JVP seeks  political base  in North & East


By Shamindra Ferdinando

In spite of an extremely poor show at the recently concluded LG polls in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, the JVP is making a fresh bid to establish a political base in former LTTE strongholds.

The Marxist party alleges the Rajapaksa administration has denied political freedom to those living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces though the war ended over two years ago in May 2009.

The JVP yesterday announced the formation of ‘People’s Wall of Comradeship’ in Vavuniya to spearhead the campaign.  Joint organizers of the new movement, JVP MP Sunil Handunetti and former MP Ramalingham Chandrasekar said that a political campaign was needed to re-establish democracy in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The movement would press for restoration of civil administration and equal opportunities for Tamil speaking people, they said.

The announcement was made in the wake of the government refusing the JVP access to Menik Farm, home to several thousand of internally displaced persons. The Menik Farm administration insisted that those visiting the facility had to obtain prior permission from the Defence Ministry and turned back the JVP delegation after its arrival at the entry point.

``The military is running the country, though the government did away with State of Emergency,’’ MP Ajith Kumara said.

Addressing the media at Hotel Nelli, No 84, 2nd Cross Street, Vavuniya, yesterday, the JVP declared its plans to pressure the government to end what the party called further militarization of the war ravaged Northern and Eastern districts.

Socialist Youth Union Sri Lanka and Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF), both affiliated to the JVP,  have thrown their weight behind a campaign spearheaded by an organization called ‘We Are Sri Lankans’ to protest against continuing human rights violations.

The JVP alleged that the government had failed to take meaningful measures restore democracy and civil administration, though the LTTE posed no conventional military threat now.

Meanwhile, those demanding a change in the JVP leadership are planning to step up their campaign now scheduled to get underway on Tuesday (Dec.13). The rebel group launched a poster campaign last week to announce its fresh initiative amidst further internal turmoil in the party.

A one-time JVP activist now with the National Freedom Front (NFF) told The Sunday Island that the rebels had chosen a day (Dec 13) remembered for unprecedented violence unleashed by activists a month after the capture and execution of the then JVP leader, Rohana Wijeweera on Nov 13, 1989, by the UNP.

Responding to a query, the NFF official alleged that the rebels could be trying to take the party in a different path as part of its overall strategy to undermine the incumbent leadership.

Authoritative UPFA sources said that the JVP, though being repeatedly rejected at several post-war elections had still failed to realize the ground reality. Sources alleged that the JVP, too, was playing politics with the nation. The UPFA likened the JVP strategy to that of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which once recognized the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamil speaking people.  

Sources accused the TNA, JVP and the UNP of trying to paint a bleak picture of the country in spite enjoying political freedom. Although those human rights champions had refused to acknowledge the reality, ordinary people realized that no genuine political freedom would have been feasible as long as the LTTE had the wherewithal to take political, military and economic targets at will, sources said.

Whatever the Opposition said that the vast majority of Lankans enjoyed the benefits of peace whether they lived in the Northern Province or in the city, the UPFA said. Those demanding political freedom had conveniently ignored that the TNA and the TULF secured 20 LG bodies in the Northern Province early this year, they said.

The Opposition would have an opportunity to contest for polls for the Northern Provincial Council early next year. The UPFA is confident that that the release of all ex-LTTE combatants within the next couple of months would facilitate national reconciliation efforts and underscore the government’s commitment to a lasting settlement. 

Sources said that the release of nearly 12,000 ex-LTTE personnel within three years after the conclusion of the conflict would effectively silence those critical of government’s treatment of the detainees. In fact, those arrested for their involvement with JVP terrorism had been detained for far longer periods, they said.

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