In July 1976, slightly more than five years after the collapse of the 1971 insurrection in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), the protracted series of trials of alleged insurgents wound to a conclusion. Except for the cases of a small number of suspects not in custody, some of whom are probably dead, and a handful of cases the disposition of which was postponed, the complex and painful process of determining guilt and imposing punishments for the armed rebellion had come to an end. The uprising that erupted on 5 April 1971 had been staged by an organization called the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna QVP), which had been formed five years earlier as a revolutionary movement by a small clique of young dissidents who had broken away from the tiny pro-Peking Communist Party, but which by 1970 had attracted a significant following among rural Sinhalese Buddhist youths.

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