Sri Lanka needs friends, not arbitrators
It was only a few weeks ago that
we exposed the opportunistic politics of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuma
(JVP). The JVP has made desperate attempts to make its presence felt by
resorting to unruly acts.
Having achieved its target of finding a dead body for its political
survival following the recent unfortunate incidents at Katunayake, the
JVP seems to be hell-bent on continuing its political agenda to push the
country towards a dark era again and cripple the economy.
The JVP or the People's Liberation Front, as it was known earlier,
has been the most controversial political party in Sri Lanka's chequered
From the day it was set up, nearly four decades ago, the JVP
unsuccessfully attempted to gain power through two bloody insurrections.
The JVP initially attempted to capture power in 1970 through the bullet
by attacking several police stations and threatening the then Government
of the late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The Government at the
time had no option but to destroy hundreds of insurgents who were
involved in an armed struggle.
Nevertheless, after the UNP took office on July 21, 1977, the then
President, the late J.R. Jayewardene pardoned the remaining hardcore JVP
activists serving jail sentences, including its leader Rohana Wijeweera
and deputy leader Upatissa Gamanayake. When Wijeweera contested the 1982
Presidential election, many people felt that the JVP had given up its
gun culture and entered the democratic mainstream. But lo and behold, it
was shortlived - only for five years as they, true to form, reverted to
their old habit of using arms and ammunition. The JVP terror, unleashed
in 1987/89, killed thousands of eminent people and innocent civilians.
It is still fresh in the people's minds how the JVP posed a severe
threat not only to the then Government, but also to all and sundry at
The JVP also disrupted day-to-day civilian life which was often
crippled by their unofficial "curfews". A large number of innocent
people who voiced their protests against the unlawful activities of the
JVP were brutally massacred.
After the 17-year UNP rule came to an end in 1994, the JVP again
began to grow as a democratic political party. Though it took up arms
against a legitimate Government twice, a certain section of people were
of the opinion that the JVP had eventually reposed faith in the ballot.
Hence, the popularity of the JVP increased gradually and the party
emerged as the third political force in the country.
The JVP reached its peak as a democratic political party in 2004/05
when it forged a successful alliance with the SLFP and several other
political parties. The JVP also exerted influence on former President
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to call for a snap general election
in 2005 and contested under the UPFA ticket. It should thank its lucky
stars that due to some unexpected votes from SLFPers, the JVP secured a
record 39 seats and were given four key ministerial portfolios.
This was when the JVP lost its head as some of its leaders such as
Somawansa Amerasinghe overestimated its strength, inspired by the
overwhelming response it received at the 2005 general election. But its
true colours were seen at the 2010 general election as it secured only
The JVP, in days gone by had a galaxy of orators who could talk to
the hearts of the masses. Moreover, there were a few members who could
really read the pulse of the people in the provinces. Heading that list
of JVP leaders at the time was parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa who did
not mince his words when he spoke to the hearts of the rural masses.
Regrettably, some JVP leaders misconstrued this and conspired against
Weerawansa's increasing popularity and a few moderate JVP
Parliamentarians did not swallow the outdated JVP doctrinaire politics.
At the last general election, Weerawansa polled the highest number of
preferential votes in the Colombo district and became a Minister in the
UPFA-led Government to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The JVP is today struggling to overcome its political bankruptcy. It
has neither a vision nor a clear-cut policy in the political arena. The
JVP leaders are today living in a fool's paradise, attempting to gain
political mileage by hook or by crook. The JVP should even at this late
stage realise that people are no succours to swallow everything they
say, hook line and sinker.
If the JVP is genuinely interested in protecting the country's image,
it should neither directly nor indirectly support sinister moves by both
local and foreign elements with vested interests. Irrespective of
diverse political goals, all political parties should stand united as
Sri Lanka is attempting to stand tall with its reconciliation process in
motion after eradicating the scourge of terrorism.
When a section of the Tamil diaspora with the support of extraneous
international forces are trying to tarnish Sri Lanka's image with a
doctored video telecast by Britain's Channel 4, it devolves on all
patriotic political parties here to unite in one voice and extend
unconditional support to the Government. Not only the JVP, even the main
Opposition, the United National Party (UNP) seems to be unaware of its
real role at this juncture. In the event the Opposition parties such as
the UNP or JVP have a score to settle with the Government, they could by
all means take it up at a different democratic forum. The time is now
opportune for all democratic and patriotic forces to unite and protect
Mother Lanka from extraneous forces.
It is a foregone conclusion that several countries in the West did
not favour the fearless manner in which Sri Lanka eliminated terrorism
and crushed the world's deadliest terror outfit. This was, indeed, a
resounding achievement which even the most sophisticated armies in the
world are still unable to come to terms with. Hence, certain quarters in
the West are flexing their muscle to discredit our gallant soldiers.
The eradication of terrorism has put Sri Lanka's economy on a fast
track and all economic indicators show prosperity ahead. Such singular
achievements have been made possible due to the indefatigable efforts of
President Rajapaksa and the supreme sacrifices by the Security Forces.
It is indeed most gratifying to see Heads of State in China, Russia
and Spain extending their support to President Rajapaksa during his
recent meetings with them in St. Petersburg. They have condemned in no
uncertain terms international forces interfering in Sri Lanka's internal
affairs. As Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has
pointed out, the international community and international organisations
such as the UN should help Sri Lanka at this juncture. Sri Lanka needs
friends, not arbitrators or judges!