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Sunday, 5 June 2011

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JVP shows its true colours

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has proved yet again that it has more faith in the bullet than in the ballot. Since its inception over three decades ago, the JVP had attempted to capture power through the bullet, knowing only too well that the masses would never vote for them to be the governing party.

The first of the two JVP uprisings to topple the Sirimavo Bandaranaike-led Government was way back in 1971. Thousands of innocent youth, mostly undergraduates and men and women from rural areas, lost their precious lives during the JVP's failed plot in 1971. The current leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe had also been a stakeholder of the 1971 insurgency.

Like a duck takes to water, the JVP resumed its 'jungle life', propagating its gun culture in most parts of the island during its second plot against a democratically elected government in the late 1980s. Many political, social and religious leaders were mercilessly killed by the JVP during 1988/89. The JVP gun culture was at its brazen best then and many civilians feared to utter even a word against them, as they feared that they would have to pay for it with their dear lives.

Despite entering mainstream politics almost a decade after the 1988/89 insurgency, the mindset of most JVP members was to capture power at any cost. Though they project themselves as die-hard patriots, they had a different political agenda when it came to every demonstration of theirs. The JVP has never been starved of funds as many hardcore JVP activists, many of whom had committed murders in broad daylight during 1988/89 and fled the country, had made regular contributions. It is an open secret that they had committed innumerable human rights violations, damaged public property and pushed the country to the brink of disaster in one of its darkest eras.

Although the JVP now talks glibly about an agro-based economy and sheds buckets of crocodile tears over the plight of rural farmers, it was they who went on the rampage and burnt many Centres, which were rendering a yeoman service to the farmer community throughout the country. The JVP, during its 1988/89 era of terror, also destroyed public property worth millions of rupees, apart from torching many CTB buses.

The Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga-led People's Alliance government in 1994 enabled the JVP to emerge from its political wilderness. Nevertheless, what was uppermost in the minds of most senior JVP leaders was the gun culture which they had mastered.

The masses, in general, always looked upon the JVP with the utmost suspicion as the red-shirted men had a proven history of taking the law into their hands. The JVP theory is now crystal clear - to first try the democratic way, failing which to resort to undemocratic tactics!

The JVP leaders have been greatly perturbed over their fast dwindling vote base. They have been rejected in toto by the masses at successive elections and their vote base had slumped to a mere two percent. Ex-JVP cadre, who live abroad, demand political mileage in keeping with their financial contributions to their party fund.

This was akin to what a section of the Tamil diaspora demanded from the now defunct LTTE leadership. LTTE leaders were compelled to explode bombs and cripple the day-to-day life of the civil society to justify the funding by the Tamil diaspora. In similar vein, the JVP leadership is attempting to hamper the day-to-day life of the masses and attract public attention to justify the funding of ex-JVP cadre living abroad, especially those in Japan and Europe. Moreover, the JVP's fast deteriorating vote base has posed a big headache for its leaders who are desperately trying to make their political presence felt. They have insidiously crept into many trade unions with little success.

On Monday, the JVP was successful in turning innocent factory workers of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) into scapegoats. These workers had little or no knowledge about the Government's proposed pension scheme for the private sector. However, the JVP made full use of these innocent FTZ workers to set its political agenda in motion.

While the main Opposition party, the United National Party (UNP) showed its disapproval in a democratic manner, the JVP, true to form, reverted to its avowed habit of attacking police stations. Regrettably, several FTZ workers were injured as the police made a concerted effort to control the unruly mobs, led by the trade union wing of the JVP. The JVP goons, who mingled with the FTZ workers in the demonstration, pelted stones at the police, assaulted policemen on duty and damaged property including police vehicles. Eventually, an innocent factory worker had to pay the supreme price. In this scenario, the LTTE and the JVP seem to be first cousins!

The LTTE forcibly kept innocent civilians as a human shield in the final phase of the battle against terror. Similarly, the JVP compelled innocent FTZ workers to form a human shield, where JVP goons attacked the police to create a tense situation.

The JVP has an abiding passion for the gun culture to gain political mileage out of dead bodies. The JVP was hell-bent at this stage - to get a body which it could market to cover up its political nudity. The JVP leaders were convinced that only the coffin of a dead worker could resurrect their political party. They grabbed this opportunity with open arms to make its presence felt. The Government has categorically said that it does not intend to implement the private sector pension scheme by force. It was a proposal open for dialogue. In the event any political party or trade union feels that there are any obnoxious clauses in the proposed private sector pension scheme, they could submit fresh proposals or suggest amendments for consideration.

The Government, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, would by no means implement anything that is detrimental to the country's working class. Having served as Minister of Labour, President Rajapaksa has first-hand experience on the problems faced by the working class. During his tenure as the Minister of Labour, he took many tangible steps to strengthen the rights of workers. The President has made it unequivocally clear that he is keen to secure the future of the working class in their twilight years.

Now that the proposed private sector pension scheme has been put on hold, it is the bounden duty of all political parties and trade unions to discuss the matter in a true spirit of cooperation. The private sector pension scheme is open for discussion but individuals and political parties with vested interests should not use it to further their political agendas and resurrect their parties.

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