Responding to Democratic Left Front (DLF) leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri yesterday said that Mr. Nanayakkara’s assessment that the May Day attack would have been expected implies that he too expected his supporters to react in a violent manner to opposing views.
“I don’t know how he knows what my intentions of attending the rally were, but if he is saying I should have expected the attack then what he is indirectly saying is that he is aware of the forces that he is mobilizing, and how their supporters react to their opponents”, “ he said.
“Mr. Nanayakkara said that I had a habit of labelling political movements and the Rajapaksa followers as a fascist movement, but by saying that I should expect attacks, he is indirectly admitting this. He knows that the Mahinda supporters have a habit of attacking their supporters. What does this mean? It means that it does not have a key democratic trait, that of tolerating the views of your opponent” he said
Mr. Dewasiri further stated that his method was to attend public meetings of his political opponents and take issue with them at such gatherings but was never once assaulted.
“I have been attending public meetings of my opponents since I was 16. I attended a JVP rally at the time I was anti JVP and even argued with full time members of the JVP on conflicting views. That is my way of doing politics,” he said.
He expressed regret over the comment made by the left wing leader, stating that he had worked closely with him for many years and expected a more genuine condemnation.
“He is almost sanctioning this attack, he has said to look into the issue, but they must actually condemn it without saying I should or would expect violence for expressing my views. I have been doing politics with Vasudeva from the late eighties and worked closely with him since 1994. I was even the editor of his newspaper. I have great respect towards him, but I am really sorry to hear these kinds of comments coming from him” he said.
He added that Mr. Nanayakkara was sending a very ‘interesting’ political message that one should not attend meetings of one’s political opponents.
[Original Caption: Dewasiri responds to Vasu]