Colombo, Politics and Governance

The not so curious case of Hirunika Premachandra

Original photo published in The Nation

Hirunika Premachandra is either one confused woman or one shrewd woman.  One moment she is unleashing her wrath on MP Duminda Silva, the chief suspect in the fatal shooting which led to the death of her father Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. The next moment she is on an election platform of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) asking voters to “strengthen the hands of President Mahinda Rajapaksa” by voting for his Party.

The cold, hard reality is this. Duminda Silva is a darling of this administration, no two words about it. He was well sheltered, long before be become involved in the fatal shooting of B.L.Premachandra, despite his name being linked to several illegal activities. In fact he was rewarded for being a law unto him by being appointed as the Monitoring MP for the Ministry of Defence.  Can things get any more blatantly clear than this fact itself that he is in the top notch company of those at the helm of power in this country?  Duminda Silva was also well sheltered after the shooting incident, kept under heavy guard in a semi government hospital before being whisked away under even higher security to Singapore to undergo treatment for injuries he suffered during the shooting incident.

He has being visited by big wigs in the government in hospital in Singapore as has been widely reported in the local media. The Police, as always, when it comes to apprehending those with links to the political hierarchy, have been lackadaisical when investigating the murder. In this case what the Police eventually did was submit to Court a ludicrous statement by MP Silva saying that he does not remember the incident that led to Premachandra’s death.

Since the killing of her father last October, Hirunika, very ably aided by some sections of the media, has widely portrayed herself as a champion of justice. She has exploited to the maximum the gullibility of those sections of the media that seek to make heroes of people who don’t deserve an iota of the publicity they get but hey, certain physical attributes do help in this regard which I will leave out as it could offend feminists.  The last thing I want is to make sexist remarks and being a woman it would be doubly unkind to do so, hence I will leave that aspect aside and address the facts.

Surely Hirunika cannot be living in wonderland and be unaware that her father’s perturbed killer is enjoying state patronage at the highest level. . This is a fact that that every man, women and child on the street in this country knows. No one expects MP Silva to ever face trial for the murder and that too with good reason. How many politicians or those with connections to them (I don’t want to even start on the case of the other notorious Silva) have been dealt with the severity with which they should be dealt with according to laws in place in this country even after being suspected of committing the most heinous crimes such as murder and rape and showing blatant disregard for the law?

Does Hirunika seriously think she will get justice for her father by cozying up to the big wigs in Government? To me she seems as keen as a lot of other women in politics in the country, who were quick to jump in the band wagon to score political points as soon as a man in their lives (father, husband, son, and lover) was removed from the scene due to some reason or the other. Sri Lankan voters have amply demonstrated, over and over again, that a few tears and an impassioned speech by woman can melt many a heart so much so that they will end up voting such persons into office. She does not have to fear that her double acting will spoil her chances of being elected because it’s very unlikely that our voters have turned more discerning overnight and will see through people like her.   There is a pretty good chance she will be nominated as a candidate to contest an upcoming election under the   UPFA ticket, secure victory and be seen seated next to Dumidna Silva chit chatting.  This country’s seen worse so no one should be surprised.

After all, Hirunika   has been afflicted with the same type of amnesia that Duminda Silva has been afflicted with. That is politics, Sri Lanka style which takes the much quoted adage, “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies in politics,” to a new height.

  • justitia

    Hirunika, a law student, is unable to perceive that the process of law is being subverted in the murder case of her father.
    She said that he had 42 bullet wounds. Duminda had at least three bullet wounds. The other three who died had at least more than one or two.
    But, the police produced only one gun from the crime scene – not a machine gun.
    This gun was produced before the magistrate more than a month later,for “permission” to obtain fingeprints from it,after it had been handled by many. Such permission was totaly unnecessary.
    No bullet casings were produced.
    None of those present in the two opposing groups, had their hands/forearms tested for gunpowder residue, which proves the firing of a weapon within the prevous few to 24 hours.
    There were no crime scene photographs.The many police officers in both prcession vehicles were not interrogated.
    So far, there is no postmortem report issued to her & the media, like in the old days.

  • MV

    “That is politics, Sri Lanka style which takes the much quoted adage, “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies in politics,” to a new height.”

    Can’t complain. This is Sri Lankan democracy. The Southern polity has been nurtured to be passive throughout the war and today there is little resistance as a result. The temporary relief that comes as a result of absence of armed conflict has been interpreted as progress on the part of people. Possibly the only form of check, if any, comes from the TNA.

  • Bedrock Barney

    At a recent UPFA rally, she said would always ally herself with leftist parties as she hails from a leftist family. Considering the current economic policies of the GOSL and the ‘pancha maha balavega” protesting on the streets, it is obvious that the UPFA is leftist, only in name. She sounds intelligent, so she must know it. She must have the same line of reasoning that Vasudeva Nanayakkara had, when he voted for the 18th Amendment. In the wake of the tragic death of her farther she projects an image of her being a champion of social justice. Photographs of her making nice with Mervin Silva & Son( the local Scarlett pimpernel who evaded some 2500 law enforcement officers spread out around the precincts of the Gangaramaya) has left that image, a little hazy. What we have here is makings of the quintessential new-age Sri Lanaka politician. ‘Curious’ yes, but trending heavily towards ‘very sad’.

