PPP/C denies Opposition charges in Sharma assault
Guyana Chronicle
January 23, 2002

THE governing People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) yesterday denied claims that it was in any way connected with the Sunday assault on CNS Channel 6 TV owner and leader of the Justice For All Party (JFAP), Mr. C.N. Sharma, and urged the Police to continue their investigations.

In a press release, it rejected outright, the "spurious allegation" that it was, in any way connected with a fracas in a West Demerara liquor restaurant involving Sharma and others.

The main Opposition People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) in a press release Monday tried to implicate the PPP/C in the incident. But the PPP/C said, "It is presumptuous and obnoxious for the PNC/R and others to rush to accuse the PPP/C of being 'responsible' for this incident."

It added: "Unlike the PNC/R, the PPP/C does not employ or encourage violence and intimidation. The PPP/C has, and will always condemn violence."

Regarding Sharma's right to free speech, the release said it was the PPP/C administration that restored and ensured the blossoming of the right to free speech, freedom of the press, and all other basic freedoms and liberties that were denied the Guyanese people under the "PNC dictatorship".

The PPP/C reaffirmed that it will continue to play its part to safeguard the right of every Guyanese, including Sharma, to exercise these rights and freedoms within the confines of the law and in a responsible manner.

The party urged all groups and individuals to await the findings of the Police, and not to rush to make "libellous and malicious statements for political and other reasons."

Sharma, who suffered injuries to his head, eyes, chest and groin in the attack, was yesterday a patient in the Davis Memorial Hospital, Georgetown.

His party said doctors were continuing to monitor his condition carefully.

He was beaten by four men at Met-en-Meerzorg, West Coast Demerara, his party reported.

At the time of the attack, Sharma and a cameraman were at the home of a businessman who owns a liquor restaurant in the village, it said in a statement.

His visit to the West Coast was in response to invitations from rice farmers and other residents, the statement said, noting that the JFAP won a seat in Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) in last year's elections.