News

JVP accuses Avant Garde of AKD egg attack

 

  • Hints at company’s Chair Nissanka Senadhipathi’s involvement
  • Police promises to produce suspects in court
  • Prasanna Ranatunga writes to IGP after suspect allegedly mentions him

 

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday (31 January) accused Avant Garde Security Services (Pvt.) Ltd. of organising the incident where eggs had been thrown at JVP Leader and MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka at the National People’s Power (NPP) convention in Gampaha on 30 January, and hinted at the involvement of its Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi as well.

“From the group of people who came to cause the commotion at the event on 30 January, two were caught and there is video footage of them admitting that they were paid to carry out the attack. One of them goes by the name ‘Mahagedera Wijeyaarachchilage Rathmal Asitha Kumara Wijeratne’. He changed his name on 30 November 2010. His previous name was Gabriel Rathnam Asitha Kumara. He was previously involved in serious crimes. He had put a newspaper notice which shows the name change. The name of the other person is Ananda Bandara. Pictures show them in the Avant Garde uniform. This is a recent photo of them in the Avant Garde uniform, as they are wearing masks here. Thus, it is clear that this attack was organised and carried out by the Avant Garde. In their statements, they confirm that they worked in the private security sector and that they are retired Army personnel. It is this very same group of people who came to Pettah to disrupt the rally the JVP held against the sale of the Trincomalee oil tanks this month. We have clear information with their names to show that these individuals were at both the locations. Senadhipathi, who is a good friend of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is the Chairman and Owner of Avant Garde. He often goes to the Presidential Secretariat. Thus, it is clear that this was done with political motives,” JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said at a media briefing held yesterday.

Herath stressed that since the guilty parties were Avant Garde employees who work for Senadhipathi, who is in turn a friend of the President’s, President Rajapaksa must ensure that such incidents do not recur.

“Ten minutes after the event started at a hotel in the Gampaha District, a group of people disrupted it from outside the hall. At that point, JVP and NPP Leader and MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka was inside the hall. That group of thugs had thrown eggs at people there and some vehicles that were parked there. Dissanayaka, nor his vehicle, were affected by the attack as we ensured their security,” said Herath.

“If a threat occurs to Dissanayaka’s life, this group and this company must be held responsible. If someone threatens his life, they are responsible. If a danger happens to any activist, they will be responsible. We have already given the information we have to the Police. They have taken down two complaints as well – one from one of our members who was injured during the incident on 30 January and the other from a witness of the incident. The two people who were caught have been handed over to the Police and the Police have informed us that they will be produced in court soon.”

Multiple attempts by The Morning from 2 p.m. in the afternoon to past 6 p.m. in the evening yesterday to contact Senadhipathi proved futile. During the course of many such attempts, The Morning was at one point informed that our attempts to contact Senadhipathi would be brought to the latter’s notice. However, at the time of going to press, Senadhipathi had not contacted us.

The injured JVP member is currently in hospital, receiving treatment after having to undergo four stitches.

“There is a serious dissatisfaction towards the Government at the moment. People are also tired of the traditional United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led Governments that have ruled this country for so long. People are building a new movement, and there is a dialogue and trust being formed around the JVP and the NPP now. They are fast becoming strongholds of public trust. We ask the President to not do this kind of dirty actions, using his friends and their illegal groups. We will not be let down. We will continue our struggle. We hope that the President knows enough politics to know that by engaging in such activities, even the small respect he holds with the people will disappear,” said Herath.

Following the attack on 30 January, two suspects involved in the incident were apprehended by the crowd at the event, and video footage of them shows them admitting that they were paid Rs. 5,000 by an individual named “Weerasinghe” to carry out the said attack. “Weerasinghe has political connections with everyone,” said one suspect. The other suspect named an individual called “Abeykoon” as having asked him to be a part of the incident.

At the JVP media briefing held yesterday, Herath also noted that one of the suspects had mentioned that Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP and Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga would “protect” them.

Ranatunga yesterday denied these allegations vehemently, stating that he is not the kind of person who needs to engage in such acts and that the JVP was no challenge to the Government to merit such an attack. Furthermore, Ranatunga, in a letter to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne yesterday, requested a speedy and transparent investigation into the incident.

“I request a proper investigation into the incident and due punishment to all those who were connected to it,” he said in the letter.