Posted on January 22nd, 2010


The youth who go to vote for the first time in the forthcoming Presidential Election is not aware of the horrendous tragedy faced by the nation during the 87/89 terror period as they were either toddlers or babies at that time.  When the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (the JVP) surfaced in the political map of Sri Lanka in the 1960s veteran politicians such as Dr. N.M. Perera and Dr. Colvin R. de Silva warned the nation of a CIA conspiracy to unleash anarchy in the country and cautioned that the newly emerged political group JVP will be the political arm that will be employed for this purpose. This group unofficially supported Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s United Front in the 1970 General Election.  However, within a few months after the formation of the United Front Government, the leaders of this political group misdirected the beguiled the youth to stage an insurrection to seize the government power through capturing all Police Stations and murdering the Prime Minister and the government Ministers.  Several hundred youth, and many Police and Army personnel lost their lives by this foiled coup. The person assigned to lead the team to capture and murder the Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the present JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe.  When he was apprehended and brought to the Prime Minister, in a very weak and battered status, she pardoned him and sent him to a rehabilitation camp. Similarly several hundred youth who were captured were also sent to rehabilitation camps established in many parts of the country.  Many of these youth realized their folly, diligently followed various study courses while interned in the camps and today many of them occupy prominent places in the society as Secretaries of Ministries, Professors in Universities, leading journalists, professionals, owners of business establishments, and Directors in Private Companies.

Lack of public support other than from the rural youth who were frustrated due to being left neglected by the elite urbanite power wielders, and short of avenues to engage in gainful employment, the party was able to easily attract the rural youth to their fold.  Miserable rejection of its leader by the people at the 1982 Presidential Election followed by President J.R. Jayawardene’s banning of the party on false pretexts implicating them as those who were responsible for the 1983 Black July riots when the real culprits were UNP organisations and its trade union arm Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, the JVP took advantage of the opportunity and went underground. 

 During this period it went on a clandestine recruitment drive, misled the youth and made them detest the society and the prevalent social structure.  The growing unemployment, the drawbacks of privatisation and its harmful effects on the rural masses, and the government’s penchant for western nations created an atmosphere conducive for the party to attract the rural youth and indoctrinate them against the prevailing society.

 The signing of the Indo-Lanka agreement following the Parippu Invasion and the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the constitution, pressurised by the Indian gunboat diplomacy, which introduced the provincial council system and paved the way for decentralisation of many government powers, brought a golden opportunity for them to resurface.  Except in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, they unleashed a campaign of horrendous terror in a bid to launch their second revolution terming it as “the struggle against Indian Expansionism and the battle to liberate the nation from foreign domination”. 

 This brought a real calamity to the people and the country, and a horrendous period Sri Lanka never witnessed in its history even under the reign of foreign invaders. It started with burning of State Properties and murdering of State officials.  Hundreds of buses, several train compartments, and hundreds of government vehicles and buildings were totally burnt down or damaged to disrupt public transport, and day to day government activities.  Power supply, particularly to rural areas was interrupted by irreparably damaging millions worth of several transformers and dislocating high voltage power lines.  On their whims and fancy roads were made impassable by felling large trees.

 Universities and schools were forced to close down, and students were beguiled to follow their stupid slogan “Viplaya perata Adyapanaya Inpasuwa (First revolution and Education next).  Due to this foolish nuisance many students lost the opportunity of entering Universities and following higher studies completely shattering the dreams of their poor parents.

 That followed the dark age of our history, in which §  People were identified as traitors, government collaborators or people holding political ideals antipathy to them and they were mercilessly murdered, by the JVP terrorists. The families of such victims were not allowed to offer the customary funeral rights and they were forced to take the bodies of victims holding low like dead animals and bury them even without the participation of their close relatives, and sans traditional religious rites.

 §  Mere chits as notification of warnings delivered by the JVP members, traders were forced to close down their shops inconveniencing the masses and depriving the people even from buying a loaf of bread.

 §  Similar chit notifications forced the people not to switch on their lights and live in the dark even without the possibility of feeding a crying baby or administering medicines to a critical patient. 

 §  Sporadically buses were forced to halt from operation and even it was not possible to take a critical patient to hospital or to see a doctor during their enforced curfew times.

 §  Government Doctors were banned from seeing patients outside their official duty hours and all doctors were prohibited from attending to patients during their enforced curfew times.  

 §  In some places those who opposed them were murdered and such victims were hung on lamp posts as a warning to others. 

 §  Even water supply was interrupted during their enforced curfew hours and people were forced to live a miserable life deprived of water, electricity and other essentials.

 §  Administrative activities of the government were paralysed and in many parts of the country and the people were unable to get even a birth registered.

 §  Factories in many parts of the country were forcibly closed down and the workers were deprived of their source of income.

 §  Banks were broken into and Gold Jewellery pawned by innocent and destitute people were taken away.

 §  Daily wage earners were denied of opportunities to engage in vocations regularly and thereby sustain their families.

 §  Many intellectuals, professionals, politicians, and leaders of the society lost their lives and many others fled the country to evade perceptible threats to their precious lives. 

 §  When the Presidential Election was underway in 1989 the JVP wanted by all means to defeat Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike in revenge of foiling their 1971 coup.  In order to prevent people from voting for Mrs. Bandaranaike who was primarily depending on rural votes, the JVP announced a boycott of the election and threatened to kill those who proceed to polling booths for voting. 

 §  This threat was mercilessly carried out in many rural areas killing those who proceeded to vote in the early morning and thereby imposed a total ban on voting in the rural areas which happened to be the vote base of Mrs. Bandaranaike.

 Information on State Terror unleashed, and the sufferings people endured by twin terrorism in the Sinhala majority areas will follow in the 2nd part of this article.

 To be continued………

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