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Protest For Gunaratnam Turns Tense

Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) supporters yesterday stormed the Immigration and Emigration Office at Punchi Borella.

Protesters accused the Immigration and Emigration of facilitating a government project to expel their leader Kumar Gunaratnam (49) arrested by the government on a charge of violating Immigration and Emigration laws.

Gunaratnam was arrested last November for overstaying his visa.

Having caused damage to public property and clashed with the police they dispersed.

The police said that the majority of those who had been involved in the protest were university students.

The Kegalle Magistrate on Thursday sentenced FSP leader and Australian national Kumar Gunaratnam to one-year’s imprisonment for violating immigration laws. The Magistrate also fined him Rs. 50,000. At the time of his arrest, Gunaratnam carried an Australian passport bearing Noel Mudalige issued to him several years ago.

The FSP is one of the breakaway factions of the JVP, others being outfits led by Wimal Weerawansa and Somawansa Amarasinghe.

FSP activists protested outside the Immigration and Emigration Office before a section of them stormed the building disregarding police warnings.

The Australian High Commission declined to comment on the imprisonment of the Australian national. A spokesperson for the HC told The Island: "Due to Australian privacy law we do not discuss consular matters."

we queried the Australian HC whether it would make representations on behalf of Noel Mudalige and Mudalige’s family or FSP sought Australia’s intervention.

Gunaratnam returned to the country in January 2015 in time for the presidential election and had remained in the country illegally. He extended his 30-day tourist visa since January 31.

He had been deported from the country in 2013 after entering the country using an Australian passport.

Political sources told The Island that the Australian High Commission had indicated that it wouldn’t intervene in the Gunaratnam/Mudalige affair.