….My thanks therefore to you for this snippet. Much appreciated.As for the coup article I just thought it would be topical given the fact that real or imaginary fear of a possible coup is greatly responsible for Rajapaksa-Fonseka divide.But I must say that I am rather worried about the current situation as there is a very big chance of political polarisation within armed forces. Politicisation of the armed forces began after 1956 and has reached its climax now I think in the form of Sarath’s naked power lust. The Army became more and more Sinhala Buddhist after 1962. The negative side to this process is becoming increasingly visibleI did not expect much from the “National Socialist” JVP. But Ranil, Mangala, Rauff, Mano & Karu have disappointed me greatly. Their irresponsibility is deplorable
  16. Kamal MunasingheNovember 27, 2009 at 10:26 pmIn the 1950s, several new units were formed using cadre from existing units as nuclei. Units included armored reconnaissance, infantry, artillery, and service support. All of the units were under the direct control of the Ceylon army’s headquarters and no subordinate command and control units existed. The formation of the four regions suggested by General Muttukumaru would have created the subordinate commands required for better command of the troops.Prime Minster Sir John Kotelawa feared civil unrest and believed there was a need for “loyal” units to support the government. On September 1955, he ordered the activation of two Sinhalese infantry units, the Raja Rata Rifles (Kandy)and the Ruhunu Regiment (Galle and Matara). At the same time, the government federalized the Railway Department (RD) and the Post and Telegraph Department (PTD) and turned them into volunteer military units. Mobilization of these units
    would occur during strikes and the men would have to serve the government – not the unions. In 1956, newly elected Prime Minister Bandaranaike disbanded the RD and the PTD. He also wanted to disband the two new infantry units since he believed that they were disloyal during the election and that they were too regionally based. He feared that the precedent of creating regional units would lead to the creation of “Tamil only” units in the Jaffna region. General Muttukumaru argued that the disbandment of these units would result in there being an insufficient number of troops in the event of a crisis. The two men compromised and the units were disbanded, but the 1st Battalion, Ceylon Sinha Regiment (which used the Raja Rata unit as its nuclei) formed on 1 October 1956. The Ceylon Sinha Regiment is the country’s second infantry regiment.The primary result of the coup attempt was that it led to Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s distrust of the military. Even though the Army Commander Winston Wijekoon and the IGP M. W. F. Abeykoon were not aware of the coup, however the former was replaced in 1963 by Major General A.R. Udugama, the first Sinhala-Buddhist Army Commander, over looking the more senior Brigadier (later Major General) B. R. Heyn who was made commander after him. Funding for the services were cut drastically greatly effecting its growth and disabling its ability of defending Ceylon in the long term. The 1st Heavy Antiaircraft Regiment was amalgamated with 3rd Field Regiment to form 4th Regiment of the Ceylon Artillery, the 2nd (V) Antiaircraft Regiment of the Ceylon Artillery and the 2nd (V) Field/Plant Regiment of the Ceylon Engineers were disbanded and the 2nd (V) Signal Regiment of the Ceylon Signals Corps was brought to form the National Service Regiment. Military hardware procurements limited. The Navy was the also hard hit, many of its ships were sold and its blue water capability lost, it would regain it former ability until the 1980s and 1990’s. Inter service cooperation in form of joint operations were suspended. As a result the military was under strength and ill-equipped to deal with the 1971 JVP Insurrection, in another government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. During this the country had to rely on help from other countries. Following Bandaranaike’s government being defeat in 1965, Dudley Senanayake became Prime Minster, to prevent a future coup he created the Special Branch of the Ceylon Police Force charge with national security, this was however disbanded when Sirimavo Bandaranaike was again elected in 1970 which resulted in her government being was cough off guard, with no early warring when the 1971 JVP Insurrection started.Thank you but your comment anticipates a lot of what I am going to write next week…………..DBSJ
  17. Gamini RandeniNovember 27, 2009 at 10:55 pmSarath Fonseka who was ridiculed by the UNP during the war became a ’super hero’ to them after the war. Earlier he was looked down upon because Prabhakaran was Ranil’s ally. The creation of a super hero of Sarath Fonseka should be treated as a mythical concept. Because the war was not spearheaded by the army only but by the Air Force and the Navy as well.So it is the joint effort of the Army, Navy and Air Force with the leadership of the President as Commander of the Forces which led to the success of the war. So it is unfair by the UNP to belittle the Air force, the Navy and Army front line Battalion Commanders, and elevate only Sarath Fonseka as a ’super hero’ to get a ‘piggy-back’ on his popularity.After the war, Sarath Foneka had openly said that he does not want to dabble in politics because politics is unknown to him and also he has no political experience. But of course, he had been ambitious for reasons known to himself. So the rag tag political parties and politicians in wilderness decided to use his popularity to get back on the saddle. The celebrated Sarath Fonseka fell hook, line and sink to the bankrupt politicians who posed as ‘king makers’. He had taken the Herculean task of leading the opposition parties now in shambles. They are already fighting among themselves for portfolios and positions. So how can one expect them to run the country, in case they win !
  18. Ranjan from TorontoNovember 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm#9 Ramesh,
    If you think that a military coup could establish democracy in country you are dreaming in technicolour.A Sikh was able to become PM in India only after the Indian government completely destroyed the Punjabi separatist movement, also using extremely brutal tactics, not unlike what MR did in Sri Lanka.As for Sonia, the congress used her and Gandhi family name to win an election and then just threw her aside that she was not Indian born. So much for them respecting her Italian heritage.If not for LTTE, Sri Lanka might have already had a Tamil leader – Kadiragamar or Fernandopullai.
  19. KugapirasathamNovember 27, 2009 at 11:12 pmஇலங்கைவாழ் மக்களின் அதிநம்பிக்கைக்குரியவர்கள் நாங்களே என முழக்கமிட்ட ஐ.தே கட்சியினர் ஏறக்குறைய கடந்த முப்பத்தி நான்கு (34) ஆண்டுகள் ஆட்சிபீடத்தில் அமந்திருந்தார்கள். (1947—52, 1952—56, 1965—70, 1977—94) மற்றும் 2001 டிசம்பர் –2004 ஏப்ரல்வரை. மேற்படி அவர்களின் ஆட்சியின்போது நடந்து முடிந்த சுவாரஸ்யமான இரு சம்பவங்களை மட்டும் இங்கு குறிப்பிடுவது பொருத்தமானதாக இருக்கும்.
    1 ஜனநாயக மரபுகளுக்கமைய தெரிவுசெய்யப்பட்ட ஒரு அரசாங்கத்தினை இராணுவத்தினரின் துணையுடன் கைப்பற்ற முயன்ற ஐ.தே.கட்சியினர் அன்றைய தேசாதிபதியான சேர் ஒலிவர் குணதிலகா அவர்களின் உதவியையும்பெற்று 1962 ஜனவரி மாதம் 27 ந் திகதி மேற்கொண்ட சதி நடவடிக்கை முறியடிக்கப்பட்டு ஸ்ரீமாவோ பண்டாரநாயக்கா அவர்களின் தலைமையிலான அரசு பாதுகாக்கப்பட்டது.
    2 1977 ம் ஆண்டு 5/6 பெரும்பான்மையுடன் ஆட்சியிலமர்ந்த ஐ.தே கட்சியினர் (1983) ல் நடாத்தவேண்டிய பொதுத் தேர்தலினை நடாதுவதற்கு அஞ்சிய நிலையில் சர்வஜன வாக்கெடுப்பு என்னும் பெயரில் ஒரு தேர்தலினை நடாத்தி 12 ஆண்டுகள் (1977—1989) எதிர்க்கட்சி ஒன்றில்லாத அரசாங்கத்தினை தொடர்ந்தனர். இந்நிலையிலேயே இன்று சுயமான வேட்பாளர் ஒருவரை ஐ.தே.கட்சியின்சார்பில் ஜனாதிபதித் தேர்தலில் நிறுத்த முடியாதவர்கள் முன்னாள் இராணுவத் தளபதி ஒருவரின் தயவினைப்பெற்று சரத் பொன்சேகா ஜனாதிபதி வேட்பாளராக நிறுத்த முன்வந்துள்ளனர்.
    மேற்படி நடவடிக்கைகளின்மூலம் ஐ.தே கட்சியினர்மீது மக்கள் வைத்திருக்கும் செல்வாக்கு நிரூபணமாகியுள்ளது. கடந்த 14 தேர்தல்களில் கட்சியின் இன்றைய தலைவர் திரு ரணில் விக்கிரமசிங்கா அவர்களின் வழிநடாத்தலில் தோல்வியுற்ற ஐ.தே கட்சியினருக்கு புத்துயிர் கொடுத்து அவர்களை ஆட்சிபீடத்தில் அமர்த்துவதற்கு தமிழ் மக்களின் ஏகப்பிரதிநிதிகள் தாங்களே என தம்பட்டமடிக்கும் சில செல்லாக்காசுகளான தமிழ் அரசியல்வாதிகளும், ஏகாதிபத்தியங்களுக்கு முண்டுகொடுக்கும் சில முகவரியற்ற அரசியல் ஆய்வாளர்களும் முயல்வது வேடிக்கையானதே!Why dont you please translate this comment into English& post it here………….DBSJ
  20. SusanthaNovember 27, 2009 at 11:34 pmIf Fonseka loose election he may try coup with his “pandang” officers in army.Watch out Mahinda
  21. Jayantha RatnayakeNovember 28, 2009 at 12:19 amWhat security is SF needing today when his friends are soon going to be Mano Gonason and TNA?
    If I am GR, I will now take all security detail out of SF on account of this ugly fact! After all, what security is needed for someone who is rubbing shoulders with the LTTE??? Who else is going to kill SF? Save the Whale Movement???
    Gen. Eisenhower DID NOT team up with either Russian or ex-Nazi hardcores or sympathizers when he was campaigning to be elected as the President of the US!
    Have we seen the lowest in Sarath Fonseka’s illustrious carrier to team up with the top scum of Sri Lanka and seek foreign money to run an election campaign
    SF is a traitor by associating known “deshadrohees” RW, Mongala and Kiriella gona’s as well as Mano Gonason. He has sold his war hero credits which he achieved collectively with MR, GR and others for personal reasons.
    We cannot afford to let him reverse the march towards true unity of the nation.
    Unless he turns back 180 degrees bringing whole opposition alliance down before or after the election which highly unlikely now, he will be branded as the traitor of the highest order.
    Sarath Fonseka has lost his head by expecting extraordinary rewards for leading the Army during the war. He lost his head because of personal ego and unwarranted arrogance towards his team mates. He lost his head by seeing RW, Mongala, Kiriella and Mano Gonason as saviours.
    He is determined to ruin many people’s lives simply because they didn’t like him, if he ever becomes the next executive president of SL.
    SF also cannot beat MR in the forthcoming election with all his supporters and well wishers. Only MR could make him win, therefore MR has to keep his head firmly on control between now and the Election Day. MR also required controlling his over enthusiastic supporters without letting them to lose their heads also.
    Mangala, Ranil, Laksman Kirialla, Jayalath Jayawardhana, Siri Jayathnga, Mano Gonason etc, have turned into true heros overnight? Or is it more possible SF has turned into a traitor just to service his ego?
    SF is entitled to his politics. SF is associating the TOP traitors of the nation on a DAILY basis now. SF has promised to give ministerial positions to UNCONVERTED terrorists and CONTINUING traitors of the TNA. this was a condition to accept SF as the (K)UNA candidate. SF destroyed the war winning team by,
    publicly mud slinging at his OWN TEAM MEMBERS in the resignation letteS that went public.
    not even a personal resignation in a company goes public!!!
    his resignation letter has defence sensitive matters and should NEVER have gone public
    he had allowed (K)UNA to meddle with his resignation letter. (K)UNA later said its somewhat disaapointed with the actual resignation letter!!
    making PUBLIC statements that are not acceptable against the team
    going to supreme court to DEMAND the land GR painstakingly arranged for SF with consideration to his daughters, etc. and is anyway planning to give to him for the services he rendered.
  22. Gloria AbrahamNovember 28, 2009 at 12:23 amIf the 1962 coup had succeeded Ceylon would be Ceylon and a better place than this Sri Lanka
  23. AsithaNovember 28, 2009 at 12:32 amFred de Saram went on coaching Royal at Cricket after he was released. We at Royal were lucky to get coaching from himHe taught us how to play the game sportively .It was not about winning or losing but playing Cricket positivelyDe Saram was a thorough gent. The Country would have prospered if he had become a military dictator
  24. Old SoldierNovember 28, 2009 at 12:50 amIt was my privilege to serve under and along with many of these so-called coup conspirators.Everyone of them were officers and gntlemen in every sense of the wordIt is indeed a pity that the coup didn’t take off. When you look at the state of our country one cannot but regret that the coup attempt failedAs an old soldier fading away I have only memories and every memory of this abortive coup protagonists is pleasantI salute them all
  25. Subra PonNovember 28, 2009 at 1:03 amThanks for turning over an important page of Ceylon’s history. This is a good lesson for the younger folk.I believe you are usually very well informed and your articles are factual and accurate. But may I point out a small inaccuracy- one of those accused (No.12 in the list),Capt. Tony Anghie does not belong to any of the major communities,but a Chinese. The Chinese were but a very insignificant minority in Ceylon at that time, may be increasing in Sri Lanka of late. .
    SubraDBSJ RESPONDS:According to media reports the ethnicities of the 24 persons charged in courts over the abortive coupd’etat of 1962 were 12 Sinhala,6 Tamil & 6 Burgher.I went along with those reports and stated so. But I now find that you are correct in the sense that the father of Tony Anghie was indeed of Chinese ancestryHis granson has confirmed that.Thank you for pointing this out and I am sorry for the error.I have also confused Tony Anghie snr with his son Tony Anghie jnr. Once again I am sorry for the mistake.Tony Anghie jnr has posted a comment clarifying matters and I am thankful to himI am also altering some lines in the original response to Subra.Pon. Thank you very much for your response Subra.PonTony whose full name is Antony is from a well-known family that used to live down Sagara road in Bambalapiiya those days.Tony and his elder brother Trevor played rugger for Royal College. Trevor was the full back and Tony a centre three quarter. Tony also boxed for Royal. Their younger brother Maurice also captained the Royal rugby fifteen laterTony joined the Army and obtained training at Britain’s Sandhurst military academy. He was married then to Shelagh Jansen from another well-known Burgher familyThe Anghie brothers migrated to Australia.In Australia Tony’s son Antony (Tony jnr) studied Law at Monash university and later got a Doctorate in Law from Harvard. After lecturing in various universities Tony obtained the Samuel D Thurman professorship in Law at the University of Utah .Tony Anghie also authored the seminal work “Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law,”.
  26. SafaNovember 28, 2009 at 1:08 amThose days the armed forces numbered a few thousands and were armed with limited firepower and used mainly for ceremonial purposes. Today it is a serious business with 200-300,000 and armed with advanced weapons of mass destruction. So a coup at this point of time would be more of a civil war with a split in the forces and have disastrous consequences on the country and people. It is unthinkable.
    Having mobilised such a number of personnel, the government is having problems demobilising and maintaining the current strength. In any case this level of manpower and arms would not be required for a country like Sri Lanka if not for the LTTE separatist threat. There too the level of mobilsation was rather high. Compare the current Pakistan army operation against the Taliban in Swat where they have deployed only 25,000 troops and gained significant success in a short span of time.
    Another option which was not availed was to have a volunteer force similiar to countries like Israel and Singapore where national service is compulsory for school leavers. If this was done we could have had forces strength of 100,000 and volunteers 100,000. This serves the additional purpose of building up patriotism amongst the general population as volunteer service would be devoid of political appontments etc.
  27. RajNovember 28, 2009 at 1:17 amThe good thing about all of this is that Rauf Hakeem and Mano Ganeshan have now been exposed as the charlatans they are. Both of them claim to represent the minority voice and are often quite communal and racist (even though they point fingers at others about this), but it’s pretty obvious their stances have been nothing but political grandstanding. Now they have no qualms about supporting a war general. Not a pretty sight at all.
  28. SasankaNovember 28, 2009 at 2:21 amThanks Mr Jeyraj. I remember very well as a primary schoolboy at Ananda, how my parents talked about the coup with our grand parents at home. The account brings pleasant memories of those long gone who lived in a much better country called Ceylon! Pity,
  29. Ratnam GaneshNovember 28, 2009 at 2:30 amI used to read the newspapers at that time. A hot Topic. Especially the trial and the dramatic way G.G Ponnampalam brought De Mel to the court. I did not come across a well featured article like this at that time. Beautiful analysis and placed in sequence.
    Once again if one goes through the list of accused, it is not Religion, Cast or Race. Then what is it ? Simple to Understand. Mrs.B was a pro Indian supporter and the officers accused are more of pro English. Defended by a pro English GG (of course a brilliant QC). Sir John, Sir Oliver and Dudly are all pro British. They are not involved but their comments will be always in favour of the British. That is fact.
    The current presidential election is also same. Believe it or not the so called democracy in Sri Lanka revolves around the two powers then and now. Not centred on the Sri Lankan mass. The two powers will never allow us to prosper. That is the reality. We have to decide now whether we are going to work for them or for us. Let us be like Singapore always with the imperialists. Or be a Cuba or be a Nepal. Decide now and select one who will help this country. Otherwise we will be facing the evil forces sucking us for ever. The Matha patha (Middle path) does not work. It is something for an opportunist.
