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News‘We were white vanned’ – Dimuthu Artigala

‘We were white vanned’ – Dimuthu Artigala

Ms. Attygalle who heads the international wing of the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party said armed abductors tried to extract information from her on the political activities of the new party. Dimuthu (42) who also heads the party’s women’s wing, said she did not sense anything dangerous when she alighted from the bus to go home in Godagama on Saturday evening.
Walking up to the house, she noticed a white van parked at the confluence of four roads, close to her house. Being aware of ‘white van abductions’, she got alarmed. She turned back and tried to flee. Yet, there were some men behind and she became helpless. “I moved ahead come what may. Two muscular men came out of the van and bundled me into it. They held my mouth in a tight grip so that I cannot scream for help,” Dimuthu told the media less than an hour after being released by her abductors.

Dimuthu was whisked away in this manner when she was returning home after a meeting with leaders of her party on its inaugural convention scheduled for Monday. Along with her, party leader Kumar Gunaratnam was also spirited away, what his fellow activists described as his political activism. After the release of Gunaratnam during the wee hours of yesterday, Dimuthu was also dropped by her alleged abductors at Talapathpitiya. Abductors had given her some money and asked her to hire a three-wheeler to proceed to wherever she wanted to go.

A visibly shocked and emotional Dimuthu arrived at her party office at 400/2, Thalawathugoda Road, Madiwela at 10.35 am yesterday when a news conference was in progress there. Her colleagues, who were briefing t he media on t he unfolding incident, terminated the news conference and surrounded her in eagerness to know what had happened. After 15 minutes, the news conference resumed with Dimuthu also at the head table.

“I was blindfolded and taken to a distant location which I cannot remember. I was horrified. I feared for my life. I was hit once. Later, I heard them saying that they should not physically assault a woman. They questioned me extensively about the activities of my party and its future political road map. Since I am the head of the international wing, they asked about our international links. They tried to know whether we have established contacts with the PRO-LTTE Tamil diaspora. I denied it. Also, they wanted to know whether we have international funding sources,” she said.

Her voice was anguished and hair disheveled. She said the weapons used by her abductors, the kind of the l anguage they used and the place of her illegal detention spoke volumes about the involvement of the government’s defence authorities.

“Inside the vehicle, they had T 56 guns, vehicle number plates and pistols. They addressed their apparent seniors as ‘ sir’. I do not think anybody can do so without the support of the state arm. They checked the details of the bank statements in my bag. They did not even return them to me,” she said.

Her narration took a different turn when she mentioned that her abductors spoke in favour of the JVP from which she defected last year over what she termed as ideological clashes.

“They said I had to suffer this fate because of what it did to the JVP. Some of them cited the JVP as a good political party. They did not approve the kind of politics which we were planning to do. I tried to convince t hem that we defected from the JVP on policy differences. I assured that we will not take up arms. Once I was brought to the presence of comrade Kumar Gunaratnam abducted on the same da, they asked the same questions separately from us,” she said.

Asked whether she suspected the JVP’S involvement, she said, “I cannot draw any conclusion. Yet, I got a feeling about such an involvement from the manner in which some abductors spoke.”

During her detention at an unidentified location, she said she was given food. Also, she said that a lady had been assigned to help whenever she wanted to use the washroom facilities.


Source: Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka

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