Attacks on Socialist Equality Party Members in Moratuwa University Campus Spark Outrage and Demand for Legal Action

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The legal case regarding the violent assault on two members of the Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party (SEP) was presented to a judge at the Moratuwa Magistrate Court on January 8. The assault occurred on November 30, when a SEP team, including Dehin Wasantha and Lakshman Fernando, was campaigning at the rear gate of the Moratuwa University.

Wasantha works at Moratuwa University and is well known among non-academic employees for his intransigent fight for the interests of the working class and socialist policies. Fernando is a full-time SEP worker. The accused, Indika Perera and Suranga Piyawardena, both appeared in court. They are the president and secretary, respectively of the Podujana Pragathishili Sevaka Sangamaya (PPSS), also known as the People’s Progressive Employees Union branch at Moratuwa University.

Perera and Piyawardena were taken into custody by the Moratuwa police the next day and brought before the Moratuwa acting magistrate on December 2. After an initial inquiry, the accused were granted bail, subject to strict conditions, including significant deposits in personal sureties and weekly reporting to the police.

During the hearing on January 8, the police outlined the complaint made by SEP member Dehin Wasantha and the progress of their investigation into the assault. The attorney appearing for the SEP emphasized the grave nature of the attack, highlighting Wasantha’s injuries, including fractures to two fingers of his left hand. The lawyer stated that Wasantha could not work for about one month because of the fractures. The case was then ordered to be referred to a mandatory Mediation Board and will be recalled to court on May 20.

The SEP and its sister parties in the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) around the world have launched a campaign in defense of Fernando and Wasantha and the SEP’s democratic right to conduct political campaigns. The party is urging workers, young people, academics, and their organizations internationally to send protest letters to the Sri Lankan attorney general and the vice chancellor of the University of Moratuwa, demanding maximum legal actions against the accused.

Additionally, the SEP is calling on defenders of democratic rights and freedom of expression to register their opposition by sending protest letters to the relevant authorities. These actions represent a collective effort to seek justice and uphold the democratic right to freely engage in political activities.