Posted on 12.30.2018 by Chandana Sirimalwatte in Views with 0 Comments
Prins Gunasekara the progressive parliamentarian, lawyer, human rights activist and journalist passed away today(30) at London.
Prins Gunasekara was an intellectual, distinctive journalist an expert in law and author of many books. He is a barrister by profession and was outstanding figure at a certain stages in Sri Lankan history. He was a prominent advocate appearing in courts of appeals and Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. His subjects areas were mainly fundamental human rights, was known as journalist as well. As a charismatic lawyer he has made profound impact in the field of Sri Lankan politics and human rights.
He fought tirelessly against brutal UNP regime that came into power in 1977 under which clergies, journalists, politicians and intellectuals were abducted and disappeared merely because, they were against government’s extra judiciary killings. The human rights activist awakened the consciousness of his contemporary lawyers and his students who apprenticed under him. Prins Gunasekara helped to make the government’s murderous acts known to the whole civilised world. Prins pioneered in bringing international attention to the arbitrary killings of by UNP regime during the armed uprising in 1987-90 period.
Having born in Kathaluwa, Galle he did his higher education in London University and later completed professional education in Law College, Colombo. Prins cherished the idealism of socialist and free society in which all citizens live together with harmony and equal opportunities.With this in mind, he entered into politics through Sama Samaja Party, one of the biggest leftist movement at that time in Sri Lanka. Prins rubbed shoulders with N.M perera and Phillip Gunawardena who were charismatic figures in the leftist movement at that time in Sri Lanka. He was among the first activists to create Mahajana Eksath Peramuna in 1956. But, later in 1965 he contested as an independent candidate for Habaraduwa electorate and was elected, in the 1965 General Election. In the next general election held in 1970 he contested under SLFP ticket which formed an alliance with left parties.
In 1971 he left the SLFP, following the brutal suppression of 1971 JVP uprising and continued as an independent member of parliament, 1972 and 1975 during the period he started working as a human rights activist striving for the protection of the rights of youths arrested during the uprising. It developed into a coherence and a close relationship with Rohana Wijeweera, the leader of JVP.
After the ill-famed presidential election in 1983 Prins assisted Wijewwra challenging the legality of the election on the basis of irregularities and massive corruptions. Being the legal adviser of JVP leader in the election petition, he created a strong legal battle to question the legality of the election of JR for the presidenc for his 2nd tenure. Intellectuals and General Public that if petition was upheld in courts, holding of a fresh presidential election would have been inevitable. According to political analysis of the day, the government was in a the weak position to lose the legal battle crept out by proscribing leftist parties including JVP accusing for the 1983 racist riots, which was actually infused by the organized UNP goons. Prins pioneered to save the lives of innocent youths who had been stuck in the guillotine of UNP 87-90 terror. Struggling to safeguard political activists and innocent youths detained without proper legal process and listed for slaughter in the official and unofficial slaughter camps, some of the prominent lawyers such as Wijedasa Liyanarachchi, Charitha Lankapura, Kanchana Abepala and Sarath Rathnayake who active in the field of Human Rights were abducted and brutally murdered by government’s sponsored death squads known as Green Tigers, Black Cats, Yellow Cats and PRRA. Having targeted for death himself, Prins escaped narrowly by leaing the country to London where he lived and worked as a writer till his demise
” The old left leaders said one thing and did something else, I know it very well, but Wijeweera practised what he preached, preached what practised. Sometimes, he acted unwisely, that is why I am so angry. I loved him irrespective of his shortcomings, one must have courage and determination to build up the country”. He was quoted saying so during a conversation with a journalist.
Prins Gunasekara, born 17th July 1924, closed his eyes at the age of 94 years.