Defence Ministry involvement in Weliweriya water crisis uncalled for - UNP

*  Rejects Military Tribunal, demands Supreme Court inquiry

by Zacki Jabbar

Since the Defence Ministry had been involved in quelling last week’s demonstration, in Weliweriya, against the contamination of ground water, it would be absurd for a Military Tribunal to inquire into the incident, which left three young persons dead and 60 injured, the UNP said yesterday.

Any inquiry, by the army, into last Thursday’s shooting, by its very own personnel, on unarmed persons who were only asking for clean water, would be a farce, Senior Vice President of the UNP Lakshman Kirialle told a news conference in Colombo.

He said that the best course of action would be for a Bench comprising Supreme Court Judges to inquire into the killings.

It was nothing but daylight murder of innocent people engaged in a democratic protest against a factory that was emitting harmful substances into the ground, the MP pointed out while querying as to why the Police were not allowed to perform their civilian duties.

He called on the government to stop looking for scapegoats that did not exist and identify the person who gave the order to shoot on the residents of Rathupaswala in Weliweriya, who were only engaged in a democratic protest to secure their basic rights.

The supply of clean water came under the purview of the Water Supply and Environmental Authorities and the Army had no business to interfere in their duties, he noted.

The MP said that due to the absence of the Independent Commissions, which were abolished by the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the Presidential writ ran all over the country, making all public institutions redundant.

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