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An open letter to Kumar Gunaratnam, a stalwart of the Frontline Socialist Party

 

An open letter to Kumar Gunaratnam -Nadarajah Kuruparan

An open letter to Kumar Gunaratnam, a stalwart of the Frontline Socialist Party

Dear Mr. Kumar Gunaratnam

 
You may not know me, but I have spoken to you once over the phone.  That was after you were abducted and released later on. I don’t know whether you remember my speaking to you. Apart from that, our network GTN was one of the several media that broadcasted and published pleas frequently urging your release.
 
Although you may have not known me, many in the JVP in which you were a member, from the central committee members, from the top level leaders and up to most of the ordinary members know me very well. In fact, some of them had raised their voices when I was abducted.
 
As I was engaged in political activities from my youth, I knew about your activities as well as that of your brother Ranjitham Gunaratnam. His killing was a barbaric act, and was one of the blood stains of the thousands of such killings in the Sri Lankan political history.
 
Your leader Rohana Wijeweera and Lional Bopage the secretary of the JVP at that time and others had attracted me very much in my youth.
 
I had attended a few meetings of Lionel Bopage the secretary of party held in Jaffna when I was young. Apart from that during the period 1987 / 1989 when Ranasinghe Premadasa was the President, your friends and party men were cruelly executed. Some members of the JVP came to Jaffna seeking asylum and they were given refuge with the PLOTE. Two student camps of the PLOTE which gave protection to the JVP members were actually in my control. Some of those JVP members had escaped to the West through India and are living there. Some members who went back to the South were said to have been killed. My relations which initially started this way with the JVP were further strengthened when I worked as a journalist in Colombo.
 
As someone who is familiar with the JVP activities and the political atmosphere of Sri Lanka for the last 30 years, there are some questions coming up in my mind. I as a journalist have the commitment to place them before you.
 
First and foremost, I welcome the interest taken by the frontline socialist party in the recent times regarding the Tamil people. Especially the protest demonstrations in the North and East by the equality movement, which functions as the public arm of the Socialist party and I offer my congratulations and my pleasure as well in regard to some of the protest demonstrations in the South.
 
You had staged protests regarding the problems currently faced by the Tamil people, including the release of former cadres and the Tamil political prisoners, the release of the university students, the release of the missing and those who had been abducted and the militarization. This you had done with an interest and that should be praised. We have been publishing each and every news item regarding these protests in our website with an avid interest.
 
But I think the time is appropriate to place before you the questions about the political depth of your interest.
 
There were several occasions in more than the last 30 years in the Sri Lankan history where you could have voiced in favor of the welfare of the minority people, but you have not done so. But why have you started doing so when an ethnic atrocity has been completed in Mullivaikkaal and the minority communities are in the grip of severe racism. In such an atmosphere you have embarked on a journey to invite all the communities to fight as a common front, and I put forward my questions on your political understanding. 
 
There exists now a void for a protesting atmosphere for the true liberation among the Tamil and the Muslim people. A fear comes up as to whether you are trying to exploit that atmosphere as a cunning ruse to your benefit.
 
Your political stance before 2009 July – August was the reason for my saying so.
 
You started as a staunch activist of the JVP during the latter part of 1986 but was captured in the 1990’s in Trincomalee and until you were released by the then army commander Sarath Fonseka, you were the army chief for the JVP in the district. That was not all; you were also the central committee member of the JVP and a member of the political faction of the party and you functioned as a full time front line leader of the JVP until you migrated to Australia on death threats.
 
Differences in opinion erupted within the party in July – August 2009 and you had to leave  the JVP in September 2009. Even after leaving the party you maintained close relations with the student faction of the JVP and the public relations faction where you wielded power and the central committee members were close to you. You tried to capture the power of the JVP with the support of these factions, but with not being able to do so you started a new party.
 
That was that, but when you started the new party those who were in the JVP as political higher ups in the central committee, such as
 
Opatha - (A powerful activist in the party’s Central Committee)
 
Dimuthu Attygale - (Central Committee member who was in charge of the Women’s faction)
 
Varna Rajapaske - (Central Committee member - One of the Youth faction leaders and a member of the Western Provincial Council)
 
Samira Koswatte - (Central Committee member – Member of the Sabragamuwa Provincial Council)
 
Duminda Nagamuwa - (Central committee member - One of those responsible for the Student faction)
 
Pubudu Jagoda - (Central committee member – One of those responsible for the Student faction)
 
Kularathne - (Central committee member –Responsible for many districts)
 
Ajith kumara - (Central committee member – Member of the Galle district union and a current M.P)
 
Jude Fernando – (Organiser of the Frontline Socialist party )( Functioned as an office assistant at the JVP headquarters)
 
Ravindra Mudalige – (Coordinator of the Frontline socialist Party)
 
All these former JVP members have now became key members of the Frontline socialist party and run the equal rights movement as well.
 