  30. nihal gunatilakeNovember 28, 2009 at 3:22 amAs a student then I can remember certain things and I used to read the daily papers and gathered a lot. At the time our highest appellate court was the Privy Council. All these people were tried behind the Inter Continental Hotel. As a student i used to go and watch the proceedings. very arguments by Advocate G G Ponnambalam nd others. Boring I could not understand anything. I was yawning so the some of Lordships (hope they do not charge me ffor contempt of court)..If I remeber correct one suspect committed suicide. Out of the Police Officer CC Dissanayake was the senior most Police Officer. He is the Seeya of one of our opposition politician.Our courts found some of them guilty.But they appealed to the Privy Council. This is very interesting. The argument by Appeal Layer was the government cannot bring on laws only apply to certain group of people etc.Our Legal brain was one Dr.who is also a politician and cabinet minister. The government lost case. They were acquitted.As a consequences of this coup. (my person idea) is that Mrs. Bandaranaike government decided to recruit KGB and SB’s to the three forces and to the Police.At that time there were very few Kandyan Buddhists or Sinhala Buddhists in these institution. Most of them were non-Sinhala Buddhists.Soulbury Constituition section 23 2/3/4 had some protection for the minories of this country.I think that this clause should be introduced to our present constitution with some amendments to fit into today’s requirements. nihalg
  31. MendisNovember 28, 2009 at 3:27 amI can remember the ’62 night curfew. Fred (Coup) De Saram used to come on a mini-moke to Royal to coach cricketers (a Dudley’s gift to him). I was there. This was in the late 60s. I am sorry his coup was a failure. A thorough gent and a visionary intellectual. De Saram family now runs leading law firms in Shri Lanka. There are numerous other distinguished De Sarams who were all Royal College products. If the coup succeeded Shri Lanka would by now have surpassed Japan and Singapore, both together.
  32. RanjithNovember 28, 2009 at 3:37 amP Ds S Kularathne and Stanley Senanayake foiled the coup leaders.(I consider them as traitors). Stanley ultimately got the plum position – IGP, well ahead of the senior colleagues. Rosie Senanayake, the beauty queen, married Stanley Senanayake’s son (one of the best Buddhist families of the time)!. I hope we will never get such a top cream of people ever to assemble in Shri Lanka ever. They were sad about the Nationalisation policies of the SLFP Governemnt.
  33. confused confuciusNovember 28, 2009 at 4:38 am#6 DF Ranasinghe and 21# Jayantha Ratnayake 12# A Guruge——————————————————————-Fine Examples of Chauvinism! කන්න ඕන වුනාම කබරගොයත් තලගොයා වෙනවලූ. Now the thalagoya has turned into a kabaragoya and people are finding difficult to digest!!
    There is nothing called JVP, Helaurumaya, SLMC or TNA ….its either UNP or SLFP and if you want to digest you digest otherwise you can start vomiting all what you ate.With regards to traitors—– another fine example of the Thalagoya / Kabaragoya story. The LTTE Kabaragoyas (Karuna / Pillayan) became a Thalagoya and the Sarath Fonseka Thalogoya became a Kabaragoya. What a shameful way of achieving satisfaction in your lowly minds!!Some more examples
    JVP – in the process of turning into a Kabaragoya
    NFF – Thalagoyas
    JHU – Thalagoyas
    Ranil et al – Kabaragoyas
    Mahinda / Gota / Basil – Thalagoy at the moment may be described at Kabaragoyas by above 3 if in case they try to adopt a centric / mid right position
    Dayan Dayathilaka – Turns either way very fast
    DBS – depends on whom he writes (if against LTTE he is a Thalagoya—— if he writes for the rights of tamil then he is a traitor i.e. Kabaragoya)
    Daya / George Master – Two new Thalagoyas in the Chauvinists’ list
    Chandrika – a traitor / Kabaragoya
    This is endless for the lowly chauvinist / fascistsGood luck with your short lived pathetic fantasies!!
  34. MelanieNovember 28, 2009 at 4:47 amOf all the coup conspirators only Tony Anghie now a distinguished academic is alive. A seprtugenarian Prof. Anghie shuttles between USA,Australia, Britain &Sri Lanka nowadays
  35. rameshNovember 28, 2009 at 6:23 am#18 Ranjan
    What I wanted to elucidate with the ‘Sikh’ and ‘Italian’ comment was the lack of ethno-centric or theocratic politics in the indian political landscape. India had thirteen PM’s before MSingh from Nehru, Shastri, Gandhi, Desai, Charan Singh, VP Singh, Gujral, Rao etc..from different ethnic, religeous and cultural backgrounds…..definitley a technicolor dream for all Sri Lankans.
    MR is no Indira; like Kassippu is not Cognac. The generals who conducted Operation Blue Star; Gen. Vaidya and Gen. Sunderjee may dispute your take on the brutality of the Eelam war 4 versus Blue Star. Also, they never contested in an election to try and remove Indira like what SF is attempting to do now.
    As for the Gandhi Family, neither Sonya, Priyanka or Rahul have been thrown aside, the Gandhi’s are the soul of the congress party…. wait till after Manmohan…a Gandhi will rule again.The men in uniform of yester year and the ones of today are not of the same moral fibre or mettle, as a comparison, it would be like comparing(again) an aged bottle of Cognac to a cheap bottle of your local drink Arrack.
    The Kind of ‘Them Oh Crazy’ Sri Lanka currrently have is no different from a pseudo Military dictatorship;(I find it hard pressed to dignify it as a democracy)
    MR is the executive President, his brother a GR a military man is the Defence secretary, the other brothers and 256 relatives of the Rajapakse’s are in various positions in government, including cabinet positions. All critical military command structures are under the military friends of GR. Assasinations and strong arm tactics beyond comparison(except for the LTTE) have been the order of the day ever since MR was given the mandate by Sinhalese people(Tamils did not vote) .I ‘d rather be governed by bunch of gentleman from the Armed forces of Ceylon than a band of corrupt brothers and relatives that openely pilfers the public treasury and governs like a Banana republic.
    MR and his cronies cannot be blamed for all the ills of Lanka, SWRD, Dudley, Sirimavo, JR, Premadasa, Chandrika, Gamini dissanayake, Cyril Mathew, Ranil and many more …all those who kept political expediency above statesmenship and nation building are to blame to have given birth to a society and a government that resembles and rivals some in southern and Sub-Saharan Africa. Lankans are quick to say .’we have a civilization that rivals ancient Egypt and Mesopatamia’…you are yet to learn what the word ‘Civilization’ really means….
    The current political rigamarole that is taking place will be the catalyst that will down the road unravel the Sinhalese nation and bring about Indian intervention, politically or militarily.
    Sri Lanka will always be in the regional control of India, whether you like it or not; the Gujral Doctrine has long been discarded the current doctrine is to do the exact opposite.1962 was a year that could have changed the future of Ceylon. I have had the privilege of witnessing violent and non-violent Coup d’etat’s in Africa, this was as DBSJ has correctly pointed, a Gentleman’s Coup. They were true patriots, they must have truly believed they were defending the nation. I salute them too.
  36. Glen.Eagle12November 28, 2009 at 6:52 am” successive Sri Lankan governments have often been worried about a military coup despite serving defence services commanders maintaining a distance from politics.That is until recently.”Why because they knew within them selves that their governance is corupt and improper and so ther are people who are prepared to start a coup.
  37. kaluyakaNovember 28, 2009 at 7:22 amGreat story DBSJ. I was a teenager too when this took place and can remember the papers were full of different
    spins to the whole saga. When I read your story, the whole thing comes back to mind like a movie. Nearly fifty years later to refresh my memory is really fascinating.Can’t wait for the next part.
  38. kaluyakaNovember 28, 2009 at 7:30 amWell said on comment 19 Kugapirasatham.Thank you DBSJ
  39. marusiraNovember 28, 2009 at 8:49 amIt looks like that some comments are supporting the coup.
    I have my doubts whether SL would have been better off if the coup was successful. All those people who were involved in the coup were remnants from the colonial era. and wouldn’t have made any difference to the ordinary folk.
    These guys wanted to continue the same old imperialist system we had before. ie the power in the hands of the Colombo cocktail set. A good example is as one writer
    mentioned, De Saram started coaching cricket at Royal College. He would have never thought of taking cricket to the villages.One might say, well what is the situation of the country now ?. For that I would like to say that we have made progress in many ways socially although we would like to see SL like Singapore today. SL was coming up in 1983 when everything went up in flames in Black July.
    The movement for equal rights for Tamils was hijacked by Prabhakaran and many Tamil intellectuals willingly or unwillingly had to tow the line. Thirty years later see what has happened. Just when we thought that LTTE is gone and we can develop the country for everyone to live peacefully, there comes Fonseka and put the spanner in the works. Everyone knows that MR & Co. is not perfect, but they have just achieved a herculean task and
    everyone should step back a litttle bit and let these guys
    achieve the next battle which is developing the country.Coming back to my point about social change, just look at the amount of poor intelligent kids getting a break in education which was limited only for elite schools.
    The national cricket team which had players only from a few elite Colombo schools, now has players from all over SL. These are only a couple of examples.
    Therefore, the suggestion that 1962 coup would have been good for SL is wrong, because they wanted to maintain status quo.However, thank you DBSJ for writing this fascinating article, and eagerly waiting for part 2..
  40. revi unniNovember 28, 2009 at 9:44 amTo comment no 18
    Please get your facts right
    SoniaGandhi turned down the PM ship offered to her on a platter. Get your history right.The Punjab problem was a law and order issue and handled thus.The Sikhs are not IDPs. Indian PM is a Sikh and one of the most intelligent economists in the Planet
    Please keep your stupid opinions under the empty space you call your head
  41. Brijesh PereraNovember 28, 2009 at 9:57 amPeople praise Banadaranaike for his Swabasha policy. But he signed a pact with Chelva after the Sinhala Raja Basa Policy. With the pact he effectively gave a separate state to the Tamils. Only JRJ stopped that,, by makiing a peace march to Kandy, but he in 1987 gave the same to the Tamils. Sinhalaya Modaya Kevum Kanna Yodaya. MR saved Lanka, whole country must be thankful to him, Gota and Sarath F for that
  42. wikumNovember 28, 2009 at 10:40 amA very good article.I think Sarath Fonseka’s candidacy could help sri lanka overall. The root cause of srilanka’s problem for decades has been the poverty and economic disadvantages faced by the general population. Be it sinhalese, tamil or others. Financial and political corruptions of selected or “elected” few always win at the expense of others. It is a strugle for the less priviledged. For sinhalese it is the “karume”. For the tamils it is “discrimination”. For the sinhala and tamil affluents it is their “right” (sometimes family rights.Sarath seems to be a staright shooter and a pragmatic leader. He calls things as they are and not try to be “politically correct” and be deceptive.I hope he is not racially biased as he came across with one of his recent statements. Other than that he could really be the change the country needs and lead the country towards economic prosperity and opporunities for the “majority”. Assuming he sees the majority as the less priviledged general population; sinhalese, tamils, muslims, and others. He could be a great leader with some minor fine-tuning.
  43. Glen.Eagle12November 28, 2009 at 11:46 amDBSJ
    You have time and again shown to us you are a good word smith, good story teller,good histoirian and also predicted the presidential election .Can you Let us know (even like a fortun teller) in your opnion and analise the future of Tamils in Srilanka come what may the out come of these elections.Knowing the poor astrologer in Srilanka was locked up , no one is willing to predict in Srilanka.DBSJ RESPONDS:Five points.1. I am only a JOURNALIST and not a “wordsmith,story teller,historian or fortune teller as you say.It’s interesting to note that you dont refer to me as a journalist.2. I have been writing for decades about what would happen to the Tamil people because of the LTTE.None of you paid any attention and only vilified me as traitor and inflicted continuous harm on me. Why ask me now ?Are you going to listen?3. I have written not only about the presidential elections being held first but also about what could happen to the LTTE if it did not alter its course. It was written in May 2008 for “The Bottom Line” and re-produced on my blog on Jan 19th 2009. You can read “Whither the LTTE”? If the Tamil people desire a bright future they must first accept current realities and admit past blunders. For starters they can acknowledge the death of Velupillai and destruction of the LTTE on ground.5.The LTTE has caused irredeemable harm to the Tamil people.There is no going back to the “garden of Eden” for Tamils anymore. However much they try, the Tamils can never re-gain their lost paradise.Tamils must adopt a pragmatic approach and achieve the attainable instead of striving for the desirable. Tamils must consolidate what they have now instead of diminishing further by continuing on an irrrational, self – destructive course
  44. WallyNovember 28, 2009 at 2:04 pmI personally think that you have given a skewed view of the situation by mentioning it as a “Christian’ conspiracy. I doubt it that religion had any direct role in the plot. I guess, history is mostly a hit-and-miss interpretation of reality, especially when it is retold by a third party who is far removed. Although you have every right to include your personal interpretation on how religion played a significant role in the plot, it is better, for journalistic integrity, to stay focused on the BIG picture and not get carried away….DBSJ RESPONDS:Wally,Wally, Wally,Now you dont get carried away and also try to carry me away.I have only stated that the obvious fact that most of the coup conspirators were Christians both Protestant and Catholic. I have not “interpreted” it (as you put it) that it was a Christinan conspiracyIt is also true that this coup was described by different people at different stages as a –1.”Buddhist coup” – because of the determination by those involved to shed even a drop of blood
    2. “Christian coup” -because an overwhelming majority of those charged in courts was Christian
    3.”Gentleman’s coup” -because most of those involved were upper- class persons of the old school type
    4. “colonels coup” – because many of those involved held Colonel and Lieutnenant- Colonel rankI have only referred to these references made earlierIt is a pity that people like you are either unable to comprehend things & attribute sinister motives to straightforward narratives.Two more things.1.Being “removed” from events help one to get a detached perspective
    2. I am a Protestant Christian
  45. Kalu AlbertNovember 28, 2009 at 4:54 pmThe common thread binding the 24 Coup plotters was that they were all Christians.They knew that under Sirima they were going to loose their privileged position Thanks to Felix Dias and a few army and police officers, Sinhala Buddhist population was saved from unimaginable discrimination and oppression that would have bestowed on them by these Chrisitian military officers.Sinhala Buddhists would have had to mount a guerilla war in the proportions of Viet Cong to win the present privileges had the cuop succeeded.The coup in fact was Plan B. Plan A was the assassination of Banda, which was easily achieved but did not bring the expected outcome.The British saved the coup plotters from punishment,One does not need to be Einstein to work out the broader plot.
  46. varakunamNovember 28, 2009 at 6:49 pmTony Anghie played rugby for Royal from 1948-50. Guess who was the rugger coach? none other than Sydney de Zoysa a senior Polce supdt at the time. Later it was Sydney who masterminded the 1962 coup
  47. mathanNovember 28, 2009 at 7:07 pmஇந்த முன்னாள் தமிழ் ஏ.எஸ்.பி சிக்ஸ் பேஸுக்கு அந்நாள் பிரதம மந்திரி நன்றியுடையவாக இருந்தார் என்று ஊரில் அப்ப கதை இருந்தது
  48. Ranjan from TorontoNovember 28, 2009 at 8:32 pm#35 Ramesh,
    I did not try to compare MR to Indira. I greatly admire the Indian political achievements. However, let’s not try to pretend that it is the greatest gift to mankind in human politics. If you want to understand what they do in the name of democracy, you should read Rohinton MIstry’s books. India may have had all kinds of PMs from different backgrounds, but they are with the main political party which is the Congress. Do you think that they would have any chance what so ever if they contested from an extreme, on the edge political party? Similarly, although never as the PM, Tamils when they came through the main political parties of UNP and SFLF, have served in very prominent positions in the SL government. Kadiragamar, Fernandopullai, and Chellia Kumarasooriyar come to mind. Peter Kenuman, who definitely is not a Singhalese was one of the most respected politicians that the Country has ever had. So my friend, having a person who is not a Singhalese as the PM or the President is not a technicolor dream. People talk endlessly about Obama. But the question is if he contested from a fringe, Black centered party, do you think that he would be the President?The brutality with which the Sikh separatism was put down is well known although lots of Indians want to pretend that it did not happen. They want to pretend that it is simply a “law and order” thing – as #40 revi unni did in his post. Same story is now happening in Kashmir.Now about Sonia Gandhi. In the last Indian general election, the Congress fought the campaign with her as the leader and as the leader she would have been the Prime Minister if the congress won. They were using the Gandhi family name to win votes. No one during the campaign brought up the fact that She is not Indian born and no one questioned that the Congress was being led by a person who is not Indian born. Then when the Congress won the elections unexpectedly, everyone realized that She would become the PM, everyone started yapping about her Italian heritage. She bring the bright lady she is, saw the writing in the stars and very gracefully and thoughtfully announced that she did not want to be the Prime Minister. After all she knows that there are two young Gandhi’s waiting on the line and she does not want to spoil their chances. Yes, Priyanka and Rahul will not be thrown aside, as they are Congress’s tickets to the power for the next 20 years. As for the current man Manmohan, he became PM by default, not because he is Sikh. In fact if the Congress had been led by him, lot of people says that that party would have gone down to defeat, because although he is very competent he is not a charismatic leader nor he has name recognition. The people who are going on and on about how a Sikh is the head of the government in India now ignores the fact that the Congress party did not fight the election on that fact. So the question is would the Indians have voted the Congress into power if they knew before hand the a Sikh was to head the government?You say that you have witnessed violent and non-violent coups in Africa. Is there a single country there that is doing well after such a coup? There is no such thing as a “gentlemen’s coup”. It is by definition taking power by force. After that you have to use force to keep power. It is simple as that.
