LTTE unleashed terror during Vesak:
Dimbulagala Hamuduruvo sacrificed his life for nation
As the Buddhists around the world celebrate Vesak, it is time for us
to commemorate the services rendered by one of the great Nayaka Theras
in Sri Lanka - Most Ven. Matara Kithalagama Sri Seelalankara Nakaya
Thera, better known as Dimbulagala Hamuduruvo. The Chief Incumbent of
the Dimbulagala Temple in Dimbulagala was assassinated by the LTTE
terrorists during the month of Vesak 18 years ago.
Today is the 18th death anniversary of the Dimbulagala Nayaka Thera,
whose life was taken away by the blood-thirsty Tiger terrorists on May
Dimbulagala was known as the Gunners rock during British colonial
rule. It is a rock formation in the Polonnaruwa district and when
anthropologist Charles Gabriel Seligman visited it way back in 1911, a
section of Veddha community had taken refuge in a cave within the rock.
By the 12th century AD, the Sinhalese had constructed a temple within
the Dimbulagala rock formation.
The world-renowned Dimbulagala Raja Maha Viharaya was restored in
1950s. In 1990s, the villagers around the rock were of mixed Veddha and
Sinhala ancestry, speaking both Sinhala and Veddha languages.
It was due to the untiring efforts of the Dimbulagala Nayaka Thera
that the Dimbulagala temple was developed, rendering a yeoman service to
the people in the area. The late Chief Priest of Dimbulagala Temple,
Matara Kitalagama Sri Seelalankara Thera was a leader who had rendered a
yeoman service to the nation.
Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne once said that the need for Bhikkus of
his calibre was widely felt today and the late Nayaka Thera exerted
pressure on the government in 1970s and settled more than 65,000
cultivators on the land and converted it to fertile and successful
cultivations in Dimbulagala.
He pioneered the building of temples in 84 villages on the banks of
the Mahaweli and ordained more than 1,500 Buddhist monks during his
lifetime,” he said. The Thera was a national leader and despite death
threats from the LTTE he continued his work, until the terrorists gunned
him down. The Thera not only toiled for the continuance of Buddha Sasana
but also for the future of the Sinhalese.
Bomb on train
Most Ven. Matara Kithalagama Sri
Seelalankara Nakaya Thera
The assassination of Dimbulagala Nayaka Thera was not the only murder
committed by Velupillai Prabhakaran’s barbaric Tiger cadres during the
month of Vesak. On May 26, 2008, the LTTE terrorists exploded a bomb on
a commuter train during rush hour at Dehiwala, killing eight people and
injuring 73 civilians. It was the 21st terrorist attack committed by the
LTTE within the first five months of 2008, which had killed 149
The blast hit the Colombo-Panadura train at the Dehiwela station.
Many of the dead were women, including one who was pregnant. Bodies were
pulled from the wreckage after the blast that took place during the
evening’s rush hour.
Commuter Ramani Padmalatha, 42, was quoted as saying to AFP that the
train suddenly slowed after a “deafening noise”. “People were shouting
‘bomb, bomb!’ and scrambling to get out of the windows of the
carriage... I managed to jump out from the door. People were stumbling
out of that carriage with blood stains on their clothes, some with
burns, some looking dazed,” she said.
Eyewitness R.A. Upali was on record telling the BBC Sinhala service
the explosion took place as the train was pulling out of the station. “I
ran to the place where the explosion happened.
I saw people fall on the platform. People with minor injuries ran
towards us,” he was quoted as saying. The train compartment’s windows
were blown out and part of its roof was torn off in the blast, which
left bloodstained bags and umbrellas strewn among the debris.
The attack came ten days after a suicide bomber on a motorcycle
rammed a bus carrying police officers, while an explosion in the
previous month - April, 2008, inside a bus killed more than 20 people.
On May 28, 2007, the LTTE exploded a claymore mine at Ratmalana,
killing eight civilians and wounding 37 others. The claymore mine attack
against the Special Task Force (STF) at Bellek Kadai junction,
Ratmalana, was another merciless LTTE attack during the month of Vesak.
Among the dead were two women and five men. Among the injured are six
Special Task Force personnel.
Six vehicles and several shops were badly damaged in the explosion.
