Colombo, Media and Communications, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War

Mervyn Silva publicly admits to killing Lasantha Wickrematunge and grievously attacking another journalist

[Editors note: The original page of this story and the entire site are blocked in Sri Lanka for publishing a report on the President’s son. We are therefore re-posting this story on Groundviews to flag enduring concerns over media freedom and the safety of independent journalists in post-war Sri Lanka and also the Sri Lankan Government’s continuing censorship of information on the web. See the Groundviews Special Edition on Lasantha Wickrematunge for the public outrage and comments over his murder earlier this year. No culprits have been brought to book to date.]

“Lasantha from the Leader paper went overboard. I took care of him. Poddala agitated and his leg was broken. Now a fellow in my electorate is trying to stand against me. I now tell him in his own hometown, I will give him only seven more days. If he does not resign as chairman of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha, don’t blame me later on. You’ll don’t find fault with me. If this fellow goes against what I say, I will send him to the place where I sent Lasantha,” Non-cabinet Labor Minister Mervyn Silva stated publicly at a meeting in Hunupitiya, Kelaniya.

Silva had made this statement addressing a gathering at the Jayanthi Mahal Junction at the opening ceremony of a Sathosa outlet in Hunupitiya, Kelaniya on Thursday (9).

A Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha member told Lanka News Web that the recorded versions of Silva’s speech have already been sent to the President and the SLFP general secretary. Silva while being critical of Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Prasanna Ranaweera and several other members has said he did not fear any one as long as President Mahinda Rajapakse was in power, as he could not be defeated by any force.

A few days after the Minister made this statement; an unidentified armed group stormed into the house of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman and attacked the house situated at Bandaranayake Mawatha, Kelaniya.

The Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman addressing the media following the attack said, “Minister Mervyn Silva openly scolded me and six other Pradeshiya Sabha members on the 9th. He made threats saying he would do what needs to be done. We have the recordings with us.

We have sent copies of the tape to the President and Minister Maithripala Sirisena. The attack carried out is a low act. My children are still in shock and my wife was admitted to hospital. The police cannot do justice as they are afraid of this politician. The President has to intervene to stop this thuggery.”