UPFA MP Arundika Fernando said yesterday that the French Embassy should conduct a full inquiry and provide any information available on missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda to the Sri Lankan authorities.
Fernando said that the disappearance of Eknaligoda would be detrimental to the future of the country if it was not properly investigated as the government had already come under fire for the disappearance of journalists, including Eknaligoda before international human rights tribunals.
“When I found out about Eknaligoda I informed the relevant authorities and an investigation was likely to have been conducted at the time. I stayed quiet about it. But there have been continuous allegations against the government and when the UNP charged that the government was responsible for suppressing, assaulting and killing journalists, I decided that I should speak up,” Fernando said.
He alleged that he met Eknaligoda during a visit to France in December 2011 in a house shared by about ten Sri Lankans including journalist Manjula Wediwardena who introduced Eknaligoda to him.
“I recall that he was short, bald and elderly-looking. Manjula introduced him to me at the time, but now he denies it. I believe he is afraid and feels that there might be a threat to his life and the others who are also secretly residing abroad like Eknaligoda,” he said.
He said that several journalists like Eknaligoda had sought refuge abroad with the support of international agencies and diplomatic missions and could not be returned home. However, the people need to be informed about the truth, he said. (Olindi Jayasundara)