“It looks like a claymore mine was placed on the roof of a roadside shop
and detonated with a remote controlled device as the truck passed,” a
police officer at the scene was quoted as saying after the incident. The
LTTE had planted the claymore in an abandoned shop.
There had been another LTTE attack during Vesak in 1987, this time by
storming into a Sinhala village to butcher innocent civilians to death.
On May 29, 1987, armed LTTE terrorists raided Kadawathmadu ancient
Sinhala village in Polonnaruwa district, killing seven civilians and
injuring five others.
However, the terrorists failed in their attempt for mass killing as
most villagers slept in jungle hideouts due to LTTE threats.
During the 2006 Vesak month, (on May 29), LTTE terrorists brutally
massacred 12 civilians working at an irrigation canal construction site
in eastern Welikanda. 15 armed cadres of LTTE - some in striped uniforms
and some in civilian dress tied the construction workers together and
fired at them point blank range killing 12 instant.
Six civilians including two children and a woman were killed on May
29, 2008 when artillery shells fired by the LTTE during a sea battle
with the Security Forces fell in the Jaffna town area in the wee hours.
Five Sinhala settlers were shot dead by armed terrorists in
Mahindapura and Dehiwatte in Polonnaruwa district on May 30, 1985.
In another brutal attack on ordinary citizens during the Vesak
season, the LTTE shot dead 12 civilians in Omadiyamadu, close to
Welikanda on May 30, 2006. The 12 Sinhala villagers from Mahasenpura had
been restoring a neglected stream to get water for their families.
Continued LTTE atrocities prompted the European Union to formally ban
the LTTE as a terrorist organisation on May 30, 2006. The 25-nation bloc
rubber-stamped the ban, which was agreed in principle, at a meeting of
EU Ministers. The ban followed a series of deadly LTTE ambushes on the
military, including the abortive attacks on the Pearl Cruise II vessel
carrying 710 services.
These are only a handful of LTTE atrocities during its three decades
of terror which unleashed nothing but misery to over 20 million people.
Most countries and international organisations turned a Nelsonian eye
against these brutal killings and did not utter a word on behalf of the
innocent civilians killed by the LTTE. But after the LTTE was military
crushed by Sri Lanka’s valiant Security Forces, there are enough and
more people to pontificate to us on reconciliation and on the human
rights of LTTE terrorists killed in action. Certain countries have tried
to intimidate Sri Lanka by bringing in successive resolutions at the
In the meantime, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in a Vesak Day
message pointed out that Vesak Day is a celebration for Buddhists
worldwide and an opportunity for all members of the international
community to benefit from their rich traditions.
“This year’s observance, falling at a time of widespread strife and
misery, is an occasion to examine how Buddhist teachings can help us
respond to prevailing challenges. Confronting the troubling problems
facing our world is consonant with Buddhism. The Buddha himself, as a
young prince, left the safety of his palace to discover the four
sufferings, birth, sickness, old age and death,” the UN Secretary
General said in his message.
The UN appeared to be a toothless tiger when the LTTE was at its best
and all Sri Lankans were at the receiving end, and its leaders didn’t
utter a word against Prabhakaran’s terror acts. Nevertheless, it is
heartening to see the UN Secretary General issuing Vesak messages,
though they had ignored thousands of murders committed by the LTTE
during the month of Vesak.
Now that Sri Lanka has won its lone battle with the support of a few
friendly countries, we don’t need arbitrators or peace merchants to
intimidate us in the guise of advice. The democratically elected leaders
of Sri Lanka know what is most suitable for the country as they read the
pulse of the people more than any outsider.
The West should refrain from attempting to meddle in the internal
affairs of a sovereign state and the leaders of Sri Lanka would never
compromise on the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We
have enough and more experience on how the so-called peace brokers and
facilitators had taken the nation for rides.
Hence, Sri Lanka could bounce back with its own indigenous solution
on reconciliation and development. The results of the reconciliation and
development efforts are already evident as the people in the North and
the East have begun a new lease of life.
Hence, the West should not hamper the steady development that Sri
Lanka has achieved after the liberation of the country from the clutches
of LTTE terror. If they are sincerely interested in the well-being of
the Tamils, they should make a tangible contribution to development
activities in the North.