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Encyclopedia > Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
Sri Lanka

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The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (Sinhala janatā vimukti peramuṇa, "People's Liberation Front") is a nationalist Marxist political party in Sri Lanka. Flag of the President of Sri Lanka // List of presidents The following is a list of Sri Lankan Presidents. ... Percy Mahendra Mahinda Rajapaksa (born November 18, 1945) is the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and a Sri Lankan politician. ... The following is a list of Sri Lankan Prime Ministers: Don Stephen Senanayake (February 4, 1948 - March 26, 1952) Dudley Shelton Senanayake (March 26, 1952 - October 12, 1953) John Lionel Kotalawela (October 12, 1953 - April 12, 1956) Solomon Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (April 12, 1956 - September 26, 1959) Wijeyananda Dahanayake (September... Ratnasiri Wickremanayake (born on May 5, 1933) is the 14th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and a veteran politician. ... The Parliament of Sri Lanka is a Unicameral 225-member legislature elected by universal suffrage and proportional representation for a six-year term. ... Hon. ... This article lists political parties in Sri Lanka. ... During the Donoughmore period of political experimentation (1931-48), several Sri Lanka leftist parties were formed. ... Politics of Sri Lanka Categories: Election related stubs | Elections in Sri Lanka ... Sri Lanka is divided into eight provinces for the purposes of local governance. ... Below the provinces Sri Lanka is divided into 25 administrative districts. ... Combatants Military of Sri Lanka Indian Peace Keeping Force Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Commanders Junius Richard Jayawardene (1983-89) Ranasinghe Premadasa (1989-93) Dingiri Banda Wijetunge (1993-94) Chandrika Kumaratunga (1994-2005) Mahinda Rajapaksa (2005-present) Velupillai Prabhakaran (1983-present) Strength 111,000[1] 11,000[1] The Sri... Sri Lanka traditionally follows a nonaligned foreign policy but has been seeking closer relations with the United States since December 1977. ... Information on politics by country is available for every country, including both de jure and de facto independent states, inhabited dependent territories, as well as areas of special sovereignty. ... Sinhala or Sinhalese (සිංහල, ISO 15919: , IPA: [], earlier referred to as Singhalese) is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese, the largest ethnic group of Sri Lanka. ... Eugène Delacroixs Liberty Leading the People, symbolising French nationalism during the July Revolution. ... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... Political parties Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political party is a political organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ...

At the last legislative elections, held on 2 April 2004, the party was part of the United People's Freedom Alliance that won 45.6% of the popular vote and 105 out of the 225 seats in Parliament. As the second-largest partner in this alliance it became part of the government. The JVP originated as an underground militant movement, which launched an armed rebellion in 1971. A legislature is a governmental deliberative body with the power to adopt laws. ... Politics of Sri Lanka Categories: Election related stubs | Elections in Sri Lanka ... UPFA election symbol The United Peoples Freedom Alliance is a political alliance in Sri Lanka. ...


The first Years

The JVP was founded in 1965 with the aim of providing a leading force for a socialist revolution in Sri Lanka. By 1965 there were four other leftist political parties of considerable size: the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), the first leftist party in Sri Lanka and established in 1935, the Communist Party of Sri Lanka (CP) which was a break away from the LSSP, the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) and the CP-Chinese faction. This was a period when economic crisis in the country was deepening. Since independence from colonialism the main two parties UNP and SLFP had governed the country, each for eight years, but according to the founders of the JVP they had been unable to implement even a single measure to resolve the crises Sri Lanka faced. The JVP considered the entry into the government by three left parties in 1964 as a conscious betrayal of the aspirations of the people and the working class. 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ... The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (literally Ceylon Equal Society Party, in Sinhala: ලංකා සම සමාජ පක්ෂය, in Tamil: லங்கா சமசமாஜக் கட்சி) is a trotskyist political party in Sri Lanka. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... CPSL May Day poster in Kandy CPSL Kandy provincial election candidate, CYF President Raja Uswetakeiyyawa Communist Youth Federation The Communist Party of Sri Lanka is a communist political party in Sri Lanka. ... The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (Peoples United Front) is a left-wing political party in Sri Lanka. ... Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist) is a political party in Sri Lanka. ... The United National Party, often referred to as the UNP Sinhalese: එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂය (pronounced Eksath Jathika Pakshaya), Tamil: ஐக்கிய தேசியக் கட்சி), is a leading political party in Sri Lanka. ... The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is one of the major political parties in Sri Lanka. ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ...

