Revealing that Western Province DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon told President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the IGP informed him not to use teargas or water cannon to disperse those attacking ‘GotaGoGama’ protesters, former minister Ramesh Pathirana said today the attack was stopped even at that point due to the intervention of the President.
He told Parliament that the attack on protesters were carried out by a small group of people who gathered at Temple Trèes due to influence of some MPs.
“I was at Temple Trees when the incident happened. We participated in the meeting at Temple Trees to bid farewell to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was to resign that day. I phoned DIG Thennakoon soon after I got to know that the protesters are going to be attacked. He told me that all road blocks had been set up and steps would be taken to prevent it. I then proceed to the President’s House to attend a meeting. On my way there, former MP Ashu Marasinghe phoned me and said a serious incident is going to happen please tell the President to stop it. Then, I told the President that a serious incident is going to happen, please stop it immediately. Then, the President phoned DIG Thennakoon, who said that he was instructed by the IGP not to use teargas or water cannon to disperse the attackers. The President then said ‘I am the President who is telling you to stop it. It was at that point that the teargas and water cannon was used . If not for President’s intervention, the damage would have been worse,” he said.
He said as claimed by JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake in Parliament today, DIG Thennakoon had given a statement to Human Rights Commission that the IGP and the Secretary to the Public Security Ministry had instructed not to prevent the attackers on ‘GotaGoGama’.
Mr. Pathirana said only about ten percent of those who attended the meeting at Temple Trees participated in the attack on ‘GotaGoGama, protesters and that those who were not connected to the attack had to face harassment on their way back.
He said the government and the President did not use teargas or water cannon on protesters and that has been the policy of the government. “This ‘GotaGoGama’ protest has been there for about a month without any attack. Neither the government nor the President wanted to attack them,” he said.
The MP said police and army did not take any action to prevent the attacks on their houses and acts of arson on the evening of the incident.
“We have no hope that justice will be meted out to us. Those who were connected to the violence after the May 9 attack were released soon even though there was clear evidence. Lawyers clap their hands when criminals get bail,” he said. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera/ DM)