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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2369

Kumar Rpasinghe’s second anti-war meeting at Kandy also ended up in pandemonium

By Walter Jayawardhana

Colombo, 23 October, (Asiantribune.com): A seminar of the national anti-war movement held in Kandy by Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe once again ended up abruptly when protesters pelted the leaders of the movement with rotten eggs and tomatoes. At the beginning, people alleged to be connected with the JHU, some youth and some people working in the Kandy market asked Kumar Rupasinghe whether they could ask questions. He said he would answer any question.At the beginning, people alleged to be connected with the JHU, some youth and some people working in the Kandy market asked Kumar Rupasinghe whether they could ask questions. He said he would answer any question.

The seminar was originally scheduled to be held at the D. S. Senanayaka Library auditorium but had to be moved to the Jana Medura Auditorium of the Communist Party, where protesters moved in and pelted the speakers with rotten eggs and tomatoes.

Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne the leader of New Left Front, a Trotskyite Marxist group sympathizing with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and prominently taking part in Kumar Rupasinghe’s movement accused the party of the Buddhist monks, the Jathika Hela Urumaya, and some unnamed pro-government elements as the saboteurs of their seminar.

Kumar Rupasinghe has been able to hold two successful meetings in Mannar where LTTE flexes its muscles with the blessings and participation of pro-LTTE Bishop Rev. Rayappu Joseph and before that, in the strongly Catholic area of Negombo, with the participation of many Catholic priests.

Their first meeting ended up in pandemonium when some Buddhist monks started questioning the political motives of the movement and some leaders of the New Left Front physically attacking the monks.

The seminar of the National anti-war movement was originally scheduled at the D.S.Senanaka Library Auditorium but had to be moved to the Coummunist Party building since the Police said they couldn’t issue a license since the Police thought it would be difficult to provide security for the library auditorium and participants.

At the beginning, people alleged to be connected with the JHU, some youth and some people working in the Kandy market asked Kumar Rupasinghe whether they could ask questions. He said he would answer any question. The impatient crowd did not wait until his speech was over but began questioning him in the midst of the speech.

Firecrackers were also lit inside the hall, eyewitnesses said and pandemonium set in. Also the restive crowd started pelting the rotten eggs and tomatoes at the people who are playing a leading role of the movement, eye witnesses said. The usually demagogic Rajitha Senaratne of the UNP, who has expressed his great desire to accept a cabinet portfolio under the proposed UNP-SLFP coalition and Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne the Marxist leader, ran to the back of the hall to escape from the easily smashed and stain making stinky missiles while Rupasinghe did not run, eyewitness reports said.

After the seminar abruptly ended the saboteurs of the meeting celebrated by lighting fire crackers and jeering outside the Communist party building, same sources said. Eyewitnesses said they would have numbered about hundred people.

Wickramabahu Karunaratne , the new left leader said Kumar Rupasinghe was friendly with even President Rajapaksa and he couldn’t understand pro-government elements sabotaging the rally. He said it was not only the JHU but other pro-government elements too among the saboteurs. He said Kumar Rupasinghe’s movement had a democratic right to express themselves.

Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister Dilan Perera, Mervyn Silva the prominent government connected men who are also crusaders of the anti-war movement were notable absentees at this seminar.

Nishantha Warnasinghe , a spokesman of the Jathika Hela Urumaya said the protest against the anti-war movement of Kumar Rupasinghe was a spontaneous one from the general public and the JHU was not particularly responsible for it, although they endorsed the legitimate anger of the people.

Protesting against the anti-war movement of Rupasinghe by the people at large was almost universal in the Sri Lankan society, because it is alleged that the anti-war movement is a fifth column for the LTTE who are waging a war not only against the government but also against unarmed civilians as seen at Kebithigollewa as well as at Galle. They continued to assassinate Tamil civilians of opposing their political views.

While the LTTE harmed them with utmost violence the civilians had to protest the fifth columnists within the democratic framework Warnasinghe said.

Other commentators said when the LTTE was not allowing any other Tamil opinion expressed in the North and the East some people may have felt that an alleged fifth column of the LTTE should not be given an open license to operate anywhere in the country. They said since the Tamil National Alliance, a proxy group of the LTTE expresses LTTE opinions there was no need to duplicate the process by a new fifth column.

- Asian Tribune -

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