JVP's new clothes
recent political events have served to bring into sharp focus the
fascist character of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) or Peoples'
Liberation Front. As the country gears for another general election
barely two years after the last, what appears foremost, dominating the
political scene this time, is the changing face of the JVP.
the 1970s the JVP was a Marxist party. In the 1980s' it was more
communal and became a Sinhala-majoritarian party opposing any concession
to the Tamil minority and opposing federalism as a solution to the
JVP's duplicity with regard to even this issue was in stark contrast to
its own written statements by their UK branch. A booklet published by
the JVP branch in London in July 1980 clearly states that the Janatha
Vimukthi Peramuna accepts the right of the Tamil-speaking people to
self-determination. The booklet adds, "we support that struggle to
the extent of its current demand for secession." (See box)
JVP has now once again changed its stance and acquired another
dimension. This time around it is a 'Sinhala-Buddhist' one, propagating
concern about 'unethical conversions' of Sinhala-Buddhists by
evangelical groups allegedly financed by the West. This, coming from the
party that first attacked the holiest of Buddhist shrines, the sacred
Sri Dalada Maligawa just 15 years ago, during its brutal rebellion.
Spokesman Wimal Weerawansa recently made some truly amazing statements.
He has gone on record as saying that the JVP was "shaped by
Buddhist culture and not Marxism." He even stated that his party
was founded on a poya day, attempting to prove its respect to the
JVP, he further said, was a 'nativist' party, taking only certain things
from Marxism and adapting them to suit local conditions.
also claimed the primary aim of the SLFP-JVP alliance was to start a
"cultural journey." He said the JVP intends to begin a
pristine Sinhala-Buddhist culture which existed prior to 1505, referring
to when the Portuguese landed in Sri Lanka and "forcibly
Christianised and Westernised the country."
historic MoU between the JVP and the SLFP signed on January 20, 2004,
states the alliance is committed to establishing a Patriotic Broad
National Alliance based on "five principal aspirations" of
rescuing and developing the country. The official web page of the JVP
maintains, "People in Sri Lanka warmly welcome the alliance and
celebrates it as a national festival."
truth is, the alliance has raised deep misgivings. The minorities are
deeply suspicious, viewing the JVP as a radical Sinhala-Buddhist party,
which will fuel communal disharmony and that too - violently.
Lanka's law abiding citizens cannot forget the JVP's violent past in the
1970s and 1980s. The belief is that the JVP despite its new face is
still capable of unleashing violence and is yet to trade their bullet
for the ballot. Afterall, it was at such a time during the J. R.
Jayewardene administration in the mid '80s it chose to bomb the house of
parliament, killing Galle District Member Keerthi Abewickrema and
seriously injuring then National Security Minister, Lalith
the period 1987-1992 the JVP murdered hundreds of members of the working
class in order to force them to join anti-government strikes. An
official document marked 'top secret' lists that the JVP during this
time, killed 1,735 government supporters, 487 government servants, 209
service personnel, 342 police personnel, 98 home guards and 70 political
personalities out of which 35 were leading politicians.
35 politicians included two members from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party,
one from the Communist Party, one from the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, 22
from the United National Party (UNP), one from the Sri Lanka Mahajana
Party, seven from the United Socialist Alliance and one from the Liberal
Party. The JVP also killed SLFP supporters, UNP supporters, informants,
and according to official records 3210 civilians.
the year 1989 alone, the JVP murdered 24 members of the Buddhist clergy
for refusing to bow to the dictates of the Marxists. In 1987 and 1988
the party also killed two Catholic priests. (See box for details)
who dared oppose the JVP during this time met with an early death. As a
result, the JVP's bullets also killed 52 educationists including 50
school principals and two university professors. Among them were Prof.
Stanley Wijesundara, who was then vice chancellor, Colombo University
and Vice Chancellor, Moratuwa University, Prof. Patuwata Vithana
of the leading politicians killed by the JVP during this reign of terror
included Vijaya Kumaratunga, leader of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party and
husband of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who was assassinated on
February 16, 1988.
