Politics

Wijeweera and the í71 insurgency
By Manoj Abeydheera
Translated by Harischandra Gunaratna

An extract from a statement by Rohana Wijeweera to Inspector P. V. W. de Silva of the CID on April 16, 1970.

According to the social ethos prevailing in Sri Lanka I undersfoot that the Moscow and the Peking wings of the communist party were not communist oriented so I decided to establish a new communist party and its manifesto thus.

1) To transform the neo colonialist society to a socialist oriented society.

2) To eradicate the neo colonialist economy and create a socialist economy.

3) To free Sri Lanka from the neo colonialist forces of British and, American Imperialism and Indian expansionism.

4) To develop a real socialist economy.

A UNP youth league member of the UNP from Gonahena coveyed an important message to the party leader J. R. Jayewardene. He said "Those occupying the room next to mine in Kotahena are planning to "assassinate the Prime Minister and take over the country." That was a fine opportunity for J.R. and he got the youth league member to continue spying for him. Hence this youth Edison Gunatilake continued to carry information about one of JVPís key operations which was to capture the "queen bee" as it was easy to take the bee hive once the queen bee is captured and similarly itís easy to topple a government once the leader is captured, J. R. manoeuvured the pawn in the chess board . His spy eavesdropped on a conversation Kularatne Banda alias Piyasiri Kularatne had with his comrades to launch an operation to capture power. JR promptly informed the Prime Minister and created further divisions between his enemies, the SLFP and the JVP who were already divided by imperialism. By this time the LSSP-CP-Communist coalition supporters realised who their political enemy was. J.R. made Sirimavo believe he was who saved her life from the insurgents by tipping her about JVPís clandestine plans to capture her and got in to her good books.

Following the results of the 1982 referendum J.R. postponed the general election due in 1983 till 1989. Rohana Wijeweera filed action against the referendum and it was rejected by the court. With the 1982 referendum he became the strongman among the weaklings in the political arena. Mrs. Bandaranaike couldnít contest as she was deprived of her civic rights after the trap laid by J.R. Hector Kobbekaduwa contested from the trouble ridden SLFP and came second polling 2548434 with a percentage of 39.07% Rohana Wijeweera came third polling 273428 with a percentage of 4.19%. The UNP polled 3450811 votes with a percentage of 52.91%. J.R. knew what Wijeweeraís intentions were. SLFP had gone into deep slumber and would not be able to return to big time politics for a long time. But the question whether Wijeweera was trying to fill the vacuum created by the SLFP was always haunting JRís mind. He knew the capabilities of Wijeweera and thought his entering parliament would be a headache , thus he turned the general election to a referendum to eliminate "Rohan from the political scene.

In the 1977 election UNP won a majority of 140 seats with the SLFP only 8 seats. With the help of the 5/6 majority his party received J.R. created the executive presidency.

Under the powers vested in him he appointed a special Presidential Commission to try the former Premier on charges of abusing power. Rohana Wijeweera was one of the witnesses at this inquiry against Mrs. Bandaranaike.

"I concluded that both, the Peking wing and the Moscow wing of the Communist party in Sri Lanka were not communist oriented and decided to form a new communist party in line with the social ethos of society that existed then.

At a political rally in Anuradhapura JR vowed to roll the political map of Sri Lanka. He undermined his main political opponent Sirimavo with the help of Wijeweera and took a further step on the political chess board to fulfil his ambition of removing Wijeweera from the scene.He was informed on the night of 23 July 1983 that 13 soldiers of the Armyís four bravo surveillance team were killed in a bomb explosion in Jaffna by the Tamil separatists.

This news spread like wild fire on 24 July , the day the bodies were brought to Kanatte, Borella the crowds went berserk and a curfew was declared. The government proscribed the LSSP and the JVP accusing them of promoting the unlawful acts on that day. The troubles were created by the UNP thugs J.R. who released Wijeweera from jail in 1977 banned him in 1983 from political activity.

In order to fulfill these objectives I decided to establish a workers party in Sri Lanka.

