Private bus operators protest against extortion

BY Percy Kuruneru, Anuradhapura


Crews of private buses operating on the Horowpathana, Kahatagasdigiliya and Galenbindunuwewa routes yesterday held a protest against the failure of the police to arrest those who were extorting money from them at the new bus stand in Anuradhapura.

The protesters climbed atop the buses, carried placards and shouted slogans, crippling transport on those routes for several hours.

The protesters said that last Sunday three men had mercilessly assaulted and stabbed a conductor of a Horowpathana bound bus as he refused to pay extortion money at the bus stand.

The bus crews, who were there at the time, had caught the assailants and handed them over to the policemen on duty.

The protesters claimed that the police only detained the man who stabbed the conductor and released the other two.

They expressed regret that the police had failed to arrest the other two persons who had assaulted the bus conductor or take steps to nab those extorting money from the crews.

A senior police officer said that the man who stabbed the conductor had been remanded while investigations were underway to nab the other two.

The protesters called off their agitation after police gave an assurance that they would beef up security at the new bus stand.

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