  • walter

    Hirunika is not seeking justice anymore.
    She began by looking for justice, but she was shown adventure and profit by our ‘black magic’ politicians.
    Now she has shifted the ‘goal posts’ shooting a goal is easier.
    I am not surprised at all.
    This is the average Sri Lankan mentality, more specifically the Sinhala Buddhist.
    Do you remember that Gota said, I saw in the Media, vaguely about Duminda, if you elect a ‘drug dealer’ that’s not my problem it’s your’s.
    My job is to deal with anyone, you have elected, technically right.
    But you and I know, where one must rule the ‘red line’
    Sadly we are only spectators.

    • walter, what the heck has buddhism got to do with this ?
      your hatred towards buddhism is amply shown!

  • Dayasisira

    This really Hirunika’s wonderland.She just as sky with changing movements!

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    While the critics– including the author of this article- may well be right, isn’t a rather different perspective needed here?

    1.This young woman is in her mid-20s, and anyone of that age, (especially someone who lost her father in a deadly shooting) is entitled to some unclarity and inconsistency in her search.

    2. What’s the comparison? Which contemporary Sri Lankan public personality in their 20s has been more consistent? Why, for instance, have we not heard more in the same vein after Sangakkara’s superb, and rightly acclaimed, Colin Cowdrey lecture?

    3. Why isn’t it remarked upon by the critics, that Hirunika’s trajectory reveals, perhaps above all else, the lack of ‘pulling power’ of the present Opposition leadership, which was unable to attract her or keep her on her independent course? Why isn’t it remarked upon that the Opposition leadership is unable to win the allegiance of that bitterst of critics of the government, Sarath Fonseka? Hirunika seems to perceive the present incumbent as the only game in town right now as far as electoral politics goes. Coming from a different stance, quite critical of the status quo, Dayapala Tiranagama’s serious essay in this website provides some insights as to why this perception may hold water, and cannot be reduced to the factor of the abuse of power.

    4. How comes it that there hasn’t been a single article on this website dedicated to a critique of Ranil Wickremesinghe and illustrated by a photograph of him– as there is of Hirunika Premachandra– by those who are so judgemental about a 26 year old woman who has lost her father?

    5. I rather suspect that despite her youthful political inconsistencies, Hirunika Premachandra may prove over time, to have far greater political resonance and authentic acceptance among the broad mass of this country’s citizenry, than her cynical cosmopolitan critics. We may hear of her long after we’ve forgotten the names of the latter.

    • This young woman is in her mid-20s, and anyone of that age, (especially someone who lost her father in a deadly shooting) is entitled to some unclarity and inconsistency in her search.

      Einstein was in his twenties when he discovered relativity. Newton was in his early twenties when he did most of his significant work. More to the point, I’m 23, a year younger than her, and I know what’s going on. I bet Hirunika knows it too. There’s is no unclarity or inconsistency in her search. Her search is for fame and power, and she knows what she’s doing.

      Hirunika is pretty much illiterate when it comes to political philosophy, economics and everything that actually matters. If you’ve learnt some of those things, and if you are a certain kind of person (kind of person Hirunika is not), you will truly try to make the world a better place.

      But she knows what she’s doing. She wants fame and power, and her options are,

      1. Get closer to Mahinda, become powerful, forget about taking revenge from Duminda
      2. Get closer to Ranil, lose everything, forget about taking revenge from Duminda

      I’d say that given her objective of having more fame and power, the first one is the most rational thing to do.

      P.S. I won’t be surprised if one day she decided to marry Duminda.

    • Seelawathie

      I believe Hirunika is more knowledgeble than Duminda, Namal or any other politicians today. Just because she was presented by a photo in which Mervin and other politicians were also present means not that she may have changed her intentions in terms waiting to a fair judgement of the investigations that is being carried out on her father´s murder case. She reveals this to the press lately, that she would not want to change her party for which his father and other have worked for so long.

      However, I am surprised, why Dr. Jayathialaka seems to be not uttering a single word in terms of her father´s murder case – in which Duminda was the core accused but remains to be not cooperated yet.

  • demalasihala

    I believe that almost everybody remembers another lady whose husband was killed in 1988 due to his politics where Bharatha was also a follower. She later became the first ever president of the country by joining the SLFP that was a major component in the anti-devolution forces which gunned down her husband, Vijaya. That was 1994. What happened later? She got the same political party she accused with the killing of Vijaya to form a government in order to stop the Tamils in the north getting to share power. I think many who visit this site also backed that lady in 1994 to usher in a country with no terror and no corruption.

    • Meenu

      Duminda Silva has forgotten that he is an MP and his parents after the shooting. Sri Lanka has Gone for d–s. D–s are in the parliament.

  • Gemini

    This is our miracle of Asia.Best option is to close the eyes and meditate.

