The JVP’s intraparty dispute took a turn for the worse yesterday with the dissidents, known as the Premkumar Gunaratnam group, resorting to violence against the loyalists of JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe.
The Gunaratnam group set upon one of Amarasinghe’s loyalists yesterday at a JVP safe house in Madiwela injuring him badly. The victim, Kamalaratne Rajapaksa (40), revealed the identities of his assailants to the Mirihana police, who immediately arrested three of them including Venura Herath, the Managing Director of the Lanka newspaper, a JVP propaganda organ. The police were looking for the other attackers.
JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva yesterday ruled out the possibility of future talks with the dissidents. He said reconciliation was not possible as the rival group had turned violent. He denied knowledge of anyone called Premkumar Gunaratnam or Kumar Mahattaya. “We have never had talks with anyone by that name,” Silva said.
The JVP’s rank and file would be apprised of the situation, the General Secretary said. “Some of our leaders have already fanned out to different parts of the country to meet party activists.”
The dissident group leaders, too, have launched a programme to woo the party’s grassroots level leaders. A spokesman for the rebel group said that his faction would expose the Amerasinghe group for what it had done in the name of revolution.
Meanwhile, the Lanka newspaper (of 25 Sept) was printed at a different press despite an order by the JVP media secretary Vijitha Hearth, MP to suspend its publication until further notice. When the distribution of the paper commenced, Sunil Watagala, one of the directors of the paper, lodged a complaint with the Grandpass Police claiming that it was illegal for a third party to use the name of the paper. He sought police intervention to stop the distribution of the paper.
The police raided a distribution centre in Grandpass in the wee hours of yesterday seized all copies of the paper they found there. However, by that time, the dissidents had managed to dispatch the paper to some areas. Around noon, the Ministry of Defence ordered the police not to get involved in the JVP dispute and to release the papers in custody.
The police said since the paper did not carry the imprint of the Lanka Fast Publishing Pvt Ltd, the copies of the paper in their custody had been returned to its Managing Director Venura Herath, who was subsequently arrested for assault.