Burning of the Jaffna Library: A response


Apropos Mr Godage’s opinion in The Island on February 8 on the memoirs of Mr. Edward Gunawardene including the Jaffna library fire, it is very evident that Mr Godage (Mr G) is commenting on here say without trying to verify anything. It is evident that he is commenting even without reading the book. First of all let me enlighten Mr. G that Edward Gunawardene is not a retired Superintendant of police but a Senior DIG and a Rhodes Scholar with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. Prior to this he has obtained an honors degree in Geography from University of Ceylon Peradeniya. He has been the Director of Police Research Development, Director Intelligence and V.I.P security and DIG Colombo Metropolitan range. He has later been an advisor to the University Grants Commission, Chairman National Lotteries Board.

Mr Godage is surprised why Mr. EG has waited thirty years to reveal his version of the event. Mr. Godage is kindly requested to read EG’s book which would enlighten him as to why the version of EG that the LTTE was behind the burning has good amount of credibility. Mr Gunawardane has been sent from Colombo in order to strengthen the police effort to control the simmering violence in Jaffna. There has been another DIG ( Mahendran) stationed in Jaffna at that time. It should be brought to Mr. Godage’s attention that the author has publicly discussed the incident in the national news papers in 2006 and he has been called before the Sharvananda Commission to give evidence. In replying to a letter written to newspapers by a LTTE sympathizer who Mr. EG suspects as Anton Balasingham as the writer under a different name; EG states "Although five years have lapsed neither Mr T. Balachandran who provoked me to reply nor any other person, research body, NGO or even the CID has to-date made an effort to counter my conclusion that it was the LTTE and LTTE alone that had good reason to destroy the Jaffna library."

This event has been chosen by scheming politicians including heads of state to assassinate the character of their rivals and for political expediency. Late Gamini Dissanayake’s charcter was virtually assassinated by our own Sinhala politicians over this incident before he was really assassinated by the LTTE.

I believe Mr. Godage knows first-hand what consequences of shooting from the mouth are. I am confident Edward Gunawardane will not hesitate to prove his point at any forum whether it is government appointed committee or something else. Whether Mr. Godage’s request will receive any response is yet to be seen.

Upali Cooray



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