Sri Lanka’s powerful business grouping, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) on Tuesday lent its support to the chorus of protests over the recent attack on demonstrating students in Colombo by the police that has evoked outrage across the country.
The chamber said it wished to express its deep concern over the brutality of the police action to disperse the HNDA students who were agitating to present their grievances to the authorities whilst underscoring the need for the students to deal with such matters in a peaceful and a more responsible manner, without being misled by a few extremists politically motivated elements.
“The CCC believes that, it is the responsibility of the government and above all the law enforcement authorities to act with utmost responsibility, respecting the principles of democracy and the rights of the citizens for freedom of expression, peaceful protest and engagement with the authorities, which are the fundamental ethos that the people of this country voted for and wanted to restore under a common banner of ‘Yahapalanaya’ on the 8th January 2015,” the statement said on Tuesday.
While saying the chamber respect that it is the duty and the responsibility of the police to maintain law and order and protect public properties, it points out that this must be done with utmost responsibility and restraint using the least amount of force and within the law. “We urge the independent commissions, especially the Police Commission and Commission on Human Rights to sincerely look into the matter and upon determining of any violation of law, take action, if that is the case. One should even for a moment not forget that those who are protesting are the youth of this country and the next generation of leaders, eagerly seeking their rightful place in the society. It is the bounden responsibility of all concerned to engage them with due respect and address their grievances, before they become a major problem,” the statement added.