COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Workers, academics and youth worldwide have expressed their outrage over the violent attack on two members of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka by pro-government assailants. Dehin Wasantha, a longtime university worker known for advocating for workers’ rights and socialism, was one of the victims, along with Lakshman Fernando, a full-time SEP party worker.
Protest letters to the Sri Lankan Attorney General and Vice Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa are demanding that the culprits face the maximum legal action. The attack took place at the University of Moratuwa, where both Wasantha and Fernando were physically assaulted by members of a union affiliated with the ruling Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna party.
The victims were campaigning with other party members near the rear gate of the university for SEP public meetings when they were attacked with long wooden clubs, resulting in serious injuries. As a result, Wasantha suffered two fractured fingers and was forced to take nearly a month’s medical leave, while Fernando was left with bruises and a neck injury.
The attack is seen as a politically-motivated assault on the democratic rights of the SEP, the university staff, and students, as well as the working class as a whole. The upcoming court case against the perpetrators is scheduled for January 8, and the university administration has yet to launch an inquiry into the incident.
Academics from Australia, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka have joined in condemning the attack, emphasizing the international implications of the assault and advocating for the defense of democratic rights and freedom of expression. They have requested that relevant authorities take appropriate action against the assailants and have expressed solidarity with the victims and the SEP.
In addition to academic support, members of the international workers’ movement are calling for protest letters to be sent to the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka in opposition to the assault. These letters demand justice for the victims and the preservation of democratic rights in the face of political violence and repression.
The attack has not only prompted local outrage but has also gained international attention for the implications it has for the protection of democratic rights and the defense of political activists.
All information was rephrased and rewritten in AP News Style without directly quoting any news organization.