Public Security Secretary denies resignation reports after CID questioning

  • Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Jagath Alwis says he has not tendered his resignation

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Public Security Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Jagath Alwis refuted reports that he had tendered his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (23), shortly after providing a nearly four-hour statement to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) regarding the incidents of peaceful protestors in front of Temple Trees in Kollupitiya and at Galle Face and the Galle Face Green being attacked by a group of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) supporters on 9 May.

Speaking to The Morning last night, he said that he had not tendered his resignation, adding however that once a new Minister is appointed, they may choose to appoint a different Secretary to the Ministry.

An official of the Police Media Division said that Alwis had been summoned to the CID last morning (23) and that the latter had recorded a statement regarding the incidents on 9 May.

Allegations have been levelled against Alwis that he had instructed senior police officials, including Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) in charge of the Western Province Deshabandu Tennakoon to not use water cannons and tear gas to disperse the said group of SLPP supporters who attacked the “MynaGoGama” and “GotaGoGama” protest sites on 9 May.

Minister of Industries and Plantation Industries Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, speaking in Parliament last week, claimed that Alwis and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne had instructed Tennakoon to not disperse the SLPP supporters on that day.

However, when contacted by The Morning to inquire about these allegations on 9 May, Alwis refuted them, saying that he had not given such instructions to the IGP.

He said: “We did not want this to happen from the start. We did not want the people to get to the Galle Face Green. The Police were asked to stop them from going there, and they were trying to do that. However, the people started running all over the place. We were worried about this happening.”

When queried as to why the Police did not use water cannons and tear gas in between Galle Face and Temple Trees to prevent the SLPP supporters from entering the area, he said that Galle Face had been identified as the best place to stop them. He also said that it was the Police that should have taken a tactical decision regarding the location at which the said group of SLPP supporters should have been stopped.

IGP C.D. Wickramaratne had also recorded a statement with the CID for nearly five hours last Saturday (21) regarding the incidents.