Matara Police are investigating an alleged assault of Pankaja Sankalpa, the ITN correspondent there, by Chief Adhikarana Sangha Nayake of the Southern Province Ven. Getamane Siridhammakitti Thera.
Sankalpa had gone to Anura Vidyalaya, Matara on a request to cover an event by the students of the school on February 28th.
When the Thera was called upon to light the traditional oil lamp, he had reportedly abused the journalist and ordered him out.
Pankaja was also grabbed by his shirt and assaulted – he told ‘Lanka Dissent’ – in the presence of around 1,500 persons, including the Matara Assistant Education Director, principals of several schools and schoolchildren.
The Thera had continued to use abusive language on the journalist, prompting two other photographers present there, to leave the function.
Four years ago, the Thera had been arrested by the Matara Headquarters Police on the charge of brutally raping a schoolgirl.
Sankalpa was the correspondent who had covered the incident for ITN