It looks like the JVP is playing the same old game The role played by the JVP in the current political scenario in the country reminds us of their earlier days where they made a foolhardy, hasty attempt to form a government of their own. In the 1970 parliamentary election the JVP as a young [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka



It looks like the JVP is playing the same old game

The role played by the JVP in the current political scenario in the country reminds us of their earlier days where they made a foolhardy, hasty attempt to form a government of their own.

In the 1970 parliamentary election the JVP as a young revolutionary party under the leadership of Rohana Wijeweera was in the forefront of the campaign to topple the then UNP led “hath havula anduwa” or the seven party coalition government of Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake. There, the JVP threw its weight behind Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike and her coalition party to defeat the UNP-led government, the first government that lasted the entire five year term in office (from1965 to 1970) after the introduction of the British Westminster system of the Government in Ceylon, by the Soulbery constitution. The UNP government having been ignominiously defeated in that parliamentary election held under the first past the post system was relegated to third place depriving them even of the opposition leadership, making it possible for the Tamil M.P A. Amirthalingam to be sworn in as the leader of the opposition.

After this shattering defeat of the UNP and before the lapse of even a few months of the formation of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s government which the JVP was immensely instrumental in bringing into office, the JVP did a quick u-turn and unleashed an armed attack against the very government they helped into power. They resorted to unprecedented violence that destabilised the country. But with the all-powerful Minister Felix R. Dias Bandaranaike at the helm of all government affairs, holding so many ministries, the JVP’S armed struggle was mercilessly crushed. A large number of youth all over the country were killed and the leader of the armed insurrection Rohana Wijeweera was arrested and incarcerated.

And years later in 1977 with the advent of the all-powerful UNP government under the leadership of J.R.  Jayewardene, RohanaWijeweera was given a presidential pardon. Soon after his release, in a media interview the JVP leader was questioned as to why the JVP that vigorously campaigned to defeat the UNP and bring the SLFP led government to power sprang against the very government they helped to establish a few months before. Wijeweera’s prompt reply was amazing. His clear and candid reply was that it was difficult for them to snatch power from the UNP and that was the reason why they campaigned to topple that government and bring in the SLFP- led government to power, from which they felt they could accomplish their intention and establish a government of their own.

Thus don’t the current activities of the JVP in the political field make us believe that they supported the common opposition under Maithripala Sirisena to bring down the formidable Rajapaksa government solely with the intention of bringing into power a less powerful government so that they could deal with it easily?

Doesn’t their role in the current political firmament seem to be apparently a matter of history repeating itself?

A.W.M. Aiyoob

If the champions of human rights can do it why can’t we?

Reader Edward G’s email to Letters to the Editor relating to the glorification of handcuffs reminded me of my experience a couple of years ago in Princeton University Township where I witnessed two black American cops questioning  a black suspect arrested by them. The man was handcuffed behind his back and pushed into the back seat of the police car and driven  away.

Why can’t our police and prison officers do so here too, if human rights-concerned USA can do so there?

If this procedure  is followed here, the glorification of handcuffs as mentioned by Edward G could easily be ended! Over to you police/prisons.


Injustice acknowledged, but no redress yet

I had a problem with Health Ministry secretaries and Director Generals since 1993 and I feel it amounts to a violation of my fundamental rights.

When I appealed to the Ombudsman and the Public Petitions Committee, they found the injustice and recommended redress and relief. Though the parties accepted the ruling, they are yet to provide me relief.

I complained to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the HRC summoned the respondents but they defied the summons, thus committing an offence under Section 20(3) of the HRC Act No. 21 of 1996. The HRC too did not take action in spite of my repeated reminders.

Then I appealed to the President and parliamentarians. They too instructed the public servants to take action but their request too has been ignored.

Media exposures regarding the indolence of bureaucrats and the deteriorating public service are like ‘pouring water on a duck’s back’.

M. Chandran

Drug abuse: The need of the hour is not protests but education

Today circumstances force both parents to seek employment to keep the home fires burning and in the face of poverty they are compelled to work long and arduous hours. The result is that they overcome one problem only to be replaced with others. They are compelled to neglect the home and when the children return from school they have no parent to welcome them.

No house becomes a home if there is no sharing of each person’s daily experiences. Hence the children tend to go astray and fall prey to other evils such as drugs. Now this is the problem the whole country is faced with – in fact the whole world is subject to.

Religious and nongovernmental organisations must address this problem not by demonstrations or walks. I as a Christian believe that instead of the church organising a demonstration at Ragama against drug abuse, the church should educate the parents of the students attending their schools. That would be a more timely and practical effort.

George Abeyewickrema
Via email

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