Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 15 January 2012





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Government Gazette

Undergrads should be wary of JVP’s political minefield

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 gullible.

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 insurgency.

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 political minefield.


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