|Murder of Brigadier Ananda Hamangoda - 4th July 1996
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|Author:||Peter [ Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:16 am ]|
|Post subject:||Murder of Brigadier Ananda Hamangoda - 4th July 1996|
Murder of Brigadier Ananda Hamangoda - 4th July 1996
LTTE suicide attack on 4th July 1996 in Jaffna
At least 20 people, including Jaffna military commander Brig. Ananda Hamangoda, were killed and approximately 60 others sustained injuries when a female suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to her waist as a minister’s motorcade stopped on the Stanley Road in Jaffna town. The Tigers’ target, Housing and Construction Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, escaped with minor injuries.
Late morning on 4th July 1996, Minister Siripala de Silva was due to open a new Building Materials Corporation outlet in Stanley Road, Jaffna. A little before the opening a blue scooter with a pillion rider turned from Ariyakulam Junction into Stanley Road away from town. The scooter then turned into a lane, bypassed the railway station, went through into Martyn Road, then along Chapel Street, got into Jaffna Bazaar through the Regal Theatre lane and came into Stanley Road through a lane near the old Power House. Those who saw the look on the faces of the riders knew unmistakably who they were. They had got to the place of the opening ceremony avoiding all the Army check points there were at that time.
The Minister came to the venue with the Town Commandant, Brigadier Ananda Hamangoda. The crowd had been kept at a distance. At this point the popular Commandant made a move which cost him his life and preluded events that left a dark cloud hanging over Jaffna. He smilingly gestured to the crowd to come nearer. A young girl wearing a suicide kit ran forward and exploded herself, killing several people. The Minister had a narrow shave. The two men on the scooter were evidently the ones who came to signal the final instruction to the bomber.
Among those killed during the incident and its aftermath was Carlyle Dias, a retired DIG of Police assigned to run the civil administration. According UTHR(Jaffna) Special Report No.7 the ex-DIG Carlyle Dias was killed by army firing. Following the bomb explosion he lay flat on the ground along with some government officials. His last words reflected his sense of duty: "I must go and see what happened to the minister". Having said this he stood up and met his fate in doing so.
He helped build a bridge of understanding
@ ST / 07 July 1996
Winning the hearts and minds of the Jaffna civilians was Major General Ananda Hamangoda's only goal. And he paid the price on Thursday in Jaffna for the goodwill he had brought about in the peninsula.
Maj. Gen. Hamangoda, the most senior army officer caught in last week's suicide bomb attack had firmly believed that no one would harm him, as he had been able to build a strong bond between the people and the troops.
But unfortunately, among the friendly civilians there had been enemies. Maj. Gen. Hamangoda, it is believed, had died on the spot. His body was brought to Colombo along with the others killed in the blast.
When 'The Sunday Times' visited his home at Panagoda, his grieving wife Indrani and three children were seen embracing the body.
The Maj. Gen. had been in Colombo that weekend and since the minister was scheduled to visit Jaffna had left the previous day.
Mr. Sarath Hamangoda, the brother, said that he was to get back to Colombo the same day.
"Since his wife was not well Ananda took leave for a few days. She was warded at the Army Hospital. With the Minister's visit he had to be there, so he left on Tuesday, but had promised his wife he would be returning the following day," he said.
According to Mr. Hamangoda his brother had constantly said that Jaffna was no longer dangerous and that the people were innocent. "Even when I met him a few days back he kept saying the same thing. He used to say how he used to have meetings with the people to explain to them the situation. He had immense faith in them. But unfortunately some had not felt the same way," he said.
The family has accepted that the suicide attacker had been targeting the General and no one else. "It's natural that the LTTE would not have liked my brother's attachment to the civilians.
Breaking the news to his wife Indrani who was warded at the Army hospital had been the worse. "It had been Brigadier Sarath Munasinghe who had first got the news. He had immediately visited Ms. Hamangoda. She had been shocked to see him since hardly anyone knew that she was there. She had asked how he knew she was in hospital. The Brigadier had said that her husband had spoken to him. Not knowing whether she was fit enough to hear the news the brigadier had asked her doctor.
"The doctor had said it was okay for her to go home. But Indrani had insisted that she waits until her husband comes in the evening to go home. It was then that Brigadier Munasinghe had explained that he had met with an accident" explained Sarath Hamangoda.
The 46-year-old Maj. General's body was taken to Kurunegala, his hometown on Saturday. The funeral will take place to day at the Welegedera Stadium.
Clotilda was praying as bomb hit Carlyle
@ ST / 07 July 1996, By Shelani de Silva
At 1.30 p.m. July 5 Clotilda Dias had unconciously started praying seated by the phone, not knowing that in a few seconds she would receive news of her husband's death.
It was only a month since retired SSP Carlyle Dias took up a post in the Northern Province Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority in Jaffna, despite objections from his family, believing it was his duty to help the Tamil people who had suffered immensely.
"The first time the phone rang the line was not clear. I heard a name being mentioned. I thought it was a nuisance call. But the second time it was clear and an army officer known to the family who is also with my husband wanted to speak to my brother. When I asked him where he was calling from he said he was in Jaffna.
He said he had a message to convey to him. When I asked what the message was he was reluctant to talk. Something told me my husband was in danger. I screamed over the phone asking him what was wrong. I did not get an answer for some time, but when I asked him whether he was dead he said yes said the grieving widow.
SSP Dias who retired from Police service in 1990 had joined the Ministry of Housing after a few years.
Although the family had not been too happy with SSP Dias's appointment he had confided in his brother-in-law a few weeks earlier that he was willing to die for the people. "He said that the satisfaction he received in helping the people was beyond words. He knew that the family members especially his wife was very worried about his stay but said that no one would understand how happy he felt once he speaks and helps the people," said Mr. Aartyal.
Since SSP Dias's two sons are in the USA funeral arrangements had not been made even by Friday. "I want my son here to say good-bye to their father, we have already informed them but no definite date was given" said Clotilda Dias.
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