Undergrads should be wary of JVP’s
Organised protests in several
universities have disrupted the smooth functioning of academic
activities. The protests, staged by a handful of undergraduates, are
invariably blown out of proportion and the so-called independent media
gives undue publicity to them.
The trouble-makers in the universities and other higher educational
institutes are a minuscule of the total number of undergraduates in the
country. It is deplorable that television channels which more often than
not fight tooth and nail to score a first in their news bulletins, look
for even a minor incident and have a habit of giving undue coverage to
these incidents even at the drop of a hat in the universities.
Although there are many positive events in almost all universities be
it in sports, social events, cultural shows, vocational training and
employment workshops and exchange programs with foreign universities,
most television channels and newspapers often spotlight only the
negative events at universities.
While the university authorities and organisers of various fora,
discussions, cultural shows and sports events hanker after most media
organisations for publicity without much success, these self-same
television channels which look desperately for any sort of protest to
fulfil the agendas of the political parties which they support behind
the scene, surprisingly arrive at these universities even before a small
faction of undergraduates could raise their placards.
This clearly shows that anti-social and anti-government elements are
orchestrating these protests in a well organised manner. One cannot rule
out the possibility of sympathisers of the now defunct LTTE also joining
hands with these elements to create unrest in the country.
The real players behind these unruly student protests at the
universities are anybody’s guess. It is abundantly clear that the
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is throwing its full weight to make its
presence felt. The JVP is going through its darkest period since its
founder Rohana Wijeweera chaired the party’s maiden rally in Colombo on
August 10, 1970. Following a severe erosion in the JVP vote base, the
party has now split into two following its rebel group challenging the
incumbent leader Somawansa Amarasinghe.
Hence, both factions of the JVP are now flexing their muscles to get
the better of each other. The Somawansa Group and the JVP rebels seem to
be working overtime to strengthen their grip at the universities and
brainwash the undergraduates. The JVP leaders know only too well that
the undergraduates are the only segment of the society which is
The leaders of both JVP factions know for sure that they could not
easily attract the working class any longer. There is barely any room in
civil society for the JVP to penetrate as it has been rejected by the
masses in toto at all successive elections. However, the JVP leaders’
only option is to tap the undergraduates who have got their voting
rights only recently.
Time and again, the JVP has proved in no uncertain terms that it has
more faith in the bullet rather than the ballot. During its three-decade
long political adventure, the JVP had twice attempted to capture power
through the bullet, knowing that winning the vote of the masses to gain
power is remote.
The first of the two JVP uprisings to topple the Sirimavo
Bandaranaike-led Government was way back in 1971. Thousands of innocent
youth, mostly undergraduates and men and women from rural areas, lost
their precious lives during the JVP’s failed plot that year. The current
leader of the JVP, Amarasinghe had also been a stakeholder of the 1971
Like a duck takes to water, the JVP resumed its ‘jungle life’,
propagating its gun culture in most parts of the island during its
second plot against a democratically elected government in the late
1980s. Many political, social and religious leaders were massacred by
the JVP during 1988/89. The JVP gun culture was at its peak at the time
and many civilians feared to utter even a word against them, as they
knew that they would have to pay for it with their dear lives.
Despite entering mainstream politics almost a decade after the
1988/89 insurgency, the mindset of most JVP members is to capture power
at any cost. Though they project themselves as die-hard patriots, they
have a different political agenda when it comes to every demonstration
of theirs. The JVP has never been starved of funds as many hardcore JVP
activists, many of whom had committed murders in broad daylight during
1988/89 and fled the country, had made regular contributions. It is an
open secret that they had committed innumerable human rights violations,
damaged public property and pushed the country to the brink of disaster
in one of its darkest eras.
The JVP, during its 1988/89 era of terror, also destroyed public
property worth millions of rupees, apart from torching many CTB buses.
The Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga-led People’s Alliance government
in 1994 enabled the JVP to emerge from its political wilderness.
However, the masses, at large, always looked upon the JVP with utmost
suspicion as the red-shirted men had a proven track record of taking the
law into their hands.
In the middle of last year, the JVP succeeded in making innocent
factory workers of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) into scapegoats.
These workers had little or no knowledge whatsoever about the
Government’s proposed pension scheme for the private sector though the
JVP exploited these hapless FTZ workers. The LTTE forcibly kept innocent
civilians as a human shield in the final phase of the battle against
terror. Similarly, the JVP compelled innocent FTZ workers to form a
human shield, when JVP goons went on the rampage to attack policemen to
create a tense situation. They have again penetrated the universities
with more vigour.
The JVP has an abiding passion in the gun culture to derive the
maximum political mileage out of dead bodies. All that the JVP needs at
this stage is another dead body – this time an undergraduate, which
could be ‘marketed’ in its ‘political pavement’.
The JVP is hell-bent at this stage - to get a body which it could
market to cover up its political nudity. The JVP leaders are convinced
that only the coffin of an undergraduate could resurrect its political
image. University students should be wary not to fall prey to the JVP’s