  49. Dhammika WijesunderaNovember 28, 2009 at 8:37 pmPRESIDENT MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE
    Experience & Achievements: Lawyer, Politician, Human Rights Activist, Minister of Labour, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Highways, Leader of the opposition, Prime Minister, President of Sri Lanka, Leader of the SLFP
    Loyalty to country and Head of State: Patriot
    Family: In Sri Lanka
    NATIONALITY: Sri Lankan Citizen only
    Languages spoken: Sinhala,English and Tamil
    Mandate: By the People
    Support structure: All island
    Children: One son is Sri Lanka Navy. Other son works for Youth of Sri Lanka. All three children serve the people of Sri Lanka
    Patriotism & Loyalty as Citizen: Par Excellent
    PRESENT STATUS GIVEN BY: People / Nation
    COMMENTS BY PATRIOTS: Undisputed Leader of the people. The greatest Patriot of Sri Lanka. Saviour of the NationRETD.ARMY OFFICER SARATH FONSEKA
    Experience & Achievements: Killing civilians and Terrorists, Lies and deception, who says he is now a civilian but wants to enjoy the perks of a retired General(whilst desecrating and disgracing the Sri Lanka army. Sacrificed the dignity and decorum of the army and disgraced the Army for which the Army has to take action and court martial him for his conduct.
    Loyalty to country and Head of State: Depends on material benefits. Like 5 * and promises made by disgruntled politicians
    Family:Family members are US residents
    NATIONALITY: Citizen of Sri Lanka with Permanent Residence status in USA
    Languages spoken: Sinhala, English
    Mandate: By disgruntled politicians
    Support structure:Not known yet. Certainly disgruntled politicians and Foreign vested interests who have no vote bank
    Children: One son is Sri Lanka Navy. Other son works for Youth of Sri Lanka. All three children serve the people of Sri Lanka
    Patriotism & Loyalty as Citizen: None. Became Green card holder (US) whilst serving the SL Army
    STATUS GIVEN BY: Appointed by President
    COMMENTS BY PATRIOTS: Danger to Society, Disgrace to the Army, A hand of foreign vested interests
  50. Tony Anghie (jnr.)November 28, 2009 at 8:39 pmDear Mr JeyarajMany thanks for your wonderful article from which I learned a great deal. Just a couple of clarifications. Confusingly, there are two of us now known as `Tony Anghie’. My father was the 11th defendant in the coup trial; I am the academic. I was almost one year old when my father was arrested. But perhaps there is a broader truth suggested by the confusion, as my own career as a student of international law could be seen as inevitably shaped by my father’s life and career.Also, Comment 25 from Subra is correct. As Mahesan Niranjan in his fine article in Groundviews points out, Sri Lankan birth certificates included a category `Jathiya’. My father is of Chinese ancestry, and he is designated `Chinese’. I think you got everything else about my family correct-including the positions they played in rugby…(I’m always amazed as to how much you and your readers seem to know about the lives of people who appear in these articles: where they lived, who they married, their achievements and notoriety from their schooldays onwards, who they played rugby or cricket with and against, and even individual games that took place 60 years ago. I suppose we could say there is a rich oral history tradition in Sri Lanka).I sent your column to Professor Donald Horowitz at Duke Law School, as I think he would be very interested in your account. He wrote a book about the coup and interviewed many of the officers charged, including my father. He has a continuing interest in Sri Lanka and the coup, and we always talk about it when we meet. He is also one of the world’s leading experts on ethnic conflict and constitutional design.I look forward to the next part of your article. Thanks also, more broadly for your writings and web-site, which I consult daily. I think your site and Groundviews provide the best ongoing informed analysis of events in Sri Lanka.DBSJ RESPONDS:Thank you very much for your clarification and the positive words you’ve writtenMy apologies about the mistakes.I am also thanful to reader Subra.Pon for drawing attention to this. I have now amended my earlier response to him accordinglyPlease convey my regards to your father.Subsequently I’ve discovered that your cousin Tamara was an oscar nominee for the best short action film this year. She is I believe the daughter of your uncle Trevor who was a doctor in Diyatalawa
  51. Darshi de SesramNovember 28, 2009 at 8:45 pmCivil allegiance is the duty of loyalty and obedience which a person owes to the State of which he is a citizen. The word ‘allegiance’ is a derivative of liege, free and historically it signifies the service which a free man owed to his liege lord. Every citizen owes the duty of loyalty to the state where he is a Citizen.
    The term allegiance is often used by English legal commentators in a broader sense, divided them into natural and local, the latter applying to the deference which even a foreigner must pay to the institutions of the country in which he lives.
    The English doctrine which was once adopted in the United States, asserted that allegiance was indelible: “Nemo potest exuere patriam” . Accordingly, as the law stood before 1870, every person who by birth or naturalization satisfied the conditions set forth, though he should be removed in infancy to another country where his family resided, owed an allegiance to the British Crown which he could never resign or lose except by Act of Parliament or by the recognition of the independence or the cession of the portion of British territory in which he resided.Allegiance is the tie which binds the subject to the Sovereign in return for that protection which the Sovereign affords the subject. It was the mutual bond and obligation between the King or Queen and his or her subjects, whereby subjects are called his liege subjects, because they are bound to obey and serve him.At Common Law, allegiance is a true and faithful obedience of the subject due to his Sovereign. As the subject owes to his King his true and faithful allegiance and obedience, so the Sovereign is to govern and protect his subjects, regere et protegere subdititos suos, so as between the Sovereign and subject there is : duplex et reciprocum ligamen; quia sicut subditus regi tenetur ad obedientiam, ita rex subdito tenetur ad protectionem:merito igitur ligeantia dicitur a ligando, quia continent in se duplex ligament. Allegiance is owed both to the Sovereign as a natural person and to the Sovereign in his or her political capacity. Loyalty requires affection also to the office of the Sovereign, attachment to royalty, attachment to the law and to the Constitution of the realm and he who would by force or fraud endeavour to prostrate that law and Constitution, though he may retain his affection for its head, can boast but an imperfect and spurious species of loyalty.
    Have you heard of a Former Army officer making insinuous remarks about the duly elected President and the Government ? He is seen in the private electronic media by saying the following:“I am a Four Star General, I was not given promotion as Five Star General. Had I got it I will still be wearing the Uniform” What a silly statement unbecoming of an Officer and a Gentleman. An Officer in the army is expected to serve Head of State and the Nation without expectations of material gain. He should have realized that the Airforce and the Navy too played significant roles together with the police. This controversial personality is craving for the post of President which he will never be in his wildest dreams but he has certainly qualified himself as an unpatriotic, dishonest traitor who has ever lived in this country. Whilst he make remarks about Our Patriotic son of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa by asserting that as a civilian he has a right to contest the elections, by what right has that ordinary civilian the right for additional security personnel. He would have been entitled to additional security personnel had he maintained the dignity and decorum of a retired Army General and not behave like a savage. No right thinking soldier should protect him. If there is any patriotic soldier or Armed forces personnel they must refuse to be in his security squad to give him protection or refuse to be on his squad lest he makes insinuous remarks of his own body guards.It is the duty of the State and the President to disqualify him as a Candidate if he is trying to bully the Nation with the unseen foreign power with NGO’s and INGO’s .The Election Commissioner should disqualify him as he holds foreign residence permit (Green card) and is unfit to contest the Presidential election. We must enact a law to prevent foreign interests and invasion.It was President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership which wiped out terrorism with the able directives of Dr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the analytical advise given by Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa. An officer who lifts his hand to salute the Head of State should not try to challenge the Head of State or point a finger at him. Probably after losing the elections, as a Green Card holder he may migrate to USA.On submitting his resignation papers he stated “ I will make my comments after I remove my uniform. As an ordinary citizen, I have the rights of the citizen to contest”. If so why is he trying to exploit the resources given to a retired General. Are you upholding the dignity of a retired General? Instead he is now trying to become a political henchman of vested interests and some disgruntled politicians. What a shame. He was injured. Who sent him for medical treatment ? Has he forgotten Article 30(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka which states that the President is the Head of State and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces”. Has he observed and obeyed order as an officer and a gentleman ? Has he not qualified himself to be court martial led for his conduct unbecoming of an Officer?
  52. AnandaNovember 28, 2009 at 9:07 pmDBS,I think it is time you starting writing some books on these subjects for the benefit of future generations.
  53. Dhammika WijesunderaNovember 28, 2009 at 9:39 pmHI DBS!
    I made a mistake in my conment (#49). Corrected version is as follows: Please replace comment 49 with th the correct one.(look at the family of Sarath Fonseka – I made a mistake) ThanksPRESIDENT MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE
    Experience & Achievements: Lawyer, Politician, Human Rights Activist, Minister of Labour, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Highways, Leader of the opposition, Prime Minister, President of Sri Lanka, Leader of the SLFP
    Loyalty to country and Head of State: Patriot
    Family: In Sri Lanka
    NATIONALITY: Sri Lankan Citizen only
    Languages spoken: Sinhala,English and Tamil
    Mandate: By the People
    Support structure: All island
    Children: One son is Sri Lanka Navy. Other son works for Youth of Sri Lanka. All three children serve the people of Sri Lanka
    Patriotism & Loyalty as Citizen: Par Excellent
    PRESENT STATUS GIVEN BY: People / Nation
    COMMENTS BY PATRIOTS: Undisputed Leader of the people. The greatest Patriot of Sri Lanka. Saviour of the NationRETD.ARMY OFFICER SARATH FONSEKA
    Experience & Achievements: Killing civilians and Terrorists, Lies and deception, who says he is now a civilian but wants to enjoy the perks of a retired General(whilst desecrating and disgracing the Sri Lanka army. Sacrificed the dignity and decorum of the army and disgraced the Army for which the Army has to take action and court martial him for his conduct.
    Loyalty to country and Head of State: Depends on material benefits. Like 5 * and promises made by disgruntled politicians
    Family:Family members are US residents
    NATIONALITY: Citizen of Sri Lanka with Permanent Residence status in USA
    Languages spoken: Sinhala, English
    Mandate: By disgruntled politicians
    Support structure:Not known yet. Certainly disgruntled politicians and Foreign vested interests who have no vote bank
    Children: Living in USA as USA residents
    Patriotism & Loyalty as Citizen: None. Became Green card holder (US) whilst serving the SL Army
    STATUS GIVEN BY: Appointed by President
    COMMENTS BY PATRIOTS: Danger to Society, Disgrace to the Army, A hand of foreign vested interests
  54. sri mylvagananNovember 28, 2009 at 10:24 pmhello dbs
    i was told that unp parlimentarian ravi karunnanayake is a relative of jungle disanayake.. is that right ??Yes.Ravi K is “Jungle”s grandson. Daughter’s son…………….DBSJ
  55. Dhammika WijesunderaNovember 28, 2009 at 10:27 pmLankadeepa flipping versionTurn to page 6.There is a very important discussion with Gota. He says lots of things about SF.Gota is a man who talks his heart out. And he sounds at the brink of knocking his head on wall for bringing SF to scene.Some important issues about SF’s media history, SF’s plotting., infightings, suspicion from many parties, etc.
  56. dilshan fNovember 28, 2009 at 10:33 pmDear All,
    I am not for corrupt govt or for MR. However having seen Germany unite, Russia fragmented, Communism fading in China, A black US president and the return of days without bombs in Sri lanka, I thought things will get better. What we are now having is the opposition UNP which was the middle class party putting forward a candidate for the sake of trying to win an election. The contender has openly stated that minorities should behave, Muslims to go back to the middle east, Tamilnadu politicians are jokers.
    All of us suffered for years when SWRD had racial stains in his election objectives. It wasnt difficult for him to change religion and ask for the Sinhala vote.
    We all know that the present unhappiness of the tamil community is based on them being felt as second class citizens.
    Why on earth should we re-start this again? Havent we seen enough blood being spilt.
    To Mr’s credit he learnt to speak in Tamil which I am ashamed that I dont. My children learn in school and I am thankful for whoever who put that in oprtaion.
    For the sake of your children and mine please think about the future and discuss with your friends and peers whether Sri Lanka needs racial politics. Dont vote for MR if you feel he doest not deserve a vote. But please dont vote for a person with racial motives.
    DBSJ I am sorry if this post violates any ethics here. My only wish is for a peaceful co-existant of all races with equality and dignity in the life of my children.No Dilshan, Good of you to have posted this comment…………….DBSJ
  57. Asanka PereeraNovember 28, 2009 at 11:04 pmSarath Fonseka joined the army on Feb 5, 1970 and was commissioned on June 1, 1971. He was made Commander in Chief of the Sri Lanka Army on Dec 6, 2005. Many women soldiers were molested by Sarath Fonseka. A case in point is of Nanda Menike. Sarath Fonseka repeatedly raped this woman solider and fathered two children. Before leaving from the Army he arranged pension and other benefits to her. As a Lieutenant, Sarath Fonseka was charge sheeted and punished. The offence: rape of a domestic (servant woman) on 25 December 1975, at the Army Training centre in Diayatalawa.
    Foneska was given a severe reprimand on Feb 20, 1976
    The order reads: “WOAS (Whilst On Active Service) being an officer of the Regular Force charged for the conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline that he on 25th December 1975 at the Army Training centre at the station officers mess Diayatalawa did become in a manner unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman and thereby punished under Army Act Section 129 (1).
    Names of witnesses:
    1. Lieut Ham Perrera 1/SLLI (O/ 50618)
    2. 2/Lieut. C.J. Kottahachchi SL AOC O/50671
    Severely Reprimanded
    By S.C. Ranatunga Colonel.
    One has to recall the allegation made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her address to UN Security Council. She spoke about allegation of rape against the armed forces. Such allegations must have been prompted by ‘sexcapades’ of General Sarath Fonseka.
    It was learnt that Sarath Fonseka was charge sheeted for several offences during his career. He had a serious brawl at an airport once.
    To accommodate Sarath Fonseka as the new Army Commander the Government retired the serving commander Lieutenant General Shantha Kotegoda by giving him a two-day notice.
    Fonseka’s elevation as Army Commander took place when he was packing for his retirement due in another couple of weeks. His first annual extension of service was granted on 18 December 2005.
    From that day onwards up to his retirement on Nov 12, 2009, Foneska received as many four extensions.
    All because the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary of Defence were very considerate towards him.
    The same Sarath Fonseka has now filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court, stating that “the President is entitled to a security force of 2000; the Defense Secretary has 500; former Navy Chief has 120 and the Army commander has a security detail of 600. While so much security officers are provided to them, Gen. Fonseka whose security detail was drastically curtailed has only 10 Commando soldiers, two unofficial security officers, 50 soldiers and a bullet proof vehicle”.
    In his petition Sarath Fonseka requested the Court to direct the authorities to provide him with 600 soldiers, 10 vehicles and two bullet proof vehicles as security cover. His contention was that as an Army Commander he faced with the biggest threat from the LTTE and cut backs on his security after the war was won, is ‘unjustifiable and unreasonable’.
    The retired general who has filed for his ‘fundamental’ rights has a dismal track record in respecting fundamental rights of others, particularly fellow generals particularly to his immediate predecessor, General Shantha Kottagoda (2004 to Dec 6, 2009).
    Within two days of his retirement as Army Commander, General Shantha Kottagoda was evicted from his quarters at the Army Headquarters. Subsequently within a month he was driven out of the General’s House located at the Bullers Road. He was deprived of his personal body guards. He was left high and dry without any security cover. Remember General Shantha Kottagoda had also fought against the LTTE. He was also a Tigers’ target.
    Fonseka, as army commander, also trampled on the security of some other former army chiefs as well. He called back all the security guards and vehicles provided to General L.P. Ballagalle (2000 to 2004), General C.S.Weerasuriya (1998 to 2000), General R.De. S. Dulwatte (1996 to 2000) and many retired senior generals of the Sri Lanka Army.
    Because Sarath Fonseka was charge sheeted on several occasions he was denied of the USB – Uthama Serva Pathakkam and also VSV Vishita Seva Vibushana. Subsequently when he became the commander of the army he amended the regulation in respect of the award of USB in order to qualify himself for the award of VSV and subsequently recommended for himself these very honours and received the awards.
    In 2002 when Sarath Fonseka was the Commandant of Jaffna, the Government decided to allow the Tamil land owners on a staggered basis to occupy their lands that came under security zone in the Jaffna Peninsula. But he refused to implement the order. He refused cooperation. The matter went up before Ranil Wickremasinghe, the then all-powerful Prime Minister. Ranil moved Fonseka out of Jaffna and posted him as the Wanni Commander.
    As Commander of Jaffna, Fonseka was provided with a satellite phone (Sat Phone) for communication purpose.
    He used the Satphone for personal purposes mostly talking to his US based daughters and friends in foreign lands. He took it along with him when he moved to Vavuniya; he took along with him the satellite phone. The Army wanted to court-martialled Fonseka for the abuse of the official telephone. Fonseka’s Satphone bill was a staggering Rs. 8.5 million. He settled the bill after he became the commander of the army by drawing money from the Army Welfare Fund.
    When the battle was raging Fonseka left on a holiday to China on 11 May. The trip was sponsored by a leading Chinese arms manufacturer, China North Industries Corporation, NORINCO. The entire family joined him in the holiday. Wife Anoma, two daughters Aspara, Aparna and the son-in law cum arms dealer Danuna Tilakaratne stayed with the General along with his ADC and a few other relatives and friends.
    NORINCO played the role of host to perfection. It provided the Air Tickets. When Sarath Fonseka’s Party landed in China, the factory representatives received him with full honours that are reserved to a privileged few.
    Sarath Fonseka and his ‘group’ were conducted on a sightseeing tour of Chongquing city and Xian where they saw the terracotta warriors, the Great Wall of China as well to the Olympic stadium.
    The General received a fat cheque towards the services he had rendered to please his hosts – bulk orders for military hardware for which he was responsible. The goodwill money shorn of all honorific is pure and unadulterated commission, kick back.