CIA agents

J.R. and the UNP were accused of being CIA agents by the communist partyís official organ "Aththa" and one of its issues had that "The í71 insurgency was a CIA trap." JRís political witch hunting continued with success while Sirimavo the government took repressive measures against the insurgency.

On March 12 night police arrested Lal Somasiri and Uhana Prematillake at the latterís residence while Kelly Senanayake and Wijeweera were also arrested when they were approaching Prematilakeís residence. On March 16 the government declared emergency effective from 5 p.m. under the national security act and emergency powers. On the following day addressing the nation Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike disclosed about the insurgency to the public.

J.R. entertained ideas of getting a 5/6th majority at the next general election as well. With the deprivation of her civic rights Mrs. Bandaranaike lost her parliamentary seat as well and the SLFP was divided into factions. Even under these circumstances J.R. never favoured a parliamentary election, but opted for a referendum to extend the term of the government. When asked why he opted for a referendum when he had the good chance to win a general election his answer was that that we will definitely win a parliamentary election ,but then Rohan, Wickramabahu and Vijaya Kumaratunga will enter parliament and that will be troublesome. Here he had referred to Wijeweera as Rohan.

J.R. who saved Sirimavo from Wijeweera and his allies this time with the support of Wijeweera assassinated her political career thus continuing with his political witch hunting

J.R. who was on the verge of being thrown out from the political firmament was able to make a come back thanks to the í71 insurgency. The political journey he commenced ended after he was crowned the "king." and was intoxicated with power .By this time the masses started hating him and his style of governance. J.R. and the UNP which came to power in 1977 promising a righteous society" became a pawn of imperialism and betrayed the country. The anti imperialist forces were further divided by the í71 insurgency . Although there were differences among them they were not matters that could not be reconciled. But those differences proved a fertile ground for a shrewd politician like J.R. to win political gains. By his proscription of the JVP in 1983 the country lost over 100,000 lives and billions of rupees as a result of the insurrection in 1988-1989.

Although Mrs B who was deprived of her civic rights she contested the presidential elections in 1988 but didnít create an impact. The Presidency was won by Ranasinghe Premadasa of the UNP. Mrs Bandaranaike was re-elected as an MP at the 1989 general elections. But by 1994 alien forces had "killed" her political career. Instead the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party a tool of the imperialist forces crept into the SLFP weakening Mrs. Bandaranaike position and her policies. By this time the JVP was making a come back. It didnít use itís old name even by 1995 and under cover of the Sri Lanka Progressive Party won one seat contesting under the flower vase symbol.

J.R. Jayewardene , dubbed as the agent of the imperialists capitalised on the differences between these two parties and controlled the political chess board.

Premawathi Manamperi

The UNP leaders highlighted the murder of beauty queen Premawathi Manamperi on political platforms and the difficulties people faced such as the rice and chillie barriers and the era of queues. Those factors assured an overwhelming victory for the UNP. In the same manner that J.R. got in to the good books of Sirimavo by tipping her about the JVP insurrection , he made plans to get into the good books of the JVP as well. As he came to power J.R. pardoned and released Wijeweera and others in prison convicted of trying to overthrow the legally elected government.

Rohana Wijeweera explained the factors that led to the formation of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) on the Vesak full moon day of 1965. The JVP left an indelible mark in the political history of Sri Lanka six years after the party was established and was responsible for the insurrection.Thirty-Four years after the insurrection the JVP won 41 parliamentary seats of which two were offered to itís ally SLFP , thus having 39 seats in Parliament.

Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike was able to stall the 1962 coup staged by the top brass of the armed forces who belonged to the Christian faith as she was accidentally tipped off by one of her faithfuls about the impending danger. The biggest challenge she faced after the coup was the insurgency in 1971. She came to power at the 1971 hustings on the pledge that the accent on development of the country should be on homegrown policies and carried out a political campaign against imperialism and a non-aligned policy was promoted. The government promoted the nationalisation of private enterprise and wanted to free the masses from the clutches of the multinational companies who were fleecing them. Mrs. Bandaranaike introduced a new industrial development policy.

