3RD LEAD

Mob led by SL Minister attack Journalists at UPM event

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 January 2007, 14:43 GMT]
An armed mob led by Sri Lankan Deputy Minister of Labour, Mervin Silva, arrived at the open air stage at Super Market Square in Nugegoda, the site of the first public event organised by the newly established United People's Movement (UPM), and attacked the journalists who were present at the site to cover the event which was about to commence at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday. The UPM is a political platform that seeks to establish consensus among especially the Southern polity on a Federal System of Governance, as against war and any other undemocratic, non-negotiable conclusion to the on going NorthEast conflict.

The place of meeting shattered by mob.


Three journalists were beaten recklessly and the cameras of two of them were smashed by the mob.

Mr. Mervyn Silva is known for racial slurs against the Tamils and for verbally abusing and nearly assaulting journalists, at least on two earlier occasions.

The meeting was announced under the banner "Against a Savage War that leads to Division of the country, Repression and Hunger," and many parliamentarians and leftist leaders were to participate at the meeting.

Srithunge Jayasooriya, one of the organisors, charged that the Sri Lankan government had sent its Deputy minister to disturb the meeting which was intended to emphasize the need for peace instead of war.

Parliamentarians S. P. Dissanayake, a founder of the UPM, Mano Ganeshan, Leader Western People Front, Suresh Premachandran from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) , Rauf Hakeem, Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress , Daysiri Jayasekara, New Leftist Front Leader Dr. Vikkiramabahu Karunaratne, Srithunge Jayasooriya, United Socialist Party leader and Sinhala Film Star Ranjan Ramanayake were scheduled to address the gathering.

Meanwhile, the organizers of the meeting accused that Mervin Silva was just a stooge and the real performer behind the scene was President Mahinda Rajapakse who actually wanted the rally be disrupted at any cost.

The press meet organized by UPM.


Srithunge Jayasooriya, at the press brief, explained the real scenario: “"We envisaged the rally to explain the Sinhala mass about the cruelty of war and the atrocities committed against innocent Tamils by the government. We had obtained permission beforehand to hold the rally at Nugegoda from Mirihana Police. Nevertheless, Police contacted us the previous night and requested us to cancel the rally as they expected the rally could come under attack. We expressed our firm commitment in go away with our plan and instead asked them to beef up security and take stern actions against the would-be disrupters.”

“When we were busy with the initial arrangements of the rally around 2:30 p.m., Deputy Minister Mervin Silva and a notorious drug dealer ‘Kudu Lal’ came to the spot with nearly 75 men armed with batons and started attacking the people on the stage. Since the rally did no begin, there were less people and only our sympathizers were present.”

“I was watching them helplessly in the upstairs of a nearby building as the mob attacked the journalists in the very presence of the Police personnel and Mervin Silva was searching for me calling me by name.”

“We are well aware that President Rajapakse actually wanted to disrupt the rally and used Mervin Silva as a tool. Because of his inefficient, wrong governance, people suffer a lot and the country plunge into grave. We organized the rally to stop this happens.”

Dr. Vikkiramabahu Karunaratne told, “The violations of human rights are worse in Mahinda’s period than in the period of previous Presidents J. R. Jayewardene, Ranasinghe Premadasa and Chandrika Bandaranayke. Because of Mahinda’s permission to bomb the innocent Tamil children and civilians in Kilinochchi Hospital only, bombs exploded in buses in South.”

“Why Mahinda drops bombs on civilians while saying that the door to peace is open. All the previous Presidents, J.R Jayewardene, Premadasa and Chandrika Bandaranayke, waged war against Tigers but failed to win. So far, neither the Army nor the Tigers won the war but only scores of innocent people lost their lives.”

“We organized the rally to stop this carnage, however Mahinda who says he loves peace, in contrary send his hireling Mervin Silva to stop the anti-war rally.”

At the same time, Mervin Silva claimed that he had dispersed the mob that wanted to disrupt the rally.

Police sealed the Nugegoda main road for public traffic and called for the Bomb Disposal Unit to the scene. Mervin Silva stayed at the scene for nearly two hours and stopped the people coming to the spot, eyewitnesses said.

Extracts from an introductory message issued to media last week by the organisors follow:

Mandate:
A poster published in Sinhala by the UPM
United People's Movement (UPM) is a political platform that seeks to establish consensus among especially the Southern polity on a Federal System of Governance, as against war and any other undemocratic, non-negotiable conclusion to the on going North - East conflict. UPM stands for dialogue in society and for the concept of "power sharing" as a system of governance, that allows broad based democracy to elected local institutes and a political right to the people to intervene in their own local development, within a single country.

In brief:
The gradual deterioration of social stability with the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) regularly violated, the arrogant escalation of the anti - LTTE social thrust leading towards an anti - Tamil psyche, increased armed interventions and conflicts both by the government security forces and the LTTE, tacit approval of para-military groups by the government and the phenomenal increase in abductions, involuntary disappearances, extra judicial killings and extortions, prompted a group of very concerned political activists, the United Socialist Party and the Western People's Front leaders, to sit for serious discussions, in finding a way out of the conflict that was fast and surely moving towards another brutal war.

UPM is not a political accident or a convenient, comfortable grouping. UPM is the outcome of a series of documented discussions and political interventions, over a long period of time, since the election of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the President.

The gradual deterioration of social stability with the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) regularly violated, the arrogant escalation of the anti - LTTE social thrust leading towards an anti - Tamil psyche, increased armed interventions and conflicts both by the government security forces and the LTTE, tacit approval of para-military groups by the government and the phenomenal increase in abductions, involuntary disappearances, extra judicial killings and extortions, prompted a group of very concerned political activists, the United Socialist Party and the Western People's Front leaders, to sit for serious discussions, in finding a way out of the conflict that was fast and surely moving towards another brutal war.

The first structured discussion was in June, 2006 at the SLFI, Colombo and the next was in July, 2006 at the BMICH, Colombo , that gave way for the first broad formation which agreed to stand for a negotiated solution as against another war. It is important to note that the TNA and the UNP were both officially represented at discussions and were signatory to the appeal made to the President, based on the Oslo Declaration of 2002 December that was the outcome of the BMICH discussion. Meanwhile, with the government using the All Party Conference(APC) as a political tool in buying time for its war schedule, the leading main opposition not publicly and adequately taking up issues that it should, the first serious need in intervening against abductions, involuntary disappearances, extra judicial killings and extortions was felt by the political working group that evolved after the BMICH discussions and it thus supported the establishment of the public commission, "The Civil Monitoring Committee" (TCMC) that took up all such issues within the context of the on going war.

By then the political grouping that was active both in creating a dialogue and networking in the provinces, decided to project itself as the "southern" federal platform. A selected, representative discussion was held early November, with provincial leaders who consented to a federal solution and agreement was reached in launching an alliance that would campaign for a federal solution.

With the majority of the "Experts Committee" presenting its proposal, it was then decided to launch the platform for a federal solution, with a campaign demanding the government to officially adopt the majority proposal, as the framework for discussion. After a prolong discussion, a common consensus was reached, to launch the federal campaign as the United People's Movement (UPM) and was publicly launched on 20th December, 2006 with a media conference held at the Nippon Hotel, Colombo.

 

Latest 15 Reports
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=20866