Posted on July 26th, 2022


From 1987 to 1989, the JVP was able to dominate the country. A wave of violence swept in after 1987. There were suddenly large number of people who were willing kill. And a larger number who were willing to accept this. There was a general increase in murder, rape, abduction and holdups, said Chandraprema.

1988 started a phase of open confrontation.  Trees were cut and placed across roads, power pylons and transformers damaged and telephone exchanges were sabotaged,   and hospitals were not functioning. JVP ordered the closure of Gampaha hospital in 1988. The letter had come to Gampaha hospital.

Forces personnel were regularly killed, defense installations attacked.  The family of senior Police officer Udugampola were shot and burnt in their ancestral home.  His mother, brother, brother’s wife, and their children died. Prominent persons and intellectuals died every day, many left the country. 

From September 1988 JVP imposed unofficial curfew at least once a week. Sometime for over a week in a town or village, district or province. Those who defied were killed. JVP wanted to keep the urban areas of the country constantly on the boil.

On Sept 12 1988 in most part of country, not a single shop or pharmacy opened, no buses, few people on the road, streets of villages deserted, no sounds of radio, TV.  Banks were closed, buses did not run, harbor was dead, postal service were crippled, no supply of water no electricity and not even food.

From mid 1988 JVP made officials, government servants, families of MPs and Provincial Councillors, prominent business men and their families who supported the government   paste JVP posters, stitch and hang flags, distribute leaflets and even collect money.

On the orders of JVP trade unions, professionals, student bodies, religious Association s and even old boy Associations of certain schools marched in the funeral procession of Thrimavithane in 1988,   with prominently displayed banners. Intelligence videoed the entire procession and this was used later to identify JVP.

The situation in October to November 1988 was unlike anything before, said Chandraprema. Wave of terror continued and many families were gunned down. Robberies and arsons were 100 per day and average of 20 people killed each day in 1988. Death rate was 100 per day in Dec 198.8

JVP ordered a strike on Oct 1988.  It was a total success. Workers all over the country were told not to go to work on October 26. Trains were stopped by threatening letters. Tulhiriya textiles mills closed down. Government establishments in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Panadura, Matale, Kandy, and Nuwara Eliya were closed. A threatening letter brought out demonstrators in Eppawela. At Mattakkuliya CTB depot 150 workers stopped work.

On November 3. 1988, JVP ordered all shops, offices, hotels, business establishments, state institutions to close. Also banks, state and private transport,   petrol stations. No one should watch government TV or listen to government radio, ordered JVP. Switch off lights till midnight. All houses and institutions to hoist red and black flags. The order was signed Keerthi Vijayabahu. This protest was a great success. All obeyed orders to the letter, reported Chandraprema. 

In November 1988 JVP ran the country, said Rohan Gunaratne.  It was in a state of near anarchy. People were threatened and they kept away from work. Bank, postal and telecommunications came to a halt. There was a shortage of petrol. Public transport forbidden. Bus drivers who defied orders were   killed.  Shops closed for weeks. There were queues for kerosene. There was a food shortage.

On December 12, 1988, 170 JVP detainees escaped after breaching the prison walls in two simultaneous operations launched outside and within the prison. It stunned the UNP Government.

In June 1988 JVP said the first to go to vote for Southern Provincial Council election would be shot. In Hambantota an early voter was shot dead. At the 1988 Presidential election despite JVP there was a turnout of 65%. On day of election four killed near polling booth at Tissamaharama, but still people voted and were relieved to have had elections, said Chandraprema.

JVP had a good spy network which they used to extort money. In 1989 JVP came to home of garments exporter Ramya Weerakoon and demanded money. Come out you and your daughters, api deshapremi jatika sahodarayo, they said.  They mentioned a bank account to which Ramya had received a remittance for a shipment sent out earlier. 

 She said the payment was for raw material for the new shipment. We don’t care the sahodarayo said. Our leaders have ordered us to take Rs 50,000 from you. We will come here tomorrow. Have the money ready. The next day they came at 9.30 pm and took the money away. 

1989 was the last year of the JVP terror. It was also the year in which government started to get on top of the JVP.

In May 1989 there was a spate of strikes in all sectors. 1989 SLTB strike was the crucial tug of war between government and JVP. at the start SLTB could not say why they were on strike. Two leading JVP in CTB were killed. This shook the JVP and gave confidence to the public. Strike was a defeat for JVP.  It was the beginning of the end. 

June 1989 saw much JVP activity. Gam Udawa celebration in Mahiyangana  were attacked . There was a spate of violence in south  in June 1989. In august 1989, JVP forced  government hospitals ,private hospital and dispensaries to stop work. There was also a partial hartal of government Departments, transport, banks after JVP issued threatening letters. This was JVP ‘s last hartal .

Killings continued in 1989. There was arson, robbery, death squads murdered in large  numbers  Mahaweli had an average of 70 bodies floating every day. In April 1989 there was a  landmine war  in south which showed signs of spreading . At the end of the June JVP had killed an estimated 130 SLTB employees, and destroyed about 200 buses, in order  to keep the terror level ‘ high’. 

in 1989  there were huge, well attended rallies  organized by JVP.  public  were brought in forcibly.  In June 1989 JVP held a massive rally at Nugegoda. This was its last public show.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2023 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress