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Government Gazette

JVP fear psychosis - Part VI:

PJVP assassination of Nandalal Fernandolanned mass protest to sabotage PC election:


Gamini who had murdered DIG Terrence Perera and Vijaya Kumaratunga was hell bent on sabotaging the Provincial Council elections. He put his plan into action with more murder and mayhem. His main aim was to destroy the rule of law. The JVP psychopath killer was now kill-crazy


On May 15, 1988, ‘Gamini’s controller ‘A’ who also directed him in the murders of Deputy Inspector General of Police Terrance Perera, popular actor-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga and a majority of his 43 brutal slayings, met the 27-year-old from Horana, who created the JVP fear psychosis, and asked to meet him at the Dehiwala Zoo that same afternoon.

When ‘Gamini’ went to the zoo around 4.00 p.m. that day, senior DVP cadres ‘A’, ‘H’ and two others were there waiting for him near the elephant shed.

Four of them sat in a summerhouse where ‘J’ spoke to them at length of the JVP’s objections to the Provincial Council elections being held.

He said that the JVP planned a mass protest and had decided to sabotage the election through violence to create such a breakdown in the law and order situation that the Government would not be able to hold the PC polls.

JVP threats

‘J’ announced that the JVP’s campaign to prevent the election would begin with the assassination of UNP General Secretary Nandalal Fernando, who lived down a lane off Pamankada Road in Wellawatte.

He detailed the three other terrorists to commit the crime.

‘J’ then briefed the others as to how the murder should be committed and briefed them on the movements of Mr. Fernando, a dedicated party worker who had braved several JVP threats on his life.

‘Gamini’ was directed to shoot at Mr. Fernando with a T-56 rifle and ‘H’ to ride the getaway motorcycle with ‘Gamini’ on the pillion, as they had done in the case of Vijaya Kumaratunga in February 1988.

Fear psychosis

A JVP cadre was detailed to signal the killers who were to wait near the Pamankada junction as the UNP strongman got into his car in the morning to leave for his office at Sirikotha, the party headquarters at Kotte. An arranged signal was for the terrorist entrusted with the task to drop a book onto the ground and pick it up.

The next day, when ‘Gamini’ and ‘H’ waited at the Pamankada junction, they saw Nandalal Fernando passing in his car with a jeep carrying his security backup following behind. ‘Controller ‘A’ was also present at the time.

After that ‘A’ showed ‘Gamini’ and ‘H’ the escape route they should take after their mission of murder was accomplished. Then, he instructed the hit men to return to their safe house.

‘A’ also told ‘Gamini’ that a T-56 rifle wrapped in a gunny bag would be delivered to him.

The next morning, the four conspirators met near the Colombo South General Hospital at Kalubowila around 7.30 a.m.

A subversive then rode up to ‘Gamini’ on a bicycle with a gunny bag concealing the promised firearm tied to the pillion.

The fear psychosis killer got onto the bicycle and rode to the point earlier arranged, at the Pamankada junction.

‘Gamini’ told Police, ‘I rode past the lane in which Nandalal’s house was located. I saw my fellow terrorist who was to give me a signal, waiting near the UNP General Secretary’s house, as he took up his position at the Pamankada junction.’

‘H’ passed him. ‘Gamini’ also saw ‘As’ giving him a signal to take out his gun from the gunny bag. He rode up to ‘As’, took the T-56 out and gave it to him.

As the UNP General Secretary’s car turned onto the main road, ‘As’ fired at the backup vehicle carrying the bodyguards. ‘Gamini’ then took the T-56 rifle from ‘As’ and fired at Mr. Fernando’s car from the behind. The bullet hit the intended victim who was seated in the rear and wounded him fatally.

Next, the JVP’s chief hit man saw a security guard in the backup vehicle pointing a gun at him. ‘Gamini’s fingers reached for the trigger and he was about to fire a burst at him, when the security guard retreated and took cover behind a parked van.

‘Gamini’, who always wanted to make sure that his victims were dead, pumped six more bullets into the UNP General Secretary’s car.

Meanwhile, the killer noticed that a crowd had gathered.

‘Gamini’ and ‘As’ got onto the pillion of the getaway motorcycle ridden by ‘H’ and rode off to the location where the Hi Ace van was parked and handed over the guns to another subversive ‘V’ who was waiting in it for them.

Military wing

Then, ‘As’ got off the motorcycle and walked towards Galle Road, while ‘Gamini’ continued the ride with ‘H.’ they got onto the main High Level Road on the Honda C-90.

‘H’ dropped ‘Gamini’ in Maharagama from where he returned to the farm at Gorakapitiya in which he was being sheltered by a fellow subversive.

‘Gamini’ later told Police that the orders to eliminate Nandalal Fernando were given him by the DJV, the military wing of the JVP. About a week after the slaying of the UNP General Secretary, ‘A’ accompanied by ‘J’ arrived at the farm at Gorakapitiya in the outskirts of Colombo in a Toyota Hi Ace van. This was around 10.00 a.m.

