Embilipitiya erupts over death of man wounded in clash with cops

Twenty one policemen transferred


By Norman Palihawadana

Several hundred people blocked the Embilipitiya-Middeniya road yesterday after a person who had been injured during a clash with the police early this week and warded at the Ratnapura hospital succumbed to his injuries. The police identified the victim as 29-year-old Sumith Prasanna Jayawardena, a driver by profession.Residents hoisted black flags and closed shops demanding that the police officers and men responsible for what they called an unprovoked attack be arrested.

Police headquarters deployed additional personnel in support of the Embilipitiya police to prevent violence.

Police headquarters yesterday transferred 21 police officers out of Embilipitiya station pending investigations.

Residents also set fire to tyres along the road as protests escalated. Protesters disrupted traffic in spite of efforts made by the police to disperse the crowds.

Sources based in Embilipitiya told The Island that the victim, a father of one, had jumped from an upper floor of the house where the police and a group of men having a party clashed. Sources said that the deceased’s wife was pregnant.

Four policemen and three civilians including the person who succumbed to injuries yesterday were hospitalised with injuries suffered at the residence on New Town Road in Embilipitiya last Tuesday night.

Derana quoted residents as having said that the trouble had erupted after two policemen asked for liquor. Later, additional policemen who arrived at the scene clashed with residents and villagers who by then had gathered at the scene.

Police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said police had intervened after receiving several calls alerting them to a clash at the party. According to him, reinforcements had been despatched after the first police patrol was attacked.

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