Conspiracies to overthrow Government - I:
Army Commander arrested
General Fonseka, former Army Commander and
Chief of Defence Staff has been arrested among others for alleged crimes
against the State, including a conspiracy.
While Fonseka supporters have so far not
responded to the conspiracy charge in earnest except to dismiss it as
political vendetta the public is interested in knowing more facts. Since
the whole matter is still under investigation it would take some time
for full facts relating to the conspiracy to emerge.
Conspiracies are nothing new to Sri Lanka. Nor
is the arrest of senior military officers strange or unprecedented. The
Daily News wishes to publish several articles pertaining to conspiracies
that happened or were alleged to have happened in the past. It would
enlighten the readers on how governments act in case of alleged
conspiracies by its citizens to overthrow legitimate governments. In Sri
Lanka the accused have always been given a fair trial to prove their
innocence and the ultimate decision has been taken not by politicians
but the judiciary.
Ms Udugama, wife of the former Army Commander, Major General
Richard Udugama (fourth accused in the February Plot
investigation) was one of the relatives of the twenty-eight
accused men to visit the Flagstaff Street courthouse where the
inquiry began. With Mrs Udugama is one of her husbandís counsel,
The Army Commander Maj Gen Richard Udugama was arrested at the
Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake on his return from UK on
July 7, 1966. He was on a tour of England to inspect military hardware
for the Sri Lanka Army when the Defence Ministry summoned him home by a
special coded message.
But till he reached the BIA he was not aware that he would be
The IGP John Attygalla with other Police officers were present at the
airport when Udugama came down to the airport after disembarking from
the BOAC flight. The detention order to arrest the Army Commander under
Emergency Regulations in force at the time was handed over personally by
the IGP. Richard Udugama was held after his arrest at the Magazine
Prison, Welikada and along with others alleged to have been involved in
a coup díetat to overthrow the then UNP Government of Dudley Senanayake.
He was produced in courts and remanded.
Among the other suspects arrested were Captain Segara and an Army NCO
Mayadunne. On July 14 that year the Attorney General A.C.M. Ameer filed
plaint before the Chief Magistrate, Colombo, B.G.S. David on two counts.
1) Having conspired to wage war against the Queen between December 1,
1965 and February 18,1966.
2) Having conspired between the said dates and in the course of the
same transaction to overthrow the Government of Ceylon by means of
criminal force or the show of criminal force.
Army Commander Maj Gen Udugama was the fourth accused in the case
while the eminent Buddhist monk Ven Henpitagedara Gnanaseeha Thera was
the first accused in the case in which 28 were arraigned.
On the day the case was taken up several VIPs including Dr N. M.
Perera were present at the Magistrate Court. Among the counsel
representing the accused were Prins Gunasekara, Anil Moonesinghe and
Crowds queued up from an early hour for admission by
gate-ticket to the courtroom.