All of you who were holding the above responsible positions in the JVP had worked in that party till 2009, accepting the policy and the administration of the party. Isn’t so?
 
You had 29 members in the former President Chandrika Bandaranayake’s government and will you refuse the fact that you were the principal party responsible for the ceasefire talks breaking down.
 
JVP campaigned around the whole country saying that Ranil – Prabha alliance was a betraying treacherous alliance and thereby gave maximum possible pressure to Chandrika, and when the JVP threatened that they were leaving the government, were not all of you influential senior members of the JVP?
 
Were you all not  top level members of the JVP when your party urged Chandrika to take back the defense and other portfolios from the Ranil government and when Chandrika followed your suggestion and sent home the Ranil government?
 
Where were you when the JVP broke the ceasefire talks and told the government to destroy the tigers without any mercy?
 
I need not mention here how your party the JVP had unleashed derogatory ethnic propaganda of very bad taste in your party newspapers from 2002 to 2009. Where were your ethnic reconciliation feelings at that time?
 
I think it was in 2006, when JVP’s weekly Lanka newspaper published a centerspread story listing the Sooriyan FM which I worked for and 36 other websites, radio stations and television stations which functioned in the Diaspora countries, were supporting the tigers and were boosting the eelam cause.  That was not all; you had also mentioned some websites run by Tamil sectors that were actually supporting you at present were also tiger supporting websites.  The worst part of the story was that some media that were very much Anti – Tiger in stance were also listed under the tiger supporting media, May be because they were  functioning from the diaspora countries.
 
Your eyes were shut at that time, but how did the awakening take place now (such an awakening gives a pleasure, but will you tell the political attitude  of such an opening to the majority and the minority community in one and the same language.)
 
Whenever Tamil journalists were killed or abducted they were all branded as tiger supporters and when media organizations held protests against such killing or abduction, key persons in such media organizations were also branded as tiger supporters and their photographs were published in your Lanka newspapers and the images were circled for easy identification. You should have surely known about the above incidents. You can’t refuse or deny. Can you?
 
In 2002 Norway and the donor countries were facilitating the peace talks. JVP publications at that time said everyone connected with the facilitators, human rights activists, Journalists, writers, NGO staff and intellectuals at all levels were Tigers and Traitors and were betraying the country. All of you mentioned above were top level members of the JVP at that time, and were mere onlookers watching such destructive propaganda undertaken by the JVP.
 
Opatha, a former central committee member proposed that the JVP should immediately join the then government and strengthen it, and demanded the government to destroy the tigers and liberate the country, is now a top level member of your party.
 
When the ceasefire talks broke down and the tigers blocked the Maavilaaru waterway, war erupted in Trincmalee and when it intensified in the East, Opatha, a former central committee member proposed that the JVP should immediately join the then government and strengthen it, and demanded the government to destroy the tigers and liberate the country, but he is now a top level member of your party.
 
Why am I mentioning all this to you? Because you may turn down all the above incidents saying all that happened while you were in the JVP. One could be anywhere but if you had ethnic reconciliation and equality in your mind, there is no chance that you could have kept mum..
 
You put forward many reasons for leaving the JVP.
 
.  Being a part of Chandrika’s interim government in 2004.
 
.  Supporting  Mahinda Rajapakse in the 2005 Presidential election.
 
.  Supporting Sarath Fonseka in the 2010 Presidential election.
 
. Contesting   in the 2010 General election in the cup symbol, and several other reasons.
 
You had shown dissent and was against the above decisions of the JVP. That was something welcome.
 
However P. Kularatne who supported the idea of joining the government after the 2004 Presidential election, but was dejected after the proposal failed, is now a political faction member of your party. How are his self-sentiments at the moment?
 
Likewise when Asoka proposed in the central committee, that the JVP should back Sarath Fonseka in the 2010 presidential elections and make him a common candidate under the cup symbol, Pubuthu Jagoda seconded the proposal. The same Pubuthu Jagoda is now a political faction member of your party. What is the lesson he learnt from his action?.
 
