Submissions to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
During the period I worked as consultant physician and paediatrician
at the Polonnaruwa Base Hospital (from 1986 to 1988), I saw the
aftermath of the brutality of the LTTE in butchering innocent civilians
in Trincomalee (the new year massacre of 225 civilians between Aluth Oya
and Kithulotuwa in April 1987, Medirigiriya district massacres in
Ambagaswewa and Meegaswewa and massacres at Kadawathamaduwa).
The LLRC sessions in Jaffna took place in Oorkaavattu’rai,
Veala’nai and Ma’nkumppaan. File photo
Having witnessed the results of these massacres, I was deeply moved
and determined to help these innocent victims living in these threatened
areas, risking their lives and facing tremendous economic hardships.
However, the presence of the Sinhalese in the threatened villages was
essential to preserve the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unitary
State of our nation.
Success Colombo (Society for the Uplift and Conservation of the
Cultural Economic and Social Standards), which I founded in Colombo
along with patriotic friends in the lines of Success Sri Lanka Kandy has
been at the forefront helping the people living in the formally
threatened areas of Weli Oya, Trincomalee, Ampara and Vavuniya. We have
worked continuously and visited these areas every month on a rotational
basis from 1995 to date.
These people whom we consider as real Bhumiputra have continuously
lived in the areas during the 30-year war which ravaged our nation.
During this period, they have faced tremendous hardships facing security
risks and difficulties in health, transport, education and the economic
Our work has comprised of conducting free medical clinics, provision
of medicines, motivating them, providing them with agricultural
equipment, constructing agricultural wells and providing assistance to
build their homes. We have also provided finances to renovate
dilapidated school buildings and provided the infrastructure for
pre-school education. We have also provided sewing machines to women to
encourage self-employment projects. Above all, our frequent visits have
improved their morale and provided a lifeline to them in times of need.
We have held over 500 medical clinics in the Weli-Oya area (Sampath
Nuwara, Athawetunuweva, Nikaweva, Kiriibbanweva, Ahatugasweva) and in
Ampara (Mangalagama, Aranthalawa, Gonagala, Pollebedde, Tenpitiya,
Bakmitiyawatha, Bogamuyaya) and in Trincomalee (Gomarankadawala,
Kalyanapura, Dehiwatta, Mihindupura, Sirimangalapura, Velgamwehera) and
in Vavuniya (Atambagaskada, Track 7, Avaranthulawa, Thanthirimale,
Mamaduwa, Alagalla, Mahakachchikodiya) etc. We have visited these areas
every month for the past 15 years on a rotational basis.
The Buddhist priests in these areas have been a tremendous source of
strength to people living in these formally threatened villages. The
priests too have faced tremendous hardships regarding Dhana, transport
and their security. Success Colombo has often provided financial
assistance to renovate dilapidated Sangawasa, construction of Chaithyas
and provided 15 motor bicycles, one truck and a three-wheeler to temples
in these threatened villages.
Success Colombo has befriended the Sri Lanka Army in numerous ways.
We have provided an ambulance, a tractor and a trailor, millions worth
surgical equipment including pulse oxymeters, power driven orthopaedic
equipment, state-of-the-art equipment for skin grafting, dopler scanners
and urgently required surgical suture material, trolleys, medicines etc
to provide maximum assistance to our Ranaviru injured in action in
defence of our Motherland. Ranaviru recuperating at Ranaviru Sevana in
Ragama have been provided with special commodes, wash basins, with all
attachments, crutches and most up-to-date physio equipment costing over
a million rupees to help our Ranaviru to recuperate and return to
We have helped the military camps in Weli Oya, Galkulama, Thavulweva
by providing cement to build quarters for new recruits, auditoriums,
bunkers, bathing tanks, medical examining rooms etc. During the
liberation of the Vanni, we provided much needed thick polythene,
folding mattresses, thick Rexene sheeting, anti fungal powder and
massive stock of water bottles, mosquito coils, sweets, biscuits, tea,
soap, toothpaste etc to improve the morale of our brave Ranaviru engaged
in the supreme task of saving our Motherland.
During the liberation of the Vanni when the Sri Lankan Armed Forces
led the world’s greatest humanitarian operation in liberating over
300,000 people from the clutches of the LTTE. Success Colombo was one of
the first civilian groups to reach a helping hand to the Tamil civilian
We conducted medical camps at Menik Farm Zone One to Four and in
other towns viz Pompemadu, Neriyakulam and Chettikulam fortnightly from
March to June 2009.
We treated thousands and thousands of patients suffering from
exhaustion, dehydration, skin infections, chest infections, bowel
infections, chicken pox, cuts, wounds and ulcers and provided free
medicines and dressings. We also provided milk powder of infants,
kitchen utensils such as saucepans, kettles, pails, jugs, plates, cups
etc for the IDPs.
