This abduction brought immediately reactions from the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), human rights organisations and the Australian government. The Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, Gotabaya Rajapakse initially declared that he was unaware of any such abduction. The Director General of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), Lakshman Hulugalle, previous stated to the BBC that there was no reason for the government to arrest Mr. Gunarathnam and Ms. Dimuthu Attigala. Then, even shortly before the deportation Gotabaya Rajapakse told the media that Mr. Gunarathnam would be charged in many cases.
The Police Spokesman, SP Ajith Rohana, now claims that Mr. Gunarathnam was abducted by some unknown persons and brought to Dematagoda and later to the Colombo Crime Division.
This episode clearly exposes the government involvement in abductions. Earlier two officers of the rank of captain from the Sri Lankan military and two other officers were arrested after an attempt to abduct the Mayor of Kolonowara. The photographs of these officers were taken by their captors and published leading to their identification. The government later claimed that they were mistakenly arrested while they were on their way to arrest some army deserters.
The latest incident relating to Mr. Gunarathnam and Ms. Attigala has vividly exposed the government’s abduction industry. The number of abductions in recent months has risen to around 60.
As long as Gotabaya Rajapakse remains the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense there is no likelihood of any credible inquiry into the allegations of the government’s involvement in these abductions.
The Asian Human Rights Commission calls upon the government to appoint a high level inquiry into the abduction of Mr. Gunarathnam and Ms. Attigala and also all other recent abductions. Unfortunately, we are compelled to state such an inquiry is most unlikely due to the high level position held by Gotabaya Rajapakse who is also President Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother.
The Sri Lankan opposition have an obligation to the people to demand such a high level inquiry into this particular incident and all other abductions. The newly formed Frontline Socialist Party and all other political parties need to make it a high priority to take all possible action to stop abductions taking place in Sri Lanka. It is also the duty of all civil society organisations to intervene effectively to ensure that the government takes effective action to remove all those in high positions who are suspected of having links to such abductions. Â
We also call upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, to request the Sri Lankan government to initiate a high level inquiry into this particular abduction as well as all reported abduction in recent months.