Lakmal Ranabahu who fought for Sinharaja attacked: Complaints received from both parties – OIC

(Translated by Akitha Wijayasinghe)
Lakmal Ranabahu, an active environmentalist who fought against the destruction of the eco-sensitive zone of Sinharaja rainforest and plans to hand over lands in the surrounding eco-sensitive zone for various projects, has been severely attacked by a group.
The attack took place on 24th in the Kalawana area where he resides and he is currently receiving treatment at the Ratnapura General Hospital. His arm was broken in the attack and he sustained injuries to several parts of his body, including his face. A brother of Lakmal Ranabahu has lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that a group including the husband of the Kalawana Divisional Secretary had assaulted him.
When we inquired about this, the OIC of the Kalawana Police, Chief Inspector R. Dayawansa said he received information that an argument had been escalated into a clash between the two parties. When inquired about the complaint lodged by the assaulted environmentalist, the OIC stated that two complaints had been lodged by both parties and that the husband of the relevant Divisional Secretary is also receiving treatment at the Kalawana Hospital. No arrests have been made so far in connection to the incident and steps will be taken to obtain statements from both the injured parties, the OIC said.
Lakmal Ranabahu, an environmentalist and also a political activist, strongly opposed the decision to build a road through the Kudawa area in Kalawana, near Sinharaja. Many endemic species of plants in the area have been destroyed due to the construction of this road. A road transporting timber to the old timber corporation in the middle of Sinharaja was widened and concreted, prompting serious protests against the damage inflicted to the eco-system.
The Center for Environment and Nature Studies has also complained to the UNESCO-affiliated UNESCO Secretariat in Sri Lanka that such a road is being constructed in a manner that harms the Sinharaja, a World Heritage Site. As the project was funded by the World Bank’s Tourism Promotion Fund, complaints were made to the World Bank and they temporarily halted the project.
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