Rejecting Weerawansa’s claim of a conspiracy to oust him, Amarasinghe said the MP could come back but that would be subject to his readiness to abide by the Party Constitution.
Addressing a hastily arranged press conference at the Sri Lanka Library Services Board, a furious JVP Chief emphasized that Weerawansa should respect the opinion of the majority. "We’ll not tolerate dissenting views in public. Once a decision is taken on any issue, it would stand," he said.
Flanked by MPs Lal Kantha, Vijitha Herath and Chandrasene Wijesinghe, Amarasinghe asserted that unlike the UNP and the SLFP they wouldn’t turn a blind eye to indiscipline. Weerawansa couldn’t take a different view in public at the expense of the party, he said, acknowledging there wouldn’t and couldn’t be any exception even for him.
He emphasised that the party wouldn’t compromise its position to please anyone. Commenting on ten MPs who pledged their support for Weerawansa on Tuesday, the JVP said they could come back as absolutely no disciplinary action had been taken against them at the moment.
Responding to questions raised by The Island, Vijitha Herath, MP, said Weerawansa’s controversial statement in Parliament was made in his capacity as the Leader of the Parliamentary Group. Amarasinghe added that Weerawansa hadn’t been removed from any of the positions held by him including his place in the Patriotic National Front (PNM).
The JVP leadership severely criticised Weerawansa for attacking the party in Parliament and also seeking Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara’s intervention. The Speaker couldn’t intervene and there was absolutely no scope for his intrusion, Amarasinghe said.
According to Amarasinghe, he initiated disciplinary proceedings against the member for refusing to carry out directive. "I brought charges against him. The allegations were mine," he said, specifying three instances of disobedience on the part of Weerawansa over the recent past.
An angry Amarasinghe accused Weerawansa of refusing to issue a statement critical of the government’s controversial decision to expel hundreds of Tamils from Colombo, in his capacity as the Parliamentary Group Leader. "Finally I had to call Anura Kumara Dissanayake to make a statement in Parliament," he said.
Amarasinghe asserted they wouldn’t blindly support the government on the war effort. It would be wrong to believe that was the only issue, he said. The JVP was concerned about human rights, media freedom and cost-of-living among other issues. Amarasinghe said Weerawansa refused to attack the ruling coalition over the expulsion of Tamils from Colombo and that was an extremely serious issue.
Prodded by Lal Kantha, Amarasinghe accused Weerawansa of also shielding the government over the attack on Sunday Leader press situated in a high security zone. Attacking both the Sunday Leader and its sister paper Irudina for being unreasonable and false in their criticism of the JVP, Amarasinghe asserted it was a case of press freedom. The government should have taken responsibility but Weerawansa conveniently failed to use his big guns.
In response to another query raised by The Island, Amarasinghe said the decision not to back the UNP at the third reading of the vote on the Budget last December had been taken by the Central Committee. Weerawansa, too, backed that decision.
Amarasinghe said Weerawansa tried to side-step the issue by avoiding the inquiry. In fact, the party had informed him of the commemorative meeting held at the open air Theatre of Viharamahadevi Park on April 5 to mark the launch of 1971 insurgency. But he skipped the meeting, he said.
Werawansa came under heavy flak for discussing his sufferings during the second insurgency and his contribution to the party. Amarasinghe said all of them had made personal sacrifices for the party and it would be childish on Weerawansa’s part to believe that he had done something exclusive.
Amarasnghe also asserted the party had overcome far more challenges and set backs over the years. Nothing could be worse then the assassination of JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera and top leadership except a few during the second insurgency, he said, the party would survive the current trouble. He signalled the JVP wouldn’t compromise its stance on Weerawansa to settle the dispute.
The JVP accused Weerawansa and his group of conspiring against the party. Amarasinghe said the group of MPs who held a press briefing at the Nippon had been briefed by a person at the headquarters of the Patriotic National Front before they appeared before the press. We wouldn’t have minded if Weerawansa had briefed them before the conference but they had been in fact been briefed by one Senarath Silva, a former JVP heavyweight. Now that was a conspiracy, he said.