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15 December 1987

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Assassination of Daya Pathirana, the leader of the Independent Students Union (ISU) of the University of Colombo allegedly by the JVP.

Insurrectionary Violence in Sri Lanka: The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Insurgencies of 1971 and 1987-1989, Tisaranee Gunasekara, Ethnic Studies Report, ICES, Vol. XVII, No. 1, January 1999.

“The JVP drew first blood—of the Left, the security forces and the UNP, in that order. The use of lethal violence on the part of all these entities against the JVP (irrespective of the magnitude) was essentially a reactive violence, a counter violence. The game of political murder was commenced by the JVP…Significantly, the JVP’s first victim was not a representative of the bourgeois state or the Gunasekara UNP which proscribed the JVP, but a radical student activist, with impeccable anti-UNP credentials— Daya Pathirana, the leader of the Independent Students Union (ISU) of the University of Colombo! …

“The Daya Pathirana assassination was a watershed in the JVP’s post-1983 history. It played a key role in deciding the nature and the trajectory of the JVP’s second insurgency.”

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August 1987
13 November 1989

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