Here is a definite victory now, for the pro-devolution forces. It is not necessarily achieved,with the intervention of the Indian rulers. There is no doubt that Indian pressure is a significant factor, but a combination of forces within Lanka played a key role in pushing the Sinhala chauvinist lobby to a corner.
One thing critical in this combination is the development within the JVP; the most important organisation that backed the military campaign of the Mahinda regime. Its help surpassed in a way, the entire Indian help given in kind.
"The Frontline Socialist Party which broke away from the JVP has brought sense to the student community. It condemns the unacceptable actions of extremist organisations and has completely dissociated from chauvinist campaigns"
JVP was responsible for the massive mobilisation of the Sinhala village youth for the merciless attack on Tamil rebellion. All educational institutes including all universities in Sinhala areas were covered by the JVP-led ‘patriotic’ campaigns. The latter continuously trampled the freedom of democratic organisations that stood gallantly for the human and political rights of the Tamil speaking people.
Banners saluting military operations filled the empty spaces within universities and higher education institutes. Never in the history of the world was such a betrayal made by a party claiming to be Marxist by supporting the military operation against a plebian uprising within a minority nation.
In spite of the mistakes of the leadership, it was a rebellion of the oppressed. Those days, groups of intellectuals, academics and committed democratic activists who tried to make a noise against this vulgarity within educational institutes were hounded out with organised political terror supported by the rulers. All such activities were done with the open support of the JVP activists.
But today, the JVP plays a neutral role in relation to Bodu Bala Sena and other similar organisations. No; they have gone beyond to condemn the activities of these hooligans.
The Frontline Socialist Party which broke away from the JVP is responsible for bringing sense to the student population; though hesitatingly. Before all that, the breakaway group of Vimal Weerawansa was a god-sent opportunity for the JVP; because Vimal carried with him the chauvinist mantle of Wijeweera; to become the bogus people’s liberation hero of the parochial people. His party is more a political drama group with Vimal playing the lead role. Trimmed properly by knowledgeable people Vimal is a Che Guevara on television screen. All his activities are plays with scripts written with the connivance of blessed ‘Rajano’.
Sans all that lunacy the JVP has become a sober party with repentance. Re-evaluation within the JVP has developed into a rebellion thus creating the new party; the Frontline Socialist Party. The radicals blamed the top leadership, for allowing chauvinism to dominate leading positions, before leaving the party. Also, they blamed the bureaucratic management structure for the failure to recognise the just critical voice from below. They wanted a radical change in the management structure, thus the new party became an arena for continuous discussion and debate.
All that created a qualitative change in the consciousness of the Sinhala youth; in particular in the student movement in the South. This became a decisive factor in preventing mobilisation on the issues brought out by organisations such as Bodu Bala Sena and Ravana Balakaya.
Both the JVP and the breakaway Frontline Socialist Party condemn the dirty actions of these organisations and they dissociated sharply from these chauvinist campaigns.
"But today, the JVP plays a neutral role in relation to Bodu Bala Sena and other similar organisations. No; they have gone beyond to condemn the activities of these hooligans."
It was the resources given by a section of the government that kept these chauvinist outfits floating. They had wild authority to break the law, investigate and arrest people. Police could not do anything but obey their orders, while they barged into shops and houses to ‘investigate whether any crime is committed according to their sense of justice and law’. Increasingly these were aimed at minority groups and many attacks made on Muslims highlighted the daring nature of the attacks they made.
But as the JVP was negative to their appeals while the radicals condemned sharply, these chauvinist movements could not grow as mass movements. This positive development within the JVP-oriented petty bourgeoisie was and still is an obstacle faced by the Sinhala chauvinism. In this scenario, I was very happy to participate in the massive campaign held outside the Fort Railway Station by the IUSF, demanding the release of Sanjeeva Bandara.