By Udul Premarathne –
Political activists and leaders of the People’s Struggle Movement in Sri Lanka, Mr. Premakumar Gunaratnam and Ms. Dimithu Attygalle disappeared on 6th April 2012. Prior to their disappearance both activists had been preparing for the first convention of the Frontline Socialist Party, a party formed by a dissident group from the opposition party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP – meaning People’s Liberation FRont). FSP party members had received credible information that both activists were under intense Government surveillance, shortly before their disappearance. There is currently no information regarding their fate or whereabouts.
Mr. Gunaratnam was a key leader of the People’s Struggle Movement (PSM) and Ms. Attygalle was the Secretary for Women’s and International affairs of the organization, which was a forerunner to the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP).
Mr. Gunaratnam had been instrumental in forming the FSP which was due to be launched officially on 9th April 2012 and he was expected to be appointed as its head. The PSM has campaigned actively since its formation against the systemic violation of human rights by this Government including, disappearances, extra-judicial killings, illegal detentions and militarization in the North.
Details of Disappearance
Mr. Gunaratnam is believed to have been abducted from his temporary residence at No.29/1, Gemunu Mawatha, Kiribathgoda (Gampaha district), on 6th April. He was last seen by a party member who dropped Mr. Gunaratnam at his residence in Kiribathgoda at around 5 pm on 6th April following a party meeting. At around 11 pm that day, Mr. Gunaratnam spoke to the same party member and asked to be picked up from his residence at 5 am the following day (7th April). Mr. Gunaratnam has not been seen or heard from since.
The party member who arrived at Mr. Gunaratnam’s residence at around 4.30 am the following day (7th April), found that the air had been let out of all four tyres in Mr. Gunaratnam’s vehicle (No. NWKE 9457). On further examination he found that the door locks had been broken. Mr. Gunaratnam could not be found and was not contactable on his mobile phone. A neighbor had told police that 4 or 5 armed men had come to the house at around 4.30am on the morning of 7th April and instructed her to shut off lights and stay indoors. When she had looked out around 5.15am, she had seen nothing unusual.
According to party members, Mr. Gunaratnam’s mobile number (+94-71-3519722) was ringing till around 8 am on 7th April but was not answered. The phone is currently disconnected or unreachable. The GPS coordinates of Mr. Gunaratnam’s mobile phone indicate that the phone was in the Thalawathugoda area on 7th April morning. However there is no further evidence regarding his whereabouts.
Ms. Attygalle was last seen by a party leader who dropped her at the Kottawa bus stand (Colombo District) at around 6pm on 6th April. Ms. Attygalle confirmed that she was going to her residence at 32/14/7, High level road, Henawatte, Meegoda (Colombo district). However Ms. Attygalle did not answer her mobile phone (+94-77-0325567) the following morning though it had been ringing till about 11am. It had been confirmed that Mr. Attygalle had not arrived home on 6th April.
Police complaints/action taken
On 7th April 2012, Mr. Ajith Kumara, Member of Parliament, filed a complaint with the Police Head Quarters in Colombo regarding Mr. Gunaratnam’s disappearance, recorded under CIB I 105/19. MP Ajith Kumara also filed a separate complaint with the police head quarters regarding Ms. Attygalle’s disappearance recorded under CIB I 105/20, on 7th April.
Mr. Gunaratnam’s sister-in-law, Dr. Nandani Somaratne, also filed a complaint with the Pilliyandala Police (Colombo district) on 7th April, recorded under CIB 306/133.
Mr. Duminda Nagamuwa, a party leader, filed complaint number CIB I 11/135 with the Kottawa Police on 7th April regarding the disappearance of Ms. Attygalle.
The Australian High Commission in Colombo has been informed of the disappearance as Mr. Gunaratnam is an Australian citizen. The media, diplomatic community and human rights groups have been informed about the disappearances.
