[Media protest, Sri Lanka]
A journalist attached to the Wijeya Newspaper Group had been assaulted and his Media Accreditation Card taken last night, after one of his colleagues had got into an argument regarding the impending Presidential Election.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror Naushad Amith said that he was assaulted at around 11.30 p.m. outside a food boutique in Maligawatta, Colombo.
He said that four Police officers in uniform stood by watching the assault and did not intervene to prevent them being assaulted.
“The two of us went to eat at this shop near the Alba showroom in Maligawatte. I was inside the boutique sipping tea, when my friend had got into a conversation with around three people outside. My friend backs Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena,” he said.
Explaining the incident, Amith said that he went outside the shop, having heard a ruckus.
“I heard noises and saw my friend being assaulted by two men who were there.
“I ran outside and they began assaulting me as well. My friend shouted out that I am a journalist and then the men said “Umbala wage un thamai hoya hoyahitiye, athepaye hiriara ganna (We were looking for people like you to let go of some steam”) he said.
Amith said that four Police officers were present during the incident.
“Four Police officers of the Maligawatta Police Station watched the entire incident but did nothing to prevent us being assaulted. They were in uniform and stood still.
“After the assault the three men got into a van and fled. Thereafter, the Policemen came towards us and I asked them as to why they did not take any action. They told us that these were men from the Presidential Security Division and could do nothing,” he said.
Thereafter, the journalist and his friend had been taken by the Police to the Maligawatta Police Station, where they had lodged a complaint, before he was admitted to the National Eye Hospital for injuries in the eye.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror SSP Ajith Rohana said that the Maligawatta Police had received a complaint last night regarding an assault but no suspects had been arrested.
(Hafeel Farisz and Darshana Sanjeewa /Original Caption: Journalist Assaulted )