    The Arms dealer son-in-law used the occasion of the visit to China at the invitation of NORINCO to meet its rival, Poly Technologists. Danuna Tilakaratne met the Poly Technologists representatives with the full knowledge and blessings of his father-in-law. The meeting was a hush-hush affair. It resulted in some orders to Poly Technologists and the ordinance factory was asked to quickly ferry the ordered weapons to Sri Lanka. Poly Technologists also is rumoured to have showered the Sri Lanka Star general and his starry son-in-law with its version of goodwill money.
    All these discreet arms deals took place when the Sri Lankan forces – Army, Navy and air force were engaged in a pitched battle with the Tiger terrorists in Wanni.
    The holiday party lingered on in mainland China for a little while. By the time the General and his family and friends returned home with spirits rejuvenated, Sri Lanka’s war against terrorism on its very own soil ended by the 18 May.
    During the final stages of the war, as the army commander was not on hand, the Defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa along with Vanni Commander and other forces commanders steered the campaign that culminated in the elimination of Pribakaran and his terrorists group.
    Sarath Fonseka used to long for power and authority like a megalomaniac. As commander of the army, he used to beseech the Defence secretary to vest with him the authority of controlling the Navy, Air Force and the Police. His argument was that such authority would give him the freedom to marshal all resources for effective deployment for best results in the war theatre. The Secretary to Defence refused to yield to Sarath Fonseka, thereby making him nurse a grievance against the Rajapaksas.
    Army officers who worked with Foneska told that the General always nursed the ambition of becoming supreme power in the country.
    On May 18, Government of Sri Lanka declared that the humanitarian campaign to liberate the Tamils was over and by that time more than 280,000 innocent Tamil civilians who were held as human shield by Prabhakaran ended up as internally displaced persons at the welfare centres.
    However, unbelievable it may be the truth is as Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka never visited any of the theatres of war when the battle was raging between the Sri Lankan forces and the Tamil Tigers. He never ventured out into the front line until Kilinochchi was liberated.
    When the troops had pushed out Tamil Tigers from Kilinochchi, President Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to visit the area on April 16, 2009. He wanted to celebrate the Sinhala and Hindu New Years with the troops stationed in Kilinochchi, IDPs and other civilians.
    The President invited the Army Commander to accompany him. But Fonseka showed reluctance saying that the war with the LTTE was still raging and as such on and no risks should be taken. Army Commander lacked the courage to go to the frontline.
    But the President kept his date with the front line. On his arrival at the proposed new hospital complex in the heart of Kilinochchi town on 16 April 2009, morning, the President and his entourage were received by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, and Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal Roshan Goonatilake. The Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickaramratne was also present. He reached Kilinochchi a day ahead of President’s visit. That was the first time General Sarath Fonseka set his foot in the war ravaged region.
    Interestingly both when the war was declared and when the war ended, Gen Fonseka was no where in the scene. When President Rajapaksa declared war on the LTTE after the Mavil-Aru incident, the star general was away in Singapore. During the final days of the war, he was away in China with his arms dealer son-in-law collecting commission money and conniving with his son-law to order for another shipment of arms and ammunition.
    On 20 August 2009, the Defence Secretariat was informed of the arrival of the Mechanized Vessel Lily from China with 206, 20ft containers and 3 containers of 40 ft with arms and ammunition from China. The arrival came as a surprise. After Mahinda Rajapaksa became the President, the practice adopted is to order and regularize imports of military hardware through Lanka Logistics.
    Earlier the import orders used to be placed by forces commanders in a haphazard manner. Defence Secretary streamlined the import procedure and set up Lanka Logistics as the agency to handle all imports of military equipment.
    Lanka Logistics is presently headed by Nimal Perera. He is a former Director of Noritake Lanka Porcelain. Jayanth Wickremasinghe is the Chief Executive of Lanka Logistics. Normally arms and ammunitions are imported after asset drill and opening up of the Letters of Credit for the ordnance factory which would send the military hardware. Instead of going through these procedures, MV Lilly arrived at Colombo Port from China with Poly Technologists’s hardware – RPGs’ artillery ammunitions, small arms ammunitions, and spares for artilleries. According to Lanka Logistics they have not opened up the necessary Letter of Credit for the ‘cargo’ that came. This was the hardware that was indented during Gen Fonseka’s holiday to China. His son-in-law, who was on the holiday trip, is the agent of Poly Technologists. According to the Defence Ministry there is no need for the Poly Technologists’s hardware that came aboard MV Lilly. The ship was accordingly sent back to China. This decision created a big wedge in the relations between Sarath Fonseka and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who are good friends otherwise. In fact it was the Defence Secretary who promoted Fonseka. . It was because of Gotabaya’s insistence President Rajapaksa appointed Sarath Fonseka as the commander in Chief. Many generals don’t think Fonseka displayed any great talent in winning the Wanni war credit to Sarath Fonseka.
  58. shankarNovember 28, 2009 at 11:15 pmDBSJI was thinking what i would have done if i was in Stanley Tillekeratna’s shoes? I certainly woudn’t have ratted on my buddies. Mateship is very important to me. What do you think? Would you have done what he did?It’s difficult to judge others without walking in their shoes for awhile………………..DBSJ
  59. shankarNovember 28, 2009 at 11:17 pmsorry DBSJIt should have been Stanley Senanayake. Was he not rewarded by becoming the IGP?DBSJ RESPONDS:I didn’t notice the slip too.I dont think Stanley can be blamed because he was never part of the coup project. He was approached by Jungle Dissanayake at the last minute &after thinking over rejected it. Thereafter he had to blow the whistle I think. The term “ratting” wont apply here because he was never part of the rat packBut for a long,long time people thought Stanley was part of the coup conspirators and got cold feet at the last minute. That was the tale I heard & believe until the eighties.Former ambassador TDSA Dissanayake, son of Jungle Dissanayake had written the book on 1983 July violence called”Agony of Sri Lanka”. some chapters were serialised in “The Island” thenTDSA used to come to the Island editorial frequently those days. He was a very interesting person to talk to and had a wealth of informationIt was TDSA who first told me of Stanley’s actual role and cleared him of all “blame” saying Stanley had acted honourably.Later TDSA wrote about Stanley in another bookStanley would have become IGP at some time with or without the coup episode. The IGP post was not a reward but something he earned.One of Stanley’s sons Sanjeewa was the opening bowler for Ananda in 1967 -69. Thominans lost to Anandians in 1967&68.Another of his sons was Food&beverages manager at the then Oberoi Hotel. He married the beauty queen Rosy Ramanayake who is now a UNP Western Provincial councillor
  60. Kamal MunasingheNovember 29, 2009 at 12:30 amWhen SF announced VP’s death I felt a little awkward. Then I thought it was done with the approval of MR. Whether we like MR or not he is our President. Our military general cannot surpass him. That is one of the most important foundations of democracy. I tend to believe that these anecdotes might be just a tip of a huge iceberg.
    “Sri Lanka belongs only to Sinhalese” perturbed me. His Kieth Noire statement troubled me. (It was despotic at best). The way he gave cold shoulder to Kannangara disturbed me.
    There were such criticisms during the war days but we did not want to pay attention since the opposition lost its credibility because they created all sort of stories. But, that loss is a loss to the Nation.Then he spoke about Tamil Nadu politicians. It should not have come from him. It was too political. I think MR and GR might have been fighting with their general as well as VP, Ranil, Mangala and foreign forces.
    Then he was moving personnel around. If he is an astute military person he should have been sensitive enough not to cross the boundaries. The security arrangement he made in Ambalangoda looked like a Government with in a Government. Why did he act too audaciously if his motives were innocent? He was testing the water. MR had to act. If MR’s suspicions were wrong then only decent thing he could have done was not to become even more audacious but to take a step backward.
    If SF’s motive was genuine service he should have resigned and then kept away from the limelight for a while before he started to build up a political movement. Instead he is trying to use UNP’s and JVP’ vote base to come to power. Even though UNP and JVP were netting SF the fish from the troubled water initially now UNP and JVP are netted by SF
    I believe that in the war time MR/GR chose to put up with him just for the sake of the war effort. This is my interpretation. Even though I have confidence in my interpretation I cannot be absolutely certain. I am just connecting dots. Nevertheless, SF has not given any reason for me to revise this opinion. I do not believe that he is going to withdraw his candidacy after 17th of December. He is in it to win it. Whether he can do it or not is another matter. He might withdraw if he thinks it is going to be a humiliating defeat. He would give some reason. (Still 17th has not come. So Ranil could step in too. He could say due to prevailing unrest in the party… or public outcry for UNP candidacy..)
    Once, about someone’s murder or being bashed up Ranil had called MR and had said “This murder/bash up will also be deposited into your account.” So Ranil was not thinking MR is responsible for the event. Who did Ranil think was responsible? Was Ranil trying to create a division between MR and another party?
    That (the time of war) was the worst of time. Now we are out of that time. For the corruption and lawlessness prevailed in the country the only culprit is not the constitution even though it contributed. It was the LTTE, the main culprit. Now we have chance. It is to the credit of MR even when fighting in so many fronts some decency prevailed in the country. If UNP helped things could have been much easier.
    Now we have a chance. I do not want it to be taken away from our people just because of one person’s un-satiated ego. I do not want people to take a chance on this. Of course it is their decision. Let us hope the very best for the country. Even if SF comes to power let us wish that he will not be demonic as he is demonstrating that he would be.An army officer having a secret relationship with a small SCHOOL GIRL OF 15 YEARS. not even OL completed! unacceptable.
    “Seated in her office at the Army Seva Vanitha Headquarters, Anoma begins to recall the past and present of her life with her Army husband.
    “My love for him began when I was a fifteen-year-old school girl,” she blushes. “Well, one of the Army friends of my elder brother was invited for dinner at our place at Base Line Road, Dematagoda.
    He accompanied another friend of his, and that was ‘Sarath Aiya’ (she calls the Army Commander by that name). He was about 22 years old and I was about 15. Since my elder sisters who were 17 and 18 were very much closer to the young Army officers’ age, my mother didn’t let them appear in the sitting room. And I, the youngest (probably thinking I was still a child) was sent to serve a drink for them,” she laughs.
    Anoma served and talked to the two young Second Lieutenants of the Sinha Regiment casually as she was quite used to befriending the mates of her elder brothers. It was not a strange thing to her at all. But this particular handsome young Army fellow who was introduced as ‘Sarath’ had a different approach, she thought.
    His gaze was straight, though he still looked shy. He talked less and listened more. “And he is still like that,” she adds, Anoma exchanged a humble yet hearty smile with him and went into the house.
    ‘Maani’ is the pet name for Anoma at home. The following day ‘Maani’ got a telephone call from a young man. It was ‘Sarath Aiya’ whom she met the previous day. They chatted a bit. Sarath pretended that he was talking to a child. Anoma was still a child, afterall.
    Since then his telephone calls became a part of her life. The continuous dialogues over the phone was not a secret to her family, except to her father. In fact Anoma was still a school girl at Gothami Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo, a clever all rounder in studies, sports, music and dancing.
    However Sarath knew when to phone her. During the afternoon, when her father returned to his office after lunch, and when her mother went for a nap, the phone used to ring. The youngest of the family was the only person at home to pick the receiver up.
    The two Second Lieutenants once invited the whole family for lunch at the Army Mess at Echelon Square. Sarath somehow found this opportunity to sit beside Anoma at the dinning table, and tried to exchange a word with her. With great difficulty she ignored it as her father and the rest was around. However Sarath began to visit them often as a good friend of Anoma’s brothers.”DBSJ RESPONDS:This comment and excerpt are interesting but inappropriate for this article which is about the 1962 coup attempt. Much of what you’ve written here are mentioned in my article “Rajapakse regime and Fonseka phenomenon:genesis of crisis”. It is available on this blog.It would have been better if you had posted this as a comment for that article. I do hope you and other commentators post their comments under appropriate articles. I release these “out of place” posts because I dont usually like to disallow comments. But this cannot be allowed to become the norm
  61. Subra PonNovember 29, 2009 at 12:45 amDual Citizenship and Loyalties.
    Any Legislator,Minister or a President of a nation should never be in a postion to swear allegiance to any other country. This should apply not only to Sri Lanka but to all nations big and small.
    This should be enforced by legislation and implemented scrupulously in every
    nation that claims to uphold its honour and security.
    For too long we have permitted dual citizens to run and ruin Sri Lanka.
    Enough is enough. Will the politicians and the political parties in Sri Lanka wake up at least now?
    As a an investigative journalist can you please inform every reader of yours as to which nations allow dual citizens to become legislators,etc. and run the affairs of the nation? and which of them disallow this.
  62. Vijay AlagurasNovember 29, 2009 at 1:10 amSinhala and Tamil, the two main languages in use in Sri Lanka, find themselves in the distilled list of scripts considered the most creative in the world.
    It is significant that of the 16 alphabets listed as the most creative in the world, 13 are what could be called Asian languages in that they originated in what is geographically the Asian continent. The three European languages are Greek, Italian (Roman) and Armenian. The Asian languages are Arabic, Burmese (Myanmar), Cambodian, Chinese, Hebrew, Indian Devanagari, Tamil, Sinhala, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Mongolian and Thai.DBSJ RESPONDS:This comment is informative & interesting but inappropriate for this article which is about the 1962 coup attempt. I do hope you and other commentators post their comments under appropriate articles. I release these “out of place” posts because I dont usually like to disallow comments. But this cannot be allowed to become the norm
  63. Ranjan from TorontoNovember 29, 2009 at 1:19 amDBS,
    Reading your blog and your responses to the comments, I am amazed at your memory and recollection. You really should put all of these in a book. I am certain that will be the definitive history of Sri Lanka in the last half of the 20th century. I just have to say that it is a real pleasure and privilege to read your blog and be able to contribute even by a very small amount through comments. Thank you very much.DBSJ RESPONDS:You are most welcome.Thank you very much Ranjan. Your comments are a regular, positve feature on this blog. As for the book you are being too kind about it being “definitive” and all that. But I do want to write a book. But the hitch is finding time& energy for that kind of discipline. It means stopping regular journalism for a while .But then…………………………………………………..
  64. NavinNovember 29, 2009 at 1:49 am56. dilshan f:Dilshan, I think you are been overly harsh on SF for his statement.The part where he said Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese is wrong, at least if taken literary. I think what came out was not what he wanted to say. May be I’m wrong. The matter needs to be handled more delicately than been bluntly put in that way.However, I don’t think SF has any intention whatsoever of treating Tamils or Muslims as second class citizens. Been a minority and been a second class citizen are not the same.At the same time MR’s assertion that there are no more minorities in Sri Lanka is clearly ignoring the ground reality. Rather than trying to be blind to the ground realities it would be good for all of us to acknowledge the problem we are confronted with and learn to deal with it. This is not to say I’m against what MR is trying to achieve via his policy of been oblivious to communal divisions. If that works that’s fine. But I have doubts whether it will work in the long run.Even more so than SF’s policies on ethnic reconciliation my fear is in how the cohabitation between him and UNF is going to play if and when he gets elected. Its very likely that the two will not get along and that would be disastrous for the country.Besides, in the same way its only SF can who can challenge MR, MR is the only one around to challenge SF and unlike MR, this isn’t the only time SF will be contesting for presidency. May be its only a matter of time before SF becomes the president!
  65. M.G.November 29, 2009 at 2:28 amI think the coup became a flop because of Jungle’s stupidity. He divulged the whole secret to Stanley Senanayke – the son in law of P De S Kularathne.
  66. shankarNovember 29, 2009 at 2:36 am#64 NavinThe MR+GR may be stronger than SF+RW.So why is not MR giving more prominence to GR.
    Now that the war is over people’s attention has naturally shifted to the economy. By keeping GR as the Defence Secretery isn’t MR tryin to take on SF+RW on his own. What is the point of guys like Rathnasiri and Maithripala Sirisena etc. Shoudn’t GR enter politics too and aspire to be the primeminister to counter SF. People would have already lost interest in the Defence Secretary post after Prabhaharan’s death. That man’s name was the only thing that could shoot up the blood pressure of the average sinhalese.
  67. Ben JNovember 29, 2009 at 3:01 amHi David,
    this is a fine article.
    I think the peolpe of sri lanka will re elect MR again as a president for the next term. They don’t have a choice. I can’t see SF become a president of that country. but after the second term of MR presidency, the country will be in deep trouble. Mr Mr is a good war president but he can’t establish the peace. the corruptions and killings will continue. Like Parkistan, this country will also beomce a fail state soon.
