Police Commando ASP grilled over Chilaw killing

SLA denies involvement


by Norman Palihawadana

The CID investigating the shooting incident in Chilaw on Wednesday where a fisherman was killed has started questioning an ASP attached to the Police Special Task Force.

Well informed sources said that the ASP had given orders to his subordinates to shoot after the protestors who staged a demonstration against the recent fuel price hike went berserk.

They said that the ASP had told investigators that the protestors were armed with swords and clubs and even after the police fired tear gas and fired a round of shots in the air they didn’t disperse.

"They posed a danger to the police and I had no alternative other than giving orders to shoot," the officer had told the CID sleuths.

The police said when the fishermen were going berserk, they were videoed and the perpetrators of violence could be recognised in the footage.

The curfew imposed in Chilaw on Wednesday was lifted yesterday morning but the police have beefed up security in the area.

A senior officer said the police suspects that a certain political elements were behind Wednesday’s incident.

Large crowds gathered at slain fishermen Anton Fernando’s residence in Chilaw to pay last respects and a large number of banners, flags and cutouts were displayed in the area.

The Bishop of Chilaw Rev Devasritha Valence Mendis said that due to police action the fishermen became uncontrollable.

The IGP N.K.Illangakoon told "The Island" those responsible for the death of the fisherman will be severely dealt with according to the law of the country.

Respnding to our yesterday’s front-page lead, the Army Headquarter in a statement said:

"Our thorough inquiries from the Security Forces Headquarters, South and Divisional units in the area confirmed to us that Army troops were not physically present at the very point of the agitation when shooting that claimed one life and injured several agitators took place that morning (15) at about 10.00 a.m.

"It is further informed that Army troops who were called upon to assist the Police remained positioned, precisely about 500 metres away from the actual place of the agitation in the perimeter. Army assistance to Police and STF personnel who were already on the scene was offered only after their presence at the scene itself was warranted as the situation turned worse.

"Therefore, the question of Army firing the agitators does not arise here as mentioned in your report. Your caption unfortunately on the other hand gives the wrong impression that it was the Army jointly with the Police that fired at agitators, which is factually incorrect."

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