Fmr. IGP’s order not to open fire ‘foolish,’ Solicitor General tells SC

Fmr. IGP’s order not to open fire ‘foolish,’ Solicitor General tells SC

March 5, 2012   06:03 pm

The Supreme Court is to deliberate whether the attack on the protest by Katunayaka Free Trade Zone (FTZ) workers last year was a violation of fundamental rights.

The decision was announced today by the three member bench led by Judge Shirani Bandaranayake, which granted approval to examine the Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed by 10 FTZ workers who claim they were subject to the police attack.

One FTZ worker, Roshan Chanaka (21), was killed after clashes erupted between police personnel and FTZ workers who were protesting against a proposed private sector pension scheme, later withdrawn, on May 30, 2011.

Attorneys representing the petitioners stated before the court that teargas and shots were fired at the workers, who were engaged in a peaceful protest, without any prior warning or notification.

As a result of this close to 270 workers were wounded and hospitalized, the petitioners state and therefore request court to declare that a violation of fundamental rights had taken place.

Appearing on behalf of the respondents, Solicitor General Palitha Fernando informed the court that the then Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya had ordered police personnel to refrain from attacking or firing at the protestors.

 This order by the IGP was ‘foolish’ and a large number of innocent police officers were attacked due to this, the Solicitor General proclaimed.

He further stated that in this instance the police officers had opened fire in self defense and that it was in accordance with law.

However, after taking into consideration the facts presented before the Supreme Court, the judge bench decided to take up the petition on March 27 to deliberate whether a fundamental rights violation had taken place.

Notice was issued to the respondents of the petition, namely former IGP Mahinda Balasuriya, OICs of Katunayake and Seeduwa police stations and DIG in charge of Western Province, to appear at court and give statements. 

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