By Saman Indrajith
The President and Prime Minister went all over the world telling that there were no political prisoners in Sri Lanka but they had forgotten the fact that leader of the Frontline Socialist Party Kumar Gunaratnam had been incarcerated for more than 100 days, NSSP Leader Dr Wickramabahu Karunaratne said yesterday.
Addressing the media after joining the FLSP continuous Satyagraha opposite the Fort Railway Station in Colombo yesterday to mark the 100-day completion of the protest to secure the release of Gunaratnam who is being held in Kegalle Remand prison on charges of violating immigration rules, Dr Karunaratne said the government preaching virtues of human rights and democracy had laid bare its true face by detaining the FLSP leader.
Wickramabahu said: “We demand to know what the government expects to gain by keeping political prisoners including Comrade Gunaratnam. We also urge the government to set him free and ensure his right to engage in politics in Sri Lanka.”
Mahinda Devage of the Socialist Party said: “The case against comrade Gunaratnam is being postponed so that he will have to remain in custody. National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa was caught with two passports but he was released. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa have citizenship problems, but they were not issues for the government or the Prime Minister. When it comes to the FLSP leader, the government has a problem. We saw the President in Germany calling Sri Lankans living in exile there owing to political reasons to come back. But, when Gunaratnam, who left the country for the very same reason came back home he was arrested. Why is this double standard?
Dharmasiri Lankapeli of the Left Voice said: “Kumar Gunaratnam left the country because of his politics. Irrespective of what they may say we know it was Gunaratnam who facilitated the entry of JVP leaders Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Vijitha Herath into politics. Unfortunately, they, too, talk against Gunaratnam getting his political freedom. We have decided to join forces with the FLSP to secure his release.’
Chameera Koswatte of the FLSP said: “Our demands seem to have fallen on the ears of deaf elephants. We have to raise the volume. The judiciary has ruled that comrade Gunaratnam’s issue is a political problem but neither the President nor the Prime Minister has give us an appointment. Instead the President goes to Germany and calling the Sri Lankans living in exile to come home. That is their policy. “
Large number of members and activists of the left and Marxist parties including Vidarshana Kannangara of the Praxis Collective, Attorneys-at-law Nuwan Bopage, and Rex Priyadarshana were present.