A political history of Sri Lanka from 1956

January 09, 2015 12:43 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:31 pm IST

Sri Lanka's newly elected president Maithripala Sirisena.

Sri Lanka's newly elected president Maithripala Sirisena.

From Solomon Bandaranaike’s election in 1956 to Trincomalee massacre of students happened in 2006 to Velupillai Prabakaran’s death to this year’s development of Rajapaksa’s defeat, here is a detailed history of how Sri Lanka has been seen in the political scenario. Maithripala Sirisena has now won the presidential elections.

Read more:

>Sri Lanka sabotaging war crimes probe, says UN rights chief

Mahindra Rajapaksa in an interview with The Hindu says that he faces the twin challenges of external pressure for an international probe into allegations of war crimes and internal pressure over the dialogue process with the Tamil National Alliance.

Read more:

>‘We will not allow an external probe’

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>PM to skip CHOGM

>Need more time to address rights violation charges: Rajapaksa

>Rajapaksa satisfied with India’s representation at Commonwealth meeting

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>Testing time for Jaffna, Colombo

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>Sri Lanka turning authoritarian: UN human rights chief

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>Killing a 12-year old

>Sri Lanka dismisses film on Prabkakaran son’s death

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>Rajapaksa dismisses Chief Justice

>UN blames itself for failure during Eelam war climax

The former Sri Lankan Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka freed after two and a half years.

Sri Lanka was in the same state when it came to ensuring justice to the victims of numerous Human Rights violations.

Read more:

>Sri Lanka against itself

>Protests in Sri Lanka against proposed U.N. rights resolution

>Fonseka released with strings attached

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>Human Rights is a serious concern in Sri Lanka

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>Karuna joins Cabinet

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>LTTE supremo Prabakaran believed dead

>Battle at its bitter end: LTTE

>Protest against ‘killing’ of Prabhakaran

Government launches massive offense ending the 2002 ceasefire agreement.

Read more:

>12 killed in Colombo suicide attack

Read more:

>28 killed in Sri Lanka clashes

The Trincomalee massacre of students happened in 2006. It was considered to be act of state terror. Vankalai massacre of four minority Sri Lankan Tamils. It was also considered to be act of state terror.

Read more:>Fissures in Sri Lankan Tamil parties ahead of Presidential poll

Read more:>Not fighting for now


President Mahinda Rajapaksa doesn’t allow the UN to investigate the war crimes during the Tamil Tiger insurgency.

Nov 2013

Sept 2013

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) wins election at the Northern provincial council.

Aug 2013

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says Sri Lanka was showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction.

Feb 2013

Jan 2013

Rajapaksa dismisses Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake after finding her guilty on three offences including financial irregularities.


Rajapaksa government dismisses UN report which states that Sri Lanka intimidated UN members investigating abuses at the end of the civil war in 2009.



Mahinda Rajapaksa re-elected. He promises to restore an independent National Human Rights Commission along with other commissions .

March 2009

Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan (Karuna), former deputy leader of the LTTE joins Rajapaksa's cabinet.

May 2009


Government blames LTTE after 12 civilians killed and 100 injured over a suicide bomb attack.


At least 28 people, which includes 14 cadres of the LTTE, die in clashes between the security forces and the Tamil Tigers in September.


The political killings, child soldiers, abductions, and clashes between the government and LTTE creates tension around the country.


Rajapaksa elected for the first time.



The European Union criticises both the Tamil Tigers and security forces concerning the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.


A female suicide bomber attacks a police station in Colombo targeting the head of the terrorism unit, Mohammad Nilabdeen.


The third Eelam war breaks out after a suicide squad attacked two naval vessels in Trincomalee killing 12 soldiers.


President Kumaratunga again initiates peace talks with LTTE.


An LTTE suicide bomber kills Ranasinghe Premadasa, the third President of Sri Lanka during a May Day rally.


LTTE suicide bomber kills Rajiv Gandhi in Tamil Nadu. He was instrumental in bringing the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.


Second Eelam War breaks. East Province taken over by Sri Lankan Forces after heavy fighting. The LTTE continue to kill civilians in the Eastern province.


Nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) protests against the Sri Lanka-India agreement.


Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, which was intended to end the civil war between Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists and LTTE, signed.


‘Black July’ riots erupt in Sri-Lanka; about 64,000 people were killed.


LTTE was formed.


Sirimavo Bandaranaike re-elected and she brings back Sinhalese nationalism.


Opposition party wins the elections and tries reverse the nationalisation.


Sirimavo Bandaranaike becomes first woman Prime Minister in the world. She was sworn in on July 21, 1960 after her United National Party won the elections.


On September 25, 1959, Solomon Bandaranaike was shot by Talduwe Somarama, a Buddhist monk. He succumbed to injuries the next day.


Solomon Bandaranaike was elected as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He made Sinhala the only official language. More than 100 Sri Lankan Tamils people were killed after the Tamil members of parliament protested.

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