Breakaway faction of the JVP
Divisions within the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), the breakaway faction of the JVP, have resulted in hundreds of its grassroots and mid-level members leaving the party, sources said. They revealed to The Nation that the party was plagued with conflicts and internal rifts since its inception last year. It was revealed that cadres – hundreds in grassroots, dozens and tens in the middle level and a few in the top level, had left the party.
The party since its breakaway from the JVP campaigned on the lines of pure socialism and a real revival of the left, liberation from party officialdom and not adhering to archaic theorems. It has come to light that the party had two factions since the beginning. The conflict is mainly between the Inter University Student Federation and Socialist Students Union, two main student movements affiliated to the party.
The origin of the problem is now traced to Gunaratnam’s abduction last April. Gunaratnam and another member Dimuthu Attygalle were arrested and later released separately owing to local and international pressure, it is believed. Gunaratnam was handed over to Australian government. However, party sources said the two were picked from the same location in Kiribathgoda.
“The place was known only to three other persons appointed to provide security to Gunaratnam. They were Suranga Priyadarshana, Colombo District organizer, Eraj Krishanth Alwis, former JVP Member of Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha and Ranjth Shantha alias Marlon a Politburo and Central Committee member,” sources said.
They were the first to visit the house after the couple had been taken away by the captors. They found some documents and personal items belonging to Dimuthu and were convinced that she had been there at the time of the capture. Marlon had informed this to the very few at the top of the party but was ordered to remain silent. It had not remained a secret for long.
Those in the FSLP and also some of their former political friends in the JVP who were aware of the security arrangements provided to Gunaratnam could not fathom how he was caught. For others it was not news. This had been discussed at various levels of party hierarchy and when it reached the Central Committee level which is addressed live by Gunaratnam from Australia, it took a different turn. Marlon had been a long standing member but he and his two supportive cadres were accused by Gunaratnam of betrayal. His position was only those three knew the location and they had tipped the security services and now have cooked up a story of the couple being arrested together. Dimuthu too was present at this meeting and that was among the few last meetings she attended.
Sources state that the mystery surrounding the incident as well the lack of a clear cut policy across multiple national-level issues has led to several top rankers abandoning ship. The FSP, which organized several demonstrations immediately after launching the party, has been unable to mark its presence in the political firmament in recent times. Sources close to the party maintain that ‘lack of ideological clarity’ and ‘lack of direction from the top’ have caused disenchantment. This has resulted in an alarming decline in membership numbers, they disclosed to The Nation.