Herath claims JVP ideology cannot be destroyed
intense speculation to the contrary, JVP front-liner Vijitha
Herath vehemently denies any kind of fissures within the Marxist
party in a wide ranging interview with The Nation this week.
By Rathindra Kuruwita
Following are excerpts:
Q: The Indian Prime Minister has said that he will attend the
2008 Independence Day celebrations only if a proposal to solve
the ethnic conflict is presented to the President, by the APRC.
What do you feel about that demand?
A: India or any other country does not have the right to
tell us how we should settle our internal affairs. No one can
tell us how and when we should do this and under what
conditions. India or any other country cannot give us deadlines
and say we should settle the ethnic conflict before this day. We
should not give into such demands. Itís ironical that a foreign
Prime Minister is trying to intimidate us on our Independence
Then again, what can you expect from the APRC? It is dead. It is
not an All Party Conference anymore, but a collective of the
parties supporting the government. Also, the previous reports
put forward by the APRC, directly violates the ĎMahinda
Chintanaya.í That means that these proposals are against the
wishes of the people. The President came in to power vouching a
unitary state and people did not give power to dissolve power.
So we are not impressed with the APRCís path. It should be
Q: Wouldnít the participation of the Indian premier at our
Independence Day celebrations be beneficial to the country?
A: We have no problems with his arrival. But, his visit is
linked to unreasonable demands that are not permissible. What he
should do is to strengthen the fight against terrorism and force
the LTTE to accept a reasonable solution.
Q: You have continually opposed the proposals put forward by
the APRC as a solution to the conflict in the North and East.
What is your solution?
A: The JVP has a clear solution. We have always stood for
democracy and equal distribution of economic resources.
According to the JVP, the main cause for this problem is
economic. Look at whatís happening today, Mahinda Rajapaksa is
saying he is from Hambantota and, because of that, he is giving
Hambantota an International Airport. What sort of mentality is
this; this is the sort of action that has contributed to the
birth of the ethnic conflict.
The Tamil people were discriminated by successive governments.
Tamil youth were not able to get government jobs, obstacles were
placed before them when entering the Universities and the
government did not give them the resources they needed to fulfil
their potential. Without solving the economic problems of the
poor there will be no permanent solution to the ethnic conflict.
First of all, the LTTE should be defeated, militarily and
ideologically. We should also establish democracy in the North
and the East. We should give them a chance to participate in
elections and allow them to be in control of their own destiny.
We are not saying we expect that these capitalistic regimes can
offer that kind of long term solution. The capitalists always
wanted to separate people according to their nationalities. So,
at least we ask the government to implement democracy and defeat
the LTTE. These things can be achieved within a unitary state.
Q: Do you think that the government will take any action
against Mervyn Silva for his antics at the SLRC?
A: Mervyn Silva is a symbol of this corrupt government. We
do not expect serious action will be taken against the non
cabinet minister. The ministers in general have no morals or
ethics. So how can we expect disciplinary action against Mervyn
Q: The UNP has said that the JVP is responsible for the price
increase of commodities after the Budget?
A: That statement is absurd. Letís imagine that the Budget
was defeated and the UNP came into power, will they be able to
control the prices? The answer is no, they ruled the country
from 1977 to 1994 and then again from 2002 to 2004, didnít the
Both political parties are following a wrong economic path. If
we look at any budget in the last 20 years, the main source of
government income is taxes. We have become a nation of
non-producers. The manufacturing sector is nearly dead, the
government is not investing in industries and the UNP says it
brought in investors but how many of these invested in
manufacturing? Call centres do not contribute to long term
economic development. Without increasing production economic
development cannot be achieved.
Q: Nandana Gunathilake has claimed that there is a huge split
in the JVP and the decision to abstain at the third reading was
to prevent this from happening?
A: Over the years, some of our party members have given up
their ideals and taken the easy path towards power and fortune.
Almost everyone who does that predicts the end of the JVP, but
that has not happened. The JVP is not based on an individual or
two; it is based on an ideology. And ideologies can never be
As we have explained before, the JVP abstained from voting to
demonstrate our disapproval of both the UNP and the UPFA. While
we cannot agree with this corrupt Budget, we definitely do not
want to bring in an equally corrupt set of politicians into
power. The JVP was the only party that stood firm in this storm
while others trembled. We stood united and showed the nation who
is the most disciplined political party.
Q: What can you say about the recent fall out between the JVP
and the JHU?
A: Well, the JVP and the JHU are totally different political
parties. In our view the JHU is a far right political party,
they promote racism. But, on the other hand, our ideals are
socialist therefore we always had disagreements.
Q: Did the JVP meet Basil Rajapaksa before the third voting?
A: No, we did not meet Basil before, during or after the
Budget. We did not have any deal with this government.
Q: Do you believe that if the Budget was defeated that would
have affected the military operations in the North?
A: Yes, we took that matter into consideration. We believe
that we should defeat the LTTE and we saw that the UNP tried to
disrupt the military action and indirectly help the LTTE. We do
not want to see that happen.
Q: The JVP has claimed that it will build a national front to
give the country a new leadership?
A: It is evident that neither the UNP or the SLFP can guide
Sri Lanka to a better future, history has proven that. But, in
those political parties, there are progressive elements that are
disgusted with the present situation of the country.
Our aim is to unite these elements and bring them under one flag
and bring that front into power.