The funeral of Roshane, the FTZ worker took place Saturday the 4th of June. It was well planned by the government, Not challenged by any means by the TUC ( Trade union congress ) and Opposition Political parties.
The Catholic church played a good role supporting and in defence of the government. The church and specially the Parish priest acted (Under the instructions of the high rank of the church )as the Police who was supervising the court order. They did the job better than the Police.
The Parish priest even without informing the family members went to the victim’s house, with the Army, in the morning( Saturday) at about 0930 and conducted the funeral services and took the body to the church. Actually the priest was trying to bury the body in the morning to stop the large gathering expected in the evening and to stop the ( Expected large) procession which could take place in the evening from the funeral house to the church. But amidst the protests from the family members and the villagers, the priest had to announce that He took the body to the church, in the morning, due to the limited space and facilities at the victim’s house and said the body will be kept at the church until 300 pm. ( The church never did something like this keeping anyone’s body at any church due to the poor conditions of the residence of a dead catholic). Police were not present. Nearly 1000 Army was there. From the Galoluwa junction within every 10 yards the army was kept with guns by the both side of the 2 kilometre long road to the church. The whole church yard was surrounded by army looking at the opposite directions, standing within every 10 feet. Every door to the church was guarded by the armed Police even the army was inside the church. Yes though they were armed yet they seemed to be friendly even supplying water at one place.
During the mass not a single word was mentioned about the brutal killing of this worker. The priest said the god has called him but nothing about what happened. No condemning of the killing. At the end of the mass the priest took much time to preach about the court order and he preached in an ordering manner, announcing that the youth in the area will carry the coffin to burial place, (where the cemetery was situated within the church yard) and To keep peace no one will be allowed to speak .A note of thanks was delivered by a brother of the victim. He started thanking the Cardinal, the parish priest, the other religious leaders in the area, and many others. At the end he said AMEN. It Could clearly be heard as a written statement ( most probably written by the church). No one could not understand the role played by the cardinal other than carrying out the Court order.
Army created a double line and made the space to carry the coffin from the church to the grave yard situated in the churchyard itself. We were just the observers without taking part in anything. At least no one , even a family member did cry saying “They killed you my son” .They just cried without saying a simple word. Normally in any funeral house you can hear the cries with words that flows out showing the sorrows and anger in their mind.
So after the burial everyone just left the church yard without murmuring a single word in protest.
But we heard, DR. Jayalath Jayawardana, UNP MP, protesting to the parish priest about the military presence in the church with arms and how the funeral services was conducted.
TUC , main leaders were there. DR. Jayalath Jawardana MP and some provincial councillors of UNP were there. JVP TU Leader Wasantha Samarasingha was there. They were also just there and after the funeral they just left like the others showing, that they do not want to challenge the court order.
But the notable thing was two TU leaders going to the Army commander (Not that the commander came to the two TU leaders) and shaking hands with him, whether to thank him for making the leaders comfortable for not giving them any chances to organize any protests or for some other thing known only to them. We as PfF did the only protest on the funeral day in SriLanka. We 33 people with a leaflet and a poster accusing the government of the responsibility of the murder of the worker. Went to the streets, distributed the leaflet and pasted up the posters in day time.
We covered the whole Negombo town, staged a picket in front of the SSP’s office in Negombo, where we were videoed by Police officers and up to Seeduwa distributed the leaflets and put up the posters. While we were putting up the posters and distributing leaflets in Negombo town, we heard over the radio that some JVP members were taken into Police custody for putting up anti government posters. Then we went and attended the funeral at the church.
Not a single political leader from the ruling party and Notable leaders from UNP or JVP present than the members mentioned before.
If Opposition party leaders or Tuc wanted to do something they could have done it. At least after the funeral they would have organized a meeting in front of the church even without violating the court order. No action, nothing took place. My feeling was the government leaders did not come to the final funeral proceedings thinking that the opposition ( JVP,UNP, TUC) will be organizing the funeral to be a mass action. Opposition also would have though that the government will take the funeral into their hands very strongly and would not let them do anything.
The “Inter Company Union “( JVP) did put up some banners in front of the church.
So the Catholic Church did great work to do this funeral activities in the way the government wanted. So in future any murder by the government can be handed over to Catholic church with a court order, they will do it more than the expectation of the government. So, in future, we have to change the last prayer “O Lord take your son/ daughter into your hands and let him/ her to rest in eternal peace , according to the court order. AMEN “
Unreported incident at the funeral house
ON 3rd Friday at about 300 pm, at the funeral house, a brother of the victim, shouted at and attacked the ITN media group, accusing them that the ITN is trying to sell the dead body. He shouted joined by the victim’s father, that the victim was not killed by UNP or JVP but the murder was done because the victim took part in the mass campaign, against the Government Pension bill. Even “SIRASA”evening news on 3rd reported this incident, but nothing was mentioned about the attack on ITN. The Western Province chief minister , Prasanna Ranatunga was also there and after the incident he used hard words and shouted at the victim’s brother.
This incident was reported by eyewitnesses.