‘Aragalaya’ to rally in Nugegoda 

  • Pathum Kerner released on bail
  • Harsha claims access denied to meet Kerner
  • Prisons Dept. says only relatives can visit ID parade suspects

BY Dinitha Rathnayake 

Activists of the “RanilGoGama” “aragalaya” (struggle) at the Galle Face have formed a united protestors’ front to rally against Government repression tomorrow (6) at Nugegoda.

Catholic priest Fr. Amila Jeewantha Peiris who filed a fundamental rights petition with the Supreme Court seeking an order to prevent his imminent arrest, conveyed to The Morning that the said rally would be organised peacefully at Nugegoda tomorrow, at around 3 p.m. 

“This is an undemocratic system. Terrorist acts are being committed by the Government. We experienced so much intimidation and repression of victims on 9 May and 22 July. There is no action against State terrorism and mobs, but still, peaceful protestors have always been non-violent and democratic. We question the democracy of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the regime of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. 

“Nobody can stop the peaceful protest movement tomorrow at 3 p.m. Let all citizens come to Nugegoda to protest peacefully. This emergency law has to be removed. The Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act as amended has to be removed. Abolishing the Executive Presidency is the need of the hour. Let democracy prevail in Sri Lanka. Political unrest and the economic crisis will be worse in this undemocratic system of Wickremesinghe,” claimed Fr. Peiris.

Speaking at a press conference, the Socialist Youth Union also urged the public to come forward tomorrow against the present Government. 

“We are ready to sacrifice our lives for this and we would continue the ‘aragalaya’,“ they said.

Meanwhile, social media activist Pathum Kerner has been granted bail by the Colombo Additional Magistrate Harshana Kekunawala yesterday (4). 

When the case was taken up yesterday, Rienzi Arsecularatne PC, appearing on behalf of Kerner, pointed out that there is no legal basis for holding an identification parade, as pictures of his client had been published in newspapers and electronic media. However, the additional magistrate, rejecting the objection, ordered the accused to be referred to the identification parade. Kerner was produced in court for the identification parade, and was reportedly identified by an Army soldier who is a witness in the case. 

Kerner was arrested on 28 July after he surrendered to the Colombo Crimes Division. The Police said that the arrest of Kerner was related to the protest at the Polduwa Junction, Battaramulla, where unruly incidents took place.

Further, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the Prisons Commissioner General had prevented him from meeting Kerner for the last five days. In a Twitter post, MP de Silva said that the Prisons Commissioner General had thereby violated his right as an MP to check on the wellbeing of any prisoner in Sri Lanka. 

“After much discussion with the staff there, I left the premises on the undertaking that they would provide me in writing the so-called court order preventing an MP from visiting him on the grounds of an identification parade,” he said.

However, responding to the claim, Prisons Department Media Spokesman and Commissioner Chandana Ekanayake, speaking to The Morning, said that Kerner was presented for an identification parade, and that only relatives are allowed to visit such a person.