  68. jagansriramNovember 29, 2009 at 4:06 amdear jey,
    this is with reference to ranjans comment about putting down terrorism in cant be compared with what happened in srilanka in the last days of war in may 2009.objectively speaking though i am a tamil killings which took place in last days of war is unparalleled in the history of the world after punjab it was indira gandh who stoked the fire first by propping up bindranwale who was an ordinary preacher she used him against akalis and it boomeranged.then came the operation bluestar and bindranwales death .it left a permanent scar on sikh psyche.subsequently she was assasinated by her own sikh body guards and this resulted in anti sikh riots which left 4000 sikhs dead.till now justice has not been done to has to be kept in mind that sikhs are very patriotic and it was a matter of pride for them to have atleast one sikh in army.though 1970 war with pakistan was managed by sam manekshaw it has to be kept in mind that js aurora was the one who signed agreement with pakistan on behalf of india.punjab problem was solved in the early 1990s and the credit has to go to indian democratic system which provided space for sikhs.unfortunately same congress government is responsible for kashmir problem also.still kashmir issue can be solved and i am personally hopeful they have been given enough democratic leeway and they will realise that their counterparts in pakistant dont enjoy the rights they do.what happened in srilanka was heinous and i hope one day perpetrators will be brought to justice like what happened to slobodan milosevic,radavan karadzic and ratko i would like to disagree with you jey your tweet which depicted vaiko going to london,nedumaran to australia as if they are going on a honeymoon trip.sacrifices of vaiko and nedumaran are unparalleled they suffered imprisonment for their view they are not run of the mill indian politicians i am not holding brief for them but one has to be objective.i appreciate your intentions but it cant be at the cost of slighting the sincerity of thiruma,vaiko and nedumaran.DBSJ RESPONDS:The damage that these people like Vaiko, Nedumaran& Thirumavalavan have done to the Sri Lankan Tamil cause is immense. They may have been imprisoned in India but it was for the particular tiger cause.Not for the greater Tamil cause.Even on the LTTE there was a very good chance of a ceasefire coming into effect with India’s blessings had a behind the scenes move by Chidambaram& Kanimozhi succeeded.If that happened the LTTE hierarchy may be alive today. But Nedumaran& Vaiko obstructed it because they thought DMK&Congress will get the credit & gain an advantage in pollsIt was these people who lulled the LTTE into false consciousness saying BJP would come to power and AIADMK combine will sweep Tamil Nadu. It was this which kept the foolish LTTE keep on fighting a lost warIt is this Nedumaran who called KP a traitor & spread the false story that Prabhakaran is aliveThis man Vaiko is now saying the 5th Eelam war will start soon and that he too would go to Sri Lanka and participateThis Thirumavalavan cringes before Mahinda and Gotabhaya and sheepishly bares his teeth at them in Lanka. He returns to Tamil Nadu and demands that Mahinda be tried as war criminalsThis man Seeman comes to muti-ethnic Toronto and spouts racial venom against the Sinhala people living here. He was guilty of a hate crimeThe Sri Lankan Tamil lie battered and bruised thanks to the irresponsible conduct of the LTTE,their Diaspora supporters and Tamil Nadu sympathisersThe Tamils need peace to bring about normalcy first.Thereafter we have to rise up from the ashes and live again with dignity, justice and equality in Sri Lanka.We must have a renaissance.We dont want confrontational politics anymore.We do not need these Tamil Nadu politicos to whip up passions and hatred among gullible sections of the DiasporaThose days the British advertised “Join the British Navy and see the world”. Now its “Support the LTTE and see the world” for these Tamil Nadu politicos.I know there is widespread,genuine sympathy &solidarity for the Sri Lankan Tamils among Tamil Nadu Tamils. I am grateful and appreciate it very muchBut that sympathy is of no use in practical terms because these pro-tiger elements have hijacked the overall Tamil causeWe dont need Vaiko & nedumaran to make emotional speeches to the Tamil Diaspora. What we need is for them to influence New Delhi through quiet diplomacy and get India to help Tamil get their legitimate rights within a UNITED,UNDIVIDED Sri LankaInstead of that they are only confronting the Central and State governments. They are alienating sympathy for Tamils through their cheap, personal attacks on Sonia and Kalainjer and the venom shown towards Brahmins and MalayaleesThe conduct of magazines like Nakkeeran, Junior & Ananda Vikatan are disgusting. They keep on spinning yarns about the LTTE to keep Tamils live in a dream worldSeparation is finished for Tamils in Sri Lanka. We must try for maximum devolution through democratic means. No more war. We need peace.These people like Vaiko & nedumaran must stop saying another war for Tamil Eelam is coming.Its simply not true and only gives Sinhala hardliners an excuse to continue suppressing Tamils and not give in to political demandsIf Vaiko & nedumaran& Seeman& Thirumavalavan truly feel Tamils must have their own country tell them to fight for it in IndiaIf they want Tamils to sacrifice their life tell them to first self – immolate themselvesI love the people of Tamil Nadu but not these charlatans
  69. SatkunarasaNovember 29, 2009 at 4:07 amThis is a very incisive article on the 1962 coup. DBSJ has written it in a rather interesting,lively way that makes it eminently readable.
  70. FareedaNovember 29, 2009 at 4:18 amA very good article with excellent details. Wonderful job Mr.Jeyaraj
  71. NativesNovember 29, 2009 at 4:22 amDBJS,
    Great article. It takes about 9 months for a mother to produce a healthy baby. But your babies come out almost every friday. Unlike the new born baby, your babies have lots of muscle, strength and precision. I always wonder how you accomplish this herculean task. You probably must be working (in parallel) on multiple subjects at any given time, so that you can deliver well researched or precise analysis on past and current events in SL. Lots of us are very fortunate to read your articles and share few comments. These articles not only provide historical facts about SL, but also provides wide spectrum of viewpoints from many readers, that helps to transport the one’s mind to 1960s. It enriches the total experience of reading your articles. Hat’s off to you!!Few comments about the coup:
    I am glad that this coup did not go as planned. Military based leadership are not good for any country. When people power is replaced by gun power, historically people suffer a lot. For example: Pakistan, Tamils under LTTE…I watched the DailyMirror video interview of SF. It is sad that this person is contesting against MR in the general election. SF is a looser, already crying about his own security, he does not have the acumen, calibre or the personality to become a politician or for that matter a president. He should catch the flight to Oklahoma and live in the cow pastures, before Ranil and gang pull “Rajiv Gandhi”( May 21 1991) on him, so that Ranil could capture the presidency on sympathy vote and frame the incident on MR & bros.
  72. AnomaNovember 29, 2009 at 5:06 amAn exellent article. This coup attempt marked the end of Christian domination of the military and police.
  73. dilshan fNovember 29, 2009 at 5:25 am64 Navin,
    I am not been harsh on SF to put merit on MR. But reality is what basis are we voting the next president. Are we to vote on the basis who has more blood on his hands? whether it be LTTE or SL forces dont forget they were all brothers, sisters, kith and kin of someone. They were all loved as family by maybe not us but by their own.
    We dont need an ex army officer who beat the LTTE through shear force as he would surely use the same in running a country.
    Corruption cannot be stopped by one man. It must be stopped by the community who must also say ‘I will not Pay’ to get things done or not pay in difficult situations. Thats a long way from happening here. As long as there are drug users there will be peddlers. as long as there is society that sees no wrong in a little corruption the bigger ones will remain.
    The UNP and the opposition is putting forward SF as not because they like him or his policies? What ARE his policies? is it what we have learnt thus far.
    Can the Tamils feel safe and be assured of dignity?. Do we have to behave as the vanquisher.
    Dont think from lines of MR is corrupt the bigger picture is whether we are making our brothers who are in the minority feel secure if a military man comes into power.
    Ask any Jaffna man whether they liketo see the SLA around. The tamils are tamils and I know when treated with respect they are also one of the finest associates one can have. Believe me I work with a few tamil ladies in office.Every vote counts please dont dissapoint the minorty by re-enacting the war by having SF runnig the country. By all means get rid of MR but dont send in SF. I have nothing personal against him but I aint no dentist so I will not be able to repair teeth . What we require is mature politicians who understand histry and learn from it to better the lives of generations to come.
  74. therese orrNovember 29, 2009 at 5:35 amI was very interested in your article in the Daily Mirror of Saturday 28th November about he attempted coup d’etat of jan 1962. I am the daughter of ASP C.O.S. Orr who was in that coup and who was a crown witness. —————————————————————————————————————————
    I really look forward to hearing from you.DBSJ RESPONDS:Thank you for this response. I have deleted some lines from your post for certain reasons. These include your telephone number & address.I dont think those details should be disclosed so openly. It would have been better if you had contacted me on the e-mail address given in the “Daily Mirror” – or dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.comI too am very keen to contact you and will do so very soon
  75. Eagle EyesNovember 29, 2009 at 5:48 amQuite ironic that the civil and democratic conscious o Stanley Senanayake that trounced this attempt and yet the persons who took refuge in democratic ideas were in 1972 enacted a draconian constitution, deprived civil liberties and did not hold elections for two years after the lawful term of parliament ended. If only Stanley Senanayake knew then what we learned later, maybe he would have thought better. That the democracy he won for this country was squandered anyway
  76. Tissa WijeNovember 29, 2009 at 9:38 amIn this brillinant article and ensuing discuiion, aspects missing in this is the possible parallels with other momentous struggles that was taking place in the Asian theatre – ‘Vietnam War’ and governance in Indonesia.
    Many in the left saw parallels, CIA, MI5 etc trying to set up puppet governments to control the verbose emerging nations after Bandung conference of the non aligned nations etc.South Vietnam had a rich western oriented middle class mostly of Catholic faith, ostensibly for whose sakthat US entered the country.Army general Suharto overthrew Sukarno the populist leader. In that coup, good number of the Chinese population were slaughtered, for being secret supporters of Mao’s China.Keep on discussing – best antidote to growing old age and attendent death of old neural networks.Gret work DBSJ.
  77. shankarNovember 29, 2009 at 10:09 amDBSJDo you think if these guys succeeded in a coup, the JVP and LTTE insurrections would have still taken place?Don’t you think comparing them to thugs like Ayub Khan etc is ridiclous. After all these christians of old times were gentleman par excellence weren’t they. Many mistakes made subsequently by below par politicians may have been avoided, don’t you think?
  78. P. SilvaNovember 29, 2009 at 10:32 amThank you for a very insightful article. Though the coup happened before I was born, I remember my mother talking about it. You are right. there was a misconception that stanley sennanayake had ratted out the rest of the coup members. Also reading your article, all the coup members were gentlemen. now if the same thing had happened sennanayake would have been disposed of before he could have spilled the beans. Also I think it is great the way F G de sarem took the blame for all of them. Now it would be a case of each one trying to make a deal to save himself while selling out the others. The good old days people were honourable are gone forever. Now its a dog eat dog society. thank you once again for your article. I always enjoy reading your work
  79. jagan sriramNovember 29, 2009 at 10:43 amdear jey,
    i think you are in a dream land india and the people whom you mentioned will never help tamils only genuine leaders who would have helped tamils died twenty years before dr.mgr and indira gandhi .mgr and indira gandhi had the guts remember indira gandhi was very smart that is why even jrj was scared of her.i remember reading that she sent next day her foreign minister pv narasimha rao to colombo and there he met tamil parliamentarians.we need leaders like her not a person who talks about not antoganising sinhala community even if it kills is not statemanship rather it is a defeatist mindset.People like you may be responsible for the dream being turned into a nightmare…………..DBSJ
  80. Parakrama KuruppuNovember 29, 2009 at 10:56 amMahinda Rajapakse stands as the best president SL produced in post independence era and perhaps top 10 rulers in 2500 years history. He is experienced, proven able, successful, determined, brave, patriotic democratic leader. He has shown that he can identify right people, get the job done, work with even opposing party members. But he has too much tolerance toward own party members when they go beyond limits.Sarath Fonseka is new comer with maximum two months experience as a politician when Presidential Election is held. He is not tested. Last 40 years he was trained and practiced taking orders from above and passing them down. He was proven good general –
    however, doing great in one filed doesn’t imply you do well in another field – politics. Further, we are not seeking a man for another military offensive with any party. He is determined. But it is well known that Sarath doesn’t talk to Navy Commander Kannangara. Such an attitude is not of any great human – not definitely for a leader or team player. I believe its Gotabaya’s great coordination that made tri-forces combination a wining team.He sent Samantha who failed in Muhamale while he sent home Parakrama who took Thoppigala. PP was accused of stealing 800 rupees worth furniture from army and also accused of treasury stealing but proved innocent in court. His issue was with Prasanna then Sarath’s commander also well known. This shows in general he has problem with working people and personal choice comes before treating the talent.He was a confident commander but totally opposite as a politician. He wanted 48 hours to answer a
    question and he couldn’t keep his promise either.I think its Malayalee Thiruvengadam Velupillai Pirabakarans ego that finally broght his death at Nathikadal lagoon. Sarath always talk about himself and that is not good . Sarath’s ego is such that he wanted to go above even Gotabaya the defence secretary and Mahinda the president. The infamous Muhamalai ‘army only’ attack proves how disastrous could be his ego driven projects.ISarath said he has a problem saluting and calling sir to Gotabaya, his boss simply because Gotabaya was his junior when he was in the Army. This kind of ego level tarnish his discipline even as a soldier. If he can’t understand the fact that he as a soldier must respect def sec who is now a civilian irrespective of he is your junior in a different system then this man is not in right mind.Sarath Fonseka had an opportunity to show how committed he is toward anti-corruption by vacating his official residence soon after he retired – Instead man was crying for house. It was him who asked for resignation and he has no proper house to live in our country. If he couldn’t plan for his families own future, I mean a basic thing like a place to live after retirement, how he is going to solve problems of people of this country?A man betray his own friends who pave the way for his success, who protected him all alone and join with his enemies who once insulted him to serve us..? I don’t believe we are so much lucky to have leaders like that.For me, I don’t want a foreign citizen, even a USA Green Card holder to be president of my country.[I believe its the responsibility of the Stae to provide sufficient security for any citizen including Sarath. However, its determined only by defence authorities and not by individual himself. I hope State has provided sufficient security and unfortunately there is only one way to prove defence ministry is wrong.]
  81. Dr Arujuna SivananthanNovember 29, 2009 at 11:29 amWhat a pity the coup failed. If only it had succeeded, Ceylon’s trajectory would have been altogther different. Rather than evolving into a Sinhala dominated Buddist theocratic state, it would have been a oasis of liberal pluralism in Asia.
    It would have saved hundreds of thousands Tamil of lives and an exodus of over 800,000.
  82. Ranjan from TorontoNovember 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm#68. jagansriram,I do not compare for once what happened at the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka to Punjab. But what went on in Punjab in the mid and late 80s when the Indian security forces went around dragging people from villages is eerily similar to what SL security did in the north and east in the eighties-nineties when they tried to find the Tigers. The difference is that while the Tigers had Tamil Nadu to hide, the Sikh militants had no where to run. During this period, a lot of innocent people, both in Punjab and in SL, were rounded up by the respective security forces and disappeared or “died in armed confrontations against security forces”. I have Punjabi friends who have told me that there were many instances during that time when teenage boys and young men would not sleep in their villages because there was a good chance that they would be picked up by security forces who raided these villages randomly. The fact is the Sikh separatism is no more, but lets not pretend that it was eradicated by sending these young people to summer camps.DBS, I really like your response to #68. That moron Seeman who spoke in Toronto on November 25th said that all Singhalese who live in Toronto(outside SL) should be murdered. What happend next? The same night, the Buddhist Temple in Scarborough is set on fire. One good thing that came out of that is that it demonstrated to the general Canadian population in very clear terms what a certain portion of the Tamil Diaspora is up to. It was also heartening to see that Canadian Immigration pick up Seeman and kick him out of the country the next day.#56 Dilshan said it very eloquently.“Why on earth should we re-start this again? Havent we seen enough blood being spilt.”That is all we have to say to all the idiots who are salivating at the thought of another militant separatist movement in Sri Lanka from the safety and the comfort of a far away Diaspora.
  83. RS WickramasingheNovember 29, 2009 at 5:09 pmA great article, that brings back the personal political life of Ceylon in such vivid colour.It seems to me the coup was consciously or unconsciously a landmark moment for many in the Christian and Burgher communities ”represented” in the coup. After this the promise and aspiration of an independent Ceylon seemed to fade, and a mass exodus began in the first diaspora wave.Even now I hear occasional murmurings from people in Colombo and Gampaha of how Sri Lanka needs a strong man dictator to boot out the overwhelming culture of corruption and nepotism that defines the present state of affairs.With such high machiavellian murder the de rigeur of Sri Lanka, will we ever see such such a gentlemanly spirit in Sri Lankan politics again?
  84. PalmyrahNovember 30, 2009 at 4:33 amI just want to say: thank you for a timely and excellent history lesson.Some of the comments generated were also, I have to say, quite fascinating. Most of them deal with the counterfactual ‘what if Operation Holdfast’ had succeeded?It is certainly a very interesting question, though one I do not pretend to be able to answer. Perhaps, in the end, nothing would have been very different; history has a momentum of its own, for better or worse.On a personal note, I remember meeting you with Richard de Zoysa at the Art Centre Club on Guildford Crescent back in the day. What interesting times we have lived in.Sorry but I am unable to place you cos you write as Palmyra…………DBSJ
  85. Jehan SoysaNovember 30, 2009 at 4:37 amMahinda the “Medamulana machiavellian” will win hands down
  86. kaluyakaNovember 30, 2009 at 7:01 am45 Kalu AlbertYou are right on the money mate.I would like to add one more thing. At that time institutions like Radio Ceylon, Air Force, C.G.R and many other Govt. Departments were dominated by Christians. Remember Catholic Action ?. Radio Ceylon was well known for Catholic Action, and just look at those artists those days like C.T.Fernando, Vincent de Paul Peiris etc. If you were a Sinhala Buddhist, you wouldn’t even a get a chance to sing a song at Radio Ceylon those days. Therefore, if the coup was successful, they didn’t have to take over Radio Ceylon, because it was already taken over.I will tell another little story if I may.
    My cousin brother who was Buddhist was hanging around with some christian friends in Negombo area.
    He was unempolyed and looking for work but in vain.
    His friends suggested that he attend nine novinas at
    the church and write his name on a piece of paper and
    put that in a box at the church. The prayers were answered, and he was called for an interview at the Air Force, where he served for about thirty years without shooting one shot in anger.There you go Kalu Albert, as you can see God
    works in mysterious ways.God bless you all.
  87. Stephen JonesNovember 30, 2009 at 1:35 pmWhat I find amazing is the number of comments here that suggest high treason is all part of being an ‘officer and gentleman’. The people involved were as criminally irresponsible as they were stupid, and could easily have caused considerable bloodshed. The coup also did much to increase Sirimavo’s paranoia and resulted in further police recruitment being prejudiced in favour of Sinhala Buddhists.