Police spokesperson told media said neither of the two had been taken in for questioning or arrested by the Police.
Prior to their abduction, Mr. Gunaratnam and Ms. Attygalle were engaged in intense negotiations in preparation for the first party convention on 9th April 2012. Party members had received credible information that Mr. Gunaratnam was under intense surveillance by the Government during this period. As a safety precaution Mr. Gunaratnam and Ms. Attygalle always informed party members of their whereabouts and never switched off their mobile phones.
FSP party members believe that Mr. Gunaratnam and Ms. Attygalle have been abducted by forces linked with the Government since the party has campaigned actively against human rights abuses by the Government, particularly against the Tamil minority in the North.
PSM activists have suffered threats, attacks, intimidation and surveillance due to their work. PSM activists Lalith Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganandan were abducted on 9th December 2011 in Jaffna and have not been seen or heard from since. Lalith Weeraraj was repeatedly threatened by police and military prior to his abduction and ordered to stop his work in the North. There has been no information or credible investigation into their disappearance despite widespread protests, local and international campaigns and a habeas corpus petition before the Court of Appeal in Sri Lanka. The families of both men have also suffered threats, harassment and surveillance following their abduction.
Media reports indicate that there have been twenty nine disappearances in Sri Lanka between February and March 2012 and a total of fifty six disappearances over the past six months. There have been repeated incidents of threats, harassment, attacks and intimidation against HRDs and activists travelling to/working in the North apart from the systematic attacks against national level HRDs and journalists during the Human Rights Council Sessions in Geneva in March 2012.
 Mr. Gunaratnam had studied at Kegalle St. Mary’s College, Pinnawala central College and Peradeniya University. His brother, Ranjitham Gunaratnam, who was a Poliburo member of the People’s Liberation Front (JVP – the party from which the new party Frontline Socialist Party broke away) and was assassinated by the government in 1989. After the repression of the JVP in late 1980s, Mr. Gunaratnam played a key role in reforming an reviving the party.
 Ms. Attygalle had studied at Bandarawela Central College and at Teachers Training College. She has been an activist of the People’s Liberation Front (JVP ) since 1988 and became the National Organizer of the Socialist Women’s Union.
*UDUL PREMARATHNE (Attorney-at-law) Former convener of Inter University Student Federation.(IUSF) Executive committee member of We Are Sri lankans.(WESL)
Max Silva / April 7, 2012
According to this article Kumar Gunarathnam’s brother had been a politburo member of the JVP during 1989.It’s no secret that during the 89/90 period the JVP went on a killing spree on the pretext of their opposition to the 13th amendment.Among their victims were Former UNP chairmen Harsha abeywardana,Nandalal Fernando,Themis Guruge,Prof Stanley Wijesundara,MP Lionel Jayathileka,Mrs Gladys Jayawaredena,Popular journalist Premakeerthi de Alwis,film star Vijaya Kumaranathunge and thousands of civilians.Among their victims were members of political parties,Buddhist monks,Gramasevakas,and civilians.Apart from murders they were involved in robbery.
The article claims that Kumar G is an Australian citizen.Why the hell was an Australian citizen doing politics in Srilanka in hiding?There is no doubt that these persons were not involved in democratic politics,but the chances are that they were attempting to restart their practice of carnage.AS for their alleged abduction,relatives or friends of their victims could have done it. Surly you can’t expect to commit wholesale murders and get away with it.On the other hand this could be a false abduction to embarrass the government.This could even be an inside job.
What i have heard was that this Kumar G is an expert in explosives.He had been involved in planting road side bombs and killing hundreds of Indian(IPKF)soldiers during the 89/90 period.If this abduction is true there is also a possibility that an Indian hand is behind it.Srilankan security forces must keep extra vigil on such trouble makers and take stern action to protect innocent civilians.
jayantha / April 8, 2012
Max,please reply to DAS?
