by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne
Not satisfied with having Sarath Fonseka and a huge number of Tamil political prisoners from the NE, the government has locked up Bharathi Dasan of the Democratic Peoples Front. The arrest of Bharathi Dasan at this juncture is clearly a political action of the government against Mano Ganesan’s political stand.
Bharathi contested as a candidate from Mano Ganesan’s party, the Democratic Peoples Front, in Nuwara Eliya district under UNF in the last parliamentary elections. Mano Ganesan, commenting on the arrest of DPF activist Bharathi Dasan, said that his brother Praba Ganesan who recently joined the Mahinda regime has formed a trade union in the up-country; treacherously claiming the name of Democratic Peoples Congress.
Obviously they have to clash with union leaders of the Democratic Peoples Front. Hence, those behind this new trade union consider Bharathi Dasan, an obstacle for them in the Nuwara Eliya district. It is difficult to build a pro government trade union, when the government is committed to cut down salaries and social welfare of the proletariat. Praba has no alternative but to use state power to attack the base of Mano Ganesan.
This arrest of Bharathi Dasan, I believe, is the political blow meted to Mano Ganesan’s party to break up their political stand. In spite of his criticism of the UNP and the political tactics of Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mano did not betray the Tamil people to the chauvinist regime. Hence such blows are inevitable. We have to understand the arrest in this political context.
So, it is one of those recent onslaughts faced by the opposition groups targeted by the government. Apparently Bharathi Dasan joined the DPF only in February this year. He was a senior member of late minister P. Chandrasekaran’s Up-Country Peoples Front until then. Prior to working with Chandrasekaran, he was a member of the CWC under minister Thondaman. During the period when he was with minister Chandrasekaran’s party, he contested under Mahinda’s UPFA ticket as a Nuwara Eliya candidate.
This was at the 2009 provincial council elections. Both the UPF and the CWC are partners in the government then and now. If Bharathi was a terrorist who planned to attack the Mahinda regime, then leaders of those parties mentioned above, should be arrested first.
Now all of a sudden police have arrested him claiming that he had been to Kilinochchi during 2001. Was he prohibited to visit those areas? If so, who helped him to get there? Was it Chandrasekaran or Thondaman? If to be in Kilinochchi in 2001, is considered a crime today then over a hundred thousand Tamils could be arrested and kept under detention. Is that the policy of the government?
Mano says “DPF is a democratic party which always respects the law of the land. We have faced many such onslaughts and false accusations in the past. We have overcome everything and are continuing our principled journey. We will respect the law and cooperate with the police, if necessary. But we will not give into intimidation and tolerate efforts to politically victimize us”.
The goverment is particularly disturbed about political leaders with trade union backing. Already sections of the LSSP, CP and the Vasu group have come out of the chauvinist coalition of Mahinda. On the other hand, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), though it released the fifth instalment of its $US2.6 billion loan to Lanka last month, it cautiously noted that the government’s performance was merely ’satisfactory’.
Furthermore, it called for further austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit. The IMF expects through the budget, for the government to demonstrate its continued commitment to the [IMF] program’s goal.
The Lankan government reiterated its intention to cut the budget deficit to 8 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product this year. Then it will be reduced to 6.8 percent and 5 percent over the next two years.
This cutting of the budget deficit will be at the expense of public sector jobs, conditions, services and price subsidies. Already, there has been a severe impact on working people. Prices for basic items have risen sharply. The government slashed the price subsidy on flour by two thirds and during the past five months, the price of bread has shot up drastically.
Also, the government which promised not to privatize, is moving on to privatize education, health, Electricity and postal services. In this background, the government is seriously working against the social democratic political tendency. While blatant attacks are made by the state, pro government political writers have begun to use the pen against the Left.
One such writer said that, strangely, there are people who are still labouring under the illusion that there is a ‘Left’, in the Marxian understanding of the term, in Lanka.
According to him we of the Left are either marginally relevant, or else dabblers in Marxist terminology and ideological preoccupations. To him the desperation wrought of crippled circumstances is self evident.
Reading this arrogant, half wit statements, I just could not stop laughing. If that is so, why waste time and pages of weekend papers? At least the latter could be used in the present market economy, for a “useful’ advertisement! The truth is different.
While Mahinda is using state power to crush and frighten those who are associated with the Left, Ranil the ‘liberal democrat’ in the opposition appears to be delighted, to be in the streets with us putting up posters against the growing dictatorship of Mahinda. From the way their beloved chauvinist regime is performing, it will not be long before we become heroes of the proletariat and the peasantry in the streets of Lanka.
Already, while students are rioting everyday, Mahinda’s chief minister Pilleyan spelled out the atrocities committed by the regime; and the pro government Tamil leader Siddharthan announced that the Tamil homeland is suffering under a vicious military power negating all civilian activities. Well, neither Marx nor Lenin created the Russian revolution. It was created by the gang that supported autocracy.