A Note on the Bandaranaike Assassination Case & Its Sources

KK De Silva

The Bandaranaike Assassination case continues to fascinate readers, because two of the three persons convicted of the crime were Buddhist monks.


Bhikkhu Talduwa Somarama  was sentenced to death &  the death sentence  was carried out in July 1962, but he converted to Christianity a few days before the date set for the execution. Rev. Fr. Mathew Peiris, a controversial priest even then, was the Christian Prison Chaplain & was believed to have convinced him  to convert to  Christianity & there  was much speculation at the time about this conversion. He was baptized as Peter.

Bhikkhu Mapitigama Buddharakkhita & H. P. Jayawardena were sentenced to death, but on appeal a five judge bench quashed their death sentences & imposed terms of life imprisonment, due to a technicality. Leave to appeal to the Privy Council was refused. In 1966, their sentences were commuted to terms of 20 years imprisonment. Buddharakkitha died of a heart ailment at the General Hospital in early 1967. Jayawardena was released in 1977 on completion of his sentence less the remission earned for good conduct.











Details of the case can be found here :

Alles A. C.   Famous Criminal Cases of Sri Lanka: The Bandaranaike Assassination Case ; Volume 3 , Colombo Apothecaries Ltd. 1979

Jeyaraj D. B. S. Buddharakkitha And Somarama Theras: Role Of Two Buddhist Monks In The Assassination Of Prime Minister
SWRD Bandaranaike,   2019.

Judgement of the Court of Criminal Appeal

Kariyakaravana E. : Bandaranaike Assassination Case (Sinhala),
Colombo Apothecaries Ltd. 1962.

Sessional Paper III of 1964 – Report of the Commission of Inquiry on certain matters connected with the Assassination of the Late Prime Minister, SWRD Bandaranaike : Persons investigated – W. Dahanayake (ex Prime Minister, ), Lionel Goonetilleke ( ex ASP CID), Ossie Corea ( businessman) , F. R.   (Dickie) de Zoysa (businessman ), Vimala Wijewardena  (ex Minister of Health), Sidney de Zoysa (ex DIG).

Weeramantry L. G. : Assassination of a Prime Minister,  Studer S. A. Geneva, Switzerland, 1969

Somarama Thero
Talduwe Somarama Thero
Talduwe Ratugama Rallage Weris Singho

27 August 1915

Died 6 July 1962 (aged 46)

Cause of death Execution by hanging
Criminal charge Murder (assassination of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike)
Penalty Death by hanging

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  1. Pingback: The Assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike: Questions directed at the Supreme Court’s Verdict | Thuppahi's Blog

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