Emergence of a Leader

During this period, Rohana Wijeweera was studying medicine at Lumumba University in Moscow. There, he read the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin, and became a committed socialist. He later broke with Soviet orthodoxy and was not permitted to return to the USSR after a visit home in 1964. Rohana Wijeweera (born 14 July 1943 - died 13 November 1989) was the leader of the JVP, a prominent follower of Che Guevara and Sri Lankan revolutionary whose communist views of spreading wealth to the poorer classes earned him great popularity. ... The Peoples Friendship University of Russia (Росси́йский Университе́т Дру́жбы Наро́дов, РУДН) is located... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818, Trier, Germany – March 14, 1883, London) was a German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820, Wuppertal – August 5, 1895, London), a 19th-century German political philosopher, developed communist theory alongside his better-known collaborator, Karl Marx, co-authoring The Communist Manifesto (1848). ... Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин  listen?), original surname Ulyanov (Улья́нов) ( April 22 (April 10 ( O.S.)), 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a... “CCCP” redirects here. ...

By this time, Communist Party of Sri Lanka was divided over the Sino-Soviet split and as a result broke down into two factions; the Chinese faction and the Soviet faction. The Chinese faction was led by Premalal Kumarasiri. Through his father's political activities, Wijeweera had come to contact with Kumarasiri on earlier occasions and now joined the party's staff. He made the trade union office of the Chinese faction his home and plunged himself in work. Before long, Wijeweera became a person known to everybody in the party. CPSL May Day poster in Kandy CPSL Kandy provincial election candidate, CYF President Raja Uswetakeiyyawa Communist Youth Federation The Communist Party of Sri Lanka is a communist political party in Sri Lanka. ... The Sino-Soviet split was a major diplomatic conflict between the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), beginning in the late 1950s, reaching a peak in 1969 and continuing in various ways until the late 1980s. ...


Wijeweera increasingly felt that the Left movement that had existed (which is now generally referred to in Sri Lanka as 'old left') up to then had not produced even a few professional revolutionaries. They had never made a meaningful effort to educate the masses on Marxism. The words mouthed by the leaders of the 'old left' were accepted by workers as the final word. Even more pathetic, to him, was that the leadership of the 'old left', aware of this aspect, utilized it to the fullest to blunt the militancy of workers.

Wijeweera and others decided in mid-1966 to launch a new party explicitly revolutionary in character. They had to literally start from scratch. This was in complete contrast to the birth of other political parties in Sri Lanka, which broke off of established parties. 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1966 calendar). ...

In the period that followed the cadres engaged themselves in political activities that comprised mainly of trying to increase the political awareness of the working class. The economic hardships they faced were crippling. They walked miles for the want of bus fare and slept in bus halts or temples. Sometimes the only meal of rice for the day was got from the mid-day alms offered to temples. The mornings were spent earning money by carrying loads in the vegetable markets and the afternoons were devoted to political work.

Famous 'Five Classes'

One of the more important tasks was how best to approach the goal of politically educating the masses. Following deliberations on this issue, it was decided that an uncomplicated Marxist analysis of the socio-politico-economic problems of the country should be the introductory step. The Marxist analysis was staggered in to five discussions along with five main themes. Throughout the rest of 1968, Wijeweera walked the length and breadth of the country conducting political classes for the members of the party. 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday. ...

The five basic political classes were be followed by an education camp. Precautions had to be taken to keep this educational camp a secret to avoid alarming the government as well as the 'old left'. The lack of economic resources made it felt in no uncertain terms. The breakfast for the 25-30 people participating in the camp, cramped in a small room, comprised of a tea. Often there were only two solid meals per day. The classes, all conducted by Wijeweera stretched from 17 to 18 hours per day interrupted only by meals. Sleep was confined to five hours and it was not possible to have showers during the seven days of the camp. Tea leaves in a Chinese gaiwan. ...

Two years later, by 1971, the JVP had established itself as a political party and offered an alternative to those disillusioned with the politics of the 'old left'. The majority of the members and supporters of the JVP, at this time, were in the young adult age group. Alarmed at the political potential and the political challenge of the JVP, the government and its leftist allies leveled a variety of slanders against the fledgling party. The JVP has later admitted that at that time, it was not a completely mature political party. There were many shortcomings of which they sought to rectify. 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday. ... Political parties Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political party is a political organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ...

