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New political party launched in Sri Lanka after leader allegedly abducted

(Xinhua)

09:02, April 10, 2012

COLOMBO, April 9 (Xinhua) -- While officials continue searching for a political leader in Sri Lanka that disappeared over the weekend, his political party, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), was launched on Monday, an official said.

Dual Sri Lankan and Australian citizen Premakumar Gunaratnam is reported by his family and party members to have been abducted on Friday. The leader of the women's wing of the party, Dimuthu Attygalle, also disappeared on the same day.

Gunaratnam was to have been officially voted in as leader of the FSP on Monday morning during the party's first convention, according to party member Chameera Koswatte.

However, his disappearance has raised concerns about the growing number of abductions in Sri Lanka with opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe pointing out in a statement that there have been 56 such incidents in 2012 alone.

Meanwhile, The Island newspaper reported that the Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie had appealed to the Sri Lankan government to take action over the alleged abductions and quoted Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as denying any government wrongdoings.

Human rights activists have voiced concern over the large number of abductions and urged for strong action.

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