JVP recalls Julampitiye Amare’s terror | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

JVP recalls Julampitiye Amare’s terror

10 November, 2019

Pro-Rajapaksa lawyer Ajith Prasanna represents notorious underworld killer sentenced to death for the murder of two people at JVP rally

On June 15, 2012, in the heat of the 2012 Provincial Council elections, notorious Hambantota gangster, Gigana Gamage Amarasiri alias Julampitiye Amare walked into a JVP rally in Katuwana, Handiwatta and opened fire into the crowd.

He killed two people at the rally – 56-year-old Edirimanage Malini and 18-year-old Jayasekerage Pathiraraja Heshan.

Last week, the High Court of Tangalle imposed the death sentence on the notorious Rajapaksa family crony who was the main accused in the double murder. Ajith Prasanna, the controversial lawyer aligned to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) represented Julampitiya Amare at the trial.

Current JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa was attending the meeting. He recalled that it was about 7.30 p.m. when a group broke into the meeting and opened fire at the crowd and even at the speakers on the stage. Jayatissa was speaking when the shooting began. Many other JVP supporters were injured in the shooting.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer he revisited his memories of the horrific day remembering how he was immediately dragged away from the podium when shots were fired at the stage.

“I was addressing the people when this happened. In the haste, I left my phone on the podium when I was dragged away from the stage. Later on we found out that a 17-year old who came with Amare had taken my phone for his personal use by inserting a new SIM card. The police managed to locate my phone through the IMMI number,” Dr. Jayatissa said.

During the trial, the youth turned crown witness and gave evidence giving the details and how Jurampitiya Amare had organised it.

Dr. Jayatissa believes that the attack was carried out by Jurampitiya Amare on orders from Medamulana.

The JVP MP explained that Amare’s relationship with the Rajapaksas went far back and was made prominently evident during an incident that took place in 2002. Amare who was an accused in extortion, raping of women, threats and murder was in remand custody at the Tangalle Prison. Amare with several other inmates organised a protest inside and took several prison officials hostage, broke down the armoury and stole weapons, including T-56s. “This was during the UNF government. Amare was not ready to speak to anyone from the Government. When officials went to have a discussion to resolve the dispute he said he will only come out for a discussion only if Mahinda Rajapaksa comes, and at that time he was not even in power,” said Dr. Jayatissa.

According to newspaper reports of 2002, former President and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was also the Opposition Leader when this incident transpired had come to the Tangalle Prison premises and called out to Amare to come out, saying; “Amare, I am here, don’t worry come out.” Back in 2005, Amare was prominently seen in political rallies and stages alongside Namal Rajapaksa, MP and acted as his personal guard. This long standing relationship between the Rajapaksas and Julampitiya Amare was reaffirmed when Attorney-at-law Ajith Prasanna, a hardcore supporter of SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, took Amare’s case and took the trouble to travel all the way to Hambantota the day the judgment was delivered, even posting it on Facebook.

The JVP believes that the patronage Amare received from the former first family resulted in him being above the law. At the time he attacked the JVP rally, Amare was already implicated in over 30 crimes, according to law enforcement officials. The crimes ranged from murder, criminal intimidation, abduction and rape. But for a long period, as far as the police were concerned, Amare was untouchable.

“Our supporters, even on previous occasions, had to undergo difficulties in the hands Amare, but the police would not even take down our complaints. That’s how powerful he was during the Rajapaksa regime,”

Dr Jayathissa said.

Dr. Jayatissa said, Amare was nourished and looked after by the Rajapaksas. He had immunity. He enjoyed unfettered rule over Katuwana, Middeniya and Weeraketiya.

An expose carried out in The Sunday Leader in 2002 stated that Jurampitiya Amare was freely terrorising Walasmulla, Middeniya, Tangalle, Weeraketiya, Galhengoda and Thanamalvila.

It was also reported that by then he was alleged to have committed 22 murders, 11 rape incidents and 13 extortion cases.

Recalling the 2012 shooting, Dr. Jayatissa said he had found it odd even at the time that no police protection had been provided for the JVP rally in Katuwana. However, the previous rally that the JVP had just held in Balapitiya was provided police protection.

It was an event that was properly organised and all relevant licences for the grounds and sound were obtained, therefore, the area police was obviously aware of the rally being held but for some reason no one had been assigned to cover it.

“Even in this case, many feared coming forward to give evidence. But some of them who were determined that this sort of violence must stop, decided to come forward to give evidence. They know Amare very well. The CID did a fantastic job. They managed to identify the people who were involved and also to locate the weapons and motorbikes that were used,” he said.

The said incident had gone on for about 20 minutes where Julampitiya Amare and his aides continued to rampage the area shooting freely.

Soon after the incident, Lakshman Hulugalle Head of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), an institution that was set up to disseminate information relating to the war, made a statement to the effect that the incident was a result of a disagreement between two factions of the participants at the rally.

However, for Dr Jayatissa, who faced this horrific experience first hand that night, last week’s judgment was justice done to victims and many others who had been affected by the terror. “This judgment is a strong message to those who do not side with freedom and the rule of law in this country. This sets the record straight that violence and terror can’t prevail without being questioned,” he said.