Monday, April 9, 2012

Timeline: Abduction of Premkumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Artigala

Adaderana- January 2, 2012  11:18 am
Jana Aragalaya announce its party name
March 29, 2012  10:47 am
The JVP breakaway faction Movement for People’s Struggle or ‘Jana Aragalaya’ has announced that it has named its political party ‘Peratugami Samajawadhi Party’ or the ‘Frontline Socialist Party’, Jana Aragalaya sources claimed.

Adaderana - January 2, 2012  11:18 am
JVP rebel group leader’s wife and children detained at airport
It has been reported that the wife and two children of Premakumara Gunarathnam also known as ‘Kumara Mahattaya’, who is said to be the leader of the JVP rebel group, have been detained for questioning by security personnel at the Bandaranayake International Airport.

Champa Somaratna and her two children, who are residing in Australia, were detained while waiting to board a flight today morning after visiting Sri Lanka for New Year vacation.

It was earlier reported that a 47-year-old female with two children was detained for questioning at the Katunayake Airport due to ‘suspicious behavior’.

They were scheduled to board a Bangkok-bound flight at 1.00am today (Jan. 02) and are being interrogated under the Immigration and Emigration Act.

Adaderana - April 7, 2012  12:29 pm
Premakumara Gunarathnam arrested?
JVP dissident group leader Premakumara Gunarathnam and member Dimuth u Atigala have been arrested, a spokesman to the dissident group said today (07).

However, police media spokesman SP Ajith Rohan, when contacted by Ada Derana, denied the incident and said no such arrests have been made.   

Meanwhile the inaugural convention of the ‘Frontline Socialist Party’ (Peratugami Samajawadhi Party), the political party formed by JVP breakaway faction Movement for People’s Struggle, was to be held on April 09 at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.

Premakumara Gunarathnam, also known as ‘Kumara Mahattaya,’ was scheduled to be formally appointed as its leader on that day, sources within the party said.

Adaderana - April 8, 2012  10:47 am
Investigations begin into Gunarathnam disappearance
April 7, 2012  05:27 pm
Police headquarters has received a complaint regarding the disappearances of JVP dissident group leader Premakumara Gunarathnam and Dimuthu Atigala, police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana stated today (April 07).

Investigations have commenced according to the received complaint, he further added.

The Frontline Socialist Party, the political party formed by JVP breakaway faction, however claims that the elusive leader of the dissident faction and the party member have both been arrested.

Police however denied that such arrest have been made.

Adaderana - April 8, 2012  10:47 am
FSP claims Gunaratnam abducted by “forces linked with govt.”
Missing political activists and leaders of the People’s Struggle Movement Dimuthu Attygalle (Left) and Premakumar Gunaratnam (Right).

The Frontline Socialist Party, formed by JVP dissidents, claims its leader Premakumar Gunaratnam and party member Dimuthu Attygalle were abducted by forces “linked with the Government” and that both activists were under intense Government surveillance, prior to their disappearance.

Political activists and leaders of the JVP dissident group, People’s Struggle Movement, Premakumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Attygalle had reportedly disappeared on April 06.

The FSP claims its party members have received “credible information” that both activists were under intense surveillance by the Government, shortly before their disappearance and as a precaution had always informed party members of their whereabouts and never switched off their mobile phones.

“FSP party members believe that Mr. Gunaratnam and Ms. Attygalle have been abducted by forces linked with the Government since the party has campaigned actively against human rights abuses by the Government, particularly against the Tamil minority in the North,” the party said in a statement.

Gunaratnam was a key leader of the People’s Struggle Movement (PSM) and Attygalle was the Secretary for Women’s and International affairs of the organization, which was a forerunner to the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP).

Prior to their disappearance both activists were said to be preparing for the inaugural convention of the Frontline Socialist Party, the party formed by a breakaway faction of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

The party was due to be launched officially on April 09 while Gunaratnam was expected to be appointed as its head. 

The Frontline Socialist Party further states that the Australian High Commission in Colombo has been informed of Gunaratnam’s disappearance, as he is an Australian citizen, as well as media, diplomatic community and human rights groups.

MP Ajith Kumara yesterday (07) had filed a complaint with the Police Head Quarters in Colombo regarding Gunaratnam’s disappearance, and also filed a separate complaint regarding Attygalle’s disappearance.

Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana yesterday stated that neither of the two had been taken in for questioning or arrested by the Police, and that investigation had commenced into their disappearance.

