Anarchist JVP politics and 1987-1989 terror menace - Part I
The youth who go to vote for the first time in the forthcoming
Presidential Election is not aware of the horrendous tragedy faced by
the nation during the 87/89 terror period as they were either toddlers
or babies at that time. When the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (the JVP)
surfaced in the political map of Sri Lanka in the 1960s veteran
politicians such as Dr. N.M. Perera and Dr. Colvin R. de Silva warned
the nation of a CIA conspiracy to unleash anarchy in the country and
cautioned that the new political group JVP will be the political arm
that will be employed for this purpose.
This group unofficially supported Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike's United
Front in the 1970 General Election. However, within a few months after
the formation of the United Front Government, the leaders of this
political group misdirected the beguiled youth to stage an insurrection
to seize government power through capturing all Police Stations and
murdering the Prime Minister and government Ministers. Several hundred
youth, and many Police and Army personnel lost their lives due to this
The person assigned to lead the team to capture and murder Prime
Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the present JVP Leader Somawansa
Amarasinghe. When he was apprehended and brought to the Prime Minister,
in a very weak and battered status, she pardoned him and sent him to a
rehabilitation camp. Similarly several hundred youth who were captured
were also sent to rehabilitation camps established in many parts of the
country. Many of these youth realized their folly, diligently followed
various study courses while interned in the camps and today many of them
occupy prominent places in the society as Secretaries of Ministries,
Professors in Universities, leading journalists, professionals, owners
of business establishments and Directors in Private Companies.
Lack of public support other than from the rural youth were
frustrated due to being left neglected by the elite urbanite power
wielders, and short of avenues to engage in gainful employment, the
party was able to easily attract the rural youth to their fold.
Miserable rejection of its leader by the people at the 1982 Presidential
Election followed by President J.R. Jayewardenes banning of the party on
false pretexts implicating them as those who were responsible for the
1983 Black July riots when the real culprits were UNP organisations and
its trade union arm Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, the JVP took advantage of
the opportunity and went underground.
During this period it went on a clandestine recruitment drive, misled
the youth and made them detest the society and the prevalent social
structure. The growing unemployment, the drawbacks of privatisation and
its harmful effects on the rural masses, and the government's penchant
for western nations created an atmosphere conducive for the party to
attract the rural youth and indoctrinate them against the prevailing
The signing of the Indo-Lanka agreement following the Parippu
Invasion and the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the constitution,
pressurised by the Indian gunboat diplomacy, which introduced the
provincial council system and paved the way for decentralisation of many
government powers, brought a golden opportunity for them to resurface.
Except in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, they unleashed a campaign
of horrendous terror in a bid to launch their second revolution terming
it as "the struggle against Indian Expansionism and the battle to
liberate the nation from foreign domination".
This brought a real calamity to the people and the country, and a
horrendous period Sri Lanka never witnessed in its history even under
the reign of foreign invaders. It started with burning of State
Properties and murdering of State officials. Hundreds of buses, several
train compartments, and hundreds of government vehicles and buildings
were totally burnt down or damaged to disrupt public transport, and day
to day government activities. Power supply, particularly to rural areas
was interrupted by irreparably damaging millions worth of several
transformers and dislocating high voltage power lines. On their whims
and fancy roads were made impassable by felling large trees.
Universities and schools were forced to close down, and students were
beguiled to follow their stupid slogan "Viplavaya Perata Adyapanaya
Inpasuwa (First revolution and Education next). Due to this foolish
nuisance many students lost the opportunity of entering Universities and
following higher studies completely shattering the dreams of their poor
That followed the dark age of our history, in which
. People were identified as traitors, government collaborators or
people holding political ideals antipathy to them and they were
mercilessly murdered, by the JVP terrorists.
The families of such victims were not allowed to offer the customary
funeral rights and they were forced to take the bodies of victims
holding low like dead animals and bury them even without the
participation of their close relatives, and sans traditional religious
.Mere chits as notification of warnings delivered by the JVP members,
traders were forced to close down their shops inconveniencing the masses
and depriving the people even from buying a loaf of bread.
. Similar chit notifications forced the people not to switch on their
lights and live in the dark even without the possibility of feeding a
crying baby or administering medicines to a critical patient.
. Sporadically buses were forced to halt from operation and even it
was not possible to take a critical patient to hospital or to see a
doctor during their enforced curfew times.
. Government Doctors were banned from seeing patients outside their
official duty hours and all doctors were prohibited from attending to
patients during their enforced curfew times.
. In some places those who opposed them were murdered and such
victims were hung on lamp posts as a warning to others.
. Even water supply was interrupted during their enforced curfew
hours and people were forced to live a miserable life deprived of water,
electricity and other essentials.
. Administrative activities of the government were paralysed and in
many parts of the country and the people were unable to get even a birth
. Factories in many parts of the country were forcibly closed down
and the workers were deprived of their source of income.
. Banks were broken into and Gold Jewellery pawned by innocent and
destitute people were taken away.
. Daily wage earners were denied of opportunities to engage in
vocations regularly and thereby sustain their families.
. Many intellectuals, professionals, politicians, and leaders of the
society lost their lives and many other fled the country to evade
perceptible threats to their precious lives.
. When the Presidential Election was under way in 1989 the JVP wanted
by all means to defeat Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike in revenge of foiling
their 1971 coup. In order to prevent people from voting for Mrs.
Bandaranaike who was primarily depending on rural votes, the JVP
announced a boycott of the election and threatened to kill those who
proceeded to polling booths for voting.
. This threat was mercilessly carried out in many rural areas killing
those who proceeded to vote in the early morning and thereby imposed a
total ban on voting in the rural areas which happened to be the vote
base of Mrs. Bandaranaike.
Information on State Terror unleashed, and the sufferings people
endured by twin terrorism in the Sinhala majority areas will follow in
the 2nd part of this article. To be continued