LTTE militant jailed for murder of Major General Janaka Perera

Janaka PereraThe Anuradhapura High Court sentenced LTTE member Shanmuganathan Sudaharan to 20 years rigorous imprisonment today after being guilty of assassinating Major General Janaka Perera and 29 others six years ago. Shanmuganathan Suthaharan of Chenkaladi in Batticaloa District pleaded guilty for the assassination when he was produced before the Anuradhapura High Court on August 22. Suthaharan was the second defendant of the Janaka Perera assassination case.

Maj General Perera, his wife  Vajira, one of the first lady officers to join the Sri Lanka Army Women’s Corps and several others were killed in the bomb attack while over 90 civilians were injured. The dead included 4 UNP provincial councilors and former Sri Lankan Ambassador and UNP Anuradhapura organiser Dr John Pulle and his wife. The bomb attack took place at a ceremony organized to open a newly built UNP office situated near the old bus stand in the Anuradhapura town.

Major General Janaka Perera joined Sri Lanka Army as cadet officer in 1966 and retired after 34 years of service in 2001.  Maj General Perera, a celebrated soldier during the military’s battle against the LTTE, joined the main opposition UNP after retiring. He was killed in October, 2008 when an LTTE suicide bomber blew himself up at the UNP office in Anuradhapura. He was the Opposition Leader of the North Western Provincial Council.

Major General Janaka Perera, a war veteran who led many campaigns against the LTTE was long on the LTTE hit list during the war. He became most notable when he repulsed a large scale LTTE attack on Weli-Oya Army Camp, killing nearly 500 LTTE cadres. He was feared as a military officer by the Tamil militant group as he had thwarted many rebel attacks on government troops during the over three-decade civil war.  The LTTE had also opposed Perera’s tenure as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Australia.

He served as the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army and is considered one of the most distinguished generals in Sri Lankan history. After retiring from the army he served as a Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia & Ambassador to Indonesia.

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