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Last updated: 29 January, 2008 - Published 18:02 GMT
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JVP 'planned to kill' MP
MP Sunil Handunnetti (L) in the court (Library photo)
The MP is allegedly reduced to 'a puppet' after he tried to leave the JVP
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's close political ally is accused of threatening party dissidents with death.

A senior leader of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Sunil Handunnetti, MP, is under house arrest by the party after he tried to fled the country, his close associate said.

Sampath Dimuthu Ketipeaarachchi told BBC Sandehaya that the parliamentarian is reduced to 'a parrot' who just repeat what the JVP orders.

Magistrate order

Telephone providers in Sri Lanka were ordered on Tuesday by Colombo magistrate to provide details of telephone calls to Mr. Ketipeaarachchi.

Welikada police requested the court order after receiving a complaint of death threats by Mr. Ketipeaarachchi.

 As a party activist, I am pretty much aware of how the JVP behaved in similar incidents in the past
MP Handunnetti's associate, Sampath Ketipeaaraarachchi

A group of people visited his house and received continued death threats over the phone, the court was told.

The alleged victim, who is currently the private secretary to Minister Susantha Punchinilame, says MP Handunnetti passed all secret documents to him as Handunnetti was under threat after he decided to leave the party.

MP Handunnetti was preparing to leave Sri Lanka via Singapore due to JVP's attempts to arrest or assassinate him, the associate said.

Assassination attempt

He added that the MP was forced to admit to a hospital in Colombo in an attempt to save his life from the JVP hierarchy.

Sunil Handunnetti was later seen with the JVP delegation that met Japanese Special Envoy, Yasushi Akashi, in Colombo.

Handunnetti (R) with JVP and PNM leaders
The MP is curently under JVP custody, says his associate

However, Sampath Dimuthu Ketipeaarachchi say his inclusion in the delegation was an attempt to diver media attention from the crisis in the party over the issue.

"The MP is under party custody since 22 December," he said, "And his all telephones are disconnected since 23 December".

The JVP has taken a decision not to allow any more dissidents after two parliamentarians left the party, according to the associate.

No more dissidents

"The JVP has decided to either assassinate or forcefully keep any other MP who decide to leave," Mr. Ketipeaarachchi told BBC

JVP's foermer presidential candidate, Nandana Gunathilake and another parliamentarian has left the party since the 2004 General elections.

 The JVP has decided to either assassinate or forcefully keep any other MP who decide to leave
MP Handunnetti's associate, Sampath Ketipeaaraarachchi

MP Handunnetti, who was reportedly under pressure to stop revelations on corruption in the government, has decided to seek political asylum in a western country.

"As a party activist, I am pretty much aware of how the party behaved in similar incidents in the past," Mr. Ketipeaarachchi said commenting on the seriousness of the death threats to MP Handunnetti.

Not only the parliamentarian, but his parents were also threatened by the JVP, he added.

The JVP leadership however categorically denied the allegations.

When contacted by BBC Sandeshaya, JVP senior leader Vijitha Herath, MP, refused to comment any further.

The JVP that has twice taken up arms against the Sri Lankan state, is accused of ruthlessly killing party dissidents during the second uprising in late 80s.

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