Ranjan Wijeratne

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General The Honourable
Ranjan Wijeratne
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for National List
In office
1989 – 2 March 1991
Personal details
Born (1931-04-04)April 4, 1931
Sri Lanka
Died March 2, 1991(1991-03-02) (aged 59)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan
Political party United National Party
Spouse(s) Delande Surya Bandara
Relations Hemachandra Wijeratne
Children Rohan
Alma mater St Thomas' College
Occupation Politician
Profession planter
Religion Buddhist
Website [1]
Military service
Allegiance Sri Lanka
Service/branch Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force
Years of service (1984–1988)
Rank General (posthumous)
Unit Sri Lanka Rifle Corps

General Ranjan Wijeratne (4 April 1931 – 2 March 1991) was the former Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister of foreign affairs, Minister of State for defence[1] (deputy defence minister) and Minister of plantation industries from 1989 to 1991[2] in President Ranasinghe Premadasa's cabinet.

Early life[edit]

Born to Walpola Mudalige George Hercules Wijeratne and Rosalind Maria Senanayake he was educated at S. Thomas' College, Guruthalawa and S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia. Ranjan's younger brother was Hemachandra Wijeratne. Wijeratne began a career as a planter, holding many high positions in the tea plantation sector of Sri Lanka. In 1978 he was made Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Research and Chairman of the Agricultural Development Authority. In 1984 Ranjan Wijeratne was commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel in the Sri Lanka Rifle Corps with its formation, which was established to provide security to the plantation sector.

Political career[edit]

Ranjan resigned from all government posts and his commission when he went into active politics in 1988 when he was appointed Chairman of the United National Party. He later went on to become the General Secretary of the Party. Wijeratne led the party in 1988 Presidential elections followed by the 1989 General Elections. Wijeratne was appointed from national list to parliament in 1989 and was appointed as cabinet minister of foreign affairs and minister of state for defense by President Ranasinghe Premadasa.Wijeratne invariably made many enemies due to his tough position.[3] He was equally hawkish in dealing with LTTE and JVP Militants.[4] He masterminded the JVP near rout in 1989[4] and the LTTE was to follow.


He was assassinated on 2 March 1991, by the LTTE organisation[5] using a remote controlled car bomb[6] while he was travelling to his office in Colombo on Havelock Road, during rush hour killing 19 people including the minister and five bodyguards and 13 civilian bystanders.[1][7] Ironically,two days before his assassination Wijeratne laughed -off the LTTE threats to his life saying"Good Luck to them".[4] He was known to have a hard line stance towards the LTTE.[8]

Lt. Colonel Ranjan Wijeratne was posthumously promoted to the rank of General and Kotelawala Defence Academy (now Kotelawala Defence University) at its second convocation, conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Law (LLD) (Honoris Causa).


In 2008, Tamil Tigers alleged[9] that Ranjan Wijeratne tried to kill their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran during the 1990 peace process.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Abdul Cader Shahul Hameed
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
Succeeded by
Harold Herath