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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 16. September 8th 1971



The strategy of the rebel youth was apparently to launch a co-ordinated series of surprise attacks on police stations mainly in the rural area — to seize weapons and ammunition and to paralyse the main government organs of administration in the districts.

They succeeded in putting out of action a large page break number of police stations and also destroyed some government buildings. They dynamited bridges and put up barricades by felling large trees across roads, seriously disrupting traffic and communications. Within a few days, some areas came vitrually under their control. There was no attack on Colombo, except that an attempt was made to attack a police station in the city, which proved to be unsuccessful.

This uprising, despite its inevitable limitations, especially without the participation of the organised working-class and othere sections of the oppressed masses, was however, the most serious attempt to overthrow the State power in this country. With unexampled courage and heroism, thousands of youth, males and females, laid down their lives for what they believed was their struggle to win socialism. And perhaps, it would not be possible to discover an historical paralled of an organised youth uprising of this nature, directed to the seizure of political power, by a frontal attack on police stations and other organs of the capitalist state, lasting for over a month.

While rebel attacks had taken place in seven out of nine provinces, their concentrated attacks were in six of them - North Central, Southern, Central, North Western Sabaragamuwa and Uva. This means that the uprising was spread over a large area covering about two-thirds of Ceylon. The rebel strongholds were not only in the rural areas of the interior rice plains, but even in the low-country plantation areas.

In areas that came under their control, the rebels hoisted red flags with the hammer and sickle and also put up the banner of their organisation - the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna. In certain areas, they had distributed the land of the capitalists among the landless peasants, although not in a systematic way. Contrary to the reports circulating through government sources, that the rebels harassed the people, there was praise for the behaviour of the rebels especially towards women and girls. Their armed forces were directed against police stations. District Revenue Offices, rural banks and post offices.