The nation marked the 27th anniversary of the Aranthalawa massacre by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the most ruthless terrorist organization operated in the world.
The massacre took place on 2nd June 1987 when a bus carrying Buddhist monks and a few unarmed civilians on a pilgrimage was attacked by the terrorists. Thirty-one young novice monks and their mentor Vidyananda Maha Pirivena Chief Incumbent Hegoda Sri Indrasara Thera and four civilians had been brutally killed by the LTTE.
The massacre is considered one of the most horrible and gruesome atrocities committed by the LTTE.
The bus was ambushed by the LTTE cadres near the village of Nuwera-thanne. They then ordered the driver of the bus, which was carrying the monks on a pilgrimage from their temple in Mahavapi to the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, to drive into the nearby Aranthalawa jungle prior to the barbaric act.
Three monks, who escaped the massacre sustaining critical injuries, are still receiving medical treatment. Another monk suffers permanent disability.
During the last year's commemoration, President Mahinda Rajapaksa unveiled a special monument erected in Aranthalawa where the brutal incident had taken place.
Before the eradication of the LTTE in May 2009 by Sri Lankan troops, under the guidance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the LTTE carried out many massacres, assassinating civilians, politicians and destroying state property. They also attacked most sacred Buddhist religious sites too.
In 1991, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa killed in a LTTE suicide bomb attack while a LTTE sniper assassinated Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in 2005.
In 2006 October, President Mahinda Rajapaksa arranged peace talks in Geneva, but it failed as LTTE didn't attend the talks.
Rejecting all attempts for peace by the government, LTTE continued in its path of killing and destroying.
The killings include the massacre of Kebithigollewa on 15th June 2006 in which the LTTE attacked a bus killing at least 64 Sinhalese civilians, including children.
The LTTE assassinated number of Defence Officials including Deputy Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeratne, Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy, Vice Admiral W.W.E.C. Fernando, Jaffna military commander Brig. Ananda Hamangoda, and SLA Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Parami Kulathunge.
The LTTE also killed Mayor of Jaffna, Ponnuyhurai Sivapalan, Minister of Industrial Development, C. V. Gooneratne, the Highway Minister and Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle.
In their attempts to destroy state property, the LTTE destroyed 14 storage tanks—causing $61 million in damage to the oil storage depot in Colombo. They also attacked Colombo’s Kelanitissa Power Plant.
January 25, 1998, a group of suicide bombers attacked Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist shrine, Sri Dalada Maligawa, Temple of the Tooth Relic, in Kandy which is recognized by the UNESCO as a cultural heritage site. Sixteen civilians were also killed in this attack.