Don Peter London / April 9, 2012
Sri Lankan goverment JR and Premadasa killed 60,000 youths in south in 88/89
Gotabaya Rajapaksha was the SL ARMY area incharge for Matale district at that time and gave orders to kill thousands of youth at that time.
This is not a new thing for him.At that time he killed for UNP now killing for him and his brother.
So sad situation,I do not know when this country will free from all sorts of idiots.
Anti-B.S / April 9, 2012
Whether it is the Rajapakistanis now, the UNP or JVP or LTTE in the past, abduction and extra-judicial executions are NOT ACCEPTABLE in civilized society. But then your convoluted meanderings are nothing but an attempt to cover up for people who are contesting the very right of this man to be in Sri Lanka after sending their buddy “Colonel” Karuna on a forged passport PROVIDED BY DO YOU REMEMBER WHO to Great Britain?! Is there truly no limit to the hypocrisy of camp followers like you, Maxie?
Max Silva / April 9, 2012
Yes it’s me Max Silva.Why don’t you read my reply carefully and make your views known.I have pointed out quite a few possibilities.I am sure that you would agree with such possibilities.While we are tearing our brains in trying to find out the whereabouts of this geezer,who knows he might be having a time of his life.You heard about something called “Middle aged love crisis”?
DAS / April 7, 2012
Why the hell is an australian citizen Palitha Kohona doing diplomacy for sri lanka?
Why the hell was General Satish Nambiyar (brother of Vijay Mambiyar) advising the sri lankan army during the last few years of the war?
Why was US Green Card holder Sarath Fonseka commanding the army?
Why is Gota a US citizen,now overall commander of army & police?
So apart from Indian Tigers, Indian Intelligence agents too have landed!
Max Silva / April 8, 2012
(a)Palitha Kohona holds dual citizenship which is quite legal and in order.
(b)Not only Satish Nambir but many foreign experts adviced the GOSL at it’s invitation which once again is in order.
(c)Sarath Fonseka,Gota-Having US green card does not mean that they are US citizens.Even US citizens are eligble to hold dual citizenship once necessary legal approval is granted.
Das,i hope that i have answered your questions to your satisfaction regarding Palitha Mahathaya,Satish Mahathaya,Sarath Mahathaya and Gota Mahathaya.
But in the case of Kumar Mahathaya it is different.In the first place he had left Srilanka on a forged passport.He had arrived and was staying in the country illegally.On the other hand the former Mahathayas you mentioned had not been involved in any criminal activities unlike your Kumar Mahathaya.My question is why did Kumar Mahathaya lead an under ground life?There are many Australian citizens working in Srilanka legally.But not your Kumar Mahathaya who was instrumental in murdering Indian soldiers in collaboration with the LTTE.
DAS / April 9, 2012
According to you, very important posts could be held in sri lanka by persons who owe allegiance to two countries.Is sri lanka so devoid of persons of the calibre required to hold such posts?
Does this occur anywhere else? Will a sri lankan be allowed to hold such responsible posts in a foreign country? Gota held a post of cashier/computer operater in USA before he came back here as soon as his brother became president.
There is no evidence that Gunaratnam left sri lanka on a forged passport – he would have been nabbed on landing in any australian airport.
There is also no proof that Gunaratmam “was instrumental in murdering in murdering indian soldiers in collaboration with LTTE”.
Punchinilame / April 8, 2012
If Kumar Mahamaya is an “alleged” murder of Indian soliers, HE The
President is also an “alleged” murderer of his first “wife”- but has
not gone into hiding because RW came to his rescue then. Or are all these rumours?
suz / April 8, 2012
why should GOSL let the criminals to organize early this is what GOSL learn lessons the react otherwise GOSL OR any elected GO-VERN to continue the war another 27 years .the best operating react now early ,this would have done before 1983 not to suffer for long term war.great job GOSL or whoever done get the others before active.
