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Sri Lanka: Wijeweera’s 25th Death Anniversary

| by Our Political Editor

( November 10, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The grand scheme for politics in Sri Lanka, in the period popularly termed as “the second uprising of JVP”, was not determined by the JVP or its leader, Rohana Wijeweera. It was the grand master of political manipulation, J.R. Jayawardene, who designed the scheme within which Wijeweera got trapped.

Wijeweera's family
When JR won the election in July 1977, he spent his first year masterminding a scheme to uproot Sri Lanka’s parliamentary democracy. This scheme he called the 1978 Constitution. When he freed JVP prisoners – including Wijeweera – from jail, he knew there would be other ways destroy them.

Immediately after release, JVP promised to stay within the “democratic framework”. Little did they realize that the 1978 Constitution had altered the parameters of democratic discourse.

JVP got deluded by its immediate popularity, which merely manifested in large attendance at meetings. Wijeweera contested JR in the elections. Following the election, when SLFP failed to file an election petition in courts, Wijeweera signed the papers, which were initially prepared for the signature of SLFP leaders. Then the game began.

Security forces started assassinating some JVPers and JVP took the decision to go underground. From their hiding places, they began to carry out attacks on some of their opponents. In this way, they played into the hands of the great schemer, who wanted to solve other problems by pursuing JVP.

When his second term began, JR knew his period of popularity was over. He feared the electorate. He did not have an election when the time of the Parliament had expired. He instead had a referendum. He had to somehow keep his absolute majority. He knew the only way to derail the electoral process was through terror. For that he needed an enemy.

JVP was made the enemy. JVP fell into this trap, through acts of terror against their leftist opponents, trade union leaders from other parties, and some police officers. Now JR could make his use of terror appear as a defence.

Thus, number of years passed, during which time everybody forgot about forcing an electoral challenge against the President, and were instead preoccupied with coping with the terror. JR achieved what he wanted, i.e. to entrench the 1978 Constitution and displace parliamentary democracy tradition.

By the time Wijeweera was killed, terror had replaced electoral politics, in its genuine sense. And, this situation continues to date. Even today, 25 years since the death of Wijeweera, JR’s constitutional scheme remains.

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