Vijaya Kumaranatunga Death and legend
He was shot in the head with a Type 56 assault rifle outside his residence in the outskirts of Colombo on 16 February 1988 at 12.20pm by Lionel Ranasinghe alias Gamini, who later confessed to the murder upon being questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Ranasinghe, in a 141 page statement, confessed that he was merely carrying out orders given to him by the Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya (DJV) / Patriotic People's Movement, the military arm of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People's Liberation Front), a Marxist organization which is responsible for assassinations during the late 1980s. However, the Presidential Commission report had implicated President Ranasinghe Premadasa, Gamini Lokuge and the Deputy Minister of Defence Ranjan Wijeratne of the United National Party had been behind the Vijaya Kumaratunga assassination. Kumaratunga's widow Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga also holds this view. Kumaratunga's funeral had attracted the most number of people for a funeral in Sri Lanaka. Vijaya's Coffin was only partly opened (the head part was closed due to the damage occurred to the head by gunshots).The funeral was held at the Independence Square in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 21 February 1988 as a State Funeral though he represented the opposition arena against the existed UNP Government.It was the first ever funeral ceremony to be telecast live on a Sri Lankan TV Channel (by Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation). Most Sri Lankans recall that Vijaya was the most handsome & the most humanitarian personality who ever lived in Sri Lanka during the 20th century. Twelve people reportedly committed suicide after hearing his death. People recall his assassination day as the "The Horrible/The Darkest Tuesday in the Sri Lankan's History" (16 February 1988 - Tuesday)
In October 1999, Kumaratunga called an early presidential election. She lost vision in her right eye (permanent optic nerve damage) in an assassination attempt, by the Tamil Tigers, at her final election rally at Colombo Town Hall premises on 18 December 1999. She managed to defeat Ranil Wickremasinghe in the election held on 21 December and was sworn in for another term the next day.