For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
An official employed by the Sri Lankan Minister of Industries and Trade, Rishard Badurdeen, on Monday assaulted a 72-year-old Muslim journalist, MA Cader, for having taken part in a prayer expressing solidarity with Mannaar Bishop on Sunday with thousands of civilians of all walks of life in Mannaar. The SL Minister Badurdeen had issued veiled threats against Mannaar Bishop during a speech in the SL Parliament recently. The SL minister’s threat against the Bishop comes in the wake of Colombo’s harassment against the Bishop, who boldly brought out the fact that 146,679 people had gone unaccounted for in the last stages of Vanni war.
The veteran writer and journalist Mr Cader had addressed the gathering on Sunday seeking religious harmony and expressing contempt towards the SL Minister for his statement that had characterized the Bishop as an opponent of Muslims.
The senior journalist, who had lost a leg in a road accident two years ago was forcibly put into the pickup vehicle from his bicycle and was abused in filth and severely assaulted.
In the meantime, Catholic priests from various churches have expressed solidarity with Mannaar Bishop, issuing statements and conducting prayers.