“Just two weeks back, Dayan, who is the Deputy Mayor of Negombo, warned me that if I continue to write negatively about him and his brother, Nimal, god will punish me,” Gamage told the Colombo Telegraph from his hospital bed. Gamage said that the Deputy Mayor had ordered him to write only positive articles about the Lanza family, and nothing negative.
According to Gamage, who is a web journalist and the convener of the Professional Web Journalists Association, without a certain form of ‘authority’ it is impossible to orchestrate such an attack in broad daylight.
Gamage is continuing to receive treatment at the Negombo Hospital, after he sustained head injuries when two unidentified men in full face helmets and raincoats attacked him with a pole, near the Negombo Municipal Council.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who condemned the attack against Gamage, assured quick action against the culprits. “I have informed the Inspector General of Police to carry out an immediate investigation on the attack, and bring the culprits to book,” Wickremesinghe said in a Tweet.
“I was walking towards the car, after covering the Municipal Council’s monthly meeting, when I saw two people in a bike near my car, when I gave them a second look, one of them jumped towards me and tried to assault me with a pole, but even though I jumped back, they were able to hit me on the head. As I started running, one of them kept shouting to the other saying ‘hit the fellow,” Gamage said, adding that even though the people nearby had tried to take down the bike number plate, there was no number plate on either side of the bike.
Following the incident, Director General of the Government Information Department Darshani Gunathilaka assured that the media suppression the country witnessed during the previous regime will not continue. “I condemn this cowardly attack. The government is committed to ensure that the media will not be suppressed in any manner,” she said.
The police have also been instructed to provide necessary security for Gamage, to ensure his safety.
In the recent past, Gamage has been exposing corruption in connection to Parliamentarian Nimal Lanza and his relatives, who has alleged links to the heroin and narcotic mafia in Negombo.
( By Munza Mushtaq © Colombo Telegraph)