Exiled Marxist leader addresses massive rally
[TamilNet, Friday, 23 November 2001, 19:27 GMT]
Mr. Somawansa Amarasingha, the leader Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna, who returned from a 12-year exile from the United Kingdom yesterday, addressed a massive public rally Friday evening in Kalutara, a large town south of Colombo. Mr. Amarasingha is the only surviving member of the JVP's politburo that was formed in 1969. In 1971 and 1988, Mr.Amarasingha, along with his comrades Rohana Wijeweera and Upatissa Gamanayaka, led two bloody armed insurrections to capture state power and to establish a communist regime in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka army crushed both rebellions, killing thousands of Sinhala youth.
Mr.Amarasingha returned under a special arrangement between the JVP and President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government, political sources in Colombo said. The JVP, which had ten MPs in Sri Lanka's legislature, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the People's Alliance on 5 September to save it from collapsing after a key ally, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, defected to the opposition.
JVP sources said that the MOU entailed a guarantee from the PA that Mr. Somawansa Amarasingha would be able to return safely to Sri Lanka and work openly for his party.
The JVP was banned by the Sri Lankan government in 1983.
Mr. Amarasingha fled Sri Lanka in 1989 when most of the JVP's politburo, including its leader, Rohana Wijeweera and his deputy Upatissa Gamanayaka, was wiped out by the SLA. Sri Lankan Police intelligence sources say that he first sought refuge in India but later opted to 'settle' in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Amarasingha reorganised the party from scratch since 1990. He also established party cells in Japan, South Korea, France, the US etc., and cultivated working relationships with radical Marxist groups in many parts of the western hemisphere.
His return will give a massive boost to the JVP and will help it gather the loyalty of the 1971-generation of the insurrection's supporters, a party spokesman said. Sri Lanka's state intelligence organisations have warned the PA regime that Mr. Amarasingha's return would encourage the insurrectionist - 'revolutionary'- tendencies in the JVP.
The PA, however, needs a relatively strong JVP to form the government if the United National Party were to secure more seats at the general elections on 5 December. The long-term repercussions of Mr. Amarasingha's return, according to a PA spokesman, could be handled and contained if his party can stabilise President Kumaratunga's rule with the 'external, conditional' support of the JVP.