by A Special Correspondent
In diplomacy, the astute recognize that India boasts its foremost strategic mind in handling foreign affairs. Dr. S. Jaishankar, perceptive in gauging not just the pulse of the nation but also the intricacies of neighbouring countries, extended an official invitation to the ‘Marxist’ political party leadership. Ironically, this party, no longer tethered to Marxism or any discernible political ideology, seems to thrive on media attention.
Undeniably popular, the party captivates a considerable following, with many ardently believing in their ability to reshape the nation—a sentiment eerily reminiscent of the trust once placed in the former president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
However, our contention is rooted in the observation that Anura Dissanayake has forsaken his political theories, including those of the party founder Rohana Wijeweera, in favour of discussions with India’s top diplomat and National Security Adviser on Sri Lanka. What implications does this hold for future Marxists? Additionally, what awaits genuine Marxists in the presence of pseudo-Marxists? Consider how the sustenance of political instability is facilitated by the adoption of this comical false ideology, employed as a faux emancipationist strategy in the past to achieve narrow goals. Reflecting on these aspects is crucial. Moreover, it is essential to recognize that the erosion of social stability in Sri Lanka cannot be solely attributed to the wife of the Hindu god Shiva, Parvathi’s curse.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Comrade Dissanayake discards his ‘Marxist mask’ even before he sets foot in Delhi. Social media ‘superstars’ and influential figures in the National People’s Power laud their political idol’s recent visit to India, celebrating meetings with key figures in the Modi government. Unperturbed by their party members’ past actions, such as the contentious incident involving the late Rajiv Gandhi in Colombo, they pragmatically assert that was a matter concerning the Congress Party, and now, with the BJP in power, there is no cause for repentance.
Official reports indicated that there was a lengthy discussion between Comrade Dissanayake and India’s Minister of External Affairs, an encounter showcased on the Indian government’s website as, “External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar met H.E. Mr. Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Leader of the National People’s Power (NPP) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) of Sri Lanka in New Delhi.” We anticipate a comprehensive statement from the party elucidating the nuances of this visit and the topics discussed.
However, it is conceivable that among various matters, Dissanayake may have been briefed on India’s advocacy for power devolution and other political solutions—a stance vehemently rejected by the JVP throughout its history. A central committee member articulated the party’s stance on India in August 2012, dismissing the 13th amendment as a ploy by the late J.R. Jayawardena to appease the Indian government in 1987.
According to the committee member, the 13th Amendment was not a genuine solution to Sri Lanka’s national problem but a source of inter-ethnic strife. The super dominance by India, he claimed, brought issues like ‘human rights’ and the ‘problems of people in the north’ to the forefront, thereby threatening and paralyzing the Sri Lankan government.
Intriguingly, JVP central committee members expounded further on the party’s policy toward India, alleging that India, while posturing as a protector of Tamil rights, was engaged in a double game. They contended that India’s true motives were to dominate the local market, acquire land, control natural resources, and exploit the fisheries industry. Despite advocating for increased land ownership for Tamils, the JVP accused India of owning more land in the northeast, manipulating the labour force with Indian workers, and weakening the Tamil workforce.
Meanwhile, Comrade Vijitha Herath, a member of the Political Bureau, Propaganda Secretary of the People’s Liberation Front (JVP), and Member of Parliament, serving as the interpreter for Anura Kumara Dissanayake during his visit to India, discussed ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation’ (LLRC) soon after the report published on public domain. He asserted that the commission did not aim to scrutinize contributions from imperialism or neighbouring India to the activities of separatist forces.
Fascinatingly, the party’s long-serving General Secretary, Tilvin Silva, posits that both India and other imperialist powers exploit the ongoing issues in Sri Lanka, particularly the national question and the associated human rights concerns. Silva underscores the severity of this interference, noting that the United States could potentially pass a resolution against Sri Lanka at the Geneva Human Rights Council with India’s support, highlighting the gravity of imperialists’ interventions.
Silva contends that the crisis arising from Sri Lanka’s National Question eventually prompted direct interference from India in the country’s internal affairs. Despite the JVP’s attempts to dissuade India, its friendly neighbour for centuries, from getting entangled in Sri Lanka’s political turmoil, the party was unsuccessful. Consequently, the JVP found itself opposing not only India but also the pro-US Sri Lankan government and separatists advocating for the creation of an ethnically cleansed entity named Tamil Eelam, jeopardizing the unity of the people.
Summarily, the JVP’s policy on India posits that the Indian central government, India’s intelligence arm Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), and the Tamil Nadu state government directly supported separatist organizations in Sri Lanka, notably the LTTE. The JVP claims that in 1987, India, wielding military and political might, coerced the Sri Lankan government into signing the controversial ‘Indo-Sri Lanka pact,’ bringing over 100,000 Indian soldiers into Sri Lanka and introducing the 13th amendment, which aimed at partitioning the country and devolving power along communal lines. Since then, the JVP asserts, successive Indian capitalist governments have exploited the national question and the 13th amendment to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.
This apparent contradiction raises a critical question: where is Marxism in this Marxist party? It seems akin to drinking coffee without caffeine or beer without alcohol—pretending to be something that, in reality, the party no longer represents. In other words, a glaring display of hypocrisy. This unsettling pattern, repeating itself throughout the island’s history, involves changing actors on the stage while staging the same drama, ultimately leading to catastrophes for the people.
Now, the pertinent question emerges: who is deceiving whom? Has Anura Dissanayake, now addressed as His Excellency Anura Kumara Dissanayake, betrayed his party to seize power by any means necessary and fallen under the influence of India? Or is he orchestrating a political drama to curry favour with India and secure victory in the next election? Anyone underestimating the complexity of deceiving India ought to delve into history and be prepared to face the consequences. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.’
What a fascinating twist, Comrades.