Deputy Inspector General of Police Ruwan Gunasekara has admitted that police has fired tear gas towards the protest organized by National People’s Power in Colombo on the 26th was without following the relevant standards. The protest was against the increase in electricity bill, increase in taxes and the measures taken by the government to postpone the local government election. which was scheduled to be held on March 09 . DIG Gunasekara was answering questions at the the Human Rights Commission inquiry held yesterday (16) on the complaint by NPP.
The pettion by the the National People’s Power against the brutal attack was heard before the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, retired Supreme Court Judge Rohini Marasinghe. Although Inspector General of Police CD Wickramaratne and Senior DIG in charge of Western Province Deshbandu Tennakon had been called for this investigation, only DIG Ruwan Gunasekara appeared on behalf of them.
One member of the NPP died in the tear gas attack and another member is receiving treatment in the intensive care unit of the National Hospital.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Rohini Marasinghe, chairman of the Human Rights Commission, has confirmed that police had launched an assault on a peaceful protest by examine of the video evidence submitted in relation to this petition.
In the meantime, the commission has requested a special report from the Inspector General of Police on April 10 and for that, the following questionnaire has been sent.
- Under which legal situation did the tear gas attack the peaceful protest?
- What is the legal status of launching tear gas attacks outside of the areas mentioned in the court decision prohibiting the protestors from entering?
- Did the police follow standard criteria in firing tear gas? (DIG Ruwan Gunasekara has admitted before the commission that police did not follow the standards)
- Information about the quality of tear gas and water used in the attack, especially whether the tear gas has expired and its quality and the quality of the water used in the attack, excrement mixture, sewage mixture etc.
- Who ordered the intervention of the army for the attack?
- Who ordered the tear gas and water cannons?
- Did the intelligence agencies receive information about this protest earlier?
- Did the intelligence agencies consult the information about whether there was enough reasons to launch an attack?
- In that protest, an injunction was taken against 26 people and on what basis were those 26 selected?
- After studying the answers to these questions, a re-investigation is scheduled to be held on April 20.
Lawyer Upul Kumarapperuma, lawyer Sunil Vatagala, lawyer Sandun Yapa Karunaratne and lawyer Dharani Abeyratne joined the event representing the National People’s Force.
( translation of a Sinhala news story published in LT)