The JVP has taken upon itself the task of protecting democracy, eradicating political violence, battling the suppression of dissent, restoring human rights and bringing about equality. It is opposed to the Executive Presidency, which, it says, is a threat to democracy. As part of its political crusade, it has even opted to join forces with the capitalist UNP and is beseeching a serving military bigwig to contest the presidential election purportedly to `cleanse politics`.
But, these Red knights in shining armour practise exactly the opposite of what they preach to others when they find themselves in positions of power. How they are behaving in universities is a case in point. That the JVP student wing is controlling the seats of higher learning is only too well known. It is in these places that Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde! What the JVP thugs in the garb of undergraduates do in universities is the very antithesis of democracy their leaders claim to promote outside.
Yesterday, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, which is a notorious hotbed of JVP activity, witnessed a mini battle which left several students injured. The JVP, true to form, started it all, as it always does, by setting upon a rival faction.
The JVP has turned universities into hellholes through intimidation, violence and disruptions. While its political leaders are staging protest marches on the streets of Colombo against political violence, its student thugs are unleashing terrorism against their rivals and violently suppressing political dissent. Anyone who utters a word against the JVP on a university campus, as is well known, runs the risk of being lynched! It was at the Jayewardenepura campus that JVP thugs once murdered an undergraduate by smashing his head with a computer monitor! Instead of books and pens, these thugs carry knives and swords.
The country is lucky to have neutralised one form of terror but the JVP terrorism in universities has come to stay. We have, in these columns, been stressing the need to liberate the universities from the clutches of JVP terrorists who have made higher education a nightmare for students and their parents. They are running universities the way Prabhakaran ruled the North and the East for nearly three decades.
It is surprising why successive governments have conceded the control of universities to the JVP terrorists without making a serious effort to restore the rule of law in those pockets of anarchy, where the democratic rights of students are blatantly violated. Whenever violence breaks out and students are injured or killed, universities are promptly closed. What a remedy! They are reopened after weeks or months and no action is taken against the culprits in most cases. It is this culture of impunity that has helped the JVP perpetuate its grip on the university system.
There is no reason why the government should baulk at giving the police a free hand to deal with university thugs who are a threat to the vast majority of hapless students desirous of pursuing their education peacefully. We see no difference between the underworld criminals who are being hunted down and the campus Mafia terrorising students. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
It is heartening that at long last some action has been taken against the bestial elements disporting themselves in brutal ragging in universities. Some of them have been hauled up before Courts. However, much more needs to be done. None of the student thugs must be spared. Each and every one of them must be brought to justice if the country is to have a decent university system and ensure the safety of undergraduates.
The blame for university violence must be laid at the doorstep of the JVP leaders and pressure must be brought to bear on these tub-thumping campaigners for democracy to restrain their undergraduate hooligans.
It is high time university teachers, undergraduates, their families and concerned citizens came forward to confront the JVP wolves in sheep`s clothing posing as the greatest democrats on earth.
A bunch of psychos must not be allowed to endanger the lives of innocent students and disrupt universities. They are a threat to this society and must be treated as such.