By Mangala Samaraweera –
In the guise of investigating a clash between UNP supporters and participants of a Rajapaksa/ Rajamahendran sponsored march in Matara on 5 October, the Matara police led by SSP Deshabandu Tennakon initiated a witch hunt against senior UNP activists of the district.
In fact, I personally handed in 24 members of my party on Sunday 6th October at the request of the police, although I have photographic and video evidence to prove that they did not indulge in any violent activities during this confrontation where five people were shot including an innocent bystander who the doctors say will be partially paralyzed for rest of his life.
The police including the said SSP thanked me several times over the week for my cooperation and I have been in and out of the SSP’s office during last week as the rest of my supporters continued unabated.
According to the video evidence available it can be proven beyond any doubt that 30 out of the 37 UNP activists who have been arrested so far have not participated at any violent activity at all and their only crime seems to had been staunch and loyal members of the United National Party.
The police intelligence are in possession of video footage of the club wielding thugs of the Rajapaksa / Rajamahendran march and these videos clearly show the organisers of this march distributing clubs from a parked vehicle at the very start of this march that morning. However, only seven of the club wielding goons have so far been arrested.
Jaliyah Jayawardana, senior vice president of UNP Matara ex-co was brutally beaten up by a group of thugs led by Herman Gunaratne, immediately prior to his shooting spree and Jaliya’s life was saved by the timely intervention of a lotus flower seller nearby who got down an ambulance to send Jaliya to hospital. Jaliya Jayawardana was arrested and chained to his bed while receiving treatments at the Aparekka Ayurvedic Hospital while Sunil, the flower seller, is now languishing in the Matara remand prison with my other supporters! None of the club wielding thugs who are easily identifiable from the photographs available have yet been arrested.
As I informed parliament last Thursday the impunity extended to these thugs is perhaps because of the presence of Presidential Security Division personal in this march. In fact, we have reliable information that some of these PSD personal in civilian clothes who were attacked by enraged UNP supporters received treatment for minor injuries secretly at the Matara Army camp.
It is in this context that I met SSP Tennakon several times over the week after giving two statements to the police voluntaraliy last Sunday (13) morning. It was only last Saturday (12) that I met SSP in the morning and again DIG Chandana Wickramaratne along with the SSP the same afternoon and they thanked me once more for the cooperation I have extended to the investigation and they promised to conduct the inquiry impartially and fairly. They also promised to arrest the thugs from the other side if we provide them with a list of names. At this point I pointed out to the police that my job is not to play the role of a police informant and the police should be able to identify and locate these people with the same level of enthusiasm that they displayed in pursuing my UNP supporters in Matara.
It is in this context that I was amazed to hear from media that the Matara has sought a warrant for my arrest.
I will be presenting myself to Matara courts tomorrow at 9.00 a.m. Not only will I continue to fight against the Rajapaksa / Rajamahendran sponsored witch hunt against my supporters in the Matara district but I will also continue with extra vigour to expose the true nature of this evil and despotic regime.