Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sri Lankan Minister endorses vigilante violence against free speech

Networking for Rights strongly condemns the statement  made by a Sri Lankan minister to a weekend newspaper  endorsing    the assault of Dr. Wikramabahu Karunarathna, on his return from London, UK a week ago. The statement was made by Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratna to Sunday LakbimaNews:

" It was patriotic people who were enraged by the betrayal of Karunaratne who assaulted them, but I am happy that even ordinary people of this country are taking their patriotic duty seriously and acting against traitors. I can tell you that in the future, it does not matter whether they are politicians or journalists. People will beat up anyone who betrays this country. That is what I call people’s power. You can see how people came to the airport on the day of the president’s arrival (from London) and pledged that they would be behind their great leader. People will take to task anyone who betrays this country and its leader." (http://www.lakbimanews.lk/special/spe8.htm )

This statement is a blatant admission that what prevails in Sri Lanka today is the rule of the jungle and not the rule of law.  Such threats made by politicians further encourages the unruly elements in the country and wipes out the space for any citizen to question the present regime or or protest any human rights violations, especially the war crimes allegations. It also lends further legitimacy to vigilante groups.

In the past several years Sri Lanka has increasingly seen violence used as a method to oppose  dissent, effectively chocking out free expression and the voice of reason.

NfR calls on the minister to withdraw his threatening remarks and  for the Government to disassociate itself from these blatantly anti democratic opinions  and practices and return Sri Lanka to the true ideals of democracy.

C/O, 19447, Victory Blvd,#2, Reseda,CA 91335, USA                      NfR.SriLanka@gmail.com

Steering committee : Iqbal MCM ( The Netherlands),Kshama Ranawana ( Canada) Lionel Bopage ( Australia), Nadarasa Sarawanan (Norway), Nadarajah Kuruparan(UK) Padmi Liyanage (Germany), Raveendran Pradeepan (France), Rudhramoorthy Cheran (Canada), Saman Wagaarachchi ( USA), Sunanda Deshapriya ( Switzerland)

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