Rathu Sahodarayas, as is well known, are masters of slinging mud at others. They have given many a political leader a right royal mud bath. The JVP may have inherited that trait from its founder Rohana Wijeweera, whose forte was vicious iconoclastic calumny, with which he apparently sought to overcome some personality problems. His successors seem to have overtaken him posthumously in that respect, if their sordid conduct is any indication.
One may wonder whether the unfolding tragicomedy in the JVP is consequent upon some karmic process. For, the mud-slinging comrades, engaged in a home and home match, are washing their own dirty linen in public, much to the amusement of their rivals. An unbearable stench emanates from their project.
The best way to catch a thief, it is said, is to set a thief. When thieves fall out they spill a great deal of beans. Now, we know that the teetotallers in shining red shirts heat their livers on the sly and paragons of virtue gratify their carnal desires away from home. Allegations of bigamy and polygamy are also being hurled at some revolutionary Don Juans masquerading as upasakas. It looks as if the red comrades had been enjoying life behind a fa ade of radicalism. Not bad, eh?
What happens behind closed doors of party offices or guest houses shouldn t be anyone s concern. Let the boys seek some pleasure and realise that there is much more to life than hate-mongering and inciting anarchical violence. Internal strife is also not something uncommon in politics. All political parties in this country have suffered splits and some of their stalwarts are at one another s jugular at any given time. The SLFP is afflicted with a chronic dissent. It cannot at least present a united front at the funeral of a senior leader. They let their party squabbles spill over even into cemeteries! The UNP looks like a loaf of bread: it is getting sliced by dissidents from time to time. Given the rate at which its members are crossing over, the day may not be far off, when it has more members in the government than in the Opposition. The JHU is faction ridden. It is retaining its balance by leaning on the government. The so-called traditional left is fissiparous and has been reduced to a mere collective of splinter groups. The LTTE has not yet recovered from the 2004 breakaway which has led to an internecine battle. Even the Anti-War Front which pontificates to the rest of the world about the need to resolve conflicts through negotiations and the virtue of unity has suffered a debilitating split.
But, political rivalry and attendant splits become problematic when their fallout becomes a threat to law and order, like the one in the JVP. No sooner had JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe emphasised, at a recent press briefing, the need for his party to take up issues like human rights in addition to its trademark campaign for wiping out terrorism than JVP goons set upon the Weerawansa faction. Vehicles belonging to dissidents, too, were forcibly removed from the Parliamentary premises and their homes. On Sunday, JVP thugs attacked a veterinarian who had committed the crime of treating the JVP dissidents to tea at his residence in Kandy. (A vet is someone whom even animals respect!)
The police lost no time in conducting investigations and making arrests. A JVP Provincial Councillor has been taken in and remanded over the Kandy incident. Bravo! Let all those JVP goons who have bared their fangs and proved their potential to plunge the country into a bloodbath again be dealt with severely. If they could be so violent in suppressing their own party men, how beastly they would become in making others fall in line goes without saying.
The police are on the right course and the JVP violence must be nipped in the bud. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. The government is right in having swung into action to curb violence against JVP dissidents.
Now that a JVP politician has been arrested on suspicion over the Kandy attack, the government must act against all other violent politicians if it is to avoid being accused of an attempt to turn action against JVP goons into a political witch-hunt. Before descending on others, it is incumbent upon the government to put its house in order. Minister Mervyn Silva has been let off the hook in all but name. When he raided the Rupavahini Corporation last December, let his goons loose on a senior journalist and got into the soup in the process, the government rushed to his rescue. A police high ranker took him away with an arm around his neck as if they had been chums. Maybe they were.
The police didn t even record a statement from Minister Silva in spite of damning evidence that the goons he had taken to Rupavahini premises acted at his behest. Mum s the word on the part of the SLFP which undertook to have him probed by a disciplinary committee. The committee members reply in a strange tongue when questions are raised about the delayed investigation. It is nearly four months since the probe began. It is likely to drag on till the cows come home.
Strangely, a government that has been jolted into action by an assault on a vet refuses to take action against a bunch of politically backed traders and millers holding the entire country to ransom. We thought its writ didn t run only in the LTTE-held areas in the Wanni. It looks as if it had lost control of the North Central Province as well. For, it is wary of raiding huge warehouses in Polonnaruwa, where rice and paddy are said to be hoarded. The UNP recently challenged it to descend on those millers.
Where are the swashbuckling government bigwigs gunning for JVP goons and the brave police officers who descend on Opposition politicians?
Why are they scared of taking on the Polonnaruwa rice Mafia?