Source: ABC News |
ASHLEY HALL: There are fears an Australian man missing in Sri Lanka has been kidnapped.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed a 42 year old from New South Wales disappeared last week and that there are reports he was abducted.
Kumar Gunaratnam was set to launch a political party today.
His wife claims armed men stormed a house in a town near Colombo and took him away.
Eleanor Bell reports.
ELEANOR BELL: Kumar Gunaratnam’s family says he was taken from house in a town near Colombo two days ago by gunmen.
His wife Dr Champa Somaratna says her husband is now being held illegally by Sri Lankan military police.
CHAMPA SOMARATNA: He was arrested early in the morning like half past seven, and about 25 armed people entered the house. And they threatened the neighbours and asked them to switch off the light and close the windows and doors. And they entered the house and they vandalised whole house and the car he was travelling.
And then they were abducted – they abducted him forcefully. There has all been evidence about that inside the house.
ELEANOR BELL: Mr Gunaratnam is an engineer and a dual citizen of Australia and Sri Lanka. But his wife believes it’s his political activities that have led to his abduction.
She says that while he is a Tamil he is not affiliated with the Tamil Tigers and was set to announce a new left-wing party in Sri Lanka today.
Another political activist from the party is also missing.
CHAMPA SOMARATNA: Recently they, because of the unlawful abductions and the human rights violations in Lanka, they’re going to form a new party, the Socialist Party, it’s a frontline socialist party, they’re going to launch it today.
So he is one of the leaders in that party. He is a main political activist in that party. So I think this has a real connection with that.
ELEANOR BELL: And it’s not the first time the family has been detained.
His mother VR Gunaratnam says she had another son taken by Sri Lanka’s authorities 23 years ago.
VR GUNARATNAM: On the 6th, my son Premkumar Gunaratnam, was abducted by some unknown persons and we don’t know where he is. I know his life is in danger.
I have lost another son earlier, Ranjitham Gunaratnam, and he was also abducted in the same way and until his death I had never seen him.
So I’m scared this fate would happen to my younger son, the only son I have.
ELEANOR BELL: A spokeswoman for Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the Australian High Commissioner in Colombo has spoken to senior Sri Lankan government officials to request their help to find him.
Consular officers in Canberra are in contact with the man’s family in Australia.
The Sri Lankan government says it has no knowledge of the arrest.
ASHLEY HALL: Eleanor Bell.