Several decisions taken in the JVP central committee during the five year period from 2004 to 2009 had destroyed the ethnic reconciliation and were flaming ethnic tensions. These decisions were unanimous and in some instances were passed with majority votes. Present members of your party are jointly answerable for this. Are they aware of the political sentiments which led them to the take such actions?
 
Most of the important members who hold responsible positions in your party at present were full time members of the JVP, until they openly confronted with the JVP and left the party in 2009. Even you would not refuse how important their political thinking and self-conscious are.
 
Furthermore hundreds of intellectuals, human right activists, political leaders and members of the public were murdered by the JVP during the period 1987/1989. As top level members of the JVP all of you should openly say sorry for the above killings and   that would make the people believe more in you. Am I not right?.
 
Apart from this, during the first general meeting you held after coming out of the JVP, several charges were made against the JVP. But the second ranked members of your new party wanted the top level members of your party (formerly of the JVP) to individually put forward their opinions regarding the above charges against the JVP
 
With relevant answers not coming from the above, several of your district organizers namely, Chamara the Matara district organizer. Dimuthu Abeykone the Kandy district organizer, Kumar the Kurunagala district organizer and the district organizers for Kalutara and Trincomalee are said to have left your party. What do you say on this?
 
I do not think you will come out with a single answer to all the above, saying that the internal struggle in the JVP was more than 5 years old. I think that your political and moral knowledge will not let you say that.
 
Another thing should be mentioned here in parallel.
 
During the time of the liberation tigers, some had aligned with them and enjoyed perks such as positions and facilities, but after the Mullivaikkal debacle, they started saying that they were not happy to be with the tigers. They said that they did not approve the activities of the tigers.  They said that they criticized them. But we really knew about their sayings and the irresponsible talks which were without a moral and without a proper political self-analysis.  And that’s not all. Many political organizations, which now say that they are going to fight for the Tamils, do not have a proper understanding of their past and until they do so and until they fail to self-analyze themselves,   it is clearly understood that they will be working  only for their own welfare. O.K. let’s leave them and let them go on.
 
It is said that the talks you held with the communist parties which had international connections with the JVP, in order to come to an understanding and to initiate a socialist revolution did not succeed as anticipated. Is this a rumor? Truth? If it is true what are the reasons?
 
What is your position on the ethnic crisis of Sri Lanka?
 
What is the plan of your party regarding the capturing of power in Sri Lanka?
 
What is your ideology or the strategy in implementing socialism?
 
The international communist movements are of the opinion that you say the same thing what JVP is saying in regard to the important questions mentioned above.
 
If so what is the difference between you and the JVP?  Well, we do not ask the above question. But the international communist parties ask so. What is your answer for this?
 
What solution have you put forward in regard to the ethnic problem, or the ethnic confrontation of the minority community of Sri Lanka, which is continuing for more than half a century?
 
Can you make your solution public, as an article in the Sinhala language and make it available to the people of the South.
 
Can you openly go against the Sinhala minority fundamentalists who refuse that the people living in this country have the right to practice their religion, language and the cultural identities?
 
Do you have the courage to say it aloud to the Sinhalese that everyone living in Sri Lanka beyond their ethnic identity are equal politically, economically, legally and judiciary wise?.
 
Dear Mr. Kumar Gunaratnam, after being in an era of nearly  three decades  from the 80s to 2009, is it not shocking to change you standing all of a sudden and speak about  equal rights, equal opportunities, ethnic unison and progress.?
 
Can you openly say to the Sinhalese and the Tamil people that ethnic reconciliation and equality which you mention does not have the cunningness to make the minority people into living amicably with the majority.
 
The tragedy is that the leftist parties, movements and the struggle groups which originated from the South during the last 50 years had later on fallen in to the racist quagmire and had betrayed the minority people for the perks from the government and for the parliament seats and other benefits. In fact this had become history and the only remaining factor in this regard.
 
The Tamil national liberation movements which started working towards the liberation of the Tamil people did not have a foresight, and destroyed the confidence of the Tamils. Or else have started working for themselves, starting from a long time
 
Meanwhile, without any self-analysis  on your past you have taken the subjects of ethnic unison, equality, brotherhood and equal rights, which have  become valuable  talk themes in the
 
Sri Lankan market today into your hands. I end this letter with the belief that you will not make the Tamil people scape goats, once again.
- Nadarajah Kuruparan
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