Police officer killed in Hanwella protest


Police water cannon on the move to quell riots by a group of villagers in Hanwella yesterday.Pic by Shamindra Vithana

By Norman Palihawadena

The ongoing demonstrations by a group of villagers of Hanwella, reminiscent of sudden violent protests at Rathupaswala, last year similarly demanding the shutting down of a rubber factory claiming it was polluting their groundwater, snuffed out one life yesterday. A senior policeman dispatched there yesterday early morning was killed when a tree that had been half cut and left by the protesters fell on him.

Officer in Charge of the Borella police station Chief Inspector Prasad Siriwardena (45) was among several police teams rushed to Hanwella yesterday to prevent villagers from taking the law into their hands when the tragedy struck at about 6:30 am. The teams included a contingent of police commandos.

According to police sources CI Siriwardena, a father of two, was rushed to the Awissawella Hospital, but he had died soon after admission. His wife and two children, too, had rushed to the hospital from their residence at Gonawela, Kelaniya, but he had died before they reached hospital.

As in Rathupaswela, protests have been going on for more than a week against the rubber factory.

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