Sri Lanka: Ruling party politicians in a shooting spree

Press release/ 10 Oct. 2011

Two prominent politicians of the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) fought a gun battle on 8th October 2011 in the Colombo suburbs. A ruling party politician Mr. Baratha Lakshman, a leading figure in the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party, a constitution party of the ruling alliance was killed along with his two body guards. He was one of the senior advisors to president Rajapaksha on Trade Union matters. The other politician involved was Mr Duminda Silva, Member of parliament is in a state of coma at the Jayawardenepura government hospital. He is an advisor to the Defense ministry and considered to be a close associate of the Secretary of defense Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksha. The gun battle between the groups occurred before the   voting comes to an end  in the local government election held on 8th October.

NfR would like to draw the attention to this incident which happened in broad day light in a close proximity to the capital city of Colombo on an election day when increased security arrangements were in place. It clearly shows the high degree of militarisation of politics in Sri Lanka. M.P. Duminda Silva has been accused of leading violent crowds to disrupt peaceful demonstrations on number of occasions by affected parties. Few months ago, the Attorney General withdrew a case against him. He was accused of sexual violence and rape in several on going cases.

It was common knowledge that a number of ruling party politicians run their own armed gangs to intimidate and attack opposition campaigns and parties as well as opponents within their own ranks. At the same time these ruling party politicians use police and sections of the armed forces to further their campaign of intimidation. Suppression of dissent in any form has become the hallmark of these mafia like politicians in Sri Lanka, backed by the highest authorities in the country.

This unfortunate incident is a clear indication of the militarisation of politics in Sri Lanka and the inability of the police to police the unruly violent politicians.

A genuine non militaristic and democratization of politics and civil society is the fundamental necessity in the current Sri Lankan context. The present regime is incapable of addressing these issues. On the contrary, the current regime is the actual culprit. We call upon the international community not to appease the current regime and strengthen civil society movements.


Steering Committee, NfR Sri Lanka

Steering committee : 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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