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Premadasa’s 18th death anniversary today

(May 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The 18th death anniversary of President Ranasinghe Premadasa falls today (May Day). The LTTE assassinated the President near Armour Street police station on May Day 1983 as he was leading a column of UNPers for the May Day rally.

The police later identified the ‘human bomb’ as ‘Babu’, who infiltrated Premadasa’s inner circle and waited for instructions from the Vanni.

However, some expressed doubts over the LTTE’s involvement in the assassination. Bradman Weerakoon, International Affairs Advisor to Premadasa, in a book he wrote some years after the assassination cast doubts on the notion that it was the LTTE which murdered the President

In "Rendering Unto Caesar" (Sterling Publishers, New Delhi, 2004) Weerakoon says that there are questions in regard to the assassination which have remained unanswered, giving room for other possibilities.

He wrote that the photograph of the mangled bodies of those killed in the blast unmistakably showed a dark, tall man with tousled hair with his crumpled bicycle among the dead. Something like a tape recorder with detached wires appeared strapped to his upper chest leading to the theory that it was the bomb.

But the face was not that of Babu that the media was showing, Weerakoon says.

"I had never seen or heard of Babu until the police revealed the man. I used to be a frequent visitor to Sucharita and found it strange that the name Babu had never come up earlier, either in my hearing or to my vision," he says.

"It was said that Babu was planted by the LTTE and that the assassination was carried out by the LTTE. However, there was no charge against anyone instituted in the courts, as would have happened in the case of any homicide, and certainly in the case of the President of the country," Weerakoon points out.

According toWeerakoon there was no "open indication that the LTTE was after Premadasa as target number one," as Eelam War II, which was on at that time, was a low intensity one.


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