May 15, 1989 the JVP killed the trade union leader, Lanka Sama Samaja
Party, P.D. Wimalsena. Prior to this murder the party assassinated on
June 27, 1988 the trade union Leader, Communist Party, L.W. Panditha at
Dematagoda. On January 10,
1989 the JVP killed the SLFP organiser for Kalutara, Indrapala Abeyweera
and before that, on August 25, 1988 former SLFP MP and provincial
council candidate, United Socialist Alliance (USA), S. B. Yalegama.
other members of the USA were also gunned down by the JVP in 1988 and
1989. They were George Ratnayake, Weerasena Ritigala, Deva Bandara
Senaratne, H. M. J. Herath, Ivan Jayasekara, G. D. Premachandra and G.
October 26, 1989 the JVP killed O. Kariyawasam, candidate for the
Liberal Party. He was murdered at Wattala.
is against this bloody background that the JVP in its election manifesto
appeals for the unity of "all the Reverend Holy Lords (Buddhist
monks), Reverend Clerics (Christian priests), intellectuals, artistes,
professionals and all those who love this land and the future of this
country, to create a beautiful motherland capable of securing the
religious and cultural freedom of all people, Sinhalese, Tamils and
its previous track record, the JVP's trumpet call for "the defence
of the motherland" is hypocritical if not ominous. Let us not
forget that the JVP also slayed in cold blood, Chairman, Sri Lanka
Broadcasting Corporation, D.L. T. Guruge on July 23, 1989. Popular
announcer at SLBC and Rupavahini, Premakeerthi De Alwis was the JVP's
next victim within the short span of eight days when he was shot dead on
July 31, 1989 at Homagama.
13 days later, the JVP wearing the assassin's cloak struck once more.
This time their bullet killed Chief News Editor, Rupavahini, K.
Amaratunge on August 13, 1989.
month later, on September 13, the JVP assassinated another popular
announcer at Rupavahini, Sagarika Gomes. A day before, on September 12,
1989 the party killed Chairperson, State Pharmaceuticals Corporation,
JVP also killed Chief Engineer attached to the Ports Authority, D. C.
Atukorala on November 17, 1988, wife of the Chief Minister, Southern
Provincial Council, Esmie Amarasiri on June 7, 1989, Attorney-At-Law,
Amara Wellappuli on May 8, 1988 and Leslie Yatanwala, also an
attorney-at-law on June 15, 1989.
has only been with the support of the People's Alliance and the NSSP,
the Sri Lanka section of the United Secretariat, that the JVP has been
able to enter the mainstream of bourgeois politics in Colombo since 1994
and dress itself up as 'left' and even 'socialist' party.
from the mass murders it is pertinent to remember the JVP is also guilty
of acts of sabotage and massive vandalism of public property.The party
has destroyed 553 C. T. B. buses, 15 C. T. B. depots and a C. T. B.
party has also vandalised 16 trains, 12 rail tracks and 24 railway
stations. In addition the JVP sabotaged 132 electric transformers, 13
pylons, 69 power lines, two power stations, 25 electric meters and nine
electricity sub stations.
Marxist oriented party between 1988 and 1992 also vandalised 84 key
telephone lines, 680 post offices, 18 postal vehicles, 12
telecommunication centres and CTO building. The JVP's thirst for
violence fuelled the group to also sabotage 103 agrarian service centres
including four paddy collecting centres and cultivation and milk
its rule of terror the JVP in addition vandalised 73 tea factories, 38
estate bungalows as well as estate vehicles and tea leaf collecting
centres. The party has also attacked nearly 40 banks as well as 21
different government offices and 294 offices of government agents. The
JVP sabotaged and vandalised Timber Corporation depots, distilleries,
weaving centres, mining buildings as well as government schools. The
offices of the Building Materials Corporation, Plywood Corporation,
Cashew Corporation and fertiliser stores were also not spared.