The FSP release also states that Gunaratnam is believed to have been abducted from his temporary residence in Kiribathgoda and was last seen by a party member who had dropped him at his residence at around 5 pm on April 06. 

At around 11 pm that day, Mr. Gunaratnam had phoned the same party member asking to be picked up from his residence at 5 am the following day (April 07).  “Mr. Gunaratnam has not been seen or heard from since.” 

The party member who arrived at Gunaratnam’s residence at around 4.30 am the following day had discovered that air had been let out of all four tyres of Gunaratnam’s vehicle and that the door locks had been broken.

“A neighbor had told police that 4 or 5 armed men had come to the house at around 4.30am on the morning of 7th April and instructed her to shut off lights and stay indoors. When she had looked out around 5.15am, she had seen nothing unusual,” the release added.

Adaderana - April 8, 2012  05:37 pm
Abductions now an unofficial part of the law - JVP
Abducting people has become an unofficial part of the countries law, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said today. Within the past two months alone, 29 incidents of abductions were reported in the media, MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake stated.

Political activists that do not agree with the government, criminals that are not obedient to the government, drug dealers that who don’t share the profit as well as people with open opinions are subject to these abductions, he accused.

Presently the “white van culture” has become a law in the country, Dissanayake said adding no arrests or action is taken subsequently.

  He further stated that he would not like to limit the abductions of Premakumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Attygalle to a mere political motive of sabotaging their assembly as he believes it is a clear violation of a citizen’s democratic right.

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Dimuthu Artigala Dad's appeal YouTube

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Dimuthu Artigala Dad's appeal 1 – YouTube

Adaderana - April 9, 2012  01:01 pm
Australia presses Sri Lanka on missing activist
Australia said it was seeking ‘urgent clarification’ on Monday on the fate of an Australian man reported by his family and political party to have been abducted in Sri Lanka over his activism.

Joint Sri Lankan-Australian citizen Premakumar Gunaratnam, 42, went missing on Friday from Kiribathgoda, north of Colombo, where he was preparing to launch a new political party, according to his family and fellow activists.

Mr Gunaratnam is the leader of a breakaway faction of the JVP, or People’s Liberation Front.

His radical splinter group, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), claimed that Mr Gunaratnam and women’s wing leader Dimuthu Attygalle had been taken away by security authorities ahead of the party’s formal launch due on Monday.

Australia’s foreign office said it had received reports that Gunaratnam “may have been abducted.”

“We are seeking urgent clarification on the situation from the Sri Lankan authorities,” said a foreign office spokeswoman.

Gunaratnam’s wife, Champa Somaratna, said her husband was an ethnic Tamil but was not affiliated with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, defeated by Sri Lankan forces in 2009. That JVP uprisings were unrelated to the civil war.

“He was arrested early in the morning. About 25 armed people entered the house. They threatened the neighbours and asked them to switch off the lights and close the windows and doors,” Somaratna told Australia’s ABC radio.

“Then they abducted him -- there is evidence about that inside the house.”

Somaratna said her husband was launching the FSP “because of the unlawful abductions and the human rights violations in Sri Lanka” and his role as the party’s main political activist had “a real connection” with his disappearance.

The FSP has blamed the “state and the government” for Gunaratnam’s disappearance but police say he is not in their custody and the government has denied any involvement.

The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission on Sunday expressed concern for his safety and said it was “no secret that the government and the ministry of defence are concerned” about FSP’s activities.

Rights groups have reported dozens of abductions since the end of the island’s civil war in 2009, but at least some of the incidents appear to have been private disputes or underworld activities. - AFP

Daily Mirror: Monday, 09 April 2012 18:59
The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) launched today by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) dissidents charged that recent abductions of their activists showed that the capitalist government was alarmed at the revival of socialism in Sri Lanka.

Party Chairman Senadeera Gunatilake said the forming of their party was the beginning of a new era to unite the socialist movement in the country for a struggle against the capitalist administration and to bring about social reform.

Delivering the keynote address at its inaugural convention held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium he said forming of the FSP was a fulfillment of the current global demand for a New Socialist Movement that would end capitalist regimes in Sri Lanka and worldwide.

“Our party is really the Sri Lankan segment of the global struggle against capitalism,” Mr. Gunatilake said in the presence of international socialist leaders who were special invitees to the party convention.

Mr. Gunatilake said the abduction of FSP leader Premkumar Gunaratnam and comrades Dimuthu Artigala, Lalith Kumar and Kugan Muruganthan were acts resulting from those alarmed by the path the party had taken to revive socialism in the country.

