May 9 attack on MP Chandrasena | Sunday Observer

May 9 attack on MP Chandrasena

27 November, 2022

To many of those who were affected on May 9, 2022 is full of disturbing and unfortunate memories. The day’s incidents were reminiscent of the country’s once violent past. Anuradhapura district MP S.M Chandrasena is yet another victim of the violence that spread across Sri Lanka on that day.

Chandrasena admits he was present at Temple Trees on May 9, to bid farewell to the former Prime Minister albeit only for a mere half an hour. “I went off thereafter as I had an appointment to see a doctor. I had planned to travel to Anuradhapura thereafter to attend a wedding. However, as the appointment took more time than expected I decided against attending the wedding. Instead I went to the Madiwela MPs quarters,” he said. According to Chandrasena, he was at the MPs quarters when he heard of the chaotic events taking place Galle Face Green. “I would have taken the same route as MP Atukorala if I had decided to go to the wedding. If I had, the same fate may have befallen me,” he said.

Though fortunately Chandrasena escaped any physical harm on the day, mobs had set fire to his home, office, meeting hall and place of business in Anuradhapura. He claims he was made aware of the plans to attack his house that evening and had informed the police about it. “The mob had destroyed homes and properties of other MPs and ministers from Anuradhapura and arrived at my residence around 11 a.m. The police and the military present had failed to prevent them,” he alleged.

As the MP recalls, the mob had destroyed his property while some had made away with flower pots in his garden. “Some had cut down trees in the garden. I cannot fathom what revenge they expected to exact from the trees,” he said.

Chandrasena is deeply upset about the memories and tokens he lost in the attack. “While the damage is still being estimated, I am more upset about the things I won’t be able to recover from,” he said.


* Full name - Samarakoon Mudiyanselage Chandrasena

* Date of Birth - 05-03-1955

* Schools Attended - Kalakarambewa Maha Vidyalaya and KalaKarambewa Sri Vidyadhara Pirivena

* Education Qualification - Passed G.C.E Advanced Level examination

* Occupation - Agriculture sector

* Political milestones

1991 - Elected to the Ipalogama Pradeshiya Sabha and Leader of the Opposition

1993 - Elected to the North Central Provincial Council

1998 - Acting as Minister of Agriculture and Local Government in the North Central Provincial Council

2000 - Elected to Parliament for the first time

* Ministerial Posts Held

Deputy Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management. Minister of Agriculture

Non-Cabinet Minister of Nation Building

* Committee memberships held

Ministerial Advisory Committee on Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment

Sectoral Monitoring Committee on Food Security and Agriculture

Sectoral Monitoring Committee on International Relations

Ministerial Advisory Committee on Agriculture

Ministerial Advisory Committee on Mahaweli Development and Environment

Ministerial Advisory Committee on Lands

According to him, the land on which his house stood was purchased in 1998. “I first built a few rooms. I then took out a bank loan. It took me around 20 years to complete the house. It was the house that I built with great pains that was destroyed in this manner,” the MP said.

Recalling his days before entering politics, Chandrasena says he was a farmer who used to cultivate close to 100 acres of maize every season. “It was the money I earned through farming that I used to engage in politics. I have made nothing from politics. My home has many memories of my parents and children. Everything was destroyed,” he said.

Following the incident, Chandrasena had attempted to locate a framed photograph of his late mother that hung at the entrance of his home. “A staffer said it appeared to have been destroyed as well. But later as I rummaged around the remains of the house I found it intact. Only the glass was damaged. Tears welled up in my eyes. It was an incident that deeply moved me,” the MP said.

Chandrasena had never before experienced such violence during his lifetime despite engaging in politics for over three decades. The MP in his career has emerged as the candidate with the most number of preferential votes on four occasions, surpassing any other candidate from the district. “I believe it was because I did not care for party politics and always stood with the people. I have never harmed any member of another political party and not allowed my own supporters to do so. I have never subjected anyone to political revenge. My politics has always been democratic and just. I expected that society would also treat me likewise. But it was not to be,” he said.

The MP admits the hurt and pain caused by the event continues to this day. “It was a shock to my senses. The effect cannot be estimated monetarily,” he noted. He claims members of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, Frontline Socialist Party and the Samagi Jana Balawegaya were among the mob that attacked his home. According to the MP the mob had also included a group of students from the University of Rajarata, and youth whiling away in the Anuradhapura town.

Chandrasena born in Palugaswewa, Kalawewa had intended to pursue higher education at the University of Peradeniya. However fate took him down a different path.

“I entered politics thereafter. Our family had a background in politics as my father S.M Dingiri Banda was the secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) branch society in the village. Through his influence I contested to the Ipalogama Pradeshiya Sabha in 1991 beginning my three decade political career,” he said.

Despite the obstacles faced, Chandrasena said he has no intention to give up politics. “Though my roots were in the SLFP, I became a pioneer to launch the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) with Basil Rajapaksa after Maithripala Sirisena joined hands with the opposition. Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President served this country well. But this situation arose as he did not heed our advice on the chemical fertiliser ban and instead worked according to the advice of a panel of academics. He told me off several times when I attempted to explain the ground realities to him,” the MP recalled.

According to Chandrasena certain decisions made by Rajapaksa were not sanctioned by the SLPP. The MP believes had Rajapaksa listened to the collective voice of the party, the current economic crisis could have been averted and he would have not been forced to step down.

Chandrasena wants the country to know that the SLPP is not at fault for the current crisis situation. “Therefore I have no intention to leave the party. We will forge ahead and work towards the party’s victory in the future. No acts of violence will make us leave the SLPP. We will extend our fullest support to President Ranil Wickremesinghe to revive the country,” he said.

Commenting on the citizen’s struggle or Aragalaya, Chandrasena said political opponents used the country’s economy to influence the people to take to the streets and rise against the government. According to him this only led the country to fall into a deeper abyss.

“We had just recovered from the pandemic and tourism was on the rise when the people took to the streets. It caused the industry to take a hit. Public property was damaged. Now they themselves must bear the costs for them to be rebuilt. No good came of the Aragalaya. The people must see this truth. As rulers, it is our responsibility to ensure that the mistakes and shortcomings made by the Government do not happen again. At this time, the people should be patient and help the Government to build the country. It is everyone’s responsibility to act carefully and democratically. People must not allow themselves to be fooled by false propaganda and opinions.” he opined.