The Prime Minister stated that even though there are State Counsels and President’s Counsels, no one has come forward to correct the decision of the Crown which betrayed National heroes. He said this while addressing the gathering in the second session of Sankathana Mandapaya – academic discourse at the Temple Trees on 13.03.2023.
The key note lecture on "Udarata Rebellion and Mauritius Prisoners" was delivered by the Director General of the Department of Archeology, Prof. Anura Manatunga.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena highlighted that the most devastating effect of the proclamation issued against our National Heroes who were arrested that time was that the British rulers took over the entire lands in Kandy. The villages of these prisoners and all their families were later confiscated. That was a serious issue that had not been rectified yet.
“Then a bill called the Land Reforms Commission came into effect. It followed another called Nationalization Act of Estates valued in Foreign Sterling Pounds. When the Sterling Pound estates were nationalized, an acre of land mentioned in the historical event was sold for not even a Sterling Pound but just for a Shilling- the lowest amount of money at that time. We could not correct this yet. It is very important to correct the second gazette notification that needs to be corrected”, he emphasized.
Prime Minister further said that the support needed by the people in Kandy to stand up firmly as people standing on their own feet has not been provided so as to strengthen Udarata heritage.
“There is a question as to whether it is possible to announce punishment for these people who were sent as prisoners to Mauritius that day. None of us have filed a case. Tha’s why I said that we have attorneys, president’s Counsels and so on but no legal action has been taken yet to correct the crown’s decision that made them traitors. I think it is worth considering the legal side of things and the current situation”, said the Prime Minister.
But the fact that the things protected by the people in Udarata have finally fallen victim to invasions and conspiracies is a very important matter that is mentioned in the story of our national heroes who were exiled to the island of Mauritius. “If we intervene as much as we can, the future generation will carry it forward. They admit that they have to fix it today”.
“My beloved father, Mr. Philip Gunawardena, Mr. N.M. Perera and Mr. Colvin R. de Silva were handcuffed and taken to Bogambara jail against conspiring to overthrow the British government. There were many political prisoners in the building next to the site where Ehelepola Kumarihamy was severely tortured”. He said.
Against the British government, our heroes like Kappetipola, Gongalegoda Banda, Ven. Kudapola thera being the witness said that they have no power to hear our case. The case was adjourned for the next day. The next day they were sent to jail as traitors.
The Prime Ministers requested the history faculties of Sri Lankan universities to show special interest in the destiny of the prisoners on the island of Mauritius and the people involved. In the meantime he pointed out that as the Prime Minister, he would take the opportunity to ask the President to submit a cabinet paper in this regard.
Maha Sangha including Ven. Professor Pathegama Gnanissara Thera, Members of Parliament Nalaka Kottegoda, Yadamini Gunawardena, heirs of Udarata heroes, representatives of national organizations, Ehelapola Foundation, Udarata Paramparika Radala Sansadaya, Madugalla Foundation, Kappetipola Foundation, Ehelepola Foundation, Foundation to commemorate Matale Heroes and literary scholars, teachers , undergraduates, students and scholars representing many fields participated in this event.