NLF leader Karunaratna's supporters assaulted at airport
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 December 2010, 01:51 GMT]
Supporters of Dr.Wickremabahu Karunaretna, leader of the New Left Front (NLF), Tuesday, who went to receive him at the Katunayake International Airport (KIA) on his return after a visit to London, were
assaulted by aviation authority officials and a gang said to be sent by a deputy minister in the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government, according to complaint lodged by Dr.Wickremabahu Karunaretna, NLF sources in Colombo said.
MTV Katunayaka correspondant Prema Lal and Lanka enews journalist Shantha Wijesuriya who went to cover Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratna's arrival were also assaulted.
A group of officials who were in uniform and on duty mobbed Dr. Karunaratne when he stepped out of the airport to be welcomed by NSSP officials, party members, trade union leaders, lawyers and human rights activists. Dozens of aviation officials who surrounded him called him a 'traitor who wants to divide the country united by Mr. Mahinda,' and attacked. several well wishers including females who came to his rescue were injured.
The port and aviation authority comes under Sri Lanka's President Rajapaksa. Before that the president's Brother Chamal Rajapaksa was the minister in charge. Government ministers routinely employ their political supporters in their ministry.
Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratna was in the UK to attend the 88th birthday celebrations of his dean at Cambridge University, Professor Reg Goodwin. He was invited and his passage was paid for by the professor's son Mark Goodwin.
While in London Dr. Karunaratna was invited to address several public meetings including the Tamil remembrence day 2010 held at the Excel auditorium attended by tens of thousands and a meeting at the house of commons.
The following week President Rajapaksa's scheduled talk at the Oxford Union was cancelled due to protests by Tamils who accused him of war crimes.
The government of Sri Lanka has accused Dr. Karunaratne and opposition parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena of organising the protests in London in collusion with Tamil Tiger supporters.