COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka is receiving an outpouring of global support following the violent assault on two of its members by pro-government individuals. Dehin Wasantha and Lakshman Fernando, both members of SEP, were attacked at the University of Moratuwa on November 30, prompting condemnations from workers, youth, academics, and organizations worldwide.
The assailants, identified as Indika Perera and Suranga Piyawardena, are known to be affiliated with the ruling Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna, and they belong to the Moratuwa university branch of People’s Progressive Employees Union (PPSS).
Wasantha, a long-time university non-academic worker and advocate for workers’ rights and socialism, suffered two fractured fingers and was forced to take almost a month’s leave due to his injuries. Meanwhile, Fernando, a full-time SEP party worker, sustained bruises and a neck injury as a result of the attack.
Despite their injuries, the case was ordered to be referred to a mandatory Mediation Board, which has sparked international outrage and led to a flood of letters to Sri Lankan authorities, demanding justice for Wasantha and Fernando.
Furthermore, the assault itself, along with the leniency shown by the authorities, is being viewed as a politically motivated act aimed at suppressing and intimidating not just the targeted individuals, but also the wider working class in Sri Lanka. Such actions come at a time of significant social unrest and upheaval on the island.
The SEP has been the only faction to have maintained complete independence from the ruling political parties, and their refusal to engage in “all-party agreements” has been seen as a principled stand that aligns with the long-standing struggle for workers’ rights and independence from capitalist forces.
The global solidarity with the SEP and its members is a testament to the impact and relevance of Trotskyism as a political ideology that resonates with the working class and the oppressed masses. There has been a call for widespread resistance to such attacks in order to defend the democratic rights of the working class and youth, not just in Sri Lanka, but around the world.
In addition to the international support, the SEP is calling for individuals concerned about the defense of democratic rights to register their opposition by sending protest letters to relevant authorities, with copies provided to the SEP.
It is clear that the attack on the members of the SEP has not only local, but global significance, and has reinvigorated the struggle for democratic rights and the defense of workers’ rights across borders.