|Police condemned for firing at innocent fishermen
A director of the Gampaha District Fishermens Society and campaigner for the rights of the fishermen who are affected by the sand pumping to the Katunayaka-Colombo expressway, M. A. Austin Gunawardena on Wednesday charged the police for opening fire at innocent fishermen protesting while they could have used other methods to disperse the angry crowd.
Gunawardena questioned as to who had given the orders to use live bullets against the innocent fishermen who did not posses any sort of firearm.
Speaking to the press at the UNP media centre Gunawardena said that he nor the protesters had any political motive behind the demonstration and actually PA Gampaha district candidate Neil Rupasinghe had spoken to them and just left when the shooting took place.
He said that Rupasinghe had in fact told the crowd demanding the compensation denied to them by the Keangnam Company the constructors of the expressway, to remove the pumps if there was no other option. "Even the police who had befriended them had gone to the place where the incident took place with the protesters and had afterwards opened fire on them.
He broke down several times while speaking about the incident and explained that the company had backtracked on an earlier agreement and had reduced the compensation to a mere pittance. One of the dead was a mother of seven.
UNP Gampaha District candidate John Amaratunga said that President Chandrika Kumaratunga as the Minister of Defense should take full responsibility for the three deaths. He called on the government to conduct a full scale inquiry into the incident and bring those who were responsible to book.
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