  88. Kalu AlbertNovember 30, 2009 at 3:21 pmComment # 81,Dr Arjuna is spot on.I am not sure about the liberal ,pluralistic oasis,but it certainly would have a killing field where thousands of Buddhist Sinhalese would have been massacred, as the Christian Vietnamese generals did with the help of Uncle Sam in South Vietnam.At least the Vietcong came to the rescue of the Buddhist there.Who could have saved the Sinhalese?Sinhala Buddhists should be ever thankful to Felix Dias B for rescuing them from the evil domination by the Christian elite.Otherwise the Sinhala Buddhists still would have been living as second class citizens in mud huts the same way they did under the British rule.Sad part is that some Sinhalese either have short memories or they are ignorant of recent historyDBSJ RESPONDS:I dont think there would have been any instant large -scale butchery “of thousands of Sinhalese Buddhists”as you now fear. There would have been minimum bloodshedBut it would have been impossible for a “christian” elite to control a largely non – Christian people through a military dictatorship indefinitelySo despite all good intentions the oligarchy at the top would have resorted to suppression through brutal methods gradually. This would have led to large -scale erosion of human rights and destroyed whatever moral high ground claimed by the coup planners intitiallyAnyway the greatest acts of “butchery” of rural Sinhala-Buddhist under-privileged youth were done in 1971 and 1988/89 by a pre-dominantly “Sinhala – Buddhist” army. In 1971 most youths killed were from the Salagama,Karawe, Durawe communities. In 1988-89 they were mostly from Batgam, Wahumpura& Oli communitiesIronically most of the ordinary soldiers and suspected insurgents were all drawn from the same economic strata (underprivileged) in terms of class.By the way the man whom you praise for saving the Buddhists Felix R Dias Bandaranaike was an Anglican christian. JRJ&SWRDB were also born and baptised as Anglicans but converted to Buddhism. But Felix remained a Christian to the endAlso SA “Jingle” Dissanayake the Police DIG in charge of the CID was also a christian.It was he who was mainly responsible for uncovering details of the coup later despite his own brother “Jungle” being one of the conspirators
  89. Tissa WijeNovember 30, 2009 at 5:52 pmDBJ,Another aspect to remember. SWRDB is said to have tried to get his son entered to his old school St Thomas’ but the rector at the time, circa ’52 after his departure from UNP is said to have refused. He had to send his son Anura to Royal instead according to gossip.Was the rector at the time a Saram?Sirimavo determinedly educated her daughters at St Bridget’s to the chagrin of S-B leaders. Did they both marry non Buddhisys ? At least younger one the more famous CB did. I believe English is still the medium of speech in many households of the upper echelons. Cabinet Secy of the 50s, Bernard Peiris recalls that SWRDDB was not very literate in Sinhala, ut perhaps he did listen to scholars of the calibre of Dr G P Malalasekera and Martin Wickramasinghe.How did FC de Saram pre arrange a place at Oxford for Sunethra ? Was it that simple at the time ?DBSJ RESPONDS:Yes.The warden at that time was Canon RS de Saram but I like to think that Anura flukked the competitive entrance test to College and was therefore sent to the “govt iskola” at Reid avenue.Warden de Saram was rather annoyed with SWRDB becoming a “political Buddhist” and was very critical of his pandering to racist, religious emotions for political gain. A notable incident was when warden de Saram made several critical remarks against the govt in an indirect manner during the prize giving with SWRDB on the stage. Apparently the old Thominan was squirmingAs for sunethra I dont think admission to Oxford was pre-arranged at time of intended coup but FC de Saram being an Oxford “blue” and SWD also being a distinguished oxonian it may not have been difficult to get her admitted there later. Besides Sunethra did have good grades & on her own merits eligible for admissionSunethra did go to Oxford later and got a bachelor of arts degree
  90. swathyNovember 30, 2009 at 6:29 pmJeyaraj,
    Wonderful response to #68(jagansriram).I saw an interview of Seeman recently where he was still saying a lot crazy things – like educating the youth of Tamil nadu with his speeches so they understand the Tamil cause better, etc.Glad we have some one like you educating us with your unbiased factual articles.DBSJ RESPONDS:
    Thanks Swathy
    After reading his subsequent post I thought I had wasted my time,thoughts&energy in writing such a detailed response to someone who was simply unable or unwilling to comprehend itBut your post and positive responses of some others like Maran make me glad that I did respond so passionately
  91. shankarNovember 30, 2009 at 7:43 pmDBSJ response to 89Yes.The warden at that time was Canon RS de Saram but I like to think that Anura flukked the competitive entrance test to College and was therefore sent to the “govt iskola” at Reid avenue.
    ———————————————————————————There were many who had done well at the exam who were knocked back because they were not christians. That too even after going through St Thomas Junior School in Kollupiiya. Thank god western society does adopt that policy towards immigrants.DBSJ RESPONDS:I also know of many non-christians who get admitted by paying hefty donations and many Christians who dont get admission because they cant.I also know of many non – christians who got admitted because they did well in the exams and many christians who were not admitted because they did not fare well
  92. shankarNovember 30, 2009 at 7:46 pmsmall slip.It should be thank god western society does not adopt that policy towards immigrantsDont be too sure of that. There are invisible screens,glass ceilings&old school/club ties……..DBSJ
  93. shankarNovember 30, 2009 at 7:54 pm#87 Stephen JonesThe people involved were as criminally irresponsible as they were stupid, and could easily have caused considerable bloodshed.
    —————————————————————————That bloodshd would have been like a drop in the ocean compared to the rivers of blood subsequenly. What are you making such a racket about a simple thing like blood. I thoght you would have ben immunised towards it by now.
  94. Jehan SoysaNovember 30, 2009 at 10:32 pmDBSI am a student of PoliticsI learn a lot from your blog
  95. KombuwaNovember 30, 2009 at 11:50 pmWasn’t this coup, the motivational force of Sirima Bandaranaiye to:a. Make Sri Lanka an independent contry by adopting a new constitution and making it a republic, removing queen as the head of the state, so no more appeals to Privvy council in England?b. Appoint her uncle William Goppalawa as President to replace the queens representative Govener General.??
  96. RohanDecember 1, 2009 at 1:19 amI am sorry dbsj, this is totally irrelevant to what you discussed. but i have no other way to ask this.did you write anything for ‘express buzz’? feel like somebody is using your good name. pls visit RESPONDS:Obviously it’s not me. I never post comments to articles in other newspapers. This is a nutty pervert who is copying pornographic stuff and posting it under my name. It is done by someone who tried to do tiger propaganda on my blog under the name Dinesh Gopalapillai. I dont know whether it is his real name. Since I didn’t permit him to do proaganda the cowardly pervert is posting these types of comments under my nameHe is able to do this with expressbuzz because the guys in charge there are the most , sloppy, unprofessional people I’ve come across.I’ve complained to them but they don’t take proper action. Totally unlike western newspapers who react immediatelyBesides it is a disgrace that they alow people to post pornographic stuff on the site like thisIf people like you write and complain to them maybe even those jokers would pay attention
  97. kaluyakaDecember 1, 2009 at 8:02 am88 Kalu AlbertIn your response DBSJ you seem to suggest that there
    wouldn’t have been suppression by coup leaders.
    Look at what’s happening in Fiji today. What about
    Saddham Hussein who was a member of the minority
    ruled Iraq for more than 25 years with an iron fist.
    Therefore, the minority can takeover the power and rule
    a country with an iron fist.Regarding DBSJ’s comment about so called low caste
    boys and girls getting slaughtered in 1971 and 88/89
    I agree with you. Its ironic as you said these youngsters were butchered by army recruits from the same class of SL.I have not suggested anything like that. Instead I’ve stated the opposite.What’s wrong with you?…………..DBSJ
  98. Lionel WijesundaraDecember 1, 2009 at 9:33 amIt’s good thing to give an eye opener to the people who do not know about 1962 coup. What you have not mentioned that JR’s roll behind the screen. Later he was given key places in his government.. Ranil is doing the same thing in a different way with the help of western country and Sarath Fonseka.JRJ to his credit had nothing to do with the coup. The “Fonseka phenomenon” was not created by Ranil…….DBSJ
  99. MMRDecember 1, 2009 at 11:17 amVery nice. Dear DBSJ, as the son of someone very close to Mrs B, I really marveled at this narration. When we were growing up this was one of the stories we discussed over and over again. I know how this was also called the “catholic action” coup related to the takeover of schools. People like FG De Saram and Sydney were actually related to the Bandaranaike side ; not the Ratwatte side. Felix Dias B as you know was a devout Christian and a brilliant mind although egotistical.. I appreciate you enlightening the younger generation on this historic event. I believe the plotters or some of them got away due to technicalities and not because they were not guilty. All of those people were British Apers and thought simple Mrs B the village lady from Mahaweletenne was not fit to govern. For them ordinary common Sinhalese or Tamils or Moslems were all what they snobbishly referre to as “Yakkos”. Yes threats of a military coup cannot be taken lightly. It is said that MAya Senanayake’s father in law PdeSK was the one who forced Stanley S to come forward. Apparently Stanley S got cold feet and was perspiring and looked scared and once the strong lady Maya confronted him he had to reveal it all. LAter in the 1970s Stanley became IGP but it was above all Maya and PdeS who were strong and courageous.. JR did not have anything to do with this coup but later on he became very close to these people because all of them were from the same English Speaking Christian or pseudo buddhist elite circles. Mrs B was an “outsider” to the Bandaranaikes too in a way.. Sir Oliver who made his “money” during WW-II as the Commissioner in charge of essential services, was definitely in on it as a Christian too. In those days Christians and ethnic minorities who were Christian were the favoured lot by the British. Sir Oliver was replaced later by my Grandfather WG. and despite UNP attempts to remove him after Mrs B lost in 1965 Dudley S had complete faith in him because WG respected the constitution and invited Dudley S as the man who commanded the most respect of the house to form the government; This was despite desperate moves by the SLFP led coalition of NM and Colvin etc to find some minority parties to back the SLFP in 1965 and wanted a few more days to form a govt. But my Grandfather refused to do so.JR did not like my grandfather. When JR foolishly and self-servingly released that mad fool maniac Rohana WIjeweera to break the left votes, (when he became PM in 1977 in a landslide because of the notorious socialist haal polu days and press censorship days of my Aunt’s govt) my Grandfather was still President(figurehead but gave counsel every week to whoever was PM) and asked JR why he would release a man who was found guilty; was also confirmed by the Queen(the charge against Wijeweera was “waging war against the Queen” in 1971; Ceylon was still a Dominion Republic as our insurance policy against Indian intervention) he bragged and said “oh my army has modern weapons and we can crush them in 24 hours”. I recall my Grandfather being flabbergasted at this arrogant attitude and we later saw how JR made a grab for power and changed the constitution which to this date has been a curse to SL. Ranil was his nephew and wants to change this now? What a joke. Everyone who grabs power will never relinquish it. We are still paying the price for that JR constitution. This constitution was the curse of SL and the absurd manape system too. All the work of JR!~I have stories from the 1971 Insurgency too when rumors and false stories spread. Mrs B Never left Temple Trees and my father was there everyday as they monitored the war. I lived there too and Mrs B had the balls and the guts even Sepala Attygalle the Army Commander did not have.. Sepala wanted Yugoslavian troops and was ashen faced but Mrs B said nothing doing. We got all the aid and Indian and PAkistani help. Indian ships were in our harbour within 2 to 3 days and They sent Weapons and Helicopters too. Indians allegedly help guard Katunayake but all the fighting was done by the Ceylon Army.. BTW, as a trivial note, our house was marked for attack by the JVP just like the houses of all Mrs B’s siblings. When the bombs went off in Peradeniya Campus and emergency declared in March, we were on alert. The markings were made with brick crosses and were very subtle. DBSJ your repository of history amazed me.. Keep up the good work. I hope SL will be able to allow freedom of expression and allow people like you to write freely and live freely even in SL unlike during the fascist Tiger days and the goon squad days.I feel the 1972 Constitution change was a mistake. Ceylon should have remained the way it was so we would have had British protection like Canada or New Zealand.. This would have resulted in a continuity of Parliamentary democracy and Tigers and India would not have come into existence. We lost that connection and the insurance policy we had against Indian hegemonism. What do you think? This is definitely hindsight but I feel strongly about it.DBSJ RESPONDS:Thank you very much for this comment&the sentiments expressed. I would be very happy to talk in private with you if ossible. It would be great if you could kindly cend me an e-mail to please
  100. nallurkanthaDecember 1, 2009 at 2:48 pmDear mr.DBS,
    Once again I salute you for an excellent piece of history narrated in such a way.The appreciation came from many many people shows yr character. I have always been one of yr admirers becuase of the way you exposed the LTTE facism in the face of life threats .
    However I have some reservations.The motive of the coup is not the stylle of administration of Madame Srimao.It is far beyond that.It is an international plot planned by the UNP and their international masters.Otherwise,why the leftist leaders came into the show.My opinion is, the forces defeated by the progressive measures introduced by late Mr.SWRD joined together to defeat the government of Madame Srimao.
  101. Roger FrancisDecember 1, 2009 at 6:39 pm#95 Kombuwa: William Gopallawa was not Mrs B’s uncle. He was her brother’s father in law. AFTER Sir Oliver (the Christian Anglophile) Goonetilleke was implicated in the coup she had to find an honorable and reputed upright citizen she could trust. He was not the first choice for Mrs B either. It was Felix DB who suggested “Gops” to Mrs. B. WG was recalled from his Ambassadorship in USA and appointed in 1962 as GG. WG had excelled himself as Municipal Commissioner Kandy and then Colombo during British times as an honest officer unlike the crook Sir Oliver.
    He excelled at being impartial and honorable and respected the constitution of Ceylons; that is why Dudley S also kept him on. Get your facts straight. Whether you like it or not, Sinhalese and Buddhists, Hindus and Tamils were all getting a bum rap and second class treatment from the British. Christian and Burghers got preferential treatment for the longest time until SWRD took extreme measures to try to address the disenfranchisement of the masses only to have it boomerang with no more link language between us rural Sinhalese and the rural Tamils.
  102. Roger FrancisDecember 1, 2009 at 6:43 pmAnd the DeSarams are bourgeoisie elite English Speaking Christians who are probably Colombo Chettys and yes they are related to Bandaranaikes. CBK’s first beau was Sydney De Zoysa’s nephew Girijja Rajapakse.. He tragically died in a car wreck in the 1970s.. And CBK did marry a Durawe Catholic. Sunethra married a charlatan known as Kumar Rupesinghe a chain smoker con artist whose step father was a Norway based Tamil.. He forced himself with his radical policies and started the bogus Janaweygaya movement with communist like ideology and propaganda to thrust himself and Anura B and he fellout because Anura B was jealous. Kumar R was made head of NYSC because he was Mrs B’s son in law. He was an unknown man. Now he is minting money with his peace scam..
  103. SabaDecember 2, 2009 at 2:09 amDBSJ
    Thank You for the informative article. I was a toddler when this event took place. As I was growing up I have heard numerous times regarding the coup, but not knowing the chain of events. Thanks again for giving a good account.You have mentioned editor SP Amarasingham. Is “Tribune” still functioning after SPA ? I really enjoyed ” Tribune” when I was in Colombo in the eighties. Every time Afghanistan is mentioned, my memory goes back one of his books.regards
    SabaNo “Tribune” no more………..DBSJ
  104. sabaDecember 2, 2009 at 4:09 amFor comment #81I dont agree with you, if the coup have succeeded, we would have been another Pakistan. How many Coups Pakistan have gone through, since their independence?
    Either way both countries are failed states. When are we going to turn around?????
  105. kaluyakaDecember 2, 2009 at 6:13 am99 MMRYou rightly said that the constitution and manape is a curse for SL.There is another curse for SL and that is appointing idiots like Mervyn Silva, when he was discarded by the electorate.Cheers.
