Posted on October 4th, 2022


JVP disappeared from public view   for a few years after the second insurgency failed in 1989, but resurfaced within five years as a mainstream political party.  From 1994 JVP has been represented in Parliament.

However, JVP’s performance in Parliament has not been impressive. JVP has a history of propping up crumbling regimes and supporting unpopular governments, said critics. In 2001, the JVP offered to shore up the Chandrika Kumaratunga government, which was teetering on the brink of collapse, owing to a spate of crossovers, and undertook to introduce the 17th Amendment.

In 2015 JVP supported Yahapalana government. .JVP was a member of the National Executive Council  set up by the Yahapalana government. In 2018, JVP defended the UNP-led UNF government against President Maitripala Sirisena, and Mahinda Rajapaksa. It voted with the UNP, enabling the latter to retain a working majority in the House.

 JVP entered the 2020   General election under the banner of the  National People’s Power NPP, a broad alliance of 28 organizations, comprising political parties, civil society organizations, intellectuals and other professionals. There is little information on the different groups involved in the NPP but it is clear that the dominant force is the JVP.  In Parliament NPP is associated almost exclusively with JVP.

It is more than 20 years since the JVP came into mainstream democratic politics. Yet, it has failed to increase its vote base. In the 2020 election NPP got    45,958 votes, a mere 3.84% of the total votes polled.  It won two seats, Colombo West and Gampaha, both multi member seats.

In 2014, in an attempt to increase its voter base, JVP decided to approach the Veddah community. Somawansa Amarasinghe, Central Committee member Sudath Balagalle and a few other representatives went all the way to Dambana and met Veddah chief Uruwarige Wanniyelaththo at Kotabakiniya village.

They gave the Veddah leader a copy of the new JVP policy statement titled ‘Our vision’. JVP leader and Veddah chief discussed the present political situation in the country and problems faced by Veddah community. JVP may have decided that that they could not increase their vote base any more and must seek the support of even Veddah community, said the media.

This year, JVP has  turned to the Muslim vote. In June 2022 JVP led by Sunil Handunnetti visited Eravur town and together with the JVP’s Eravur organizer they distributed handbills to shop owners and pedestrians in Eravur town.

Handunnetti said that the Muslims are misrepresented and made to look like enemies of the country by interested parties. People should read the Holy Quran and come to know the real teachings of Islam. This will dispel the wrong opinions that people have about Muslims and their religion, Handunnetti said. A copy of the Holy Quran in Sinhala was presented to Handunnetti by youth activist J.R.A. Sajith.

In July 2022 JVP representatives met Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem.   There was a photograph in the media of.JVP meeting Rauf Hakeem for discussion.

The JVP has  a  history of violence. Their atrocities, especially during 1987-89, continue to haunt the party still, acknowledged Anura Kumara Dissanayake. More than 30 years later, it is the JVP’s actions during its second insurrection that its enemies still use to attack the party, he said. JVP has had to continuously defend itself against allegations and rumors that the group was re-arming for another insurrection.

IN 2021, at an interview with Sunday Times, Dissanayake  acknowledged its past violent actions and publicly accepted responsibility for what it did. We have done this on campaign platforms and at media conferences since 1994. We have expressed regret time and again,” he stressed,  Dissanayake however, did not elaborate on whether the party has ever expressed regret for violent acts committed specifically during the 1971 insurrection, observed the interviewer.

The party has proved its sincerity through its commitment to non violence since reentering democratic politics in 1994, Dissanayake argued. Dissanayake pointed out that several JVP supporters, candidates and local politicians have been murdered since 1997. We however, have never thrown so much as a rock in retaliation.”

The JVP are not the only killers in Sri Lanka Dissanayake said. The governments of J.R. Jayewardene and R. Premadasa were guilty of slaughtering over 60, 000 people alleged Dissanayake. This distortion” has created a lasting impression among the people regarding the JVP and this perception continues to persist even today, he said.

The older generation, who suffered at the time, still associates the JVP with violence, making it difficult for the party to gain votes from those who had experienced the horrors. Although the JVP has rebranded itself as a mainstream, non-violent, and non-insurgent force,  some voters, especially the older generation who lived during the insurgencies, may have reservations about voting for the JVP. They have not forgotten its gory   history of  killings,  observed Roshni Kapur and  Chulanee Attanayake.

These senior citizens are  getting alarmed. Over the past 50 years, I have observed the   activities of the JVP. This is a brief attempt to revive readers’ memories and warn of coming danger said G.R. Morrel and related some of the JVP doings he had seen.

The younger generations did not live through the 1970 and 1980 periods of JVP terror and the older generation is  concerned that they will fall for JVP propaganda said Old Soldier writing to the  Island newspaper  in 2019 .

Sri Lanka  must never forget how in 1987  the JVP ordered the closing down of hospitals and made death threats to the doctors and staff if they attempted to work. They threw the entire health system into disarray. It caused the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of seriously ill patients adding to the 60,000 deaths they were responsible for by murder, said Old Soldier.

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