Sri Lanka to make heroes out of British-era ‘traitors’

keppetipola-disaweSri Lanka announced plans on Monday to rescind a list of 19 nationals described as “traitors” for leading an insurrection against colonial rule nearly 200 years ago, the AFP new agency reported.

Keppetipola Disawe, a local leader, and his men were declared traitors over the 1817 rebellion against British rule.

“A recommendation was made to President Maithripala Sirisena to rescind the January 1818 gazette which declared 19 nationals, including Keppetipola Disawe, as traitors and make a fresh proclamation making them national heroes,” Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said in a statement.

The announcement came after the minister met hardline nationalists from the majority Sinhalese community, who have pressed for the scrapping of colonial-era decrees against those who resisted British rule.

Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, won freedom in 1948, a year after Britain quit neighbouring India.