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Continuing JVP fear psychosis series - Part IX :

End of the road for JVP’s serial killer

‘Gamini’, the JVP serial killer had, many years ago, applied to join the Army Volunteer Force and had received a letter calling for him to be present at an interview. But, he was unable to do so, as he was at the time in Police custody at Horana, his native abode.

Vijaya Kumaratunga

October 9, 1945

February 16, 1988

Actor, politician

* Started political life in the Lanka Sama Samaja Party
* Later joined Sri Lanka Freedom Party
* Jailed under emergency regulations by JR Jayewardene but never charged
* He founded the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP)

‘Gamini’ was recruited by a JVP member who scouted for vulnerable looking youth. ‘Gamini’ was the ideal fodder. He was a very unhappy youth. Although he had passed the NCGE, he had failed to obtain employment. His parents were divorced. And, he had no permanent abode.

He had been forced to sell peanuts at the Horana Bus Stand, where he was picked up by the JVP. After training, he went onto become the JVP’s No. 1 serial killer.

He went onto kill DIG Terrance Perera, University Don Prof Stanley Wijesundara, actor-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga, Municipal Councillor Jayantha Mallimarachchi and UNP General Secretary Nandalal Fernando among his 43 victims.

On February 16, 1988, the JVP gunman ‘Gamini’ brutally gunned down the very popular actor-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga, whose Sri Lanka Mahajana Party was making into the JVP base and youth had begun to move away to the SLMP and its charismatic leader. And, he was supporting the Indo-Lanka accord.

So, the JVP Politburo ordered his execution. ‘Gamini’ was entrusted with the assassination of Vijaya Kumaratunga.

‘Gamini’ spent two weeks planning the brutal killing. He was accommodated in a tea boutique in Polhengoda run by a JVP member in close proximity to Vijaya’s house.

After having closely observed Vijaya’s goings-out and comings-in, he, with a JVP cadre, followed the actor-politician for two whole days behind his car.

On the day of the assassination, around noon Vijaya arrived in a car, got down and went into the house. After waiting in a parked motorcycle for several minutes, they saw him returning with a file in hand.

Then, ‘Gamini’ took his T-56 weapon and shot Vijaya twice in the back. The actor-politician fell down and the killer went up to him and shot a fusillade of bullets into Vijaya’s head.

‘Gamini’ then got onto the bike and proceeded with his accomplice down Polhengoda Road to a safe house at Dampe, Piliyandala.

The JVP psychopath serial killer’s end came five months after Vijaya’s assassination.

One sunny afternoon in July 1989, ‘Gamini’ was walking along Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo when a scooter taxi stopped in front of him.

A man, whom ‘Gamini’ thought was a DJV cadre bringing him instructions for another slaying, walked up to the JVP’s serial killer.

‘Gamini’, addressing the man, said, “What is the job you have for me this time.” To which, the other replied, “Come with me. I will tell you.”

When ‘Gamini’ got into the taxi, the man whom he thought was a fellow terrorist, caught his arms in a grip of steel.

The driver of the scooter taxi then stepped on the gas and proceeded towards Borella.

‘Gamini,’ who created the JVP fear psychosis, now felt very much afraid.

JVP’s no. 1 serial killer
* Gamini applied to join Army Volunteer Force
*He was a native of Horana
*He killed Vijaya Kumaratunga on February 16, 1988
*Gamini spent two weeks planning to ill Vijaya
*He shot Vijaya twice in the back
*He found a safe house at Dampe, Piliyandala after the killing
*Gamini’s end came five months after Vijaya’s killing

He realized he had made a very costly mistake. It was going to be the biggest in his life.

The three-wheeler stopped at the CDB headquarters at Gregory’s Road and the JVP killer was bundled out and taken to the Bureau’s Chief Ignatius Canagaratnam, who soon realized that his detectives had caught a very big fish, although they had not known it at the time.

The next day, ‘Gamini’ made a statement to the detectives, giving all the details of his brutal killings.

When he was taken to the scene of one of his crimes, ‘Gamini’ tried to escape and this resulted in his death.

Soon after that, Rohana Wijeweera, Saman Piyasiri Fernando, Upatissa Gamanayake, in fact the entire JVP leadership was wiped out and normalcy restored to the country.


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

[email protected]


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