AG’s submissions in respect of Thajudeen’s missing body parts

IUSF wants govt to go whole hog


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Accusing the Yahapalana government of seeking political mileage out of ongoing investigations into a few selected cases, including alleged murder of national rugger player Wasim Thajudeen (28), the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) yesterday urged the police to go the whole hog.

Thajudeen died in an apparent accident on the night of May 17, 2012 near Shalika grounds on Park Road, Narahenpita.

Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion, Maradana, IUSF convener Lahiru Weerasekera said that Senior State Counsel Dilan Ratnayake on Sept. 7 told the Colombo Chief Magistrate that former Judicial Medical Officer, Colombo Dr Ananda Samarasekera had removed 15 boxes containing body parts, including that of Thajudeen a few days before his retirement.

Dr. Weerasekera retired on June 3, 2013.

IUSF wants...

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate on July 27, 2015 that Thajudeen had been murdered in the wake of fresh investigation following the change of government in January, 2015.

IUSF convener Weerasekera said that the boxes containing body parts could have been moved to the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) as Dr. Weerasekera functioned as the Vice Chancellor of the Institute.

Thajudeen represented both Havelock and the national team.

When the media pointed out that the boxes containing body parts could have been taken to a medical exhibition, the IUSF chief said that the Senior State Counsel revealed in court that proper procedures hadn’t been followed by the former JMO.

The IUSF convener said that the investigation had reached a crucial stage with the Attorney General and the CID making significant progress and those who threw their weight behind the January 2015 revolution expected law enforcement authorities to bring the investigation into a successful conclusion.

Student leader Weerasekera urged law enforcement authorities to probe all aspects, particularly the disappearance of 15 boxes containing body parts.

Weerasekera alleged that Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella had been promoting SAITM as well as other private educational institutions at the expense of free education.

Weerasekera said as far as the SAITM was concerned, the policies of both the Rajapaksa administration and the yahapalana government were the same. Alleging that the former President had provided state patronage with his government facilitating Rs.600 mn state bank loan to SAITM, the IUSF leader said that the state education sector continuously received step-motherly treatment. Weerasekera said that Minister Kiriella had succeeded his ministerial colleague as the chief spokesperson for SAITM.

The student leader asserted that both ministers obviously had taken cudgels on behalf of sordid project to privatise education even at the expense of their political careers. Those who had been promoting the project had gradually deprived state universities of financial support, Weerasekera said, alleging that the vast majority in parliament either backed the privatization project or remained silent, thereby by providing tacit support.

Weerasekera said now that Higher Education Minister Kiriella publicly backed the SAITM project, it would be of pivotal importance to know who would protect the interests of the state education sector.

Weerasekera alleged that the yahapalana government had pathetically failed to keep its promises with its ministers campaigning for privatisation of education. Having stoutly defended SAITM, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had taken a break while his ministerial colleague publicly vowed to defend the institution.

The IUSF said that in addition to politicians representing the UNP and the SLFP, Gemunu Wijeratne of the private bus operators association, social activist Gamini Viyangoda and various other interested parties had stepped forward to defend SAITM.

Contrary to pledges made in the run-up to presidential and parliamentary polls in 2015, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government had unleashed the police on those campaigning against privatisation of education, Weerasekera said. Vowing to proceed with planned protest campaign, he said the government leaders wouldn’t be allowed to enter universities for ‘boru shows’ in accordance with their overall response to government intimidation of students.

"We’ll fight back whatever threats experienced by the student community", he said.

Asked by The Island whether the IUSF was satisfied with the support provided by the JVP to their cause, Weerasekera said that they wanted all political parties to extend their support to thwart privatisation project targeting free education.




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