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Sri Lankan judge attacked, hospitalized

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- A Sri Lankan high court judge, who heads the judicial service commission, was attacked by four unidentified men, leaving him hospitalized, police said.

The Sunday attack on Judge Manjula Tilakaratne occurred in Mount Lavinia, a suburb of the capital Colombo, prompting judges in Sri Lanka to boycott courts Monday in protest, Colombo Page reported.

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The Internet newspaper quoted police as saying Tilakaratne, who had recently complained of threats against him and his family, suffered three stab wounds and had been admitted to Colombo National Hospital.

India's Hindu newspaper reported the judge had been critical of the government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The report quoted police as saying the attack on Tilakaratne, who was reported in stable condition, however, did not appear to be designed to kill him.

The judicial service commission, which Tilakaratne serves as secretary, is made up of Supreme Court judges and deals with all judicial promotions and appointments.

President Rajapaksa ordered the police chief to arrest the assailants, the Hindu said. The president strongly condemned the attack.

The Colombo Page quoted Tilakaratne as saying that threats against him and his family came after he had said last month that his commission had come under interference from the executive. The report said the Sri Lankan president, however, dismissed the allegation, saying there is no political interference of any kind.

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Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said several police teams had been deployed to investigate the incident, Colombo Page reported.

The Lanka Business Online said several lawyers associations also had decided to boycott the courts Monday in support of the judges' protest.

The report said the judicial service commission is one of Sri Lanka's last remaining independent public institutions.

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