NLF chief candidate assaulted
[TamilNet, Thursday, 14 January 1999, 08:46 GMT]
The chief candidate of the New Left Front (NLF) which is contesting elections to Sri Lanka's Northwestern Provincial Council was seriously injured last night when they were severely assaulted by group PA members and supporters near Waariyapola in the Kurunagala district.
Dr.Wickramabahu Karunaratna, the outspoken leader of the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) and the driver of the vehicle in which he was traveling with the NLF's chief ministerial candidate, Mr. Patrick Fernando were also wounded in the attack.
The condition of Mr.Fernando is serious said an NLF spokesman this afternoon.
He has been rushed to Intensive Care unit of the National Hospital in Colombo from the Kurunagala hospital where he was admitted last night.
Dr.Wickramabahu has charged that they were attacked by thugs working with the PA's chief ministerial candidate Mr.S.P Naawinna.
According to the NSSP leader, a group of PA members and supporters had attempted to disrupt an NLF meeting in the Waariyapola electorate.
Later, while going towards Kurunagala, they had stopped their vehicle at the Paadeniya junction to have tea.
A jeep with a PA flag that was tailing them had stopped behind them and some persons in it had tearing the posters and party flag on the NLF vehicle.
Some of the PA persons had been armed with hand guns according to the NLF spokesman.
"Mr.Patrick Fernando and Dr.Wickramabahu were severely assaulted when they tried to talk to the PA thugs" he said, adding "the driver was also not spared and Mr.Fernando was repeatedly hit on the head with the grip of a pistol".
The NSSP leader lodged a complaint at the Waariyapola Police station. However, according to Sri Lankan Police sources, no one has been arrested in connection with the assault on the NLF so far.
Mr.Patrick Fernando was formerly a leader of the JVP insurrection in 1971. He took to social service and development work with NGOs after serving a term in jail.
Meanwhile the leader of the opposition, Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe said two of his body guards (off duty police officers), had been arrested yesterday afternoon by the Mawatagame Police.
Mr. Wickremasinghe has protested over the arrests of the body guards whom, according to him, were provided by the Sri Lankan Police Head Quarters. He said the Police had also detained their vehicle.
He said the incident resulted in delay of a campaign meeting in Mawatagame and that he had requested a detailed report from the Police on the incident.