Siritunga Jayasuriya, General Secretary, United Socialist Party, Sri Lankan section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI)
The coming state visit of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka, and the red carpet welcome accorded to him, including the ceremonial speech to the Sri Lanka’s parliament, is indeed a bad omen for all the democratic minded, left and progressive forces of this country.
As International Socialists the United Socialist Party (CWI – Sri Lanka) stands for the best of co-operation, understanding and solidarity with the neighbouring countries peoples, especially with India with whom the People of Sri Lanka share a common heritage, history and a common struggle for the emancipation of our oppressed peoples. USP stands and follows the rich tradition of the BLPI which had a reverberating effect on the anti-Imperialist struggle in both countries during the People’s Freedom Struggle against the British Imperialism in the sub-continent.
The USP has always stood steadfast and has separated itself from the forces of jingoism and right-wing Nationalism from all the quarters, including the so called “Marxist” JVP and its later day variants. But as a political force which unflinchingly stands for Socialism and its victory in the entire world the USP has stood by the struggles of the people in both lands. Be it the recent anti-nuclear struggle in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, anti-capitalist globalisation struggle against POSCO Company in Odisha or the heroic struggle of human rights defender Irom Sharmila Chanu of Manipur against the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which terrorises the peoples of North East and Kashmir occupied by India.
The entire history of USP in Sri Lanka is marked by its uncompromising stand on its support to the Right of Self-Determination of the Tamils of North and the East, including and up to separation. But many times, the USP has stood alone in the entire country to patiently explain our stand point both to Tamil as well as Sinhala masses.
During the infamous IPKF period, when the right wing reaction amongst the Sinhala population was represented by Deshapremi movement, which opposed the India’s intervention from a Sinhala communalist reactionary stand point, USP intervened explaining the real situation country was in.
We, as a party warned that “the army of India is no liberator of the Tamils, they will turn their guns very quickly against the oppressed Tamils. India is here because of its sub-Imperialist ambitions and they will not tolerate a radical government in the North of Sri Lanka on their southern borders which could influence the Tamil Nadu masses”, but our voice was isolated and even vehemently opposed not just by the Sinhala radicals but unfortunately even the Tamil parties did not understand our independent Socialist stand point.
Time has passed, but the history is repeating itself with a blatantly right variance, now the not only the Sinhala bourgeois and the petty-bourgeois but even the Tamil National Alliance is finding common cause in welcoming the utterly anti-minority, anti-Muslim and one who stands firmly on the slogan of Hindu Rashtra, which is nothing but an aspiration of Indian Imperialism, which was hitherto latent.
If for some reason, the Tamil leadership of the North thinks that they have found a saviour in Modi and would solve the Tamil Nationality question for them, they are grossly mistaken. USP would like to warn the misguided TNA and other forces, that Modi, the BJP or its think tank doesn’t even accept Tamils in India as a nationality; they categorically state that it is a Language only. Hence to expect the Modi magic wand to intervene here is nothing tom foolery. Modi and BJP unmistakeably stand for the supremacy of Indian nation, which is according to them, is Hindu Nation.
For those amongst the Sinhala right-wing, who think that Modi is their role model and hence they can do business with him are also completely mistaken, Modi apart from being the pivotal head of Hindutva nationalist forces, is also the brutal face of corporate interests of India. For the BBS types who eulogise Modi and RSS, they must realise that Buddhism according to the RSS is offshoot of Hinduism and not very distinct, and hence they would play down the fact that historically Buddhism was rebellion against the Bramhinical upper caste supremacy of Hindutva forces.
It is in the interests of peoples of Sri Lanka, that we find a common platform to fight against the tyrants of the region including Modi and our own ilk. It in this endeavour that we should be with the progressive and struggling forces in Tamil Nadu and the rest of India, who are putting up a valiant fight against the Hindu Right represented by Modi, BJP and RSS.
It is pity that those sections who introduce themselves as leftists are keeping silent on this visit. It has been stated in various corners that defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa has been using fascist type methods to suppress the opposition. In that context Modi has shown more features of that nature.
USP unequivocally opposes the visit of Modi to Sri Lanka we call upon the oppressed masses; Tamils, Muslims and Sinhala people to voice their protest against the government of the day for giving such a welcome to an undeserving communal bigot who has the blood of the people on his hands.