Free medical clinics
After the resettlement of IDPs in their former homes, we have
conducted free medical clinics and provided free medicine for IDPs at
the request of the Sri Lanka Army from April 2010 onwards to date in
Thunukkai, Karaganayakulam, Puliyankulam, Nedunkerni, Pooneryn,
Marasamulli and Paranthan. Hence, ‘Success-Colombo’ has been of immense
benefit to both the Sinhala and Tamil community who have suffered
tremendously from the civil war which concluded in May 2009.
Recommendations and lessons learnt
* Just as much as the Sinhalese are now learning Tamil, Tamil people
in the North and East should also learn Sinhalese. I recommend that the
Sri Lankan Army who are now serving in the North and East be employed in
the schools and to teach the Tamil children the Sinhala language just as
much as the Sinhala students in the rest of the country are learning
Tamil compulsorily. The value of learning English should in no way be
compromised, for it enables us to communicate with the rest of the
world, improve our knowledge and widen our horizons.
* Before the commencement of the medical clinics, it was customary to
conduct a Janahamuwa followed by singing of the national anthem. Sadly,
it was found that 95 percent of the people in the North could not sing
our national anthem. Hence it is of utmost importance that the national
anthem should be learnt by all citizens of our country. This is
essential for national integration and reconciliation.
* We now live in a free and liberated country where all citizens
Sinhala, Tamil and Muslims enjoy equal rights and opportunities. Hence I
cannot see any need for any special political package or political
solution to be provided to the Tamil community alone.
* The problems faced by the Tamils regarding education, job
opportunities, housing, land and water, transport and health facilities
etc are also faced by the Sinhala and Muslim communities. Hence solution
to these problems should be provided equitably to all the citizens
within the framework of the unitary Sri Lanka.
* During my work in the North and East, I have travelled extensively
and seen large extents of unutilized fertile land. Land utilization and
development is part and parcel of development of our nation.
Hence I recommend the poor landless peasantry of our nation be
provided this crown land on equitable basis for maximal utilization
under the program ‘Api Vavamu - Rata Nagamu’.
* My explanation for the often-quoted ‘brain drain’ is
multi-factorial. In the medical intake of 1969 to the Faculty of
Medicine Colombo University, I was one among 150 (75 Tamils, 73
Sinhalese and 2 Muslims). Of this intake, only three Tamil doctors now
serve the country. There are about 35 Sinhalese doctors remaining and
serving the country. The reason for this exodus of Tamil doctors is not
due to racial discrimination as admission criteria was purely merit
based. Neither was the exodus due to the 1983 riots as the migration
occurred long before this. If any injustice was done regarding
admissions it was to the Sinhalese and Muslims due to lack of
educational opportunities in rural areas at that time. I would recommend
that university admission be based on merit, on ethnic proportions.
The reasons for the brain drain I feel were partly economical, partly
search for pastures with better working conditions, lack of binding
family ties, lack of patriotism and national identity.
* Much interest has been generated among the international community
regarding the IDPs. Foreign observers have visited the Menik Farm in
their hundreds and urged the government to resettle the IDPs in their
former lands hastily. I wished the international community showed the
same interest about the Sinhala and Muslims IDPs who were evicted by the
LTTE and lived in refugee camps in Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and
Welioya (Track 7, Avaranthulawa, Ulukkulama, Mahindapura and Gravel
Waththa). The international community has further helped the Tamil IDPs
returning home with dry rations for six months duration, Rs. 50,000 and
20 roofing sheets per family. However, the Sinhala people who have
returned back to their lands in Welioya (Janakapura, Monaraweva) and
Vavuniya (Track 7 Avaranthulawa and Ulukkulama, etc) have received no
help at all from the international community. However, organizations
like Success Colombo have helped these people. Discrimination in this
manner causes dissatisfaction among the communities and will interfere
My opinion regarding some of the ‘Tamil Diaspora’ who have gone
against our nation. They have gained enormous benefits from the free
education system in this country from the best schools in the island
followed by university education totally free and made best use of the
country for their professional progress and advancement. Many have
migrated, majority of them for economic reasons and hold responsible
posts in other nations. Instead of criticising the local establishments
for non-existent racial discrimination and day dreaming about Eelam,
they must be encouraged to return home. Their wealth and knowledge must
be utilized for the development and uplift of the North and the East.
* The common enemy for all patriotic citizens of this country was
Prabhakaran and the LTTE. Having won the war with the annihilation of
the LTTE, we Sri Lankans are all reconciled and now live in a liberated
country free of the fear of terrorism.
* Adoption of a ‘Sri Lankan identity’ should be the ultimate goal