1971 Uprising

Main article: 1971 Uprising

Between 1967 and 1970, the group expanded rapidly, gaining control of the student socialist movement at a number of major university campuses and winning recruits and sympathizers within the armed forces. Some of these latter supporters actually provided sketches of police stations, airports, and military facilities that were important to the initial success of the revolt. In order to draw the newer members more tightly into the organization and to prepare them for a coming confrontation, Wijeweera opened "education camps" in several remote areas along the south and southwestern coasts. These camps provided training in Marxism-Leninism and in basic military skills. The Peoples Liberation Front (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna) is a marxist Sinhalese political party in Sri Lanka was involved in 1971 youth uprising in Sri Lanka which were lost around 15,000 youth lives. ...

While developing secret cells and regional commands, Wijeweera's group also began to take a more public role during the elections of 1970. His cadres campaigned openly for the United Front of Sirimavo R. D. Bandaranaike, but at the same time they distributed posters and pamphlets promising violent rebellion if Bandaranaike did not address the interests of the proletariat. In a manifesto issued during this period, the group used the name Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna for the first time. Because of the subversive tone of these publications, the United National Party government had Wijeweera detained during the elections, but the victorious Bandaranaike ordered his release in July 1970.

In the politically tolerant atmosphere of the next few months, as the new government attempted to win over a wide variety of unorthodox leftist groups, the JVP intensified both the public campaign and the private preparations for a revolt. Although their group was relatively small, the members hoped to immobilize the government by selective kidnapping and sudden, simultaneous strikes against the security forces throughout the island. Some of the necessary weapons had been bought with funds supplied by the members. For the most part, however, they relied on raids against police stations and army camps to secure weapons, and they manufactured their own bombs.

The discovery of several JVP bomb factories gave the government its first evidence that the group's public threats were to be taken seriously. In March 1971, after an accidental explosion in one of these factories, the police found fifty-eight bombs in a hut in Nelundeniya, Kegalla District. Shortly afterward, Wijeweera was arrested and sent to Jaffna Prison, where he remained throughout the revolt. In response to his arrest and the growing pressure of police investigations, other JVP leaders decided to act immediately, and they agreed to begin the uprising at 11:00 P.M. on April 5.

The planning for the countrywide insurrection was hasty and poorly coordinated; some of the district leaders were not informed until the morning of the uprising. After one premature attack, security forces throughout the island were put on alert and a number of JVP leaders went into hiding without bothering to inform their subordinates of the changed circumstances. In spite of this confusion, rebel groups armed with shotguns, bombs, and Molotov cocktails launched simultaneous attacks against seventy- four police stations around the island and cut power to major urban areas. The attacks were most successful in the south. By April 10, the rebels had taken control of Matara District and the city of Ambalangoda in Galle District and came close to capturing the remaining areas of Southern Province.

The new government was ill prepared for the crisis that confronted it. Although there had been some warning that an attack was imminent, Bandaranaike was caught off guard by the scale of the uprising and was forced to call on India to provide basic security functions. Indian frigates patrolled the coast and Indian troops guarded Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayaka while Indian Air Force helicopters assisted the counteroffensive. Sri Lanka's all-volunteer army had no combat experience since World War II and no training in counterinsurgency warfare. Although the police were able to defend some areas unassisted, in many places the government deployed personnel from all three services in a ground force capacity. Royal Ceylon Air Force helicopters delivered relief supplies to beleaguered police stations while combined service patrols drove the insurgents out of urban areas and into the countryside.

After two weeks of fighting, the government regained control of all but a few remote areas. In both human and political terms, the cost of the victory was high: an estimated 15,000 insurgents- -many of them in their teens--died in the conflict, and the army was widely perceived to have used excessive force. In order to win over an alienated population and to prevent a prolonged conflict, Bandaranaike offered amnesties in May and June 1971, and only the top leaders were actually imprisoned. Wijeweera, who was already in detention at the time of the uprising, was given a twenty-year sentence.

After 1971 Uprising

The brief conflict created turmoil in Sri Lankan national politics and international relations unparalleled in its recent political history. As a result of the struggle, the United Front Government in power proscribed the JVP in April 1971. Then it became an underground organisation.

After 1977 General Election

The JVP was permitted to resume its open political activities in 1977 after the repeal of the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) Act by the United National Party (UNP)Government which came to power in May 1977.

JVP Comes into Democratic framework

During the period from 1977 to 1983, the JVP felt compelled to revive itself as a political party willing to participate in a parliamentary democratic framework. In fact, during this period, the JVP was called upon to transform itself from a covert threat into a political party, which supported the process of parliamentary democracy. The JVP during its early phase had rejected all forms of electoral politics and the parliamentary system.

