18 October, 2017

Gunaratnam & The JVP

By Lionel Bopage

Dr. Lionel Bopage

Dr. Lionel Bopage

The necessity for changing the political culture of distorting history and resorting to personal slander: Part 7

When I left the JVP in February 1984 after submitting my letter of resignation, not a single issue raised therein had been taken up for critical discussion among the leaders or members. However, later came a lot of personal slander against me. During this time, a lot of falsification of history and personal slander had been used as weapons to destroy the political line I held. With time, the letter of resignation came into the public domain, and the JVP could not sustain its personal slander campaign in the longer term, but had to open up the ideological and practical issues, particularly related to the national question that I had raised in my letter. Still, the JVP did not reject the fact that I was part and parcel of the JVP until I tendered my resignation.

As was done in the Soviet era, certain previous writings, photographs and publications had been destroyed, suppressed or edited. In the latter part of the eighties, political opponents had been eliminated. For example, the JVP suppressed publications made in the latter part of the seventies and the early part of the eighties, such as, Comrade Rohana Wijeweera’s Avasthavadayada? Nirdhana Panthi Jathyantharavadayada?[1] (Opportunism or Proletarian Internationalism?), Mine Jathika Gataluwa Gana Marxvadee Vigrahayak (A Marxist Analysis on The National Problem)[2], JVP London Branch’s The Constitution of Sri Lanka and the National Question[3], the original songs of Vimukthi Gee[4] (Songs of Liberation), the original photos of JVP rallies and marches etc.

KumarThe state led by President JR Jayewardena used Black July riots in July 1983 against Tamils as a pretext to ban the JVP. This drove the JVP underground and led to the subsequent episode of killings and reprisal killings by the armed wings and para militaries of the state and the JVP. The then UNP regime has been blamed for killing 60,000 youth during the 1988-89 insurgency, while the former leader of the JVP admitted nearly 6,000 people had been killed due to the JVP violence. The current leader of the JVP has apologised over these killings during the 1988-89 period.

In the latter part of the 1980s, the JVP claimed its first victim by assassinating a radical student activist Daya Pathirana, the leader of the Independent Students Union, University of Colombo. The next prominent progressive politician that the JVP assassinated was Vijaya Kumaratunga, the leader of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya (Sri Lanka People’s Party). Under the emergency regulations, alleging he was a Naxalite, Vijaya had been jailed even by then President JR Jayewardene. In this period, I had to leave Sri Lanka and live in exile, as death threats were proclaimed by both the state and the JVP.

Nevertheless, internal struggles within the JVP had come to a peak with the formation of the FSP. Obviously, this split was seen as based on political issues, the main one of which appears to be the JVP’s class collaboration politics. Only minor differences of opinion seem to exist regarding tactics used in dealing with the national question, I cannot see major policy differences between the two groups on this important issue. Yet, here again, the political culture of falsifying history and using personal slander had been revitalised with stories being planted against the erstwhile JVP leaders, and instigating physical assaults on them.

According to Kumar, he had not been in underground politics, but a member of the Politbureau of the JVP from 1994 to 2006. In 2011, he had come back at the request of his comrades, when the party internal crisis was brewing. However, at a press conference held on 9 April 2012 on the disappearances of Kumar and Dimuthu, the former leader of the JVP, Somawansa Amarasinghe had said that there was no one called Kumar Gunaratnam in the JVP. The current JVP leader had expressed similar views, to the effect that he was not aware of a member called Kumar Gunaratnam. However, on the same day, the former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told Independent Television Network that Kumar will be charged for his involvement in many crimes as a high-ranking subversive activist. It is also noted that in 2012, the JVP media unit had to be disbanded as many in the unit backed Kumar’s faction, giving lie to Somawansa’s contentions about the existence of Kumar and his faction.