Chandrani / April 9, 2012
As soon as the Final War was concluded the talk was that some former JVP activists, key figures who were involved in a particular infamous uprising were organizing themselves and surreptitiously looking at arming themselves to engage in dissident politics. There was speculation that they will even affiliate themselves with the LTTE rump to get at any cache of weapons not recovered or cleared by the Army because it was believed that not all of the LTTE ordinance was recovered by the Army.
The talk was also that these dissidents were being helped by external elements / parties some in the guise of NGOs & INGOs.
As usual certain media organizations are continuously spinning the event, pathetic outlook, weeping women, absence of rights etc. and certain others playing it down.
The timing of the disappearance is interesting in that it happened at a time when several destabilizing factors have failed and the activities, actions and stance of NGOs/ INGOs were beginning to get a beating and viewed in a negative light.
Max Silva / April 9, 2012
If this Kumara Mahathaya,the Australian was planning to make it big time in politics in Srilanka,then why was he in hiding?Whats the deal? There’s no doubt that this Mahathaya character was here to start another fresh round of violence.
DAS / April 9, 2012
There is no evidence, that he was in hiding.As per above account, he was among his friends and collaboraters, engaged in serious discussions in the formation of the proposed new party.
This must have been worrying to the government,hence the abduction.
There have bee 69 abductions during past six months, it is reported.
NAK / April 12, 2012
yes there is evidence that he was in hiding.He did not come forward to get his visa renewed,his fellow party members claimed that he will come out on the convention day implying that he was not in the open.
Chandrani / April 9, 2012
The dissident group among the JVP feels that the current JVP politics is too placid. The idea was to steer JVP politics in a More revolutionary and combative way, appealing to the youth.
The tussle for the JVP printing press, a couple of months before the end of last year and who takes control of the armory and the fight over party resources, the division into two factions are perhaps issues that have to be taken with some seriousness when discussing JVP politics.
jaffna Man / April 9, 2012
Do you all think in sri lanka ther is a government is rulling the country, no the three oir four thugs rulling and doing what they want don’t see this all day every day what is hering the abductions and dissapearing .
who is this white van don’t you know this all by gota many diaspora tamils waitting for the another round to bring the Ramesh killing and the white van army captins photos and the list (and the home address) will be published .
tamils need self determination not the bones from gota /mahinda family
we just wait the sri lankan army how many more we donot care we can send them back to colombo from the north.
Max Silva / April 9, 2012
You say that you will send back the army to Colombo.Well,your late leader “Velu”tried the same thing and instead now he’s gone to hell.Anyway Jaffna man,you are welcome to have a dip at Nandikadal lagoon.
Min / April 9, 2012
Don’t you expect those 20 odd powerful nations who helped you to come to your aid in any future confrontation, for dipping anybody in Nandkadal?
Nandikadal is part of a Tamil province (OR State, at the rate you MaRa is handling the Tamil issue).
kamal nissanka / April 9, 2012
We need some clarifications from all three JVP groups (JVP of Somawansa, JVP of Wimal Weerawansa and JVP of Kumar Gunarathna) as to why did they kill Daya Pathirana?
Jagath Jayadewan / April 12, 2012
Can you also explain the following so all readers so they could get a better overview. [ some writers purposely do not write the whole story ] Im talking about the recent case of Kumar Gunaratnam. ( though his real name was not Mr Gunarathnam ]
Do you know Mr. Gunarathnam was held in Australian Embassy for some reason for any time before he went to the CID office.
What’s the purpose of his earlier visits to Australian Embassy Sri Lanka while he was in Sri Lanka.
Why did he overstay his visa ( he had visa for 1 month and he was staying in the country for 5 moths )
He could have easily go and come back as how he did 5 times prior to this incidence.
He had visited the country 5 times. His involvement in Sri Lankan politics in this period.