‘J’, their senior cadre, instructed ‘Gamini’ to work with ‘A’ on another job. Then both of them left. A few days later, at noontime, ‘A’ came to the farm and asked ‘Gamini’ to meet him at the Pitipana junction around 8.00 a.m. the following day.

The next morning, ‘Gamini’ kept his appointment. ‘A’ and ‘H’ arrived there by bus. ‘Gamini’ was introduced to ‘S’ and told to go with him and have a good look at the home of Provincial Council candidate Pitipana Dharmasena. ‘A’ then left.

‘Gamini’, ‘H’ and ‘S’, all military wing cadres of the JVP, went towards candidate Dharmasena’s house situated near the Moragahahena Temple junction. Passing Dharmasena’s house they noticed that it had a tiled roof and a short parapet wall with an iron gate around it.

The subversives also saw candidate Dharmasena standing near the kitchen. ‘S’ pointed him out. ‘Gamini’ noticed that his intended victim was around 36 years old, fair complexioned and was wearing a sarong. The PC candidate saw the group of strangers and went inside the house.

‘Gamini’ and ‘S’ continued along the road until they came to a paddy field and walked along a footpath onto the main road, which runs from the Meegoda Ayurvedic dispensary to the Meegoda junction.

‘H’ had turned back and gone the other way and returned to Pitipana. The pair broke up. ‘S’ remained at Meegoda. ‘Gamini’ returned to the farm. The next morning, ‘A’ arrived and instructed ‘Gamini’ to meet him near the Meegoda Ayurvedic dispensary.

Election meeting

They met as planned and then went to a half built house down a gravel lane located near the dispensary. The owner was ‘L’, a married man. They were taken to a room by ‘S.’

‘H’, ‘B’, ‘D’ and several others were already there. About 6.00 p.m., ‘A’ announced that Pitipana Dharmasena was to be ‘removed.’

He said that there was an election meeting close by. Dharmasena would return home after the meeting. He also disclosed that there were some contract killers allegedly led by ‘Wasantha’ and a few home guards giving protection to Dharmasena’s house.

The seven-member DJV hit squad was instructed to kill all those in the premises, except the women. ‘A’ gave ‘L’ the money to buy some bread and a few tins of salmon of which the gang partook seated around a kerosene lamp, as there was no electricity in the house.

‘Gamini’ found there was a stock of weapons in the room - two T-56 automatic rifles, two shotguns and two revolvers.

Around 9.00 p.m. on that night, ‘S’ said, ‘Let’s go.’

‘Gamini’ carried a T-56, his favourite weapon and two magazines of ammunition. ‘S’ had a shotgun. ‘H’ was armed with a .38 revolver. They came to a rubber plantation about 200 yards away from the PC candidate’s house.

Home guard

‘S’ went to reconnoitre their intended victim’s house before attacking him. He returned and reported that the doors were closed and the lights were on inside the house. He had heard some people talking inside.

The hit squad members then moved swiftly and entered candidate Dharmasena’s house from the rear. A home guard on duty outside pointed a gun at the JVP gang as they approached the house. ‘Gamini’ shot him, and the security man fell dead in a heap onto the ground.

‘Gamini’ later told Police they heard people in the house running about inside.

The hit men then started shooting through the windows.

‘H’ shouted, ‘Get into the house.’ Then, ‘Gamini’, his finger on the T-56 trigger, stepped into the house and began checking the rooms. He remembered a television set was on in the sitting room.

He then heard a noise in one of the rooms. One of the terrorists flashed his torch and ‘Gamini’ promptly shot dead a home guard who was inside with a gun in hand. The JVP’s psychopath killer was now kill-crazy. His eyes glowed like coals of fire as he noticed a pair of legs under a bed.

Without batting an eyelid, he placed his gun through the mattress and fired at the person hiding under the bed, killing him instantly.

The hit squad then heard a truck arriving and they left through the rear door and moved up front. The vehicle was stopped in front. ‘Gamini’ opened fire at the truck.

‘H’ went round shooting at the tyres and puncturing them. There was a garage adjoining the house and ‘S’ noticed home guards inside it. He shot one of them with his revolver.

Meanwhile, ‘Gamini’ had fired all 20 shots in the T-56 rifle magazine he had loaded and he inserted the second into the gun’s chamber.

The DJV gang then returned to their safe house.

It was now about 11.00 p.m. Early the next morning, the gang left in singles and twos. As arranged, ‘Gamini’ and ‘H’ arrived in Homagama junction.

They broke up there and ‘Gamini’ returned to the farm at Gorakapitiya. The next day, ‘A’ came to see him with a newspaper in his hand, in which there was a report of the attack on Dharmasena’s house. It said that six occupants of the PC candidate’s house had been killed.

Said ‘H’ to ‘Gamini’, ‘But, you have evidently missed your primary target.’

The writer is a former editor of Daily News and The Sunday Observer



 [ Killing spree]

* Meet at the Dehiwala zoo

* Main aim to create breakdown in law and order

* They first killed Nandalal Fernando at Pamankada

* ‘Gamini’ returned to a farm at Maharagama after the killing

* Their next target was PC Pitipana Dharmasena




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