Eleven Lesser Known Facts About Somawansa Amarasinghe aka 'Siri Ayya'

1) A past pupil of Kalutara Vidyalaya, Amarasinghe joined the JVP in 1969. He was an active member of the JVP for over 45 years. 

2) On April 5, 1971, at the outbreak of the first JVP insurrection, Amarasinghe was a member of the group assigned to capture the then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

3) After the attempt failed, he was arrested and detained  by security forces at the height of the 1971 insurrection. In 1974, he was sentenced to two years in prison. Amarasinghe became a Politburo Member of the JVP in 1984, while the party was facing a ban under the J.R. Jayewardene administration. 

4) Out of 14 members, he was the only Politburo Member who survived after the Second JVP insurrection (1987-89). 

5) He was known as 'Siri Ayya' among the JVP rank and file, after he became a prominent Politburo member of the party. 

6) Amarasinghe was put in charge of the party funds and its  financial operations at the height of the 88-89 insurrection. 

7) There were allegations from some quarters of the party that a significant amount of party funds went missing, when Amarasinghe was the party's financial head. But, no body held him personally responsible for the incident. 

8) Amarasinghe was the brother in law of former minister Sirisena  Cooray, one of the most influential figures under the Premadasa  government which militarily crushed the JVP. 

9) It is widely believed that Amarasinghe's  'Cooray connection' helped him flee the country at the last stage of the insurrection. He first fled to India and then went to Europe where he lived for nearly 12 years, until 2001. 

10) He was a key figure behind the party's revival after 1993. Amarasinghe often maintained his links with the JVP Politburo and party stalwarts via fax messages.

11) In 2006, the Police arrested his sister over allegations of running a brothel. Responding to this allegation, Amarasinghe told the media that he would still consider her as his sister, although she was a prostitute. Amarasinghe earned a lot of respect from many quarters of the society for this bold and candid statement.


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