This tendency to airbrush personages and parts of the history of the JVP has continued to the present day. In September 2015, the current JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake at a political talk show asserted that there never was a Kumar Gunaratnam in the JVP, he was not aware of an individual by that name engaged in JVP political activities even when he was participating in the activities of the JVP students’ union. Contradicting his former story about Kumar, the former leader of the JVP, Somawansa Amarasinghe, stated that Kumar was a leader of the JVP, but he had to reject acknowledging Kumar’s existence due to a decision of the party. In November 2015, at an interview to ‘Sathhanda’, former defence secretary said that he had abducted the FSP leader Kumar Gunaratnam in April 2012 at the request of JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Gotabaya alleged that Kumar was a threat to the JVP leadership and the JVP identified Kumar in photos, and also provided tip offs to trace his whereabouts that ultimately led to his abduction. Anura Kumara Dissanayake helped the then government’s defence ministry to find Kumar, he added.

According to this version of events, Anura wanted Gotabaya to arrest and deport Kumar back to Australia. In response to former Defence Secretary’s interview, the FSP asked the current leader of the JVP to explain his role in Kumar’s abduction and arrest in 2012. The JVP leader denied having provided information about Kumar’s hideout or his photographs to the former Rajapaksa regime for facilitating Kumar’s abduction. The JVP challenged Gotabhaya on this issue saying that he did not state this in 2012 when Kumar had been abducted. Whether the former Defence Secretary used this opportunity to ‘dig a pit’ for the JVP leadership, I am not sure. What is not in doubt is the fact that the state authorities had abducted Kumar, which they had not admitted openly until then.


[1] Wijeweera R. February 1978. Avasthavadayada? Nirdhana Panthi Jathyantharavadayada?, A Niyamuwa Publication, Shakthi Press, Colombo

[2] Bopage L. November 1977. A Marxist Analysis of the National Question. A Niyamuwa Publication, Shakthi Press, Colombo

[3] JVP London Branch 1979. The Constitution of Sri Lanka and the National Question. Ginipupura Publications, London

[4] See part of the Vimukthi Gee collection published at: https://soundcloud.com/lionel-bopage-1

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Latest comments

  • 0
    3

    Lionel

    We miss you in SL.

    The red shirt guys whether JVP or any ther union will be wiped out in a few years. This was evident at last election when JVP struggled to get 5 seats.

    Jagath

  • 0
    4

    For the accuracy of the historical record, the first victim of the JVP’s lethal violence in the 1980s was not ISU leader Daya Pathirana.

    He was the second victim, and was murdered on Dec 15th 1986.

    The first victim, earlier that same year, was a school principal in Bakamuna.

    • 2
      0

      What about you Self proclaimed anaylst- RAJA Proxy man in front line today – were you not a victim in JVP s lethal violence in the late 80ties ?
      [Edited out]

    • 1
      0

      For me the like ilk that work diehard to achieve permament peace in the country, -this man Dayan Jayathilalak [Edited out]

    • 1
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      I have no doubt, Dayan’s father wouuld rise from his grab to tell him finally.. ” my son, at least now try to grasp it.. you are now almost 60 years.. if not today when would you may dear son work for the people who are really in need, leave your all kind of malicious and devious thoughts.. that can only make you harm on long run.. dont behave as if a gossipy woman would just evasively utter hearsays.. please be serious using your brain.. I have no doubt,.. you can make it still no late… please my dear son… think twice.. never be like stand with dogs… the days the ticks would attack you are not farther.. please listen to me.. “my son, at least now try to grasp it.. you are now almost 60 years.. if not today when would you may dear son work for the people who are really in need, leave your all kind of malicious and devious thoughts.. that can only make you harm on long run.. dont behave as if a gossipy woman would just evasively utter hearsays.. please be serious using your brain.. I have no doubt,.. you can make it still no late… please my dear son… think twice.. never be like stand with dogs… the days the ticks would attack you are not farther.. please listen to me.. “my son, at least now try to grasp it.. you are now almost 60 years.. if not today when would you may dear son work for the people who are really in need, leave your all kind of malicious and devious thoughts.. that can only make you harm on long run.. dont behave as if a gossipy woman would just evasively utter hearsays.. please be serious using your brain.. I have no doubt,.. you can make it still no late… please my dear son… think twice.. never be like stand with dogs… the days the ticks would attack you are not farther.. please listen to me.. “my son, at least now try to grasp it.. you are now almost 60 years.. if not today when would you may dear son work for the people who are really in need, leave your all kind of malicious and devious thoughts.. that can only make you harm on long run.. dont behave as if a gossipy woman would just evasively utter hearsays.. please be serious using your brain.. I have no doubt,.. you can make it still no late… please my dear son… think twice.. never be like stand with dogs… the days the ticks would attack you are not farther.. please listen to me.. “my son, at least now try to grasp it.. you are now almost 60 years.. if not today when would you may dear son work for the people who are really in need, leave your all kind of malicious and devious thoughts.. that can only make you harm on long run.. dont behave as if a gossipy woman would just evasively utter hearsays.. please be serious using your brain.. I have no doubt,.. you can make it still no late… please my dear son… think twice.. never be like stand with dogs… the days the ticks would attack you are not farther.. please listen to me.. “

