Vijaya Kumaratunga

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Vijaya Kumaratunga
විජය කුමාරතුංග
Vijaya Kumaranatunga (1945-1988).jpg
Born Kovilage Anton Vijaya Kumaratunga
(1945-10-09)9 October 1945
Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
Died 16 February 1988(1988-02-16) (aged 42)
Polhengoda, Sri Lanka
Alma mater De Mazenod College;[1] St. Benedict's College [2]
Occupation Actor, Singer, politician
Years active 1968–1988
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) [3]
Spouse(s) Chandrika Kumaranatunga (1978–1988)
Relatives Jeewan Kumarathunga

Kovilage Anton Vijaya Kumaratunga (Sinhalese: කොවිලගේ ඇන්ටන් විජය කුමාරතුංග; Tamil: விஜய_குமாரணதுங்க; 9 October 1945 – 16 February 1988), also known as Vijaya Kumaratunga, was a Sri Lankan film actor and politician, married to former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaranatunga from 1978 until his assassination in 1988.

Film career[edit]

Kumaratunga's first film was Hanthane Kathawa, in which he played the lead role. In a career that spanned nearly two decades, he acted in 114 films, including Eya Den Loku Lamayek (1975), Ponmani (1977), Bambaru Avith (1977), Ganga Addara (1980), Baddegama (1980), Paradige (1980), Maha Gedara (1980), Kedapathaka Chaya (1989), and Kristhu Charithaya (1990). He acted in one English-language film, The God King, and one Tamil film, Nanguran.

He also performed as a playback singer in several films; recorded more than 100 songs;[4] and produced one film, Waradata Danduwam, which was released after his death.

Political career[edit]

Kumaratunga started his political career in the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). He later joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and became its first national organizer.

In 1977, he ran unsuccessfully for the Katana seat in Parliament.[5] Five years later, he was active in the 1982 presidential campaign of Hector Kobbekaduwa. After the election, he was accused of being a Naxalite and jailed under the emergency regulations of President J. R. Jayewardene, but he was never charged.

He ran as the SLFP candidate in a by-election in Mahara in 1983 and was threatened by United National Party (UNP) supporters. An attempt was made on his life, and one of his friends was killed. Kumaratunga won the first vote count, and a recount was ordered. At that point, a blackout occurred at the counting centre. By the time electricity was restored, the UNP candidate had recorded a victory by a few votes. The opposition alleged that someone had "eaten some of Vijaya's votes to ensure UNP victory".[6]

He founded the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP), which campaigned for peace in the Sri Lankan civil war. Under his new party, he contested a Minneriya by-election and finished second, behind the UNP candidate—relegating his old party, SLFP, to third place.[7] The SLMP went on to contest several other by-elections, including in Kundasale and Habaraduwa, but did not live up to expectations.[7]

in 1986, Kumaranatunga visited Jaffna, then controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He visited the Nallur Murugan Temple and met with local Tamil civilians, as well as several LTTE youth leaders.

In his final public address, to a large crowd in Colombo's Campbell Park on 28 January 1988, Kumaratunga lashed out at the UNP, SLFP, and Janatha Vimuthki Peramuna (JVP) parties for failing to address the needs of the hour. He also voiced concerns about the SLFP's links with the JVP, a Marxist–Leninist party involved in two armed uprisings against the Sri Lankan government.[8]

In 1988, the SLMP reached an agreement with several other left-wing parties—including the LSSP, Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP), Sri Lanka Communist Party, and Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF)—to form the United Socialist Alliance (USA). A few days prior to the establishment of the new alliance, Kumaranatunga was assassinated. The agreement was signed by party leaders at his funeral.

The USA won a large number of seats in the newly formed provincial councils in an election boycotted by the main opposition SLFP. However, in the 1988 presidential election, the USA candidate, Ossie Abeygunasekera, finished in last place. In the 1989 parliamentary elections, USA candidates won three seats, but none of the winners represented the SLMP.[9]

Personal life[edit]

In 1978, Kumaratunga married Chandrika Bandaranaike, with whom he had two children. Bandaranaike was the daughter of two former prime ministers, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and Sirimavo Bandaranaike, and would later become president of Sri Lanka.