detailed report on the damage lists 113 government vehicles as having
been damaged as well by the JVP. Hundred and seven homes of service
personnel were also attacked while 76 houses of police personnel came
under JVP fire.
addition the JVP attacked 20 houses of civilians, 33 private buildings,
five Sarvodaya centres as well as homes of provincial council members,
home guards, social centres and trade union offices. Even the offices of
foreign construction projects as well as construction centres were not
spared. According to the report, 29 private vehicles were also destroyed
by the JVP during this time.
number of the JVP's politburo and central committee members were taken
into custody for these acts of felony. General Secretary of the party,
Tilvin Silva had been the organiser of the military wing in Kalutara
District and operated under the pseudonym 'Silva.' He was arrested by
the Wadduwa police on September 3, 1987 with a T-56 rifle, whilst on his
way to attack the Palliyamankada Special Forces camp. It is this same
Tilvin Silva who, dressed in white, signed the alliance pact with the
SLFP's General Secretary, Maithripala Sirisena at the BMICH recently.
secretary, politburo member and MP for Galle district, C.D. Wijesinghe
was the military wing leader of Ratnapura district.He was involved in
the attack on Kahawatte police on December 30, 1987. He was arrested in
Secretary and politburo member, G. Kularatne was the military wing
leader of Bandaragama area. He is known to police as being an explosives
expert. He was arrested by the Dodangoda police on March 6, 1987.
Member and MP for Anuradhapura District, K. D. Lal Kantha was also a
military wing member in Anuradhapura. He was arrested by the Maha
Vilachchiya police and detained at Anuradhapura prisons. He however
escaped but was later arrested again by the Polonnaruwa police and held
Secretary, politburo member and MP for Gampaha district, Vijitha Herath
was arrested by the Special Forces whilst he was studying at Kalupahana
Vidyalaya, Haputale for enticing students to initiate agitation
campaigns against the government.
committee member and MP for Polonnaruwa District, Nihal Galappaththi was
arrested by the Borella police for JVP activity in 1988. He was detained
at the Welisara Naval camp, Boosa detention camp and Welikada remand
prison.He was finally released in 1992.
committee member and MP for Polonnaruwa District, S.K. Subasinghe was
arrested by the Polonnaruwa police in possession of a DBBL gun in 1987,
for having been involved in an attack on a police mobile patrol. He was
held at the Boosa and Pelwatte detention camps and released.
committee member and national list MP, R. Chandrasekar was arrested by
the Bandarawela police for JVP activity on March 3, 1987 and released
after being detained for three months.
committee member and MP for Matara District, J. Kitulgoda was arrested
in Colombo for JVP activity in 1989 and detained at the Colombo magazine
JVP during this time appeared to fuel its acts of terror based on its
ethnic intolerance and militant readings of religious philosophy. Prior
to the 1989 rebellion, the JVP was instrumental in leading a revolt in
1971, which also led to the deaths of thousands.
Their rebellion in 1989 orchestrated a series of strikes and
political murders. The reason for the violence was the JVP's virulent
opposition to the Sri Lankan government having signed an accord with the
Indian government to bring in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to
country was brought to a standstill. When the government's talks with
the JVP failed during this time, the state unleashed death squads that
killed JVP suspects and dumped their bodies in rivers. A three-year
reign of terror resulted in at least 30,000 deaths.
JVP however has once more changed its stance. Wimal Weerawansa, having
screamed himself hoarse against anything Indian, was recently seen at a
reception hosted by the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo.Dressed in
Western attire, a full suite, and sporting a becoming smile on his face,
Weerawansa is now only too aware of the importance of playing pooja to
India - if, the JVP intends to sit in the hot seat of government.
whether Weerawansa, Somawansa Amarasinghe and Tilvin Silva will continue
to play ball once the ballots are drawn and refrain from resorting to
the bullet - yet, remains a great uncertainty.
