Monk speaks on behalf of affected people

Weliweriya protest:



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UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe with a group of people affected by Thursday’s violence at Weliweriya (Pic by Kamal Bogoda)


The people living in Weliveriya, were asking for a human right or dire human need, without which survival was impossible, Sri Lanka Environmental Congress Chairman (SLEC) Ven Madampagama Assaji Thera told The Island yesterday.


He said that they personally conducted a survey in ten affected villages and found that the water was contaminated. He added that the Public Health Inspectors in the area too admitted the ground water was contaminated.


He said that the security forces and police who came to disperse the crowd also understood the gravity of the problem.  


The thera said that the people did not have political support either and they protested over six days for their dire need for clean water as they were unable to bathe, drink or use water for sanitary purpose.


"The innocent people’s plight and their need was not looked into by politicians in the area. Not a single politician dared to come forward to support them but they themselves came forward to demand their right and finally one person was killed, while scores were wounded, the Thera stressed.


"As the final resort and to attract the attention of the government, they might have blocked the Kandy-Colombo main road but that should not have been done," the Thera said.  


He claimed that there had not been an organized group, as alleged by the security forces, though they used military in dispersing the crowd.


In the survey done by SLEC, the women had told the Thera that they were suffering from irritation of the groin, their children had contracted different diseases and some had got throat infections after using water for washing and drinking purposes.


The monk also stressed that even the closure of the factory would not bring a permanent solution to the problem but it would continue for 10 to 15 years as chemicals absorbed into the ground water could not be cleaned over night by any technology.


Therefore, the government must consider the issue seriously and bring about a long term solution to help the hapless citizens of the country, he said.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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