“Abduction of Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Artigala is actually a turning point of a long journey towards establishing social justice,’ he added.

Mr. Gunatilake said the socialist movement had stepped in to change Sri Lankan society amid a crackdown of its leaders by capitalists who were alarmed with the momentum which they enjoyed with the beginning of the downfall of capitalist regimes in the world.

Several socialist leaders including NSSP Leader Wickramabahu Karunaratne, United Socialist Party Leader Siritunga Jayasuriya and LSSP Alternative Front Leader Chankya Silva who were present at the convention pledged their support for the revival of the socialist movement.

Several socialist leaders from Italy, Pakistan and representatives from the Socialist International Movement were also present at the convention and pledged their support to the party
All members of the newly formed party pledged they were prepared to sacrifice everything in the event the country lost democracy and any other challenges where the nation was pushed towards a revolution. (Yohan Perera)

Adaderana - April 9, 2012  09:27 pm
Australian HC requests access to its citizen

Australian High Commission in Colombo has requested access to one of their citizens Noel Mudalige, who is supposed to have been forcibly removed from No.291, Gemunu Mawatha, Kiribathgoda, in order to facilitate his safe return to Australia. 

Further it has been requested that his whereabouts be informed to Ms. Carolyn Turner, Counselor from High Comission of Australia. Noel Mudalige’s Passport number is N1016123.

Incidentally the Kiribathgoda address of Mudalige is the same address from where JVP dissident group leader Premakumar Gunaratnam is believed to have been abducted on April 6. 

The frontline Socialists Party (FSP), formed by the breakaway faction of the JVP, in a release had stated that Gunaratnam was abducted from his temporary residence at No.291, Gemunu Mawatha, Kiribathgoda.

Adaderana - April 9, 2012  
An unconventional start ...

Senadheera Gunathilake, also known as Opatha, delivers the keynote address during the inaugural convention of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), formed by the breakaway faction of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). The convention was held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium today (April 09) and was attended by several prominent leftists leaders. Premakumar Gunaratnam, who was to be appointed as the party’s leader, and member Dimuthu Attygalle were allegedly abducted on April 06 while preparing for the convention. (Pic by Sanjeewa Lasantha)

Adaderana - April 10, 2012  06:48 am
Premakumar Gunaratnam alias Kumara Mahaththaya found; leaves for Australia
JVP dissident group leader Premakumar Gunaratnam alias Kumara Mahaththaya who was allegedly abducted is currently in Police custody, JVP MP Ajith Kumara told Ada Derana. He claimed that the IGP N.K. Illangakoon had informed him this morning that Gunaratnam was found.

 Speaking to Ada Derana Police Spokesman SP Ajith Rohana stated that Noel Mudalige who was reported by the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka as abducted is currently at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayaka awaiting departure.

Rohana added that the information was received that the aforesaid person had been brought to the Dematagoda area by an unknown gang in a van. He had then later come to the Colombo Crimes Division(CCD) after which he was taken to the Katunayaka airport under police protection.

Noel Mudalige will fly to Australia early today morning, Police spokesman further added.
 Last night the Australian High Commission in Colombo requested access to one of their citizens Noel Mudalige, who is supposed to have been forcibly removed from No.291, Gemunu Mawatha, Kiribathgoda, in order to facilitate his safe return to Australia. 

Ada Derana also reported yesterday that incidentally the Kiribathgoda address of Mudalige is the same address from where JVP dissident group leader Premakumar Gunaratnam is believed to have been abducted on April 6.

“He has been found safe and well,” Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia Thisara Samarasinghe told Australian media early this morning. “He has been living in Sri Lanka under three different names and with three different passports. We maintain that no one under the name of Premakumar Gunaratnam entered the country via legal means and that’s why he was unable to be located.”

Mr Samarasinghe said Sri Lankan authorities would seek to deport Mr Gunaratnam to Australia. “We understand he has overstayed his visa rights for a very long period.”

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman also confirmed that Mr Gunaratnam, who is a political activist with the People’s Struggle Movement in Sri Lanka, had been located.

 “We can confirm the safety of the 42 year old man from New South Wales reported missing in the region of Kiribathgoda, Sri Lanka,” the spokesman said.

 “It would be inappropriate to discuss further details at this time.”
SP Ajith Rohana confirmed that the person known to be Noel Mudalige had left on a plane bound to Australia at 7.30a.m today (April 10) from the Katunayake airport.