Lalith Athulathmudali, Sri Lanka (1936-1993)

Lalith Athulathmudali was a Sri Lankan politician who advocated that true freedom can only come through participatory democracy and respect for human rights. He advocated that the education of a population was essential in order that they may take on the responsibility of advancing and protecting freedom. Athulathmudali also recognised that the exercise of freedom depends on a minimum degree of material comfort. For example those who are hungry do not wish for press freedom.

Lalith Athulathmudali was leader of the Democratic United National Front (DUNF) in Sri Lanka. Until 1991 Athulathmudali was a member of the United National Party (UNP) and at one time a cabinet member in President Premadasa's government. However in May 1991 Athulathmudali joined with members of the opposition in supporting impeachment proceedings against the President. Premadasa was accused of 24 instances of alleged abuse of power including illegal land deals, improperly aiding Tamil rebels and the failure to consult the cabinet. Owing to their actions Athulathmudali and seven other members of the UNP were expelled from the party. Subsequently the dissidents formed the DUNF, which was led by Athulathmudali.

Athulathmudali was assassinated in April 1993 and the DUNF held Premadasa's government responsible.

Print this page