  106. Dudley SunimalDecember 2, 2009 at 6:38 ams\Some of the comments are very revealing
  107. Asanka PereraDecember 2, 2009 at 10:41 pmSarath Fonseka’s decision to contest against President Mahinda Rajapaksa is nothing but a personal vendetta for not keeping him as Army Commander at least until the SL Army celebrates its 60th Anniversary. For sentimental reasons, it may be hurting him but his counter action for that is incomprehensible. In his letter of resignation in the annexure item 1, he mentions that “ quote Various agencies misleading Your Excellency by stating a possible coup immediately after the victory over the LTTE which obviously led to a change of command in spite of my request to be in command until the Army celebrated its 60th Anniversary. This fear psychosis of a coup is well known among the defence circle. Unquote”. As one can see how the things have turned up to be now in the political arena, President Rajapaksa’s fear of a possible coup’d’etat by Sarath couldn’t have been ruled out as nonsense. MR and PR would have smelt the rat. that something was brewing up and that fear was reasonable and the action taken was timely and most appropriate. Sarath’s acceptance to join the bunch of traitors who supported LTTE with CFA,ISGA and PTOMS etc, clearly manifests that he would have had some idea in the back of his mind to become the President hook or by crook. The desperate UNF new alliance who was looking for a prey paved the way for it and he greedily grabbed the opportunity. I believe the President Rajapaksa’s timely and right decision on Sarath Fonseka by not extending the period avoided Sri Lanka becoming another Myanmar.Although Sarath Fonseka claims quote “it is with my vision, command and leadership that this yeoman task was achieved. Unquote”. He is not willing to give credit to the chiefs of the Navy, Air Force, STF and Police who were equal partners to the defeat of LTTE which shows his arrogance, Can such a person with such arrogance mentally fit to run a country is a big question?. But I doubt that feelings for him as a war hero is there any more among the majority Sri Lankans when he embraced the most traitorous political buffoons of the century who humiliated him at every turn when he was conducting the war operations.He may be a courageous commander with vision and wisdom but it has been proved that at times he had been naïve like a child when he was unaware that his own favorite cook was planning to kill him.. He has become second time naïve because of his egoistic nature and the greed for power by joining traitors led by Ranil and the clan. He should be grateful to President Rajapaksa and Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for having him hand picked overlooking seniority, not sending on retirement etc and making him the Commander of Army. He should be grateful for extending his period ad also promoting to another highest level in the army where no one has held that post so far.He says that he is contesting for Presidency to save the democracy. What’s wrong with the prevailing democracy in Sri Lanka? Elections are held in time; even president election is to be held before maturity of the current presidency; media freedom is there, people can criticize the government for right reasons etc. Isn’t this merely settling scores with President Rajapaksa and Gotabya Rajapaksa for not extending his full period till December? How do we know that President Rajapaksa smelt a rat of an army coup’d’etat and he was reluctantly compelled to take a right decision without putting the country into a calamity. Cannot be his trip to New York to get his Green Card a plot planned by International conspirators against Sri Lanka and also put Gotabaya Rajapaksa on war crime charges?Sarath Fonseka in his annexure says that IDPS are in appalling condition and the plight of the IDPs is also point of grave concern to him.. Well from 18 May 2009 to until his date of resignation 12 November 2009 , wasn’t he a part and parcel of the war administration? He could have directed the Government in right direction if the Government was not doing right. There is talk in the inner circle of the army that Sarath Fonseka ferociously objected even to open A9 route. But suddenly he has started shedding crocodile tears for IDP’s.Sarath Fonseka at a press conference supposed to have promised to weed out corruption. Very Good . We want someone to do that. But that alone will not help to run a country. Every leader before he/she comes into power says this and moment he/she is in power, it’s forgotten or sidelined. So best thing that Sarath Fonseka could do now is by setting an example by declaring his assets both in Sri Lanka and overseas and come clean on the nomination date.There will be money flowing from the western vested parties, local traitors, may be even funds from Tamil Diaspora (he has already requested existing LTTE cadres for their support) and from the international conspirators, INGOS for the election campaign. He is already desperate, He is begging support of the LTTE cadres and parents of Velupillai Prabhakaran. What is his agenda now? Isn’t this request a signal as an oxygen to the Tamil Diaspora who are hell bent in reviving LTTE? Sarath Fonseka is even ready to accept blood money for his election campaign.Sarath Fonseka should realize that he is contesting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has political experience over thirty years. Does Sarath really believes that Sri Lankans will vote for a person like him who does not know ABCD of politics? Sri Lankans forget the past very easily. Even dead Prabahkaran mentioned this when he was planning attacks on civilians. Sri Lankans are learning to forget him as a war hero. They have already forgotten his war operations and his credentials. Sarath Fonseka is no patch to President’s Mahinda Rajpaksa’s political experience and political acumen. This is not only my view, but view of thousands and thousands of Sri Lankans who wanted sustainable stability and peace in the country and only President Mahinda Rajapkasa and his team could deliver it albeit there are certain shortcomings that need to be addressed.
  108. SkandaDecember 3, 2009 at 6:57 amTamil votes will decide who president is
  109. subDecember 4, 2009 at 4:12 amThe once upon a time Human Rights champion from the Opposition has transformed into the most corrupt President ever- Over 100 Ministers(a Guinness record),corruption in all aspects of government(one newsweb headline says the Rajapakse family is the richest in Asia),nepotism and family being deified as Royalty,abductions,assaults and killings of critics(politicians,journalists etc.),impunity regarding law and order and in not implementing Article 17 of the constitution,illegal incarceration of almost 3 lakhs of Tamils after the war.These are being ignored by the writer.
    Sarath Fonseka’s political experience should be at least better than Mrs.Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s when she was first took over as (executive) Prime Minister. Well she turned out to be a good administrator and the world’s first Woman prime Minister.
  110. Ilaya Seran SenguttuvanDecember 6, 2009 at 7:45 amWhen will Part 2 come?ISSSoon………………DBSJ
  111. AravindaDecember 6, 2009 at 4:22 pmMr.Jayaraj, In 1985, Douglas was running a small Agro advisory service in Bambalapitiya. The office was a large house in one of those narrow sea side streets. It was either named Agoservice or Agroskills. One day we had a long meal, three hours or more, and he told me few tid bits from the past. In the matter of 1962, according to the origianl plan, whole first family was to be eliminated, including the children. He said arrengements were made with UK to recognise the the illegal regime. Doug is no more, so people like Jayaraj can peddle second hand information.DBSJ RESPONDS:I dont want to call you a liar but you are not telling the truth about what Douglas Liyanage had allegedly told you. The whole point about the copu attempt was the scrupulous care taken by the planners to avoid bloodshed. It was called off suddenly because some felt it had been compromised and a possibility of bloodshed was thereWhat makes you think that I am relying on secondary sources alone in writing this article? I have met several persons involved with the coup attempt over a long period of time& am in touch with some even now. So dont jump to hasty conclusionsAs for Mr. Douglas Liyanage I knew him well when he was secretary of State ministry & I was a journalist on “Virakesari”& “The Island”/The HinduKnowing him well I cant/ wont believe what you have said about himPlease dont write under false names & vilify people who are no more & cannot reply you
  112. AravindaDecember 6, 2009 at 4:56 pmMr.Asitha (comment 23), Let me enlighten you about Saram. In 1970s, Royal principal was great Mr.L.D.H Peiris. He was a very decent and a good man. One day he had an argument about the selection of the cricket team with Saram. In the heat of the battle, Mr. de Saram, threatend Mr. Peiris, that is he can not have his way, he would go to St. Thomas as the cricket coach.Mr.Peiris told off Saram in these words.
    ” If you can be a traitor to your country, you can always be a traitor to you school”.Mr.Peiris told me this in 1980s.DBSJ RESPONDS:I have heard a lot of stories about Fred de Saram from different people but I have never heard of this one. It is easy to write under bogus names & vilify people who are no more.Unless& until I hear from reliable readers who can vouch for this story I can only regard your tale as one of those “sixers” by Aravinda de Silva in cricket
  113. Ilaya Seran SenguttuvanDecember 6, 2009 at 6:37 pmThe 1962 Coup in Ceylon – arguably, that was’nt a Coup in the real sense – is a mysterious page in the Island’s post-1948 history. DBSJ has done much laborious research to present as accurate a report as possible. But in nuanced issues like this, in the absence of recorded evidence, there can be different interpretations. Other than the Neale de Alwis premature arrest (he had regular problems with the Police/Army) and Stanley Senanayake conveying what he “suspected” could be a Coup to his father-in-law – and was later rewarded as IGP, over many other seniors, of the suspected Coup was conjecture and so eventually the Privy Council threw the matter out. No Coup d’etat, in point of act, did ever took place. It was only the belief of some such a thing was “about to take place” In fact, Felix Dias, that notorious Ven. Henpitagedera Gnanaseeha Thero, Army man Udugama also were suspected to be part of yet another one. Reduced to basics, one cannot be charged on hypothesis for something that was going to take place. Sydney de Zoysa and Ossie Corea were the usual “suspects” (both Catholics) in those highly charged times then the non-existent fear of Catholic Action where almost every Christian was looked upon in suspicion. Similar to that charade from the late 70s till today where all Tamils are clubbed as Tigers. Adding fuel to this were various assorted characters like that demented theory of a frustrated lawyer-political reject “All tigers are Tamils and, therefore, all Tamils are tigers.” How many innocent Tamils have suffered illegal incarceration, physical attacks, insults, humiliation and even death as a result of such mischievous creations – no one knows for sure. Kularatne was one of those Buddhist stalwarts in the front-line together with TU de Silva, NQ Dias, FR Jayasuriya, RG Senanayke, KMP Rajaratne and others- including thousands of radical monks – who gave open vent to this fear – curiously exaggerated in the Sinhala press. Both Stanely de Z and Ossie were both suspects in the SWRD Assassination too. Why the Case probably became Liyanage Vs the Queen was because the affable Civil Servant Douglas Liyanage was acknowledged to be a brilliant, analytical mind who could have been the thinking factor in the discussions they may have had. FCdeS, by the way, was closely related to the Bandaranaikes-Obeysekeras-de Alwis’s. One must remember Felix Dias was dominating the investigations personally – what should have been a Police function. It is understood many efforts were made in the interrogations to get the accused to link the name “Shelley” and confess he was the brains behind the efforts. But there is no evidence to show any of them did. “Shelley” was thought to be either Dudley or JRJ. as one of those in the UNP Taking the process of this inquiry to a Special Commission of Inquiry rather than the regular Courts betrayed bias – both of a political and religious nature. The open differences of opinion between the Dissanayake brothers – “Jungle” and “Jingle” – where little love was lost between them also had its own contribution in the alleged conspiracy. In the Govt’s own investigation before filing plaint Felix Dias may have identified good reason to make Liyanage No.1 suspect. Later on Liyanage was restored to government service and was Secretary to the important Ministy of State. During the July ‘83 period he had much to do in coordinating executive decisions of internal security through the Police and the forces. He chose to resign later on an issue related to a visit to Israel that he undertook at the request of the Govt. Though approved by the then Foreign Minister Hameed, when this became a controversial issue angering our Arab friends and important buyers of our Tea Liyanage was sacrificed to reduce the heat on the Muslim Minister Hameed. He remained in State service after this perhaps as acknowledgement he was blameless in the Israeli fiasco. I knew him as a close friend until his death some years ago. He was religiously devout, academically inclined and an adorable family man. His world revolved around his wife Jennie, the two sons Michael and Harsha (now in the US) and daughter Menaka – married to a son of Justice Bandaranayake and lives at Mt. Lavinia. Jennie lives her life dedicated to helping the cause of the lepers, the poor and the sick.Those were turbulent times in the country, the region and the world with a fiery cold war between the 2 super-powers in place that spared few. The inexperienced Mrs B was thrust into the political scene virtually “from the kitchen” – reportedly against her wishes. Of course, she became an experienced leader as years went by. The era was rocked by regular strikes lead by extreme leftists Bala Tampoe, Shanmugathasan, IG Wickreme, MG Mendis and other anti-Govt action that brought fear into the minds of the confused civilian population. Useful and friendly communities like the Burghers; such a colourful weave in our rich national tapestry – and many in the upper layers of Sinhala and Tamil society as well – left in large numbers as a result of the tumultuous times and the fear of their safety in the future in a country tearing apart. Men like Philip and Robert Gunawardena often charged in Parliament of possible Coups and the fear of dictatorships. NM, Colvin, Pieter Keuneman (believed to be a favourite of the Kremlin) and others, while held in awe for their learning and brilliance, also were feared and suspected to be hand in glove with foreign Communist regimes – incorrectly as it were. The 1960 Cabinet too was divided into factions – centrist CP de Silva, Maitripala Senanayake, left-leaning TB Illangaratna et al had their own groupings within and outside the Cabinet and Parliament. There was an attempt at this time to kill CP de Silva by poisoning him. Mrs B and her brothers naturally were on guard and had the brutal assassination of SWRD fresh in their minds. They had to depend on the very young but brilliant nephew Felix Dias (Bandaranaike) – who found himself sharing a large part of the weight of running the Govt. Felx Dias, fresh to Parliament, found the combined strength of attacks from veterans in the powerful UNP with Dudley, JRJ and the Left with their own giants a difficult challenge. Yet, those were days when one could not induct a brother or two into Govt or Ministries on one pretext or the other to the whimsies of whoever. The law ruled then and was respected by both sides of the political spectrum. And so the system stood strong to the good of all. The Judiciary then was looked upon in terms of total reverence and deep respect. Those in the judiciary then looked and conducted themselves exemplarily. The judicial administration also was clean, impartial and competent. The citizen was assured of nothing but the best a civilized country can provide its people. The powerful Lake House – under Esmond W, Gomez and others too also did their own share of making things difficult for the Govt. The very political atmosphere was infected with the fear of coups, dictatorships (“a little bit of dictatorship is not a bad thing” – Felix Dias) Many Afro-Asian countries that came off the colonial yoke were falling prey to dictators and army men suspected to be under the influence of foreign powers in the cold war at that time. Perhaps the most striking feature here was the powerful and much feared Secretary/Ministry of Defence NQ Dias (father of the Sinhala supremacist lawyer Gomin Dayasiri) Dias made no secret of the fact he was prejudiced against the Catholics, Christians and Tamils. And in his official capacity of influencing officer-entry into the Police, the Army and the forces, he is said to have favoured Buddhist Sinhala candidates . As the story goes, he was in an interview panel for a high uniformed position. When the candidate sat down, the interview is said to have been very brief “you are Tamil and a Catholic. Tku for coming” The shocked man is reported to have left to the UK with his family within weeks. There was then equally a fear in the minds of many middle class Lankans across the race-religious spectrum – the country was in danger of falling prey to one of the many evils (communist, leftist) hovering around. So it is quite possible a few initiated men may have got together with intent in their own perception to “save the country” The men accused – as we see – are not power-hungry, megalomaniacs. De Saram (father of swimming legend Tara Bolling) was well placed in life and was devoted to taking Ceylon high up in world cricket. His other passion was the good of the SSC. Jeff Felix became Income Tax Commissioner and was dedicated to helping Tamil Union and its cricket. . Basil Jesudason – Head of Carson Cumberbatch – is believed to have advised the present Selvanathan brothers to acquire the company and with it the her plum Malaysian/Indonesian plantation ownings – which makes the brothers probably the wealthiest in the land today contributing to its economic good and producing employment to tens of thousands. Liyanage rose up to the high office of a key Ministry as the No.1. Many readers here – some having known some of the men personally as relatives or friends – have commented they were cultured and disciplined gentleman unlikely to do anything against the good of their motherland. Hardly the blood-thirsty, power-hungry, overtly ambitious greedy megalomaniacs in the African and Latin American stereo-type that plans the bloody overthrow of Govts. Comments have also been made here wondering if the country would have been a better place if the Govt of the time was changed extra-Constitutionally. This is anybody’s guess. Perhaps I might add Lt. Jerry Rawlings taking over Ghana in her own period of turmoil did bring in a period of peace and economic growth there. Although Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s name is associated with many horrible stories and disappearances there are also versions that he saved he country from sinking into leftist dictatorship – a parallel such as the one we had in 1988/89 where there is both support and opposition both to the JVP and the State armed forces. I noticed a few weeks ago millions of people remembered Gen. Pinochet with much dignity. The concern men like Dissanayake and de Saram are said to have made to ensure comfort and safety to the Mrs B and her children -and, Mrs B’s own concern to ensure the suspects were looked after well – poignantly recorded here – speak of a time in our history when the finer features of the human species surfaced. Someone from the Ratwatte family comments here and it may be relevant to mention the late William Gopallawa whom Dudley allowed to continued as Gover General. Mr Gopallawa was a kind and able gentleman who would never have compromise his loyalty to the State. The UNP Govt also allowed mrs B brother Dr Sivali to continue as Chairman of the Export Development Board – all of which goes to show the class of leaders we had then. So if one wants to describe this as a Christian or Buddhist attempted coup – he will not be far too wrong. They were all physically and mentally robust sportsmen-gentlemen schooled in the finest traditions. Most of them came from respectable, known and well-to-do-families. None of them showed any inclination to advance the interest of one political party or grouping against another. I knew Col FC de S, Liyanage, Felix and Jesudason personally – patriotic gentlemen of the finest order. In the history of abortive or successful coups – if someone cares to record so – this will turn out to be one of the most humane with lofty ideals – a coup that was never to be – Officers and Gentlemen – if you like. Unlike the variety one sees in uniform in the present times – small in education; diplomacy of speech and writing; social grace but with gargantuan egos and limitless political ambition.History also will also look kindly and in perspective on NQ Dias –a very able civil servant. He was doubtless going by the well-founded fear of the majority Buddhist Sinhalese in the country that the gains of 1956 and the opportunity to re-building Sinhala, Buddhist religion and culture after 450 years is about to be lost again. In the first he needs to be viewed with understanding. Though in the second his fears were clearly misplaced. If the minorities – both racial and religion – were handled with greater vision, wisdom and understanding perhaps the social inferno that appears to be consuming the land beginning as a flickering flame 50 years ago to an unstoppable forest fire now – could have been avoided to the good of a once united, prosperous and beautiful plural society. Can that gentle and tranquil (Ceylon) Sri Lanka be regained? Only time can tell.HOW MANY EARS MUST ONE MAN HAVE; BEFORE HE CAN HEAR PEOPLE CRY
  114. Ilaya Seran SenguttuvanDecember 6, 2009 at 8:46 pmAravind (#111) You are so economic with the truth. I was fortunate to belong to a close circle of friends of the Liyanages. The many efforts by all of us to get him to talk even a little of “the affair” many a times drew a blank. He would just smile it off and never discuss matters of a privileged nature even with us. They were all, as I said in my piece, gentlemen of high order.He ran both Agro-Skills with an office at Bambalapitiya (and brought in Booker Brothers from the UK to turn thousands of waste land in Moneragala for Sugar Cane cultivation. Consequent to his days as a Civil Servant serving in various parts of the Island, he was keen in turning jungle land into productive, employment-generating ventures) Recognising the dis-service done to him VVIPs in the then Govt helped him secure the Agency of a leading airline as GSA, in which a close relative of mine too was a Director. Liyanage told him “You will not get any returns for at least 3 years because we must first build a capital base. All you’ll get are 2 Economy return tickets to London” He told the same thing to another common friend – another dear friend of Douggie’s – who was the country’s most successful and doyen in the advertising industry. 4 of his friends – leading men in the country – came to invest not to make money but to help Douggie set-up in business. Please take my word, Douglas Liyanage would not hurt a fly. As to the Mrs B and her children, we may dis-agree with their politics but, without the fear of contradiction, I might say they were all viewed at that time with honour, respect and even a degree of sympathy by almost the entire nation. The killer culture in politics was to appear later – after 1971 when the savages stepped into the political field. We remember our gentle, good friend Douggie with love and gratitude. We will miss the “Open House” we used to get together every year on January 01 at his hospitable home at Torrington Avenue when he was around. The last I learnt, Jennie had rented it out to an Indian firm from which she was securing rent for her living.ISSDBSJ RESPONDS:I concur with ISS on what he says about Mr. Douglas Liyanage’s reticence in talking about the coup attemptWhen I was a young reporter covering his ministry Mr.Liyanage was quite fond of me and provided me with quite a few scoops. He would also discuss contemporary Tamil politics with me in off the record chatsI asked him twice or thrice those days about the coup. He would smile broadly at me but would not say a word about the subject
  115. Ilaya Seran SenguttuvanDecember 7, 2009 at 8:03 amI must hasten to add Liyanage came from humble coastal origin, I believe, in the Paiyagala area. I have met some siblings of his parents at home – simple but folk of much
    integrity as those from our villages – untarnished by urban negative influences.ISS
  116. Kosala PereraDecember 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm# 39. marusira, well said. These stupid old soldiers couldn’t understand that what happend to Pakistan and Bangladesh…..