of the JVP on the ethnic issue
JVP presently professes to champion Sinhala chauvinism, whereas in
the 1980s' they supported the theory of self-determination, in
respect of the ethnic question. The following excerpts from the
booklet The Constitution Of Sri Lanka And The National Question,
which was published by the JVP branch in London in 1980 (Ginipupura
publications), exposes the duplicity of the JVP. This is what it
says on the issue of self- determination for the Tamil people:
"If one nation oppresses another, that oppressor is
oppressed. The proletariat in struggle against oppression, must
always acknowledge this observation. Marxists - Leninists within
the oppressing nation must fight for the right of the oppressed
nation to self- determination even to the extent of a separate
decision as to whether they (Tamils) are to live together with the
Sinhala-speaking people, or separately from them, namely whether
they are to form a unitary state or two separate states, is
entirely in the hands of the Tamil-speaking people of this
country.This is what the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna means when it
says that it accepts the right of the Tamil-speaking people to
self-determination. We support that struggle to the extent of its
current demand for secession."
Ginipupura, the journal of the JVP -UK branch, spoke on the same
lines in their issue of July 1980: "The Janatha Vimukthi
Peramuna is continuing to agitate for the recognition and
acceptance by all, of the right of the Tamil speaking people to
self- determination, that is, including their right to establish a
separate state will give correct leadership to that struggle and
gain the understanding and trust of the Tamil speaking
of the Buddhist and Catholic
clergy killed by the JVP
Poddalamulle Premaloka on 18.12.1988 Rev. Marambe
Somaratana on 31.12.1988 Rev. Angunakolapelasse Upali
on 07.01.1989 Rev. Kumbagoda Gunaloka of Mihintale Temple
on 11.07.1987 Rev. Kotikawatte Saddhatissa on 03.08.1989 Rev.
Hemaloka of Nandimithra Temple -Pallama on 04.08.1989 Rev.
W. Pangnatisa of Athurugiriya Temple on 13.08.1989 Rev.
Soragune Pangnasara of Rajamahaviharaya on 20.08.1989
Rev. Kirawanagama Pangnarama on 27.08.1989 Rev.
Welltota Pangnadassi of Kithalagamuwa Temple on 30.08.1989 Rev.
Pelpola Dharmapala of Jayasumanaramaya on 04.09.1989 Rev.
Muditha of Sri Sudharshanaramaya - Hiniduma on 05.09.1989 Rev.
Kahawa Wimalasiri of Bodhirajaramaya on 09.09.1989
Rev. Mahanuwara Dammarakkitha of Bambarangala
Temple on 18.09.1989 Rev. Govunne Rathanajothi of
Mawelagama Rajamaha Viharaya on 20.09.1989
Rev. Thiaranagama Rathanasara on 29.09.1989 Rev.
Thambugala Anandasiri on 13.10.1989 Rev. Dikpitiye Angirasa
of Sri Keththarama Temple on 05.10.1989 Rev. Kalutara
Dharmarathana on 12.10.1989
Rev. Wimalakeerthi of Dangolla Temple - Horambawa on
20.10.1989 Rev. Nikapitiye Siddhartha of Deliwala Temple on
30.10.1989 Rev. D.
Gunawansa of Mangalagama Pirivena - Molagoda on 05.11.1989 Rev.
Welipitiye Pangnatissa of Viyaneliya Temple on 29.11.1989
Rev. Bamunupotha Somarathana of Medpitiya Temple on
10.12.1989 Rev. W.
Pangnananda of Weulukannala Temple on 11.12.1989
Rev. Ambewela Chandrajothi of Kulubululanda Viharaya
on 12.12.1989 Rev. Rekawa Pangnasiddhi of Ubhayaramaya Temple -
Rekawa on 16.12.1989
Fr. Michael Paul Rodrigo of Subaseth Gedara, Kataragama on
11.10.1987 Rev. Fr. P. Lionel Jayasinghe of Lanka Deva Sabhawa -
Tissamaharamaya on 25.03.1988.