COLOMBO Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today declared as national heroes 82 people who had been described as "traitors" nearly 200 years ago for rebelling against the British rule. Sirisena signed a gazette notification to rescind their names from the list of "traitors" at Kandy, the erstwhile British capital of the country.
Keppetipola Disawe, a local leader, and his men were declared "traitors" over the 1818 rebellion against the colonial rule. Keppetipola was captured by the British and he and his associates were charged with treason and sentenced to death. "This is a moment that we all could be proud of," Sirisena said. Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, won freedom in 1948, a year after British quit India.