  • 1
    1

    fake doctor and a fake patriot, we do not miss Mr.Bopage, neither your idiosyncratic ideology. Kumar gunarathnam need to face consequences of violation of the law of land, what happens if I over stay my visa in Australia? And KG is a puppet of GR, if you closely examine the evidence and drama that unfolded not so many moons ago. I believe Mr.Bopage is well informed about JVP and MR regime, I wonder how, since he is comfortably residing in Australia? for good old doctor, your theses are almost always based on nationalism and serving the elitist masters, being their supreme lapdog.we were not revenants to forget that.
    If KG was abducted at the instructions and request of the JVP, fundamental question that needs answering is, why KG returned to lanka without going through proper process, what did he do the nation as a whole( did he at least sent hard earned dollars apart from what he earned from deception and extortions? Poor doctor himself forget that he was part of army called TNA which was wiped out during LTTE assaults in late eighties, and was responsible for those deaths and openly campaigned for death of JVP youth later on while he was running naked in Colombo Cemetery with his concubine.in short, before casting stones, look at your selves.

  • 0
    1

    Talk about tarnishing the image. Comrade Bopage is inadvertently practicing this very same vile Communist habit that he writes so disparagingly about.

    Comrade Bopage, your time in the limelight is done and dusted. Take a back seat please. Let the new breed take the movement forward. I do not believe that AKD collaborated with Gota at any time.

    Another issue I have with you. You have time and again singlehandedly tried to pin Vijaya Kumaratunga’s murder on the then JVP. The popular belief then and now is it was the handiwork of Premadasa. Kumaratunga was on a straight trajectory to be the next president. Premadasa will not have any bar of it. Kumaratunga was no threat to the JVP nor did he have any major disputes with the then JVP. He was a direct threat to Premadasa. Therefore he had to go.

    Talk about tarnishing images. Comrade Bopage, you are doing a good job at it.

    • 0
      0

      Dear BBS Rep

      1) I was in Sri Lanka when Vijaya Kumaratunga was assassinated. At the time, a member of the JVP brought me a leaflet that the JVP was distributing that tried to justify the assassination. It stated that Vijaya was receiving arms from the Ministry of Defence, and he was also planning to attend lunch at the US Embassy. Some former leaders of the JVP have also confirmed this.

      2) I also like to refer you to the links below.
      a. An interview Mr Prins Gunasekara had given to the BBC and available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30017905; and
      b. Mr Rajan Hoole’s article: Political Murders, the Commissions and the Unfinished Task – 13 available at: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/what-was-behind-the-vijaya-kumaratunga-murder/

      3) In 1983, Comrade Upatissa Gamanayaka and I, for the JVP, had a discussion with Vijaya at his mother’s house(?) in Narahenpita, where we agreed to have a united opposition campaign against the state repression. It was Comrade Rohana Wijeweera, who single-handedly over-ruled it. So much for the vastly popular Vijaya, not being a “threat to the JVP”.

      4) Regarding your ‘kind’ advice for me to take a back seat as my “time in the limelight is done and dusted” typically follows the same tradition that I have clarified here. Yet, I don’t deny your right to say it. But it is my democratic right to write about the issues I am interested in. I have not tried to tarnish any one’s image, but tried to explain the context within which certain incidents occur.

      Thank you for your comment, anyway.

  • 0
    0

    This lionel b[Edited out]

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