Socialist Youth Union leads protestors in front of CID
Govt. sources claim Johnston’s 9 May speech distorted
BY Buddhika SamaraweeraA group including the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) staged a protest in front of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday (24), demanding the arrest of former Minister and current Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Johnston Fernando who had come to deliver a statement to the CID yesterday regarding the incidents of peaceful protestors in front of Temple Trees at Kollupitiya and at Galle Face being attacked by a group of SLPP supporters on 9 May.When contacted by The Morning, an official from the Police Media Division said that Fernando had been summoned to the CID yesterday morning, and that the latter had recorded a statement regarding the incidents of 9 May.When Fernando was recording the statement at the CID, a group of protestors, including those from the SYU, staged a protest in front of the CID, demanding his arrest.However, sources within the Government claimed that several lawyers who had studied the video recordings of the speech made by Fernando on 9 May had concluded that it was a distorted and heavily edited version of the speech that had been circulated on social media to generate a negative impression.Allegations have been levelled against Fernando that he instigated the group of SLPP supporters who attacked the “MynaGoGama” and “GotaGoGama” protest sites at Kollupitiya and Galle Face respectively, during the meeting held at the Temple Trees with the participation of the then Prime Minister and incumbent SLPP MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and several other politicians.Meanwhile, Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam PC had, on 16 May, instructed Inspector General of Police Chandana D. Wickramaratne to arrest a total of 22 persons, including Fernando, if reasonable suspicion exists regarding their involvement in the incidents on 9 May. Among the said 22 persons were SLPP MPs Fernando, Sanath Nishantha Perera, Milan Jayathilake and Sanjeewa Edirimanna, Moratuwa Municipal Council Mayor Saman Lal Fernando, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Western Province Deshabandu Tennakoon, Nawa Sinhale organisation National Organiser Dan Priyasad, Nalaka Wijesinghe alias “Satha”, Bandula Jayamanne, Dineth Geethaka, Araabi Wasantha, Subash of the Dehiwala Town Council, Amal Silva, Sameera Chaturanga Ariyaratne, Ruwanwelle Ramani, Thusitha Ranabhahu, Sajith Saranga, Mahinda Kahandagama, Pushpa Lal Kumarasinghe, Nishantha Mendis of Moratuwa, Pushpakumara (ex-Army), and Shavin Fernando of Wennappuwa. Out of them, several suspects including Nishantha Perera, Jayathilake, Lal Fernando, and Priyasad were arrested by the CID and were later ordered to be remanded until today (25), after being produced before the Colombo Magistrate's Court.