The participation of the JVP in the formal electoral process began with the 1977 General Elections. Four members of the JVP contested for the electorates. Anuradhapura. Horowpothana, Hakmona, and Kaburupitiya, as independent candidates as at that time the JVP was still proscribed. Everybody knew that they were from the JVP, but they contested as independents. They did not succeed, and drew less than 1,000 votes in each seat.

In 1978, they participated in the local government elections. In 1982, the JVP participated in the District Development Council (DDC) elections, and the presidential election in 1982. The JVP was the only radical party that contested the DDC elections in 1982. The United National Party Government as a solution to the ethnic-conflict, had introduced the DDC. It was a kind of a decentralisation programme. The NLSSP, CP, and SLFP boycotted the elections, but the JVP contested and won a couple of seats in the DDC. During this period, the Election Commissioner formally recognised the JVP as a legitimate political party.

1982 Presidential election

During this period, the Government proscribed the JVP again. It was a blessing in disguise for the JVP, because at the Presidential election, they expected more votes. For the first time the charismatic leader of the JVP, Rohana Wijeweera contested as a presidential candidate. They hoped to win more than 500,000 votes, but managed to draw only 275,000. While receiving more votes than the candidate Colvin R. De Silva, the party was disappointed by the results. The government again banned the party, and JVP membership declined as people began to doubt its electoral viability.

1983 Ethnic riots

However, the JVP was proscribed once again and forced to revert its operations as an underground organisation. In 1983, after the riots, the Government proscribed JVP, CP and NLSSP, the Vasudeva Baahu Vikrambaahu Kanakaratna’s Party, without assigning any reason. The Government’s claim was that it was involved with pro- government politicians, none of the Leftists or the JVP. But by that time, the Government wanted to prove that it was a coup by pro-Russian parties, in order to attract the US and the UK, and it resorted to proscription of the three parties. Later, the proscription on the CP was lifted, but not on the JVP. The third phase of the JVP began in the post-1983 period and goes up to the end of 1989. It was a great help to the JVP, to continue its their as an underground organisation.

The insurgency 1987-89

Main article: Insurrection 1987-89

This led to the post-1987 revolt of the JVP when, adroitly exploiting the arrival of the Indian Peace Keeping Force and the widespread nationalist sentiments of large sections of the Sinhala people, the JVP began to terrorise both the state machinery and those sections of civil society opposed to its thinking and almost brought the State to its knees. The Peoples Liberation Front (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna) is a marxist Sinhalese political party in Sri Lanka was involved in 1987-89 insurrection in Sri Lanka which were lost around 50,000 lives. ... The Peoples Liberation Front (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna) is a marxist Sinhalese political party in Sri Lanka was involved in 1987-89 insurrection in Sri Lanka which were lost around 50,000 lives. ...

Organised in cells of three people and based around Matara in the south, the JVP murdered probably thousands of people and crippled the country with violently-enforced hartals (general strikes) for two years. Government forces captured and killed Wijeweera and his deputy in November 1989 in Colombo; by early 1990 they had killed or imprisoned the remaining JVP politburo and detained an estimated 7,000 JVP members. Although the Government won a decisive military victory there were credible accusations of brutality and extra-judicial methods.

The number who died is uncertain: the Government was fighting multiple Tamil insurgent groups at the time, using multiple official and unofficial forces, and in the resulting chaos it was said that the uniforms of those responsible for an action denoted only those who weren't actually responsible. In addition, many people took advantage of the chaos to prosecute deadly local feuds. What is certain is that the methods of death were appalling: the South African 'necklace' of a burning tire, victims eviscerated and left to die, and even the occasion of a dozen heads arranged around the lake at the university in Peridenya.

What JVP's debacle signifies is the limitations of pure youth politics. Eschewing the organised working class sought to build a party round the marginalised sections of the rural youth belonging to the peasantry.

Marxism holds that a successful revolution can take place only if conditions for it have matured within class society and that the masses have been prepared for such a transformation. Contrary to this the JVP seemed to believe that violence used for its own sake could be used as the midwife to effect the birth of a new social order which led to the spate of arbitrary violence of the 1987-89 years not only against the state and the JVP's other opponents but also former JVP leaders and members such as Nandana Marasinghe.

External links

  • Official web site
  • SRI LANKA - A LOST REVOLUTION? The Inside Story of the JVP by Rohan Gunaratna
  • Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka : The Role of India's Intelligence Agencies
  • A Lost Revolution: The JVP Insurrection 1971

  Results from FactBites:
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The JVP was put down by military action supported by India, Pakistan, China, and the United States.
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Sri Lanka - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4730 words)
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