Ceylon Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike is facing a serious crisis in her new term?
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Initials CO.10.00 JL/ML/CO/10.45
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Background: Ceylon Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike is facing a serious crisis in her new term of power a challenge from left-wing extremists. Mrs Bandaranaike's left-wing coalition government, which includes former Trotskyite leaders and pro-Moscow Communists, took power in the general election last May, and it was expected to follow the pattern established by her husband when be became Prime Minister in 1955, and continued by her when she first took office in 1960 after his assassination. Since then economic world prices for the island's tea and rubber exports. Unemployment has resulted as growing numbers of highly educated, but jobless, middle class youths joining the more militant opposition groups.
Many of these disaffected young have joined the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People's Liberation Front), often referred to as the JVP. The group is led by Dr. Rogan Wijeweera, 26, who was educated at Moscow's Lumumba University. He claims that the JVP is following a Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse-tung doctrine. He was arrested in March, having promised revolution would commence the day his movement was banned. On Tuesday (6 April) Mr. Bandaranaike announced that an official ban had been placed on the JVP, following the continuation of the State of Emergency that has been in effect since 16th March. The emergency situation was put into effect at that time, as police believed that the JVP planned a series of terrorist acts during the Sinhalese and Hindu New Year in mid-April.
This week intense terrorist activity has been widespread, and Ceylonese Air Force planes and armoured columns have had to be called out to combat bands of armed insurgents. A strict curfew, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 AM, is in effect until further notice. Authorities claimed that the situation was under control Yesterday (7 April) and that the armed services were engaged in mopping-up operations. Rail services were restricted and certain truck roads were reported to be blocked by insurgents. At least 500 suspects have been arrested for alleged complicity in the insurgent movement. Colombo, the capital, was calm, but all police stations were heavily guarded and barricaded by police and troops standing by with submachine guns add rifles.
Mrs. Bandaranaike waged last year's election campaign on a liberal stance, opposing the Conservative Government of the then Prime Minister Mr. Senanayake. Her United Front Coalition, including Trotskyites and pre-Moscow Communists, was designed to steer the country's foreign policy toward the left of the non-aligned world. The Prime Minister now finds her major opposition coming, not from the conservatives, but from more militant leftist groups. The JVP, nicknamed the "Che Guevarists" after the guerrilla fighter who was killed in Boliva in 1967, pose the most violent threat to the government of the first woman to become Prime Minister, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike.