We reproduce here a translation of the interview the Leader of the JVP and Chief Whip of the Opposition Anura Dissanayaka had with weekend newspaper.
This could be the last time we meet for 2016. Do we next meet in the country heated up by the JVP?
This is a moment Maithri – Ranil administration has begun several projects that have not been brought to the surface but are very harmful to the economy and the existence of the country. The government has already begun matters such as amendments to the Customs Ordinance, agreements reached through ETCA, the attempt to create an exclusive power, plans prepared to destroy free education, the plans to sell assets and natural resources in the country. All these projects are targets to be implemented by Maithri – Ranil administration in 2017. Our intention is to rally masses against this destructive economic path, to launch struggles against the government’s moves and reverse the government’s destructive projects. Our attempt is to create a progressive and a righteous society to replace the destructive administration.
What is the programme that would heat up the country?
This journey that destroys the economy should be halted. There is a jeopardy regarding Colombo Port. Due to the geographical situation of Colombo Port it has gained a massive value internationally. Previous government handed over the Southern Jetty to China on the pretext of developing it. Chandrika’s government handed over Queen Elizabeth Jetty to a company and they control it now. The main jetty owned by Sri Lanka Ports Authority is the East Jetty. Now, it is to be sold. This is not only an issue confronted by Port employees. It is an issue concerned with the economic structure of the whole country. We are carrying out a massive struggle to halt government’s attempt to sell the jetty. The situation that has developed in Hamanthota Harbour is similar. The government is making plans to give it to a Chinese company for a very long period. This agreement includes several conditions that are detrimental to the country. There have been massive thefts when constricting the harbour as well. When it is handed over to China too massive thefts are being committed. We would commence a struggle demanding developing Hambanthota Harbour as a state asset. We would direct the struggle joining the Hambanthota people and the employees of the harbour.
The government is also making plans to take over 15,000 acres from Hambanthota; there is also an attempt to sell Kahatagaha graphite mines. It is preparing to sell mineral sands deposits at Pulmoddai. We would struggle to reverse all these mean attempts of the government. This struggle would be a ceaseless struggle. As the final result of all agitations and struggles we would amass the largest number of people Colombo has witnessed and hold a gigantic protest campaign that would hurt the government. This struggle that would heat up the country would be the fiercest struggle the country has witnessed.
You have said a struggle center would be established to commence this struggle. Could you explain it?
Various forces are carrying out struggles for the issues they are confronted with. There is a need to incorporate all these struggles. Merging these forces would strengthen the struggle. The struggle against the attempt by Maithri – Ranil administration’s attempt to destroy the economy should be stronger than the vicious attempt by the administration. All those struggles that are spread out should be controlled by one center. While participating in struggles the task of creating a struggle center that incorporates these struggles should be achieved.
Is it the JVP that takes the leadership and control of this ‘struggle center’?
This ‘struggle center’ will include us and will be carried out under a common slogan that could be agreed to by all those who love this Motherland and are against the destructive economic policy.
Does the JVP agenda of getting the ruling power included in this programme as the final result of the hard work of all strugglers?
Yes. There is such an expectation in this programme. We do not hide it. Our target is the struggle to reverse the destructive economic path as well as creating an entirely different administration that ensures the protection of our Motherland. We are going through the fiercest phase of the destructive economic path that continues from 1978. A new force is necessary to begin a new journey from where the destruction was halted. Such a force should come to power at the end of this struggle.
Do JVP Parliamentarians take the Rs.100,000 distributed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to all MPs?
Yes, we would definitely take it.
Despite saying it would be spent for the people, would you, like many others, think of pocketing this money?
We would never pocket it. Let me explain what we are going to do with this money and why we take this money.
These leaders allocated large funds for ministers and deputy ministers. They served themselves from time to time through supplementary estimates. Already, billions have been allocated by the Treasury for the luxurious living by ministers and MPs. The MPs in the government do not get all the privileges the ministers and deputy ministers get. As such, they are not satisfied. This Rs.100,000 is a ploy of Ranil Wickremesinghe to win their hearts. The UNP Parliamentarians are the ones who are worst dejected due to not getting privileges the ministers and deputy ministers get. Hence, Ranil Wickremesinghe distributes various things to satisfy them.
We do not agree with this act of distributing millions at a time when the economy of our country has fallen down drastically. However, we take this money as if we do not those in the government would plunder this money as well. It is definite.
What happens to that Rs.600,000?
We would spend the Rs.600,000 our six MPs get on behalf of a poor school every month. We would do it transparently and we invite the media to cover the event. You can see what happens to this money.
The government is against the JVP as a counter action for the criticism you aim at the government. However, you say that those in the Frontline Socialist party that were in your party and then distanced from you all expect your destruction. Why have they, who were with you, become so treacherous?
We have a struggle with the ruling classes every day. On one occasion it came up as an armed conflict. On another it surfaced as an agitation movement or a protest movement. It also surfaced as an ideological front. This conflict existed every day. The ruling classes not only carried out the conflict against us directly but also deployed secondary organizations against us. During the armed conflict the conspiracies and armed conflicts were carried out through ‘PRAA’, ‘Black Cats’, ‘yellow Cats’ etc. recruiting those who had fled from the JVP. This is how the ruling class carried out atrocities against the JVP. This is continued today as well.
Do you say Frontline Socialist party carries out government’s contracts?
That party is not our rival. We have nothing to do with them. For, they are an insignificant lot. However, they wish our doom and carry out mudslinging campaigns against us. If you carefully study the events queued up regarding Kumar Gunaratnam you could see how they acted on behalf of the interests of Mahinda Rajapaksa then and how they act according to the ruling class now. In the past Mahinda Rajapaksa camp used them to try and pinch us and today Ranil Wickremesinghe camp tries to pinch us using them.
Is Kumar Gunaratnam coming on stage a challenge for the JVP?
The group left the party five years ago. Did they become a challenge for us? They are never a challenge for us. Why should we have any thoughts about them?
Ulapane Sumangala Thero of Anti-Corruption Front is having a clash with Anura Dissanayaka, doesn’t he?
Milco is a very important place in the development of livestock sector of our country. When I was the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Lands and Irrigation Milco, that was an institute incurring losses, was made one that earned profits. When we came out of the government Milco had a fixed deposit of Rs.200 million.
I revealed handing over a land belonged to Milco, that is important for the economy of the country, to the temple of the said priest. The land was handed over to the temple after closing the well in which Milco drew water from. The priest has become angry after my revelation and has challenged me. I revealed with all the proof with me. What is expected of offering a very expensive land at Narahenpita belonging to Milco to the temple? Any person with sanity would know what the government expects by offering a land to the priest who functions in the front that is said to be exposing corruption of the government.