Workers, youth, and their organizations worldwide are speaking out against the violent assault on Dehin Wasantha and Lakshman Fernando, both members of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka. The attackers, Indika Perera and Suranga Piyawardena, are the president and secretary of the Moratuwa university branch of Podujana Pragathishili Sevaka Sangamaya (PPSS), affiliated with the ruling party in Sri Lanka. Wasantha, a university non-academic worker with a two-decade history of fighting for workers’ rights and socialism, and Fernando, a full-time SEP party worker, were physically assaulted by the perpetrators on November 30 at the University of Moratuwa.
The attack, which left Wasantha with two fractured fingers and Fernando with significant injuries, occurred while they were campaigning for SEP public meetings. The case was brought before the Magistrates Court, which ordered it to be referred to a mandatory Mediation Board and will be heard in court on May 20. The campaign led by the SEP and its sister parties of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) has sparked international support, with many protest letters demanding legal action against the accused culprits.
Among the protest letters are those sent by academics in the US and UK, expressing outrage over the attack and urging the University of Moratuwa to protect political and intellectual activities on campus. A former senior academic from the UK condemned the attack as a criminal assault not only on the democratic rights of the SEP but on all those engaged in politics. The attack, which aimed to silence opposition among workers, was deemed contrary to the principles of science, rationality, and free discussion at the university.
As the SEP calls for defense of democratic rights and freedom of expression, individuals concerned are encouraged to register their opposition by sending protest letters to relevant authorities. The solidarity and condemnation of the attack represents a global effort to combat violence aimed at suppressing political activities and ideas.