JVP rebels deny receiving foreign funds; Challenges UPFA to prove accusations
The government alleges that the JVP rebels receive funding from at least three overseas donors. Authoritative sources told The Island that the government was concerned about those trying to oust Somawansa Amarasinghe from the party leadership, using foreign funds, to further destabilise the political scene.
The so-called JVP rebels had been working closely with some of those supportive of the Eelam project, sources alleged. The allegation was made in the wake of the rebels seeking the intervention of the UN mission in Colombo to force the government to release two of its activists they say are held at a secret detention facility in the North.
Asked whether the government had initiated an inquiry, sources pointed out that even the UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had publicly accused a German NGO of funding those trying to throw him out of the party. Wickremesinghe offered to move parliament to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to inquire into clandestine efforts to change the UNP leadership.
The German Embassy in Colombo is yet to respond to our queries regarding Wickremesinghe’s allegations. UNP Deputy Leader parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa yesterday told The Island that he would respond to the allegation shortly.
JVP rebel Udul Premaratne yesterday told The Island that the Rajapaksa regime was making wild allegations to confuse the public. The rebels hadn’t received any funding through Colombo-based embassies, NGOs or any other party, he stressed. “We’re not making a living out of politics. The rebel group challenges the government to prove its allegations and move the judiciary against us. Corrupt UPFA cannot achieve anything by falsely accusing us of taking money from foreign sources, except for deceiving the public.”
Premaratne, the former convener of the Inter-University Students Federation (IUSF) affiliated to the JVP said that the government couldn’t deprive the JVP Rebels of their right to take up issues with Colombo-based embassies. Premaratne accused the government of running secret detention facilities, even after the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. Some of those who had surrendered to troops at the end of the conflict on the Vanni front were yet to be produced in court or their detention acknowledged, Premaratne said. Asked whether they could prove accusations with regard to undeclared detainees, the JVPer said that ‘We are Sri Lankans’, a civil organisation campaigning for the cause of missing persons, had received information pertaining to four such cases, though the actual number was believed to be much higher.
The government obviously had no intention of following the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) with regard to accountability issues, Premaratne alleged. Had state intelligence services believed JVP Reformists’ or any other political party had been receiving funds from foreign sources, the government could reveal both donors and recipients and initiate legal action. Premaratne said that the government was making unsubstantiated allegations against political parties, while blaming a section of the international community of propagating lies targeting Sri Lanka.
Premaratne said that the government shouldn’t hesitate to take the contentious issue of secret funds with the embassies concerned if it had received credible information that Colombo-based diplomats were playing politics.
Courtesy: The Island
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The GOSL should ban urgently, by an Act of Parliament, funding of all political parties by foreign governments and organisations with vested interests.
JVP is split fortunately but the new more militant JVP wing, under Gunaratnam, is in alliance with the diaspora Tamils/LTTE and the TNA to create civil unrest in SL as in the Middle East and North Africa. This is in keeping with the agenda of USA and the imperial West allies to topple the UPFA govt, appoint a stooge USA-friendly govt, grant autonomy to Tamils with N and E annexed and to have a large US base in SL.
By the way, Mr Gunaratnam cannot understand or speak the tamil language.
His brother, Ranjit Gunaratnam, was an active LTTE leader who died in action. I don’t accept this Kumar Gunaratnam, speaks no Tamil. That is a red herring thrown for our consumption. I don’t buy it. He is a pawn of the imperial West, the CIA and MI5. He is playing their agenda/game to create civil unrest through university students, to begin with. After that it would be on the lines of ‘Arab Uprisings’, with Libya as model, for US, British, France and NATO intervention.
Premakumar Gunaratnam was born in 18 November, 1965 to ethnic Tamil mother and father in Kegalle. He was educated in St. Mary’s College, Kegalle, and Pinnawala Maha Vidyalaya. He speaks, but cannot write Tamil.
He is the younger brother of late Ranjitham Gunaratnam, Peradeniya University student and the convenor of the Inter University Student Federation (IUSF) in 1987, which were the heydays of the student activism against the then UNP government. Ranjitham was abducted and later killed by the government forces in 1988. Premakumar himself was an undergraduate of the Engineering Faculty of the Peradeniya University, though he did not complete his degree. His profession, however, is stated as ‘engineer.’ He is married to a doctor, domiciled in Australia. 11-2
At one point during 1988-89, Premakumar functioned as the Trincomalee leader of Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya (DJV), considered the armed wing of the JVP. He was also the contact point between the JVP and Tamil militant groups of Marxist orientation, mainly the TELO, during the 80s.
Touted as an explosives expert, he reportedly masterminded the JVP raid of the Pallekele army camp, during which the JVP got away with a large cache of weapons and ammunition.
After the death of Ranjitham, Prema- kumar operated under his brother’s name. He was later arrested, but, escaped from the prison on 13 December, 1988. Subsequently, he fled the country, reportedly via the sea route as the military launched a man hunt.
