www.dailymirror.lk: Attack on Viluthu head office condemned

“We support and encourage Ms. Shanthi Sachithanandan and the Viluthu team to continue their work on promoting social justice and women’s rights. A group of well-known civil society activists have strongly condemned the recent attack on the Colombo head office of Viluthu, a non-governmental organisation working to promote social justice and women’s rights. In a communiqué signed by 35 activists which was released today, the incident is described as a “cowardly act” that was “carried out in order to intimidate the organisation”. The signatories also expressed dismay that the incident occurred in a high security zone and called on the law enforcement agencies to take prompt action to apprehend those responsible for the attack. The attack took place between the night of January 23 and the early hours of January 24. According to the joint communiqué, “Viluthu’s work is focused on good governance and empowerment in the north and east of Sri Lanka in supporting the war-affected community. These kinds of attacks pose a threat to an open society that is founded on democratic values and the rule of law, and upholds freedom of speech and civic activism. It is such a society that we as Sri Lankans should nurture if we are to move towards reconciliation and a lasting peace.”

 “The office was broken into and searched by unknown persons. We are especially perturbed that this incident occurred in a high security zone in Colombo. This is not the first time a civil society group has been attacked and we feel this cowardly act was carried out in order to intimidate the organisation.”

“We support and encourage Ms. Shanthi Sachithanandan and the Viluthu team to continue their work on promoting social justice and women’s rights. We hope that incidents such as this one will never happen again in the future. We urge the law enforcement authorities, especially the Inspector General of Police, to act speedily and carry out investigations, and arrest those responsible for this incident,” the communiqué further stated.

The signatories are:
Jehan Perera (National Peace Council);
Nimalka Fernando;
Sharmini Boyle;
Visaka Dharmadasa (Association for War Affected Women);
Ruki Fernando (Rights Now Collective for Democracy),
Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu;
J.C. Weliamuna;
Nigel V. Nugawela;
Anberiya Hanifa (Muslim Women’s Research Action Forum);
Shreen Saroor (Women’s Action Network);
Selvy Thiruchandran (Women’s Education and Research Centre);
Sumathy Sivamohan;
Priya Thangarajah;
Mirak Raheem;
Sudarshana Gunawardana;
Anita Nesiah;
Chulani Kodikara;
K. S. Ratnavale (Centre for Human Rights and Development);
K.M.N. Mohammed;
Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai;
Sithiravel Ithayarani;
Sumika Perera;
Mahaluxmi Kurushanthan;
Ashila Niroshine Mapalagama;
M. Mangaleswary Shanker;
Jensila Majeed (Women’s Action Network);
Dilrukshi Handunnetti;
R.M. B Senanayake;
Tony Seneviratne;
Rajani Chandra;
Muttukrishna Sarvananthan (Point Pedro Institute of Development);
Deanne Uyangoda;
Cayathri Divakalala; 
Sharmila Mohamad Hanifa (Jaffna Civil Society for Equality);
K. Guruparan (University of Jaffna).