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Lawyer files Court complaint over Monday’s attacks 

9 months ago

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  • Maithri Gunaratne PC lodges complaint with Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate over attacks on anti-Govt. protestors
  • Says Police not preventing attacks on protestors not reported to Court yet 
  BY Dinitha Rathnayake and Buddhika Samaraweera A complaint has been lodged by President’s Counsel (PC) Maithri Gunaratne to the Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Thilina Gamage regarding the incidents that took place around the “MynaGoGama” protest site in Kollupitiya in front of Temple Trees and the “GotaGoGama” protest site in Galle Face on Monday (9). Speaking to The Morning, Gunaratne PC noted that the complaint was lodged using WhatsApp on Tuesday (10), and that due to yesterday’s (11) curfew, an oral complaint will be filed today (12). The complaint is lodged against senior police officers, including Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) in charge of the Western Province (WP) Deshabandu Tennakoon, DIG – Colombo Range A.G.J. Chandra Kumara, DIG Sisira Mendis, and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) – Colombo Central Nishantha Chandrasekara. “We have to file this case, as the Police have not yet reported the matter to the Court regarding the Police not preventing the attacks on the protestors.” As suspects in the case, Government MPs Johnston Fernando, Sanath Nishantha, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa, Sanjeeva Edirimanna, Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi, and Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Moratuwa Mayor Saman Lal Fernando, Government supporters Dan Priyasad (Media Spokesman of the Our Power of People Party), Sugath Hewapathirana, Mahinda Kahandagama, Rekha Kahandagama and Wasantha Handapangoda (President of the Sri Lanka Podujana Education Services Union), and Prisons Commissioner General (CG) Thushara Upuldeniya have been named in the complaint. “The list of additional suspects will be produced in court today, and if there is any evidence that can be used, we request that the evidence be given to the telephone number 0773466312, only through WhatsApp. Also, if you would like to appear as a witness in this case, please let us know.” The complaint is being filed by a team of lawyers led by Gunaratne. On Monday, a group of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Government supporters attacked the peaceful protestors at the “MynaGoGama” and “GotaGoGama”.  The complaint, which was seen by The Morning, read that the suspects are punishable under charges of being members of an illegal assembly, assaulting or obstructing a public servant in suppressing a riot, provoking the public with the intention of inciting a riot, accommodating participants in an illegal assembly, voluntarily injuring persons, using dangerous weapons, inflicting grievous bodily harm, causing intentional or serious injury, improper obstruction, torture, assault on a female, criminal coercion, misdemeanour, and criminal intimidation. The complaint also stated that the attacks on the “MynaGoGama” and the “GotaGoGama” were a planned act. Gunaratne has claimed that the speeches made by Mahinda Rajapaksa and Fernando in the morning on that day showed that they were planning to provoke their supporters to attack the peaceful protestors. The complaint further claimed that there are videos showing Sanath Nishantha entering the Galle Face Green with his supporters in collaboration with SDIG Tennakoon, adding that the Police have also committed an unforgivable offence by not taking steps to prevent the said group from attacking the protestors. Gunaratne has also submitted video footage of the incidents that were aired in the media, closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footage from the Temple Trees, the Shangri-La Hotel, the Taj Samudra Hotel, and the One Galle Face shopping complex, as well as mobile phone video footage of the incidents, along with the complaint. He has further stated in the complaint that although Attorney General (AG) Sanjay Rajaratnam PC and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne have made an attempt to initiate an investigation into the incident, he has no confidence in their independence. He has stated that considering the past conduct of the AG, it is not possible to expect that justice would be served with regard to these incidents from the AG.  Gunaratne had also expressed his displeasure on behalf of the public regarding the Police investigations into the incidents being carried out by a team under SDIG Tennakoon, SSP Chandrasekara and other Police officers who have been named as suspects. Accordingly, he has requested the Chief Magistrate to act as the investigating officer in this complaint, and requested that an order be issued to appoint a police team headed by the IGP to assist the Chief Magistrate. Following a group of SLPP supporters, who had come to meet Mahinda Rajapaksa having attacked the “MynaGoGama” and “GotaGoGama” anti-Rajapaksa and anti-Government protest sites, tense situations erupted in several parts of the country. After the said attacks, the buses and vehicles in which the SLPP supporters had reached Colombo on that day were smashed and set on fire by the people.  Several SLPP supporters were also attacked by the people in Colombo and more than 200 who were injured during the clashes had been admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo, including SLPP supporters who carried out the attacks on the protestors. In addition, several houses and other properties such as places of business belonging to the Rajapaksa family, SLPP MPs, Local government politicians and SLPP supporters were also attacked and set on fire by the people in many parts of the country.