Why he had changed his real name to a fake name ( his birth certificate is a different name than his marriage certificate and thats different than his Sri Lankan passport and he went to Australia and Applied his papers in a different name. )
Who helped him getting those documents in Australia and Sri Lanka. He also carry 3 more passports as per the intelligence. Could you explain how Australian Authorities issued these without checking. ( did he pay money to the authorities or authorities help him to get these )
Who is behind providing monetary assistance for his party?
As far as we know there are PRO-LTTE and NGOs behind providing funds for him as well as the PARTY in Sri Lanka.
Different Contradicting Statements:
Can you explain the reason for these two statements given at two different locations, by these two party members who went missing.
Mrs Artygalle mentioned that, She was taken by 3 people who were wearing kaki suites and 2 civilians ( she suspects the 2 civilians to be JV members ) and then later mr Gunarathnam was there in custody along with her. But When Mr. Gunarathnam gave the statement he mentioned only he was detained and there were no other personal. So these two completely different stories and someone or both are lying at this situation. Their version of stories does not go together…as they planned.
Do you think if Sri Lankan security personal wanted to come with uniforms to do such things… I do not think that they are that stupid?. This shows clearly someone is trying frame them and show that there is a security force involvement by wearing uniform, and saying “sir” to one person. these are childish allegations.
Also could you explain when Mr Gunarathnam went to the CID office, how come the Australian authorities follow him in few minutes to the place.
Very strange ( somehow they knew or it suggest that they came with Mr. Gunarathnam to the CID )
Another strange thing is when Mr Gunarathnam mentioned that his Austrilian passport was lost, CID requested Austrilian Authorities to issue a temporary travel document. but all off a sudden Australian Ambassador handed over his original passport which he said was missing. Isnt it strange action.
Who submitted his passport to the Embassy, When and Why??? Why he was lying about the passport as missing??
These things suggest that maybe Mr Gunarathnam was never abducted but he was hiding in Australian Embassy for some hidden agenda..He was kept inside securely and then the campaign started and very strange way the Austrilian Ambasssador involvement with Defence Secretary and Strange Release..and Embassy authority following him to the CID, strange handover of the passport ( this looks like a pre planned drama )
Also please let me know if a person in fear of the Government security forces as he mentioned why didn’t he go to Australian Embassy as a citizen of that country as the normal practice of any foreign citizen in trouble and pass 2 police stations and went to CID office.
Who asked him to do that ?
Lastly could explain his involvement with KILLING of 14 INDIAN Force members who were working in SRI LANKA. This is the main reason this person has changed his name, and escaped to Australia providing false documents to the Australian Authorities….its a serious violation of Australian Immigration process… Why Australian government is not taking any action?? At least now they know he is a criminal with proof and the indian government is looking for him and requested information from Sri Lankan authorities etc.
If the above theory can be prove wrong… i would love to put some evidence to this forum about his activities within this period which are very suspicious.
Max Silva / April 12, 2012
The answer is simple.There was no abduction as alleged.It was a staged managed job.Very soon the Aussies will regret for helping Bomba Gunda!
Observer / April 12, 2012
Can you explain how a white van containing at least 4 men armed with T56 rifles and a blindfolded passenger in the backseat, can make it through 5 or 6 checkpoints in Colombo? The only explanation is that said van is carrying out an operation for the MoD, run by Gothabaya. Also, can you explain why this man was released after the Australian High Commissioner made personal contact with Gothabaya, and not before?
Sagara / April 12, 2012
What I can get from all of these comments is that Max is another Gonek!
NAK / April 12, 2012
There are more questions than answers.How did they know that they were under surveilance and that it was the government agents.If they felt that,what action did they take? why was he all alone in the house if he felt threatned? Why did’nt he alert someone before being abducted espcially when the door locks are being broken. He himself could have called 911. why did’nt the neighbour call the police?
Why did’nt the party member who came to pick gunaratnam at 4.30am see the abductors who also came at 4.30am?
Even a lie must be presented in a manner that can be believed!