FSP warns govt. against expelling its leader from SL

Gunaratnam sentenced to one year in jail, fined Rs. 50,000


Kumar Gunaratnam with his mother at the court

By Dasun Edirisinghe

The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) yesterday asked the government not to expel its leader Kumar Gunaratnam, who was given a one-year imprisonment and fined Rs. 50,000 for violating emigration and immigration laws. It demanded that he be granted Sri Lankan citizenship.

Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion at Maradana, FSP Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said they had got information that some high ranking Cabinet ministers wanted to have Gunaratnam expelled after his release from the prison.

"We demand that he be granted Sri Lankan citizenship as he wants to engage in politics in the country of his birth," Jagoda said, adding that the political authority was still silent on Gunaratnam’s repeated requests to grant him citizenship as it was his birth right.

Jayagoda said the Attorney General’s Department had asked the Immigration and Emigration Department to consider Gunaratnam’s citizenship application once the case against him at the Kegalle Magistrate Court was over.

Now that the case was over and he had got a sentence for overstaying his visa, the Kegalle Magistrate, too, stated that awarding him citizenship was a matter for the political authority, Jagoda said.

Jayagoda said the present government had invited all Sri Lankans who had left the country due to political reasons to return, but it was not ready to consider the citizenship application of Gunaratnam.

"Gunaratnam wants Sri Lankan citizenship and he has refused dual citizenship," Jagoda said, adding that the Australian Immigration officials had stated that he was the only Sri Lankan who wanted his Australian citizenship cancelled to get Sri Lankan citizenship again. Jayagoda said his party would launch a fresh protest campaign demanding Sri Lankan citizenship for their leader tomorrow.

Politburo member of the FSP Chameera Koswatte also attended the media conference.

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