    • Upul

      BL Premachandra was with the government, protecting it’s every step until he was killed. Only complaint he apparently would have had was that he was not treated well. We can only assume that Hirunika and other family members were in the same boat. See now Hema Kumara is calling for a common opposition. There can be hundreds and thousands of people who are complaining about this government once they were victimized one way or the other.
      It’s high time that reasonable citizens of this country stop listening to this type of people. It’s not going to do any good to change this situation. Those who are with the government will start thinking seriously only when they realize that nobody will listen to them one day when they start complaining one day.

      But will our voters ever be that serious? I really don’t think so.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    My apologies to the readers: Ms Premachandra is not aged 26, she is only 24.

    Which, of course, only reinforces my first point.

  • Piranha

    Hrunika is helpless. The cunning fox Rajapaksa is already holding her mother hostage to ensure that her daughter does not stray into the opposition. She is not naieve but her choices are limited. She could have been brave not to get on stage to promote Rajapaksa who is protecting the killer of her father but at the age of 26 not many men or women are brave, especially when you are dealing with ruthless Rajapaksa brothers who are ruling the country with an iron fist.

  • Mevan

    Well, she was too good to be true!

  • Lion

    Theory is simple every one has a price about turn of Hirunika is the finalizing of this process nothing more.

  • Matupala Silva

    The same policy of Mahajana Party led by Viyaya Kumaratunge adoped similar path. JRJ make him ( Viyaya) Naxalite and put into Jail 1982/83.
    After 1987 July Sri lankan terrority had been invaded by Indian army of IPKF and seal of Indo Sri Lankan accord by JRJ-Rjiva Gandi ACCORD. Leader of Viyaya KUmarantunge of Mahajana Party unconditional supported Rajiv-JRJ accored.That was blant viloation and infernal affiars of Nationl Soverignty of Sri Lankan.If Viyaya Kumarantunge can CHANGE SUCH POLICIES by his own political gain, WHY NOT M/s HIirunika Preamcahndars change policy by overnight.
    Double stantadared of POLICY IS PRINCILE OF policy MAHAJANA PARTY.
    Its apply M/s Hirunika too and as well.She has not done wrong move or doing of change,she appled policy of Mahajana Party.

  • walter


    My apology to you, no intention to hurt Lord Buddha and his teachings.

    I have the greatest respect for Buddhism.
    My talking about the Sinhala Buddhist’s means, the People of Sri Lanka who preach Buddhism, but far, far away from practicing it.

    Certainly there are exceptions, my late Mother in Law was one.
    Would it have been better if I said,and referred to the Sinhala man who has embraced Buddhism?.
    There are American, British, German, Japanese, Thai and Indian Buddhist’s, they don’t fall into the category, I am referring to.
    So you see I was not referring to Buddhism itself, rather the Majority in Sri Lanka, who happen to be Sinhala speaking, preaching Buddhism.

    Unfortunately in this Country, the Ruling Politicians draw reference to Buddhism all the time, using Buddhism to stay in power amidst all the conceivable corruption, are responsible for my statement.

    However, I apologize and regret, that you have quite naturally, taken offence at my statement, but now I hope your understand my inference.

    But please remember, it is the Sinhala speaking people who are preaching Buddhism who have elected this Sinhala Speaking Politicians who also preaching Buddhism to run this Country, and I am sure you know the end result we are all facing.


  • Theekshana

    Duminda Silva is a christian politician who has been accused of murder, rape and drug dealing. When we were talking about him did someone say all christians are like this and it is the menatility of the christian people?
    You get politicians of all hues irrespective of the religion of the people. and politicians everywhere use religion for their purposes. there is no logic to the statement that sinhala buddhist mentality is uniquely or directly responsible for these outcomes. i know its a default weapon but please have some logic.

    Editor : i am sure that every religion needs to be questioned not only buddhism practiced by the sinhalese.

  • justitia

    Today, at long last police say they have handed over a CD with ‘crime scene evidence’ to the magistrate.
    A copy should have been given to the defence attorney as well.
    But, no test reports on hands of persons present at the place/time of the incident,to identify those who had used firearms.
    No interrogation reports of/from police officers present at time/scene/vehicles at time of the incident.
    Police appear reluctant to identify them.
    No medical report so far on mental/physical status of Duminda – in view of his injuries – has been submitted.
    Hirunika’s political status/allegiance/other parties’ interest etc. have no bearing on the murder case.

  • Sonali Samarasinghe

    “Since the killing of her father last October, Hirunika, very ably aided by some sections of the media, has widely portrayed herself as a champion of justice. She has exploited to the maximum the gullibility of those sections of the media that seek to make heroes of people who don’t deserve an iota of the publicity they get but hey, certain physical attributes do help in this regard which I will leave out as it could offend feminists. The last thing I want is to make sexist remarks and being a woman it would be doubly unkind to do so, hence I will leave that aspect aside and address the facts.”

    Perhaps this article would have been better served if this paragraph was left out altogether. To say you will not make sexist remarks and then go ahead and make them anyway is disingenuous.