Astrologer detained for his predictions, a first for Sri Lanka – Attanayake

The detention of astrologer Chandrasiri Bandara, under Emergency Regulations, indicates the extent to which the government was denying people of their democratic freedom, General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake said yesterday.

He told The Island that this was the first time in Sri Lanka’s history that an astrologer has been questioned and also detained for practicing his profession. "Mr. Bandara has every right to make predictions according to the rules of the science he practices. To haul him up to the fourth floor of the CID at night and interrogate him like a common criminal, shows that the government cannot tolerate dissent. The gist of Mr. Bandara’s prediction was that Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe would soon be the leader of the country. If that is an offence, then those who are predicting a thirty year rule for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, should also be remanded."

If the government by its skewed sense of logic, believes that Bandara has committed an offence, he can be produced in a Court of Law and not detained under emergency regulations for 90 days, Attanayake said.

In the recent past, there had been many attacks on journalists who have been bold enough to write the truth, but there has been no progress in the investigations, obviously due to pressure from the top, he said. "Lasantha Wickremetunga was killed and several other journalists abducted and assaulted, but no suspects have been produced in Courts as yet."

Attanayake said that the conduct of the government, apart from being dictatorial, also indicates a sense of fear that Bandara could actually be right that the Rajapaksa regime was nearing its end.

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