    Japan, Singpore or South Korea have achived economics goals because those coutries were govern by military dictators?
    Thanks god we got rid of this coup in 1962.57Asanka Pereera, thanks for your details about SF.Keep it up the good work, because most of people don’t know SF’s real picture.
  117. James ThenuweraDecember 8, 2009 at 3:12 amLDH Peiris is well known to my family. When my sister’s son was required to be transferred from Galle to Colombo it was LDH Peris who demanded money to do that. Our family will standby this. I can’t remember the amount, but he demanded lot of money. He was a disgraceful Royal Principal, who took revenge from enemies. The sister put the son to Wesley instead.To sling insult at FC De Saram is a Great Sin, such a Great Man. FC De Saram used to smoke the pipe. He was a Gentleman to the finger tips, he was against Mrs B for stupid leftist policies especially the Nationalisation of the private sector
  118. James ThenuweraDecember 10, 2009 at 4:39 amIf #23 is Asitha Jayaweera, former Royal Cricket Captain, what a surprise!After so many years you have come out of the cocoon.Sir you were the best school boy cricketer of the 1970 era, better than Duleep Mendis, Warnapura, Dhammika Samarawickrame, Ananda Jayathillake, all the Wettamuni brothers put together. They all served under you in the Sri Lanka Schoolboy Cricket Team. But, after you left Royal you stopped playing cricket. You were a tiny small man but your cricketing powers (bat, ball, fielding and captaincy) were astonishing.We heard from the Grapevine you married Prithi Perera, former Visakha Head Girl (daughter of the Great Maj AN and Mrs Perera) then migrated to the US. We heard that the love blossomed as Preethi met you at a Cricket Match (Royal v Thomian?).I know you were a member of the Great Royal v Thomian Cricket Match that Royal won under Eardley Liverz.We were very sorry about your decision not to take up Cricket after school. Otherwise you would have become the first Test Captain of Sri Lanka. Another Cricketing Great who played under you was the Great Royal Wicket Keeper, Niraml Hettiarachchi. Hope you are in good health and spirit.It is refreshing to note that you developed your Criketing powers thanks to the Great FC (Coup) De Saram – a real Gentleman
  119. Percy wijekoonDecember 16, 2009 at 4:22 amCongrats on a well written account of the 1962 and onward period.It is not easy for a minority group journalist to have a detached view of the 1962 happenings.But you have done a good job.However I am looking forward to hear what you have to say of the presently evolving situation.This will be of greater interest to me than what has happened in the past.Percy.
  120. janDecember 18, 2009 at 1:20 amDBS
    my long felt urge in knowing the coup. I was not born but were so interested to knwo the great personals behind.
    I am for democracy but its extra gutts and talent of Sri Lankans should be know by the future generations.
    Furhr, of the present political scenario there are lot of things u are keeping close to your chest , I knowwill you spill itjan
  121. janDecember 18, 2009 at 1:37 amWe hope and pray Sf should win for the simple reason, He is capable in bringing discipline to Sri Lanka. He is the one who won the War, no dispute about it.
    What Sri Lanka want now is not experienced man but a man who can bringh disciple and decorum. The country in a mess . Health sector is ailing cant capable in brining a bottle of saline, Education is at Gods mercy . cant print a question paper niether can correct a exam paper. Economy is on downard trend and cost of living is skyrocekting every minute. Corruption is at its helm with MR family patronage. goons and thugs are Ministers Journalists are domiciling in abraod of fear.
    So only mater of consolation and solace is winning the war. so it is SF the Man behind.
    P president who cant capable in bring a bottle of saline and do an exam paper can never win a war,
    from where did his son get so much of money to squander Tharuna eta.SO ITS NOT EXPERINNCE WE WANT . A MAN WHO CAN BRING DECENCY AND DISCIPLINE
  122. Vietnam VasuDecember 18, 2009 at 6:54 amDBSJ, when it comes to story telling, few can match you. One cannot, but help get the feeling, that you could never have done this consistently, unless you really loved what you have been doing. You seem to love your job immensely , and you are really good at it too. DBSJ, you must write books as well. Keep it up!
  123. James ThenuweraDecember 18, 2009 at 9:32 amThank you Jan #121 (under the topic Holdfast – the ’62 Coup).Jan , you are spot on. SF is the man for he moment. His speech in Kandy on 18 Dec 2009 was classic. This man can speak.. MR is only good for the gallery. After 40 years in politics MR still can’t speak. He stammers and mumbles, just like his foreign minister, Bogolla. Every day MR brings 3000 people to temple trees and give them whisky and food with plenty of meat and fish. How many innocent animals are slaughtered for MR’s tamashas. The man drunks like a donkey. Then who pay for these parties – the innocent people. There’s no medicine in Hospitals. People die of lack of medicine. Beggars have died of starvation. SF is the man for the moment. Let’s make him our President#121. jan | December 18th, 2009 at 1:37 am
    We hope and pray Sf should win for the simple reason, He is capable in bringing discipline to Sri Lanka. He is the one who won the War, no dispute about it.
    What Sri Lanka want now is not experienced man but a man who can bringh disciple and decorum. The country in a mess . Health sector is ailing cant capable in brining a bottle of saline, Education is at Gods mercy . cant print a question paper niether can correct a exam paper. Economy is on downard trend and cost of living is skyrocekting every minute. Corruption is at its helm with MR family patronage. goons and thugs are Ministers Journalists are domiciling in abraod of fear.
    So only mater of consolation and solace is winning the war. so it is SF the Man behind.
    P president who cant capable in bring a bottle of saline and do an exam paper can never win a war,
    from where did his son get so much of money to squander Tharuna eta.SO ITS NOT EXPERINNCE WE WANT . A MAN WHO CAN BRING DECENCY AND DISCIPLINE
  124. ThayabharanDecember 19, 2009 at 12:11 amThe JVP the other supporter of Sarath Fonseka is well known in Sri Lanka for the two insurrections to capture power in 1971 and in 1987-1989. In 1971 the JVP attacked all Police Stations in a “Cuba” type of attack to capture power. The Government of Sirimavo ably fought back. It was found that North Korea had played a very subversive role in that insurrection and its Embassy in Colombo was immediately closed down and the diplomats ordered out.In the crucial days in April 1971, when the Government had lost control of the entire Matara District including Hakmana and Akuressa and holding only the towns of Matara, Dondra and Weligama on the coast, a very large ship appeared close to our shores, unloaded a number of boats and were loading some things into them. Sri Lanka never had that size of ship, not even today. This was radioed to Colombo and an Air Force Plane came and machine gunned all the boats for over fifteen minutes. The ship reloaded the boats and suddenly left. The Gemunu Watch commander Major Wettasinghe who had his light machine gun loaded targeting it, but he said that the ship was just beyond its reach. It was a tense situation where we expected a foreign force to land on our shores and we were saved by our Air Force.The 1971 uprising was an attempt by a foreign power to take over the entire country. It was like the Communists of Afghanistan inviting the Russians into Afghanistan in 1979. The JVP of today appears to be acting for a foreign power exactly in the way they did in 1971.A mystery plane, loaded with 35 tonnes of lethal weapons-including surface to air missile launchers, and twenty four 240 mm guns, so far never used, all documented as oil drilling equipment, had to be refueled at Don Mueng Airport at Thailand few days ago. The arms were valued at $ 18 million. It was said to be heading for Sri Lanka. It had come from North Korea accompanied by 4 persons from Kazakhstan and Belarus. It is important to note that North Koreans master minded the 1971 insurrection in Sri Lanka In entire South Asia, Sri Lanka is the most destabilized country today. Perhaps the plane was heading here. Zimbabwe where in 2004 a plane laden with weaponry and mercenaries led by Simon Mann, former Commander of G squadron 22 of the SAS(UK) had to land to refuel. The smart sleuths of President Mugabe found that the plane was heading for Equitorial Guinea, impounded the weapons and incarcerated the mercenaries. That was an attempt to stage a coup and take over an oil rich country, financed by Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The SAS officer and others caught were later jailed in Guinea and pardoned in 2009. Mann says that tacit approval for the regime change came from the Pentagon, CIA and the big oil companies. The ‘buddhist’ sleuths of Thailand may fail to get the terrorists to speak.
    The national minded members of the JVP have left under Wimal Weerawansa’s leadership. Thanks to them they have joined the Patriotic National Movement.
    To add to this is the revealation made by Ranil Wickremasinghe to the effect that his Party Manifesto “Anagata Abiyogaya” he had put out last week was printed by an undisclosed foreign organization. In other words the UNP is acting as a hireling for a foreign power- the terms seem to be to support Sarath Fonseka as the President. There is room to think that the USA and the other Superpowers are now trying to covertly defeat President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election by supporting Sarath Fonseka and the opposition – the UNP and the JVP. Robert Blake the Assistant Secretary who was recently in Sri Lanka has said that the US will not take sides in this Presidential Election.
    However, it is important to note that the USA has a record of interfering in the internal affairs of foreign countries when their rulers do not adhere to the ways of thinking of the Superpowers. If the countries fail to adhere to the IMF rules by which the multinationals are allowed to plunder the resources, and have dealings with other countries like Iran and China, then that country has to be destabilized. The modus operandi is to offer advice and help at first and if necessary let lose the CIA goons. The instances range from Lumumba in the Congo to what is currently happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. Details are included of a few instances where the record shows that the USA has blood on its hands.
    In the Congo, Patrice Lumumba was elected as the Prime Minister of Congo. At the inauguration instead of being thankful, he insulted his former colonial Master- he said that Belgium should apologise for the pillage and plunder done by them. In a matter of ten weeks, “Lumumba’s Government was deposed in a coup… he was subsequently imprisoned and murdered in circumstances suggesting complicity by the Governments of Belgium and the US
    In Iran, “the 1953 Iranian Coup d’etat deposed the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mossadeq. The USA CIA overthrew the Government of Mossadeq at the request of the British Government and enabled Mohamed Reza Pahlavi to become an authoritarian monarch who went on to rule Iran.. till 1979.”
    What happened in Chile in the Sixties rings bells of what is happening in Sri Lanka today. In Chile, In 1962 the CIA received authority to carry on covert action projects in support of the Chilean Radical Party and the Christian Democratic Party. … to assist these Parties to attract larger followings… to influence political orientation to support US objectives in the Region ,,, to support efforts to split the Socialist party….The CIA was tasked to support continued unilateral placements of propaganda in the mass media to influence public opinion against leftist public opinion, against leftist parties and candidates… In 1970 Allende was elected President. President Nixon instructed the CIA to unseat Allende and authorized $ 10 million. President Nixon specifically directed that this action be carried out by the CIA without advising the Departments of State or Defence or the US Ambassador in Chile. CIA took a variety of actions-… making overtures to the military, initiating efforts to promote public opposition to Allende . A coup’d’etat was planned- it included the abduction of General Schneider, a strong supporter of Allende. His men guarded Allende day and night. In the process General Schneider was killed. Schneider was a strict constitutionalist and was therefore an obstacle to US efforts to promote a military intervention. Scheneider’s murder was classified as collateral damage. During Allende’s regime 1970-1973, $ 6.5 million was spent for covert activities against Allende. In September 1973 the Chilean military staged a coup against Allende, who is said to have shot himself or was assassinated.
    It is sad to state that what is happening in Sri Lanka today is similar to the very process of foreign conspiracy that unseated President Allende, with perhaps many Superpowers having a hand in the pie.
    It is upto the citizens of Sri Lanka be they followers of any political party to open their eyes to the nefarious conspiracies of the Superpowers- understand that our beloved political parties including the UNP that won our independence have been totally infiltrated and riddled by the Superpowers to do their bidding. We have to stand firm as a nation.
    The Party System of politics has been bequeathed to us by the Britain to keep us divided and fighting. It is a system where one half of the people stand opposed to whatever good work that the elected majority engage in. Development work done by the Government, be it a bridge, a road, an anicut are only to be broken by the people of the opposing political party immediately afterwards. That has been our fate.
    If we fail to go beyond party politics and guard our beloved motherland at this Critical moment in history, it will be the end of Sri Lanka as a sovereign nation.
    It is perhaps a travesty of fate that the foremost Superpower, the USA does not realize the fact that President Rajapaksa has contributed to World Development by not only defeating terrorism but also by dismantling the LTTE drug trafficking and extortion network which was world wide. All the Developed Countries stand to benefit from this. It was a task that their CIA, MI5 and many other security organizations have miserably failed. No other country leader has accomplished such a task for the USA and other Superpowers.
    The USA stands to gain more by helping the democratic forces in Sri Lanka than by attempting to subvert it. The USA has to realize for once that it will gain more in prestige and dignity by allowing a sovereign country to attend to its own affairs, without interference.
  125. SujivaJanuary 5, 2010 at 7:47 amHello DBS,Very interesting Article.When are you planning on posting Part-2? I hope not on 27 Jan 2010??!!!, the 28th Anniversary of the 1962 Attempt?If so, I m afraid another big story – Pres Elections Results may drown Part-2!Hopefully in mid-January………….DBSJ
  126. Kamal MunasingheJanuary 9, 2010 at 1:17 pmCIA was directly involved in the ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion in Cuba in 1961. Ever since Castro assumed power in Cuba, United States launched multiple attempts to kill Fidel Castro so that they could continue their imperial march into Americas. One of the more open acts of the era was the launch of a pirate radio station to misinform the Cubans by the CIA. The radio was called “Swan Radio” as it was based in Swan Island near the coastline of Honduras.Ironically, Fonseka uses Swan as his symbol. It is not clear whether there is some irony in selecting this symbol or whether someone selected it for him. However, as it happened in the famous ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion, Castro victoriously called it the ‘First Imperial Defeat in Americas’ and the whole Cubans galvanized their support behind him. The CIA believed and assured their leaders that the opposition groups will rally behind them once the invasion was launched. However, Castro who took charge of the command of the military himself managed to outmaneuver the invading forces and capture 1100 of the invading forces who were eventually repatriated to the USA.The fallout was disastrous for the newly elected President Kennedy and an utter humiliation in the international stage. The history is going to repeat itself with a different setup. We hear the talk of the ambassadors in someone’s backyard regularly meeting to move the pawns. Cash is plenty and some people have a price. Despite invasions over 2500 years, we have emerged again in one piece and will be victorious once more and the puppeteers of the west will be humiliated along with their puppets among us.
  127. Paramsothy JayakumarJanuary 18, 2010 at 5:31 pmThis Election will be the worst one for the new millennium.
  128. YvetteJune 12, 2010 at 1:21 amHullo DBSJ,Many thanks for a terrific article on the intended coup of 1962. IT seemed to me to be very balanced, and informative.You say – in response to No: 125 – that you’ll be publishing the second installment ‘hopefully…mid-January’. Well, I’ve been keeping a lookout, but can’t find it…Have I missed it? …in which case, could you kindly refer me to the URL?Very best wishes,YvetteThanks Yvette. I am so sorry but due to some problems I havent been able to write the second part as intended. I do hope to re-write it soon………DBSJ
  129. YvetteJune 28, 2010 at 1:28 amThanks, DBSJ – I’m looking forward to reading it…Yvette
  130. CherrylAugust 2, 2010 at 11:04 amThere was another key player who you have not mentioned at all – Asst. Superintendent of Police C.O.S ORR who was to arrest Mr Felix Dias Bandaranaike. All the gentlemen involved were men with honour – I know as one of them was my father (COS ORR) He died tragically in 1963 (some say was poisoned). These men did not want power for themselves but did what they did for the good of the country or so they thought.
  131. lionel gunasekaraNovember 17, 2010 at 5:19 amMr.Jeyaraj. excellent and very interesting.waiting for part 2.
    you seem to hv missed out the 16th defendent among those you mention in yr article his name is
    major Victor Joseph Harold Gunasekara 2 IC to Col. Fc de Saram in the vol regimentBest wishes
  132. NaveenMarch 4, 2013 at 11:18 pmA very well written account of an interesting past. Thanks for putting this together, to give a detailed insight and to learn lessons from the past, specially for our generation! Thanks DBSJ

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