This is an extract of a statement by Wijeweera Patabendige Don Nandasiri alias Nandasiri Wijeweera to CID Inspector P. V. W. de Silva at the CID headquarters on 16 April 1970 to augment the national industries. This policy also facilitated the import of raw materials required for the indigenous industries from abroad. In 1970 alone Bandaranaike government started 20 state corporations to make Sri Lanka an independent country .

What is the destiny of this party?

What manifests from the evidence by Wijeweera was that the JVP was against neo colonialism and imperialism. The end result of the 1971 insurgency was the shrewdest politician in Sri Lanka J. R. Jayewardene took charge of the countryís political chess board thanks to the í71 insurgency.

When Mrs. Bandaranaike gave evidence before the commission she asked why the government was reluctant to proceed in a normal court of law. The reason was to prevent his political enemies from governing in future. The Presidential Commission deprived Mrs. Bandaranaike of her civic rights for a period of seven years.

Wijeweerea was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Criminal Justice Commission headed by Chief Justice H. N. G. Fernado on the charge of conspiring to overthrow Her Majestyís government. A large number of youth who took part in the insurgency were imprisoned while many died of police fire.

That operation which was headed by Piyasiri Kularatne was named "Rosmead Operation." The security forces couldnít arrest Kularatne. A Senior Security Forces official informed the Prime Minister they captured the leader of the group who planned to assassinate her. She ordered the officer to bring the youth before her. Perhaps what the Prime Minister had in mind was to talk to a restive youth .

But she couldnít believe her eyes when the youth was brought before her by the security forces men and she quickly covered her face with her hand and told them to take him back, not because she was angry with him, but because the security forces personnel had "meted out justice to him" and he couldnít stand on his feet and had to be aided by two people on either side. He was badly assaulted and had just covered himself with a skimpy cloth. This was not something that Mrs. Bandaranaike anticipated.

He was in a cell at the Welikade prison and was called by the other inmates as "Rosmead Amare." "Rosmead Amare" devoted most his time to reading and was in deep thought. The JVPers following their leader Rohana Wijeweera kept their hair unkempt. But Amare liked to dress well and to have his hair well combed. This man is today the JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe.

fled the country

Amerasinghe who was on his way to the Ulapane residence of the late leader of the JVP Rohana Wijeweera turned back when he saw army vehicles moving towards Ulapane estate to arrest the JVP leader. Amaresinghe who fled the country during this period returned to the island in 2002.

Amerasinghe said in 1970 he was ready to help the SLFP to implement the United Front manifesto.

JVP staged an insurrection in 1971 against the United Front policy accusing the LSSP and the Communist party of betraying the revolution by accepting four portfolios in the 1970 United Front government. Somawansa Amaerasinghe who played a pivotal role in the aborted coup to capture the Prime Minister ,after 20 years now urges the SLFP to implement the policies against which the JVP earlier campaigned vehemently.

Whatís reason for this change of policy.

Somawansa Amerasinghe wants to save the country from disaster by accepting four portfolios although Wijeweera said the LSSP and the Communist party betrayed their struggle earlier by accepting four portfolios.

There are imperialists and NGOís working to remove the JVP from the alliance government by bribing people. Some deputy ministers who have become slaves to bribes and foreign trips have become pawns of this sinister campaign.

The plan of the SLFP alias Sinhala Mahajana Pakshaya which has got rid of the policies of Mrs. Bandaranaike is to help Tamil separatism like in the past.JVP has become a headache to the allies of the SLMP, LSSP and Communist party and the card carrying leftist imperialist parties.

If the JVP does not cause problems like in 1971 but face the cultural, political and economic invasion by the imperialists, it will be a historic feat by the JVP.

With the forces of the Sangha, Govi and Gurus the JVP will be able to bring prosperity to the country by shedding itís marxist tag. It was imperialism that gained by the JVPís 1971 decision using Marxism against imperialism and Indian expansionism. Looking at todayís state of the revolutionaries of 1971 itís quite evident that Marxism has today become a slave of imperialism. Today the worst enemy of imperialism is nationalism and itís high time Somawansa Amarasignhe realised the folly of trying to find solutions to imperialism through Marxism.

 

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