Premakumar Gunarathnam alias Kumar Mahaththaya is widely known as the elusive leader of the rebel group which is now baptized as the ‘Jana Aragala’ movement. Though his name emerged after the internal split of the JVP, Kumar was instrumental in almost all the political activities of the party throughout the past two decades. But today, Kumar Gunarathnam, who was the lifeline of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, is ousted from the politburo and then from the party.
Gunarathnam was born in Kegalle to a Tamil father and Sinhala mother on 18 November 1965. He was educated in two schools namely St. Mary’s College Kegalle and Pinnawala Maha Vidyalaya. He studied in the Sinhala medium and has a good command of the Sinhala language. As his close associates say, Gunarathnam can speak and understand Tamil, but cannot write.
Gunarathnam made his entry into politics when he was studying for the Advanced Level Examination, following the footsteps of his elder brother Ranjitham Gunarathnam. Ranjitham is the one who shaped Kumar Gunarathnam’s political career. Ranjitham emerged as a stalwart in the JVP students’ wing during the early 80s. He was a student union leader at the Engineering Faculty of the Peradeniya University.
The JVP won the students’ union election of the Peradeniya University in 1983. The victorious march which the JVP organized to celebrate the election victory was attacked by another group of students who were affiliated with the ruling UNP. Following the clash, the government took measures to repress JVP affiliated student union leaders. As a result, several prominent student union leaders such as Ananda Idamegama, and Ranjitham Gunarathnam were suspended from the university. Ranjitham was later given the responsibility as the head of the JVP Education Wing. In 1987, Ranjitham was appointed as the convener of the Inter University Student Federation and became a Politburo member of the JVP. He was fluent in all three languages and was considered a good organiser.
Kumar Gunarathnam, Ranjitham’s younger brother, was selected to the Engineering Faculty in 1985/86. He soon became a prominent figure in the student union because of his strong political roots. He was elevated as a student leader and became one of the prominent JVP activists. When the JVP uprising started in 1987 following the Indo-Lanka pact, Kumar was a student of the Engineering Faculty. As the government started the hunt for JVP activists, Kumar had to go underground and engage in political activities. This compelled him to bid adieus to his university life.
Kumar was assigned to work in Trincomalee District by the JVP, where Ranjitham worked as the District leader. When Ranjitham was abducted and killed at the height of the struggle in 1988, Kumar was the one who replaced his brother. He was appointed as the District Leader of the JVP led Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya which was operated by the elusive leader ‘Keerthi Vijayabahu’.
As the District Leader, Kumar planned some major military operations against the army. It is said he was the brainchild behind the attack on the army camp in Pallekale where the JVP acquired a large cache of arms and explosives.
While operating as the District Leader of Trincomalee, Gunaratnam was arrested by the army. Colonel Sarath Fonseka, the then Troop Commander of Trincomalee was the officer who masterminded the arrest of Kumar Gunarathnam. It is said the latter was betrayed by an Army spy. However, after a brief imprisonment, he escaped from the prison. The way he escaped from the prison is still a mystery.
After the escape, he never appeared in public as ‘Kumar Gunarathnam’. He used the pseudonym ‘Gemunu’ which was given to him by the JVP. The military forces assumed that Gunaratnam was dead and was listed as a JVP leader who was killed by the army. It is learnt he lived in a hideout in Trincomalee in 1989. JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera was killed on 13 November 1989 and that marked the end of the 88-89 uprising of the JVP. The vast majority of JVP cadres were killed by the Armed forces and the party was shattered. At that time, no one believed that the JVP would raise its head again.
Reuniting the party
It is in this context that ‘Gemunu’ took the initiative to reunite the remaining party cadres and resurrect the party. He travelled from district to district and restored the communication network between the remaining party members. At the same time, he developed contacts with Somawansa Amarasinghe alias ‘Siri Aiya’ who had fled to France via India. Amarasinghe was the only Politburo member who survived after the 88-89 uprising.
Amarasinghe, undoubtedly, is more senior than Gunarathnam. But the latter is the one who played the key role to revitalize the organizational structure of the party in the early 90s. He groomed a new group of activists such as Wimal Weerawansa, Tilvin Silva and Nandana Gunathilaka to become the front-liners of JVP. But still he remained underground and operated as a hidden leader. Officially, Somawansa Amarasinghe was the leader of the party. But Gunarathnam, unofficially, captained the ship.
Gunarathnam got married to Champa Somarathne somewhere in 1992-1993. Champa, who was a medical doctor by profession, had a political background in her family. All her close family members were affiliated with the JVP. Champa was also a strong supporter of the party. When the JVP contested the 1994 General Election, her name was also included in the Kurunegala District nomination list. They have a daughter and a son, aged 17 and nine. The children studied in government schools in Sri Lanka.
