Sri Lanka's PM decries insurrectionary Marxists

[TamilNet, Friday, 16 February 2001, 21:49 GMT]
"The murder of human beings is considered a crime in any society. It is totally against the principles of Buddhism" said Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka Friday, addressing the opening of an exhibition of photographs of people allegedly killed by the Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in Piliyandala, an outer suburb of Colombo, in 1988-89.

He accused the radical Marxist JVP of mass murder during the leftists' insurrection at the time. A JVP official in Colombo, however, dismissed the PM's allegations, saying that the government has launched this campaign to discredit his party, fearing its rapidly growing influence among the rural masses and urban workers.

The Sri Lankan government views the rise of the JVP with apprehension. This radical insurrectionist Marxist party was believed to have been virtually annihilated in 1990 when its leader was captured and killed.

ratnasiri_wickremanayake_1.jpgIt has risen since then to a powerful third force in Sinhala politics. The JVP leadership remains dedicated to the Stalinist approach to revolutionary practice and politics.

The party has ten MPs and controls an increasing number of trade unions in key sectors of the economy, including the free trade zones.

Most of the party's central committee and politburo are either underground or are in exile in France, UK, Japan and South Korea. Colombo thinks that clamping down on the party's activities heavily now might drive it towards militancy again, according to political analysts in Colombo.

Hence the photo campaign to stir revulsion among the general Sinhala public against the carnage of 1988-89, according to them.

Nevertheless, a large demonstration by the JVP (People's Liberation Front) in Colombo's business hub in January was quelled by Sri Lanka's special riot Police. The party vowed to carry on the campaign regardless of what it described as fascist state repression of it legitimate protests.

"The people will not forget 1988-89 period. Fear prevailed in the south at the time. The United National Party and the JVP have to take responsibility for the murders and crimes committed in that period of terror," Sri Lankan the Prime Minister said.

The PM, backed by the Sri Lankan President, has been in the forefront of Colombo's military campaign, whipping up strong nationalist and militarist sentiments among the Sinhalese to muster support for prosecuting the war in the northern and eastern parts of the island.

Mr. Wickremanayaka said that the JVP has not changed any of its fundamental policies although it claims that it has returned to democratic mainstream politics. He charged that the current activities of the UNP and the JVP are aimed at disrupting Sri Lanka's economy.

He emphasised that it was important at this juncture to be wary that the "period of terror" should not return.

Mr.Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister for Media, also spoke, underscoring the importance of holding photo exhibitions such as the one inaugurated in Piliyandala today.

At least ten people, including a member of the Western Provincial Council were wounded when police opened fire to disperse demonstration by the JVP in Colombo on 10 January 2001.


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