Minister of Cultural and Aesthetic Affairs T.B. Ekanayaka will present a motion in Parliament next month to revoke a gazette notification dating back to 1818, which condemned all those who took part in the Uva-Wellessa uprising against British rule the same year.
Revoking of the gazette notification is a prelude to an event on Republic Day, May 22 declaring as “national heroes” the participants of the “rebellion” condemned by the then British as traitors.
Minister Ekanayaka told the Sunday Times that the gazette notification was brought from Britain and will be first presented to the Cabinet and then in Parliament for debate, and a vote to revoke it.
Family members of the descendants of those who participated in the rebellion, are to be honoured at a ceremony to be held on Republic Day.
The task of drawing up the list of descendants has been entrusted to a team headed by Professor Anura Manatunga of the Department of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya, Secretary, Cultural Affairs Wimal Rubasinghe said.
The gazette notification was issued by Sir Robert Brownrigg the British Governor at the time. In addition to condemning the rebels as traitors, the gazette order also confiscated their lands and other assets.
The uprising was launched by Keppitipola Disawe, who was joined by regional leaders in providing men and material from all parts of the country. A relative of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is reportedly among those who assisted in the rebellion, as a leader of Ruhuna (Hambantota – Embilipitiya area).