Six degrees of separation is the theory that every person on this planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of people, places, events that has no more than five layers or intermediaries. Mathematicians and MIT professors have researched this theory and see some validity.
Premawathie Manamperi was a beautiful 22 year old Sinhala woman from Kataragama. If you don’t believe me about her beauty, let me tell you, she was crowned Avurudhu Kumari in April 1970. She was a pleasant happy girl coming from a modest home living with her parents and ten siblings. If you search the archives, you may come across pictures of her in black and white. Even the grey scale cannot hide her beauty. She was living at the time where there were no cell phones or the internet.
Shobana Dharmarajah, popularly known as Isaipriya was a beautiful 27 year old Tamil girl from Jaffna. Just search for her name and you will see why I call her a beauty. Unlike Premawathie, Isaipriya was fully immersed and grew up in the cell phone/internet era. Isaipriya was a media personality, a journalist and a broadcaster. The LTTE hired her to broadcast news from their network.
I feel connected to Premawathie – because I walked the same streets she walked on. I have been to Katharagama first as a child with my parents and have walked from Tissamaharama to Katharagama on many occasions. I ate bunnis and drank tea at the same tea boutiques where Premawathie ate bunnis and drank tea. Premawathie and I worshipped at the same Katharagama Devaley, the jungle shrine, with mystique rituals and practices. [proof of six degrees of separation]
I feel connected to Isaipriya – because she walked the same streets I walked on when she lived in Jaffna. She enjoyed ice cream at Subhas Café at the Jaffna main bus station where I would swing by for my fix of ice cream made with full cream milk, loaded with calories when I was a student in Jaffna. And to round off my connection to Isaipriya, she attended Vembadi Girls High School in Jaffna, a school my mother and my sister attended. [proof of six degrees of separation]
Now here comes the bombshell – a further proof of six degrees of separation.
I feel Premawathie and Isaipriya were connected. They both met their death in the hands of The Sri Lankan Army! Sri Lankan Army is the common link that connected Premawathie from the South and Isaipriya from the North.
They were both alive when they were picked up by the army, but soon thereafter they were both dead. Though their time line was thirty eight years apart, there is an eerie unity in their death! Unbeknownst to each other, they became sisters in their death and their sisterhood was facilitated by the Sri Lankan Army.
On April 5, 1971 Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) launched a surprise attack on several police stations and government installations in the South with a view to overthrowing democratically elected government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Around mid April 1971 the army was deployed in the south of Sri Lanka to bring the JVP insurgency under control. There is no evidence that Premawathie was linked to the insurgency forged by the JVP. After several hours of interrogation by the army personnel Premawathie was stripped naked and was made to walk the streets of Katharagama and two army officers, Liutinent Wijesuriya of Gemunu Watch and private Ratnayake sprayed bullets into her with a sterling sub-machine gun. As she was crawling on the ground, still alive, she was picked up and buried alive in a pit in a vacant lot. Minutes later, another soldier from Wijesuriya’s unit came and put a bullet through her head and finished the job. [this gruesome narrative is straight from the court proceedings and evidence presented in court – by witnesses including civilians and soldiers]
There is no doubt that Isaipriya was a LTTE sympathizer and was doing broadcasts for the LTTE. During the final stages of the war still and video images show the soldiers took Isaipriya into custody in the Nandi Kadal area. Subsequent forensic examination showed that Isaipriya was shot in the head execution style and her body desecrated.