Ranil Wickremesinghe - "The Butcher of Batalanda" - Call for UN Investigation..!

-By A Staff Writer

(Lanka-e-News -25.June.2024, 10.20 PM) The Batalanda torture chambers are notorious for their role in the violent suppression of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) insurgency in Sri Lanka during the late 1980s. Numerous sites across Colombo and its outskirts were used for the detention, torture, and execution of suspected JVP activists. This report delves into the specifics of these sites, with a particular focus on the Batalanda complex, which has garnered significant infamy due to the scale and severity of the human rights violations committed there.

Network of Torture Chambers - Sites of Atrocity

The torture chambers in and around Colombo were located at:

⋆ Yataro Cafeteria, Thunmulla, Colombo
⋆ Racecourse Grounds, Colombo
⋆ Batalanda, Sapugaskanda, Biyagama
⋆ Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla
⋆ Steel Corporation Training Centre, Oruwala
⋆ Colombo University’s Law Faculty
⋆ Government Offices, Torrington Square and Gregory Road, Colombo
⋆ Kelaniya University sports building
⋆ Mattegoda Camp
⋆ Youth Centre, Mirigama
⋆ Pattiya Junction, Peliyagoda
⋆ Kesbewa
⋆ Cattle shed, Dematagoda
⋆ General Cemetery, Borella
⋆ Golf Grounds, Model Farm Road
⋆ Jayewardenapura Hostel
⋆ Management Building, Jayewardenepura University
⋆ Henry Pedris Sports Pavilion, Havelock Town
⋆ Tyronne Fernando Sports Pavilion, Moratuwa
⋆ Billiard Hall, Pattiya Junction, Kelaniya

Each of these locations played a role in the widespread and systematic campaign of terror against suspected insurgents, characterized by severe torture and extrajudicial killings.

Batalanda Complex - Location and History

The Batalanda housing scheme, located in a 20-acre coconut plantation in the Biyagama Electorate, Gampaha District, was initially established to accommodate foreign technical experts involved in the State Fertiliser Corporation’s urea production plant project. This residential complex, situated two kilometers off the junction on the Kiribathgoda-Biyagama Road, included 64 housing units, an office complex, a club, and a swimming pool.

Conversion to a Torture Chamber

During the JVP insurrection, the Batalanda complex was repurposed into a torture and detention center. Its relative seclusion and extensive facilities made it an ideal site for covert operations against suspected JVP members. The atrocities committed here included torture, rape, and extrajudicial killings, making it one of the most notorious sites of state-sponsored violence during this period.

Human Rights Violations - Scale of Atrocities

At Batalanda, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 JVP activists were brutally tortured and killed. Among the most harrowing allegations are those involving the rape of 690 women, reportedly carried out under the orders of high-ranking political figures.

Batalanda Commission

In response to growing allegations, the government of Chandrika Kumaratunga established the Batalanda Commission to investigate these human rights violations. The Commission's report implicated several political figures, including Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was identified as the principal political authority overseeing the operations at Batalanda. Despite the Commission's recommendation to strip Wickremesinghe of his civic rights and take legal action against him, no significant legal proceedings have been initiated.

International Attention - New Evidence and Calls for Justice

Recently, Human Rights Watch has provided new evidence to the U.S. Department of Justice, prompting discussions about an international investigation into the alleged crimes committed at Batalanda. This evidence includes detailed documentation and testimonies about the systematic torture, rape, and killings, potentially leading to international legal action.

Call for UN Investigation - Rationale for UN Involvement

Given the gravity and scale of the alleged human rights violations, there is a compelling need for an impartial and comprehensive investigation. Domestic mechanisms have proven ineffective in addressing these allegations, necessitating international intervention to ensure justice.

Objectives of the Investigation

Establish the Truth: A UN panel can independently verify the allegations against Wickremesinghe, ensuring that the findings are based on credible evidence.
Ensure Accountability: Identifying and prosecuting those responsible for human rights violations, regardless of their political status.
Provide Justice for Victims: Offering closure and justice to the victims and their families through recognition of their suffering and appropriate legal action against perpetrators.

Recommended Actions - Formation of a UN Panel

A special UN panel should be established with the mandate to investigate the Batalanda torture chambers and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s alleged involvement. The panel should include experts in international law, human rights, and forensic investigation.

Scope of Investigation

1. Collection of Evidence: Gather testimonies from survivors, witnesses, and former officials; review documents and other material evidence.
2. Legal Analysis: Assess the evidence in the context of international human rights and humanitarian law.
3. Reporting: Provide a detailed report with findings and recommendations for legal action.

International Support

The international community, including human rights organizations and concerned states, should support the investigation by providing resources, expertise, and diplomatic backing.

Ranil Wickremesinghe's Political Ascendancy

Ranil Wickremesinghe, a prominent figure in Sri Lankan politics and a member of the United National Party (UNP), has had a tumultuous political career characterized by controversial decisions and allegations. Despite failing to secure a parliamentary seat from his party, Wickremesinghe was appointed as a National List Member of Parliament (MP). His rise to the position of Prime Minister and subsequently to the Presidency came under unconventional circumstances. When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country amidst widespread protests and economic turmoil, Wickremesinghe was elected President by the Parliamentarians, rather than through a direct mandate from the people.

Accusations of Human Rights Violations

Wickremesinghe's career has been marred by serious allegations of human rights violations, particularly related to his role during the late 1980s insurgency in Sri Lanka. As the political authority in charge during the period, he is accused of overseeing and facilitating gross human rights abuses, including rape, torture, and extrajudicial killings at the Batalanda torture chambers.

Controversial Presidency

Ranil Wickremesinghe's rise to the presidency through parliamentary election, rather than a popular vote, coupled with the grave allegations of human rights violations, paints a controversial picture of his political career. The lack of domestic legal action despite substantial evidence and recommendations from the Batalanda Commission raises questions about accountability and justice in Sri Lanka.

The international community's potential involvement in investigating these allegations may finally bring some measure of justice to the victims of the Batalanda atrocities. However, until concrete actions are taken, the shadow of these serious allegations will continue to loom over Ranil Wickremesinghe's political legacy.

The Batalanda torture chambers represent one of the darkest chapters in Sri Lanka's recent history, characterized by systematic state-sponsored violence against suspected insurgents. The failure to hold perpetrators accountable domestically has allowed these grave human rights violations to remain largely unpunished. The emergence of new evidence and potential international investigations may finally bring justice to the victims and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

The allegations against President Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the Batalanda torture chambers are serious and warrant a thorough investigation. The establishment of a UN panel to investigate these claims is crucial for ensuring justice and accountability. The international community must act decisively to address these human rights violations and prevent impunity for those responsible.

By conducting an independent investigation, the UN can help ensure that the victims of the Batalanda atrocities receive the justice they deserve and that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.

By A Staff Writer

by     (2024-06-25 17:00:38)

We are unable to continue LeN without your kind donation.

Leave a Reply

  0 discussion on this news

News Categories


    Defence News


    Ethnic Issue in Sri Lanka


    Fine Art

    General News

    Media Suppression