Kumar, is considered one of the cleverest tacticians JVP has ever produced. He was the mastermind behind the resurgence of the party, from 1993 to 2005.
In 2005 the JVP had 39 parliamentary seats and that was the peak of its success in the post-1994 era. Just before the parliamentary election in 2001 JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe returned to the country; but still Gunarathnam had the space to operate as the underground leader of the party. Although he played a key role in the party’s decision making body his name was not included in the name list of politburo members of JVP which was handed over to the elections commissioner.
The internal disputes of the party surfaced after 2004, when JVP became a stakeholder of political coalitions. In the post 1994 era, the first major internal split of the party occurred between Wimal Weerawansa and Anura Kumara Dissanayake in 2008, Gunarathnam and other seniors supported Anura Kumara Dissanayaka. However, soon after Weerawansa’s breakaway, Gunarathnam’s presence in the party was exposed to a certain extent. A weekend Sinhala newspaper reported that Gunarathnam is the real leader of the JVP.
It is in this backdrop Dr. Champa Somarathne, Gunarathnam’s wife, applied for citizenship in Australia. Under the scheme which allows professionals to domicile in Australia, Dr. Somarathne was offered Australian citizenship and that is how Kumar and their children were eligible to obtain Australian visa. But it is still questionable whether Gunarathnam used his real name to apply for Australian visa. Gunarathnam left the country in mid 2008. But no records are available at the Department of Immigration and Emigration on arrivals or departures of someone called ‘Premakumar Gunarathnam’. Therefore, the CID believes that he used a forged passport to travel to Australia. Therefore, Gunarathnam faces the possibility of being prosecuted over the violation of Immigration and Emigration laws. Even though he travelled to Australia, he still played a pivotal role in the decision making process of the JVP.
Gunarathnam, returned to country in early 2011. By that time, the internal conflict of the JVP was seemingly intensifying. The flashpoint of the struggle was the agreement the party reached with the UNP, during the Presidential election in 2010. The group led by Gunarathnam were of the view that the JVP made a fatal blunder by coalescing with the UNP which is led by Ranil Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe, according to them, is one of the major culprits who should be held responsible for the 88/89 dark era. Apart from that, the party’s stand on the national question was also subjected to arguments.
However, JVP dissidents led by Gunarathnam have already formed a new political movement. When they conducted a separate November Heroes Commemoration, a large number of JVP activists took part in the event. They felicitated the parents of some of the key party members who sacrificed their lives on behalf of the party in the second JVP uprising. It is said most of the ground level activists and cadres of the party have tremendous regard for Gunarathnam and his associates such as ‘Opatha’ and G. Kularathne who played a key role in resurrecting the party in the aftermath of 88-89 repression.
Meanwhile, questions have risen as to whether Gunarathnam has fled the country by now. But according to key members of the rebel group, he still remains in the party. The arrival of Gunarathnam’s family members also substantiates the fact that Gunarathnam still remains in the country.
A fugitive escaped from prison (waiting to be recaptured) and a violator of immigration laws (waiting to be procecuted and jailed)…. drearming to become a political leader of Sri lanka.
No surprise how people like Mervin and Duminda (of the same 3rd class) become popular politicians.
God bless Sri lanka..! I think we may need to consider “good character” verification by authorities and police clearences before anyone can be nominated as potential political elector.
Kumar Mahattaya intends to facilitate the bloomimg our land and its peoples in the forthcoming Sri Lankan summer.
Thank you for your expose on Gunarathnam. Can you clarify whether you are a member of the breakaway JVP movement, JAM, the militant wing or the main JVP?
I agree with Manjula that K Gunarathnam is a wanted man, an alleged criminal, who should be hunted down and arrested sooner than later. He seems to be a very crafty, dangerous man, who could be used by the imperial West and his JAM funded and even armed by CIA, to create civil unrest in the manner of ‘Arab Awakening’, so that US and British forces with NATO can attack SL to topple the UPFA govt, assassinate the President, his family, military chiefs and intellectuals, on the model of Libya, and destroy our infrastructure so that SL can never raise its head again, with a stooge as a leader of a new govt. Is it going to be this fellow, KG? Will N & E be merged and partitioned for the Tamils to form their own petty kingdom for the ‘Tamil Nation’?
I wonder what ON means by KG, “intends to facilitate the blooming our land and its peoples in the forthcoming SL summer”. Could ON himself clarify this mysterious statement? Is ON a member of this JAM and knows its agenda?
I hope the Hon President is awake to this real and impending threat and alert the entire Security Service to hunt down this Kumaratham Gunarathnam, that justice be served. If KG dies in the process, so much the better for Motherlanka.
I agree with Manjula that election laws should be made more stringent with convicted criminals barred for life from contesting political elections. Even current MPs, if convicted of criminal offences, should be barred from political elections for life. Hence, SF cannot ever contest a political election again. He can then never be a PM or President, unless ofcourse by a coup d’tat.