Chandrika Govt blamed for death threats to Lanka stars

Place: Colombo | Courtesy: Indian Express
| Date: 20000202

COLOMBO, FEBRUARY 2: Sri Lanka's top film and drama artists on Tuesday held President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government responsible for a series of attacks and death threats against stars who sang at Opposition rallies.

Leading stage and film director Dharmasiri Bandaranaike told reporters he received a thinly-veiled threat against his latest play which, some people claimed, was anti-government. The lead musicians in the play, Rukantha Gunatilleke, and his vocalist wife Chandraleka, were attacked last month by heavily armed men who threatened to kill them, Bandaranaike said.

He accused the government of failing to investigate a spate of attacks against news photographers, journalists and artists. ``We supported this government to come to power in 1994 to put an end to the era of terror under the previous government, but we see the same forces of evil raising their heads,'' Bandaranaike said.

Gunmen reportedly stormed musician Rukantha Gunatilleke's home near here last month, poured gasoline and dieselon him and his wife and threatened to throw a match in the presence of young children. Kumaratunga had ordered an investigation, but the artists said they were unhappy with police inquiries which had failed to yield any arrests so far.

Another top actress, Anoja Weerasinghe saw her home torched by gunmen who destroyed her films collected over 20 years. Weerasinghe had been addressing Opposition United National Party rallies.

Courtesy: The Indian Express, Thursday, February 3, 2000