Parami Kulatunga

Lieutenant General Parami Sugandika Bandara Kulatunga, RSP, VSV, USP (Sinhala:පාරමී කුලතුංග) (9 October 1951 in Kandy – 26 June 2006 ) was a senior Sri Lanka Army officer. He was serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army and its third highest-ranking officer at the time of his assassination. On the morning of 26 June, he was killed by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber who drove an explosives laden motorbike into his staff car as it was driving to a military base at Pannipitiya near Colombo.


Parami Kulatunga

Lt.Gen.Parami Kulatunga (1951-2006).jpg
Lieutenant General Parami Kulatunga
Born(1951-10-09)9 October 1951[1]
Lewella, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Died26 June 2006(2006-06-26) (aged 54) 
Pannipitiya, Colombo
AllegianceSri Lanka
Service/branch Sri Lanka Army
Years of service1971-2006 
RankSri Lanka-army-OF-8.svg Lieutenant general
UnitGemunu Watch
Commands heldDeputy Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army
Battles/warsSri Lankan Civil War
AwardsRana sura medal.svg Rana Sura Padakkama
Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya medal bar.svg Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya
Uttama Seva ribbon bar.svg Uttama Seva Padakkama
Desha Putra Sammanaya ribbon bar.svg Desha Putra Sammanaya

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Lewella, Kandy, to Lionel and Leela Kulatunga. He was the youngest of four siblings, Lumbini, Samantha and Indu. Kulatunga was educated at Trinity College, Kandy, where he played rugby and became the Senior Regimental Sergeant Major of the Senior Cadet Platoon.[2]

Military careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Having joined the Ceylon Army on July 20, 1971, with intake 5A at the height of the 1971 JVP insurrection, receiving his basic training at the Army Tranining Center in Diyatalawa. Completing his training as the second in the order of merit, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and posted to the 1st Battalion of the Gemunu Watch on October 14, 1972. He was promoted to lieutenant on July 24, 1974; captain on July 24, 1977, and major on June 1, 1982. This included a stint as the first aide-de-camp to Major General Tissa Weeratunga and active service in the norther province with the Gemunu Watch with the on set of the Sri Lankan Civil War, participating in the Vadamarachchi Operation in 1987.[2][3]

Staff officerEdit

On March 24, 1989, he was appointed as staff officer to the intelligence operation headquarters of the Ministry of Defence and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel October 1, 1989. On January 56, 1990, he was appointed as a general staff officer to the 23rd Brigade, taking part in the Operation Balavegaya in 1991 and was thereafter transferred to the general staff of the 2nd Division headquarters with promotion to the rank of colonel on June 27, 1993. He was thereafter appointed as deputy commandant of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy at Ratmalana on November 31, 1993, and took over as assistant military secretary at the Ministry of Defence June 10, 1994. Kulatunga had attended the Senior Command Course at the Army War College, Mhow; the Advanced Intelligence Course in Singapore and the Intelligence Staff Officers’ Course at the Military Intelligence Training School in Pune.[2][3]

Higher commandEdit

On December 12, 1994, he was promoted to brigadier and became the brigade commander of the 22 Brigade in Trincomalee, taking part in the Operation Riviresa. He was then appointed director of training at the army headquarters on December 28, 1996, serving until October 1, 1997, when he was appointed deputy general officer commanding of the 56th and 54th Divisions, taking part in the Operation Jayasikuru. On November 28, 1999, he took over as general officer commanding (GOC), 52 Division in Varani. On May 5, 2000, he was promoted to the rank of major general and appointed as GOC of the 11th Division in the Panagoda Cantonment.

In 2003, he attended the U.S. Army War College as an international fellow in the class of 2003.[3] On September 6, 2003, he was appointed the director general of the General Staff, army headquarters and on August 10, 2004, he was appointed Commander of Security Forces HQ, Wanni. On December 6, 2005, he was appointed the deputy chief of staff of the Sri Lanka army, serving as the third highest-ranking office in the army. He was also serving as Colonel of the Regiment of the Gemunu Watch from July 17, 2003. He had represented Sri Lanka in a number of international symposiums, including the Special Operations conference in the US, South Asia Peace Keeping Operations Seminar in Bangladesh, Pacific Armies Management seminar in Malaysia, Senior Military Officers’ Seminar in United Kingdom and United Nations medal awarding parade in Haiti.

DeathEdit

 
Lt General Parami Kulatunga Statue at Kandy.

AssassinationEdit

On the morning of June 26, 2006, Major General Kulatunga was killed along with two other military personnel of his detail, Staff Sergeant Gomes and Corporal Buddhika and a civilian bystander, by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber who drove an explosives-laden motorbike into his Peugeot 406 staff car at Panipitiya as it was driving to army headquarters from his official quarters at the Panagoda Cantonment. He was age 55 at the time of his death. The government did not retaliate in force due to international press.[4][5]

ThreatsEdit

The State Intelligence Service and the Directorate of Military Intelligence had issued warring that despite the ceasefire agreement that was in place at the time, the LTTE was targeting senior military leaders. On 25 April 2006, the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka was severely wounded by an LTTE suicide bomb attack on his unarmored staff car at the army headquarters. Fonseka was transferred to Singapore for medical treatment. Major General Nanda Mallawaarachchi, Chief of Staff of the Army, took over temporary command of the army and Major General Kulatunga became the second in command effectively. Having received warnings, Kulatunga had requested quarters within the Army Headquarters, however this request was turned down. This forced Kulatunga to commute 28 km daily to his office at Army Headquarters from his quarters in the Panagoda Cantonment in his unarmored staff car.[4]

FuneralEdit

Major General Kulatunga was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant general effective from June 28, 2006, the day his funeral took place at the Colombo general cemetery with full military honors. A Memorial Dedication service for Lieutenant General Kulatunga was held at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on October 11, 2006. [6][7]

InvestigationEdit

Police Criminal Investigation Department investigations into the attacks on Fonseka and Kulatunga, discovered LTTE links with organized crime groups in Colombo and military personnel who had collaborated with the LTTE for money. Major Manamendra Dassanayake was convicted of aiding and abetting the LTTE in the assassinations of Lieutenant General Parami Kulathunga and Colone Tuan Nizam Muthaliff, while Major Piyasiri Perera who was sentenced to death by a Court Marshall for treason was also implicated in the assassination.[8][9][10]

Awards and decorationsEdit

Kulatunga had received Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) for gallantry, Uttama Seva Padakkama (USP), Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal, Riviresa Campaign Services Medal, Purna Bhumi Padakkama, North and East Operations Medal, Desha Putra Sammanaya amongst others. In 2008 he was posthumously awarded the Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya.[11]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Lt.Gen. Parami Kulatunga, an epitome of military heroism
  2. ^ a b c "Lt. Gen. Parami Kulatunga, An Appreciation". The Island. 24 June 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Weerasooriya, C. S. "Appreciations". Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Who kept Kulatunga out of Army HQ". Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  5. ^ Parami killing: Police on trail of Tiger spy
  6. ^ "Sri Lanka general killed in blast". BBC News. 26 June 2006.
  7. ^ Assassination of Major General Prami Kulathunge
  8. ^ Police seek public support to catch commando extortionist
  9. ^ LTTE assassinations: Cracking the network
  10. ^ A case of mistaken identity Ice Manju still WANTED
  11. ^ Highest Service Medal VSV Conferred on Commander[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit