Another notorious underworld gang member met his death while in Police custody under what has become very familiar circumstances.
Palankada Heen Mali alias Palankada Heena was arrested at Hikkaduwa on March 10 over the killing of a gem merchant from Rathnapura. The Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana claimed yesterday that the suspect was taken to show some hidden weapons on 11 March and he attempted to lodge a grenade at the Police at which point he was shot and killed.
Heena becomes the latest of a number of underworld members who have been shot while attempting lob grenades at the Police en route to showing hidden weapons caches. Merely four months ago in December 2013, four suspects alleged to have been involved in the killing of a police constable and his wife also died under similar circumstances. On that instance the first suspect who was handcuffed and taken to show the police where weapons were hidden, produced a gun and fired at the police and was killed in retaliation; the second, where two handcuffed suspects suddenly jumped into the river in an attempt to flee from the police; and the last where the chief suspect, hiding in the Naigala forest, threw a hand grenade and was killed when police, searching for him, fired in his direction.
Incidentally Police in 1989 said that JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera had also tried to fire a hidden weapon before being shot dead. Though never officially acknowledged later it was revealed that Wijeweera had been shot in the head while in Police custody and thrown in to the incinerator at the Borella cemetery.