Death and legacy[edit]

Kumaratunga was shot in the head with a Type 56 assault rifle outside his home on the outskirts of Colombo on 16 February 1988 by Lionel Ranasinghe, alias Gamini. Ranasinghe confessed to the murder under questioning by the Criminal Investigation Department. In a 141-page statement, he said he had been carrying out orders given to him by the Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya (Patriotic People's Movement), the military arm of the JVP, which was responsible for multiple assassinations in the late 1980s.[10] However, a presidential commission report concluded that President Ranasinghe Premadasa of the UNP and two government ministers, Gamini Lokuge and Ranjan Wijeratne, were behind the Kumaranatunga assassination.[11]

Kumaratunga's funeral, on 21 February 1988, attracted huge crowds and was the first funeral to be broadcast live on Sri Lankan television (by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation). It was held at Independence Square in Colombo as a state funeral, even though he represented the opposition to the UNP government. The day of his assassination is widely known as "The Horrible Tuesday" or "The Darkest Tuesday in Sri Lankan History" (He was assassinated on a Tuesday).[citation needed] His death is still mourned by many people in Sri Lanka.[12]


Year Film Role Notes
1967 Manamalayo Acting debut
1969 Romio Juliet Kathawak
Hanthane Kathawa
1970 Priyanga
1971 Ran Onchilla
Kesara Sinhayo
Hatharadenama Soorayo
Samanala Kumariyo Samaga Api Kawadath Soorayo
Bindunu Hadawath Also film's producer
1977 Me Desa Kumatada
Edath Sooraya Adath Sooraya
Vana Raja
Adare Hithenawa Dakkama
Thushara Sampath
Haddinnath Tharu
Dahakin Ekek
Hondama Welawa
1974 Susi
Ahas Gauwa
Sanakeliya Rohitha Radalage
The God King Lalith English-language film
1975 Pem Kurullo
Lassana Dawasak
Sangeetha Wimal
1976 Pradeepe Ma Weva
Unnath Dahai Malath Dahai
Adarei Man Adarei
1977 Sakunthala
Hithuvoth Hithuvamai
Maruwa Samaga Wase Maru Sira
Hariyanakota Ohoma Thamai
Eya Den Loku Lamayek Village Officer
Pembara Madhu
1978 Vishmaya
Kundala Keshi Saththuka
Sandawata Ran Tharu
Anupama Asitha
Selinge Walawuwa
Bambaru Awith Victor
Kumara Kumariyo
Ahasin Polowata
1979 Gahaniyak
Podi Malli
Hingana Kolla Saiya
Eka Hitha
Akke Mata Awasara
1980 Raja Dawasak
Ganga Addara Dr. Sarath Pathirana
Kinduru Kumari
Para Dige Chandare
Tak Tik Tuk
1981 Beddegama Babun Based on Leonard Wolf's Baddegama
Githika Sampath
Valampuri Heen Banda
1982 Yasa Isuru ASP Mahesh Gunasekara
Mihidum Sihina Periyadore
Rahasak Nathi Rahasak
Maha Gedara
Kadawunu Poronduwa (New) Samson
Newatha Hamuwemu
1983 Samanala Sihina
Sivu Rangasena
Pasta Mithuro
1984 Kokila
Jaya Sikurui
Binaree Saha Sudu Banda Sudu Banda
Welle Thenu Maliga Christofer
1986 Devuduwa Anton
Peralikarayo Vijay/Samson Dual role
Jaya Apitai Suraya
Gimhane Gee Naade
1987 Yugayen Yugayata
Yukthiyada Sakthiyada
Raja Wedakarayo Inspector Ramesh
Obatai Priye Adare


1989 Mamai Raja
Kadapathaka Chaya Danawansa
Badulu Kochchiya
Nommara 17 Vijay, Nommara 17
Varadata Danduvam Also film's producer
Randenigala Sinhaya
1990 Dese Mal Pipila Vijey
Thanha Asha
Veera Udara Guest appearance
Madu Sihina Mr. Sandagala
Christhu Charithaya Jesus
Saharawe Sihinaya Sarasaviya Award for Best Playback Singer[citation needed]
1991 Madhusamaya Jagath
1993 Soorayan Athara Veeraya
1995 Hitha Honda Soorayo
1998 Aya Obata Barai

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A humble humanist with broad vision". DailyNews. 21 October 2006. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Some of St. Benedict’s College’s Illustrious Alumni". Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  3. ^ As per his Postal ID issued on 23/11/1963 (AL:001821)
  4. ^ "විජය මියුරු ගී". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 11 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Malalgoda Banduthillka.Sri Lanka Methiwarana Ithihasaya
  6. ^ in these wild buffaloes.Tuesday 18 Dec 2007.Available online.
  7. ^ a b Malalgoda Banduthillaka.Sri Lankawe Methiwarana Ithihasaya.
  8. ^ Bloody betrayal, by Dilrukshi Handunnetti (The Sunday Leader, 22nd February, 2004)
  9. ^ Malalgoda Banduthillaka.Sri Lankawe Methiwarana Ithihasaya
  10. ^ Confessions of Vijaya's killer by Sunday Leader -Frederica Jansz (Virtual Library SL Web)
  11. ^ Vijaya Kumaratunga assassination was a UNP conspiracy: Gamini Lokuge's gun alleged death weapon (Sunday Observer, 21 March 2004) Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Devolution only solution - CBK (Vijaya's 20th Death Anniversary)". BBC News. 19 February 2008. 

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